Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ronaldo: Real better than United

Cristiano Ronaldo believes "Real Madrid have a better team" than Manchester United ahead of the two sides' clash in the Champions League. Ronaldo will come up against his former club for the first time since trading England for Spain in a world record £80million move in 2009 when United visit the Bernabeu in the first leg of the last 16 next week. The reigning Primera Division champions are struggling domestically this season and lie 16 points behind fierce rivals Barcelona, while the Red Devils are currently cruising at the top of the Premier League. Despite the teams' contrasting forms, Ronaldo will be in positive mood against Sir Alex Ferguson's men although he was quick to sound a note of caution. "I believe things will go well. In my opinion Real Madrid have a better team, but we have to show that on the pitch because United are a very united team and always have been in recent years," he said to the official UEFA Champions League magazine. "They're a team that always do well, every year they're at the top and therefore a team we respect a lot. It will be an extremely difficult match, especially in Manchester." It promises to be an emotional occasion for Ronaldo, who spent six years at Old Trafford. "I actually said beforehand that I believed we would draw Manchester United," he said. "I've wanted to face them for some time. I have great memories from my time there. "It will be a match in which I will feel a lot. I was there for six years. I have a lot of friends there, people I will see with great pleasure, it will be a match with a lot of emotions." Ronaldo, who stated he would not celebrate should he net against United, still has much admiration for former boss Ferguson. "He taught me the basis of football. I arrived in Manchester when I was only 18. He managed my career in the best possible way and for me he is one of the most important people in football," he added. "I still have an excellent relationship with him and it will be nice to see him again."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reading vs Manchester United (3-4) All Goals

Mario Balotelli AC Milan vs Udinese FULL Debut - Goals and Skills

Balotelli leads Milan to win in debut

Mario Balotelli scored twice on his AC Milan debut to earn his new side a 2-1 victory over Udinese, but the nature of his winning goal arrived in typically controversial fashion. All eyes were on the mercurial Italy striker following his £19million return to Italy and it took him only 24 minutes to open his account in Rossonero colors, even if the goal could have arrived much sooner. Udinese made the most of the hysteria to spring a surprise at the San Siro in the second half, Gianpiero Pinzi souring the party atmosphere with a goal on the counter-attack. Balotelli's head appeared to drop as Milan drifted towards a draw but he snatched up the ball with glee when Stephan El Shaarawy won a dubious penalty from Thomas Heurtaux. The former Inter Milan striker did not miss from the spot and Udinese were left protesting the perceived injustice as Milan celebrated reaching fourth place. There was a heightened air of expectancy in a crowd who unfurled hundreds of banners to welcome their hero home before the teamsheet had even been released. And so there was tangible disappointment when Balotelli's name was only listed among the substitutes, with Giampaolo Pazzini preferred alongside M'Baye Niang and El Shaarawy. But soon fate intervened as Pazzini injured himself in the warm-up. Balotelli took to the field from the start and almost scored inside 35 seconds. The 22-year-old ploughed through the Udinese midfield to drag a daisy-cutter just inches wide of a post. He soon put Niang through on goal with a tricky reverse pass but Daniele Padelli repelled the threat with an outstretched boot. Udinese were not in town as part of the welcoming committee and Luis Muriel soon made his side's intentions clear with a fine run and finish that might have been better converted had he passed to Pinzi. El Shaarawy reminded the home fans of what he could do with a near miss from a header but the stage had always been set for the new arrival. A typically muted celebration greeted rapturous applause as Balotelli hooked El Shaarawy's pullback from the by-line underneath Padelli and into the back of the net. He nearly found a second in style, Padelli racing back to flap his long-range drive out of the far corner. Dusan Basta did his best to surprise Milan keeper Marco Amelia on the counter-attack, to no avail, before Padelli survived yet another scare as Mathieu Flamini came up short on a square ball from El Shaarawy. Milan had dominated the first half and they continued to channel their play through their new icon after the break. A near-miss from Antonio Di Natale failed to inspire the necessary caution, though, and Udinese caught their hosts napping in the 55th minute. The sprightly Muriel raced clear of the offside trap to drag Cristian Zapata out of position, with Pinzi left all on his own to slip the ball over Amelia and into an empty net. Balotelli did warm Padelli's palms soon after, but he shrugged his shoulders after missing an easy chance to tuck home a Kevin Constant cross. Niang tried to force the issue but slammed the ball wide of a post because Udinese had done enough to narrow the angle. A spell of heavy Milan pressure found Niang with the goal at his mercy but instead the young Frenchman rattled the crossbar with a furious drive. El Shaarawy was barely touched as he tumbled in the box under the attentions of Heurtaux, with Balotelli unmoved by any protests as he beat Padelli with a dummied penalty, the last kick of the match.

Chelsea make SOS call to Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is ready to quit Real Madrid and return to Stamford Bridge to 'rescue' his beloved Chelsea. Sunderland have joined West Brom in the race to sign Reading central defender Alex Pearce, who has rejected a new deal and is a free agent in the summer. Millwall want to re-sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane, 19, on a three-month loan deal. Blackburn are expected to sign midfielder Lee Williamson and striker DJ Campbell this week

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Messi scores to salvage tie for Barcelona against Valenica

Lionel Messi extended his record streak by scoring in his 12th consecutive Spanish league game to give leader Barcelona a 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday. Midfielder Ever Banega struck first for Valencia in the 33rd, only for Messi to level for the visitors from the penalty spot six minutes later. Former Valencia star David Villa had Barcelona's best chance late but failed to finish on the break before goalkeeper Victor Valdes made an excellent save to deny Roberto Soldado two minutes from time. Barcelona leads main rival Real Madrid by 16 points after the defending champions' 1-0 loss at Granada the day before from Cristiano Ronaldo's first career own goal. Atletico Madrid is second, trailing Barcelona by 12 points ahead of its game against Real Betis later.

Female commentator makes TV history

German football fans heard an unfamiliar voice Sunday when a woman gave a running commentary on a men's football game on national TV for the first time. Christina Graf became the country's first female commentator at a men's professional football game when she covered Hertha Berlin's 5-1 win at Jahn Regensburg in the second division. ''I'm happy that I can start slowly with the second division at first,'' the 27-year-old Graf told the dpa news agency before the game. Graf beat out around 1,200 applicants to win a casting show for her new job with broadcaster Sky. ''It's a huge opportunity'' she said. ''But I'm not the very extroverted type and won't go ballistic.'' Claudia Neumann was the first female to commentate live on a football game for German TV in 2011 when the country hosted the Women's World Cup.

Rooney hands penalty duties to RVP !

Wayne Rooney has revealed he asked Sir Alex Ferguson to take him off Manchester United penalty duties. Striker Rooney blazed his latest effort over against West Ham last month, the second time this season he has failed from the spot. Ferguson indicated he needed to make a change, and when United got another penalty against Fulham last weekend, it was Ryan Giggs who stepped up to put his side ahead. But Rooney has revealed Robin van Persie, who did not start on Saturday, has now taken over as United's number one taker. "To be honest it was my choice," Rooney told MUTV. "It wasn't good enough. I went in to speak with the manager and said I'd spoken with Robin and told him he could take them. "At a club like this, to miss two penalties like I did and not hit the target wasn't good enough."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Granada gets shock win over Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first own goal of his otherwise stellar career to condemn Real Madrid to a 1-0 defeat at Granada on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho's side fell into the same funk that has dogged it all season against lesser-name opponents. Ronaldo's career is packed with goals of all sorts and from all angles, but he had never in 10 and a half seasons found the back of his team's net until he headed a corner over goalkeeper Diego Lopez in a flubbed attempt to clear 22 minutes in. Madrid's slip, however, rested on the entire team as the defending champions failed to get a shot on target until the 58th minute. Madrid's fifth loss in 12 away games this season left it 15 points behind Barcelona before the Spanish league leader visits Valencia on Sunday.