Cambiasso: I didn´t fit in at Madrid because I wasn´t a galactico

23 June 2017 02:42

Esteban Cambiasso said he did not fit at Real Madrid because he was not a galactico, though he did enjoy his time in the Spanish capital.

Cambiasso moved to Madrid as a 15-year-old in 1996 and later returned to the club to win LaLiga, the UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and Supercopa de Espana, before departing for Inter in 2004.

The 36-year-old Argentine midfielder – now playing for Olympiacos – remembers his time at Madrid fondly but felt he did not fit in among the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham.

“Already in the first team, the politics of the moment meant that most of the side were made up of academy players and galacticos, and I wasn’t either of those,” Cambiasso told Marca.

“But it was not bad at all, it was a beautiful experience in fact.”

Cambiasso continued: “There was no continuity for my characteristics, and I drew more attention being absent from the starting line-up than being present.

“[Claude] Makelele was the same. He was not considered until he left. We are players who do a lot of work for a team and when we leave, it shows.”

“I understood clearly why I was going: I wasn’t part of the sporting and economic model,” Cambiasso added.

“It was unsustainable to have 6-7 of the best paid players in the world and some had to leave. My first five months in Madrid were perfect.”

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Rangers swoop for Mexico duo Pena and Herrera

23 June 2017 00:20

Rangers have signed Mexico internationals Eduardo Herrera and Carlos Pena to take their tally of signings to eight ahead of the new season.

Forward Herrera, 28 and midfielder Pena, 27, have both signed three-year contracts at Ibrox after joining from Pumas and Guadalajara respectively.

Neither player is in Mexico’s squad for the Confederations Cup, but both appeared for the national side as recently as last year.

Herrera previously played under Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha in a loan spell with Santos Laguna, with he and Pena joining Bruno Alves, Ryan Jack, Dalcio, Fabio Cardoso, Daniel Candeias and Alfredo Morelos in making moves to Rangers.

“I am very happy to become part of this great club that has such great supporters,” Pena told Rangers TV.

“I have been waiting for this move for many years now. I wanted to become part of European football and I hope I will be able to make my own contribution to the team.”

Herrera said: “I know there is a lot of pressure which comes with playing at a big club like this but I have also played with my national team and with big clubs in Mexico so I am prepared for the task.

“I will bring a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice and hopefully a lot of goals!”

Caixinha, who took charge at Ibrox in April, is rebuilding Rangers’ squad after the club finished third in last season’s Scottish Premiership, a massive 39 points behind Celtic.

“Eduardo fits into the style of play that we want and the style of play that Rangers demands,” said the manager.

“I am happy to have him on board and I think he is going to be very useful for the team and his characteristics will complement what we are trying to have with this squad.

“I have been following Carlos’ career from the end of 2012. He represents everything I want on the pitch in that number eight position and he can give you everything.

“I believe he can return to the Mexico national squad and Rangers can have a player playing at the next World Cup.”

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Balotelli ´ready to make financial effort´ for Nice stay

22 June 2017 17:55

Mario Balotelli is willing to make a financial sacrifice to remain at Nice, according to club president Jean-Pierre Rivere.

After underwhelming spells at Liverpool and AC Milan, Balotelli joined Nice on a free transfer and agreed a one-year deal for the 2016-17 season.

The Italian rediscovered his best form at the Allianz Riviera, scoring 17 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions as the club mounted a surprise challenge for the Ligue 1 title.

Balotelli’s future remains in doubt with his contract set to expire next week – Borussia Dortmund have been touted as a potential destination for the 26-year-old.

However, Rivere appears confident of striking a deal.

“I’ll only say two things about Mario,” said Rivere at the presentation of new signings Adrien Tameze, Jean-Victor Makengo and Pierre Lees-Melou.

“The first is that we have a player who wants to stay with Nice.

“The second is that he’s ready to make the financial effort and we’re continuing to work.”

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Kasper Schmeichel at Man Utd would be ´a dream´ for dad Peter

22 June 2017 12:11

Seeing Kasper Schmeichel play for Manchester United would be “a dream” for his father, Old Trafford icon Peter.

The Leicester City goalkeeper has been touted as a potential replacement for David de Gea, a reported target for Spanish and European champions Real Madrid.

Schmeichel Sr won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League during a hugely successful eight-season spell with United.

He said it would be “fantastic” to see his son – also a winner of England’s top flight in 2015-16 – turn out regularly at Old Trafford, though he does not believe a departure from Leicester is required at the moment.

“It would be a dream”, Schmeichel Sr told talkSPORT when asked if he would like to see his son in a United shirt.

“For me, trying to be as neutral and unbiased and not like a father, I think he has done well enough to convince everybody that he can play at the highest level.

“The doubts were there when he first got into the Premier League over whether he was good enough, but he proved that and in the Champions League last year I thought he did really well. If clubs need a really good goalkeeper, well he is somebody who can be trusted to do that.

“Having said that, I am crazy about Leicester, I am crazy about the owners – they are fantastic and really good for the Premier League. There is no shortage of will and money to make Leicester a top-four club, or at least top six, top eight. They are prepared to do that and that is a really interesting environment to play football in.

“There is no ‘Kasper needs to move’ kind of feel at the moment, but if an opportunity like that [moving to United] came around, that would be fantastic.”

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Kluivert: Verratti wants to join Barca but PSG won´t let him leave

22 June 2017 05:35

Marco Verratti wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain for Barcelona but the French giants are unwilling to sell, claimed former director of football Patrick Kluivert, who insisted the Italian midfielder is worth more than €100million.

Linked with a move away from PSG throughout the 2016-17 season, speculation is rife that Verratti is Barca’s main transfer target.

Verratti is contracted until 2021 but the Italy international has made no secret of his desire to win trophies, after PSG were dethroned by Monaco in Ligue 1, while the French capital club suffered a demoralising Champions League last-16 exit.

And Kluivert – who left his role as PSG’s director of football earlier in June – said Verratti wants to move to Camp Nou.

“I know the president very well. Verratti renewed last year for four years and I know that Verratti wants to come to Barca but PSG will not let him,” Kluivert told La Sexta.

“It’s going to be very difficult [for Barca to sign him].

“If a player is not happy in the end the one that decides are PSG.”

It has been reported that Barca are prepared to spend between €70m and €80m for Verratti’s services.

But Kluivert said: “Verratti’s worth more than that. I think he’s worth more than €100m.”

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Nobody is indispensable – Figo thinks Real Madrid could cope with Ronaldo exit

21 June 2017 23:53

Luis Figo says “nobody is indispensable” amid heavy speculation that his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Real Madrid.

Ronaldo is yet to comment on his future after claims he wishes to leave Santiago Bernabeu emerged last week.

Those reports were prompted by accusations – which the player denies – that he defrauded Spanish tax authorities out of €14.7million.

Former club Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a swoop for the 32-year-old.

Madrid president Florentino Perez stressed this week his side had no plans to sell the prized asset, but Figo insists no player or executive is bigger than the club when it comes to the Liga and European champions giants.

“I hold the opinion that nobody is indispensable, not just Cristiano Ronaldo,” Figo said to Gol when asked about the Portugal forward’s future.

“Clubs can’t depend on anybody. The history of these clubs is above everyone, even the president or whoever.”

Despite insisting Madrid could cope without Ronaldo, Figo does not believe the 2016 Ballon d’Or winner, who is hot favourite to win the 2017 award too, will ultimately leave.

He continued: “A lot of things would have to happen for him to leave.

“It is a personal decision and if a person really wants something to happen then it will end up happening, but I see it as unlikely.”

Ronaldo is with Portugal at the Confederations Cup and scored the winning goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over hosts Russia in Moscow.

He refused to answer questions on his club future after winning the man of the match award, instead giving a pre-prepared statement talking only about Portugal’s triumph.

That came after Ronaldo also skipped his media duties as man of the match following Portugal’s 2-2 opening-match draw with Mexico, claiming he needed to undergo treatment on a knock instead.

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Monaco snap up Barcelona prospect Mboula

21 June 2017 17:13

Monaco have completed the signing of Barcelona prospect Jordi Mboula and handed the forward a five-year contract.

The 18-year-old, a right-sided attacker, has agreed a deal to tie him to the Ligue 1 champions until 2022 and will immediately form part of Leonardo Jardim’s squad.

Monaco have reportedly paid the €3million release clause in Mboula’s contract after he rejected the chance to renew with Barcelona in search of first-team opportunities.

Mboula attracted widespread attention for a stunning solo goal he scored against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Youth league in February, earning him comparisons with then-Barca team-mate Lionel Messi.

“Jordi Mboula has shown very good things with the youth teams of FC Barcelona and AS Monaco offers him an ideal environment to continue his progress,” Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said after the deal was confirmed on Wednesday.

“As we have done with players such as Bernardo Silva, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko, we will help him grow in our team.”

Spain youth international Mboula becomes Monaco’s fifth signing of the transfer window, following the arrivals of Youri Tielemans, Soualiho Meite, Jordy Gaspar and Diego Benaglio.

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Bonucci denies Champions League final bust-up with Dybala

21 June 2017 11:26

Leonardo Bonucci has vehemently denied reports that he was involved in a half-time bust-up with Juventus team-mate Paulo Dybala during the Champions League final.

Juve were level at 1-1 at the break in Cardiff before going on to suffer a second-half collapse in a 4-1 defeat to LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Reports in Italy have suggested that Bonucci issued a dressing down to Argentina superstar Dybala at half-time, with some claiming he slapped his team-mate and that he was involved in a round of verbal sparring with defensive partner Andrea Barzagli.

However, Italy defender Bonucci has insisted that the reports are completely false.

“None of what was written, talked about or reconstructed is true,” he posted on his official Facebook page.

“With regards to what has been written over the last few days by some media sources regarding supposed rows and verbal clashes that might’ve involved me and other team-mates, I think the time has come to make one thing very clear.

“There was no argument, let alone physical clashes regarding me or anyone else.

“The interval between the first and second halves of the UCL Final was an interval like many others were, I repeat, nothing happened.

“These are the only words I intend to say with regards to this situation and I hope they will be the last.

“In case they are not sufficient to clarify the situation and establish the truth, I will be ready to ask my lawyers to defend my good name and honourability.”

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CAF Champions League Review: Al Merreikh, Vita Club secure crucial wins

21 June 2017 03:24

Al Merreikh recorded a 2-1 win over Ferroviario Beira to move into third place in Group A of the CAF Champions League, level on points with Tuesday’s opponents in second.

Mozambique outfit Ferroviario Beira made an encouraging start to the game and went 1-0 up in the 16th minute via Maninho.

But they conceded the equaliser at the half-hour mark when Elsamani Saadeldin struck, before Ahmed Abdalla sealed the win for Al Merreikh after the break following some good work from Odunlami Kunle.

In Group C, Vita Club recorded a crucial 2-1 home win over Kedus Giorgis to keep their chances of reaching the knockout stages alive.

Tady Etekiama ensured the Congo DR giants got off to a fine start when he opened the scoring after seven minutes, before doubling their lead from the spot shortly before the half-hour mark. Saladin Said pulled one back after the break, but Kedus failed to restore parity in the remainder of the game.

Vita Club remain last in their group with three points from four games, but they trail second-placed Kedus by just two points.

Wydad Casablanca recorded a much-needed 2-0 win at home to Al Ahly in Group D thanks to second-half goals from Fabrice Ondama and Walid El Karti.

The win moved Casablanca onto six points – one behind Zanaco and Al Ahly.

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Confederations Cup Social Diary: Cahill philosophical in defeat and Moss quizzed

20 June 2017 22:56

Tuesday was a rest day at the Confederations Cup, but that’s not to say there was nothing going on.

Germany, as is often the case, led the way with players, both those present in Russia and not, enjoying their victory over Australia while one of the Socceroos came over all philosophical in defeat.

Elsewhere, New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss was quizzed on his favourite music and the best save of his career!


Australia veteran Tim Cahill is well known for his fighting spirit and his never-say-die attitude, a point emphasised by a video he posted on Tuesday.


Next up for hosts Russia is a clash with European champions Portugal and Stanislav Cherchesov’s men enjoyed training on Tuesday with a light workout on a beautiful Moscow evening.


Кадры с предматчевой тренировки

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Gremio expect Luan exit as Premier League clubs circle

20 June 2017 17:46

Renato Gaucho has conceded Gremio will struggle to keep hold of prize asset Luan now the transfer window has opened in Europe.

The 24-year-old was part of Brazil’s gold-medal winning side at Rio 2016 and has made a significant impact at club level with Gremio ever since.

Liverpool have been linked with a move for the attacking midfielder along with fellow Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.

And it is no surprise given Luan’s recent form of seven goals in eight games in all competitions, helping Gremio to second in the fledgling league table and the last eight of the Copa Libertadores.

As a result Renato expects the European clubs to begin circling and Gremio are unlikely to be able to keep him in Brazil.

“In my opinion, Luan is the best player in Brazilian football,” he told SporTV. “He has been playing great football, helping the team. 

“We all know that Gremio will struggle to keep him because the proposals will appear.

“We hope he does not go, but it gets difficult with the [transfer] window and with him playing as he has been playing. 

“It’s going to be a real shame. The group are strong, but of course we will feel it if this happens.

“For my part the club would never interfere in a way that holds back the player. Unfortunately nowadays the Brazilian clubs cannot compete with [those in] Europe.”

Luan made his Brazil debut in January’s 1-0 friendly win over Colombia, the forward playing the final 27 minutes in Rio.

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