Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CIity Owner Backs Hughes

. Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has dismissed speculation over manager Mark Hughes' future by stressing he has an "absolute mandate" for the long-term development of the team.

Three successive Barclays Premier League defeats have seen City slip to 13th in the table and led to rumours of discontent within the squad.

However, the club's Abu Dhabi-based owner has underlined how important Hughes is to his vision for the future.

"Mark shared with me his plans for how the team should be developed," said Sheikh Mansour, who had a two-hour meeting with Hughes, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and executive chairman Garry Cook on Wednesday.

"His strategy is compelling and he has my absolute mandate to implement his plans to evolve this team in the right way over the short, medium and long terms."

The meeting in the Middle East covered all aspects of the club's operations, both on and off the field, and followed the club's first board meeting under the new ownership took place on Sunday.

"I find that both Mark and Garry share an ambition for success and the enthusiasm and capability to deliver on that ambition," added Sheikh Mansour.

"I'm delighted at the potential for both men to positively impact the evolution of Manchester City in its entirety.

"I fully endorse the plans approved by the Manchester City board that Khaldoon, Mark and Garry shared with me.

"They reflect our shared aim of seeing Manchester City evolve to become a significant force in the world of football.

"Importantly, we see that evolution being on every level and borne out of a sustainable approach that has its foundations in the club's academy; its fans and the relationship with the Manchester community."

Al Mubarak added that all parties found the meeting so useful they intend to get together every few months to maintain discussions.

Earlier Hughes had called for an end to talk of a crisis at City.

"At the moment, it is all a little bit hysterical, you have to say. People will have to calm down a bit," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"But we will get points on the board because of the quality we have in the squad.

"Everyone understands that it is a very exciting time for us. The chairman knows where we are and where we want to go.

"Ideally, of course, we would much prefer to have had positive results in the last couple of games but the quality of football that we have produced has been good and there have been few occasions when I have been disappointed at what we have produced.

"There will always be disappointment if you do not win but the chairman and everyone involved know that great sides are not built overnight.

"We will address things and get more quality into the club and the squad because that is what we need to do to move forward."

...Read More»»

Ronaldo Set For Contract Talks


Cristiano Ronaldo's agents have confirmed the player is set to have talks over a new deal at Manchester United.

Real Madrid's pursuit of Ronaldo was one of the sagas of last summer, but now he appears keen on pledging his future to United after Sir Alex Ferguson won the battle to keep him.

Ronaldo, who is odds on favourite to be named both World and European Footballer of the Year later this season, appears keen on securing a new deal.

Gestiftute - ran by Jorge Mendes - claim a new deal is in the offing, although talks are yet to take place.

"It is normal, that a footballer wants a deal to go with his status and one that matches his performances on the field," Gestifute told

"But nobody has prepared anything concrete.

"We want to avoid all these rumours in the press and will have contact with United."

It was confirmed that no set date for talks has been scheduled.

"We do predict a meeting with Manchester United to speak about the future of Ronaldo, but still there is not an exact date."

...Read More»»

Schuster Plays Doen Job Fears


Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster is remaining calm about his future at the Bernabeu despite seeing his stuttering side sink to a new low on Tuesday night with an embarrassing Copa del Rey fourth-round exit at the hands of Segunda B side Real Union.

Trailing 3-2 from the first leg, Madrid were victorious 4-3 in front of their own fans thanks largely to a Raul hat-trick, but it was not enough to save the two-time reigning Spanish champions from tumbling out on the away-goals rule.

That has further increased the pressure on Schuster, whose side had lost three of their previous six competitive games prior to Tuesday's match.

But the German insisted: "I'm not worried about my job, but I understand that others will have some doubts. That's logical with what we are seeing."

However, Spanish media today are suggesting that the former Getafe coach could find himself sacked if Madrid do not beat Real Valladolid in this weekend's Primera Liga match at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

If that should happen then technical director Miguel Angel Portugal, the former Racing Santander and Real Madrid Castilla coach, is being tipped to replace Schuster in the hotseat.

Regarding Tuesday night's match, Schuster added: "I don't think there's a problem with attitude, all the players ran and worked hard. The problem is that teams manage to get us into trouble with few chances on goal, which is what has happened in recent matches.

"The problem is that teams score against us from the first chance they get.

"They don't dominate us, they don't really put pressure on us, and without causing us to many problems they manage to score.

"This team is always willing to fight back, but you cannot keep doing it in every clash. It works in one game or two, but not always."

...Read More»»

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Elano bemused by snub

. Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Manchester City midfielder Elano cannot understand why he remains on the fringes of the first team fold under Mark Hughes.

The Brazilian quickly established cult hero status at Eastlands last season, with his South American flair endearing him to an expectant fan base.

However, with Sven Goran Eriksson having departed the Blues hot-seat over the summer, the playmaker has endured a difficult second season in England.

His failure to establish a regular role in the side under Hughes has seen him become increasingly frustrated, although he insists that he has no desire to secure a move elsewhere.

"When I am playing I know what he wants and when I come off there is nothing from him," Elano told Sky Sports News on his relationship with the Welsh coach.

"It's his right, he is the manager. I respect him and I will keep working, arriving on time and doing my duties at the club, but my sadness is not playing.

"I can't hide that from the fans or the president - who wants to make this a big club. I think I have the capabilities to be playing."

With the Abu Dhabi United Group expected to usher in an exciting new era at City, Elano hopes he will be given an opportunity to play his part in any future success.

"City have a big project, they have something which not many clubs have at the moment - money," he added.

"I want to help by playing. I respect everyone here. I have many friends here and get on with the team 100 per cent.

"I respect the manager a lot but I cannot be happy if I don't play."

...Read More»»

Meteb Claims TOFFEES Deal


Emad Meteb's agent claims the Egypt international will be joining Everton in January.

The striker, currently on loan at Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad, saw a summer move to Championship side Bristol City fall through.

But now it is claimed his dream move to England will come to fruition courtesy of a switch to Goodison Park.

"I travelled to England a week ago to agree on the final details of the contract with Everton," his agent Mohamed Hamid told the Egyptian media.

"We agreed on everything. Emad was informed about the course of negotiations, and he is glad about it."

It is claimed Everton could pay as much as £2million to his parent club Al Ahly.

Meanwhile, Everton are understood to have opened contract talks with Jack Rodwell.

The highly-rated 17-year-old's current deal expires at the end of the season and David Moyes is determined to keep hold of the player - who has broken into his first-team this season.

...Read More»»

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cruz Strikes Late For Inter

. Sunday, November 9, 2008

Julio Cruz's stoppage-time winner snatched all three points for Inter Milan in a disappointing encounter against Udinese at the San Siro.

It is a mark of true champions that they can still grind out results even when things appear to be going against them, and that is what Inter did as they fought to the end in a match that was more about gritty determination than stylish football.

The result was a harsh blow for the Friulians who deserved at least a point, but return to Udine empty-handed and drop three places to fifth in the Serie A standings.

Inter have once again dominated the headlines this week.

A comedy of errors in Cyprus on Tuesday saw the Italian champions draw 3-3 against Anorthosis Famagusta in the Champions League as they capitulated defensively.

Moreover, the Udinese match marked the fourth time on the trot that Adriano had been dropped from the squad, with coach Jose Mourinho insisting it was simply a tactical decision.

Those two facts perhaps played a part in Inter's performance on Sunday as the players were cautious to avoid a repeat of the individual errors that cost them dearly in midweek while they were obviously missing the creativity of Adriano.

Mario Balotelli was one of the few to shine in Cyprus and he almost helped Inter take the lead in the 23rd minute as a great pass from him picked out an unmarked Zlatan Ibrahimovic who had only Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to beat, but a timely tackle from Maurizio Domizzi snuffed out the threat.

Balotelli was again at the heart of the action three minutes later with a good cross in towards Andrade Quaresma but Handanovic was not troubled by the weak low shot.

Udinese could have taken the lead five minutes from the end of a lethargic first half with a spectacular 35-yard thunderbolt from Gokhan Inler which Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar could only parry, but fortunately for him it fell to Walter Samuel who was able to clear the danger.

Inter enjoyed a good chance just two minutes later as Balotelli's free-kick from the edge of the box tested Handanovic who needed two attempts to hold the ball.

The second half was a slight improvement on the previous 45 minutes and Inter had one of their best opportunities shortly before the hour mark as a great save from Handanovic turned away Ibrahimovic's ball to the near post.

The home crowd were growing increasingly restless but they were almost sparked into life in the 66th minute as their team threatened with a fine free-kick from Esteban Cambiasso but Handanovic palmed it away and then managed to hang on to the resultant goalbound header.

The fans were in full voice two minutes later as they screamed for a penalty when Domizzi charged down a shot by Ibrahimovic and it hit his hand, but the referee adjudged it to be unintentional.

Inter should have taken the lead two minutes from time as Javier Zanetti's 30-yard shot crashed off Handanovic's left post, but they finally grabbed a goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

Cruz, who had rescued a point for Inter in Cyprus 10 minutes from time, was again his side's saviour as he headed home a late winner to inflict Udinese's second defeat of the season.

Full Result
Bologna 1-1 Roma (Sat 19.30)
Catania 2-1 Cagliari
Chievo 0-2 Juventus
Fiorentina 2-1 Atalanta
Genoa 4-0 Reggina
Inter 1-0 Udinese
Lazio 3-0 Siena
Lecce 1-1 Milan (19.30)
Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria
Torino 1-0 Palermo (Sat 17.00)

...Read More»»

Own Goal Woe For Roma


An own goal by Cicinho in stoppage time gifted Bologna and new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic their first draw of the season - 1-1 against Roma.

Francesco Totti celebrated his 400th Serie A appearance with a 69th-minute goal, which seemed to be enough to grant Roma their second win in a week, before Cicinho headed into his own net in the second minute of stoppage time.

The result ensures the Giallorossi remain just one point above their opponents, who remain inside the bottom three, and Roma could drop into the relegation zone on Sunday should Chievo or Reggina win.

Torino hauled themselves out of the Serie A relegation zone as Jurgen Samuel's late goal against the 10 men of Palermo helped them to a 1-0 victory.

Toro looked to be heading for a frustrating draw until a red card for Antonio Nocerino seven minutes from time changed the face of the game, and Samuel was able to produce the winner with 89 minutes played.

...Read More»»

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