UEFA Champions League: Ancelotti Wary Of Schalke Threat

Real Madrid Coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has said that he expects UEFA Champions League opponents, Schalke to pose plenty of attacking threat on Wednesday.

Real would be looking to use the match which would be the first meeting between the sides, to improve on their miserable record of just one victory from 25 trips to face German opposition on home soil.

Schalke have since the Bundesliga’s winter break been in impressive form, taking 13 points from 15 available, and Ancelotti is cautious of the problems they could cause.

Former Real Madrid striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who spent half a season at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009, was particularly singled out as a player his side would need to keep quiet.

“It will be a game with a lot of intensity because Schalke will give it their all,” said Ancelotti.

“Schalke have a lot of quality and are well organised. We have to do our best to win.

“They have young players – (Max) Meyer, (Julian) Draxler – with lot of quality and players with experience like Huntelaar and (Kevin-Prince) Boateng.

“They’re a solid team, not spectacular but well organised defensively and all working together. A team with quality.

“(The match) is not Ronaldo versus Huntelaar, it’s between two teams, but Huntelaar is dangerous.”

Ancelotti also insisted that Sunday’s La Liga clash with title contenders and city rivals Atletico Madrid would not act as a distraction.

“I’m here to do my best in all competitions but the Champions League is the most important and difficult,” he continued.

“All the remaining games are important and that’s why we prepare for each in the same way.

“Arriving to the semi-finals three times (in the last three years) is not easy. We are excited to improve on that.”

He also confirmed that Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo would start at the Veltins Arena.

Mourinho Lashes Out At Webb For Inconsistency

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho lashed out at English referee Howard Webb after his side were denied a place in the Champions League final by Borussia Dortmund yesterday.

Real came within a whisker of pulling off a remarkable comeback after losing their semi-final first leg 4-1 in Germany last week, but came up just short with a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu to exit 4-3 on aggregate.

Mourinho, who knows Webb well from his days as Chelsea manager, said the referee should have dismissed Dortmund’s Mats Hummels for handball in the second half; he accused Webb of not doing so to allow the centre back to play in next month’s final.

“It’s not a penalty, it is foul because it was out of the box, but it is clearly a red card because Cristiano’s pass leaves Benzema in front of the goalkeeper. Hummels stopped the ball: red card, with 18 minutes remaining plus the injury time, around 23, 24 to the end. In that moment Webb was not a referee, he was a human being and thought ‘this kid; Hummels is not going to play the final (if I send him off)’. He has to be a referee first and then a human being. He had to dismiss Hummels and then history could have been different,” said the outspoken Portuguese, who is a regular critic of match officials and has clashed several times with soccer authorities.

Asked about his future, a visibly moved Mourinho said in English that he would speak by the end of the season, adding that he felt loved in England.

“And in the end of the season I want to sit with, with Mr. Florentino Perez, my president, my friend and decide the best, the best for me. I know in England I’m loved. I know. I know I’m loved. I’m loved by, by the fans; I’m loved, I’m loved by the media, that treats me in a fair, in a fair way way, criticising me when they have, but giving me credit when, when I deserve it. I know I’m loved by, by some clubs, especially one. And in Spain the situation is, is a bit different because some people hates me,” Mourinho said.

Borussia Dortmund survived a stirring Real Madrid fight back to book their place in the Champions League final.

Real looked down and out before substitute Karim Benzema scored from close range in the 83rd minute and Sergio Ramos struck five minutes later, but with the Real fans going wild in the stands Dortmund held on.

Asked about Mourinho’s claims that Hummels’ handball could have been a game changer, Coach Juergen Klopp said there were many things that could make a difference in the match.

“I can perfectly understand that when a team is defeated so closely they must be very sad. If I had seen it (Hummels’ handball) I could say, but I didn’t see that and none of my players remember that, Mourinho said. If it is part of the global package, many things have an influence in the game. Everyone is doing their best. I have to say it, this is too much for me, I have to say it. Ramos did many things against Lewandowski that didn’t get called,” said Klopp.

The Borussia coach added: “Many, many things had happened in this game and the last game, so we are the absolute deserved team to go to, to go to Wembley. I never thought that this could happen, but now it is like it is. It is unbelievable and I’m so proud of all of my team.”

Klopp also said Borussia were not favourites to win the final, whoever they play.

“It will be one of the greatest moments (to play the final in Wembley) in our life. But I can say, when we are there, we don’t want to be a tourist. I think it’s not important against which team we play, we are not the favourites, so it’s the perfect role,” said the coach.

Dortmund, the European champions in 1997 on their only appearance in the final, will play German rivals Bayern Munich or Barcelona in the May 25 showpiece at Wembley stadium.

Wenger Says Messi Shouldn’t Have Won Ballon d’Or Award For 2012

Arsene Wenger the manager of Arsenal revealed that to him, Lionel Messi does not deserve the Ballon d’Or award for 2012 that was awarded to him as either Cristiano Ronaldo or Andres Iniesta would have fit best to have won the 2012 edition of the award.

“No, not this year,” the Gunners boss told the Arsenal Magazine. “For me Messi is certainly the best player I have ever seen in the game, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team.

“For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn’t win anything with his country, but individually it’s true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals.

“I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I’m more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like [Iker] Casillas, [Cristiano] Ronaldo – who won the championship – and especially [Andres] Iniesta deserved it more.

“He’s always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain – he could have deserved it this year.”

Making it his fourth time to claim the Ballon d’Or award in a ceremony that took place in Zürich, the Barca forward had Cristiano Ronaldo and Iniesta to contend with.

Taking a peep into Messi’s achievement, the only trophy the Argentine forward can boast of is the Cope Del Ray which was won last season despite his optimal performance as an individual player after he broke Gerd Muller’s goal scoring record, netting 91 times in a calendar year in contrast to Ronaldo and Iniesta who have done so much good and were also given recognition in their clubs and countries in the 2012 season after they won major laurels.

Cristiano Ronaldo, a player than Lionel Messi – Pedrag Mijatovic

A former star for Spanish giants Real Madrid ; Pedrag Mijatovic expressed his opinion on an issue that has been lingering in the midst of football lovers and pundits equally, who plays better complete football between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

A number of prominent football names, including Brazilian Ronaldo, have had their say on the matter, but it is the Argentinean that has won the award three times to Ronaldo’s one – the last three in a row, in fact.

To Mijatovic, he thinks Portuguese international and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo id more of a complete player than his fellow player Lionel Messi who plays for Argentina and Barcelona.

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is “a more complete player” than his Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi, Pedrag Mijatovic said.

Giving his analysis, the former Los Blancos forward who during his days in the 90’s scored 29 goals in 90 league games during said the Portuguese forward’s ability to use both feet more comfortably and heading prowess made him a better player than the record goal scorer at Camp Nou.

Messi scored 73 in all competitions for Barcelona last season, but the Montenegrin was adamant that Jose Mourinho’s talisman should be the preference in any choice between the two players generally agreed to be the best in the world.

Though Mijatovic admitted that their movement and way of playing is totally different making them distinct players but for him, Cristiano is better than Messi as he is a more complete player, faster, more explosive with both feet as advantage also good with his head.

He said he sees Cristiano as not having any faults.

A touch of bias is being perceived here afterwards, as Mijatovic was director of football at the Bernabeu as recently as 2009.

Fabregas frustrated over less playing time

High profile Spanish La Liga player and Barcelona midfielder has expressed his unhappiness and frustration over not having enough time on the field of play.

Fabregas becomes the second high profile Spanish La Liga player to complain after Real Madrid Striker Cristiano Ronaldo who felt sad for professional reasons.

In last Sunday’s La Liga game against Valencia which the Spanish giants won by stroke of luck the Spanish midfielder was substituted only for 63 minutes.

Fabregas was quoted saying “There’s no such thing as a great substitute in the world of football. I couldn’t tell you what makes a great substitute. I always wish my teammates well and put a happy face on.”

“If I have to take my unhappy face home, then so be it, but I would never let my teammates or manager see it,” he added.

As it stands now, Cesc Fabrgas who left the Gunners to ply his trade with his youth club Barcelona is contending seriously for a starting shirt with the likes Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets and new recruit Alex Song that are tagged as the game’s biggest stalwarts in the centre of the park.

“Everybody likes to play every minute of the season. I’ve always said that I play for the best team in the world, but I came here to compete, to learn and enjoy, not sitting wracking my brains.” Fabregas said.

“The manager knows what I can offer. But across the three positions that I can play, I am competing with the three best players in the world. I’m delighted to be a part of this team but when a coach tells me I have to go, I’ll go,” he added.

“But I will not make it easy for him to do so, by any means. I will keep going, looking forward to the time that things change. I came here to see out my career,” he concluded.




Messi, Ronaldo and Iniesta nominated for Uefa European Award

Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been named as the three players on the shortlist for the 2011/12 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.

The trio emerged as the leading candidates from an initial 32-player list for the award after a round of voting from 53 journalists representing each UEFA member association.

Messi has been installed as the early favourite to defend the crown he won a year ago following his record-breaking goal scoring season for Barcelona.

The Argentina international scored an incredible 73 times in 60 games for Barca, beating Gerd Muller’s 39 year old European record.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, played an instrumental role in ensuring Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the Spanish title for the first time since 2008, with Los Blancos breaking new ground in terms of points gained and goals scored.

Iniesta was named the Player of the Tournament after Spain’s historic triumph at Euro 2012 earlier this summer.

Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo was polled the fourth highest amount of votes, followed by Spain midfielder Xavi in fifth and La Roja captain Iker Casillas in sixth.

Chelsea’s Champions League final hero Didier Drogba was seventh in the voting, while former teammate Petr Cech was tied eighth with Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao.

Germany international Mesut Ozil made up the top 10 after another impressive season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The top three will now go into a deciding vote in Monaco during the Champions’ League group stage draw on August 30.


Messi, van Persie, Ronaldo others on Uefa Best Player shortlist

Uefa has announced a list of the 32 players who are in contention for their award for the best player of Europe.

La Liga champions Real Madrid are the most represented club on the list, with seven players, followed by Premier League holders Manchester City, who boast six players.

Champions League winners Chelsea and Catalan giants Barcelona boast four players each, while Radamel Falcao is the sole player from Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid.

The players were chosen by a jury of journalists from each of Uefa’s 53 member associations. The governing body for European football will reveal on August 14 the names of the three players who were given the most points by the writers, who will then proceed to the live vote to choose the overall winner in Monaco.

Barca’s Lionel Messi was the winner of the first edition of the award, beating team-mate Xavi and Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to the honour.

Raul and Didier Drogba have left Europe since their exploits last season for Al Sadd and Shanghai Shenhua respectively, while Shinji Kagawa’s form for Borussia Dortmund earned him a summer move to Manchester United.

Player               Club

Sergio Aguero Manchester City

Xabi Alonso Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli Manchester City

Jakub Blaszczykowski Borussia Dortmund

Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

Iker Casillas Real Madrid

Petr Cech Chelsea

Fabio Coentrao Real Madrid

Leslie Davies Bangor City

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas Barcelona

Radamel Falcao Atletico Madrid

Joe Hart Manchester City

Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan

Andres Iniesta Barcelona

Shinji Kagawa Borussia Dortmund

Vincent Kompany Manchester City

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Lionel Messi Barcelona

Luka Modric Tottenham

Mesut Ozil Real Madrid

Pepe Real Madrid

Andrea Pirlo Juventus

Sergio Ramos Real Madrid

Raul Schalke
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Wayne Rooney Manchester United

David Silva Manchester City

Fernando Torres Chelsea

Yaya Toure Manchester City

Robin van Persie Arsenal

Xavi Barcelona

A live vote will be conducted to reveal the overall winner of the accolade after the final three most nominated players are revealed next month.

Messi wins Excellence Sports Award

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has won the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (ESPY) for Best International Athlete.

The diminutive Barcelona star ended the 2011-12 season with a club record 73 goals, and helped his side to victories in the Spanish Supercopa, European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey.

The Argentinean skipper was fit throughout the season and that is the reason why he has managed to give out 63 appearances for both club and country. During these appearances, the Argentinean star has managed to score 80 goals and gave out 25 assists as well.

He played almost all the matches during this season and furthermore took part in the World Cup qualifying matches and the friendly games which the Argentinean national team played.

He also won the European golden boot, scoring 72 goals for the Spanish giants, Barcelona.

Though Messi could not help Barcelona win the Champions League or the Spanish La Liga, he was still the top scorer in both competitions. He was able to score 50 goals in the league, and scored 14 in the Champions League to be crowned as the golden boot for both tournaments.

Messi won the award for ‘Excellence in Sports Performance’, an award which was started back in the year 1993 after fans voted him of ahead of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and reigning US and Australian Open tennis champion Novak Djokovic and female golfer Yani Tseng to the prestigious honour, presented by sports broadcaster ESPN

Messi is the latest in a long line of sporting greats to receive the ward, including the likes of Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Usain Bolt.

Messi tops football rich list ahead of Ronaldo and Beckham

Lionel Messi has been named the highest paid footballer in the world, trailed by England’s American based star, David Beckham and Real Madrid’s Portuguese star in third position.

According to France Football, which is set to release figures for the best paid players in the world on Tuesday, Barcelona forward Messi raked in €33 million last year from wages and sponsorship deals.

LA Galaxy midfielder and former England captain Beckham, for so long the game’s top earner, came in second on €31.5m, while Real Madrid star Ronaldo collected €29.2m in 2011.

Elsewhere, Samuel Eto’o, who made a lucrative move from Inter to Anzhi Makhachkala last summer, is fourth on the list, with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney fifth.

Wealthy Premier League outfit Manchester City have two players in the top ten, with Argentine forward Sergio Aguero and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure sixth and seventh, respectively.

The only other club represented twice is Madrid, with Ronaldo’s team-mate Kaka ranking ninth.

Elsewhere, it is worth noting that Chelsea misfit Fernando Torres, who finally got back amongst the goals at the weekend, netted €16.7m during his disastrous first 12 months at Stamford Bridge.

There is not a single player based in Serie A in the top 10 but there is one representative from the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich skipper Philipp Lahm.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)                                     33m
David Beckham (LA Galaxy)                               31.5m
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)                      29.2m
Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi)                                           23.3m
Wayne Rooney (Man United)                            20.6m
Sergio Aguero (Man City)                                   18.8m
Yaya Toure (Man City)                                        17.6m
Fernando Torres (Chelsea)                                 16.7m
Kaka (Real Madrid)                                              15.5m
Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)                         14.3m

The amount was rated in the generally accepted currency of the European Union member countries.

C. Ronaldo Leads The Race For Europe’s Golden Shoe

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is at the top of the Golden Shoe table once again after another week of European football as he scored in his team’s 5-0 bashing of Espanyol this weekend. The strike was the Portuguese star’s 30th of the season, and keeps him four points clear of his closest rival, Lionel Messi. The Argentine, however, didn’t feature in Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon due to suspension.

Robin van Persie, meanwhile, moved four points clear of Trans Narva’s goal-scoring machine Aleksandrs Cekulajevs, with two goals in the 2-1 win at Liverpool to claim third spot, with the Estonian league coming to a close and ending Cekulajev’s goal-scoring party.

Seydou Doumbia returned to CSKA Moscow following his unsuccessful Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Cote d’Ivoire, the Ivorian remains on 36 points, and was joined at sixth place by Antonio Di Natale. The diminutive Italian failed to score as Udinese were held to a goalless draw by Atalanta.

Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Mario Gomez didn’t net this weekend in Germany as their clubs suffered defeats in the Bundesliga, and make up the remainder of the top 10 with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
The weightings are determined by the league’s ranking on the Uefa coefficients, which in turn depend on the results of each league’s clubs in European competition over the previous five seasons. Goals scored in the top five leagues according to the Uefa coefficients are multiplied by a factor of two, and goals scored in the leagues ranked six to 21 are multiplied by 1.5. Goals in all other leagues are all worth one single point.

This measure has prevented players from so-called weaker leagues from winning the European Golden Shoe, since a goal scored in, for example, Armenia, Estonia or Azerbaijan, carries less weight than a goal scored in Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga or the Premier League.

Between 1968 and 1991, football greats Eusebio, Gerd Muller, Ian Rush and Marco van Basten won the coveted trophy.
Players such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Forlan and Lionel Messi have won the European Golden Shoe in the past few seasons.

1 Cristiano Ronaldo R/Madrid 60 30
2 Lionel Messi Barcelona 56 28
3 Robin Van Persie Arsenal 50 25
4 Aleksandrs Cekulajevs Trans Narva 46 23
5 Burak Yilmaz Trabzonspor 43.5 29

With Turkey falling under the second cadre in the European rankings, Trabzonspor’s Yilmaz claims fifth spot despite scoring more goals than Lionel Messi who sits at second.