Monday, June 30, 2008
It's official, Deco has finally joined Chelsea after weeks of speculation, this according to the club's official website.
Deco had been on his way out for sometime after receiving permission from Barca to leave, as he along with Ronaldinho and Eto'o, have been notified that they are not in new coach of Barcelona, Pep Guardiola's plans.
Deco had been looking for a new challenge ever since this news, and had said earlier that he wanted to prove that he could still play at the highest level. Inter Milan and Chelsea were the two clubs constantly linked with the player, and now Chelsea has gotten their man.
Deco is thought to have joined the Blues largely because of the influence of Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had been coaching Deco with the Portuguese national team. Scolari was recently appointed new coach of Chelsea and ever since his appointment, Deco was rumored to follow. Frank Lampard, who is said to be still in talks with Inter Milan over a possible move to Italy, most likely had an impact on Deco's move, as Deco is seen as his ideal replacement.
Well the rumors are over now, it's official, Deco has signed for Chelsea. The details are not quite clear as yet, but he is believed to have signed on a two-year contract, for a transfer fee of around 8 to 10 million pounds.
With Samuel Eto'o's future at the Nou Camp still quite unclear, negotiations with Adebayor stalling and David Trezeguet not for sale. Barca are still in the hunt for an ideal number 9.
Shevchenko, who moved to Chelsea on the basis of family issues, primarily because his wife wanted to live in an English speaking country, has had a very unsuccessful time at the Bridge. He has never really settled and he does look like quite a misfit with the Blues. I personally believe it's because of his failure to adapt to the English style.
Scolari apparently isn't impressed with Sheva or convinced, and therefore Barca could make a move for the player, on a possible loan deal because acquiring Shevchenko on a permanent basis is probably too expensive at this time. Sheva was apparently keen on a return to AC Milan but because of the huge financial gap between the two, Milan are apparently no longer interested.
Sheva's agent Dimitri Sellyuk is said to have connections at Barcelona, due to the role he played in bringing Yaya Toure to the Nou Camp, and could be the man to see negotiations take place.
Barcelona could be a place for Shevchenko to revive his career, and prove why Chelsea bought him for a record 30 million pounds. For me it's so sad to see a striker who was regarded as one of the best in the world struggling, and I would love to see him return to form.
Sheva coming to Barca would be nice but i don't get why Barca are so keen on finding a replacement for Samuel Eto'o, who is arguably the best striker in the world. I believe they should stick with Eto'o, for he is certain to return to form next season and if they do sell him, they will live to regret it, especially if he's bursting the back of their nets.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
After a hard fought contest with teams battling it out for honor and national pride, we are left with two of the named favorites since the beginning, Germany and Spain.
Today's game promises to be an exciting match and I will be interested to see who comes out tops. Spain I believe will play very compact, ensuring that the Germans don't get that much needed space. Interesting match-ups will be all over the pitch, we'll see how well Sergio Ramos can stop Podolski, and if Marcos Senna will be able to contain Micheal Ballack or Frings. I believe that if Spain work the ball like they did against Russia, hold possession and look for the best passes, Germany will be unable to beat them today.
On the German hand of things, Germany has to play a lot better than they did against Turkey, if they expect to win. They were quite lucky to kill off Turkey in dramatic fashion, through a Philip Lahm stunner. However I believe whoever takes control of this game first will win it. German will most likely look to hit Spain on the counterattack, as I expect Spain to dominate the possession.
This match is truly a clash of two different styles, on one hand the more technical, skillful style played by Spain, and on the other, the more physical, brute-force style played by the Germans. Today we shall see which style comes out top, and who will call themselves Euro 2008 champions.
To watch the match go to www.myp2p.eu there's a list of live sports listed on the website, just click on the Football tab for a list of today's matches and you will see the Germany vs Spain match. Bare in mind that if you don't have P2P software installed on your PC, you will need to download it. A guide for P2P software is listed on the website and my personal favorite is Sopcast. Enjoy!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
With new reports out of Italy this time, suggesting that Lampard touched down in Italy to complete a medical at Inter Milan, the player's days at Chelsea definitely appear to be over.
I am actually quite excited about this transfer because English players usually don't play outside of their home country, and it will be very interesting in my opinion, to see how well Lampard performs at his new club. I think it won't be hard for him to adjust, especially with his former and soon to be current boss, Jose Mourinho, leading the charge. We all know how unsuccessful Micheal Owen was after making a move to Real Madrid in the 2004-2005 season, but I can't help but think Lamp's luck will be different.
Lampard's move again increases speculation, that Deco will be moving to the Bridge, largely because of newly appointed manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. I thought briefly about Roman Abramovich's interest in bringing in players, who can play more attractive football and definitely, Deco fits the script. His vision, skills and killer passes will bring one somewhat forgotten star to life, Andriy Shevchenko.
I strongly believe Shevchenko is the reason for wanting to see more attractive football. If you may recall when Sheva was at Milan, he was the kind of striker who usually ran on to deadly through balls from either Kaka or Pirlo. However at Chelsea the style of play is so different, that the player seemed to lack quality providers. After Chelsea payed such a hefty price for the striker, I believe they intend to bring in players who will help their investment perform rather sell and loose money.
As for Lampard I think the Serie A, will present challenges for him and ultimately will make him a better player. I think Inter Milan suits him just fine, and I'm definitely interested in seeing how he will adapt.
Friday, June 27, 2008
According to news reports out of France, Inter Milan has signed Frank Lampard from Chelsea. However official confirmation from both parties is yet to be seen.
I don't know how true this news is, but Inter's Chairman Massimo Moratti, did confirm about a week or so ago that Lampard was indeed their primary target. Jose Mourinho too on his appointment at Inter, earlier this transfer season, did also state that he would be keen on working with his former players, Lampard included, because of the commitment they showed him when he was at Chelsea. Therefore this news isn't so hard to believe, but I just find it rather funny, that news out of France would be the first to tell this story because English and Italians are involved.
Lampard's future at Stamford Bridge was somewhat under the clouds for sometime now, as he was tipped to leave the Bridge after apparent negotiations on a new contract had broken down. His departure from Chelsea could confirm Deco's move to the Blues, which has been speculated for sometime now after the appointment of Scolari as coach.
Lampard's deal is believed to be in the region of 9 million euros, with the player being played an annual salary of 7.3 million euros.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
After expressing a desire to play for Barcelona by the player himself and his close associates at Zenit St Petersburg, Barcelona has not let the player's words go unheard, as now it has been made known that an official inquiry has been made regarding the player.
This news somewhat confirms that Emmanuel Adebayor is very close to a Milan switch. Recent reports by the player's agent has revealed that the Togolese striker's deal with Milan is about 80 percent complete. Barcelona were apparently keen on bringing the lanky striker in, but the player has expressed more interest in a move to the Rossoneri, which could see him join his old teammate Mathieu Flamini, who joined Milan earlier this transfer season on a free transfer.
Zenit's sporting director Konstantin Sarsaniya has stated that the Catalans have made a formal proposal for Arshavin, and that they will begin talks when the player returns to Zenit from his international duties with Russia.
Many Barca fans are craving to see this stumpy striker at the Camp Nou, as he is seen as an ideal replacement for Deco, who is likely to leave Barcelona shorty for either Chelsea or Inter according to reports.
Arshavin is a very versatile player and can play many positions including second striker, winger and attacking midfielder. With him in the lineup, Barca could experiment with various formations to utilize him to help the team perform to the best of their ability. Arshavin is a good player with good qualities, but for me the best quality he possesses, is his desire to play for Barcelona. Without desire nothing is achieved.
The second semi-final of Euro 2008 kicks off the same time today as yesterday, 20:45 GMT between favorites Spain and red-hot Russia.
Russia is the underdog as Spain thrashed them 4-1 in their first encounter in this tournament, however I do have a feeling that things will be a lot different this time. Russia has picked up momentum since that defeat and subsequently has beaten Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands to book their place in this semi-final. Also with the their star player Andrei Arshavin, back in the lineup after being suspended for their first two matches, including the one which Spain won, one can't help but think their chances of upsetting the Spanish are quite possible.
Spain, having crushed their quarter-final jinx, will be upbeat about winning this game and booking their place in the final against Germany. Their performance against Italy was somewhat frustrating especially for their strikers, and you could tell by the looks on the faces of Fernando Torres and David Villa. To win this one Torres needs to look for his teammates as he did in the first encounter with Russia, he is often marked by two, three players and only by passing the ball will he able to create room for his teammates and occasionally for himself.
Yesterday's game was a thriller and I have no doubts that today's game will be any different. To watch the match go to www.myp2p.eu there's a list of live sports listed on the website, just click on the Football tab for a list of today's matches and you will see the Russia vs Spain match. Bare in mind that if you don't have P2P software installed on your PC, you will need to download it. A guide for P2P software is listed on the website and my personal favorite is Sopcast. Enjoy!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hi guys, today the first semi-final of Euro 2008 kicks off at 20:45 GMT. Don't miss a minute of the action as we will be in for what should be an exciting encounter.
I've been saying even before this one kicks off that I think Germany will win. Let's see if my prediction holds true, for we all know that in football anything can happen. Turkey in my opinion cannot rely on last gasp heroics against Germany, they need to score first and keep scoring, if they want to win this one. Turkey is also in deep trouble because as many as eight of their starters are missing, due to suspension or injury. However Turkish coach Fatih Terim has faith and is counting on his youngsters to shine.
Germany I believe will come out strong as usual, Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Podolski and Klose will be constant threats to the Turkish defense. Look for the Germans to strike Turkey on setpieces and counterattacks, and for them to make life difficult in defense because of the great physicality they possess.
So where do I stream the game? You're asking, just go to www.myp2p.eu there's a list of live sports listed on the website, just click on the Football tab for a list of today's matches and you will see the Turkey vs Germany match. Bare in mind that if you don't have P2P software installed on your PC, you will need to download it. A guide for P2P software is listed on the website and my personal favorite is Sopcast. Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
After suffering defeat by the Germans yet again, both in the 2006 World Cup and at this year's Euro. Chelsea's new boss, Luiz Felipe Scolari, is pondering a move for the man who put in two devastating performances against his Portuguese side, Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Schweinsteiger is said to be keen on a move to England as he has seen his playing time reduced at Bayern Munich, due to the revelation of Frank Ribery. Scolari has had a good look at the player after suffering defeat at his hands twice, and is now contemplating bringing the 23-year-old to Stanford Bridge. Chelsea is apparently in need of fresh talent on the wings, as both Florent Malouda and Shuan Wright Phillips have had poor seasons at the Bridge, thus Schweinsteiger could be the man to fit the bill.
Giving the way Chelsea plays, that strong physical style of football, I think Schweinsteiger is a perfect fit, and even though he is just 23, he has a wealth of experience having been capped for the German National team 54 times while finding the back of the net on 14 occasions.
Scolari could definitely use a player of Bastian's caliber and you know what they say, if you can't beat them join them.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Zenit St. Petersburg forward and current star of Euro 2008 thus far, Andrei Arshavin is the man of the moment. Reports suggest that he is ready to try his trade outside of his native Russia, and he has received offers from England and Germany.
However Arshavin has stated that he is keen on a move to Spain, as he is a fan of the league, and he likes the way football is played there. Zenit boss Dick Advocaat, has also claimed in a recent interview that Arshavin is likely to join Barcelona.
Arshavin's desire to play in Spain has now put a twist on the current Adebayor transfer saga as the Blaugrana may be tempted to make a move for the 27 year old instead. Arsenal have apparently been keen to land Arshavin and has been planning to use the funds from a possible Adebayor transfer, to buy the gifted striker while still having cash left over, having priced Adebayor at around 32 million euros, while Arshavin will cost in the region of 15 million euros. Barca however are only prepared to pay 27 million euros for the Togolese striker and thus could make a move for Arshavin instead.
My take on this, is that Barca should make a move for the man of the moment, Arshavin. He is a player who I believe many Barca fans would love to see at the Nou Camp, even more so than Emmanuel Adebayor. Also Arshavin has expressed a desire to move to Spain while Adebayor's heart seems set on playing in Italy for AC Milan. Barcelona needs to bring players to the club who have a strong desire to play for the club and I believe Arshavin is one of them.
Russian football is clearly on the rise, it was proven with Zenit St. Petersburg's Uefa Cup triumph over Rangers and now Russia's run in Euro 2008. Arshavin believes they are many good players in is country which are now being discovered, and one thing is certain, he definitely is one of them.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Here's the deal guys, Barca are for some reason trying to force Eto'o and Ronaldinho out of the Nou Camp, or are they?
Barca has been linked with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Alexander Hleb and though these Arsenal hitmen are good players, I personally don't see Adebayor as a replacement for the three-time African Player of the Year, Eto'o, and I definitely don't see Alexzander Hleb as a replacement for two-time World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho.
Both Ronaldinho and Eto'o have been linked with several clubs since the beginning of this transfer season, but yet nothing has materialized. It seems to me as if Barca doesn't really want to sell these players, they are just keeping them until they know for sure they can get their targets, or they may just be trying to send a message to these players to shape up or ship out.
Adebayor is a striker on the rise, he's young and he has plenty time to develop, however his killer instinct is a lot duller than that of Eto'o's. He may have finished second in the goalscoring charts of the English Premier League, but more likely than not, he will not find the same space or room to score that many in the Spanish Premier Liga. Hleb too like Adebayor has potential, but let's face it guys, he is about the same age as Ronaldinho, so why replace Ronnie with him, and besides Guacho is a wizard at the top of his game, there is definitely no comparison between the two.
Both Ronaldinho and Eto'o have implied in the case of the former and clearly stated, the latter, that they prefer to stay at Barcelona. Ronaldinho said to the media in Brazil that he has a contract until 2010 with the club, and Eto'o has said that Barca is his first choice.
Really and truly, I just believe that Bara are trying to get both these players to wake up. After watching Barca loose to Manchester United in the Champions League semifinals, a team they could have easily beaten, if they had the kind of commitment and dedication they had in the early years of Frank Rijkarrd's reign, it is clear that the new coach and current officials of Barca are sending a strong message, Wake Up! Or be gone. I truly believe their intentions are really not to sell these players because if that were the case, they would have offered both these players at lower prices. I believe they are trying to get both Ronaldinho and Eto'o to be willing to give their all on and off the pitch and I guess by Pep Guardiola stating that they are not in his plans, it has given them both a since of urgency to know the reasons why such statements have been made, so they both can act accordingly. Maybe I'm being a bit hopeful, but I do hope they stay.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Jose Mourinho has once again entered the soccer arena after being out of a job for a about a year, and already the Portuguese, charismatic coach has made his mark.
Yes, Mourinho was appointed as coach of Inter Milan for the upcoming season and though that may be the highlight in the news about him thus far, it's not what I'm speaking about. Mourinho is a very controversial character and he just loves the spotlight, he is always in the media whether or not it is football related. If you know anything about him, you would recall that during his time as coach of Chelsea he had an incident with the London police and his dog. I laughed so much when I read that story. It seems that Jose does any and everything to get some attention.
Currently, Mourinho and the officials of Barcelona are throwing jabs at each other, primarily because Barca has claimed that Jose Mourinho asked them for an interview for a possible coaching vacancy the club had at the time. Mourinho however, has denied these claims and has stated that Marc Ingla, Barca's vice-president, lied about him and even went as far as saying that Ingla is out to tarnish his reputation. Barca has fired back swiftly and has said that yes a meeting had been held by the two parties, but Pep Guardiola, the newly appointed coach, was always the first choice and that they even have a literal transcript of the interview, to prove that Mourinho contacted them first.
To me, it was highly unlikely that Barca would have hired Mourinho anyway. During his time at Chelsea, when Barca knocked Chelsea out of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Mourinho was a sore loser and made several questionable comments which apparently damaged his relationship with the club. Also because of his highly controversial character, he would have never really been a fit for a team who wears the Unicef logo on their shirt.
I know that some people probably don't like "The Special One", but I just personally love the spice or flavor, whatever you may call it, he brings to the football scene. In whatever he is involved, something "Special" is almost always likely to happen. So with that said, welcome back "Special One".
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I want to personally do something for my readers today. I know some people probably don't have cable and are wondering how they can catch Euro 2008 elsewhere. Well look no farther. Here is a website I use whenever I want to watch a game online www.myp2p.eu bare in mind that you will need to download p2p software and this site guides you to where you can get it. Personally the p2p software I use is Sopcast but they are many others. If for some reason you are skeptical about p2p software just type it in google and find out what it's all about. Also bare in mind I am not responsible for any difficulties you may have with p2p software, all I know is that it works for me. Access Granted, Enjoy!
The quarterfinals of Euro 2008 are underway and there are indeed some interesting matches ahead, but I want to speak about the Italy versus Spain game on Sunday.
The Spanish will indeed be looking to overcome their quarterfinals jinx by beating the defending World Champions, Italy, who have looked rather shaky so far in this competition. Spain on the other hand has been playing well and have won all three of their group matches, and if momentum counts for anything they will beat Italy come Sunday. I am very excited about this game and hopefully Spain can live up to their hype.
Cesc Fabregas stated in an interview today that he believes his team will overcome their Italian opponents, primarily because they take care of the ball much better in terms of possession. I too agree with his statements, as long as Spain settle into their rhythm, the game is theirs. Don't get me wrong I'm not writing Italy off, they are a very good team and I respect them very much, but they seem to be struggling in the aspect of cohesion and chemistry. They don't have a fast counter attack like Spain or the Netherlands and their creativity seems a little watered down. However in football anything can happen.
Spain will certainly be hot favorites to lift the trophy if they do beat Italy, and with their morale bursting the roof right now, they certainly believe that impossible is nothing.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Today in the news Bruno Conti, technical director of Roma, has blasted Sir Alex Ferguson for his double standards as Manchester United has prized Davide Petrucci, a youth player who is tipped to be the next Francesco Totti, away from Roma.
Alex Ferguson is being specifically blasted because of the current Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga, where he and Manchester United have criticized Real Madrid for trying to prize the gifted winger away from Old Trafford, yet on the other hand continue to steal young talent from clubs like Roma that developed them.
Roma is not alone, Barcelona especially has had many of their gifted youngsters tempted into moves by English clubs, the biggest of these being Cesc Fabregas, who signed for Arsenal back in September of 2003 at the age of 16, the same age that Davide Petrucci of Roma is. Atletico Madrid has also been recently said to be protecting their youth team from English clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool with the likes of Ignacio Camacho being promoted to first team action. Other names within the youth team who coaches tip to be promoted in the coming year are Borja González , Sergio Marcos, Pedro Mba and Perico.
What I don't like is that the English Premier League is currently boasting to be the best league in the world, yet still the majority of the talent playing in the league are not English, hence one of the reasons the English national team could not even qualify for Euro. The money and effort that they put into stealing other people's young players should be put into developing their own talent and nothing is stopping them from doing it. They are the richest league but yet they are content to steal, and that's why I personally have no respect for English clubs or their league. Bruno Conti was right for calling Alex Ferguson a hypocrite, I would call him one too.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
New coach of Fc Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, was officially presented today and has announced his plans for next season. The coach has stated that he is not counting on Ronaldinho, Deco or Eto'o, come next season and that these three players have their own futures in their hands. However he said that if Ronaldinho wanted to continue at the club he could do so and earn his place.
I can understand Pep's comments, apparently the relationship with these players and the club has deteriorated and he cannot really count on these players, who seem to have lost motivation to play for the club. I understand that he has to move on and build a strong side, one which does not include Ronaldino, Deco and Eto'o because these players' names are constantly in the transfer market and who knows what decision they will make.
Of the three, the player most likely to leave is Deco, he has been linked with Chelsea and Inter, but he has stated that nothing will be decided until he has finished with his international duties with Portugal. Ronaldinho too like Deco has been linked with Chelsea and has been urged by his teammate to join him at Chelsea should he join the Blues this summer. Eto'o on the other hand has expressed that Barca is his first choice but if he's not wanted he would move on. Despite Pep stating that he's not counting on Eto'o, I find it hard to believe that statement, primarily because of the high price tag Barca has placed on the striker. My view is, if you really want a player to go, you would do everything necessary to make it happen and lowering the transfer price would be a good start.
Pep has implied that he already has replacements lined up for the trio by stating that he and Barca know who they want. Recent news in the transfer market has stated that Barca are still keen on signing Emanuel Adebayor and Aleksandr Hleb from Arsenal, and time will tell if they get their targets. Clearly I can see why they would want to buy these players because to me Arsenal's style of play is quite similar to that of Barca's, but Barca just does it better in my opinion.
With all this said, Pep has stated that he is ready for the challenge ahead and that if he wasn't ready he wouldn't take up the job. I'm glad to hear his comments, I'm just hoping and praying that at least one of the three mentioned, stay at the club. I'm thrilled that he's ready for the challenge and I hope he doesn't disappoint. FORCA BARCA!!!
Monday, June 16, 2008
With the appointment of "Big Phil" at Chelsea, the media are currently speculating about the two time World Player of the year going to Stanford Bridge.
Ronaldinho has been very quite these days and has not really spoken to the media about anything concerning his future. However recent news suggest that El Gaucho would be interested in a reunion with newly appointed coach of Chelsea, Luiz Scolari, who he played under at the 2002 World Cup. Ronaldinho is said to have a good relationshop with Scolari on and off the pitch but whether or not he will join him at Chelsea for sure, is another matter.
Ronaldinho has been in the shadows for much of the season that has just passed and is looking to revive his career starting next season. Known as a player that really only likes to play for big clubs, he is likely to snub a move to Manchester City, who he has been linked with for several weeks now, especially now that Chelsea are interested in signing him and Scolari has been appointed head coach.
I said it before and I will say it again, I would love for Ronaldinho to revive his carrier at Barcelona, as I am a big fan of the club, but he appears to have lost motivation to play there. However above all I would like to see Ronaldinho at his best again and if that means moving to Chelsea so be it.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Due to his amazing performances at Euro 2008, many of Europe's elite clubs are interested in signing El Guaje from Valencia this summer. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal and now Liverpool have all been linked with the 26 year old.
Villa had been reported to say he would prefer to play for a big club in Spain but now seems to be interested in a move to England, but as I see it, it's still in the air. He could very well stay at Valencia, as the club is reluctant to sell. If i were Valencia, i would not sell my top striker either, but it all comes down to what the player wants and what's best for the club as a whole.
It's funny to me how clubs are now beginning to take notice of Villa, because in my opinion he was always a great striker and one of the best in La Liga. Dating back to the 2005/2006 La Liga season, he was the runner-up in the race for the piccici and was only outscored by Eto'o.
Villa recently said that he would be tempted to join Liverpool because of Rafa Benitez and the many friends he has at the club, including Spanish teammate Fernando Torres. However, I've heard no news of Liverpool trying to capture the player, they are currently fending off the interest from Chelsea for Torres.
Wherever Villa goes or if he decides to stay, I just hope it is the best decision for such a gifted striker, on thing is certain at Valencia, he won't see the bench.
Friday, June 13, 2008
With the Netherlands securing their spot in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 with an impressive 4-1 display over France, that literally had me jumping out of my seat, I just want to point out why I think they're being so successful thus far in this competition.
Wesley Sneijder declared before this game that he and his teammates are afraid of no one and you can vividly see it. These players really want this cup, you see it in their attitude on the pitch ,they never look like loosing and they play at a high energy level especially on their fast-breaks.
With Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robben and Sneijder all playing at Madrid, it is clear that this team has an upper hand in terms of knowing each other very well. You can see how easily they play as a unit and definitely playing with each other at the same club is a big factor in competitions like this one, where teams are comprised of players who play in various leagues.
Just take a look at Sneijder's screamer in the top V, Robben's fantastic left footed strike, which he scored even while Gallas was closing his space, Van Nistelrooy's incredible ability where if he isn't scoring he's providing, and also with the likes of Van Persie and Van der Vaart. Clearly the Dutch aren't short of raw talent, this team oozes it through their pores.
I know many people question Marco Van Basten's ways and tactics, but clearly he has the formula for winning. Italy blamed their lost on the poor tactics of their manager, never giving the Dutch credit for the way they played, but they proved today that Italy's beat-down was no fluke. Van Basten's tactics and decisions may be questionable to some, but let's face it, he's Dutch, and the Dutch produce good managers.
After seeing the Netherlands destroy two heavyweights in this competition, I definitely see them going all the way to the final. Let's wait and see if my prediction holds true.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Given the fact that Luiz Felipe Scolari has now been officially appointed coach of Chelsea, it will be very interesting to see what the Brazilian has to offer. Said to be a man who always has good relationships with his players by interacting with them and seeing how they like to play and where on the pitch. To see him coaching Chelsea will be very interesting indeed.
For me, bringing him to Chelsea was a good move by the directors and owner, Roman Abramovich, it will be very interesting to see how similar or different Chelsea plays under Scolari's rule. While Avram Grant was manager Chelsea pretty much played the same physical, brute force kind of football that they had been playing when Jose Mourinho was manager. However we will see if Scolari brings them to playing more attractive football, the kind that Abramovich would like to see.
Another point of topic, would be the players that he decides to bring to Stamford Bridge, will he follow the trend of the other managers in the EPL, and bring in players of his nationality, like Rafa Benitez brings in Spanish players and Arsene Wenger brings in the French. Well, we shortly shall see.
One player who it has been suggested that he will bring to the Bridge is Deco, who Scolari is currently coaching at Euro 2008 along with the other Portuguese players. It is reported that Scolari has indicated to Lampard that he should leave, thus leaving the press to speculate about Deco replacing Lamps. Regardless of who he brings in to play, one thing is certain, Chelsea fans are excited about Scolari's appointment, let's all just wait and see what he has to offer.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I've been following Euro 2008 and I have enjoyed watching the competition thus far. I watched two impressive victories thus far Spain's 4-1 brilliance over Russia and the Netherlands' thrashing of Italy.
I want to draw some attention right now to the Portuguese, who seem to be in good form, as they have won both of their matches thus far. Although they don't look to me as impressive as the Netherlands or Spain, they get the job done and have been beating their opponents quite convincingly, but i don't think the score lines in both their matches truly reflected how close their games were. The only difference between them and the teams they have beaten is that they took their opportunities when they came, and in football this is what separates the best from the rest.
Portugal has a good team with the likes of captain Nuno Gomes, Simao, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, but do they have what it takes to be crowned the best of Europe. With the lineup they possess I believe they are capable of doing it but I really don't see them winning this one. They have a good midfield but their defense looks a bit shaky at times and their chemistry seems to be a bit off. I do like the way Cristiano Ronaldo is playing, as he is passing the ball a lot more than he would had he been playing for Manchester United, but I'm never overly impressed with the things he does.
One thing that I have really questioned about this Portuguese team is the fact that team coach, Luiz Scolari allows Ronaldo to wear the captain's armband when Nuno Gomes is substituted. Personally, I think the band should be given to a more experienced player like Deco, but I guess the armband is given to Ronaldo to boost his confidence. However he is still very young and I don't think he's ready to lead the national team.
Overall Portugal are playing well and with a little bit more time together they most likely will get better, we just have to wait and see how they hold up against the bigger guns of the competition. Good luck to Portugal.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Today I was most definitely looking forward to seeing my favorite team at Euro 2008, Spain, and I was certainly not disappointed.
I had questions in my mind about how well the Spanish would play, primarily due to the previous game before this one against the United States, where they only managed to score one goal. However today in their first game at Euro against Russia, they have certainly found their stride and played the way i expected them too.
Yesterday I failed to point out players who played well in the Netherlands victory over Italy, but today I have no choice. David Villa was just brilliant, his hat trick in Spain's 4-1 victory, did a lot to soften the blow of Raul not being in this competition. He showed that Spain has top strikers besides the Spanish all time leading goal scorer, Raul. Before this match all I was hearing was Torres, Torres, Torres and although I love Torres very much as well, Villa just outshone him in this game. Aragones, to me for once did the right thing and that was to partner Torres and Villa up front, instead of using Villa as a substitute and it payed off big time.
After Villa's performances today, I'm sure Valencia will be beaming with joy, as their player is off to a good start in the competition and has thus potentially raised his value, which will intern justify the high price tag they have attached to the player. Valencia are reported to possibly sell at least one of their star players this summer in order to help ease the financial issues at the club, and Villa could very well be the one to be sold.
Spain have apparently gotten their defensive issues together but personally I think it needs some more tweaking, the defense cannot afford to loose concentration in the dying moments of the game just because they have the lead, it could cost them dearly if the scoreline was much closer. However, it was a good overall display by the Spanish and with a little bit more chemistry, it will be hard to stop them from winning Euro 2008. I give them two thumbs up.
Monday, June 9, 2008
After watching the Netherlands win convincingly over current World Champions, Italy, in their first group encounter at Euro 2008, I felt compelled to write something.
Everyone knows the Dutch have quality and they are capable of beating anybody, but nobody probably thought they would have thrashed Italy the way they did. I myself was so shocked but I throughly enjoyed the display they put on. Shadows of doubt are often placed on the Dutch because although they possess extreamely gifted players, they too like Spain often disappoint on the big stage. However after defeating current World Champions, Italy, one is left to ponder if they have what it takes to win Euro 2008.
Ajax, Barcelona and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff said in an interview before the match with Italy, that his country has a good team but he questioned head coach, Marco Van Basten's tactics, saying he has doubts about them. I wonder what he thinks of his tactics after Italy's 3-0 thrashing. Tactically what I gathered from the way the Dutch played, is that they counter attacked very well, caught Italy off-guard when they pushed heavily up the pitch, they found their wide players frequently to stretch Italy's defense and they often looked to beat the offside trap with quality balls down the middle. To me they played like an ideal Dutch team and I personally found nothing wrong with Van Basten's tactics, as they played quality attacking football.
I was going to state who I personally thought stood out in this game, however it is very hard to point a finger at any one player because overall this was an excellent team effort. The Netherlands truly played like a cohesive unit.
It is still early days in the competition and we are yet to see if the Dutch will play this well again, but after their first game against Italy, they have definitely tipped themselves as one of the favorites to win Euro 2008.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
After yet another disappointing season at Barcelona, where the club came up empty handed for a second year in a row and with Ronaldinho missing much of the action due to injury and apparently personal issues. I'm left to ponder what's up with the player who I and the Barcelona faithful loved so much and who a lot of us still do.
Recent news in the press have been liking the two time Fifa Player of the Year heavily with a move to Manchester City as the owner Thaksin Shinawatra definitely has the funds to do so. However one is left to ponder if Ronaldinho would even consider moving to a club of a significantly lower caliber than Barca. There could be several reasons for him moving to a club like Manchester City, but I would say having the opportunity to be the world's best again and reviving a carrier which has gone quite quiet over the last two seasons as the main reasons.
Despite Manchester City being the club most mentioned in the media with being linked to Ronaldinho, apparently according to the player's brother and agent Roberto De Assis Moreier, Chelsea and AC Milan are still very interested. De Assis also made it known that there would be no conclusion to Ronaldinho's transfer saga anytime soon, as the player is relaxing in Brazil trying to recover from injury.
Even though there are reports in the news everyday about Ronnie, the player himself is keeping a very low profile and hasn't stated anything in regards to his future. This puts a huge question mark as to what are the player's views and what frame of mind he's in. Personally I would like to see him revive his carrier at Barca but with that looking unlikely I would prefer if he moved to AC Milan.
Moving to Manchester City to me seems like a huge step down but by moving there the team will most definitely be built around him and playing time will not be an issue. However it's hard to see him playing for City but in football money talks and anything can happen.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Hi football fans, word out is that Chelsea are focusing on two options for the vacancy they have available after the sacking of Avram Grant. These two options are none other than Roberto Mancini and Frank Rijkaard who both lost their jobs recently.
With their other targets already preoccupied or having moved elsewhere these two are favorites to land the job. Guus Hiddink pledged his future to the Russian national team , Mark Hughes opted to caoch Manchester City, Jose Mourinho ruled out a return and was appointed coach of Inter, and Milan have declared that they will not let Ancelotti leave. Therefore if you were Chelsea who would you pick Rijkaard or Mancini.
Both these managers have been successful but Frank Rijkaard has the better track record, although Mancini has been more successful in recent times winning three back to back scudettos, while Rijkaard has been titleless in the last two seasons with Barca which ultimately cost him his job.
With Roman Abromovich wanting to see a classier style of football being played at Chelsea and his urge to win the Champions League, if I were Chelsea I would appoint Rijkaard, who has won it unlike Roberto Mancini. I would also appoint Rijkaard for his coaching philosphy and style, which includes playing very attacking football as a cohesive unit. In his system there are no stars and every player is important to the team. This kind of philosophy builds personal morale and subsequently team morale. I'm not particularly sure what coaching philosophy Mancini holds but given the way Barca played when they were in their prime I would choose Rijkaard hands down.
Chelsea are set to conduct interviews with both managers during the kick off of Euro 2008, so as to get some time out of the limelight for once. Regardless of whoever they appoint as coach, I believe either manager would be a good choice. Maybe they could have Rijkaard as head coach and Mancini as assistant or vice versa, as the assistant manager role is also vacant after Henk Ten Cate was also fired. However i could hardly see such prolific managers wanting to coach in an assistant role.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Ah yes, Cristiano has finally broken the silence on his future by declaring that he desires to play for Madrid. The gifted winger also stated that nothing was up to him and that he will move if Madrid pays him and United the money they stated they would offer. He also said that he will not be speaking about the matter again when asked.
This comes as no surprise to me, although it may be a shock to some Manchester fans. I mean, come on folks let's be realistic about this thing, Manchester United and Real Madrid are on two different levels, with the latter being more prestigious. I know many people will have their various opinions on this matter but this is the truth.
Going to Madrid will mean more money for Ronaldo but not necessarily more playing time. Madrid is a club who doesn't care who you are, you have to prove your worth and fight for your spot. Even club favorite Raul has to do it. For Ronaldo that should not be a hindrance but an opportunity to prove himself and show that he is up to the challenge. That is what makes great players great.
The coming weeks will definitely be interesting now that Ronaldo has declared that he wants to move. The owners and officials at Manchester are rather defensive in their stance to keep the player by threating to report Real Madrid to Fifa. As a result Madrid's president Ramón Calderón made an offical announcement stating that he nor the club does not wish to buy a player, if the club does not want to sell and that Real Madrid was not about to damage the relationship that they have with Manchester United. Let's see if he sticks to his words.
Personally I believe that if a player wants to leave a club there is no sense in trying to keep him. If he really wants to leave and you insist he stays and be stubborn, like the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United have been acting, the player can react to the club in the same way and choose not to give his best performances to the club. In my opinion it does more harm than help, but I really can't blame United for wanted to keep their best player. If he does leave they will be left with a huge hole to fill.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
With Euro 2008 coming up on on June 7th, I just want to run through briefly who I personally believe are going to be favorites for the tournament.
Let's start with the current World Champions, Italy. With Totti out of Euro injured Italy will particularly look to Pirlo to lead the team, and I believe he is quite capable of doing so. It is quite unfortunate however that Fabio Cannavaro has been ruled out as he has sustained an injury in the team's last friendly game which would probably cause some defensive woes, but Italy is a team which is known for its solid defense, and therefore there should be a suitable replacement. The players to watch in this team are Pirlo, Del Piero, Zambrotta and Luca Toni. Look for Pirlo to dictate the midfield, Zambrotta to come up big in the defense and Luca and Del Piero to bang in the goals, as they both have been the top scorers in their respective leagues this season.
People hardly consider this team when they think of big teams but Germany is a very big side. Dating back to 2002, Germany has made the World Cup final loosing out only to Brazil and they finished third at the last World Cup by beating Portugal. Ballack, Klose and Torsten Frings are the stars for this side, so look out for big performances from these players.
There's no more Zinedine Zidane but France continues to produce amazing talent. After loosing out to Italy at the last World Cup, France will most definitely want to crown themselves champions of Europe. Look out for the young, talented Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, Bundesliga's best Frank Ribery and veteran striker Thierry Henry.
Finally my favorite team, Spain, the great underachievers of Europe. Yes, they do not have many trophies as they have only won just one European title in 1964 but I just love the way they play. One journalist referred to the way they play as "tika taka" which means pass and go. I just love to see nice touch football and for this reason Spain is my favorite European team. Look for hitmen El Nino, Fernando Torres and El Guaje, David Villa to come up with big performances, along with the "midfield midgets", as I like to call them Xavi and Iniesta and Arsenal talisman Cesc Fabregas. The biggest concern for Spain right now would be the defense, hopefully they can get it together before the competition starts.
Euro 2008 should be great and although these teams I have mentioned may be the favorites, this is football, and we all know what they say, anything can happen.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Milan have officially signed Gianluca Zambrotta from Barcelona yesterday. No details were given but the club posted an official announcement on their website.
I am kind of sorry to see Zambrotta leave Barca so soon but I am at least glad that he transfered to another club which I personally like a lot.
Zambrotta joins Milan in an attempt to strengthen their defense after the club failed to qualify for the Champions League next season. My view is, great, Milan has strengthened their defense but in the process Barca has somewhat weakened theirs, however it is still yet early days and there is still time for Barca to sign probably two quality defenders in this transfer season. They have reportedly been linked with Martin Caceres from Villarreal and Christian Chivu from Inter. Whoever they sign I just want the defense to be sorted out because for me that is the main area of concern within the team. So with that said, good luck to Zambrotta, Milan and Barca.
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