Tag Archives: AC Milan

Transfer round-up

Rafael van der Vaart

In which I publish a list of notable transfers, in no particular order:

Rafael van der Vaart to Tottenham: For a measly £8 million, Spurs added an excellent player in Rafael van der Vaart. He’ll give the offense a bit of class and a lot of punch. I never understand why he didn’t feature prominently at Real Madrid, not do I understand why he doesn’t play more for the Dutch national team. And I don’t understand why Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t all over this move, especially at only £8 million. Their loss is Tottenham’s gain.

Robinho to AC Milan: For €18 million, AC Milan added a supremely talented striker and malcontent. He’s one of those guys who needs constant attention, which must be exhausting, to be honest. However, I think he’ll provide a good return on the money because he’s motivated and he’s wanted at Milan.

Asamoah Gyan to Sunderland: Ambitious Sunderland added World Cup hero Gyan in a bid to give the offense a boost. I, for one, think it will work out just swimmingly.

Javier Mascherano to Barcelona: A terrible move for both club and player. Mascherano doesn’t fit Barcelona’s system at all. This is a vanity signing, pure and simple. And it’s destined for failure.

Raul Meireles to Liverpool: A good move for Liverpool because Meireles is a gifted player (despite his comically bad tattoos). I think he’ll work out fine.

Mario Balotelli to Manchester City: And City add another player. And overpay for the privilege, too. Of course, that’s been the story of the last couple of years. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Ramires to Chelsea: A good move by Chelsea. And cheap-ish, too.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under La Liga, Premiership, Serie A

Huzzah! The Champion’s League is back

milan v. real 2009 (getty)

Milan celebrating a goal v. Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Yeah, I’m overreacting to group games. But unlike some other killjoys, I actually like the Champion’s League.

Groups A through D are in action today with the most interesting game, IMO, taking place at the Giusepping Meazza, where AC Milan look to defeat Real Madrid again (recall that Milan won 3-2 in Madrid in the last round). You can be sure that Madrid will be out for blood while Milan and its fans will be pumped up. Should be a spectacular game overall.

Other interesting matches include Besiktas v. Wolfsburg, Marseille v. FC Zürich, and Atlético Madrid v. Chelsea.

At Old Trafford, United takes on CSKA Moscow following their 1-0 win in Moscow. Igor Akinfeev is excited: “We are playing a legendary team in a legendary stadium. It will be an inspirational game, the most important in our careers.” Personally, I hope he puts on a good show and gets used to the ground because I want him to join United when Edwin van der Sar retires. But that’s just me (and the priority for January should be a central defender).

Leave a comment

Filed under Champions League

Milan confirm Becks return

David Beckham in Milan

David Beckham in Milan

Well, that’s settled. Yippee-ki-yay. AC Milan have confirmed that David Beckham will return to the San Siro in January.

Sarcasm aside, good for him (it’s likely well-known that I actually like Beckham the football player, limited as he is. Perhaps it’s the Canadian in me and I appreciate his heart and the fact that he’ll play on 1 good leg for his country. That’s admirable, even with the underwear ads and other extracurricular stuff. But I digress.) and I hope he makes the 2010 World Cup team for England.

Leave a comment

Filed under MLS, Serie A

Saturday Night Links: Monday edition

Zlatan Ibrahimovic presented in Barcelona (Getty Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic presented in Barcelona (Getty Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimović completed his move to Barcelona today with a few choice words for Inter in particular and Italian soccer in general. “I was fed up of Italy, of Milan, of your football: you play badly, there’s too much stress.” Interesting. We all know Italian soccer is defensive but Italy is hardly the only country that takes its soccer way too seriously. He probably should have kept his mouth shut and kept on praising Inter chief Massimo Moretti. By the way, that’s a number 9 jersey he’s holding in the picture.

The other half of the swap, Samuel Eto’o, moved, along with the comically astronomical sum of €46 million, to Inter. The Cameroon striker pledged to score at a higher rate than he did in Barcelona (39 goals in 49 games last year). I don’t know what number he’s going to wear. Number 8 is clearly available but Eto’o has a preference for number 9. Does anyone know if number 10 is available at Inter?

Ives looks back at Mexico’s 5-0 destruction of the US in the Gold Cup Final. He seems to think it’s not that big a deal, something I agree with. Mexico was clearly the better team, esp. in the second half.

Peter Crouch has joined Tottenham from Portsmouth. I like the big awkward lug and think he’ll do well with Spurs.

Florentino Pérez says Real Madrid have to clear some players out. No shit, Sherlock. A.C. Milan are apparently interested in Klass-Jan Huntelaar, who is a very good striker but not nearly as good as the really rather awesome Karim Benzema.

Leave a comment

Filed under Saturday Night Links

What does the World Football Challenge mean?

Frank Lampard scores (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Frank Lampard scores (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

So what does the World Football Challenge mean, in the larger sense, for soccer in the US?

1. Attendance through 12 games was 670,000 and tickets were selling for 10 times face value. What does that tell you? It tells me that US fans will pay to see the best teams and players. But that has been clear since the 1994 World Cup. It also tells me that European teams are taking these games seriously.

2. MLS needs to stop expanding and develop the grassroots game. The best way to do that is to integrate USL-1 and USL-2 and improve loaning and player-development deals. It also needs to clarify its relationship with the NCAA. Most of it, it needs to develop and retain good American players will utilizing the DP slots more effectively. At its best, the slot is a way to generate good publicity and to help the team take a significant step forward. At its worst, the slot is a financial boondoggle. It’s up to MLS GMs to make sure it’s the former rather than the latter.

3. All those fans who are going to the World Football Challenge need to wake up and support their local MLS teams. That esp. goes for all the fans of Mexico who believe they are above MLS; they’re not. If they love soccer, they’ll watch it be played at its highest level in this country, even if they do, for some godforsaken reason, like América. Scratch that: América can keep all their fans. Every other one should check out FC Dallas or Houston.

4. All of those fans who are going to the World Football Challenge need to support the Gold Cup. It’s only natural.

The World Football Challenge is instructive in that it shows there is a kind of soccer elitism in the US. They will
come out for the best club teams and their players but they will not support their own league. If they ever want to
see the best players and best club teams every week, like the NFL or the NBA or MLB, they must start supporting MLS.

Alexi Lalas said that in 1994 he saw tonight coming (75,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD) even then. But what he saw coming was not 75,000 people showing up for a friendly between an English team and an Italian team. No, he saw 75,000 coming to see American players. And that day isn’t here yet.

So, how do we get rid of the elitism? Through exposure. MLS needs more than one game per week on ESPN. It also  needs local television exposure and it needs to be on networks. I’ve no idea why ABC and ESPN don’t show a Saturday double-header every week during the summer. In addition to the momentum gained by World Cup Qualifiers and the Confederations Cup, it would build good momentum for MLS.

Have at it, ESPN.

Leave a comment

Filed under MLS

Onyewu to AC Milan

Oguchi Onyewu (Getty Images)

Oguchi Onyewu (Getty Images)

Now that’s a step up. Maybe.

US defender Oguchi Onyewu signed with AC Milan on a free today just when their fans were questioning their transfer policy. Not surprisingly, some fans are still upset that the team sold Kaká to Real Madrid. Go figure.

Milan has been linked to prominent forwards – including Luis Fabiano, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Emmanuel Adebayor – but given that they have Alexandre Pato and he’s apparently not going anywhere, I think they need to shore up their back line. A quick look at their roster indicates to me that they have three or four quality defenders and that all of them are getting rather old. Onyewu is a good start but, really, they need to add more depth and quality there. Re-patriating Andrea Barzagli would be a good first step. As would looking for other young Italian talent. Perhaps, if they’re bent on adding an attacking player, Giuseppe Rossi should be a target since he would provide speed in midfield.

Although they haven’t really made any mis-steps in the transfer market yet, the team did hire an unproven manager: Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo, better known simply as Leonardo. While I understand the name has a certain appeal to Italians and that Barcelona hired unproven Pep Guardiola last year, it seems to me that Leonardo, who had worked at the Technical Director, is more cut out to be a backroom man than the guy up front. Then again, he might prove me wrong. Though I doubt players are lining up to transfer for him like they would be for Carlo Ancelotti.

Leave a comment

Filed under Serie A

Kaká’s transfer by the numbers

Two days. That’s how long Kaká’s reign at the top of the world record transfer list lasted. On 9 June 2009, he moved from AC Milan to Real Madrid for £59 million. This is after saying, in January, that he would stay at Milan for the rest of his career. Six months later, he’s off to Madrid.

30 percent. That’s how much salary AC Milan must cut because of the worldwide economic decline. Apparently, when he turned down the January move, Kaká agreed to a personal salary freeze. The move to Real Madrid puts money in the player’s pocket and the team’s. ESPN, which was not the only outlet to report this, decided that Kaká moved not only to help himself but also to help AC Milan.

Kaka in Madrid colors

The number 18. Kaká’s reported shirt number at Real Madrid. This is fascinating to me because shirt numbers say a lot. Some players want a specific number at all stops; others don’t care. Kaká is interesting because he wore number 8 at São Paulo, then number 22 at AC Milan. He wore number 8 with Brazil but has since changed to number 10 (which is, of course, sacred in Brazil and in the larger world of soccer).

Leave a comment

Filed under La Liga