Fiorentina slam federation as Prandelli named Italy coach

Fiorentina have launched a stinging attack on the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for its handling of the appointment of Cesare Prandelli as national team coach.

After five years in the Fiorentina hotseat, Prandelli is due to take over from Marcello Lippi as Italy coach after the World Cup in South Africa.

But ‘La Viola’ have hit out at the FIGC for keeping them in the dark about the appointment.

“We only found out about the agreement between (FIGC) president (Giancarlo) Abete and Prandelli from the FIGC website and the press,” said a club statement.

“We consider this seriously poor behaviour and a huge lack of respect for our club and our fans.”

Prandelli is believed to have not yet actually signed a contract as some details are yet to be ironed out.

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Roberto Bettega and Juventus part ways

(GSM) – Serie A giants Juventus have announced the departure of director Roberto Bettega, through a statement on the club’s official website.

Bettega, a prolific striker of his time, represented the Bianconeri’s for over a decade, making more than 300 appearances in the process.

The Italian, who later became the club’s vice-president, returned to the club midway through the disappointing 2009-10 campaign as vice-chairman in order to help steady the ship.

However, the Turin giants and Bettega have now decided to part ways with the new management and coach Luigi Del Neri looking to rebuild the squad ahead of next season.

“Juventus and Roberto Bettega communicate the successful termination of their collaboration,” read the statement.

“Juventus thank Roberto Bettega for working with the club at a particularly complex time. Bettega salutes the white and black jersey and it’s fans, he has dedicated a long and memorable part of his life to the club with passion and love in exciting times and also the most difficult ones.”

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

S.Korean defender Kwak out of the World Cup

South Korea defender Kwak Tae-Hwi has had to pull out of the World Cup after injuring his knee in a warm-up match against Belarus over the weekend, South Korea’s football association announced Monday.

The Kyoto Sanga player will be replaced by Kang Min-Soo, who was cut from the preliminary squad named earlier this month by coach Huh Jung-Moo, the association added.

Huh is due to announce Tuesday the final list of 23 players who will travel to South Africa for the June 11-July 11 World Cup.

South Korea, who have been training in Austria for the past week, play a last warm-up match against Spain on Thursday in Innsbruck.

In the group stage of the World Cup, the Koreans will face Argentina, Greece and Nigeria.

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Trapattoni: Capello interested in Inter job

(GSM) – Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni believes that fellow countryman, Fabio Capello, would relish the opportunity to manage Internazionale.

Capello, who currently is managing England in their bid for their second World Cup title, has a contract that runs upto Euro 2012 tournament.

However, the current deal has a release clause which allows him to move on after the World Cup.

While Football Association officials have resumed discussions with the Italian with a view to removing the clause, Trapattoni believes Capello is interested by Inter.

The Italian and European champions need a new boss following Jose Mourinho’s move to Real Madrid and president Massimo Moratti has indicated he will move for the 63-year-old once England’s World Cup campaign is over.

Trapattoni told Italian TV station RAI’s ‘GR Parlamento’ show: “Even before Mourinho left, I imagined the name of his possible replacement.

“Inter’s next coach? At this time, Capello is the No.1 candidate.

“There’s no doubt about his wish but it depends on his contract.”

He added: “I think it will depend on his contract but Moratti even in the past had the possibility to sign him.

“Knowing Fabio, he is very focused but his situation is very difficult and he is followed by everyone.

“Ahead of a World Cup, a false step could create problems for him.”

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Gilardino believes his time has come to shine

Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino said Monday he believes the time has come for him to shine for Italy at the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Gilardino was part of the World Cup winning squad in Germany four years ago and although he started the tournament as first choice, he had lost his place by the quarter-finals and did not play in the final.

This time, though, he wants to be one of Italy’s main protagonists.

“I want to have a great World Cup, I’m working on the little things, physical and technical, so that I can begin it in the right way,” he said from Italy’s altitude training base in Sestriere.

“As for whether or not I’ll be first choice, it’s up to (coach Marcello) Lippi to decide but I feel I’m at 100 percent.

“I’m ready to take on my responsibilities, this is a decisive moment in my career.”

Gilardino scored in the 1-1 draw against the United States in the group stages in Germany but was substituted in both other group games.

He was hauled off at half-time in the second round against Australia and made only a brief substitute appearance thereafter, coming on for Luca Toni in the semi-final against Germany.

Back then Gilardino was an AC Milan player but he moved to Fiorentina a couple of years later after losing his place in the team to teenage forwards Pato and Alberto Paloschi.

And Gilardino is still bitter about being ditched by the Milanese giants.

“I scored 45 goals, people say they were wrong to put their faith in me but the numbers prove that I scored a lot for Milan,” he said.

Although the World Cup is the perfect shop window for clubs looking to recruit, Gilardino now seems focused only on convincing Lippi he is worthy of a regular staring place in the ‘Squadra Azzurra’.

“I’ve been feeling great in Florence for the last two years and I have three more years on my contract,” he added. “But I don’t want to think about the transfer market, or the future.”

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Klose faces tough task

(GSM) – Germany coach Joachim Low says Bayern München striker Miroslav Klose will have to work hard to get back into form ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

The 31-year-old was the top scorer and the Golden Boot winner at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, with five goals. The forward has scored 48 goals in 95 appearances for Germany.

Germany won a comfortable 3-0 victory against Hungary in Budapest on May 29, but Klose failed to make an impact.

“It is clear that it will be no easy task to get Miro in form,” Low said in the Bild newspaper.

“It will be hard work, for him, for us. He has to work a lot. He still hasn’t shown the form that he is actually capable of. For Miro it is now about becoming more certain in training,” the tactician explained.

Klose also holds the record for being the only player to score 5 goals in consecutive World Cups.

“People have often written Miro off before,” Germany boss added.

“But when it comes to it, he is there,” the 50-year-old said.

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Mourinho targets Real C.League win in two years

A confident Jose Mourinho said he will need only two years to win the Champions League with Real Madrid after he was officially unveiled as the Spanish giants’ new coach on Monday.

Mourinho joined Real on a four-year deal in the wake of leading Inter Milan to an historic treble of successes in Italy’s Serie A championship, the Italian Cup and Champions League.

And after replacing Manuel Pellegrini, sacked last week after a barren season having spent 250 million euros on new players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso, Mourinho feels he can do far better than the 56-year-old Chilean.

“The second year is key, it is the year when you find the right balance. It was during my second year at Chelsea that we reached the Champions League final. It was during my second year that we won the Champions League at Inter Milan,” he said.

“I want to say that we don’t need much time to build a coherent team, to build a team that meets its objectives,” the 47-year-old Portuguese coach added.

Real have been crowned kings of Europe nine times but their last Champions League triumph came in 2002.

Under Pellegrini this season Real finished runners-up to arch rivals Barcelona in the league, exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage and spectacularly crashed out of the King’s Cup to third division Alcorcon.

Mourinho said little about what changes, if any, he would bring to the squad, placing his focus on the need to forge a winning identity throughout the club.

“It’s too early to speak about changes. I believe it is time to analyse the situation, to get to know my club, ask lots of questions and get answers. I need to realise the direction of my work,” he said.

“The most important thing is not the coach or the players but the club. We are too small compared to the dimension of the club. If we work as a group, it’s not difficult to get results.”

Mourinho made his name when he led FC Porto to the Champions League title in 2004.

A hugely successful spell followed at Chelsea, and despite leaving the club before they went on to lose the 2008 final to Manchester United he resurrected his career with Inter.

His two-year spell at the Serie A side has left him as one of the most in-demand coaches in football.

“The promise I make to Real is that I am Jose Mourinho and Jose Mourinho works hard, works well, is very dedicated and aims to break limits,” the Portuguese coach said.

“I am a coach that has a lot of self-esteem and confidence and I don’t think about the possibility of being sacked,” he added.

“I think four years of contract is enough to win, to build a strong team for the present and the future.

“I have a lot of confidence in my players, I have the hope that my new players have confidence in me.”

Mourinho becomes Real’s 10th coach in as many seasons, during a period when their great rivals Barcelona have had just two with better results and titles.

“I am a coach that has a lot of self-esteem and confidence and I don’t think about the possibility of being sacked,” he said.

“I think four years of contract is enough to win, to build a strong team for the present and the future.

“I have a lot of confidence in my players, I have the hope that my new players have confidence in me.”

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Nigeria drop Everton striker Anichebe

Nigeria have dropped Everton striker Victor Anichebe, but included Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel in their final 23-man squad for the World Cup released on Monday.

The other surprise exclusions from Nigeria’s World Cup party are Real Zaragoza striker Ikechukwu Uche and Nice defender Onyekachi Apam, who have both appeared not to have overcome knee injury problems.

Ikechukwu Uche was joint top scorer in the qualifiers with four goals but has been out of action for seven months following a major knee injury.

The other dropped players are Peter Utaka, Victor Anichebe, Bassey Akpan, Terna Suswan and Brown Ideye.

Mikel is recuperating from knee surgery and only joined up with the rest of the squad Friday after he was certified fit by doctors of his London club.

Nigeria, who drew 1-1 in a friendly with Colombia on Sunday, are drawn in Group B along with Argentina, Greece and South Korea and play their first match on June 12 against Argentina.

Nigeria World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv/ISR), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda/ISR), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva/ISR)

Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Marseille/FRA), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes/FRA), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Joseph Yobo (Everton/ENG), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers/ENG), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg/AUT)

Midfielders: Kalu Uche (Almeria/ESP), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham/ENG), Mikel Obi (Chelsea/ENG), Sani Kaita (Alaniya/RUS), Haruna Lukman (Monaco/FRA), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev/UKR)

Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton/ENG), Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim/GER), Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (Portsmouth/ENG), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg/GER), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga/ESP), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS)

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Kwak’s World Cup dream over

(GSM) – Korea Republic defender Kwak Tae-Hwi’s dream of playing in the World Cup finals looks over after suffering a knee injury in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Belarus in Austria.

The 28-year-old Kyoto Sanga player Kwak suffered a knee injury in the warm-up match against Belarus on Sunday and carried off on a stretcher.

“Kwak will need at least four weeks to recover from twisting a ligament in his left knee,” said media officer Lee Won-Jae.

Coach Huh Jung-Moo will announce his final 23-player squad on Tuesday. He is set to call up either Suwon Bluewings defender Kang Min-Soo or Hwang Jae-Won to take Kwak’s place.

The team completes their preparations against European champions Spain on Thursday.

South Korea are in group B at the World Cup together with Argentina, Nigeria and Greece.

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed

Giampaolo bags Catania job

(GSM) – Marco Giampaolo has been appointed the new head coach of Catania on Sunday.

Catania have named the former Siena coach as their new boss following the resignation of Sinisa Mihajlovic last week

“Marco Giampaolo will take charge of the Catania first-team squad for the 2010-11 season,” the statement mentioned in the club’s official website.

“Giampaolo is a good coach, very professional and really talented,” said sporting director Pietro Lo Monaco.

“Tactically he is one of the best in Italy,” he revealed.

The 42-year-old had been out of a job since being sacked as coach of Siena in October.

The Sicilians finished last season in 13th place despite having looked odds on to be relegated in the first half of the season.

Mon 31 May, 2010
RSS Feed