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Well nothing new at the moment... So lets flip it a bit.

Now that Euro 2008 is over, lets reflect on what players stood out not just during the Euro but the whole season itself....

Cristiano Ronaldo- Sure his arrogance can make anybody's blood boil, but when it comes to consistency, he was the man. Both in the EPL and the Champions League, his play was top notch. He may be hated now but credit must be given where credit is due. He didn't have a great Euro Cup but had Portugal not gone out early, I think his stats would have picked up considerably. He may be hated by United fans at the moment but I do believe when he starts to play well and United begin to win, it'll be at least partially forgiven.

Cesc Fabregas- Really took it to another level this past season. I think he scored 8 goals and had like 19 assists or something...WOW... Keep in mind that Arsenal had lots of injuries to deal with. He really is the foundation of that team now and there probably isn't a player who can supply better through balls(Love his diagonal ball to Villa against Russia in the group phase of Euro 2008). He lead Euro 2008 in assists(4), and was really the one who made that midfield come together for Spain. Would be my 2nd pick for WPOY.

Fernando Torres- El Niño has really shown up this year. Nobody nows what has happened to him this year in what his been absolutely REMARKABLE.. The EPL game suits Torres well, with its fast paced open style of play. Torres really reminds me alot of Ronaldo(Big call I know) in that he's big, strong, fast(Amazingly fast) and can beat defenders at anytime. He's definitely missing alot of Ronaldo's touch and techique on the ball, however. But he is absolutely DOMINANT in the air when given the chance. Just a great great player. As close to a perfect striker as you could ask for, and Barcelona's defense knows alot about that.

Wesley Sneijder- WOW.... He's really developed into an amazing player. He was always good, but now on the big stage in Spain, his skills are on display like never before. Along with Lionel Messi, during the first few weeks of La Liga, HE was the best player in the world. Banging in goals and assists for fun seemingly and providing that spark that Real Madrid were missing after Zizou's retirement. His Euro 2008 campaign was FIRE..... No other way to describe it. He and Van Der Vaart really took Holland to great heights before being ousted by Russia, sadly. But all in all, I expect them to get better like Spain did, being such a young team and all.

Dani Guiza- Took him a few years but finally developed into that player that everybody was talking about at Getafe. With Mallorca last season, he lead La Liga with 27 goals and NONE where scored from the penalty. Had a shaky start to Euro 2008 as it appeared the occasion was too big for him but picked it up soon after and really complimented both Torres and Villa off the bench very well. Now he's at Fenerbache and he'll have a chance to show what he can don on the world level now when the Champions League comes up.

Luis Fabiano- Another guy who was always on the cusp but then last season, really took over for Sevilla. Scored 24 goals for Sevilla and really partnered well with Kanoute. Sevilla as a team disappointed this season for sure, but there were lots of circumstances they had to overcome after Puerta's death and the loss of their coach Ramos to Tottenham. But this didn't stop Fabiano from really establishing himself as a great player and he'll probably take over Adriano's starting spot now for La Selecao come these Olympics and World Cup 2010.

Kun Aguero- The "new Torres" is what he's being dubbed by a few. While he's not as big or as strong, he's very fast and his technique and touch are great. Scored 18 goals this season for Patetico Madrid, and was one of the big reasons for their push into this year's Champions League. Aguero is probably the most sought after young player this off season and it'll be hard for anybody, even a big club to pry him off Patetico.

I would mention more but I'll be here for ever. Go ahead and take over where I left off, fellas.
Wes Brown - OK he's not a world star but I opted to pick a player who performed incredibly well for United last season despite playing out of his preferred position. Brown was often a rock throughout the double winning success and I believe his contribution to the team was imperative towards the excellent season we had. Playing right back behind Ronaldo is a difficult task because Cristiano does not like to defend. Having the stability of Brown behind him enabled Ronaldo to do what he does best and everyone saw the results.

Andrei Arshavin - He had a great season winning the UEFA cup with Zenit St. Petersburg and being the leading man in Russia's Euro 2008 campaign. Although he was quite anonymous against Spain I think that was because he infrequently found himself isolated and the Spanish team as a whole proved to be the best side in the competition. Talk of him being worth £25m is way over the top in my opinion but he's definitely an honourable mention amongst the best players of last season.

Sorry to go back to this but it's a story that just won't go away....much as I'd like it to.

Days after Ferguson said he'd spoken to Ronaldo and that the player was staying, Ronaldo comes out and refuses to commit once again, this time claiming only God knows the future. Then yesterday Ferguson says a move to Madrid would be the worst possible thing he could do only to be countered by Madrid captain Raul who says a move is the best thing that can happen. Now David Gill has reiterated the clubs stance that Ronaldo won't be sold and Madrid STILL haven't made a bid. Isn't this leaving a sour taste in the mouths of everyone? I mean, the transfer market has been so slow this summer but if we let Ronaldo go everyone will spark into life and his transfer would start a merry-go-round of players. It just seems that so much hinges on Ronaldo going and I wish he wasn't injured so that a deal could be done. Apparently Madrid once again asked about the availability of Kaka only to be told he would not be sold. Madrid cannot afford Kaka and Ronaldo...

What would be you fellas world XI right now, say playing a 4-4-2 formation, although that's up to you. I'll do mine later.

THe Ronaldo saga will never end as long as he continues to be cute about the situation. Everybody but RONALDO has assured his future is at Man United. He's clearly conflicted. I'm used to this by now.

World IX???... Lets see...

Hard to make an unbiased list but I'll give it a shot.

Goal keeper- Casillas

Defenders- Ramos, Carvalho, Pepe, Zambrotta

Midfielders- Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Van Der Vaart , Malouda

Forwards- Fernando Torres, David Villa

Keep in mind that my World 11 changes all the time. This one is mostly based on the tail end of last season and the Euro Cup.
and the NEW
Last season, I think Ballack really stepped upto the plate also. Lampard out injured and Ballack showed he could be the general for a team of which came close to snatching two big titles.

Was also good to see what Anderson could do, who despite having little game time at the beginning (Nani was far more often seen than he), came out and established himself as one of the top central mids in the world. Unfortunately, the end of the season was not the best, but he was still an animal in there, simply Scholes was back.

Robinho, didn't get the credit he deserved. He had a fabulous season for Madrid and was also instrumental in their winning of the League, not to mention, he practically single handidly drove Brazil to the Copa America!

Ibrahimavic, another who didn't get the credit. He was scoring goal and setting them up for fun most of the season, as Inter cruised to the title. He got injured and the entire team came crashing down! Shows you his importance!

Starting 11, yes, as always very hard.

Keeper: Casillas (or Van Der Sar, but will give it to Casillas based on this season).
Backs: Carvalho, Ferdinand, Aibdal and Zambrotta (could easily add Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Evra, Carragher, Ramos, Lucio, Brown, Richards in there and wouldn't be fussed).
Midfield: Ronaldo, Essien (talk about a utility man), Fabregas, Messi. (Again, could easily put Kaka, Deco, Ribery, Sneijder in there).
Attack: Torres, Eto'o. (hard to leave out Villa, Ibrahimavich, Toni though).

This would be my CURRENT World 11, based on their form last season, but would happily replace any with those guys in brackets, though Ronaldo and Messi would almost have to certainly play on the wings. So Kaka wouldn't stand much of a chance of getting a run, except maybe as a striker. Didn't see enough of Van Der Vaart, so while he is certainly a quality player, I cannot comment on his season long performance.

[left]1) GK Casillas

2) RB Ramos

3) CB Ferdinand

4) CB Carvalho

5) LB Evra

6) LW/RW Messi/Ronaldo (the two of them interchanging)

7) CM Essien

8) CM Fabregas

9) ST Berbatov (playing just behind his strike partner)

10) ST Torres (Had to put bias and hatred on the back burner, haha).

I don't like having Torres in my side but he's the one in form and based on last season I suppose he has to go in. Berbatov just behind him would work a treat because of the sublety and vision that the Bulgarian is blessed with. His touch is just magnificent and although he's not fast he wouldn't need to be with Messi and Ronaldo interchanging on either wing and Torres slightly more forward. Essien and Fabregas are both top drawer players also. I had the most trouble with right back but plumped for Ramos even though he wasn't at his best during Euro 2008. Evra is a personal favourite of mine so I had to have him at left back and the central defenders, Ferdinand and Carvalho would be a dream pairing in my view. Goalkeepers were between Casillas, Cech, Van der Sar and Buffon. Had to pick the Spaniard who is probably the best in the world right now.
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That is a mightily similar team Maxy. Only 3 different players, though I wouldn't mind putting Evra in as opposed to Abidal and Ramos could definately play as opposed to Zambrotta, but really lacks the defensive element. I think a solid back 4 (every single one of them has to be solid), is paramount!

Berbatov, definately a class act, but could not rate him up there yet with other guys like Eto'o, Ibrahimavich and Villa.

Other than that, agree on all the rest 100%.

PR, Pepe in the top 2 central backs? Wasn't quiet that great for me, but then again, I didn't watch every Madrid match and quiet a few of the ones I did, he wasn't on the park. But strangest of all, Malouda on a wing as opposed to other choices like Messi, Robinho, Kaka or even Robben? Who would man the left back, Zambrotta and Ramos usually both play on the right? (a very thin position at the moment). Lahm far from his glory days, these days.

On another note, I have been watching the Liverpool pre-seasons and the Chelsea one just then. So weird seeing Deco in there, but all-together, was a FANTASTIC performance by Chelsea! Kalou had a cracker of a game. The Lampard chip was great, Bosingwa looks comfortable at right back (hopefully he keeps his position, Essien far from belongs there), Deco played ok, his usually general self but nothing fancy. Totally forgot Anelka even played for them, lol, he was that seldom seen last season! A quality squad, they don't need anybody else, if anything, they need to get rid of a central midfielder! Maybe Robinho for the wings, but nobody else needed. Kalou started stepping it up last season and in the next year or two, may be a very good player once he gets down his finishing.

Liverpool without Torres and Gerrard, look a capital P A T H E T I C. If Torres doensn't fire on all cylindars this season, they are going to be cutting it FINE to make the top 4. Tottenham, City, Everton, Portsmouth, Villa (if they keep Barry), will all be breathing down their throats. Newcastle will probably do nothing again, but Middlesborough is my darkhorse this season.

IMO, if it wasn't for Pepe, Real would have lost more than a few more of those close wins they pulled out. Pepe was carrying Cannavaro ALL SEASON long. Cannavaro was getting torched by every top striker he faced almost, and he was not controlling the lines that well, keeping players onside, and getting caught out of position, and just getting beaten in one on ones. This is really the MAIN REASON I don't see Real as a shoe in for the title because that gap in the center is going to come to attention from the rest of the league, and they'll look to exploit that. Real are strong on the wings, but at a big disadvantage in the center. Speaking of Real, Robinho just reportedly signed a 5 year extension so he seems happy where he is.

Eto'o's wage demands appear to be a problem. Inter, Arsenal, AC Milan, and Tottenham have all pulled offers off the table now it seems. Its looking like you were right ATN. The likelyhood of Eto'o being a Barcelona player next season are becoming more apparent by the day. Laporta has been very clear in that he will only consider bids of 30 million and up, and in the same sentence he said that he was STUNNED at Arsenal's asking price for Adebayor(38 million euros, are you serious??...) Lets face it, Barcelona are better off keeping Sam. Its hard to find a quality replacement for a player like him who can do things at such a high level in La Liga... What other strikers can score as many goals as Eto'o, when he's on form??... Hard to name any honestly. If you want GOALS, Eto'o is your man. He'll get you lots of those and its hard to find somebody who can come even close to getting as many when he's at his best. This will probably benefit Barca since as you pointed out earlier also, Eto'o and Henry appear to be very close friends. And lets face it, who other than Barca can pay him his 10 million a season demands. Not to mention that any manager is just INSANE to not want Eto'o on his team(Guardiola, what is up?!!)...

Actually ATN, its interesting because if you ask an average football fan about Ibrahimovic, they'll say that he's OVERRATED!!... Can't get it done at the CL level and doesn't perform for the national team. I don't understand some people. But thats really the stance from many football fans. I made a point once about Adebayor not being quite in the class of Eto'o, Villa, Ibrahimovic, and Torres, and these people(Arsenal fans) say to not mention Ibra because he is NOT World Class. Wow... Your right, he doesn't get any credit that he deserves. Such a shame too because he's a great player. In my list, up there with the top strikers in the world.

Well MAXY, at least you give credit where credit is due. I must ask you, though. In a DREAM WORLD, if Liverpool sold you guys Torres, how would you feel about him on your team??...

QUOTE(PR316 @ Jul 23 2008, 12:27 PM) [snapback]396801[/snapback]
Well MAXY, at least you give credit where credit is due. I must ask you, though. In a DREAM WORLD, if Liverpool sold you guys Torres, how would you feel about him on your team??...

It's impossible to contemplate and I seriously can't get my head to even dream about it. Let me just say that we were linked with Torres for several years and I know Ferguson is an admirer of the player. Then one day whilst he still played for Atletico he was pictured wearing that armband which read "you'll never walk alone", Liverpools song. He was asked about it and I believe he admitted an affection for Liverpool. From that moment onwards he was out of bounds, completely.

Of course,a player in that mould would be a stunning success for United but even if we made a bid now it would be very difficult to accept an ex Liverpool player here. Transfers between Liverpool and United just don't happen. I think the last time it did was in the 60's. Liverpool wanted Heinze from us not so long ago but Ferguson point blank refused to even negotiate with them. We HATE them and they HATE us and that is the way we both like it.

That is why I can't understand transfers between Barca and Real. Their rivalry is like ours with Liverpool but yet transfers do occur between the two clubs. Wouldn't happen in England.

So fellas, would you say Ronaldinho was a better player at Barca than Rivaldo? I remember Rivaldo playing for you and he was absolutely terrific and his goals to games ratio was better than Ronaldinho. He was awesome in the 3-3 draw with United in 99 and his final goal to complete a hat trick against Valencia was unbelievable. Bicycle kick against United and then that one against Valencia a couple years later. I've heard experts saying that Rivaldo was an even deadlier player than Zidane, Alex Ferguson pointing out that as great as Zidane was he didn't hurt teams as much as someone like Rivaldo.

Just wonder what you both think?
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Yeh, Ibra is definately underrated. I also find, a lot of casual fans haven't even heard of him full-stop! LOL. He is not Italian, or Brazilian, or Spanish, or Argentinian etc. Another reason why he cannot do well at international level, who could when you play for Sweden! Not exactly the kind of team that is going to make you look good!

CL level, yes, he should have done better. But the entire Inter squad is at fault there, only one man can do so much, unless of course, you are a freak of nature! While Ibra is not the best in the world, he is one of the best strikers out there, no doubt about it. Just ask Inter Milan who without him, looked like a spent force!

Yeh, Pepe is a very very good central back as we always say, and why we expected more out of him at the Euro. But I'm not sure he is one of the best two...........yet. Still a bit to proove but no doubt, you could not argue having him in a starting 11 side. A very good signing for Madrid, far better than their German sloth or that Italian hacker. Quiet a few good central defenders going around at the moment actually, too bad the same can't be said for the right back position.

Ok, so here is another, as the transfers currently stand, who are your tips this season? In Italy, England and Spain (think the other leagues are nearly a given again). Also for the CL? EUFA Cup should also be interesting, teams like Sevilla, Everton, AC Milan, Valencia etc.

I'd like to say Barca, but I think it will be Madrid again unfortunately, unless Barca can really click or structure things a bit more. England, I am going to say Chelsea this season. I think they will look Chelsea as usual, perhaps a little more flair, but that may come from the coaching of Grant alone, they appear a lot more fluid after his term there. Very very interesting to see who Scolari plays. He gave everyone a run in the game yesterday, obviously sussing things out a little. Italy, again, I will go out on a limb here and call it to AC Milan. A lot of work to do, but Pato should fill out a bit, Kaka can't possibly have as bad season, Ronaldinho should add quiet a few goals and spot kicks if he gets to take them over Pirlo, not to mention the space he will create and the assists he will make. Add to that Flamini getting time instead of Gattuso (hopefully), would be a much better defensive mid option and Zambrotta on the right should sure up things a bit. Nesta should be fully fit this season and I hope to see Dida back in goals as opposed to Kalac. All round, I think they will have a far more robust and dynamic team this season, while Roma will do far poorer without Mancini, Juve haven't really added much to their team of note except Mellberg (I'm sure someone else went there too, but nothing special), so it will be between the two Milans IMO. I will go out on a limb and choose the one which has been struggling. Even if I am bias towards Ronnie and hate Mourinho! ha ha.

Champions League, I actually think Chelsea will do the double and finally get it this year. Oh god, what a season we are in for if my predictions come true!!!! sad.gif

Would like to see the bookmaker odds this season for those three leagues. Obviously, the 3 Champions will all be favourites, but by how much?
QUOTE(Maxy @ Jul 23 2008, 05:59 PM) [snapback]396803[/snapback]
That is why I can't understand transfers between Barca and Real. Their rivalry is like ours with Liverpool but yet transfers do occur between the two clubs. Wouldn't happen in England.

So fellas, would you say Ronaldinho was a better player at Barca than Rivaldo? I remember Rivaldo playing for you and he was absolutely terrific and his goals to games ratio was better than Ronaldinho. He was awesome in the 3-3 draw with United in 99 and his final goal to complete a hat trick against Valencia was unbelievable. Bicycle kick against United and then that one against Valencia a couple years later. I've heard experts saying that Rivaldo was an even deadlier player than Zidane, Alex Ferguson pointing out that as great as Zidane was he didn't hurt teams as much as someone like Rivaldo.

Just wonder what you both think?

I think it comes down to the mentalities of the country. I mean Barca and Real don't casually exchange players or anything but the ones that have jumped ship from one to another are always called "traitors" and what not. But as far as the higher ups of the clubs go, I think that they're willing to do business, but if either buys a player from the other, rest assured that they'll milk as much money as they can from then.

Ronaldinho will probably be more revered. Rivaldo did a bit better at international level, but I think Ronnie created just a bit more magic at Barcelona. Hard call.

I actually think Ibra had a very good Euro Cup. Notice how flat Sweden looked without him against Spain once he came off the pitch.

I think Real Madrid deserve to be favored. But I'm not so sure they'll three peat. For 1, the majority of them are up there in age now. Van Nistlerooy, Guti, Raul, Cannavaro, are all the wrong side of 30. And teams like Villareal and Patetico Madrid will be better. And yes, Barcelona and Sevilla as well. Possibly Valencia will get back into the top 4. La Liga is much more unpredictable than the more straight forward EPL, where you pretty much KNOW the top 4 but in Spain, its different.

I think it'll be a MUCH CLOSER race this season. I expect more ups and downs this coming season. Real will be challenged, and they may well respond to it in dramatic fashion. But I don't see them running away with like they did half way through last season.

I expect the EPL to have the same top 4 this season, with the possible exceptions of either Tottenham or Man City snatching that 4th spot. If Arsenal don't make a move to fix their central defense and get a replacement for Hleb, they could be in trouble.

On another note, here's a funny Cristiano Ronaldo interview I found. MAXY, I don't recall which match this occured after but maybe you can help me here. LMAO at how cocky Ronaldo is. "Maybe I'm just too good." ROTFLMAO!!!... laugh.gif
and the NEW
LOL, he is cocky as hell!

Yeh, I think La Liga wil be closer this year, but still give Madrid the edge.

As for international level, I think Rivaldo was more 'known' when he was playing international fixtures and winning, whereas Ronnie was still young. Despite that, he had a good WC, Copa America and Confederations Cup and has won them all. So not too bad there, considering he still has at least another potential Copa and WC left.

Rivaldo V Ronaldinho. Interesting one. I remember Rivaldo well, he was a great player, infact, I think underrated by many. He always looked dangerous and was a free kick specialist too. Very similar mould to Ronaldinho. However, I think Rivaldo was more of an attacker than Ronnie, who plays more out of midfield. Rivaldo definately more deadly in open play, but Ronaldinho better vision and passing, no question, not to mention, had more ability to run at defenders. I would have to give it to Ronnie.

Rivaldo better than Zidane? Ferguson is right, Rivaldo could hurt teams more than Zizou, but better? Nope. Zidane was so damn consistent, not a huge goal threat, but the way the team dominated start to finish when he was on the park was unbeleivable. 1 CL, 2 runners up in the CL, 1 WC, one runner up in the WC, 1 Euro, 2 Serie A, 2 Serie A he was just edged, 1 La Liga, 1 La Liga he was just edged. The season he left Madrid, though they won a disgraceful leauge they looked in shambles. Left France, they have nothing. Season he was injured at Juve for much of it, they had a HORROR season. I think with Zidane, though is goals/assits were not the best in the world, though still good, just observing him on the pitch was pure magic and his stats of how the teams performed when he was there, speak for themselves. He was purely magic, and did it for 10 years running. I would have to put Zidane in the same class as Maradona, Pele (who I am still not 100% convinced of), personally. Pele won 3 WCs, but two of them he didn't even play for the majority as far as I am aware. A career in Brazil, can you imagine Messi or Maradona, or Ronaldo or Ronaldinho staying in Brazil and hitting their peaks? Would be a lot easier than Europe.

While Ronnie had ability, he only really performed it for 3-4 years so far.
QUOTE(PR316 @ Jul 23 2008, 06:43 PM) [snapback]396833[/snapback]
On another note, here's a funny Cristiano Ronaldo interview I found. MAXY, I don't recall which match this occured after but maybe you can help me here. LMAO at how cocky Ronaldo is. "Maybe I'm just too good." ROTFLMAO!!!... laugh.gif

Yeah that was after the replay in the 2006-07 FA Cup quarter final against Middlesborough. Ronaldo scored a penalty in the first game which we drew 2-2 and the replay at Old Trafford he seemed to go down a little easy, outraging Gareth Southgate and the Boro players.

He was cocky back then but now he has to be the most arrogant player I've ever seen, although judging by last season he can afford to be because he backs it up.

ATN, I'm surprised you say you aren't convinced about Pele. Every single big club in Europe wanted to sign him but the Brazilian government blocked him from leaving. He scored over 1000 goals and won the world club championship twice with Santos, having to beat two great teams from Europe in AC Milan and Benfica to achieve that.

My personal preference has always been Maradona but that's because he won the world cup in a poor Argentinian side, whereas Pele's teams were always blessed with other exceptional players. Maradona is streets ahead of Zidane. Zidane was brilliant, no doubt about it but he's behind the likes of Pele, Maradona, Di Stefano, Best and a few others when it comes to the greatest players of them all.

Maybe I didn't write it clearly but Ferguson didn't say Rivaldo was better than Zidane, he said he was deadlier than Zidane in that he could hurt teams more, mainly due to the fact that he played a more attacking role I presume.

I'm not convinced about Barcelona for next season so I'm going with Madrid to retain La Liga, Inter Milan to win Serie A and.....well I'm waiting to see what happens over the next few weeks before I make a decision on who'll win the Premier league. I'm officially writing Arsenal off though because Wenger says he doesn't need any new defenders. If he sticks to that they won't win the league IMO.
^^^LOL... So Wenger not only turns down opportunities to sign the likes of Van Der Vaart and Villa, but he now insists he needs no defenders???...

Arsenal fans have to be frustrated, I'm sorry. They wanted David Villa BADLY, and they also screamed at Wenger for some defenders. I sense trouble in North London next season.

It will be between Man United and Chelsea.
I think their football when they are on form is as good as any team in the world. In fact I'd say they play football better than most teams in the world. I just think they lack mettle, lack the key strength's necessary to mount a serious title challenge when it comes down to the wire....and lately they haven't been getting such good results against the other top sides in England. Thing is, they can play most teams off the park with their fluid passing game so therefore I don't doubt that they will finish in the top 4. I think Portsmouth could be a surprise this season and push for a top 4 spot and even Man City, with Hughes in charge, will surely be a better threat than they were last season. Tottenham and Villa will both have high hopes but I'm dismissing both of them as of now. Villa look likely to lose Barry and Spurs may lose both Berbatov AND Keane...if that happens I can't see how they can push for the top 4, even though I believe Modric will prove a great signing for them.

Ferguson has already stoked the flames by claiming he doesn't think Chelsea will be as much of a threat this season, labeling the team old and stressing that they haven't improved sufficiently as a unit like a young team who grows together would. It's obvious he's just laying down the marker to Scolari....welcome to the premier league.
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Well I sure am convinced Pele was a very great player, sorry, should have been more clear, I am not convinced he was the King of football as he is proclaimed and proclaims. Perhaps only he, in a very subtle way, is more arrogant than Ronaldo.

Maradona was sure something special, very special. Though, I still maintain, I put Zidane in that league. For some reason, only the prolific goal scoring machines get credit as standouts. From Cryufft, Van Basten, Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona, Zico, Di Stefino, etc etc. Though Zidane is amongst many of them, which other great pure playmakers who also work in defence are given that credit? What Zidane used to do on the park was simply spectacular in my eyes. The entire team would function just as that, a team, when he was on the park. They oozed confidence and the link between defence and attack was masterful. Maybe not the best, maybe not as good as Maradona, but still right up there with the best of them.

Other than perhaps a replacement for an injury, which back do Arsenal need? Toure and Gallas were great in the centres, Clichy had just about every man in the league covered on the left and Sagna did a HELL of a job on the right. I would not replace any one of them, just a utility needed, which is very hard to find, encase of an injury. They could always just find a centre back to cover and use Toure as a wing back, he seems to be able to play there. Senderos has to be sent packing and their other younsters, Hoyte etc are rubbish too, just not solid.

I would definately be a very angry man if I was an Arsenal fan! Another bad season this one, and I won't like to see the state of the club! Perhaps ticket rises to cover debt (to bring in bigger names) ala Man United are in order if they fail this season!
and the NEW
On another note, who was that kid who played in the last Chelsea pre-season friendly? DiSanti or something, a very very good player!!!!!! I was actually extremelly surprised, he could be a real force if he develops and Scolari gives him some time!

LOL, Maxy, gotta love Ferguson already stoking the fire with Scolari! He sure works the Chelsea coaches up, but I don't think Scolari will have the mouth like Mourinho, he is very short with the media when he wants to be. Will still be funny to watch as it unfolds.

Cannot wait to see who establishes themselves in the first teams at Man United and Chelsea once the squads are all set.

PR, did you see Gudjohnsen is still running around at Barca and played in pre-season! Oh god! They will never learn! An absolute mess over there!
Not only that, but Gudjohnsen was starting over Eto'o wtf.gif Eto'o came on as a sub in the 2nd half. Oh my goodness. Messi from what I heard looked good, and Bojan is appears to be in midseason form. I hope things go well for you guys. If Valencia don't get it together, you guys, Villareal, and Patetico Madrid are the only ones capable of taking down Real Madrid. I would throw Sevilla in there but they have no defense whatsoever and until they plug that gap, I see no hope for them.

Scolari unfortunately won't add that certain "it" flavor to the rivalry that Mourinho did. Mourinho would just crack me up with his quotes. LMAO just remembering them. Oh so many of them. EPL fans have to miss him no matter whom they support. The guy is a character!!... But Scolari is a proven manager at international level and did well at club level in Brazil. This is a whole new level. But Chelsea have so much talent anyway, so rest assured they'll be in contention.

Senderos is going to cost Arsenal important goals I fear. He is TRASH... I don't know what Arsene Wenger sees in him. Gallas is a good defender but from what I hear a horrible teammate to have. My understanding is that he's not a well liked man in the dressing room.

Portsmouth are a very exciting side to watch. Not sure they'll contend but I'll watch them. Tottenham are gonna be good. As is Man City. I don't see Aston Villa mounting too much of a challenge unfortunately. England is more predictable thats for sure. But those 3rd and 4th spots are up for grabs IMO.

I think AC Milan are gonna be good. They've really upgraded that squad and Pato appears to be getting his deserved shot. He'll have Ronaldinho and Kaka in support, with Flamini and Pirlo holding down the midfield. Zambrotta in defense will be good for them and it'll be nice for Ronnie to team up with his old buddy from Barcelona. I think they should have changed coaches honestly, and there are still too many politics at that club for my liking but we'll see how it goes.

and the NEW
Yeh, the Milan case is a double edge sword for me. On one hand I want Ronnie to do well at his new club, on the other I don't like seeing any Italian team do well, LOL, so I don't know what I will be feeling if I watch them in the UEFA Cup (I guess at least they aren't in the CL, would hate to have to play against Ronnie in all honesty should Barca ever draw them).

I think Tottenham, Everton, Man City and Portsmouth will be the 4 challenging Liverpool. I think Arsenal will get the job done once more and seal that 3rd position.

I'm creating a fantasty league now over at if you guys want to make a team over there, I will then give you the code to enter into my competition. Should be a bit of fun and interesting to see eachothers squads and tactical changes.
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Jul 26 2008, 03:53 AM) [snapback]397097[/snapback]
I'm creating a fantasty league now over at if you guys want to make a team over there, I will then give you the code to enter into my competition. Should be a bit of fun and interesting to see eachothers squads and tactical changes.

I'm up for that. I'll check it out later.

Watched United beat Kaizer Chiefs 4-0 yesterday. Have to admit we were extremely poor in the first half. Was my first chance to watch Rodrigo Possebon in action and he was a huge let down. Not sure if he'll have a future at the club although it could be due to him having to travel over to South Africa on Thursday. I'll reserve judgement on that one.

The team just kept giving the ball away all the time in the first half although the second half was a major improvement. Conflicting reports coming out of England as to whether or not we'll sign Berbatov. Some sources say we will pull out after being quoted a ridiculous £38m, although other newspapers report the deal wil be done this week for £24m. Roque Santa Cruz and Huntelaar are seen as possible alternatives. Santa Cruz is good but can he be relied upon considering his injury record. We don't want another Saha situation. Huntelaar - a big no thank you from me. Yes he scores goals but he's not what I want here. No real flair, no variety to his play and plain and simply not good enough.

Madrid are said to interested in Fabregas (not gonna happen), Villa (also interesting Spurs) and Kaka after apparently giving up on signing Ronaldo this season. Who knows? I doubt they have the money to sign even two of those players so it's probably just paper talk again.
and the NEW
Yeh, I didn't catch the United friendly, but they have having one with Portsmouth soon, which will be very interesting to watch. Crouch should get a start!

Madrid made an offer for VDV I see, they are after anyone and everyone! Surprised they haven't tried to scalp Messi, who is playing as captain in the pre-seasons, I think Pep is going to base the team around him. Everyone looks pretty happy on the pitch now, especially Henry, though Eto'o still looks a bit angry. Alvez looks fantastic, but he is not being tested at the moment.

Can't wait to see the squad perform once the season gets underway. Hope it is not like last season and they destroy their pre-season opposition (including Bayern Munich, Inter Milan) and then do absolutely nothing in La Liga!

Let me know once you have a team created and I will post up the code for the comp.

and the NEW

That is the code to join the league. Good luck fellas. Look forward to seeing your respective teams.
I'm down for sure. Thanks ATN.

The Asturian Voice(Voz de Asturias) interviewed Cesc Fabregas in his London home. In this interview he dropped some hints that his future could lie away from Arsenal.

-Cesc says that if he was to go back to Spain, it would only be to play for Barcelona, and NOT Real Madrid, like many have been claiming.

- Leaves the door open to go back to Spain. Says for now he's happy at Arsenal but alot depends on how things play out in the next few years.

- Likes the Arsenal squad as it is, but would like the powers that be to make a big signing to help the club.

There were other things but those were the main highlights. Seems to definitely have his eyes on a possible return to Barcelona in the not too distant future. The feeling is that Arsenal being trophy less for so long is making him impatient.... I would have to agree for sure. Cesc is an ambitious young kid and he clearly doesn't give two fuks about money. He wants to win trophies. And I've always maintained that if Arsenal go too long without winning something, they may as well say goodbye to their star.

Juan Laporta has commited a HUGE flip flop by now stating he wants Eto'o to remain with the team. He commented on his strong showing during Barca's pre season opener and feels that Eto'o is still "too important" to the team and is gonna try to work it out so that he stays.

Now lets get this fantasy thing going. drinks.gif
and the NEW
Yeh, read similar comments by Fabregas.

LOL, Eto'o staying again, for now........and without another big name signing upfront, they really HAVE to keep him.

Watched United V Portsmouth, first 60 minutes was IMPRESSIVE by United, considering it was a second string squad and Portsmouth had most of their quailty out on the park. Utaka had a very very quiet game. Tevez was man of the match by far IMO. Scholes also payed well, distributing it and controlling the midfield again, along with Carrick. Eagles missed a sitter, as did Johnson, and the Tevez penalty should have been a goal. Then towards the end, they brang on guys I have never even heard of, and the game was a lot more even. Defoe tore that poor back in two before launching it past that youngster keeper. Crouch was very quiet indeed against his old rivals.

Arsenal vs Stuttgart coming up in the next few days, should be very interesting.

My fantasy team is ready to role!!!!
Down here in the States, I don't get much if any pre-season coverage on TV. But when Barcelona come down here to face the NY Red Bulls and LA Galaxy, I believe, that'll definitely be televised, so I'll be able to see them first hand.

My fantasy team is all set. It was hard to come by and make the right changes though so that all of the budget was spent right, and I wanted to distribute quality all around and not just in 1 area. Too bad we can't see any of each other's teams until August 16th but that does make it really exciting.

Real Madrid are supposedly trying to sign, literally EVERYBODY, like MAXY said. They are supposedly putting up bids for Van Der Vaart, Villa, Fabregas, and Kaka. I really hate Marca with their fabrications. This has to be illegal. I mean I like watching their video interviews because of the quality and all and even their audio interviews are good, as well as their all around coverage for the season, but their lies and rumors make me upset. They're VERY PRO Real Madrid and they don't hide it. But its not just them that do it. Other Spanish media outlets do it as well.

I guess Ronaldo is expected back in October... He's had a HORRIBLE off season.

-Injury keeping him on the shelf.

-Portugal's early exit from the Euro Cup.

-Soap opera created during and after the Euro with Real Madrid and United, FIFA getting involved, everybody saying Ronaldo is being treated "so badly", etc. etc.

- Gets left by his girlfriend.

LOL!!!!... Had an excellent season last time out but the Summer was absolutely HORRIBLE. He's had quite a Summer.

and the NEW
ha ha, I see your team there PR, hmmmmmmmm, wonder who the players are.............. Most of the other guys who enter my comp, are just mates and casual fans. A couple watch it regularly and a couple read up on it heaps but don't watch the matches often. So a few will be pretty competitive, it's usually the same 3-4 up the top and everyone else is rubbish! ha ha ha. So you, me and Maxy (Fitz enter if you want) should have a pretty decent shot!

Yeh, it's hard to get a good team together now, with such a small bankrole. Last season, you could buy a stack of top players and still have decent guys in other position. I usually weight my team to the midfield, but have spent a bit more on the strikers this season. Should be some fun!

Yeh, Ronaldo hasn't had the best off-season, after such a stunning end to the season. LOL, he got dumped? Poor guy if that is true. He is probably in denial though! wink.gif

Yep, Madrid are after everyone, I just wish somebody would prize Sneijder away from them!!!!! Without him, they would come crumbling back to earth!

I just spent a good half hour making my team and then when I submitted it I realized I'd placed key players (expensive players) on the subs bench!!

I'll have to do it all again but its too hot here to be bothered at the minute so I'll do it later in the week. What is the deadline btw and can ATN PM me the password for your league.

I was really quite pleased with my team as well......damn!
Wow fellas. Robbie Keane has signed for Liverpool and will now fulfill his boyhood dream of playing for that club. That is an absolutely BRUTAL up top now for the Reds. Torres+Keane= Lots of goals.... Great signing by Liverpool. But if they only had a guy in the mold of Van Der Vaart, Sneijder, Ronaldinho, or Silva, they'd have more control in the center and somebody who can provide that spark to stretch defenses and allow teammates room to work spaces.

Arsenal scored 10 goals in their pre season match against Burgenland. Bentner and Vela scored the goals. They must have looked good but it is pre-season.

Van Der Vaart may or may not leave Hamburg. Real Madrid have given up on him completely it seems, and rumors in Spain say that Van Der Vaart's agent is still talking to Laporta about a possible move. Van Der Vaart has stated that he is prepared to play his last season of his contract for Hamburg and then once its over look for a big move to either the Premier League or La Liga. If a move is to be made, the favorites to get him appear to be Liverpool, Barcelona, and maybe Valencia. Patetico Madrid appear to be in the running as well.

I'm very curious about Nasri. I wonder how much time he'll see in his first season at Arsenal. The very little I've seen of him, suggests to me that he is just another Fabregas, and they have that role covered already. Wenger has failed to replace either Flamini or Hleb. Surely he can't be completely satisfied with things???... I mean, last season Arsenal were on their way to winning the EPL before running out of steam, and Fabregas, along with Flamini and Hleb were very influential in all that. Flamini's defensive contributions will be missed, his ability to win loose balls, tackling everyone all over the place, and helping the back line out as well. Arsenal have excellent strikers, but with Eduardo out long term, Van Persie with his constant little nicks, and Adebayor with his off and on ways, I wonder how much time the untested Theo Walcott will see. MAXY thinks he can be a good player, and he may turn out to be so, but I find it difficult to see him earning a starting spot unless RVP goes down again and Eduardo stays down. I think if he's to develop fully and truly grow as a football player, he'll have to go to a club where he can see some real playing time. Arsenal, I insist again.... If they fail to replace Flamini and Hleb, there are big problems. They should get rid of Senderos as well.

Messi still continues to have problems with the club trying to disallow him to play in they Olympics. I hate it when clubs do this honestly. These are big international tournaments that may or may not come again for anybody. They must clearly be concerned of his injury woes.

and the NEW
Maxy, password is 255978-89937 .

It doesn't matter who you place on the subs bench, you can change that instantly. Just submit your team, then down the bottom you can choose the starting line-up and captain (your captain gets double the points). Then on the right, press on leagues, then join a league, then enter the password.

PR, Messi is apparently DEFINATELY not going to the Olympics. Barca have just turned into a bunch of pr*cks!!!!!

Yeh, Ngong (or whatever his name is), is also quiet good, I've seen him a few times in France. Liverpool, as you say, now need some spark in the midfield and they could really do well. Keane should help keep them in the top 4. Arsenal do need another signing. Rosicky could replace Hleb in the centres, I guess Nasri is going to work more as a defensive midfielder (or Fabregas), to try and replace Flamini. I think Walcott could be a very good player, but like Nani, needs a LOT more gametime, they are just way too unpolished and immature on the park. They look lost and loose vision a lot of times. Not to mention, some shocking touches for such naturally gifted guys. The strikers are a worry if RVP remains injured throughout.

Chelsea are apparently not lettting go of Lampard. WTF are they gonna do in midfield, it is seriously completely rediculous! Malouda, Cole, Wright-Phillips, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, have I missed anyone? 7 quality midfielders, though I imagine Wright-Phillips will spend quiet some time on the bench if he doesn't leave earlier. Malouda and Cole should play on opposing wings. But in the centres, who plays? That is two world class central midfielders sitting on the bench. Essien could take a wing should one of Malouda or Cole get injured. Upfront, will be interesting to see who establishes themselves. A rotation policy between Drogba, Kalou and Anelka would not surprise. Central defence, again will be interesting. I guess Carvalho will start most games due to the Portugal connection. And Terry, which means Alex will be the bench warmer. On right left, I guess Cole will start, though I really really think Bridge is quality, good defence, great pushing forward. I would not be surprised to see him get more game time under Scolari. I imagine a lot of rotation until some people step up and establish themselves.

Maxy, who you think will play in the United midfield? And what about Brown and Neville? Few clashes going to go on there too. I think VDS (for now), Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rooney and Tevez will be the solid fixtures at the moment for United.
It's amazing what rum can do to the brain. I'd only had a few drinks but thought I'd messed up with the subs on my team. Went back to it today and sorted it out. Not sure that I'm happy with some of my selections now though....have to wait and see.

I doubt Neville will be a regular starter in the first choice team anymore having been injured for so long so I'm expecting Brown to play right back most of the time. If either Vidic or Ferdinand are injured Brown can fill in there along with Evans, whose had good grooming on loan at Sunderland. If Brown has to play central defence, Hargreaves can fill in at right back. Evra owns left back with Silvestre acting as cover and I'm expecting Ben Foster to get a few more games and challenge Van Der Sar for the no.1 goalkeeping spot.

Carrick, Scholes, Hargreaves, and Anderson are all competing for the two central midfield spots so there will be some nice rotation going on there and Ferguson has stated that he sees Possebon also challenging for a first team spot. Then there is Darren Fletcher of course, who'll get a few games here and there and fill in where needed. Nani, Park and Giggs will share the left wing and if Ronaldo stays he'll obviously own the right side. Up front it'll be Tevez and Rooney plus a new signing, hopefully Berbatov but who knows where that ones going. Young Frazier Campbell doesn't look ready and I have no idea what will happen with Manucho...has he even got a work permit yet? Saha will eiether be sold or will stay in the treatment room...shame because he would feature an awful lot if he could stay fit.

I'm hearing that Tottenham will sign Arshavin, Bentley and David Villa but who knows? So many rumours but not a great deal happening anywhere. All the same, I feel Spurs will push hard for the top 5 this season.

Arsenal need a new defender because Senderos is no good and I'd even say that Gallas isn't p to it. He cracked when the pressure heated up last season and was certainly no captain for Wenger's young side. Arsene is confident in the squad he has and is still in the hunt for another unnamed player so I won't write them off but I honestly don't see them pushing United, Chelsea or Liverpool in the race for the title. Benitez will have to field his strongest team in the league more often if he wants to make a dent in the title race. He seems to become obsessed with the champions league and that will be his undoing again if he plays weakened teams in the premier league.

It's all getting closer now. Looking forward to it though I'll admit I don't see us getting anywhere near the success we had last season.
Arsenal are supposedly targetting Roma's Chivu or Valencia's Raul Albiol as a replacement for Senderos. Valencia will do what they can to hold on to Albiol, though and Roma probably aren't too interested in letting go of Chivu so we'll see where that goes.

Whats gonna be really good this year, fellas is the UEFA Cup. There is ALOT OF QUALITY there this year. Valencia, AC Milan, Hamburg, Wolfsburg, Sevilla, Racing Santander, Manchester City, Everton, Sampdoria, Nancy, and a few others. And the majority of these clubs, play good football. My dream final is Valencia vs AC Milan. That would just be amazing. Valencia have won 4 UEFA Cups I believe and Milan have won more I think. I always like watching Hamburg too, mostly because of Van Der Vaart. But the UEFA Cup as a whole this season is going to be just as exciting as the Champions League maybe evne more entertaining as a whole. Players like Ronaldinho and Villa have never won this tournament so it'll be interesting to see the likes of those 2 trying to win that title because the last few seasons both were playing CL football.

Don't know if any of you saw the Liverpool/Villareal friendly. HORRIBLE MATCH. Neither team even LOOKED like threatening on goal. I fell asleep during that one. But both should be good this season anyway.

Ronaldinho gave a very good interview for GOL TV as he was down in Pekin, preparing for the Olympics.

-Says the team looks good and he sees a real youthful exhuberance in the squad.

-Wishes that Kaka was gonna be there and is disappointed to not be able to play with him for the Selecao.

-Says that he holds no grudges against anybody at Barcelona and described his time there as amazing and very emotional in lots of ways.

- Feels rejuvinated emotionally at Milan, stating its his "dream move" and that he can't wait to get out there for the new season to start training and playing alongside Kaka, Pato, and Pirlo.

-Wishes Barcelona nothing but the best, but he says that the club would do well in going about things in a more ORGANIZED matter(Wonder what he means by that).

-Feels that the Brazilian squad have let many opportunities pass by in terms of getting a Gold medal and has made it his goal to get one this time.

- Says that he went through alot of personal issues of his own, and absoutely REFUSES to blame Rijkaard or Laporta for anything despite how things ended.

- Feels Guardiola can do well but pointed out that teams such as Villareal, Valencia, Sevilla, and Atletico are going to be very good this season so it will be difficult.

Seeing that interview on TV, I got the sense that Ronnie is just happy to not just have gotten his move done and completed, but to be away from all the media access which he says just distracts him. He looks fit and trim. But Brazil as a whole have looked very flat as of late. I hope they do well.

and the NEW
lol, yep, beers do a similar job on me Maxy!

That Tottenham squad would be SCARY with those additions you mention. However, have they really addressed their main problem, the defence? I mean, they have never found it hard to come by goals!

Interesting on the Ronnie interview. Like him, I am just glad it's resolved now and look forward to watching Barca and some of his Milan games this season.

Olympic football is just completely different to mainsteam International football. Will be good to watch. But you are right, Brazil look completely FLAT, just not working and I'm puzzled as to why. No flow at all to their game, despite them having guys in there who can control it. I really think Diego should be put in the centres as a general, I mean Ronnie, Kaka, Robinho are not generals at all and nobody else in the centres really does a good job of it. It's their big flaw I think, need a guy like Deco, but like most Brazilians, they all wanna be the hero and not do the hard work and be the giver of the ball.

Fitz, I believe you are talking about a Russian squad, cannot remember which one but I think it may have been Zenit. Not sure what is happening there, but Porto is now back in the competition.

QUOTE(Fitz @ Jul 31 2008, 03:54 PM) [snapback]398261[/snapback]
Didn't AC Milan some how get a place in Champions League in typical Italian fashion because a Belgium club or something were caught match fixing or something?

I thought so too and for a while, it did seem that UEFA would grant them the spot but it appears things are settled now, and I think Porto slides into the spot now.
Ike would destroy Mayorga..With his massive jab he'd be able to control the fight and not let Mayorga get of some wild swings..Mayorga in his prime is no different then Mayorga now in my opinion..His style has always sucked,all he has is power and he throws from weird WILD angles..Ike definitely would beat him with his higher skill..He wouldn't destroy Mayorga as bad as De La Hoya did but he still would pretty bad..De La Hoya owned Mayorga more then anyone ever has in my opinion..Mayorga couldn't even touch him with anything and De La Hoya dominated him..All you have to do against Mayorga is throw only straight punches and you got the fight unless you get caught by a wild swing..
and the NEW
Well Arsenal were VERY impressive in their win over a good Madrid lineup!

Nasri played very well, a lot of running. Adebayor and RVP played great together, RVP is BACK to his best now by the looks! He was rusty as hell when he came back last season! Walcott is getting more time in preseason and Sagna is now back and fit. Add in Toure and they may just be a force if they can remain injury free (doubt it though, but the depth is pathetic).

They dominated Madrid from start to finish, leaving guys like Robben and Robinho looking like blunt tools in the shed!

Best part of it all, as bad as it sounds, Sneijder was cut down and looks to be out for quiet some time! They will really go for VDV now, but if they don't get him, Madrid are in BIG trouble!!!!

Chelsea ROMPED Milan, but in all fairness, the squad was terrible! Most of their stars were not even playing!

and the NEW
Well there we go.

VDV announced on his website today (not formally announced yet), he is a Madrid player!


Barca had better get this Eto'o thing under control, or sign Adebayor or Villa. Hleb will really have to step up too. Barca still have enough talent to win the league, it's the defence which will be the big worry once more! No signs of trying to fix it either. Idiots.

That being said, Madrid looked ordinary in the Emirates Cup. Definately don't have that flowing look to them they had last season. But not quiet all the guys are on the pitch, including Ramos who adds a LOT to their forward momentum and Casillas in goal is like having gold in the vault! You cannot go wrong!

Once more, the Premier League will be the entertainment this season IMO. The crack at 4th position and the top two will probably be very very tight!
I've heard nothing official about Van Der Vaart yet. Just rumours and gossip of "Will he, or will he not" type stuff. The Hamburg coach said he expects him to stay. This is why I HATE Real Madrid. HOW MANY ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS DO THEY NEED??!!!... angry2.gif huh.gif You would think that they have enough stars, right??... I feel I could go on forever with this one. But I do agree that without Sneijder, they lack that flow and spark. They also have a hard time scoring goals without him. Too bad for Valencia that its only 3 months he's out, because they face Real in mid December I think.

Barcelona looked great destroying Chivas last night. 5 goals they banged in, 2 from Eto'o who looked FANTASTIC with Bojan by his side. Thierry Henry, oh man... Its almost like he can't even DRIBBLE at times. He looks fast still, but his control was WAY OFF and his shot???... I'll not even go there. He was subbed off in the 2nd half for Eto'o. Hleb now, looked absolutely AMAZING... Quality signing for you guys. He links play, cuts inside, has tremendous vision, touch, and was very clinical in finishing off his goal with the assist from Iniesta, I believe. Danny Alvez looked good(Surprised he's not in China with the Brazilian squad, though). He defended pretty well and showed really good understanding with Xavi, Hleb, and Iniesta.

Valencia looked horrible in losing to Borussia 4-2. But a few players stood out. Vicente looked very good, but saw limited action, which is fine by me considering how injury prone he is. Emery rotated the squad and really looked to get everybody involved which is good at this time of the season. The club is asking Albelda to stay now(Oh my God). Too many politics still in this club and it makes me angry. Even though Soler left after selling his shares, there's still too much behind the scenes that is detriment to the team.

What are your expectations ATN???... High or low???.. Here's what I HOPE for from Valencia this season.

La Liga- Top 4 finish at least. Would absolutely CELEBRATE if we get 3rd place. I really want 3rd. With the squad we have, we really should be aiming to win the league. But 3rd place would really be a GIGANTIC step in the right direction.

Copa del Rey- Probably a 3rd round exit or so. I think they should use this to give youngsters a chance.

UEFA Cup- We're obviously one of the favorites due to the talent and number of times we've won this. Hopefully Milan, Tottenham and Hamburg go far with us, here. Semi finals at the very least are a MUST IMHO.

Spanish Super Cup- We play a very weak Real Madrid squad that is without Sneijder so I'm hoping that Valencia are able to pick up some early silverware as a confidence booster heading into the new season. In all honesty, Real are good side and nothing more. Valencia were HORRIBLE last season and they still beat them at Bernabeau last season. Real are only getting older and more injury prone by the year.

As you can see, I expect better than last season if not exactly winning any big trophies. But I think aiming high is the key for Valencia with that ridiculously talented squad.

and the NEW
I think Valencia should finish top 3 and make UEFA semi finals. But they were just so poor last season, I would not be surprised to see them struggle again. They really need to get that formation and structure right (like they used too), to really be able to fully take advantage of their talent.

Barca is in the same boat, though I don't expect Barca to have trouble scoring goals again, it is really their defence I am just so fed up with. They really should have attempted to scalp some guys from Arsenal while they were unhappy, at least Toure. Or a guy like Alex or Carvalho from Chelsea. But ah well, let's see what Pep can do.

I read VDV announced his Madrid deal on his own website, the only place it has been seen! But odd he would announce it himself it it was not true.

Tell you one thing though after watching a bit of Madrid preseason, is that they NEED Robinho!

Olympics start in a few days, wonder if the Selaceo can finally win the tournament which has been avoiding them for all these years!

I think I've been watching more preseason, than football I actually watch in the regular season! lol. Though so many lineups (other than Chelsea), are so undermaned.

Ronnie came out again also, saying his time was the worst in his life over the last few months. He is obvoiusly happy now and comfortable to talk about things. He said EXACTLY what I said, he was shocked how he went from a role model to all of a sudden a villain! Fickle fans and media are a disgrace! Infact, mainly the media! I don't know how most of them sleep at night!

On a completely different note, I watched a documentary on the pure facts behind that Madelaine Mcann (or however her name went), who got abducted in Portugal! What a DISGRACEFUL job by the police there and the media!!!!!!!! Accusing them of being swingers, WTF does that have to do with the price of eggs? And saying they must be involved as they were not emotional enough! When those back stage said they were bawling their eyes out before they went out for their first press release and were advised not to wail infront of the cameras! How some of these people sleep at night is beyond me! They are basically cheap, used car salesmen, lying and cheating their way to bread and butter on the table!
ATN, I must show you this.

Did you watch this???.... My goodness!!... People criticized Ronnie for missing his kicks but he was still MUCH MORE ACCURATE than Messi was. Wow.... You would think that a guy that was teammates with Ronaldinho for such a long time would have been able to learn a trick or 2 from Ronnie right???... Not to mention being with Riquelme while playing for the national team. LOL... Great player. One of my favorites. But I think Lionel needs to watch some tape on guys like Riquelme, Ronnie, Ronaldo, Villa, Sneijder, and Van Der Vaart to learn how to hit free kicks. LOL...

Anyway, Van Der Vaart is sadly a Real Madrid player now, and then in another year or 2, these guys will sign Cristiano Ronaldo. thumbsdown_anim.gif Incredible attack. I'm still not convinced about their defense, and IMO, Barcelona, Villareal, and maybe even Valencia have talent to match them. To me, its a manager's battle. Having lots of talent is great, but if you can't manage it, you'll fall, which is one reason that Barca didn't do what they should have done last season. Sometimes too much talent is not a good thing.

There are some doubts about Silva's future at Valencia and we cannot afford to lose him now that Van Der Vaart is no longer available. Its frustrating that no new signings have occured but at least we have a sane manager now.

and the NEW
Na, haven't watched that link. I've seen Messi take enough free kicks to know he is hopeless! Definatley hasn't a learnt a thing off Riquelme or Ronaldinho. He just hits them with no power, that is his main problem! Xavi is hardly better either! I really hope Alvez stops up and takes them and Xavi doesn't try and force his way onto the ball being the Catalan faithful.

Yep, Madrid have a fantastic attacking lineup! But like you say, it is a managers job now! They are now more skilled (infact still less skilled IMO), than Barca, with teams like Valencia, Villareal, possibly still Sevilla and Atletico being very skilled in their own right.

I am really surprised no big club tried to land Senna after the Euro, he showed his quality all last season and was probably player of the tournament IMO.

Valencia NEED Silva, I just read the Berbatov money from United, is being prepared for a bid on Villa, before the double transfer will take place and that they will probably get that little Russian! WHAT A SQUAD if they land both, but WTF is up with their defence? They are doing a Barca!
and the NEW
lol, that is a bit embarassing for Messi!

Missed every single one. To be fair though, the keeper did make a couple good saves! He needs more power on the free kicks! He sort of tries to float them in.
Ouch. Saw Barcelona absolutely CRUSH the NY Red Bulls 6-2, with goals from Eto'o(2), Xavi, and a couple of other youngsters I can't recall now. Xavi's goal was pretty off the assit provided by Alvez. Eto'o was fed a BEAUTIFUL pass from Hleb and converted, showing he still has it, and now Guardiola wants him to stay. Lol... I think this puts Barca in good position for the CL qualifying match, even without Messi.

Ronaldo has come out on Gol TV and ended the saga so to speak, but he PUBLICLY admits that he still wants to go to Real Madrid, whenever he gets the chance. He was pretty honest throughout, saying that he never hid his desire from anybody, including Ferguson, about his dream of playing football in Spain. He considers Ferguson "a friend" and said that when he met with him in Portugal, that he was very straightforward with him and Ferguson "knows where he stands." Ronaldo says that he's "a professional" and he will always give his all for Man United, but he says that there is no point in hiding his true desire of going to play in Spain, namely Real Madrid, mentioning that he is attracted to the culture and the football there, not to mention being closer to his family.... But whatever. At least its over and done with for this season. What United fans can rest assured of is that this will start all over again next Summer and probably the next one after that until it finally happens. Ferguson came out and has told fans to "not be hard on Ronaldo".... I hate Real more and more everyday. They have to be the greediest fuks in the history of this game.

Tottenham are having problems landing Arshavin, but they've not given up on the situation. That would be another great signing for them, and if they could manage to tempt Valencia with a supposed 40 million euro offer, then that would be icing on the cake for them. 25 million is the asking price for Arshavin and Zenit St Petersburg are not budging, seemingly. The player has reportedly gone out on strike until the club lowers the price. Something will likely get worked out I think.

The one who may leave Valencia appears to be Joaquin, most probably due to the fact that his form suffered last year. But in reality, the WHOLE TEAM really suffered last year and it was mostly due to incompetent management. I think there is some unfair blame being tossed around. But at the same time, Valencia have not made any big signings either. Change in ownership has mostly been the problem in that department. I think Joaquin's asking of a new contract was not the right thing to do, though. He has a very good contract as it is, and the situation is delicate. Hopefully this all works out. What I do like however that is happening is that Emery has really taken to Manuel Fernandes and is really putting his faith in guy. He TRUSTS him seemingly. I hope its for real because with an old Albelda and a past it Baraja, we really need a young solid box to box midfielder to assume the reins. The fact that Emery really seems to be a good influence on him, is a testament to him as a coach because Fernandes has been known to be difficult to deal with(Ronald Koeman absolutely HATED him). But our midfield is really limited on depth and options with Sunny out on loan, Edu injured more often than even Vicente, and Banega possibly set out to go on loan, not to mention the respected but old Baraja. Albelda is a disgrace and really doesn't deserve to stay at the club, but hopefully he'll be on the bench.

Well I'm pleased the speculation over Ronaldo has finally ended for the time being but in truth it will never go away completely. Ferguson has stated that he feels Ronaldo may stay a lot longer than one more season but thats not really a concern right now. The main thing is the whole saga will go quiet for a while. It had become so boring.

Not sure how the fans will react when he finally appears again in a red shirt but I feel he will be welcomed back by the majority, especially if United have started the season poorly. On his arrival back at the club he was presented with a Real Madrid shirt complete with his name and no.7 on the back, only the shirt had a big red X through the number mocking the fact that he won't be joining Madrid. Ronaldo apparently was in hysterics. Good to see the players see the funny side of this whole matter.

Ferguson says he is confident of landing a striker before the start of the new season and its imperitive that we sign somebody. With no goal threat from Ronaldo at least until October, Saha still injured, Rooney not expected to feature straight away due to the virus he caught in Nigeria, and Frazier Campbell nowhere near ready, it only leaves Tevez, and as much as I like Carlos, he's not going to grab enough goals to win games alone.

Did any of you see the De Silva twins play in the friendlies vs Peterborough and Juventus? They are 18 and have long been spoken about as excellent players for the future. Fabio is said to be the better of the two but it was Rafael who shined. His pace is absolutely electric, he isn't afraid to go in hard on the tackle and he has the ability to beat players also. Fabio plays left back/winger and Rafael plays right back/winger. They are both incredibly attacking players and I've got huge hopes for them. Probably not this season but definitely within the next couple of years. Hopefully they'll feature in the community sheild against Portsmouth tomorrow.

Any news in Spain on Villa's future? I know Spurs have been in the hunt for him for quite some time as a potential replacement for Keane or Berbatov (should he leave). It would be great to see him over here and would only strenghten the premier league. UNited have also been linked with him although our number one priority remains Berbatov as long as Spurs don't hold out for stupid money.

If you guys watch the game vs Portsmouth tomorrow keep your eyes out for Possebon (he's grwon on me) and the twins...hopefully they all play a part in the match because afterall, the result isn't important at all.
^^^Agree that the Ronaldo saga won't end. Keep in mind that he does not for a second deny wanting to go to Real Madrid. And because of that alone, the speculation will always be out there. Its a good thing for us who follow Spanish football that he isn't because Madrid's attack is strong enough now with Sneijer, Van Der Vaart, Robinho, Guti, RVN, and Raul. I personally feel that too much talent is never a good idea and that it could backfire on them. We'll see I guess. Hopefully so.

Villa's future SEEMS at the moment, to be at Valencia with rumors of him penning a new deal soon. However, the club's new President Soriano has said that he will only pay attention to "very important offers" for "El Guaje".... Spurs have the money thats for sure. And because of their Carling Cup win, they have UEFA Cup football to look forward to, not to mention the good signings they've already made. Arshavin however, is also on the minds of Spurs so they're not putting their eggs in one basket. Very smart from them. Real Madrid, arrogantly keeps making noise, with Madridistas coming out in bulk saying "Valencianistas are afraid of us signing Villa". MY GOD I HATE THEM SO MUCH!!!!.... But whatever. In football, anything is possible. And every player has his price. Real tried to sign Villa before the Euros and some say it was close to happening, but Villa himself stopped the move according to media in Valencia and it almost got very ugly with fans protesting outside Mestalla stadium and almost rioting. Villa has said in the past that he "likes Man United alot" and that if a move to Arsenal doesn't occur, he'd consider taking the offer, though according to him, "money doesn't motivate me, only trophies". EPL fans feel he might be too small for the league, but of course we wouldn't know until we see him play there, right???... He has the pace and technique for sure. Very little aerial game due to only being 5'9 or so. It would be interesting if United made a move for him because I always thought Ferguson was looking for more of a "target man" who's tall, big, strong, and dominant in the air, compared to a smaller, but quicker and more skillful finisher like Villa. Has Ferguson ever spoken of Villa as a possible target, MAXY??... I ask because I never heard of United making a possible bid or anything.

Expect the Spurs to really try hard to hold on to Berbatov. They've lost Robbie Keane to Liverpool and that was a blow. They've still got an excellent team. But I think they'll try to hold on to their big man.

I always thought United would go after Huntelaar. He's young, big and strong, great in the air, skillful, and very accurate in front of goal with both feet. A bit on the slow side I agree, but you guys do have Rooney for that.

LOL.. You guys should just do something out of character and bid for Torres. Lol... How's that for SHOCKING??...

I don't think you guys desperately need a striker. Ferguson should just use the Community Shield to try out some youngsters IMO.

Have not seen the twins play, yet but I have heard a bit about them. Very interested to see them play, thats for sure.
QUOTE(PR316 @ Aug 9 2008, 08:29 AM) [snapback]399710[/snapback]
Has Ferguson ever spoken of Villa as a possible target, MAXY??... I ask because I never heard of United making a possible bid or anything.

The four potential strikers Ferguson is apparently considering signing are Berbatov, Benzema, Villa or Huntelaar. Of course we'll only sign one of them and apart from Berbatov it could all just be paper talk. Ferguson hasn't mentioned any of them by name, not even Berbatov, despite Spurs' claims, but I do feel it has to be either Benzema or Berbatov as opposed to Villa and Huntelaar. Villa, as you say, is the wrong type of striker for us at the moment. We definitely need something different to what we already have in terms of size and arial ability. Huntelaar, despite his great goal scoring record in Holland would change the way we play, I'm sure of it and that's not a good thing. Benzema is definitely a player Ferguson admires but from what I hear it seems like he'll be staying at Lyon (who don't need the money and can afford to demand a ridiculous fee). Berbatov isn't quick but his touch and vision, coupled with his proven ability to hit 20 plus goals a season in the premier league, make him by far the most outstanding candidate. He's big enough to be a threat in the air, he can score with either foot and his passing ability is another massive plus.

I understand Tottenham want BOTH Arshavin and Villa but to sign both they have to sell Berbatov. Arshavin has apparently gone on strike? If true that is just disgusting. No player should ever go on strike to try and force a move. Villa would get European football at Spurs and Ramos is respected by the Spanish players (so I'm led to believe) so I can well see that one happening. In fact I'll lay my cards on the table and say that by Saturday next week at least 2 of those transfers will be completed!

The best thing about not cracking under the constant pressure from Madrid to sell Ronaldo is it sends a message to Real that they can't just barge in and take our players if we don't want to sell. Ferguson said it was important to make that stand and although Ronaldo admitted quite honestly that he would still like to play for Madrid one day, also taking the blame for how long it all dragged on, that isn't really anything new. When he arrived at 18 he said then that one day he wanted to play in Spain.

Yeah those Da Silva twins arrived with a massive reputation. Fabio was top scorer in the under 17's world cup and is rated the better of the two but it's Rafael who has impressed most so far in the short time he's played. He's even quicker (or at least as quick) as Evra and I really hope they both develop into first teamers one day. Possebon also seems to have grown in stature after what I considered a poor game in South Africa and could give Fergsuon a selection headache at points this season.
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Haven't seen those twins yet. But will watch out for them, I'm just watching the Portsmouth V United game now.

Barca have been looking good, but if these second string teams can score against them, it's not looking good in La Liga! They will be frustrated and shut down in attack again with teams playing on the counter!

Messi has been playing very well in the Olympics!

Just finished watching the Arsenal V Ajax replay! LOL, so so typical of Arsenal! Went down 2-0 after missing some sitters, only to fight back to 3-2 win! They still look very very dangerous and if their backs can hold it together more and their forwards put a few more away, they could once again be a very big title threat should they remain fit and healthy! So great to watch!

A lot of pre-season is getting boring now, some very second string squads out there. Watched Inter V Bayern and nearly fell asleep!

QUOTE(Maxy @ Aug 9 2008, 03:14 PM) [snapback]399713[/snapback]
The four potential strikers Ferguson is apparently considering signing are Berbatov, Benzema, Villa or Huntelaar. Of course we'll only sign one of them and apart from Berbatov it could all just be paper talk. Ferguson hasn't mentioned any of them by name, not even Berbatov, despite Spurs' claims, but I do feel it has to be either Benzema or Berbatov as opposed to Villa and Huntelaar. Villa, as you say, is the wrong type of striker for us at the moment. We definitely need something different to what we already have in terms of size and arial ability. Huntelaar, despite his great goal scoring record in Holland would change the way we play, I'm sure of it and that's not a good thing. Benzema is definitely a player Ferguson admires but from what I hear it seems like he'll be staying at Lyon (who don't need the money and can afford to demand a ridiculous fee). Berbatov isn't quick but his touch and vision, coupled with his proven ability to hit 20 plus goals a season in the premier league, make him by far the most outstanding candidate. He's big enough to be a threat in the air, he can score with either foot and his passing ability is another massive plus.

I agree that Berbatov would probably be the likely candidate. He's proven in the EPL and he scores goals. He also comes at a reasonable price. I think he scored 21 goals in the EPL last season and he brings good passing and airial ability too, like you said.

Villa is just a more gifted version of Rooney that brings more goals and link up play, along with being a free kick specialist.. I would only go for Villa if for some reason Rooney was on the way out. But since he isn't, then why bother, right??...

Benzema is a gamble, IMO... A HUGE gamble. He's unproven at the top level overall and his Euro Cup 2008 campaign was EMBARASSING.. Nowhere near justifying that 40 million euros price tag that Lyon have had the audacity to place on him.

Huntelaar I think is a good option. Big and strong, good skills, and finishing. IMO, he's better than Van Nistlerooy. He's definitely expensive too, priced at 40 million as well but the difference is that he's worth it. Odds are he's staying at Ajax anyway.

It appears set in stone almost that Eto'o is DEFINITLEY staying at Barcelona, having impressed Guardiola. As all of you know, Guardiola announced on his first day that he wanted Eto'o out along with Ronaldinho and Deco. But it now seems Guardiola has changed his mind, playing him often and Eto'o has scored about 5 goals in the pre-season so far. Great stuff wouldn't you say, for a guy that Guardiola said initially "I don't count on Eto'o".

Madrid reportedly continue to chase Villa, supposedly preparing a 40 million euro bid. I absolutely DESPISE these corrupt bastards. They literally throw money around as if its nothing. They want every team's stars and they create no stars on their own. I think they're one of the most loved and at the same time most HATED clubs around today.

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Yeh, your right PR, Eto'o is now staying. I reckon now Ronnie and Deco are gone, there is probably a lot less conflict in the dressing room and Eto'o always shows his desire in training, which is what Pep likes.

Berbatov will go to Man U, it looks close to certain from what I hear now.

Man, FINALLY we get kickoff this weekend!!!!!!!!! These first few weeks will be vital for the big 4, don't want a bad start!!!!! Which makes the Berbatov signing even more vital for United, where Rooney is apparently fatigued from a virus.

Deco looks arrogant as all hell in the Chelsea uniform in preseason! I think once again, he is one of the main men in the squad and not just blending in behind the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho and Eto'o as he was at Barca. Definately a lot more flair to his game and you can see the face expression and body language has changed.

Barcelona are in DEVASTATING form... Absolutely embarassed Cracovia with a score that read 4-0 when it was all over. It was a strange match early.

In the opening minutes Barca seemed a bit listless, but out of nowhere in the 16th or so minute, Eto'o came through from a pass by Marquez, of all people and just absolutely BURNED two defenders with his speed and just slotted home calmly. Minutes later, Xavi scored an absolute SCORCHER of a shot, with deadly accuracy and power. The play between Eto'o and Henry was absolutely BRILLIANT!!!... Eto'o sent a neat little flick right into the path of Henry who briefly seemed to morph into his old self with a brilliant move to beat his marker before lobbing it over the keeper's head into the net... Just true quality football, ATN... Hopefully you saw this and if not, you get a chance. Eto'o missed 2 more good opportunities to put himself on the scoresheet again, but made it right in the 80th minute with a nice slide finish after a good pass from Iniesta. Overall, the team looked GREAT.. I know its only pre-season and this doesn't tell too much but at least Barcelona are now in the CL and can look forward.

David Silva's agent confirmed to Sky Sports News that Valencia turned down an offer from Man United for the player, much to the dismay of Ferguson for sure. Silva has come out and said that he wants to stay at Valencia and if a move was to be made, he would only go to Barcelona, not Real Madrid nor anywhere abroad. The details of the offer were not revealed, but it is understood that it was a BIG OFFER... Silva is probably better suited to La Liga's game quick short passing and slow build up as opposed to England's more direct and open style of play. In England, he'd get knocked about by those bigger and stronger guys.

Valencia looked good in their last pre season match, with Silva netting twice and Miguel scoring a goal too. Only saw highlights, but Emery's style of football is clearly more attacking than either Flores' or Koeman's. True it will all come down to how well the defense does and of course, RESULTS.. But I like the fact that he's got the team playing some sweet football with lots of short and quick passing and lots of opening runs down the channels. In the beginning, the team while not poor, didn't seem to be in synch and bit by bit they've come together. The Spanish Super Cup this Sunday against Real Madrid I think is an important one for Valencia. It would be nice if they win, but more than anything they just need to show what they can do with the big boys. This will be key for confidence heading into the new season.

Ferguson came out and talked of the possibility of Ronaldo signing an extension. Honestly I don't know about that one. I still think that Ronaldo will not stay at United for too much longer. I think at the most he'll stay 2 more seasons and then be sold. Like the kid or not, he is ambitious and he'll definitely want to try another league.
and the NEW
I get the feeling Ferguson is tring to pressure Ronaldo. A bit of coercion going on from the wirey old manager!

I didn't see the match of Barca (wasn't on here), I had to settle for that Liverpool junk instead! I will you tube the Barca highlights as always.

The thing about Barca is they do this in pre-season every year, but then get exposed when they play those fast, counter attacking styled teams. Which I fully expect to see again this season. Though Pep was a defensive mid, so he should really structure the team a lot better, it's his only chance.

See, John Terrys comments about United have peaked. Have to say, Terry is another who I absolutely HATE. He is arrogant as all hell, and let's face it, is quite past it IMO. Carvalho is like the Pepe to Canavaro for Terry. Not to mention the mod of defensive styled midfielders they have sitting infront of their backline.

Yeh, you guys needed Silva bad. It appears to me most of your stars are happy at Valencia. With none really ever pushing for a move.

Good if you guys can get a win against Madrid! Interesting to see if VDV is slotted straight in, but I hope their poor pre-season form continues! They have looked far from the sharp, forward moving team they did last year in many of their games recently.

Oh and Tottenham DESTROYED Roma! They looked simply amaizing!!! Dos Santos is being played as a central attacking mid, teaming up with the pace of guys like Bentley, Bent, Zakora and Lennon on the right, with all their skills and speed, looked DEVESTATING!!!! If they can play like that in the season, they will be hard to beat, but most importantly, get an even BIGGER following!!!! Very reminicent of Sevillas style!

This is our 100th page and 3rd season coming up! ha ha, not a bad effort!
Have to admit I am quite relieved we haven't spent the 20 odd million being mentioned for Silva. He's a very good player but I don't think he'd enjoy playing in the English league for the reasons mentioned by PR316.

The Berbatov deal appears to be getting closer according to reports from several newspapers over here with United keen to get it wrapped up before the start of the season. However reports this morning stress the two sides are still haggling over the fee with some stating that Spurs are asking for as much as £32m! United are apparently only prepared to go to £25m or £28m, depending on which newspaper you believe. Spurs are in a good position because they know we want the player but more than that they know we NEED the player. I'll be concerned if we haven't signed a new striker within the next couple of days because we only have Tevez and the young, not ready, Frazier Campbell. Looking at the community shield game I felt that we dominated but our lack of firepower up front was very concerning. We have to get off to a good start this season because things are going to be very tight. We need to hit the ground running and to do that we need a striker.

I see Madrid have said they won't sell Robinho but that Chelsea are still pursuing the player. You've got to feel for him as he was deemed surplus to requirements if they had signed Ronaldo so it's understandable that he would want to leave. I really hope all the chasing of Ronaldo, which ultimately ended in failure, has an undermining affect on their season. I don't care who wins La Liga as long as it isn't Madrid!

John Terry claims we have peaked....hmmm...considering the average age of our squad is a mere 26, and we have several players well below that age, it makes me think he is just kidding himself. United will get better. Nani, Tevez, Rooney, Anderson and Ronaldo will all improve. I'm not suggesting Ronaldo will score anywhere near the amount of goals he got last season (he's injured for a start and his haul last time out was freakish), but as a player, along with the others, he will only get better. John Terry is a total fool and should look at his own 30+ side if he wants to talk about peaking.

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