Rafa Benitez’s first attempt to convince fans with exaggerated promises

Whenever you join big side for the first time in your career, it is obvious you will make all the premises that make fans happy and hence they as well expect you to deliver. But, sometime, few new entrants even cross the barrier and make hypothetical promises when say they want their team win evert match – is this possible! Anyways, this is something that seems to be happening with Real Madrid and its newly appointed manager Rafa Benitez who finally made his entry into Santiago Bernabéu dressing room with a three-season contract. Expectedly, he wants to deliver and it would be interesting to see if he can really do that. As far experience of leading a pressing side is concerned, he has had a rich experience of serving Madrid youth-team as assistant coach, but this is his first major assignment that too after twenty long years in Spain. Former Napoli manager is said to have accepted the job on lucrative terms but that is not a problem for a club of Real caliber as they can afford to shell out anything if they are getting equivalent rewards in term of titles, but can Benítez satisfy them with that, would be proved in next season!

In his first interaction with the media as Real manager, former Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Napoli coach said, “The team must be competitive, capable of reaching the end of the season with chance to win trophies. The Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey are our objectives, as Madrid must win each game. Can we win it, sometimes yes, sometimes no, as this is football. But the idea is to try and win from the first game, that is what I inherited here, regardless of the competition.”

Adding about his eye candy, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, he said, “We know Raheem very well, that is no secret, but he is not a player of our team. So I will not talk about him. Today I am here to talk about my presentation. Madrid is such an important club, that there’s always look at what might happen in market. We have a great team, I am not going to get into names. We must focus on analysing well the performance we can get from the squad, in all aspects, and from there look to other things in the future.

“I’ve been in football many years, with experience of different structures. I am here to be coach, available to club to work with the squad I have. A coach always gives his opinion, but the club has its structure. If another player comes, then perfect, but will aim to get best out of those here.”

Danilo joins Real Madrid

There are few clubs who are known for their world class players and often being recalled whenever any of their former players is reviewed for his form and playing skills. Real Madrid is of course one of them who recently signed 23-year-old defender Danilo from Portuguese club Porto at some €31.5 million and initially it looked to be a big investment for rather an unknown player but Brazilian proved all the predictions about him wrong and showed what the class of a Brazilian player could be. Looking at the way he is controlling the ball these days even his former coach Julen Lopetegui had to appreciate himself for growing a promising star at Porto. At home as well Danilo becomes the first goalkeeper for Brazilian national soccer team after taking his club to the quarterfinals in the Championship league. Apart from Real, Barcelona was another one aspiring for him since a long time but after its arch rivals’ assurance that they have agreed on financial terms to bring him at Santiago Bernabéu, Barca had to back off of their interest. Porto coach talked about what he expects from him in upcoming season and said, “This year he has wanted to improve in all aspects of play: tactically, physically, and in concentration. This individual improvement has helped the team to grow collectively.

“He has made progress because he very quickly understood what we were asking of him and, like the rest of the team, he has wanted to improve and help the team, despite being a young player.”

If he could play for the Spanish giants for one season, we can see a visible difference in his form and play style and Lopetegui expects only this from his eye candy who seems to have been on the radar of several other sides as well. Reportedly, the mega price tag that Real has offered for the defender is being taken as the big risk by the experts who know he would not get enough exposure playing for the European champions for obvious reasons hence it would have been better if Danilo moves anywhere else than Spain.

Anyways, there are no different views over the fact that Real has ever had an army of world class players and one more addition to that fleet would not harm their balance sheet even though it is not advisable for any youngster to join a side which already has surplus starlets.

Sergio Busquets pens down one year extension for Barcelona

Big sides often follow policy to keep their promising players as long as possible hence they frequently offer them extensions if there is a possibility that other giants are also luring for him. Barcelona’s 26-year-old Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets is one such player who has recently been on the radar of few dominating sides including English Premier League giant Manchester City. Fact wise, he has played 313 games for the La Liga side since he made his debut back in 2008 that includes sixteen titles and is currently the fourth captain of the team. Although, he is having a contract that ties him at Camp Nou until 2018, yet Barca do not want to take risk on his release clause hence offered him another extension amid his reported linkup rumors in the media. According to the latest contract, Busquets will remain their asset until 2019 and release clause has also reportedly been enhanced to wipe out any possible attempt by others. Blaugrana informed about the extension through website where it mentioned, “FC Barcelona has reached an agreement with Sergio Busquets to renew his contract through June 30, 2019 with an option for one more year.”

Though, apparently, one year extension does not mean more for any player yet it plays an important role in determining the importance of a youngster in any side and Barca proved what they think about the role of Busquets in their army of world class players. Actually, there was no plan of the Spanish giant to offer him any leeway but after his recent media statement that he is looking to play in England before he retires, Luis Enrique’s think tanks decided to make him satisfied over here itself. Talking about his latest deal, 26-year-old said in recent interview, “I envy everything. I admire the Premier League for the quality and style of football.

“Maybe after years playing the same style you tire of it, and football there is very different. Stadiums are full, pitches are good, the press is different, people are different, the football culture is different. Everyone talks highly of England and I’d like to experience it one day. You see more space, more opportunity to enjoy your football. It’s more physical, more intense, but I think I’d be comfortable.

“I can’t say I’ll definitely play there because things change and I’ve always said I want to stay here for many years, but I’d like the experience.”

Carlo Ancelotti does damage control after heaviest loss to Atletico Madrid

Whenever you are marching towards the top and suddenly get a resistance, your moral gets obviously down this is something that seems to be happening with Spanish giant Real Madrid who has until been one of the strongest sides to win both Spanish as well European title but after their last humiliating 4-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid, their moral seems to have gone below the earth. Coach Carlo Ancelotti understands the need of keeping a supporting hold over players otherwise their form could further deteriorate in upcoming games. Accordingly, Italian mentor recently accepted that Real attitude towards the game was not hundred percent off late but as well shown confidence they can bounce back in no time. If we look at Real last year campaign, they won as many as 22 games in all competitions but this year could not bring same glory for the Los Vikingos and they faced heaviest defeat in four decades at the Estadio Vicente Calderon last weakened. Later, Ronaldo birthday bash also came into the limelight and everyone saw how Real skipper was celebrating his party rather regretting their embarrassing defeat to city mate.

Ancelotti talked about all the burning issues and what they need to do now onward to preserve their leaderboard position and said, “The issue of the party (Ronaldo) is not an issue for me. I have never judged the private lives of players, and will not begin now. To ask players to apologise would be to get into private lives of players. I do not want to do that — I would not like anyone to judge my personal life. This squad and players have many times proven their professionalism. This year, last year, winning a lot, showing always great commitment to the shirt. I have no doubts about that.”

“Saturday’s defeat surprised us all — not just the result, but the way it happened,” he added about Atletico defeat. “At the end of last year, we won the World Club Cup we dropped a bit our attitude and concentration. I do not know if this is normal, but it is what has happened.

“In football, you must always be at 100 percent. If you drop a little with your attitude, or concentration, you can lose games, and your position in the table. But we are still very competitive, and must move on now. Next week, starting tomorrow, is very important for us to see what will happen in future.”

Neymar deal is back in the news; another petition filed asking Maria Bartomeu investigation

Generally, Barcelona has never been in the news for bad reasons, but last year seems to have been not so lucky for the Spanish giant as they faced several charges they have never been famous for. One of them was of course signing of Brazilian youngster Neymar from Brazilian club Santos during 2013 summer. An independent prosecutor filed a petition in local Spanish court asking to investigate the contract of the 22-year-old as according to him former Barca president Sandro Rosell defrauded some 2.8 million euros while bringing the forward to Spanish soil. The high profile saga continued for several months and Rosell had to resign from the post after Judge Pablo Ruz accepted the petition and asked him to prove his innocence only then matter could cool down. But, now, after almost a year, another Spanish prosecutor is asking to investigate current president Josep Maria Bartomeu as well in relation of the infamous deal. Bartomeu is asked to submit his side before the Madrid’s Audiencia National court on Feb. 13.

According to the latest petition, since Bartomeu, then vice president, used to be managing the accounts of the club when this deal happened, he must have been involved in the defrauding otherwise how can it possible that someone at the top evades a hefty tax liability without coming into anyone’s knowledge. The Catalan club, expectedly, stated its surprise over the latest move by the prosecutor via a statement where they said, “FC Barcelona wishes to express to its members its surprise, indignation and total disagreement with the public prosecutor’s petition for the club and its former president Sandro Rosell to face trial for presumed misdemeanors in the transfer of the player Neymar da Silva Santos Jr.

“In recent months, FC Barcelona has declared its innocence, and has provided all of the documentation requested on numerous occasions and which has been supported by various judicial testimonies. The club has also been advised at all times by specialists in tax law. With respect to the specific request by the Public Prosecutors Office to charge president Josep Maria Bartomeu for a supposed tax offence in 2014, FC Barcelona also wishes to declare its utter disagreement.”

The reheated matter is not going to cool down early since there are several materialist facts in the latest discloser and if court decides to continue over the investigation of Bartomeu, which is most likely, it would be a setback for the Spanish giant’s credibility amid tax fraud allegations.