Friday, June 24, 2011
Inter Milan have confirmed Gian Piero Gasperini will take charge of the side next season. Gasperini, 53, has been out of work since being sacked as Genoa boss in November last year. He had secured promotion from Serie B in 2007 and led the side into the Europa League in 2009.
No senseless infighting. No ripping up blueprints from one day to the next. Everybody pulling in the same direction and a clear medium-term plan. Arguably, except for the early part of Roberto Mancini's five-year regime (before the vicious row with the club's medical staff, the allegations of wiretapping and the resignation on live television), it's something Inter haven't enjoyed since Giovanni Trapattoni's tenure more than 20 years ago.
Fifa’s ethics committee has ruled that there is “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence” that Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner colluded in the payment of bribes to Caribbean football officials, according to a secret report seen by Telegraph Sport.
Obviously Tottenham's transfer policy is a touch difficult to judge with so much depending on Modric. Year in, year out, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy employs the same tactics when it comes to selling a top player: he's not for sale, he's certainly not for sale, oh look it's 5 minutes to the transfer deadline, you can have him for 20% more than the market value, sold! And it works really well, as long as your definition of success is how much profit is made. Unfortunately it gives the manager no time to find a replacement. And finding one for Modric would not be easy. Spurs have been strongly linked to Scott Parker and Charlie Adam, both good players, but both are more similar to players Spurs already have, rather than to Modric. Were he to leave, Redknapp could review his formation, perhaps bringing van der Vaart into a more central position, but any such change would likewise take time to bed in. Another factor is Sandro, who looks a real find. Levy seems to need to make a sale every summer one way or another. Perhaps Harry will have to sacrifice Sandro in order to keep Modric. Under other circumstances, as a successful and popular manager at Spurs, Harry might have some say in matters. But the fact he's likely to take over from Capello in the near future, means he's unlikely to hold much sway with his chairman.
Redknapps's other major area of concern is his misfiring forward line. What his options offer in variety they lack in reliability. A a result he has been linked to more strikers than Arthur Scargill: Damiao, Wickham, Adebayor, Negrado, Osvaldo, Rossi, among them. One piece of good news is the return of on-loan right back Kyle Walker. He impressed on loan for Villa and on U21 duty for England, so should help with Spurs' problems at right back, where Corluka lacks pace and Hutton intelligence.
Signing No 1. is a reliable striker. You obviously can't guarantee consistency but Forlan and Eto'o promise it more than many of the forwards mentioned,
Signing No. 2 is a central defender. Woodgate has gone, as have King's knees, almost. Any of the usual suspects [Cahill, Samba, Dann, Shawcross, etc] would be a solid addition.
Signing No. 3 is a goalkeeper to back up or replace fumble-fingers Gomes. Done: Brad Friedel from Villa.
Then there are Roy Hodgson's recruits. Raul Meireles apart, the summer of 2010 was a nadir for Liverpool in the transfer market. Hodgson may not bear sole responsibility for the signings of Cole and, in particular, Jovanovic, but his reunions with Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen were all his own work.
Dennis Marshall, a Costa Rican defender, has been killed in a car accident.
Marshall, 25, died along with his wife when his car collided head-on with a truck close to Costa Rican capital San Jose while they were travelling from his grandfather's funeral.
Just five days ago, the AaB defender scored his side's equalising goal en route to a penalty shootout loss against Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was his only international goal in 19 appearances.
Mrs Musgrove said she just got carried away, adding: "I just wanted to shout 'Lads, I love you'."
Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.
This week, Women's World Cup hosts Germany launch an Octopus Idol-style hunt for a psychic successor to Paul, Diego Maradona takes a pop at Pele and Neymar, Zenit striker Danko Lazovic is Tasered while giving his shirt to a fan and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell bans colour photocopies in a bid to raise transfer funds.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tr-Ashley Cole: Los Angeles can't wait to say goodbye to bad rubbish as footballer leaves rented home like a 'pig sty'
The footballer has ordered so much takeaway food for him and his friends that the bins outside his £18,500 a week rented mansion are overflowing.
Of course, it doesn't say much for the rubbish collectors in the district, who haven't been keeping on top of collecting the trash.
But it could also be that Cole and his friends have just ordered so much food that there are just not enough bins for all their rubbish.
At the final whistle, as Peñarol's players fought a brawl - apparently sparked by a Santos fan - against a handful of Santos players, backroom staff, a few fans and some bowl-helmeted riot police, Neymar sank to his knees and wept. This was the farewell of which he had dreamed, bringing Santos their first Libertadores since 1963, when Pelé - who was also weeping in celebration as he looked down from his box at the Pacaembu - was in his pomp. But there must also have been a sense of vindication, of relief at having been the decisive figure in the second leg after having been so innocuous in the first.
Looks like he did a bit more than just kneel and cry...
This is where the illustrious athletic career of DaMarcus Beasley has brought the Fort Wayne native – to Mexico.
Once dubbed a “young American star” on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Beasley finds himself having been spurned by the soccer leadership of Germany (“a horrible experience”) and even in his home country (“I went to the MLS and said that I wanted to come back. It just didn’t work out.”)
So Beasley will catch a flight this week to Mexico, where he will sign a two-year contract to play for Puebla F.C. of the Primera Division.
Just after Belgrano went ahead 2-0 early in the second half, dozens of hooligan fans - at least one wearing a mask - ripped through a fence, raced across the pitch and taunted and shoved River Plate players.
In his fifth year as starting netminder for the U.S., it's a sight that's become expected. Never were his outbursts so frequent as in the friendly against Spain on June 4, when La Furia Roja effortlessly cut the Americans' defense to shreds to slip four goals past Howard.
England international Young, 25, passed his medical with the league champions on Thursday morning.
Nothing ever seems simple at Newcastle FC. You often hear it said 'just three decent players and we'd have a good team'. Well this really was the case with Newcastle. Very talented Ben Arfa returns from long-term injury, you manage to keep hold of the coveted Tiote, add the three players and you've got a good team. What's more, thanks to very generous Liverpool, and the money they overpaid for Andy Carroll, they have the funds to buy these three. In fact they bought two of them over the past few days: another rated French winger, Sylvain Marveaux from Rennes and forward Demba Ba. Unfortunately they fucked the whole plan up, in typical Newcastle style it has to be said, by selling their captain Kevin Nolan to Championship West Ham. Nolan was the heartbeat of the team: fans favourite, he brought people into play and scored plenty of goals from midfield. Why they would sell him is anyone's guess. The club does seem to have a coherent plan of buying young talented players but they may well need time to gel; Nolan would have helped with this. It may transpire that he asked to leave, but it can only cause manager Alan Pardew plenty of problems. For a start, who will become they team's new captain, Joey Barton?
Signing No.1 must obviously be a replacement for Kevin Nolan. No easy task. They have brought in Cabaye, again from France, but it's unrealistic to hope he can fill such a role so soon. Seb Larsson would have been an option, but it looks like he's off to rivals Sunderland. Scott Brown from Celtic is said to be a possibility. I'd be tempted to take a punt on Stephen Ireland.
Signing No. 2 ought to be a strong central defender. One of the Birmingham duo, Dann or Johnson, would fit the bill. They may have competition from other clubs but must have the cash to tempt.
Singing No. 3 could be a left back. Interest in Jose Enrique from top teams seems strong , so Newcastle's efforts to bring in Swansea's Neil Taylor make sense.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The USA forward was given special dispensation from coach Bob Bradley to jet to Texas for the wedding of his younger sister Crystal on Saturday, then joining up with his teammates hours before the team’s 2-0 quarterfinal win over Jamaica in Washington, D.C.
The wedding ceremony included a moving scene where Crystal laid her bouquet at the grave of her and Clint’s eldest sister, Jennifer, a promising tennis player, who died of a brain aneurysm at age 16. Throughout his professional career, Dempsey has pointed to the sky every time he has scored a goal, in remembrance of Jennifer.
Abramovich and many of the Chelsea players will know the 33-year-old Portuguese coach from his earlier stint at Stamford Bridge, when he worked under former boss Jose Mourinho. Villas-Boas provided, among other things, in-depth scouting reports on opposing teams that took as long as four days to prepare.
In the first leg of the finals on June 15, Penarol and Santos drew 0-0 in Montivedeo. Wednesday's match will be played on Santos's home turf at the Estádio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho, São Paulo, giving Santos the slim advantage of playing the final leg at home.
Who: USA vs. Panama, Mexico vs. Honduras
When: 7pm EDT, 10 pm EDT
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
U.S. TV: FSC & Univision
Steve Davis: U.S. seeks revenge
Huge stage for Dempsey's homecoming
El Tri look to avoid slow start
The shadowy world of the football agent is one that is cloaked in secrecy amid accusations of greed. Thankfully, we've got one of the good guys on board to lift the lid on what life really is like at the sharp end of a notoriously cut throat business.
The most important weapon in Chelsea's assault on next season's Premier League and Champions League was finally put in place today as the club confirmed André Villas-Boas as its new manager, one month after sacking Carlo Ancelotti.
The 33-year-old has signed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge 24 hours after Chelsea paid a £13.3m compensation fee to release him from Porto, the club where, in the space of just one season, he became the most sought-after young manager in Europe.
Oops! Wrong Villas-Boas...
Ahead of Wednesday's Gold Cup semi-final against Panama, Bradley's agent told ESPN The Magazine that the midfielder was no longer in the club's plans and it appears that Bradley will be heading back to the parent club, Borussia Moenchengladbach, next season.
What is it with clubs that get a ridiculously wealthy benefactor and therefore the chance to start something special, instead choosing to create a functional, soulless machine of a team? City are finding that money doesn't buy you everything, that the world's best players just aren't interested in going there. City may offer top dollar, but other clubs still pay well, and if anyone is going to persuade a player to move to northern, grey Manchester, its going to be United. Has it not crossed anyone's mind at City that if they played a more attractive brand of soccer they might attract a better type of player? If City don't want to become more expansive it's hard to see why they should bother entering the transfer market in search of new players. They will surely be hoping to offload a lot of deadwood though. Considering wages this could prove problematic. I'm surprised they are letting Boateng go to Bayern.
Signing No. 1 should be a proven left back. Spending millions has brought little reward in their search for a top player in this position. Gael Clichy is an option, but Leighton Baines is the obvious solution.
Signing No. 2 must be someone creative, preferably in midfield. City are allegedly interested in Modric, who would do a fine job, but Kaka would really drive them forward and bring their wingers into play. Real seem intent on buying more and more players, so Kaka, who doesn't seem to have settled in Madrid, might find a bucket load of cash persuades him that a change is a good idea. For City it could prove be the marquee signing who opens the door for others.
Signing No. 3 is a winger. City fans would love Mancini to show more faith in Adam Johnson, but that looks unlikely. James Milner's running isn't going to win a team the CL so City need to look for a player who matches the creativity of David Silva. Trying to buy everyone's top target Alexis Sanchez from Udinese makes sense. But will offering bags more money than anyone else be enough?
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
SSN friend and Brazil expert Chris Gaffney will speak tomorrow at noon on the preparations for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. If you are in the area, please consider attending. Chris is well-versed in the nuances of Brazilian football, life and politics, and the talk should be fascinating. Details for the lecture are below and a link to Dr. Gaffney's blog is located in our Blogs and Links section on the right side of the page. -Editor
A TALK BY
School of Architecture and Urbanism
Universidade Federal Fluminense
Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22ND
NOON TO 1 P.M.
(A light lunch will be served)
FRANKLIN HUMANITIES INSTITUTE
BAY 4, SMITH WAREHOUSE
Dr. Gaffney’s work on the World Cup has recently been quoted in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, the Guardian, Reuters, the Associated Press, ESPN, and multiple Brazilian media outlets. His first book, Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press 2006), examined the history and culture of soccer stadiums in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Gaffney was a lecturer in the Departments of Geography and International Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill from 2006-2008, covered the Carolina RailHawks for the Independent Weekly and frequented the Triangle’s pick up soccer games. His website, www.geostadia.com, analyzes the shifting political, economic, urban, and social dimensions of Brazil’s current mega-event cycle. He lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.
All are welcome. Parking is available next to the Smith Warehouse, along Buchanan Blvd.
New Fulham manager Martin Jol says he always harboured ambitions to return to English football after his spell in charge of Tottenham.
Jol was today unveiled as Mark Hughes' successor at Craven Cottage, having come close to joining the London club last summer.
“Lionel Messi can do some amazing things but, anything he can do, Joe can do as well, if not better.”
Steven Gerrard, August 2010
Still regarded by many as the most gifted player England has produced since Paul Gascoigne, hype is something Joe Cole has had to live with for a very long time.
This is the man parts of England’s World Cup squad almost went to war with Fabio Capello over last summer, and someone who can look in his trophy cabinet and see at least three Premier League and two FA Cup winners medals gleaming back at him, along with more than 50 England caps.
But while this time last year, Cole was seen as the saviour of England’s dismal World Cup campaign, this summer he is contemplating a backward step. A move away from one of England’s biggest clubs and into the second, or maybe even third, tier of Premier League sides.
So how has it come to this and what does it say about the development of English football that a player so gifted, and not yet even 30, is now being ignored and marginalised by some of the game’s top managers?
To add spice to the occasion, it was an important goal - and not just because Palermo is from La Plata, a fan and an ex-player of Estudiantes, Gimnasia's local rivals. In a frantic last day of the league season, a win for Gimnasia would mean they would not be one of the two teams to be automatically relegated. Instead they would go into a play-off against the team finishing third in the Second Division - but that late Boca goal worsened their position. Now they must meet fellow strugglers Huracan, with the losers going down, and the winners earning a chance to save themselves in a play-off against San Martin of San Juan.
However, it is the other play-off tie which will attract much more attention, because it features River Plate, one of the giants of Argentine football and the team with most league titles to their credit. This is not supposed to happen. The way that relegation works in Argentina is designed to save the big clubs from a temporary slump. Two short, separate championships are played per year. Relegation is worked out on an average of points accumulated over three years, or six championships.
For a massive club like River Plate, flirting with relegation requires a prolonged period of incompetence - and that is what has happened.
Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things you should know about Week 14:
With the success of Asian players such as Park Ji-sung (Man United), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund) and Lee Chung-yong (Bolton), many clubs in the world are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing in the region. Even more so when one considers that Lee ($3.5M) and Kagawa ($500,000) were obtained at bargain basement prices.
Here are 10 possibilities.
There is certain inevitability to Andre Villas-Boas's arrival at Chelsea. Portuguese football has been taken aback by the London club's willingness to pay to the full €15 million (£13.25 million) release clause stipulated in the head coach's contract, an unforeseen twist which has forced the move a year earlier than even Villas-Boas himself had envisaged. Yet while some will point to the 33-year-old's post-Europa League final pledge that he would remain at the Estadio do Dragao into next season, England has always been on his agenda.
Andre Villas-Boas has quit as manager of FC Porto, the club have confirmed.
Oops! Wrong Villas-Boas...
This is the third piece of a short series in which I tell teams which players they should buy. Today I look at troubled Aston Villa.
Considering the initial reaction to the new manager, it seemed only by bringing in Messi, Xavi and Ronaldo would things calm down at Villa. But the past week has seen stress levels ease a touch. That said, Randy Lerner will certainly have to get the cheque book out [again] and the signings will have to please the fans. The trouble is he may have spent so much on the hiring and firing of managers and their back up staff that he has nothing left. Much will depend on fan expectations, which often tend to be too great: it's hard to see the squad being good enough to get the top 6 position Villa once typically held, but a few wise purchases and top 8 isn't impossible. I do think the media reaction to McLeish has slightly missed the point. Obviously supporters dislike the fact he's come from Birmingham, but it's his style that really worries them. Villa's signings may want to take this into consideration. Bringing in Lee Bowyer isn't going to help the situation.
Signing No.1 needs to be a replacement for Ashley Young. Charles N'Zogbia would be a perfect fit. This would quiet fans' fear about McLeish's managerial style as N'Zogbia brings a degree of creativity, while being a proven EPL player. Not too expensive, either.
Signing No.2 is a new goalkeeper. I don't understand why they let Brad Friedel leave, but nobody understands the madness that's hit Villa in the past few weeks. Ben Foster would do a good job. He's a solid keeper and has a strong relationship with McLeish. Being a Brum player might annoy fans, but the anger it would incite in the either half of town would delight them.
Signing No.3 would be a good fit for both sides: Charlie Adam. I'm not convinced Adam has the speed or physique for a top team like ManU or Liverpool, but he'd surely do really well at a club like Villa. He seem like a player who needs to be a starter, playing week in week out, which he'd do under McLeish.
Monday, June 20, 2011
For many Inter fans, the recent departure of Leonardo has come as a shock. The Interesti faithful were expecting the club to sign players instead of a coaching team. A team without a coach in the middle of the transfer window is never ideal, but it is certainly better than having to change coach midseason.
Chicago interim coach Frank Klopas and his players forged a bond well before he took over for Carlos de los Cobos on May 30.
Most of the players under his stewardship arrived because he brought them into the club as technical director. His future with the Fire is invested in them. Their future remains in his hands.
As ever, South America is providing some of the most sought-after signings in the transfer window and Alexis Sanchez will not be the only player making a high-profile move for a large fee this summer.
Jermaine Jones broke a scoreless tie early in the second half, leading the United States to a 2-0 victory over Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals Sunday.
The United States will face Panama -- which eliminated El Salvador 5-3 in a shootout -- in Wednesday's semifinals in Houston.Steve Davis: Much Improved
Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts
Martin Rogers: Pressure Alleviated
Ives: Player Ratings
Donovan, Dempsey reflect on their whirlwind weekend
The only team which can match Spain for its attacking prowess is the Selección de fútbol de Argentina.
In fairness most of the players connected to Chelsea in the transfer rumour columns do make sense. They do so because the club has two major problems: the squad has been allowed to get too old and they overpaid for Fernando Torres, meaning they must now build around him. Doing this will require lots of cash. Fortunately Roman Abramovich has plenty. I'm also sure Chelsea fans will be desperate for the club to once and for all move away from their functional style. When I look at Chelsea I think of someone who's won the lottery but instead of using the money to buy an Aston Martin or a classic sports car, they've chosen to buy a Range Rover. It may be the most expensive Range Rover out there, but it's still a fucking Range Rover. Bludgeoning the opposition to death hasn't brought Chelsea the CL, so why not try a different approach and win some admirers on the way?
Signing No.1: A creative midfielder like Fabregas/Sneijder/Kaka [but Modric will have to do]. If you've Torres in your team you need someone to give him the ball. Any of these three would fill this role perfectly. What makes them stand out is the way they always look for a forward pass. Chelsea's chances of getting any of them look slim, though. Modric would be an adequate alternative, Eden Hazard a younger option.
Signing No 2: A young forward. Chelsea have two in their sights: Lukaka, as the new Drogba and Neymaar, as, er, the new Torres.
Signing No. 3. A right back. Boswinga was good at attacking, Inanovich at defending, Zhirkov at neither. If you want to win the CL your full backs need to do both. Reports that Holland's Van der Wiel is being targeted make sense.
Signing No. 4. Needs just needs to be young, anyone young who's half decent. Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Alexandre Pato. Alexis Sanchez at 22 would be great, but maybe too expensive even for Chelsea
Zenit, the defending champions, said Lazovic was given an electric shock that left a burn mark under his right shoulder blade. Police deny the accusation.