Agent: Doni not going anywhere

(GSM) – Doni’s agent has insisted that the Roma keeper will not be leaving the Italian capital any sooner as he has not heard anything official from West Ham United.

Reports in England have suggested that West Ham United would involve the Brazilian goalkeeper in a swap deal for Swiss defender Valon Behrami, who is reportedly a Roma target.

Doni, who is currently on international duty in South Africa, has slipped down the Giallorossi’s pecking order and could be offloaded by the club this summer.

But the 30-year-old’s agent Ovidio Colucci insists nothing will be decided until after the tournament.

Colucci has not been in touch with anyone regarding his client’s services and claims that Doni is only focused on success at the World Cup.

“I read these rumours in the newspapers but there’s nothing concrete,” Colucci told calciomercato.it.

“We’ve had no contact with other clubs. I’ve not heard from Doni in a long time.

“He’s busy at the moment with the Brazilian national team. He’s focused only on the World Cup.

“We’ll think about his future only after the tournament.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Laporta: Villa signing was right

(GSM) – Outgoing Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said that David Villa’s sensational form for Spain in the World Cup has justified the club’s decision to sign the player before the mega-event in South Africa.

Catalan giants paid €40 million for Villa in May with the player achieving star status for Spain after scoring four goals so far, including the winner as Vicente del Bosque’s side knocked out Portugal to reach the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

“Now everybody agrees we were right when we said that it was better to sign before the World Cup. What would it cost today to sign Villa? Let’s say, at least, 20 million more,” he told Sport.

However, Laporta was not able to tie up the signing of Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, but is hoping the Catalan midfielder returns.

“I would keep Toure, bring in Cesc and also another striker because it looks like Henry is leaving. That would be enough,” he said.

And Laporta, who is set to hand over the reins to new president Sandro Rosell, believes he has left the club in good hands.

“What’s left is a club with an enormous potential to keep on winning,” he said.

“As well as the signings, our homegrown players, (Lionel) Messi, (Andres) Iniesta, Xavi, (Carles) Puyol, (Gerard) Pique and Victor Valdes are up there with the best in the world.”

Laporta also believes coach Pep Guardiola is the right man to lead Barca to further glory in the coming years.

“He has had two excellent years, but I still think his record as coach will have a much longer journey because he has impressive abilities,” he said.

“He lives the club, he suffers, he enjoys it and by God, he knows a lot!

“Guardiola is the closest thing to perfection that I have ever come across in the world of football and he has an enormous potential to keep on winning.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Deschamps considered Reds approach

(GSM) – Olympique Marseille boss Didier Deschamps has revealed that he considered Liverpool’s approach before signing a contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions.

Liverpool had contacted the French champions as they pursued their their interest in appointing World Cup-winning captain as a successor to Rafael Benitez.

However, Deschamps ended the speculation over his future by signing a contract extension, which keeps him at Stade Velodrome until June 2012.

And it seems that Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is now favourite to land the Anfield post with an announcement expected in the next 24 hours.

Deschamps said: “I have been contacted by a great club, and of course it leads you to think.

“It was not a money matter. I have always favoured the sporting aspect.

“I have extended, and I am pleased with it. The chairman wanted it. I am always asking for respect from the players, I had to fulfil my commitment.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Injury scare for Podolski

(GSM) – Germany striker Lukas Podolski has suffered an injury scare ahead of his nation’s crucial World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina.

The Köln forward ended his training prematurely on Wednesday afternoon as Joachim Loew’s side prepare for Saturday’s clash at Green Point Stadium.

Team officials later revealed that it was purely a precautionary measure after Podolski complained of a minor muscle problem.

And it seems the 25-year-old is expected to play in Cape Town as fellow forward Cacau continues his road to recovery from an abdominal muscle strain.

Cacau missed the victory over England with the injury and a decision over his fitness will now be made on Friday.

Loew said: “Apart from Cacau, all other players are participating in training. He is doing some light running and therapy. But today and tomorrow it will not happen (training with the team).

“So he is also doubtful for the weekend. The final decision will be taken on Friday.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Sabatini: Kjaer can join Wolfsburg

(GSM) – Palermo’s director of football Walter Sabatini has revealed that Denmark’s Simon Kjaer is open to a move to join Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg.

The 21-year-old, who has been impressive at the club level helping Palermo to a Europa League spot last season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United reportedly showing their interest in securing the services of the center-half.

However, Sabatini admits that the Bundesliga club, who are now managed by the former England manager McClaren, are favourites to sign the sought-after Dane.

Sabatini told reterete 24: “For Simon Kjaer, there could well be a real deal. I believe that Wolfburg will be his likely destination.”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Should Torres be dropped from Spanish team ahead of quarter-final clash?

Tuesday’s last 16 World Cup clash between Spain and Portugal only came to life when one of Spain’s top players came off the pitch.

Fernando Torres came off early in the second half and was replaced by Athletic Bilbao star Fernando Llorente.

Impact

The 25 year-old’s introduction had an immediate impact as shortly after he replaced Torres Spain scored.

The giant striker had his best scoring campaign last term scoring eight goals in the Europa League and getting into double figures in La Liga.

He has now made eight appearances for his country and scored three goals. He was considered a back-up player before the tournament started but impressed in his cameo against Portugal. He added a physical presence up front.

He added an extra dimension to the Spanish side. He may have done better with two decent chances but they were not the easiest chances in the world. He is Spain’s plan B. The likes of England, France and Italy didn’t have a plan B but Spain have and that’s why they are regarded as one of the best international sides in the world and their rivals headed home early from South Africa.

Limp

Anyway back to the player Llorente replaced Fernando Torres. The Liverpool striker has looked limp and has struggled to find his best form at the World Cup. He doesn’t look like his usual pacy self.

Injured

Torres missed the last few months of the last Premier League season after undergoing knee surgery. There were even doubts that he would make the Spanish squad. Everybody knew though that if the 26 year-old was anywhere near fit he would back in the squad.

He obviously hasn’t fully recovered from the injury and hasn’t had enough time to recuperate. The Spanish fans must be hoping he gets back to his best at some point in the tournament. Unfortunately I don’t think he will have time to get fit enough to get back to his best

Defence

His international strike-partner David Villa told Sky Sports: “We know what state his knee was in a month ago and I don’t agree with those who say that Fernando Torres’s performances have been below par,”

“The only blame you can pin on him in the opening stages (of the World Cup) is that he hasn’t scored. His desire to be with the team has been spectacular.”

By contrast Villa is currently vying for the golden boot having already scored four goals in South Africa. Torres also failed to score in qualification.

Disappointing

Torres is not the only high-profile player to disappoint in South Africa. The likes of England’s Wayne Rooney and Portugal’s CristianoRonaldo proved to be major disappointments at the World Cup. So Torres isn’t alone in underperforming. At least Torres has a reason for his poor performances; the other two however have no defence for their poor performances.

Unsettled

With Liverpool’s current struggles Torres has been linked with a move away from Anfield. A price tag of £70million has been mentioned with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea believed to be interested in signing the striker.

Liverpool are massively in debt and won’t be able to offer Champions League football next season. Maybe this summer would be a good time for him to consider a new challenge. There wouldn’t be a shortage of offers if he did decide to move on.

Unlikely

It’s unlikely that Spanish boss Vicente Del Bosque will drop the Liverpool striker. He knows that if he regains some of his match sharpness then he will again be a deadly weapon in front of goal.

If the Spanish boss does decide to drop the 26 year-old it’s more likely that he will switch to a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 than use the very useful Llorente. It will be hard on Llorente but Spain has such an array of options available to them that you have to be something special to get into their starting line-up.

Should Torres keep his place in the Spanish starting line-up for their quarter-final clash with Paraguay?

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Aguirre quits as Mexico coach

Javier Aguirre on Wednesday resigned as Mexico coach following the team’s defeat to Argentina in the last 16 of the World Cup.

The 50-year-old replaced ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson in February this year, but Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Argentina in Johannesburg was the fifth time the country had failed at the second round stage.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Argentine prospect credits Italy with improvement

Argentina prospect Javier Pastore on Wednesday credited Italian football with the improvement he has made to allow him to be a part of his country’s World Cup squad.

Pastore was a surprise selection for many people when national team coach Diego Maradona called him up to his 23-man squad.

And the 21-year-old Palermo midfield playmaker said that a year in Serie A has brought his game on in a number of ways.

“I think Italian football has helped me tactically and in terms of getting back when we don’t have the ball,” he said.

“It helps me a lot in Italy because sometimes I play in the middle and sometimes beside the number five (holding midfielder) but it’s better for me to play on the wing because I can do more with the ball.”

Pastore has made two brief substitute appearances in this World Cup but revealed that he has a good chance of being named in Maradona’s first choice XI for Saturday’s quarter-final clash with Germany.

And the former Talleres and Huracan star, who hails from Cordoba, said that he has been impressed with the Germans.

“Of course they will be very tough opponents but in this phase of the tournament all the teams are difficult. We are very good too,” he said.

“I think Germany have good attacking midfielders, they have very fast players on the wings so we must concentrate on that as well as set-pieces where they are strong.

“Dead ball situations are very important in football today so we will need to have cool heads and courage.”

However, despite Germany’s attacking prowess, Pastore believes Argentina have the answer to ensure that it is they who emerge victorious, and that means sticking to their usual gameplan.

“We will play how we always play, keeping possession and waiting for the right moment to attack,” he said.

“We always create chances, this is the way we play, keeping hold of the ball as much as possible so we can dictate the game.

“Against Greece we had a lot of the ball and also against Mexico, we create chances because we have the ball and I believe that I’m the right type of player for this style.

“This will be a tight match with few goal-scoring chances, but I think this game will be a little more open than our friendly in March (which Argentina won 1-0 in Germany).”

Wed 30 June, 2010
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I have no problem with Van Persie, says Sneijder

Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder insisted on Wednesday that there has been no World Cup fall-out with striker Robin van Persie, who was unhappy at being substituted in the 2-1 second round victory over Slovakia.

Van Persie had been accused of angrily suggesting to coach Bert van Marwijk that Sneijder and not him should have been replaced.

The Arsenal striker, who has struggled throughout the finals, scoring just one goal, and Inter Milan player Sneijder were summoned for talks with van Marwijk on the flight back to their base camp following Monday’s match.

“Robin assured me that he had not said those words and I have no reason to doubt him,” said 26-year-old Sneijder, who went on to score the match-winning second goal, minutes after van Persie had been replaced.

“I don’t have a problem with him and I never have done. He was disappointed to come off, that one can understand and it really isn’t a serious matter.”

Sneijder, who has scored twice as the Netherlands attempt to win the trophy for the first time, insisted that unlike previous Dutch squads there was a sense of unity as they confront five-time champions Brazil in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

“We will be united as never before against Brazil,” he said.

“We have already drawn a line under the Last 16 match and we will be 120-percent raring to go against Brazil.”

The winners of that quarter-final will play the victors of Friday’s other last eight clash between two-time winners Uruguay – appearing in their first quarter-final in 40 years – and Africa’s sole remaining representatives Ghana.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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Bayern chasing Coentrao

(GSM) – Portugal full-back Fabio Coentrao has confirmed that several clubs are interested in signing him after impressing for Portugal in the World Cup.

Reports had suggested that Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is a fan of Coentrao. However, the latest reports have linked the Portuguese defender with a move to German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

A Spanish sports newspaper confirmed that Bayern Munich are interested in the 22-year-old and the player himself has confirmed interest to sign him – without naming the clubs.

“I have a contract with Benfica until 2015, but I don’t know how things stand right now. It seems there are clubs interested,” he told reporters.

“I would love to play for Benfica in the Champions League next season, but I’m not saying I want to be at the club forever, since in terms of budgets there are clubs that can offer more,” he added.

Wed 30 June, 2010
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