All posts by Angel Morales

Famous Football Stars & Their First Expensive Homes

Football stars are amongst the highest earning sports stars and supported by millions of fans. Most football stars are legends and ideals for many sports fans, and it’s interesting to learn more about their lifestyles. The millions of dollars these superstars earn are no secret, and most of it is invested in real estate, and there is no limit on the amount they can spend. Which makes it beautiful to see how much they did spend on their first mansion or expensive homes.

Gareth Bales Professional Welsh Football Players

Back in 2007, the Gareth Bale started his FC Southampton career, and by 2007 he moved over to the Tottenham Hotspur team. By 2013 he was bought by Real Madrid, the Spanish football club and according to the British press, the cost was around €100 million. When you compare transfer costs, the transfer cost was €94 million for Cristiano Ronaldo at the time. Once Bales moved to Real Madrid it was time to buy a mansion, and he paid $3 million for his home that previously belonged to Kaka.

Andres Iniesta

When Andres Iniesta, the Spanish soccer players was 30-year-old he played for Barcelona as the central attacking midfielder in Spanish. He was recognised during the 2012 and 2013 season by the International Federation of Football as the best playmaker. By 2009 he was the player of the year in Spain, and he purchased his first home in 2005 for $ 4.6 million. Andres Iniesta house features no less than five bedrooms, a swimming pool as well as a chapel, while the name on the wall of the house is his name, “INIESTA”.

Lionel Messi

Only 27 years old at the time Lionel Andrés Messi Kussitin was the captain and striker of the Argentina national team soccer club “Barcelona”. He was the youngest player to score 200 goals, and only two years later, he increased the score to 400 goals. Messi is a four-time “Golden Ball” winner as well as a Barcelona legend. He spent $ 5 million on his mansion, which features a home theatre, home spa centre and outdoor soccer field, perfect for training.

Mario Balotelli

As a professional football player, Mario Balotelli Barvua played for FC Liverpool as a striker. He also played for the Italian team in the 2012 Euro championship as well as the 2014 World Cup. Called by millions of fans, Super Mario he later also got the nickname Bad Italian Boy. His first mansion is a large villa, featuring a home theatre as well as an indoor pool.

Cristiano Ronaldo

At age 29 Cristiano Ronaldo Santos Aveiro the Portuguese football player of Real Madrid was both the winger and striker, as well as the captain of the Portugal team. In Euro 2012, he led his team to the semi-finals and is remembered for his transition to Real Madrid. The cost of the transformation came to €94 million euros, which enabled him to claim the title as the most expensive footballer soon after Ronaldo bought his mansion in Manchester, which set him back $6 million in 2006.

FA Cup Win for Watford Would Mean Everything

Ben Foster recently informed reporters that glory in the FA Cup with Watford during the 2018/19 season would mean a great deal more than the success he had with Manchester United after he admitted that he genuinely struggled to cope with the brutal drive for trophies at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ben Foster at Watford

Ben Foster, who is currently 36 years old, has enjoyed one of the most glorious seasons of his football career after he decided to leave Albion for Watford last summer. The former goalkeeper for England could have been the first-choice for Manchester United after he was billed as Edwin van der Sar’s successor by Ferguson following his phenomenal performance in the penalty shoot-out League Cup final win when they faced Tottenham Hotspur in 2009.

Ferguson stated that the future is in the hands of Foster after being highly impressed by the development of the player. However, a loss of confidence and form witnessed Ben Foster leaving Manchester United to play at Birmingham City only 12 months later. He is now approaching the final years of his football career at Watford.

The Watfords are set to face Wolves this weekend in an attempt to reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1984. Ben Foster has informed several reporters that the joy of claiming a win for a football club without the added pressure of expectancy is something that the player relishes after he failed to understand the reaction to success with Manchester United truly.

Comments from Ben Foster

“I managed to win the League Cup while I was playing for Birmingham during 2011 and its definitely one of the highlights when it comes to my career,” Foster stated. “We faced Arsenal on that day in Wembley, and we were considered the underdogs in that game. Thankfully, we won the match, and when you run down the pitch to see the reaction of the fans in the stadium, you start to understand how much it means to them too entirely.

“I remember walking back to the coach after we won the match and it was basically, ‘Okay lands, training tomorrow, we have a Champions League game on Tuesday.’ “It was instantly forgotten just like that. I was surprised. We did not celebrate at all, and that’s where the difference comes in at Watford for me.

“I was unable to get my head around the fact that it was simply another trophy for the cabinet. However, I believe that when you claim the trophy with a team like Watford, West Brom, or Birmingham, it would mean a great deal more.”

Looking back at the football career of Foster, where he had 8 England caps, a Premier League title, and 4 League Cups, there is a sense that he was never fulfilled when Manchester United signed him in 2005 from Stoke City. Foster also admitted that Manchester United was way too much, way too soon.

Why is Philippe Coutinho Struggling at Barcelona?

There is a joke among the locals of Castelldefels, a tiny town situated between the mountains and sea outside of Barcelona, that the home of Philippe Coutinho is jinxed. Cesc Fabregas managed to buy it months before he was transferred to Chelsea and Thomas Vermaelen, who used to stay there, endured lengthy curses on the sidelines due to injuries. Then, Andre Gomes decided to move there after he was transferred from Valencia to Barcelona but never managed to find his feet at the club.

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho was mostly seen as the €160 million man who has destined to finally life the curse. His former Liverpool teammate, Luis Suarez, assisted him in finding a house and it was supposed to mark the start of a brand-new attacking trident. Not only would Coutinho be alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the pitch, but he would also be their neighbours.

Fifteen months have come and gone since Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona with a record-signing deal. However, it looks like the curse is still apparent with the Barcelona forward to this day. The Brazilian, who was transferred to Barcelona to replace Neymar over the short-term and to replace Andres Iniesta over the long-term, is still unable to meet the expectations that come with his jaw-dropping price tag.

Coutinho had an incredible start at Barcelona where he managed to score ten goals in only 22 matches during the 2017/18 season. However, things have deteriorated since then, and he is not playing as he should during the 2018/19 season at Camp Nou. In the current campaign, he has only scored a total of 9 goals in more than 40 different appearances, and several sources suggest that Barcelona will be open to selling the Brazilian if they can receive a bid that is more than €100 million during the summer.

“It’s quite remarkable that a Brazilian soccer player like Coutinho is struggling to find his feet at a club like Barcelona. Especially when you consider that they have more than 300 days of sunshine every year. He was superb when he played at Liverpool who has 300 days of rain every year,” a source that is close to the player informed us recently.

A Football Star Without a Proper Position

The biggest issue for Coutinho since he arrived at Barcelona in January 2018 was a simplistic one: Where exactly should he play?

When you look at the versatility of Coutinho, he managed to play at the tip of the three midfielders for Liverpool. However, he was often found on the left. When you look at his position in the Brazilian national team, he either played on the right, accommodating Neymar, or played in the centre. Ernesto Valverde, the head coach for Barcelona, allowed Coutinho to play in several positions. However, none of them genuinely fit his skills and abilities as a footballer at Barcelona. This is the biggest problem for him at the moment, and that needs to change before he gets back to playing like a pro.

Champions League Quarter Final Predictions

The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League has provided some genuinely classic ties as the biggest clubs in Europe attempt to reach the Champions League final in Madrid. Manchester City will face Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus will face Ajax, Liverpool will go head-to-head with Porto, and Barcelona will take on Manchester United. So, how exactly will the Champions League quarterfinals play out?

Juventus vs Ajax

Juventus are heading into this tie, which is necessarily a repeat of the final in 1996, as clear favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals, even though Ajax managed to defeat Real Madrid during the round of 16. Ajax has been one of the most glorious stories in the Champions League this season, with emerging stars, such as Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong blending with experienced players, including Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind to restore Ajax’s reputation in the world’s biggest football tournament. However, are they able to provide another shocking upset against Christiano Ronaldo and Juventus? Highly doubtful.

Porto vs Liverpool

Liverpool enjoyed a 5-0 win against Porto in the round of 16 last season before they were held to a 0-0 draw in the second leg at Anfield so that Liverpool will have no fear against the champions from Portugal. Porto managed to overcome Roma in the round of 16 and have loads of experience in Hector Herrera, Pepe, and Iker Casillas as their goalkeeper. However, it’s impossible to imagine that Liverpool is not the overwhelming favourites to go through to the semi-finals to face Barcelona or Manchester United.

Manchester City vs Tottenham

Tottenham is a dangerous team at home, and they will play at their brand-new stadium for the quarterfinals against Manchester City. However, City has far more quality and depth along with the experience of being in this position before. Manchester City is also attempting to secure a quadruple by winning the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League cup. They are also looking to keep the Carabao Cup that they recently claimed against Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out. Therefore, it will not be surprising to see Manchester City enter the semi-finals to play against Juventus or Ajax.

Barcelona vs Manchester United

This is undoubtedly the best tie of the Champions League. This will mark the first time two of the biggest clubs in the world meeting during the quarterfinals. This hasn’t happened since Manchester United won during the 2007/08 semi-finals on route to winning their third trophy in the Champions League. Since then, Barcelona has defeated Manchester United in two finals, including 2011 and 2009, and there’s no doubt that Barcelona is considered the overwhelming favourites in this tie this time around as well.

Manchester United need to find a brilliant way to stop the incredible Lionel Messi. However, that is just one of the enormous challenges that await Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team. If Manchester United can win against Barcelona, they will pull off the most significant result in European history. They haven’t seen the semi-finals since 2011.

Unai Emery’s Gamble Pays Off Against Manchester United

Unai Emery has been slipping under the radar in his debut role as manager for Arsenal. The pressure is definitely on Emery since he replaced Arsene Wenger. However, in comparison to his rivals, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla head coach has had to battle to get honestly noticed.

He hasn’t been showered with the same praise that is usually lavished on Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino. Managing to escape the scrutiny that has been weighing down Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, the ups and down for Emery at the Emirates have been wiped out by the noise surrounding the two managers at Old Trafford at the beginning of the season.

Arsenal vs Manchester United

However, the 2-0 victory against Manchester United this weekend saw Emery give a perfect reminder of his credentials and managed to answer a wide range of questions in the process. This was a match that Arsenal had to win if they wanted to finish in the qualification places within the Premier League’s Champions League. Also, the team also had to bounce back after a 3-1 defeat against Rennes in the Europa League.

With the return fixture on the horizon later this week, Arsenal’s season was hostile to hence on the outcome of two huge matches. Defeat in the first match, against Manchester United who claimed a phenomenal win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, would have been a devastating setback for the Gunners top-four hopes. However, Emery decided to be bold.

Most believed that he was reckless to choose a complete attacking line-up against a team that hasn’t lost a game since Solskjaer joined in December. It seemed like Emery was about to make the same mistakes Wenger did against elite teams, by overloading on the attack and hoping for the best.

Nonetheless, he decided to include Mesut Ozil, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Aaron Ramsey ahead of Granit Xhaka along with Nacho Monreal, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Laurent Koscielny as the back three. This was all set up correctly to stifle Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

Apart from the bad finishes that were produced by Manchester United, Arsenal’s approach worked beautifully. Defending was a significant issue for Arsenal under Wegner. After watching the game over the weekend, there’s no doubt that all of this has been rectified under Emery. During the closing stages of the match, supporters of Arsenal sang that they were coming for Tottenham Hotspur who are only one point away on the Premier League table.

The Upcoming Battle

With Tottenham getting destroyed by Southampton over the weekend, it dragged Hotspur back into the fight. Therefore, we are going to see a marvellous battle for fourth place between Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal has played all their elite games, while Tottenham still has to face Man City and Liverpool. United also need to host Chelsea and Man City before the Premier League comes to an end.

Pochettino Is Approaching a Crossroads at Tottenham Hotspur

When you listen to the recent comments from Mauricio Pochettino, you will be forgiven for believing that the manager for Tottenham Hotspur is talking himself out of his job.

Let’s take you back to the end of the previous season. When the Tottenham Hotspur manager insisted that his team must take risks and be brave if they wish to be real contenders to claim trophies. This was something that didn’t get anyone’s attention. Tottenham is making no signings during the summer as they were more focused on moving to their brand-new stadium during September. We are currently in March, and the squad is still playing matches at Wembley.

Pochettino’s Cry for Help

Pochettino was repeating his call for a better and bolder approach earlier this season “If we wish to claim titles, we will be required to operate differently because, as it stands. We are operating in the same way as we did five years ago.” We are doing a brilliant job.

However, if we wish to be true contenders, we seriously need to consider operating in a different way going forward.” Once again, Pochettino’s cry for help went unnoticed as Tottenham once again couldn’t sign a player during the transfer window in January.

Fast forward to last week, where Tottenham lost 2-1 against Burnley in a match that managed to end their title dreams. The angry post-match confrontation from Pochettino with Mike Dean as the referee of the game. You’ll quickly realise that his claims are true and Tottenham is still a decade away from being the club that it should be.

Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino is an intelligent man. He is well aware of the vacancy that is available at Manchester United along with the potential to transfer to Real Madrid during the summer as well. Also, with the uncertainty surrounding Maurizio Sarri, there could be a new opening at Chelsea too towards the end of the 2018/19 season.

So everything that was said by Pochettino could be designed to turn things around for the chairman of Spurs in a bid to get precisely what he needed. Where he can take a squad of players and transform them into winners. The chairman of Tottenham Hotspurs.

Daniel Levy is well aware that he could lose his prestigious manager to wealthier, more prosperous and bigger clubs as it stands, so he should listen to what the Hotspurs manager has to say. However, there’s also the possibility that the manager’s cry for help is not strategic at all. Perhaps he is merely stating the frustrations that might force him to look for a new challenge somewhere else.

Only time will be able to tell, and the much-needed answer is going to occur at the end of the current season, there’s no doubt about that. However, unless something changes at Tottenham, Pochettino is in grave danger to repeat the mistakes that were made by Everton and David Moyes.

Mesut Ozil Fails To Impress Unai Emery

There’s no denying that there’s a whiff of the undesired when you look at the Europa Leagues. During the early stages of the tournament before the dream of claiming victory to qualify for the prestigious Champions League, the implication could be that players requested to appear in a match are not in favor with the manager in terms of his first-choice of 11 players.

Mesut Ozil

With that in mind, it wasn’t unexpected that Mesut Ozil started for Arsenal after Unai Emery named him for the squad. This was the first time since the 26th of December 2018 during their 3-0 win when they faced BATE Borisov in the Europa League round of 32.

The never-ending saga of Mesut Ozil’s career at Arsenal remains intensely curious and is something that would make absolutely no sense to anyone that is unfamiliar with the inconsistent nature of football. A little over a year ago, Mesut Ozil signed an attractive new contract with Arsenal. However, since Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger, Ozil’s stock has fallen.

However, this match witnessed him back in the squad, taking the number 10 role, just behind Aubameyang. This provided the perfect chance for Unai Emery to give Mesut Ozil another opportunity on the field. The match was not as important as other games. However, after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of BATE during the first-leg, there was just enough danger to suggest that he was getting a serious opportunity.

“It was such an amazing feeling to walk on the pitch again,” Mesut Ozil stated on Twitter following the match. In an era where social media is analysed and over analysed thereafter, it was quite refreshing to see his words point to a statement that essentially said: “Great to be back in the game, it’s about time.”

Even if Unai Emery was not impressed, Ozil is still an immensely popular player in various quarters once his name was announced before kickoff. Ozil was greeted by welcoming cheers from his home fans, and it provided an extra layer of excitement to the game in the process.

The Match Against BATE

From the previous performances provided by Ozil in the last five years with Arsenal, perhaps the recent game where he was featured for a full 90 minutes proved why. Mesut Ozil is one of the best players in the world but had little impact in his recent game. This is the main reason why he is a frustration to fans and his manager.

Ozil was predominantly in the background for most of the match, occasionally making an appearance to provide a neat pass or pleasantly combining with Alex Iwobi. However, there was nothing more from him when he made his debut for the first time in 2019.

Ozil played well, and he was exceptional throughout the game. However, when you have a manager that is looking for more than just fine, it’s certainly not good enough.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Outclassed and Outsmarted by PSG

There is absolutely no hiding place when it comes to the Champions League. However, we are quite confident that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was searching for one. This was after his team was outsmarted and outclassed by PSG in the first leg of the round of 16 while playing at Old Trafford.

As if being defeated 2-0 by a venomous PSG wasn’t bad enough, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also had to witness two of his sensational forwards, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, limp off the pitch with injuries. He also watched as Paul Pogba received a red card in the closing stages of the match. That will rule him out when Manchester United plays the second leg in his home city on 6 March 2019.

Manchester United vs PSG

It was essentially one of those night for Manchester United. The home side went into the match with extremely high optimism. However, the experience and class of PSG shined through against the limitations and naivety of Manchester United.

“This match was essentially a reality check for the level of experience and class from top-tier teams,“ Solskjaer stated. “You can clearly see that we haven’t played matches at this level for a long time. It was an experience that could have gone either way, but it will definitely not be a defining one for the team this season. It’s going to be a match that we will learn a great deal from. Once we make our way to Paris, we will certainly give it a go. There’s no denying that it’s a mountain to climb, but it’s definitely not impossible.”

Since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho in early December 2018, he has done an incredible job as Manchester United’s caretaker manager as he won 10 out of 11 matches and drawing with another. However, this was an evening when reality kicked him hard.

Paris Saint-Germain was missing key players due to injury including Edinson Cavani and Neymar. However, their absence was hardly noticed as Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, and Kylian Mbappe helped lead them to victory. That allowed them to get one foot into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Solskjaer’s Streak Comes to an End

The unbeaten start by Solskjaer came to an end when he faced PSG as his game plan and selection were both exposed by his opponents. Momentum can only take you that far, and PSG showed the need to win on an unforgiving stage within the Champions League. Solskjaer might have had the tactical plan in the locker room, but it failed to materialise on the pitch that evening in front of a home crowd. Marquinhos was the man-maker on Paul Pogba, who has managed to be the central figure in Manchester United’s resurgence. As you can imagine, Paul Pogba was entirely nullified.

Solskjaer failed the test against PSG in the Champions League, and it seems like he is not the permanent manager we all hoped he would be. However, he still has a chance to turn things around in the next couple of weeks.

Manchester City Prove They Can Still Win the Premier League Title

Manchester City managed to disprove the old proverb in the previous season that the title race in the Premier League is a marathon instead of a sprint. Manchester City was so far ahead of other clubs last season that they managed to win by 19 points after accumulating a total of 100 points. It was seen as a progression instead of a gruelling slog to glory. However, things will certainly be different this time around if they reclaim the title.

Manchester City’s Win Over Everton

Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday at Goodison Park managed to take the reigning champions to the top of the table once again. This allowed them to move ahead of Liverpool thanks to goal difference. However, they played one more match than Liverpool and the match against Everton was considered an ugly victory as they didn’t display any flair that usually accompanies the title success from last season. At least none of that will matter when it comes to the final reckoning. The Premier League title race this season will be determined by substance as opposed to style and, at the moment, Manchester City has the edge over all the other clubs.

Even Pep Guardiola hinted after the victory against Everton that the challenges of the title race this year are far more demanding than a year ago. “I’m not 100% sure how far we will get in the Premier League this year, perhaps we will flake out on the road,” stated Guardiola. “However, we will continue to try. Although we played one more match than Liverpool, it’s fantastic to be at the top. However, Liverpool does have a game in hand at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Should they win, we will lose our spot at the top and will need to wait once again.”

Early Signs of Fatigue

Maybe this is the inevitability of a Premier League season following a World Cup that the huge clubs, along with their players, are starting to feel the strain much earlier than usual. Although we are still in midseason in early February, both Liverpool and Manchester City are starting to show signs of fatigue, mentally and physically. Neither of them is performing as good as they did at the start of the season. Liverpool has managed to drop more points in the last six weeks when compared to the points they lost from August through to December.  Manchester City is still licking their wounds after the devastating loss against Newcastle in the previous week.

Most opponents are now entering matches against these title chasers and believe they can emerge with 1 point at the very least. That has a huge impact on Liverpool and Manchester City, who needs to work harder than before to secure a win. The title race will be determined by these two clubs, even though Tottenham is only 5 points behind. It will all come down to how each club handles fatigue at the end.

Manchester City’s Defeat Against Newcastle

Manchester City’s hopes for the title suffered a massive blow after a shocking 2-1 defeat against Newcastle United. After just 24 seconds into the match, Sergio Aguero managed to give the champions a lead. However, a penalty from Matt Ritchie along with a goal from Salomon Rondon stunned every visitor in the stadium.

Manchester City Positives

Manchester City’s imposing trio at midfield, including Fernandinho, David Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne managed to start together for the second time in the 2018/19 season and was the first time this occurred in the Premier League. One of the most impressive players for Manchester City is undoubtedly Bernardo Silva. However, the three midfielders that started when they faced Newcastle United were the pivot of the side that managed to produce a record-breaking title pace during the previous season.

Manchester City Negatives

Manchester City’s hopes for the title is hanging by a thread following yet another shocking defeat at the hands of a football club that is currently on the bottom half of the Premier League table. Manchester City will fall 7 points behind Liverpool should they manage to claim a victory against Leicester on Wednesday evening.

What’s truly surprising is that Manchester City’s challenge for the title has been derailed by inferior clubs when they have managed to cope extremely well against their top-tier rivals. However, the champions, unfortunately, lacked the killer instinct that they had during their title season. They are simply sloppy and lethargic at the moment.

Pep Guardiola

The Manchester City manager didn’t make any changes during half-time when the club needed a fresh pair of legs after enduring a horrible first half. He continuously wants his team to push forward and obtain goals. However, they didn’t pose a huge treat following their first-minute goal.

Manchester City Player Ratings

Ederson – Was unable to keep Rondon’s overhead kick out and Ritchie’s spectacular penalty from skidding underneath him.

Kyle Walker – Was quite solid in terms of defense but was unable to get forward like he usually does.

John Stones – Had an extremely difficult time against Rondon who managed to grab the equaliser.

Aymeric Laporte – His passing skills were not on par this time around. He managed to give the ball away on more than one occasion and placed Fernandinho in massive trouble for the unfortunate penalty.

Danilo – He managed to settle in at left-back but experienced one of his most difficult nights and was out of position a few times during the match.

Fernandinho – Solid performance throughout the match until he was unfortunately caught in possession in the box before he gave away a penalty.

Kevin De Bruyne – He was all over the field and managed to unlock the defense of Newcastle. A smart free-kick should have provided a second goal for Aguero. However, the referee booked him due to the fact that he took it too quickly.

David Silva – Was very unfortunate not to score in the match with his header. His touches were also quite heavy which is not normally the case.