Former Atletico Madrid striker David Villa has claimed that he feels that his former team will compete for trophies once again this campaign. Atletico emerged as the surprise winners of the la Liga title last season after they managed to hold off competition from both Real Madrid and Barcelona. They became the first winners, outside the top two, of the league title since Valencia did this feat in 2004. Valencia, however, were unable to maintain the standards for long as they lost a number of their good players to top clubs in the subsequent summers.
This has been the case with Atletico as well. Diego Simeone has already seen players like Diego Costa, David Villa, and Filipe Luis leave the club. They have also been unable to convert the loan deal of Thibaut Courtois into a permanent one and the Chelsea goalkeeper has returned to his parent club. Due to a number of players, who were influential last season, leaving the club this summer, there have been doubts as to whether Atletico will be able to stay competitive. Villa, who recently moved on a free transfer to New York City FC says that Simeone is a manager who can adapt to these changes extremely well.
He expects Atletico to remain competitive even after the numerous changes.
“They are very good in all positions and will make do without the players who are gone. They will be a competitive team again and have a great season. It’s not only the city, but the project. This company has franchises around the world such as Manchester City and will make the team big. I’ve done a lot in Europe already, a very good career; an opportunity to start from zero, to start over again is something I thought was exciting,” said the Spanish international.
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto saluted his players after they helped the nation reached the last 16 of the World Cup. Costa Rica were rank outsiders to reach this stage of the tournament since they were in a group containing three previous World Cup winners – Italy, Uruguay, and England. However, they progressed to the knockout stages of the World Cup after being undefeated in the three matches. Those three matches included two victories against Italy and Uruguay, while the final group match ended in a 0-0 draw with England.
Comprising a group of largely mediocre players, Costa Rica have managed to achieve this feat purely by hard work. One of the stars of their World Cup campaign has been Arsenal striker Joel Campbell, who has been unable to appear for Arsenal team up until now because of work permit issues. Even more impressive is the fact that Costa Rica have the opportunity to be in the World Cup quarter-finals, as they have been paired against Greece in the last 16 stage. Many feel that Costa Rica have an even opportunity to knockout Greece.
Pinto says that getting out of the group was a big achievement since this was often regarded as the group of death. He rested a number of players for the final match against England hoping to keep them fresh for the knockout stages. “We’ve given Costa Rica status in the football world. No-one can say it was chance, luck or just for a few moments. It was a really complicated group of very experienced teams. But we came to fight and compete, and we have done. We’ve been very constant. I hope we can keep on like that. We’ll give our all whoever we face next. This was called the group of death, but it wasn’t – not for us anyway,” said Pinto.
Frank Lampard along with Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o have all been named in the club’s released list and the veteran English midfielder is starting to consider his future as he revealed that his future with Chelsea remains unclear.
The 35 years old midfielder has recently been linked with a move to QPR but rumor was later shut down by the head coach Harry Redknapp as he stated that it just won’t happen.
Harry Redknapp said: “I would think there’s absolutely no chance of getting Frank. He’s at Chelsea. I’d be very surprised if Chelsea doesn’t keep him anyway – he’s just been such a fantastic player.
Other series of rumors are claiming that Lampard is edging towards the MLS but still nothing can be officially said as to whether or not he will be transferring to the American league.
When questioned about his near future, Lampard replied by saying that even he is not sure about what lies ahead of him
“I don’t know if I’ll be at Chelsea next season. I’d like to carry on for two or three more years but it would be good to end on a high. So, if that means it all ends tomorrow, I wouldn’t have any regrets. You know your shelf-life, so I started to mentally prepare when I hit 30.I’ve been doing this for a long time, so there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to the future.”
Coming as no surprise, Lampard was named in Roy Hogdson’s list of players that he will be bringing to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup in what will probably be Lampard’s last one.
Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has refused to rule out a move for Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez in the summer. The former Udinese man has endured an inconsistent spell at the Spanish club since moving just over two years ago for £ 35 million. The Chilean striker is thought to be keen on returning back to Italian football in order to rediscover his form. He had his best spell when he was with Udinese. There have been consistent rumours linking him with a return to Italy with Juventus being one of the clubs interested in him.
Sanchez has been one of the better players for Barcelona this season, as he has been able to score a remarkable 21 goals and create a further 15 in the 54 matches that he has played this season. He has been a regular first-team player for Barcelona, but it is thought that he would like a return to Italy in order to improve his career even more. There have been reports that Juventus are ready to pay as much as £ 16 million for the player. This would represent a significant loss for the Catalan club, but one that they would take in order to sign new players themselves.
Marotta’s failure to rule out a move hints that a possible deal could be completed in the summer.
“Sanchez is a great player and every top club would like him, so clearly Juventus would also love to have him. We must take into account he is also a very expensive player and it must also be seen what he wants. Juve are always linked with a lot of players. At the moment, we are waiting to define the situation with the coach, then we will try to look for flexible players,” said Marotta in a recent interview.
Gareth Bale was not in the starting line-up against Bayern Munich at the table above since he was suffering from flu. After missing out on the weekend’s match against Osasuna, the player is understood to be in contention for a starting spot against the German club in the second leg. Real Madrid come into the match with his 1-0 advantage of the first leg, which gives them a lot of advantage looking forward to qualifying for the Champions League final. Bale’s influence on the team has been going into last few months.
He now forms a vital part of the team to help manager Carlo Ancelotti setup the counter-attack the struggle of the ball. The front trio of Karim Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo have all been functioning brilliantly over the last few months. Despite his absence and the continuing viral problems in the last few weeks, Ancelotti has confirmed that Bale will be playing a part in the Bayern Munich second leg match. Even a draw will be a great result for Madrid as they have secured a home win in the first leg. Continue reading →