Chelsea Complete Costa Signing

costa dealEnglish Premier League side, Chelsea, have completed the signing of Spain forward and Atletico Madrid Star, Diego Costa.

The Stamford Bridge club, in a statement, said that the Brazil-born striker completed the signing on a five year deal, and will join his teammates for pre-season next week.

“Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce Diego Costa has today completed his transfer from Atletico Madrid by signing a five-year contract.

“He will join up with the first team for our pre-season European training camp next week”, read a statement on the club’s official website.

Costa was delighted to see the move finally completed and cannot wait to get started in proving himself for selection.

“I am very happy to sign for Chelsea. Everybody knows it is a big club in a very competitive league, and I am very excited to get started in England with a fantastic coach and team-mates. Having played against Chelsea last season I know the high quality of the squad I am joining.

“I would like to thank everybody at Atletico who made me into the player I am, it was an incredible time for me, but now I am starting a new adventure and I hope to win many trophies with Chelsea”, Costa said.

Costa scored the second goal in the Spanish side’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge in their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match last season to help secure their place in the final against rivals Real Madrid.

The 25-year-old also scored 35 goals last season to help Atletico win their first Spanish league title in 18 years and he is now ready to begin his fresh challenge in the Premier League.

The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £32million.

Atletico Sets Up Madrid Derby In Lisbon

It is aatletico season of the unexpected for Spanish team Atlectico Madrid with a shot at a first Champions league title against its fiercest rival, Real Madrid.

On Wednesday, Spanish club Atlectico Madrid beat the English team Chelsea 3-1.

“It’s been many years for us as a club, so it’ll be a new experience, but we’re keen and excited.” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.

Simeone’s team will also be undaunted by the prospect of facing the nine-time winners in the competition’s first derby final. Atletico could also walk into the Lisbon turf on May 24 as champions of Spain for the first time since 1996. Just two wins are required from the final three domestic matches to break up the Barcelona-Real Madrid stranglehold on the league title.

“Playing like we played, we are the strongest team in the world,” Atletico midfielder Tiago said. “And we deserve what we have in this moment.”

Although former Atletico striker Fernando Torres put Chelsea in front at Stamford Bridge after a scoreless first leg, Adrian Lopez levelled before halftime and Diego Costa netted a penalty on the hour before Arda Turan capped the visitors’ second-half superiority with the third.

“We completely controlled the game against a great side,” Simeone said through a translator.

This is the fourth successive semi-final loss for Jose Mourinho since winning the competition in 2010 with Inter Milan, after previous setbacks at Real Madrid before returning to manage Chelsea last year.

Without Mourinho, Madrid has ended a 12-year wait to reach a Champions League final after trouncing holder Bayern Munich 4-0 on Tuesday and 5-0 on aggregate.

After seeing Chelsea win the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League from afar, Mourinho’s first season at the club could now end without a trophy. Although the Blues are second in the Premier League, they require leader Liverpool and third-place Manchester City, which has a game in hand, to slip-up in their final matches.

If Mourinho wanted to prove criticism of recent ultra-defensive tactics didn’t affect him it came with the lineup, with six defenders in the starting eleven. In an anxious opening, Mark Schwarzer, deputizing in the Chelsea goal for the injured Petr Cech, was beaten in the fourth minute — with only the crossbar blocking Koke’s looping shot.

It was a night when Chelsea had its goalkeepers in both nets. Thibaut Courtois was making his Stamford Bridge debut, but for Atletico where he has been on loan since joining Chelsea from Genk in 2011. The Belgium international had little to do before he was picking the ball out of his goal in the 36th minute after being beaten by a player who started his career at Atletico.

Willian outmuscled Diego Godin and Filipe Luis on the right flank, and as he fell over, Cesar Azpilicueta picked up possession. The Spaniard swept the ball back for Torres, who beat Courtois with a shot that deflected off Mario Suarez.

Torres doesn’t often get the chance to celebrate a goal — this was just his 10th all season — but he didn’t revel in scoring against his former side.

Not that Chelsea had much to celebrate for long as its defence was unpicked too easily. Tiago floated the ball to the byline where Juanfran had space to cut it back, past John Terry and Ashley Cole, to the unmarked Lopez to strike into the net.

It took Schwarzer’s two-handed save at the start of the second half to deny Turan’s skilful shot from close range, while Courtois also repelled Terry’s header.

I Have Nothing To Prove To Chelsea – Drogba

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba will have to fight hard to control his emotions when he returns to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, the Ivorian said on the eve of Tuesday’s (March 18) match.

The 36-year-old striker ended a glittering eight-year career with the London club by scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

After a hesitant start to Galatasaray’s pre-match news conference, Drogba had the reporters in stitches.

“I’ll ask myself the first question,” he said. ‘Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?

“Well, I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

“It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional,” said Drogba.

“Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg,” he added in reference to the opening match in Istanbul that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The big, powerful centre forward was once voted the best player in Chelsea’s history and he said he did not know how he would react if he scored a goal on Tuesday.

Drogba said if he scores against the Blues he might not celebrate the goal, adding: “I have nothing to prove to this club everything I had to prove I proved it with Chelsea. Now I come here with another team and I just want to win the game, I just want to qualify, there is nothing personal against Chelsea, there will never be.”

Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances between 2004 and 2012.

Fernando Torres gave Chelsea an early lead in Istanbul but Galatasaray equalised through Aurelien Chedjou to leave the tie delicately balanced in Chelsea’s favour.

Galatasaray Coach, Roberto Mancini used to be in charge at Manchester City and said he had good memories of his time in the English Premier league.

However, turning to the task at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the Italian said: “We know it is really difficult because Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe, but in football, never say never, anything can happen if you believe in yourself and we want to do a good job tomorrow.”

EPL: Chelsea Go 4 Points Clear As Arsenal Slump To Stoke

Andre Schurrle celebrates at Craven Cottage during Chelsea's defeat of Fulham Photo: AP

Arsène Wenger admitted that Arsenal’s loss at Stoke City was a “massive setback” as the Gunners fell four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Manager Arsene Wenger had Mesut Ozil back in the squad after injury, but he saw his side beaten by a 76th-minute Jonathan Walters penalty after Laurent Koscielny had been penalised for handball.

And Wenger revealed his concern at the manner of the defeat, although he felt his side were “unlucky” to have been beaten.

“It is a big worry not to win a game like that,” said Wenger, whose side will drop to third in the table if Liverpool win at Southampton. “It’s a massive setback.

“We didn’t produce the performance that we wanted. To win a title, you have to perform when you’re expected to.

“It was a good defensive performance and overall I think we were unlucky to lose this game. Offensively we didn’t create enough. Our offensive game was poor considering our standards. At the end of day we didn’t score.

“I don’t assess our title chances at all. We just have to play well in the next game.”

Meanwhile, an Andre Schurrle hat-trick saw Chelsea stretch their lead in the Premier League on Saturday.

Germany international Schurrle scored three times in 17 minutes during the second-half as Chelsea beat Fulham 3-1 to give Jose Mourinho’s side a four-point lead over their London rivals.

The victory extended Chelsea’s lead to six points over Manchester City, who have two games in hand, while Fulham, who pulled a goal back through Jonny Heitinga, remain four points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.

Manchester City tackle Sunderland in Sunday’s League Cup final.

Mourinho Admits To Using Mind Games Ahead Of Newcastle Match

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confessed that not everything he says in the Premier League title run-in will be the truth.

“Everything I say is mind games, everything I do is mind games, everything is mind games, you know. The only thing that is not mind games is the results,” he told reporters on Friday.

Mourinho fooled no-one on Monday when he ruled his team out of title contention after masterminding a 1-0 win at free-scoring Manchester City that left his team two points behind leaders Arsenal.

The Portuguese coach had a glint in his eye when he described his side as “a little horse that needed milk” in a race with the “two big horses” of Arsenal and second-placed City.

And he carried on that tone by maintaining that his squad’s big goal for the season was simply to finish in the top four places of the Premier League.

“Big objective for all of us is to finish top four, if possible top three, with direct qualification to the Champions League.”

However, his stance has now softened because Mourinho acknowledged that Chelsea could land the crown in May although he confirmed that they were outsiders.

“I am not saying we are not going to win, I am not saying that. I am saying we are not candidates. I am saying that we are outsiders,” he said on the eve of Saturday’s home league game with Newcastle United.

“Do we dream to win the Premier League? Of course, if you don’t do, we don’t play.”

Mourinho also hailed Chelsea’s improvement this season compared to their last campaign under Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benítez.

“I think last season in this moment, how many points we had less, how many points we were from Man United, I think huge difference. I think in this moment Chelsea was for sure outside of every possible race and struggling to get a top four position to play Champions League, so the people is enjoying. I see the boys enjoying the situation very much and that’s what I want them to do.”

Arsenal Sign Kit Deal With Puma, Indicate Arsene Wenger Will Sign New Contract

Eurosport – Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis and Manager, Arsene Wenger

Arsenal has signed a new kit supply deal with German company Puma that begins on July 1, ending a partnership with Nike.

Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis made the formal announcement on Monday (January 27) and at the same time gave the clearest indication yet that Frenchman Arsene Wenger would remain as manager at Arsenal, indicating that finalising a new contract was just a matter of time.

The Puma deal, worth around 30 million pounds (around 50 million USD) a season, will help Arsenal to compete with the top clubs in Europe in the transfer market.

“From the first of July, 2014 Puma will become our official kit partner. They will be producing our match day and training kits across all of our teams next season. They have also acquired extensive rights to produce other Arsenal-branded merchandise which will be sold all around the world,” Gazidis said.

Puma Chief Executive, Bjoern Gulden, said that the deal was something his company had sought for a long time. “We always wanted the kit deal and now we have it,” he said.

Helped by an enhanced sponsorship deal with airline Emirates, the North London club spent a club record 42.5 million pounds on German Mesut Ozil at the start of this season, and Gazidis indicated that Wenger would be at the club to spend more in the future.

“We’ve always supported Arsene, the board has always been completely behind him as has (owner) Stan Kroenke,” Gazidis told a news conference when asked about the future of the manager whose contract runs out at the end of the season.

“We are comfortable in the position, relaxed about it. As I’ve said before, Arsene will be extending with us and at the right time we’ll make that announcement,” he added.

Wenger has been Arsenal manager since 1996 and has led the club to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

However, the trophies have dried up since 2005 although Arsenal have continued to qualify for the Champions League, and currently lead the Premier League by one point.

Arsene Wenger Speaks About The Future Of Defender Bacary Sagna

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has played down concerns regarding right back Bacary Sagna, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to commit to the Gunners.

Reports have linked the defender with possible interest from top French clubs Paris St Germain and Monaco.

“At the moment if Sagna doesn’t extend his contract we will have to do that, but at the moment I must say we look at Southampton’s game rather than the long term future, we try to, of course, secure Sagna because for me he is a very important player for the group, ” he said, ” But he’s fully committed and as long as he stays here he will be fully committed in every single game.”

Wenger also tried to be realistic about the fifth round FA Cup draw, which pits Arsenal against Liverpool. ” An interesting draw, and a difficult one, ” he said ” We have a little advantage by playing at home, that means we don’t travel, but overall it’s of course a great difficulty and we try again to absorb it and come out of it again in a positive way.”

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League fixture against ninth-placed Southampton, Wenger agrees the South Coast club have been punching above their weight ” They are above expected, and the quality of their display has been very very good and everybody goes today to Southampton he , of course, knows that he will get a difficult game and that’s why we want to focus on being our best tomorrow night because Southampton, in our plan is a game where you want to take the points but you know you really have to fight to get them.”

Arsenal lead the Premier League by a single point over Manchester City, and are still in the Champions League, as well as the FA Cup.

Luis Suarez Signs New Long-Term Liverpool Contract

Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract at Anfield.

Twenty-six year old Suarez joined the Reds in January 2011 and has scored 17 goals in 11 Premier League starts this season. Suarez, whose original deal was set to expire in 2016, will reportedly earn around £160,000 until the end of the current 2013/2014 season and then £200,000 per week over the final four years of the contract.

“I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.” He said.

In the summer transfer, Suarez was close to joining Arsenal, but Liverpool rejected the Gunners club record offer of £40 million plus £1 in an attempt to trigger a release clause in his contract. Since the new season started, Suarez’s relationship with leading figures at Anfield has improved significantly.

Suarez joined Liverpool from Ajax for £22 million and his time at the club has often been controversial as he has previously served two long-term bans.

In December 2011, the Uruguayan was banned for eight games  for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and again received a 10-match ban in April 2013 for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez who is widely regarded as one of the most talented footballers in the world paid tribute to the supporters, citing the ‘special relationship’ he has with them as a key factor in reaffirming his commitment to Liverpool.

Martinez Making Moves To Sign Moses

With the confirmation of former Wigan Athletic Manager Roberto Martinez move to Everton, to replace Moyes who is now the manager of the Red devils, Manchester United, Martinez has been rumoured to be gunning for his first signing and Nigerian international Victor Moses is Martinez’s target.

Moses has so far had a fair season with the Stanford Bridge club Chelsea since he joined the club but with the dawn of new reign; the Jose Mourinho campaign beginning next season after the Portuguese departed Spanish club Real Madrid to return to his former London club, nothing is certain anymore as the Special One may or may not have need for the Nigerian.

According to report, the former Wigan Athletic manager is an ardent admirer of Nigerian International as he once under the tutelage of Martinez when completed a £2.5 million transfer to Premier League side Wigan Athletic after Palace went into administration.

The cost to sign the Chelsea player has been put at £9m.

Victor Moses has featured 12 times for the National Team of Nigeria; the Super Eagles.

Moses can play in a variety of positions, but in the first-team games he has taken part in so far, Moses has mostly played as a winger.

Born in Nigeria, Moses has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels, but opted to play for the Nigerian national team as opposed to being fully capped for England.

Galatasaray In Talks With Chelsea Over Mikel

Turkish side have decided to approach London club; Chelsea for the services of their star midfielder and Nigerian international John Mikel Obi.

Reports have it that Galatasaray declared their interest in Mikel obi as their representative; Bülent Tulun travelled to London for the talks in a bid to sign the midfielder, a deal that involve Mohammed who is a Nigeria FIFA Agent and another FIFA agent Hasan Egilmez.

Mikel joined Chelsea from FK Lyn for €26 million in 2006. The 26-year-old defensive midfielder has made 277 appearances for Chelsea, won the Premier League title, four FA Cups and lifted the Champions League trophy.

Mikel started his official football career at the age of 12 when picked as a talented footballer from over 3000 young talents to play in Pepsi Football Academy. A team which at that particular time was well known for going around Nigeria to search for the best there is from all the upcoming future stars, young talents to later move on to rather more professional football. Already then Obi stood out to all the scouts.

He got picked to play in a top-flight team Plateau United also known for making stars from players like Celestine Babayaro, Victor Obinna, Chris Obodo and many more which moved on to playing in European teams and representing their country later on in their careers.

Later known as John Obi Mikel he was gaining headlines for his country at the FIFA Under-17 World Championships held in Finland. Subsequently he went on trial to South Africa club Ajax Cape Town, before joining Lyn in Norway.

During preparations for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships, the Nigerian Football Association mistakenly submitted “Michael” as “Mikel” for the tournament in Finland. He decided to keep the new name, saying that it had a special ring to it. On 31 July 2006, he stated that he prefers to be called Mikel John Obi instead of John Obi Mikel, as he had most commonly been called.

In the summer of 2005, Mikel played for Nigeria at the FIFA World Youth Championships held in the Netherlands. He had an excellent tournament until Nigeria reached the final, where they lost 2–1 to Argentina. Obi won the Silver Ball after being voted the tournament’s second best player.

Italy Prepares To Play Truculent Czech Republic

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualification, Italy has notched up preparations to take on resilient Czech Republic in Prague today.

According the Coach of the Azzuri side; Cesare Prandelli, the Italian team will have to be wary of complacency when they eventually go into the clash with the Czech Republic and it either to take a huge step towards qualifying for Brazil with a win in Prague, as victory will see them eight points clear of their opponents, concede the whole points to them or settle for a draw and the last two options certainly does not feature in his plan.

Prandelli also pointed out Czech Republic skipper Tomas Rosicky, hinting that it won’t be an easy trip for Italy.

Prandelli said he and his team are awaiting a very aggressive Czech Republic team as they are capable of doing the fast flow on the pitch, as he also qualified Rosicky whom he earlier pointed as the main threat as an excellent player.

Italy is unbeaten in qualifying so far, with four wins and a draw from their five games.

Their only slip up was a 2-2 draw against second-placed Bulgaria, but with Denmark also in a tough-looking Group B, they can’t afford to drop many more points.

Debate: Return Of Special One, Good or Bad For Chelsea?

Please, do not call me arrogant because what I say is true; I am European Champion, I am not one out of the bottom. I think I am a special one – Jose Mourinho

On Monday, Chelsea Football Club announced the appointment of Jose Mourinho as First Team Manager.

Mourinho signed a four-year contract and will return to the club where he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups between 2004 and 2007.

Many football analysts have argued that while Jose Mourinho rebuilt the side that had finished second under Claudio Ranieri, and turned Chelsea into the best side in England, it may be different this time round.

Mourinho wants to call the shots but the 2013 version of the Blues is not the same beast as the 2004 incarnation.

What is evident, unquestioned, is that Mourinho inherits a small and unbalanced squad, which must be significantly replenished.

In this debate, two sport analysts examine the significance of Mourinho’s return to Chelsea.