Football would always be a funny business. Claudio Bravo just spent the last few months being taunted by every dick and harry with access to internet data, and all it took for the Chilean to become the most popular man on the internet for the past few hours is three straight penalty saves from the spot kicks of three wimpy Portuguese – with Cristiano Ronaldo waiting to take the final kick that would send them to the final.
In a similar manner a tournament – this time Brazil 2014 – gave him the chance to show the rest of the world of how awesome he can be – except when standing between the sticks in the Etihad – the veteran, after the most testing season of his career reminded everyone following this year’s Confederations Cup of his quality.
He always had it. At Real Sociedad where he played over 200 La Liga games; at Barcelona where he played a bit part role till he got signed by Manchester City on Pep Guardiola’s orders – seriously you don’t get picked by such a coach if you got no special in you.
For some reason that still eludes both Man City, the fans and maybe Bravo himself, the Chilean was every shade of awful at the Etihad as his outings became more of “how many mistakes will he make today?” than the actual role expected of a goal keeper. (more…)
La Liga giant Barcelona seems to have found their mojo again.
They did the greatest upset in Champions League football when they defeated French side Paris St Germain 6-1 in the return leg of the round of 16 clash on Wednesday.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was impressive in the game. He has now scored five goals in five games. He was a bit dull in front of goal last month but he has quickly showed why he could be the best soccer player ever. He converted the last-minute penalty against Leganes in the league, then he scored a crucial goal against Atletico Madrid before increasing his tally in the last two matches.
Manager Luis Enrique is usually not given his due when he gets the big results, as many claim Barca is a well set-up team without an special boss. While the coach may leave at the end of the season, the players are keen on giving him a loud ovation when he does. (more…)
Paris St Germain manager Unai Emery says that he is not bothered by the recent media reports that he could be sacked by the French club after a string of poor form since the start of the campaign.
Emery came to the French capital with a big reputation after having won the Europa League in three successive seasons with one team – Sevilla. His remarkable success with the Spanish outfit in the European competition was really one of the major factors in getting the job at PSG, who have been desperate for European success since new owners came to the club a few years ago.
Even though the club have spent vast sums of money in terms of transfer fees and wages, they have failed to appear in the final of the competition. It has been a very poor record, butEmery was expected to bring success. This has not been the case, as the replacement for Laurent Blanc has struggled since taking over in the summer. (more…)
Stephan Lichtsteiner is set to make his way to the Catalan giant in the next transfer window, with Aleix Vidal poised to take a walk, reports say.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Lichtsteiner will leave Serie A giants Juventus in January or worst in June. The current deal with the Turin-based side is set to lapse this year. Reports say he wanted to leave during the summer for Inter Milan but Juve refused to let their opposition have him. With Barcelona being abroad, a move for the right back is likely.
Aleix Vidal has struggled to establish himself at Camp Nou, and has decided to walk away when the next transfer window presents itself. Lichtsteiner is reportedly his replacement as he is set to exit the Bianconeri. Aside the Catalan giant, Lichtsteiner could join any of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich or Chelsea, as Juve would not want to sell to its competitors.
Lichtsteiner’s position is threatened by the acquisition of Dani Alves this summer. Since his move to Juventus in 2011, he has been a regular in the squad. Last term, he shared play time with Cuadrado. This year, after he was left off the UEFA Champions League squad list, it became apparent that the defender would exit the side. Even if his move to Barcelona was successful, he would be ineligible to play.
Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo has stated that he is not afraid to give young players an opportunity in the team.
He believes that if you are good, enough you should be playing in the team irrespective of your age. He said that he has always worked with young players in the past and that there is no shortage of them at Aston Villa.
Roberto di Matteo believes it is possible for Aston Villa to mount a serious promotion push next season and get back to the Premier League. He believes that the longer the team stays in the Championship, the more difficult it will be to get back to the Premier League.
Roberto di Matteo admitted that he needs to find the right balance between youth and experience if Aston Villa is going to make it back to the Premier League. He said that you need not only skills in the Championship to win matches but also experience. He said that the players need to be prepared to fight in every game if they want to win points in the league. He stated that he would love to put the ball down and keep possession in the games but knows that it will be difficult because of the physical nature of Championship football. (more…)
French veteran Matthieu Delpierre is set to retire as soon as Melbourne Victory’s season ends this season in a decision that he coined ‘hard to make’.
Delpierre is not the only player leaving the shores of Melbourne this summer though with Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler departing for new ventures at Wellington Phoenix. This means Melbourne Victory will have at least a number of three foreign player spots to fill the squad with this summer – an opportunity for commuting players to make an impact like many others who are now attracted to the growing A-League
Matthieu will see the rest of the season out with Melbourne however there isn’t much left to play for at this stage. He may feature in their last Asian Champions League group game against Japanese bottom of the table Gamba Osaka where a win would most likely see them through to the round of 16 stage of the competition where they will face the winner of group E – a game which Delpierre could also feature. (more…)
Antonio Conte has revealed that he will conduct an enquiry of the players following a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of world champions Germany.
This result is certainly not good for the Italian national team considering that it comes only a few weeks ahead of the Euro 2016. The regime of Antonio Conte is set to conclude after the tournament and the former Juventus manager will want to go out on a high. He has certainly not enjoyed his time with the national team after openly admitting the same on numerous occasions.
The national team has also not been through a good run of form. After a 1-1 draw with Spain a few days ago, Italy were hoping to win their first game in three. They have not won since the 2-1 victory over Norway in October. The team did achieve the objective of qualifying for the competition as group winners, but they finished only four points ahead of second placed Croatia
. The team has a potentially tough draw at their Euro 2016 with teams like Belgium and Republic of Ireland in the same group along with Sweden. The former have been viewed as underdogs while Sweden will always pose a threat with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the lineup. This is likely to be the last major tournament for the 34-year-old and he will want to go out successfully. (more…)
Paul Pogba is not thinking about the move from Juventus according to the club’s sporting director Giuseppe Marotta.
The Frenchman has become one of the most wanted midfielders in world football. Clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City, and Chelsea have been trying to bring him on board. Juventus remarkably secured him on a free transfer when he was released from Manchester United as a teenager. The 23-year-old is valued in excess of £ 70 million, which makes him accessible only to a handful of clubs across the world. Juventus are aware that they cannot hold onto the player for long without Champions League success.
Pogba will see clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich achieve success in this European competition on a regular basis. However, this has not been the case with the Italian clubs in recent times. In fact, Inter Milan were the last Italian team to win this competition and this was back in 2010. Juventus came close to resetting this record, but they were beaten by Barcelona in the final last season. Pogba was part of the team that suffered a narrow defeat against the Catalan club. Even though he has not publicly acknowledged his desire to leave Juventus, there are plenty of rumours suggesting the same. (more…)
Nicolas Anelka would not remain in charge of the Indian Super League club Mumbai City FC after the ongoing season which is in its latter stages.
Mumbai is currently at the last position in the ISL points table with 2 matches remaining and they have no chance of qualifying for the knockouts now.
According to Anelka, the target that the franchise had set to him prior to the season was that he had to guide the team to final 4, but, unfortunately, that has not happened and thus, he should not be continuing at his post.
This season was disappointing for Anelka not only from the performance point of view, but, also the fact that he struggled to create a good environment in the Mumbai camp. He himself was involved in spats with quite a few personnel in the coaching staff as well as in the playing group and that too in public.
Speaking after the game against Kerala Blasters, which ended in a draw and ensured Mumbai’s elimination from the tournament, Anelka said, “We had set a goal for ourselves and that was to make the semis. Anything less than that was always going to be a failure and being a manager, the responsibility automatically falls on me. So, for me to return, it’s not likely by the looks of it.” (more…)
AC Milan recently brought in Andrea Bertolacci from Genoa for around € 20 million and the new signings says that the club should do well in the upcoming season at all costs.
After years of mediocrity, Milan are in danger of losing their reputation as one of the top clubs in the world, according toBertolacci, if they do not act quickly. The club recently sacked manager Filippo Inzaghi after finishing in a disappointing 10th place last season. As a result, the club will have no form of European football to look forward to in the upcoming season.
Bertolacci is one of the several big-money signings made by Milan in the summer. This is unlike in recent years when the club has been largely looking forward to bringing in free transfers or deals. Milan have signed only a few expensive players in their history, andBertolacci becomes one of them. Only the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Ronaldinho, and Rui Costa have cost more than the 24-year-old. Since he is just entering into the prime of his career, Milan will be hoping to see the best fromBertolacci for several years. He made six goals in the 33 appearances over all competitions. (more…)
Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi has not signed a precontract agreement with Manchester return despite media speculation according to the player’s agent. The 27-year-old centre back has become one of the sought after players in the transfer market after an impressive campaign with Valencia, who grabbed the final Champions League qualification spots in Spain ahead of Sevilla. Much of this good performance from the debt ridden club was largely possible because of the good defence, which hadOtamendi as its main stay. At 27, he is at the peak of his career and someone who will improve a club like United.
Due to the lack of experienced defenders, United have struggled a lot in recent years. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling continued to be the key defenders at the club. Manager Louis Van Gaal is thought to be looking at an experienced alternative in order to carry on these young shoulders. This could come in the form ofOtamendi, although the player will cost substantially more after his good campaign. Valencia have reportedly slapped a € 50 million pricetag on the player, which will make him the most expensive defender in the world. He featured in 35 league matches last season and scored a very healthy six goals. (more…)