Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has revealed that he would like to play alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona in the future. The Netherlands international was the subject of two failed bids from the Spanish champions during the summer and reports have suggested that the Blaugrana could make a renewed attempt at the turn of the year.
Speaking to Ajax’s television channel, De Jong hinted that he would like to make the switch to a bigger club in the future whilst highlighting his preference to play alongside Barcelona legend Messi, he said:”If you end up at a superior club, you will play with world class players all over the pitch. But for me, honestly, I would like to play with Messi one day.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has branded Lionel Messi as a ‘genius’ after the Argentine starred during the club’s 3-0 win over Alaves in the season opener. Messi had a rather frustrating World Cup with Argentina over the summer but he managed to shed the disappointment with a brace to kick-start the league campaign.
Speaking after the game, Valverde was full of praise for the attacker, who scored Barcelona’s 6000th La Liga goal with a lovely free-kick which was intentionally placed underneath the opposition wall, he said: “Messi is a genius. We’re lucky to be able to see him every day. We’re lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing — we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day. There’s still room for Messi to surprise us. He always surprises you — he never ceases to amaze me, honestly. You have to be ready to expect anything from Messi because he sees what no one else sees.”
Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama has warned Yerry Mina from making the move to the Premier League with Everton. The Barcelona centre-back has been widely tipped to pursue a fresh challenge during the ongoing transfer window with Marco Silva’s side deemed as favourites to sign the former Palmeiras man.
Speaking to Radio Caracol, Valderrama has raised concerns over the potential move and believes Mina would better off joining Galatasaray than Everton with the promise of Champions League football, he said: “The Premier League is attractive but for me the Champions League is the most prestigious. I don’t think Yerry should join a mid-table team like Everton. Fatih Terim has a great record of developing players. If it were me, I would pick Galatasaray.”
Barcelona’s new summer signing Arthur has revealed that he is delighted to be compared with club legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta. The Brazilian became the Blaugrana’s first signing of the summer transfer window after arriving from Gremio and he has penned a six-year contract with the reigning Spanish champions.
Speaking in a news conference, Arthur said: “
I am really happy that they say I have Barca DNA. To come here is fantastic for me, it has always been my dream. I know there will be tough moments but I will try to learn from those moments.Being compared with Xavi and Iniesta is fantastic. I don’t hide my passion for them. I will always admire them. I couldn’t say which one I have more in common with, though.”
Argentina legend Javier Zanetti believes Lionel Messi is under more pressure to deliver for the national side after witnessing them lose in the finals of the previous three major tournaments. The Barcelona star has won everything within reach at club level but he has yet to taste any form of glory with the Albiceleste.
Speaking to Mediaset, Zanetti admitted that Messi will once more be the focus of Argentina’s World Cup campaign and feels the burden will only increase on him, should the nation reach the final stages of the tournament, he said: “There is a lot of pressure on him, but not only in this competition but also in the past. Everyone expects it to be his World Cup and that Argentina can win, but it will be difficult because I see other more equipped national teams. The defeats in the two Copa America and World Cup finals further increases pressures on him and the team from the press. We expect a lot. It [the World Cup] stops all the country, there is great enthusiasm and passion for this national team and we hope to get to the end of the competition.”
Barcelona director Javier Bordas believes Neymar is not entirely happy with his stay with Paris Saint-Germain but he would not fancy the prospect of watching the attacker in the colours of Real Madrid. The 26-year-old made the world-record switch from Camp Nou to Parc des Princes last summer but this has not ceased the speculation over his future.
Speaking to reporters, Bordas suggested that Neymar may have not settled following his record move to the French capital, but he would still not want him to join arch-rivals Real Madrid in the near future. He said: “Neymar can sign for anyone. For me, personally, I’m not dreaming of Neymar signing for Real Madrid. It seems as if he’s not happy in Paris, we figured as much. In Barcelona he was doing well and Neymar regrets having left [for PSG]. I saw the Europa League final.”
We are tired of this debate. When things like these happen, it prompts the debate all over.
Then there is a period of peace before the hostilities resume. Let us indulge today.
As Madrid continue their unparalleled dominance on the continent, the final is Cardiff dubbed ‘Bale Final’ quickly turned into another show by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star dominated the final unlike the other times he won it. This was the third time he lifted the Champions League title in four years.
Ahead of the final, Ronaldo was on a brilliant run that saw him score 16 goals in ten matches. The potential Ballon d’Or winner scored a brace that sunk a previously very hopeful Juve team. Max Allegri built a solid team that stopped everyone – they did not concede four goals all through the season until they met Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer of all times. His consistency is unparalleled. He keeps adjusting and reinventing his style of play best suited to goalscoring. The Messi-Ronaldo debate will continue until the end of time but on the Art of Goalscoring, not many would side with the diminutive Argentine. Messi has not changed his fundamentals much – he is that brilliant whizkid from La Masia. Continue reading
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the best players in the world right now, at least in terms of statistics. However, former Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk says that he would make Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben over these duo any time. Robben has mixed success when it comes to club and international football over the last decade. He has won several major titles, but he has also been on the end of several losses at the final stage. His failure to win a World Cup title despite having come close is one such example.
Van Marwijk is a manager who knows the 31-year-old extremely well. For all his disappointing qualities like selfishness and simulation, Van Marwijk believes that Robben has the all-round ability that will be the difference between winning and losing. He says that Messi and Ronaldo have become too individualistic and this is undermining the team as a whole. Ronaldo is the favourite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2014 after having won the Champions League. He also scored 17 goals, which is a new record, during the last season’s European run. Despite such statistics, Van Marwijk says that he would nominate Robben as the best player right now.
Robben reached the semifinals of the Champions League, while he finished third at the World Cup 2014 with Netherlands. However, he won the German Bundesliga title for a third consecutive season in record fashion. “If I’m a coach and I could choose Messi, Ronaldo or Robben, I’d choose Robben. Out of the three players, he’s the most complete. Robben ahead of Ronaldo and Messi in that regard but not everyone sees that. The focus is on goals and attacking. I get the idea that this is the thinking for individual prizes like the Ballon d’Or.”
Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez was heavily linked with a move away from the Catalan club this summer. Several reports suggested that he was ready to bring an end to his Barcelona days, where he has been playing throughout his career, after interest from several clubs in the MLS and Middle East. They were ready to pay the former world and European champion a huge sum of money in order to entice him towards the end of the career. Xavi has not been as influential as he was a few years ago and this has largely been down to his age.
The 34-year-old is fast approaching the end of his stellar career, but he says that he is not ready to leave Barcelona at any point in the future. The midfielder made his debut for the Catalan club back in 1998 and has gone on to make close to 500 appearances in the league. At the prime of his career, he oversaw a revolution started by Pep Guardiola that made Barcelona one of the best teams in the world. He is widely expected to announce his retirement like several other Barcelona stars of recent years – Carlos Puyol – in the coming seasons. Xavi’s decision to stay at Barcelona is a major blow to the likes of New York Red Bulls.
“If it was up to me I’d never leave Barcelona. I could have left many times but my feelings always won out. I told the club that I didn’t want to play for another team in Europe; I didn’t want to play against Barcelona. I would like to end my career here. But circumstances are what decide these things,” said Xavi. Under the leadership of the 34-year-old, Barcelona have once again made a strong start to the season and have won all of their matches until now.
Gerardo Martino has been given the charge of the Argentina national football team. This is going to be his second tenure as manager in international football. He has already had a fairly long run with Paraguay in the past.
Martino’s work as Paraguay boss was hailed by many. He guided the South American side to Round of 8 in the World Cup in South Africa 4 years ago. Los Guaranies also made it to the title round of Copa America under his guidance one year later i.e. in 2011. Continue reading