Kamis, 31 Januari 2013

Sunderland terminate Saha contract by mutual consent

Louis Saha of Sunderland profile pic
Sunderland have confirmed that Louis Saha has left the club after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

The Frenchman moved to the Stadium of Light on a one-year deal after leaving Tottenham in the summer, but failed to net in his 14 total appearances on Wearside.

The 5 million arrival of Danny Graham from Swansea on Thursday left the veteran striker surplus to requirements, and the Mackems have now decided to bring his contract to an early end.

Speaking to the club's official website, Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne said: "We wish Louis all the very best for the future and thank him for his contribution to Sunderland."

The former Fulham, Manchester United and Everton man is expected to pursue his career outside of Europe, with clubs in Brazil and MLS said to be showing an interest.

Rabu, 30 Januari 2013

Chicharito's form gives me a terrible dilemma, says Manchester United boss Ferguson

Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed the "terrible dilemma" Chicharito's scintillating form has given him this season, with the Manchester United boss admitting he is struggling to accommodate his four international strikers.

The 71-year-old manager signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24 million in the summer, and the Holland striker has dazzled Old Trafford with 22 goals in just 28 appearances in all competitions.

Some fans feared this would lead to Chicharito being marginalised, especially with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck also amongst Ferguson's armoury, but the Mexico international has hit 14 in 24 games to give the coach a difficult selection problem as the season enters a crucial phase.

"It's a terrible dilemma when I've got that lad [Chicharito] there," he told reporters.

"Sometimes I leave him out to bring in Robin van Persie but, as I explain to him, we regard him so highly.

"He's a fantastic profession al, unbelievable attitude to the game, never stops running or working and every training sessions the same.

"So I'm really pleased for him and it's also good to see Wayne [Rooney] back scoring."

Chicharito's latest brace eased his side to a 4-1 win over Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, while they lead the Premier League table by five points and contest Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

And while recent results leave fans quietly wishing for another attempt at a historic 'treble' season, Ferguson insists his side have to be wary of the threat posed by Southampton, who United host on Wednesday evening in the league.

"[Southampton] played really well against Everton who are at the top of their game and playing really well, so we're not taking anything for granted.

"They should have won as they were superb and could have been five-up in the first half," he added. "Tim Howard had a fantastic ga me, they hit the woodwork and Rickie Lambert missed a couple of chances."

Rabu, 23 Januari 2013

Howard: Everton must improve to qualify for Europe

Tim Howard - Everton

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard says his side need to maintain their early-season form to challenge for European places in the Premier League.

After starting the campaign brightly the Toffees sit fifth in the league but, following a 0-0 draw away to Southampton, manager David Moyes was disappointed that his side did not keep up momentum on their rivals for fourth spot.

And Howard says it is important to keep their performance levels high and keep picking up points wherever they can.

"It is going to be a matter of whether we can put two halves together," Howard told reporters.

"That is what is everyone is wondering and it is our job to keep it up and keep our levels high. When we don't perform well we need to get something out of it and so at the moment that is working.

"It is easy to say 'what if?' but I always think if we can keep picking up points here and there it is better than a loss. I t just depends how you look at it.

"We are right there in the mix and it is going to go week-to-week now.

"We are three points off Spurs, Liverpool are four points behind us and Arsenal are four [points behind] with a game in hand, so if everyone does their job, it is going to be basically who wins the head-to-head battles."

Selasa, 22 Januari 2013

Dempsey prepared to fight for new attacking role at Tottenham

Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey has warnedEmmanuel Adebayor he will not give up his place in the Tottenham side easily when the striker returns from Afcon duty with Togo.

The 29-year-old was paired in attack with Jermain Defoe by manager Andre Villas-Boas against Manchester United on Sunday and rewarded his boss when he scored a 93rd-minute equaliser to force a 1-1 draw with the league leaders.

Adebayor is certain to miss Spurs' next two games at least, and Dempsey, who has scored seven goals so far this season for, sees it as the perfect opportunity to prove his worth.

"Ade is a great player and he is going to be missed, but there is competition," the American told reporters.

"You try and fight for a spot and when you get an opportunity to play you want to stand up and take advantage of that opportunity.

"For me, it was a slow start to the season so it's good to be chipping in with goals now and repaying the club for their belief in me. Hopefully there will be more goals to come because that's why they brought me here.

"I can play that position [striker]. It's a position I feel comfortable in, a position I have played a lot this season and I feel like I am starting to feel more comfortable there.

"Now it's about just trying to create more chances in the attacking third, whether it's getting goals or getting assists and I feel like I have been on a good run of form."

Donovan 'definitely' returning for 2013, says Arena

Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan missed the first day of LA Galaxy's pre-season at the Home Depot Center on Monday, but coach Bruce Arena still expects his captain back for the upcoming season.

Donovan, 30, spoke openly of his mental exhaustion leading up to and directly following the Galaxy's 2012 MLS Cup triumph, even publicly toying with retirement.

But Arena, who spoke to Donovan on Sunday, has said the U.S. international will play a role in the 2013 season.

We've given him a little bit more time off, Arena said. He's definitely playing this year, just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us.

We haven't narrowed it down yet. We'll wait and see. We haven't firmly established a return date yet.

I thought he was going to come back, I think he just needs an extended leave of absence. He's had a couple years that have taken its toll.

Donovan is one of 12 Galaxy first-team players who skipped the first day of pre-season, including Todd Dunivant - who is on his honeymoon.

And Arena said he was happy to tailor pre-season training for some of his older players.

[Donovan], like any player, needs the right time of pre-season to get ready to play. The longer he takes off, it's going to take him a longer period of time to be ready to play, Arena said.

The older players, they prefer less time [in pre-season] because it wears them down. The younger players can deal with the grind a little bit better.

"But generally we like to see players get three to four weeks in before they're ready to play. Then you need some real competitive matches to bring your fitness along.

Donovan's absence has also ruled him out of the January U.S. training camp and contention for the World Cup qualifying match against Honduras on February 6, according to U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Senin, 21 Januari 2013

Cruyff's absence led to Chivas sacking, says Gallardo

By Pavel Ibarra Meda

Chivas midfielder Antonio Gallardo believes that former advisor Johan Cruyff's absence at the club ultimately led to his sacking.

The Dutch legend took up the role in February 2012 and the Mexican club were hopeful that the 65-year-old's advice could lead into positive results after a long losing streak.

However he could not turn the tides and was sacked in December and Gallardo feels that Cruyff's lack of presence at the club was one of the main reasons for the failure of the experiment.

"I think that Johan is a person with a huge career, but his not being present made it difficult to get positive results," the 23-year-old told Goal.com.

Gallardo, who is currently enjoying a loan spell at Queretaro, went on to say that he is hoping to gain some much-needed experience at the club.
"There are many players with experience and quality [at Queretaro], each player brings something to the team, so hopefully I can mature, learn and grow a lot in a sporting aspect."

"I see this as an opportunity to grow as a professional and as a person. I am very pleased to have come here and motivated to do well for the team."

Sabtu, 19 Januari 2013

No Beckham or Balotelli moves for AC Milan, insists Allegri

Mario Balotelli - Manchester City
AC Milan coach Massmiliano Allegri has dismissed claims his club are interested in signing Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli or David Beckham.

The Italy international has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A but Allegri has suggested the City man is simply too expensive for Milan.

"Last Friday his price at Manchester stock market was 37M. We'll see on Monday," he told reporters ahead of his side's clash with Bologna.

Allegri also claimed that the club were not interested in bringing Beckham back to the club for another spell, and that they were focusing their attentions instead on signing Kaka.

"'[We are] only negotiating for Kaka, so there will be no Mario Balotelli or David Beckham," he added.

"There are talks in progress for Kaka, an important negotiation process if this great return should occur. I agree with the club and Adriano Galliani on everything, so there has never been my position opposed to that of the club. There is an exchange of ideas, certainly, but it's not true that I don't want Kaka.

"Beckham? I know Beckham, he is a great guy and a player of real class. However, you can't wipe out his birth certificate and Milan have chosen to focus on youth hopefully with support from an important champion like Kaka.

"Balotelli? We are only negotiating for Kaka. In attack we have Giampaolo Pazzini, Bojan Krkic and M'Baye Niang, while we also have experienced players who bring a sense of security."

Jumat, 18 Januari 2013

Thierry Henry to play on for 'another two years'

Thierry Henry - New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry has said he will play for "another two years" before retiring from the game.

The 35-year-old has had a glittering career and was runner-up in the MLSs Most Valuable Player award after 15 goals and 12 assists in 27 games for New York.

The Frenchman is currently in training with former club Arsenal over the winter and had been linked with a temporary move to the Emirates Stadium, which failed to materialise.

"I'm giving myself another two years, he told BeIn Sport.

That'll take me to 37 years old. It'll make my career 20 years long. I recently talked about it with Robert [Pires].

"It's never easy to stop, but there comes a time when your body tells you to. The head wants to continue, but... it's certainly not desire that I'll be lacking. But, at a certain moment in time, you have to stop."

Lampard agrees terms on LA Galaxy move

Frank Lampard - Chelsea
By Alex Labidou

Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard has agreed terms on a move to LA Galaxy at the end of the season, Goal.com understands.

The midfielder has been told by the three-time Premier League champions that he will not be offered an extension on his current 150,000-a-week deal when it expires at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 12-year association with the Stamford Bridge club.

As revealed by Goal.com earlier this month, Manchester United and Arsenal are both monitoring Lampard's situation, while Everton have already had a three-year offer rejected - but the MLS side appear to have won the race.

"It's all but done," a source in the United States told Goal.com.

An LA Galaxy spokesman would not confirm or deny the news, only telling Goal.com that head coach Bruce Arena publicly acknowledged interes t in Lampard on Thursday.

"I wouldn't be surprised if over the next week or so, we're going to have some kind of decision we're going to make with a Designated Player," Arena told reporters.

"We wouldn't rule [a move for Lampard] out. It's always a possibility."

Lampard, Chelsea' second-highest all-time goalscorer, was free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club from the start of January, and is open to a move to the States for personal as well as professional reasons.

During Chelsea's tour in North America last summer, Lampard expressed an interest in playing in MLS but admitted that he would wait to see if Chelsea would extend his contract first.

"I am not sure [about a future in MLS]," Lampard said. "I have another year on my contract at Chelsea and we have a big season ahead of us with the Super Cup and the Club World Cup in December. It's up to Chelsea to speak with me about my future and, at that time, I'll speak with them.

"I wouldn't rule anything out at the moment."

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Rabu, 16 Januari 2013

LA Galaxy in talks to sign Lampard from Chelsea

 Frank Lampard
By Wayne Veysey UK Correspondent

LA Galaxy have opened talks with Frank Lampard as they step up their attempts to prise him away from Chelsea to Major League Soccer, Goal.com has learned.

The American club hope to put together a package that can convince Lampard to follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and move to the west coast in the summer.

The midfielder will leave Chelsea at the end of the season after being formally told on New Years Eve that he will not get a new contract from the European champions.

As revealed by Goal.com at the start of the month, there is firm interest in Lampard from a string of Premier League clubs, most notably Manchester United and Arsenal. The England midfielder has already rejected a three-year offer from Everton.

However, it is understood that the 34-year-olds current stance is that he would prefer a move to the MLS rather than join anot her English club, with LA Galaxy his most likely destination.

There has also been strong interest in the Blues midfielder from clubs in Serie A but the Chelsea No.8 has reservations about moving to Italy.

Lampard will be one of the most sought-after free agents in the world this summer, when his 12-year association with Chelsea will come to an end.

He was told by the west London club that he will not be offered an extension to his current 180,000-a-week deal, even on reduced terms.

This has prompted a stampede of interest in the player, who has demonstrated his value with a number of goals since returning to the team last month following an extended spell out injured and has now scored 11 times for club and country this season.

Lampards colleague John Terry broke ranks earlier this month to question Chelseas stance on the failure to award the long-serving midfielder a new contract.

However, senior Stamford Bridge officials have privately made it clear there will be no change in their position.

Lampard is free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club from this month, and is open to a move to the States for personal as well as professional reasons.

Each MLS club can sign a maximum of three designated players each season, whose wages are not included in the teams annual salary cap.

In an interview this week, LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena declined to comment on Lampard but admitted the club are in the market for a marquee midfielder.

We need to get another player there and were working on it, as well, and theres a chance well get a designated player that can slip into midfield, said Arena.

Jumat, 11 Januari 2013

Former Liverpool owners agree a settlement over sale of the club

Tom Hicks, George Gillett, Livepool owners (PA)
An out-of-court settlement has been reached regarding disputes over the sale of Liverpool in October 2010.

Former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were upset about the sale of the club by then directors Sir Martin Broughton and Christian Purslow, along with current director Ian Ayre.

As a result, a number of allegations were made by the former owners against the three directors which resulted in legal proceedings as the allegations were denied.

Now though, Liverpool have released a statement saying a settlement has been reached and the claims have been withdrawn.

The statement reads: The parties have now agreed a settlement [the terms of which are confidential].

All claims and allegations made against Messrs Broughton, Purslow and Ayre have been withdrawn by Messrs Hicks and Gillett and all legal proceedings between the parties concluded.

Rabu, 09 Januari 2013

Porter: Boyd will have a hard time fitting in Portland's system

Kris Boyd, Portland Timbers; Sean Franklin, LA Galaxy; MLS
Portland Timbers striker Kris Boyd may struggle to fit in with the team's style of play, according to the club's new manager Caleb Porter.

The 37-year-old boss moved to address Boyd's standing with the club at his unveiling, hinting that the forward may have to look at securing a move elsewhere if he wants to play regularly in the coming campaign.

The reasoning behind this seemingly tough stance is that Boyd's lumbering, target-man style may not be as conducive to adjusting to Porter's fluid style, with competition for places set to be fierce given that Portland already boast a wealth of attacking options including Nigeria international Bright Dike, Darlington Nagbe, Danny Mwanga and Ryan Johnson to choose from.

"Kris Boyd is a player that I think will have a hard time fitting in with this system," Porter told reporters.

"[Boyd] will have a hard time playing the way we want to play."

The 29-year-old's high salary fig ure (he made $1.25 million in base salary in 2012 according to MLS Players Union documents) has made him an unappealing trade target within MLS.

Nelsen confident he has enough coaching experience ahead of Toronto FC challenge

Ryan Nelsen - Toronto FC

QPR defender Ryan Nelsen believes he has enough coaching experience to manage MLS side Toronto FC.

The 35 year-old New Zealand international, who is yet to officially retire from playing, accepted the role of head coach with the Canadian-based MLS side.

Nelsen has made 21 appearances for the Premier League side this season, but has cited his body's increasing inability to stand up to the strains of top flight football as a major reason in opting to move into coaching.

It will be his first management role, and despite the fact the former Blackburn player has no coaching qualifications, he is confident he can be a successful manager based on the knowledge he has gathered from various bosses he has played under in his career.

He told reporters: "I suppose in a way I've been kind of coaching since I was 20-21. I've been so fortunate enough to have managers and coaches in my career that have been very influential.

"The likes o f Bobby Clark, Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, Paul Ince, and all their coaches that have belonged to their teams. I've been learning and taking in from all these since, I would say, since 21.

"I've always kind of had a curiosity for the game, and using my playing opportunities to further my knowledge of the game.

"Do I have any badges? No, but I'd like to think that I've been under some pretty good teachers in my time."

Despite the MLS season commencing in two months' time on March 9, the former New Zealand captain has yet to confirm when he will take control of the team and will be staying with Harry Redknapp's side in the immediate future, intending to play several more games for the west London club.

He added: "Pre-season's already been planned. Every training session, everything's already been planned, and I know that when I'm not there, I've got 100 per cent full faith in the coaching staff.

"I've had sev eral conversations with Harry [Redknapp] and Tony Fernandes, the owner, and they've been so understanding of my situation.

"They understand that when I play, I'm playing on glass knees and glass ankles and it's a bit of a struggle, so they know I'm at the end. They also know their predicament they're in, and it's a major predicament.

"I have an obligation. I really want QPR to stay up and kick on because of Harry and because of the owner, Tony Fernandes, they're just fantastic people."

Toronto's president Kevin Payne expressed his comfort with Nelsen missing the side's pre-season preparation, believing that he will be worth the wait.

"We're not sure when he'll join us. We want to be very respectful of QPR," he stated.

"My feeling about Ryan is that he's going to be leading this team for five years to come. If I have to wait a couple of months for him to start that process, I can afford to wait. I'd rather do that than make the wrong decision or a decision I didn't want to make for the short term."

Selasa, 08 Januari 2013

QPR defender Nelsen agrees to take charge of MLS side FC Toronto

Ryan Nelsen of QPR profile pic
QPR defender Ryan Nelsen has agreed a deal to take on the vacant managerial role at Canadian outfit FC Toronto.

As Goal.com exclusively revealed on Monday, Nelsen has been targeted to replace former England international Paul Mariner and become the club's eight manager in their six-year history.

The 35-year-old is contracted to the Rs until the end of the season but, with the new MLS campaign set to begin in March, appears unlikely to see out his deal.

According to the west London club's official website, the New Zealand-born defender is now in talks with boss Harry Redknapp over his departure - though he is expected to feature against Tottenham at the weekend.

Nelsen joined QPR after departing White Hart Lane over the summer and has made 18 Premier League appearances so far this season.

However, the centre-back, who previously played in MLS with DC United, is set to hang up his boots in order to mak e his first foray into management.

QPR defender Nelsen on verge of Toronto FC job

Ryan Nelsen
By Rudi Schuller

Ryan Nelsenis set to be announced as the new Toronto FC head coach at a press conference on Tuesday morning, sources have told Goal.com.

The 35-year-old QPR defender had looked set for a role as an assistant or player/coach in the MLS but is now set to take over from former England international Paul Mariner as the club's boss.

Nelsen will be reuniting with club president and general manager Kevin Payne, under whom he played at D.C. United before heading to the Premier League to sign for Blackburn Rovers in 2005.

The New Zealand international, who has no prior coaching experience, would be taking the head coaching position from a man who had just stepped into the role last June. Mariner was hired as TFC's director of player development in January 2011, a role he performed before taking over the coaching reins from Aron Winter.

Nelson will be the eighth head coach in Toronto FC's six-year history.

Senin, 07 Januari 2013

Uzbekistan football federation wins 2012 Fifa Fair Play Award

Uzbekistan logo
The Uzbekistan football federation have won the 2012 Fifa Fair Play Award.

The award is a result of the good behaviour of the Uzbek national team and the country's club sides participating in AFC competitions during the past year.

In second place was Turkish side Eskisehirspor because of their sporting behaviour in the Europa League qualifying games against St Johnstone.

The Scottish side nominated the side after Dede returned possession to St Johnstone when an opponent was injured, and the welcome reception the Turkish club gave to their opposition during the away game.

As a gesture of good will, St Johnstone arranged complimentary transport to the stadium from a sports bar that had been opened especially for the visiting fans.

The games were the first time either club had reached that stage of European competition for over a decade.

Wambach named 2012 Fifa Women's World Player of the Year

Marta, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach has won the Fifa Women's World Player of the Year for 2012.

The 32-year old was voted the winner of the award by both the captains and the coaches of the 209 Fifa Members, as well as selected members of the media.

The striker beat Brazil's Marta into second place despite the Tyreso player leading her club to a league title, while American counterpart Alex Morgan finished third.

Wambach has already collected the US Soccer Athlete of the Year award on five occasions, as well as winning the Bronze Boot award at the 2011 World Cup along with the Silver Ball, and been given the ESPN ESPY trophy for her goal in the same competition.

Second-placed Marta, 26, is one of the most prolific players in the women's game, and scored 12 goals in 21 games for her club. She also featured for Brazil during the 2012 Olympics, although they were unable to progress further than the quarter-finals.

Morgan, Wambach's strike par tner, created five assists during the London Olympics which won her the American Sportswoman of the Year award.

Dempsey targeting 'special' year with Tottenham after double in FA Cup win

Clint Dempsey, Tottenham, Coventry City, FA Cup
Tottenham forward Clint Dempsey is confident his side can have a "special" season after their run of good form continued with victory in the FA Cup.

Spurs defeated Coventry 3-0 on Saturday afternoon with Dempsey netting twice as the hosts scored all three goals before half-time at White Hart Lane.

The win extended Tottenham's unbeaten run to six games in all competitions, and Dempsey believes Andre Villas-Boas' side possess enough talent to compete on all fronts.

"There's a lot of quality in this team," Dempsey said. "It's great to be a part of this team during this period. It's about doing something special this year.

"We want to do well in all the competitions that we remain in and we want to finish in a position that qualifies us for the Champions League next year, and hopefully we can do that."

However, the forward was wary of predicting a challenge to Manchester City's grip on second in the Premier League, despi te Spurs being just six points behind the reigning champions.

He added: "We just take it one game at a time. Our next game is QPR away, we need to make sure we continue on this good run of form, and make sure that we try to get as many points as possible from the games in front of us.

"You want to do well, you don't want to look too far ahead, you want to keep your feet on the ground and know that there's a lot of hard work you've got to put in if you want to accomplish your goals, so we're not going to get too far ahead of ourselves. Our focus is on the next game and making sure we get the right result."

Having recently recovered from a torn abductor muscle, the USA international is also looking to kick on and contribute more goals and assists.

"It's going OK," he said. "I've got six goals and five assists in all competitions now, so it's starting to look better. I'm someone who likes to score goals or get assists so it's good to be getting my stats up and contributing and trying to help this team do well.

"It's going good but I still want to do better."

Jumat, 04 Januari 2013

Official: Wigan complete signing of Espinoza from Sporting Kansas City

Roger Espinoza - Sporting KC
Wigan have confirmed the signing of Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The Honduras international makes the move after four years and 113 games in the MLS and is eligible to play in Saturdays FA Cup third round tie against AFC Bournemouth.

The 26-year-old's move has been in the pipeline for a long time and he told Goal.com in December that he was looking forward to the challenge of the Premier League and ready to "give his all" for Roberto Martinez.

I am just so happy to finally be here, Espinoza told Wigans official site.

Its taken a while to get all the paper work done but now I can concentrate on fighting for my place and helping the team.

I just want to say a big thank you to everyone at the club who have been working so hard to get everything through in time, and for the manager to have the belief in me. Now its down to business.

Martine z was similarly pleased in concluding his second signing of the current window, suggesting Espinoza will add something new to his side and citing the example of the midfielders performances during the Olympics as proof of his talent.

It is great to finally welcome Roger to Wigan and I know the supporters will give him a real Latics welcome, said Martinez.

Usually players would have more time preparing for their debut and getting used to their new team-mates, but Roger is so desperate to play as soon as he can that we hope to see him on the pitch on Saturday.

He is an excellent talent and every time we have seen him play he has shown the desire that as a club we like to see from our players.

The Olympics in the summer gave a great example of just what he can do on the pitch, especially in his performances against Spain and Brazil.

Hell bring something new to the group and we hope to have many happy memories of him play ing for Latics.

Rabu, 02 Januari 2013

'Maza' Rodriguez to sign for Club America

Maza Rodriguez-Mexico
Francisco 'Maza' Rodriguez is on his way back to Mexico after asking for a release from German club Stuttgart to sign with Club America.

The defender has been playing in Europe since signing for PSV in May 2008 and will be introduced by America on Thursday.

"We're losing an experienced player who collected merits for the VfB during the one-and-a-half years that he has been here," Stuttgart's director of sport, Fredi Bobic, said in a statement.

Bobic says that Rodriquez dreams of being Mexico's captain for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and sees his best chance of attaining that goal by playing in his homeland.

"Maza came and asked us to release him. He wants to captain the Mexican national team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and to do that, he has to play regularly," Bobic said. "He feels that the opportunity to do that is the highest in his home country."