Real Madrid and Barcelona are set to meet at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday in their final La Liga game of 2017.
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Now that the group stages have reached it’s end, most of the qualifying national teams have been decided and for those nations that were not able to secure their direct qualifying ticket but still managed to compete in the play-offs, those final qualification rounds have also reached their conclusion.
Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Switzerland are all of the final teams that earned the qualification after finishing victorious in their respective play-offs and Italy were surprisingly knocked out by Sweden. (more…)
Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui has confirmed that striker Diego Costa will be included in the national team fold only when he sorts out his future.
The striker has been unable to feature in the Chelsea first-team nor has he been able to secure the transfer to Atletico Madrid. Both clubs have been unable to agree on a transfer fee before the end of the summer transfer window. As a result, Costa will be remaining as a Chelsea player – without playing – until January. Chelsea are demanding around £ 50 million for his signature while Atletico are not prepared to pay more than £ 30 million.
Since coming to Chelsea in 2014 for around £ 32 million, he has been one of the top players in the Premier League and has been able to score the highest number of goals at Chelsea for three consecutive campaigns. (more…)
Brazil has produced some of the best football players and many of them have had the opportunity to move over to Europe and play in some of the biggest leagues for some of the biggest teams in the world.
They are the most successful team in the World Cup, having lifted the trophy five times, their most recent being in 2002. Despite hosting the 2014 World Cup, Brazil were knocked out by eventual winners Germany 7-1 in the semi-final, meaning the Germans are one World Cup behind the Brazilians ahead of the 2018 World Cup which will be held in Russia and football betting is likely to see them remain one of the favourites once again.
But who is the best Brazilian football player? We take a look at some of the greatest Brazilians to step foot on a football pitch and their individual honours and well as those won with both club and country.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento or as he’s more commonly known, Pele, is generally regarded as the greatest player to ever play football. Known amongst players and fans as “The King of Football”, the Brazilian managed to win three World Cups during his illustrious career.
Pele is one of the few great Brazilians to have never played in Europe for a European club, having spent the majority of his career at Brazilian club Santos before ending his career at American football club New York Cosmos.
He made his debut for Santos aged just 15 and holds the record for the most appearances for the club and is the record goal scorer. He made over 1100 appearances for Santos scoring over 1000 goals in an eighteen year spell with them.
Internationally, as well as winning the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups, Pele also managed to become the top scorer for Brazil, with 77 goals.
The original Ronaldo, is a player who is generally considered to be one of the best pure strikers in the game. He won two World Cups, in the United States in 1994 and in South Korea & Japan in 2002. He helped Brazil reach the final of the 1998 World Cup, however on the eve of the final, he suffered a fit and was rushed to hospital. Despite being cleared to play and making himself available, he was unable to find the same form he was in during the previous matches in the tournament and hosts France would beat Brazil 3-0.
At club level Ronaldo played for club rivals in both Spain and Italy, having played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and Inter Milan and AC Milan in Italy. He won the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan in 1998 and La Liga with Real Madrid in the 2002/03 and 2006/07 seasons. He was named Fifa World Player of the Year three times; in 1996, 1997 and 2002.
The Brazilian striker’s career was ravaged by knees injuries and later, weight issues and were it not for these issues, Ronaldo may have overtaken Pele as the top scorer for Brazil.
Ronaldinho moved to Europe in 2001 as he left Gremio to join French club Paris Saint-Germain, where he began to establish himself as a top player, even if he showed some inconsistency. He spent two seasons in Paris before leaving for Spanish club Barcelona, where the Brazilian attacking midfielder made a name for himself globally, winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League during his five years at the club.
He was an integral part of the 2002 World Cup winning Brazil team, in particular against England in the quarter-final, where he showed his immense talent in setting up Rivaldo to score the equaliser before scoring a memorable free-kick which caught the England goal keeper David Seaman off guard.
His final club in Europe was AC Milan, where he played for three seasons, winning the Serie A title in the 2010/11 season. He moved back to Brazil and finally called an end to his career in 2015.
There are few players who were quite so clinical in the penalty area than Romario. The Brazilian striker managed to notch up nearly 700 goals in close to 900 games at club level, winning the Eredivisie three times with PSV and a La Liga title with Barcelona.
1994 was a great year for Romario, having won the 1993/94 La Liga title with Barcelona, he went on to win the 1994 World Cup in the United States before rounding off the year by winning the FIFA World Player of the Year.
Much like Pele, Romario is praised as one of the greatest players, with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff describing him as “a genius of the goal area.”
Widely regarded as one of the best full backs in football, Cafu managed to carve out a career in which he won two World Cups, USA 1994 and South Korea & Japan 2002. At club level he won two Serie A titles, one with Roma in the 2000/01 season and another with AC Milan in the 2003/04 season.
In continental competitions he helped Real Zaragoza to win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, while he managed to win Europe’s biggest club competition, the Champions League in the 2006/07 season with Milan. The club would also go on to win the Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup later that year with Cafu playing an influential role in providing the club’s success.
Despite being a defender, he was an attack minded player who loved to get forward and provide accurate crosses for team mates in the penalty area. His longevity as a player helped him become the most capped player for Brazil, having made 142 appearances for his nation.
He may not be the first name on everyone’s team sheets when they think of the best Brazilian football players, but Dani Alves, currently at Paris Saint-Germain, is the Brazilian who has won the second highest number of club trophies. The only player to have more than him? No not Pele, not Ronaldinho, not Ronaldo, it’s actually recently retired left back Maxwell.
You might be wondering why Maxwell isn’t on this list instead of Alves. Yes he may have won more club trophies, but his lack of international appearances and fewer club appearances suggest he’s not quite at the same level as Alves, who is regarded as having been one of the best right backs of his generation.
Alves has won the 2007 Copa America with Brazil as well as the 2009 and 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. His list of individual honours includes being listed in the FIFA FIFPro World XI six times and the UEFA Team of the Year four times.
So who is the best Brazilian player? Dani Alves has won a lot of club honours, but Pele managed to win the World Cup, three times in fact. Pele is held in high regard amongst his fellow professionals and fans alike and his reputation as being the King of football is something that cannot be overlooked, meaning Pele would be my pick.
Spain national team boss took the surprise step of bringing backLopetegui to the national team fold for the upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
Spain are up against Italy and Liechtenstein September. The national team has to win these games in order to seal qualification to the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Spain are top of the group G, but they are only in this position due to a better goal difference than Italy. A positive result for the latter in the upcoming fixture would be disastrous for Spain, as it would mean a possible play-off place for the team.
The contest in the next four matches will only be about the top two places. ManagerLopetegui recognises the importance of having some of the best players in the squad. As a result, he has gone back to the basics by bringing in David Villa – the record goalscorer for Spain with 59 in his 97 appearances. (more…)
For a player that has managed to be around and active in the terrains of professional football, have an amazing run with both club and country, Sergio Ramos has time and again betrayed the elder statesman status he ought to be living at this time and age of his career.
The Andalusian is a fine player no doubt and an intelligent one even given how he seamlessly transitioned from being a right back to a center back. However, the thing with professional football is that you may play over 50 matches a season but the tiny bits of edge-of-the-cliff moments most times define a whole season or tournament.
A missed tackle, split second of poor positioning, lack of absolute concentration, all do most of the damages encountered in crucial matches. That is where Ramos falls short. It is not as if that characteristic is all that matters, rather, it has to do with the fact that as players get old, self control becomes their ultimate fort and while the teenagers allow their emotions to get the better of them, the veterans prove to handle anything that comes their way with better judgments. (more…)
Spain international Nolito is reportedly eyeing a potential return home following an unfruitful first season with Manchester City.
The former Celta Vigo attacker joined the Citizens for £13.8m last summer after he got the chance to work with Catalan tactician Pep Guardiola.
Nolito made a bright start to his Citizens career with six goals and two assists in his first 10 outings, but he therein fell out of favour under Pep with Leroy Sane being preferred ahead of him in the pecking order.
The ex-Barcelona man had been restricted to just nine league starts over the course of the previous season, and he now hints that he could move on in order to reclaim his place with Spain for the 2018 World Cup, he told El Transistor: “I am under the contract, so the club will decide, but I want to leave. I haven’t played in six months. I will do everything possible to make Spain’s World Cup squad.
“I have learnt very, very little English – it’s very hard. Just ‘tomorrow’, ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’ and a little more. My daughter’s face has changed colour — it looks like she’s been living in a cave.” (more…)
New Spain national team JulenLopetegui believes that the national team is underperforming at the moment and that they will need to improve.
He said that there are already some good players in the team and that you just need at the quality of La Liga to understand that there is some good potential in the team. He said that the national team has been underperforming ever since they won the World Cup and the Euros and that they will need to improve.
Lopetegui said that he accepted to take charge of the team as he feels that there is some good potential in the Spanish team and it is up to the players to rise to the occasion and make sure they deliver the goods.
The new Spain, national team coach, said that he has been observing the national team for quite some time and he feels that there needs to be a new winning mentality in the team. He said that the players have become quite comfortable and it is up to the manager to bring this motivation and determination in the team. (more…)
Luis Suarez is hoping an appeal will save him from missing the Copa del Rey final after being sent off for Barcelona in a bad-tempered semi-final, second leg against Atletico Madrid.
Suarez scored the vital goal as three players were dismissed in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday that secured the team’s place in a fourth straight final, Barca winning 3-2 on aggregate.
However, the Uruguayan – sent off for the first time in three years since his move to Spain – claimed a stray elbow on Koke as the game entered stoppage time was not even a foul.
“It makes me laugh because it was like he [the referee] wanted to do it,” Suarez told Gol Television.
“We need to see if we can appeal the second yellow because it isn’t even a foul, but we already know how these things go.
“That is why I am so angry because it was absolutely nothing. The first yellow was also for the first foul I committed in the game, but you could see it coming.” (more…)
Star player Gaston Ramirez has joined up with his teammates in Spain as he is set to continue with the club this term.
The player was heavily linked with a move to struggling Leicester City but Boro disallowed the deal.
The player is now keen to rebuild his reputation at the club after he handed in a transfer request to exit the Riverside Stadium. The former Southampton player has not featured in the last six games for Boro due to a knee injury he picked up. The 26-year old playmaker would join teammates in Spain for a four-day training break so he can return refreshed for the race to finish the campaign well.
“He is and he will be an important player in this team and he knows that. He know the effort that the club made to sign him last season and therefore that the club made this summer to sign him permanently,” Boro manager Aitor Karanka said. (more…)