Grondona Passes Away

Julio Grondona who served as the president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has passed away as the South American football confederation (CONMEBOL) confirmed through an announcement. The Argentine executive was recently suffering from a number of health issues and at the age of 82 it was over for the man that afflicted by the death of his wife back in 2012.

Lionel Messi and Michel Platini were some of the major football superstars that reacted to the death of Grondona as they displayed their displeasure through social media.
The Frenchman Platini wrote on his twitter account: “Very sad for the loss of a great friend. Julio Grondona has left us at 82. Rest in peace.”

While the star of Barcelona, Lionel Messi sent his condolences with a message on his facebook account which stated: “It’s a very sad day for football, for all of Argentina and for me,” the Barcelona forward wrote on his Facebook account. “Our president, Julio Grondona, you have left us. I want to send my sincere condolences and a large hug to all his family members and friends.”

With Grondona in charge of the AFA, Argentina claimed the World Cup title of 1986 as well as reaching the finals of the 1990 and 2014 edition.

Grondona selected Maradona as the head coach of the Argentine national team but after a series of questionable actions from Maradona his time in charge of the team did not last very long as he was removed from his managerial position. Maradona made his way into the headlines of websites and newspapers all over the world when Argentina sealed their qualification spot for the 2010 World Cup and during the post-game press conference he told reporters to: “suck it and keep on sucking it”. This concluded with Maradona and his team being banned for 2 months from all football activities.

After losing against Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Maradona was fired and replaced by Sergio Batista and now the current coach of the Argentine team is Alejandro Sabella but he has already revealed his desire to step down and resign.

Heinze Looks For Marseille Move

Former Manchester United and Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze has been rumoured to be on the verge of joining Marseille as part of the coaching staff in the summer. The French club recently appointed former Athletic Bilbao and Chile national team manager Marcelo Bielsa as their manager. The South American has been out of work for the last few months, but he is regarded as one of the finest managers of the last five years. Marseille have been heavily linked with Marcelo Bielsa for the last few months and they announced the arrival of the new manager in the last few days.

He is expected to bring 36-year-old Heinze as part of the coaching staff. The Argentine defender has the experience of playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world including Marseille. He has also represented Real Madrid and Manchester United as well. His former teammate Lucho Gonzalez, with whom he won the French league title in the 2009-10 season, says that Heinze would be a valuable addition to the coaching staff. Gonzales says that the pedigree of Bielsa coupled with the knowledge of Heinze – about the club – will certainly help the French outfit massively in the new season.

The competition in the French league has improved massively after the arrival of rich billionaire owners to PSG and Monaco.

“I have spoken to him, but he still doesn’t know. He’s not decided yet. But if Gabi does go, of course it would be a lot better, because he knows the club and the players who are there. For me, he’s the best coach I’ve had the fortune to work with. He’s a phenomenon. With him, there’s always a lot of passion, a lot of work. I think he can be successful because he has a lot of passion for his work. He demands the maximum of each player,” Lucho told RMC.

MATA WANTS CENTRAL ROLE

Manchester United’s record signing Juan Mata has stated that he wants to be part of the team from a central position. Mata made his name at Valencia as winger, but he was used in a more central position at Chelsea under both Roberto di Matteo and Rafa Benitez.

This proved to be a master stroke, as the Spaniard dominated the matches with innovation, vision, and goalscoring abilities. He has been one of the leading assist makers in Europe over the last five years. However, since his move to United, Mata has been used out wide by David Moyes.

This is largely because of the presence of Wayne Rooney, who likes to play in a similar position to Mata. The Spaniard has shown the first signs of unrest after claiming that he wants to play in the central position behind the striker.

The 25-year-old was crucial in the 3-0 win for United against West Brom, in a match that finally went the way the William Hill match betting predicted for United. This was only the fourth win of the New Year for the club. Mata was not on the scoresheet, but he was brilliant in all areas of the pitch. Moyes was in full praise of the 25-year-old after the encounter.

United have several key matches coming up in the next few weeks including the visit of Liverpool and Manchester City to Old Trafford.

“I love to play between the lines. Right now I am playing on the right but to honest I don’t see myself as a proper winger. I like to play between the lines as a No. 10. [When I] come inside, that is where I feel comfortable to play, to keep in touch with the ball because I love to play in possession and with the ball,” said Mata after the West Brom win. Prior to the match, Moyes had sent an emotional letter to the fans thanking them for their support.

AR-GEN-TINA!

There is so much to love about Argentinean soccer players, their passion, skill, determination and above all their discipline. A couple of guys might be the exception as far that discipline category is concerned, but, in general, the players who come out of that country know how to be gentle on the pitch. They play the game with true spirit.

To go with the discipline, the Argentineans have got some class as well. Very rarely do they play boring football. Their playmakers know the art of entertaining the spectators, while, their forwards know how to be ruthless. Even their back players like to attack whenever they get the opportunity.

But, despite all that, the Argentinean national football team hasn’t had as much success on the field as they should have in the last few years, in fact more than a few years to be frank. They dominated the football world in the eighties, but, after that, the results haven’t gone their way on a regular basis and it’s really hard to find out a particular reason behind it.

After having a look at Argentina’s line up on paper, one would back them to defeat any other team in the world. They have got at least 2 or 3 players who can be considered as the greats of football, but, for some reason, this team hasn’t become a threat at the international level.

The World Cup 2014 is coming up and as always, Argentina is again a strong contender to win this competition, but, hardly anybody would be surprised if they crash out early again and that’s because it has happened quite often in the last couple of decades or so. They somehow lose the plot during important matches and leave their supporters gutted.

ANOTHER UNITED DEFEAT

Manchester United suffered from their 7th defeat of this season as they lost 3-1 against Chelsea as they keep on dropping points and falling further behind on the Premier League standings. Despite being 14 points behind the leaders Arsenal, David Moyes insisted in saying that his side will not give up as this is a new project and takes time.

“What we don’t do is throw the towel in until we can’t get there. The job is to finish first and we’ll try to do that. I know what I’m going to do and there will be changes as we go along the journey. It is a massive challenge. I hoped we’d be in a better position than we are, but we are not.” Moyes stated after the match concluded.

Moyes had to deal with the absence of Rooney and Van Persie as they both are out injured and to make matters even worse Nemanja Vidic was sent off of the pitch at the last few minutes of the encounter when he made a challenge on Eden Hazard.

When the announcement of David Moyes taking over Manchester United and replace Sir. Alex Ferguson, it was not expected that the former Everton coach would take such a downhill road with the same squad that emerged as the champions of the Premier League 1 season ago.

One of the positive things that Moyes has managed to do with Manchester United this season is push them into the last 16 teams of the Champions League and a fortunate draw saw them being placed against Olympiakos in a match that the Premier League side are favorites on winning.

It remains highly doubtful however that the squad will be able to defeat any of the other remaining teams fighting for the Champions League. All that Moyes can wish for is to end the current season finishing at the top 5 spots of the Premier League and even that will be a hard task to accomplish.

BALE IMPRESSING

Carlo Ancelotti praised the adaptation that Gareth Bale has been making since making his move from the Premier League over to La Liga’s Real Madrid.

The Welshman has scored 7 goals in 9 appearances in the Spanish League and his form continues to get better and better with or without C.Ronaldo.

A question that always emerged not only for Bale but Neymar as well was if they could perform up to the expectations having their star player in the club and while the Brazilian Neymar is struggling to find his form, the same cannot be said to the Welshman as he has scored 4 goals and created 1 assist in the last 2 games that C.Ronaldo was unable to play due to an injury.

Ancelotti said: ‘He has fitted in so quickly. What has most surprised me is how quickly he has struck up an understanding with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. It’s good for us that they are finding each other with their passes so well.’

Gareth Bale has also made an impact with his set-piece abilities which rivals C.Ronaldo but Ancelotti is confident on who will be his primary player to be in charge of taking the free-kicks and penalties for Real Madrid.

Ancelotti told Tiempo Extra: ‘Cristiano goes first although I think Bale is better taking the ones that are furthest from goal with Cristiano taking the ones closer to goal.’

With the newly formed attacking trio of Benzema, Bale and C.Ronaldo, the opportunity for the youngster Alvaro Morata to get a place into the starting lineup of Ancelotti seems near impossible but the tactician said that Morata still remains being a valuable player for the team and shut down rumors of him making a move to Arsenal as he does not have any intentions at all on releasing him anytime soon.

FERGIE SLAMS HEINZE

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that former United defender Gabriel Heinze had a mercenary streak about him. The Argentine defender was brought to the club from PSG in 2004.

He had the capability of playing at left back or in central defence. He had cost the Premier league outfit around £ 7 million in transfer value. He was at the club for only three years before being sold to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2007. However, he tried to engineer a move to Liverpool during his time at United much to the dismay of Ferguson.

Liverpool and Manchester United share a great rivalry and Ferguson was simply not going to sell one of his players to Liverpool.

However, Heinze approaching the Premier league tribunal in order to force them, but these attempts did not end in success for the player. Ferguson has now suggested in his autobiography that Heinze attempted to use Crystal Palace as a stop gap solution in order to force his move to Liverpool. Heinze’s agent approached Crystal Palace with a view of them being an intermediate stop.

However, Crystal Palace did not proceed with the request and instead said about the same to Manchester United’s Chief executive David Gill. This ultimately proved to be the major evidence in preventing Heinze’s departure.

During his three years at the club, Heinze made 52 appearances in all competitions and scored one goal. He was successful at United by winning the Premier league in his final season at the club, while also lifting the League Cup as well. He is currently playing with Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys where he started his career back in the 1996 season.

The 35-year-old has also represented the Argentine national team on 72 occasions. He has not been part of the national team since 2010.

CRESPO BACKS TEVEZ

Former Inter Milan and Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has said that his compatriot Carlos Tevez will be a success at Juventus in the coming season. The striker moved to Turin in a £ 10 million deal during the summer.

He is expected to be a first-team regular at Juventus especially given that they were searching for a quality striker for a long time. Despite the lack of a well-known strikeforce, the club managed to win the last two league titles. They are now targeting at least the semi-final place in the Champions league. The club also signed Fernando Llorente, who also comes with a big reputation for scoring goals.

Crespo is regarded as one of the finest foreign talents to have thrived in the Italian league. He represented the likes of Inter Milan and also Chelsea before retiring recently. The striker has praised his compatriot Tevez by acknowledging the number of qualities he possesses like hard working nature and the ability to score goals.

Crespo scored more than 150 goals in the Italian league during his stellar career. He also thinks that Juventus have enough strength in depth now to be able to talent of both domestic and European front.

Crespo has also said that Tevez enjoys a great reputation back his homeland.

“Carlos is a real champion, a top player outside of the area. It will be interesting to see how Conte manages him. They are two real winners. When I saw Carlos four months ago, he had become much more mature and calm than before. Tevez has joined a strong team. Juventus are sitting in pole position for the Scudetto and can also go far in the Champions League with a bit of luck. He has what it takes to open up difficult games,” said the former Chelsea and Inter striker.

Who will be relegated?

While the teams which are newly promoted from the Championship are usually amongst the hot favourites to go down again, before the start of a new season, in recent years the likes of Stoke City and Swansea have demonstrated that a team can come up and establish itself as a Premiership force. Fans of Cardiff, Hull and Crystal Palace will be hoping that their sides can match this achievement, but it is not surprising that the bookies have put low odds on all three being relegated this coming season.

Fans of Cardiff, who won the Championship, may feel slightly aggrieved at their odds of 7/4 to go down again – but these odds still make them the team that the bookmakers consider the least likely to be relegated. Palace and Hull have odds 4/7 and7/10 respectively, which means they will really be up against it if the sports betting sites have called it right.

Certainly a lot football betting fans will gambling on Palace and Hull to go down, but may look at a team like Norwich at 11/4 as an alternative to Cardiff, although fans of these teams won’t want to bet on any of them. For those supporters an online casino football slots game would probably be a more palatable alternative.
Games like Soccer Safari, a video slot with five reels and thirty pay lines, let you enjoy both football and betting while also offering an escape from the worries of the relegation dogfight.

If your team is involved in that then the ‘animals play football’ premise of Soccer Safari will be the perfect comedy tonic, thanks to the superb animated graphics that make it come alive. Games like this also offer a strong likelihood of a payout, because of the number of pay lines, plus the wild reel icons that substitute for other missing ones to produce winning lines, so they should be well worth your while even if you don’t prove to be a maximum jackpot winner.

BIZARRE WIN

Newell’s Old Boys became the winners of “Final” Championship in Argentina. They did so in a bizarre fashion. They didn’t have to kick a football for that. The result of a match went in their favour and they won the Championship.

Lanus, a team which was challenging Newell’s for the Championship, was up against Estudiantes on Wednesday. Actually, that match was scheduled to take place 10 days ago and it had started 10 days ago as well. The first half went on peacefully, but, then, something unfortunate happened at the stadium. A supporter got killed in a police confrontation.

The match was stopped that day. In that first half, Estudiantes had taken a lead of 2-0.
It had been decided to organize the second half of that match on Wednesday. Lanus had to turn things around in those 45 minutes to win the final Championship. But, they didn’t manage to do so. Estudiantes maintained its lead of 2-0 as the second half went goalless.

This is the 6th time that Newell’s has won this title. The credit must be given to their manager Gerardo Martino who had taken the charge just at the start of the season.
Martino went about his job in a brilliant manner. He signed quite a few experienced players including Gabriel Heinze and Maxi Rodriguez and neither of his signings let him down. All those players were consistent right through the Championship.

Newell’s Old Boys is a Rosario based club and the celebrations were in full flow at Rosario on Wednesday.
However, the season hasn’t yet ended for the Newell’s Old Boys. They are in the final 4 of Copa Libertadores. Their opponent in the semi finals will be the Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro. The first leg of that clash will take place on 3rd of July.

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