Blatter Confirms He Will Stand For Fifth Term As FIFA President

FIFA President Joseph Blatter addresses news conference in HavanaFIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, has confirmed he would stand for election for another term as head of the world football governing body.

Blatter, who has been widely expected to stand again for re -election despite saying otherwise in 2011, said that his mission at the Zurich based organisation was not finished in a video interview played at the Soccerex Conference in Manchester on Monday.

“You see a mission is never finished. And my mission is not finished,” said Blatter.

“I got through the last congress in Sao Paulo not only the impression but the support of the majority, a huge majority of national associations asking ‘Please go on, be our president also in future.'”

He said he would make an official announcement at FIFA’s Executive Committee meeting between 25-26 September.

The Swiss football administrator, who expressed his profound delight at the success of Brazil 2014, as well as his gratitude to the Brazilian people for justifying his optimism that their love of the game would not let their socioeconomic protests spoil a great World Cup, promised to step up the fight against racism, with the imposition of punitive points deductions and expulsion from cup competitions.

He revealed that he would use the awarding of a women’s tournament to Jordan as football’s instrument in the campaign for female equality in the Arab world.

Blatter offers a rare, personal insight into himself as a football-loving man, as he admits how deeply hurt he was by allegations in an English newspaper which attempted to connect him to any wrong-doing.

His reminder to the world that he has been totally exonerated is passionately delivered, as is his assurance that the independent investigation being led by New York lawyer, Michael Garcia, would be completely transparent and honest.

He asked only that all such deliberations and any critical discussions are conducted with mutual respect, not the heated discourtesy which he sees as having reflected poorly on the game.

UEFA’ President, Michel Platini, had said he would not be opposing Blatter.

The 59 year old France football legend stated early in the year that he would not support Blatter but insisted that he would not be contending with Blatter for FIFA’s top seat, as he wants to concentrate on leading the European football governing body.

Odemwingie To Face Lengthy Spell With Injury

OdemwingieStoke City’s manager, Mark Hughes has raised fears that Peter Osazie Odemwingie will face a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury that could require surgery.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria striker suffered the injury midway through the second half at the Etihad Stadium as the Potters recorded their first ever Premier League win over Manchester City, on their own turf.

Unfortunately, his worst fears have been confirmed and Odemwingie has been let off the club’s 25-man squad list, meaning he cannot be registered to play until January at the earliest.

Hughes said on Stoke City’s website: “It’s a significant injury and unfortunately it’s a long-term one but Peter has a great attitude to work and life in general – he’s always got a smile on his face – and he’s going to need those qualities. It will be a long road back but we wish him well.

“He’s going to have some kind of procedure but the medical staff are waiting for the knee to settle down.

“We’ll miss Peter around the place. He’ll do his rehab here so we’ll see him in the dressing rooms and around the building but we’ll really miss him out on the training field where he’s a big character.

“But we’ve got a great medical staff here and they will get him back as soon as it’s possible and I’m sure he’ll be as good as new.”

Odemwingie played for Nigeria in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and he scored a goal against Bosnia – Hezogovina as the Stephen Keshi led side got into the second round of the World Cup for the first time since France 1998.

Klose Retires From International Football

kloseGermany World Cup winning striker, Miroslav Klose, has announced his retirement from international football.

Klose, who is the FIFA World Cup record scorer with 16 goals, made his Germany debut in 2001 and has since played in four World Cups, scoring at all of them.

His goal in the incredible 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil took him past Ronaldo Delima’s 15 goals in the competition to make him the most prolific striker in World Cup history.

The Lazio striker bows out of the international arena with Germany having never lost whenever he has scored and prefers to put the team ahead of his own achievements.

“The team’s success was and is always the top priority for me,” he said.

“I’ve achieved our goal with the national team but I have achieved goals I set personally too. Anyone who knows me knows I am very ambitious.”

With 137 caps to his name, only Lothar Matthaus has won more, and national team coach, Joachim Low, cannot speak highly enough of him.

“Miro Klose is an international star. He is one of the greatest strikers there have been,” he said.

“His footballing qualities; his aerial ability, his goal threat, his understanding and his tireless commitment are second to none, and yet I have barely seen a player who is so much about modesty and team spirit.

“For Miro it was always an honour to play for the national team and he has given everything to Germany. He will be missed as a footballer and a person and I am happy and grateful I was able to work with him.”

Klose follows Germany captain, Phillipp Lahm, into international retirement, with the 30-year-old having done so in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup.

“We gave him (Klose) and Philipp Lahm a worthy farewell,” DFB President, Wolfgang Niersbach, said.

Xavi Retires From International Football

xaviSpain star midfielder, Xavi Hernandez, has announced his retirement from international football.

Xavi, who represented Spain 133 times, more than any Spainard outfield player and only bettered by goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in fourteen years, was a key figure in the La Roja glittering run when they won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as well as the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

The Barcelona midfielder had a disappointing 2013-14 season, when the Catalan side failed to win major silverware for the first time in six years and 2010 FIFA World Cup holders, Spain were knocked out of the 2014 edition in the group stage.

He gave reasons for calling time on his international career before Spain begin their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.

“I’m grateful for all those years,” Xavi told a news conference after a Barca training session.

“It has been a fantastic time. I’m not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid.”I was disappointed on two levels at the end of last season as I did not feel useful to Barca or to the national team.

Xavi, who has won three UEFA Champions League titles, seven La Liga titles and a host of other trophies with Barca, made his debut for Spain in a friendly against the Netherlands in November 2000.

He played in four World Cups and three European Championships and won 100 of his 133 matches for the Iberian nation, controlling play from a central position, regularly providing assists and also scoring the occasional goal.

Spain started the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as one of the favourites, but were dumped out of the tournament in the group stages after a 5-1 defeat by Netherlands and a 2-0 loss to Chile.

Xavi has decided to play on at club level under new coach and former team mate Luis Enrique despite reports going round that he is poised to end his career in the Middle East or USA.

“I would like to single out Luis Enrique, who has made me see that I can still be important.”

Gerrard Reflects On ‘Worst Three Months’ Of His Life

gerrardJust retired England captain, Steven Gerrard has revealed that the last three months have been the worst of his life after a disappointing end of season performance with Liverpool and a woeful three lion outing at the just concluded 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The 34-year-old, who retired from international football after England’s poor display at the World Cup, confessed that missing out on the Premier League title after an unfortunate slip against Chelsea and his under average performance in Brazil, cast a dark shadow over his mood.

Liverpool had been in control of the title race until the midfielder’s unfortunate slip allowed Senegal international, Demba Ba to open Chelsea’s account in a 2-0 victory at Anfield, which turned Premier League fortunes back in favour of eventual winner of the league, Manchester City.

England’s failure in Brazil, ad Roy Hodgson’s side collected just one point from three games, was the height of the disappointment which Gerrard couldn’t just handle.

Speaking in the United States, where he is touring with the Reds, Gerrard confessed that the disappointment of allowing Ba to score the all-important opener in that Chelsea fixture in late April still haunts him

How do you think it was?  Gerrard asked rhetorically. The worst day of your life? ‘There’s your answer.’

“I don’t have to watch something like that to go through the pain again and again.

“I’ve been through the pain in the dressing room afterwards and in the weeks and months after it.

“It’s probably been the worst three months of my life. 

But you have to accept it happened, you can’t change it.

“It (the slip) was cruel. I haven’t lost my man at a set-piece, I haven’t missed a penalty or made a bad pass or a mistake.

“Every person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it is on the stairs or the floor. For me it happened at a bad moment.”

The Liverpool skipper said he had hoped he could put his disappointment at club level behind him by enjoying a good run with England in the World Cup but he was disappointed.

“You have to go through tough times. Unfortunately, I have had that tough time and then went to the World Cup hoping it would help me get over it.

“But it backfired. I have had two unbelievably massive lows in a short space of time.” Gerrard said.

Gerrard admitted that his club manager Brendan Rodgers did offer to help him had he chosen to continue playing for the national team but he had long decided to call time on his international career.

Brazil Appoints Dunga As New Coach

dungaBrazil has named former player, Dunga as their new coach for the second time in four years.

Dunga, who captained Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning team and coached the national team from 2006 to 2010, was appointed on Tuesday, two weeks after the 2014 FIFA World Cup host was hammered 7-1 by eventual winner, Germany in the semi-finals which led to the resignation of former coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The former Selecao defensive midfielder, who also captained the team when they lost in the final match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup to then host, France, was in charge at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

Dunga, who managed Brazilian club Internacional in 2013, had a fairly successful spell in charge of the Selecao in his first attempt as an international coach, leading Brazil to 42 victories in his 60 games in charge, losing just six.

Under his leadership, Brazil won the 2007 Copa America and the 2009 Confederations Cup, but was fired after he could only manage a quarter-final spot in the 2010 World Cup, losing to eventual finalists the Netherlands.

Dunga’s re-appointment sparks a remarkable turn of heart by the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) after the former midfielder was wildly criticised for the Selecao’s displays four years ago.

Scolari, who guided Brazil to World Cup victory in 2002, and his entire backroom staff have all left their posts since the tournament finished.

 

Juventus Signs Evra From Manchester United

EvraFrance left back, Patrice Evra, has completed a £1.2m move to Juventus from Manchester United, signing a two-year contract with his new club after eight-and-a-half years at Old Trafford.

Evra signed a one-year extension to his contract in May but asked to leave when Juventus approached United over his availability.

The former Monaco defender would have been competing for a starting berth next season against £27m signing, Luke Shaw.

Evra, who featured for France as they got to the last 8 of the just concluded 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, reflected happily on his time with United, where he made 379 appearances and scored 10 goals for the club since he joined in January 2006.

He said of his departure: “After a great deal of thought I have decided the time is right for me to leave Manchester United. It is the biggest decision of my career as this club is, and will always remain, in my heart.

“Joining and playing for Manchester United has been a privilege, a dream come true and my time here has been so memorable. Through the good times and the bad times we have all stuck together and remained loyal. I have always said you don’t just join Manchester United, you join the family and long may that tradition continue.

“This club is steeped in history and I feel privileged to have become a part of that. Over the past nine years I have met and worked with some incredible people, many of whom will remain friends for life. I would like to thank everyone at the club – teammates, coaches and in particular all the staff who made every single day in Carrington or at Old Trafford a special day.

He also thanked former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson and the club’s fans.

“An immense thank you to Sir Alex for making it all possible, for giving me the privilege to be a captain and to understand that nobody is bigger than the club”, he said.

“My biggest thanks go to the fans. We have had some fantastic times together and every single time I stepped out in that shirt I knew I was playing for a very special club.

“My passion for this club will live on and I know you guys will go on to enjoy more success in the coming seasons.”

It is understood that the Serie A Champion would pay an initial £1.2m for Evra, plus an extra £300,000 if they qualify for the Champions League in 2015-16.

Evra won five Premier League titles, three League Cup triumphs as well as an UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winner’s medal.

Gerrard Retires From International Football

geradEngland and Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, has called time on his international career with the Three Lions after his side’s disappointing 2014 FIFA World Cup performance.

Gerrard retires from international football after winning 114 caps for England, scoring 21 goals since his debut in 2000 under Coach Kevin Keegan.

The Liverpool captain, who represented his country at six major tournaments, says it was a difficult decision to take and he had to consult widely before the decision to stop playing for England.

“It was a very difficult decision to make. It’s something I have been contemplating for a long time, not just since the end of the World Cup,” the Liverpool skipper said.

“I’ve had to take an awful lot of advice from people who are close to me – players that I still play with, ex-players who I played with a long time ago, managers who I played for years ago.

“It’s been a really tough decision, certainly one of the toughest since I turned professional at 18.

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.

“However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.

“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I’ve played under to the staff at The FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside.

“In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results”.

Gerrard will, however, continue to play for his club, Liverpool, with whom he made his debut in 1998 against Blackburn Rovers.

”Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field.

“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club, I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”

Gerrard will now assume a “high profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.

 

Real Madrid Signs German World Cup Star, Toni Kroos

KroosGermany’s World Cup winner, Toni Kroos, has completed his £24million move to Spanish La Liga giant, Real Madrid from Bayern Munich.

Kroos, who was a key player for Germany as they beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup and scoring two goals in the 7-1 demolition of host, Brazil in the semi finals, was presented to the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday afternoon after undergoing a medical.

The 24 year old was delighted to sign and said he would win trophies for the Galacticos.

 “I know that at this club you are expected to win trophies but I’m the right man for that because I’m used to winning.

“I know this is the correct decision and I’m very proud to have made it.

“I cannot think of anything more wonderful than being here. This is the biggest club in the world.

“In 2013 I won the Champions League and in 2014 Real won it, and I hope we can win it again next year. I hope to be able to return the confidence this club has shown in me.”

Bayern Munich Chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has thanked Toni Kroos for his quota in making Bayern great and wished him well.

 “We would like to thank Toni Kroos for his time here in Munich.

“We enjoyed great success here together. We would like to wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real.”

Kroos joined Bayern from Hansa Rostock as a 16-year-old but spent 18 months on loan at Bayer Leverkusen and to Munich where he made 173 Bundesliga appearances and won three Bundesliga titles in four seasons, the DFB-Pokal three times and being part of the historic treble-winning side of 2012/13.

They also won the UEFA Champions League before winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup last year.

Lawmakers Urge Sport Minister, Sports Commission To Resolve NFF Crisis

House-of-Rep-The House of Representatives has urged the minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission to resolve the crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation which led to its suspension by world football governing body, FIFA.

The Aminu Tambuwal led House of representatives, on Wednesday, specifically told the minister and the Director General of the NSC, Gbenga Elegbeleye to meet with those involved in the dispute to save Nigeria from further sanctions by FIFA.

Mr Muhammad Ali-Wudil, a lawmaker from Kano State, who raised the issue during plenary, asked the House to urge the Minister of Sports and the DG, National Sports Commission, to as a matter of urgency, summon all the parties involved with a view to resolving the matter to avoid the suspension lingering.

Ali-Wudil recalled that FIFA had extended the earlier deadline of July 15 to July 17 to give Nigeria more time to reverse the court judgement that sacked the Aminu Maigari-led board of the NFF.

With just 24 hours to the expiration of the deadline, the House expressed hope that inviting the parties to iron out their differences could possibly lead to the withdrawal of court cases already filed by some of them.

Ali-Wudil’s motion read: “The House regrets that the decision, if not reversed, will mean that no teams or club sides from Nigeria can have any international sporting contact with teams or club sides from any other country.

“The House is worried that the suspension will deprive Nigeria of representation in any regional, continental or international competitions.

“Aware that the immediate result of the suspension is that Nigeria will no longer participate in the upcoming FIFA U-20 Women World Cup coming up in Canada between August 5 and 24 if the suspension order is not lifted by July 17.

“The House is also worried that neither the NFF nor any of its members or officials will benefit from any FIFA or Confederation of African Football development programmes, including courses and training programmes during the the period of the suspension”.

The lawmakers are concerned about the adverse effects the suspension could have on the careers of Nigerian footballers and the consequent loss by the nation generally.

FIFA had suspended Nigeria from football activities on July 9, for what the World Football governing body termed as government’s interference in the affairs of the NFF

 

Thousands Welcome World Cup Winning German Stars

GERMANY RETURNSPlayers of 2014 FIFA World Cup winning Germany team were given a rousing welcome as thousands of fans greeted their heroes in Berlin after their triumph in Brazil.

Coach Joachim Low and his stars landed in the German capital as many had gathered since dawn to welcome the players who touched down from Brazil on Tuesday morning.

Captain Philipp Lahm was the first to step off the plane and was followed by club and German team-mate, Bastian Schweinsteiger, with a huge crowd singing “Football’s Coming Home” on the airport’s viewing terrace.

There were chaotic and jubilant scenes in Berlin city centre with thousands lining the streets to witness the players on top of the team bus emblazoned with the years they have won the competition – 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014 and was unveiling the famous trophy as the parade made its way to the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

The President of the German Football Association (DFB) Wolfgang Niersbach was excited about the reception for the squad .

“This is a dream. Seeing this enthusiasm. I do not know what in our country more can trigger this sense of belonging as this World Cup.

“Our players are looking forward incredibly to enjoy this moment.”

Germany coach, Low held the trophy aloft to the sound of much cheering and applause as the truck slowly made its way through the thick crowds with hundreds of fans following behind as they hailed their heroes.

It has been an incredible few weeks for the Germany team, who began the World Cup by sweeping Portugal aside 4-0 before demolishing the Brazilian hosts 7-1 in the semi-finals which has led to the downfall of Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The final was more of a battle against a better Argentina side that had Barcelona star, Lionel Messi and it looked all set for a penalty shoot-out, only for midfielder, Mario Gotze, to volley in a stunning winner in extra-time as Low became the first man to lead a European team to World Cup glory in South America.

2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany Are Champions Of The World

Germany-2Germany have emerged as the Champions of the FIFA World Cup, Brazil 2014, after a hard fought 120 minute battle with Argentina at the Maracana, the first time the country is winning the trophy as a united country.

Former Borussia Dortmund player, Mario Gotze, became the hero for the Germans with a superb finish via an assist by Chelsea’s Andre Schürrle in the 113th minute.

The two substitutes combined to devastating effect for Germany. Schurrle made inroads down the left hand side, and lofted in a neat cross towards the near post. Gotze took it excellently on his chest and with time and space to move, stabbed it into the back of the net.

With seven minutes left on the clock, the South American threw in all they had left and Messi had a freekick in the final seconds of the game to save the game but ballooned the ball into the stands to add to the Argentine misery, a moment which summed up Messi’s night.

It had been a long and impressive road for both final competitors and Germany and Argentina provided a match that had all the elements of a World Cup classic.

The Germans were looking to finish something that they have started since 2010 whereas the Argentines were determined to return to the top by avenging an embarrassing 4-0 thrashing by the same opponents, which happened four years ago.

The Germans, with their fourth title, have now made history as the first ever European World Cup champion to emerge on South American soil.

German Goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, won the Golden Gloves Award for the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, while Argentina magician, Lionel Messi, won the Golden Ball for the Best Player of the Tournament.

James Rodriguez of Columbia, though absent at the presentation, won the Golden Boot having scored the highest number of goals. The Monaco attacking midfielder scored six goals in Brazil, one more than Germany’s Thomas Muller, who won the trophy in South Africa in 2010.

The night’s German hero, Mario Gotze, also made history as the first ever substitute to score the winning goal in a World Cup final.

Germany are now a win behind Brazil, who have lifted the trophy on five occasions. Germany won the competition in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.