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Real Madrid

Whenever a new manager takes the responsibility of a big side, first and biggest challenge that comes ahead of him is how to convince players and keep them in tact coz this is the time most of the switches happen. Real Madrid is one such side who recently fired its manager to bring Rafael Benitez after their dismissal show in the last season and ever since former Napoli boss has joined the Spanish giant he is facing a new challenge every other day – from rumors of his spat with Ronaldo to convincing unsettled players to stay at Bernabeu. Rumors were in the air off late that captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema could move out of Spain amid their recent linkup news with Manchester United and Arsenal. Likewise, Red Devils goalie David De Gea was reportedly also keen to join the Spanish giant. Amid these reports, 55-year-old Spanish mentor only wants to keep a hold over his own players hence revealed his desire to keep Sergio and Benzema during a press meet after 4-1 International Champions Cup win over Manchester City in Melbourne and said, “Sergio has known from day one that I want him to stay and I’m sure that he’ll stay with us. I don’t know, he is not here and I don’t know. I don’t speak to Van Gaal every day. At each match we have a goalkeeper in each goal and with that I am satisfied.”

While adding about Benzema’s reported switch to Gunners, former Liverpool, Chelsea, and Inter Milan boss expressed his stiff confidence 27-year-old French would be with them in the next season and said, “I don’t know, he is not here and I don’t know. I don’t speak to Van Gaal every day. At each match we have a goalkeeper in each goal and with that I am satisfied. People are asking me about different players that maybe we will buy and I always say the same thing, ‘he’s not our player, I will not talk about that.’In this case Karim is our player so I will not talk about that. I hope, I’m sure, that he will stay with us.’”

Looking at high tuned actions happening at Santiago Bernabéu, it is obviously not going to be an easy affair for Benítez to secure all his firing weapons especially when Van Gaal is after few of his players, yet 55-year-old is confident he can settle everything with his performance in the first half of the next season itself.

Wayne Rooney

Spanish sides have ever been the top soccer brands in world soccer especially Real Madrid and Barcelona who enjoy the biggest share of fans following from around the world and their supremacy is as well accepted by English sides – which is uncommon to see these days. Anyways, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is known for his honest opinion about anything he likes the most and Barcelona is of course one of the side he has ever been fond of. Both ManU and Barca played a friendly at Santa Clara on Saturday and Rooney took the opportunity to exhaust his fond for the Red Devils. He praised the side for its treble last season and says there is no doubt Blaugrana are the finest soccer club in the world. He although did not accept that they are doing magic only now, in fact, he said Barca has ever been a threatening opponent for any side in world soccer today. Experts are calling Camp Nou side’s current rule a result of Luis Enrique’s improvised field spread while there are many who are still fond of Pep Guardiola’s management when Barca used to be the master of holding the ball and pressuring its opponents.

Talking about his favorite side, 29-year-old Three Lions captain said, “Barcelona are a fantastic team and, after Real Madrid winning the Champions League, they wouldn’t have liked that and they’ve come out again and been incredible really, probably as good as they have been over the last 10 years, I believe.” He added about Barca’s improved play style and said, “It’s a different way of playing — they’re defending a little bit deeper and not going and closing down teams the way they did and they’re hurting teams on the counter-attack.

“You can see there’s a change in the way they play but, with the players they have got, obviously Messi, Neymar and Suarez, they are a massive threat to anyone.”

He also talked about last Championship league when Red Devils were not playing and said, “I think as a player, and hopefully one day going into coaching, then you’re always trying to pick up things, what teams are doing and, especially as you get a little bit older, you are trying to see how different teams are playing the game and how you feel you could counteract that. It’s a different way of watching football and learning from it.

“You’re so close to winning it and to lose twice to Barcelona is hard to take really,” he said recalling 2009 and 2011 Champions league finals. “I think you sometimes have to hold your hands up and say they were the better team — the best team in Europe — and it was going to be difficult for us to win the game. I’d say probably the game at Wembley, being there, it would have been nice to have won the Champions League there.”


Chelsea is probably the only English side who afraid of defeat more than joy of winning; we have seen how manager behaved like an insured manager in the last season when he kept issuing media statements that everyone is after them and wants to restrict their victory match towards the top. This season too, Portuguese does not want to risk anything hence when Filipe Luis departure was ensured, 52-year-old decided to refill his space with another midfielder in the current transfer window itself. This could be too early to analysis his tactics, but apparently it looks like he wants to secure each of its field spared before first game of the next season begins and experts are calling it Blues’ premature response to a transfer. If we look at who is on the radar of North Londoners, Everton’s John Stones is on the top; however, if we rely on the today’s newspapers, most of them hint Mourinho has agreed a deal with Atletico Madrid to get back Luis into his side.

Anyways, without revealing anything about secret talks with the Spanish club, former Real Madrid manager talks about their next target and if they are lacking more players in the field, calling his team a ‘happy club’ he stated ahead of their preseason opener against the New York Red Bulls in the International Champions Cup, “In this moment we need a left-back, because I think we are selling Filipe Luis now or tomorrow. But I think we will sell Filipe Luis. We need to go the market, we need to find a club that accepts a bid until Aug. 31, and we are going for a left-back. In other positions we have no space.”

Taking a deep breath over available options in the midfield, second term serving manager added, “We are a very happy group. The players feel it. We are a club in peace. We are a club where our future has to be bright. But imagine if somebody comes with a bid on Aug. 29 and we are happy with the bid, the player is happy to leave. We must be ready. If we speak about new players at the moment we speak about the balance of the squad, which is a balanced squad.

“That is the market,” he added over Stones, arrival and said, “You only pay it if you want. If you don’t want to pay it, don’t pay. It’s as simple as that. The market has no rules or limits from season to season.”

Soccer has ever been a European dominated sport hence almost every top position at world governing body is bound to be occupied by a European administrator. Sometimes it happened spontaneously while most of the times it was done intentionally backed by the European powerhouses who do not want any non-European to rule world’s most popular game of sport. If you look at the FIFA presidents and how many of them have until been belonged to other regions, you would have to scratch your head to find one and even if you are lucky to recall one name that too would have been decades old. But this time it seems to be happening after recent crackdown by the Swiss investigators over top FIFA officials on corruption charges. It has been one week passed by when Sepp Blatter, probably the longest running chief of FIFA, had to leave his post amid severe pressure after his name was dragged into the favor given to Qatar and Russia while choosing the 2018 and 2022 world cup hosts. But after his ousted from supreme soccer body, doors were opened, for the first time, to everyone who think he can lead the world soccer effectively and here comes the name of South Korean powerbroker Chung Mong-joon who is exploring the opportunity to the height.

According to Joon, he can bring fresh air in the governing body after prolonged dominance of a European mentor while on the other side there are many who are as well criticizing his blame game ahead of a presidential election. Chung, a former FIFA vice president who has served the governing body for 17 long years, found into the headlines after he openly lambasted the decision to let Blatter remain on the post until Feb. 26 election takes place. Talking about the Swiss administrator, 63-year-old said, “Blatter has been doing whatever he wants with FIFA for 40 years since his days as general secretary, and while he said he’s going out, it doesn’t seem he really is. Letting Blatter manage FIFA and design reform plans before the February vote is comedy.”

Adding if he is serious to contest the presidential elections next year, he said, “I am positively considering running for the presidency and will be able to reveal my decision soon. There is no such thing as an easy election (reacting over his chances to win the election). I have tried several times to become FIFA president, experienced parliamentary elections and also tried to become South Korean president, so you could trust me on that.”


Raheem Sterling has been a matter of discussion, actually controversy, for Liverpool off late for the way he decided to leave the side for Manchester City. Actually, it has now become a tradition as well where every side that loses a player for another, starts lambasting his sportsmanship and loyalty playing for the former, but it is all about money and better future that every young and promising player looks for when deciding about a switch and this is exactly what Sterling would have done. This is exactly the time when Reds released Suarez to Barcelona last year and later paid the price and this year again they are without another promising player, although this time they were reluctant to the switch, and criticizing him after his high profile switch. Although, this is a news that Sterling becomes the highest paying English player after his £49 million transfer to Manchester giant and since he is just 20 year old, he is having a long professional career ahead and this is exactly the time when every side tries to knot a player for a long term and City did just that.

Although, Liverpool reportedly offered Sterling perks that tune to £100,000-a-week that he refused and added he would even reject a £100,000-a-week making it sure Jamaican midfielder was looking for a better place to serve. Actually, this transfer has long been in the discussion between City and player’s agent although it could only finalize last week. Anyways, Sterling is now a history for the Anfield side and City is ready to enjoy his firing legs in the field. Talking about his infamous switch, 20-year-old probably came forward for the first time and explained why he had to take the decision, he said, “I was a bit disappointed how I left. That was the main problem I’ve had with the situation — how I’ve left it with Liverpool. I’m good with everyone at the football club, the manager, the players and I wish them well for the new season. But it was really disappointing how it did finish off.”

Adding about his first interaction with the City squad, he said, “From the first moment I heard City were interested in me, purely because of the direction the football club is going in. I’ve met all my teammates now and it’s been a really good few days, they’ve made me feel welcome and I’m really happy to be here. I think I made the right decision. As a footballer playing in the Premier League for such big clubs you’re always going to have pressure but you just have to deal with that and take it in your stride.

“I’ve got my own personal goals — assist ambitions — and hopefully doing really well for this football club and trying to get trophies.”