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.

Arsenal Signs Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez1English Premier League side, Arsenal have signed Chile forward, Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee in what is believed to be £30million.

According to the club’s official website, the forward flew in from Spain to finalise personal terms and complete a medical. He is expected to join up with his new team-mates at the end of July, after spending some time on holiday following the World Cup.

The 25 year old opted for the Gunners ahead of league rivals, Liverpool and Italian Serie A champions, Juventus.

Liverpool, who were runners up in the league last season, were keen on recruiting the Chilean as part of the deal that is likely to take striker Luis Suarez from Anfield to the Nou Camp, but that is now expected to be a straight cash transfer.

Juventus had also shown strong interest in Sanchez but are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata.

Sanchez, who has made 71 appearances for Chile, scoring 24 goals and helping his country reach the World Cup last 16 where they lost on penalties to Brazil, could not hide his joy of joining up with the gunners. Sanchez said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League.

“I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.”

Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger says Sanchez is a fantastic player and would be a good addition to the team.

“As many people have seen during the World Cup this summer, Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us at Arsenal Football Club.

“Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks.

“He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.”

In a statement on the club’s official website, Sanchez’s squad number would be revealed soon through Arsenal’s official Instagram account. His move will give Liverpool’s Urugyuan forward, Luis Suarez the green light to sign for Barcelona for £75m.

The move from Anfield to the Nou Camp could be delayed until Friday, however, as they await further clarification over the striker’s four-month ban from FIFA.

Arsenal is also expected to announce the capture of Newcastle’s £11m right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who completed his medical on Monday.

In addition to pursuing the France right full back, the Gunners are still in the market for a holding midfielder and back-up goalkeeper.

‘I Will Kill Myself’ If Found Guilty Of Match Fixing’ — Gattuso

Former Italy international and AC Milan midfielder, Gennaro Gattuso, is under investigation on suspicion of being part of a match-fixing operation affecting dozens of Serie A games.

The Police also arrested four individuals in connection with the case which is believed to have involved more than 30 matches stretching back to 2009.

Gattuso, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, denied any connection with match-fixing and described the accusations as “absurd”.

“I’m angry and offended,” he told the media in Italy. “I don’t even know how you would fix a match. I don’t know how you’d go about it,” he said.

Thirty-five years old Gattuso won the Champions League twice with Milan and  was sacked as manager by Serie B Palermo in September after a series of bad results.

Officials involved in the case confirmed that former Lazio, AC Milan and Inter Milan player, Cristian Brocchi, is also being investigated.

Brocchi’s agent, Davide Lippi, told journalists: “It was a big surprise, we’re all quite shocked. I’ve known Cristian for years and I think he’s got nothing to do with any of this,” “Cristian is calm about it.”

Prosecutors say bets worth tens of thousands of euros, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, have been placed on both the top-flight Serie A and Serie B matches.

The investigation was triggered by a second-tier Serie B match in Cremona in 2010 which aroused suspicions that led to a wider probe.

Former Lazio and Italy striker, Giuseppe Signori, has been banned for five years and 15 other players suspended for between one and five years for their part in the scandal.

Di Martino confirmed the case showed that the match-fixing scandal, which has hung over Italian soccer since the 2006 “Calciopoli” scandal which saw Juventus stripped of the 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles, had not been resolved.

Gennaro Gattuso has rejected accusations of his alleged involvement in any match-fixing and dramatically claimed he would kill himself if found guilty.

 

Robinho Pledges Future To Serie A Side; AC Milan

[highlight]Brazil forward Robinho says he will stay with AC Milan next season and would like to complete 10 years at the Serie A club.[/highlight]

Robinho’s contract runs out in 2014 and he appeared to want to leave in January, missing out on a move to Santos only because the Brazilian club reportedly refused to meet Milan’s asking price.

But the 29 year old now says he is happy in Italy.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester City forward has played 21 times in all competitions this season, scoring two goals, and is expected to be involved in Milan’s clash with Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday.

Chelsea to attack Juventus in crunch Champions League tie

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has vowed that his side will attack  Italian champions Juventus when the two sides meet in the Champions League, but has remained silent on his team selection.

The Blues have been praised for their dogged defensive displays in Europe, a feat which saw them overcome Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the way to winning the trophy earlier in 2012.

However, the Stamford Bridge side have been in poor form domestically, taking just two points from a possible 12, but the Italian manager has insisted his side will take the game to their Turin hosts.

“It will be a difficult game, but Juventus are under pressure as well,” Di Matteo told reporters on Monday.

“Our intention is to cause Juventus problems, so certainly we will attack as well as defend.

“There was frustration on Saturday [in their defeat at West Brom] and we owe ourselves a good performance. In the past the players showed they can be counted on.”

The former Chelsea player revealed Ashley Cole will be available after recovering from a hamstring injury, but refused to reveal any further information on his starting XI.

“Ashley Cole is available to play,” he added. “The defensive focus of the team will be very important tomorrow.

“I feel confident. I have a good team and we know we have to play a big game tomorrow. I will see how the players are in training and then I will make my final selection decisions.”

The Blues currently sit second in Group E, level on points with Shakhtar Donetsk and one point ahead of the Bianconeri.

Juventus D.G. says club is not interested in Drogba

Giuseppe Marotta the Director General of Italian giants Juventus has declared that the club does not have any interest whatsoever in signing former Chelsea forward now plying his trade for Shanghai Shenhua Didier Drogba.

Juventus we hear is said to be monitoring Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.

Didier Drogba we hear is not happy in his new club and because of this the Ivory Coast international has been linked to Turin to probably join Juventus so as to strengthen the squad with some firepower which the Ivorian is known for during his day at the London club.

This information prompted the reaction of the Juventus Director General saying the former Chelsea striker is not one of the candidates to strengthen the Serie A leaders’ attack in the January transfer window.

He said further that Juventus has never considered making a move for Drogba, that it is just a rumour and speculation.

Mikel Obi apologises for Champions League blunder

Mikel Obi, Nigeria and Chelsea midfielder apologised for his blunder that caused his club Chelsea the much desired win in the first match to launch their campaign to defend their champions’ league title.

In a match that was almost won with a perfectly executed game plan, the Stamford Bridge club was on course to finish the game with a 2-1 score line when Mikel carelessly gave the ball away in the build-up to the equalizer  cancelling the two goals from Brazil midfielder Oscar.

Nigeria midfielder Mikel Obi has apologised for the Champions League blunder that allowed Juventus to snatch a 2-2 draw against holders Chelsea.

With just 10 minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Chelsea were on course to open their title defence with a victory after two goals from Brazil midfielder Oscar gave them a 2-1 lead over the Italian champions.

Mikel said in a brief interview with Sky Sports after the game said he thinks Chelsea switched off that it was a pass meant Eden Harzard but unfortunately it didn’t get him that was when everything went awry but he felt Chelsea would have dealt with it properly.

Mikel then apologised thereafter saying “If I want to make up an excuse, I can, but for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on.

“I’m sorry about the mistake, but there are no excuses” Mikel concluded.

The Nigerian had been encouraged, however, by Chelsea’s energetic beginning to the match, adding, “I think we started the game well, we scored two goals and we had more possession of the game. We had the game under control but they scored one goal.

“We came out in the second half trying to do something in the way that we started the first half but their second goal was a cheap goal to give away.”

It could have been even worse for Chelsea as Quagliarella hit the crossbar with a looping shot just after his equaliser.

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo was frustrated with the way his team lost control after taking a two-goal lead, but he could at least take heart from Oscar’s wonderful display on his debut for Chelsea.

We have ourselves to blame for Juventus draw – Di Matteo

Chelsea Manager Roberto Di Matteo reacted to the poor finish of the Blues at home in Stamford Bridge against Italian club Juventus in their first game of the UEFA Champions League Campaign for the 2012/2013 season.

Di Matteo said Chelsea is blaming itself for blowing a two-goal lead and making the title defence sloppy from the start of the campaign after giving up the lead to settle for a draw against Juventus ending the game 2-2.

From the start, Chelsea proved to be ready for their title defence with debutant Oscar scoring a stunning first-half double, but the Italian champions ruthlessly exposed the holders’ defensive deficiencies to snatch a Group E draw at Stamford Bridge, with Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella on target.

Chelsea’s defending was bad enough when Juventus pulled a goal back through Vidal before half-time. But just when it looked as if the holders had done enough to hang on, they went missing again, with John Obi Mikel giving the ball away and failing to track back with David Luiz straying away making impossible to stop Quagliarella whose goal drew level for Juventus.

Di Matteo said he thinks Chelsea should have dealt with it a little bit better as there was no pressure on the ball and it was pretty difficult to play offside.

The Chelsea Manager said Chelsea lost possession just beforehand and should have reacted much quicker to losing the ball than his team did even though Chelsea played some good stuff but loose the ball a bit too cheaply.

Oscar was sensational in term so good football in a two-minute spell just past the half-hour mark. Di Matteo raised eyebrows by handing the £25million Brazil star his full debut but it proved an inspired selection.

The 21-year-old’s opening goal owed a lot to the kind of luck Chelsea enjoyed in spades en route to their Champions League triumph but his second was the kind of spectacular strike that would have had billionaire Roman Abramovich drooling.

Di Matteo said it was a great debut for Oscar and he thought it was the right game to start him and he did a perfect job tactically because he proved that by scoring two goals and the second one was a wonderful goal. He is a big talent and he has got a bit of everything.

Champions League: Juventus 2-2 draw dampens Chelsea

European champions, Chelsea were left stunned by Italian Club Juventus last night at Stamford Bridge as the visitor rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 draw, thanks to Fabio Quagliarella’s brace in the 80th minute souring the Blues’ Champions League title defense.

Chelsea’s Oscar scored on long-range shots in the 31st and 33rd minutes, the first deflecting off Leonardo Bonucci into the corner of the net and the second a superb curler from the edge of the penalty area.

Arturo Vidal reduced the deficit in the 38th for Juventus, making its return to the competition after a three-year absence. Quagliarella tied the score six minutes after entering the match.

Chelsea Manager lamented saying “We are disappointed and a little bit deflated to get in a great position to win the game and come away with only a draw,”

The Manager said further that Chelsea should have closed the game.

Arsenal topples Montpellier in UCL clash

Other English team in Champions League action last night recorded success as Arsenal opened their Group B campaign with a 2-1 victory in Montpellier. After going behind to a Younes Belhanda goal in the ninth minute, Arsenal struck twice in three minutes through Lukas Podolski and Gervinho and hung on despite second-half pressure from the French champions.

Arsenal was out to win even though it was not all good for the Gunners as the Assistant Manager Steve Bould had to charge following Wenger’s UEFA match ban.

Bould was pleased with the result and had special words for Podolski, who scored his third goal in three matches for his new team saying it was difficult for Arsenal because the Gunners were a bit tired in the second half after perfect execution in the first but it was very humid and the crowd got behind them in the second half.

He continued saying ‘Podolski has made a real impact because he has never any finisher as good as Podolski-ever on every foot he is present’.

Bould added that the win would give the team’ a psychological boost for their Barclays Premier League match away to City on Sunday.

Meanwhile, three-time champions Manchester United who are looking to play a third European Cup final at Wembley, having beaten Benfica in 1968 and lost to Barcelona two years ago, are at home to Galatasaray, the Turkish champions today.

The new European Champions Chelsea will begin their title defence today night also to host Italian champions Juventus at Stamford Bridge.

It would be recalled that Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich to win their first European Cup in May.

Del Piero moves to Sydney FC

It can now be confirmed now that foremost Juventus player Alessandro Del Piero will be moving to Australia to play his trade for Sydney FC in a transfer deal worth $4 million after so much speculation, confirmations, retractions and negotiations as he has also become the most expensive football player from anywhere in the world to play in Australia particularly the A-League.

The $2 million a season contract was concluded last night in an event that had been as eagerly awaited in Italy as it has been in Australia, as the Juventus frontman appeared at a press conference beside Tony Pignata the chief executive of  Sydney in Turin at the Principi Hotel.

Sydney’s interest in Del Piero was revealed exclusively a week ago, and the club went public that a deal had been agreed last Friday, only for all parties to cool on that talk at the weekend, insisting there was more work to be done before the contract was signed.

After the deal was concluded last night around 8pm Australian time, Del Piero in confirming the deal at the press conference said ‘For the next two years, I am Australian, so to speak’.

The 37-year-old declared he will be spreading the word of football in Australia and that while he would keep his house and business in Italy, he wouldn’t be treating his A-League stint ”like a holiday”.

Club chairman Scott Barlow added it was a landmark day for the club owned by his father-in-law David Traktovenko, who is also the man who put up the massive wages to make the signing a reality.

“This signing is a major coup for Sydney FC, and marks a historic day for football in this country,” he said. “This is for all Australian football fans.

“Alessandro Del Piero is a global icon of the game, and we are honoured he has chosen Sydney FC, ahead of many other options, as the club where he will begin the next chapter of his illustrious football career.”

Del Piero began his professional career with Padova in 1991 but would make only 14 appearances there before making the switch to Juventus as a 19-year-old. It was there with the ”Old Lady” that Del Piero’s star shone brighter than anyone dared dream during an incredible stint spanning two decades.

He boasted a magnificent record of 208 goals in 513 league matches – and then scored a further 25 goals in 56 Italia Cup matches and another 53 goals in 129 European matches, all despite playing the majority of his career as a trequartista – a link player behind the strikers.

Despite his age, and despite being released at the end of last season, Del Piero still played 28 matches and scored five goals for Juventus – a season when they went undefeated in the league.

He is expected to move to Sydney in two weeks’ time, giving him a fortnight’s preparation before the Sky Blues’ first match of the new season, against Wellington Phoenix.

 

Chelsea to face Juventus in Champions’ League group

Chelsea; last season’s Champions League winner and a first timer in the realm of Champions League winners has been pitched against Italian giants Juventus in the race to defending their title which they were crowned with last season in the group stages of the competition.

Last season EPL champions Manchester City has also been fixed to face Spanish giants Real Madrid who has been said to have been handed the toughest of all the draws by pundits because Real Madrid will be locking horns with three league champions in Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in Group D.

The Spanish champion beat Ajax 3-0 both home and away in last season’s competition as it will be itching to bid for a record 10th title at home against the Premier League champions.

Champions League winner Chelsea will begin the defense of its title at home against Italian giant Juventus, while Real Madrid will face Manchester City in the tournament’s toughest group.

The group stage pitched the holders against a Juventus side that stormed to the Serie A title and was unbeaten in all competitions last season apart from the Italian Cup final was done today.

Group E includes Shakhtar Donetsk and Champions League debutant Nordsjaelland of Denmark.

With all four teams winning their leagues last year, it is no surprise Group D has been pinpointed as the toughest group.

Juventus should qualify for the knockout stage, along with Chelsea, which knocked the Serie A side out of the competition in 2009.

Meanwhile, Nordsjaelland is expected to do little more than make up the numbers in Group E.

Bayern Munich, last season’s runner-up, is in Group F with Valencia as well as Lille and BATE Borisov.

Four-time winner Barcelona faces Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic.

Manchester United, which failed to clear the group stage last season, also has a relatively weak group with Braga, Galatasaray and Cluj.

Seven-time winner AC Milan was drawn with Zenit St. Petersburg, Anderlecht and Malaga – another Champions League debutant.

French champion Montpellier makes its debut in the competition against Arsenal, Schalke and Olympiakos. Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud scored 21 goals for Montpellier last season, finishing as the joint top scorer in the French league.

Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain returns to the Champions League after an eight-year absence and will play Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb.