2nd August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
When James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2014, he seemed to have the football world at his feet.
Fresh off the back of a stellar World Cup campaign, carrying Colombia to the quarter-finals and finishing as the tournament's top scorer along the way, his £63 million move to the Bernabeu appeared to crown him as the new prince of European football; Lionel Messi and new team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo still contested the throne, but Rodriguez was surely the heir apparent.
But three years on, the 26-year-old's Real Madrid tenure cannot be looked back on as a success. Early promise soon faded to the point where, for the final 18 months of his three-year stay in the Spanish capital, he more regularly occupied a place on the substitutes' bench rather than on the pitch.
Indeed, for the 2017 Champions League
- Posted: August 02, 2017Categories: Real Madrid, Bayern MunichRead more »
2nd August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
- Posted: July 28, 2017Categories: Bayern MunichRead more »
28th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Although leaving Olympique Lyonnais would've been a tough call to make after spending 10 years at the club, Corentin Tolisso knew the time was right to embark on the next chapter in his career
For Tolisso, who was close to joining Napoli a year ago, his decision to stay at Les Gones for another season was entirely vindicated, for he played a starring role for OL in a season where they reached the semi finals of the Europa League and finished fourth in Ligue 1. In addition, his consistently excellent performances were certainly crucial towards him earning a dream move to Bayern Munich.
"A year ago, all the conditions weren't right. I wasn't ready to leave and I still wanted to play for Olympique Lyonnais. This year, I'm ready to take the big step. I have had a complete season. My individual performances were quite promising and I
- Posted: July 26, 2017Categories: Manchester UnitedRead more »
26th July 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
Manchester United have already splashed out in excess of £100 million this summer to sign Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof. But manager Jose Mourinho has openly admitted that he is growing frustrated at the club's lack of further transfer activity and supporters too are getting anxious.
Numbers are needed in midfield and attack, runs the general opinion, with Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan winger Ivan PeriÂši? both named as priority targets for the Red Devils.
However, the form 21-year-old playmaker Andreas Pereira has thus far displayed in pre-season has shown that the Brazil under-23 international is ready to contribute at Old Trafford next season, and could help ease his manager's recruitment headache if the club's transfer targets continue to prove illusive.
Pereira, who joined United from PSV as a teenager in 2011, has impressed for Manchester Un
- Posted: July 10, 2017Categories: ac-milanRead more »
10th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
AC Milan is certainly making a statement of intent about their intentions for next season with their impressive transfer dealings so far this summer.
Having already completed six terrific signings of players who are all ready to come in and make an immediate impact, manager Vincenzo Montella is justifiably setting his sights on returning the Rossoneri to the Champions League.
"I'm full of enthusiasm. The team is growing and becoming complete with new players arriving all from different leagues so I think our aim is to qualify for the Champions League," said Montella.
"We are going to have to fight with teams like Roma, Inter, Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli and it's going to be hard work, but I expect my side to show the same spirit from last year and I can see a lot of enthusiasm among the fans. Our objectives are realistic."
- Posted: July 05, 2017Categories: Barcelona, Real BetisRead more »
5th July 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
Spain's impressive European Under-21 Championship campaign ultimately ended in disappointment, with La Roja outplayed and outthought by Germany in the final. But there are plenty of positives to be drawn from Albert Celades' side's run in the competition, not least the emergence of Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos as a truly elite-level talent.
The 20-year-old playmaker demonstrated the full gamut attributes desired of a player in his position: technique, vision, awareness discipline and creativity. Although AtlÃ©tico Madrid star SaÃºl Ã‘Ãguez stole the headlines in the semi-final victory over Italy by bagging a spectacular hat-trick, it was Ceballos who stood out most, pulling the strings in midfield and putting in a men-against-boys kind of performance.
The 20-year-old's displays in Poland along with his form over the last 18 months with Betis have marked him out as one of the most promising young players in La Liga. An
- Posted: July 03, 2017Categories: FiorentinaRead more »
3rd July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Fiorentina's decision not to renew Paulo Sousa's contract was probably the right decision by the club. Over his two years in charge, the fiery and often difficult to handle Portuguese tactician's relationship never seemed smooth with the club's hierarchy, with regular reports suggesting Sousa was frustrated with their unwillingness to spend money on transfers and the way they sold players he intended on keeping.
Failing to qualify for Europe by finishing in eighth place in Serie A, which the club saw as a big disappointment, in combination with their inconsistency, his aforementioned troublesome nature and exit from this term's Europa League at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach, saw the club ready to head in a different direction.
Sousa definitely deserves credit, however, for he got the team playing some of the most exciting and beautiful football in Europe, while still producing some promising results and handsomely improving
- Posted: June 26, 2017Categories: Inter MilanRead more »
26th June 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Prior to the 2016/2017 season, Inter Milan were full of optimism for what loomed as a successful campaign ahead.
Having spent over €150 million acquiring some genuinely exceptional players in the summer, including Antonio Candreva, Joao Mario, Miranda, Ever Banega, Marcelo Brozovic and Gabriel Barbosa, expectations were indeed predictably high. But the Nerazzurri unfortunately fell well short, enduring a largely forgettable season that was littered with disappointment.
The writing was on the wall early as the club sacked manager Roberto Mancini two weeks before the season began and entrusted former Ajax manager, Frank de Boer, with the arduous task of recovering the situation. Even though the Dutchman masterminded a dogged win over Juventus, he was sacked just 85 days into his tenure. He just couldn't get the team moving in the same direction and the lows definitely outweighed the highs. Losing seven of his 14 matches in charge, i
- Posted: June 19, 2017Categories: SpainRead more »
19th June 2017. By Edward Stratmann
When he took over as Spanish national team manager, Julen Lopetegui made a point of looking to the future and doing things his way, in his style, for he knew comparing himself to the magnificent success Spain had enjoyed under Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque in recent years wouldn't be a wise move.
"In my opinion, the generation that has just passed is without doubt the most brilliant not just in the history of Spanish football, but one of the best in the history of world football, so comparing anything to that is not fair and would be a mistake," he insists.
"But that doesn't mean we haven't got good footballers: we have got good footballers, with ambition, personality, desire. Players who are making big steps, but to follow their path, not someone else's."
The former coach of numerous Spanish youth teams, who
- Posted: June 16, 2017Categories: MexicoRead more »
16th June 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
While drawing with the United States wasn't necessarily a bad result, one that importantly means they've still never lost at home inside the Azteca to the U.S, Mexico will still feel a sense that they should've taken all three points.
After all, they largely dominated the game on their way to amassing 74% of the possession and looked the more composed side. But Bruce Arena's visiting side deserve credit for the way they diligently stuck to their task, defending extremely competently in their usually deep block.
Speaking in his post match comments, Mexico's tactically astute manager, Juan Carlos Osorio, had some interesting comments to make about the two teams and their massively different approaches.
"I think their intention from the start was to defend, with a line of five and three midfielders to stop our attacks," asserted Osorio. "They played for an error or the possibility of a transition, which is what happened [for
- Posted: June 12, 2017Categories: Leicester CityRead more »
12th June 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Craig Shakespeare's tremendous job steadying the ship following the unfortunate sacking of Claudio Ranieri as caretaker manager back in February has clearly been appreciated by the Leicester City hierarchy, who offered him a three year deal to take over the reigns on a permanent basis.
Shakespeare duly accepted the offer presented to him, which served as a deserved reward for his fine efforts over the closing third of the season. Winning eight of his 16 matches in charge, Shakespeare, who served as Nigel Pearson's and Ranieri's assistant, proved he was well and truly up to the task.
Getting off to a sensational, record breaking start, which saw him become the first British manager to win their first five EPL matches, plus overcome an exceptional Sevilla side to reach the Champions League quarter finals, was the perfect start for the Englishman.