Tag Archives: Juventus

European Super League: The Brexit of Football?

After the controversial introduction of VAR into the Premiership, on Sunday the whole football world was talking about the threat of six English clubs threatening to take part in a breakaway Super League.

The so called big six comprising of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham confirmed that they had joined with six leading clubs in Italy and Spain over a highly selective and largely closed tournament that would in effect replace the Champions League.

The move, which represents a huge challenge to the Premier League, The Football Association  and UEFA, paves the way for the biggest shake up of club football in a long while.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan are also committed to joining the Super League, although certain clubs in France and Germany have not yet signed up.

Understandably this has caused outrage in the football world with the Premier League urging their clubs to walk away from this idea before serious damage will be done.

Indeed, the FA and UEFA have warned that they would not sanction a breakaway, referring to the fact that players and clubs could no longer compete in official competitions. Players could also be banned from International tournaments as well.

This whole idea is completely out of order and just feels that the so called ‘big six’ are wanting to make even more money than they already do so. They are plain and simple greedy owners. They don’t have the wishes of the fans at heart. They are only interested in getting even greedier than what they already are.

This is about big money, not football issues anymore. The rebel clubs still want to continue playing in domestic competitions, but we all know that would be just a good excuse to play a B side.

On a personal note I totally agree with Gary Neville’s points made on Sunday. They don’t have the fans interest at heart. They should be punished heavily, which I totally agree with.

Points deduction would be the best punishment possible, or an even better idea would be to relegate all six of the clubs. They certainly wouldn’t like that thrown at them.

How on earth can the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham seriously consider themselves to be classed as one of the ‘Big Six’. Both have had a bad season and in fairness haven’t won anything of significance for a long time.

Fans would clearly not want to watch a Super League with the ‘Big Six’ playing the same sides on a regular basis as this would become very boring. 

It appears that even managers are not happy about this stupid idea. Today there was a big rumour doing the rounds that Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham for refusing to take training on the back of the proposed Super League.

Let us hope and pray that this doesn’t take off as it will have massive implications. 

This is terrible news for the rest of the football clubs that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Clubs in the EFL Championship, League One and Two and Non-League clubs– some of which have now dissolved- desperately need financial help. Surely the owners of the ‘Big Six’ should realise this and think about other clubs and not themselves. Unfortunately in today’s crazy world of football that won’t be the case.  They only want to line there ever rich bulging pockets even deeper.

This is further proof that chairman of the ‘Big Six’ really haven’t got a clue about how football should be run. To them it is about making as much cash as possible before they walk away. This story certainly has the makings of the Brexit of Football.

Cristiano Ronaldo eclipses Pele’s career goal total

The Portuguese and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo made a terrific start to 2021 over the weekend by surpassing the legendary Pele’s career goal total with his two goals in ‘The Old Lady’s’ 4-1 win over Udinese.

Pele now subsequently sits third on the list after registering 757 career goals between 1956 and 1977 during his time with Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil. 

Ronaldo scored his 757thand 758thgoal of his incredible career and now sits second on the all-time list behind only the Czech striker Josef Biscan’s total of 759.  In addition, the 35-year-old took his already impressive Serie A goal tally this season to 14 from only 11 matches.  

The Portuguese forward is currently leading the goalscoring charts and has played a crucial part in moving Andrea Pirlo’s side into fifth place where they are ten points behind leaders AC Milan with a game in hand. Udinese, however, drop to 13thand are without a win in their last four matches. 

The five-time Ballon d’Or Winner scored his side’s first goal of 2021 just half an hour into the encounter with one of his trademark strikes after latching onto former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s pass. He then set up Federico Chiesa for Juve’s second shortly after half time.  

Ronaldo then made it 3-0 after latching onto Rodrigo Bentancur’s through ball.  Udinese did manage to get a goal back throughMarvin Zeegelar, however, Argentine forward Paulo Dybala struck late on in injury time to secure Juventus’ 4-1 win.   

Following the match, the Juventus Manager Pirlo confessed that his team struggled, with the surprise 3-0 defeat to Fiorentina still playing on their minds in the final encounter before the winter break.  

Pirlo said:

“We started frightened after the match against Fiorentina.

“Little by little we grew up and in the second half we did better.  It wasn’t the best Juventus.” 

In total Ronaldo has managed 656 club career goals since making his debut for Sporting Lisbon back in 2002.  

The majority of his goals ultimately though came during his time with Real Madrid where he scored 450 goals in just 438 games. While playing for Manchester United, meanwhile, he still managed 118 goals in 292 appearances, but he is rapidly closing in on that total already for his current side Juventus, having scored 83 times to date. 

For his international side, Ronaldo currently has 102 goals in just 120 matches and the forward will likely add to that impressive tally as he will look to help Fernando Santos’s team to defend their European Championship this summer. 

Indeed, it is surely a matter of when and not if he will eclipse Biscan’s tally with the first opportunity being on Wednesday night when the Serie A Champions visit Milan.

What is your favourite Cristiano Ronaldo goal to date? Feel free to list it in the comments below…..

From Northern Italy to South Beach: Blaise Matuidi departs Juventus for Inter Miami

Through the first five games of the season, David Beckham-owned Inter Miami failed to register a single point. For a team with such high expectations, it did not look well and desperation started to kick in. The South Beach side promised to bring in big name players to the club, and they finally we are able to achieve it by landing Beckham’s former PSG teammate, midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Juventus.

The 33-year old has won every trophy imaginable for club and country. As a member of PSG, he was able to win four Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France’s, four Coupe de la Ligue’s, and five Trophée des Champions as he played an important role in the rise of the Parisians in world football. Meanwhile, for Juventus, he has won three Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia (2017-18) and a Supercoppa Italiana (2018). 

Representing the French national team, Matuidi was a member of the 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning side. He has not the only the only World Cup winner to take his talents to the MLS, which includes fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry (won the 1998 FIFA World Cup), who was a member of the New York Red Bulls and now the head coach of the Montreal Impact.

Fans of Inter Miami were nervous that the third and final Designated Player spot was being used for Matuidi, as they felt that the spot could have been better occupied. However, it was later revealed that The Herons signed him with Target Allocation Money, meaning it is a hefty pay cut from what he was earning over in Europe. Once Matuidi makes the move to South Beach, he will have to quarantine for 10 days.

Although there is no way for the Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale to be packed for Matuidi’s arrival due to the country’s ongoing issue with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a much anticipated move that was needed for the fans and the team who were desperate to find help in any way possible.

UEFA confirm Champions/Europa league and Euro 2020 fixture plans

The return of Europe’s top competitions have been discussed at length since domestic leagues confirmed their return plans. Today at last clubs and fans were given details as to how the knockout stages will be played out.

The club tournaments will be completed in August, with the Europa League being held in Germany and the Champions League being held in Portugal. These will take place from the Quarter final stage.

UEFA confirmed that the 12 original host cities will stage matches in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals. The competition will start on the 11th June 2021. The pushed-back play-off matches will be played during the international breaks starting on the 8th October and the 12th November, respectively.

The Champions League will restart with the second-leg matches of the last 16 games left over. These will be played on the 7th and 8th of August. The games yet to be played are: Manchester City at home against Real Madrid, Chelsea away to Bayern Munich, Juventus at home against Lyon and Napoli, who take their impressive 1-1 away result into their home leg, against Barcelona. UEFA said it has yet to decide whether to stage the games at home grounds or at neutral venues.

 

The subsequent knockout rounds will be played over one leg and will be hosted in the city of Lisbon, at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Estádio José Alvalade, between the 12th to the 23rd August. The final has been scheduled for 23 August, also taking place in Lisbon.

The Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will also be added to the Lisbon venues for the Round of 16 should such measures be necessary.

The same applies to the Europa League which will resume the Quarter Finals on the 10th August. The remaining last 16 games will be played on the 5th and 6th of August. The venues will be stationed in Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen.

 

Istanbul and Gdansk, the original host cities for the Champions and Europa League finals respectively, will now stage next year’s finals in 2021.

UEFA stated:

“A decision will be made in due course on whether these matches for which the first leg has already been played will be staged at the home team’s venue or in Germany.

“Inter Milan v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma, whose first leg was also postponed, will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.”

The Women’s Champions League will also be a knockout tournament, in northern Spain between the 21st and 30th of August.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later.”

With many Women’s leagues not returning he was also keen to comment on the return on the Women’s Champions League:

“Particularly with the Women’s Champions League, it was important to send a strong signal that it is possible to complete this season, in a time where women’s sports have suffered substantially. This competition has exciting times ahead with the format change in 2021/2022 and we want to enhance the momentum in the women’s game, not lose it.”

Overall, with the return of the Premier League soon this is even more positive news for fans, so mark the dates in your calendar, the season is beginning to hot up again!

Napoli Reach Coppa Italia Final as Mertens Breaks Goal Scoring Record

Dries Mertens became Napoli’s all-time top scorer to ensure his side progressed to the Copa Italia Final at the expense of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.

They fell behind inside two minutes when Christian Eriksen’s corner evaded everyone and went in. Napoli’s Belgian international, however, made it 1-1 just before half-time.

That goal means Gennaro Gattuso’s team will be the ones to face Juventus in the final in Rome next Wednesday.

Inter made a blistering start to the game taking the lead in the first two minutes, which levelled the tie. An Eriksen corner went all the way through a disjointed looking Napoli defence and nestled in the bottom corner.

Antonio Candreva then had a brilliant chance to put Inter ahead in the tie. He bared down on the right side of goal and had three options in the box to pull the ball back to, however, he chose to shoot instead.  Candreva’s shot was saved and it subsequently went out for a corner, which was eventually gathered by Napoli’s goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ospina then unleashed a remarkable throw to Insigne inside the Inter half, who drove into the box and pulled the ball back to Mertens who calmly slotted home. That goal makes Mertens Napoli’s all-time top scorer with 122 goals, overtaking former club captain, Marek Hamsik’s tally.

Conte’s Inter knew that one goal would see them progress on the away goals rule but in a second half that lacked many clear cut openings, their best chance fell to Eriksen.  The former Spurs midfielder latched onto a cross from the left but could only fire his low shot at Ospina.

A series of good crosses came in from the left-hand side, but the lacklustre Romelu Lukaku failed to steer any of his headers past Ospina. Fellow former Manchester United man Alexis Sanchez came on and looked lively, flashing a shot wide late in the game.

Ultimately, the seven times winners of the Coppa Italia ran out of steam and Napoli were able to see the game out with relative ease.