Spain dominates Europe

It took 40 years for Atletico Madrid to return to the final of the Champions League and they will face their greatest rival.

The team led by Argentine manager Diego Simeone will be on their second final of their history and will try to win their first title, after they were beaten in 1974 by Bayern Munich (4-0) at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

Meanwhile, the Merengues, who got their first road win against Bayern, will be looking for their tenth cup. The last time they played in a final was in 2002, when they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at Hampden Park with goals from Raul and Zinedine Zidane. Continue reading “Spain dominates Europe”

REINA FUTURE UNSURE

The introduction of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool in June of 2013 forced Pepe Reina on seeing his way out of the Premier League club as the 26 years old Belgian goalkeeper arrived to take the place of Reina and he has already made over 30 appearances in England with his new club.

Pepe Reina was loaned out to Napoli and is playing as a consistent starter for Rafael Benitez but the Spanish goalkeeper wrote a goodbye letter to Liverpool and his fans as he revealed his intentions of not going back to Anfield.

The head coach of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers revealed details of the letter that Reina wrote.

He wrote a goodbye letter didn’t he? Obviously Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli that he was looking to move because he penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he’d worked with which was Rafael Benitez and thanked him for his time for Liverpool.

“So, for me, it probably sounded like he’d made his decision there.” Rodgers announced.

Ever since Reina joined Napoli, he has established himself as the undisputed number 1 goalkeeper for the Italian club and the president of Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentilis has taken notice of his performances and has confirmed that he wants to sign the former Liverpool shot-stopper on a permanent basis.

He said: “After out victory against Juventus went down to the locker room and I promised the players a bonus if they can finish second. Then I talked to Reina and told him that he must remain with us. I want him confirmed for next season.  He was happy, for him it was a double reward’’. Laurentilis revealed.

Napoli are on their way of playing against some of the best clubs in Europe if they are able on maintaining and securing a top 3 spot in Serie A

VERTONGHEN STRUGGLES

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen was earlier in the season called as the disgrace to football by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho for his involvement in the sending off of Fernando Torres when the two sides met each other at White Hart Lane. Torres was given a second yellow card for his challenge on Vertonghen, but the defender appeared to go down a little too easily. Replays showed that Torres had not touched him and that he went down so as to get the striker sent off. Vertonghen will be coming up against Chelsea for the first time since that incident.

Tottenham will be the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday looking to improve their form, which has been mediocre in recent weeks. As a result, they have lost the race to keep in touch with Liverpool for a top four spot. Liverpool have gone on to become title contenders after moving in within four points of table leaders Chelsea. Even though Manchester City are in the fourth place, they have a couple of games in hand over Tottenham. Vertonghen has raised the Torres issue ahead of the match and says that he is not prepared to talk about it.

Mourinho has been playing mind games with several managers over the last few weeks and Vertonghen does not want to get involved in them.

“I did not respond to Mourinho at the time – and I won’t do it now. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire in the run-up to the match. I don’t want to go into a war of words with Mourinho. I just want to prove myself on the field. We’re going to Stamford Bridge for the three points. If we want to reach the Champions League we have to win this game,” said Vertonghen ahead of the match.

MIKEL INTERESTS INTER

The Nigerian midfielder of Chelsea John Obi Mikel is attracting the attention of Inter Milan from Italy of the Serie A with an offer of around €12 million suspected to be launched in order to add the player to Inter Milan.

Obi Mikel is not the preferred option of Jose Mourinho as the Portuguese coach usually chooses Lampard, Ramires, Oscar or the newest signing Nemanja Matic instead of the Nigerian midfielder and a move to Inter Milan would see him becoming a consistent starter for Walter Mazzari.

Manchester United will not be happy to hear Fredy Guarin’s intentions on staying with Inter Milan as the Colombian midfielder has been a target of the Premier League club since last summer and there were even rumors being spread around involving a possible swap deal with Javier Hernandez who could be used as bait in order to lure Guarin from Inter Milan.

Guarin has a contract with Inter Milan that runs up until 2016 but the Colombian player has admitted that he wishes to stay with the Italian club even longer than what his contract states.

“The president knows about the player I am. We have talked about a contract renewal and we will do it soon’’.

“If Thohir offered me a contract for life with Inter right now, would I think about it? No, I wouldn’t need to think for a moment. After what happened, I have had to work even harder because the fans expected more. Even I thought I should be doing more, the team needs me and I want it to win. I want to give everything for Inter and for the fans who have always believed in me’’. Guarin told Sky Sport Italia.

Manchester United will have to look somewhere else if they want to solve some of the midfield crisis that they have been suffering from as Guarin has no intentions on leaving Inter Milan anytime soon.

AGUERO RETURNS

The manager of Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini, is glad that Sergio Aguero has recovered from his calf problem and is ready to return to action.

Aguero had got injured while making appearance against Arsenal in the middle of December last year and because of that injury; he had not featured for City in the last 8 matches. But, now, he is fit and fine and he might be seen onto the pitch at some point of time in City’s game against Blackburn Rovers which will take place on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

Aguero is not expected to start in that game as he is coming back after a long injury setback, but, he is being considered for the substitute appearance.

Speaking in the pre match press conference, Pellegrini said, “Sergio has been training quite well and it’s good news for us. He is one of the vital blokes in the squad. Yes, we have played well without him too, but, it doesn’t mean that his importance for us has decreased.”

However, all is not good with City in terms of fitness. They will not get the services of Samir Nasri for the next couple of months as the Frenchman has suffered a ligament problem.

When asked about that, the City boss said, “Samir had been in good form. So, it’s a big blow for us. Hopefully, he returns quickly, but, generally, in these sorts of injuries, it’s hard to recover before 7-8 weeks.”

City’s current position in the league table is second, but, there is very tough fight going on for the top 4 spots at the moment and the positions of the teams are getting changed quite frequently. So, no team in top 4 can afford to drop points at all.

Aguero must carry on scoring

Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City footballer, admitted that he must keep on his goal scoring performances if they are to stand any opportunity of winning the EPL title this season. Sergio has scored thirteen times in fourteen appearances for Manchester City in all matches this season and he is the joint top goal scorer in English Premier League with 8 goals.

In spite of his formidable strike rate, his team’s poor away from has seen them drop to 8th in league standings. Twenty five year old Aguero stated that the load is on him to carry on scoring while Manuel Pellegrini’s team attempt to improve their significantly bad away form.

According to reports, Aguero told that he is playing very well. He has got a very good start to this season. Now he has to keep it up and play all the games like that so that people carry on telling great things; otherwise, they have got problems. He added that the majority of his goals have served the team get 3 points, and this is really very important.

A victory at West Ham United and a draw at Stoke City are their only returns on the road this season. Aguero believes that they have a team that can win, but they have to be consistent. It is important for them to stop making mistakes in away matches as this could make differences at the end of the season.