Minggu, 12 Juli 2009


The players have been back in training this week, and on Friday our official photographer headed down to Carrington to capture the first shots of Michael Owen in training with his new team-mates.

Owen, who signed for the Reds this month on a free transfer, looks to have settled in at United already - of course, he already knows many of his new team-mates from the England set-up.

The Reds are now in full preparation mode for the 2009/10 campaign, and the squad are getting ready to fly out on the pre-season tour of Asia late next week.

But while there's plenty of hard work being done to build fitness ahead of United's Barclays Premier League title defence and another European assault, there's still time to have some fun, as our exclusive pictures show.more detail

Sabtu, 20 Desember 2008


A pre-Christmas cracker from Brazilian striker Cristiano has given Adelaide United FC a fifth place finish in the FIFA Club World Cup as The Reds defeated African champions Al Ahly 1-nil at the Yokohama international Stadium.

Cristiano’s 7th minute bomb from outside the penalty area gave United the ideal start to the match and despite spending extended periods of the match defending their lead, The Reds held on against the Egyptians to claim an impressive victory.

The result was a pleasing finale to the tournament for United, who finished with two wins and a loss in their three games, Coach Aurelio Vidmar stating after the match that The Reds’ effort to finish fifth would do wonders for the game back in Adelaide and Australia.

“The tournament has been a terrific vehicle for the promotion of our game back home and it has been a tremendous experience for our club and it is very pleasing that the boys were able to fight it out tonight and get the right result,” Vidmar said.

“By finishing fifth and with our experience in the Asian Champions League, it has really lifted the profile of the game in Australia and it hopefully gives a lot of confidence to the other A-League clubs that they can do well in the Asian Champions League to get to this point.”

“It has been a tremendous ride which hasn’t been easy but we’ve learnt a lot from playing these games and it certainly puts the cub and the game on the map back home. When you win games at this level it lifts people’s eyebrows and awareness of what the football can and will be like in the future.”

In near perfect playing conditions, after failing to score in 90 minutes against Gamba Osaka, it took just 7 minutes for The Reds to open their account against Al Ahly when Cristiano put in his bid for goal of the tournament, unleashing a rocket into the top right hand corner from 23 metres, giving Al Ahly keeper Amir Abdelhamid no chance. The dream start for and Adelaide side who had come to play as they displayed quick, crisp passing in the lead up, Cristiano providing a finish to match.

More early United pressure nearly saw them go two up inside 10 minutes, Paul Reid chipping a ball into the box and Sasa Ognenovski’s lunging header being just kept out by the hand of Abdelhamid.

Michael Marrone in action against Al Ahly. 
Koji Watanabe © Getty Images United continued to play with creativity going forward, and in the 14th minute Cristiano went close to scoring his second as he tried to finish off some good build up play involving Diego and Robert Younis, however the Brazilian’s toe poke just missed the left upright.

In the 24th minute Adelaide United was struck a blow when Diego, who had been prominent up to that stage, came off injured, forcing Vidmar to change his game plan as he brought on Jonas Salley.

Diego’s absence allowed the Egyptians to start to control more of the game as they tried to get back on even terms, their best chance of the half coming in the 41st minute when Flavio found the side netting with a fierce header.

After the break, National Youth League signing Michael Marrone was given his first taste of action, replacing and injured Daniel Mullen in the 55th minute, Vidmar giving another of his youngsters time on the big stage after Osama Malik made it on the field in the Quarter Final last Sunday.

The Reds were being made to defend for further periods in the second half as the Egyptians continued to toil away in search of an equaliser. Vidmar brought Malik on for Younis with 15 minutes to go as United were working hard to keep their lead in tact.

The Reds were keeping their shape well at the back, giving Al Ahly little time and space in attack, although keeper Eugene Galekovic was forced into a fine save in the 83rd minute.

Al Ahly were trying anything to get back into the match, Hussein Yasser receiving a yellow card for diving as he tried to win a free kick just outside the United penalty area. As time was running out, the game continued to be played in The Reds’ half of the pitch with Al Ahly looking for a way through.

But United held firm, accounting for the three minutes of added time and Adelaide United FC could boast fifth place in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup plus a handsome financial reward.

“I certainly think the first 30 minutes was some of the best football that we’ve played in the tournament,” Vidmar said in his assessment of the game.

“We scored a fantastic goal, Cristiano could have had a second not long after that, but as soon as Diego came off, it really hurt our rhythm and the dynamics of the way we want to play and it became evident that we started to struggle to keep the ball and that was the case again in the second half.”

While Al AHly had the better of the play in the second half, Vidmar praised his players’ resilience in being able to hang on to the result.

“It doesn’t help when you have to substitute two players who are injured but I was really proud of the way the players rolled up their sleeves and fought for as long as they could because Al Ahly played some very good football in the second half.”

The squad will depart Japan tomorrow night before arriving in Adelaide at 11.25am on Saturday 20 December, as the focus turns back to the Hyundai A-League and a match against Perth Glory in Perth on Boxing Day.

Senin, 27 Oktober 2008


Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin claims he has already made a final decision on his future as speculation mounts that Tottenham are launching a firm bid for his services.

The impish Russia international enjoyed a fantastic Euro 2008 when returning from suspension to inspire his team-mates and rubber-stamp his growing reputation.

After helping guide Zenit to the Uefa Cup, he is looking for a new challenge despite earning a substantial salary in his homeland.

Arshavin's priority has always been to join Barcelona, and he has even been photographed in the Catalan press in the famous red and blue stripes.

However, Barca will not meet Zenit's asking price and, after earlier links with Arsenal and Chelsea fizzled out, Spurs and Fiorentina are the latest names in the frame.

When asked directly about those two clubs, he told Sport Express ahead of the match with CSKA Moscow: "I have already taken a final decision. It only remains to finalise it with the club management.

"But, excuse me, I cannot yet [clarify the situation about my exit]."

Spurs have cash to spend after selling Robbie Keane to Liverpool and Arshavin would be an ideal replacement for the Republic of Ireland captain.

Arshavin's future has been one of the transfer sagas of the summer but it would appear as though the CSKA clash could be his last for Zenit with more developments expected before the weekend.

Selasa, 16 September 2008


AC Milan and Brazil playmaker Kaka was awarded the 2007 Ballon d'Or by French magazine France Football yesterday.

Kaka, who won the Champions League with Milan last season, beat Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Barcelona's Lionel Messi of Argentina, who were second and third respectively.

Until last year, when Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro won the award after leading his side to World Cup glory in Germany, 52 European journalists voted for a player from a European club.

For this year's award, 96 journalists from around the world voted and the shortlist of 50 players featured players based in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Qatar.

"The only way you can win this award is being part of a team of fighters. So I thank my team mates, my coach and also my team mates in the Selecao," Kaka told French television channel TF1.

"Also, thank you to all those who have been beside me throughout my career."

The elegant Kaka is already the winner of the FIFPro world Player of the Year and UEFA European Club Player of the Year awards and is the big favourite for FIFA's World Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.

His 10 goals in guiding Milan to their seventh European Cup triumph in May set up this flurry of awards in a year without a World Cup or European championship.
Ballon d'Or winners.

Jumat, 12 September 2008


When Alan Curbishley stepped down as manager of West Ham, many names were linked with the vacant job. Of these names, two Italians were listed to be in the running: Roberto Donadoni, who was fresh off his 2 year reign as Italian National Team manager and speaks fluent English after his stint in MLS with the Metrostars, and Gianfranco Zola, who spent 7 seasons with Chelsea in the EPL, making 249 appearances and scoring 89 goals, and was most recently an assistant to Pierluigi Casiraghi for the Italy U-21 squad. Both Donadoni and Zola were interviewed, and then rumors came out that West Ham were all set to name Zola as manager (with Donadoni releasing a statement that he had withdrawn his name from the running). On Tuesday, after the U21 qualifier vs. Croatia, Zola responded to questions about the job and said he would reveal everything on Wednesday. Yesterday Zola announced he was about to sign with West Ham, and today it became official, with the Sardinian fantasista signing a 3 year deal worth around 4.5 million pounds.

This is 42 year old Zola’s first ever head coaching job, and the only previous experience he has is his assistant job with the Italy U-21’s. Zola has experience playing in the EPL and speaks the language, so he shouldn’t have much a problem adapting to England. However it remains to be seen if he has the necessary experience to be successful at such a high level. Zola is West Ham’s first ever non-British manager. Also West Ham’s director of football is Italian Gianluca Nani, who used to be the director of football at Brescia and discovered such talents as Marek Hamsik, Fabiano Santacroce, and Emiliano Viviano just to name a few. Zola will also find another Italian at West Ham in striker David Di Michele, who arrived from Torino on loan during the transfer window.

Zola’s first words as West Ham boss were, “At Chelsea I had some great years, but I wanted to find a new challenge and I know West Ham can be a successful club.” Then he talked about his time as U-21 assistant, “I’ve always liked to work with young players, but the offer I was presented with was irrefutable.” He also says because he was an attacking player he likes to play attacking football and his team will be fun to watch.

I wish Zola luck because it’s always great to see Italians doing good abroad.more detail

Kamis, 04 September 2008


Damn the international breaks, seriously. Could there be any worse timing? We get one weekend of Serie A and then have to wait two weeks till the next one. It’s just one big tease.In the meantime, I wrote up a profile on Zizou, who I personally believe to be the greatest player of all time. Not Maradona, not Pele, who certainly were tremendous players, but Zinedine Yazid Zidane. He’s mostly known for his days with Les Bleus and the Galacticos at Madrid, but I believe his greatest years were at La Vecchia Signora. Among the silverware he picked up in Turin were two Scudetti, an International Cup, and unfortunately, two Uefa Champion’s League runners-up medals. Personally, he earned Uefa’s Club Best Midfielder, FIFA World Player of the Year (twice), and of course, the Ballon d’Or. He also was in the top 3 shortlist for the Ballon d’Or twice, aside from his victory in 1998. Interesting fact about his European Footballer of the Year award, his landslide victory is the most lopsided of the last 17 years.

Zinedine Zidane was born in Marseille, France in 1972. He started playing for AS Cannes in the French league after which at age 20 he transferred to Bordeaux, where he lead the team to an Intertoto cup win as well as finishing runners-up in the Uefa cup. According to a bio over at a Blackburn Rovers fan page, team owner Jack Walker declined to sign Zidane, saying “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” (I have never heard of Sherwood. That either speaks massively of Walker’s error or just of my sheer ignorance of the Premiership) In the end, Juventus signed him for £3 million at the age of 24.more detail

Minggu, 31 Agustus 2008


Senin, 25 Agustus 2008


Early career

Fernando TorresTorres, born on 20 March 1984, became interested in football as a child and joined his first team, Parque 84, at the age of five. His grandfather was not passionate about football, but prided himself in being an Atlético Madrid supporter, and Torres inherited his love for the Madrid club.

When he was seven years-old, he started playing regularly in an indoor league for his neighbourhood club, Mario’s Holland, as a forward. Three years later, aged ten, he progressed to playing for an 11-side team, Rayo 13. After an impressive season with his new club, in which he scored 55 goals, Torres was one of three Rayo 13 players to earn a trial with Atlético Madrid. He impressed the scouts and, aged just eleven, joined the club in 1995.After progressing through the ranks, Torres won his first important youth title in 1998. Atlético Madrid sent an under-15 team to compete in the Nike Cup, both domestically and European, to play youth teams from prominent European clubs; Atlético won the tournament. He was later voted the best player in Europe for that age-group. In 1999, aged fifteen, Torres signed his first contract with Atlético Madrid. He spent his first year playing in the youth team team and them moved onto the participating in the Honour Division when he was 16. The 2000–01 season had started badly, as Torres suffered from a cracked shinbone that kept him out of action until December. Torres trained with the first team to get prepared for pre-season, but eventually made his debut for the team on 27 May 2001, at Vicente Calderón, against Leganés. A week later, he scored his first goal for the club against Albacete and the season finished with Atlético narrowly mising out on promotion to La Liga.

The 2001–02 season saw Atlético win promotion back to La Liga, which was a poor one for Torres, during which he netted only six times in 36 appearances in the Segunda Division. Torres' first season at the highest level of Spanish football, 2002–03, was a good one which saw him manage to score 12 goals in 29 appearances as Atlético finished 11th. In the 2003–04 season, his second in La Liga, Torres made further strides, scoring 19 league goals in 35 appearances, meaning he finished as joint third highest scorer in the league. Aged just nineteen, he was also named Atlético's club captain. Atlético narrowly missed out on qualification for the UEFA Cup, but by finishing in 7th place in 2004 they qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup, giving Torres his first taste of European club competition. He scored two goals in the two round four matches against OFK Beograd, with one coming in each leg. Atlético reached the final, but lost on penalties to Villarreal. Premier League champions Chelsea were believed to be interested in Torres in 2005, but Atlético president Enrique Cerezo said that they had "no chance" of signing him. Cerezo later said in January 2006 that the club were willing to listen to offers for Torres, and Torres claimed Newcastle United had made a bid to sign him in March.

After the 2006 FIFA World Cup, in which Torres participated as a member of the Spanish national team, he admitted that he had turned down the chance to join Chelsea at the end of the 2005–06 season. Following the 2006–07 season, in which he scored 14 La Liga goals, Torres' future at Atlético was once again the subject of speculation after their inability to secure an automatic UEFA Cup spot. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were all linked with a move for him, with reports in the English media stating that Torres was the main transfer target of Liverpool. The rumours reached such a fever pitch that Atlético president Enrique Cerezo made a statement saying, "We've received no offer from Liverpool or any other club or player." However, a few days later, new reports suggested Atlético had agreed a deal with Liverpool for Torres; the fee rumoured was £25 million with Luis García moving in the opposite direction in a separate transfer deal. Then on 30 June Atlético announced a deal with Villarreal to sign Diego Forlán, which was seen as a move to replace Torres before his departure had become official. On 2 July it was reported Torres had cut short a holiday to fly back to Madrid to finalise the move to Liverpool. The following day, Torres passed a medical for Liverpool and it was announced that a farewell press conference would be held in Madrid on 4 July to bid farewell to the Atlético fans. The transfer fee is the highest paid in Liverpool's history, and in March 2008, manager Rafael Benítez confirmed to The Times that Torres was acquired for around £20 million.

Fernando TorresTorres playing for Liverpool against Middlesbrough on 23 February 2008, during which he scored a hat-trickTorres made his competitive debut for Liverpool against Aston Villa in a 2–1 win on 11 August 2007. He made his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League four days later in a 1–0 victory over Toulouse, after coming on as a 78th minute substitute. His first Premier League goal came on his Anfield debut on 19 August, in the 16th minute in a 1–1 draw against Chelsea. His first hat-trick came in a 4–2 victory over Reading in the League Cup in September, with all of his goals coming in the second half. His first goals in the Champions League came on his third appearance in the competition as Liverpool beat F.C. Porto 4–1, during which he scored twice.

He won the Premier League's player of the month award for February, during which he scored four goals in two league appearances, including a hat-trick against Middlesbrough on 23 February 2008. This hat-trick and another in a 4–0 victory over West Ham United on 5 March 2008 meant he became the first Liverpool player since Jackie Balmer in November 1946 to score a hat-trick in successive home matches. Later in March, after he scored a 47th minute header against Reading at Anfield, he became the first Liverpool player since Robbie Fowler in the 1995–96 season campaign to score 20 league goals in a season.

In April, he scored another Champions League goal, this time against Arsenal in the quarter-final second leg, to help take Liverpool through to the semi-final. This goal took him onto 29 goals for the season in all competitions, eclipsing former Liverpool favourite Michael Owen's personal record for goals in a season. On 11 April 2008, it was announced Torres had made a six man shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award, which was eventually won by Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United. The Spanish international was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, which was won by Cesc Fàbregas of Arsenal and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. In May, he finished second to Ronaldo for the FWA Footballer of the Year award.

On 4 May 2008, Torres scored a 57th minute winner against Manchester City, which equalled the consecutive Anfield league goal record of eight games set by Roger Hunt. After scoring his 24th league goal in the final game of the season, a 2–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, he set a new record for the most prolific foreign goal scorer ever in a debut season in England, eclipsing Ruud van Nistelrooy's 23 goals. He ended the season in joint second with Emmanuel Adebayor in the race for the Premier League golden boot. Torres was subject to media speculation that Chelsea were willing pay £50 million to sign him, to which Torres responded to by saying it will be "many years" before he leaves Liverpool. Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks later said he would not allow him to leave the club at any price.

International career

Fernando TorresIn February 2001, Torres won the Algarve Tournament with the Spain under-16 team. The under-16s took part in the 2001 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship in May, which they also won, with Torres scoring the only goal in the final, as well as finishing as the tournament's leading goalscorer and was also named the player of the tournament. In November 2001, Torres represented Spain at the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, but the team failed to progress through the group stage. In July 2002, he won the 2002 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, finishing as top scorer and being named player of the tournament and was again the only goalscorer in the final.

In 2003, Torres made his senior debut for the senior Spanish national team on 6 September 2003 in a friendly against Portugal. His first goal for Spain came against Italy on 28 April 2004. He was chosen as part of the Spanish squad for Euro 2004, but only managed to appear as a late substitute in Spain's first two group games, but made the first eleven for the deciding game against Portugal; Spain lost 1–0 and were eliminated.

He scored seven goals in eleven appearances in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, making him Spain's top scorer for qualification. At his first ever appearance in a World Cup finals at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Torres scored the final goal in a 4–0 victory over Ukraine with a volley. In the second group match, Torres scored twice against Tunisia; firstly in the 76th minute to take Spain 2–1 into the lead and then again from a penalty kick in the 90th. He finished the tournament as Spain's joint top scorer alongside fellow striker David Villa with three goals. The Madrilenian was called up to Spain's UEFA Euro 2008 squad, where he set up Villa to score Spain's first goal of the tournament in the opening game against Russia. Torres came under criticism for apparently refusing to shake the hand of Spanish manager, Luis Aragonés, after being substituted. He has since denied being angry with the coaching, citing that he was actually "angry with himself". He scored his first goal of the tournament after scoring the opening goal in Spain's next game, a 2–1 win over Sweden.

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