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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Benzema rubbishes Mourinho rift rumours

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema insists the squad don't have a tangle with coach Jose Mourinho.

Marca rumored last week that many players – diode by club captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos – had vulnerable to go away the club if Mourinho was to remain on the far side the tip of the season, a rumour ferociously denied by president Florentino Perez.

And on Tues, Casillas’ girlfriend, Sara Carbonero, aforesaid the previous lay metropolis coach not communicates along with his squad.

But Benzema aforesaid the players were still behind the contentious coach, in an exceedingly temporary however firm statement. “We don't have a nasty relationship with the coach,” the France international told reporters.

Benzema praised team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and city star Lionel Messi, whereas language Antonio Adan has what it takes to deputise for the dislocated Casillas throughout his absence.

“Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ar 2 wonderful players. However, for us, Ronaldo is that the higher of the 2,” he said. “Adan may be a nice goalkeeper still and that i am certain that he are up for the task.” Real Madrid lock horns with city within the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, and Benzema is thirstily anticipating Wednesday’s initial leg.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rafael sets sights on trophies in 2013

Rafael has expressed his determination to remain as consistent as possible and help Manchester United claim some silverware this season.

Rafael has already won the Premier League twice during his time a tOld Trafford but he is hungry for more glory and is looking forward to the rest of the campaign.

He recognises that each game will become increasingly important over the next few months and is keen to play a major role.
"My target for 2013 is like every player: we want to win trophies," the Brazilian said in the Daily Star.

"When you're at this club that has to be your focus. We all want to win and I want to play as many games as I can and be consistent in my performances.

"When you get into January you know the really important time in the season is not far away and there will be big game after big game.

"Every game is important, but after Christmas they become massive. Hopefully we can do well."

Rafael feels he has taken his game to another level in 2012 and says that becoming a father has made a big difference.

He said: "It's been a great year for me. I feel like I have grown up a lot and that I am maturing. My daughter was born this year, which has helped me a lot, too.

"I was only 18 when I first came here, I was just a boy.

Rodgers: Suarez is Liverpool’s Messi

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has placed Luis Suarez in the same class as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi following the Uruguay international's match-winning display against Sunderland.

After setting up Raheem Sterling's opener, the 25-year-old put two goals past the Black Cats on Wednesday night to seal all three points for the Merseyside outfit.

And Rodgers was liberal in his praise for the striker, suggesting that he can maintain his form through playing as many as three games a week, such is his talent.

"Luis was sensational [against Sunderland],” he told the Daily Mirror. “His cleverness in finding space is incredible.

"He's a striker that has to play two or three times a week to be on top of his game - one game a week is no good to him. He needs to be playing.

"And you see the response you get from him. His work has never dropped. Like Messi he is a real team player and trains every day.

“He is never in the treatment room and then he comes out and performs. As the ball moves he finds the spaces. He's a wonderful talent, and it will be fantastic to see him develop here."

QPR boss Harry Redknapp also echoed Rodgers’ comparison to Argentina international Messi after the London outfit’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on December 30.

“I was talking with Harry Redknapp after our game at QPR,” Rodgers explained. “He said Luis is a Messi-type character,”

Adamant that a challenge for Champions League football is still possible, Rodgers has admitted a good run of results could build up enough momentum to propel the club into the prestigious top four come the campaign’s end.

"I believe the second half of the season we can up the tempo and kick on as we have always hoped to do.” he continued. “You could see it in our performance tonight [against Sunderland], we have the capacity to do that. It's about consistency from now, and I hope we can get that.

"We were disappointed with the performance against Stoke, but six goals and two clean sheets is the perfect reaction to that, and it's nine points from 12 over the difficult Christmas period."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Napoli retain Balotelli hope

Mario Balotelli partner Edinson Cavani at the San Paolo than consider selling his star striker to Manchester City.

The Uruguay forward fired Napoli back into third place in the Serie A table courtesy of a fine hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Roma, furthering his reputation as the envy of a host of top European clubs by bringing up his 20th goal of the season.

De Laurentiis has admitted rejecting a 55million euro (£45million) offer for Cavani from an unnamed club in the summer but revealed the 25-year-old does have a 63million euro (£51million) release clause in his contract.

City striker Balotelli has been mentioned as a potential makeweight should the Barclays Premier League champions look to bolster their forward line with Cavani, but De Laurentiis has other ideas.

He told "City are considering letting Balotelli go so they can move for Cavani? I would prefer to see Balotelli playing with Cavani here at Napoli.

"Teams tend to hold onto their best players in January. You take a big risk making big investments now.

"There is still time for us to bring in new faces but we must be cautious. On January 31 you will see what moves Napoli have made."

Napoli's comfortable victory over Roma, in which Christian Maggio rounded off the scoring following Pablo Osvaldo's late response, sees the Campanian outfit return to the title race after suffering an uncomfortable end to 2012.

Four straight defeats in all competitions and a two-point deduction for alleged involvement in match-fixing saw Walter Mazzarri's men drift 10 points shy of league leaders Juventus.

Sunday night's win, coupled with Juve's surprise home defeat to Sampdoria, sees Napoli close to within two points of second-placed Lazio.

De Laurentiis added: "Are Napoli back on track? I say we have 39 points, 10 more than we had this time last year, because I'm not counting the two they took off us as a punishment.

"I think we'll get those points back and hopefully we'll get another 10 points on the pitch soon. Other teams have had a bad round and we can think about taking advantage.

"Napoli will definitely fight right until the end."

Meanwhile, European hopefuls Roma were left empty-handed and shell-shocked after being undone by Cavani inside 70 minutes.

General manager Franco Baldini told "Cavani was the difference, he won the game, not only with his goals but because he both defended and attacked.

"He's not a candidate for the Ballon d'Or, because he is a no-frills player, but he should be among them. He's truly world class in this league."