Category Archives: News

Fabregas rumours heating up, after Wigan extinguish Arsenal fire

It looks like Barcelona are not only facing a tug of war with Real Madrid for the La Liga crown, but also for the services of Cesc Fabregas this summer, with rumours rife that a meeting between his father and Florentino Perez has taken place, starting to circulate in the Spanish press.

Fabregas has been consistently linked with a move back to Catalonia in the summer, as Arsenal look to end another season empty handed, but Real have emerged as serious contenders for his signature, as they look to throw money at their side which has again fallen short of its expectations for this campaign.

It is believed that Fabregas Snr attended the La Liga clash with Valencia on Sunday, before holding talks with Perez, and that Madrid are now poised to bid £60million for the midfielder in the summer, a move likely to start a bidding war with Barca, who have been linked with him for the past two seasons.

I think it would make more sense for Fabregas to head to Madrid, as he would walk straight into the side, whereas at Barca there is always the chance that he’ll be playing second fiddle to Xavi and Iniesta.

A great player no doubt, but whether or not he is on their level just yet I’m not sure, as he struggles to get in the Spain side as it is at the moment when those two are fit.

It could be an interesting summer for the two Spanish giants, especially if Barca lose out in the title race and Champion’s League, which is a possibility after letting Madrid back in the title race at the weekend and losing to Inter 3-1 last night.

I can’t see Fabregas waiting around at Arsenal much longer as they continue to miss out on silverwear season after season.

It’s likely that his father and agents are sounding out both clubs to see where he’ll get the best deal, as to me it looks as though his heart is set on being in Spain and not the Premier League.

If I had to put money on it though, I think he’ll be playing at Barca next season, as the temptation of playing for his boyhood club again will probably be the factor that sways the Spaniards decision.

Ronaldo to sue over party allegations

Judging by their performance at the Bernabeu last weekend, Real Madrid’s players might as well have gone out on the town the night before! Soundly beaten by Barcelona 2-0 in their own back yard, and now looking well out of the race to win back the La Liga Crown, it looks like the season may be over for Madrid, with their end of season shindig the only thing to look forward to!

Claims this week though suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo had preempted the club’s plight, throwing all-night parties before and after “El Gran Clasico” at his Madrid home, a story angrily dismissed by the former World Player of the Year.

Whether or not the Madrid players did or didn’t get boozy in the early hours either side of the clash, I couldn’t help but laugh at the wording of Ronaldo’s “official” statement on the subject.

Although fluent in English, comments such as “not one iota of truth in it” and “intolerably depreciating to my dignity”, made me feel that the Portugeezer may have had a little assistance in piecing together his comeback.

Here is Ronaldo’s plead of innocence, in his own words!

“It has come to my attention that in the programme ‘Salva-Me’ on Spanish television channel Telecinco, there were references made to alleged parties held at my house, one on Friday, the eve of the game against Barcelona, which reportedly lasted until five in the morning, and one on Saturday night itself, interspersed with several comments which were intolerably depreciating to my dignity and my professionalism.

“I categorically refute such accusations, which are completely false and delusional: there is really not even one iota of truth in them.

“With a game the next day, it is more than obvious that I spent Friday night resting and, on Saturday night, my spirit was anything but festive.

“Considering the gravity of the charges, I have instructed my lawyers to, without any reflection, use all legal means to restore the truth of the matter and ensure that those responsible are punished to the fullest extent legally provided.”

Mourinho not good enough for Real: Schuster

Bernd Schuster has sensationally written off Jose Mourinho’s chances of succeeding as manager of Real Madrid, before the “Special One” has even taken on the job.

The former Real coach, who quit the club in December 2008 has slammed Mourinho, indicating that he doesn’t believe that the Portuguese coach is good enough to take over the reigns at the Bernabeu.

Mourinho is being widely tipped to take over at Madrid in the summer, after stating that he has fallen out of love with Italian football. Schuster also claimed that current coach Manuel Pellegrini had not done enough in his time in charge of Real.

“Mourinho doesn’t have the profile or the philosophy of Real Madrid and Pellegrini has not changed the team’s style of play either.” said the German.

Mourinho Madrid bound?

After falling out of love with Italian football, I think that the most likely destination for Jose Mourinho this summer is not in England at Manchester United, Manchester City or Liverpool, but at league leaders Real Madrid in Spain.

Just a hunch, but having spoken of his desire to win the Spanish League at some time during his career and with the financial possibilities at free-spending Real, I think Jose will be the man to replace Manuel Pellegrini this summer, regardless of what the current coach achieves this season.

Although Manchester City can match anything Madrid can offer the Special One financially, I don’t think that he would consider a move to Eastlands as I don’t believe that they are a big enough club to support Mourinho’s ego or stature within world football. I think he would only leave Inter for a job at one of the Europe’s elite and can only see him accepting Real, Barca or United in the next few seasons, having spoken of his interest in replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford when he retires.

Whether or not that will happen in the summer I am unsure, as Ferguson looks likely to stay put for another season or two, but he has suggested that he will not make a formal announcement of his retirement before he moves on this time around, so if he did want Mourinho as his replacement, then now might be the time to act.

He is almost certain to leave Inter in the summer and Real Madrid to me seems like the natural choice for his next challenge.

Aragones snubs Sevilla post

Former Spain coach Luis Aragones has rejected the advances of Sevilla to take over the reigns at the stuttering La Liga giants.

Assistant manager Antonio Alvarez has been put in temporary charge of the side until the end of the season, as they look to end their seven match run without a win away at Villarreal.

Alvarez takes over from the departing Manolo Jimenez who was sacked after another poor display as Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to bottom club Xerez on Tuesday night.

Spanish pair clash in Europa draw

Atletico Madrid and Valencia have been drawn to face each other in the tie of the round in the Europa League Quarter-final draw.

The two La Liga sides meet for the first leg at Valencia’s Mestella on Thursday 1st April, with the return in Madrid just a week later on April 8th.

It ruins any dreams of an all-Spanish final, but promises to be an intriguing battle nonetheless.

The winners of the tie face a tough semi-final draw in which they will be paired against the winner of Liverpool’s encounter with Benfica.

In the Champion’s League Barcelona face Arsenal in their quarter-final, which will see Thierry Henry return to face his former club for the first time since his move to the Catalan giants in June 2007.

The winner of that tie will face either Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow in the semi-finals.

Champion’s League Draw:

Lyon vs Bordeaux

Bayern Munich vs Manchester United

Arsenal vs Barcelona

Inter Milan vs CSKA Moscow

Europa League Draw:

Fulham vs Wolfsburg

Hamburg vs Standard Liege

Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

Benfica vs Liverpool

Valencia and Atletico edge through in thrillers

Valencia and Atletico Madrid ensured there will be two La Liga representatives in this season’s Europa League Quarter-Finals, after both sides snuck into the next round on the away goals rule.

David Villa was on top form, netting a hat-trick with Juan Mata scoring the other for Valencia as they played out arguably the game of the tournament so far with a 4-4 draw away to German side Werder Bremen, the scores 5-5 on aggregate.

However, it should have been a lot more comfortable for Los Che on the night.

Valencia led 3-1 at half-time and survived a late rally from Bremen, who clawed back to 3-3, only for Villa to restore the lead before Pizarro’s late leveller set up a tense finale. After surviving the late scare, it is Valencia who will take their place in Friday’s draw where they will be joined by Atletico Madrid after their impressive performance in Lisbon.

Sergio Aguero showed why he is one of the hottest properties in Europe at present, as he bagged a brace for Atletico as they held Sporting to a 2-2 draw. Atletico like Valencia, made it hard for themselves by leading twice on the night, allowing their hosts to level both times.

A gritty second half performance from Quique Flores’ men though was enough to put them  in the hat with their La Liga rivals, with both sides hoping to avoid favourites Liverpool, who saw off Lille 3-1 on aggregate, and Wolfsburg, who defeated Rubin Kazan 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a winner in the last minute of extra-time from Christian Gentner.

Friday’s draw will not only include the draws for the Quarter-finals but also the Semi-finals, so if both sides can avoid being placed in the same half of the competition then they could potentially face each other in an all Spanish final in Hamburg on 12th May.

The draw will follow the UEFA Champion’s League draw which takes place at 11am, with Barcelona the only surviving La Liga hopefuls in the competition.