Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sturridge, not Rooney, to lead England to glory?

England strikers Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge had wildly contrasting evenings as the Three Lions laboured to a 3-0 victory over minnows Peru at Wembley on Friday night.

In a match of few chances for the hosts, Sturridge scored a stunning individual effort, curling a rasping effort beyond the reach of Raul Fernandez, which set up an ultimately routine win.

But Rooney had an match to forget which threw into doubt his reputation as the side's talisman andled to calls for Sturridge, fresh from netting 21 Premier League goals last term, to lead the England attack at the World Cup, not Rooney.
Saturday, May 31, 2014 11:45

Del Bosque praying for Diego Costa recovery

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque is praying striker Diego Costa can overcome injury in time to take part in the World Cup, and has even delayed the announcement of his 23-man squad as he sweats on the Atletico Madrid forward's fitness.

The Brazilian-born attacker had a disrupted end to the season with Atleti, with a string of injury problems hampering his involvement in the run-in. He lasted just 16 minutes in the Liga title-decider against Barcelona and was withdrawn after only nine minutes in the Champions League final.

"I'm not sure Costa will make it," Del Bosque told reporters on Thursday. "We've still got time but now it's in the hands of the doctors and the medical team. We have to be cautious."

Costa was the subject of great controversy when he swapped Brazil, the country of his birth, for Spain back in March, despite having already appeared in two friendlies for the Selecao. His continued injury problems mean he could miss out on the chance to ruin the hosts' World Cup party.
Friday, May 30, 2014 12:30

The Real deal: Messi left in Ronaldo shadow

Having already watched Cristiano Ronaldo pick up the Ballon d'Or this year, as well as Copa del Rey and Champions League winners' medals, now Lionel Messi has yet another reason to envy the Real Madrid attacker.

According to global sports marketing research group Repucom, it is the Portugal star, not the Barcelona man, who is the most marketable footballer in the world.

The former Manchester United winger has over 82 million Facebook likes, 26m Twitter followers and is "an endorser's dream", all of which means Messi must settle for second place behind Ronaldo - and not for the first time this season!
Thursday, May 29, 2014 11:30

Yaya flirts with spurned PSG boss Blanc

Paris Saint-Germain had a curious Monday, with target Eden Hazard playing down a return to France while, simultaneously, another Premier League superstar opened the door to a move.

Chelsea attacker Hazard, singled out as a player of interest to PSG by manager Laurent Blanc, all but dismissed speculation that he could move to Paris, saying he takes no notice of transfer gossip.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, though, was less dismissive and openly welcome a move to the Ligue 1 champions.

"How can you not be interested in a club like that?" the Ivorian mused to France Football. "It'd be an honour to be part of such a club one day... if I can be of use."

So while PSG may have been spurned by Hazard, they can at least take solace from Toure's revelation that he would love to move to the Parc des Princes.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:00

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Youthful Pochettino emerges as Spurs' No.1 target

With Tim Sherwood having been a dead man walking practically since he took over at Tottenham, the north London club have been actively seeking a new manager throughout much of 2014 and may finally have found their man.

After talks with the legendary Louis van Gaal, who moved to Manchester United, and rumoured interest in Napoli boss Rafa Benitez, it is perhaps a surprising candidate who has become the frontrunner for the White Hart Lane hotseat: Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs are set to officially announce the Argentine's appointment this week after he beat off all other, more experienced competition. The north Londoners had sounded out Benitez, as well as Ajax's Frank de Boer, but were most impressed by Pochettino, who will be handed a £3million-a-year deal.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 11:00

De Rossi not afraid of 'monsters' Messi & Ronaldo

Daniele De Rossi is well known for his fearless leadership in the Roma and Italy midfields and insists not even the prospect of facing two "monsters" at the World Cup will keep him up at night.

The 30-year-old has never faced Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the tournament finals, but that could change this summer in Brazil. "Maybe I will have the chance to take on these monsters this year!" he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Monday, 26 May 2014 12:00

Real Madrid claim La Decima

Real Madrid finally claimed La Decima with a 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

Diego Simeone’s men came within a whisker of denying their city rivals Champions League glory with Real needing a 93rd minute header from Sergio Ramos to take the game into extra-time.

Los Blancos then ran away with the game in the second period with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo sealing a 4-1 victory and a 10th European Cup.
Sunday, 25 May 2014 10:34

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ronaldo back in Lisbon for Decima dream

Saturday night marks Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Lisbon for Real Madrid's Champions League showdown against Atletico Madrid.

The Portuguese superstar's career trajectory has seemingly been waiting for this moment as Madrid home in on their 10th European Cup triumph and the Estadio da Luz can expect to see the 28-year-old at the peak of his powers.

He is considered 100 per cent fit for the final meaning it is just a matter of whether one of football's ultimate big-game players turns up on the night.
Saturday, 24 May 2014 12:10

Injured Suarez in race to be fit for World Cup

Uruguay face an anxious wait after Luis Suarez underwent surgery on his knee on Thursday. The Liverpool forward now faces a race against time to return to full fitness before La Celeste kick off their campaign in Brazil.

Placed in England's group, there will be plenty of Three Lions fans hoping the 27-year-old returns at slightly below par. Nobody wants to see one of the world's best players miss a World Cup but...you know.

Still, Suarez has until June 14 to prove his fitness to Oscar Tabarez and join the likes of Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan at the head of Uruguay's attack.
Friday, 23 May 2014 12:46

Eto'o hits back at 'puppet' Mourinho

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been on the receiving end of another verbal blow from Samuel Eto'o, as the Cameroon international attacked suggestions he was too old for top-level football andlabelled the Portuguese coach a "puppet".

In an outburst that suggests Eto'o is unlikely to be extending his stay at Stamford Bridge, the 33-year-old insisted he was still physically fit and eyeing appearances at another two World Cups despite Mourinho's disparaging claims to the contrary.

Eto'o's latest stinging comment comes after he dubbed the former Real Madrid manager a "fool" for decrying his age - and even suggesting he is older than he claims to be - as the pair continue to slug it out in public.
Thursday, 22 May 2014 16:50

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Van Gaal and Enrique start their rescue missions

Monday saw big changes at the top of two of Europe's biggest clubs as Manchester United appointed Louis van Gaal their new manager and Barcelona replaced Tata Martino with Luis Enrique.

Both new men have a significant amount of work to do. United endured their worst season of the Premier League era under David Moyes, who was sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract in April.

Barcelona, meanwhile, lost legendary former manager Tito Vilanova to throat cancer, unpopular president Sandro Rosell to the Neymar contract scandal and both La Liga and the Champions League to Atletico Madrid.

For United, Van Gaal is a proven winner with his own distinctive philosophy who has shown a talent for developing young players and playing expansive, attacking football.

Barcelona hope Enrique, another former La Masia graduate, can provide a return to the dominant passing style refined under Pep Guardiola and Vilanova and the unprecedented level of success which it brought about.

Only time will tell if either man has the right tools for the job, but there promises to be plenty of drama along the way.
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 12:18

Drogba ponders next step after leaving Galatasaray

Didier Drogba has announced he will leave Galatasaray at the conclusion of his 18-month contract.

The Chelsea legend joined the Turkish club back in January 2013, after a short spell with Shanghai Shenhua, but has decided not to extend his stay with the side who finished second in the Super Lig table.

Drogba will now ponder the next step of his career with the 36-year-old potentially weighing up a move back to Stamford Bridge in a non-playing capacity. Where will the Ivorian end up after the World Cup?
Monday, 19 May 2014 12:30


FA Cup win is the most precious moment of Wenger’s career

Arsene Wenger’s men ended the drought of several years of not winning a trophy by beating Hull City in the FA Cup 2014 final 3-2 after a dramatic match.
Wenger told the press  ”This was more important than all the others,” he said “We have twice won the double, but were not under pressure then like we were today.” quoting from Goal.com.
Wenger also signed a new contract with Arsenal to continue his journey with the team and to build a new era with the club.

Atletico title win a fitting tribute to Aragones

                                          
Atletico Madrid secured an incredible Spanish league title on Saturday after holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou.

It has been a remarkable season for Diego Simeone's side, who also face rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 24.

But the new league champions have also endured heartache this season, after Luis Aragones - the club's all-time top goalscorer and former head coach - died in February aged 75.

Simeone was quick to acknowledge Aragones after the game.

"Today is one of the best days in the history of Atleti," Simeone said afterwards. "To be champions in Barcelona against a team like this, the champions of all in recent years.

"I'm sure Luis Aragones was defending for us in the second half."
Sunday, 18 May 2014 12:30


                                                            

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Moyes flop costs Manchester United £30m

The full extent of the financial cost of David Moyes's ill-fated spell in charge of Manchester United was revealed on Thursday.

Old Trafford executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, explained the club's seventh-place finish in the Premier League - their worst since 1989-90 - would see a staggering £30 million drop in income due to the lack of European football next season.

But it's not all bad news for United fans - Woodward also suggested an announcement regarding the appointment of a new manager, expected to be Louis van Gaal - would be made soon.

And plenty of transfer activity is also expected at Old Trafford over the summer.
Friday, 16 May 2014 11:25

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bela Guttman's curse strikes Benfica AGAIN

Benfica fell to a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday night, making it eight straight defeats in European finals.

Hungarian boss Bela Guttman cursed the club after they refused to give the two-time European Cup-winning manager a new and improved contact in 1962, saying they would be destined to not win in Europe for another 100 years.

An extra-time defeat to Chelsea in 2012-13 was the most recent failure, before Jorge Jesus's side failed to find a way past a dogged Sevilla side in the Juventus Stadium.

Goalkeeper Beto then went on to make two saves in the shoot-out to hand the Andalusian side their third European trophy and ensure the drought at Benfica continues.
Thursday, 15 May 2014 13:32

Tottenham bin Sherwood - and his gilet!

Tim Sherwood's gilet was in the headlines almost as much as the controversial former midfeilder during his time as Tottenham boss.

As well as being worn with a strange kind of pride by Sherwood, it was hurled to the ground during one match against Arsenal and then, on the final day of the season, handed to a fan as he sat in the White Hart Lane hotseat.

But when Daniel Levy sacked his man on Tuesday, he made sure he'll never see the cursed gilet ever again!
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 10:45

Rooney & Roy lead England's school trip to Brazil

Roy Hodgson's England squad may read a bit like a school trip after six players under the age of 23 were named for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Phil Jones and Jack Wilshere will all be heading to South America, so the experience of the squad's senior players will be more vital than ever. That means Wayne Rooney riding up front with Roy!
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:00

Monday, May 12, 2014

Man City coast as La Liga title scuffle continues

While Manchester City were celebrating their second Premier League title in three years having cruised to a 2-0 win over West Ham on the final day of the season, the scramble for the Spanish championship continued.

Atletico Madrid, who lead La Liga by three points, were held at home by Malaga but Barcelona were unable to capitalise as they slipped to a goalless draw at Elche.

Diego Simeone's side now face a trip to Barcelona next Saturday in a match which will decide the title.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are now out of the running following their 2-0 defeat at Celta.
Monday, 12 May 2014 12:00

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Liverpool calling in Carroll favour

In a curious quirk of fate, Liverpool are hoping Andy Carroll - a player they sold last summer - can hand them the Premier League title by netting against Manchester City on Sunday.

The Reds must beat Newcastle and hope West Ham can triumph at the Etihad Stadium, with a draw likely to be enough for City who boast a healthy goal difference advantage over the Merseysiders.

Anfield midfielder Lucas Leiva admitted he would be texting both the Hammers frontman and former Reds winger Stewart Downing to urge them to do everything possible to beat City, with Carroll saying he would "do his best" to crown his old club champions.

Ironically, after ushering Carroll towards the Anfield exit little under a year ago, Liverpool now need the towering Geordie striker to do them a massive favour - it would certainly be one way to repay his £35m price-tag!
Sunday, 11 May 2014 08:30

Guardiola braced for beer shower

Having already wrapped up the Bundesliga in record time, Bayern Munich have the chance to secure a domestic double by winning the DFB Pokal final.

Borussia Dortmund stand in Bayern’s way on May 17 but if they find a way past Jurgen Klopp’s men, Dante says Pep Guardiola is in for a soaking.

"We want to continue preparing by being compact, aggressive and acting as a unit. We need that to be confident ahead of the final in Berlin,” said the Brazilian.

"Pep doesn't stand a chance! He'll get his beer shower - don't worry about that.”
Saturday, 10 May 2014 12:00

Real Madrid's title bid derailed

Real Madrid’s La Liga title hopes have been left in tatters after Carlo Ancelotti’s side slipped to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Valladolid on Wednesday evening.

Sergio Ramos had put Madrid in front but Osorio’s 85th-minute equaliser has left Ancelotti’s men four points behind leaders Atletico with just two games remaining.

To make matters worse, Cristiano Ronaldo limped out of match after just nine minutes with a hamstring problem.
Thursday, 8 May 2014 12:00

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Zanetti calls time on career

Zanetti in history cartoon
Javier Zanetti has confirmed he will call time on his 22-year career at the end of the season.

The 40-year-old will bow out at Inter having won Serie A five times, the Coppa Italia on four occasions, and the Champions League once.

"I feel that now is the right time to do it," he told La Nacion.

"Football has given me so much, and I have enjoyed every moment. Because after the achilles injury last April, I wanted to demonstrate that I could return and be competitive, but I could not.

"I feel complete and have realized that to retire at 40 is a priceless feeling. For me it is something that has immense value and now is the right time. Do I fear life after this? No, there is no fear."
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:00

Tears for Suarez as Liverpool's title hopes fade

After watching his side squander a comfortable 3-0 lead, Luis Suarez could not contain his emotions at the final whistle as Crystal Palace dashed Liverpool's hope of securing the Premier League title on Monday evening.

The Uruguayan was consoled by both Kolo Toure and Steven Gerrard as he left the pitch, while Manchester City look to hammer home their title advantage by beating Aston Villa at home on Wednesday.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:00

Liga leaders slip up in title race

La Liga fans must be wondering if anyone wants to win the title this season as all three sides fighting at the top of the table slipped up in an astonishing weekend of Spanish football.

Barcelona were the first side to drop points, drawing 2-2 at home to Getafe on Saturday, before Atletico Madrid appeared to relinquish their grip on top spot with a 2-0 defeat away to Levante.

Then, on Sunday night, Real Madrid failed to take advantage of their rivals' failings as they twice fell behind to Valencia, with a magical back-heel volley from Cristaino Ronaldo needed to salvage their title hopes in stoppage time.

The title is still in Ateltico's hands, but Barcelona and Madrid will be ready to pounce if Diego Simeone's men slip up on any more banana skins.
Monday, May 5, 2014 09:30

Man City move ahead in title race

Manchester City moved into pole position in the title race after beating Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men were forced to come from behind to secure the win but did enough to claim all three points that takes them top of the table on goal difference.

Chelsea’s title hopes faded into the distance on Sunday, however, after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Norwich, while Liverpool will hope to keep pace as they face Crystal Palace on Monday.
Sunday, May 4, 2014 20:51

Chelsea's season threatens to go down the toilet

Having been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions and eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, Chelsea's only hope for silverware this season is to win the Premier League.

The Blues, though, are third favourites for the title behind Liverpool and Manchester City, and Jose Mourinho has dismissed his side's chances of overcoming the odds to win the league.

Chelsea's woes were summed up by David Luiz, who said a trophyless campaign for the west Londoners would be considered "a s*** season", and even victory in all their remaining games may not be enough to save their aspirations from going down the toilet.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 11:30

Eusebio & Coluna salutes Benfica heroes

Benfica qualified to the Europa League final after surpassing Juventus.

Super Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on the trophy holder Bayern Munich and help his team to qualify to the Champions League final after they thrashed the German giants 4-0.

Mourinho's bus runs out of gas


Jose Mourinho suffered his fourth successive Champions League semi-final defeat as Atletico Madrid triumphed 3-1 over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

The Portuguese had lauded his side's efforts in the first leg, where they claimed a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon, but the lack of an away goal would prove costly as the Blues were forced to chase the game following Adrian's equaliser.

At 1-1, and in need of a goal, Mourinho threw on Samuel Eto'o in place of Ashley Cole, though the Cameroonian's first - and only - involvement of note was to gift Atleti a penalty.

After back-to-back cleansheets at Liverpool and Madrid, Mourinho's 'parked bus' tactics finally came unstuck, with Diego Costa netting from the spot before Arda Turan wrapped up the win.

Unable to get out of first gear and find a response, Chelsea's bus well and truly ran out of gas as the Blues limped out of the Champions League.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 11:30