Rafa Benitez today announced that he will leave Napoli at the end of the season after two disappointing years in charge. Benitez is expected to be unveiled as the new coach of Real Madrid next week after the Spanish giants fired Carlo Ancelotti on Monday.
Madrid-born Benitez spoke in a press conference alongside Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, and said:
‘My contract with Napoli was a two-year deal. A contract that will end on Sunday after the game against Lazio.
I want to thank the club, its president and the fans for what you have done for me. Read more... (297 words, 1 image, estimated 1:11 mins reading time)
Sevilla are champions of the Europa League for the second consecutive season after defeating Dnipro of Ukraine 3-2 in the final on Wednesday night.
A Carlos Bacca brace and a goal for Poland’s native son Grzegorz Krychowiak earned Sevilla their fourth UEFA Cup/Europa League crown. With this victory, Sevilla have also earned a coveted place in the group stage of next season’s Champions League, a new rule instituted by UEFA that went into place this season. That means that La Liga could have at five teams in the group stages next season for the first time. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and now Sevilla will all enter at the group stage, while Valencia will enter at the Champions League play-offs stage. Read more... (734 words, 1 image, estimated 2:56 mins reading time)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says striker Danny Welbeck will miss the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Wenger confirmed Welbeck’s knee problem is likely to rule him out next weekend and could put a question mark over whether the striker will be fit for England‘s upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and the EURO 2016 qualifier away to Slovenia.
Asked if he thought the 24-year-old former Manchester United player could be fit for the final, Wenger said:
“Welbeck will be short because he has not practised yet.” Read more... (371 words, 1 image, estimated 1:29 mins reading time)
On Sunday, West Ham United fired manager Sam Allardyce after finishing 12th in the Premier League. Today the Hammers found out that “Big Sam” had guided West Ham into Europe and a chance to play in the Champions League in 2016.
The Hammers qualified for next season’s Europa League by topping the Premier League’s Fair Play table. But qualification Fair Play is a poisoned chalice as West Ham will enter the competition along with 103 other teams in the first qualifying round on July 2. That is when most other Premier League teams will be reporting back for preseason, but the new West Ham boss, will have to get his team fit to play a competitive match, weeks before his rivals do. Read more... (325 words, 1 image, estimated 1:18 mins reading time)
Norwich City won the £120 million jackpot on Monday as they beat belongs Middlesbrough 2-0 at Wembley in the Championship play-off final.
Alex Neil’s side raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 15 minutes thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond and that early blitz was enough to secure a lucrative return to the Premier League just 12 months after the pain of relegation.
Winning promotion will also add to the growing reputation of the 33-year-old Neil, their young manager who hails from Bellshill, the same North Lanarkshire town as Sir Matt Busby. Read more... (566 words, 1 image, estimated 2:16 mins reading time)
It was the worst 45 minutes that I can remember Liverpool playing in 40 years as Stoke City ran riot in the first half on Sunday, racing to a 5-0 lead on the way to thrashing Liverpool 6-1.
On the eve of one of Liverpool’s greatest ever nights, the Champions League win in Istanbul, could a clearer comparison be drawn between where Liverpool were a decade ago and where they are now?
What annoys me the most is that in Steven Gerrard’s last two games for Liverpool, at home against Palace and away to Stoke, Liverpool were flat and outplayed. How did that happen? Read more... (681 words, 1 image, estimated 2:43 mins reading time)
Radamel Falcao thanked Manchester United‘s supporters today, a day after the club announced that his disappointing loan spell from Monaco will not be extended.
Falcao joined United amid great fanfare and expectations last September, but he was a shadow of the player that scored goals for fun for River Plate, Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.
The series knee injury that kept Falcao out of the World Cup last summer appears to have cost him a yard of speed, enough to turn a world class striker into an average player. Read more... (160 words, 1 image, estimated 38 secs reading time)
Sometimes you have to wonder why successful businessmen can continue to make the same mistake over and over when they run a football team.
Despite winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has fired Carlo Ancelotti less than 12 months ago he delivered the long awaited ‘LA DÉCIMA’ Champions League trophy to the club.
Ancelotti’s “crime” was not winning the league, something Real have only done once in the last seven years, despite Perez spending close to €1 Billion on new players in that time period. Read more... (327 words, 1 image, estimated 1:18 mins reading time)
Interesting little piece in the Spanish newspaper Marca on Thursday that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has met with club president Florentino Pérez to find out what the club’s intentions are for next season.
Mentioned in the newspaper that since Ronaldo arrived at the Bernebeu in 2008 he has scored 223 goals, an average of 37 per season, yet has only one La Liga title and one champions league trophy to show for it.
Reading between the lines it appears that Ronaldo thinks that Real Madrid have became a one-man team, and that they cannot compete with Barcelona and their Messi/Neymar/Suarez triumvirate unless Bale and Benzema can chip in 30 goals each next season. Read more... (396 words, 1 image, estimated 1:35 mins reading time)
Despite qualifying for the Champions League this was a very up and down season for Manchester United. It started with the question over whether Louis van Gaal had actually improved the side from David Moyes’ time, and what those changes were, before all the fuss over long balls and then finally the obsession with possession and its ultimate purpose. So, how did it end up? The team certainly got attuned to Van Gaal’s idea of possession, with that shooting up from 56% under Alex Ferguson to 61.1%, which was the highest in the Premier League.
Read more... (186 words, 1 image, estimated 45 secs reading time)