Monday, 3 June 2013

I want to help Messi remain the best, Neymar says

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Brilliant Brazil striker Neymar flew into Barcelona and signed a five-year contract amid great fanfare on Monday before announcing his priority was to help his idol Lionel Messi remain the world’s best player.
The 21-year-old, who is just under five years younger than Messi, will line up with the Argentine in a fearsome Barca attack next season after the Spanish champions beat arch-rivals Real Madrid in the race to lure him from Santos.

After passing medical tests and penning a deal that ties him to Barca until June 2018, Neymar told the almost 60,000 fans who had turned up to welcome him at the Nou Camp stadium that playing for the club was a dream come true.
"Barca is more than a club and a great team and I want to contribute to Messi staying the best for many years," he said.
At a later news conference, he told reporters jamming the press room he had struggled to fight back the tears when he had walked out on to the pitch.
"It is a great day for me and my family," he said.
"Having the chance to play with so many important players whom I have admired since I was a child is something I have to thank god for.
"I have never been concerned about winning the Ballon d’Or or being the best player in the world.
"The best player is already here and that’s Messi. And now I can see him from close up and help him."
Neymar was accompanied by Barca vice president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and Bartomeu revealed that Barca had paid 57 million euros (48.29 million pounds) to sign Neymar.
His contract included a buyout clause worth 190 million euros, he added.
Quizzed about the complex ownership structure of rights to the player, Bartomeu said there was a confidentiality agreement in place that prevented him revealing how much Barca paid to each of the four parties who held a stake to secure the rights.
Local media reported the four were Neymar’s previous club Santos, investment firms DIS and Terceira Estrela Investimentos and an unidentified sports consultant.
Barca had not wanted to pay more than 40 million euros in total but the price had been forced up by the interest of Real and other clubs, Bartomeu said.
"He is one of the world’s best talents of his generation and he could be a reference point," Zubizarreta told reporters.
"We will enjoy some magical nights with him and his team mates," added the former Barca and Spain goalkeeper. "They will be delighted to share a dressing room with Neymar."
Barca are hoping the addition of the Brazilian will help them maintain their edge over Real in La Liga next season and propel them to a third European crown in six years.

(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Ed Osmond)

(Source: thestar)

Jose heads to Chelsea with parting shot for Ronaldo as Madrid's dressing-room war is exposed at bitter end

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will take charge of Chelsea later this week.
'I'm going to London on Monday and at the end of the week I will be the manager of Chelsea,' he said to leading Spanish TV football show Punto Pelota. 'I feel the people there love me and in life you have to look for that.
'Life is beautiful and short and you must look for what you think is best for you.'
Never have the words ‘the bitter end’ been more apt as Jose Mourinho took charge of his last game at Real Madrid before returning to Chelsea.

He left the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night without saying goodbye to Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Iker Casillas, having suggested all three had deliberately ruled themselves out of his last game in charge.
And as if to underline the divisions, Alvaro Arbeloa — one of the players who had stayed loyal to Mourinho in what had become a dressing-room war against the coach — claimed the manager had been betrayed by his players.
Mourinho had left as many as 10 first-team players out of his final squad for Saturday’s visit of Osasuna, but claimed that, while many were injured and had been ruled out by the club’s medical staff, Ronaldo, Casillas and Pepe had all taken it upon themselves to miss the last game.
He told Spanish television channel Intereconomia: ‘The players not in the team had either been declared injured by club doctors, or have declared themselves injured. ‘Pepe, Cristiano and Casillas all ruled themselves out with back pain. They did not train all week and they did not train very well last week either.’
The disintegration of player-coach relations after Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final exit against Borussia Dortmund intensified after the charade of the Spanish Cup final, which Real lost with both Mourinho and Ronaldo sent off. It had reached such levels that it seems the star players wanted no part in their coach’s send-off.

The manager who built winning teams at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto on the foundation of unbreakable dressing-room unity was unable to do the same at Real Madrid. Straight after Saturday’s 4-2 win, Arbeloa suggested that Mourinho was let down by selfish players.
The Spain defender said: ‘Mourinho gave everything for the club, always putting it first, and sometimes his image was affected by that. I am not sure everyone else, players included, can say  the same.
‘A lot of us worried that we might look bad in the media. We worried about having a good public image and we spoke always for our own benefit. There is a good group of players here and we all have a good relationship, but perhaps we lacked maturity at times.’
The split between Mourinho and his players was never as clear as in the tunnel before the final home game of the season as he waited until the last moment possible to take to the pitch.

Ronaldo was also in the tunnel waiting to be awarded a post-season prize, and not a word was exchanged between the pair. 
Pepe and Casillas appeared at the top of the stairs that lead to the dressing room, ready to  watch the game from the private players’ boxes high up in the Bernabeu.
They looked down on Ronaldo. He looked at Mourinho, who looked out on to the pitch, avoiding eye contact with his three errant players. 
It was an image to sum up a tempestuous last season in charge when, for the first time in his career, the Special One had lost the dressing room.
‘We have to learn for next season,’ said Arbeloa. ‘With the new coach, we have to be united with everyone helping each other. 
‘This coach has won wherever he has gone and it is strange that here, where he had the best squad he has ever had, is where he has won the least.’
The divisions in the dressing room were as ever replicated in the stands of the Bernabeu. 

Supporters behind one goal sung his name throughout the 4-2 win but the songs were drowned out by jeers from the remaining three sides of the stadium. 
There were ‘Thanks for everything’ signs held aloft but others read, ‘Thanks for nothing’ and ‘Don’t ever come back’.
The most vocal of the pro-Mourinho supporters hung a ‘Mourinho we love you’ banner from the stand behind the south goal. 
The outgoing coach came back out to those supporters after the end of the game to have pictures taken with several who had made their way on to the pitch.
The game itself saw Mourinho clock up his 128th win in his 178th game in charge. It also meant the club had gone the entire season without losing at home — save the cup final when they had occupied the away dressing room. Despite the victory there was little sign of celebrations. 
Another who said an unhappy goodbye was Gonzalo Higuain. He did not celebrate after scoring the game’s opener and confirmed after the match that he would not play for Real again: ‘It’s a decision I have taken calmly over time. I have been here seven years, they try to sell me every pre-season and I need to go somewhere I am truly wanted.’
Arsenal will have taken note of the confirmation of his departure, as well as his insistence that a switch to Juventus had not been finalised.

Luka Modric and Arbeloa both had farewell photographs taken with Mourinho and his coaching staff. And when Michael Essien, on loan from Chelsea, scored Madrid’s second goal, he ran to embrace the coach on the touchline.
Essien expects to go back to Chelsea with Mourinho, while, at Madrid, a new era begins as the club confirm Florentino Perez will continue as president for the next four years. 
His first business will be to try to persuade Ronaldo to sign a  contract extension but he may be fighting a losing battle with Manchester United confident they can lure the forward back to Old  Trafford, making him a spectacular signing for new manager David Moyes. 
Perez met the player’s agent Jorge Mendes last week — and a two-year extension on Ronaldo’s  current deal that runs until 2016 is on the table which would see him clear £13.5million a year after tax has been paid by the club.
There is hope at the Bernabeu that with the increased offer and Mourinho’s departure Ronaldo is more likely to stay but the Portugal international is aware that he would be adored by United fans if he returns in contrast to the mixed reception he has received from Real supporters 
Perez knows the player’s decision will impact on just how hard he must push to bring in Gareth Bale for £80m this year, as well as influencing whether a £40m bid for Luis Suarez goes ahead.

[Source: dailymail]

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Messi v Ronaldo: All the goals from 2012-13

Video: Watch all the goals scored by Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga in 2012-13

[Source: givemesport]

Neymar could be next Lionel Messi, says Frank Lampard

England midfielder Frank Lampard said that new Barcelona signing Neymar has the potential to be as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Speaking on Saturday, on the eve of England's friendly against Brazil in the official reopening of the Maracana Stadium, Lampard praised the 21-year-old striker.

"I played against Neymar at Wembley in February and I've also seen some videos of him on Youtube. He does some spectacular things," said Lampard, who is England's captain in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard.

"I have spoken about him with David Luiz, Oscar and also Ramires. For me he is a young superstar and he has what it takes to do well for Barcelona. I hope he is successful. Football needs big players like Messi and Ronaldo and I think Neymar could also be one of those players at the top."

Lampard was among a group of England players that visited Rio's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue Saturday. He admitted the city had a charm like no other he had visited and said the trip had whetted his appetite to return for next year's World Cup.

"Being here is a nice. There is a certain magic in Brazil and particularly in Rio. We know there's work to be done to qualify and it is up to us to do that. I'm confident. There are lads that are going to make a name for themselves and possibly will be peaking at the perfect time," the 34-year-old said.

Lampard added he was looking forward to playing at the Maracana Stadium, whose reopening comes after almost three years of reconstruction work and cost overruns.

"The Maracana is world renowned. I grew up hearing stories about it and it's an honour to play there. It's a new stadium now but the name remains the same. In England we have Wembley which is a great stadium and the Maracana is in that category."

[Source: ndtv]
Saturday, 1 June 2013

Madrid's wax museum to feature Cristiano Ronaldo

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo signed with the Madrid wax museum, after which two sculptors spent most of an hour taking measurements of his muscular anatomy.     

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Friday, 31 May 2013

Lionel Messi Will Benefit from Neymar's Presence in Barcelona Lineup

Neymar transferred from local club Santos to Barcelona just a few days ago. Will messi and neymar make Barca to beat in Europe 2013-14?

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