About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Solskjaer puts Darmian on notice for Newcastle clashby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits they go to Newcastle United well short of numbers.Matteo Darmian will provide cover with Phil Jones likely to start alongside Victor Lindelof, after coming off the bench in the 4-1 victory over Bournemouth. Chris Smalling, who might return in time for the game against Tottenham Hotspur on 13 January, and Marcos Rojo are still sidelined.When asked if he will only have two centre-backs available for the trip to Tyneside, Solskjaer replied: “That’s enough isn’t it? It should be enough with two! We’ll have to look at it, of course, but we’ve got Darmian, who can definitely play centre-back. “I don’t think Rojo will make it so it will probably be Darmian as back-up centre-back.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea prepared to report Bayern Munich for tapping up Hudson-Odoiby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFrustrated Chelsea are prepared to report Bayern Munich to FIFA for tapping up Callum Hudson-Odoi.Bayern have bid £35million for 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi, understood to be an initial £15m with £20m in add-ons.”He is fast, good at dribbling, he would fit very well into our team,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic on Wednesday as he addressed the media at a training camp in Qatar.Premier League rules prohibit such public comment but Bayern have not broken any FIFA regulations unless they are found to have “tapped up” Hudson-Odoi.Chelsea do not want to sell but they could lose him for next to nothing when his contract expires in summer 2020.
Vlasic resigned to Everton exit: They buy Barcelona players now!by Ansser Sadiq10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton star Nikola Vlasic believes that he will be leaving the club in the summer.The 21-year-old is on loan at CSKA Moscow for the remainder of this campaign.And he does not see his long term future at Merseyside, given the ambitions of the team.”Honestly, I do not believe,” Vlasic told Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti when asked if he could come back into the team next season.”Everton paid about £90m on only three players – Richarlison, (Yerry) Mina and (Lucas) Digne – and are therefore looking for great names and players from big clubs, like Barcelona.”Despite these immense investments the team is currently in the 11th place, which means there will be new, big purchases.”When you bring three players out of Barcelona in a few days (Mina, Digne and on-loan Andre Gomes) then it’s clear that you do not have much care for those who came from the small league.”So I expect them to sell me as soon as they get their first bid.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Lokomotiv Moscow coach Yuri Semin: I WANT Atletico Madrid to win Champions Leagueby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLokomotiv Moscow coach Yuri Semin is backing Atletico Madrid to win the Champions League.Loko fell 2-0 at home to Atletico last night.And Semin admits he was impressed: “This Atlético is a younger, rejuvenated team, but they still have the same style. “They are one of the leaders of LaLiga and hopefully they can win the Champions League.”It is a strong candidate, it is what I want, congratulations and luck.”He also said of Atleti whiz João Félix: “He is the future of Atlético, has played with a control, pace and created great problems.”
Liverpool ace Sadio Mane assures fans: I won’t stop with thisby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool ace Sadio Mane insists he’s capable of much more in a Reds shirt.Before the international break, Mane reached 50 goals in 100 games for the club.But he told Teledakar: “It’s not bad, I know I can do better. “I’m happy with what I just realized, I’m proud to have scored 50 goals with Liverpool. “I will not stop there, I will continue to work to score more goals in club as in selection.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Pep Guardiola has warned that it is too early to concede the Premier League title to Liverpool, while calling on his Manchester City side to return to winning ways.Three losses in four for the Citizens have seen them relinquish their control of the summit, having waltzed to glory in the 2017-18 season.While City faltered, Liverpool stepped up a gear with eight consecutive wins in the league and now enjoy a seven point advantage over Guardiola’s men, while Tottenham now sit second – one point ahead of the Manchester club. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The Catalan, however, has no doubt that there is a long way to go still before a champion can be declared.“From January, February last season people said, ‘The Premier League is over’. To live with that is not easy,” the manager explained to reporters on Thursday.“One month ago people talked about [the match against] Liverpool and before we had three or four games.“Football is that you are able to win a lot of games and you are able to lose a lot of games. When I was at Barcelona for one period I lost four games in a row.”Defeats against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester City in recent weeks have shattered City’s aura of near-invincibility in the Premier League, having lost just one of their previous 30 games in a run stretching back to January 2018.Now Guardiola insists that his team must return to form against Southampton at the weekend before they think of a title six-pointer against Liverpool to kick off the new year next Thursday.“The less important issue is Liverpool, we have to think about Southampton,” he added. “I don’t forget who we are, how good a team we are, how exceptional these lads I have in the locker room are.“The reality is we have lost three in four games and the last two. If you want to be real contenders you have to win again. If you don’t, it will not be possible.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Alvaro Morata must embrace the weight of expectation at Chelsea as the misfiring forward continues to struggle, according to Gianfranco Zola.Morata has only managed five goals in the Premier League this season and seven in all competitions amid links with Sevilla and AC Milan.Chelsea spent around £60 million to prise Morata from Real Madrid in 2017 but the Spain international has struggled for goals and confidence after a promising start to life at Stamford Bridge. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? With doubts over Morata’s future in London, assistant coach Zola said the 26-year-old has to deal with the pressure at Chelsea.”It should be a motivational thing,” said Zola. “You are at Chelsea, you are not playing for Southampton or Brighton with all due respect to those clubs.”People expect a lot from the number nine at Chelsea. They expect a lot of goals and good performances. This is normal, he has to get used to it.”If he goes to another big club it’ll be the same – there is no way you can avoid your responsibilities.”It’s part of your job and if you can handle that then the better you’re going to be.”Zola added: “Technically Morata – and this is the reason we invested a lot in him this year – we thought he was the perfect number nine for us.”Maurizio [Sarri] has always said that. Technically without doubt he is one of the best in this position.”I think he has to improve a little bit tactically because nowadays with the type of football, football is so organised you need to get better tactically, your ability is not enough.”In my opinion he needs to improve on this. He’s been working on that, he has a good attitude. He feels that he doesn’t score enough and he feels a lot of responsibilities for that.”But he has to learn to put everything behind because these are only burdens that you take on the pitch and they don’t help you to perform better.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Barcelona are set to dip into the transfer market this January in order to reinforce their offensive line. Munir El Haddadi was shipped out to Sevilla last week for a fee of €1 million, and though he featured for only 403 minutes across three competitions, the Catalans are lacking depth in their attack and need a reinforcement.With that in mind, here are 10 players they would be advised to look at over the coming fortnight.
A controversial tenure has come to an end. Jose Luis Higuera is no longer with Chivas.The general director’s time with the Guadalajara club was filled with frustration and controversy for fans of one of the two most popular clubs in Mexico.”After four years in the Chivas family, Jose Luis Higuera Barberi will no longer be General Director of Club Deportivo Guadalajara,” read a club statement released Monday. “In Chivas, we value his effort and commitment during this time with us and wish him the best in his future projects.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Fans of the club, which signs only Mexican players, often criticized Higuera for a lack of new additions plus the departure of successful coach Matias Almeyda and the sale of key players such as attacker Rodolfo Pizarro, midfielder Orbelin Pineda and midfielder Jose Juan “Gallito” Vazquez.Earlier in the day, club owner Jorge Vergara had announced that his son, Amaury, is being promoted from vice president to president.“Club Deportivo Guadalajara is the top institution in Mexican soccer, and we’re at the point of starting a transcendental season for the club, which doesn’t deserve just our enthusiasm but also our special attention to achieve the required result,” Jorge Vergara wrote in a public letter. “For this reason, I’ve decided to name Amaury Vergara as President of Chivas, effective from today, June 24, 2019.”Chivas are sitting in the penultimate place of Liga MX’s relegation table and need to get results this season to avoid falling to the second division. They’ve brought in a number of veterans this offseason, with 35-year-old forward Oribe Peralta joining the club from rival America and 30-year-old center back Oswaldo Alanis returning to the club after a season in Europe.Chivas also have a busy summer, taking part in several exhibition tournaments in the United States. They begin with the Colossus Cup against Argentina giants River Plate and Boca Juniors. Later, they’ll take part in the International Champions Cup. That tournament closes with a game against Benfica in Northern California on July 20. The next day, Liga MX play kicks off with a contest against Santos Laguna.
The 2019 European Under-21 Championship has been a joy to behold so far.From more than 80,000 people turning out to watch hosts Italy in action to Romania legend Gheorghe Hagi leading a 5,000-strong army of his nation’s supporters from the centre of Cesena to the Stadio Dino Manuzzi for their game with England, the tournament has well and truly captured the imagination of the public.It has been a delight on the field, too, with 64 goals scored in just 18 games to date, at an average of 3.6 per game. It has truly been a celebration of ‘The Beautiful Game’. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? However, it’s not been without its let-downs, or indeed its controversies.With the group stage having now been completed, Goal picks out the tournament’s biggest disappointments…MOISE KEANIf Alanis Morissette could actually understand irony, she would have enjoyed the circumstances surrounding the end of Moise Kean’s participation in the Under-21 Euros.Just hours before Italy’s must-win meeting with Belgium in Reggio Emilia, Moise Kean posted a video on Instagram of him singing the chorus of the Benji & Fede song ‘Dove e Quando’:”Tell me where and when, tonight I won’t arrive late, and I have no more stupid excuses, even the traffic doesn’t matter.” The post was quickly deleted after Kean and his room-mate and best friend, Nicolo Zaniolo, arrived late for an Italy team meeting.Coach Luigi Di Biagio responded by benching Kean for what the striker had, just 24 hours previously, described as “one of the biggest games of my career” and omitting the already suspended Zaniolo from the squad completely.Kean didn’t see a minute of action, even with Italy pressing furiously late on to increase their margin of victory so as to boost both their goal difference and, in turn, their chances of progressing to the last four as the best runner-up.Make no mistake about it: Kean should have been one of the stars of this tournament.He was in form, having scored seven times for Juventus last season, and he was fresh, having played just 664 minutes of club football.He lasted just an hour of Italy’s opening win over Spain and was unable to make an impact off the bench in the costly loss to Poland.It was off the field, though, that he really let himself down.As Di Biagio was at pains to point out in his post-match press conference in Reggio Emilia, Sunday wasn’t the first time the 20-year-old had breached team rules.He is still so young, the hope is that he will learn from this jarring experience.He will certainly have plenty of time to ponder his ill-discipline, with Roberto Mancini now set to follow suit and exclude Kean from his next squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Where and when we will next see Kean in an Italy shirt is unclear at this stage.ENGLANDMany things are now being levelled at Aidy Boothroyd after England’s embarrassing first-round elimination in Italy but one could never accuse the under-fire manager of a lack of honesty.He was admirably open and frank with reporters, never once losing his head even though all around him were losing theirs as the Young Lions bowed out with a whimper and without winning a single game.However, perhaps Boothroyd was honest to a fault.Some of the more cynical members of the English press pack could not believe that the England boss didn’t make up a minor injury for Phil Foden, having sensationally decided to leave his best player out of the starting line-up for the must-win meeting with Romania on matchday two.In defending his choice by bizarrely claiming he needed to “manage the minutes” of a 19-year-old who started just 11 games for Manchester City last season, he left himself wide open to ridicule.There was also widespread disbelief when Boothroyd openly admitted that Aaron Wan-Bissaka – who scored a calamitous own goal in the 2-1 defeat to France – had been dropped after having his “head turned” by his imminent move to Manchester United. It was felt that the right-back had essentially been thrown under the bus by his coach.As well as failing to sort out England’s porous defence, which was breached a whopping nine times in three games, Boothroyd was also criticised for bringing on two conventional centre-forwards at a time when 10-man England needed outlets and players capable of getting on the ball when they were struggling to retain possession in the closing stages of the French game.Ostensibly, Boothroyd is still in a strong position, having signed a new, two-year contract just before the Euros began. In addition, as he was quick to point out, several eligible players were called up by senior team boss Gareth Southgate for the Nations League, while he could hardly be held accountable for some of the dismal unforced errors committed by his defenders.”When you look at the calibre of the players making the mistakes, it doesn’t make sense,” he lamented after Monday’s 3-3 draw with Croatia.One wonders now, though, whether it makes sense to continue with a coach who made a number of puzzling selections and failed to get to grips with a worrying level of over-confidence and complacency evident in his players, on and off the field.LUKA JOVICBefore signing for Real Madrid on June 4, Luka Jovic had approximately 470,000 followers on Instagram. At the time of writing, he has nearly three times that amount (1.3 million).Madrid fans are now watching his every move with interest, which will only make the striker all the more disappointed with his Euros campaign.Admittedly, Serbia were exposed as a side badly out of their depth in Italy, with the legendary Rade Bogdanovic even calling for every member of the squad to be forced to do a year in the army to learn some discipline after losing all three games and scoring only once, via the penalty spot.In addition, it is worth remembering that they wouldn’t have made it this far without Jovic, who top-scored for his nation with seven goals during their qualifying campaign.”I did not play as good as I can,” he acknowledged. “But a couple of games can not kill everything I showed last season.”Very true, but Jovic nonetheless offered little to illustrate why Madrid elected to pay €70m to prise him away from Eintracht Frankurt this summer.In two appearances in Italy, he didn’t register a single goal or assist, failed to complete a single dribble and managed just five shots on goal, only one of which hit the target. At no point, did he look like a player usurping Karim Benzema as Madrid’s first-choice No.9.Of course, one could reasonably argue that the 21-year-old was always likely to be feeling the physical and mental strain after signing for one of the biggest clubs in the world on the back of a brilliant breakout campaign in which he scored 27 times in 48 appearances in all competitions.In that context, fatigue is a perfectly valid excuse and it would be wrong to judge a player’s ability based on one bad tournament.That will be of little consolation to Jovic, though, who described himself as “the happiest man in the world” after sealing his switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.The Euros will have quelled his enthusiasm a tad, having made a bad first impression on his many new followers.LUIGI DI BIAGIOIn announcing his decision to resign as Italy Under-21s boss after six years at the helm, Luigi Di Biagio insisted that his side’s failure to reach the knockout stage at a Euros they were hosting hadn’t influenced his decision to walk away.”I would have left anyway,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning. “I no longer felt 100 per cent motivated to continue.”Maybe there would have been a small chance of staying, just for the Olympics.”But clubs from Serie A and Serie B have looked for me before. Out of respect for the FIGC (Italian Football Federation), I always said no.”But thanks to my growth here over these years, I feel ready for new challenges.”The problem now for Di Biagio, though, is that his reputation has been damaged by the Azzurrini’s shockingly early elimination. Many, many fans of the national team are happy to see him go.In Di Biagio’s defence, Italy were unlucky to bow out after winning two of their three games, including a rousing 3-1 victory over Spain in their tournament opener.However, in a way, that triumph merely deepened the disappointment surrounding the subsequent 1-0 loss to a limited Poland side that ultimately cost Italy a place in the semi-finals.The way in which the Azzurrini overwhelmed La Rojita thrillingly illustrated that this was a team with the talent – and the passionate local support – capable of winning the tournament.After all, Di Biagio had been allowed to pick senior stars such as Moise Kean, Nicolo Zaniolo, Nicolo Barella and Federico Chiesa by Azzurri boss Roberto Mancini.He deserves credit for the way in which he handled Kean and Zaniolo’s ill-discipline, while he certainly got the best out of Chiesa, who was arguably the player of the group stage.However, the abiding memory of this tournament will not be the Fiorentina winger’s wonderful goals or scorching runs down the left flank but Di Biagio’s mishandling of the Polish match.That night in Bologna, he got his tactics horribly wrong, by pumping cross after cross into a penalty area full of tall Polish players.Such a naive approach cost his side the game and it could also end up costing him a top job in Serie A – or even Serie B.THE FORMATFor an alleged biscotto (an Italian footballing term meaning ‘biscuit’ used to describe two teams deliberately playing out a mutually beneficial result), Romania against France really was a cracker.Neither side managed a single shot on target during a game that both nations only needed a point from to ensure qualification for the semi-finals. It’s almost as if they didn’t even try to pretend they were trying.Given Italy stood to progress if either Romania won or France prevailed by three goals or more, the hosts were the most incensed by the mutually beneficial outcome.However, even the Azurrini acknowledged that they only had themselves to blame for needing to rely on results elsewhere.In addition, there is always the odd chance of a biscotto at major international tournaments.West Germany’s infamous 1-0 victory over Austria at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, which became known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’ as the result saw both qualify for the next round at Algeria’s expense, prompted the authorities to change the rules and ensure that the final two matches in a group would kick off at the same time.However, it would be a logistical nightmare staging every single set of final games on the same day and at the same time, which only underlines the folly of employing a format which means the results in one group can affect qualification from another.It should always be either the group winners or the top two teams that go through to the next round. Tournaments that allow any third-placed sides to progress to the knockout stage from four-team groups are bound to throw up farcical results. This summer’s Copa America and Women’s World Cup have proved as much.But this is nothing new. Portugal winning Euro 2016 after failing to record a single victory in their group was a bad joke.The best third-placed team format essentially rewards mediocrity with a place in the group stage, and prolongs already over-inflated tournaments, thus diluting the quality of the football.The Under-21 Euros offered a perverse twist on the modern international tournament: with just 12 teams on show, divided into three groups of four, only one runner-up was guaranteed a place in the knockout stage.It meant that Italy and Denmark were both eliminated despite finishing second in their respective groups, after winning two of their three games.It merely hammered home the point that such tournaments should only ever have a number of participants easily reduced to four, eight or 16 teams.Happily, the next Under-21 Euros, in Hungary and Slovenia in 2021, will have 16 teams.That will serve as little consolation to Italy and Denmark, though.