Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ince tells Oxlade-Chamberlain against moving to the Premier League too soon

Notts County boss Paul Ince has warned Southampton youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against moving to the Premier League too soon.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool are battling for Southampton for £10m-rated teenage midfielder.
But former United and Liverpool star Ince fears ­Chamberlain’s career could stall in the same way his 18-year-old son Thomas’s has at Anfield.
“What’s the point of Chamberlain going to a club like Liverpool or Arsenal? He will just be stuck in the ­reserves,” the Notts County boss told the Daily Star. “Yeah, he can get a big contract now with one of the top clubs, but that’s no good for the education of the kid.
“I can tell the way Chamberlain plays he loves his football and he can score goals.
“But that is what disappoints me about my lad at Liverpool.
“He scored goals on loan at County and people ­started talking about him, but now he has disappeared again and won’t be seen for a while playing for the reserves, and that ­annoys me.”

Jorge Valdano: I will step away if Mourinho wants it

Real Madrid GM Jorge Valdano insists he's prepared to take a backseat when working with coach Jose Mourinho.
The pair do not see eye-to-eye, but Valdano has overseen the loan signing of Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
"If I have to step away for Mourinho to feel more comfortable, so be it," said Valdano.
"From my responsibility, it is important not to create more tension here. The coach feels more comfortable in his relationship with the president, so we must seek working conditions that are comfortable.
"The enemies are the enemies and that is where efforts should be focused."

Standard Liege defender says Lukaku just not that good! Are you kidding?

Standard Liege defender Eliaquim Mangala says  Chelsea and Manchester City target Romelu Lukaku just isn't that good.
The Anderlecht sensation is regarded the best young talent in Europe.
But Mangala, who himself has attracted interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, said: "Is he the best striker I have faced? No.
"I remember a more difficult match against a Ukrainian striker. I've forgotten his name.
"I do hope Lukaku has a very good career."

Paulo Henrique Ganso: I do not want to join Man City!

Santos star Paulo Henrique Ganso has ruled out moving to Manchester City.
City have joined the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in sounding out Santos about a deal for the exciting attacking talent.
But Ganso said yesterday: "I'm still injured and a big club in Europe, the last champion of the world (Inter Milan), is interested in me.
"I would not like to play for Manchester City. I prefer to play for a big one like AC Milan, Real Madrid or Barcelona."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Of course I change nappies,' reveals Cristiano Ronaldo as he speaks about fatherhood for first time

He may be the world's best paid footballer, but new father Cristiano Ronaldo isn't afraid to be a hands on father.

The Real Madrid star - who was bought from Manchester United two years ago in an £80million deal - revealed he sometimes changes his baby son's nappies.

Although his mother Dolores Aveiro is essentially responsible for the full-time care of Cristiano Jnr due to Ronaldo's career commitments, the footballer isn't afraid to get stuck in to the less favourable aspects of parenting.

Ronaldo said becoming a dad had made him more responsible and hopes his son will follow in his footsteps and become a giant on the football field.

Speaking for the first time about his role as a new father, Ronaldo said: 'Of course something like this affects you. It's a different type of responsibility.

'Maybe I feel more comfortable. I'm comfortable when things are going well: my family, the club, my friends, that gives me important support for everything else.

'Of course I change the nappies. It's not the thing I like best in the world, but I do it.'

Speaking to Spanish sports daily Marca, he added: 'I would love him to like football, for him to be my successor, but we'll see what happens.

'My son will be whatever he wants.'

Ronaldo stunned the world on July 3 last year by revealing on Twitter, Facebook and his official website that he had become a dad.

His family later revealed the boy, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, was born on July 17 in the U.S. weighing 9lb 8oz.

The identity of the mother has never been revealed, but it has been reported that she is a 20-year-old British student who was paid £10million to give up her parental rights.

Ronaldo, who became the world's most expensive footballer when he left Manchester United for Madrid in summer 2009 for £80million, was this week named as the world's highest paid player on £10million a year in wages alone.

He hinted in the interview he might one day marry his girlfriend of one year Irina Shayk, a 24-year-old Russian underwear model, saying: 'One day, you never know. It's early.'

The footballer told Marca he has not allowed becoming a father to stop him getting a good night's sleep.

The Portuguese star said: 'I have to rest. There are lots of games and the best answer to this is rest. Eat and drink well, and rest. I'm in a good physical condition and I only do a little keep-fit.

'My son goes to sleep early, but my mother told me the other day, while we were playing, he was crying without stopping and didn't want to sleep until I scored a goal. I scored and five minutes later he was asleep.'

Ronaldo's mother Dolores, 55, is helping raise the youngster along with his sisters Katia, 33, and Elma, 35.

The baby made his first public appearance last December 8 in the crowd at a Champions League match at Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium against AJ Auxerre.

He was taken to the game by his grandmother Dolores and her partner Jose Andrade.
Ronaldo dedicated a goal to his son by sucking his thumb and pointing at the stand.

Xavi: AC Milan move was close

Barcelona ace Xavi admits he came close to joining AC Milan early in his career.
And the midfielder says he now hopes to play out his entire career at the Nou Camp.
There was a time when I had a very important offer from Milan when I was 18 and it was actually Barca which decided that I had to stay,” said Xavi. "I wanted to win here and I am very happy I chose to stay with Barcelona."
Asked about ever joining Real Madrid, he added: "I like Barca and would not be happy at Real Madrid."

Florentino Perez preparing for departure of Jose Mourinho!

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is already preparing for the departure of coach Jose Mourinho.
Sport says Florentino has told general manager Jorge Valdano to find a replacement for Mourinho. Though hoping to keep the Special One, Florentino does not want to leave anything to chance.
Mourinho's refusal to commit himself to the club beyond the end of this season has forced Florentino's hand.
For the moment, Valdano has a preliminary list of four names: France coach Laurent Blanc, a former Barcelona star, ex-Liverpool and Inter Milan boss Rafa Benitez, Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and club legend Michel.
Zinedine Zidane, who is working closely with Florentino, has recommended Blanc to the president.

Diego Maradona: Tevez stays at Man City because of money

Diego Maradona has hailed the negotiating skills of Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez.
The former Argentina coach is convinced Tevez is playing a blinder with City's mega rich owners.
He laughed: "Carlitos is amazing.
"He does what he wants with the Arabs, you know.
"He tells them: 'I want to go to Buenos Aires' and they say 'No Carlitos, stay here now, we'll give you more money'.
"And then he gets more money!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo: I could have joined Juventus

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo admits he could have joined Juventus.
Ronaldo almost signed for Juve ahead of Manchester United while a youngster at Sporting Lisbon.
He said: “Yes, there really was [interest]. Some years afterwards there was another Italian club who came forward in a more concrete manner and we almost signed. Then everything went up in smoke at the last minute.”
Asked to reveal the name of the Italian team, he said: “I can't possibly say.”

Van Nistelrooy offers to pay half Real Madrid transfer fee and play for nothing!

Ruud van Nistelrooy is willing to play for Real Madrid for NOTHING to get his dream return.
The 34 year-old Dutch ace, says AS, is even prepared to pay half the fee his club Hamburg are demanding to make the move happen.
"I want to end my career in the Bernabeu, I do not care about the money," said the Manchester United legend.
But Hamburg have already rejected a new offer from Real - €2 million plus a friendly for next summer.
Their CEO Bernd Hoffmann warned: "If the player tries to break his contract with us, we will take him to an international tribunal."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Andre Ayew - One of Ghana's brightest prospect

Ever since the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt,Andre Ayew 's career has been on the rise.

Ayew was one of the best players in the Ghana U-20 side, and was a vital part of the team's triumphs in both the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2009 African Youth Championships.

During the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Andre showed his immense qualities, even though he was somewhat overshadowed by the performances of Dominic Adiyiah, who finished the tournament as top goalscorer. Indeed, it was Ayew's crucial goals, assists and, most of all, determination that were instrumental as the Black Satellites won the tournament.

A year later, Ayew played for Ghana's senior side that reached the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals.

And he also progressed well at the club level, playing for Marseille's first team.

The stars seem to be shining for the bright youngster, who might turn out to be just as famous as his father, the legendary Abedi Pele.

Background and history

Ayew was born in Seclin, France, and is one of three brothers, with his siblings Ibrahim and Jordan also talented footballers.

Ibrahim, 22, is also a Ghana national team player and recently joined Lierse S.K. in Belgium's Jupiler League from Egyptian club Zamelek. And Jordan, who also plays for Marseille, seems to be just as an exciting football prospect.  

Andre Ayew began his career at the age of 10 playing for his father's club, Nania, in Accra, Ghana. In 2005, after four years of plying his trade in the club's youth academy, he joined the youth ranks at Marsellie. Later on, he was loaned to Lorient and Arles in order to gain game experience, and this season (2010/11) he has broken into the Marseille first team.


Andre is a left-footed player who usually plays on the left-flank. Nevertheless, he is an all-round player who can be utilised in every attacking role.

One shouldn’t be surprised to see him playing on the right flank, behind the strikers or even as a frontman.

Ayew has all the qualities to play in all those positions, as he is physically strong, fast and blessed with great technique. When Ayew combines his speed, strength and technical abilities to pass his opponents it almost seems unfair that one player is blessed with so many qualities.

His technical skills come in handy not only for dribbling but also for scoring. For a midfielder, Ayew has very good finishing skills, finding the net with apparent ease. And even though not very tall, Ayew he has a great leap and has no problem of scoring with his head. 


Ayew is still a young player, and just like many other players his age he lacks consistency. He tends to disappear from time to time, and doesn't always dominate as he should. He also needs to learn how to conserve his energy better.

Ayew should also further enhance his abilities to play as a winger and improve his running down the flank in order to cross the ball, as he tends to cut into the middle a bit too often. His attacking tactical sense still has room for improvement.


Ayew has a great mentality. Despite his attacking prowess, he is not a complacent player who only plays when the ball is at his feet. He is actually a hard-working midfielder. He covers a lot of ground and he has great stamina.

He is a team player, who always works hard and likes to create goals for his teammates just as he likes to score himself.

Current situation

Ayew's status is growing with time. He has his coach's trust, and if he keeps on the current track Marseille is unlikely to be his last station.

At the moment, Ayew is mostly familiar in France and Ghana.

But teams like Arsenal are already tracking him, and it won't be long before Ayew finds himself the subject of a lucrative transfer.

Ayew is set to be one of Ghana's greatest promises for years to come and he is definitely a player deserving of football fans' attention.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Erik Lamela - The 18-year-old prodigy touted as the new Lionel Messi

The young Argentine midfielder has been the subject of a €12m offer from AC Milan while Bayern Munich are also keen on landing him.

Erik Lamela has been considered a huge promise since Barcelona expressed interest in him when he was only 12 years of age.

Incredibly, he opted to reject a move to the Spanish giants two years ago in favour of prolonging his stay in Argentina with club River Plate.

Growing up as one of the biggest talents in the world for his age group, Lamela is today only 18 but has already shown enough promise for River Plate to reject a €12m AC Milan bid for him recently.

It seems that Lamela's club are reluctant to part with him for less than €18m, and for a change, that could prove a very realistic fee.

It is hard to believe he has only started his way in the Argentine top flight, racking up three assists and two goals in 13 appearances in his first year for River. He had played twice before in previous seasons but only as a late substitute.

In one of the most important matches of the season, against fierce rivals Boca Juniors, Lamela stood out with a bravura performance in the heart of River's midfield to overshadow opposition star Juan Roman Riquelme.

Lamela, who sports the number 18 shirt, can play in centre of the park as a playmaker or an attacking midfielder, and can also be employed as a winger on both flanks.

Boasting wonderful technique, close ball control and two powerful feet, Lamela is an exceptionally creative talent who possesses the potential to unlock top class opposition defences in similar fashion to Barcelona comptatriot Lionel Messi.

He has the ability to dribble past his man, but passing remains his forte as the accuracy and power he can provide with his left foot is tremendous.

He offers composure in front of goal when stood with a chance and appears much calmer and experienced than the average player of his age.

He is also adept at taking set-pieces and is in charge of free kicks and corner kicks for his side, which is highly indicative of his technical ability.

Lamela's current shortcomings are few and far between, but he could improve his aerial ability as he is the right height to be a threat in the air if he works on this aspect of his game.

And perhaps the current missing ingredient for Lamela to become a top calibre player is speed. Quite simply, he could improve his pace and acceleration to pose a more serious threat on the counter-attack.

The sky is the limit for this immensely talented 18-year-old trickster and time will tell if he is indeed the next big thing on the world stage.

Mauro “Gato” Formica - 22-year-old playmaker deemed one of the hottest prospects in Argentina

The Argentina U-21 starlet has been immense for his club in recent seasons and is being eyed by a host of European clubs.

Creative midfielder Mauro Formica is a product of the Newell's Old Boys youth academy. He started his career at the club in the 2006/2007 season, making his debut appearance against Colon, aged 18.

But before his first league appearance for Old Boys, he was already a member of the Argentina U-17 squad and had made four appearances, scoring two goals for the youth national team.

The 1.76m-tall midfielder, who is nicknamed Gato, is a determined player who has been one of his team's most solid performers since he became a consistent fixture in the lineup in the 2008/2009 season.

And the player's statistics back the claim that he has become one of the most highly-rated youngsters in Argentina. After contributing seven goals and an assist in 19 appearances over the 2008/2009 Apertura season, he went on to notch eight goals and seven assists in 38 outings over the following term.

On the back of these performances, then-Argentina boss Diego Maradona spotted the youngster's potential and called him up to the squad to face Panama in a friendly match. Unfortunately, Formica was injured and missed the opportunity to make his senior international debut.

This year, Formica has already scored five goals and made two more in 23 showings so far. Even more impressive is the way his goals were taken, often oozing panache.

Rosario-born Formica is an exceptional dribbler who has the technical ability to slalom past opposition players and make it look easy, which is the true sign of a prodigy.

He sports impressive vision and creativity, seemingly playing as if he has wing mirrors showing him what goes on on the pitch in any given moment.

Aside from his astute ball control, he is also blessed with two strong feet, and has scored some memorable long-range goals in recent seasons using each one.

His off-the-ball movement and decision-making are very intelligent, and he seems comfortable operating either in the centre of the park or in a more forward position as an attacking midfielder or a support striker.

Well-known European sides such as Girondins Bordeaux, West Ham United and Rubin Kazan are reportedly among the player's many suitors. It is believed that the Russian side tabled a bid for the player early in 2010 which was promptly rejected.

He was also the subject of a $5m bid from Argentinean giants River Plate, but the offer was turned down by Old Boys.

Taking into consideration the player's physical, mental and technical attributes, he would likely fit in best at the Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1 or the German Bundesliga, and has the potential to become a very good player on the European stage.

Gerard Pique denies being the cause of pop star Shakira's split

Football star Gerard Pique has denied being the cause of Shakira's split from her boyfriend of 11 years.

The ex-Manchester United defender, 23, has been repeatedly linked to the singer, amid claims they have enjoyed secret dinner dates and romantic breaks.

Shakira, 33, announced her breakup with Antonio de la Rua earlier this week, saying they had actually ended their relationship in August but kept it private until now.

The statement sparked furious rumours that her alleged relationship with Pique was the reason for the separation.

But the World Cup winning footballer - who currently plays for FC Barcelona - insisted: 'We're just friends. There's nothing more to it. I don't know anything about the break-up.

'You lot have just told me about it. We're just friends and that's that.'

The footballer was speaking to reporters at Barcelona airport, as he returned from Zurich where he watched pal Lionel Messi pick up the FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday night.

Shakira met the footballer last spring while shooting the video to her song Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - the official track of the 2010 World Cup.

Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico de Catalunya claimed they have had a string of secret encounters since then.

It said they both spent a night in the seven-room Hotel Atzaro in Ibiza last July. The footballer is said to have arrived and left wearing the same clothes.

The paper also claimed they spent a weekend at a remote country house near the town of Tarrega, 70 miles west of Barcelona.

Last summer they are said to have enjoyed a meal together in the restaurant Raco d'en Cesc in central Barcelona. And in November they reportedly walked together on the beach at the resort of Blanes, 50 miles north of the city.

Shakira has previously dismissed reports of a romance.

At a press conference last month in Barcelona she described the claims as a 'waka-rumour' and added: 'You shouldn't take any notice of waka-rumours.'
Shakira announced her split from De La Rua, son of former Argentine president Fernando de la Rua, on her official website.

The couple said: 'During our almost 11 years together we have loved each other deeply, taken care of each other and stood by one another.

'They have been the most wonderful years of our lives, and thanks to that love and the respect we have shared for one another, we have been an exceptional couple and partners.

'Our friendship and understanding of one another is unwavering and indestructible.'

The couple added that they viewed their separation as temporary, and that de la Rua - who is also Shakira's agent - would continue to oversee the singer's business and career interests.

'We move forward together as partners, developing projects together, working hand in hand and in close communication,' the pair said.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bayern Munich confirms interest in Japan wonderkid

Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has confirmed that the reigning Bundesliga champions are closely monitoring Japanese youngster Takashi Usami, currently under contract with Gamba Osaka.

"I really enjoyed watching the player in action," said van Gaal to Bild Sport. 

"He's definitely an option for the No. 10 position at Bayern. He's considered to be a huge talent though and we are not the only team that want to sign him.

"I'm of the opinion that it's better for us to scout players in Japan than in England. The players in England are overpriced. 

"Players from Japan are not only cheaper, but they also have a great mentality that fits in perfectly in Germany."

Bayern have reportedly offered the 18-year-old Usami a trial period, but it remains to be seen whether Gamba Osaka are willing to allow the attacking midfielder to travel to Germany for a such a trial.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eight global wonderkids Barcelona will follow in 2011

Barcelona chiefs have identified eight young strikers playing around the world to follow in 2011.
While they have high hopes for Rafa Alcantara, that hasn't prevented Barca from identifying potential future striker signings.
Those under consideration, according to Sport, are:
Vitolo (Las Palmas)
The striker is also followed by Real Madrid and rated at €5 million.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Utrecht)
Tipped to be the next big thing in Holland and rumoured to have already been the subject of a bid from Liverpool.
Jesse Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
This 17 year-old is regarded among Real's brightest young players. Known for his pace and ability on the ball.
Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid)
Now 16, Saul came through the junior ranks at Real Madrid. Has been with Atletico for the past three seasons.

Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)
Quickly gaining a big reputation across Europe. Has broken into Jose Mourinho's first team this season.
Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht)

The hottest young striker in Europe. Real Madrid and Chelsea are favourites for his signature at the end of the season.
Paco Alcacer (Valencia)
A Spain U17 international, Alcacer has been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea this season.
Alvaro Vazquez (Espanyol)
Now 19, Vazquez has been a revelation this season after forcing his way into coach Mauricio Pochettino's plans.



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