Neymar to Sign for Real Madrid?

Jan 22, 2016 by Alex Baker

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

El Clasico Set to Go Ahead Amidst Security Concerns

Nov 18, 2015 by Alex Baker

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.

And what of... Read More

El Clasico: Barcelona Optimistic About Messi’s Return

Nov 16, 2015 by Alex Baker

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.

But Messi chose to spend his Friday training with the Barça B team in an effort to further speed his progress toward regaining match fitness.

Messi has been out of action since September with a knee ligament injury. In his absence, teammates Luis Suarez and Neymar have done a dutiful job of carrying the mantle.

Suarez, somewhat ironically, is benefiting from his international suspension, at least at club level: Still in... Read More

Chile vs. Brazil Highlights CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers

Oct 07, 2015 by Alex Baker

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

Brazil Exit Copa America in Shambles

Jun 29, 2015 by Alex Baker

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.

... Read More

Brazil’s ‘Pass the Ball to Neymar’ Plan Not Working

Jun 19, 2015 by Alex Baker

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

El Clasico: Neymar Frustrates, Suarez Soars in Barca Win

Mar 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

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

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