Archive for the ‘Liverpool’ tag
Michael Owen a former England striker has announced his retirement from football at the end of the season.
Debuting for Liverpool at only 17 years old, before his famous solo goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
Owen, 33, who scored 40 goals in 89 internationals, played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United and is now at Stoke. Including a hattrick against Germany in England’s famous 5-1 victory over their rivals in 2001.
He said: “It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire.
“I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey I could only have dreamed of.”
He has scored 220 goals in his club career, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup (three times) and Uefa Cup. Owen was named European Footballer of the Year in 2001 – the first Englishman to achieve the accolade since Kevin Keegan in 1979.
“Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first-team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career,”
Craig Bellamy’s fairytale triumph over Manchester City is a delicious irony that embarrasses the world’s richest club
Love him or hate him, and Craig Bellamy has come a long way since he famously rubbished Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, you have to respect the brilliance of the proud Welshman.
Shipped out on loan to his beloved Cardiff when Manchester City inexplicably dumped him a couple of years ago, it is poetic that Bellamy – arguably the best player in Roberto Mancini’s team at the time – rubbed his former club’s noses in it by knocking them out of the Carling Cup.
Bellers was outstanding in an epic semi-final with a match winning display and the goal that sealed Liverpool’s dramatic 3-2 aggregate win at Anfield. But the fact that City allowed him to join the Merseysiders on a free transfer makes you question whether or not the Arab funded Mancunians have more money than sense.
The truth is City have made a habit of falling out with their best players. Despite all the spin that turned their fans against former skipper Carlos Tevez, does anyone really believe that the Blues are a better team without the hard-to-handle Argentinian?
There is no doubt City have assembled a formidable side. But there is still a sense that Mancini’s men lack the mental strength they need to emulate Manchester’s champions over at Old Trafford. And there is a suspicion that their Italian boss is too quick to fall out with strong personalities.
It will be interesting to see if Mancini can go the distance with Mario Balotelli, or will the head-stamping bad boy go the same way as Tevez and Bellamy?
In Bellamy’s case there is no logic whatsoever to the way Mancini discarded him after an outstanding season back in 2010 – and for City to eventually send him packing on a free transfer is just crazy.
There is no doubt City’s loss has been Liverpool’s gain and for Bellamy now to be looking forward to a Wembley final against his hometown club Cardiff in the final is a fairytale outcome that is richly deserved.
Andre Villas-Boas must drop skipper John Terry if he wants to prove he is strong enough to manage Chelsea
Ridiculous as it may sound Andre Villas-Boas’s Stamford Bridge honeymoon is already over – and the rookie Chelsea manager could be out of a job before the New Year.
While Roberto Mancini has spectacularly come of age as a Premiership manager by turning Manchester City into a genuine force to challenge Europe’s best, the problem facing AVB is that his boss Roman Abramovich has no patience. The Russian billionaire will be counting the disastrous cost of failure if Chelsea fail to qualify for the Champions League and that will now be a worry after two successive home defeats to rivals Arsenal and Liverpool.
With skipper John Terry – embarrassed by Arsenal when the Gunners trounced the Blues 5-3 last month – again the fall guy as Liverpool won 2-1 at the Bridge, Villas Boas must decide whether or not to stand by his captain.And that hot potato is a dilemma that could define his future in West London.
The Portuguese manager is only 34 years old and has only been sitting in the Stamford Bridge hot seat for 18 matches. But his appointment is only ever going to work if Abramovich makes it clear he is giving him the time he needs to re-build the Blues. And there is less chance of that happening than Carlos Tevez winning a Mr Manchester popularity contest. Especially with Abromich already making it know he would love to reappoint Guus Hiddink
KING CANTONA’S RETURN WILL CROWN TRIBUTE FOR SCHOLES THE GREATEST ENGLISH FOOTBALLER OF 21ST CENTURY
How fitting that Paul Scholes – the outstanding English footballer of his generation – will be honoured by the return of Eric the King to Old Trafford.
Eric Cantona will coach the legendary New York Cosmos who take on Manchester United on Friday 5 August in the testimonial for the incomparable Scholes.
Cantona quit United in 1997 after winning four titles and two domestic doubles in his five seasons at the club.
“I am looking forward to returning to Old Trafford in my new role with New York Cosmos,” said Cantona.
“I wish to congratulate Paul for such an incredible career at Manchester United.”
Scholes, who announced his retirement in the wake of United’s Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, said: “I have spent my whole footballing life at Manchester United, so this will be an emotional farewell.
“I hope the fans enjoy the night, especially seeing the boss and Eric battling it out in front of the dugouts.”
MANCHESTER IS THE NEW MILAN: A CITY UNITED AS THE CENTRE OF THE FOOTBALLING UNIVERSE. CAN LIVERPOOL STRIKE BACK?
Welcome to the dawning of a new era with the City of Manchester now well and truly the centre of the footballing universe. And mark my words this is great news for United because there is nothing like a new challenge to keep you on your toes.
In case you needed a reminder the United are still the top dog, it was sweet irony that once again United eclipsed City on the day Roberto Mancini’s men claimed their first trophy in 35 years.
As City beat Stoke 1-0 at Wembley to win the FA Cup thanks to Yaya Toure’s late strike, United fans were already back in Manchester celebrating another Premier League triumph and a record-breaking 19th League title courtesy of their 1-1 draw at Blackburn secured by Wayne Rooney’s penalty.
But this was a day for Manchester to be United in celebration. Not just because the City can proudly boast the unique feat of winning two trophies on the same day. It is great for Manchester to be the undisputed Mecca of fooball. Even Milan can no longer match the glamour of England’s hotbed of football. And the odds are that the new intensity is here to stay.
I remember the end of the 60s when United and City last dominated football in this country. It was great for both clubs. And this time that great rivalry can last much longer than it did back in the days of Best, Law, Charlton and Lee, Bell, Summerbee.
With Liverpool getting their act together under the legendary Kenny Dalglish, what are the odds on the North-West giants occupying the top three positions in the Premier League next season and eclipsing the fading stars of Chelsea and Arsenal.
My bet is that Sir Alex Ferguson’s record-breakers will face a rejuvenated challenge from Liverpool next season as the Merseysiders seek to match United’s 19th League title. When Chelsea frivolously handed the Pool £50million for Fernando Torres Dalglish invested the money wisely and now has a good mix of established stars and exciting upcoming youngsters.
But the real fascination will be how much ground can neighbours City make up on Fergie’s champions after ending their 35 year wait for a trophy to add to their qualification for the Champions League.
There is no doubt City must spend another vast fortune if they want to rival the Reds at the top table. But that will be harder said than done despite their untold riches and their Champions League status.
The reason is the introduction of UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play rules.
Michel Platini has warned that the likes of big-spending Manchester City and Chelsea, and some of Europe’s biggest clubs, will have to ‘face the music’ if they do not comply with the new FFP regulations.
UEFA’s latest figures show that financial problems affecting European clubs are getting worse, with spending on player wages up almost 10 per cent – and increasing at a faster rate than income.
Under their new rules, clubs will face possible bans from European competition from the 2014/15 season if they spend more than they earn in the three years before.
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NOT ONLY HAS FERGIE "KNOCKED LIVERPOOL OFF THEIR BLOODY PERCH" – HE’S THE GREATEST FOOTBALL MANAGER EVER
OK it’s never over until the Fat Lady sings and Manchester United still need one more point to confirm that record-breaking 19th title that will finally achieve Sir Alex Ferguson’s mission of “knocking Liverpool off their bloody perch.”
But the party has already started – and no one will stop The Red Devils now after a pulsating 2-1 win against Chelsea that will deservedly bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford.
The really big question now is can United crown arguably Fergie’s greatest ever season by beating Barcelona at Wembley to win the Champions League? With Ryan Giggs playing the best football of his career, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez an unstoppable force, and the brilliant Edwin Van Der Saar playing behind the best back four in Europe, United have the ammunition to end the season with the ultimate victory.
And that will make a mockery of the critics who keep telling us this is not a great United team. While other clubs have squandered millions, United’s miracle worker has quietly re-built yet another team capable of winning everything. And it’s the unerring longevity of the Glaswegian that makes him so special.
When Ferguson famously arrived at Old Trafford 25 years ago and said his aim was to emulate Liverpool as the most prolific club in England, this is what he was talking about. Remarkably, when United complete the Premier League formalities, this will be Fergie’s 12th title. United’s previous seven titles came between 1908 and 1967.
Not only has the greatest football manager of all time achieved yet another impossible dream. But once again he has made fools of the Southern-biased media who can’t wait to see him fail.
Seven months ago Chelsea looked odds-on to retain the Premier League title and the prophets of gloom were writing off Manchester United and their manager as a spent force. But then came Fergie’s masterful handing of the Wayne Rooney saga that – as I predicted at the time – re-ignited United’s latest trophy haul.
At a time when the stakes have never been higher and other football clubs have much bigger budgets than the Red half of Manchester, United have proved why they are the greatest football club on the planet. If United can add victory over Barca on May 28 no one will be able to deny that Fergie is simply the best.
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There is much more than the Premier League title at stake when Manchester United face down defending champions Chelsea in the mother of all showdowns at The Theatre of Dreams on Sunday.
When Sir Alex Ferguson famously arrived at Old Trafford 25 years ago and said he’d arrived to knock Liverpool off their perch this is what he was talking about. A record breaking 19th League title will see The Red Devils finally eclipse their Merseyside rivals.
The football world asked themselves who was this crazy Glaswegian who thought he could achieve what seemed an impossible feat when he made his proud boast all those years ago.
“How long did this guy think he was going to be in the job,” says former England boss Graham Taylor, a reaction that was pretty much the universal response from everyone in the game.
But here we are a quarter of century later and the last man standing who can stop Fergie achieving that impossible dream is Carlo Ancelotti manager of a resurgent Chelsea side who have clawed back a 15 point deficit to stand just three points behind the League leaders with three matches remaining.
Victory for the Blues will put them top on goal difference with two to play. But any other result will surely put United on the road to the prize that United fans want above all other.
It s going to be a classic content, the occasion guarantees that it will be something special. And how great will it be for Fergie to effectively secure the record 19th title with victory over Ancelotti in front of a full house at Old Trafford – not to mention 600 million homes around the globe.
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Barcelona deservedly made it to the final of the Champions League by seeing off Real Madrid – but let’s be honest Pep Guardiola’s team are certainly not unbeatable.
Barring a disaster in their semi-final second leg against Schalke, it’s going to be a repeat of the 2009 Final. And Manchester United are the one team with the strength of character to conquer the Catalans if they get their tactics right.
Two years ago in Rome, United were outclassed largely due to the fact Cristiano Ronaldo went missing and the Reds were effectively playing with 10 men.
But let’s wait and see what happens at Old Trafford against Schalke – a match that will be influenced by Sunday’s all important Premier League showdown with Chelsea because key players will be rested against the Germans in advance of the weekend crunch contest United can not afford to lose.
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FOOTBALL FANS and the media are so fickle it is hard to take them seriously when they instantly call for the manager’s head whenever things don’t go according to plan. And this time it is Arsene Wenger who is the target for the baying mob.
When Arsenal allowed two points to slip away for the second time in four days and let North London rivals Tottenham fight back from two goals down to earn a 3-3 draw, it was inevitable that radio phone-ins would be swamped with disgruntled Gunners fans calling time on the greatest manager in their history.
A few days ago the media was telling us that Carlo Ancelotti is a dead man walking at Stamford Bridge following the Blues Champions League exit at the hands of title rivals Manchester United.
But with five matches remaining, the race for the Premier League is still very much alive – despite United holding a six point advantage over their two London rivals. Wenger and Ancelotti still have the chance to finish up with a piece of silverware if United slip up – and that makes it even more ridiculous that the media and the fans are already writing off the London bosses.
It remains odds on that the title will go to Old Trafford. And yet there is still everything to play for because there is mounting pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson’s men who have yet to face both Arsenal and Chelsea either side of their decisive Champions League semi-final second leg against Schalke.
Certainly there is no margin for error when United face Everton at home on Saturday lunchtime, ahead of Chelsea’s game against West Ham and Arsenal’s Monday night trip to Bolton.
Thirty years ago Ipswich Town were heading for a Treble when Sir Bobby Robson’s men were derailed in the FA Cup by Manchester City. On that occasion Aston Villa came strong on the rails to take the Championship – and Robson’s team had to settle for the UEFA Cup.
Fergie knows he still has a big job on his hands to go one better than his old friend. And it is no surprise Manchester United’s manager is still fuming over the referee’s failure to award a pivotal penalty at the end of Tuesday night’s goal-less draw at Newcastle.
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Jose Mourinho’s declaration that he will return to manage in the Premier League one day guarantees the self-appointed “special one” will be linked with every top job until he is “back home”.
The big question is ‘Where will Mourinho end up?’ The truth is you can make a compelling case for the current Real Madrid boss to take the helm at any of the EPL’s Big Six. But my belief is that the Portuguese maestro will wait for the top job, and the chance to succeed his good friend Sir Alex Ferguson – for the next couple of years at least.
There is no guarantee Mourinho will even get the job. There is a question mark over whether or not he can deliver the swashbuckling football United fans and their history demand. There is no sign of Sir Alex being ready to step aside as he closes in on the possibility of his greatest ever season in his 70th year.
Yet there is an aura and intoxicating self-belief about Mourinho that makes him absolutely perfect for United. And the very doubt about whether or not he could deliver at the world’s biggest and most famous club is precisely why the man at Madrid has his eyes on Old Trafford.
I’m not convinced Mourinho will get the chance to prove himself any time soon. Fergie has the hunger and desire to go on indefinitely. And how can anyone follow the most successful football manager in the history of the game? But I can’t think of anyone better equipped to take on the hardest job in football.
When Roman Abramovich forced Mourinho out of Chelsea, he made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. And despite his affection for his time at Stamford Bridge, the devil in Mourinho would give him immense satisfaction to come back to the Premier League and rub the Russian’s nose in the billionaire’s miserable failure to understand that some things money just can’t buy.
With Carlo Ancelotti joining the long list of Chelsea managers failing to win the Champions League, the Italian is vulnerable despite winning the Double last year, because this season will end trophy-less. As I predicted on transfer deadline day – if Chelsea fail to finish in the top four – Ancelotti will pay the price for the crazy 50 million pound signing of Fernando Torres. He may already be a dead man walking.
Either way do not expect Mourinho to rush back to Chelsea. He has already strongly rejected suggestions he will replace Roberto Mancini at Eastlands, whether or not Manchester City fail to end their 35 year wait for a trophy and miss out on a Champions League place.
Tottenham will undoubtedly make another move for Mourinho – who has previously turned them down on at least one occasion – when Harry Redknapp becomes the next England manager.
He will also be top of the list at Liverpooland Arsenal, should Kenny Dalglish step down or Arsene Wenger finally run out of time. Arsenal’s last trophy was the 2005 FA Cup and Liverpool have never won the Premier League.
Unless Fergie delivers another Treble next month and decides to bow out in style – and even then I think he will want to carry on – I expect Mourinho to bide his time and remain in Madrid for another season at least.
In the meantime, what are the odds now on my prophecy coming true and Fergie having to conquer Mourinho’s Madrid at Wembley to win the Champions League?
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