Category Archives: Sports

Pique: “We have to keep evolving”

Pique’s Interview with the press at Ciutat Espotivo 3 months ago. Proves his goal yesterday could have happened to any defender; Shakira has no part of play with that error.

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In a press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva on Monday morning just after training, Pique offered his insight on how Barcelona is doing and his thoughts about the media reaction to Mourinho. Read some excerpts after the jump.

Always offering his honest and sometimes brutal insight, Pique started the press conference by reminding the press that the squad has never felt that they are invincible. “You can never feel you are unbeatable because as soon as you get that feeling you are most likely to lose,” before adding that “we have to continue with the same strategy and on the same dynamic, that’s what will help us.”

The press then continued with two questions that have been on a lot of people’s minds: Is the team better than under Pep? Has Barça reached its peak? Pique replied that he thinks it’s intangible and very subjective. Regarding reaching the peak, he said that “we have signed Jordi Alba and other different players. We have to keep evolving, we have to keep improving, and look for new challenges. I think we’re going to start playing at a very high level again.”

Regarding Madrid’s 18 point difference and Mourinho being under fire, Pique retorted that in his opinion Mourinho never changes, only Madrid’s results have changed. Highlighting Mourinho’s past offenses, such as Tito’s eye-gouging, and contrasting it with this season’s controversies, Pique had this to say: “It makes me laugh, because I remember when Madrid were winning, and Mourinho got away with murder. He even came here and poked Tito in the eye. How many games was he banned for that? None. Now Mourinho has picked on Casillas, threatened a journalist, and people are criticising him. Mourinho has always been like this, ever since he arrived. And he got away with everything.” He also added that the bias from the sports media in both cities doesn’t help either.

As for the next match against Malaga on Wednesday, he said that Barcelona is honored to have received applause from their rival and hope they will feel the same way at the end of the Copa match.

Jose Mourinho points at Real Madrid departure.

Jose Mourinho says he may not remain as Real Madrid coach next season and plans to be “where people love me to be”.Image

The 50-year-old former Chelsea manager saw his side exit the Champions League after a 4-3 aggregate defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final.

The Portuguese has been linked with a move away from Spain and has spoken in the past of a return to England.

After the match in Madrid he said: “I know in England I am loved, I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one.”

Mourinho left the Blues in acrimonious circumstances after a falling out with owner Roman Abramovich, although Mourinho remains Chelsea’s most successful manager with two Premier League titles and three domestic cup wins.

Current interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez, an unpopular figure among Blues supporters, has said he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Mourinho added: “I am loved by the fans and the media who treat me in a fair way.

“I know in Spain it is different because many people hate me.”

Real are 11 points behind arch rivals Barcelona with five games remaining in La Liga.

They face city rivals Atletico in the Spanish Cup final in May, Real’s last realistic chance of winning silverware this season.

Mourinho insisted he would wait until the end of the current campaign before making a decision on his future.

“I didn’t make a decision because I have a contract and the respect I have for the club and the president,” he said.

“At the end of the season I want to sit down with the president and speak about it.”

Dortmund thrashing of Real like ‘Robin Hood taking from the rich’, says Klopp

• ‘Of course we can still do it,’ insists Real’s José Mourinho
• Jürgen Klopp agrees Champions League semi far from over.

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Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp looks on as Real Madrid’s José Mourinho gestures during their Champions League semi-final. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

José Mourinho said that Real Madrid would turn round their semi-final deficit against Borussia Dortmund or die trying after they were thrashed 4-1 in Germany on Wednesday night, all four of the hosts’ goals coming from the coveted Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.

Madrid conceded those four just 24 hours after Barcelona had done the same against Bayern Munich but Cristiano Ronaldo’s away goal gave them a glimmer of hope for the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday and the Portuguese coach insisted: “Nothing is impossible in football.”

Dortmund’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, agreed that the tie was not over and insisted that whatever happened next this would be a historic night for the club. “That was like Robin Hood taking from the rich,” he said, adding that he would not be leaving at the end of the season and that he did not expect Lewandowski to depart either. There have been reports of an approach for the striker from Bayern Munich and of offers from English clubs, too, but Klopp insisted the 24-year-old would stay.

Mourinho said: “It is obvious that Dortmund were the better side. They were more aggressive physically and mentally and they won virtually all the duels. I have the feeling that every goal was a mistake. And we had one or two more [mistakes] that could have [made the score] worse too but our goalkeeper made good saves.

“Over the last three years at Madrid I have met lots of people and they have told me lots of things about the club, including the importance of the Bernabéu [on European nights],” Mourinho continued. “Things seem impossible but they are not. There is still hope. If you asked the players now if there is a chance, they would say ‘no’. Ask them in an hour and they will say ‘yes’. By next Tuesday they will be ready to go for it and give everything.

“Of course we can do it. On a crazy night where everyone performs at a high level and you score every chance, you can do it. What you cannot do is get knocked out without dying on the pitch. If we are knocked out I want [Dortmund] to suffer and I want the Madrid players to leave the pitch with absolutely nothing left to give.”

Klopp added: “This will go down in the club’s history books. I hope soon they will show a film in the club’s museum of the goals by Lewandowski tonight but that will only happen if we win on Tuesday. The goals were incredible; the third is worth every single cent of what the TV channels pay for the rights.

“I would never have dreamed that we would score four in a semi-final of the Champions League. If we lose 3-0, we’re out. If 4-1, it’s extra-time. So it’s not over but whatever happens we will give our best and let’s not ruin the pleasure of this night.

“Lewandowski is quality [because of] his mentality, his fitness, what he thinks about football, how cool he is,” Klopp said, adding: “And I am sure he will stay.”

So too will Klopp, even though he is realistic enough to know that one of the consequences of this success is that it makes the breakup of the side more likely. “I have told the journalists that they can write what they want, but I will stay,” he said. “That might not be the best news for some of the players but it is the truth so it’s no problem.

“The better you get the more the other teams want your players; you cannot be successful and have nobody recognise it. Every year we lost one brilliant player and we get better and better and better. It is no problem because we know we have to concentrate on the next match and not think about next year. This team’s mentality is to enjoy each day that we are together and then we will see at the end of the season.”

Mercilessly Beaten. Bayern Munich vs. FC Barcelona: Rating Both Sets of Players

Allianz Arena
yesterday, 7:45 PM
Bayern Munich                            4-0                                     Barcelona

(8-2)                                                          Final                                                  (5-3)
Scores and Schedule
Yesterday                       Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona                            Final
Wed, May 1st                 Barcelona          vs Bayern Munich                      7:45 PM
The German Champions’ physical superiority helped them brush aside Barça in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
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Bayern Munich gorged themselves at the top table of European football on Tuesday night.

The powerhouse performance that Bavaria’s finest produced against Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final was as good a 90 minutes of football as you are likely to witness.

Taking into account the quality of their opponents, I doubt that many pundits would have imagined quite such a one-sided spectacle. 

Barcelona’s famed “tiki-taka” passing game was only evident in short phases of the match and was no match for Bayern’s heady mix of raw aggression, power, pace and a strong pressing game.

Let’s take a look at how I rated both teams…

Bayern Munich Goalkeeper and Defence

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Manuel Neuer: 5/10

I don’t think I can rate Bayern’s keeper higher than a five because he had hardly anything to do in the game! A couple of routine saves aside, this will have been one of the quietest nights he has enjoyed.

David Alaba: 8/10

Got forward at every opportunity as his direct opponent, Pedro, offered little as an attacking threat. Popped up as a “false nine” halfway through the first half. Set up the fourth goal, racing down the outside on 81 minutes to cross for Thomas Muller.

Dante: 9/10

Apart from a couple of wasteful early balls, Dante was a commanding presence at the heart of the Bayern defence. A brick wall that Barcelona couldn’t breach. Huge leap to set up the first goal. Dominant.

Jerome Boateng: 7/10

Was dependable and assured alongside Dante, mopping up any loose balls in and around the area. Went about his work quietly but effectively and was always available.

Philipp Lahm: 8/10

An energetic performance from the Bayern captain. Played high up the pitch at every opportunity, affecting the play whenever possible. Kept Alexis Sanchez very quiet for the most part.

Bayern Munich Midfield

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Bastian Schweinsteiger: 9/10 

Patrolled the midfield like a general. Had the unenviable task of man-marking Lionel Messi. That the Argentine barely had a sniff of a chance in this game tells you all you need to know about the performance of “Schweini”—at the heart of everything.

Bayern Munich Attack and Substitutes

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Thomas Muller: 9/10

A great attacking performance from the two-goal hero. Muller served notice of his intentions with a strong challenge on Jordi Alba on 17 minutes.

Quick to react to Dante’s header for the first goal, he was on point for the coup de grace, sandwiching his setup for Mario Gomez to get on the scoresheet. However, he was lucky not to get booked in the lead-up to Robben’s goal.

Mario Gomez: 9/10

A spearhead in the Bayern attack, his presence often unsettled the Barcelona defence. Gomez led the line very well, bringing others into play often. Despite being offside for his goal, his all-round display deserved some reward.

Luiz Gustavo: 4/10

Luiz Gustavo came on as a 71st-minute substitute for Gomez, but there was little play of note from the player in the short time he had on the pitch.

Xherdan Shaqiri: 4/10

Replaced Ribery on 88 minutes but, as with Gustavo, there was too little time for the player to impose his quality on this match.

Claudio Pizarro: 4/10

Played the last seven minutes of the match, taking over offensive duties from Muller. With the game already won, the substitute linked up well but had little effect to the overall performance/result.

Barcelona Goalkeeper and Defence

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Victor Valdes: 5/10

Got down well to deny Robben in the second minute but was rooted to the spot for the first goal and caught in no man’s land for the third. Perhaps could’ve done better in cutting out the cross for the fourth goal—the keeper has had better nights.

Jordi Alba: 6/10

Alba was as good as ever marauding forward, but too often there was no end product to his play. A scuffed pass on 62 minutes when Messi was well-placed to receive is a prime example. Allowed Muller to get ahead of him for the fourth goal and ruled himself out of the second leg with a stupid act of petulance at the end of the match.

Gerard Pique: 7/10

Good distribution for the most part although he lacked attention at times, most noticeably when he stood still for the first goal, allowing Muller in behind. Pique did win a fair number of balls in the air but was again found wanting for Gomez’ goal.

Marc Bartra: 5/10

The game was just too big for him. Tito Vilanova had no choice but to start with him, but unfortunately for the youngster, this was not the game to be thrown in at the deep end. A few completed passes aside, his performance was most notable for the glaring miss on 68 minutes that would’ve given the game an entirely different complexion.

Dani Alves: 7/10

Involved in much of Barcelona’s early play, he got forward at every opportunity but did well not to neglect his defensive duties. Alves never stopped working, but it was his tired pass that led to the attack culminating in the third goal.

Barcelona Midfield

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Sergio Busquets: 7/10 

Busquets did little wrong in this match, the Barcelona midfield were simply overrun by superior opponents. Breaking up play effectively when the opportunity arose, “Busi” had a good first half. The hallmark of his usual game was in evidence—simple, short passes that invariably found their target.

Xavi Hernandez: 7/10

A typical Xavi performance. Popped up here, there and everywhere in trying to find the chink of light in the opposition midfield. Was well-marshalled for much of the game, but as ever, most of Barcelona’s probing and forward play came via Xavi.

Andres Iniesta: 7/10

Never really got much time on the ball and was therefore caught in possession a number of times. Although this wasn’t a vintage performance, Iniesta broke through on a few occasions in the second half, pinning Lahm back to his defensive sentry.

Barcelona Attack and Substitutes

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Pedro Rodriguez: 5/10

Well taken care of by Alaba, Pedro rarely had a sniff in the match. Despite lots of sharp movement and a spirited desire for work, it was a very quiet game by his standards.

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

Another who couldn’t escape the shackles of a ferocious Bayern defensive unit. Worked extremely hard at creating openings and bringing teammates into play, ultimately for little reward. Should’ve done better with a second-half cross when well-placed.

Lionel Messi: 6/10

Barcelona’s “saviour” was clearly not fit for this match, and in hindsight it will be seen as a mistake to play him. Surrounded at every twist and turn, it took until the 68th minute of the match for Messi to go on one of his trademark penetrating runs toward the heart of the Bayern defence. It was his quietest game for some time.

David Villa: 4/10

Should’ve been introduced by Tito Vilanova much earlier. Another substitute who had no time to have any influence on the outcome of the match, which was already won by the time he replaced Pedro on 83 minutes.

Javi Martinez: 9/10

A constant thorn in the side of Barcelona, he was another who dominated his area of the park. Biting at the heels of Andres Iniesta in the 33rd minute and barely leaving Sergio Busquets side, he broke up Barcelona’s occasional attacking thrusts with ease.

Arjen Robben: 10/10

My man of the match. Apart from a ridiculous dive towards the end of the game, we saw the best side of Arjen Robben. He almost scored with a toe poke as early as the second minute and a diving header in the second half. He was direct and broke at pace and with purpose whenever possible.

The Barcelona defence were unable to cope with him. He finished his goal with aplomb despite the fact it should never have stood. It was a complete performance from the Dutchman.

Franck Ribery: 9/10

Gave Dani Alves much to think about during the game. Involved often, Ribery mirrored Arjen Robben’s work rate on the opposite side of the pitch and defended from the front. A solid performance from the Frenchman.

The race for next season’s UEFA Champions League is hotting up, and it’s always intriguing to see a new face make a splash on Europe’s elite competition.

We look at some of the lesser-established—but far from lesser-talented—clubs who are on the brink of qualifying and assess who the surprise packages could be.

Add your own in the comments if a particular club has caught your eye!

A. Song Unhappy with his play at Barcelona F.C

Alexandre Song Bilong who left Arsenal to Cam Nou last transfer season now unhappy with his role at his present club. F.C Barcelone.

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The former Arsenal midfielder’s older cousin reveals that the Cameroon international is frustrated about a lack of first-team appearances since moving to Camp Nou

Reired Cameroon star Rigobert Song has revealed that his cousin, midfielder Alex Song, is unhappy at Barcelona because of his lack of first-team opportunities since joining from Arsenal.

The Cameroon international moved to the Catalan club for 15 million pounds over the summer but has made just 12 starts in La Liga, spending some of that time in a less-familiar center back role rather than his preferred position in the middle of the park.

The former Liverpool and Galatasaray defender has now publicly declared the 25-year-old’s discontent in Spain but still believes that he ought to remain with the Blaugrana.

“Alex is not happy [at Barcelona]; at Arsenal he was a leader on and off the field, he doesn’t feel like the protagonist in Spain, it makes him feel bad,” the elder Song told Calciomercato on Wednesday. “He still has a long contract, until 2017. I do not think moving away is the right choice. All players want to play all the time but in Barcelona it is not easy. ”

Despite his cousin’s struggles to impose himself on the first team at Camp Nou, the veteran Song sees success in due time for the former Gunner.

“Alex must have patience,” he asserted. “His time will come because he has the qualities to do well.”

Jose Mourinho Agrees A Provisional Deal To Return As Chelsea Manager.

Jose Mourinho is close to a Chelsea return after Roman Abramovich agreed to swallow his pride and reappoint the “Special One” as manager.

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Real Madrid coach Mourinho was due to be at Stamford Bridge on Monday night to watch Russia play Brazil as part of a whistle-stop visit to London.

And, six years after his tempestuous relationship with Abramovich ended in combustion, Mourinho is on the brink of consenting to go back “home” to the Blues.
 
It is understood Mourinho and Abramovich have reached a provisional agreement for the Portuguese to take over from interim Rafa Benitez this summer on a three-year contract.
 
There are still significant stumbling blocks before any deal can be signed though, with Anzhi Makhachkala’s Dutch veteran Guus Hiddink lined up as a potential fall-back option if the Mourinho move goes wrong.
 
Mourinho is believed to have made it clear that he will only consider a return if Chelsea finish in the top four, qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
 
More contentiously – and what could cause a major hurdle – the Portuguese is concerned about working in an environment where technical director Michael Emenalo and chief executive Ron Gourlay hold the levers of power.
 
Also, sources in France and Spain insist Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has struck a similar provisional deal with Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain, who are ready to dump ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti if his expensively-assembled side do not win Ligue 1 this season.
 
But, with Mourinho determined to pack his bags and leave Real at the end of the season irrespective of whether he becomes the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs, it seems that the hopes and prayers of most Blues fans could be answered.
 
The 50-year-old has played a blatant game of tease with would-be suitors over recent weeks, including suggesting he could go back to a former club but that he might be ready to unleash a “surprise”.
 
What is evident, though, is that Abramovich – falsely reported by one Russian TV station to have been arrested in the United States on Monday – is ready to admit he made the biggest mistake of his reign when he parted company with Mourinho in 2007.

Tevez escapes jail after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified

Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez has escaped jail after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance at Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court.

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The 29-year-old was given 250 hours community service, a £1000 fine and a further six month driving ban.

He entered his guilty plea in his native Spanish with the aid of an interpreter as he stood in the dock at Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court.

JPs heard that the Argentine, who gave his full name as Carlos Alberto Tevez, has not yet got a UK driving licence, partly because he has struggled to pass the theory test, which is conducted in English.

Tevez pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance after being stopped as he left a golf club in a Porsche Cayenne on the afternoon of March 7 following an anonymous tip-off to police.

He received a six-month driving ban at Manchester Magistrates’ Court in January after pleading guilty to two counts of failing to furnish information relating to incidents in which his Hummer vehicle was clocked speeding.

Kate Marchuk, prosecuting, told the court a police officer was called to the Mottram Hall Hotel and Golf Club in Cheshire at around 4pm on March 7.

“There had been a call from an anonymous caller, that the defendant had driven a white Range Rover to the golf club whilst disqualified. The officer confirmed this on the Police National Computer.”

But Marchuk said Tevez had been disqualified from driving on January 16, until May 25.

In fact Tevez, who lives in nearby Alderley Edge, did not get into the Range Rover, but instead at around 5pm left the club, got into a white Porsche Cayenne and drove off. He was stopped nearby and arrested for driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

He told the officer: “I only live down the road. Two minutes.” Tevez was taken to the police station and later bailed but at a second interview made no reply to police questions.