All posts by Angel Morales

How Do Goalkeepers Handle The Pressure?

Tim Howard has managed to experience both the lows and highs of being a goalkeeper. However, it’s the lows that seem to stick to your memory. He recently informed reporters that you have to go to some pretty dark places when you become a goalkeeper, especially for a team like Manchester United.

Goalkeeping – The Thankless Job

Howard was celebrated by Barack Obama, becoming a national hero following his remarkable display at the 2014 World Cup against Belgium where he made a total of 16 saves. However, his failure to hold the 90-minute free kick from Benni McCarthy during a second-round tie in the Champions League against Porto a decade earlier provided Costinha with a goal that managed to knock out Manchester United from the competition. It also led to convincing Sir Alex Ferguson that Tim Howard wasn’t the right man for the job.

To be a successful goalkeeper in England, you need to be phenomenal for at least 5 or 10 years. Tim Howard had an incredible season at Manchester United, and within an instant, he didn’t see a pitch for at least two years. So having one or two suitable matches is not enough.

Being a top-rated goalkeeper is seen as a thankless job, one that will require a certain kind of player brave enough to fit the number 1 jersey along with the gloves that come with it. You can make 100 excellent saves and only allow one to go past you into the back of the net. Guess what will be remembered?

Goalkeepers in Football

David De Gea is the number 1 goalkeeper for Manchester United as well as the number 1 goalkeeper in the world. However, he is one player that is well aware of the downside that comes with his position. In recent years, he has had a nightmare run when it comes to mistakes that date back to his World Cup performance last year for Spain. His enormous error on 29 April 2019 against Chelsea is the critical moment the slide happened for Manchester United.

Loris Karius is one goalkeeper that has had an even worse time when compared to De Gea. The goalkeeper from Germany made two huge mistakes, leading directly to the goals scored in the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool that ended 3-1 in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2018. Although he suffered from a concussion after he collided with Sergio Ramos earlier on in the match, he still became a subject of fierce criticism.

Both Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp defended Karius at the time. However, he hasn’t played for another club since. He was eventually shipped to Turkey where he is currently on load for Besiktas where he is battling to regain his confidence. He managed to make a fatal error on his debut for the team that led to a 1-1 draw for Besiktas. He also made another mistake during a Europa League game against Malmo.

The Uncertain Future of Gareth Bale

How do you resolve a concern like Gareth Bale? It’s something that no one has an answer to at the moment, including Florentino Perez as the Real Madrid club president and Zinedine Zidane as the manager of the team.

Gareth Bale’s Career

After six years with Real Madrid and a €100 million transfer in 2013 from Tottenham Hotspur, the Wales international has managed to make himself the most successful and popular British player in the world having won every major honour while playing for Real Madrid, including a total of 4 Champions Leagues. Bale took on the challenge to prove himself alongside Christiano Ronaldo and did a stellar job to ensure he has a place in the team.

However, it did not meet Zidane’s critique after Real Madrid was defeated 2-0 by Real Betis at home on Sunday, when the head coach questioned Bale’s attitude daily, to expose the player’s situation at the club. Zidane is not a fan of Gareth Bale’s qualities and could quickly offload the player to save a truckload of money and make space for other talents that are more to his liking, including Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, and Eden Hazard.

However, there’s one significant problem: Gareth Bale is going to be 30 in July and still has three years left on his contract with Real Madrid, which is worth around £15.5 million a year. This is good news for Gareth Bale as the finances are in his favour. However, it makes it quite impossible to find a club in Europe that will take him off Zidane’s hands.

Gareth Bale has made a total of 79 appearances from 151 La Liga games for Real Madrid in the last four seasons. This essentially means that he has either been on the bench or hasn’t been around for almost half the league games. Bale’s fitness issues in the last few years, when he suffered several muscular injuries, will not stop other clubs from making a move because, when he is fit and healthy, his capabilities and skills are well-worth the gambles.

However, there’s gambling on a player’s fitness, and then there’s gambling on a player’s eligibility who earns £300,000 a week. Manchester United learned this the hard way with Alexis Sanchez who only scored five times in 45 appearances.

Gareth Bale’s Future

Any football club that is considering a move on Bale need to weigh the reward and risk of gambling with his financials and fitness. This is the biggest problem that Real Madrid is facing at the moment. Bale is not keen on leaving Real Madrid. He managed to win Zidane over before and will try his best to succeed again even though his future at Real Madrid looks bleaker than ever.

If Zidane and Real Madrid want to let him go, they need to compensate him for the remaining years and make him affordable to any club that wants him.

Antoine Griezmann Will Leave Atletico Madrid Following 5 Seasons

Antoine Griezmann has recently informed his football club, Atletico Madrid, that he will be leaving this summer. Sources have also reported that the player is likely to sign with Barcelona next season less than 12 months after the player turned the club down.

Atletico Madrid decided to release a brief statement on Tuesday morning to reveal that Antoine Griezmann has stated that he will be leaving the club after playing for them for more than five years. This was followed up with a video post on social media that showcased the French forward explaining his decision to leave the club to his supporters.

Antoine Griezmann’s Future

Initial reports of Antoine Griezmann wanting to Atletico Madrid at the end of the season first surfaced in March 2019. He was offered to several of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Barcelona. However, the Catalans were not interested initially in reopening the transfer discussion as he turned the club down last summer.

The World Cup winner in 2018 from France played his entire football career in Spain, arriving at Atletico Madrid in 2014 from Real Sociedad. Paris Saint-Germain is another elite football club that is currently interested in signing the 28-year-old player.

Barcelona was under the impression that a singing deal was in place for Antoine Griezmann before the start of the World Cup. However, the Catalans were caught off guard when Griezmann released a statement before the tournament started in Russia where he commented on his plans with Atletico Madrid.

However, Antoine Griezmann had a change of heart after this occurred, while Barcelona has also decided to change their minds after much debate for a possible signing that first surfaced in March.

Antoine Griezmann’s Records

Antoine Griezmann managed to score 133 goals in a total of 256 matches across all competitions in 5 seasons for Atletico Madrid. This allowed him to be the leading scorer for his team. He managed to score 126 goals in La Liga alone which places him fourth just behind Christiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi.

Griezmann also managed to win three football titles in 5 years with Atletico Madrid, including the 2014 Spanish Super Cup, the 2018 UEFA Super Cup, and the 2017/18 Europa League. He was also the player that unfortunately missed a vital penalty during the UEFA Champions League final in 2016 against Real Madrid in a penalty shootout.

Josep Maria Bartomeu has recently informed reporters that there are absolutely no bad feelings with Antoine Griezmann. Barcelona has since made Antoine Griezmann and Matthijs de Ligt, the Ajax defender, their primary targets during the summer.

The horrible Champions League defeat against Liverpool last week in the semi-finals further enhanced the decision by the club to add fresh legs to an ageing club. Barcelona can attempt to negotiate a deal with the current club but remain reluctant to start talking to anyone about Griezmann until July when the clause of Griezmann drops from $200 million to $120 million.

The Worst Is Still To Come for Manchester United

The most troubling aspect for Manchester United at the moment, after their last hope, to qualify for the Champions League was ripped away on Sunday due to a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield, is that there’s no guarantee that things will get any better going forward.

Football players will come and go when summer approaches as Solskjaer finally get his first opportunity to design the squad he wants. However, we’ve been in this position before. Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, and David Moyes have each received money to spend, a total of £600 million in total between the three of them. For the fourth time in the last six years since Sir Alex Ferguson departed, Manchester United will finish outside of the top four in the Premier League. It’s precisely what they deserved to be honest.

Manchester United vs Huddersfield

Within the first 15 minutes of the game, Manchester United was able to lead thanks to the second goal of the season by Scott McTominay. However, by the time Mr Mason blew into the whistle, Manchester United was merely hanging on for dear life. During the second half, Isaac Mbenza managed to score the equaliser after a long punt from Jonas Lossl as a goalkeeper.

The ball was in the back of David De Gea’s net only 13 seconds after the corner was taken by Manchester United on the other side of the field due to the miskick by Luke Shaw. The ball travelled over 60 yards beyond Shaw, and the goal was even worse for United as Mbenza kicked the ball through the legs of David De Gea to send Manchester United home with a draw instead of a win, ending the hopes to make it into the top four of the Premier League standings.

Huddersfield managed to lose a total of 22 matches out of 24 in all competitions. However, the team was genuinely disappointed that they couldn’t’ claim a win against Manchester United on Sunday. Solskjaer stated after the match that his team was not good enough. However, even though he was spot on with his assessments, it’s something that can be applied to almost every Manchester United game since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.

The coming summer is filled with promises of a new and fresh beginning for Manchester United. However, with just a week away to the end of the season, there are more questions than answers at the moment. To give you an idea, De Gea will be entering his final year as per his contract, Pogba is unsure of his future, and there’s still no technical director at the club. This leaves Solskjaer to drive the recruitment stages with Ed Woodward as executive vice-chairman.

There’s one more match to play before the season ends and that’s when Cardiff visits Manchester United at Old Trafford. Once that match is completed, everyone will start talking about the fresh start and their optimism for the new season. Let’s hope they are right this time around.

Will Maurizio Sarri join Chelsea next season?

It’s now extremely simplistic for Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea. Claiming victories against Leicester and Watford over the last two weekend of the English Premier League will ensure a group stage entry into the Champions League next season.

Chelsea’s Current Season

Let’s forget about the potential of a Europa League final that will occur in Baku as a safety net – 6 points from two matches and the Blues will finally be over the line, allowing them to return to where Roman Abramovich wants them to be, among the most prestigious clubs situated in Europe.

This will necessarily mean that the first season where Sarri was in charge was a successful one. Of course, we mean relative success, because Chelsea hasn’t been anywhere when it comes to challenging clubs for a title. However, progress is the same when it comes to a coach that has also witnessed his team miss out on the Carabao Cup after a penalty shoot-out against Manchester City. Even if the Blues manage to finish in the top 4 and claim victory in the Europa League, it might still not be enough for Maurizio Sarri to keep his job as head coach.

The Doubts Over Maurizio Sarri

Marina Granovskaia, the person that runs the football club daily, remains the most prominent advocate for Sarri, and that is considered a massive tick in the coach’s favour. However, one the dust settles on the current season for Chelsea, the doubts and questions surrounding Sarri will remain, and Marina Granovskaia will be required to convince Abramovich that Sarri is the coach to lead the club during the 2019/20 season.

With Chelsea back in the Champions League next season, it will help their rebuilding program. However, the current season has produced more questions than answers regarding their development and progress under Maurizio Sarri. If Chelsea managed to end up in the top 4 positions of the Premier League, it could be argued that the result is the failings of Manchester United and Arsenal instead of the successful methods by Sarri.

This might be harsh, but the Blues have managed to open a two-point lead between themselves and Arsenal that is currently in fifth place despite claiming 2 points from a potential 9 points in the last three games of the Premier League.

Chelsea managed to make ten goals without being able to score in consecutive away matches against Manchester City and Bournemouth earlier this season. It was only the 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday which spared the Blues from becoming the first Blues side to lose all away matches against the big six rivals during a season since the club was bought in 2003 by Abramovich.

Chelsea is also on the brink of losing their most valued player, Eden Hazard. He is currently playing the last year of his contract, and when he transfers to another club, Chelsea will need all the help it can get to stay an elite football team.

Legendary Football Stars & Their Expensive Mansions

Last week’s article focussed on the first mansions bought by football superstars such as Gareth Bales, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Mario Balotelli and Cristiano Ronaldo. Multi-Millions were also spent by football superstars such as Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba on luxurious mansions. This week we found out just how much they did pay for their first homes after becoming football legends.

Frank Lampard

At 36, Frank Lampard was a professional footballer playing for FC Manchester City, as the midfielder and central striker he made quite the name for himself. Considered as a football legend while playing for Chelsea more than 13 years he became the best centre as well as a scorer. When Lampard decided it was time to invest in property, he bought a double storey home worth $7 million. In size, the home is around 1811 m2. Lampard’s mansion features nine bedrooms, a swimming pool, 12 bathrooms, tennis courts and marina, while it also offers a detached home for guests.

John Terry

At age 34, the English footballer was the caption of Chelsea. John Terry was also the captain in 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2006 of the England National team. As one of only a few players, Terry was present in the 500th time for their team, he was also the best defender, Chelsea every had. John Terry went on the become the best defender worldwide in his generation and his first home features a home theatre, 10 bedrooms and an aquarium cost him $7.5 million.

Didier Drogba

At the age of 36, Didier Yves Drogba Tebili was an Ivorian professional football player for Chelsea. He played as the captain and striker of Côte d’Ivoire. As a legendary Chelsea football player, he is one of the four best scorers. In 2012, Didier became one of the best Chelsea players and was twice the Footballer of the Year. He owned a plot and in 2007 decided to build his dream home of 800 m2 worth 14.4 million dollars. Drogba’s mansion consists of 8 bathrooms, 7 bedrooms, an awards hall and several children’s rooms.

Wayne Rooney

Probably one of the most famous football players ever is Wayne Rooney, who was born in 1985 in Liverpool. He earned a reputation as the best in the world during his Manchester United career.
He became known as the world’s most expensive footballer in 2012 with a yearly income reaching 32.6 million. His first home was in Cheshire and is worth $17.5 million.

David Beckham

At 39 years of age, David Robert Joseph Beckham, former English professional football legend is as popular now for his brands as he was during his careers with Real Madrid, Manchester United and Milan. He is one of the hundred top football players of all times and claimed the top spot as the most expensive player in 2013 when his earnings reached $50 million. Although he bought his mansion in 1999, not long after marrying Victoria and his Gregorian Style home is best known as the Beckingham Palace.

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.