Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chelsea will pay US$ 50 millions for 'Kun' Agüero

Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti has told Chelsea board that they need a strong and talented midfielder for the next season, and that player is the popular Sergio Agüero from Atletico Madrid. Now the Stamford Bridge team itends to offer more than US$ 50 millions to sign the footballer, even when he will not be able to play the Champions League with the blues this season.

Some spanish newspapers have suggested that Atletico Madrid is asking for more than US$ 60 millions to sell the Argentinian player, but the negotiations have already started.

If the operation takes place, it will be a new record for any Premier League Club, even over Robinho's move from Real Madrid to Manchester City last season.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pepe Reina unhappy with Liverpool's situation in the Champions League

Liverpool only rescued a draw against Lyon at their last Champions League match, and now their situation in the European Competition is not the best. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina knows it and says it's "disgraceful" that his team depends on other's results.

Indeed, Liverpool could win their final two games and not qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. Lyon has to tie with Fiorentina in their next match to help Pepe's team keep alive.

The keeper is honest about it: "We have got two games to go and disgracefully we are not depending on ourselves; we need Lyon to get something in Fiorencia. Our priority is to win our two games that remain and we will keep trying. Miracles? They happen, particularly at Liverpool."

Lyon has proved to be a really tough team and Fiorentina has enourmous talent in players such as Gilardino and Vargas. So, there are not too many chances for Benitez's squad. The next weeks will be very important for Reina and his teammates.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Antonio Valencia scores dramatic equalizer for Manchester United

The russian team surprised the world scoring three goals against the red giants at the Old Trafford, but Manchester United leveled the game in the last six minutes.

CSKA Moscow's goals were scored by Alan Dzagoev, Milos Krasic and Vasili Berezutsky, stunning the english fans at the stadium. But goals scored by Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Antonio Valencia - in the last minute - took United to the next stage of the Champions League. What's more, United could have won it but Wayne Rooney's shot hit the bar.

Sir Alex Ferguson was satisfied with the effort of his team: "We were absolutely fantastic in terms of our desire to win the match and were unlucky at times in the game, their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves, we hit the post and missed a lot of other chances... If you want excitement come to Old Trafford".

Amazing 1-1 tie between Real Madrid and AC Milan

The impressive match between Real Madrid and AC Milan ended with a 1-1 tie, and a good football show for the fans. The great performance of both teams comfirmed the rivalty showed weeks ago at the Bernabeu.

French star Karim Benzema opened the score for Madrid after a great move made by Kaka. But Ronaldinho scored the 1-1 with a penalty shot and proved that he is playing at his best level again.

Pellegrini had a really tough week and was satisfied with the performance of his team: "I'm happy because I think we played well. We didn't lose, but we are still on course for finishing top of the group. Normally, I am happy if the result reflects what we did on the field. But tonight definitely didn't reflect what we did."

Milan coach Leonardo was happy as well: “They played better in the first half, created spaces and chances. We were too deep. I'd say the second half was the opposite, as we had the better of it and overall the draw is the fai result for what we saw. To be honest, we feel a bit of regret, as I felt we could get the three points and strike them at the right time. I'm happy with the way the squad did it tonight.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona reach the glory in Rome

Barcelona proved to be the best squad in the world by beating Manchester United 2-0 and conquering the most wanted trophy in Europe: the Champions League

The blaugranas controlled the ball for long stretches with its unhurried and clever passing, attacked incessantly, held tight with a patchwork defense and made a tactical switch at forward, placing Lionel Messi as a central striker and shifting Samuel Eto’o to the right wing. Eventually, Messi drifted into midfield to secure possession. Both he and Eto’o delivered goals as Barcelona won its third European title and second in four years.

It will be left to Barcelona’s supporters to gleefully debate whether this is the Catalans’ greatest team, now that the first-year boss Pep Guardiola has guided his team to the Spanish League title, the Spanish Cup and now the European Cup with a style that is familiarly elegant and ebullient. For a night, it was enough for Barcelona supporters — seemingly the vast majority among 72,000 at Olympic Stadium of Rome — to celebrate with cameras that flashed like fireflies as the trophy was held aloft in a shower of confetti.

“We are not the best team of history, but we have played the best season in history to win three titles and the way we won,” expressedGuardiola, 38, who has won a European championship both as a Barcelona player and boss.

The Red Devils, meanwhile, lost for the first time in 26 Champions League matches and failed to defend its 2008 title. Even with four attackers in the second half, the English Premier League champions often seemed lethargic, uninvolved — at times unrecognizable — after missing several chances in the early minutes of the match.

So strong and constrictive on most nights, the Manchester United defense was unable to subdue the organized and creative Barcelona attack, which flowed with the inevitability of water through any available crease. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester manager, dismissed his defense as “shoddy.”

Pep had urged his Barcelona footballers to be daring, and after the victory said, “We wanted to say we played and were not being cowards.” He added, “There’s nothing more dangerous than not taking risks.”

Barcelona’s one apparent weakness, a depleted defense, never became a liability. Dani Alves and Éric Abidal were suspended and Rafa Márquez was shelved with injury. But Guardiola found a reliable solution, placing Carles Puyol at right back, Yaya Touré in central defense alongside Gerard Piqué and Sylvinho at left back. They remained impenetrable.

Guardiola made another adroit move up front. Last year in the Champions League semifinals, Manchester United’s left back, Patrice Evra, had handcuffed Messi on the right wing. On Wednesday, Guardiola countered with Messi as a central striker, moving Eto’o outside. Later, Leo Messi retreated into midfield and, along with Xavi Hernández, helped Barcelona control the ball as if it were tethered to his foot. Sometimes, it seemed minutes passed before Manchester United could regain possession from the smaller, more dexterous Barcelona footballers.

“If they get in front of you, they’re very difficult to beat,” Ferguson stated. “They can keep the ball in areas of the field where it is difficult to protect.”

Early on, it was Manchester United that threatened to dominate. After missing several inviting opportunities, though, the team deflated, never regaining its spirit and vigor.

In the second minute, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo drove a low, hard free kick that bounced and could not be smothered by Victor Valdés, the Barcelona goalkeeper. Park Ji-sung, Manchester United’s tireless winger and the first Asian player to participate in a Champions League final, pounced on the rebound, but a Barcelona defender slid across his path. The shot deflected high over the crossbar. Ronaldo later lashed two shots wide, unfulfilled chances that Manchester United could not afford.

“Losing that first goal was decisive for us,” Sir Alex Ferguson stated. “We couldn’t recover from that.”

Barcelona quickly struck back. In the 10th minute, midfielder Andrés Iniesta, recovered from a thigh injury, played the ball to Eto’o on the right flank. Eto’o, a Cameroonian forward, cut sharply inside, turning the defender Nemanja Vidic, leaving him corkscrewed and helpless. Eto’o punched the ball into the net off the left hand of Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, giving Barcelona the only goal it would need.

After halftime, Manchester United clearly required of an infusion of energy, but neither the replacement forwards Carlos Tévez nor Dimitar Barbatov could kick-start a somnolent engine.

In the 70th minute, Puyol stole a pass for Barcelona, beginning a magical sequence that finished with Xavi chipping a superb pass from outside the area to a waiting Messi, six yards from the goal, unattended by two defenders. He headed the ball over van der Sar’s head and Barcelona took an insurmountable 2-0 lead. Now it is Messi, not Ronaldo, who is certain to gain favor as the world’s greatest player.

“We didn’t have to win to know he’s the best,” Guardiola stated.

In the end, though, Barcelona did win, primarily by getting the ball and refusing to give it back. “For us, we are a horrible team, a disaster team, when we don’t have the ball,” Guardiola admitted. “We need the ball. We got it” he concluded

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prince William from England and King Juan Carlos from Spain to attend the Champions League Final

According to many news agencies, Prince William is to attend tonight's Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona in the italian city of Rome, in his capacity as President of the English Football Association.

In fact, the Prince will meet key officials and other dignitaries in private before the match, during half-time and after the match. The Prince will be accompanied by senior English FA officials, including chairman, Lord Triesman.

As for King Juan Carlos of Spain, he will also attend the match in support of Barcelona and Prince William will be granted an audience with The King before the match.

However, what makes this game so important that the royal families of both competing nations should want to be in attendance, when they can view proceedings from the comfort of their sumptuous sofas.

We could say that the Champions League final is the biggest, most watched and most eagerly-anticipated club football encounter in the world.

It's interesting to notice that Manchester United are the champions of England, Barcelona are the champions of Spain and, by common consensus, the English Premier League and Spanish Primera Liga are the two most glamorous leagues in European football.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thierry Henry ready to win the Champions League for the first time

French super star Thierry Henry believes he can fire the Blaugranas to an historic treble triumph in the Champions League final now he has rediscovered his love for football. As we know, the forward was criticised by fans and Spanish media for lacking the verve he showed at Arsenal following his June 2007 transfer from the Premier League club.

Despite the critics, Henry has been back to his best this season, scoring 25 goals to help Josep Guardiola’s team win the domestic League and Cup double.

A victory over Manchester United in Wednesday’s European Final game would give the Catalan club their first ever treble and confirm Henry’s place in the club’s hall of fame.

The popular "Titi" himself is just delighted to have finally become comfortable with his form in Catalonia.

“I think that I’ve definitely changed opinions about me this season. Now I feel the affection of the Nou Camp fans, compared to the really tough times with our home crowd on occasions last year,” he admitted.

"In fact, I like that people question me, I use that to motivate myself and try to prove them wrong. My opinion is that this is a club where, to triumph, you have to understand not only the fans but the club, the city and the fact that Catalonia is not Spain.

"I'm so eager to get the title and finally achieve the only crown i don't have in football. And it will be an honor to win it over one of the most powerful teams of all times, Manchester United" he concluded.

Apparently, Guardiola trust Henry's qualities and the Frenchman will be a starter in tomorrow's important game.

UEFA Champions League Referee: Massimo Busacca

In a very surprising statement, the main board of the UEFA announced that Massimo Busacca, from Switzerland, will performe as the referee for the Champions League final between Barcelona FC and Manchester United. According to the press in Switzerland, the quality of his work is flawless.

In fact, wednesday's final clash in Rome's Stadio Olimpico will be Busacca's second European club final, after the all-Spanish UEFA Cup title match between Sevilla and Espanyol in 2007.

We mus remember that he awarded visiting Manchester United a penalty for a handball after only three minutes of the first-leg match, though Cristiano Ronaldo shot wide. The match ended scoreless and the Red Devils won 1-0 at Old Trafford to reach the final, where they beat Chelsea.

The referee has officiated in 32 Champions League matches in his career, including United's 1-0 win at FC Porto to advance to the semifinals as one of six this season.

What's more, UEFA also appointed Busacca to referee the 2008 European Championship semifinal between Germany and Turkey.

It's interestin to notice that FIFA has selected Busacca on its list of referees for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That means that in the end, he is a good decision.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Liverpool 4-0 win over Madrid caused the Spanish newspapers fury

Every single publication in Spain reacted with strong criticism against Real Madrid after they being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, destroyed by a super efficient Liverpool

Indeed, "Madrid in the worst crisis", "Liverpool, white cemetery" and "Madrid crashed" were among the headlines after a 4-0 defeat saw the nine-times European champions lose the last-16 tie 5-0 on aggregate. The result means the popular "merengues" have failed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for a fifth straight year.

The scoreline might have been worse were it not for a string of saves from Iker Casillas in the Real goal and Spain's newspapers did not hold back in their assessments of Juande Ramos's side's performance.

"The english powerhouse Liverpool gave a provincial-looking Madrid a lesson in what Europe is," wrote the daily ABC. "Their devastating play made Madrid look like they weren't at the game: no possession, no ideas, no energy and lacking control or width. A stellar Torres knocked Madrid to the ground and Gerrard buried them."

Real Madrid's recent 10-game winning streak in La Liga, which ended with Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to city rivals Atlético, was all but forgotten.

The old newspaper "El País" blamed the Spanish champions' poor showing partly on the club's recent institutional problems which it said urgently needed to be resolved. Real have an interim president following the resignation of Ramón Calderón in a vote-rigging scandal and El Pais said elections must be held sooner rather than later so a new president can breathe life into the club.

"Madrid have hit rock bottom," wrote the publication. "They have been there for a while on the institutional side and now they have fallen off a cliff in the sporting arena."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Didier Drogba scores to beat Juventus and give Ranieri an awful "welcome back"

It's good to hear that Drogba goal leads Chelsea to victory again. The African striker, his season hampered by injury, suspension and a fallout with axed coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, looked back to his predatory most amazing at the moment he took a pass from Salomon Kalou and despatched the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon in the 12th minute.

Former Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, now in charge of Juve, was given a warm reception by the home supporters before the game. Ranieri is still held in high esteem by Chelsea supporters even though he failed to win a single trophy during his four-year stint at Stamford Bridge.

Hiddink was taking charge of a Chelsea side at home for the first time since his temporary appointment and it was the hosts who made the first inroads towards goal with Jose Bosingwa forcing Buffon into a save with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area in the fourth minute.

Indeed, four minutes later Drogba almost opened the scoring at the moment he got ahead of his marker to turn a cross from Bosingwa just over the crossbar.

But the Ivorian put the home side in front in the 12th minute at the moment a superb through ball from Kalou provided him with a clear-cut shooting opportunity and Drogba supplied the required finish in style. It was the perfect start for the Premier League side although Juventus claimed Drogba was offside before he fired the ball home from 10 yards.

In the 15th minute, Drogba must have made it two at the moment he met a corner from Frank Lampard inside the six-yard box, but he inexplicably headed wide.

The italian powerhouse enjoyed plenty of possession after the interval but found the Chelsea defense in fine form, with Petr Cech only having to deal with a succession of long-range efforts.

Marco Marchionni and Alessandro del Piero both tried their luck from distance and Pavel Nedved went close near the end for the visitors.

Chelsea also had opportunitys to double their lead, notably at the moment a 20-yard effort from Nicolas Anelka flashed inches wide, but Chelsea held on for the victory.

"We maybe must have netted a second goal to give us some breathing space for the second leg. I felt we suffered a little bit in the second half and Juventus are a difficult side to play, but I'm happy with the result," Hiddink concluded.

Didier Drogba netted the only goal as Chelsea beat Juventus 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to give Guus Hiddink's side a slender advantage ahead of their Champions League last-16 second leg in Turin.

Liverpool heroic win over Madrid in Spain

The not-so-famous Yossi Benayoun netted with a late header Wednesday to give Liverpool a valuable 1-0 away win at Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 knockout match.

In a clash of few opportunities, Benayoun powered Fabio Aurelio's curling free kick past the Merengues' goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 82nd minute to give the English team an all-important away goal.

Casillas denied first-half scoring opportunitys from Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso, while Arjen Robben created the Spanish champion's most amazing effort with a rising shot that went through the fingertips of goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the 71st but over the crossbar.

Indeed, both squads were largely restricted to long-range efforts. Alonso nearly caught Casillas off his line from inside his own half in the 45th but the Madrid goalkeeper backpedalled before tipping the ball over the crossbar.

Nine-time champion Madrid has underperformed in the tournament in recent seasons and hasn't reached the quarter-finals since 2004. Nevertheless, president Vicente Boluda had predicted a 3-0 victory.

Madrid, which came into the gameon a nine-clash league winning streak, started the better of the two sides. Robben found Raul Gonzalez inside the area as early as the fifth minute, but Madrid's all-time leading scorer failed to beat Pepe Reina with his angled effort.

An amazing Reina again denied Madrid in the 16th minute, parrying Marcelo's hard drive.

Casillas dove to his right in the 21st to keep Torres' shot out, and the Spain forward appeared to hurt his right ankle soon after.

Robben was Madrid's biggest attacking threat, darting free into the middle in the 39th only to send his shot wide. A minute later, the Netherlands forward duplicated the play with exactly the same result.

Madrid coach Juande Ramos brought on Guti for Marcelo to start the second half but Liverpool pushed up with Alonso volleying wide in the 50th. Two minutes later, Robben dribbled through two defenders into the area but hit the ball into the side netting.

Torres didn't manage to snap his scoring drought at the Bernabeu as the former Atletico Madrid forward came off to jeers from the 80,000-plus in the 62nd, replaced by Ryan Babel.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard came on in the 87th for his first appearance after a three-week layoff due to a hamstring injury.

Liverpool will be without Riera for the return leg after the Spanish midfielder was booked in the 84th.

PD: It seems like Madrid is having a hard time to get victories at home, if we recall the defeat against Juventus.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

President Michel Platini angry with interference in Champions League

According to the media, UEFA president has called on the European Union not to interfere in the Champions League regulations if it wants to impose financial restraints and a possible salary cap on teams.

Indeed, Platini wants to push through rules that would cap debt and links between footballers salaries and turnover as he seeks to contain runaway spending.

As we know, the European Union could interfere if it touches on the economic free market rules. Platini insists UEFA should not be bound by that.

We must consider that Platini told the European Parliament on Wednesday: "We must be able to set the conditions on the competitions we organize."

Liverpool ask UEFA to change match date due to Hillsborough anniversary

The board at Anfield have written to UEFA to ask that the date of their potential Champions League quarter-final second leg be changed to avoid a clash with the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

It’s amazing to notice that if Rafael Benitez's side get past Real Madrid in the last 16, they are currently scheduled to face their next opponents for the second time on April 15.

In fact, that is exactly two decades since 96 Liverpool fans died at Sheffield Wednesday's ground before and during the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

We must consider that Liverpool are keen to keep the date free so memorials can take place and have asked UEFA allow them to play the encounter on the 14th if they progress.

"We wrote to UEFA last year, pointing out the significance of April 15 if we do get to the quarter-final, especially as it is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster," a Liverpool spokesman expressed.

"We have asked not to play on that date and that April 14 should be considered instead.

"UEFA has replied acknowledging the significance of the date and confirming they will do their best to support our request if we progress."

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ronaldo now wants to defeat Mourinho's side

Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo is acting as the club’s very own ‘Mr. Motivator’ as he has attempted to fire up his side-mates ahead of the Champions League showdowns against Italian giants Inter.

The two sides lock horns in what promises to be the clash of the last 16 stage. Ronaldo tasted Champions League success last season as he shot his side towards glory, and the World Player of the Year is confident that the Red Devils can hold onto their European crown.

Inter will not make life simple for United. Jose Mourinho, the team boss of the Italian club, would love nothing more than to send his old adversaries crashing out of the competition. Nevertheless, Ronaldo insists his side have what it takes to beat the Nerazzurri and silence Mourinho.

"We will be tested to our maximum against Inter," Ronaldo told Inside United.

"I always dreamed of earning this trophy [the European Cup]. I felt like a little child with his [new] toy at the time I touched it last season. It was a great feeling.

"We are a great side with great players."

Mourinho has already been spying on United ahead of the big encounters, the first of which takes place at the end of this month. Tickets for both legs have already sold out.

The Old Trafford side are favourites to eliminate the Italians, however, ‘The Special One' has experience of upsetting the English club.

John Arne Riise injuried: Roma will miss him for almost a month

Italian club AS Roma just learned that their left back John Arne Riise is expected to be out for three weeks. The talented player damaged his left knee ligaments.

The Norwegian international picked up the injury during the 2-1 victory over Palermo on January 28.

Tests were carried out on the left sided former Liverpool defender which ascertained that he would not need an operation.

Riise is now a doubt for the first leg Champions League clash with Arsenal on February 24, 2009.

Steven Gerard: I hope i can make it for the derby with Madrid

Liverpool's deadline day sale of Robbie Keane has contributed to them heading into the Champions League knock-out stage with a squad two players short of the full complement, and Steven Gerrard's hamstring tear threatens to leave them further depleted for the visit to Real Madrid later this month.

In fact, UEFA allows a squad of 25 and though Sami Hyypia's name appears on the list Liverpool had to submit by 1 February – contrary to manager Rafael Benitez's suggestions last week that the defender was excluded – Jermaine Pennant, now on loan at Portsmouth, and Philippe Degen have been removed and Keane, nominally still on the list at the time Liverpool submitted it, is gone, leaving a squad of just 23.

Liverpool are not the only side below full potential. Chelsea have a squad of 21, Uefa revealed, with a further five on their B-list thought to be youngsters yet to break into Chelsea's senior ranks. B-list players must be under 22 and the four names on Liverpool's are the goalkeepers Dean Bouzanis and Martin Hansen, the midfielder Ryan Flynn, on loan at Wrexham, and the forward Nathan Ecclestone.

Friday, January 09, 2009

UEFA rejects Real Madrid bid for Diarra and Huntelaar

Spanihs club Real Madrid have been knocked back by the UEFA board in their bid to register both Lassana Diarra and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to play in the Champions League knockout stages.

Indeed, Real Madrid had hoped to overturn a rule which stipulated that only one player who has already played in a European competition other than the Champions League can be registered.

It's important to mention that Both January signings Diarra and Huntelaar had featured in the UEFA Cup for their previous clubs for Portsmouth and Ajax respectively.

However, UEFA have rejected Real's appeal and now the Spanish side must decide which player to register for the remainder of this season's competition.

The first team coach Juande Ramos is believed to favor adding Diarra to his depleted midfield options.

"UEFA confirmed that its Control and Disciplinary Body has reviewed the request of Real Madrid to be able to register two players who have already competed in UEFA competition this season as part of their A-list squad for the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League," was officialy announced.

"The European body confirms that this was rejected in accordance with article 17.18 in the competition regulations which states that only one player who has played UEFA club competition matches for another competing club in the current season may exceptionally be registered. Any appeal to this decision will be heard next week."

Despite this bad news for Madrid, they could now take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.