Friday, 3 August 2012
Thursday, 24 May 2012
French midfielder, Florent Malouda answers questions during a press conference
Chelsea's French international winger Florent Malouda admitted on Thursday that he would like to stay with the London club next season amid talk of a move away from Stamford Bridge, reports AFP.
Having won the Champions League in a penalty shoot-out against Bayern Munich last weekend, Chelsea will face Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup in August and will also participate in the Club World Cup at the end of the year.
Malouda admitted that the possibility of taking part in these tournaments is an extra incentive for him stay put.
"The European Super Cup and the Club World Cup are two competitions close to my heart," he told reporters at France's pre-Euro 2012 training camp in Clairefontaine.
"In five years at Chelsea, I have won five trophies, the ones that I came here to try and win.
"During the last two transfer windows, the club have said that I was not available for transfer."
When asked directly if that meant he still saw his future with Chelsea, Malouda replied: "Yes, and Chelsea know it."
The former Lyon player, who turns 32 in June, has been used only sparingly by his club since Roberto Di Matteo replaced the sacked Andre Villas-Boas but he insisted that did not worry him.
"I knew at the beginning of the season I would not play all that often," he said.
"This season has reminded of my first season at Chelsea. You have to accept it. I finished the previous campaign as Chelsea's leading scorer in the league and I started the next season on the bench.
"But I have had to prove myself in the past and always managed to impose myself."
Friday, 18 May 2012
Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca will take charge of this weekend's Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, UEFA announced
Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca will take charge of this weekend's Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, UEFA announced on Thursday.
Proenca, 41, made his international debut in 2003 and has now officiated in more than 65 UEFA matches. This year he has officiated in five Champions League games, including the round of 16 return leg between Inter Milan and Marseille, reports AFP.
He also refereed two Europa League matches, including the first leg of the quarter final between FC Schalke 04 and beaten finalists Athletic Bilbao
Bertino Miranda and Ricardo Santos, also from Portugal, will run the lines in Munich on Saturday, while the fourth official will be Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain.
Wigan Athletic’s coach, Roberto Martinez
Liverpool were given permission by Wigan Athletic on Thursday to talk to coach Roberto Martinez about becoming the next manager at Anfield, a day after Kenny Dalglish was sacked.
"He's going there with an open mind," Wigan chairman Dave Whelan told Sky Sports News.
"We would love to keep Roberto, he's a great manager. But there are two or three clubs looking for a new manager and Roberto is on the list for all of them. If Liverpool are serious, then we may lose him."
The 38-year-old Martinez left Swansea City to take over at Wigan in 2009 and has been widely praised for keeping the modest Lancashire club in the Premier League, reports AFP.
Wigan stayed in the top flight this season after wins over Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United in their final eight games helped them to a respectable 15th in the league -- seven points clear of relegation.
Dalglish, who had returned for a second stint as manager at Anfield in January last year, paid the price for a dismal season that saw Liverpool finish 37 points behind champions Manchester City.
The Merseyside club's American owners the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) had given Dalglish more than £100 million ($159m) to spend in the transfer market since he took over from the sacked Roy Hodgson in 2011.
But expensive signings such as Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson largely flopped and Liverpool's eighth-place finish was their worst season-ending position for nearly two decades, with their lowest points tally since 1954.
They defeated second-tier Cardiff City on penalties in the League Cup final but lost 2-1 to Chelsea in the FA Cup final earlier this month.
Earlier on Thursday, the 61-year-old Dalglish told the Liverpool Echo that fans needed to show support to the club's American owners.
John Obi Mikel was excluded from the Super Eagles SA 2013 and Brazil 2014 qualifiers
Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi on Thursday named Skipper Joseph Yobo and 10 other overseas-based professionals for the three 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying matches coming up next month.
Yobo, who stars for Fenerbahce of Turkey, is one of only three defenders, with Israel-based Efe Ambrose and Portugal-based Elderson Echiejile the other names.
Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide are called, as well as midfielders Victor Moses and Fegor Ogude, and strikers Omatsone Aluko, Ikechukwu Uche, Ahmed Musa and John Utaka.
Keshi explained at the press conference in Abuja that the overseas contingent will be joined by 18 of the 22 players who will travel to Lima for the international friendly against Peru taking place on May 23.
THE FULL LIST:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France), Austin Ejide (Hapoel) Petah Tikva (Israel)
Defenders: Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Elderson Echiejile (FC Braga, Portugal), Efe Ambrose (Ashdod MS, Israel)
Midfielders: Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic, England), Fegor Ogude (Valerenga, Norway)
Strikers: Omatsone Aluko (Rangers, Scotland), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Ikechukwu Uche (Granada, Spain), John Utaka (Montpellier, France)
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Chelsea have been written off consistently in the English press this season and told their ageing squad wield too much power.
Their brilliant comeback against Napoli and stunning victory over Barcelona have led to a reappraisal of their apparent shortcomings, but what have pundits in Germany made of Chelsea's unlikely progression to the final?
We asked our friends at Yahoo! Eurosport Germany to give us their perspective on Roberto Di Matteo's side.
Thomas Janz: Death has been said to live longer: the 'oldies' from Chelsea defied all their critics when reaching the final of the Champions League. Following the suspension of John Terry, the lynchpins of any success the Blues enjoy will come in the form of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. In the only previous encounter between the two clubs in 2005, the two combined for a total of five goals against Bayern. But the heyday of the pair is over. The way they reached the Munich final by beating Barcelona was not particularly appetising, but on the other hand it was very efficient. From a playing point of view, Chelsea are the weaker team. They will defend very deep and seek to punish Bayern in the counter-attack. Chelsea are dangerous on the big occasion and could cause the Bavarians more emotional damage after the last-minute collapse against Manchester United in 1999.
Michael Wollny: When it comes to individual quality I expect Bayern to be better than Chelsea. But Chelsea play a brand of football which Bayern won't like at all. The team of Jupp Heynckes has often had real problems in cracking defensive teams like Chelsea. Moreover they are prone to being exposed by fast counter-attacks, which Chelsea will launch with Drogba or maybe Torres the target. Both teams suffer from the loss of important players to suspension. For Bayern it’s fatal that they have to do without Badstuber in the centre of defence and Alaba at left-back. The other element of the final is the psychological one: Chelsea are expected to give their right arm for the title as it’s the last chance for that old team. On the other hand, Bayern want that historic title in their own stadium. I think Bayern will win 3-1 in the end.
Daniel Rathjen: On Saturday, Bayern will play the greatest game in their history. Motivation and pressure cannot be bigger than in the final of the Champions League in their own stadium in Munich against Chelsea. But the new defence with Tymoshchuk and Contento must be warned. The Blues stand compact at the back, switch play fast and need only a few chances to score. Didier Drogba is still a weapon. Although Bayern will benefit from playing at home, Chelsea are a team on the same high level. They have found themselves during the course of the competition and have become one unit. Luckily for Bayern, Chelsea do not wear yellow jerseys like bogey team Borussia Dortmund.
Fabian Kunze: In Germany, Bayern's fans are infamous for their arrogance and after already losing two titles this season they are convinced of a victory against Chelsea - no, they don't even take losing into account. But I think they underestimate an old Chelsea team, which is experienced enough to eventually win a European Cup. The ability to score out of nothing, just like against Barcelona, is one of the biggest strengths of the Blues: they don't need many chances to score. They also proved that they can cope with pressure put on them by opponents who might have the better football skills. Mentally Chelsea are in a very good position after winning the FA Cup - they have already won a competition this season and everything else is icing on the cake. Chelsea don't have anything to lose, especially not when playing a Champions League final as an away team.
Forget talk of Manchester City buying the Premier League title - the day money in football got out of hand occurred 84 years ago in the bar of a North London hotel.
"Sure thing, Mr. Chapman."
It was October 1928 and Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman needed a new player. Earlier in the day he had called his personal assistant Bob Wall into his office and informed him of his plan.
"Wall, come with me. I’ll show you how to conduct a transfer," Chapman told his young apprentice.
"We are going to sign David Jack from Bolton Wanderers as a replacement for our Charles Buchan, who is retiring. We’re meeting their chairman and manager at the Euston Hotel. Sit with me, listen and don’t say a word."
After ordering the drinks, Chapman exchanged a knowing glance with the waiter but was not gaining much traction with the transfer.
"Jack is not for sale," said the Bolton party.
"Just hear me out," replied Chapman and ordered another round. "Same again?"
It is no surprise that Bolton wanted to hang on to Jack (pictured above). The inside forward was a hometown hero who had scored 144 league goals in 295 league games with the Trotters during an eight-year spell.
His most memorable goal of all, though, came in the 1923 FA Cup final when he scored the opener in a 2-0 win over West Ham. It was the first ever goal at the newly-opened Empire Stadium at Wembley and was scored in front of an official crowd of 126,047, an estimated crowd of 300,000 and at least one white horse.
However, after a lot of talk and even more drinking, Chapman finally started to make progress; as the last orders bell chimed, the two sides finally shook hands on a deal.
The Bolton party would head back up north with sore heads and a cheque for £10,890. David Jack would travel in the opposite direction.
"Wall, that’s your first lesson in football," a clear-headed Chapman said to his young assistant after leaving the bar. "Now you know how to conduct a transfer."
Chapman had matched the Bolton men drink for drink on the night, but there was no 'G' in his 'G&Ts' – a plan hatched with the waiter.
Chapman might have talked himself into an unexpected coup, but this was certainly no robbery.
Bolton fans were not happy with the transfer but when they heard the fee – a British transfer record – things became a little more understandable.
A five-figure sum? For a footballer? Had the world gone mad?
Most contemporary references to the Jack transfer say that the FA chairman at the time, Sir Charles Clegg, immediately released a statement denouncing the fee.
This is only a half-truth: it is true that Clegg came out and said that no player was worth that kind of money, but he was merely defending the transfer system in response to remarks from the Dean of Durham who had said that money and transfers were ruining the moral fabric of the game. The Dean argued that the football community was drifting away from the charitable endeavours his church attempted to preach.
Clegg admitted in a speech at the jubilee banquet for the Lancashire Football Association that things were far from perfect, but still took the rather controversial step of publicly denouncing the Dean.
"I do not think the present system is perfect, nor does any member of the Football League," Clegg admitted. "But any criticisms of it must be accompanied by suggestions for improvement and not criticism made in ignorance of the position."
Jack’s signing was still a few days away, yet Clegg said: "If a club is sufficiently foolish to give £10,000 for a player, it deserves to be 'let in', and I should not be sorry if it were."
In truth, while the signing of Jack was a milestone in football finance that got even the Church talking, the issue of money burdening the game started as soon as clubs began paying players near the end of the 19th Century.
During the 1883-84 season, when the sport was still technically amateur, Accrington and Preston were both kicked out of the FA Cup for paying players.
That summer Preston, along with other clubs such as Aston Villa and Sunderland, threatened to form a breakaway league if the FA did not sanction professionalism. The Association caved in, but with the caveat that players had to have "been born, or lived for two years, within a six-mile radius of the ground".
By the turn of the century the game was fully professional and in 1905 the first £1,000 player was signed as Alf Common joined Middlesbrough from Sunderland. As fees continued to rise, in 1908 the FA brought in a rule that no transfer fee could top £350.
This restriction lasted less than a year as clubs got around it by signing the player they wanted plus a number of insignificant youth team players for £350 each to top up the fee for their prime target.
Financial issues remained at the forefront of football for some years. In 1926, two years before the Jack signing, The Times wrote: "For some time there has been a very real danger of finance overriding sport in association football and competition has become so keen that only the fit can hope to survive."
The piece highlighted two radical ideas put forward by our old friend Herbert Chapman to help revolutionise the game.
His first suggestion was that transfers should only be allowed during a set period in the summer so when the season started, teams would be blocked from making additional moves. The argument for this was that transfer fees became artificially inflated once the season began, as struggling teams desperately looked to plug holes.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, there was no 1920s equivalent of Jim White and his Sky Sports News team to drum up support for Chapman’s ‘transfer window’ - and the idea was shelved.
The Arsenal manager’s other idea was to cushion the blow of another threat that rings true today – relegation.
However, rather than suggesting parachute payments or scrapping relegation altogether, Chapman went completely the other way and proposed that the entire bottom half of the 22-team top division should be relegated each season and be replaced by the top 11 in the Second Division. This, he argued, would mean the price of relegation would not be so severe, as teams would consistently have a good chance of getting back into the top flight and wouldn’t be so inclined to make risky moves to try and ensure their survival.
Again, this idea was rejected. You can imagine the headaches such a scheme would give a few current owners if proposed today.
Nevertheless, pretty much all of the current concerns about finance in football had an equivalent worry back in the 20s.
The influx of foreign players on inflated wages is another oft-cited reason for the changing shape of the English game, but they had 'foreigners' back then too - although they were known as Scotsmen!
While transfer fees were going through the roof, the FA kept careful limits on wages and the maximum bonus a player could earn from a transfer was £650 - and only then if they had been at their previous club for five years.
There were no such restrictions from players coming down from Scotland, though. In 1927 a host of English clubs wanted to sign Airdrieonians striker Bob Craig and the club invited teams to submit blind bids for his services. Eventually, however, they sold him to fellow Scottish club Rangers for £5,000 despite a higher bid from Everton because they would have had to agree a cut of the deal with Craig if they were to send him down south.
With players somewhat on a leash, you might think that this meant club owners were raking it in - but this was far from the case. An FA rule that was in place all the way up until 1981 meant that nobody could draw a salary working as a director of a football club, and also limited the amount of dividends that could be paid on shares so that nobody could derive an income through running one.
Going back to Jack’s transfer: despite Arsenal splurging a huge chunk of cash, and Bolton losing their best player, the deal ended up working out for everyone.
People questioned Chapman’s decision to pay such a large sum for the 29-year-old Jack, who some suggested was past his prime. However, he went on to score 113 goals in 181 league games for the Gunners, helping them to win the first four trophies in the club’s history as the 1930 FA Cup was followed by three titles in the following three seasons. Chapman would later call the Jack transfer "one of my best ever bargains".
The legendary manager (pictured below), who also won three league titles in a row with Huddersfield in the 20s, would tragically die midway through the last of Arsenal's three titles in 1934, at the age of just 58. In reporting his death The Times praised his amazingly innovative mind and noted that: "the full effect of his influence on the game cannot be gauged yet... even Chapman could not always get his own way and the game is still played by daylight and players still go unnumbered."
Bolton fans had to endure the agony of Jack returning to Burnden Park less than three months after signing for Arsenal to score both of the Gunners’ goals in a 2-1 victory. However, the Trotters faithful would still get to taste success at the end of the season as two goals from Billy Butler saw them down Portsmouth 2-0 in the FA Cup final.
Meanwhile, clubs continued to buy and sell players and football evolved.
In 1947 Tommy Lawton became the first £20,000 player when he left Chelsea to surprisingly join a Third Division outfit in Notts County.
In 1961 PFA chairman Jimmy Hill successfully persuaded the FA to scrape the Football League's £20 maximum wage - his Fulham team-mate Johnny Haynes immediately became Britain’s first £100-a-week player - while that same year Denis Law left Manchester City to join Italian club Torino for £100,000.
In 1979, Trevor Francis became English football’s first million-pound signing as he left Birmingham City for Nottingham Forest.
In 1995 the Bosman ruling ensured that players could move freely to other clubs at the end of their contracts - but that didn’t stop Newcastle United from paying Blackburn Rovers a world-record fee of £15 million for Alan Shearer the following year.
Some feel that the incoming UEFA Financial Fair Play rules will stick a fork in the road for big-spending clubs like Manchester City, but history suggests that clubs looking to spend will continue to do so no matter what the rule-makers do to prevent them.
Eighty-four years ago the transfer record hit five figures for the first time, while currently Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 is the biggest move we’ve ever seen. Who knows what the record will be 84 years from now? Chances are, it is a sum we cannot even comprehend.
However, there is one thing that anyone involved in transfer negotiations can learn from the past: if you are offered a drink, make sure you ask for water!