Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Barca bosses said no to Jose Revealed: Secrets of mystery meeting

JOSE MOURINHO would be Barcelona boss — but for his arrogance, aggression and failure to listen.

The Special One was snubbed after an interview in 2008 as Barca went for rookie Pep Guardiola.
And SunSport can reveal for the first time WHY he is tonight leading Real Madrid and not their deadly rivals towards a Spanish Cup final.
A sensational new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World', tells how Mourinho almost landed the job after dazzling executives in a secret meeting.
It could have changed the outlook of European football.
But with former Barca vice-president Marc Ingla and technical director Txiki Begiristain ready to hand over a contract — Mourinho blew his chance.
Ingla said: "By January 2008 we had amazing pressure from his agent to see him.
"He was saying, 'Jose knows the club, he's prepared, he understands the style'. He was pitching relentlessly.
"Txiki and I chose Lisbon for a secret meeting.
We had already approached Pep, who was half a season into his first coaching job at Barca B, to see if he was interested. But it was vital to test him against Mourinho."
Chelsea sacked Mourinho in September 2007 but Ingla and Begiristain were wowed by his brilliant pitch.
He also worked at the Nou Camp as an interpreter under Bobby Robson in the 1990s.
But Ingla added: "In considering him we were also dealing with the Mourinho brand.
"I said to him, 'Jose, the problem we have is you push the media too much. There is too much aggression.
"I added, 'the coach is the image of the club, you cannot start fires everywhere, this is against our style'.
"Mourinho answered, 'I know, that is my style. I won't change'. He was renowned to be No 1 but wouldn't listen."
Vice-president Ferran Soriano described the mood as Ingla and Begiristain returned from Portugal. He said: "They spent three hours with him, both said he wasn't our guy. 
"Marc said Mourinho spoke 90 per cent of the time and didn't listen. He said, 'I just don't like him'."
The locals wanted Mourinho — but Barca went to talk to former player Guardiola.
Ingla added: "At the end of our chat Pep said, 'Why don't you hire Mourinho? It'd be easier for you'.
"I replied, 'No, there are some criteria which that guy doesn't fit and one is attitude. He is totally unsuitable for us'."
Mourinho went on to win the Champions League with Inter Milan — beating Barca in the semi-final.
But the long game is very much with Barcelona.
Since Mourinho joined Real in 2010, there have been 66 bookings and nine red cards in nine spiteful El Clasicos.
The bitterness returns today as Madrid defend their Spanish Cup — won against Barca last April — when they go to the Camp Nou 2-1 down from their quarter-final first leg.
But Barca have won 13 out of 16 trophies since they appointed Guardiola and lost only one of nine meetings with Mourinho's Madrid. Mourinho held a tense news conference yesterday with speculation rife that he will leave Madrid in the summer.
source: www.thesun.co.uk 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

C. Ronaldo 'works like an animal' for Madrid – José Mourinho

Cristiano Ronaldo may not be enjoying his best period of form but he is still "working like an animal" for Real Madrid, his coach, José Mourinho, said ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey showdown with Barcelona.
Ronaldo has been whistled by some home supporters at the Bernabéu since a poor performance in last month's El Clásico. The former Manchester United player reacted by refusing to celebrate his goal in a 5-1 win against Granada and makes his first appearance in front of Madrid fans since then in Wednesday's quarter-final first leg.
At a news conference on Tuesday, a cantankerous Mourinho said Ronaldo's performance in Saturday's 2-1 win at Real Mallorca had been his best of the campaign despite the fact that he had not added to his 21 league goals.
"He worked like an animal and did exactly what the team needed," Mourinho said. "He doesn't need to score or be man of the match every time. I told him nobody can touch him after the way he worked in the second half. When the team wins everyone is responsible and when they lose everyone is responsible for that too. Simple."
Mourinho has managed only one win over Barça in eight attempts since taking the Madrid job at the end of the 2009-10 season, when Ronaldo nodded an extra-time winner in a 1-0 triumph in last season's cup final. The last time the two teams played each other over two legs in the Spanish cup, in the 1996-97 campaign, the former Internazionale and Chelsea manager was assistant coach at Barça and the Catalan club went through 4-3 on aggregate.
Mourinho refused to give any details about his tactics for Wednesday's game, saying that whatever he decided would no doubt be criticised in the Spanish media.
Angel di María, who has not played since injuring himself in the final training session of 2011, will be included in the squad and a decision will be made on his fitness on Wednesday.
"The league is the priority," Mourinho added. "But tomorrow is also a great match and you want to do the best possible and use all the players if they are available."
source: www.guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Greatest Player under Alex Ferguson's Manchester United management in 25 years

SunSports saluting Alex Ferguson this week as he celebrates 25 years in charge of Manchester United although his team just lost triumph to the Toon recently.

Many of the game's great and good have congratulated the United boss on his outstanding achievement, including Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish.
SunSport's TOM BARCLAY puts together what he thinks is Fergie's greatest XI from all the players he has managed during his tenure, plus a seven-man bench.  Here are 6 of top world-class players ever under Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • SUB WINGER: David Beckham (1993-2003)

BECKS may still be going strong at 36, but his glory years were undoubtedly spent at United.
He emerged from teenage obscurity to global mega stardom under the watchful gaze of Alex Ferguson — and some suggest the latter had a part to play with his exit to Real Madrid in 2003.
In pure footballing terms, Beckham was the master of set-pieces and crossing, but his tenacity and commitment can never be called into question as his numerous comebacks demonstrate.
Graduated from the academy 
Appearances: 399 Goals: 87
Trophies: Six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, Champions League, Intercontinental Cup

  • STRIKER: Eric Cantona (1992-1997)

CANTONA only spent five seasons at United but such was his impact on English football, he simply has to make Ferguson's greatest XI.
Pinched from Leeds for £1.2million, the Frenchman became an instant hit with the Old Trafford faithful, leading the team to the first ever Premier League and United's first league title since 1967.
The lasting image of Cantona was his brilliant (bordering on arrogant), collar-up celebration after scoring a wonder goal against Sunderland — you wonder if he regrets calling it a day aged 30.
Signed from: Leeds for £1.2m
Appearances: 185 Goals: 82
Trophies: Four Premier League titles, two FA Cups

  • LEFT-WING: Ryan Giggs (1990-present)

GIGGS is on 885 United appearances at present, what's the betting he'll make 1,000?
The Welshman's longevity at the highest level is unprecedented in the Premier League and his equalising goal against Benfica in the Champions League this season shows he's still got it.
He has had to adapt his game over the years, but as his Player of the Year award in 2009 demonstrated, he just seems to get better with age.
Graduated from the academy
Appearances: 885 Goals: 161
Trophies: 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions League, Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

  • CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Paul Scholes (1994-2011)

THE sheer fact that Alex Ferguson has deployed Wayne Rooney in midfield recently highlights the chasm left by Scholes' retirement.
One of the most decorated players in English football history, Scholes pulled the strings in United's midfield for 17 seasons, weighing in with 150 goals including some spectacular strikes that will be cherished for years to come.
When it came to England, though, perhaps he was ahead of his time, as you feel his tiki-taka style of play was never fully utilised by his various managers on the international stage.
Graduated from the academy
Appearances: 676 Goals: 150
Trophies: 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Champions League titles, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

  • SUB GOALKEEPER: Edwin van der Sar (2005-2011)

THE biggest compliment you can pay Van der Sar is that he makes you think twice about Peter Schmeichel's inclusion in Alex Ferguson greatest XI.
Dutchman Ed was surprisingly overlooked by Fergie after Schmeichel's retirement but the Scot eventually got it right, picking him up from Fulham in 2005.
His calmness and vast experience played a vital role in the Champions League success of 2008, not to mention his penalty save from Nicolas Anelka's decisive spot-kick in the final against Chelsea.
Signed from: Fulham for £2m
Appearances: 266 Goals: 0
Trophies: Four Premier League titles, League Cup, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup

  • CENTRE-BACK: Rio Ferdinand (2002-present)

FERDINAND may no longer be first choice at Old Trafford, but for the last nine years he's been arguably the finest centre-back in English football.
He became the most expensive defender in the world when he signed for Leeds from West Ham for £18million in 2000, only to go and blow that fee out of the water when signing for United for £30m two years later.
Combining a grace on the ball with a unwavering physical approach, not to mention his raw pace, Ferdinand has been a key member of a side that has picked up five league titles and a Champions League trophy since the turn of the Millennium.
Signed from: Leeds for £30m
Appearances: 369 Goals: 7
Trophies: Five Premier League titles, two League Cups, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup

source: www.thesun.co.uk
Picture, www.telegraph.co.uk, www.gloryglorymanu.com

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wolves 1 Chelsea 2: Lampard to the rescue as Blues bounce back at Molineux

He might not have been at the centre of the celebrations which marked Chelsea’s first goal on Monday, but Frank Lampard supplied Andre Villas-Boas with something far more tangible when it mattered.

with greater aplomb than Monday’s 89th-minute winner. But a close-range volley enabled his under-fire boss to speak with greater freedom about club unity, the need for improved consistency and neatly sidestep any suggestion of player unrest.
Indeed, there was a show of togetherness which accompanied the visitors’ opening strike, nine minutes after the interval. Goalscorer Ramires, joined by a clutch of his team-mates, made tracks to the Blues bench for what appeared to be an impromptu celebration.
Lampard and skipper John Terry were late arrivals to the pitchside throng. But they were at the heart of a resolute display against  determined hosts. 
Villas-Boas, amid rumours that his senior players are in revolt at his management style, refused to acknowledge the get-together after the opening strike was in any way a public show of confidence in him.

When asked about the veteran midfielder’s late contribution, Villas-Boas said: ‘I think the whole team did well. No matter who scores. Romeu, Mata - the most important thing is to find consistency.
‘Away from home we have less anxiety. We need to correct it at Stamford Bridge. We have discussed it between ourselves and I think we can correct it. It doesn’t matter who does the scoring, the most important thing is the victory.’

 source: www.dailymail.co.uk, picture: www.chelseafc.com

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We can't buy until we sell, says Mancini as Man City tighten the purse-strings

Manchester City might have spent more than £600million on new players under Abu Dhabi rule, but manager Roberto Mancini admits he must sell before he can buy when the transfer window reopens next week.

Carlos Tevez, still valued at £40million by City, would command by far the biggest transfer fee and Mancini also hopes to offload defenders Wayne Bridge and Nedum Onuoha.

He is concerned that injuries could derail City’s Premier League title challenge, with Yaya and Kolo Toure set to be missing for a month from mid-January on African Nations Cup duty.

But after more than three years of lavish spending, City’s wealthy owners are insisting on a more pragmatic approach.
‘Now we need to sell two or three players and then we’ll see,’ said Mancini. 
‘We want to sell and after that we may have time to buy someone if it’s possible.

‘But it’s not easy. I ask the owner for Messi but it’s not possible! 
‘Until now we have been lucky because we didn’t have any big injuries. This could be a problem in January because we lose Yaya and Kolo, and I hope we don’t lose any other players through injury.’ 

City have been linked with Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, Lille’s Eden Hazard and Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote among others, but Mancini claims that clubs routinely ramp up the price when City inquire about their players.
He also admitted that another potential target, Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, will be difficult to lure from the Italian capital.

‘De Rossi was born in Rome and it’s unlikely that he’ll leave the city,’ said the City boss.
‘There are players that could be good for us, but every time we want to buy a player their clubs ask for lots of money.’ 
City are top at Christmas for the first time in 82 years and will look to maintain their advantage when they visit West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

But Mancini has told his players that they must be mentally prepared to fall behind Manchester United during the course of the title race if they are to succeed in deposing their rivals as champions.

source: www.dailymail.co.uk

Monday, December 19, 2011

Man U calm over Euro reprieve bid

MANCHESTER UNITED are keeping calm about their chances of a return to the Champions League.

Alex Ferguson's side went out at the group stage after losing 2-1 in Basel this month.

But the Red Devils were given a glimmer of hope because of a long-running row between Sion — Basel's Swiss rivals — and football chiefs.

FIFA announced they will suspend the Switzerland FA unless the country's league deducts points from Sion for registering six players signed during a transfer ban.

When a national association is suspended, none of its teams are allowed to play foreign opponents and that would stop Basel meeting Bayern Munich in Champions League's last 16.
But sources believe a compromise will be met by the January 13 deadline.

An insider said: "United can't see it coming to anything."
While the word within FIFA was that any reprieve was "a long shot".

source: www.thesung.co.uk

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mancini fury as Balotelli hits Manchester nightlife ahead of Chelsea clash

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli faces the wrath of manager Roberto Mancini after preparing for Monday night's crucial game at Chelsea with a late night out that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Italian striker Balotelli is in the City squad for what is arguably their biggest game of the Barclays Premier League season at Stamford Bridge. 

But Sportsmail understands that Balotelli was out until at least 12.45am in Manchester city centre after a Saturday night out with friends.

City yesterday declined to comment on the alleged incident, but did confirm that first-team players are not expected to be socialising less than 48 hours before a game. 

Mancini is known to have a more relaxed attitude than some Premier League managers, but it is clear he will be unimpressed with another lapse in discipline from the controversial Balotelli. 

The 21-year-old was not thought to have been drinking alcohol in the Zouk Bar and Restaurant but was described by one eye witness as behaving 'boisterously' with a group of friends. 

City had their last training session before the clash in west London on Sunday morning, meaning Balotelli will not have had a full night's sleep beforehand. 

Sources at the Etihad Stadium told Sportsmail that Mancini does not have a problem with players enjoying a mid-evening meal out in the run-up to a game.

However, it was also made clear that the City boss will view a night out that ends in the early hours as a step too far. 
Mancini has gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate Balotelli during the young centre forward's season-and-a-half in England. 

And there have been times recently when the former Inter player appeared to be listening. But this latest episode underlines that Balotelli still refuses to take some things on board. 

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk