Primera División Madrid’s main man: Bale shows Ronaldo the way as Real rediscover goal touch Ben Hayward Last updated 1 year ago 01:46 1/22/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(30) Getty Images Primera División Gareth Bale Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruña Real Madrid Deportivo La Coruña Opinion The Welsh winger struck twice to lead Los Blancos to an impressive win at home to Deportivo as Zinedine Zidane’s side banished their Bernabeu blues This was more like it from Real Madrid. The Spanish champions were in danger of losing three successive league games at home for the first time in their history, but rediscovered their touch in front of goal to secure an emphatic victory. And Gareth Bale played a pivotal part.Zinedine Zidane’s side went behind early on and it looked like another frustrating afternoon could be on the cards following back-to-back defeats at the Bernabeu to Barcelona and Villarreal.But after Nacho had levelled for Los Blancos, Bale made it 2-1 with a lovely curled effort, the ball whistling past Cristiano Ronaldo’s ear as the Portuguese appealed for a penalty. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player With that strike, Bale became the first Real Madrid player to reach five goals in La Liga. And the mere fact that it took until Los Blancos’ 19th fixture in the competition, on January 21, was a reminder of the side’s struggles in the Primera Division this term.A Bale header later made it 3-1 to Real and that was his ninth goal in all competitions this season, matching his return from last season. This time, the nine have arrived in just 17 appearances, though, compared to 27 last term.The Welshman has been Madrid’s most effective attacker in the current campaign, with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both below their best. Unfortunately for Madrid, however, he has been missing far too often with injury.Zidane will hope his problems are now over and that Bale can carry on performing at this level, without injuries, until the end of the season. Madrid will be much better off if that can happen.Ronaldo also ended with two goals as Real ran riot in the closing stages, the Portuguese converting with a tap-in at the far post and later a fine header as he took a boot to the face that left him floored and needing treatment.Prior to this match, Cristiano had netted just four in 14 appearances in La Liga this season and his double was more good news for Zidane as Madrid look to challenge in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League over the next few months, as well as returning to the top three in La Liga.Winning the Primera Division seems impossible now with Barca 19 points ahead at the start of this weekend, but with the goals flying in once more Real could yet finish the season with some satisfaction as they prioritise the new two knockout competitions over the weeks and months ahead.Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo have not started a game all together for Los Blancos since last season’s Clasico defeat at home to Barcelona in April, but the three forwards all featured here and could be reunited soon.That and a return to 4-3-3 should see some improvement from Madrid and it will be much needed as Paris Saint-Germain lie in wait in the Champions League next month. Now, if only they can all stay fit…
Transfers ‘I’m not sure who got the best deal’ – Giggs on Sanchez-Mykhitaryan swap Joe Wright 17:07 1/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Twitter (@ManUtd) Transfers Manchester United Swansea City v Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United Arsenal Premier League A. Sánchez While the Wales boss believes the “superstar” can give the Red Devils fresh impetus, he says the man going the other way can have a similar impact Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has admitted that he doesn’t know who has got the better of the deal that saw Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan trade clubs on Monday.Chile international Sanchez finalised his move to Old Trafford on Monday in a swap deal that sees Mkhitaryan join Arsenal.Although the Wales boss believes Alexis is “a ready-made superstar”, he has warned that the Armenia international could prove a valuable weapon for the Gunners. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “Maybe it will work out for him at Arsenal and he’ll set the place on fire, so I’m not sure who has got the best part of the deal, but Sanchez has scored and assisted more goals in the Premier League,” Giggs told Sky Sports.”I think as well as every United fan I was excited to see Henrikh Mkhitaryan join the club and he looked on the outset like a United player, scoring and creating goals.”I played with Juan Sebastian Veron, who was one of the most talented players on the planet, but sometimes it happens where it doesn’t work out, maybe because of injuries or maybe being played out of position.”With regards Alexis, questions have been asked about where the 29-year-old, who is reportedly set to earn in the region of £350,000 a week, will play in Jose Mourinho’s side, with competition in attacking areas coming from Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.But United great Giggs believes Sanchez’s versatility will alleviate any such concerns and expects the arrival of the former Barcelona star to force his new team-mates to step up their efforts.”Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez is similar to Robin van Persie [in 2012] in the sense that they’re getting a ready-made superstar and you’re seeing the contribution already with Anthony Martial upping his performances,” Giggs said.”That can happen when top players come in, those around them lift their levels, and there will be some difficult selection decisions for Jose Mourinho.”It is an extra bonus that he can play in the Champions League. To have somebody like that, who won’t be fazed by playing in the big games, makes the squad look really strong.The defence is obviously doing really well as well, with Ashley Young back, Luke Shaw fit and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones really solid, so I don’t think they need to do any more business this month.”
Transfers ‘Fred will join Man City, not Utd’ – Guardiola backed to exact transfer revenge on Red Devils Chris Burton 20:13 2/8/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Getty Images Transfers Manchester City Manchester United Shakhtar Donetsk Premier League Jose Mourinho may have won the race for Alexis Sanchez, but he is expected to be beaten to the signature of Shakhtar Donetsk’s in-demand midfielder Manchester City may have missed out on Alexis Sanchez to arch-rivals United, but they are being backed to win the battle for Fred.The January window was dominated by a transfer tussle between two Premier League neighbours and their efforts to secure the signature of a much sought-after talent at Arsenal.That feud may be rekindled in the summer market, with another scrap expected to ensue for an in-demand midfielder at Shakhtar Donetsk. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Goal revealed in January that Fred has emerged as a top target for City, while recent reports have suggested that United are also keen on the 24-year-old Brazil international.Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho look set to lock horns once again in that particular pursuit, with the former this time being tipped to emerge victorious and add another Samba star alongside Fernandinho in the Etihad Stadium engine room.Former Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu, who is now in charge of the Turkish national side, told reporters on the Fred fight: “Shakhtar Donetsk’s best player is Fred in the centre of midfield.“He was a bit anarchic on the left. I moved him in front of the defence.“He will go to City like Fernandinho before him.”Fred has contributed 12 goals to the Shakhtar cause in 142 appearances, having been acquired from Internacional in 2013.He revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport in January that he is now waiting on a call from City, with there a desire on his part to test himself in England.”A friend gave me the news saying that City and Guardiola were interested in me. I’m happy to be so well known in Europe.”Fred added on a conversation held with Guardiola following a Champions League meeting with the Blues in December: “At the exit of the locker room, he stopped me and said we had a good game, as they are a very difficult team to beat.”But he did not ask me to play with him. However, I confess, I wait impatiently for his call to arrive now. “I think I would grow a lot with him, England is the best league in the world, and I’ve always dreamed of playing there.”
Manchester United Van Gaal: I wanted Man Utd to play like Guardiola’s City Harry Sherlock 15:23 3/30/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(8) Getty Manchester United Premier League José Mourinho Guardiola Manchester City The Dutchman was fired in 2016 despite the club winning the FA Cup, but he maintains he had a blueprint for success at Old Trafford Louis van Gaal says he wanted to have Manchester United playing like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City during his reign at Old Trafford.The Dutchman was widely criticised for his relatively dour approach at United, with the club enduring a run that saw them win just four matches out of 16.Van Gaal was eventually sacked in May 2016, to be replaced by Jose Mourinho, but he has now insisted that he wanted to have United playing as City do now. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Indeed, Guardiola’s men need only win their next two games to win the Premier League title, having amassed 81 points from 30 games.”Pep Guardiola is, for me, currently the best coach of the Premier League,” Van Gaal told SportBild. “Pep made City a machine.”He shows a football that I would have liked to play at Manchester United. But he has better players for it. For me, the process would have taken longer. Unfortunately, I did not get the time.”Van Gaal has also rubbished any suggestion that he holds ill will towards his successor at United, maintaining that it is unsurprising that top managers want to sit in the Old Trafford dugout.He has, however, taken a swipe at the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, whom he believes reneged on verbal promises despite United’s FA Cup triumph.”I am not disappointed with Jose Mourinho. Every coach wants to train Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he added.”I think Jose wanted that, too, and although he was able to do so in 13th place, he had a chance on a fantastic team like Chelsea. I was in fourth place! I still do not blame him.”What I find wrong is when a CEO says we’re totally happy with you, do not believe the press. Then you win the FA Cup and still be fired.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
A great touch here, a swan dive there. Funny coloured socks and team colours in their hair. Plenty of smiles and lots of cheers,The Mums patch up the grazes-While the Dads’ have a beer.There’s Touch to play and kids to meet-Forgetting sore legs with the sugar they eat.There’s fluoro zinc faces and a million flies…Yes folks, you’ve guessed it, the Junior rep Touch season is nigh!!!A record 600 players are set to converge on Redlands Touch Association fields this Sunday, to contest the Arthur Davis Memorial Junior Tournament.The Redlands tournament will kick-start the 2006 Touch Football Queensland Junior Representative Season. Affiliated junior teams from the South East Queensland corner will compete in a series of tournaments over the next 6 weeks, giving them valuable game time and competition experience for Queensland’s premiere event on the junior Touch calendar, The Touch Football Queensland Junior State Cup.In the tenth anniversary year, the TFQ Junior State Cup is set to eclipse the record 125 teams who contested the 2005 event, when affiliated teams square off at the Glasshouse Mountains from July 7-9, 2006.The travelling Delfin South East Queensland Junior Tri-Series between South West Queensland and South Queensland & Border Districts affiliated teams, provides a perfect three round lead up to the State event and will be hosted respectively by Redlands (May 21), Toowoomba (June 11), and the Gold Coast (June 25).To lift the Delfin Tri-Series Trophy, affiliated teams need to compete in all three legs of the Series, with point values being accumulatively amassed at each tournament in each respective age division over the duration of the series.SQBD General Manager Garry Shepherd worked closely with SWQ official Terry McSweeney on the Tri-Series concept and is excited by the end result.“We’ve worked hard to put this together. Each affiliate has run independently of the other in past years, and we knew our junior tournaments needed a lift.We reasoned if we could support each other’s tournaments then it would boost the quality of each one and give the kids some great lead-up games before the Junior State Cup,” he said.“ It’s a good model if other areas around Qld who are in similar proximity to each other want to duplicate it. It’s fantastic too that Delfin has come on board as a major sponsor to support the event. Sunday should be a great way to kick it all off.”Other affiliates in the South East Queensland corner may be ineligible for the Tri-Series Trophy but are still invited to attend and compete for each individual tournament crown. The first round of the Delfin Tri-Series, the Arthur Davis Memorial Junior tournament in it’s fifth year, will feature over 50 Junior representative teams from Redlands, Gold Coast, BMTA, Labrador Dodgers, 2 Indigenous, Coomera, and Toowoomba who will field teams across Girls and Boys divisions in age groups from Under 11 through to Under 17 years.First games commence at 9.00am Sunday and finals begin at 2.55pm.With nine fields in full operation, an army of referees, coaches, and junior officials on hand, not to mention around 1000 spectators and the cream of South East Queensland’s junior playing talent, the Arthur Davis Memorial Tournament promises to be a fitting opening to what shapes as the most competitive junior representative season in Queensland to date.So get down to Redlands on Sunday. Bring your best 80’s fluoro zinc – it’s making a comeback, your loose change for Red frogs – the breakfast of champions, and plenty of positive encouragement for the budding champions of Queensland Touch.
â€œYeah, itâ€™s great up here watching the action,â€ he said. â€œDefinitely, the Touch has been great for my play and helps with your skills and speed as you see with the other players,â€ he said. Surely an exhibition match featuring those current NRL/Touch guns against the might of the crack Aussie menâ€™s team beckons in the not too distant future? Before progressing through the ranks of Holden Cup Under 20â€™s to the NRL big stage tonight, Kalyn Ponga is also a prodigious Touch Football talent; shining most recently for the Australian Under 18â€™s team in the 2015 Youth Trans-Tasman Series at Cronulla and a stand-out NYC star of some repute and reputation. Joining him across the stripe tonight is Broncosâ€™ Alex Glenn and in this yearâ€™s finals series including Saturday nightâ€™s combatants Edrick Lee (QSST/Raiders) and Matt Moylan, Lewis Brown (NSWCCC/Panthers) and Melbourne Storm pivot, Blake Green (NSW CHS) enjoying the week off currently from finals footy. Once you add into the mix Parramattaâ€™s Bevan French (NSW CHS), Aiden Guerra (QSST/Roosters), you not only have a formidable looking NRL line-up but a dynamite starting six with four subs sure to shake any Touch Football combination worth its salt. Would he and his NYC Alumni give it a crack and the Aussie lads a run for their money? Proving to be a breeding ground and pathway to higher honours, witness the event honour roll emerging from the NYC in recent years and yesteryear. Unlike Taylor, those figuring in the 2016 NRL Finals series that kicked-off Friday evening include a rising star in the NRL ranks making a stunning debut in Townsville. And consider this roster straight from the NYC to NRL stardom over the years: Australian and Queensland legend, Darren Lockyer, Matt Bowen, Jamie Soward, Scott Dureau, PJ Marsh and Joe Williams. For Taylor, the NYC was great for his development as much as it was all about fun and some frivolity with his mates. Pressed further if he missed his Touch Football and did he still get to squeeze in a game when time affords: â€œIâ€™d love to be playing more but canâ€™t at the moment unfortunately (crutches in tow),â€ he added. By @JulianTFA â€“ Sunshine Coast Stadium, QueenslandInterested observer at the 2016 Harvey Norman NYC is none other than potential NRL Rookie of the Year, and NYC Alumni, Ash Taylor of the Gold Coast Titans. Taylor was a popular face in the crowd, here to see the NYC and Alliance Cup action and particularly his younger sibling, Kiara Taylor, figuring prominently in the QSST girlâ€™s team.Fresh from recent post-season groin surgery and a break-out season, albeit now encumbered with crutches, Taylor was impressed with the standard and skills on display at Sunshine Coast Stadium ahead of his little sisterâ€™s quarter final appearance late on Friday against the Central Queensland Bulls. â€œItâ€™s great to be here and Iâ€™m feeling good after surgery,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m hoping to see the QSST guys and girls do well and here to support the little sis,â€ he added juggling his leg supports and autograph pen. And if a match against the best Touch Footballers somehow emerged: â€œWell, weâ€™ve all put on a bit of weight for the footy and those boys (Aussies) are unreal players, so Iâ€™m not sure how weâ€™d go. â€œWe would probably start tackling â€˜em I reckon,â€ he fired back with the trademark grin.Related LinksNYC Alumni Sets NRL Alight
PSG goalkeeper Areola: With or without Mourinho Man Utd dangerousby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola says they’ll be ready for Manchester United in their Champions League round of 16 tie.However, Areola also recognises they cannot underestimate United after the sacking of Jose Mourinho.He stated, “Manchester is a very big club with or without Mourinho.”They are back, they have a story, they know how to handle those moments. “We had difficulties during this group phase, we came out even bigger and we will be ready on the day.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Juventus star Ronaldo collects two more titles at Globe Soccer Awardsby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has collected two more titles at the Globe Soccer Awards.Ronaldo received the awards for Best Goal of the Year and Best Player of the Year, beating Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.“It’s an honour to receive this trophy. I want to say thank you to my family, my girlfriend, my son, my friends, Jorge Mendes and all the staff.“While it has been a tough year, I win many trophies, including the Champions League, and it was an unbelievable year again.“Now 2019 is a new year, I am dreaming of winning many important trophies for Juventus, which is my new club. I am a person who likes a challenge, so my new life is in Turin and I want to win as much as I can.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea manager Lampard: Time to start winningby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea manager Frank Lampard says it’s time to start winning consistently.He knows that positive performances must translate into victories as soon as possible.”I bump into Chelsea fans all the time,” Lampard said. “I live five minutes away so it’s hard not to but everyone has been really supportive with what we’re trying to do and now I want to repay that. I want to do it quickly but I also know it’s a bit of a process. A lot of the fans are saying they see it might take a bit of time so that’s nice but we have to work like we want it tomorrow.”I don’t want to just keep extending the honeymoon period based on passion and desire but I believe it’s also the responsibility of the manager to try to connect the club, the fans and everyone behind the scenes.”That’s the good thing about having a connection between the fans and the team because it works both ways – you feed off them but then you feel they deserve a win because of the way they stay and clap when you lose. I really appreciate their support but now I want to give them wins.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Barcelona chief Cardoner warns Man Utd, PSG off Dembeleby Paul Vegas22 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona vice-president Jordi Cardoner has warned interested clubs off Ousmane Dembele.Manchester United and PSG have been linked with Dembele this week.But Cardoner told Catalunya Ràdio: “Dembélé is a different player, surprising, when we face him, you never know where he will go. He brings a very important element to the team and in addition he is young. “We made a big effort to rejuvenate the team. We have to balance the positions. He has a very special way of playing, but aside from his injury handicap, which is sometimes cyclical, he contributes a lot. We do not plan to sell Dembélé. We want him to evolve and bring us positives.”
Paul Finebaum Notre Dame National ChampionshipFighting Irish fans likely aren’t fans of pro-SEC ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum in the first place. After hearing what he has to say about Notre Dame’s 2015 title chances, that likely won’t change.Friday, Finebaum made a bold prediction, stating that he doesn’t believe that the Fighting Irish will compete for a national championship this year. While he believes Notre Dame has a good team, he thinks the schedule, which features Georgia Tech, Clemson, USC and Stanford, is too difficult. He added that he isn’t sure when the school will be able to compete for a national title, either.Notre Dame isn’t competing for a national championship in 2015 http://t.co/DmXr6tar5U— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 7, 2015Here’s a link to the video, if it doesn’t work for you on mobile.There are many who believe that Notre Dame needs to start putting together easier schedules to compete for the College Football Playoff. It’ll be interesting to see whether the school changes its ways.
Real Madrid, despite being decimated by injuries and struggling for goals across the board since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, are showing no signs of reintroducing Isco to the starting XI under Santiago Solari – but why?The situation is a complex one, especially given the lack of communication coming out of the Spain international’s camp, but Goal will attempt to explain.Firstly, Solari is not a big fan of the four-time Champions League winner’s style of play. The Argentine coach prefers a 4-3-3 system without a recognised number 10 – the very position that the playmaker plays his finest football. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? In addition, Isco has not been in his best form since Solari’s appointment (one only has to watch his performances to note that as fact), but is seemingly showing no interest in training sessions to rectify that situation.Indeed, it is thought that Isco had counted on being given more game time to return to his best, but Solari has no intention of giving additional minutes to someone who seems not to be pushing personal limits to return to 100 per cent match fitness.Instead, Solari prefers players with a good engine and willing to run themselves into the ground for the team. One must only look at Lucas Vazquez, Fede Valverde, Vinicius Jr. and even Brahim Diaz being picked ahead of him to recognise that.So what chance does Isco have of regaining his spot in the starting XI? Well, he has been named on the bench several times, so there is nothing to suggest that he has been frozen out. It is more likely that his coach won’t place his trust in him until he returns to match fitness.That’s all well and good, you might say, but how does he feel about Dani Ceballos, four years his junior, being introduced off the bench against Betis, with 15 minutes to go and Madrid needing a goal?In general, the people in Isco’s camp are staying quiet, but one look at the player’s face during matches paints a picture of an unhappy and angry young man.One friend of the 26-year-old did speak out via Instagram, however, stating: “Solari has the same idea of football as I do of engineering” before calling the Real boss a “murderer of football”.Another large matter of note is the complete lack of public support from Isco’s team-mates – not a single member of the squad has defended him during his time in the wilderness. That could be a suggestion that the players are in agreement with the coach that Isco’s style simply doesn’t suit the club’s football.And let’s not forget being booed by his own fans in Madrid’s clash with CSKA Moscow. Couple that with a lack of support from the club and it’s easy to imagine that a departure from the Santiago Bernabeu could be on the cards as soon as is feasible.So is Isco’s Real Madrid career over? In short: yes. Certainly as long as Solari remains in charge and Isco is not at 100% fitness. Even if Madrid do appoint a new boss in the summer, however, the damage may already be irreversible.What happens next? A January move is unlikely. Even with Castilla players being preferred ahead of Isco, the club are still in tatters with regards to injuries, and a player with such a high profile means negotiations will not be fast.Although he has been linked with Manchester City in the past, Goal understands that a move to the Etihad will not be forthcoming as he does not fit into Pep Guardiola’s plans. Instead, reports suggesting Juventus as a potential destination are probably closer to reality.For now, Isco’s seat on the bench is likely to stay warm until the summer at the earliest.
Georginio Wijnaldum admits it “would be stupid” for Liverpool not to believe that they can capture the Premier League title this season.The Reds have gone 29 years since they last captured the English top-flight crown, but that long wait could be ended in 2019.Jurgen Klopp’s side, who have suffered just one defeat so far, currently hold a four-point lead over defending champions Manchester City. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? As the side to catch, Wijnaldum concedes that those at Anfield have to feel as though they are capable of crossing the line in first place.The Dutch midfielder told Sky Sports: “I think it would be stupid if I said ‘no’ [I don’t think we will win].”If you ask people from Manchester City ‘will they be champions?’, they’ll say ‘yes’.”It’s a bad sign if you say no, but we’ll see what happens until the end of the season. We will give everything we have, try to win every game and see what happens at the end of the season. There’s still a long way to go.”I’d prefer to speak about games, like now against Crystal Palace, than about the championship. We just want to make the season as good as possible.”We are trying to give everything during the season and hope we will succeed in the season. When we look back at the end of the season we will say, ‘Ok, what we have right now, we gave everything to reach that’.”Wijnaldum has experienced a title chase before during his time at PSV.He emerged victorious in 2015, with the benefit of playing first on a regular basis allowing the Eindhoven-based giants to edge out arch-rivals Ajax.Quizzed on whether a similar situation could aid Liverpool’s cause this season, as they prepare to face Palace on Saturday and City wait until Sunday to take on Huddersfield, Wijnaldum said: “It’s difficult to say.”I had the feeling it felt like an advantage when I was at PSV, we felt like we were putting pressure on them whenever we won a game, but we were not thinking we have to win today to put pressure on Ajax.”We went out, tried to enjoy it and win the game – and we won nearly every game so it worked well. We concentrated on our own game, that’s the only thing you can control.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Antoine Griezmann says the most exciting part of his move to Barcelona is teaming up with Lionel Messi, comparing him to basketball legend LeBron James.The France star joined the Spanish champions this week in a €120 million (£107m/$134m) move from Atletico Madrid, bringing an end to over a year of speculation linking him to a move.And Griezmann, 28, is looking forward to playing alongside his iconic new team-mate Messi, who he says will go down as a legend like the LA Lakers star. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? “The thing that makes me happiest is playing with a partner like him,” Griezmann said at a press conference. “Messi will be a legend for my son and my son’s children. He’s like LeBron James for basketball.”I want to be an important player at this great club and try to win La Liga, the Champions League and Copa del Rey, which is what I’m missing on my list.”Barca had been strongly linked with a move for Griezmann in 2018 and were even reported to have struck an agreement with him, as Atletico reported the Catalan club to FIFA at the end of 2017.The prolonged saga reached its conclusion with a documentary following Griezmann as he made up his mind about whether to move or stay in Madrid, with the clip produced by Gerard Pique’s production company.In the end he revealed his choice was to remain and sign a new five-year contract at Atletico, but 13 months later he became a Barca player after his release clause was triggered on Friday.Griezmann received significant criticism for the documentary, but says he did not regret making the film. “I’ve done some bad things in my past and I’ve never regretted it because it’s something I wanted to do at the time,” he said.”I wanted to show what is not seen and I have not toyed with both parties. The most important thing is that we are now together. You have to ask for forgiveness, for some it will be on the field.” When asked whether Luis Suarez and Messi could be annoyed with him, he added: “They could be, but I think that with the assistance that I can give them, we can fix everything.”Given the fairly short amount of time between rejecting Barca and then joining them, many have wondered why there was a change of heart, particularly given he signed a five-year deal with Atletico last year.For Griezmann it is simple – he was not ready to make such a step in 2018.”I have a family to move,” he said. “I saw my wife, my world, and I was not ready to take the step, and this year has been different.”It’s always difficult to leave a home where we felt comfortable with family and friends, it was difficult. I only have admiration and respect for Atletico.”I wanted a new challenge, to try to improve myself, not be comfortable. I look for my place in a great club and try to win the three titles.”
Manuel Neuer is reaching the end of his career.Now 33, the four-time FIFPro World XI goalkeeper is pondering what the future holds for him after seeing long-time team-mates Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery leave Bayern Munich earlier this summer.The wingers’ exits leave Neuer as the elder statesman at the Allianz Arena, playing for a very different club than the one he joined eight years ago. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Since then, he has won everything at club level, as well as the World Cup with Germany. Only one major trophy eludes him, the European Championship, but his agent revealed that the goalkeeper is also eager to add another Champions League triumph to his list of honours.However, Thomas Kroth believes that his client has little hope of doing that at Bayern, whom he believes can no longer compete with the Premier League’s finest, on the field or in the transfer market.”He wants to win Euro 2020 and he wants to win the Champions League again,” Neuer’s representative told the Suddeutsche Zeitung.”Manuel is success-oriented. My impression is that the gap to the top four English top teams is already serious and the Munich squad is currently not yet as competitive or set up to tackle Manuel’s goals seriously. When he realises that Bayern are responding, then he will probably blossom again.”He does not want to retire in 2021. Now, he is in the phase in which he has to decide: how will things progress in the future? Signing a contract extension and ending his career at Bayern is of course the obvious option, but it’s not the only one.”With these statements, Kroth has essentially put Neuer on the market.Germany’s No. 1 remains one of the world’s best shot-stoppers, and would surely be in demand if Bayern were willing to do business.Neuer arrived in Munich in 2011 from Schalke, having earned a reputation as the new wunderkind goalkeeper of German football. History could be about to repeat itself, with Bayern once again looking to Gelsenkirchen for their next No.1.Germany Under-21 international Alexander Nubel usurped club captain Ralf Fahrmann as Schalke’s first-choice shot-stopper last season but has just one year left on his current contract.Some prominent figures at Bayern are unhappy with Kroth’s comments and that could hasten the arrival of Nubel, with 19-year-old prodigy Christian Fruchtl presently not deemed ready to make the step up to the starting 11.Indeed, club legend Lothar Matthaus believes that Neuer is fully responsible for his agent’s actions.”Manuel’s behaviour is totally unacceptable,” the 1990 World Cup winner told Bild. “As the captain of Bayern, he should speak to the club if he has a problem with the situation over signings.”The doors of the management are always open. I know his agent – he’s someone who doesn’t usually show up in public of his own free will. Manuel will have agreed with him. My representatives would not have been able to express themselves in this way without my consent.”Injuries have hit Neuer hard in recent years, which perhaps helps to explain why he might feel concerned at how long it will take Bayern to put themselves back in a position to win the Champions League for the first time since 2013.He missed the end of the 2016-17 campaign and then the majority of the 2017-18 season with a metatarsal fracture. He returned to play for Germany at last summer’s World Cup in Russia but did not look at his best as the then-world champions crashed out at the group stage. Neuer’s 2018-19 was also hindered by various problems, resulting in him being unavailable for almost a quarter of this club’s Bundesliga games.Bayern can no longer rely on Neuer to put the gloves on every week as his body is breaking down. This, coupled with his agent’s comments in the media mean that Neuer is no longer an integral member of the squad.Head coach Niko Kovac will look to assert his dominance on his players after surviving a difficult first season in Bavaria by finishing strongly to record a domestic double.Having outspoken players in the dressing room has long been an issue for the club, but Ribery moving on means a lot less noise should emerge in the media.Perhaps a separation would be best for both Bayern and Neuer, allowing the club to extend its regeneration project to the goalkeeper position, while also giving their loyal servant a chance to move to a club with greater Champions League prospects.His agent’s comments about the distance between Bayern and England’s top clubs may also indicate a desire to test himself in the Premier League.At 33, this is probably the last chance Neuer will have to move to a big club. Maybe the time has come for him to say goodbye.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has made the right decision to stay at Chelsea and turn down Bayern Munich, according to Shaun Wright-Phillips as the winger looks set to renew his contract in the coming weeks.The Blues are understood to have verbally agreed to a new five-year deal, worth up to £180,000 a week , with their 18-year-old talent, as lawyers look over the paperworkA signing date has yet to be agreed between the club and the player but the final arrangements are thought to now be a formality after Hudson-Odoi rejected long-standing interest from Bayern to commit his future to Chelsea. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Wright-Phillips knows what it means to be sought after by two major clubs after moving from Manchester City to Chelsea in 2005.The former Blues winger is impressed with Hudson-Odoi’s early career and believes Eden Hazard’s £88 million ($107m) departure to Real Madrid means that the pathway is now open for him in west London.”For me, I thought he always had to stay,” Wright-Phillips told Goal at the finals of the #BetRegret Cup , part of the nation’s largest safer gambling campaign. “Especially with Hazard leaving. It has opened a pathway for him. He can become that person.”Maybe not to Hazard’s capability, but he has the potential to create a lot of problems for teams in the Premier League. He is an entertainer. He likes to take people on, create chances and score goals. I think, as a fan, when you are sitting there in the stadium you want to be on the edge of your seat.”He brings that X factor of what will he do next? So, I think he will be good for Chelsea. Sometimes, for me, age doesn’t matter if you have the maturity of a man, which is something he has. He has learned and the more games he has played in and around the first team, the more experience he gets.”I think he has grown into it really well. Now he just needs to keep his consistency level up to show what he is capable of. I love watching both (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi. I think they are going to have big seasons for Chelsea.”You have seen them do it at the end of last year and I think now they will do it on the big stage this year.”Chelsea are going to have to discover a way to be creative and score goals in the absence of Hazard after the Belgian superstar scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists last season, and Hudson-Odoi will be part of the formula to replace their departed playmaker.Christian Pulisic is the only major incoming of the summer in west London, as he was signed before FIFA’s transfer ban was implemented on the Blues. The £58m ($70m) signing from Borussia Dortmund has made an impact with two goals in pre-season and he is likely to start against Manchester United for his side’s first game of the 2019-20 season on Sunday.Wright-Phillips hopes that comparisons with Hazard do not put undue pressure on the USMNT international, but he is happy that his old club have attracted a player who he has watched for some time.”I like the way Pulisic plays,” he added. “I have kept an eye on him from when I was in the United States. I watched a lot of Dortmund. I like the way he plays; he drifts in and out of games. Nice touches, takes people on and he knows where the net is as well.”So, for Chelsea, they have two exciting wingers. They need to get them on the ball as much as possible. I don’t think you should compare either of them to Hazard. He was in a league of his own when he was there. I feel like they have just got to show the world what they are capable of.”Wright-Phillips was speaking from the final of the #BetRegret Cup, part of the UK’s largest safer gambling campaign . Teams from across the UK have been battling it out throughout the summer, which culminated at the national final at Powerleague Shoreditch on August 4. Bet Regret is that immediate sinking feeling you get when you place a bet you know you shouldn’t have, for example when you’re bored, drunk or chasing losses.
TALLAHASSEE, FL – NOVEMBER 05: A general view as the Florida State Seminoles take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 5, 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida. NC State defeated Florida State 20-15. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)While we’re still a few months away from the start of the 2018 college football season, some major 2019 scheduling news is set to be announced today.A major non-conference game has been scheduled as the 2019 season opener. Florida State and Boise State will get things started in Jacksonville.College football insider Brett McMurphy broke the news yesterday on Twitter. An official announcement is expected today.The game is set to be played at TIAA Bank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.Florida State vs. Boise State Aug. 31, 2019 season opener in Jacksonville will be officially announced at Wednesday news conference— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 15, 2018While this matchup will technically be a neutral site game, the two teams will meet again on Sept. 19, 2020 at Albertson’s Stadium in Boise.Boise State has played early-season non-conference games against Washington, Ole Miss, Michigan State and Washington State in recent years. The Broncos don’t shy away from anyone.Florida State opened last year up against Alabama and began the 2016 season against Ole Miss. The Seminoles also kicked off the 2014 campaign against Oklahoma State.This should be a fun one in 2019.
We’re now three weeks into the 2018 college football season, and the top eight teams in the nation, according to the AP Poll, are as follows:AlabamaClemsonGeorgiaOhio StateOklahomaLSUStanfordNotre DameNone of those teams ranked above have lost a game – yet.When will the first losses be coming? Here are the predictions from ESPN’s Football Power Index:1. Alabama: No lossMost-likely loss: at LSU on Nov. 32. Clemson: No lossMost-likely loss: at Boston College on Nov. 103. Georgia: No lossMost-likely loss: at LSU on Oct. 134. Ohio State: at Penn State on Sept. 295. Oklahoma: No lossMost-likely loss: at West Virginia on Nov. 236. LSU: vs. Georgia on Oct. 137. Stanford: at Notre Dame on Sept. 298. Notre Dame: at Virginia Tech on Oct. 13***You can view ESPN’s full projections here.
TALLAHASSEE, FL – NOVEMBER 05: A general view as the Florida State Seminoles take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 5, 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida. NC State defeated Florida State 20-15. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)Florida State is having an extremely tough Year 1 of the Willie Taggart era and things have gone from bad to ugly in this afternoon’s game against Clemson.The Seminoles, who entered today’s game hoping to pull off an upset against the No. 2-ranked Tigers, are getting beaten in every facet of the game.It’s Clemson 45, Florida State 0 midway through the third quarter.For those wondering, this would be the Seminoles’ worst home loss in the history of Doak Campbell Stadium.“FSU’s worst loss in Doak was 44 points (58-14) against Southern Miss in 1981. This certainly has potential to get there,” Ira Schoffel tweeted.We’re there now.“And it’s now 45-0 with one and a half quarters to go.”FSU’s worst loss in Doak was 44 points (58-14) against Southern Miss in 1981. This certainly has potential to get there.— Ira Schoffel (@IraSchoffel) October 27, 2018And it’s now 45-0 with one and a half quarters to go. https://t.co/2elxxc7lMr— Ira Schoffel (@IraSchoffel) October 27, 2018Taggart had said coming into today’s game that he thought his Florida State team had been gaining confidence.“I thought our team was gaining confidence for a while now,” Taggart told reporters. “Since the Syracuse game I thought each week our guys were getting better. We stubbed our toe against Miami, but I felt like we were getting better. Each week our guys are gaining confidence and it is showing and we’re improving.”The confidence is probably taking a hit today, unfortunately.Florida State trails Clemson, 45-0, midway through the third quarter. The game is on ABC.
AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Head coach Dana Holgorsen of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)This week’s college football action featured dominant performances from Alabama, Clemson and Michigan and a handful of surprising upsets. Let’s see how it’ll all shake out in the polls on Sunday.Alabama, despite finally facing a tough opponent, rolled yet again – blasting LSU on the road. Clemson, meanwhile, hung 77 points on Louisville. Michigan looks like the class of the Big Ten after the way it dominated Penn State.As for the upsets – Florida, Utah and Iowa all lost. As such, we’re going to see a major shakeup yet again.This is how we think the Coaches’ Poll will look on Sunday morning:AlabamaClemsonNotre DameMichiganGeorgiaOklahomaOhio StateWest VirginiaUCFLSUWashington State (game not over)Washington (game not over)Mississippi StateSyracuseBoston CollegeKentuckyFloridaUtah State (game not over)Penn StateUtahTexasFresno State (game not over)WisconsinOregonIowaCollege football fans – do we have it right?