Netherlands Football Legend, Johan Cruyff Dies At 68

johan_cruyffNetherlands football legend, Hendrik Johannes Cruyff, simply known as Johan Cruyff has passed on.

The Dutchman, who died of cancer at the age of 68, was earlier diagnosed of cancer in October 2015.

The professional football player and coach became popular while playing as a striker with Ajax and Barcelona.

He also won the prestigious European football award, Ballon d’Or three times in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

Johan Cruyff won three successive European Cups with Ajax and also led Spanish giants, Barcelona as coach to their first European Cup victory in 1992.

Hiddink Stresses Joy As Element Of Success

HiddinkChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has highlighted ‘joy’ as the important element of success required to get his players performing at their best.

Speaking during an interview ahead of Sunday’s Manchester City clash, the Dutchman said that ‘the best comes out of a player when he plays with joy’.

“Players, even if they are high-profile, well-paid professionals as they are at this club, deep down they must play with joy,” the manager said on Chelsea’s website.

Hiddink pointed out that Joy is not always laughing but “enjoying being a professional, enjoying training and enjoying doing your job”.

“When you feel that naturally, the performance is unconditional,” he said while he described the blues” FA Cup tie with City as an ‘early final’.

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, had resolved to rest several senior players in the team, so that youngsters such as Bersant Celina and Manu Garcia could feature.

He hinted that Bacary Sagna was back in training and might return from a knee problem.

Man United Must Return To Winning Ways – Van Gaal

Manchester-van gaalManchester United Manager, Louis van Gaal, admits his side’s title chances could be over if the team cannot end their run of eight games without a win against Swansea.

United followed a run of four straight defeats with a goalless draw against struggling Chelsea on Tuesday.

The team’s dismal run of results which has included them being dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages, has led to widespread speculation that Van Gaal’s job is in jeopardy.

The Dutchman admits United must win on Saturday to maintain any realistic hope of overturning the nine-point deficit between themselves and Premier League leaders, Arsenal.

I Feel Warmth And Support From Manchester United – Van Gaal

Manchester Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, has revealed that he had the support of the club as his team prepare to face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day.

United have fallen out of the top four in the Barclays Premier League as well as exiting the UEFA Champions League in a run where they have won just three times in 13 matches.

Without a victory in any of their last six matches in all competitions, it is United’s worst winless run in a single season since December 1998, the campaign in which they went on to win an historic treble.

“I held meetings with the players with my members of staff, I hold a Christmas lunch, I did a speech and I feel the warmth and support of everybody in Carrington,” Van Gaal said Prior in a press conference he cut short after three questions. “But I didn’t feel that in the media.

“Of course I can imagine that you can write about that subject [our bad results] but you have to stick to the facts.

“Four weeks ago we were first in the Premier League and in about four weeks we could be back in that position.

“I only say now I am focused on Stoke City and that I help my players.”

Van Gaal will hope United can continue their fine record in Boxing Day fixtures, having won 18 and drawn one of their last 19 matches played on 26 December.

Stoke’s progress has slowed in recent weeks as they followed a run of five victories from seven league matches by only winning one of their last four, although that solitary triumph was a home victory over Manchester City.

Mark Hughes’ men have slipped to 11th, but are only six points adrift of United in fifth. Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic is the highest league goal scorer from either of the two teams with five and is optimistic about his side’s chances ahead of United’s visit.

“It is a huge game,” the forward told the Stoke Sentinel.  “They come to us and know it is going to be a difficult game in Stoke and we know they are a good side.

“Manchester United is always a top game and we will try and win this game. If we perform like the last week [against West Ham and Crystal Palace], but score the goals, then I think we can take the three points.”

Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended, while United are also without Matteo Darmian and Jesse Lingard (both hamstring), although Van Gaal hopes the Italian will be back to face Chelsea on 28 December.

Stoke are still without Geoff Cameron (hamstring), Peter Crouch (groin) and Stephen Ireland (hamstring).

Mourinho Has Not Sealed Manchester United Deal – Mendes

mourinhoFormer Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho’s agent says Manchester United is yet to make an offer to the coach to take over at Old Trafford.

Mr Jorge Mendes’ comments came as speculation about Mourinho’s future persists off the back of United’s home defeat against Norwich on Saturday; their sixth consecutive game without a win in all competitions.

Louis van Gaal has admitted that his position in charge of the 20-time English champions will come under threat if their poor run continues, but Mendes has played down suggestions that Mourinho is being lined up to replace the Dutchman.

There are indications United’s hierarchy held a meeting on Tuesday in London, but it is understood Van Gaal’s future was not the reason for the gathering.

Robin Van Persie will remain a Gunner – Wenger

Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger made his stand known to those bidding for his star striker Robin van Persie that the Dutchman is not going anywhere as he is keeping him as he admitted the 28 year old is one of the best strikers in the World.

Italian Serie A Champion, Juventus, EPL champion Manchester City are the top bidders for his signature as Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson joined the bidding race on Friday to have him at Old Trafford, a bid which is believed to around £30 million.

Van Persie’s deal at Emirates Stadium expires next summer and he is presently unsettled at the club due to Manchester United’s joining the bid for his signature.

Van Persie won both Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year prizes in recognition of his phenomenal 36-goal contribution for Arsenal in the 2011/12 campaign.

Van Persie we learnt will not travel to Asia later today on Arsenal’s pre-season tour, although the Gunners were keen to stress his non-involvement was due to the striker having only trained for four days since returning from holiday.

The saga is shaping up to be a carbon copy of those that saw Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both sold last summer – something which dragged on towards the tail end of the transfer window.

But Wenger is convinced that Van Persie will continue to give his all for Arsenal – regardless of whether he leaves the club.

But in case Van Persie leaves Arsenal, the clubalready signed two new strikers in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud but are also said to be lining up Spain star Fernando Llorente.