Saturday, June 22, 2013

Monreal: Isco has already signed for Madrid

The left-back thinks his former club mate has joined the Bernabeu outfit and possesses everything needed to succeed in the capital
Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal believes Malaga star Isco has finalised a deal to join Real Madrid.

The young attacker is the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between los Blancos and Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City, with both teams vying for his signature to rebuild following failed title bids.

And Monreal, who played alongside Isco between 2011 to 2013 at La Rosaleda, says his compatriot has snubbed Pellegrini's approaches for a move to the Bernabeu.

"Isco has succeeded wherever he has gone. I believe he has already signed for Real Madrid and I'm sure he'll do very well because he is a great player," the 27-year-old told Marca.

"He may cost them, but together they will have opportunities and they will seize them."

A likely victim of los Blancos' revolution will be Gonzalo Higuain who has been tipped to join Arsenal this summer, with Monreal welcoming the striker to the Emirates with open arms.

"I would love it. Higuain is a part of football, and I always loved how he played for Real Madrid. He is a scorer and would be a reinforcement that we could really use," he continued.

"Arsenal are one of the biggest teams in England and this summer they are working towards good signings to break that [trophy-less] streak."

Despite not being a permanent fixture under former coach Jose Mourinho, Higuain still scored 16 goals in 28 Liga appearances as Madrid finished second last term.

The Argentine's goal record is also understood to have made him a target of Juventus.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bale will not leave Tottenham this summer, says Villas-Boas

The Welshman is understood to be high on Real Madrid's list of transfer targets but his manager insists that the forward will be staying put
Andre Villas-Boas insists that Gareth Bale will not leave Tottenham this summer, despite strong interest from Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants have made no secret of their admiration for the Welshman, with president Florentino Perez recently suggesting they would make a bid once a new manager was in place at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Villas-Boas has revealed that chairman Daniel Levy has given his word that the 23-year-old will still be at White Hart Lane next season.

"We have the pledge of the chairman that Bale is not going to leave the club," the boss told Spanish newspaper Marca.
Bale's 26 goals in all competitions were not enough to secure a place in next season's Champions League, increasing speculation that he would be seeking a move away.
Tottenham are trying to tie the player down to a lucrative new £130,000 a week contract and have promised to allow him to leave next summer should the club once again fail to finish in the top four in 2012-13.
Having recently turned down a move to Paris Saint-Germain as replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, Villas-Boas will be expecting Spurs to back him financially in order to be able to compete at the highest level, starting with securing last season's star player.

The Portuguese boss enjoys a strong relationship with Bale, who has credited the former Chelsea manager with helping to improve his game.

Chicharito: Mexico players backing Chepo

With just one win in 2013, the Mexico boss is on the hot seat, but his players have come out in support of the manager.
Javier Hernandez has stressed that Mexico players are completely behind head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre on the back of their 2-0 defeat to Brazil.

Suggestions in North American media are that the nation's FA could relieve Torre, nicknamed Chepo, from his duties imminently due to below-par performances recently but the Manchester United striker is among those who are backing the trainer.

"A player is always at the coach’s order, we’d die for the national team and the coaching staff," said Hernandez.

Squad skipper Francisco Rodriguez pointed out that recent poor form is not just the coach’s fault, but also that of the players.

"We too are responsible on the field, not just Chepo, but he has confidence in us, as we do in him," the former Stuttgart player stated.

Andres Guardado was another senior player coming out in support of De la Torre, who is far from a popular figure with fans after just one win in 11 games in 2013.

"We all trust in his work and we all have confidence in the process we are going through," said the Valencia player.

Mexico wrap up their Confederations Cup campaign on Saturday with a largely meaningless game against Japan, as Brazil and Italy have already qualified for the semi-finals with six points apiece in Group A.

Skrtel's agent concedes Napoli move looks unlikely

The Slovakian central defender has become disillusioned with life at Liverpool after a lack of first-team opportunities since Brendan Rodgers' arrival at the club
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel's agent has cooled speculation that the Slovakia international will move toNapoli this summer.

Skrtel has been linked with reunion with former Reds manager Rafael Benitez at the San Paolo, with the Spaniard believed to be eager to team up with one of his former players once again.

But Skrtel's representative Karol Csonto doubts whether the Italian side will have the required funds to complete a deal for a player who became unsettled towards the end of last season when he lost his place.

Csonto told Tuttomercatoweb: "I've specifically said that Skrtel has never said that he wants leave Liverpool, but it depends on Liverpool because everything could change.

"It's true that the last two seasons were difficult but in football these things can happen.

"I don't think Napoli have the financial capabilities to take him. Liverpool have not decided a price because they don't intend to sell the player. Anyway, I don't think that Napoli can afford his wage."

Giovinco: Japan winner was my revenge

The 26-year-old says his goal against the Asian nation has given him hunger to prove his critics wrong
Italy forward Sebastian Giovinco says he has enacted revenge over the people who doubted his quality after netting the winner against Japan on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old was on-hand to net the decisive goal in the 4-3 victory over the AFC nation in an enthralling clash which ultimately ensured the Azzurri's qualification for the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The Juventus attacker has dedicated the goal to his detractors who have previously cast doubts over whether he has the ability to succeed on the international stage.

"The goal against Japan was my first for the national team and it was very exciting," he told reporters.

"It is the beginning of my international career and there are those who say I cannot play at the highest level, which I don't agree with, so my goal yesterday was a good way of getting revenge against them."

Cesare Prandelli's men finish Group A with a clash against hosts Brazil on Saturday to determine which team goes into the latter stages of the competition as group winners.

Arsenal will find it hard to compete for transfers with Manchester United and Chelsea, warns Wright

The former Gunners forward believes Arsene Wenger may miss out on potential transfers if they are also being targeted by the Premier League's elite
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has warned the club may struggle to attract high calibre players ahead of their Premier League rivals this summer.

Arsene Wenger's side have agreed terms with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain but the Spanish club are holding out for a fee of €30 million for the Argentine.

Arsenal activated the €25 million release clause in Marouane Fellaini's Everton contract but are yet to open talks with the midfielder.

But Wright believes the appointments of David Moyes at Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, coupled with Manchester City's resurgence under Manuel Pellegrini and Tottenham's attempts to improve this summer, may make it a difficult transfer market for Arsenal.

"Arsene Wenger’s future at the club is secure, because he has done so much for the club since he got there," said Wright, who was speaking at a charity event at the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore.

"I feel that the quality of signings over the past few years is the reason why they haven’t won anything in eight years.

"They have to sign players with the right qualities, but they are going into a team to help young players who are coming through.

"I think it’s going to be harder for Arsenal because Manchester United has a new manager, and so do Chelsea," he warned.

"Manchester City have a point to prove, and even Tottenham are coming through. It’s going to be hard to try to attract the kind of players that’s not going to want to go to those other clubs."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Real Madrid offer world-record €155m deal to keep Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is close to agreeing a new contract with Real Madrid which will make him the world's highest-earning footballer, Goal can reveal.

Madrid are in advanced talks with Ronaldo's representatives over a deal totalling around €155 million over five years, with the Portuguese forward set to earn €15m annually after tax in what will be the most lucrative contract in the history of the game.

Ronaldo, who has scored 201 goals in just 199 games in his four seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, raised alarm bells on Thursday when he posted a cryptic message on Twitter which read simply: "All the news about my renewal with Real Madrid are false." Days earlier, however, he revealed his intention to remain at the Spanish side beyond his current contract, which expires in 2015.

After Portugal's 1-0 win over Russia in a World Cup qualifier last week, Ronaldo said: "I haven't spoken to anyone yet, [but] I know we will reach an agreement on a new contract. The most important thing now is the national team." And he also claimed his future has nothing to do with the departure of coach Jose Mourinho. "I am not worried by what Mourinho does; I am concerned with Real Madrid and my future," he said in May. The pair's relationship, once excellent, deteriorated in recent months following an angry dispute over a tactical correction made by Mourinho in a game against Valencia in January.

Though it never reached the stage of tabling an official offer, Manchester United’s dream of persuading Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford was and remains a genuine one.

A public and private charm offensive kicked off in earnest around the time the Premier League champions drew the Spanish giants in the Champions League last December and reached a crescendo when the prolific Portuguese arrived back on his former stomping ground in March and duly scored the decisive goal in the tie.

The reception he was afforded that night struck a chord with the player who had felt unloved and unappreciated in the Spanish capital. That he spent time after the match catching up with his former team-mates and speaking so positively of his former employers, to the extent that he appeared to be leaving the door open for a return, gave United’s hierarchy belief they were capable of pulling off an astonishing coup.

In truth, however, the stratospheric sums involved were always likely to prove the most significant barrier, alongside Madrid’s reluctance to sell, to a deal being stuck.

James Goldman, Goal UK
Ronaldo's posture has changed after his well-documented 'sadness' at the beginning of last season, when he was frustrated at what he perceived to be a lack of public support from the club in the race for the Ballon d'Or, a fall-out with team-mate Marcelo and the club's apparent unwillingness to discuss a new deal.

Madrid signed Ronaldo from Manchester United in a world-record €94 million deal back in the summer of 2009, following Florentino Perez's return to the presidency at the capital club. He currently earns around €10m annually after tax.

When Ronaldo arrived, however, the so-called 'Beckham Law', which allowed foreigners who had lived in Spain for less than 10 years and who earned above €120,000 per annum to pay a lower tax rate of around 23 per cent and not the usual 45%, was still in force. David Beckham was one of the first to take advantage of the law after his move from Manchester United in 2003.