Prandelli Slammed For Giving Up On Valencia

cesare-prandelliDeparting Valencia manager Cesare Prandelli has been sternly criticised for “giving up” on the Spanish giants.

The club believed that the 59-year-old was for looking for excuses to walk out on the team as they hover above the relegation zone.

Valencia’s Chief Executive Officer, Anil Murthy, in a news conference on Saturday, slammed the Italian for walking out on the club at a critical time.

Murthy said that Prandelli had no solutions to offer to their problems, stressing that he was looking for excuses to leave the club.

“He had no solutions to offer, he said this challenge was not for him (but) he has given up. In summary, he wanted to leave and was looking for excuses to leave. He earned six points in three months, there’s no excuses for that.

“Twenty-four hours ago I met with Prandelli to speak about transfers. So it was a big surprise to learn yesterday (Friday) that he had decided to abandon the ship just before the market opened,” he said.

Prandelli had announced his resignation from Valencia after 91 days in charge, as the six-time La Liga champions level on points with the relegation zone.

He was said to have lost faith with the club after he was told he would not be able to sign the five players he had been promised.

Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola is demanding a new mentality from his lads as they host Spanish giants, Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Having lost the away leg 4-0 in Spain and placed second in Group C, one point in front of Borussia Monchengladbach, Guardiola wants the home game with Barca to be treated like a final

“We dropped two points against Celtic, so we have to recover those points,” said the former Barcelona manager.

“It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us.”

Aguero started the game at the Nou Camp on the bench but, following two goals in a win over West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday, is expected to start and right-back Pablo Zabaleta could also be available.

“We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have,” added Guardiola.

“But we had a few chances (in the first game) and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.

“We will try. I have never entered a match thinking we can’t win but we have to play almost perfectly.”

However, with the words coming from the Barca camp, City might need to be cautious.

Even in the absence of four Barcelona players who started that game that City would like to forget, Barca boss, Luis Enrique is confident his team are capable of inflicting similar damage.

He has Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique out of the game but not bothered because he knows exactly what to expect from Guardiola.

“I expect the same type of game as the last one,” said Enrique. “I don’t think City can be any more aggressive in terms of pressure. They were pressing us up to the stand almost. I expect a similar script. To make the pitch as big as possible. If they leave spaces behind, we will take advantage.

“City have played a lot of matches when they deserved to win but did not. I don’t think it is a determining factor. It is a short competition. If you make errors, you pay dearly.

“If we qualify after four matches, great. We only play one way: to win. If we don’t get the points, we will continue to play in our way. That is all we know how to do,” he said.

Antoine Griezmann Extends Atletico Contract Till 2021

Antoine Griezmann, Atletico MadridFrench Forward, Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract at current club, Atletico Madrid until 2021.

The club confirmed this on its official website in the early hours of Thursday.

“Antoine Griezmann has renewed his contract with our club until the June 30, 2021.

“The French striker extends his contractual relationship for one more season with the Atlético de Madrid,” said the club.

The forward who is currently at the Euro 2016 tournament, has expressed his joy over the extension of his contract at the club.

“I’m very satisfied, very happy to keep belonging to this family and this project. I want to improve every year, and the club, the coaches and my teammates can help me to reach this goal.

“It’s essential to continue keeping the important players, with the coach. We’re lucky to be in this club that wants to improve and reach the top and help us keep growing.

“Personally I’d like to score more goals, have more time and matches to play, assist more… My goal is always to be better than the last season.

“At the collective level we are looking for doing better than the last year as well,” He told the club’s official website.

Griezmann, 25, left Real Sociedad for Athletico Madrid in 2014 and has scored a total of 57 goals for the Spanish giants.

Champions League: Atletico, Real Madrid Arrive For Milan Final

Champions League, Atletico, Real MadridThe city of Milan is getting ready for the final of the UEFA Champions League as arch rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid compete for the coveted trophy on Saturday evening.

Majority of the Spanish fans are expected to start arriving by air, rail and road on Saturday. Fans already arrived in Milan are hoping that they would see an exciting match.

10-time European champions, Real Madrid have arrived their Milan hotel ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player off the bus and the Portuguese should be fit to play.

The Portuguese set alarm bells ringing on Tuesday when he ended training prematurely with a knock but was fit to train again the following day.

He has scored 16 goals in the competition this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men are without defenders Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa for the game.

Meanwhile a crowd of Atletico Madrid fans gathered outside the Hotel Melia in Milan to also welcome their team as they arrived.

Atletico players briefly waved at a group of supporters, many dressed in the team’s jerseys and waving red and white flags, before entering their hotel.

While Madrid will be missing two players, Atletico have a clean bill of health.

It is a far cry from the dishevelled state in which Diego Simeone’s team arrived at the 2014 final, when they struggled with fitness after a long season and suffered key injuries.

The teams’ face off at the San Siro stadium is a repeat of the 2014 final in Lisbon which saw Real come from behind to win 4-1 after extra-time.

Champions League: Ronaldo Injury Scare Ahead Of Final

Champions League, RonaldoReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he will be fit to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday after limping out of training.

Ronaldo left the pitch with a thigh problem following a clash with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

The Portuguese forward was seen showing his thigh to medical staff, receiving attention, he later described the injury as a minor scare.

“I had a small problem in the training session, a ‘sandwich’ (bocadillo) as they say in Spain. But tomorrow or the day after I will be fine,” he told reporters.

Ronaldo has not completed his last three training sessions.

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Ronaldo sat out a full training as a precaution.

“There will be no problem with that. We had a game among ourselves on Saturday and (Ronaldo) didn’t play, but (only) as a precaution as he felt something small.

“He is preparing for the final and I think we’ll be in good shape physically,” Zidane said.

Real Madrid Stars React To Champions League Final Qualification

Real MadridIn a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.

It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.

The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.

“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”

On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.

“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”

Important Goal

Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.

Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.

Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”

Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.

“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.

Tough Season

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.

“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.

“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.

“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.

“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”

La Liga Quality

Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.

“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.

“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”

Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.

“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”

Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.

It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.

It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.

UCL: Real Madrid, Manchester City Bosses Laud Players

Real MadridReal Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane, is pleased with his side’s 3-0 win against Wolfsburg at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain.

Zidane said that although it was a challenging match, he could not deny the fact that they did a good job.

“It is not easy to start how we did, scoring two goals in 15 minutes. We went in with a really high intensity (and) we showed the opposition that it was important for us to win and go through,” the French said on the club’s website.

He also commended the Whites’ messiah, Cristiano Ronaldo whom he described as the world’s best player, saying he was demonstrating what he is.

“What can I say about Cristiano Ronaldo? He is demonstrating what he is, the best player in the world. That’s what makes him a special player,” he said.

Manchester City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has also asked his side to go all the way in the Champions League after their historic 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).Manuel Pellegrini

Kevin De Bruyne fired city through to the last four of the league for the first time with his 76th-minute winner at the Etihad stadium.

As Madrid and City progress to the semi-final in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), Manuel Pellegrini could meet his city successor, Pep Guardiola should Bayern Munich beat Benfica on Wednesday.

UCL: Cristiano Ronaldo Hat Trick Sends Real Madrid To Semis

Cristiano RonaldoA hat trick by Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that Real Madrid would be playing in their sixth consecutive semi-final of the UEFA Champions League (UCL).

The Spanish giants had suffered a shocking 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in Germany in the first leg but made the comeback that so many predicted in style.

Two quick goals in the first half put Zidane’s men on their way, although they had to endure some nervy moments as Wolfsburg tried to get a goal which could have changed the game entirely.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Toni Kroos whipped an inviting corner delivery in towards the near post, and he placed a perfect header beyond Benaglio.

With a sense of urgency, leaving no time to celebrate, the Portuguese was back again within two minutes. It was another header off a well delivered corner kick.

The second half resumed with Madrid still in the ascendancy and in the 77th minute, Ronaldo completed his hat trick with a trade mark free-kick.

In England, Manchester made it to the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 76th minute to send Manchester City into the Champions League last four with a 3-2 aggregate success.

They had secured a 2-2 draw in the quarter-final first leg in Paris a week earlier.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic did have the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside.

UCL: Man City Draw Away As Wolfsburg Shock Madrid

Real MadridKevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho both scored to hand Manchester City a 2-2 first-leg draw at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

The two away goals give the English side the edge in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had his penalty saved by City goalkeeper Joe Hart as the Premier League side twice punished defensive mistakes by their hosts to get the two goals.

De Bruyne put City ahead on 38 minutes, only for Ibrahimovic to level after an embarrassing mix-up in the visitors’ defence soon after.

Adrien Rabiot then put PSG ahead just before the hour, but Fernandinho made it 2-2 on 72 minutes and ensured the French giants will be chasing the tie in next Tuesday’s second leg.

In Germany, Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold were the goal scorers as German side Wolfsburg dealt a 2-0 blow to Real Madrid’s hopes of taking the Champions League crown this season.

Playing in their first quarterfinal in the competition, Wolfsburg bullied the Spanish giant to earn a good chance of making the last four.

Ricardo Rodriguez had converted a penalty in the 18th minute after Casemiro was adjudged to have fouled Andre Schurrle inside the area.

Arnold then added the second in the 25th minute as the home side used counterattacks to devastating effect at the Volkswagen Arena.

Madrid created a number of chances to pull one back, with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo all threatening, but they were unable to beat goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for an important away goal.

An injury to Karim Benzema added to a poor night for the visitors who came into the match following a 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Spanish league “clasico”.

Ironically, Wolfsburg have been struggling in the Bundesliga.

Both sides meet again at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12 for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

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.

Wenger Hails Barcelona’s Exceptional Team

Arsene WengerArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has hailed ‘exceptional’ Barcelona and compared their play to art after the Gunners were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish side clinched a 3-1 win to progress to the quarter-finals with 5-1 on aggregate on Wednesday night.

Wenger, who was pleased with his side’s overall performance, insisted that Arsenal had Luis Enrique’s side worried at 1-1.

“It was a team performance and the quality was good. I’m disappointed with the result but we played against a team with the best strikers I have seen play together,” Wenger said on Arsenal’s website.

He said that the La Liga giants were exceptional, stressing that they could make chances from nothing.

However, Wenger said that Arsenal could not take their chances to find a second goal that would put them in a strong position.

“After they scored and it was 2-1, our belief was less than when it was 1-1. We had chances and Barcelona was exceptional.

Barcelona Beat Arsenal To Cruise To UCL Quarter Finals

BarcelonaSpanish giants, Barcelona have cruised into the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League after beating Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Neymar set the Catalonians ahead of the game with a fantastic goal after Luis Suarez’s assist in the 18th minute.

The Gunners seemed to wake up from sleep in the second half as Mohamed Elneny levelled the score  in the 51st minutes.

Consequently, Suarez and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure win at the Nou Camp with goals in the 65th and 88th minutes respectively.

The Catalans qualify with a 5-1 aggregate score.