El gran ícono de la lucha libre mexicana llega a las pantallas este lunes. La serie que promete cargarte de emociones la podrás disfrutar a través de Sling TV.
Blue Demon contará la historia de Alejandro Muñoz Moreno, un humilde hombre que se mudó a la ciudad de Monterrey en México para trabajar y ganarse la vida. Allí conoció a Rolando Vera, un luchador que se convirtió en su entrenador y gran impulsor.
En la primera temporada veremos a Alejandro luchando -literalmente- por sus sueños pese a las adversidades, hasta convertirse en el campeón mundial de lucha libre. Seremos testigos de la increíble transformación de un simple y sencillo hombre, al legendario luchador enmascarado Blue Demon, que poco a poco se fue ganando el aprecio... Read More
La teleserie que será transmitida a partir del 7 de marzo por Univision promete atrapar a todos los televidentes que aborden este vuelo cargado de suspenso, drama y pasión.
Protagonizada por Livia Brito y Arap Bethke, La Piloto cuenta la historia de la azafata mexicana Yolanda Cadena, una mujer que siempre soñó con estar al mando de una aeronave y que tiempo después logra cumplir su objetivo, pero de una manera diferente.
Convertida en toda una piloto Yolanda se dedica a volar avionetas que se utilizan para transportar drogas de Colombia y México a Estados Unidos, trabajo que tarde que temprano la meterá en problemas, en especial porque su novio, el piloto John Lucio, es quien la convence para que haga esos viajes.
América y Tigres dejaron todo para el partido de vuelta de la gran final de la Liga MX, que se jugará en el Estadio Universitario de San Nicolás de los Garza, luego del empate 1-1 que dejó el encuentro de ida en el Azteca. Esta emocionante final será transmitida por Univision y Univision Deportes el próximo domingo 25 de diciembre a las 7:30pm ET y la podrás disfrutar por Sling TV.
Felinos y águilas definirán el próximo campeón mexicano en la innovadora final que se jugará en Navidad.
En el partido de ida América pudo comenzar en ventaja cuando Oribe Peralta confundió al árbitro y generó un penal tras una jugada dudosa. El propio ‘Cepillo’ erró desde los 12 pasos al reventar el... Read More
Por fin los amantes del cine y la televisión pudimos conocer quiénes son los nominados a la edición número 74 de los Globos de Oro, ceremonia que se llevará a cabo el próximo 8 de enero en Los Ángeles, California, y que podremos seguir por Sling TV (solo disponible en ciertos mercados).
Una de las series que más gustó fue Stranger Things, de los hermanos Matt y Ross Duffer, que se estrenó con éxito por Netflix y contagió a miles de televidentes amantes del género fantástico. Esta exitosa producción -que tienen a muchos fanáticos a la espera de la segunda temporada- está nominada en la categoría de Mejor serie dramática de televisión. Otros programas que compiten por este galardón son la arrazadora serie Game of Thrones... Read More
A medida que avanzó la quinta temporada de Larrymania, programa que puedes disfrutar a través de Sling TV, fuimos conociendo detalles que por primera vez Larry Hernández y su familia se atrevieron a contar, como por ejemplo los problemas legales que tuvo el cantante, su manera de enfrentar a los medios de comunicación y su reencuentro con su fanaticada a través de sus conciertos.
Además, nos divertimos con las ocurrencias de Larry, amamos los detalles encantadores con su esposa e hijas, y celebramos junto a Kenia por su nueva faceta de empresaria, que claramente Larry siempre estuvo apoyando.
En este final de temporada tendremos un abrebocas de cómo se dará el regreso de Larry a México para reencontrarse con Manuela, Fredy, amigos y seguidores, ahora que... Read More
Llega a Sling TV la producción de RCN Comando Élite, serie que narra el día a día de los valientes policías colombianos que arriesgan sus vidas por capturar y someter a delincuentes sumamente poderosos.
La trama gira en torno al Coronel Ignacio Saravia, creador y cabeza de Comando Élite, un grupo formado por agentes secretos, analistas y ‘hombres jungla’ que se infiltran en campamentos guerrilleros y entre bandas criminales para lograr el propósito de la misión: capturar criminales, hacer respetar la justicia y mantener la seguridad nacional.
Día a día Saravia arriesgará todo por cumplir su trabajo y al mismo tiempo lucha por salvar su matrimonio que se ha mermado después de la muerte de su hijo a manos de un grupo terrorista, hecho que lo... Read More
La Liga MX tendrá nuevo campeón pero no será un desconocido, sino que dos instituciones que regularmente son animadores del campeonato buscarán ganar el Torneo Apertura 2016. Vive el emocionante juego de ida por Univisión Deportes el próximo 22 de diciembre a las 10:00pm ET, cortesía de Sling TV.
América buscará terminar el año del centenario con un regalo para su afición, el título. Los ‘azulcrema’ llegan a la serie final después de vencer a Chivas de Guadalajara en los cuartos de final y al Necaxa en la semifinal.
El cuadro de Ricardo La Volpe arriba al juego de ida recién desempacado de Japón, donde disputó el Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA. Las Águilas quieren irse en ventaja en el primer encuentro y así... Read More
Desde 2014 el canal Univisión condecora a los deportistas que mejor se han desempeñado en diferentes disciplinas deportivas. La gala la podrás seguir a través de Sling TV este 18 de diciembre a las 7:00 pm ET.
Este año la figura del LA Galaxy, Giovani dos Santos, fue nominado en tres categorías (Futbolista del Año de la MLS, Gol del Año y Futbolista del Tri del Año), convirtiéndose en el atleta con más nominaciones.
En la categoría Equipo del año Los Broncos de Denver, Los Chicago Cubs y la selección chilena de fútbol, ganadora de la Copa América Centenario que se realizó en territorio estadounidense, compiten por llevarse este preciado galardón.
Muchos de los espectadores también tienen la lupa puesta sobre la categoría Revelación del año,... Read More
Ni Cristiano Ronaldo, ni James Rodríguez, tampoco Rubens Sambueza. El gran protagonista de este Mundial de Clubes ha sido el videoarbitraje que, de manera confusa y desprolija, ha hecho su ingreso formal al fútbol de élite dejando muchos más interrogantes que soluciones a los problemas.
Las decisiones arbitrales fueron determinantes para la definición del fixture. El miércoles, Atlético Nacional fue sancionado con un penal tecnológico por parte del árbitro Viktor Kassai y cayó por goleada 3-0 ante el Kashima Antlers. Los japoneses llegarán al Estadio Internacional de Yokohama como la gran sorpresa del certamen y buscarán cumplir un sueño, vencer al Real Madrid frente a su afición el próximo domingo.
En la otra semifinal entre América y Real Madrid, los... Read More
Los 90 minutos de juego entre Atlético de Bilbao y Celta de Vigo no solo marcará el final de la jornada 16 de La Liga de España, sino también el cierre del calendario futbolístico en su versión 2016; debido al receso de invierno el balón no volverá a rodar hasta el 6 de enero del próximo año. Disfruta de esta vibrante jornada gracias a Sling TV, por beINñ Sports.
Real Madrid, con cuerpo y mente en Japón, y Valencia fueron los primeros equipos en irse de vacaciones de invierno a causa de la participación del cuadro ‘merengue’ en el Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA. El partido entre estos dos clubes se jugará el próximo 22 de febrero del 2017.
Gracias al doblete del argentino Silvio Romero, América se sacó la espina de la rápida eliminación del año pasado y enfrentará al campeón de Europa, Real Madrid, con el sueño de hacer historia para México y la CONCACAF. Vive este emocionante encuentro este jueves a las 3:30am ET, gracias a Sling TV.
Por su parte, el Real Madrid pisó territorio japonés con la confianza por la nubes. La distancia de seis puntos con el segundo de la Liga de España y su clasificación a la siguiente ronda de la Champions League los hace llegar como favoritos para coronarse como el mejor club del mundo.
Los ‘merengues’ se medirán al América en el duelo por el... Read More
Con el Clásico como parte del pasado, la Liga española afrontará una nueva jornada que promete, como cada fin de semana, revivir nuevas emociones en millones de aficionados locales y de todo el mundo que se darán cita para presenciar los mejores partidos de esta atrapante jornada; y todo esto lo podrás disfrutar gracias a Sling Latino por el canal beINñ SPORTS.
Real Madrid, con el estado anímico por las nubes tras el empate agónico ante Barcelona en el Camp Nou y por su primer lugar en la tabla de posiciones, recibirá en el Santiago Bernabéu al Deportivo de la Coruña, uno de los coleros del campeonato. El entrenador Zinedine Zidane dispondría de un equipo mixto... Read More
La MLS llegará a su fin cuando los dos equipos más regulares, Toronto FC de la Conferencia Este y Seattle Sounders de la Conferencia Oeste, se midan en una inédita disputa por el título. Esta es la primera vez que un equipo canadiense disputa el máximo honor del torneo americano.
Los canadienses, liderados por Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco y Jozy Altidore, buscarán seguir haciendo historia, luego de dejar en el camino al Philadelphia Union (3-1), al poderoso New York City FC (7-0) y al Impact de Montreal (7-5 en tiempos extras) en la final de la Conferencia Este, para instalarse en la final.
Del otro lado el cuadro que tiene en Clint... Read More
Del 8 al 18 de diciembre se jugará en Japón una nueva edición del Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA, torneo que reúne a los campeones vigentes de las 6 Confederaciones del fútbol mundial (más el campeón del país anfitrión), quienes durante dos semanas se enfrentarán para establecer el mejor equipo del mundo a nivel de clubes.
En representación de Oceanía, estará el Auckland City de Nueva Zelanda, quien le dará apertura al evento ante el local Kashima Antlers.
Por su parte, el continente africano estará representado por el Mamelodi Sundowns de Sudáfrica, que espera avanzar (al menos) a la semifinal del torneo cuando se enfrente en cuartos de final al ganador del partido de apertura.
La cadena NBC Universo estrenó con éxito la serie policial Shades of Blue en español, protagonizada por la actriz, productora y cantante Jennifer López, quien refleja a través de su papel de detective que está más vigente que nunca para asumir cualquier rol actoral.
JLo encarna a la sagaz agente neoyorkina Harlee Santos, quien pertenece a la unidad policial de Brooklyn y a la vez hace parte de un esquema ilegal de sobornos y cobros por protección, pensando que con esto puede brindarle un futuro prometedor a su hija.
Pero no todo es color rosa para esta madre soltera. Cuando pensaba que era su mejor momento el FBI la descubre y le exige asumir el rol de informante. A partir de allí Harlee Santos vivirá en... Read More
La UEFA Champions League llega a la última jornada de la fase de grupo, y aunque son varios los equipos que ya tienen su pase a la siguiente ronda, se juegan partidos muy importantes que podrás disfrutar este martes y miércoles gracias a Sling Latino por el canal beIN Sports.
Basel - Arsenal
Paris Saint-Germain - Ludogorets
PSG y Arsenal llegan a esta jornada con el pase asegurado a octavos de final, el premio que queda por reclamar es la clasificación a Europa League. Ludogorets y Basel tienen los mismo puntos pero los búlgaros tienen ventaja por la victoria en el duelo directo.
Sporting events don’t get any bigger than Saturday’s meeting between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, as the longtime rivals battle it out for the 2016/17 La Liga title. FC Barcelona sits in second place with 27 points behind Real Madrid’s 33 and you will be able to watch the match at 10:15 EST on beIN Sports.
Some of the world’s best players will be a part of this game, any one of whom can win it with a moment of inspiration. With Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez representing FC Barcelona while Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Benzema represent Los Merengues it is likely to be a spectacular show in Camp Nou Stadium.
The UEFA Champions League resumes this week as Premier League contenders Tottenham Hotspur prepare to cross the Channel to meet Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
Hosts Monaco are riding high at the moment, sitting second in the French league table and top of Group E in the Champions League. Manager Leonardo Jardim’s side smashed Lorient on Friday, winning 3-0 on the road, temporarily drawing level with Nice atop the Ligue 1 standings. Radamel Falcao opened the scoring for the Principality outfit and after a couple of seasons spent trying to resuscitate his career in the Premier League, the Colombian striker looks to have rediscovered his scoring touch.
A comfortable win and a Friday kickoff mean that Jardim’s side is likely to be well rested and confident as they welcome... Read More
Real Madrid will make the short journey across town to the Vicente Calderon possibly for the last time on Saturday as they meet Atletico Madrid for the final La Liga derby to be contested at the storied stadium.
Saturday’s derby pits the best attack in the league against the best defense. While Real Madrid have scored 53 goals in all competitions this season, Atletico have only given up nine.
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has received a boost on the injury front with defender Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema having returned to full training this week. Both are likely to start against Atleti, while Pepe, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Alvaro Morata remain sidelined by injuries.
Benzema is likely to spearhead Madrid’s attack along with the other two members of the “BBC,”... Read More
With the international break behind us, the Premier League resumes this weekend and the marquee match-up of the round is Saturday’s heavyweight clash between Manchester United and Arsenal. If either of the two teams have benefited from the international break, it’s more likely to be United.
Jose Mourinho’s side endured a tumultuous run of form, going the entire month of October without a win in the league. Their last outing, a 3-1 road win against Bob Bradley’s Swansea, helped right the ship somewhat and sent the Red Devils into the break with some confidence restored.
The Swansea win was particularly encouraging because it saw a return to the score sheet for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. After a flying start to life in the Premiership, the Swedish striker had gone off the boil... Read More
The era of “dos a cero” was brought to a close on Friday night, as the United States men’s national team lost 2-1 to Mexico at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus had until now been something of a stronghold for the U.S. who had won the previous four matches there against Mexico by a scoreline of 2-0, or dos a cero.
U.S.A. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has since come under heavy criticism for Friday night’s loss. The German tactician, who has been in charge of the USMNT since 2011, got creative with his lineup, sending his team out in a 3-5-2, as opposed to the 4-4-2 most were expecting.
While the formation gave the Yanks more bodies in midfield to better transition from attack to defense and clog the... Read More
The United States men’s national team resumes its World Cup qualifying campaign with a meeting with Mexico in Columbus, Ohio Friday. Columbus has typically proved a happy hunting ground for the U.S. with the Yanks having won four consecutive meetings with El Tri at Mapfre Stadium by a scoreline of “dos a cero,” or 2-0.
But Jurgen Klinsmann’s team will have its hands full this time as it lines up against a stacked Mexico squad. His counterpart Juan Carlos Osorio has pulled out all the stops, calling up a high-powered squad led by the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Giovani Dos Santos, and in-form striker Carlos Vela.
Klinsmann too has called up just about the strongest squad available to him including teenage Borussia Dortmund sensation Christian Pulisic, Toronto FC duo... Read More
The UEFA region’s final round of World Cup qualifying for 2016 gets underway this weekend. The continent’s top teams will look to consolidate their positions in their respective groups before qualifying resumes next March. Here is a look ahead to some of this weekend’s key matches.
France vs. Sweden
Euro 2016 finalists France will host Sweden in World Cup qualifying on Friday. Led by attacker Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Paul Pogba, Les Bleus boast one of the most talented squads in Europe and will be favorites at home against a Sweden side still struggling for identity in the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era.
Marcel Deschamps’ side has won two out of three of its last three qualifiers and sits atop Group A. Deschamps is dealing with some injuries in the defense department,... Read More
Whatever happens going forward, we can be assured that a Canadian team will be crowned Eastern Conference champions for the first time this MLS season. Of the eight teams that went into the second leg of the MLS semifinals yesterday, two of the four that survived hailed from North of the border and only one of the final four has previously lifted an MLS Cup. Here’s a recap of yesterday’s action in the playoffs.
Colorado Rapids 1-0 LA Galaxy
A first-half wonder strike from Shkelzen Gashi was the lone moment of brilliance in a Western Conference showdown between the Galaxy and the Rapids that otherwise seemed stuck in second gear for 90 minutes. The Rapids striker cancelled out LA’s lead from the first leg with a dazzling hit from 37... Read More
Spurs fans received good news ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s North London Derby with Arsenal Sunday with Harry Kane said to be on the verge of rejoining the squad. The England striker has been sidelined by injury since September 18 and his return could come as an enormous boost to a Spurs side that’s struggled in front of goal recently.
Neither Son Heung-Min nor Vincent Janssen has found the goal often enough for Tottenham with the North Londoners now having found the net just three times in their last six matches. They looked particularly lackluster in attack in Wednesday’s Champions League loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Kane, who has been the team’s leading scorer the last two consecutive seasons, will hopefully be available to provide some attacking thrust as manager Mauricio... Read More
Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Bayer Leverkusen to their European “home” at Wembley on Wednesday for the second leg of the two club’s Champions League group stage tie.
Things finished scoreless two weeks ago when they met at the BayArena, giving Spurs a slight edge ahead of Wednesday’s match. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side has been on a dreary run of form lately, going winless in their last five games across all competitions.
The good news for Spurs fans is that striker Harry Kane looks set to return to first-team action, which could give the North Londoners a significant lift in the goal-scoring department. The striker has been out since September and his teammates have struggled to find the back of the net in his absence, having only scored twice in their... Read More
On Tuesday Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will again face his old side Barcelona in the second leg of the two clubs’ Champions League group stage tie. Pep’s City side find themselves 4-0 down on aggregate scoreline after effectively being trounced at the Camp Nou two weeks ago.
It would be an exaggeration to say that City’s Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread, but a second defeat to Barça could make things very precarious for them. Especially if Borussia Monchengladbach beat do as expected and beat Celtic in Tuesday’s other Group C fixture.
Harsh as it seems, the 4-0 battering at the Camp Nou is a bit unflattering on City. Guardiola’s side were arguably holding their own until the unfortunate sending off of keeper Claudio Bravo. Had the... Read More
League leaders Juventus will host third-placed Napoli in a top of the table Serie A clash on Saturday. While the match could theoretically have title implications, the main subplot revolves around Juve striker Gonzalo Higuain facing his former club for the first time since completing a 90 million euro transfer last summer.
The Argentine, who broke the record for goals scored in a single season with 36 last season, has found the back of the net seven times in 10 appearances for the defending champions so far. Unlike last season, when they started the season on a losing streak, Juve have come out of the gate hot this season.
Apart from losses to AC Milan and Inter Milan, the Bianconeri have dropped no points this season and remain unbeaten at... Read More
One team has won La Liga 32 times while the other has never won the Spanish title and, in fact, played in the second division for the majority of its existence. So, you wouldn’t think Real Madrid would be too bothered about Deportivo Alaves, however, this is a team that held Atletico Madrid to a draw on the opening day of the season and defeated Barcelona at the Camp Nou a couple weeks later.
Currently sitting 13th in the table, Alaves are not among the favorites to win any trophies this season but have shown a knack for causing trouble for La Liga’s more established teams. In addition to the Atleti draw and the Barça win, Alaves have beat Granada, and held the likes of Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna... Read More
The Los Angeles Galaxy will host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday in the knockout rounds of the Major League Soccer playoffs. Los Angeles finished the regular season third in the Western Conference standings, hence the home field advantage of Salt Lake who just scraped into the playoffs at the expense of defending champs, Portland Timbers.
The match will see the renewal of hostilities between two teams who contested the 2009 MLS Cup final against one another. Colorado lifted the trophy on that occasion and over the years since, have shown a knack for pulling off upsets against the Galaxy.
Still LA have tended to dominate this rivalry in recent years and despite a lackluster 0-0 draw against Dallas last weekend, Galaxy are the more in-form team heading into Wednesday. RSL... Read More
After nearly five years of languishing in mid-table mediocrity, AC Milan look to be back on the right track. With five wins in eight league outings this season, the Rossoneri currently sit third, just five points off league leaders Juventus, who they will welcome to the San Siro on Saturday for this weekend’s marquee Serie A clash.
New manager Vincenzo Montella appears to have restored the feel-good factor around the club’s Milanello training center. The former Fiorentina and Sampdoria boss seems to be finding success fielding a young squad devoid of any of the sorts of big name stars we’ve traditionally associated with Milan.
While it’s true that apart from a draw with Fiorentina and a 2-0 over Lazio, Montella’s team haven’t really done one over on any of Serie... Read More
American manager Bob Bradley won’t be given much leeway in terms of acclimating to the Premier League with his first game in charge at Swansea City involving a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.
Former United States men’s national team manager Bradley made history last week when he became the first American manager ever to be put in charge of a Premier League club. Bradley is already the most globetrotting of American football coaches, having had stints managing in Norway, France and for the Egyptian national team since being let go the U.S. in the summer of 2011.
Most recently, Bradley was at Le Havre in the French second division before the call came to take charge at Swansea following the dismissal of Francesco Guidolin. But it’s no small... Read More
The international break has drawn to a close and European club soccer mercifully resumes this weekend. But before we play it forward into the weekend’s league action, let’s take a look back at what we learned about the continent’s big guns from the latest round of UEFA World Cup qualifiers.
Costa Finally Clicking with Spain
Dropped by former manager Vicente del Bosque after his disastrous World Cup campaign, striker Diego Costa has been restored the Spanish lineup by new manager Julian Lopetegui and the Chelsea striker has been impactful. Costa stored twice last month against Lichtenstein and played 67 minutes in last week’s 1-1 draw with Italy.
But he came up big time on Monday against Albania, opening the scoring in what proved a 2-0 win that saw Spain... Read More
Jurgen Klinsmann has introduced major rotations for the United States men’s national team’s upcoming friendly with New Zealand on Tuesday. Six starters and a total of nine players who were in the squad for Friday’s 2-0 win over Cuba have been allowed to return to their club teams.
A group of the team’s European-based players formed the core of the departing group with John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Bobby Wood (Hamburg), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) and Ethan Horvath (Molde) all rejoining their European teams.
Julian Green (Bayern Munich) and Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian) have remained with the squad. Major League Soccer’s Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) have also left to rejoin their teams.
On Friday, the United States men’s national team will face Cuba on the island nation’s home soil for the first time since 1947. The match is part of the USMNT’s warm-up for its crunch time World Cup qualifier against Mexico next month.
For the match against Cuba and for next week’s clash with New Zealand, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up the kind of mixture of veterans and up-and-comers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the past 12 months or so.
The U.S. pool is definitely in a state of transition with veterans like Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard all left out of the team this time around. Dempsey remains sidelined by a medical issue and Jones is still working his way back from a... Read More
European heavyweights Italy and Spain will clash at Juventus Stadium on Thursday as World Cup qualifying for the UEFA region gets back underway.
Italy ran out 2-0 winners the last time these two faced off in the round of 16 at the European Championships last summer. That was the first time in over four years the Azzurri had managed a win against Spain.
Going into Thursday’s clash there’s a sense that these nations are both in different stages of the rebuilding process. Italy’s golden generation, which won the World Cup in 2006, have largely moved on. But Antonio Conte’s youngish Italy team was one of the surprise packages of Euro 2016.
Conte has of course gone on to Chelsea. But his successor Giampiero Ventura carried on Conte’s good, work... Read More
Fans of U.S. soccer have been through all of this before so there’s understandably a bit of caution tempering the excitement around Christian Pulisic. After all, Pulisic, an attacking midfielder for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is the latest in a long line of American teenagers who’ve been anointed as “the next, great hope” of U.S. soccer.
But there are some fundamental differences between the Hershey, Pennsylvania native who turned 18 last month and the likes of Freddy Adu, Juan Agudelo, Julian Green and others who’ve found themselves the focal point of American soccer hype.
For starters, Pulisic developed under the radar for the most part. Unlike Adu, who was dubbed the “next Pele” before he’d even signed a professional contract, Pulisic was a relative unknown to U.S. soccer watchers until... Read More
As Luis Enrique looks to extend his Barcelona team’s unbeaten run the way forward lies through his former team Celta Vigo. Barça travel to the Estadio Balaidos on Sunday to face the club where Enrique spent one season in charge before taking charge at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2014.
With their stumble earlier this month against promotion side Alaves fast fading into the distance, Barça are flying high at the moment, despite having to play without the injured Lionel Messi. The Blaugrana came from behind in midweek to deal Borussia Moenchengladbach a 2-1 defeat in the Champions League with Arda Turan and Gerard Pique scoring the goals.
Paco Alcacer started in that game in Messi’s absence, but the summer signing, who has yet to score for... Read More
Ligue 1 side AS Monaco welcome Bayer Leverkusen to the Stade Louis II on Tuesday as the Champions League group stage gets back underway. The French club won their first European outing this season, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley earlier this month. That match came in the midst of an eight-match undefeated streak that was snapped in last week’s 4-0 loss to Nice.
But Monaco came roaring back this weekend, defeating Angers 2-1 with goals from Kamil Glik and Dickson Nwakaeme. That won put the principality outfit temporary league leaders before Nice claimed another win to return to the summit.
Monaco were made to come from behind in that match and have been letting in goals of late. This will be of particular concern as the French outfit... Read More
The last time Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich squared off in the Champions League the La Liga outfit knocked the Bundesliga powerhouse out of Europe’s elite club competition. Bayern actually won that match 2-1, but went out anyway on away goals.
The two meet again on Wednesday night at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in Madrid.
In spite of their domestic dominance, Bayern have struggled away from home in the Champions League since last winning the competition in 2013. The five-time European champions have won just two of their last 10 away fixtures in the competition.
Under Pep Guardiola, Bayern had a particularly hard time against Spanish opposition, being knocked out by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico in the past three seasons.
New Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti will be... Read More
Arsenal will be looking for the first victory against Chelsea since 2011 as they welcome their London rivals to the Emirates on Saturday.
That torrid run of results against the Blues has seen Arsenal fail to even score a goal against Chelsea since 2013, suffer a 6-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge for Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game as Arsenal manager, and have players sent off in both outings against Chelsea last season.
However, Arsenal are the team with the momentum heading into this weekend, having won three straight in the league and earned a valuable point away at PSG in the Champions League. Chelsea on the other hand, haven’t won a Premier League match since August, having lost to Liverpool last week and drawn with Swansea earlier this month.
It’s a crowded week for European soccer fixtures and Spain’s “big three” will be in action this Wednesday in a tight La Liga race. Barcelona, currently sitting in second, will face fourth-placed Atletico Madrid in the first big La Liga contest of the season. Real Madrid meanwhile, will look to hold onto their narrow lead at the top of the table as they face Villarreal.
Here’s what to watch:
Real Madrid vs. Villarreal
Real Madrid have a perfect record so far this season under Zinedine Zidane and will be confident they can maintain that when they welcome Villarreal to the Santiago Bernabeu Wednesday. Real have scored 12 goals in La Liga this season while letting in just four. Apart... Read More
Unlike in England, midweek matches are not that common in the Bundesliga. Hence, with round four’s action sandwiched in for Tuesday and Wednesday, they’re having what’s known as an “English week” in the German top-flight this week.
It’s a full round of action with some tantalizing matches, including a clash between the two teams currently tied at the top of the table.
Here’s what to watch while you’re on lunch this week, or sneaking a stream on your tablet under the desk.
Wolfsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund
Having followed-up their 6-0 Champions League thrashing of Legia Warsaw in midweek with similar hammering of Darmstadt in the league Saturday, Borussia Dortmund is perhaps the in-form team in Europe currently. Next up for Thomas Tuchel’s men is a trip to Volkswagen Arena... Read More
Chelsea face welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Friday night as Antonio Conte seeks to maintain his undefeated start to life in the Premier League. Although Chelsea dropped points in last weekend’s away fixture at Swansea City, the Blues remain one of unbeaten in the league and currently sit second behind Manchester City.
A win over Liverpool could see Conte’s side vault to the top of the table, at least temporarily. However, the 2014 champions will have to do so without captain John Terry who injured his ankle against Swansea.
That means the Italian manager will have to start David Luiz, who will be making his first appearance in Chelsea blue since he left the club two years ago.
Luiz is likely to start alongside Gary Cahill in the... Read More
Juventus have made no secret of their intention to parlay their dominance in Serie A into European triumph. They came close two years ago, reaching the final before falling to Barcelona and it’s now been an unfathomable two decades since Juve last lifted the European trophy.
Manager Max Allegri has prioritized acquiring the kind of depth required to mount a two-front campaign to maintain dominance in Europe, while making a real go of things in Europe.
Allegri’s side is off to a perfect start in Serie A with three wins in three games. Higuain already leads the team in scoring with three goals. The acquisition of Argentine striker could be seen as the missing piece for Juve, were it not for the giant, Paul Pogba-sized hole left in the... Read More
Having foregone their usual qualifier process, thanks to last season’s second-place league finish, Arsenal will open their Champions League campaign with an away fixture against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
On Saturday against Southampton, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger rested several key players with an eye towards Tuesday’s clash with the French champions. Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Granit Xhaka all started on the bench in the narrow 2-1 triumph over the Saints.
Laurent Koscielny scored a dazzling equalizer in that match, later taking a boot to the face for his efforts.But the Frenchman is expected to recover in time for Tuesday and will likely again start in tandem with new signing Shkrodan Mustafi at the center of the Arsenal defense.
Fellow new signing Lucas Perez had an anonymous debut... Read More
Manchester United welcome city-rivals Manchester City to Old Trafford on Saturday in the first major derby of the new Premier League season.
The match is highly anticipated for a number of reasons; two of the most high-powered squads in European, never mind English football, two title contenders, two of the three teams that have taken full points from the first three matches, and of course the managers.
Pep Guardiola versus Jose Mourinho, a rivalry that has its roots from the time when the two were at Barcelona together, came to fruition during the period when Pep was managing Barça and Jose was at Real Madrid, and has now been transplanted to the Premier League.
The world’s two greatest managers in charge of two clubs in Manchester, one of which... Read More
Bayern Munich faces what looks on paper like it could be the first real challenge of the new Bundesliga season when they journey to the Veltins Arena to face Schalke 04 on Friday.
New Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti got his Bundesliga career off to a strong start with his team dealing Werder Bremen a 6-0 thrashing. Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Philipp Lahm, Frank Ribery and even Xabi Alonso chipped in with goals in a performance that made a strong statement to any would-be challengers to Bayern’s hegemony in the German league.
Despite arguably being one of the stronger teams in the Bundesliga, Schalke haven’t won a game against Bayern since December of 2010. Schalke’s new manager Markus Weinzieri is under no illusions regarding the difficulty in store for... Read More
World Cup qualification for the UEFA region got underway this weekend with the continent’s top teams back in action vying for a place at Russia 2018. Here are some of the key takeaways from the weekend’s qualifiers.
England left it late but got it done
It took until the fifth moment of extra time for the breakthrough to come but ultimately, Sam Allardyce got his tenure as England manager underway with a win against 10-man Slovakia. In truth, the Three Lions had been dominant throughout, maintaining a majority of possession and putting up 20 shots against a defensive Slovakian side that managed just a single off-target shot.
Wayne Rooney impressed in a deeper-lying midfield role but Allardyce will likely be concerned about his team taking so long to... Read More
UEFA World Cup qualifiers are back underway on Sunday and Monday as the continent’s best get back on the road to Russia 2018.
Here are three must-see matches to catch over the three-day weekend.
Slovakia vs. England
Sam Allardyce’s first competitive fixture in charge of England will see the Three Lions taking on Slovakia Saturday. These two teams actually met at Euro 2016 earlier this summer in a group stage encounter that ended in a scoreless draw.
This time around, Allardyce will be looking for more production out of his squad, particularly in the goals department, as he looks to get his career as England manager off on the right foot. That could mean a start for Raheem Sterling who has started the Premier League season off in... Read More
The United States Men’s National Team will be back in action Friday as Jurgen Klinsmann’s side faces St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the fourth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Due to a combination of injuries and other factors, Klinsmann is using the clash with the small Caribbean nation –- which on paper should be a walkover -– to try out some different players in his squad.
Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes are both injured and will miss Friday’s game as well as Tuesday’s clash with Trinidad and Tobago. Meanwhile, Michael Bradley is suspended for Friday’s game and Jermaine Jones hasn’t played since July due to injury. Jon Brooks has been left out of the team so he can get his Bundesliga campaign with Hertha Berlin underway.
The transfer window will slam shut at midnight on Wednesday and clubs across Europe are scrambling to nail down last minute targets or move on unwanted players. Here are a few of the deals that have, or could go down in the last week of the transfer window.
Barcelona sign Alcacer from Valencia Barcelona’s protracted search for a striker to provide cover for Luis Suarez looks at last to have been brought to a conclusion as the Catalan outfit announced the signing of Paco Alcacer from Valencia. The 23-year-old, who scored 43 goals across two separate spells at Valencia, has joined Barça on a five-year deal and has a 100 million euro buyout clause in his contract.
More ins and outs at Arsenal Just as Arsenal have secured a... Read More
The third round of the Premier League season gets underway this weekend and teams up and down the country will be looking to solidify their position in the table heading into next week’s international break.Here are the key matches of the upcoming weekend’s action.
Liverpool must right the ship against Spurs
It’s difficult to know what to make of Liverpool so far this season. After being dominated by Arsenal in the first half of their season opener at the Emirates, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds came storming back in the second and pasted the Gunners with four goals. Arsenal eventually pulled a couple back to settle it at 4-3. Then last weekend, Liverpool were dealt an embarrassing 2-0 loss by Burnley, a team considered relegation fodder by most.
The Bundesliga returns this weekend with the champions Bayern Munich in action this Friday against Werder Bremen. The match will be the debut of new Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti and will once again pit Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro against his former club.
The Italian manager has already got off to a flying start with FC Bayern, beating Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup and routing lower division side FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the opening round of the DFB Pokal Cup. Bayern are heavy favorites to win on Friday, as they are to win the league in general.
But although Bremen are a far cry from the force they were when they won the league back in 2004, Die Werderaner have proved themselves to be a stumbling block... Read More
Spain’s “big three” were all in action this weekend as the new La Liga season got underway. While many of the league’s biggest stars are still working their way back from their exploits on international duty this summer, there was no shortage of action as the most quality league in Europe resumed for its 85th season.
Barcelona 6 – 2 Real Betis
New season, same old Barcelona. Even without Neymar, who was busy winning an Olympic gold medal with Brazil, the Blaugrana were resplendent in a comprehensive rout of Real Betis at the Camp Nou. It took Barça just five minutes to get things going with Arda Turan latching onto a cut back from Jordi Alba and slotting home from close-range.
Real Betis responded positively and pulled one... Read More
Defending Premier League champions Leicester City will welcome Arsenal to the King Power Stadium on Saturday with both sides badly in need of a win after suffering losses in their respective opening day fixtures.
Much has been written about Arsenal’s inability to hold onto an early lead and contain a Liverpool side that played them off the pitch at their own park for most of the match. But perhaps more alarming, was Leicester’s opening day loss to a Hull City side without a real manager or anything close to a full strength team.
There was little for fans of either club to get excited about in either match. But whereas opening day losses are nothing new for the Gunners – they’ve lost three out of their last four – this... Read More
With the new La Liga season days away, Barcelona have a chance to lift their first trophy of the new season as they contest Sevilla in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday. The reigning La Liga champions take a 2-0 lead from the first leg into Wednesday’s clash thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Munir El Haddadi.
But the score line is a little flattering to a Barça side that had trouble breaking down a Sevilla side that dominated in the first half, despite lacking a real penetrating final ball. Barcelona too lacked a cutting edge early on with Luis Suarez having a shot saved.
Barça’s problems were further compounded by the loss of right-back Jeremy Mathieu and midfield dynamo Andres Iniesta to injuries.
Arsenal fans can be forgiven for feeling that Sunday’s home opener against Liverpool had a sense of groundhog’s day about it. The Gunners lost, as they have in three out of their last four season openers, in this case by a score of 4-3.
The result itself wasn’t necessarily that disheartening. Arsenal were the better team in the first half and took a deserved lead before Liverpool roared back piling on the goals to make it 4-1 at one point. But rather than collapse, Arsenal kept their heads up and fought back to a respectable 4-3. Disappointing yes, but not embarrassing.
But the circumstances surrounding the result – squad depleted by injuries and the failure to address obvious deficiencies in the transfer market – are the factors that... Read More
In a final tune-up before the start of the new La Liga season, Barcelona will face Sevilla over two legs of the Spanish Super Cup, kicking off this Sunday at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. If this match up sounds familiar it’s because the two teams met earlier this summer in the Copa del Rey final.
Barça came out 2-0 winners in that one and are heavy favorites heading into this month’s cup. Especially since Sevilla have already lost one cup this week, the UEFA Super Cup, which they lost 3-2 to Real Madrid.
However, last year at this time Sevilla pushed Barça to the limit in the Super Cup, narrowly coming out 5-4 winners. Sevilla were under the direction of Unai Emery then but Sunday will be the first... Read More
While there have been some significant outs in Borussia Dortmund’s transfer business, manager Thomas Tuchel seems to be doing an admirable job of balancing the team’s losses with some smart acquisitions.
So while the loss of last season’s Bundesliga-leading assist-maker Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United is a blow, it’s one that’s been softened by the return of Mario Gotze from Bayern Munich and the acquisition of Andre Schurrle from Wolfsburg.
But ultimately Dortmund’s success or failure in this summer’s transfer market could hinge upon the Bundesliga runner-up’s ability to keep hold of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese goal-getter was linked with moves to Real Madrid and Manchester City earlier this summer.
However, Aubameyang, who scored 25 goals in the Bundesliga last season, has made a very public... Read More
Los clientes de Sling TV ahora tienen mucho más opciones para personalizar su experiencia de entretenimiento en español o bilingüe con un nuevo paquete regional. El mes pasado lanzamos CARIBE, el primer paquete regional de Sling TV. Ahora, nuestra cobertura es mucho mayor con nuestro paquete Sudamérica.
Sudamérica y CARIBE están disponibles por solo $10 al mes cada uno, al comprarse como paquete único, o por solo $5 al mes cada uno cuando se agrega como paquete adicional a Best of Spanish TV, Sling Orage o Sling Blue.
Los clientes de Sling TV que se suscriben a Sudamérica pueden disfrutar de programación en español proveniente de Colombia, Ecuador y Argentina en los seis canales mencionados abajo. Más contenido de Sudamérica estará disponible muy pronto.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has named his 20-man squad for Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Sevilla. The highly anticipated match is the first real competitive clash of the new season for Real Madrid.
The match, which is set to take place at Lerkendal Stadion in Trondheim, offers Madrid the opportunity to claim their third UEFA Super Cup title, while Sevilla are in the hunt for their third, having lost the last two finals to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
While neither side can really be expected to be fully in form, cup competitions like these are a welcome reminder to fans that the new club season is just around the corner.
Zidane is still without many of the key pieces of his team. He will field a... Read More
While Atletico Madrid has just completed the successful signing of Kevin Gameiro the biggest the coup the Madrid outfit can accomplish this summer will be to keep hold of Antoine Griezmann. The France forward was the best player at Euro 2016 and could easily be the hottest property on the market if he were to become even slightly available.
The Frenchman scored 32 goals in all competitions for Atleti last season and helped propel them to a second Champions League final in three seasons. Earlier this month it was revealed that Griezmann had rejected an offer from Paris Saint-Germain with Manchester United and Arsenal also rumored to have expressed interest.
While Griezmann has been outstanding for Atleti, the club has lacked a truly reliable center forward ever since Diego... Read More
With Premier League clubs snapping up every available player, the relative inactivity from the big Spanish clubs suggests that the English teams’ “arms race” is at least on some level, an effort to catch up with the La Liga powers. Like Real Madrid, Barcelona have been relatively quiet on the market this summer.
While the La Liga champions have made a couple of defensive moves—bringing in left-back Lucas Digne as a replacement for the now-departed Dani Alves, acquiring center-back Samuel Umtiti from Lyon, they haven’t really made any kind of “statement signing.”
Andre’ Gomes, the Portuguese central midfielder who won the Euros with his national team last month has been brought in from Valencia. Denis Suarez has been bought back with the club having exercised his buy back clause... Read More
Of all the big clubs out there snapping up players, Real Madrid have been suspiciously quiet on the transfer market this summer. The reigning European champions have endured mixed results on a preseason tour of the United States, losing their International Champions Cup opener 1-3 to PSG and bouncing back with a 3-2 win over Chelsea.
Having guided Real to what seemed like an unlikely Champions League victory after taking over for Rafa Benitez midway through the season, Zinedine Zidane is currently in preparation for what will be his first season in charge of the club. While the club has been quiet on the market thus far, there are rumors in Spain that Zidane would like to sign a holding midfielder before the start of the season.
The transfer season that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has dubbed “scary” is in full swing,despite transfer fees going through the roof and teams paying some of the most exorbitant prices for players we’ve ever seen.
Speaking of the Gunners, Jese’ Rodriguez is the latest in a growing list of strikers Wenger has targeted as potential competition for Olivier Giroud this summer. The Real Madrid man was on the outside looking in for much of last season has been advised by manager Zinedine Zidane to start looking for a new club. Also in the picture for Jese are Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 outfit in particular are rumored to be “very close” to signing the forward.
The deal everyone expected and has been tired of hearing... Read More
Bayern Munich are currently in the United States taking part in the International Champions Cup where they will face AC Milan, Internazionale and Real Madrid. It will give stateside fans a first glimpse of the Bavarian powerhouse under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The seasoned Italian took over at the end of last season when Pep Guardiola departed for the bright lights of Manchester City and the Premier League. But while his successor was handed a mandate to deliver something of a tactical revolution at Bayern, Ancelotti is not that kind of manager.
“My style is always the same. The most important thing, as I said, is to develop a relationship with my team and to find the right solution for playing on the pitch, together with them,” said... Read More
Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Liverpool will face off at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Wednesday night as the International Champions Cup arrives in Southern California.
The ICC is in its third year now, having been instated as a successor to the World Football Challenge. The ICC leans more heavily on juggernaut-sized European clubs than the WFC did and American fans will be treated to a look at two of the biggest names in Premier League football in the midst of their preseason preparation.
Chelsea have a new manager in Antonio Conte and have been active in the transfer market, having signed N’Golo Kante’ from Leicester City and Michy Batshuayi from Marseille. Batshuayi has been included in the travelling squad along with the likes of Eden Hazard,... Read More
In the wake of Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s being sentenced for tax evasion last week, multiple media outlets have reported that the Argentine maestro is annoyed with the club for its behavior. While media sources close to Barça have claimed this is not the case, speculation remains that Messi’s tax problems in Spain could cause him to seek greener pastures.
The club has actually been quite supportive of Messi, launching a #WeAreAllLeoMessi hashtag campaign following the suspended 21-month jail sentences Messi and his father were handed down by the courts.
With the new season for Europe’s top-flight leagues just a few weeks away, the transfer market is in full swing. We bring you thus, our weekly rundown of some of the deals that have gone down or could be in the works.
Lacazette on Gunners’ Radar
Having completed the signing of center-back Rob Holding from Bolton, Arsenal are still in the hunt for a striker to provide competition for Olivier Giroud. The latest goal-getter to wind up on the Gunners’ radar is none other than Alexander Lacazette. Lacazette, 25, has scored 48 goals for Lyon in the past two seasons and has reportedly informed his club he wants to leave. Provided the North Londoners can see off interest from the likes of PSG, Barcelona and West Ham, Lacazette could be... Read More
The new Serie A season kicks off on August 21 and although fixtures have yet to be announced, the question many are already asking is, will anyone be able to challenge Juventus’ dominance?
The Bianconeri have been consecutive Scudetto winners for the past five years running and at this point, there is little to suggest the Turin outfit can’t extend this hegemony. Juventus have not only the best squad in Italy, but one of the best in Europe, with arguably more depth than even Barcelona. Although they might lose Paul Pogba to Manchester United, if Juve can succeed in prizing Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli, they may not only be Serie A favorites, but could become a serious contender to win the Champions League.
The summer transfer window has slammed open. With an influx of TV money hitting the Premier League like a rush of blood to the head, we look to be in for a heck of a ride between now and when the window shuts on August 31. Here now are some of the big deals that look to be in the works.
Pogba refuses to rule out Man United move
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has refused to rule out a move back to the club where he began his career. Pogba, who left Man U for Juventus four years ago, has been one of the most sought after transfer targets in recent seasons. Despite having an underwhelming campaign with France at the Euros, he remains a “person of... Read More
Having beat world champions Germany 2-0 in the Euro 2016 semifinals, host nation France is now set to face Portugal in Sunday’s final.
The tournament showpiece at the Stade de France will pit two of the standout players in these Euros against one another in Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.
With three goals in Euro 2016, Portugal’s Ronaldo is now tied on nine goals with France legend Michel Platini as the all-time leading scorer in the European championships. However, while Platini scored all nine of his goals in a single tournament, Ronaldo’s are spread out across four competitions, making him the only player to have scored in four different European championships.
Griezmann on the other hand, is making his first appearance in the finals of the European championship... Read More
Most football fans are aware of the odd discrepancy that despite their dominance over the sport throughout the decades, Germany have never won a competitive fixture against Italy. Technically, they still haven’t, with Saturday’s win on penalties in the quarterfinals officially being counted as a draw. It’s a little less well known however, that the last time France won a meaningful contest against Germany was in the 1958 World Cup.
Thus Didier Deschamps’ team will be looking to buck the trend of nearly 60 years of history when the two continental powers clash in the semifinals of Euro 2016 on Thursday. Germany, as world champions, and France, as tournament hosts, were always favorites to reach the final going into this tournament one month ago. But only one will progress to... Read More
Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will face off against one another as Portugal meets Wales in the Euro 2016 semifinal on Wednesday.
Despite being somewhat understated in the quarterfinal that saw Wales eliminate Belgium, Bale has lit up this tournament with three goals and a number of sparkling performances so far. Beyond that, the 26-year-old has played a real leadership role on the pitch.
Far from the one-man team they were billed as at the start of the tournament, Wales have also reaped the benefits of a strong collective spirit and notable individual contributions from the likes of Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Aaron Ramsey among others.
Apart from a 2-1 loss to England, the Dragons have won all of their matches in the tournament... Read More
The round of 16 in Euro 2016 is now in the books. After a knockout round that saw defending champions Spain eliminated by a resurgent Italy side, and perennial hopefuls England knocked out by tournament debutantes, Iceland, we can look ahead to some intriguing quarterfinal clashes later this week.
Poland vs. Portugal
After being ridiculed for missing a penalty in Portugal’s scoreless draw with Austria in the group stage, Cristiano Ronaldo was back on song helping his team battle to a 3-3 draw with Hungary in its final group stage outing and setting up the late winner against Croatia that booked Portugal’s passage to the quarters in the next round. Next up for CR7 and company is a date with Poland, a side that despite not having played particularly... Read More
The round of 16 at Euro 2016 gets underway this weekend with teams playing on two sides of a lopsided bracket; one side of which contains heavyweights like Germany, Spain, England, Italy and France; the other side of which contains the likes of Belgium, Wales, Hungary, and Portugal. While there are a number of standout match-ups in this weekend’s action, the one that really catches the eye is Monday’s tantalizing clash between reigning European champions Spain and perennial tournament favorites Italy. Spain, who were among the favorites heading into the tournament, had a tougher than expected time progressing through the group stage. They were fairly subdued in their tournament opener, winning 1-0 against the Czech Republic in a game that looked much tougher for Vicente Del Bosque’s side than it... Read More
Lionel Messi announced he would retire from playing with his national team after Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final on Sunday. The defeat was the third consecutive final Argentina have now lost in as many summers; following the 2014 World Cup defeat to Germany, and last summer’s Copa America, which was also lost to Chile on penalties.
But Sunday’s loss was a particularly bitter one for Messi who missed the first penalty kick in the shootout for Argentina.
“I tried my hardest, it’s been four finals and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible, it hurts me more than anyone but it is evident that this is not for me,” Messi told reporters after the match.
Defending champions Chile will meet Argentina on Sunday night in the Copa America Centenario final. The two South American heavyweights are set to face one another at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in what is effectively a rematch of last year’s Copa final.
Argentina lost on penalties last time around, and are desperate to not make a third consecutive losing appearance in a final, having lost the World Cup final to Germany the previous summer. Argentine coach Tata Martino brought a full strength team to this summer’s Copa; a team that brushed aside the United States Men’s National Team earlier this week, handing the Yanks a 4-0 drubbing in Seattle.
An early goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi, followed by an immaculate free kick from Lionel Messi, and a... Read More
Defending champions Chile will meet Argentina on Sunday night in the Copa America Centenario final. The two South American heavyweights are set to face one another at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in what is effectively a rematch of last year’s Copa final.
Argentina lost on penalties last time around, and are desperate to not make a third consecutive losing appearance in a final, having lost the World Cup final to Germany the previous summer. Argentine coach Tata Martino brought a full strength team to this summer’s Copa; a team that brushed aside the United States Men’s National Team earlier this week, handing the Yanks a 4-0 drubbing in Seattle.
An early goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi, followed by an immaculate free kick from Lionel Messi, and a... Read More
The three teams that are most pundits’ picks to win the tournament all managed wins in their opening round of group stage play for Euro 2016. While it would be incorrect to say that France, Germany, or Spain cruised to comfortable victories in their opening matches, each did manage a win and collected three points that could prove invaluable in plotting their trajectories into the next round.
Host Nation France Beats Romania France kicked off the proceedings against Romania on Friday in front of a capacity crowd at its own Stade de France. After a scoreless first half, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud put the French ahead in the 57th minute, beating Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu to head in the first goal of the tournament.
But Romania lived up to its reputation... Read More
The United States Men’s National Team took a big step towards qualifying for the knockout round of the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday when it defeated Costa Rica by a scoreline of 4-0 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Clint Dempsey was the key man for the Yanks, scoring a goal and making two assists as Jurgen Klinsmann’s team brushed off its disappointing loss to Colombia in the Copa opener. Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, and debutante striker, Bobby Wood also got on the scoresheet in what amounted to one of the most convincing performances we’ve seen from the U.S. in some time.
Klinsmann had raised eyebrows after Friday’s 2-0 loss with his assertions that Colombia’s goals aside, the two teams were equal.
But the German tactician, who if nothing else,... Read More
After being criticized for failing to sign an outfield player last summer, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger seems intent on getting his transfer business done early this time around. Already, the North London outfit has launched a bid to bring Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy to the Emirates next season.
Vardy scored 24 goals this season, firing Leicester to its first-ever Premier League title and has a £20M release clause in his contract that Arsenal have reportedly triggered. Some stories go as far as suggesting that the 29-year-old has already undergone his medical at Arsenal’s London Colney training center. Arsenal, whose sole signing of goalkeeper Petr Cech last summer made it the only top club in any of Europe’s big leagues not to sign an outfield player, finished second,... Read More
The Copa America Centenario kicks off on Friday night as hosts the United States meet South American heavyweights Colombia for the tournament opener in Santa Clara, Calif. The USA was drawn into a touch group and Jurgen Klinsmann’s intriguing squad of veterans and newcomers will be put to the rest immediately as they face Colombia, a team with a not unrealistic shot at winning the whole thing.
The Colombians are strong favorites to top Group A, which in addition to the U.S. includes Costa Rica and Paraguay. So while a win Friday would be huge for the Americans, a draw would also do just fine. Above all, the U.S. must avoid the kind of embarrassing or demoralizing loss that could set the tone for the rest of the... Read More
In an interview with an Italian radio station, Andrea Pastorello, the agent of striker Giuseppe Rossi, admitted the player might have made a mistake in choosing to represent Italy over the United States. Rossi, 29, was born in New Jersey to Italian parents and represented Italy throughout his youth career.
“The national team and Rossi? It’s a story that repeats itself, said Pastorello. “In hindsight, going back to when he chose between representing Italy or the USA, we should have chosen the USA.”
After beginning his career with local New Jersey club, Clifton Mustangs, Rossi joined the youth team at Italian side Parma as a 12-year-old. While a subsequent move to Manchester United at age 17 failed to see him break into the first team, Rossi soon established... Read More
On paper Real Madrid have one of the best, or at least one of the most expensive assemblages of players the world has even seen. Atletico Madrid on the other hand, boasts a squad that’s largely been parted out with castoffs from other clubs, bargain-bin buys, and a core of academy players. And yet unlike two years ago, when the clubs met in the 2014 final in Lisbon, Atletico go into Saturday’s match suddenly looking like favorites.
It shouldn’t make sense that a team whose only true superstar – Fernando Torres – is several years past his prime should be favorites over a team that contains the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. But then how could a team that advanced to this year’s final by... Read More
Jurgen Klinsmann released his final roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario over the weekend. The 23 players who made the cut from the initial 40-man call-up represent an intriguing mix of familiar standbys, new faces, and old favorites who’ve been welcomed back into the fold.
Tim Howard returns for another stint in goal for the U.S. However, the former Everton man, now of the Colorado Rapids, is no longer the first-choice keeper for the Yanks. That honor will instead fall to Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan. 20-year-old Ethan Horvath, of Norwegian side Molde FK rounds out the goalkeeping roster.
In defense, the area where the U.S. arguably has the greatest depth, Klinsmann has been able to call on the experience of a number of players who ply their trades... Read More
As Zlatan Ibrahimovic prepares to take to the field Saturday for his final appearance with Paris Saint Germain – a French Cup final tilt against Marseille – the soccer world waits with baited breath for his next move.
The Swedish striker has bagged an astonishing 51 goals across all competitions this season, his 38 Ligue 1 goals setting a new PSG club record. He’s also made it well known that this season would be his last in France and the internet has been working overtime, trying to anticipate his next move.
While Ibrahimovic and his agent, Mino Raiola, have thus far remained tight-lipped about where he will wind up, there are several possibilities being floated about in the press. Here is a brief rundown of the four leagues where... Read More
While few would deny that Liverpool have shown major signs of improvement under Jurgen Klopp. But the Anfield outfit nonetheless finished the season eighth in the table, outside of the European berths for next season.
However, the German tactician has a golden opportunity to guide the club back to Europe and secure his first trophy since taking over for Brendan Rodgers when Liverpool meet Sevilla in the Europa League final Wednesday. A win would not only add another piece of silverware to the already substantial collection in the Anfield trophy cabinet; it would secure Liverpool a place in next season’s Champions League.
Klopp is already an undeniable hero to Liverpool fans, but if he can pull this one off, he could genuinely establish himself as a Liverpool legend,... Read More
They might not have repeated last season’s historic treble, or proved they were the best club side ever, as some had speculated not long ago (this writer included), but Barcelona were nonetheless crowned La Liga champions following Saturday’s 3-0 win at Granada. Credit the Catalan club for holding their nerve in a down-to-the-wire season finale that saw three teams in with a shot for the title just a few days ago. This was of course after Barcelona had seen the double-digit lead they held over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid evaporate during a run of disastrous results in April, that included a loss to Real in El Clasico and being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico.
“We had to win this title twice,” admitted Barça center back Gerard... Read More
With the club reportedly on the verge of being bought out by a Chinese consortium, AC Milan will welcome AS Roma to the San Siro this weekend for their final game of the Serie A season.
The Rossoneri have endured another disappointing campaign with the optimism surrounding the appointment of Sinisa Mihajlovic having faded long before the manager was sacked back in April. Things have improved little under his successor, Christian Brocchi. The 18-time Serie A champions currently sit in seventh place, with only two wins on the books since February.
A win for Milan could potentially see them make it over the line into sixth place, depending on how Sassuolo fair against Internazionale, but Milan will again finish the season outside the European places; a disappointing return for... Read More
With one round of play remaining in the Bundesliga, the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot and the battle for relegation look set to rage on until the final whistle has blown. However, the top three have been settled for some weeks now with Bayern Munich predictably topping the league followed by Borussia Dortmund.
Sitting in third place, and in the final berth for automatic qualification, are Bayer Leverkusen, who owe their excellent season in large part to the goals of one Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
It’s no exaggeration to say that moving to Germany has absolutely revitalized Hernandez’s career. A prolific striker with a pedigree that includes five years at Manchester United and a loan stint at Real Madrid, Chicharito had found playing time hard to... Read More
Atletico Madrid suffered a shock loss to Levante on Sunday, while Barcelona and Real Madrid both cruised to wins – over Espanyol and Valencia respectively. The loss to Levante, who sit rock bottom of the table and are already relegated to the Segunda Division next season, effectively eliminates Atleti from the title race.
With one round of matches remaining, Barcelona sit top on 88 points with Real Madrid in second on 87. Atletico sit in third on 85 points. But even if the other two were to lose next weekend, Barça’s superior head-to-head would still make them champions.
Barcelona Title Favorites
Without the distraction of Champions League football, Barcelona are now overwhelming favorites heading into the final weekend’s action against Granada. The Catalan outfit seems to have recovered nicely... Read More
Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has been cleared to lineup against Manchester City in Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal second leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo was on the sidelines last week when his team were held to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Ronaldo has been nursing a thigh injury that’s seen him miss Real’s last three games. However, the Portuguese superstar took full part in training on Tuesday and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed he was ready for City.
“Cristiano is okay. He is 100 percent. He trained this morning and he will be there tomorrow,” said Zidane to the Guardian.
Real will still be without Ronaldo’s striker partner, Karim Benzema, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. Combative midfielder, Casimero is also... Read More
Atletico Madrid held Bayern Munich scoreless at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday and will take a 1-0 lead into next week’s second leg at the Allianz Arena. The match’s sole goal was an 11th minute effort from Atleti midfielder Saul. But what a goal it was!
The Spain international glided his way past four Bayern defenders on the way to curling the ball into the far corner past a sprawling Manuel Neuer. The goal was the sort of thing you’d expect to see from Lionel Messi against La Liga opposition, but this was against Bayern Munich, from a player who is technically a defensive midfielder.
Having taken the lead early, Atletico were able to impose their game on Bayern for most of the rest of the first half –... Read More
Juventus were crowned Serie A champions on Monday for the fifth season in a row, without needing to kick a single ball to justify popping the corks on the bubbly.
Late Winner for Roma Seals Title for Juve
An 89th minute goal from Roma’s Radja Nainggolan that lifted the Giallorossi to a 1-0 win over Napoli was enough to seal the Scudetto for Juventus. Napoli, who had been the only team mathematically still capable of overhauling Juve, saw that possibility evaporate following a frustrating 90 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Despite dominating possession and putting twice as many shots on goal as Roma, the Azzurri were held scoreless. After 80 minutes of deadlock, it looked as if the match was heading for a 0-0 draw. But then Francesco... Read More
The margin for error in the race for the Spanish title remains wafer-thin following a weekend where all three teams at the top cruised to wins, leaving Barcelona and Atletico Madrid even on points and Real Madrid just a single point behind them.
Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Madrid Playing away against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, things looked like they might have been headed in a very different direction for Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s men unexpectedly found themselves two goals down early in the match. However, a standout performance from Gareth Bale hauled the Whites back into the game and on to an eventual victory. The Welshman scored in the 35th to cut the deficit and eventually found the winner, late in the match after substitute Lucas Vazquez had equalized.
Paris Saint-Germain has allegedly identified Jose Mourinho as the man who can take the club forward next season. The Portuguese manager has been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea earlier this year.
According to a report in Sky Sports this week, PSG are sounding out the former Real Madrid manager as the club looks to find a way to parlay its domestic dominance into European success.
The French club crashed out of the quarterfinals of the Champions League earlier this month, after being eliminated by Manchester City over two legs. The elimination was seen as falling short for the club that despite having won its fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title, still desperately craves success on the European stage.
The PSG project as we’ve known for the past... Read More
With the Spanish title race blown wide open thanks to Barcelona’s sudden and unexpected dip in form, La Liga’s “big three” are all in action Wednesday. As Barça, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all scramble to take every available point from the five rounds of play that remain, we preview this week’s action.
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Barcelona
The all-attacking, all-star trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez scored a staggering 106 goals between them in the time between last summer’s European Super Cup clash with Sevilla and the second leg of the Champions League tie that saw Barcelona eliminate Arsenal last month. However, since then, the trio known as the “MSN” has only managed four goals between the three of them. This drop in production from the front... Read More
With Napoli losing to Inter 24 hours earlier, Juventus moved nine points clear at the top of the Serie A standings with their 4-0 destruction of Palermo on Sunday. While the excellent result all but assures Juve of their fifth consecutive Scudetto, it came at a cost as midfielder Claudio Marchisio suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament just 15 minutes into the match.
Marchisio’s ACL is a blow to Juventus, who will be without the influential box-to-box midfielder for the remainder of the season, including the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan next month. Marchisio, 30, will also be unable to represent Italy in this summer’s Euros in France.
Sami Khedira had opened the scoring for Juve just five minutes prior to Marchisio going down injured. Paul Pogba doubled the... Read More
Cristiano Ronaldo came up huge when his team needed him this week, scoring a hat trick to overturn a 2-0 deficit and lead his team to the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi? Not so much.
The Argentine ace put in another lackluster performance this week as his Barça side was knocked out of the Champions League quarterfinals by Atletico Madrid for the second time in three seasons. Messi failed to find the back of the net for the fifth game in a row and is currently in the midst of his longest goal-less spell for more than five years.
His best chances in the 2-0 loss to Atleti – a pair of free kicks – failed to even hit the target. But it’s not just Messi who’s been coming... Read More
Two of this season’s high-flyers in Serie A face off this weekend as Internazionale welcomes Napoli to San Siro on Saturday. Napoli, who sit in second, six points behind Juventus, is desperate to keep pressure on the leaders. One slip from Juve, and suddenly the title race could be back on, provided Napoli keep winning.
Roberto Mancini’s Inter, meanwhile, sit just outside the Champions League places in fourth. Inter may fancy their chances with Napoli’s leading scorer, Gonzalo Higuain currently serving a three-match ban (reduced from four) for his reaction to being sent off against Udinese two weeks ago. While Higuain’s absence will be a relief to the Inter defense, going forward the Nerazzurri will look to striker Mauro Icardi to add to his already impressive tally of 50 goals... Read More
AC Milan manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic has been sacked by the club in wake of last weekend’s loss to Juventus. Mihajlovic took charge over the summer but now exits the club without completing a full season. Youth team coach, Christian Brocchi will see out the remainder of the season in charge.
Mihajlovic is the third manager to step on-and-off the managerial merry-go-round at Milan since the club sacked Max Allegri in 2014. The Serbian coach, who enjoyed successful spells at Sampdoria and with the Serbian national team, has kept Milan in contention for Europe with the club currently sitting in sixth place. However, Milan is without a win in their last five Serie A matches following the loss to Juve on Saturday.
For Milan’s owner and former Italian Prime Minister,... Read More
For a moment, it looked as if Barcelona’s misfortunes in the wake of their recent loss to Real Madrid would continue. Fernando Torres seemed a vision of his former self when he was played in by a defense-splitting pass from Koke and slotted home the opening goal for Atletico Madrid with just 25 minutes on the clock.
But barely 10 minutes later, Torres received his second yellow card and was sent off, setting the stage for a rampant performance from Barcelona’s Luis Suarez. A man down with over 50 minutes on the clock, Atleti reverted to form, bunkering down with men behind the ball in an effort to protect their narrow lead. For a while, it seemed as if it might work with Atleti even creating a few dangerous... Read More
Barcelona head into Saturday’s El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid sitting pretty at the top of the table, ten points clear of their rival. With Atletico Madrid sitting second, one point above Real, and only eight match-days left in the season, nothing short of a full-scale collapse is likely to prevent Barça from retaining the La Liga title.
But while the title race may be all but over, this is the Clasico and there is pride at stake for both sides – particularly in light of their last meeting, when Barcelona strolled into the Santiago Bernabeu and romped to a 4-0 win. And that was without Lionel Messi!
As is their tendency, Real Madrid has since changed managers – parting ways with... Read More
As the clock ticks down towards the final El Clasico of the season, we’re taking a look at both teams. Having already discussed the current problems Real Madrid is faced with, we now turn to the Barcelona team that currently tops the La Liga table and is the favorite to retain the Champions League trophy following last season’s treble.
Dominating La Liga with Real Madrid in turmoil is one thing, but this Barça side is the best in Europe at the moment. Could it also be the best Barcelona team in history? For decades that honor seemed to belong to the late, great Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” which won Barça’s first European Championship back in 1992.
The gap between Real Madrid and rivals Barcelona heading into this weekend’s El Clasico is more pronounced than it’s been in years – both in terms of literal points on the board and in terms of what’s being produced on the pitch. And while the 10 point gap separating first-place Barça from third-place Madrid (Atletico Madrid occupy second place), means even a Real Madrid victory is unlikely to be enough to see them make any real progress in the title race, the question remains as to what the capital club needs to do long-term in order to close the gap on its Catalan rivals?
In the past 10 years, Real Madrid has won three La Ligas, two Copa del Reys, and one... Read More
It’s official: Clint Dempsey will play for the USMNT World Cup qualifier against Guatemala this Friday. It will be the first time the former team captain has played under Jurgen Klinsmann in nine months. Dempsey, 33, was omitted from the squad for a pair of qualifiers back in November.
With 48 goals to his name, the Seattle Sounders forward is second in all-time scoring for the U.S. behind Landon Donovan with 57. Five of Dempsey’s goals for the national team have come against Guatemala and with goals in short supply for the yanks of late, Klinsmann will be particularly keen on him adding to that tally.
Playing away against Guatemala has proved challenging for the U.S. – the last time they won there was 2008. However, since that match,... Read More
CONMEBOL World Cup qualification is underway this week as South America’s finest fight it out on the road to Russia 2018.
Here’s our rundown of all the action in Thursday’s qualifiers:
Bolivia vs. Colombia
After taking the 2014 World Cup by storm, Colombia has come crashing back down to Earth and, like their opponent Bolivia, have only won one game in their current qualifying campaign. Last time out, Colombia fell 1-0 to a Lionel Messi-less Argentina. Like Real Madrid fans, Colombia boss Jose Pekerman will be looking for a big performance from James Rodriguez this time around. The breakout star of the last World Cup has gone off the boil for his club side and has failed to ignite his national team in qualifying. Currently, Colombia sits seventh... Read More
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane hinted there would be changes at the club this summer when it became clear the club had effectively capitulated in this season’s title race. Now, it looks like two of those changes could be the departures of James Rodriquez and Isco.
With Gareth Bale’s continuing problems with injuries this season, both players had the opportunity to step up and fill the void left by the marauding Welsh winger, however, neither really seized on the opportunity. According to a report in AS, club president Florentino Perez has grown tired of the inconsistency shown by the duo. Neither player has responded particularly well to the change in management that saw Zidane take over for Rafa Benitez earlier this year. But despite their uneven form, the two remain... Read More
The debate ignited around the future of Roma striker Francesco Totti after the captain vented over his current situation in an interview last month is showing little sign of abating.
“I can’t stay at Roma like this. It hurts to be on the bench,” said Totti, speaking to Italian television station, Rai. “I understand at my age I play less, but ending my career like this is bad for me as a man and what I’ve given to Roma. I demand more respect for all I’ve done here.”
Totti has increasingly found himself on the bench over the past season or two. Roma manager, Luciano Spalletti and his predecessor, Rudi Garcia, have both preferred the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah and Iago Falque’ to 39-year-old Totti. But the striker,... Read More
Two days after being sent off in an FA Cup quarterfinal for administering what’s been described as everything from a bite to a “sensual nibble” to Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, Chelsea’s Diego Costa is being linked to reports of returning to Atletico Madrid. Allegedly, the Brazilian-born striker has found it difficult to settle in London and is growing frustrated with the English media.
Saturday’s exit from the FA Cup now guarantees Chelsea will finish the season without a trophy. The London outfit are looking to shake things up in the summer transfer window and getting rid of Costa, a player who’s allowed controversy to over-shadow his talent since moving to English footballs, could be in the cards.
Meanwhile, Atletico was previously hit with a transfer ban that’s since been... Read More
Less than three months after being sacked by Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez looks to be on the verge of being installed as manager of Premier League side Newcastle United. Benitez was fired after just half a season at Real Madrid, despite still being alive in the Champions League and only a few points adrift of leaders Barcelona at the time.
Benitez will reportedly sign a three-year deal with the struggling Premier League outfit. Newcastle is currently in the throes of a relegation struggle and sit second from the bottom in the Premier League table on 24 points, with just nine games left to play.
The Spanish manager, who enjoyed a successful spell at Liverpool, will be the man charged with trying to keep the Magpies from the drop. Barring that,... Read More
Marseille midfielder Abou Diaby has once again had his return to action put on hold after suffering a calf injury in training. The former Arsenal man was set to take part in Marseille’s Coup de France tie with Granville on Thursday. However, L’OM manager Michel confirmed on Wednesday that Diaby was injured and his Marseille debut would be put on hold yet again.
“Friday morning I said he was on the list – that he was ready to play,” said Michel. “But on Friday afternoon after training, he injured himself, so I obviously replaced him.”
Diaby, 29, had made the bench for Marseille’s 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne last month and had been in the squad for a previous Coup de France tie against Trelissac. And so, the notoriously injury-prone,... Read More
Barcelona forward Neymar has had his yacht and jet impounded and some $50 million of his assets frozen by Brazilian tax authorities. The Brazilian superstar and his family were found guilty of tax evasion last year. According to the authorities, Neymar owes some $16 million in back taxes he avoided paying between 2011 and 2013 when he as at the Brazilian club, Santos. Although he maintains he is innocent, this is not the first time Neymar and his father have run afoul of the taxman.
Neymar’s assets were frozen in September and in January, he was ordered to pay a 100,000-euro fine over unpaid taxes dating to 2007-2008.He also has an ongoing court case in the Spanish courts relating to discrepancies in the transfer dealings that brought him from Santos... Read More
Serie A’s top two teams are set to meet Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash that could have serious title implications: League leaders Napoli travel to Turin to face Juventus, who after a disastrous start to the season have surged to within two points of the top spot.
It’s an enticing encounter between the best two teams in Serie A. And unlike many other such matches, where both teams close up shop and simply try not to lose, Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has vowed that his team will be on the attack.
Both Manchester clubs are on alert at the moment with reports in Spain stating that Real Madrid are running out of patience with James Rodriguez.
The Colombian playmaker was Real’s big signing of 2014 after a breakout performance at the World Cup in Brazil that summer, but in two seasons with the club, the former Monaco man has failed to set the world alight. According to a report in Sport, the club are seriously considering cutting their losses and selling him.
James enjoyed a spectacular first season at the club with 13 goals and 13 assists in La Liga. However, after falling out with the recently fired Rafa Benitez, the 24-year-old has yet to win a place in Zinedine Zidane’s team.
Fernando Torres scored his hundredth goal for Atletico Madrid as the club overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Eibar 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday. It was an important goal for a player who began his career at Atletico and it was an important three points for Atleti, who now sit just three points behind table-toppers Barcelona.
It had been five months and 19 matches since Torres netted number 99, and by the time he broke into triple digits, Atletico had already all but sealed Saturday’s points. But it was no less an auspicious occasion as the former Liverpool striker ran onto a well-served cross from Luciano Vietto and tapped the ball into an empty net.
Torres, who is now 31, is out of contract in June and there... Read More
The biggest game on the annual French football calendar is set for this Sunday as Paris Saint-Germain face Olympique de Marseilles in Le Classique. The Parisians have run away with the league this season and have a 24-point lead over Monaco in second place.
With 32 points separating PSG from Marseille, Sunday’s match has no bearing on the title race, unlike last season’s meeting. But when storied rivals such as these meet, these things tend to go out the window; both teams will play for pride and both will be motivated.
PSG won 2-1 when the two teams last met, at the Parc Des Princes in Paris. Two penalties from Zlatan Ibrahimovic were enough to see off a single goal from Michy Batshuayi, and to see Ibrahimovic become PSG’s all-time... Read More
The Spanish sporting press is calling for Gary Neville’s head after the Valencia manager oversaw what is very likely the worst loss in the club’s 96-year history: a 7-0 destruction in the Copa del Rey at the hands of Barcelona.
Although there is still a second leg to play, four goals from Luis Suarez and a hat-trick from Lionel Messi have all but assured Valencia’s exit from this year’s cup. There is quite simply no team on Earth capable of overhauling such a deficit and at the moment, it doesn’t look as if anything can stop Barcelona from storming to a domestic double of league and cup.
Gonzalo Higuain maintained his goal-a-game average against Empoli on the weekend, pulling one back just five minutes after Empoli had jumped to a surprise lead and setting the table for an eventual 5-1 rout to maintain Napoli’s lead over a Juventus side that’s surged up to second in the Serie A standings.
Higuain is on track for his best season ever, and is on pace to set a new record for number of goals scored in a Serie A season. The 28-year-old, who was subbed off in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd against Empoli, has rightfully been the talk of the town this season: With 22 goals in 22 games, the former Real Madrid striker has found the net more often this season... Read More
Tied on points atop the La Liga table, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid go head-to-head Saturday in the first major European football clash of 2016; encounters between the two sides at the Camp Nou have taken on greater air importance since Atletico clinched the title there on the final day of the 2013-14 season.
Heading into the match, Barcelona is riding a 25-match win streak in all competitions; their last loss, 2-1 to Sevilla, was all the way back at the beginning of October.
But Barcelona is coming up against the team with La Liga’s best defensive record: Atletico has conceded just eight goals in 21 matches this season.
Barça is also unbeaten in their last 11 league clashes with Atleti, so it’s difficult to see Diego Simeone’s team coming away... Read More
By his own lofty standards, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be undergoing something of a torrid time at the moment. The Real Madrid forward has been widely criticized for kicking out at defender Francisco Molinero in Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Real Betis last weekend. The kick, described as an “ugly gesture” by Molinero, is just the latest sign that all is not well in Ronaldo’s world. One week earlier, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner was accused of kicking out at midfielder, Nacho Cases during a 5-1 destruction of Sporting Gijon. Ronaldo denied it was deliberate at the time, but in light of the attack against Molinero, that claim seems less convincing.
It’s been a frustrating season for Ronaldo who, despite his 16 goals in La Liga, has been visibly off... Read More
Along with Arsenal and Leicester City, Man City has emerged as a favorite to lift the Barclays Premier League title this season, but much may depend on how soon Kompany returns to the lineup.
While City has probably the finest striker in the Premier League in Sergio Aguero, the Citizens’ defense has been suspect at times this season, particularly without Kompany to martial them. With the big Belgian in the lineup, City has conceded just... Read More
A report in the Spanish press surfaced this week alleging that Barcelona forward Neymar and his father, who acts as his representative, had a meeting with representatives of Real Madrid earlier this month.
According to the report on the program ‘Al Primer Toque,’ on Spanish station Onda Cero, the meeting took place in a Zurich hotel room on January 11th during the Ballon d’Or celebrations. In addition to the player and his father, reports allege Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro was present along with an unnamed Real Madrid representative.
A separate report in Marca states that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ready to pay the 190 million euros necessary to activate Neymar’s buy-out clause. Marca also speculates that the Brazilian’s arrival would likely trigger the departure of... Read More
Two seasons after becoming the first club not called Barcelona or Real Madrid to win the La Liga title in more than a decade, Atletico Madrid again find themselves leading the Spanish title race. A handy 3-0 win over a gritty Los Palmas was enough to see Diego Simeone’s men preserve their two-point lead over Barça in second.
With the season at the halfway point and Atleti on top, the murmurs that another title challenge could be on are growing louder. Yes, Barcelona have a game in hand and are the best team in the world again. Yes, Real Madrid have more money and are flying high under new manager Zinedine Zidane. But there’s just something about this Atleti side.
With the powers that be at AS Roma having finally pulled the trigger on the protracted ousting of Rudi Garcia, Luciano Spalletti has returned for his second stint as manager. The capital club enjoyed a measure of success during Spalletti’s first spell in charge –- between 2005 and 2009 -– winning back-to-back Coppa Italia honors as well as the Italian Super Cup.
Roma fans will be hoping that the 56-year-old former Italian international will be able to repeat that success the second time round.
The club currently sits fifth in the table, seven points behind Napoli in the top spot. With just one win in their last seven matches under Garcia, it’s fair to say there is room for improvement.
One of Spalletti’s first challenges will be to... Read More
It could prove a busy January transfer window for La Liga’s two Madrid-based clubs, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid having each been hit by 18-month transfer bans. While both clubs will still be permitted to sign players in the current window, they will be barred from signing anyone in the next two windows.
The two Madrid outfits are being penalized by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for violating provisions related to the international transfer of players under the age of 18.
According to a statement by FIFA, Atleti and Real are in violation of articles “5, 9, 19 and 19bis as well as annexes 2 and 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the ‘Regulations’).”
Both clubs had been under ongoing investigation by the FIFA... Read More
AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia and his AC Milan counterpart Sinisa Mihajlovic head into Saturday’s clash at the Stadio Olimpico with their jobs on the line.
Roma will be eager to put their frustrating midweek draw with Chievo Verona behind them as they welcome AC Milan to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. Rudi Garcia rightfully assessed Wednesday’s draw as “two points thrown away” after his team surrendered a 2-0 lead to finish the match at 3-3.
That leaves Roma sitting in fifth, six points behind league leaders, Inter. It’s not an insurmountable gap by any means, but the result means Roma have now drawn three out of their last four Serie A matches.
The series of stalemates is all too familiar to Roma fans, who’ve grown accustomed to... Read More
Everyone knew it was coming, it was just a question of when: After seven months in charge, Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties as Real Madrid manager. As his replacement, the club named club legend and former World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane.
On a certain level, the appointment makes perfect sense: A World Cup, European Championship, Champions League, La Liga, and Serie A winner, the 43-year-old Frenchman has a football pedigree that’s second to none.
He also served as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti during the 2013-14 season, when the Italian succeeded in delivering Real Madrid’s long-awaited 10th European Championship. However, in his one season in charge of Real Madrid Castilla, he led the youth team to a rather undistinguished 6th place finish in Spain’s Segunda... Read More
With Barcelona’s 18-month, FIFA-imposed transfer ban coming to an end this week, new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will at last be eligible to play against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey Wednesday.
The match will mark the second time the two Catalan clubs have met in the space of four days, after Espanyol held Barcelona to a scoreless draw on Saturday. The addition of Vidal and Turan will be a welcome respite for manager Luis Enrique, whose squad has been stretched by injury and looked surprisingly short of ideas as it labored to break down a resilient Espanyol defense.
Even the all-star attacking trident of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi proved incapable of unlocking an Espanyol side that, despite creating few chances of its own, limited Barça... Read More
While not yet the favorite to take charge at Stamford Bridge next season, Simeone is the most intriguing possibility among the names currently being floated. And probably the one that would get Chelsea fans most excited.
Pep Guardiola’s name has also been touted, but the Catalan who is expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end... Read More
Kane has 13 goals in 21 appearances for Spurs this season, but he has shown no desire to leave White Hart Lane. But should Kane and Tottenham eventually decide to part ways, it’s believed that the club would prefer to sell him abroad, rather than to another Premier League outfit.
Inter are currently top of the Serie A standings with a four-point lead over second-place Fiorentina. After several seasons out in the wilderness, Inter are plotting a return to the top of Italian and European football. Currently among the favorites to win this season’s Scudetto, Inter also look likely to return to Champions League action... Read More
It’s a tale not just of two different fortunes heading in, but also of two contrasting styles as Mexican soccer’s two University-based sides, Tigres and Pumas meet in the first leg of the Liga MX final on Thursday.
Pumas basically limped in, losing 3-1 to Club America in embarrassing fashion on Sunday. Fortunately, their 3-0 win at the Azteca Stadium in the first leg was enough to see them safely through to the final.
But despite the inglorious way they got here, Pumas should not be discounted. Coach Guillermo Vazquez’s team was the best and most consistent side this season, finishing first in the regular-season standings.
Vazquez has built this side to be compact and organized. While Pumas are happy to cede possession to the opposition, as they demonstrated against... Read More
His contract with Bundesliga club Schalke 04 having been terminated, Kevin-Prince Boateng has been cleared to rejoin AC Milan next month.
Boateng has already been training and playing friendlies with the Serie A outfit for the past several months. The attacking midfielder and brother of World Cup winner Jerome Boateng initially left Milan to join Schalke back in 2013.
The 28-year-old has been suspended since May, however, with the Bundesliga outfit citing a “lack of mutual trust” between the two parties.
A statement on the club’s website confirmed that “Schalke 04 and Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng have decided to mutually terminate his contract at the club.”
Boateng made 60 appearances for the Royal Blues and scored seven goals.
Prior to joining Schalke, Boateng spent three seasons with Milan, scoring... Read More
It would seem an almost absurd proposition, given the deadly trident of attacking talent Barcelona boasts up front. But as we saw in Barça’s 1-1 draw with Valencia on Saturday, when the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar aren’t firing, there are precious few options for manager Luis Enrique to turn to.
Part of the problem stems from Barcelona having let Pedro go to Chelsea without having a suitable replacement lined up. Pedro had always been a reliable option off the bench for Barcelona, and even has one goal on the books this season, despite having left the club back in August.
And while Messi and Neymar are arguably the two preeminent attacking talents in world football at the moment, Suarez is the only out-and-out No. 9 in... Read More
Former Manchester United defender and television football pundit Gary Neville was appointed manager at La Liga outfit Valencia earlier this week, and though he won’t take the helm until next week’s Champions League encounter with Lyon, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique was wary of the threat Neville’s appointment posed ahead of the Catalan club’s trip to the Mestalla on Saturday.
“We are facing a team that has just changed its manager, and that complicates things for us,” Enrique said at his pre-match press conference. “We’ve studied our opponent, but the change of manager could mean a change to their style too. So it’s a difficult match to plan.”
Neville, who served as an assistant manager for England at the 2014 World Cup, admitted he’d turned down other management opportunities,... Read More
Struggling Serie A champions Juventus face the next test in their effort to resuscitate their title defense as they travel south to face Lazio on Friday night. The Scudetto holders got off to the worst start in the club’s history this season but have recently seen a turnaround in results, having gone undefeated in their last six matches.
Those results have included a win over AC Milan in Serie A and a win over Manchester City in the Champions League, and the good results have seen The Old Lady climb the table. Now sitting in fifth place, they are poised to break back into the top four. A win on Friday could see them draw even with fourth-placed Roma, at least temporarily.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc issued words of warning to Edinson Cavani, after the Uruguay striker reacted petulantly to being subbed off.
Cavani was visibly out of sorts when he was pulled in the 80th minute of PSG’s 4-1 win over Troyes on Saturday; as he walked by the bench he appeared to have words for Blanc.
The former Napoli man had netted PSG’s opener, volleying in a chipped pass from Angel Di Maria, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Layvin Kurzawa and Jean-Kevin Augustin all added to PSG’s lead. Thomas Ayasse pulled one back for the visiting side in extra time.
If there was any doubt that Saturday’s 4-0 destruction of Real Madrid in the season’s first El Clasico was a fluke, Barcelona put that to bed with a 6-1 demolition of Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday. Lionel Messi seems to have found his feet again, and had a greater influence on the game, scoring twice and assisting Gerard Pique’s goal.
Luis Suarez netted a brace of his own, with even Adriano getting in on the action for the sixth goal. All in all, it was just another day at the office for a team that’s once again made beating the top teams in Europe’s top leagues look easy.
It’s difficult at this point to see anyone stopping Barça in La Liga. On the basis of Saturday’s showing, Real... Read More
New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo is being continually linked with a loan to high-flying Serie A outfit, Internazionale. The Italian World Cup winner spent three previous seasons with Inter between 1998 and 2001.
Pirlo left Juventus to join the MLS expansion side at the close of last season. However, Italy coach Antonio Conte has implied Pirlo’s chances of making the squad for Euro 2016 could be improved by a loan back to Serie A.
In the wake of reports about a delegation of senior players calling a meeting with him to demand more attacking football, Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez is feeling the pressure ahead of Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona.
Benitez, who earned a reputation for playing defense-minded football in stints at Valencia, Liverpool and Napoli, came out on Friday promising he would set his team out to attack.
“The attributes of this Real Madrid team mean we have to attack regularly, threaten the opposition keeper and score goals, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Benitez told MARCA.
The former Real Madrid Castilla player also bristled at the suggestion by many in the media that Barcelona, despite being the visiting team, were favorites.
In a week in which terror attacks have cast a long shadow over European football in the bombings in France and the cancellation of scheduled friendlies between Belgium and Spain, and Holland and Germany, this season’s first El Clasico is still set to be played on Saturday.
With the entire continent still grieving and on its guard, the show will go on: Real Madrid will line up against Barcelona, and the people will attempt to take back a little normalcy from the terrorists who have tried to wrest it from them.
Security levels at the Santiago Bernabeu will be heightened, with a major increase expected in the number of police deployed around the stadium, as well as more stringent security checks for fans entering it.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been working hard to regain fitness in time for Saturday’s El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid. With the core of the Barça team away on international duty, coach Luis Enrique gave the four-time World Player of the Year, along with the rest of the remaining members of the squad, the weekend off.
Pique, who won the Premier League in 2008 during his one season with Manchester United, told the Daily Telegraph that the Premier League might prove tougher than expected for Barça and archrivals Real Madrid.
“I think that if Barcelona or Real Madrid goes to the Premier League then the first year of playing there, there is no chance of winning it,” Pique said.
“If you go to Stoke, or other types of teams, then it will be really tough. It’s a debate – we could spend hours on it. If Manchester United or Chelsea go to Spain then the same.... Read More
AC Milan held on for a draw at the San Siro Saturday against a determined Atalanta side that was at times in danger of overrunning them. While it was anything but a vintage performance from the Rossoneri, there was one standout performer on the night: Milan goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The 16-year-old net-minder was making his fourth appearance for Milan and finished with his second clean sheet. With Milan’s defense in disarray and the attack incapable of mustering much of anything, the 6-foot 5-inch keeper literally stood tall between the sticks.
Donnarumma came up with four huge saves on the night against a bold Atalanta side that outshot Milan almost 2-1. While many called it a gamble when Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic handed the inexperienced Donnarumma the starting berth ahead... Read More
Speculation in press and football circles has been rife since cameras caught the two former Manchester United teammates speaking closely together following PSG’s 1-0 loss to the La Liga outfit in the Champions League.
Ronaldo has been linked with PSG for a couple of seasons now. The Ligue 1 outfit’s current talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is out of contract this summer. With the Swede now age 34 and linked with a possible move to Major League Soccer, it’s entirely possible that PSG could be lining up his successor.
As the reigning World Player of the Year... Read More
The Spanish sporting press reported Monday that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will not recover from his recent knee injury in time for El Clasico. The looming showdown with Barça’s archrivals, Real Madrid, is set for November 21.
The Argentine ace suffered knee ligament injuries against Las Palmas in late December. While the original prognosis was for eight weeks on the sidelines, recent stories in the Catalan media had suggested that Messi’s recovery had fallen behind schedule.
While thankfully no surgery was required, Messi’s injury, like all knee ligament injuries, was a delicate one. Messi’s initial recovery involved spending a couple of weeks on crutches, and with the Clasico less than three weeks away, he has not yet been able to run consistently without pain.
League leaders Roma travel to Milan Saturday to face fourth-place Internazionale in another top-of-the-table Serie A clash. While Roma maintains a two-point lead at the summit, the chasing pack behind them is tight. Inter is currently tied on 21 points with second-place Napoli and Fiorentina in third.
Roma beat Udinese midweek to remain in the driver’s seat in the Italian title race. With Juventus languishing in mid-table, the Giallorossi are many peoples’ favorites to win the Scudetto. While goals were a problem for Roma last season, Rudi Garcia’s team is the top-scoring outfit in Italy this season with 25 goals: Gervinho, Mohamed Salah, and Miralem Pjanic have racked up five each.
Inter, on the other hand, have struggled to find the net despite excellent early season form. Coach Roberto Mancini... Read More
Flying high in the Premier League, Arsenal got their Champions League campaign back on track with a win against Bayern Munich at the Emirates on Tuesday. Next up for Arsene Wenger’s men is a Capital One Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday.
The Gunners’ stars have come up big in a recent spate of victories against Manchester United, Bayern, and most recently Everton. But in order to avoid burning out the likes of Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Wenger will likely choose to rotate his squad against Wednesday.
After netting a brace in Arsenal’s previous Capital One Cup outing against Tottenham, Mathieu Flamini is almost sure to get a run out in midfield. Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell is also likely to see some action... Read More
The current number one and number two teams in Italy meet Sunday, as Fiorentina welcomes Roma to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
League leaders Fiorentina are enjoying their first spell atop the Serie A table since 1999. Roma, meanwhile, are in a position that they’ve grown accustomed to, having been the one team that’s managed to chase Juventus over the past couple of seasons. A win for Rudi Garcia’s men could see them move into first place, depending on how Internazionale’s game with Palermo goes on Saturday.
But standing in Roma’s way is a Fiorentina team that’s defied expectations this season. La Viola announced its intent on the opening day of the season, with a 2-0 defeat of AC Milan; they lost their next match to Torino before going on... Read More
Spanish media has erupted with reports that police are looking into claims by an assistant referee that he’s been pressured to favor Real Madrid in the upcoming El Clasico against Barcelona.
The linesman was apparently among the officials selected for the first La Liga clash between Real and Barça this season -– set to take place on November 21, at the Santiago Bernabeu.
While the linesman’s identity remains unknown, there are suggestions that the man attempting to pull his strings is Jose Angel Jimenez de Morales. According to reports on Catalan radio, Morales told the unknown official that he should “try to control the game in a way that thwarted the interest of one of the clubs, Barcelona.” The linesman was instructed that failing to do so... Read More
Although it’s still early days, the La Liga title race is currently as tight as it’s been in decades. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Celta Vigo all jointly sit top of the table on 18 points each. The last time the La Liga race was this close was in the 1993-94 season when Real, Barça and Real Sociedad jointly occupied the top spot.
Trailing just slightly behind, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are currently tied on 16 points each, bringing it to a total of five teams currently in contention to top the standings in Spain.
Despite both being hit by a spate of injuries, Real and Barça maintained their winning ways this weekend: Real Madrid dispatched Levante 3-0 on Saturday with Marcelo opening the scoring 27 minutes in. Moments later, Cristiano... Read More
Antonio Conte is reportedly on the radar of a number of Europe’s top clubs, with Roma, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea all reportedly interested in the Italy boss. Conte led Juventus to three consecutive Serie A titles before assuming the role of national team manager for the Azzurri.
This week, Conte further fueled speculations that he would take on the manager job at Roma following Euro 2016.
“I’ve had the pleasure of living in Rome more often this year as national team coach and I’ve got to say I’ve found it really good. I’m very serene because of this,” Conte told RAI television.
But Conte refused to be drawn on rumors that Roma had already contacted him about succeeding Rudi Garcia. “Roma have got to be very serene because... Read More
Uruguay vs. Colombia (6:55pm ET, beIN Español) Both sides are coming off wins in their World Cup qualifying openers, with Colombia having beat Peru 2-0 and Uruguay beating Bolivia by the same scoreline.
But Colombia will have to make do without their star man, James Rodriguez, with the Real Madrid midfielder having picked up a thigh injury last month.
Uruguay will also be without its key players with Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez both ruled out by injury. Uruguay will also be without coach Oscar Tabarez who is still serving a touchline ban from the Copa America.
History is not necessarily on Colombia’s side. The only time they’ve won previously at the Estadio Centenario was 42 years ago when they beat Uruguay 1-0 ahead of the 1974 World Cup... Read More
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with France and is expected to be out for up to three weeks. The injury will see him miss out on La Liga clashes with Levante, Celta Vigo and possibly Las Palmas, as well as at least one leg of Real Madrid’s two upcoming Champions League matches against Paris Saint-Germain.
After not finding the net for Les Bleus for a year, Benzema was on-form in France’s 4-0 win over Armenia in Euro qualifying on Thursday. The striker set up Antoine Griezmann for France’s opener before finding two goals of his own in the span of just two minutes.
But it was on the second of these goals that he suffered the injury that saw him replaced by... Read More
Chile welcomes Brazil to the Estadio Nacional in Santiago Thursday, as South American teams begin the qualification process for the 2018 World Cup.
The last time these teams met in an official match was at the 2014 World Cup. That match ended in a 1-1 draw, and Brazil prevailed 1-0 in a friendly earlier this year.
Having won 15 of 18 official meetings between the two, Brazil has historically had the upper hand when these two nations have clashed. But Chile has the confidence of having just won its first major trophy, when it lifted the Copa America on home soil this summer. The Chileans are also undefeated in their last five matches.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli has a star-studded squad, led by Arsenal’s in-form attacker Alexis Sanchez. Alexis... Read More
The Vicente Calderon has not been an easy place for Real Madrid to go in recent years. Last time they visited, they lost 4-0. That was during Carlo Ancelotti’s time in charge, during which Real failed to register a single win over Atleti in La Liga.
But now, with a new manager in charge and having beaten Atletico in the Champions League the last time the two met, Real Madrid are likely to be more confident going into this weekend’s fixture than they’ve been for some time; especially with Atletico still smarting from losing at home in the Champions League for the first time under Diego Simeone.
With just two points separating them in the table, both sides have it all to play for on Sunday. Atletico are notorious... Read More
Known in France as Le Classique, Sunday’s derby will see 15th place Marseille face off against league leaders and reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. The match comes in the wake of crowd trouble that saw Marseille’s match against Lyon suspended, resulting in several sections of Marseille’s home ground, the Stade Velodrome, being closed for the game against promotion side Angers last weekend.
With the French authorities and sporting press continuing to focus on Marseille’s crowd trouble, the main supporters' groups for the team have decided to boycott this weekend’s Classique. It may be just as well, as watching this struggling Marseille side taking on powerhouse PSG might not make for pleasant viewing.
The crowd trouble with Lyon is just the latest incident in an early season fraught with difficulties for Marseille... Read More
Barcelona fans the world over awoke to the happy news Monday morning that Lionel Messi’s knee injury isn’t as bad as feared. While the player is still set to be sidelined for a period of seven to eight weeks, no surgery is required and Messi could return to action sooner than expected, according to Argentina’s team doctor.
Messi suffered an injury to the ligaments in his left knee in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Las Palmas at the Camp Nou Saturday. After receiving treatment on the pitch, Messi was subbed off in the 10th minute and taken to a nearby clinic for tests.
Despite the hopeful prognosis from Argentina team doctor, Donato Villani, Messi is set to miss a number of important matches, beginning with... Read More
Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally opened his Ligue 1 scoring account for the season Tuesday, finding the net in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 win over Guingamp.
It was the 83rd minute of play when the Swede ran onto a through ball from Angel Di Maria to slot home PSG’s third of the night, following goals from Javier Pastore and Di Maria himself. The goal took Zlatan’s tally to 107 goals for the capital club that he joined in 2012.
He might have made it 108 minutes later had he not missed a penalty.
Still, Ibrahimovic is now just two goals shy of the record held by PSG’s all-time leading scorer, Pauleta, the Portuguese striker who notched 109 goals in five seasons at PSG between 2003 and 2008.
It’s been a long time out in the wilderness, but Inter Milan is riding high at the top of Serie A after going undefeated in its first five matches. It’s not been pretty, it’s not been dynamic, but then Inter has never really been that kind of team.
Even Jose Mourinho’s historic treble-winning Inter side in 2010 specialized mainly in cautious, 1-0 victories. At the time, Mourinho was managing a team that had largely been built by Roberto Mancini. So it’s little coincidence that having been reinstated as Inter manager, Mancini is back to grinding out results with little regard for flair or style.
But that should not detract from the job Mancini has done since taking up his second spell in charge at the Giuseppe Meazza. The former Manchester... Read More
AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has scrapped plans to build a new stadium, claiming he is too “in love with the San Siro” to leave the 81,277-seat stadium that has been home to the club since 1926.
Milan had secured funding for a new, state-of-the-art 48,000-seat stadium that was to be built near the club’s new training ground in the Portello district of Milan. But those plans have now been abandoned due in part to a disagreement with the company that owns the land the stadium was to be built on.
Bee Taechaubol, the Thai businessman who is set to take a 48 percent ownership stake in the club next month, is also said to prefer keeping the Rossoneri at San Siro.
Fresh from its 5-0 thrashing of Club Brugge in the Europa League Napoli will host Lazio in Serie A at 4:30pm ET Sunday (watch live on beIN Sports). The win over Brugge came as a welcome respite for the Neapolitan outfit that’s started its season with a loss and two draws.
After beating Bologna 2-1 in its season opener, Lazio suffered a dispiriting 4-0 loss to Chievo before blanking Udinese 2-0 last week.
If Napoli is to come away with its first Serie A win of the season, the man to watch will be Gonzalo Higuain, who has eight goals in four previous appearances against Lazio.
Watch Napoli vs. Lazio LIVE at 4:30pm ET Sunday on beIN Sports.
Balotelli Looking for First AC Milan Goal After... Read More
Already reeling from the sale of Xavi and Pedro, Barcelona’s depth in midfield took another hit this week when tests revealed Rafinha Alcantara -– generally know as Rafinha -– suffered an injury to his cruciate ligament against Roma Wednesday.
The Brazilian midfielder had barely been on the pitch at the Estadio Olimpico in Rome for two minutes when he was the victim of a crunching tackle from Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
After the match Barça boss Luis Enrique remarked that the injury “doesn’t look very good.”
The club released a statement early Thursday confirming that Rafinha had indeed injured his ACL and would require surgery and several months of rehabilitation. This means the 22-year-old is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Rafinha’s injury leaves Barcelona’s already thin squad... Read More
Cristiano Ronaldo struck five goals into the back of the net against Espanyol on Saturday to break the record held by Raul and become Real Madrid’s all-time leading La Liga goal scorer.
What is so impressive about Ronaldo’s feat is not just the speed at which he accomplished it – 230 goals in 204 matches as opposed to Raul’s 228 in 550 – but the fact that CR7 isn’t really an out-and-out striker.
While Ronaldo’s goals have typically involved using pace or trickery of some kind to strike from the wing or outside, against Espanyol the former Manchester United man operated more like a traditional center forward. All five of his goals were converted with a single touch.
Seeing Ronaldo’s ruthless efficiency begs the question as to what kind of... Read More
The Serie A season is barely three weeks old and one of the most anticipated matches of the season is already looming, as Internazionale hosts AC Milan (2:40pm ET Sunday on beIN Sports) in the first Milan Derby of the season.
Not long ago, the Derby della Madonnina could be a potential title-decider between two of Europe’s heavyweights, but this Sunday’s Milan Derby opponents finished 8th (Inter) and 10th (Milan) last season.
While both the blue and the red side of Milan have invested in their squads over the summer and said all the right things in terms of returning to the summit of Italian football, it remains to be seen whether either can actually do so. Of the two, Inter has certainly started off the season stronger, with... Read More
More than one year after signing for Barcelona, goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is finally set to make his La Liga debut against Atletico Madrid Saturday. While Ter Stegen featured in Barça’s successful Champions League and Copa del Rey campaigns last season, coach Luis Enrique favored Claudio Bravo when it came to league outings.
But after straining his right calf in training on Monday, the Chilean keeper is in doubt for Saturday’s clash at the Vicente Calderon. While last season Enrique chose to start Jordi Masip for the one La Liga match Bravo was unavailable for, reports in Spain have tipped Ter Stegen as the man who will step in this time.
Based on Ter Stegen’s most recent appearances in a Blaugrana jersey -– a 5-4 win over Sevilla, and... Read More
Still basking in the glow of last weekend’s 2-1 win over Juventus, Roma fans received more good news this week with Kevin Strootman’s doctor declaring the midfielder is expected to make a full recovery.
The Netherlands' international tore his cruciate ligament in March of 2014 and has missed a season and a half of football as a result. After attempting to come back on two separate occasions, both of which resulted in the need for additional knee operations, it was rumored that Strootman’s career might be over.
But Dr. Pierpaolo Mariani, the surgeon who performed the most recent operation, has rubbished such suggestions.
The European transfer window slammed shut Tuesday and in terms of the business done this summer, Atletico Madrid left its La Liga competition in the dust. Unlike Barcelona, Atleti weren’t encumbered by any kind of UEFA imposed sanctions. Unlike Real Madrid, Los Colchoneros avoided getting dragged into any kind of protracted transfer drama.
Instead, Diego Simeone got his transfer dealings done early and sensibly. As is customary with Atletico, several key players left – Arda Turan to Barcelona, Mario Mandzukic to Juventus – but somehow those losses don’t seem as staggering as in past seasons.
In fact Jackson Martinez, signed from Porto earlier in the window, looks to be an upgrade to Mandzukic. And while it may take time to see how well Yannick Ferreira Carrasco does in terms of... Read More
With mere hours remaining in the summer transfer window, the writing is clearly on the wall that if there’s one area of the pitch Arsenal needs to reinforce, it’s at striker.
Spurning at least two high-profile opportunities to score against Newcastle United on Saturday, Theo Walcott blew his big chance to convince Arsene Wenger that he’s got what it takes to lead the line for the Gunners. Coming on as a sub with around 20 minutes remaining, Olivier Giroud also failed to impress, and Alexis Sanchez continues to drift through matches without making much of an impact.
Despite sitting in sixth place and having taken seven points out of a possible 12, Arsenal has only scored one goal this season: Giroud’s acrobatic strike in last week’s 2-1 win over Crystal... Read More
Serie A champions Juventus will look to bounce back quickly from their season-opening defeat to Udinese when they make the trip south on Sunday to face AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Last weekend’s loss put an end to a 47-game unbeaten run in the league.
On paper, losing at home against Udinese, a team that finished just outside the relegation zone last season, doesn’t look that good. But the result doesn’t tell the whole story: Max Allegri’s team dominated possession against the visitors and new signings Mario Mandzukic came close to scoring on more than one occasion, as did Paul Pogba, who remains at the club for now.
Cyril Thereau’s 78th-minute goal for the visitors, on the other hand, was Udinese’s first shot on target. And Juve wasn’t... Read More
The new La Liga season is barely a week old and already the boo birds are circling over Gareth Bale. The Welsh international is a favorite target of Real Madrid fans when the club falls short of expectations, as it did in Sunday’s season opener against Sporting Gijon.
Of course Bale did himself no favors when, in the first half, he found space on the left and chose to shoot from an impossible angle when he had two teammates steaming unmarked into the box.
Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has moved Bale into a central position, just underneath the striker. It’s a different position than he occupied under Carlo Ancelotti, who preferred to deploy him on the wing. But it’s typically where he plays for Wales, where he has had great... Read More
Mario Balotelli’s ill-fated spell at Liverpool appears to have come to an end, as it was revealed Tuesday that the player has rejoined AC Milan on a season-long loan. Having already passed his medical at the club where he spent one previous season and that he supported growing up, Balotelli is expected to start training with his new teammates immediately and could be in the lineup to face Empoli this weekend.
The move is somewhat surprising, given the nature of Balotelli’s exit from Milan 12 months ago when then- coach Pippo Inzaghi said Milan would gain “team spirit and hunger” with Balotelli gone.
But one year can be a long time in footballing terms. With Milan in the process of retooling its team, club owner Silvio Berlusconi has been... Read More
Although it’s just completed one of the most successful seasons in its 116-year history, there is a cloud of uncertainty forming over Barcelona as this weekend’s La Liga kickoff looms. Earlier this week, the team that claimed the treble for the second time in its history last season lost the UEFA Super Cup to Athletic Bilbao. Over the two legs of the match, Bilbao simply seemed to want it more, which might be easier to accept had Gerard Pique, Barça’s best defender last season, not earned himself a four-match ban for cursing at the ref.
And all this is without even mentioning the loss of two players who’ve been at the center of everything Barcelona, and Spain, have achieved over the past six or seven years.
How quickly things change in football. On Tuesday morning, Barcelona winger Pedro was edging steadily closer toward a move to Manchester United that has been agonizingly drawn out in the press for most of the summer. Twenty-four hours later and the want-away forward is apparently on the verge of signing with Chelsea instead.
According to reports coming out of England and Spain, Jose Mourinho’s team will complete the signing of the 28-year-old within the next 24 hours. Chelsea and Barça struck the deal late on Tuesday night, only days after Man U vice-chairman Ed Woodward had flown to Spain to discuss terms with the player and the Catalan club. However, United apparently never officially moved to trigger the €30m buy-out clause in Pedro’s contract, but Chelsea did, and Read More
Last season Atletico Madrid failed to hit the heights it had two seasons ago, when Diego Simeone’s team stormed to a La Liga title and came within 90 seconds of winning the Champions League. Instead, Atleti finished third, 14 points behind second-place Real Madrid and 16 behind Barcelona.
As has become almost customary for Los Colchoneros, Atleti has again seen a star striker depart the club, as Mario Mandzukic left for Juventus. But Atletico has managed to keep hold of last season’s leading scorer, Antoine Griezmann, and more importantly, Diego Simeone remains as the club’s manager, having signed a contract extension that will see him stay at the Vicente Calderon until 2018.
Defender Diego Godin has also signed on to remain at the club, despite interest from Manchester City, who... Read More
After stumbling in its season opener to West Ham United last week, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, and particularly goalkeeper Petr Cech, will have to pick up the pieces quickly if it is to live up to pundits' expectations to win the Premier League this season. While you couldn’t quite call them howlers, the former Chelsea net-minder made mistakes at the Emirates last Sunday and was directly culpable for allowing both of West Ham’s goals.
But it was more than just a case of first-day jitters from Cech that undermined the Gunners. While the North Londoners dominated possession, as you’d expect, they lacked a true cutting edge against an organized Hammers side that defended well and made the most of its chances.
To Arsenal’s credit, West Ham keeper Adrian made a number... Read More
The new Premier League campaign is barely a week old and already Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has launched his first conspiracy theory of the season, and it’s not referees or the English FA that the Portuguese gaffer is pointing a finger at. This time, it’s the club’s doctor.
In the wake of Chelsea’s surprising 2-2 draw with Swansea City on opening day, Mourinho has rounded on Chelsea’s first team doctor, Eva Carneiro. The Special One’s ire stems from a stoppage time incident in which the referee waved Carneiro and team physio Jon Fearn onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard. According to Mourinho, the two should have been able to somehow ascertain from the sidelines that Hazard was in no real need of attention, despite the referee waving them on.... Read More
Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the new season on Friday with a 1-0 win away at Lille. The champions got their campaign underway without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was deemed unfit, and without new signing Angel Di Maria. They ultimately had to do without midfielder Adrien Rabiot as well, after the 20-year-old was shown a red card in the 28th minute.
The Parisians eventually took the lead about 15 minutes into the second half when Lucas Moura raced onto a through ball from Blaise Matuidi, rounded Lille keeper Vincent Enyeama, and slotted home the game’s only goal. PSG have a habit of dropping points on opening day and for a time it looked like they might again. But even with a man advantage Lille were incapable of truly troubling... Read More
Make no mistake: signing Angel Di Maria is a big deal for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG already has a talented squad, but the Argentine is on something of another level, at least from the club’s current midfielder options. Up until now, PSG has had two top-level strikers in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. But they’ve lacked a midfielder of a similar level to provide them service. They have that player now in Di Maria.
The Ligue 1 outfit came very close to signing him last summer after Di Maria helped Real Madrid win the Champions League, but Financial Fair Play restrictions forbade it. So Di Maria wound up at United, a club he didn’t really seem to want to join and, after a time, didn’t really want him either. Unfortunately for... Read More
Gonzalo Higuain has been offered a new deal from Napoli but plans to reject it, according to the player’s agent and brother, Nicolas Higuain. The news has, according to reports in England, cleared the way for Arsenal to sign the player, who came very close to joining the North London outfit two years ago.
One report in Italy claimed that the Gunners had already made a bid upwards of $60 million for the striker that was rejected by Napoli. And while Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentis has maintained that the former Real Madrid man is not currently for sale, he also admitted that if a club did come along that was willing to pay his $100 million release clause, Higuain would be allowed to leave.
Yes, it’s only preseason, a glorified friendly as they say. But still, far better to be on the winning side of the annual Community Shield that pits the Premier League winner against the FA Cup holder. And as Arsenal emerged from Sunday’s clash as deserving 1-0 winner against Chelsea, pundits around the world of football could be heard quietly shuffling the decks on their preseason predictions.
Again, preseason friendlies are rarely an accurate predictor of what’s to come, and Chelsea remains the clear favorite to retain the Premier League title. But in light of Arsenal’s performance against them Saturday and Manchester City’s thumping at the hands of Stuttgart the day before, it’s increasingly looking like the Gunners might be Chelsea’s biggest rivals in the coming season.
In a recent interview with ESPNFC, Jose Mourinho said he was “scared” when Radamel Falcao joined Manchester United on loan last season. The Chelsea boss professed himself to be a longtime admirer of the Colombian striker, who he called a “predator in the box.” Falcao was indeed prolific in his time with Porto in the Portuguese Liga and later at Atletico Madrid, where he established himself as one of the finest strikers in the world.
He’s struggled, though, ever since tearing his cruciate ligament in a French Cup match with Monaco in early 2014. His season-long loan to Man United yielded a paltry four goals in 26 Premier League appearances, leading many to wonder if the injury to his ACL had brought about an early demise.
After failing to turn up to catch his flight to join Manchester United on its preseason tour of the United States, it now seems all-but certain that Angel Di Maria will leave the club. Even at the Man United megastore, Di Maria player masks were placed on a discount rack, alongside the departed Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao. Although no deal has been confirmed as yet, a move to Paris Saint-Germain is believed to be imminent.
Reports in Spain and France have it that the two clubs have agreed upon a fee for the former Real Madrid man in the region of $70 million. Di Maria will reportedly sign a four-to-five year deal with the Ligue 1 champions. He could join up with them as early as... Read More
Despite assurances to the contrary earlier this month, it’s looking increasingly likely that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. The prolific striker continues to be linked with a return to former club, AC Milan, and recently it was reported he was offered a three-year deal with Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic has spent three years with PSG, helping to propel the capital club to the pinnacle of French football and to establish it as a European power. However last season the Swede fell afoul of fans and the French public with a profanity-laced tirade against France and French football. With a season hampered by injuries, Ibra failed to win the golden boot for the top scorer in Ligue 1 for the first time since moving to France.
Barcelona fullback Adriano Correia wants to leave the Catalan treble winners and has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Roma. The Brazilian defender joined Barça in 2010 and thanks to his versatility, became an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s team. Able to play as a right-back, left-back, central midfielder, and on the wing, Adriano has won three La Ligas, two Copa del Reys and two UEFA Champions Leagues during his time at Barça. But under Luis Enrique, he has fallen behind the likes of Dani Alvez, Douglas and Aleix Vidal at right-back and Jordi Alba and Jeremy Mathieu at left-back.
Adriano did feature in Barça’s 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in a preseason friendly at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Tuesday, but the 31-year-old has found it hard... Read More
Arsenal’s successful trip to Asia, which saw them claiming the Barclay’s Asia Trophy Saturday, brought about many intrigues. With Arsene Wenger already having refused to rule out the Gunners making a move for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud further stirred the pot by telling reporters another striker would be welcome at the Emirates.
“If there would be another striker it would nice for all the team because the competition is good for everyone,” said Giroud, speaking to the Guardian after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat of Everton on Saturday.
Adding to the intrigue was Wenger playing it somewhat coy in reaction to a question about Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations. The Gunners, who in addition to Walcott and Giroud, can call upon the likes of Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Alex... Read More
In an interesting development to the ongoing saga of Arturo Vidal’s impending move to Bayern Munich from Juventus, multiple reports have surfaced, indicating that the Bundesliga outfit may be prepared to offer Mario Gotze as a makeweight in the deal.
Earlier this week, it seemed Vidal’s transfer to Bayern was imminent. However club executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted no deal has yet been completed for the Chilean. But Corriere dello Sport has now reported that one aspect of the deal could see Gotze headed in the opposite direction.
Since moving to Bayern from Borussia Dortmund, the World Cup-winning goalscorer has found it tougher than expected to nail down a regular spot in Pep Guardiola’s team. While it may not seem the most obvious move at first glance, leaving... Read More
The four men vying to be elected president of Football Club Barcelona debated one another on Catalan television Tuesday night. With the pristine pitch of the Camp Nou as a backdrop, Josep Maria Bartomeu, Joan Laporta, Agusti Benedito and Toni Freixa took part in a heated discussion about the future and direction of the club that was moderated by journalist Bernat Soler.
The election comes at a time when the La Liga champions could be seen as being at something of a crossroads. On the one hand, Barça has just had one of the most successful seasons in its 116-year history. On the other, administrative and executive decisions in the past few years have seen the Catalan club moving away from its stated doctrine of being mas que un club... Read More
Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc moved to quell rumors that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be leaving the capital club.
“There have never been any doubts as to his presence in the team for 2015-16,” said the former France boss, speaking to Les Parisien.
Blanc’s reaffirming comes only a day after Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini admitted that while there was interest, it was unlikely Ibra would be returning to the Serie A outfit where he spent three seasons between 2006 and 2009.
The Swedish striker has also been linked with a return to AC Milan, another of his previous clubs. However according to Blanc, Zlatan and his occasional strike partner Edinson Cavani are both set to remain at PSG.
Cavani, however, continues to be linked with a move to... Read More
While it’s usually the big name attackers making all the transfer story headlines, this summer it’s been goalkeepers taking up column inches in Spanish and English papers. First, Peter Cech was hailed as the signing that could transform Arsenal from perennial fourth-place finishers into legitimate Premier League contenders. And now with Iker Casillas on the verge of leaving Real Madrid to join Porto, the stage is set for the next phase of what’s in danger of becoming the longest and most protracted goalkeeping transfer saga in football history: bringing David De Gea to Real Madrid from Manchester United.
Negotiations in the Casillas deal nearly broke down on Thursday night. However both parties reportedly reached an agreement on Friday morning, under which Madrid will pay part of Casillas salary to assure... Read More
Over the weekend the Manchester Evening News and other sources reported that Roma are eyeing a bid for Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian striker was instrumental in helping the Citizens become Premier League champions in 2012 and 2014. However, the former Wolfsburg man, who scored only two goals in his last 23 appearances for City, has fallen down the pecking order at the Ethihad of late.
Meanwhile Roma, who are Serie A runners up for the second consecutive season, have been suffering from a serious deficiency in the goals department. Last season not a single player on the squad was able to crack double digits in the scoring column, with Francesco Totti and Adam Ljajic tied on eight goals for top scorer at the club. For two seasons... Read More
Although he’s the most decorated modern player in club football terms, Lionel Messi remains a nearly-man at international level following Argentina’s loss to Chile on penalties in the Copa America final. As the tournament concludes with Chile being crowned deserving winners, there’s a pervading sense of déjà vu from last summer’s World Cup hanging around both Messi and Argentina.
Once again, the Albiceleste entered the tournament with a star-studded squad built around the recently restored “Best Player in the World”; Once again, they reached the final through a series of mostly middling performances; And once again, they fell to a team that was the best in the competition. Like Germany last summer, Chile are deserving winners, having played the best and most consistent football throughout the nearly month-long tournament.
Having fallen just short of the final hurdle at last summer’s World Cup, Saturday’s Copa America final represents a second chance for Lionel Messi to finally lead Argentina to major silverware. On Wednesday in the semifinals, the Barcelona man was on-song as Argentina handed out a 6-1 thrashing to a very good Paraguay side.
For the first time we saw Tata Martino’s team open up and play the kind of expansive, attacking football we’ve been longing to see from the Albiceleste. While not finding the back of the net himself, Messi notched a hat trick of assists as goals rained in from Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore, Marcos Rojo, Gonzalo Higuain, and Sergio Aguero. The fact that Argentina could have five different goal-scorers in a match where Messi doesn’t... Read More
It looked like smooth sailing for Argentina at the end of the first half of its opening Copa America match, up two-nil against Paraguay. But as has so often been the case throughout this tournament, Paraguay had other ideas. Two second-half goals from the un-fancied Paraguayans saw the tournament’s favorite held to a draw.
Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino will be determined to avoid a similar fate when the two sides meet again in a semi-final clash Tuesday. Martino has the best squad in the tournament at his disposal and the manager won’t want to let Paraguay, the team he coached all the way to the final four years ago, level the playing field by drawing Argentina into a penalty shootout.
Both teams reached the semis by progressing on penalties... Read More
No, it was nowhere near as traumatic as last summer’s 7-1 loss to Germany that saw Brazil eliminated from the World Cup. But the Selecao’s exit from the Copa America on Saturday after losing to Paraguay on penalties did seem a suitably inglorious exit for a team that’s now failed to catch fire in two successive major tournaments.
Big Phil Scolari, the man presiding over last summer’s Germany loss, was sacked immediately afterwards. But even at the time, the reappointment of Dunga didn’t seem like the best way to take the team forward. Twelve months later, we have confirmation that assumption was correct. While Dunga’s team didn’t have to bear the crippling pressure of hosting the tournament on its own soil, they were pretty dismal for most of the Copa.
The Copa America quarterfinals continue Friday and Saturday. We preview the remaining two matches that will decide the final four in the 2015 edition of the most long-running tournament in international football.
Argentina vs. Colombia - Friday 6/26 Two of the tournament’s sleeping giants go head-to-head in Friday’s fixture. Of the two, it’s Colombia who’ve struggled the most in this tournament so far. James Rodriquez has been nowhere near the player he was at last summer’s World Cup. The Real Madrid man was effective in Colombia’s 1-0 win over Brazil, but compared to his Golden Boot-winning performance last summer, he’s been a virtual passenger. Radamel Falcao, meanwhile, is becoming a liability: He had seven shots in the group stages and hit the target just once.
With the Group Stage now in the bag, there’s a sense that South America’s big guns are still priming to be fired at this year’s Copa America. While pre-tournament favorites Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay are all through to the quarterfinals, only host nation Chile has managed to look impressive thus far. But with a small pool of just 12 teams, the heavyweight clashes come fast and thick in the Copa America. With the quarters set to kick off on Wednesday it’s time for the big boys to step up.
Chile vs. Uruguay – Wednesday 6/24 On the strength of performances so far, Chile is looking as close to an odds-on favorite as anyone in this tournament right now. While Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have struggled to get out of... Read More
The sad, strange tale of Parma FC’s decline reached its most likely conclusion, as the club was officially declared bankrupt and relegated to Serie D Monday. Although there had been two offers on the table and another in the works from former baseball catching great Mike Piazza, in the end no one was willing to take on the financial challenge of bringing the club back from the brink.
Parma’s problems began about a year ago when UEFA refused to grant the Serie A outfit a license to compete in the Europa League over financial mismanagement issues. In December, club president Tommaso Ghirardi sold Parma for just one euro to a Russian-Cypriot conglomerate. Two months later the club was sold again for the same price, this time to Giampietro Manenti.
Slapped with a suspension for a red card earned in the dying seconds of Brazil’s Copa America loss to Colombia Wednesday, Neymar will be forced to miss the Selecao’s final group stage match against Venezuela Sunday.
Last summer, with the Barcelona talisman knocked out of action with a cracked vertebrae at the World Cup, Brazil were undone by a German side that picked them off clinically on its way to becoming the first European team to win the Cup in South America. One popular narrative since then has it that had Neymar been fit things might’ve gone differently against the Germans. But on the evidence of Brazil’s showing in the Copa America so far, that doesn’t necessarily seem the case.
This was particularly apparent in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Colombia.... Read More
Despite persistent rumors linking him with a return to AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he’s happy in Paris and will remain with Paris Saint-Germain. However the 33-year-old, who is on national team as Sweden prepare to face Montenegro, admitted he’d been in contact with Milan CEO Adriano Galliani and left the door open to the possibility by throwing the old “You never know what will happen in football” line out to reporters.
PSG are apparently readying a spectacular bid to eventually replace Zlatan with Cristiano Ronaldo. While Ronaldo is unlikely to leave Real Madrid this summer, L’Equipe reports that PSG will move for the striker ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Were the Swede actually to return to Milan this summer, that process could become accelerated.
The Copa America has traditionally been seen as a clash between Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, but this year’s edition sees increased competition for South America’s traditional heavyweights. The emergence of host nation Chile as an international power, the resurgence of Colombia’s national team, and a promising Ecuador side that’s on the rise means there are nearly half a dozen teams in the tournament with a reasonable shot at lifting the trophy when the Copa concludes next month.
Bolivia With a squad of mostly domestic players, expectations are low for Bolivia, especially after they lost 5-0 to Argentina in their final warm-up before the tournament. Manager Mauricio Soria says his team will come out attacking. But with forwards who ply their trade at clubs like Changchun Yatai and Oriente... Read More
It was a slightly awkward position for Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to find himself in. Speaking to the press the Monday after Barcelona won its fifth European title and wrapped up a historic second treble, Bartomeu had to offer reassurances that Luis Enrique, the manager who’d won those three trophies – La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League - would still be at the club next season.
“You don’t have to suffer, Luis Enrique will continue,” said Bartomeu to Catalunya Radio. “His season has been a 10/10 and there is no need to break contract.”
Enrique, who like Pep Guardiola captured the treble in his first season in charge at Barça, had bypassed an opportunity to make similar assurances over the weekend, saying only, “These decisions will... Read More
With a Champions League final to be played this weekend, the curtain is about to be drawn on the current season of European football. While there’s been plenty of news to follow courtesy of the unfolding FIFA scandal, in the background, the transfer rumor mill has been quietly powering itself up. With the summer window set to open at the end of the month, let’s take a look at some of the deals that could be in the works this summer.
Liverpool has announced that James Milner will be joining the club on a free transfer from Premier League runner-up Manchester City. Meanwhile, the already tiring saga of Raheem Sterling’s campaign to leave the Anfield club shows no sign of abating: The latest rumors have the 20-year-old winger linked to... Read More
It’s tempting to cast Saturday’s Champions League Final in Berlin as a clash between two diametrically opposing styles: the possession-based, attacking tiki-taka of Barcelona; and the cautious, defensive catenaccio of Juventus. In reality, though, the only aspects of the game that will truly be that black and white will be Juve’s jerseys.
It’s true that Juventus gave up fewer goals than any team in Italy on their way to winning their fourth consecutive Serie A title; they also scored more goals than any other in Serie A.
Meanwhile Barcelona racked up an astonishing 110 goals in La Liga this season (eight less than second-place Real Madrid), and managed to concede just 21 goals, three less than Juve. Of major sides across Europe, only Bayern Munich gave up fewer goals... Read More
With back-to-back FA Cups now safely ensconced in the Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet, Arsenal’s nine-year drought is well and truly a thing of the past. A third place finish in the Premier League this season relieves the North London outfit of the need for arduous Champions League qualification, a factor that’s often impacted the early stages of their league campaigns in recent years. And while winning the FA Cup ain’t what it used to be, these are signs of progress at Arsenal.
With the albatross of an impending decade of no trophies no longer hanging over their heads, the time is right for Arsene Wenger’s team to kick on and truly challenge for the Premier League, and possibly even the Champions League.
It’s been 11 years since Arsenal last... Read More
Arsenal face Aston Villa in the FA Cup final Saturday, knowing a win will make the Gunners the first team to lift the Cup 12 times. Victory at Wembley would also take Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup tally to six, making the Frenchman ironically the most prolific manager in modern times in terms of winning English soccer’s most-celebrated domestic cup competition. Wenger is currently even with Sir Alex Ferguson with five. Having won the Cup 12 months ago, Arsenal could also become only the eighth team in history to retain it.
But the pressure will be on Wenger and his team, as Arsenal are strong favorites to beat a Villa side that barely avoided relegation.
Apart from the injured Danny Welbeck, Wenger will have his full squad at his... Read More
Was there ever really any doubt this was coming? Despite some in the media speculating it would be different this time, the inevitable sacking of Carlo Ancelotti by Real Madrid happened this week. Although he won the club’s 10th European title in his first season in charge, this season he won nothing. The last time a manager remained in charge at the White House after going trophy-less was in 1983; and that was Alfredo Di Stefano, a club legend.
Ancelotti has essentially been a dead man walking ever since Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus. Barcelona clinching the title a few days later was just the final push down the staircase for Ancelotti. It’s unfortunate because there really aren’t many managers in world football better... Read More
Olympique Lyonnais may have fallen short in their effort to overhaul Paris Saint-Germain in the French title race, but striker Alexandre Lacazette’s 27 goals in 31 appearances saw the Lyon man claim top scorer honors in Ligue 1 for the season. The 23-year-old is now reported to be on the radar of several top clubs around Europe. With Arsenal, PSG, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich all said to be interested in him, the Lacazette saga could be one to watch this summer.
Twelve months ago, Lacazette was relatively unknown outside of France, failing even to earn a call-up for the French squad for the 2014 World Cup. Having spent his entire career at Lyon, Lacazette has only managed to break into double digits on the season once before. Part of Lacazette’s... Read More
Having already clinched the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, it’s been a big season for Juventus. It could get even bigger if they beat Barcelona in the Champions League final. The best team in Italy by a long shot, the Old Lady has already re-staked her claim to continental greatness just by making it into the final against Barça. Should they actually pull off a win, it might force fans and pundits alike to have a serious rethink about Serie A and Italian football in general.
Although the problem for Serie A currently is that Juve are establishing Bayern Munich-like dominance over the rest of the league. A full 16 points ahead of Roma in the standings, no one has come that close to challenging the Turin outfit... Read More
Barcelona aren’t the only Champions League finalist that could be in line for a historic treble. Juventus just added the Coppa Italia to a haul that’s already seen Max Allegri’s team crowned Serie A champions this season. And while popular wisdom has it that Juve have no chance of beating Barça and winning a historic treble, the same was said before they beat Real Madrid in the semis.
Okay, granted, we’re talking about a Real Madrid team that’s had its problems this season. Luka Modric’s injury has hit Carlo Ancelotti’s team hard. Gareth Bale is being persecuted by his own fans, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s conduct appears to be increasingly getting under his teammates’ skin. As opposed to a Barcelona side that’s recently regained its status as the best club side... Read More
It was something of a mixed bag for Arsenal against Manchester United Sunday. Yes, the Londoners came away from Old Trafford with a point, keeping them in-line for a third-place finish and automatic Champions League qualification next season. The draw also saw Arsenal maintain their good record against the top sides, which is much improved from last season. And while the resulting point suits them, apart from the excellent Aaron Ramsey, Arsene Wenger’s team looked rather flat against United.
It’s been a long season and the Gunners’ best players this term have all faded somewhat in recent matches, seemingly exhausted by the campaign. Alexis Sanchez had an anonymous match against United, as did Olivier Giroud. Mesut Ozil provided a few moments of inspiration and some excellent service on set-pieces. But... Read More
With the threat of a La Liga strike over the new TV rights deal now averted, Barcelona will travel to the Vicente Calderon Sunday to face reigning champions Atletico Madrid as planned. A win at the Calderon will see Barça crowned Spanish champions and keep Luis Enrique’s team in line for what could be a historic treble.
Despite Atleti’s home field advantage, Barcelona are seen as favorites Sunday. Although their 18-match winning streak was snapped by Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Barcelona are into the Champions League final against Juventus next month and will also face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final this month. A win Sunday would see the Catalans claim the first of the three major trophies available to them and be a huge step towards claiming... Read More
Although it took them until last week’s meeting with Crystal Palace to officially seal the deal, Chelsea were the only real contender in the Premier League title race for most of this season. While some have criticized the quality of the football Jose Mourinho’s side played, there was little doubt over the course of the season that the Londoners would be crowned champions come May.
With a team stacked with talent, the shrewdest manager in world football, and a winning transfer policy, Chelsea are already favorites to retain the title next season. Will anyone be capable of seriously challenging them? Maybe. Let’s take a look at the teams who could give Chelsea a run for their money, and what they need to do in order to do so.
It seemed to finally come together for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 on Friday as Les Parisiens put on a command performance, demolishing Guingamp 6-0 at the Parc du Princes. A hat trick from Edinson Cavani, a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a single goal from Maxwell put PSG well out of reach for the mid-table side. The win put PSG in pole position for their third consecutive Ligue 1 title, and thanks to Lyon’s 3-0 loss to Caen Sunday, PSG can clinch with just a single point against Montpellier next week.
With two rounds left to play, PSG are six points clear of Lyon and have a superior goal differential. Ibrahimovic’s return from his recent suspension has come just in time for the club. The Swede has been in... Read More
AC Milan are in the midst of their worst season in over 20 years, and the powers that be at the club apparently feel that the best way to bring the club forward is to look to its glorious past. Set to receive a badly needed injection of cash from its new mega-rich Thai businessman co-owner, Bee Taechaubol, the club is reportedly on the market for a marquee player to rebuild the team around. Apparently the first choice is former Rossoneri striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Zlatan enjoyed a successful spell at Milan between 2010 and 2012, winning the Scudetto and the Copa Italia before moving on to Paris Saint-Germain. But after being Ligue 1’s darling for the past couple years, it’s all come a cropper for Ibra in the City of... Read More
You can take the Ballon D’or, the Pichichi, and all the other records and throw them into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Because if you wanted an answer as to whom the best player in the world is, it came towards the conclusion of Barcelona’s first-leg, semifinal clash against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The match had been at a deadlock for well over an hour when Messi suddenly turned it on. His first strike came in the 77th minute when from out of nowhere, he fired home a shot from the edge of the box that left the otherwise outstanding Manuel Neuer no chance in the Bayern goal.
He struck again just three minutes later, when he was played in by a nice pass from Ivan Rakitic,... Read More
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 29th hat trick of his Real Madrid career Saturday to lift his side to a 3-2 away win over Sevilla and keep them in the hunt for the La Liga title. The win was Real Madrid’s first at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan since 2011 and brought an end to a 34-match unbeaten streak at home for Sevilla.
Ronaldo’s three goals also saw him once again overtake Lionel Messi to become the leader in the race for this season’s Pichichi award for the most goals. It was a clutch performance in a crunch game from a player who’s borne the brunt of much of the criticism surrounding Carlo Ancelotti’s team this year.
Granted, the cards did fall in Real Madrid’s favor to some degree. After 23 minutes... Read More
On Thursday Spanish legislators approved a new law governing the sale of football television broadcasting rights that could open the door to a sea change in La Liga. Under the current arrangement, clubs are allowed to negotiate their own individual TV deals – a system that heavily favors Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The new deal was intended bring La Liga more in line with the other major European leagues like the English Premier League and Serie A. Once passed, the law will rectify the imbalances to how the TV money is distributed in Spain and should bring about more financial parity in the league.
Spanish sports ministry spokesman Miguel Cardenal described the deal as “a historic measure and one that was necessary for Spanish football.”
Juventus bounced back from their surprise loss to Torino last weekend with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina in midweek. But the Serie A leaders had to postpone their title celebrations as Lazio, who are currently in second, romped to a 4-0 win over Parma, keeping the title race alive, at least mathematically.
Despite holding a 14-point lead over Lazio, this was the second time in the space of a few days that Juve failed to close the deal on the Scudetto. But the Turin outfit will have a chance to wrap up their fourth consecutive title this weekend when they face Sampdoria away. Although even if the title is secured, manager Max Allegri has ordered that there be no celebrations until the following weekend.
Arsene Wenger cut a familiar frustrated figure on the sidelines at the Emirates Stadium Sunday as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea held his Arsenal side to a scoreless draw. It was the 13th time Wenger had pitted one of his teams against one of Mourinho’s and the Frenchman is still looking for his first win against the Portuguese.
And while Arsenal never looked in danger of succumbing to a demoralizing loss, like last season’s 6-0 hiding at Stamford Bridge, they also never really looked that likely to score either. A big part of the credit must go to John Terry. The Chelsea center back was exceptional at the Emirates, cutting out crosses, making clearances and being praised by his manager afterwards for having had his best game ever.
After playing out last weekend’s lackluster Milan Derby to a scoreless draw, Internazionale will welcome Roma to the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium Saturday. This Roma side, which spent the early part of the season hot on Juventus’ heels, is currently tied with Lazio on 58 points in second place.
Rudi Garcia has seen his team has draw 10 of its last 14 matches with goals having been the main problem for Roma this year. Despite not giving up too many, they’ve been unable to score more than one a match since early February. And finding the net against an Inter side that’s kept a clean sheet in its last three will be no easy task at the Giuseppe Meazza.
But Roma are in desperate need of all three points... Read More
By most accounts, Paris Saint-Germain was pretty woeful overall in yesterday’s second leg Champions League semifinal loss to Barcelona. But if one PSG player stood out for having an even worse game than the rest of his team, it was surely Edinson Cavani.
Like his teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Uruguayan was isolated up top and received little in the way of service. But while Ibra dropped deep and attempted to influence the match in midfield, Cavani was basically a bystander. And while in the first leg Cavani had a number of missed attempts on goal, in the second he failed to register a single shot, on-target or off. The 2-0 loss, that sees PSG eliminated on a 5-1 aggregate, was just the latest instance of Cavani failing to make an... Read More
Goalkeepers rarely make headlines for doing things well. When they do make the papers, it’s usually for high profile blunders. Like the two we witnessed in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley between Arsenal and Reading. The first howler came in the second half of regular time.
With Arsenal up 1-0, thanks to a first-half blast from Alexis Sanchez, keeper Wojciech Szczesny fumbled a save on a shot from Garath McCleary, allowing Reading the goal that would take the match to extra time. Szczesny has been relegated to bench warmer and Cup-keeper since his last headline-grabbing incident: being caught smoking in the showers at the Emirates Stadium after a culpable performance in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Southampton on New Year’s Day.
But this time it won’t be Szczesny who... Read More
This Sunday’s Milan Derby will be different from past clashes between Internazionale and AC Milan. While the match that in Italy is known as the Derby della Madonnina has historically been a clash between two footballing giants with title implications, Sunday’s edition, on paper anyway, will be little more than a clash between two mid-table teams who share a stadium.
AC Milan currently sits in ninth place, one point above Inter in tenth. With neither side anywhere near this season’s Scudetto race and realistically out of the race for Europe, there is little left to play for this season in terms of tangible goals. But as it is in other mid-table derbies around the world, when there is little else to play for, victory in the derby becomes all the... Read More
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not on the pitch for Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 home loss to Barcelona in the Champions League this week. The striker was serving a ban for a red card he received when PSG edged Chelsea on away goals in a 2-2 thriller at Stamford Bridge last month. With Edinson Cavani continuing to flounder when deployed as a central striker, Zlatan’s presence was badly missed as PSG was cut open by a superior Barcelona side.
While he will be available for next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou, the towering Swede is also now facing a four-match domestic ban for a tirade against French football and France that was caught on video earlier this year. This leaves PSG without its most important player as the reigning champions head... Read More
Real Madrid is in an interesting position at the moment. Although favorites to win this season’s Champions League, according to a new study put out by CIES Football Observatory, Carlo Ancelotti’s men must first get past Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid – a team they’ve failed to beat in their last six encounters.
The city-rivals square off against one another on Tuesday in the first part of a two-legged tie that will send one team through to the semis and the other back to Madrid. Atletico are the home team for the first leg so Real Madrid face the daunting task of meeting their bitter rivals in the intimidating atmosphere of the Vicente Calderon. The Calderon is never an easy place for visiting teams and the last time Real paid a... Read More
It would have seemed folly to have this conversation a few short weeks ago. But with Arsenal and Manchester United in hot pursuit and Diego Costa out injured, people are starting to wonder; could Chelsea let the title slip?
It seems highly unlikely, but not impossible. It’s a pity that neither United nor Arsenal could have hit their good form a few weeks sooner. A boost of three to five points for either team would’ve potentially made this one of the most exciting Premier League title races in years. But seven points clear with a game in hand; Chelsea can afford to lose two games out of the remaining eight and still end up as Champions in May.
But the path to victory is by no means an easy or... Read More
Lionel Messi was on target again for Barcelona against Almeria on Wednesday, opening the scoring in the 33rd minute with a sumptuous curling strike from the edge of the 18. It was the first of four unanswered goals Barça put past Almeria on the day, Messi’s 33rd of the season, and his 21st in this calendar year. Begging the question: why couldn’t he have played like this a year ago on the runup to the World Cup?
The spring of 2014 was a very different time for Messi and Barcelona. Messi was nearly 10 pounds heavier and Barça was in the midst of what would prove to be its first trophy-less season since 2007-08.
They say the two things in life you can’t avoid are death and taxes and apparently... Read More
As with practically everything else this season, it took Paris Saint-Germain longer than you would have expected to take the lead against Marseille in Sunday’s Classique. In fact there were long periods in the first half when it looked like it would never happen.
Marseille took the lead right on the half hour mark through Andre-Pierre Gignac. Blaise Matuidi equalized for Paris just five minutes later, Gignac restored Marseille’s lead just minutes before the break.
As the teams headed into the locker room for halftime, it felt as if PSG had just been dealt a demoralizing blow. And on the evidence of the majority of their performances this season, it wasn’t entirely clear whether they’d be capable of coming back against this Marseille side that had been stronger throughout the... Read More
Red-hot Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday for what could prove a decisive clash between two teams vying for the top four. The Gunners are in the in-form team in the Premier League at the moment, having won nine out of their last 10 matches. With the injury crisis of earlier in the season behind it, Arsenal has come on strong in the New Year. Striker Olivier Giroud is playing confidently and has knocked in nine goals in his last nine matches.
Mesut Ozil too has hit a good run of form since returning from injury. While still criticized for his seemingly languid style, it was recently revealed that the German playmaker regularly covers more ground during a game than any of his teammates. Ozil’s return seems... Read More
It’s taken a long time but Paris Saint-Germain, strong favorite to retain the Ligue 1 title going into this season, has finally settled atop the league standings. Part of the reigning champion’s inability to top the table this season has stemmed from its own underperforming. A creeping sense of jadedness has underpinned much of what we’ve seen from the Parisians this term. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also out injured for a key stretch of the season, with Edinson Cavani all-too-often failing to fire in his absence. Far too many matches PSG should’ve won have ended in draws. Apart from the dramatic way in which they knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League, there’s been precious little about PSG to get excited over this season.
An analysis conducted by the CIES Football Observatory has named Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi the top performing forward in Europe’s elite leagues for 2015, while Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo came in at 29th. The study analyzed players based on six Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, including rigor, recovery, distribution, take-ons, chance creation, and shooting.
Messi has scored 17 goals in La Liga in 2015; Ronaldo has netted just six.
According to the study, it’s Arjen Robben who is Messi’s closest competition. The Bayern Munich winger came in second with his Netherlands teammate, Bas Dost coming third. Messi’s Barça teammate Luis Suarez came in fourth, followed by Chelsea striker Diego Costa in fifth and Tottenham striker Harry Kane in sixth.
While Ronaldo came in at a relatively lowly 29th, that’s significantly... Read More
Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will be the backdrop for the friendly between rival South American superpowers Brazil and Chile on Sunday.
On the evidence of its showing in Thursday’s 3-1 friendly win over France, it seems that confidence has been restored to this Brazilian side. While France took an early lead through Raphael Varane, Brazil were able to equalize before the end of the first half through Oscar. By the time Neymar put Brazil ahead 15 minutes into the second half, that 7-1 loss to Germany at the Maracana last summer was beginning to seem like a long time ago; when Luis Gustavo popped up with a third a few minutes later, France no longer looked like they believed themselves capable of getting back into the match.
Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi is reportedly making a quicker than expected recovery from his latest knee surgery and could return to training within two weeks. The New Jersey-born Rossi, who represents Italy internationally, has been sidelined for seven months following the latest bout with a recurring knee ligament injury that has dogged him throughout much of his career.
Rossi, 28, has yet to make an appearance for Vincenzo Montella’s Fiorentina side this season, but could be in line for a return to action before the season ends in May. The former Villarreal man missed last summer’s World Cup after aggravating his knee and suffered a further setback in preseason, which required additional surgery.
While the club had initially hoped Rossi would be back on the pitch this month, it now... Read More
In a game that Real Madrid dominated for long periods, it took a moment of stardust from Luis Suarez for Barcelona to gain the edge. With the score tied at 1-1 in the 56th minute, the Uruguayan used one touch to control a long ball in from Dani Alves and another to side-foot it just beyond the reach of the sprawling Iker Casillas into the far corner. It was a moment of brilliance worthy of the grandiosity of the El Clasico. Jeremy Mathieu had scored the opener for Barcelona, heading in an exquisite set-piece delivery from Lionel Messi in the 19th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo equalized on the half-hour mark, firing home from close range after receiving a cheeky back-heeled pass from Karim Benzema. Still, it was Suarez’s night, with the... Read More
After admitting in his own words that 2014 was “a not very good year,” Lionel Messi has lately regained the mercurial form that made him the undisputed best player on Earth for most of the last half decade. As this weekend’s El Clasico looms, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner is flying high once again.
Reports in the Spanish media have it that Messi’s return to form is in part due to a renewed commitment to fitness that included giving up pizza and shedding eight pounds from this time last year.
According to the Catalan daily, Mundo, Messi has refocused his training efforts and has been showing up early for team sessions to do extra work. He’s apparently also been working with a dietician and the kinesiologist for the... Read More
Barcelona’s 1-0 Champions League defeat of Manchester City at the Camp Nou was tougher than it might have been, mainly thanks to City keeper Joe Hart, whose many saves kept the Premier League champions in the game if not the tie. Barça also hit the post twice and were unlucky not to win the game by a greater margin.
But all in all, despite the narrow scoreline, it was a masterful performance from Barcelona with Lionel Messi in particular shining brightly. The Catalans now head into Sunday’s El Clasico against Real Madrid in excellent form, with only two losses in 20 matches this calendar year.
It’s a far cry from the shambolic Barcelona side of earlier this season that was beset by talks of a crisis and rumors about... Read More
It was somewhat telling that Real Madrid’s two most spectacular moments during Sunday’s 2-0 win over Levante were near misses. The first came early in the first half when Gareth Bale controlled the ball in midair before trying flick it to the far post for Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a magical bit of control that unfortunately came to nothing. The same could be said of Karim Benzema’s Zlatan-like scorpion kick, which rocketed off the crossbar in the second half: impressive, but ultimately futile. Between these two spectacular near misses, however, Real put in a convincing, if not awe-inspiring performance.
Gareth Bale, increasingly the target of Real Madrid fans’ ire, came good with two first-half goals that essentially took the fight out of the visitors. Bale, who’s so often seemingly made... Read More
Paris Saint-Germain astounded the football world by rallying past Chelsea in the Champions League this week, despite having been reduced to ten men early in the match. But back home in France, Les Parisiens are locked in the throes of a three-way dogfight at the top of the table where every point counts. Their chief rivals – first-place Lyon and third-place Marseille – are set to go head-to-head this Sunday at the Stade Velodrome.
A victory at home would bring Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille within one point of Lyon and potentially into second place, depending on how PSG fares against Bordeaux. Marseille set the pace early on in the Ligue 1 season, and last week ended a four-match winless streak with a 6-1 demolition of Toulouse. But Lyon have... Read More
It’s taken a couple seasons and admittedly, they basically spent their way to the big time. But we have possibly seen the emergence of a new power into European soccer’s big stage this week. Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatari-backed Ligue 1 side that’s risen to the top in France, took their biggest scalp to date in Europe, eliminating Chelsea deep in extra time at Stamford Bridge to advance to the Champions League final four. More impressively, PSG played 90 plus minutes with only 10 men after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was contentiously sent off in the 32nd minute for a collision with Oscar. Sending Ibra off was in fact the first of many bad calls from referee Bjorn Kuipers, who nearly stole the headlines himself early on.
In a weekend that basically saw the La Liga title race turned on its head, Atletico Madrid missed an opportunity to close the gap on Real Madrid and Barcelona by giving up a draw at home to Valencia.
Diego Simeone’s men had taken a first half lead through Koke who, with a little help from Tiago, got onto the end of a set-piece delivery from Gabi to put Atleti ahead with just over half an hour gone by.
Normally you’d expect Atletico to go on to win after taking the lead. Since Simeone’s arrival, the Los Colchoneros have proved masterful at managing out 1-0 leads. They give nothing away, especially at the Calderon, and as their opponents become increasingly frustrated, Atleti often strike again. This season they’ve run up several... Read More
League leaders Real Madrid head to San Mames Saturday to face an Athletic Bilbao team currently sitting in 10th. Over the years, the Basque side has become something of a favorite target for Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s scored 14 goals in 11 matches against Athletic.
Of course the embattled Portuguese forward, who’s lately suffered abuse from his own fans, has often been an object of ire and derision from Bilbao’s fans. His contentious relationship with the San Mames faithful has boiled over on more than one occasion. It will be a measure of the man to see how Ronaldo responds to the pressure this weekend.
The firestorm surrounding his ill-timed birthday celebration has largely blown over. But his performances are still being criticized by the Spanish press and the latest rumors... Read More
Francis Coquelin continued to impress in midfield as Arsenal put two unanswered goals past Queens Park Rangers Wednesday. It’s easy to forget the French midfielder was on the verge of being released at the end of the season just a couple of months ago. But after another commanding performance against Everton on the weekend, during which he had his nose broken by teammate Olivier Giroud but remained on the pitch until the 89th minute, Arsene Wenger wasn’t about to drop him for the midweek trip to Loftus Road.
Wearing a protective facemask, Coquelin was at the heart of everything that worked in the center of the park for the Gunners. The 23-year-old had a perfect tackle rate of six out of six against QPR. He also made some impressive contributions... Read More
If there was a moment when the title race well and truly slipped beyond Roma’s grasp, it likely came in the 62nd minute of Monday’s Serie A clash with Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Defender Vasileios Torosidis came in for a reckless tackle on Juve’s Arturo Vidal. Already on a yellow, the Greek defender was shown a red card and ejected from the match.
Carlos Tevez stepped up to take the ensuing free kick, bending in a right-footed effort from outside the box that floated into the bottom left corner, leaving Roma keeper Morgan De Sanctis no chance. And just like that Roma found themselves a goal and a man down with 30 minutes left to play, and any remaining title aspirations hanging in the balance.
Already favorites to win the Premier League and advance to the last eight of the Champions League, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea could lift one of the three remaining trophies available to them this season in this Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley. Standing in their way will be a determined Tottenham Hotspur side that arguably threw away its chance to advance in the Europa League in order to save its best for this final.
And while earlier in the season Chelsea’s Diego Costa was the in-form striker in the Premier League, of late it’s been Tottenham’s homegrown goal-getter Harry Kane who’s been banging them in. Kane was on target twice the last time the two sides met, on New Year’s Day, when Spurs handed Chelsea a surprise 5-3 defeat at White... Read More
On Tuesday, in the World Cup, the United Arab Emirates lost out in a last-over thriller against Ireland. The previous week they had Zimbabwe on the ropes until Sean Williams rescued them with an unbeaten knock of 76. Whatever happens during the rest of the tournament, the Emirates have established themselves as credible cricketers at the highest level.
In a parallel universe, it would be the USA rather than the UAE impressing the world as doughty underdogs. Both have millions of cricket-crazy immigrants, a television audience that makes sponsors salivate, and enough money to develop a sizeable cricketing infrastructure.
But where the Emirates have grown the game and become one of the strongest associate nations in recent years, American cricket is in terrible shape, largely due to the... Read More
Juventus took one step towards the Champions League last night with a narrow 2-1 victory at home over Borussia Dortmund, an impressive overall performance from the Serie A side who now find themselves at least slight favorites to go through.
But Juventus have a habit of winning home, both domestically and in Europe. They’ve lost just one of 15 European home fixtures since moving to the new Juventus Stadium in 2011. And while Juve have been the dominant force in Italy of late, if they do progress, it will only be their second appearance in the last eight since 2008.
Antonio Conte, the manager who ushered in this new era of Juventus' dominance, always saw his teams fall short somewhat in Europe. His successor, Massimiliano Allegri, now at least... Read More
Ten days into the World Cup and - shout it from the rooftops - it’s been really, really good. Perhaps that should not be such a surprise; it is, after all, the sport’s showpiece tournament. But given that three of the past four World Cups were damp squibs, it is a relief that this one is shaping up to be excellent.
We’ve witnessed world-class performances from New Zealand, Australia, and India. We’ve seen comically inept outings from England and Pakistan. We are still missing a close finish but almost every match has had its share of impressive feats, including Brendon McCullum’s alpha-aggressive captaincy, Virat Kohli’s hundred in a cacophonic atmosphere against Pakistan, Chris Gayle’s double-ton, and Tim Southee’s magnificent swing bowling. Lapping all this up have been capacity crowds in... Read More
The World Cup of 1996, nineteen years after it was done and dusted, carries with it a certain nostalgia. The underdog victory, the oddly awful uniforms, and even the bumbling opening ceremony now appear rather quaint.
The main legacy of the tournament was the explosive batting at the top of the order, most notably the Sri Lankan duo of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana. They were key elements to Sri Lanka’s triumph, ignoring the traditional circumspection that had characterized the start of innings since time immemorial. Instead the pair threw their bats at almost everything. Sometimes it did not come off—both were out cheaply in the final and semi-final—but when it worked they tilted the match to the Sri Lankans, most famously in the remarkable run-chase against England in... Read More
Arsene Wenger has thrown cold water on new rumors about Santi Cazorla leaving Arsenal for Atletico Madrid. The Spanish playmaker had been linked with a move to Atleti last summer. And it’s no secret the La Liga champions covet Cazorla’s silky skills as a potential compliment to their often steely midfield.
But in his Friday press conference, the Arsenal boss was quick to rubbish such talk.
Speaking to AS, Wenger said: “He extended his contract last year. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, we’ve not been approached.”
In a midfield running over with talent, it’s Cazorla who’s so often been the key man this season. His link-up play, ability to slip past defenders, and reliability in taking penalties in Mikel Arteta’s absence, have earned him two consecutive... Read More
Cristiano Ronaldo ended his three-match goal drought in emphatic fashion, heading in the go-ahead goal for Real Madrid 27 minutes into the La Liga leaders’ Champions League meeting with Schalke 04. The goal was Ronaldo’s 34th in the knockout rounds of Europe’s elite club competition and put his side in the driver’s seat for the first leg of the tie against the Bundesliga outfit.
Ronaldo has been under pressure since social media photos of his 30th birthday surfaced, just hours after Real Madrid were handed an embarrassing 4-0 defeat from Atletico Madrid. Missing a sitter and having a forgettable game against Deportivo on the weekend did little to alleviate that pressure. However the current Ballon d’Or winner found himself unmarked in the box at Veltins Arena, essentially being granted a... Read More
The English champions-elect got a weekend’s rest heading into Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain, as FA Cup action brought a one-week halt to Premier League play. Meanwhile their opponents for Tuesday’s meeting were hit with the equivalent of a six-month Arsenal injury crisis in the course of 90 minutes.
PSG had no less than seven players forced off the pitch due to injury during their Ligue 1 clash with Caen Saturday. Of those seven, at least four are expected to be unavailable to face Chelsea.
Granted Chelsea had a more difficult time than expected knocking PSG out of the Champions League last season. However this year’s model is a different animal than the one that squeaked by on away goals last year. Mourinho is often known as a... Read More
Speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough, Arsene Wenger indicated Gabriel Paulista would likely start for Arsenal.
“He’s very close to [making his debut],” said Wenger. “He likes to defend. It’s more and more difficult to find people like that.”
The Brazilian center-back was signed from Villarreal last month but has yet to make an appearance in an Arsenal shirt.
After the ups and downs of the Gunners’ early season, the FA Cup is probably Arsenal’s best shot at silverware at this point. But that said; retaining the Cup is unlikely to be Wenger’s priority. The battle for third and fourth place is heating up and could go down to the wire. Manchester United, Southampton, Tottenham and even Liverpool are all in competition with Arsenal for... Read More
The Cricket World Cup starts on Valentines Day and will end, 43 days and 49 matches later, well after spring has sprung. It is perhaps inevitable that a tournament where each match lasts six hours and involves up to 600 deliveries is a marathon and not a sprint. Yet, despite entering its eleventh iteration, nobody has stumbled across the World Cup’s ideal format.
Its size and structure has regularly been rejiggered over the years. The early Cups now appear delightfully innocent and naïve, with everything hastily cobbled together in a style more fitting of a school fete than a global tournament. The inaugural competition in 1975 was all over in a couple of weeks, with two qualifying groups of four leading into semi-finals. It consisted of the then seven... Read More
Just last month, we were talking about Barcelona being in crisis. Now, a few short weeks later, and they could be in line to win the treble. On Wednesday against Villarreal in the Copa del Rey, they were far from perfect on. But Luis Enrique’s men got the job done with a 3-1 win that sets them up nicely for the second leg.
It was far from a vintage Barca performance and there were mistakes made that could prove costly, depending on how the second leg plays out. But throughout all their ups and downs this season, Barcelona has managed to soldier on. Barring any great surprised from Villarreal, they’re looking like favorites to advance in the Cup, they’re one point behind Real Madrid in the table, and on current... Read More
The final whistle may have blown, but the war of words between Juventus and AC Milan following the former’s 3-1 win on Saturday shows little sign of abating.
The controversy stems from Juve’s opening goal, a 14th-minute strike from Carlos Tevez that may or may not have been offside. AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani accused the Italian champions of manipulating the replay footage to make the goal look onside when it actually wasn’t.
Juventus has ridiculed this claim. But unlike other Serie A clubs, Juve is responsible for producing its own video replays. Galliani and Milan argue that the replay was only shown at halftime, meaning that Juve’s video replay people had time to doctor the footage.
Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Galliani claimed, “They purposely don’t show the replay... Read More
We know about the stars: Kohli, Dhoni and Amla; Dale, Mitch, and Jimmy all enter the World Cup as known quantities. But which lesser light will shine? My money is on Luke Ronchi, New Zealand’s wicketkeeper and hard-hitting batsman.
Born in New Zealand, Ronchi moved to Australia at the age of seven and enjoys the unique status of having played for both nations. That nobody else has done so before is somewhat surprising. Clarrie Grimmett, Brendon Julian, Matt Sinclair, and Scott Styris were all born on one side of the Tasman Sea but played on the other side of it, yet only Ronchi has represented both.
Ronchi debuted for Western Australia in 2002, at the age of 21, but first came to wider prominence in 2007 when he... Read More
Real Madrid head into this weekend’s Madrid Derby hit by some key absences; most notably, James Rodriguez, who broke his foot midweek against Sevilla and will be out for at least two months. But perhaps more worryingly, Sergio Ramos will be sidelined for five weeks with a hamstring, while left-back, Marcelo is suspended. Luka Modric and Pepe are also sidelined due to injury.
With Marcelo unavailable and Fabio Coentrao also doubtful, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is likely to start Alvaro Arbeloa at left-back. Meanwhile Tony Kroos and Isco are likely to feature in midfield in light of James’ and Modric’s absence.
One player who Ancelotti will be able to select is Cristiano Ronaldo. The current World Player of the Year turned 30 this week and has served out his... Read More
Cricket has more than its share of existential crises. Will Test matches survive? What if willow trees succumb to disease? Or if India turns to soccer? The clearest problem facing the game, though, is the cancer of match-fixing and spot-fixing.
It therefore seems surprising, at least superficially, that one of the most infamous practitioners of these corrupt pursuits has been granted an early return to the game. During the summer of 2010 the Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Amir deliberately bowled two no-balls in a Test at Lords. He - along with his captain, Salman Butt, and fellow bowler, Mohammad Asif - was caught out when a British tabloid taped a rogue agent bragging about Amir’s shenanigans before the match.
Amir was banned from the game for five years... Read More