Sunday, 21 December 2014

Menez: I'm not fake like most footballer

Jeremy Menez has said football players "must be fake to be loved", insisting that he is not willing to put on a different persona just to gain affection, unlike other stars.

The attacker has been in fine form for AC Milan following his move from Paris Saint-Germain, having scored eight and set up one in his 16 league appearances.

The 27-year-old says he is happy again following the move back to Serie A, despite rarely cracking a smile on the pitch.

"I must smile more. My father and my brothers tell me so," he told Telefoot. "But it’s misinterpreted because people think I’m not happy. I’m just a shy person and I think that in football, you must be fake to be loved. But I don’t like that, it's not me."

The former Roma player says he was offered a chance to stay in Ligue 1, but was attracted to Milan because of Adriano Galliani and coach Filippo Inzaghi.

"In December, PSG offered me a contract, but I already decided to leave to do something else. It was not about money, my biggest pleasure is to play football.

"When the phone rang, I learned that Inzaghi and Galliani wanted to see me and it was an honor. I was on vacation in Ibiza and they came to see me, that was proof that they wanted me."

Menez added that he hopes to become a bigger influence for France in the build up to Euro 2016.

"I haven't done anything for Les Bleus yet and I want to open a new chapter with the French national team.

"I didn’t give my all on the pitch and that is why I wasn’t called this year. I want to come back and show my qualities to help France. I came to Milan to play all the games and come back to France "

Transfer Rumours

Reus agrees Real Madrid move

Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus has agreed a deal with Real Madrid. The Germany international is set to sign a five-year deal with the European champion.

Source: Daily Star
Sunday, December 21, 2014 8:51 AM

Tottenham preparing Berahino bid

Tottenham has made West Brom striker Saido Berahino its No.1 transfer target in January and will lodge a bid as soon as the window reopens. The 21-year-old is seen as the ideal partner for emerging star Harry Kane.

Source: The Sun
Sunday, December 21, 2014 8:50 AM

Laurent Blanc will stay until the summer

Laurent Blanc will stay at the helm of PSG at least until next summer despite PSG's bad results according to L'Equipe.

Source: L'Equipe
Sunday, December 21, 2014 8:23 AM

Man City readies £20m De Bruyne move

Manchester City is lining up a bid for ex-Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian failed to make the cut at the Blues and was sold to Wolfsburg but the Premier League champion is readying a £20m bid.

Source: Daily Express
Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:53 PM

Bale greenlights Man Utd move

Gareth Bale has reportedly given his approval on a move to Manchester United. The Welshman would command a fee of £80 million should he leave Madrid in the summer.

Source: Daily Express
Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:40 PM

Arsenal tests Leverkusen with Kramer bid

Arsenal will test the waters by offering Bayer Leverkusen £20 million for World Cup winner Christoph Kramer. The German midfielder, on loan at Gladbach, is believed to be available but for no less than £25m.

Source: Daily Mail
Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:35 PM

Napoli lines up Balotelli

Napoli will launch a loan bid for Mario Balotelli in January. The Liverpool forward has struggled since moving back to England in the summer and is expected to be moved on sooner rather than later.

Source: Daily Mail
Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:05 PM

Liverpool serious about Torres return

Liverpool is strongly considering a move for Fernando Torres in January. The Spaniard is currently struggling on loan at Milan and reports suggest he may be sent back to Chelsea, opening up an opportunity for the Reds.

Source: Daily Mail
Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:02 PM

Cleverley to make Villa move permanent

Tom Cleverley will make his loan move from Manchester United to Aston Villa permanent. Paul Lambert's side will spend £7.5 million to snap up the England international when the January transfer window opens.

Source: Daily Mirror
Saturday, December 20, 2014 6:48 PM

Southampton heads race for Elia

Southampton is leading the chase for Netherlands winger Eljero Elia. The 27-year-old is currently at Werder Bremen but is believed to be available for a transfer in January.

Source: Daily Mirror
Saturday, December 20, 2014 6:13 PM

Friday, 5 September 2014

Basingstoke want to sign Ronaldinho

The Conference South side say they are in contact with Ronaldinho's brother and agent, Roberto De Assis.
The 34-year-old former Barcelona and AC Milan forward is a free agent after leaving Atletico Mineiro in Brazil.
"We've put an offer to his brother, who is his agent, and look forward hearing back from him," Basingstoke marketing director Simon Hood told BBC South.
Ronaldinho won 97 caps for his country,winning the World Cup in 2002, as well as the Champions League with Barcelona in 2006. He also won the Ballon d'Or in 2005.
Basingstoke play in the sixth tier of English football and face a fight to sign the former PSG forward, with the Chennai Titans in India also bidding to sign the player.
However, with Non-League Day taking place at the weekend, Hood says his signing would be a huge boost for the game at that level.
"We took a look at the transfer list to see which players were available," added Hood.
"We were shocked to see that Ronaldinho was a free agent and thought what better way for him to get back into football than to play for Basingstoke Town.
"We are third in the table and it would be great for not only Basingstoke but non-league football."

Arsenal considering deal to sign 38-year-old defender Mario Yepes

The Gunners are in need of defensive reinforcements after failing to sign a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen during the transfer window, and Arsene Wenger has now turned his attention to Yepes.
According to reports, Wenger is said to be a long-term fan of the experienced centre back and could offer him a short-term contract to provide cover for Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and youngster Calum Chambers.
Yepes is a free agent after leaving Italian side Atalanta at the end of last season, and his agent told reporters last month that he is in England looking to sign for a Premier League team.
A 6’1″ centre back, Yepes has made almost 600 professional appearances to date.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Picture of the day

The Christ the redeemer statue lit up in German colours after the final whistle.

James Rodriguez wins World Cup 2014 Golden Boot

Colombia star James Rodriguez has been rewarded for his sensational goalscoring exploits at World Cup 2014 with the Golden Boot.

The attacking midfielder was the breakout star in Brazil, inspiring his side to a first ever appearance in the quarter-final stage by netting six times in just five games.

GOLDEN BOOT STANDINGS
Player
James
Muller
Neymar
Messi
Van Persie
Country
Colombia
Germany
Brazil
Argentina
Netherlands
Goals6
5
4
4
4
Assists
2
3
1
1
0
Four years after claiming the Golden Boot in South Africa, Thomas Muller was forced to settle for second spot this time around. 

However, after doubling his overall World Cup goals tally with five strikes during Germany's triumphant campaign, the 24-year-old is now a very serious contender to break the all-time record held by team-mate Miroslav Klose (16).

Lionel Messi, meanwhile, had high hopes of claiming the Golden Boot after racking up four goals in his first three games but the Argentina captain failed to score in the knockout stage.

Consequently, the Barcelona No.10 finishes fourth, just ahead of Netherland striker Robin van Persie on account of the fact that the Dutchman did not register any assists. 

Messi, though, was pipped to third place in the standings by Neymar as his club-mate - who also set up one goal - only played five games before his tournament was ended by a back injury sustained in Brazil's quarter-final win over Colombia.

James Rodriguez, of course, also ended that game in tears but at least the Monaco man's late penalty in Fortaleza has proven no mere consolation goal, as his successful spot-kick has ultimately earned him the Golden Boot - and a place in World Cup history.

Messi wins World Cup 2014 Golden Ball

Lionel Messi been won the Golden Ball following his inspirational performances for Argentina at World Cup 2014.

The Barcelona attacker was on the losing side in Sunday's tournament decider, with the Albiceleste going down 1-0 to Germany after extra-time in Rio de Janeiro. 

However, Messi has been rewarded for carrying his side to the final, with the 27-year-old having racked up four goals and one assist in seven appearances.

In claiming the prestigious prize, Messi emulates the achievement of the man with whom he is so often compared, compatriot Diego Maradona, who skippered the Albiceleste to success in Mexico in 1986.

Messi is the third Argentine to receive the Golden Ball, with Mario Kempes having become the inaugural winner in 1978 on the back of his sensational goalscoring exploits during the country's victorious campaign on home soil.

Meanwhile, Germany's sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer beat off competition from fellow finalist Sergio Romero, of Argentina, and Costa Rica shot-stopper Keylor Navas for the Golden Glove.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Germany duo Sami Khedira and Lars Bender targeted by Arsenal following signing of Alexis Sanchez

Arsène Wenger is preparing to follow up the signing of Alexis Sanchez with a new holding midfielder and has made enquiries over this past week on Germany internationals Sami Khedira and Lars Bender.

Arsenal are also now finalising deals for two new right-backs, with Mathieu Debuchy’s £10 million move from Newcastle due to be confirmed in the next 48 hours and Atletico Madrid's Javi Manquillo also ready to arrive, probably on loan.

It is the possible addition of Khedira or Bender, however, that will most excite Arsenal fans and serve as further evidence, following the acquisitions of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil over the past year, that Wenger is again able to compete for the world’s best players.

Khedira has been one of the best midfielders at the World Cup and, although he has only got one year left on his contract at Real Madrid, the Champions League winners would still demand in excess of £20 million.

Madrid have also held talks with Khedira about a potential new contract and, while the 27-year-old would be interested in following Germany team-mates Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski to London, Arsenal would also face competition from across Europe.

After having a £19 million bid rejected last summer, Wenger is also still a big admirer of Bender, who is younger and likely to be cheaper than Khedira. Bender was in Joachim Low’s provisional 30-man Germany World Cup squad but was forced to withdraw following a thigh injury.

The arrivals of Manquillo and Debuchy will almost certainly mean that Carl Jenkinson will be loaned out this season, with Wenger keen for him to play regularly at this stage in his development. Newcastle and Stoke City are among the clubs who would be interested in recruiting Jenkinson. Arsenal and Atletico are still in talks over whether the Manquillo deal should be permanent or simply a one-year loan.

Having completed his medical on Thursday before being confirmed as Arsenal’s most expensive ever striker, Sanchez is now excited by the prospect of playing in the same team as Ozil. “With Ozil in the squad Arsenal were (close) to winning the league title,” said Sanchez. “The team not only plays really good football, but the squad is really good and we can win silverware. We can achieve big things.

"Playing regularly wasn't the only reason why I came here – I came here to win the league title, the Champions League.”

As was the case with Ozil’s signing last summer, the personal touch of Wenger was critical in making the deal happen. It is understood that Sanchez also took the advice of Cesc Fabregas, his former Barcelona team-mate, before choosing Arsenal above both Liverpool and Juventus.

“I know this club has a manager that looks after his players and takes care of them as well,” said Sanchez. “I was told that he is a manager you can learn a lot with. He wants to achieve great things in football and that helped me make the decision to sign for Arsenal. Arsène Wenger's style of play is the sort of style the Chilean national team has, so therefore I am used to it.

“The manager has mentioned some certain positions, but I am not worried about it right now. The manager and I will talk about my role as soon as I start training.”

Neuer, Navas and Romero nominated for Golden Glove

Manuel NeuerKeylor Navas and Sergio Romero have been nominated for the Fifa Golden Glove, awarded to the best goalkeeper at the World Cup.

Neuer has started every game for finalists Germany, keeping a clean sheet on three occasions and impressing with his 'sweeper keeper' performance against Algeria in the round of 16.

Levante's Navas kept two clean sheets in the group stages as Costa Rica topped Group D ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England, before saving a penalty in the last-16 shootout win over Greece and pulling off a number of saves in the quarter-final loss to Netherlands.

Romero managed four clean sheets during Argentina's run to the final and stopped Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneidjer from the spot in the shootout victory over Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Guillermo Ochoa misses out despite consistently impressing during Mexico's run to the knockout stages, while Tim Howard is also overlooked despite a record-breaking 16 saves during USA's match against Belgium.

Fifa's Technical Study Group, comprised of selected coaches and football analysts, will determine the winner after Sunday's World Cup final.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Arjen Robben are among the nominees for the Golden Ball award for best player at the World Cup, while Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Memphis Depay are shortlisted for the Best Young Player prize.

Diego completes Fenerbahce move

Former Atletico Madrid midfielder Diego has completed his move to Fenerbahce on a free transfer following the expiry of his Wolfsburg contract.

The 29-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Vicente Calderon after impressing in his first spell at the club in the Europa League-winning campaign in 2011-12.

However, following a lengthy spell of negotiations, the Brazilian has now signed a three-year deal with the Istanbul outfit at a reported salary of €3.5 million per year after neither Atletico nor Wolfsburg opted to extend his deal.

"I am very happy to be here. This dream finally came true," he told reporters.

"There had been contacts with Fenerbahce for several years.

"I came to a winning club and I will continue to win. I want to show my ability. I talked to my friends about Fenerbahce and I am aware of the greatness of this club."

Diego spent the latter half of the 2013-14 season on loan at Atletico, where he played a role in leading the club to a Liga title and a runners-up spot in the Champions League following his incredible long-range strike against Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Manchester City make breakthrough in Mangala pursuit

Manchester City's prolonged pursuit of Eliaquim Mangala is poised to come to a successful conclusion after the France international decided to sign for the Premier League champions.

City have agreed a €40 million deal with Porto, while the 23-year-old is scheduled to join pre-season training following a post-World Cup holiday.
    
City have prioritised the recruitment of an elite central defender to deploy alongside Vincent Kompany for over a year now. They came close to signing Mangala in January, with the investment trust that owns a percentage of the player's economic rights prepared to accept an offer below his valuation but Porto refusing it.
    
Delaying until the summer window opened up the possibility of other interested parties convincing Mangala to move elsewhere. Targeted by Jose Mourinho since before the manager's return to Chelsea, Mangala publicly expressed his preference for the west London club in May and refused to sign terms with any of his suitors until the end of France's World Cup campaign.
    
Aware that they might lose Mangala to a direct rival, City are understood to have set a deadline of Sunday for him to accept their approach. As an insurance policy, an outline deal had been put in place with Roma for Morocco international Mehdi Benatia.
    
The demand for physically robust defenders who are also capable ball players has seen centre-back become one of the hardest positions for Champions League clubs to fill, leading Paris Saint-Germain to spend €50m acquiring David Luiz from Chelsea at the beginning of this summer. While widely admired, Mangala does not come without an element of risk.
    
Brought from Standard Liege for €7.5m in 2011, Mangala played less than a 100 first-team games over his three seasons at Porto and has yet to establish himself as a starter for his national team. His form deteriorated during a difficult campaign in which the Portuguese title was ceded to Benfica.
    
Arguably the most successful transfer-market operators in European football, Porto have entered discussions to bring Portugal centre back Bruno Alves back to the club. Fenerbahce are asking for a fee of €6m for the 32-year-old, who would be expected to make a large salary sacrifice to complete the deal.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Arsenal confident of beating Liverpool to Sanchez

Arsenal are becoming increasingly confident of signing Alexis Sanchez despite Liverpool's interest in the Barcelona forward.
The Telegraph claims Arsenal have already agreed a deal in principle with the player and, with reports the club have tabled a bid of £22 million, are now waiting to negotiate a price with the La Liga side.
Barcelona appear keen for Sanchez to move to Liverpool in a bid to ease negotiations and lower the outright cash fee, of between £70-80m, Liverpool want for Luis Suarez. The Mirror claims the Spanish giants have granted Sanchez permission to open talks with the Anfield club.
However, Sanchez's suggested preference for a move to London combined with Arsenal's heavy interest could prove to be a stumbling block in the Suarez deal, prolonging negotiations between the clubs over fee payment instalments.
Representatives from Barcelona and Liverpool met this week to discuss the transfer of Suarez and, while a deal is not yet in place, both clubs came away indicating talks had been "positive".
FIFA have also paved the way, confirming Suarez is free to join Barcelona despite the player serving a four-month ban from all football-related activity for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
Liverpool have indicated they are not willing to budge on Suarez's price, which is thought to be based on a buyout clause in the Uruguayan's contract, and are confident of obtaining it.
They would likely accept a smaller fee should £30m-rated Sanchez be happy to move to Merseyside. The striker, currently on holiday following Chile's exit from the World Cup in Brazil, will have ultimately have the final say on where he wants to move.

Mathieu Debuchy set to join Arsenal from Newcastle United

Mathieu Debuchy says he is still in talks to join Arsenal despite earlier telling French television he was on his way to the Emirates this summer. In a possible deal understood to be worth around £8m – rising to £12m with add-ons – the France defender would provide a ready-made replacement for his national team-mate Bacary Sagna, who left to join Manchester City on a free transfer at the end of the season.
After France’s World Cup quarter-final defeat by Germany, he said to a pitch-side reporter, telling TF1: “Yes, I will be joining Arsenal for next season.”
There has been no confirmation of the transfer from Arsenal, but the move has been widely mooted for several weeks and now appears to be a formality pending a medical.
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Newcastle signed Debuchy from Lille last January, for £5m, and he has since been an ever-present member of Alan Pardew’s side. His impressive form in the Premier League led to interest from Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, and he made it clear last season that he wanted to pursue Champions League football for the coming campaign.
His potential arrival would be Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, but may not be the last. Arsène Wenger also wants to sign the Barcelona forward Alexis Sánchez and is hopeful of fending off interest from Liverpool for the Chilean.
Liverpool would like Sánchez included as a makeweight in Barcelona’s £70m offer for their Uruguay striker Luis Suárez and, according to reports, met his representatives on Thursday.
However, the 25-year-old Sánchez has given no indication that he wants to move to Anfield, despite Barça being eager for him to make up his mind to speed up negotiations over Suárez.
Wenger, who has been in Brazil as a World Cup pundit on French television, also met Sánchez’s agent earlier in the tournament, and it is understood the forward would prefer a move to London, having been told by Barça that he is no longer needed at the Camp Nou.

Real Madrid icon Di Stefano suffers cardiac arrest

Former Real Madrid striker Alfredo di Stefano is in a serious condition in hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack.

The club's honorary president, who turned 88 this week, was reportedly taken ill after leaving a restaurant in Calle Juan Ramon Jimenez in the Spanish capital, and was rushed to the Gregorio Maranon hospital after being treated by paramedics.

It is understood the former striker suffered cardiac arrest and is now in intensive care.

A source from Madrid emergency services unit Samur told EFE: "A cardiac arrest was attended by Samur staff and they immediately transferred the patient to the Gregorio Maranon hospital."

Argentina-born Di Stefano won eight Primera Liga titles and five European Cups in a sensational decade at Santiago Bernabeu, in which time he scored over 300 goals in 396 appearances.

The former Spain international, who was made honorary president of the Spanish giants in 2000, suffered a minor heart attack in December 2005.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Cesc Fabregas keen on Arsenal return as club prepare for ‘big spending summer’

Former Arsenal captain Fabregas, who has previously stated he would be interested in returning, joined the Gunners in 2003 and spent eight years with Arsene Wenger’s side before returning to boyhood club Barcelona for a deal worth around £35million in 2011.
The likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are the other Premier League sides to show an interest in the star playmaker, but Arsenal’s considerably ‘close’ relationship with Barcelona and first option on the 27-year old make them favourites in any deal for him.

Wantaway

Spanish international Fabregas has not shared the best of relationships with the Barcelona fans this season as he was booed off the pitch on several occasions, which could quite have proved the last straw in his relationship with the Catalan giants.
Fabregas, who made 303 appearances during his time at Arsenal, is still statistically one of the best midfielders in European football and has the most assists in La Liga for the past two seasons and the most in the Premier League between 2007 and 2013.
Despite having a wealth of playmakers at his disposal, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger still believes Fabregas is one of the most technically gifted players he has ever coached and the Spaniard’s prior success in England makes him a revered player at Emirates Stadium.

Summer spending

Wenger himself signed a new three-year contract with Arsenal on Friday to extend his stay at the club to 2017 and he has vowed to strengthen the north Londoners this summer. Arsenal have already been linked with a number of players in recent weeks, including former striker Carlos Vela and Toulouse defender Serge Aurier.
“We know we have to have a successful June and July, that’s where you strengthen the team,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
“It’s very important that we are good now in the next two months until the end of August, that we can give to the team some more quality and go into next season with the belief we got from [the FA Cup] win.”
Arsenal are expected to have around £100million available to spend this summer and Wenger is adamant that he will need to sign a minimum of ’2 to 3 players’ if the Gunners are to increase their chances of winning a major trophy next season.
Last summer Arsenal pursued striker Gonzalo Higuain before he opted to join Napoli – after which point Wenger turned his attention to Mesut Ozil, who arrived in a £42.2million club record deal from Real Madrid.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Arsenal’s chief negotiator Richard Law will be working on deals throughout the summer while Wenger undertakes his media commitments with French TV station TF1 at the 2014 World Cup, although the Frenchman still remains heavily involved in each individual transfer deal.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Villa heaps praise on Simeone's Atletico 'warriors'

David Villa heaped praise on Atletico Madrid's "warriors" and coach Diego Simeone after they claimed their first La Liga title in 18 years on Saturday.

Atleti got the point they required with a 1-1 draw at Barcelona, with Diego Godin's header enough to deny the home side the win which would have seen them defend the title based on their head-to-head record.

It is a remarkable achievement for Atletico, whose budget is a fraction of those enjoyed by Barca and Real Madrid, and Villa believes a great work ethic – and the brilliance of Simeone – proved vital.

He told Canal Plus: "Cholo [Simeone] is everything here. He is the courage, he is the reflection. With his knowledge and a lot of warriors, we have achieved.

"I'm very happy to have put the icing on this successful season."

Atleti's hopes hung in the balance after Alexis Sanchez put Barca in front after 34 minutes until Godin’s towering header at the start of the second half proved enough for the visitors.

Former Barca striker Villa added: "This match was a reflection of the year. We gave all we had. We had everything against us today, with two injuries [to Diego Costa and Arda Turan], but we learned how to react.

"We have been better than our rivals in the Liga.

"The last 10 minutes of the first half showed this. Another team, against Barcelona, in their stadium would have collapsed, but not us."

Next up for Atletico is the Champions League final against city rivals Real in a week’s time.

"We have to celebrate this Liga title, there is time to prepare for the final. There is still the desire to keep going," said Villa.

Breaking News: Martino confirms Barca exit

Tata Martino has apologized to the Camp Nou faithfuls and has also confirmed that he will be leaving Barcelona this summer. More to follow.....

Barcelona fans hail champions Atletico

Barcelona's supporters were quick to acclaim Atletico Madrid's achievement in winning the Liga title on Saturday - but were not that impressed with their own team's efforts.

On the final whistle, and having witnessed Atletico fight out a 1-1 draw which preserved their three-point lead at the top of the table, the Blaugrana fans broke out in spontaneous applause.

It was quickly recognised by Atleti boss Diego Simeone, who in turn waved his thanks before later remarking: "It was one of the nicest things in football. Barca fans, players and coaches showed they have class."

The same Barca fans were not so generous towards their own team, however, with whistles pouring down from the stands at full-time.

A win would have been enough for the Catalans to retain the title and it looked on the cards when Alexis Sanchez smashed in a 34th-minute opener.

But the visitors were rewarded for a strong start to the second half when Diego Godin powered in a header from a right-wing corner.

Atleti held off some concerted Barca pressure in the final 20 minutes to claim their first Liga title since 1995-96 and become the first team outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid to win the league since Valencia in 2004.

Iniesta: Barcelona have failed

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta admitted his side have failed this season after Atletico Madrid clinched the Spanish title in dramatic fashion at Camp Nou.

Diego Simeone's side sealed a 1-1 draw in a thrilling showdown on Sunday, with Diego Godin's header ensuring they finish three points clear of last season's champions in the table.

Barca led for the first 50 minutes thanks to Alexis Sanchez's stunning strike but were unable to find a winner and Iniesta believes they paid the price for failing to take their chances.

"It was a sad end. We had it until the end. We have to congratulate Atletico. They are deserving champions," he told Canal Plus.

"We have failed, as a group. We had chances until the last match, like them. Atletico have been better, and are champions. There is nothing to say."

Speculation has persisted this week over the future of coach Gerardo Martino, with Luis Enrique - widely reported as a prime candidate to take over at Camp Nou - stepping down from his post at Celta Vigo.

Iniesta, however, insists Barca cannot look for excuses after surrendering their domestic crown.

"It hasn't affected us, thinking about other things these last weeks. It's talk for talking. It hurts losing this league, nothing more," he added.

Atletico Madrid crowned champions of La Liga

Atletico Madrid have been crowned champions of La Liga following a dramatic draw in the final fixture against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Barcelona needed a win to claim the title, while a draw was enough for Atletico as Diego Simeone's side went into the game with a three-point lead over Gerardo Martino's men.

Atleti were hit with a double blow early on as first Diego Costa and then Arda Turan limped off with injuries, but the Rojiblancos continued to compete in an evenly disputed first half.

But almost out of nothing, Alexis Sanchez blasted Barca into the lead with a fierce angled drive after 33 minutes.

Atletico started the second half with a bang, however, and after David Villa had hit the post, Diego Godin headed home from a corner to make it 1-1 after 49 minutes.

Lionel Messi had the ball in the net later in the half, but the Argentine's strike was correctly ruled out for offside and Atletico held on to claim La Liga by a three-point margin - their first title since 1996.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sevilla Win Europa League Title

Two penalty saves from Beto saw Sevilla claim the UEFA Europa League title 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes of action against Benfica finished goalless.
The first 45 was a cagey affair with very few chances in front of goal as both teams set their stalls up in defence and looked to hit on the counter-attack.
This made for a rather dull opening stanza with chances on goal being few and far between.
The first significant action in the match came in the 24th minute when Miralem Sulejmani had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Andre Almeida for Benfica.
The first dangerous shot on goal only came in the 37th minute when Alberto Moreno broke down the right for Sevilla before cutting inside to shoot with his left foot, but his effort was well-saved by the keeper.
Benfica finished the half the stronger of the two sides and probably should have opened the scoring in first half injury time.
Maximiliano Pereira connected a left-wing cross with a fierce volley which was superbly saved at close range by Beto. The loose ball then fell to Rodrigo, but the keeper was up quickly to deny him as well.
The half ended 0-0.
Benfica started the second 45 the way they ended the first with Pereira playing Lima into space inside the box four minutes after the restart, but while his shot beat the keeper it was cleared off the goalline by a defender.
Sevilla were not going to sit back and had their first shot on goal in the second stanza in the 55th minute when Jose Antonio Reyes stung the fingertips of the Benfica goalie from 25-yards out.
Benfica took the ascendancy after that, but for all their possession they struggled to break down an organised looking Sevilla defence.
Consequently, Benfica had to shoot from long range and Lima came close to scoring in the 84th minute when his 25-yard shot was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Beto.
The game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes and went into extra time.
With both teams tiring in extra time the chances in front of goal were virtually non-existent.
The best chance of the additional half an hour fell to Bacca in the 101st minute when he broke behind the Benfica defence, but with just the keeper to beat he shot wide of goal from 14-yards out.
120 minutes ended goalless and the game entered the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
Two penalty saves from Beto saw Sevilla claim the Europa League title 4-2 on penalties.

Ronaldo & Bale Should Be Fit For CL Final

Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will be fit to play in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
Both players have missed Real’s 2-0 La Liga defeat to Celta de Vigo.
Ronaldo has only completed two of Real’s last nine games in all competitions and is currently recovering from ‘muscular fatigue’ which saw him being substituted after just eight minutes against Valladolid last Wednesday.
"Ronaldo underwent treatment and is almost fully recovered," Ancelotti told media on Tuesday.
"We have a fortnight to prepare for the match and I think they'll be completely fit for the final. I think he'll be able to play against Espanyol (next Saturday).”
Bale missed the Valladolid game due to a ‘knock’, but the exact details haven’t been confirmed by the club.
The Welshman had travelled with the squad on Sunday, but Ancelotti decided not to risk him despite his side losing 2-0.
"(Bale) is not 100%," Ancelotti added.
"He got a knock, but I decided not to risk him, especially when I could have put him on. I wanted to avoid any problems."
Both players still have 10 days to recover and be ready for the Champions League final in Lisbon on May 24.

Enyeama: Eagles Will Soar In Brazil Celebrates Best African Player Award #30DaysToGo

Super Eagles vice captain and Lille Metropole of France shot stopper, Vincent Enyeama, has thanked Nigerians for the support he has received from them, which he said also made it possible for him to be named the best African Player in the French Ligue 1 this season.
Enyeama, who spoke from his France based said he was delighted that he was picked as Africa’s best player in France and has been totally enthralled by the huge support of Nigerians over the award, promising that he will not fail the country during Mundial 2014 in Brazil. #G
oSuperEagles  

Ji-sung Park retires from football

Former Manchester United midfielder Ji-sung Park has called time on his playing career at the age of 33 due to a persistent knee injury.

Park, who joined the Reds from PSV Eindhoven in 2005, played 205 times for United and scored 27 goals before departing to QPR in 2012. He finished his career this season with a loan spell back at PSV.

Here, we pay tribute to a player who became popular with the fans for his commitment to the Old Trafford cause… 

Sum him up It’s easy to overlook Ji’s technical and tactical nous when you consider the ground he covered in matches and the sheer hard work he was willing to put in. Yet all those attributes often made him the ideal counter-balance to Cristiano Ronaldo on the opposite flank of Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering side in the mid-to-late 2000s. Park was a versatile performer on either flank or when set on specific midfield missions.

Best game Arsenal will recall several troubled encounters with the Korean, who often caused them problems with his clever positional play, tactical knowhow and ceaseless running, but Ji’s man-marking job on Andrea Pirlo in 2010’s Champions League clash with AC Milan at San Siro stands out as the kind of selfless sacrifice he would make for the greater cause of the team. It was a characteristic he displayed regularly, rarely better than this.

Red remembered Commitment to the cause quickly garners favour among fans of any club, but Park rapidly endeared himself to supporters after moving from PSV in 2005 when, after a tireless Premier League debut against Everton, he was named Man of the Match. First impressions count, and for a player who became known as ‘Three-lung Park’, that was merely a sign of things to come.

What are your favourite memories of Ji-sung Park as a Red?