Barcelona release Eric Abidal after his return from liver transplant

French left-back Eric Abidal, who was on the sidelines for more than one year coz of his tumor surgery and then for liver transplant, finally released by his long playing club Barcelona. His contract with the club is going to expire in coming June hence he was expecting to have another deal to stay at Camp Nou. Notably, Blaugrana offered a full support during his surgeries, therefore it is complete wrong to say that club is not helping its players in needy days. Despite, the most unfortunate thing is the timing when the news has been confirmed from Barca’s den, coz it has only been few weeks he returned from his liver transplant surgery after he diagnosed of a cancer. However, Barca has agreed to hire him but for a technical director role. Emotional Abidal released his words about his journey playing with Barcelona via Twitter where he said, “It’s a very difficult day for me. I have played for Barca for six years and it’s been the biggest experience of my life. I understand and respect the decision of the club. I’m going, but I’ll be sure to return. I want to thank all the fans of the club who have supported me and have been looking after me. The team is my second family. We have gone through a lot together and I’ll remember this forever.”

His career started with Barcelona back in 2007 when he replaced Dutch left-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst. He shared some memorable wins for Barca, including four domestic league successes, two Champions League winners’ medals, and three Copa del Rey triumphs. But last few years had been not so lucky for him coz of his persisting injuries one after another. Barca president Sandro Rosell also praises his long association with the club, he said, “Abidal has won our heart and has demonstrated such important things about life. The doors are open for Abidal to be the technical director of all of our football academies. Abidal has the ideal profile to be the director of all of our football academies.”

The end of Barca deal is being taken as the end of playing career for 33-year-old. Looking at his age and absence period from the field, it is highly recommended for him to accept Barca offer and becomes a technical director where he can serve the game in a more creative role.

Paris Saint-Germain wins Ligue 1 title amid fans wild celebrations

Paris Saint-Germain

At last, PSG manages to take home the Ligue 1 title for the first time in last 19 years, and rightly so, its fans celebrated this victory in an unprecedented way; perhaps we should call it a violent way coz riot police has to call upon on the ground to control the situation and moreover, hundreds of fans were also affected due the unrest on the stadium which ran for almost hours after the match. As a result, the much deserving title has not been given as of yet coz of a possible points deduction coz of shoulder barging to referee by sporting director Leonardo. However, some reports are also suggesting that PSG should be slapped with a two matches’ ban which would not affect its position on the leaderboard coz it is already seven points ahead and just two matches are remaining. The victory is also a record breaking for former England captain Beckham who joined the club on a short term deal as he has now won four international leagues playing for four different countries – a first for any Englishman. Actually, the victory was overshadowed by the ferocity on the ground which became the headline of every sport’s news source putting a dent on PSG’s greatest afford to reclaim the trophy after 19 long years.

According to Paris police commissioner: Bernard Boucault, more than 30 peoples have been badly injured due to the disturbance which included three security force’s members too. He also added that more than 21 peoples have already been taken to the custody while investigations are still on to find out others who started using banned material to celebrate the triumph. On the other hand, PSG also issued a statement condemning these kinds of disturbance on the ground causing lots of discomfort to thousands of fans. It reads as, “Today should have been a day of celebration for the city of Paris, for the club, our fans and partners. The party was spoiled by a few hundred troublemakers who have nothing to do with football and even less with those that fill the Parc des Princes on match days with such passion and enthusiasm and in total security.

“All the members of the club, the players and the directors, express to all those loyal and passionate fans their heartfelt regret that today’s trophy presentation ceremony had to be cut short. The celebrations will continue this Saturday at the Parc des Princes for the Ligue 1 match against Brest, when the club and its fans will unite in the joy of Paris Saint-Germain’s first league title in 19 years.

Paris Saint-Germain is more determined than ever to build a huge European club, worthy of the French capital, and far removed from those intent on trying to destroy that dream.”

PSG coach shuns Real Madrid links

Soccer runs on rumors powered by speculations, and that is why whenever any player or official is in its last season of running contract, media starts digging his meetings, talks, and everything to find out where he is being linked up. PSG, who is comfortably leading the French league from second place holder Marseille, has its coach’s contract expiring after this season, and that is why rumors are everywhere that he is being taken over by Real Madrid if their current coach Jose Mourinho leaves the Spanish club. Moreover, if PSG could win the league title this season, which is more likely coz they only have five matches in hand, Ancelotti will have a one season extension automatically. But now, the coach has himself came forward and rubbishes all the rumors about his probable make shift to Madrid, perhaps he said that whether he will stay where he is right now, or whether he would move to another club will only be decided after the conclusion of current league. His contract is lined up for expiry in coming June and if PSG auto qualifies for Champions Cup, he will have another year to think about his future.

He said about this that “I want to finish the league first before making a decision. We will talk together afterward to see what the opportunities are. I haven’t spoken yet. There will be time to do that once the title has been won. Anything can happen, that I stay or that I go. You have to take into consideration the fact I am under contract.”

He also talked about the rumors running in the media about his Madrid link ups and added, “The press has spoken about Real, but first of all I have to be straight with the club I’m working for. I can’t control what’s happening elsewhere. I have a contract, therefore my hands are tied, as I have to take into account I am contracted till June 2014.

“I spoke to the players yesterday because of all the rumors, but there is no hard news. I already told them before: I want to finish the championship as agreed with the club and we will speak afterwards so we can come to a decision.”

So, it is a matter of his liking which he will only decide after league ends, therefore, you will have to wait and watch!

A hanging ‘Supertax’ sword on French clubs

In its affords to fulfill pre-election manifesto, French government has revised the tax laws of the country and input a “Supertax” wherein every company, including soccer clubs, will have to pay 75% of any salary, in excess of one million, given to players. Earlier, it targeted every individual / household under its jurisdiction, but when it got a wide criticism, government had to revise the law making it applicable only on companies – of course including soccer clubs. France prime minister also clarified it more precisely on Tuesday saying, “The new system will apply to all businesses that pay salaries of more than €1 million.” Earlier, French constitutional court held any such tax as unconstitutional coz it would target more individuals than it is predicted in it. Moreover, any such tax can never be beyond 66% under the constitution of France which led Government to make some modifications into its basic structure. Socialist president Francois Hollande, likewise, has a strong view that this ruling will only affect high earning clubs hence small clubs need not worry about it. Noël Le Graët, head of French Football Federation, said over this, “The prime minister, to whom I have already asked the question, was clear: only large companies will be taxed. And professional clubs are considered as small and medium-sized businesses, so they will not be affected by the 75% tax.”

Despite French FA support, there is also a section which is strongly against of it and this tally of peoples include Frédéric Thiriez, president of the French Football League, who strongly believes this ‘Supertax’ wizard is only created to limit players earnings which is not fundamentally right; perhaps he thinks many players of small clubs also earn a salary beyond this ceiling; hence it is impractical to say it would only target big clubs. Similarly, many PSG players also earn more than what is stated in the new law as tax threshold. He said, “This new tax will cost first division teams €182 million. With these crazy labour costs, France will lose its best players, our clubs will see their competitiveness in Europe decline, and the government will lose its best taxpayers.”

Under present scenario, France’s marginal tax rate is just 49%, which attract all those who earn more than €500,000 a year, and if clubs are made to come in its shadow, there would be a new tax slab for companies. PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi also condemned this ruling in its interview given to a radio station, he said, “I don’t think it’s good for French football, it’s not good for French clubs and it’s not good for the place of Ligue 1 in the world.”

David Beckham joins PSG’s 1st training session

David Beckham

David Beckham has ever been a popular English soccer player and his recent move to PSG even made him more respectable coz he decided to donate his salary for a gracious charity. Since, he is growing with his age, everybody initially thought this deal would not bounce anything to PSG coz Beckham is not what he used to be in his golden years, but on the contrary, Beckham promised everyone to be fit by coming PSG match at Sochaux. Last Wednesday, for the first time, he attained the PSG practice session in front of dozens of media cameras; it was looking like these cameras were there only to cover his practice session. Beckham played his last match on Dec 1 for Galaxy and it has almost been three months he did not play any match; hence he owes fitness to his new club. Actually, he has been associated with many clubs during his career, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Galaxy; he won all these clubs at least one title. His move to PSG was apparently his idea to win at least one title playing for them to expand his career record.

This time, he also looks serious to make a surprising comeback; perhaps he was recently seen walking with bare feet wearing just socks. He called it a sprint to enhance stamina and leg strength. Anyways, how popular he is can be estimated with the fact that more than 200 fans were gathered outside of the training ground to have a glimpse of their favorite player despite cold at the outside. Beckham’s training session was almost one hour long and then everybody walked off, though he discussed for few minutes with club’s trainer. It was probably the first time when media has to apply for covering a training session. There were approximately 200 applications from 10 counties and finally few were selected to cover his training session.

Notably, Beckham joined PSG on a short term deal two weeks ago that ends in June and he also has pledged to give his salary for a children’s charity; this is one of the noble moves by the star English footballer. Though, PSG has already many big names under its A-team, including striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, center half Thiago Silva and Brazilian Lucas among others, Beckham’s presence will not benefit them a lot – performance wise, but since he has one of the biggest fans following, there could be a huge crowd to see him playing for a French club.