Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic says that he is surprised by the form that Lionel Messi has shown in the last two months.
After being heavily criticised for having become a goal provider rather than a goalscorer, Messi has been scoring in the bucket loads since the 1-0 defeat against Real Sociedad. The transfer speculation surrounding the 27-year-old has also disappeared due to this impeccable form, which does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. Messi has failed to score or assist a goal only once in the last 10 matches. He helped himself to a hat-trick and an assist in the 5-0 thrashing of Levante.
After the match, Rakitic says that he is amazed by the form shown by Messi. The Argentine has now scored 23 hat-tricks in the Spanish football. This sees him equal Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of the hat-trick in the league. There was also another record that fell during this victory and it was former Barcelona and Real Madrid superstar Luis Figo’s record of 105 assists in the league. Messi is single-handedly the best goal provider in the la Liga with 13 assists. Ronaldo comes second with 10 to his name. Messi seems to be urged upon by the second consecutive loss in the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards to his nemesis Ronaldo.
"It’s great that Messi is continuing to improve.He’s taken home another match ball today.We love having him in the team and doing everything we can to help him.It was a nice all-round game. We worked hard and that’s important. We need to carry on like this.There are 23-24 players in the squad and we all want to play. You don’t notice the changes, and we really enjoyed ourselves out there against Levante. It’ll be good to get some rest this week,” said Rakitic.
The manager of the Spain national Football team, Vicente Del Bosque, has condemned the statements made by Sergio Ramos about a couple of his teammates recently.
Ramos had criticized the Chelsea players Costa and Fabregas for not making themselves available for La Roja’s recent matches.
Ramos had said that the two Chelsea guys are not committed enough for their national side.
Ramos definitely had a point in what he said. Both Costa and Fabregas had featured in Chelsea’s last match ahead of international break and they had looked fine during that match.
But, then, all of a sudden, the news came through that they were unfit and could not play for Spain in the international games coming up.
However, despite that, Del Bosque reckons that Ramos went a bit too far in his statements.
Yesterday, the La Roja boss was quoted as speaking, “Sergio perhaps said things that were not necessary to be said. He was at fault there yes.”
Fabregas is also believed to be quite unhappy with Ramos. Although, he said yesterday that he has had a chat with the Real Madrid defender and the matter has been settled, still, he couldn’t hide his disappointment.
In the words of Fabregas, “It was definitely annoying and I let Sergio know that. We had a telephone conversation yesterday and it’s all good now, but, you know nobody likes his commitment to be questioned especially when it’s about your country.”
“I have always been available to play for my national team and I will continue to be.”
Fabregas has so far earned 94 caps in international Football. He had played his first match back in 2006 and he has been regularly playing for Spain since then. He has 13 international goals to his name.
Louis Van Gaal is not impressed with Wayne Rooney’s work in the main attacking position and that’s why he has decided to use the 28 year-old player more as a midfielder now.
In the previous game against Leicester City, Rooney did not play up front. It’s Radamel Falcao who played as striker along with the Dutchman Robin Van Persie.
After the defeat to Leicester, when Van Gaal was asked why Rooney’s playing position was changed, he said, “Rooney had been doing okay as forward, but, he had not been pulling off spectacular performances which were expected of him. Radamel is an out and out forward. So, I thought perhaps he could be better playing there at this point of time.”
Rooney is very close to becoming Manchester United’s highest scorer ever. He is 30 odd goals away from that milestone.
There has been a dip in Rooney’s strike rate over the last couple of years at United and that’s because he has been playing slightly deep.
This season though, Van Gaal backed Rooney to play ahead of the other attacking players, but, his returns have clearly not been satisfying. Making 5 appearances, the Red Devils skipper has struck just two times and that’s not good enough.
Rooney’s showing in the midfield was not great either against Leicester. He committed several errors there and lost his temper as well at times. But, still, many experts reckon that he can offer more playing wide or in midfield rather than playing right up front.
Whichever place Rooney plays at, he needs to start delivering and along with that, he needs to control his anger too. He is the leader and he has to show the way to the youngsters rather than screaming at them out of frustration.
Michael Keane is a young defender who was named as the Reserve Player of the Year of Manchester United in 2012 but even with his standout performances in the youth team, he has not managed on making a single appearance for the senior team and has been offload to a number of different clubs including: Leicester City, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers all on loan deals.
The boss of Blackburn Rovers, Gary Bowyer is hoping he can sign Michael Keane on a permanent deal but will have to wait on the decision of Louis van Gaal and see if the Dutch coach has any plans of utilizing Keane in the first team.
Bowyer told reporters: “I’ve said all along that Mr Van Gaal will have a look at him. If Michael’s situation was to change then hopefully we’d be in a position to put ourselves forward. But we’re talking ifs, buts and maybes at the moment as he’s a Manchester United player.”
Bowyer is trying to focus on the defensive division of Blackburn Rovers as the English tactician is happy with his offensive options of his team. Luke Varney is one of the latest reinforcements that will be joining the team of Bowyer during the next season and the manager of the club revealed his satisfaction about all the attacking players he has at his disposal.
Jordan Rhodes, Rudy Gestede, Luke Varney and Chris Brown are all of the players that will be competing for a spot in the starting lineup of Bowyer.
"The four of them are very competitive and it gives us different options. We've got a good combination and a good mix. I'm looking forward to working with them all. I wouldn't want to be playing against Rudy, Brown or Varney in the air. Your other option as a centre-half is to mark Jordan and I wouldn't fancy that either." Bowyer said as he talked about his attacking options for the upcoming season.
Former Atletico Madrid player Juninho Paulista has revealed that he has no grudge over former Real Madrid star Michel Salgado. The two were involved in an ugly clash that resulted in the former suffering a broken leg. This meant that he had to miss out on the World Cup 1998. Now, he says that he has never had a problem with the tackle from Salgodo, but it was the referee who went unpunished after this incident. He says that the referee should have been punished retrospectively for not taking action.
Paulista was then one of the top players for the Brazilian national team, but he had to miss out on the World Cup due to this injury. He has revealed the pain of watching his players play at the most prestigious tournament in the world, while he missed out on selection. However, Paulista says that the players were not wasted after he was selected for the 2002 World Cup. Brazil managed to win the World Cup under the guidance of Luiz Felipe Scolari. Now, he says that this was perhaps the fate and it was meant to happen.
Salgado was playing for Celta de Vigo at the time. He went on to represent the likes of Real Madrid before retiring a few years ago.
“I do not keep that hurt. He took an attitude that he should not have taken. I did not know but Salgado took great care and wanted to go to the hospital to apologise, we was talking in the locker room that he did not intend but it’s complicated. The way he moved, the ball was in front, he did not aim for the ball, he aimed for my leg, of course not to break it though. I feel more angry, not with the player, but the attitude of the organization. The referee wasn’t punished, I don’t think he even gave a yellow, just a foul,” said the Brazilian.
Michel Salgado reckons that there is no lack of football talent in United Arab Emirates and the country is fully capable of producing world class players, but, for that, it’s necessary that the right kind of coaching structure is set up.
Salgado was in Dubai the other day launching a school level competition. He talked to the correspondents of the TV channels who were out there covering that event.
When asked if he thinks that there is enough football potential in this part of the world, the former Spanish international said, “Yes, I think so. But, having potential is not everything. The guidance is important too. A player needs to work under quality coaches from his teenage if he has to flourish at the highest level.”
“The affects of the professional league are already visible here. The youngsters are getting better and better and I have no doubt in my mind that some years down the line, UAE will become a very strong side.”
“It takes a bit of time. The professional leagues have been taking place in the European nations since a very long time, so, matching them straightaway is impossible. But, as time goes on, things will change and some world class footballers will come out of this country.”
Salgado is considered as a legend in Europe. He played professional football for about a couple of decades and had a lot of success. He called it a day a couple of years back at the age of 37.
Salgado who used to play at the right back position spent most parts of his career playing in the Spanish top flight. However, his career ended in England as he played his last professional match for the English Championship club Blackburn Rovers.
The manager of the Spain national football team, Vicente Del Bosque, has said that his players shouldn’t let the complacency creep in ahead of the World Cup finals which is going to start in a few months’ time.
Spain will go into that tournament as the defending champions. So, they will definitely be under a bit of pressure.
Spain’s performance in the big tournaments in the last few years has been absolutely fantastic. They have won 3 big competitions in the last 5 years and that’s why, there are so many people who are backing them to achieve the glory again in Brazil.
But, of late, a bit of deterioration has been seen in Spain’s game. In the final of the Confederations Cup which was played a few months back, they were up against Brazil and they were expected to defeat them, but, not only did they lose there, they lost quite badly. The margin of their defeat was 0-3 and that left many Spanish fans embarrassed.
According to Del Bosque, most of the players in this Spanish team have been around since quite a long time and they have achieved a considerable amount of success. So, they might have started lacking a bit of hunger and that’s something which is worrying him.
Talking to the reporters yesterday, the Spanish manager said, “The only thing that we need to make sure is that we don’t get complacent. We have to put the past achievements out of our system.”
“It will be a new World Cup, new campaign and we need to go there with high spirits.”
Spain has been slotted in Group B in the World Cup finals along with Netherlands, Australia and Chile. Their first match will be against Netherlands on 13th of June.
Former Real Madrid player Michel Salgado believes new signing Gareth Bale still needs tie to adapt to life in the Spanish capital.
The Welshman became the most expensive player in the world when he swapped the lily white of Premier League club for the famous whites of Real Madrid this summer for a reported fee of € 100 million and the former Blackburn Rovers player believes the pressure surrounding the price tag on Bale will have its effects on him but added that he is good enough to overcome that pressure and raise the bar he has set for himself with Spurs.
The Wales international has been limited to a few first team chances for the Madrid giants and his performances for Real Madrid in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of eternal rivals Barcelona last weekend came under immense scrutiny, especially when new Barcelona signing Neymar stole the show for the Catalan giants.
Several Madrid based papers criticized manager Carlo Ancelotti for persevering with Bale while their Catalan counterparts laughed off the club’s latest star signing by calling him irrelevant. But Michel Salgado believes this kind of criticism is harsh on the player.
Salgado, who played ten seasons for Real between 1999 and 2009, stated that the issue is very complicated. He mentioned that Madrid fans cannot expect the player to score more goals for the club than Cristiano Ronaldo because they paid a higher fee for him and categorically stated that it will never happen.
Michel Salgado faced Bale while he played for Rovers and he mentioned he had a tough time against him but he did say that Bale is a quality player, but given time, he will start repaying the huge fee Madrid paid for him and will no doubt become a key player in the future.
The absence of Fernando Torres and David Villa give the opportunity for new Manchester city signing Alvaro Negredo to impress Spain manager Vicente del Bosque in the recent friendly match against Ecuador.
The former Sevilla striker completed a £ 27 million move to the Etihad stadium, and he is expected to compete for a starting spot against the likes of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. He has been one of the consistent goalscorers in Spanish football over the last few years, but he has been unable to get a regular place in the national team due to the low profile Sevilla.
He believes that playing for a big club like Manchester city will help him get on the national team more often than not. Spain won the match 2-0 in difficult circumstances after they have crossed the Atlantic. Negredo scored one of the goals with a beautiful touch. It was a difficult finish, but the 27-year-old has said that he had to go for it because otherwise the chance would have gone. Santi Cazorla created a goal for his compatriot. Del Bosque has been favouring a striker less formation for Spain in recent years, but Negredo showed the reasons for having the penalty box specialist.
"I saw the keeper was diving and it was the only way I could find to shoot. I have tried to make the most of the opportunity. The boss has given me minutes and I am pleased," said Negredo. His finish also got the praise of the manager. "We expect a lot from Negredo and I like the way he moves in the area. Today he has been very good. Negredo finished with a small problem, nothing serious, and I hope he will be able to play for his club this weekend," said Del Bosque.
The manager of the Spain national football team, Vicente Del Bosque, has not disclosed who will be the goalie for the World Champions in their opening Confederations Cup match against Uruguay on Sunday.
There are three goalkeepers in the Spanish squad for this competition. They are Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina.
Casillas has been the first choice goalkeeper for Spain in the last 5 years and he has performed brilliantly in big tournaments. But, he has been out of competitive football since the last 5 months. He had injured his hand playing for Real Madrid in the second half of the last season. Although, he got fit in March, but, Jose Mourinho didn’t give him any playing opportunities in the remaining part of the season and preferred Diego Lopez ahead of him.
So, Casillas is clearly short of match practice and that’s why, the experts are saying that he should not be included in the starting XI for the match against Uruguay.
When asked who will be the goalie for Spain in Sunday’s match, Bosque said, “I haven’t decided that yet. All the goalies in the squad are class acts. They play for big clubs and they are the first choice goalkeepers there. It’s hard to choose one out of them.”
When asked about Casillas having a tough last season, Bosque said, “Yes, he has struggled in the last few months, but, he is a tough guy and he won’t take too long to regain his form.”
Casillas had also talked to the reporters earlier in the day and when he was asked whether he thinks he will get a playing chance on Sunday, he had said, “I have no idea. It will be manager’s decision. Let’s see what he does. If he gives me a go, I will go out there and give my 100%.”