Holding midfielder Edmilson has been cut from Brazil’s World Cup squad due to a knee injury. Edmilson will be replaced by attacking midfielder Mineiro who scored the winner for Sao Paulo in the Toyota Cup final against Liverpool in Tokyo in December. Mineiro admitted to being frustrated by not being in the original selection but felt disappointed for Edmilson.
Archive for May, 2006
Ending months of speculation over his future, Andriy Shevchenko today signed a 4-year deal with Chelsea. According to the Ukrainian Football Federation, Sheva cost the blues 50 million Euro and will receive a total of 36 million Euro over the four years.
Poland’s world cup warm-up against Colombia ended in a 2-1 defeat , with the winner being scored by Colombian goalkeeper Luis Martinez in the 63rd minute. As the goal went in Polish commentator Gregorsz Miecharski, commented that goalie Tomasz Kuszczak, “should probably forget about taking part in the World Cup“.
Shortly afterwards Polish fans started to chant Jerzy Dudek’s name (Dudek is not in the Polish squad). They then turned on their team and every time Colombia had possession, cried “score again” and “olé“.
A quick summary of today’s transfer stories:
Spain: Atlético Madrid completed a triple swoop today with the signing of Argentine teen sensation Sergio Agüero from Independiente and Giourkas Seitaridis and Costinha from Dynamo Moscow. The three new signings follow hot on the heals of the signings of naturalised Spaniard Mariano Pernía from Getafe and new coach Javier Aguirre who miraculously guided Osasuna Pamplona into next season’s Champions’ League. The long suffering fans will be looking for a significant improvement from their team in the new season - Atléti was Madrid’s third best team this year even finishing behind minnows Getafe. A lot will depend on whether talismanic forward Fernando Torres stays and how much time Aguirre is given to stamp his mark; Atlético’s board has a notoriously itchy trigger finger..
England: Champions Chelsea announced the signing of Salomon Kalou from Feyenoord. Kalou who hails from the Ivory Coast was one of the hottest properties in Dutch football. Van Basten was desperate for him to gain Dutch citizenship so that he could take him to the World Cup. This would have lead to the curious situation of two brothers playing for opposing countries (elder Bonaventure stars for the Ivory Coast). Whether Kalou can be successful in the Premiership remains to be seen. Mateja Kezman joined Chelsea from PSV with a great goalscoring reputation but barely registered in the Premiership and is now rebuilding his career at Atletico Madrid where he still misses more than he scores.
With Shevchenko expected to join shortly and rumours about Carlos Tevez, there must surely be doubts over the future of both Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba who are unlikely to want to spend too much time on the bench.
Andrew Johnson joined Everton from Crystal Palace in an inflated £8.6 million deal. Johnson features regularly as a non-playing member of the England squad. His reputation is largely built on one good Premiership season a couple of years ago when he finished with 21 goals, many of which were penalties. Boss David Moyes will be hoping that Johnson can reproduce this form rather than mirror that of new strike partner James Beattie, who was signed on the back of a prolific season with Southampton but has since struggled to find the net.
Yahoo! have released what might be the coolest gadget for the World Cup. Ok, technically speaking it’s a widget, not a gadget, but think of it as a gadget for your pc.
It quietly sits on your desktop and you can access it at any time to get the latest news, real-time results, fixtures, photos and much more for any of the 32 participating teams - and it looks great too!
Spanish newspaper Marca is reporting that Lionel Messi may join Real Madrid following the club’s elections for a new president later this summer. The report says that two presidential candidates are ready to pay Messi’s €150 million buy-out clause to capture the most exciting talent in world football for Los Merengues. Apparently Messi’s family are unhappy with Frank Rijkaard’s decision not to play Messi in the Champions’ League final and are ready to negotiate with Barça’s arch enemies.
There is a history of presidential candidates of both clubs promising to buy superstar players as part of their election manifesto. The most audacious move to date was Florentino Perez’s promise to take Luis Figo to Real Madrid which he delivered in a €37 million deal in 2001. Figo was greeted by shouts of “pesotero” (mercenary) and select items such as pigs’ heads and whisky bottles from Barça
fans upon his return to the Camp Nou.
More recently Barcelona’s Joan Laporta promised to deliver David Beckham if elected. The promise spectacularly backfired when Beckham joined Real, but ironically Laporta must be grateful to this day as instead he brought in the more talented Ronaldinho who has been the catalyst for Barcelona’s success.
At footballspectator we believe the move is unlikely. Messi is still recovering from injury and likely to miss Argentina’s first match in the World Cup so could not have played in the Champions’ League final anyway. Secondly, Marca is notoriously rife with outrageous speculation. For example, on the day that Thierry Henry signed his extension with Arsenal, Marca’s headline read that Arsene Wenger would become Real’s new manager and would convince Henry to follow him to Madrid. Finally, as the unofficial “voice” of Real Madrid, Marca enjoys winding up Los Cules.
Australia 1, Greece 0. Admittedly a friendly, but yet another defeat and goalless performance from European champions Greece on Thursday. Undoubtedly victory against all the odds at Euro 2004 was the outstanding moment in Greece’s sporting history, eclipsing even the iconic 1987 European basketball championship, Greece’s first major international team sport title. Results since have been poor. The World Cup qualifying campaign got off to a terrible start against Albania in Tirana with a lacklustre which included gifting 2 goals, ended in a 2-1 defeat. and never really improved. This was followed shortly by a series of hapless performances in the Confederations Cup. Has Rehhakles lost his magic touch?
One reason for Greece’s recent failure is that since Euro 2004, the catenaccio style which was used there so successfully has been taken to another extreme - the argument apparently being “if it worked well let’s do more of it”. Unfortunately two major problems are de-railing this plan. First the goals (of which there were few anyway) have dried up for one of the Euro heroes Angelos Charisteas. Second the defence has aged and become injury-prone meaning it is no longer as disciplined as before. The combined effect is that when a goal is conceded, Greece are in real trouble, lacking the creativity and pace to really trouble top-class opposition.
A second reason for Greece’s demise is the Greek mentality. Greeks tend to perform better when nothing is expected of them - witness a rousing performance at Old Trafford in 2001, in which victory was only denied as a result of some dubious refereeing and a superb performance by Beckham. Witness also Euro 2004 - the only game in which Greece really struggled was the final group match against Russia, which they were expected to win. The pressure this created almost resulted in elimination. Forward wind to the post Euro 2004 and this expectation is now constant - Greece are the European Champions after all, a tag they are struggling with.
Finally and most importantly, the team is old and in need of an overhaul. Captain marvel Zagorakis is now 34. Stelios Giannakopoulos, arguably Greece’s most successful export is 32. Dellas, Basinas, Kapsis and Vryzas are all the wrong side of 30 as well. Unearthing these gems of the future is particularly difficult in a country where players are often considered “emerging talents” until the age of 25 or 26 and where the pressure for success on managers is so great (many clubs changecoach at least 3-4 times per year) that it is preferable to bring in a cheap but experienced Brazilian import than a raw but talented youngster.
So what next for Greece and Rehhagel? Following World Cup elimination, Rehhagel’s star has waned considerably among the fickle Greek press, who are quick to point out his mistakes but who appear oblivious to reality. Victory did not turn the players into Ronaldinhos or Zidanes overnight, as highlighted by the fact that no player from that squad joined a really big club post tournament. The key to victory was organisation and discipline, two words you would not readily associated with the Greek temperament, were the foundation of success and demonstrate the value of Rehhagel’s work. The Greek press now seem to have forgotten this however. Yes there need to be some changes and younger players do need to be brought in - some such as Manchester City’s Georgios Samaras altready have been with considerable success. But if Greek football is to have lasting success, the changes really need to come from the big club sides: Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and AEK in the form of nurturing young talent and giving it its chance rather than imorting expensive has-beens such as Flavio Conceicao and Emerson.
As for Rehhakles, he would be better of retiring now because if poor results continue, Greece’s most successful coach is likely to be remembered as a failure in the illogical world of Greek football.
Ruud van Nistelrooy will leave Man U after falling out with Alex Ferguson, but it’s still unclear where he will be earning his money next season.
Over the past days the Dutch striker has been linked to Chelsea (in a deal that would see Gudjohnsen move to the Reds), but according to more recent rumours he may be closer to moving to Inter Milan. The striker is valued at £12m and the Italian club would be offering Argentinean midfielder Cambiasso plus money.
Inter, who are also interested in Luca Toni and David Trezeguet, will buy at least one world-class striker for next season. With Adriano and the new signing(s), be it Toni, Van Nistelrooy or Trezeguet, they will have an enviable attack that will place them in a position better than ever to finally put an end to their 17-year scudetto drought.
Following the scandal engulfing Juventus, the team have decided to turn a new leaf and change their shirt design from their traditional vertical stripes to hoops…
The board made this decision in recognition of their misdemeanours. For those not aware of the significance of black hoops, a clue is provided below..
Argentinean’s have their revenge for Guarana Antartica’s advert featuring Maradona in a Brazil shirt (see posting on 16 May). Mastercard have released an advert featuring Carlos Tevez, with the catch phrase “Knowing that the best player in Brazilian football is Argentinean - priceless”. We await the Brazilian response with anticipation..