The Real Madrid Captain put rivalry asides as he said he considered the Barcelona left-back as one of the World’s best defenders.

Although Jordi Alba and Luis Enrique worked together at Barcelona, the 29-year-old has been overlooked by the new Spanish manager.

Alba’s continuous omission from the team remains a shock to Ramos, as he said the former Valencia player was a top-notch defender.

The Spanish national team captain said, as quoted by AS, “Myself and Jordi Alba have played many years together, he is one of the best in the world, as shown by his performances and statistics.

“But then the coach is the one doing the line-up.

“For our {the players} part, he will always be received.”

 

 

Published in International Watch

It was something of a statement. Spurs turning up at Wembley and making light work of Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League group stage, with an unfit Harry Kane and little need to be at 100%, just two weeks after getting a draw at the Bernabeu. Mauricio Pochettino’s side took four points from Real, and six from Borussia Dortmund in a group which they were tipped by many to fail to get out of. Spurs had peaked.

Then a harsh European lesson in the last 16, as after taking a 2-2 draw from Turin, and dominating just about the entirety of the second leg, the North Londoners still crashed out of the competition at the hands of Juventus. That tie was lost thanks to a five-minute window when Spurs looked like they didn’t know what hit them, and the same seemed to happen in Matchday One of this season’s Champions League, again against Italian opposition. Spurs weren’t quite as dominant as they were against Juventus away at Inter, but when they took the lead at the San Siro, their looked to be only one winner. Inter looked unable to conjure up any form of escapology, and it almost seemed like Spurs were toying with the Nerazzurri, ahead and in control with five minutes left. Yet, in the second minute of stoppage time, Pochettino’s side were behind, and ended up with nothing.

That result was the last of their three successive defeats, which posed the question as to whether they were in crisis. They’ve managed to recover since then, three straight wins- one requiring a penalty shootout in the League Cup- looked to have put to bed talk of the team falling apart, but as they prepare for their second Champions League game of the season, at Wembley, against Barcelona, there’s the sense that this game has the look of a must-win already. A defeat here, and they could end Matchday Two six points off the top two in Group B, a mountain to climb, and the fact that the opponents are Barcelona makes defeat more plausible than victory.

But Spurs won’t be fazed by the Spanish giants, having gone toe-to-toe with one last season. ‘Last season was Real Madrid and now it’s Barcelona’, Pochettino told Marca. ‘It is the essence of the Champions League to play these type of matches against the best teams in the world. They are exciting and motivate us a lot’. Pochettino is no stranger to facing Barcelona, his first game as manager of Espanyol back in 2009 was a goalless draw at the Nou Camp. The Argentine hasn’t had much joy against the Catalan club, but is still stoked about the idea of getting one over the four-time European champions. ‘I’m a periquito and of course it motivates me to win against Barcelona’.

Spurs will also take motivation from the fact that Barcelona are in no untouchable form. Ernesto Valverde’s side followed up a defeat against Leganes, where they conceded two goals in the space of 68 seconds at Butarque, with a draw at home to his former side Athletic Bilbao, where they needed the introduction of Lionel Messi, and a late goal from Munir El Haddadi to salvage a point. The Blaugrana have already conceded as many league goals after seven games this season as they did after 17 last term, an apparent flaw Spurs would hope to cash in on.

Victory over Barca is far from a long shot for Spurs, who’ve shown that they can rise to the challenge. However, victory over Barca is vital for Spurs, who haven’t quite shown that they are the best when under pressure.

Elsewhere:

  • A 4-0 win over Frosinone as well as a derby victory against Lazio means Roma might just have gotten their season together after all. Defeat to Real Madrid on Matchday One was not unexpected, but the home game against Czech side Plzen on Matchday Two is one in which victory is more than estimated.
  • An opportunity missed for Napoli, in Matchday One, who could only play out a goalless draw at Red Star Belgrade. Carlo Ancelotti’s side host Liverpool on Wednesday, in what looks like the game of Matchday Two.
  • Since that uncharacteristic defeat at home to Lyon on Matchday One, Manchester City have gone on a run of three wins, ten goals scored and none conceded in three games. They visit Hoffenheim next, and will be expected to get their European campaign back on track.
  • Speaking of getting European campaigns back on track, Paris St. Germain welcome Red Star to the Parc des Princes. Le Parisiens were defeated a fortnight ago in rather unimpressive fashion at Liverpool, anything short of victory here and there would surely be more inquests.
  • Monaco have had little joy so far this season, both on the domestic front or in Europe. The principality club lie in 18th place in the French Ligue 1, and began their Champions League season with a defeat at home to Atletico Madrid. They travel to the Signal Iduna Park to face Dortmund, the last team they beat in the Champions League (back in April 2017), on Wednesday.
  • And what tactic would Manchester United put forward at home to Valencia? Yes, this is where the Anti-Jose convention is taking place this week.

Fixtures

Manchester United v Valencia

CSKA v Real Madrid

Juventus v Young Boys

Hoffenheim v Manchester City

AEK v Benfica

Roma v Plzen

Bayern Munich v Ajax

Lyon v Shakhtar Donetsk

Tottenham v Barcelona

Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge

Lokomotiv Moscow v Schalke

PSV v Inter

Porto v Galatasaray

Napoli v Liverpool

Dortmund v Monaco

PSG v Red Star Belgrade

Published in International Watch

Joey Barton has labelled the Brazilian and PSG forward the Kim Kardashian of football.

Neymar has been a subject of ridicule following his World Cup performance – where he was criticised for play acting.

An outspoken Barton said Neymar’s display was an evident of the fact that the former Barcelona player is not the best player in the world – and his far away from being compared to the duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“I think he is the Kim Kardashian of football,” Barton, as quoted by AS.

“Neymar is not the best player in the world, we saw that again in Russia. He is not at the level of Ronaldo and Messi, and there are many other players in front of him.

“Neymar, more than a football phenomenon, is an advertising like the Kardashians.”

Barton, one-time capped English international, now manager of English third tier side Fleetwood, also revealed he hoped he could manage French side, Marseille later in the future.

The 36-year-old who represented Marseille in the 2012-13 season, said he could cope with the pressure of managing the Ligue 1 side.

He added, “I would love to coach Marseille one day. Honestly, I could train Marseille without any problem.

“I know the club from top to bottom. I understand the people, the culture, I know the Velodrome and I know what the club means to people.

“Many Marseille coaches did not know the club. If my trips bring me back there, fantastic.”  

Published in International Watch

Messi- Real Madrid less good without Ronaldo

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 12:41

Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi says the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid means the European champions are no longer as good as they were.

Messi and Ronaldo dominated the headlines in their nine years together in La Liga, before the Portuguese captain left the Bernabeu for Juventus this summer. And Messi believes that move means Real are not the force they once were, and that Barcelona can take advantage of that. But the Argentine was also quick to point out that Ronaldo's move to Juventus makes the Italian champions favourites for this season's UEFA Champions League.

'Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and they have a great squad', Messi told Catalunya Radio, 'but it's evident that the absence of Ronaldo makes them less good and makes Juventus clear favourites to win the Champions League'.

Messi also admitted to being taken aback by Ronaldo's departure. 'It surprised me', said the Los Cules skipper. 'I didn't imagine him leaving Madrid or joining Juventus. There were a lot of teams that wanted him. It surprised me, but he has gone to a very good team'.

Messi also expressed his delight at Barcelona being able to add to their squad in the summer. Ernesto Valverde's signed Clement Lenglet, Arturo Vidal, Malcom and Arthur in the off-season, adding depth to their side as they aim to retain their league title and triumph in Europe as well.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have begun the new La Liga season with three wins from three.

 

 

Published in International Watch

Gerard Pique has been arrested for presenting fake driving documents

The 31-year-old, on Friday, was arrested by the Police for driving with invalid license, Marca reports.

Pique, capped on 102 occasions by the Spanish national team was reported to have been arrested in the afternoon of Friday after police officers found out that his driving documents were not genuine.

The reports also had it that the Barcelona center-back had been driving illegally due to previous offenses, and might be summoned for a quick trial for a criminal offense.

It was reported that Pique risked a penalty of six months in jail, a fine of €288,000 or services to the community for 90 days.

Published in International Watch

The future of the Belgian international has been up for much discourse with a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Eden Hazard, who starred for his Belgium with three goals, in their verge to sealing the World Cup third place, yesterday, appeared to confirm his future his far away from Chelsea.

The 27-year-old was quoted by Goal to have said, “After six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different.”

Confirming rumours of Hazard plying his trade elsewhere next season is Brian Laudrup, who said the Belgian Captain told him of his intent to move to Real Madrid.

The former Bayern Munich player believed the move will be a good one for both Hazard and Real Madrid.

Laudrup, as quoted by Marca, “I spoke to Hazard a few days ago, he is preparing for a move to Madrid.

“It is a good move for both him and for Real. Again in Russia, he proved how good he is.”

With the Los Blancos being linked with a move for PSG duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe aftermath Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus, Laudrup added that the Spanish giant might seal a deal for either of the two.

“I think it is possible that Mbappe or Neymar sign for Real. But I cannot talk about that,” he added.

Published in Transfer Rumors

Neymar is currently leading the line for the La Selacao in the Brazilian quest to win a sixth World Cup.

The 25-year-old dumped Spanish giant Barcelona for Paris Saint-German last summer, in a deal said to be around €222m.

Reports earlier this week had it that Real Madrid had submitted a bid around €310m for Neymar, reports the Spanish giant discarded.

Rivaldo, who plied his trade for Barcelona from 1997 until 2002 was quoted by Marca to have said for Neymar to win the Ballon d’Or award, ”he should play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

Rivaldo believes his fellow Brazilian will never have his hand on football individual most covetous award if he continues to ply his trade with Paris Saint-German.

“At Paris Saint-German, with new coach Tomas Tuchel in charge, he will never be declared the best player in the world,” the 46-year-old added.

 

Published in International Watch

Spanish police have reportedly intercepted four phone calls from Sandro Rosell which suggest that the former Barcelona president purchased an illegal liver for Eric Abidal in 2012.

The French defender required a transplant during his time at the Camp Nou and it was said at the time that the liver was donated by his cousin Gerard, however it is now being claimed that this was not the case.

According to a report in El Confidencial, Rosell acted illegally to ensure the player received an organ transplant.

On April 20, 2017, the newspaper state that Rosell spoke to an unknown person in a phone call and that they discussed the situation, with the caller revealing that he had explained the situation to new Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

"I asked [Bartomeu] if he had a minute and I explained it to him and he got angry," the caller reportedly said.

"We had sold [the idea] that it was the cousin.

"We paid him two years of contract, what was remaining."

Exactly one week later there was another phone call, this time with someone known as Juanjo, and the pair discussed Abidal, referring to him as "a son of a bitch".

Then, on April 28, 2017, Juanjo and Rosell spoke again and it was during this phone call that it was suggested the liver had been purchased.

"Abidal is a son of a bitch and he told me to tell my friend that he'd behaved poorly with him," Juanjo told Rosell.

"I told him, 'look Abi, if you're here and talking then it's because you have a new liver, do you understand?'

"And he told me no.

"Well, if you don't understand that then you don't understand anything about life."

The call ended, before resuming again shortly afterwards.

"I told Abidal 'if you're here sitting talking with me right now then it's because somebody bought you a liver, eh?'"

At that point they agreed to meet the following week and they said their goodbyes.

Barcelona, though, have denied that the claims made are true.

"There was no type of irregularity in the player's liver transplant," a club spokesperson said.

"We have complete confidence in the Hospital Clinic and don't doubt Abidal's honour or that of his foundation."

Furthermore, it has emerged that this particular investigation was already closed by a court in Barcelona

 

(MARCA)

 

Published in International Watch

The former Brazil international has heaped Brazil on his namesake – describing him a unique player, but admitted that Lionel Messi “brings more magic to football.”

The duo of Messi and Cristiano, have shared the last ten FIFA Best Player award between them – with many believing they are the two greatest players to grace the game of football.

Ronaldo Nazario, who won the most covetous individual football award on three occasions in his playing days said Messi was the most complete of the duo.

"With his incredible attitude, with his incredible winning mentality, Cristiano Ronaldo is a unique player," Ronaldo Nazario as quoted by Marca."But I admit that Lionel Messi brings even more magic to football.

"With his dribbling, his complete form of playing football and his ability to generate surprising situations in the attacks."

Read Also:

Messi has unique talent, he is better than Ronaldo – Aruna Quadri

Heaping praise on Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid and Barcelona goal poacher added, "He is technically very well versed. Time will tell what position history has reserved for him.

"The best thing that could've happened was to move to Real Madrid, but at Manchester United it was incredible the number of goals he scored.

"At Real he's become even more complete, but the truth is that winning a World Cup always helps when it comes to entering history as the greatest."

 

 

Published in International Watch

The Man City boss has quashed the allegations from Yaya Toure that he had a racist tendency – saying the Ivorian international should have said that to him during their time together.

Yaya Toure who was freed by Man City at the end of last season, in an interview last week claimed the Catalan “was cruel with me.”

The three time African football player of the year said Guardiola would not have treated a European player the way he treated him both at Barcelona and Man City.

“Do you really think he could’ve been like that with Andres Iniesta? ...”

“Maybe us African players aren’t always treated the same by certain people. When you see the problems {Pep} has often had with African players, everywhere he has been, I ask myself questions.”

Speaking for the first time since the said allegation from Yaya Toure, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said the allegations were all lies.

It’s a lie and he knows it,” Guardiola as quoted by Marca.

We were together for two years and now this is when he says it. He never told me face to face.”

Guardiola, who managed Barcelona for four seasons – winning fourteen trophies with Blaugrana also played down talks of going back to his former side whether as a coach or a president.

He added, “No, I am a coach {not a president} and I am good at what I do, you can’t be everything.

“When I stop coaching, you will find me playing golf. As the coach of Barcelona, it’s over, because I’m not the same and nor do they look towards me the same.”

Published in International Watch

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