Friday, September 09, 2016
The contrasts between Dominic Solanke and Marcus Rashford couldn't be any more striking. Both are being billed as the future of English football on the back of their goalscoring exploits.
Whereas Solanke has been a youth-team star for Chelsea, however, it's where it matters most that Rashford is making his name.
The Manchester United striker scored on his debut for the club in last season's Europa League and hasn't looked back since. He followed up his brace against Danish side Midtjylland in February with another double just three days later against Arsenal in a 3-2 win.
A further four goals followed, including the game's only tally as United toppled rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Within seconds of making his England debut in late May, Rashford score against Australia to book his place in Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad.
On Tuesday, a hat-trick on his England under-21s debut sent his reputation into thestratosphere.
In the meantime, Rashford's star is soaring. But who would have predicted this even 12 months ago? Back then, Rashford was hardly on the radar.
Solanke himself wasn't being discussed widely, but with his superior goalscoring record,
he was creating the buzz.
Just six weeks in their birth dates separate Solanke and Rashford—the Chelsea man turns 19 on September 14, with Rashford celebrating his birthday on Halloween.
In terms of their careers, though, the gap couldn't be any greater. Rashford is racing ahead, while Solanke remains stagnant.
It's a crying shame, as his presence in Chelsea's youth teams should have earned Solanke a chance at Stamford Bridge. Forgetting the off-field politics of contract negotiations, he's been a victim of Chelsea's policy of promoting reputations over potential.
The Red Devils splashed out £89m to sign the Frenchman from Juventus.
Pogba's eye watering fee is a world record, but Smith claims United have already made £143m in shirt sales - they’ve sold 190m dollars worth of Pogba shirts so maybe they got it right.
Manchester United striker Zlata Ibrahimovic has
reiterated his belief that Jose Mourinho is a "mastermind" and revealed his only regret is that
he didn't have more time to play under the Portuguese boss.
Ibrahimovic and Mourinho spent a year together at Inter Milan, where the United boss led the club a historic Treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles the season after selling the Swede to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.
The two stars have reunited at Manchester United, where they will participate in their first.
Manchester derby on Saturday against Guardiola's City. And the former PSG man hailed Mourinho ahead of the match.
Hector Bellerin could be set to sign a new deal with Arsenal are Barcelona ended their pursuit of the defender, according to The Sun.
Bellerin was wanted by his former club for the duration of the summer but a move never got close to completion.
But reports now suggest that Barcelona accept that they will not be able to land the La Masia academy graduate and have given up the chase.
Luis Enrique reportedly seen Sergi Roberto as his long-term successor to Dani Alves, who joined Juventus this summer.
Bellerin is believed to be happy at Arsenal and is content with his current role in the team.
“The fact there was an offer was pleasing, but I am even more gratified by the fact Milan said no.”
And it seems he’s looking forward to continuing his development in his native Italy, rather than with countryman Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. "The fact there was an offer was pleasing, but I am even more gratified by the fact Milan said no," Romagnoli told La Gazetta dello Sport. "This pushes me on to grow even more and improve myself. I am happy to have remained.
President Silvio Berlusconi made a big investment for me and that’s enormously pleasing. "Milan are certainly behind Juventus right now, but I don’t think we are missing anything in particular. We just need to work together and grow as a unit.
It was April and Nasri had just scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over West Brom at the Etihad Stadium. It was his first start since October after a six-month lay-off with a thigh injury, and the Frenchman was already envisioning a central role for himself in Guardiola's revolution.
Fast forward a few months and his boldness appears ill-judged. Guardiola ordered an overweight Nasri to train separately to the rest of the squad in pre-season, and the midfielder's only playing time came with a 15-minute cameo against West Ham before he completed his loan move to Sevilla.
Nasri insists Guardiola fought for him to stay "until the last moment", but it is tempting to wonder whether the new coach was really so conflicted. Nasri's comments do not always tally with reality, after all.
When he was left out of City's Champions League squad for the knockout stages in February, for example, he bizarrely declared he would happily finish his career at the club.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
The recently-announced changes to the
Champions League are detrimental to domestic football in Europe and will increase the gap between the wealthiest clubs and the rest, Europe's domestic football leagues (EPFL) said on Thursday.
The EPFL, the umbrella grouping for 24 European domestic leagues, also called upon the next Uefa president to reconsider the changes which made fewer places available in the Champions League group stage to teams from smaller countries.
It was the first major criticism of the reforms of the lucrative competition, which were announced in Monaco in August after secretive negotiations between European football body Uefa and the clubs.
Uefa rearranged the group-stage slots in favour of its four top-ranked leagues, in effect Spain, England, Germany and Italy, by guaranteeing them four places each.
Places for the winners of the 11th and 12th ranked leagues were cut and the number of places reserved for teams from the remaining leagues, who play their way through a qualifying competition, was reduced from five to four.
Uefa also announced changes in the distribution of revenue with more emphasis placed on the historic sporting results of the clubs and less on the value of their television market.
The changes came amid reports that the biggest clubs had been discussing the creation of a so-called Super League.