GUARDIOLA SPECULATION

The future of Barcelona manager Guardiola has come under intense speculation of late. Guardiola’s current contract runs out at the end of the season and he is yet to sign a new contract. This has led to speculation that Pep Guardiola’s time at the Camp Nou has finally come to an end. However, the man who appointed Guardiola in the first place – Former Barcelona president Laporta – has said that the club should allow the two-time Champions League winning manager more time in order to decide on his future. There have been reports that Guardiola is looking for a new challenge after achieving almost everything with Barcelona in the last three years.

Guardiola took over at Barcelona in a difficult time during the history of the club. They were just coming out from the management of Frank Rijkaard, with many players like Ronaldinho at the decline. Real Madrid were top of the Spanish league once again, and Guardiola was handed the difficulties of managing players like Lionel Messi and Xavi. He has more than achieved everything with the club in the three years, which has included three consecutive league titles and two Champions League medals. Guardiola is thought to have made England his top priority when it comes to the next job.

“He’s giving it all as a coach and he will a thoughtful and reasoned decision – and it shall be respected by the club. He always said he would renew every year and he has every right to take time to think before making an important decision. I understand this period of reflection. Guardiola is sufficiently mature and intelligent [to do this],” Laporta told reporters on Tuesday. Whatever happens, Laporta has said that Guardiola will forever be remembered as one of the greatest managers for Barcelona.

MANCINI RUES INJURIES

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed that only Barcelona have the desired squad strength in order to deal with the problems Manchester City have with the number of absentees. Manchester city have not only lost a number of players to the African cup of nations, but they have also lost players due to injuries.

To add further trouble to Roberto Mancini, players like David Silva and Adam Johnson have been extremely out of form in the last few weeks. This has meant that Manchester City have suffered their fifth poor result in the last six matches against Liverpool in the Carling cup semi-final.

This was also the second consecutive home defeat after the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup. Now, Roberto Mancini has come out with the excuse saying that Barcelona only can deal with the amount of problems he has been having with his squad over the last few weeks. This will come as a major excuse from the manager, who has spent almost £ 200 million on the first team alone. To add further surprise to his statement, Manchester City also have a reserve squad that is valued at over £ 400 million.

Despite possessing a number of players, Mancini has been complaining throughout the campaign. “Maybe Barcelona could. Manchester City no. In four or five years, Manchester City probably yes. But not now. When I said one month ago that December and January would be the crucial months it was because I know football,” Roberto Mancini said ahead of the match with Wigan athletic. This is quite to be a crucial match for Manchester city given that Manchester United have just drawn level on points with them. Vincent Kompany is going to be unavailable for this match due to his suspension.

Focus on Dani Alves

Dani Alves is a professional footballer from the South American country of Brazil, famous for producing extremely talented and gifted footballers, who currently plays for the giants of Spanish football as well as one of the greatest club teams ever to grace the football field, Football Club Barcelona.

He has made his position in the right defensive wing as one of the most attacking positions in world football, his marauding runs have been the bane of many a club side including the likes of Manchester United, one of the most well oiled units in world football, who Barcelona beat twice in the Champions League finals in three years, primarily due to the rampaging runs of Alves along the right wing that unsettled the shape of the United back four.

Before he joined the all conquering Barcelona in 2008, Dani Alves was part of the Sevilla side that won back to back UEFA Cups under the management of Juande Ramos as well as the Spanish King’s Cup or the Copa Del Rey. Seeing his performances for Sevilla as well as his outstanding displays for the Brazilian national team, Barcelona paid Sevilla a staggering sum of € 32.5 million, which is till date, the most amount of money ever paid for a defender, to secure his services in 2008.

In his very first season at the famous Nou Camp of Barcelona, Alves won the Spanish League, the Spanish King’s Cup and the UEFA Champions League final defeating Manchester United at Rome to win the first ever treble in his career and he further went on to win the Spanish and European Super Cups as well as the Club World Cup to cap off an amazing season for Barcelona as well as himself when he won all the six trophies in which the team participated in. Born on the 6th of May, 1983 in the Juazeiro region of Brazil as Daniel Alves da Silva, his skills as a footballer caught the eye of everyone when he was very young and the young Dani Alves was invited to a trial for his local club EC Bahia and he quite easily made the cut at the academy. He played for two seasons with Bahia before Sevilla came calling and Alves moved to Europe. His six years at Sevilla were some of the best moments in his life when a Sevilla team full of potential managed to overcome all the odds to become a major force in Spanish football.

The day he announced that he was leaving Sevilla to join Barcelona, Dani Alves was moved to tears and in that very same press conference, he proclaimed that he would love to come back to the city and play for Sevilla once again. Although it took him sometime to settle in at Barcelona and adapt to their style of play, Alves quickly became one of the mainstays of the side under Pep Guardiola and since then, he has been rated as one of the best right backs of all time, alongside Carlos Alberto Torres and Gary Neville. Still only 28 years old, Dani Alves has time on his side that will help him to become one of the legends of the game, let alone in his position only and it is all in his hands whether he will be considered as a legend or the one with the potential that didn’t quite make it.