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PR316
This is the problem I have with the Arsenal strikers.

Adebayor- Good young striker but his head has gotten bigger than the Emirates Stadium itself after just ONE GOOD SEASON and for every 10 chances he has, he scores 1.

RVP- Probably their most talented striker but too injury prone and he has blown some easy ones as well.

Eduardo- The team's most clinical striker but who knows now about him. Even when he comes back, what are the guarantees that he'll be the player he once was??... It takes a special player to come back from those type of injuries and next season I can't see him figure much into the plans.

Walcott and Bendnter- Two young talented prospects that are as untested as they come. Walcott I like because his is versatile in that you can slide him pretty much anywhere like Van Persie where as Bendnter still has a long way to go before we even discuss him.


This is where my argument comes that they need a top class striker thats proven on the world stage.


Eto'o needs time. He's still LOVED at Barca because he's such a warrior. At times, he's been the only warrior on your team(Ronnie was injured throughout the season). But if he really is determined to make his big PL move, then he needs to be let go.

Laporta has really pushed for these youngsters to take leadership roles that they are not quite ready for. Bojan and Dos Santos are KIDS... They cannot be expected to fill such big shoes at the snap of a finger like that.
and the NEW
Yeh, Eto'o still scored quiet a bit. But I would not mind seeing Henry being given a shot as a target man, perhaps they can play a 4-4-2 now! Instead of this 3 pronged attack Rijkaard was SO adamant about keeping! As long as Messi remains on the right and gets a bit of freedom to roam, he could well end up like Ronaldo, who knows, in a coulpe of years, perhaps even better!

Yes, agree totally on the analysis of the Arsenal forwards (infact Bendtner has to go also) and the fact that Bojan and Dos Santos need to be slowly let into the team, definately cannot fill those shoes yet and I would not be sad to see Dos Santos go if they can replace him with another decent right winger (he cannot play anywhere else by the looks of it, and unless he is happy with a place on the bench, there is no way he is taking over Messis role).

But I would not mind seeing Henry (he just cannot work as a left winger) and Eto'o upfront together (Henry as left striker, Eto'o as right, using Bojan as a sub), Messi on the right, Iniesta on the left, (a choice of either Toure, Xavi or Deco in the middle). Alvez at right back, Abidal at left, Valdez can keep his goal position after a good season, at least for now, and replace the centre backs with some quality. I think on paper, that formation looks good to me, with each man in their natural position.




PR316
Pretty big news from Marca.com


Samuel Eto'o - "I will listen to offers"


He is very interested in the Premier League though he has not mentioned any clubs. But one would assume that he is definitely eyeing Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool.


I think Eto'o has become somewhat disenchanted with Barcelona as a whole. And with Lionel Messi coming out this week and saying " I would love to play with David Villa", it seems Eto'o may or may not be looking for a way out. I would LOVE to see Eto'o in the Premier Leaugue playing for any of the big 4, but he will not come cheap.


I think you were right, ATN. There is some stuff going on behind the scenes at Barca.
and the NEW
Yeh, Eto'o definately wants out! I even heard Tottenham are trying to land him! Would hate to see him go anywhere else but the big 4! He would cause havoc in the Premier League!

No doubt, he will not come cheap at all and I think he will leave this Summer! I would love to land Villa instead and I think he would fit in nicely (with his speed, skill and TOUCH, which far superceeds Eto'os touch) and definately combine with Messi! Would be a great, PROOVEN buy! Who we know can play in Spanish football, which can be a very hard league to adjust too! Just not sure about Guiza, he is a one season wonder so far! Huntaleer, again, great young talent, but not really suited to the Barca style. Benzema, you guys know what I think of him, good, but like so many before him, not upto the Barca standard.





PR316
I will say this.. Tottenham are going to be good next year. And I think they have a pretty good shot at a top 4 finish especially if Arsenal and Liverpool fail to upgrade themselves.


Arsenal is such a sad case at times. Fabregas has come out and said "I want Villa at Arsenal" and Wenger will no doubt continue to be a cheap skate. I mean, there are players like Ronaldinho, Van Der Vaart, Villa, Eto'o, Silva, Joaquin, and Huntelaar all available on the market, and they're looking at Benzema or Zarate. rolleyes_anim.gif He won't spend 25 million euros on any of those major talents I just named but he'd spend 20 million on either Benzema or Zarate. wtf.gif Give me a break. Arsenal fans have to be livid about this. They've gone for what is it now, 3 years without any trophies and they continue to build their squad with nothing but kids with no leader at the helm and nobody of experience to make that difference in a CL match or something like that. Horrible.


Liverpool I hear in an economic crisis of their own, and they are said to possibly be looking to off load some players to help stabilize their situation.


Man United and Chelsea are both going be VERY STRONG next season. Both of those clubs I really admire not just for the football they play(Chelsea as of late have managed a perfect balance of attractive football and good defense with the ability to hit you on the counter out of nowhere), but for the STABILITY... There's politics at all big clubs, but what I like about guys like Ferguson, Mourinho(When he managed at there of course) and Grant is that they're "no nonsense" type managers and don't allow players to just get away with stuff and they're VERY SMART in addressing their team's needs.


Tottenham are building up. Juande Ramos is a very talented manager and for coming in out of nowhere the way he did after the season started, the work he's done with his team is fantastic. Arsenal and Liverpool need to look out, especially if either Man City or Tottenham buy up big. Both clubs are not big but they have big money and potential to be threats for a top 4 finish next season.


As far as Villa at Barca, another he could do along with Henry is be somewhat of a mentor to young Bojan and help with his development. Just PLAYING with Villa on his team would be tremendous to the kid's development. Lets hope to see Bojan in Euro 2008.
and the NEW
Glad your enjoying it Fitz. The world game and the beautiful game, right up there with boxing! Definately helps when you know the clubs and the players, makes it much more enjoyable as you can see the real battles going on out there on the pitch!

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id...623&cc=3436

Knew it was coming but, DAMN! Who will it be? Tell you what, I would have rather gone for Deco than Flamini if I was Milan! No question in my mind!

I agree PR, the transfer market is a WASH with some HUGE names, and EXPERIENCED names, no idea what Wenger is thinking! He could probably pick up Ronnie and Eto'o if he wanted to really get aggressive! What a change that would make for Arsenal, capable of beating anybody with those two guys working together for you, and no doubt at all, it would be absolutely fantastic for the youngsters there and help bring in a lot of other big names in future seasons!

Who knows, they may go for Deco to replace Flamini, he can run a holding mid role no problem, with far more technical ability than Flamini.

4th spot is going to be a real fight next season! Tottenham should definately buy up big (though they need to keep their hands on Berbatov), along with Man City! While a Cahill return for Everton should help them acheive once more and I really like Aston Villa if they can hold onto Barry. I also think if Middlesborough can hold onto Alvez and Downing, they could really turn up the heat next season! Then you have the likes of Newcastle who are the perennial underachievers! One of these clubs however is SURE to fire for an entire season and claim a CL spot, just like Everton did only a few years ago! I think Liverpool are the most likely to suffer if they do not buy a creative midfielder or another decent striker this summer! You cannot keep heaping the load on Gerrard and Torres, they could easily go through a form slump which would destroy Liverpools season.

PR316
A 40 million price tag has been placed on Eto'o and Barcelona is reported to be in talks with both Tottenham and Chelsea. Its also possible that Inter or Milan themselves land Eto'o they say. Eto'o however is keen on going to England so thats what he'll likely push for. It appears that Eto'o is a hot commodity in the market as well and we all know why. If Eto'o leaves Barca, expect a major Barca bid for either Villa or Huntelaar(I hope to God they don't go for Benzema).


Arsenal will probably buy Benzema it looks like or Ben Arfa maybe. They're looking at Vela as well. I don't even want to talk about it. Mark my words here... CESC FABREGAS WILL NOT BE AN ARSENAL PLAYER WITHIN 3 YEARS... The moment he realizes that he'll never win trophies with Wenger at the helm, he'll look to return to Spain with Barcelona probably the team he'll come back to. Arsene Wenger just leaves me scratching my head everytime. Just so much talent that he can dip into and SO MANY PLAYERS want to come to Arsenal and still....NOTHING... This guy wants to win titles by being cheap. Never gonna happen at this point. Especially with the likes of Man United and Chelsea staying ahead of the game the way they are. Look for Man City and Tottenham to catch up as well.


We all know why Flamini left. Because he knows he can't accomplish much more at Arsenal than he already has. He knows that Wenger will never spend properly on a proven world class player that would be a difference maker. He knows that the team lacks depth and Wenger's apparent lack of desire to do anything about it. Flamini left and he won't be the only one. RVP, Adebayor, Fabregas, Rosicky, and the rest of their stars will follow suit. Top quality players want 1 if not all of these 3 things- Glory, Money, and Titles... There is none of that at Arsenal right now. And because these guys are almost all under the age of 24, they only see the beautiful football. But they're going to want to win one day, sooner or later. And if they don't pick up anything within the next 2 years, expect a MAJOR clear out in Arsenal, with Wenger being the first to go.


Speaking of Man City, they more than matched Barcelona's asking price with a 30 million euro bid for Ronaldinho but apparentley Ronnie has stated that he is not interested in going to England. Thats a shame too because I would love to see him in England to see what he can do. They say that Ronnie and his family are "set" to move to Italy and start their lives there.


I don't know what this means to Maxy and Fitz, but Cristiano Ronaldo has somewhat put his future in doubt with him saying that he won't decide till after the European championship is decided on whether or not he'll continue at Man United or go to Spain. The feeling is that the weather, culture, and style of football is very appealing to a young guy like Ronaldo and he is a guy that I could picture in a Real Madrid uniform. Kaka too. Made for La Liga. Zlatan is another guy I could see succeeding in Spain as well if he was to ever come.


Looking forward to Euro 2008. I'm really excited. I think we're gonna see a very competitive tournament that will make us all forget the disappointment of the last World Cup.
and the NEW
Yeh, just read that about Ronaldo! Man, what a HUGE mistake he would be making IMO. I cannot see him having the same success in Spain! One thing is certain, his pace will not be as blistering. The Spanish defenders have some quick heels on them! Big big mistake if he were to move, and to Madrid? Fukc, why not team up with Messi at Barca! A squad that could really dominate with those two together!

Tell you what, 30mil is as cheap as biscuits for the quality that Ronaldinho will bring! Not to mention the support the club will gather. With him, Barca became the biggest club in the world and the Nike sales he does are staggering! The man fills stadiums!

Maxy
These stories about Ronaldo surface all the time and it will only get worse over the summer months. One thing that annoys me is that he doesn't come out and say, "I am definitely staying at United until at least when my current contract finishes."

If he wants to go, I want him out. No questions asked, I don't care for players who are eying a move elsewhere - no player is ever bigger than the club. He says he will decide his future after the Cup Final but he's not in a position to decide his future because he's still under contract for three more seasons. That means United will decide his future...unless he hands in a transfer request and if that happens, goodbye.

His strops towards the end of the season are really petulant. Don't get me wrong, he's a great player but his antics, like stopping play because he thinks he's been fouled really anger me. You play to the whistle, that's just the way it is.

He can't be replaced position for position but he's not irreplaceable in the team. We would just have to adopt a slightly different style of play to accommodate a prolific out and out striker although I would be gutted if we signed somebody like Van Nistelrooy became because it totally stunted our team play in the last couple of seasons he was here.

Madrid never get reprimanded for tapping up players and thats another issue that gripes me. Every single day they are spouting off about how they want Ronaldo....it's actually illegal to act in this manner but UEFA won't do a thing about it.

If he does go, the fee will smash the world record and I'm sure Ferguson already has players in mind who he can sign but why would he want to go? The weather? OK, fair enough, goodbye and thanks for the seasons you were here...
and the NEW
He can't be replaced position for position but he's not irreplaceable in the team. We would just have to adopt a slightly different style of play

I disagree there Maxy.

The effect on Manchester would be BRUTAL if Ronaldo leaves. 100mil is not going to buy enough players to replace what he did for United in the past two season. Without him, I honestly beleive (espeically this season), Chelsea would be 4 time Champions!!!

A guy like Ronaldinho could be bought who would suit the style and could do something simiar, or perhap Messi or Kaka, but I cannot see any other guy even coming close to replicating what Ronaldo has done! Robinho and Ibrahimavic are a similar type of player who can win a Championship 'single handed', but I doubt many will replicate what Ronaldo has done this season. Perhaps Ronaldinho did it in his prime and Messi may do it at some stage, but no doubt, the last couple years has been something very very special!

Looks like he is becoming complacent and thinking he is unstoppable (his arrogance on the pitch certainly appears that way), which can be an absolute killer! Wake up call may be coming his way! Either in changing clubs and failing to see similar success, or laziness!
and the NEW
On another note PR, see Wenger is bringing in Vela (another youngster as his striker) and what are your thoughts on the Spain squad?

Some big names left out, Vicente, Joaquin, Morientes, Bojan (apparently exhausted after his few games with Barca.........wtf) and Raul (smile.gif)!
PR316
Ronaldo wouldn't score as many goals in Spain, thats for sure.


Defenders there mark tighter and are much faster. Plus in La Liga, defenders chop down more at the attackers and you really have to EARN your goals there so to speak.


Look at Fernando Torres. Every year in Spain, he averaged around 13-15 goals a season. Now he's in England and true though its just one season, Torres has really exploded. The PL is more suited to a guy like Torres because all he has to do is use his speed to beat defenders and there's also more opening runs in England, whereas in Spain teams play with more strategy and caution.


Right now England has the best league. The quality of football being played there is tremendous now. La Liga has more flare and you can argue the better talent overall. Problem in Spain is the constant instability and politics within the clubs that really hold back the league. Also the way business is run in Spain just really hurts the marketability of some of these clubs. Spanish clubs are also guilty of treating their stars like "celebrities" and basically throwing red carpets out for them. For example a guy like Raul up till now went about 3-4 straight seasons where he was absolute SHIT and he still managed to hold on to his position. I don't even want to get into Valencia with the Albelda situation and other crap. But thats whats really hurting Spain right now.


Vicente I expected to be left out sad to say even though he was playing well. He doesn't exactly have a great relationship with Aragones. Ditto with Joaquin although I thought he would go to Euros. Morientes has struggled with injuries more than ever sad to say. Bojan I don't understand. I mean its not like he was going to be starting ahead of either Torres or Villa in every match if at all. Guiza would have been ahead of him too. I just think that its TOO BIG an opportunity for Bojan to just turn down because he feels he's "exhausted." Thats your country right there and this is EURO 2008, buddy. I mean nothing is for granted in this sport you know. You might be the next big thing one year and then the next 2 years you might be struggling with injuries or other players could come up and take your spot. I just think its a bad move to turn this down.


Typical Wenger bringing in Vela. What will be very sad to see is Arsenal without a trophy again next Summer.
and the NEW
Yep, agree completely on Spain V England analysis. Every single word. Defenders mark a LOT tighter and always chop guys down!

One man I think would EXCEL in England is Kaka. He is like a more polished version of Torres in many many ways.

Spain still has a very good squad, what they lack for me is some creativity in midfield. Iniesta provides it, but guys like Fabregas, Xavi and Alonso are straight up and down, hard working, great technical ability players.

I think Torres averaged 16 goals, cannot remember now, but yeh, definately not as prolific as he is doing in England.
PR316
Creativity in the midfield. David Silva CAN provide but at such a young age I wonder if he's ready to handle such a huge competition. This is where a player like Guti would have come in handy.


I hope Fabregas finds his Arsenal form here. In order for Torres and Villa to do the business, Cesc will have to provide some KILLER passes along with dictating the midfield.


Kaka would succeed pretty much anywhere. I think he'll leave Milan within a few years anyway. No way a player like Kaka will be ok with not winning anything. He is not a midtable player and Milan are approaching that status at the rate they're going unless they secure a few major signings and give themselves a healthy injection of youth.
and the NEW
Yeh, well looks like Cafu is on the way out, despite still playing good football, so the rotation out of the old is definately a priority.

I overlooked Silva, I agree, he definately has the ability to add creativity and if he and Iniesta can add that spark, Spain are sure to be a HUGE force!

Milan are sure to be one of the biggest movers (probably the biggest) in the transfer market this year, if they can land Ronaldinho and Berbatov, I think they could do very well next season in Serie A. Without doubt challenging the likes of Inter (who rely HEAVILY on Ibrahimavic). Apparently they are also looking at Schevchenko (if his wife lets him move wink.gif). I also hear they are in discussions with Deco (though they need more of a goal getter than he).
Maxy
The point I'm making about Ronaldo is that although he can't be replaced like for like we won't be overly weakened should he leave....

AND if he WANTS to leave I want him gone. The club is the passion....players come and go.

As for Vela, he's an Arsenal player anyway...he's just been on loan.
and the NEW
See I disagree, I think you guys would be absolutely weakened should he leave! Still a very good squad and would have some cash to splurge, perhaps Kaka would be bought in, but replacing Ronaldos form is like what has been evident in Barca after Ronaldinho 'leaving'. A powerhouse who dominates the sport can never be replaced easily.

I would take a strong bet on Chelsea winning the title if Ronaldo leaves this summer.

Yes, Vela is, but another youngster. I would really like to see some experience come in, who would inspire the youngsters there.
PR316
Well, if Villa indeed has played his last game for us today, then that was one HELLUVA goodbye. 2 goals and an assist in Valencia's 3-1 win over Patetico Madrid today. There was an air of BOTH joy and sadness in the Mestalla today as the fans applauded Villa as he was subbed off in the 82nd minute or so. Chants of "Villa quedate"(Please stay Villa) rang throughout the stadium and a few fans had tears in their eyes. Joaquin had a stellar game as did Silva, and this will certainly increase Silva's value in the transfer market as Inter Milan look at him for a possible buy.


Good win for Barcelona too. Very unselfish from Eto'o to feed Giovani for his 1st goal. He could have taken that goal. He played PERFECTLY yesterday. He was fast, decisive, precise, and direct. He was applauded too as the match ended and the fans really showed him alot of love. I'm definitely hoping he stays. Interesting moment with a rare smile from Rijkaard as Giovani scored his 2nd and 3rd goals. Kind of shows a sigh of relief to be leaving the club IMO. But it was nice for him and all of the Barca fans to go out with a win. Leo Messi as usual was magic. He made some killer runs and zipped through some accurate laser like passes. Barca should build around Messi for next season and buy Villa to partner him if Eto'o leaves and you have a good foundation to build on for next season.

You guys might find this interesting. http://www.futebolfinance.com/salarios-dos...tebol-0708-v11/ Highest paid players in football. You'll all laugh at how many are so over paid.


Thats it for now fellas. I'm happy our season is over but at the same time I'm very sad as I await the future to see what holds in store for my beloved Valencia. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


On another note, I saw a video on Ronaldo when he was back in his prime. Indeed the man was INSANE. If there was an heir to Pele, it just HAD to be him. ATN, Maxy, Fitz, I just wanted to ask all 3 of you if you all would agree with Ronaldo being considered the PERFECT striker??... I would say yes, because there was nothing the man lacked. Maybe he wasn't a huge threat in the air but I'm trying to think of something else and can't find it. How do you guys feel about that??..
and the NEW
PR what a weird end to the season!

Great wins for both Barca and Valencia with their star men performing!

Looks like Barca are really trying to build around Messi, he was moving and they were looking for him just like Ronaldinho used to do. He was looking for every ball and trying to play miracle passes all night, and pulling some off. The man has 10 goals and 12 assists in like 23 games and his CL record is just as good! If he becomes the go to man, he could well do much better than that also, considering he will get twice the touches! He was apparently granted free reign last night, just like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

Dos Santos had a CRACKER as an attacking centre mid, WTF, I never thought he could play there, but he looks like it suits him MUCH better than on the wing. Hope Pep took note of that! The formation looked much better, Henry and Eto'o upfront and a diamond midfield. Perfect for the Barca players! But too late! Not to mention, the defence, well the central defence, needs a HUGE shakeout! Puyol is just scrappy!

Night of the big guns at the end of the season, with Aguero scoring against Valencia also.

Ibrahimavic wrapped up the title for Inter in his return match, truly pivotal for them!

I hear Mancini of Roma is being targeted by a few clubs, a very good left winger!

Lyon also wins, as do Bayern and Porto (predictable?).

Glad Barca closed out on such an entertaining note, gives me hope for next season, with all their stars looking brilliant! Must say Henry played extremelly well also and I have probably been a bit harsh on him this season!

Was very weird to see Rijkaard display emotion wasn't it!

Interesting list on the pay structures! No doubt in my mind Messi and Ronaldo will top that list in a couple years!

As for old Ronaldo, definately heir to Pele! The man was legendary! Even when he was past it at Madrid, he was still scoring 20+ goals a season! Like you say, the air was his only weakness, but that is generally the case with quick, smaller, great dribblers! He was certainly one of the greatest strikers in the games history and as close to perfect as they come!
Fitz
QUOTE(PR316 @ May 19 2008, 06:50 AM) [snapback]390091[/snapback]
ATN, Maxy, Fitz, I just wanted to ask all 3 of you if you all would agree with Ronaldo being considered the PERFECT striker??


You would be better off getting opinions from Maxy and ATN. Like I said previously, I was kind of a more casual soccer fan and watched World Cups and all the big occasions and I did watch quite a bit of the La Liga one season and managed to see a bit of Ronaldo, as Madrid was the team I watched (don't really follow anyone is Spain though).
Though from what I know, it takes a very special player to hold the record for the most goals in World Cup games and after what happened to him on the eve of the 1998 World Cup final and then things got worse after doing his knee not long after. To bounce back from that and then perform in the 2002 World Cup and get Brazil the title again was quite impressive. Like I said, I probably never saw as much as him as you guys. But based on what I know and him being able to perform on the worlds biggest stage, it's something only special players can do.
PR316
I'm already wondering about next season. Whom will go where and who will get better or worse??...


Barca appear favorites to possibly land Van Der Vaart to replace Ronaldinho but theres not certainty. I don't think Barca NEED him, honestly. Messi provides plenty of spark and creativity. But if they got him, then he could probably work wonders with Messi.


The Valencia situation is complicated. On one hand, it seems that the big stars want to stay with the way they speak. But the media has just instigated so much. No OFFICIAL offers have arrived for Villa, contrary to what has been said. This is all according to Villa's agent. Offers from the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, Real Madrid, and possibly Barcelona are expected of course, probably a bit before the Euro Cup, and if no accord is reached, then after the Euro it will be interesting to see. I still hold on to hope that Valencia will hold on to him. I honestly think that Silva is gone no matter how things turn out. He's become a hot commodity and Barcelona are reported to be VERY INTERESTED as are Inter Milan. I obviously hope none of them leave, even if it is necessary. I'd rather see this guys in the Spanish league. Its a big enough loss to have both Riquelme and now Ronaldinho gone. I always tuned in to La Liga to watch them both perform their magic and they're both such huge losses. Plus the team would be devastated I think.


Thierry Henry had to adapt to La Liga. Its different here. Defenders are quicker and mark tighter as we said earlier. Plus the injury problems and being in a new football system on a different team. He has a good understanding with Messi and him and Eto'o started to click very well as the season progressed. He finishes with 12-13 goals or something like that without playing the full 38 matches. Thats still world class stuff even if he's not at his peak. He could be better next season.


Eto'o may or may not go. He's a professional so no matter what, he's gonna play his heart out there. Braveheart from whistle to whistle. He was probably the HEART of the team for those years. He basically WILLED Mallorca to a Copa del Rey title. Few players could win a midtable team like that any type of title. A true difference maker for any team. Either Chelsea or Tottenham will get him if he goes. He's suited to the Premier League. More so than Villa or Aguero. Fast, strong, powerful, on top of being tireless. I think if he moved to England, we would see him score 30 plus goals and I'm not exaggerating. That open style of playing would allow him to use his pace and just beat defenders all day the way Torres did this season.


Ronaldinho is a complicated case. Its almost certain that he's gonna leave, but the move has been a troubled one. AC Milan are out of the Champions League and I'm not even sure they're playing UEFA Cup football next season. Financially, they're going to always be ok. But the club at the moment has one little thing called POLITICS that are destroying it within. There are too many youngsters there that need to be pushed to the forefront and start playing a leading role. Too many old guys holding on to their positions through their friendships with the coaching staff and club officials. Its time to destroy and rebuild. I insist that Kaka will move on soon. Especially if they go another season without winning anything. If they don't at least get a Champions League spot for the season after the next, expect Kaka to explore his options. I hope this works out for Ronnie.


Serie A is not a high quality league at the moment so if he can get back even half of what he's capable of, he'll bring some much needed quality to the league.

I miss Ronaldo. So much. Latest I hear is that Flamenco want to contract him once he recovers from injury. I just wish that he goes out in a good way. He deserves it for how much he brought to the game even if he went through a rough spell at Real Madrid where his work ethic became questionable probably due to all his injuries. That said, prior to that, even at Real like you said, he was always there with the top scoring young guns in the league. Amazing to accomplish what he did in La Liga while being past his prime. Just a special player all around. I miss him lots.





and the NEW
Yeh, it is becoming very interesting, I always love the transfer season, makes next season so much more fun! Changes the way teams play and gel!

I don't think Barca need much at all! With Ronaldinho gone, they desperately need a left winger now! Either Iniesta or Dos Santos (by the looks of that performance) could be the attacking mid, with Xavi or Toure playing the defensive mid (mids in a diamond formation, not a flat 4). Henry and Eto'o upfront (with Bojan off the bench). Messi on the right, but with range to move, could add the spark and play far more of a team role the way Ronaldinho did for the team. He really has the ability to be a very similar player to Ronaldinho. Great vision and passing and the ability to take guys on and beat them! He only lacks the free kick ability. Abidal on the left back, Alvez on the right, don't even mind Pinto that much in goals. It is a left winger (though Iniesta could play there), and two centre backs for me that are required!

Ronaldo was the man that actually first got me really into the sport, in France 98. I enjoyed watching it a bit before then, but he was the bug that really bit me hard!

I miss Zizou! Wish he would come back, he looked incredible in the charity match and still has the ability to control the midfield of any team in the world IMO! sad.gif
Maxy
Ronaldo was a great player, no doubt about it and it's a tragedy that his career was blighted by so many serious injuries. If he had stayed injury free who knows what he might have achieved but the fact is he achieved more than most players ever will despite those terrible injuries, which is a testament to how good he was.

I remember hearing about him when he was just 17 and had been signed by PSV Eindhoven. All the big clubs were watching him and he scored 55 goals in 57 appearances whilst in Holland. He was a player I would have loved to have had a United but at that early age he hadn't played enough times for Brazil and therefore didn't qualify for a work permit which meant he was always out of our reach. I hate that rule we have over here. Anyway.

In 2002/03 season he wasn't nowhere near his very best but he scored a hat trick at Old Trafford to help Madrid beat us 6-5 on aggregate (Madrid lost that game 4-3 btw). The amazing thing is the entire crowd at Old Trafford gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted....for the home fans to applaud a player who has just helped knock them out of the champions league shows what an impact he made that night.

He was a great great striker but he could have been even better. Definitely the best striker of his generation and one of the best ever. Like we all know, his injuries prevented him from achieving even more.

Shame.
PR316
Hey fellas. I know that ATN and I follow La Liga more than you guys do but I thought you all would find this interesting.


The top 10 goals of Spanish football this season. Just click on where it says "Ver gol" to see the goal. I voted for Marco Senna's goal but I must admit that a few goals were left out. What do the rest of you guys say??..

After Senna, for me it was Kun Aguero's goal against Deportivo, and then Ronaldinho's free kick goal that he had earlier this season.


http://www.marca.com/futbol/2008/resumen-l...cuesta_gol.html


Also, Maxy, Kun Aguero has 3 of his goals showcased and I know you were asking about him some months back so I thought you'd maybe like to see a little bit of him.
and the NEW
I could not get any video on that link.................?

PR316
Thats weird. I still get them all. dntknw.gif
and the NEW
Yeh, I kept getting error on page after I pressed 'ver gol', except for the Senna goal which I saw.

I don't rate half way kicks too highly, would much rather see some dribbling skill! I've seen goals from half way 4 times in the last season alone from a couple guys on my team, still yet to see precocious dribbling the likes of Aguero!
PR316
QUOTE(Fitz @ May 20 2008, 03:35 AM) [snapback]390240[/snapback]
Same as me. Are you clicking the small text "ver gol" like PR said? Which goals did you like PR?



What like most about half way kicks is the ability the player shows to read the goal keeper all the way from the distance. To me its definitely spectacular to be able to do that.


But I like Ronaldinho's free kick for sure, and Aguero's goal where he made that quick move to the left of his defender almost turning him inside out in the process, and just slotting it home.


Also Ronnie's bicycle kick I rate highly. It wasn't luck either.


I'm surprised they didn't have Messi's goal where he dribbled past the opposing team's entire defense from about the half way mark and just slotted it home. That goal right there was probably the most talked about in Spain if not Europe.
Maxy
QUOTE(PR316 @ May 20 2008, 11:57 AM) [snapback]390305[/snapback]
I'm surprised they didn't have Messi's goal where he dribbled past the opposing team's entire defense from about the half way mark and just slotted it home. That goal right there was probably the most talked about in Spain if not Europe.


Yeah I wondered why that one wasn't there. I liked Ronaldinho's free kick - rocketed into the top corner and I liked Baptista's goal because the build up play was really good and the finish was decisive. Senna's goal probably rates as my pick though because to score those you really have to hit the ball perfectly so as to beat the keeper from that range and get it on target.

That Aguero fella I like. He's the sort of player I'd love at Old Trafford but he's not what we are looking for. We'll sign a bigger target man type striker in the summer, I'm sure of that.

My favourite type of goal is the volley, both for its explosiveness and the fact that it is so sudden, so out of the blue.

5 Great Volleys
and the NEW
^^^^^

Zizou, best volley of all time!!!!

On his 3rd attempt at the CL final, he nearly burnt the back of that net! Perfect technique and off the left foot!
PR316
The thing about hitting it on the volley is that it is SO HARD TO EXECUTE with perfection. Thats whats really most impressive to me about a volley goal and to do it off the left foot is even more impressive.


Zizou was a master at it. That one he scored in that CL Final is one of the greatest goals in recent times. But so many of Zidane's goals were just SPECTACULAR. The one he scored against Spain the quarterfinal match in Germany as much of a heartbreaker as it was for me, I had to admit that it was one of the best goals in the tournament if not the best.


Villa scored a nice one to win over the Italians in a friendly. Such a shame that it was only a friendly match because had it been in a big tournament, that would be highly rated up there as well, along with the fact that it was a left footed shot.



and the NEW
God damn, talk about intense!

Emotional to watch both sides at the end there!

As for the game, United DOMINATED that first half, should have been up by a couple by the end of the half. But Chelsea did the same in the second half, though, with more chances, but not as good chances.

Scholes and Evra can thank their lucky stars one of them did not see red for their elbows!!!!! Dirty, dirty tactics by both!

United were also awarded several balls in which the ball went out off them. Some blind calls!

But still, thoroughly deserved!

When Ronaldo stepped up, I just KNEW he was going to miss!!!! I thought it was the end of them once he missed! Great save by Van Der Sar at the end!

Not much else to say, Chelsea need a right back, it is not Essiens position, they really missed his driving presence in midfield and Ronaldo skinned him on a couple occassions. Rooney and Tevez both played extremelly well and worked very hard throughout!

Chelsea hit the post twice, very unlucky! Chech made a fine save and Terry also with his head! What a match, what an outcome, what a season for the Premier League! You cannot get better than that!!!!!!!

This wait for the Euro is going to be painstaking! Withdrawal symptoms! I also hear a few stars are going to play at the Olympics, so that might be a bit of fun to watch if much of the football is shown!
Maxy
An unbelievable night!!

We could, and perhaps should, have finished the game off in the first half, where for long spell of play we dominated the game. Chelsea definitely came back into it in the second half and at times we rode our luck but I am so delighted we prevailed in the end. We are the better footballing side. We play better more eye-catching football and its great to win the European Cup again.

Ferguson and his players deserved it. When it went to penalties I thought we had no chance to win it. We never win penalty shoot-outs! Then Ronaldo missed and my heart sank but fate played a part with John Terry slipping as he took the kick which could have won them the game.

Considering our team is so young the future looks fantastic and Ronaldo would be a fool to leave this team. The potential and the ability is there to win more trophies for the next few years and to think we will strengthen in the summer....there has never been a better time to be a United player and a United fan.

I've got a chronic hangover but its worth it. What a night! What a season! What a team!
and the NEW
ha ha ha, I was thinking you would have a hangover Maxy!

I would have if it was Barca that advanced and won the game!

Did I hear right in that Giggs is retiring now? (on that note, I just read he is not). Have to admit, Brown has really come into his own! That buildup with he and Scholes to the Ronaldo goal was fantastic!

Chelsea will look to buy somebody to make a difference IMO. I think they will target either Ronaldinho or Kaka. They need some more individual talent on that squad! Somebody who can create something out of nothing to add to their structure and grind! Joe Cole can, but he just doesn't do it consistently! As you said previously I think, they are after Messi! 0% chance of that! He is the future of the Camp Nou!

PR, see Arsenal are after another youngster Nazri, only 20 and has done very well in France for Marseille! Even being put in the same breath as Zizou is something special! He is also already included in the 30 man shortlist France squad for the Euro.

Wenger just will not sign experience, I have only seen this guy a couple times and he appears a very very big talent! Have you seen him at all and any thoughts?
Maxy
No, Giggsy isn't retiring but his role in the team will now become less and less. The man is a United legend, one of the greatest players we have ever had and the most successful player ever in England. 19 major trophies including 10 league titles and two European Cups plus a record 759 appearances for the club.

His record haul will never be surpassed IMO but Giggs wants more saying, "A few people have mentioned me hanging up my boots but I'm still enjoying it. I want nights like this again. I'll go away and enjoy the summer and look forward to next season."
and the NEW
Yeh sorry, updated my post above.

All season Giggs has been saying he is loving it!

A true legend! His record speaks for itself! Most definately will never be paralelled IMO.
PR316
An amazing back and forth match.


I thought United had it in the bag after 1st half though they were SHOCKING in some of their missed chances.


Drogba is such a BITCH... LOL... I mean his stupidity may have cost Chelsea in the end. In the 2nd half, it seemed that Chelsea hit everything but the back of the net. Man U let them make some effective counter attacking runs and really did ride their luck a little bit.


When Ronaldo stepped up, I too had a feeling he was going to miss. I just saw it in him. The hesitation. The big moment got to him. All the pressure on his shoulders of so much riding on his shot. Then when Terry missed, it was academic.


Congrats, Maxy and Fitz. Awesome win.


In other news, Valencia has OFFICIALLY appointed Unai Emery as their new manager and its as good a move as we could have hoped for. Emery is a young coach, though. But he's enthusiastic, and plays good football. MUCH BETTER than either Ronald Koeman or Quiquez Sanchez Flores. Gives me a little bit of hope for next season. Valencia need to weed out the dead wood in the club. Seriously its just gotten to a point where its too much now. A new centerback is needed. And if Villa does go, then a new striker will be a necessity. It is looking more and more possible for Valencia to hold on to Villa, due to him not really pushing for a move apparentley. That doesn't mean the club won't sell, but it looks possible. The one that is appearing to be gone more and more by the minute is none other than David Silva. He's being monitored closely by some big clubs in Italy and even Barcelona. If a big bid is made, I think the club will sell. I don't any truth to this Maxy, but are you guys after Miguel??... I've heard more than one report state that Man United are looking for a right back. Miguel on form is still world class, despite his inconsistency this season. I'm sure the club would take the big money if its offered to them.


As far as Ronaldo possibly leaving Man United, at the moment it would look like a bad move. If he did it, the only reason I could see is because he wants to play in Spain. But Ronaldo will find it tough in Spain, I say again. Much more tight marking and double teams to deal with. The football is a joy to watch on its best day, but it won't be easy for him. He definitely won't score 31 goals in a season.


I've heard of Nazri but I have not seen any of him to be honest. I've heard that he's supposed to be something special with comparisons to both Zidane and Fabregas. Its because of Wenger's unwillingness to sign proven world class players that he doesn't win trophies for what, 3 straight seasons now.
Maxy
Yes its true we have been linked with Miguel but we have also been linked with several other right backs. Gary Neville may never play again and even if he does he will never be first choice again (I doubt anyway) so right back is a position we definitely need to strengthen. Wes Brown is a natural central defender but he has been like a rock at right back for us this season, although he's not an attacking right back which I believe Ferguson is apparently looking for.

Micah Richards of Man City is another right back we are heavily linked with but at this stage the media links every good player with the really huge clubs because it sells papers.

Ronaldo won't score 31 league goals next season wherever he plays because that sort of tally is almost impossible to repeat in successive seasons but he's the sort of player who will get goals wherever he plays...more so than Messi I feel. Messi is a better dribbler than Ronaldo but Ronaldo (at this stage in their careers) is more of a potent goal threat, both with his head and his feet. His headed goals against Roma and Chelsea last night were simply perfection.

I understand he will leave to go to Spain one day...after-all its his dream to play there and he will like the climate more but from a purely footballing perspective he would be making a mistake to leave United now. I'm certain we are on the verge of one of our best ever spells. The team is young and gifted and he can win everything here....as proved last night.

I hate that he says he will decide his future in two weeks time. Is he just angling for a better contract or does he really want to walk away from the best team in Europe right now?
PR316
^^^^Actually, Ronaldo has said NEXT WEEK he will decide his future. Looks like we won't have to wait long.
and the NEW
I don't know what he is doing (Ronaldo), but even the talk is pretty unprofessional IMO.

Agree completely with PR, as repeated, the double marking and dirty tactics on the top players is terrible in Spain, Ronaldo will really really struggle!

Ronaldo is a better out and out scorer than Messi, as you say Maxy, FAR better with the head! Messi has missed some shockers in the air, and one of the few he did score was with his hand!!!! LOL.

Though, Messi has some incredible passing and touch, along with his dribbling. His passing could end up one of his most prized assets IMO. 12 assits in 23 games is phenomenal, considering most of the time he touched the ball he tried to run it the entire way into the back of the net! Ronaldo also has his free kicks, so is a more complete player IMO. But Messi has the most raw talent in the world, he could end up, if developed right and played in the right position (on the right wing but given some free reign as Ronaldo and Ronalinho are/were), an absolute phenomenon and one of the very best ever!

Miguel and Richards are two of the best right wing backs in the business! Would be very good buys! This way, Brown could be used in the centres also should Ferdinand or Vidic pick up a knock.

Valencia need some serious money spent PR, I just hope they are prepared to do it! Much like Liverpool! They are not up there in terms of purchasing power as the big guns in their leagues (Barca, Madrid, Chelsea and United).

Drogba, don't get me started! I hate even looking at the guy these days!

I'm glad to see the attacking team succeeded! Funny now how every team and coach is talking about trying to score more goals and play more attacking isn't it?

Congrats boys. Enjoy it while it lasts, because Barca is coming to reclaim that title wink.gif
PR316
I would like to see Messi on set pieces more. Ronnie, Deco, and Xavi would always take them at Barca, and Riquelme always takes them for Argentina.


He's pretty untested in that area and I'm more than sure he would be great at them.
and the NEW
I have actually seen Messi take several over his tenure, and he just does not hit them overly accurate, but mainly, he lacks the pace on them!

Not that he can't crack a ball, he has scored some long range crackers from outside the box before!

I'm sure, given time and practice (if he chooses to devote time to it), he could master them! A couple more years!

Ronnie was the man at the ones on goal, not so brilliant (funny, cause he could place most passes on a needle if he wanted) at the ones simply trying to dip it onto heads. Xavi and Deco weren't overly great at them either IMHO.

Maxy
Now all the reports seem to suggest that Ronaldo will sign a new contract with United next week. I should imagine, if it's true, that it will have some sort of clause in it whereby he can leave after a certain amount of time provided a team make a bid of ??? amount.

I have no objection to him wanting to ply his trade in Spain but now is not the time to do it. He should at least stay at United whilst Ferguson is still manager and make a decision on his future when the great man retires.

Carlos Tevez has indeed scored some crucial goals this season. As a finisher I wouldn't say he's world class because he does miss more than he scores but his work rate is second to none. No player in the world works as hard as Tevez does, chasing down every defender/midfielder in order to get the ball back for his team. He's still young and if he works on when to shoot and when to pass he can become an even better player.

There is no doubt about it, his contribution this season to our success has been immense.
PR316
QUOTE(Fitz @ May 23 2008, 05:26 AM) [snapback]390473[/snapback]
He should be called Dogba. He did let his team down and he showed his true colours early in the season when they were struggling. Also what actually happened leading up to that? When watching the game, I just saw Tevez going nuts and I still don't know what happened before that seemed to piss Tevez off so much.
PR, what do you think of Tevez now? I remember you never being a big fan of him. He is one of my favourite players, mainly because I take a liking to Brazilian and Argentinians, just because that's who I follow when Chile don't make anything or lose which seems to be always, lol. But yeah I have been pretty happy with Tevez, I think he has such a strong work ethic, he just keeps chasing and chasing and always putting in 110% effort and does little team things always.
The other thing I like about him is he seems to score important games when Manchester United seem to have there off games and under perform. I remember quite a few times when we have played pretty ordinary and Tevez has managed to get Manchester the win by scoring late goals and they are the games that I think can make a difference (when you are able to win when playing poorly).
One of my favourite players.



He's a good player but I'm not so sure he's world class. I'll give him this, though. He does work hard, like Maxy pointed out, chasing defenders and all that. Whats also very good about him is his "lead by example" type of play. Alot of players like Gallas and Albelda do lots of yelling and screaming but they themselves don't always show the work ethic they preach. Tevez simply plays harder when his team is down and he deserves respect for that. Good player. Don't consider him great, but good. He definitely can get better.


Admittedly the Spanish league this year didn't produce the best football of even last season. 2 years ago, it was probably the most exciting league in the world. Probably the best. The football is very different in Spain. There's a certain FLARE to La Liga. The talent in that league is IMMENSE.. Very technical football with lots of quick passing, wing play, strong defense/tight marking, and quick counter attacks. I think this year it suffered alot from politics, both in and out of the clubs. The TV network wars for one. Managers from top clubs lost their jobs. Internal bickering. And teams losing key players. Puerta's death at the beginning of the season. Lots of stuff contributed. But I think the changes that the top teams are going through will help it out alot. The Premier League for these past 2 seasons has been AWESOME... No doubt about it.


I think RIGHT NOW is not the best time for Ronaldo to go to Spain. Not right after his club pulled off the double(Oh and I told you guys they would do it from the beginning of the season wink.gif ). I think Ronaldo should stay for at least 2 more seasons at Manchester and then if by then he seeks a different challenge, then cool make that move. But I think he should win as many titles as he can with Man U.
and the NEW
Well there is some news, GRANT SACKED ALREADY!!!!!!! WTF are they thinking! He did very very very well I thought, and the players had just warmed to him and were responding! To make the CL final, play a very even game, loose on penalties, and from the position they were in when he took over in the Premier League, they would have won under him if the competition started and that was including the time it took him to settle in! Add to that some much better passing and movement and you have INCREDIBLE success IMHO! We know who this comes down too again, the Russian with an ego too big for reality! I actually feel sorry for Chelsea fans!

Hleb is gone by the sounds of it too, huge loss for Arsenal and they really need Nazri now!

Oh and see Flores is now at Benfica PR...............! At least they will hold a great structure! Something needs to be done if they are going to rival Porto again. Hopefully he plays Adu a lot more, who is an extremelly good talent IMO, despite the hype around him, I think he can live upto it if given a chance. He should really be in the Premier League, he is big, strong, quick, skillful with a great eye for goal. I honestly beleive if in England, he could really become one of the stars. Hopefully Ferguson will spot the same and bring him over. Very similar type of player to Saha in a way, but probably more skillful on the ball.
PR316
Pretty surprised at the Grant sacking. Very uncharacteristic of an English club to sack a coach when all is well. I mean, 2nd in the PL after losing Mourinho, and getting to the CL final. If thats not top class stuff then what is??.

In truth Quique is not a bad coach. He has a good feel for his players, and he knows how to rotate players. At his best, he is good at holding structure and hitting you with the quick counter attacks. The players liked him and really were disappointed he was sacked. But at times he really made some questionable decisions(Probably due in part to the extreme pressure on him). I felt that he let Albelda have too much control in the locker room at times as well. But for the most part he was a no nonsense kind of guy who didn't take shit from players with discipline problems(Like Del Horno and Fernandes). He was stubborn as hell. But in some sort of crazy way, I actually MISS Quique. I miss seeing his tired face on sidelines. Maybe he was working miracles the whole time with what he had with our pathetic squad. Lol.. Oh man the way things go sometimes.


Flamini is gone and now Hleb. Only question is how long before RVP and Fabregas say "Adios".

PS- Maxy and Fitz, I thought you guys would get a kick out of this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoGSvft-3NM

LOL!!!!!..... I forgot how bad that one was. I mean, I won't lie to any of you. Villa has some funny ones too(2 years ago vs Real Madrid for instance), and Drogba has to be the WORST of all, but this one by Ade gives him some competition I think. I remember bursting out laughing during this part of the match but hadn't seen it for a bit. Anyway, thought I'd bring that for some laughs.
and the NEW
See the lastest Mourinho comments? ha ha, what a sore looser! Coming from a man who couldn't make the final with Chelsea and was being punished in the League at the time of his sacking, playing the most boring style of football in the League, he comes out with this? ha ha

And to think Barca specifically said they didn't want Mourinho as he was not humble enough.............!!! The man with his arrogance and demands for far too high salary, has now spent a year out of work and who knows when he will begin again!

Too bad, I would rather enjoy watching his antics on the sidelines somewhere once more!
PR316
LOL... What a character, thats for sure. But if reports are correct, then within a matter of HOURS, "The Special One" will be announced OFFICIALLY as the new manager of Inter. And get this, not only will he be guaranteed his high salary, but he will be promised that Frank Lampard and Deco will be brought along for the team as well. Thats definitely a LOADED squad who has won 2 Scudettos now. AC Milan, Roma, and Juventus will have to load up big time for sure if they want to compete with that.


The Spanish squad has started training today for the Euro Cup. They have 2 friendlies to play leading up to it, against Peru and against the USA. Its going to be tough thats for sure. Germany are a strong team who probably should have won the World Cup in 06. France is up there in age. They havent' looked too good either in qualifying losing to SCOTLAND of all teams, TWICE... But they've got some youth on their side which will need to show come June. Italy are also up there in age. I can't say that they've gone out and added some new talent to the squad because they haven't. I just think they're gonna have trouble keeping up with they young guns which is why I think its possible that they lose out in the group phase to Holland. Portugal are another team with lots of youth and potential but for some reason can't put it together either.


I'm backing Spain, Portugal and Holland in this one. Now the objective favorites to win are France, Germany, Italy, and possibly Spain. But thats all just on paper. On the pitch, some of these "favorites" have looked anything but championship material.


Its probably heart over head, but Spain have to pull off a big tournament sometime this century. Why not this one??..
and the NEW
It is a very good idea to bring in Lampard and Deco and should get both relatively cheap. Like you say, it will be the PERFECT spot for Mourinho to be in and AC Milan, Juventus and Roma will really have to do something special to have a chance if it happens!

I think I will continue to back Portugal and France for the Euro. France now knows how to get the job done and Portugal has some great technical ability. If only they can get goals, but I think Ronaldo will add a few.

I am still not sold on Holland, who will need a BIG tournament out of Robben if they are to have a chance. Van Der Vaart will also need to create some spark, because they really lack it!

Spain has a good chance, if they can get over that psychological hurdle. Italy, same as you, not sold on them, but with their style, it's always easy to scrape through, as Greece did to win it! Germany are sure to fire again, they just always gel so well!

Croatia, Russia etc will be interesting to watch, see what they can do! They Croatia will really miss Eduardo!

Oh and Barca signed Keita from Sevilla! Have to admit, at first I was disappointed, but hey stars don't always make it happen, so will wait until I see how the team functions before I make any comments. They may now let Toure go to Arsenal, which has been said could well happen.
and the NEW
Oh god, now we just bought Pique. drag.gif

Definately not sold on him, but hey, cannot do any worse than their current defence, despite the high profile names!
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