SPANISH FOOTBALL | SPORTS

THE FC BARCELONA REVOLUTION FOR NEXT SEASON

Spanish Football Club FC Barcelona has received the "temporary" lifting of the FIFA no Ban on signing with joy & relief. The World Football governing body will now further investigate if Barça infringed with "under-aged" signings, & while this long process occurs they have "freed-up" the Spanish Club to be able to sign new players for next season. 

This has made FC Barcelona "Football Director" Andoni Zubizarreta put on his tie & suit & begin the "Revolution" at Camp Barça. The current difficult possibility of winning the Spanish Liga, the elimination of the Club in Champions League & the Spanish Cup Final loss to Real Madrid has made it obvious that the squad needs to be renewed. Apart from this FC Barcelona will be losing two important pieces, Goalkeeper Victor Valdes & the "eternal" Captain Carles Puyol, plus current Coach Gerardo Martino is hanging by a finger. 


Age is something no one can escape & midfield "Mastermind" Xavi Hernandez is seriously contemplating moving on ( perhaps USA or Arab states ) with his 34 years of age.  It is something that is doing the "gossip" rounds in Spanish Football.


FC BARCELONA
courtesy of Sport

But it does not finish here, their is a list of players which are under fire & have been criticised for under performance &/or lack of focus. These include: Dani Alves, Cesc Fabregas, Song & Pinto, all of which are transferable & likely to leave. Lastly, there are players which may take up offers elsewhere next season, like Mascherano (Napoles), Alexis (Juventus), Tello (Liverpool FC) & Pedro is speculated to be very unhappy & may look elsewhere.

And Lionel Messi? The "official" news is that the Argentine is not going anywhere. However, rumours are consistent that part of the FC Barcelona Directive team wants to sell Messi to lift the Clubs bank account now while the price is high, & the other is that Messi may have "something" with Paris St Germain for next season. 
Either way, if all is true, FC Barcelona are in for a total revamp, redecoration or as used in journalist terms, preparing a "team revolution".


The signings are now back on course & Barcelona already has its goalkeeper for next season, he is TER STEGEN, & young Croatian sensation Halilovic. Plus the Club can recall on-loan players like Rafinha (Celta de Vigo) & Deulofeu (Everton).

FC BARCELONA candidate 2014

The rumoured signing targets are:
HUMMELS ( defender , Borussia Dortmund) - said to be a near deal already

CUADRADO ( defender , Fiorentina )
BRUNO SORIANO (midfielder, Villarreal)
ARTURO VIDAL (midfielder, Juventus)
MARCO REUS (midfielder, Borussia Dortmund)
OZIL (midfielder, Arsenal) ... has come into rumour today, I personally doubt it.


From here until the start of the next season there will be more names on this list. Some may be true, others rumours & others outright lies. FC Barcelona is not the only Club that will be signing & will have stiff competition for some of the players on their "wish-list". Plus FC Barcelona is not so "solid" financially as to want to get into price-signing wars.

What is assured is that FC Barcelona will be different next season & will have new faces, the months ahead will be entertaining to watch how things evolve with the "Barça Revolution". Stay tuned!


REAL MADRID 1 BAYERN MUNICH 0 | CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI FINAL RESULT

The final result of the UEFA Champions League 1ºst leg away semi-final between Real Madrid & Bayern Munich finished in a 1 - 0 victory to the Spaniards. Intense game between two giants of European Football with differing styles, at least shown tonight. 

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE semi final 2014

After days of debate Cristiano Ronaldo started while Bale was left on the bench. This allowed Isco to start which seem to indicate that Real Madrid wanted the ball. All the contrary, Bayern Munich reached peaks of up to 80% of ball possession & boxed in Real Madrid most of the 1ºst half. However, Real Madrid has a wild card up their sleeve that very few Clubs in the World has an answer, the counter-attack. The first goal, & eventual winner, came from a counter-attack starting from Ronaldo, who passed to Coentrao who fought Karim Benzema to fire home in the 19th min.

Bayern Munich did not change their "suffocating pressure" game plan & kept Real Madrid defending. The Spaniards countered when possible & nearly scored twice with Cristiano Ronaldo missing a clear opportunity in one of those occasions. 


UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE semi final 2014

The second half saw a more determined Real Madrid which managed to touch more the ball, but it was clear that tonight the defensive duties were to dominate, Excellent defensive work from Ramos & Pepe (injured mid 2 half), plus great work from Coentrao, Carvajal, Isco & Xabi Alonso who was everywhere & in the correct places when needed. Talking about being in the right place, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas once again made a "miracle save" late in the second half to avoid Gotze equalizing for Bayern Munich. Bayern Coach Guardiola put on Javi Martinez & Muller to look for the equalizer but Real Madrid stood firm to hold onto to the victory.

Good result for Real Madrid & not too bad for Bayern Munich which will be disappointed somewhat for not scoring as they basically dominated most of the play. The 2º leg return match at Munich is going to be "high voltage" & with maximum tension as Bayern will be going all out to turn the tie around. After watching tonight's performance from Real Madrid, the Spaniards will suffer & I do not see clearly that they have this tie in the bag. But either do I see Bayern having it all their way as psychologically Real Madrid won tonight & this may be an advantage from Real Madrid away & a weight on the collective mind of the German team.


REAL MADRID - BAYERN MUNICH POSSIBLE STARTING TEAM LINE-UPS

More European Football today with the huge UEFA Champions League 1º leg semi-final between Real Madrid & Bayern Munich. Unfortunate that both had to meet at this stage as perhaps a Final would have been more appropriate.

The Germans are clear favourites although they transmit that they are the "underdogs", good tactic as Real Madrid are quietly optimistic & historically that has not helped them in the past.

As habitual, Spanish Sports paper "Sport" put forward a possible starting XI line-ups via a infograph as shown below. Speculative & lately not hitting the target, however good enough to give us a reference.


UEFA Champions League 2014
Courtesy from "Sport"

The big talking point for Real Madrid is if Cristiano Ronaldo will start or not. The Portuguese star has been carrying a knee complaint along with a minor muscle problem the last 2 weeks. From the muscle problem Ronaldo seems to have overcome it but what is the "unknown" is the knee complaint which some suspect is still niggling away. The Club & the player do not want to force & risk greater injury as there is the return leg in Munich, Liga & Cristiano has the upcoming World Cup.

Football observers feel that Cristiano Ronaldo will start on the bench & come on if needed. The Team showed good Football ways without their star in the Spanish Cup Final against FC Barcelona with a very good Isco filling in & doing extra work. Said all this, I am also sure that Ronaldo will want to play & will be tested this afternoon were Coach Ancelotti will ask the player for his "sensations".

The other Real Madrid player under a cloud is Gareth Bale with flu. The illness has also upset his stomach but many believe the Welshman will be OK tonight. Therefore the predicted Real Madrid starting XI line-up against Bayern Munich is:

Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di Maria, Isco, Bale & Benzema


As you can see I go against the above graph by Sport & believe Ronaldo will start on the bench. Speculative, of course.

As for Bayern Munich the habitual line-up with doubt over if Muller will start over Mandzukic . A powerful team with a possible weakness in the defence but strong down their right flank were they will give Real Madrid defender Coentrao plenty of work.

Overall a match not to be missed.


ATLETICO DE MADRID 0 CHELSEA FC 0 | UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 1º LEG SEMI FINAL RESULT

The first semi-final of the 1º leg away match in the UEFA Champions League between Spanish Football Club Atletico de Madrid & English Premier League Club Chelsea FC finished with a final 0-0 draw result. The match also had some "collateral damage" for Chelsea FC losing their habitual goalie Peter Cech with a dislocated shoulder & their Captain John Terry, plus Frank Lampard received a yellow card along with Atletico Captain Gabi both to lose the 2º leg return semi-final due to accumulated yellow cards. 

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2014

The true winner tonight was Chelsea FC Coach Jose Mourinho & his team Chelsea FC who followed their "Masterplan" to the final letter. They allowed from the start Atletico de Madrid all the initiative, filled up the midfield with men & then defended in a block (are a wall) to go away tonight without the Spaniards scoring. Jose Mourinho knows very well that this is 120 mins & that the return leg will be were the business will be done & on home turf. Although from a spectators point of view there was no real Football from the visitors, from a strategic angle (tactical) one has to congratulated Mr Mourinho whose a old fox in this competition. 

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2014

Said all the above, Atletico de Madrid had the possession of the ball & attacked all game naturally creating goal opportunities throughout the 90 mins. The main focus points up front in Diego Costa & Raul Garcia were neutralized by so many marking Chelsea defenders that made the job difficult for the attackers. Both, along with other team-mates, came close to scoring but not close enough. Congratulations to Atletico de Madrid for not allowing Chelsea to score & putting in an acceptable & admirable performance under the circumstances. They live to fight another day which ain´t too bad for Champions League.

Both teams are still very much alive in this semi-final & Chelsea looks a team that can be beaten if we are to go on what was seen tonight, not very convincing at all. However, I have no doubts that Mourinho maybe setting up a "trap" for the 2º leg game where he maybe able to call up other players like Oscar, Hazard or Eto´o to give the team a total redecoration into a strong attacking team at "Stamford Bridge".  In conclusion a return match that will have everyone on their nerves & were the tense will be at maximum levels as this competition deserves & is expected at this late stage of Champions League. 


Tomorrow, more World Class Football with two giants playing each other in the 2º UEFA Champions League semi-final 1º leg away game; Real Madrid & Bayern Munich.
 

IS REAL MADRID NEGOTIATING WITH ASHLEY COLE ?

Taking advantage that Chelsea FC is in the City of Madrid to play Atletico de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, Spanish digital newspaper "elconfidencial.com" publish that Chelsea FC defender Ashley Cole is in talks with Real Madrid CF

REAL MADRID rumour

The 33 year old English International & defender is out of favour with his current Coach Mourinho & will end his contract with Chelsea FC on the 30th of June of this year. This makes the player attractive in the sense that he can change Clubs without a transfer fee.

The journalist who writes up the story, Feliz Diaz, goes as far to say that Real Madrid has offered Cole a 2 year contract with a salary of 4M€ / season. The representative of the player Jonathan Barnett also works with Gareth Bale & is said to be currently negotiating with Real Madrid.

It has been speculated that current Portuguese left back Coentrao will leave Real Madrid next season. The Spanish Football Club is looking for a competent substitute to join Marcelo in that position.

What rings "my alarms" about this story however is that age of the player 33 years & the other much publicised story that Real Madrid had tied up Guilherme Siqueira for that position & for next season. When one compares both Cole & Siqueira, there is no doubt in my opinion that Siqueira is a better long term bet. 


As with everything involved with modern Football until things are made official everything is pure rumour & speculation. Stay tuned!  

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