US to look at less-capped talent in January

US coach Bob Bradley will give unheralded talents an early chance to show they can contribute to the World Cup side next June in South Africa at a training camp that opens January 4 in Los Angeles.

The Americans, set for a sixth consecutive trip to the global football showdown, will look at 30 players based on Scandinavian or US clubs for a camp that culminates in a January 23 friendly against Honduras.

The camp lineup features 23 players with 10 caps or less, nine seeking a first-ever US appearance, the most capped players being Aarhus midfielder Benny Feilhaber with 30 and Dallas defender Heath Pearce with 28.

“This is the start of six months of preparations for the World Cup and it is important that we get started off heading in the right direction,” Bradley said. “We are continuing to evaluate the player pool as we move towards finalizing our roster.”

Among those on hand will be Major League Soccer goalkeeper of the year Zach Thornton of Chivas USA, defender of the year Chad Marshall of Columbus and rookie of the year Omar Gonzalez, a defender for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Another defender in the camp will be Jonathan Bornstein, who scored the equaliser in the dying seconds of extra time in a 2-2 home draw with Costa Rica that put the US squad atop regional qualifying and ousted the Ticos from the World Cup.

A more veteran lineup filled with European-based US talent is expected to play in the US friendly on March 3 against the Dutch at Amsterdam.

The Americans will open their World Cup campaign on June 12 against England at Rustenburg and also face Slovenia on June 18 and Algeria on June 23.

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Terry like Baresi and Maldini says Ancelotti

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has likened John Terry to Italian greats Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini in his latest show of support for his beleaguered captain.

The England skipper has been having to defend himself from accusations of money-grabbing after the News of the World tabloid on Sunday alleged he’d accepted a financial payment to provide a tour of Chelsea’s training ground.

The paper claimed Terry, who captained the Premier League leaders in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, arranged the visit to Chelsea’s Cobham training complex for three undercover reporters posing as businessmen without permission from Ancelotti.

It is claimed that Terry took a 10,000 pounds payment, 8,000 pounds of which he wanted to go to the ‘Make A Wish’ charity for children with the other 2,000 pounds going to a middleman.

Ancelotti dismissed the report and the former AC Milan coach went further by telling Tuesday’s London Evening Standard that centre-back Terry reminded him of Rossoneri defensive greats Baresi and Maldini, whom he played alongside at the San Siro.

“Terry is like Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini in personality, character and leadership,” Ancelotti said.

“I am very lucky to have this player as my captain,” the Italian added.

Ancelotti also drew a comparison between Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the Russian billionaire’s Milan counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

“Abramovich is like Berlusconi,” Ancelotti said. “He has a passion for his club, he likes to speak about football, as does Berlusconi. Both of them like to watch football on television. After a game he comes to the dressing room.

“I never think that if I don’t win games Roman will remove me. My aim is to do the best for this club, as I have done for other clubs.”

Tue 22 December, 2009
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FFF consider Domenech support

(GSM) – French football authorities are considering a new management structure to support national team boss Raymond Domenech.

The under-fire coach oversaw a stuttering World Cup qualifying campaign, in which France booked their place in next summer’s finals via a controversial play-off win over Republic of Ireland.

The France Football Federation (FFF) confirmed last week there would be no change of coach but Domenech, who took charge in 2004, may now be given a helping hand as he attempts to revive the nation’s pride in Les Bleus.

France have been far from convincing since reaching the 2006 World Cup final, finishing bottom of their group at Euro 2008, and Domenech has been criticised for not getting the best out of his players.

The idea of bringing in a general manager and a director of sport was discussed at a meeting last Thursday by Club France – an organisation created as an advisory board by the FFF.

And reports suggest Club France will propose installing Lens chairman Gervais Martel as general manager and former Liverpool, Lyon and France manager Gerard Houllier as director of sport when the FFF meet on 29th January.

“Six months away from the World Cup it would not be reasonable to separate ourselves from our coach,” said Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of the union of professional football clubs.

“So we didn’t have the desire to vote anyone out or impose a diktat. But we couldn’t just stand around doing nothing.

“We have to consider all the solutions so that the France team stirs up passion once again. Not to do anything would be a lacking of our responsibilities.”

Zinedine Zidane, who won the 1998 World Cup with France and retired after being sent off in the 2006 final, is the latest critic of the national team set-up.

The former France captain is baffled as to why Les Bleus are struggling so much given the wealth of talent at their disposal.

“This team is definitely open to criticism, although I prefer to look at the positives,” he said in an interview with France Football.

“It’s hard to see them playing like this while there are good players. It’s not nice to see them go out there with a lot of difficulty each time.

“Their qualifying group was well within their range, as well as the play-offs. Considering the value of certain France players, I am disappointed to see them play like this.”

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Defensive problems mount for Mancini

(GSM) – Roberto Mancini will have to do without Nedum Onuoha for at least three weeks. The Manchester City youngster has been ruled out with a calf strain and adds to City’s defensive injury concerns.

Onuoha picked up his injury during the match against Sunderland (4-3 win). The 23-year-old only made his first start of the season against Tottenham last Wednesday after an injury to England international Joleon Lescott.

The former England Under-21 international is expected to be out for three to four weeks, therefore ruling him out of Mancini’s first game in charge at home to Stoke City on Boxing Day.

The new Italian manager will have serious defensive worries in January. Besides the injured Onuoha and Lescott (who is expected to remain at the sidelines for at least four more weeks), Mancini will also be without Kolo Toure who will play at the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

Tue 22 December, 2009
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De Biasi replaces Marino at Udinese

(GSM) – Udinese have parted company with their coach, Pasquale Marino. The Udine based club already has a new manager: Gianni de Biasi is the new coach of the Zebrette, who are just five points clear of the relegation zone.

A statement on the club’s official website reads: “The club would like to thank mister Marino for his contribution to the club in the two and a half year he worked for us.”

De Biasi, who previously worked for Brescia, Torino and Spanish club Levante, will be presented to the press this afternoon.

With their new manager, Udinese hopes to return to the high level of the past seasons when they finished seventh in the Serie A (2007/2008 and 2008/2009).

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Is Roberto Mancini a temporary fix at Manchester City?

robertomanciniThe sacking of Mark Hughes as Manchester City boss wasn’t really a surprise. The fact that he was replaced by former Inter boss Roberto Mancini surprised me slightly.

I wasn’t that impressed with the former Lazio striker when he was Inter boss. To manage Inter didn’t take the best manager in the world as there were already top players at the club when he arrived.

Successful in Italy

Roberto Mancini’s managerial experience has come in Italian football with Fiorentina, Lazio and of course Inter. He won three Serie A league titles with Inter and two cups. He has won the Italian cup with Fiorentina and Lazio.

He has been learning English for awhile in anticipation of a move to the Premier League and is eager to test himself in the English top flight. Only time will tell if he proves to be successful with City but he has a tough task on his hands satisfying the ambitious owners at Eastlands.

Stop gap

The move for Mancini however smacks of a temporary appointment. He was available and City needed somebody to fill the gap until a better option came along in the summer. The City owners want the best available boss for the club and may just get their wish this summer.

Mourinho

Inter boss Jose Mourinho has apparently fallen out of love with the Italian game and Inter. He’s had rows with players and more recently had a row with Inter president Massimo Moratti. And anybody that knows Inter knows that there’s only one winner when managers mess with Moratti.

The two have strong personalities but there can only be one winner. I’m not suggesting that Moratti would sack Mourinho, because that would be cutting his nose off to spite his face but he could make life very difficult for the ‘Special One’.

I can see Mourinho quitting as Inter boss at the end of the season, no matter what happens this season. Mourinho would then be that rare creature a world class manager without a club. I think Mourinho would find the City job a challenge worthy of his ego and ability. However he would be wanted by most of the top clubs in Europe, so maybe he would decide his future lies elsewhere.

Other option

City has already been linked with current Russia manager Guus Hiddink. The Dutchman took over Chelsea last season and performed admirable as the Blues boss but couldn’t make up the ground in the title race. He did however win the FA Cup in May.

The majority of players, fans and pundits wanted the Dutch boss to stay at Stamford Bridge; he only signed a short-term contract and always said he would only stay the length of that contract. He honoured his word and honoured his contract with the Russian national side. The Russians however failed to make the World Cup finals after a play-off defeat to Slovakia.

He has performed superbly with the national sides of South Korea, Australia and Russia until the failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup. However his spells in charge of all the nations have to be deemed a success. For me he would have been second choice behind Mourinho before Mancini took over.

Unheralded

The arrival of Mancini as Manchester City boss hasn’t exactly caused widespread jubilation amongst City fans. Some were glad to get rid of Mark Hughes but some thought that Hughes wasn’t given enough time.

I don’t think Mancini was anybodies first choice to replace Hughes at City. For now though, the City fans will be hoping that Mancini can help City progress and make the Champions League spots. That is rumoured to be the objective the City board have set for Mancini. The Italian knows that if that target is not achieved then he could be following in Mark Hughes footsteps out of the Eastlands exit door.

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Gomez: “I want to stay with Bayern for a long time”

(GSM) – Mario Gomez feels at home at Bayern Munich. The towering hitman of the Bavarian giants is happy at the Bundesliga side and can’t think of a reason to move to another club.

“It’s a great honour to play for one of the biggest clubs of the world,” Gomez said on Bayern’s official website. “If I can continue to play in the role like I did for the last few weeks I definitely can see myself staying with Bayern for a long time.”

Gomez enjoys living in the Bavarian capital. “Munich is a fabulous city and the folk here are very relaxed.

“I can go where I want without being bothered. That’s very nice for someone like me.”

Gomez was signed from VfB Stuttgart last season and was destined to become Bayern’s new top striker. He struggled to impress the first weeks of the season but he has showed his true qualities the last few matches and managed to score in each of FCB’s last five Bundesliga games.

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Menegazzo desperate to join Genoa

Fernando Menegazzo’s agent has admitted that the Bordeaux midfielder is keen on joining Genoa in the January transfer window.

The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Genoa for several months.

“Things are going according to plan,” Ricci confessed to Pianetagenoa1893.net.

“We will meet with the Rossoblu directors before the holidays and have scheduled a meeting with Bordeaux soon after Christmas.

“That’s when we will really understand if Menegazzo is destined to join the Grifoni.”

Menegazzo played for Siena and Catania from 2003 to 2005.

“Well, he is prepared to give up a very important competition such as the Champions League in order to return to Italy,” explained his agent.

“Genoa’s project convinced him as well as the club’s ambitions.”

[Source: Pianetagenoa1893.net]

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Mancini wants to keep Robinho at City

New Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has urged Brazilian forward Robinho to remain at Eastlands.

Mancini replaced Mark Hughes as manager at Eastlands on Saturday, but was officially unveiled on Monday.

Robinho has long been linked with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona and admitted on Monday that he was keen on talks with Mancini over his future at Eastlands.

“Robinho is a fantastic player,” he said.

“But for a big player like him, it is important to make the history of a club.

“I played at Sampdoria for 15 years. I wrote the history. It is important. Robinho can do that here.”

[Source: The Sun]

Tue 22 December, 2009
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Lippi rules out Juve return

(GSM) – Marcello Lippi won’t return to Juventus after the World Cup in South Africa. The Italy coach has been linked with a return to his former club next season, but now he has ended speculations.

Italian media reported that Lippi would return to Juve after the World Cup, on the bench or on the board of directors. Now, the 61-year-old tactician has stated that he will not be involved with the Bianconeri in any shape or form. He also backed his former pupil and current Juve coach Ciro Ferrara, who is under fire following a run of three successive defeats.

“After the World Cup, I will not return to Juventus,” Lippi stated to Sky Sports 24. “I am not a puppet of the team.

“I have simply given some tips to the directors, saying that Ferrara is an excellent coach, and endorsing Fabio Cannavaro and Fabio Grosso as good acquisitions.

“Ciro has made some errors, but that is because of his age, but he has the right personality and charisma to do really well.

“He also has some clear ideas,” Lippi added.

Tue 22 December, 2009
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