Archive for the ‘La Liga’ Category

Robinho has unveiled his reflections on his time with Manchester City and why it just didn’t work out. First of all, he would like you to know that Manchester is an awful place to live.

Manchester is a sensational venue for football but an awful place to live … the winter, the cold and the dark nights. It’s very hard for a young Brazilian.

Poor guy. All those cold nights, alone, coddling with his teddy bear next to the fireplace. He also feels that neither Mark Hughes or Roberto Mancini understood him. I always knew Robinho was a misunderstood lost soul. Or perhaps Robinho simply didn’t understand how to adapt to a different culture and different style of play.

There was a lack of contact between the players and the club. It was much like an office – to training and goodbye, to a match and goodbye. I am Brazilian and I can’t offer my best performance if I’m not happy in every aspect of life. That was my problem. I am a special footballer and I need to be happy when I’m playing. That was the case at Real Madrid but never at City. Perhaps I should never have left Real Madrid.

I think it’s safe to say Robinho is 8 years old.

My destination was Chelsea with Luiz Felipe Scolari but, at the last moment, City appeared and I accepted. I did not decide the transfer. Correspondence is always between clubs and I am not responsible for what anyone will pay, but Mark Hughes called me and insisted I joined the club. He was decisive in my move.

I’m not sure how much happier Robinho would have been at Chelsea, but perhaps Scolari would have “understood” him and kept him happy. He will probably be a happy camper in Milan. Milan has the glitz and glamor and nice weather that understands Robinho.

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Well, the transfer window is officially closed and many teams made a splash. Let’s take a look at who went where.


  • Tottenham were able to secure a last minute deal to pry Rafael Van der Vaart from Real Madrid for a cool €11 million.
  • Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has moved from Rennes to Sunderland for a club record £13.24 million. This will give Sunderland a lethal strike force with Gyan and Bent.
  • Chelsea sold their young striker Franco Di Santo to Wigan for an undisclosed fee.
  • Eidur Gudjohnsen is back in the Premier League with Stoke City.
  • Liverpool strengthened their defense by adding Fulham defender Paul Konchesky to their roster.
  • AC Milan made yet another big signing after securing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they have also signed Robinho. This gives Milan a lethal front line with Ibra, Pato and Robinho, along with Ronaldinho and Pirlo orchestrating the offense.
  • In the wake of the Robinho signing, Marco Borriello was deemed surplus to requirements and he has moved on to Roma on loan with a right to buy at the end of the season.
  • Alexander Hleb has moved on from Barcelona to join Premier League side Birmingham City on loan.
  • Of course, we all know by now that Javier Mascherano signed with Barcelona.
  • Liverpool added Raul Meireles.
  • Hatem Ben Arfa moves from Marseille to Newcastle to try and help the club stay in the Premier League.
  • West Ham strenghted their attacking options by adding Victor Obinna from Inter Milan.

and that’s pretty much all of the significant signings from the transfer deadline.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan

It appears as though this deal might actually happen. It was reported early on today that Zlatan and AC Milan had agreed to personal terms, but Barcelona still need to give their stamp of approval. AC Milan are reportedly throwing in Marco Borriello to sweeten the deal, with the exception that Barcelona pay 50% of Zlatan’s wages.

Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan

Javier Mascherano is officially on strike. He is adamant in his stance and wants to leave Anfield to reunite with his former boss Rafa Benitez in Italy. However, Liverpool are asking Barcelona to up their offer if they want to pry the ferocious midfielder away. Barcelona initially offered £12 million plus Alexander Hleb but Liverpool rejected it. Liverpool reportedly value Mascherano at £20 million and will not budge for anything less. The clock is ticking and if a deal isn’t agreed upon within the next week, Mascherano will be a very angry man — and you don’t want to see Mascherano when he’s angry.

Done Deal: Yoann Gourcuff to Lyon

Lyon have strengthened their midfield by adding French playmaker Yoann Gourcuff to their arsenal. Bordeaux and Lyon agreed to a €22 million transfer fee and Yoann will look to help Lyon get back to their championship winning ways. Gourcuff, Makoun, Michel Bastos and Pjanic will form a formidable midfield and should strike fear into opposing defenders.

More on Kuyt to Inter

Inter Milan are stepping up their efforts to land the workhorse Dutchman by offering Liverpool a choice of Sulley Muntari, Nicolas Burdisso, Nelson Rivas, David Suazo and Mancini plus £14 million for Kuyt.

Done Deal: Sebastien Squillaci to Arsenal

The Gunners have strengthened their defense by adding the French defender to their squad. Squillaci will likely partner Vermaelen in the center of the defense to form a pretty fierce duo. Squillaci asked to be left out of Sevilla’s first leg UEFA Europa Cup match against Braga so that he would be able to play for Arsenal in the Champions League in case the deal actually happened. Lucky for him, his wish came true.

Roque Santa Cruz to Lazio?

Lazio are mulling over a deal that will send castaway Manchester City striker, Roque Santa Cruz to the Biancocelesti on loan for the season.

Robinho to Fenerbahce?

Another castaway Manchester City striker is likely on his way out. Robinho is meeting with Fenerbahce officials today in Manchester to try and seal a deal.

update: Robinho has rejected a move to Fenerbahce and has announced that he will only accept a move to Italy or Spain.

Peter Crouch to Everton?

David Moyes seems to be eyeing the long-and-lanky England striker to strengthen his attacking options. He is so keen on snatching up Crouch that he has reportedly offered to send Steven Pienaar to the Spurs in exchange for the giraffe-turned-striker.

Tottenham looking to snatch up Lassana Diarra

With Real Madrid’s flurry of incoming midfielders, Lassana Diarra has been deemed surplus to requirements and it seems that Harry Redknapp will be more than happy to welcome him to White Hart Lane.

Final tidbits

Chelsea are expressing interest in Nicolas Burdisso.

Carlton Cole has been linked with a move to Sunderland.

Charles N’Zogbia may be drawing closer to move to Birmingham City.

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After what was thought to be a rather lackluster World Cup, many potential converts to the beautiful game were led further away and found themselves completely disinterested. True fans of the beautiful game can see beyond goals and find beauty in the little intricacies of the game – newcomers to the beautiful game come from a culture of constant scoring (see: NFL, NBA) and fail to notice other details. To those failed converts I say: come watch the English Premier League.

The Premier League season has started with a flurry of goals across the board. Chelsea began their title defense against newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, managed by former Chelsea legend, Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea welcomed Di Matteo and his squad with a 6-0 drumming and Drogba netted a hat-trick. That same day newly promoted Blackpool welcomed themselves into top flight football by embarrassing Wigan 4-0. Sunderland and Birmingham fought to a 2-2 draw, Aston Villa plowed past West Ham 3-0, Wolverhampton shocked Stoke City 2-1, and Manchester United welcomed Newcastle back to the Premier League with a 3-0 bashing. Week 1 of the Premier League saw a total of 26 goals scored in 10 matches. That equals to an average of 2.6 goals per game. No goals scored in soccer? Let’s see how week 2 shaped out.

No way a team can score 6 goals in two consecutive games, right? Certainly not in top flight football, right? Chelsea’s “playstation” football continued into week 2 where they met the team they demolished 8-0 in the final game of last season. They invaded DW Stadium and took home their second consecutive 6-0 victory. Malouda continues his hot start to the season with another goal, Anelka bagged a brace, as did Kalou, Yossi Benayoun scored his first goal as a Chelsea player, and Drogba had himself a hat-trick in assists; Drogba’s unselfish style is a symbol of the chemistry this squad has built.

Arsenal brought Blackpool back down to earth and gave them a dose of what real Premier League football is like. Blackpool were playing with a disadvantage for the majority of the match when defender Ian Evatt saw a red card in the 30th minute when he took down Marouane Chamakh just inside the penalty box, denying him a scoring opportunity – resulting in an immediate red, and penalty shot for Arsenal. Arshavin made no mistake at the spot and handed his team a 2-0 lead, and from there the goals kept coming. Theo Walcott made the most of his place in the starting XI with a lovely game which he stamped with a hat-trick. Marouane Chamakh was able to notch his first goal as a Gunner in the 83rd minute giving his new squad a 6-0 victory over The Tangerines.

So that makes two games ending in 6-0, in the same week. But wait….there’s more.

Is this really an indication of how important James Milner was to Aston Villa? Fresh off a fantastic performance against West Ham, the James Milner-less Aston Villa completely fell apart against newly promoted Newcastle. John Carew squandered an opportunity to put Villa up early by missing a penalty shot in the 10th minute. Two minutes later the wonderful mustache of Joey Barton put the Magpies in the lead, and they never looked back. Kevin Nolan bagged a brace, and Andrew Carroll netted himself a hat-trick as Newcastle annihilated Aston Villa 6-0. Perhaps Randy Lerner will think again about keeping interim manager Kevin MacDonald for the rest of the season.

Three games in the same week end in 6-0, that’s unheard of. Other scores in week 2 include: Birmingham City 2-1 over Blackburn, Gareth Bale leads Tottenham past Stoke City with a goal of the year candidate 2-1, Bolton deal another blow to West Ham with a 3-1 victory, Wolverhampton pull back a late equalizer against Everton to draw 1-1, and Fulham take advantage of Nani’s missed penalty to head home a late equalizer at Craven Cottage 2-2. There is still one more game left to be played in week 2, Manchester City host Liverpool on Monday. However, so far in the 9 games played in week 2, 35 goals have been scored. Resulting in an average of 3.89 goals per game. Even if 0 goals are scored in tomorrows Man City vs Liverpool game (highly unlikely), week 2 will end in at least 3.5 goals scored per game.

Goals Galore is not just occurring in the English Premier League, it’s spreading across Europe. Inter Milan recently dealt a blow to Roma winning 3-1 in the Super Cup final. Barcelona bounced back from a 3-1 first leg defeat to thrash Sevilla 4-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Copa, led by a Messi hat-trick, giving them a 5-3 aggregate victory. The Young Boys recently wrestled Tottenham to a 3-2 victory in the first leg of the UEFA Champions league play-off, and Werder Bremen dealt Sampdoria a 3-1 whooping in their first leg play-off.

There you have it, folks. Contrary to popular belief, goals do get scored in soccer.

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It seems like moments after Werder Bremen issued a warning to Real Madrid that if they do not step up their offer for Ozil he would play for Bremen in their upcoming UEFA Champions League qualifying match — they stepped up and offered what is being reported as €15 million and it was accepted. Had they not stepped up and had the bid accepted and Bremen played Ozil in their upcoming UEFA Champions League match, then Ozil would not be eligible to play for Real Madrid in the Champions League this season.

Ozil becomes the second German to sign for Madrid, joining his fellow countryman Sami Khedira. Madrid now have unbelievable depth coupled with enormous talent at the midfield position. Let’s take a look at that depth shall we?

Angel Di Maria

Xabi Alonso

Sami Khedira


Mesut Ozil

Fernando Gago

Pedro Leon

Rafael Van der Vaart

Esteban Granero

Sergio Canales

Lassana Diarra

Mahamadou Diarra

Are you kidding me???? There will be no tired legs out there for Madrid that’s for sure. Jose Mourinho has a boat load of talent to experiment with in the midfield and with so many competitions nowadays, it’s never a bad thing to have an excess of talent in a certain position. It’s especially convenient when you can keep all the egos in check, which we all know Jose Mourinho can do.

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It seems like Manchester City, Inter Milan and Mario Balotelli have all finally agreed to terms and according to Balotelli’s agent a deal should be done in the next 24 hours. This is what Mino Raiola, Balotelli’s agent had to say after a Thursday meeting with the two clubs:

Will he play on Saturday against Tottenham? Look, at this point I would say no. Even if we close the deal tomorrow he wouldn’t be able to do it, because of all the paperwork. Then the English laws impose details that would exclude his presence as early as Saturday.

I am very optimistic, but today the deal is not already done. We haven’t decided yet if Mario will go to England tomorrow, we need to think about that, but we haven’t established that.

A deal is gonna get done. Inter Milan are gonna get their desired sum, the only real hitch is Balotelli wanting more money from City. Mario is a fantastic talent but he has a lot of growing up to do. Sure he might be a little misunderstood but he brings a lot of the hate and negativity projected towards him on himself. With Balotelli’s arrival, City will have to do some cleaning up at the striker position. Roque Santa Cruz is surely going to be dealt and Celtic have already confirmed their interest in Craig Bellamy. Emmanuel Adebayor has also been linked with a move out of City but those rumors were quickly shot down. We all know Robinho does not want to be part of Manchester City, the question still remains will City allow him to go elsewhere or will they force him to stay? They are most likely going to choose the former. Having Adebayor, Tevez and Balotelli at your disposal is going to leave City heavily equipped with fire power and a serious threat to every team in the league and in Europe. Add in skillful midfielders such as James Milner, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Adam Johnson, Gareth Barry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Nigel de Jong — you’re looking at a team to be feared for years to come.

Chelsea say goodbye to a fantastic defender

I firmly believe Ricardo Carvalho is one of the best defenders on the planet. Many will agree with me. One of those people that agree with me is none other than The Special One himself — Jose Mourinho. Ricardo and Jose go way back, their relationship starts well before Chelsea. Ricardo Carvalho anchored Jose Mourinho’s Porto defense to a Champions League trophy, UEFA Cup, and two Portuguese Liga titles. He then followed Mourinho to Chelsea where he helped John Terry anchor that defense to an FA Cup title, back-to-back Premier League titles, and two Carling Cups. He will now follow The Special One to Real Madrid where he will try to bolster that defense and help his manager become the first to ever win three UEFA Champions League titles with three different teams.

Chelsea recovered £8 million from Real Madrid for Ricardo, which in my opinion is an absolute bargain. Despite Carvalho being 32 years old I believe he still has a couple more very solid years in him and the difference he makes should be worth more than £8 million. I digress. This does leave Chelsea with a disability to start the season, however, with the man who made Carvalho expendable — Alex — injured for the start of the season.

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Ashely Cole has informed Carlo Ancelotti that he wishes to leave the club and join his old manger Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. He has even issued Real Madrid a plea to come get him.

On the other hand, Carlo Ancelotti stays firm in his stance that Ashley Cole is not for sale for any price whatsoever.

So what’s the deal here? Who will win this fight? Let’s see..

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Real Madrid have signed Sami Khedira from Stuttgart for a reported €14 million. Khedira only had 1 year left on his contract, therefore, Stuttgart decided to cash in on the young promising midfielder. Khedira made a name for himself at this world cup by filling in nicely for the injured Michael Ballack. It will be interesting to see how Mourinho fits Khedira into his system; Khedira is a defensive midfielder but has the ability to attack as well. Xabi Alonso usually holds down that role for Los Merengues. Pairing up Khedira and Alonso together in the midfield with Angel Di Maria on the wing and Kaka playing in an attacking midfield role could potentially be a very dangerous midfield. Then add Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuain up front and you have yourself a menacing attack with Rafael Van der Vaart waiting to come on at any moment.

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Let’s take a look at a quick summary of some of the transfers that have occurred so far this transfer window. I’m only going to list transfers I deem at least somewhat important/relevant.

Alberto Riera– from Liverpool to Olympiakos (for a Greek record 4 million euros)

Papa Bouba Diop– from Portsmouth to AEK Athens

Danny Wilson– from Rangers to Liverpool

Kevin Kuranyi– from Schalke 04 to Dynamo Moscow

Joe Cole– from Chelsea to Liverpool

Yossi Benayoun– from Liverpool to Chelsea

Javier Hernandez– from Guadalajara to Manchester United

David Villa– from Valencia to Barcelona

Michael Ballack– from Chelsea to Bayer Leverkusen

Yaya Toure– from Barcelona to Manchester City

David Silva– from Valencia to Manchester City

Pablo Barrera– from UNAM to West Ham

Artur Boruc– from Celtic to Fiorentina

Aleksander Kolarov– from Lazio to Manchester City

Milan Jovanovic– from Standard Liege to Liverpool

Cha Du-Ri– from SC Freiburg to Celtic

Chris Smalling– from Fulham to Manchester United

Martin Petrov– from Manchester City to Bolton

Sol Campbell– from Arsenal to Newcastle

Raul– from Real Madrid to Schalke 04

Rumors: Ricardo Carvalho to Real Madrid, Mario Balotelli to Manchester City, James Milner to Manchester City, Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan, Ramires to Chelsea, Neymar to Chelsea, Luke Young to Liverpool, Deco to Fluminese, Sami Khedira to Real Madrid

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After 16 years and 323 goals Raul said goodbye to the club he has so loyally served for over a decade. The emergence of Higuain coupled with Raul’s dip in form saw the loyal legend ride the pine for the majority of last season. In an emotional press conference, Raul officially announced he would be departing the Bernabeu and will join either the Bundesliga or the English Premier League. The most common report that has appeared repeatedly is Raul to Schalke, however Raul has not ruled out a move to England. I have not heard of any English teams publicly admitting interest in Raul, the only team I can think of is Manchester City but then again who are they not interested in? Ultimately, I believe Raul will most likely join Schalke — they are a team on the rise and will be playing Champions League football which is a high priority for Raul.

Raul leaves Madrid as the clubs all-time leading scorer. He helped bring 3 Champions League trophies and 6 La Liga championships to the Bernabeu. Raul is also the Champions League all-time leading scorer with 66 goals in the competition. He’s not done yet; if he joins Schalke he will have a chance to build on that record and set himself even further apart from the pack.

Without a doubt, Raul will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game no matter what happens from here on out. It will definitely be a treat to see him play first-team football again and continue to build on his legacy.

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