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Friday, January 31, 2014

Pochettino: Osvaldo's Southampton days over

Pochettino: Osvaldo's Southampton days over

(AFP) Friday 31 January 2014
Pochettino: Osvaldo's Southampton days over
© Getty Images
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has declared that record signing Dani Osvaldo will never play for the club again, amid Italian media reports that he is close to joining Juventus.
Osvaldo, 28, joined Southampton from Roma last year for a reported fee of £12.8 million ($21.2 million, 15.8 million euros), but he has made only 12 appearances to date, scoring three goals.
Southampton recently suspended him for two weeks following a training-ground clash with team-mate Jose Fonte, while he was given a three-match ban by the Football Association for his role in a brawl at Newcastle United last month.
Following reports on Thursday that the Argentine-born Italy striker will be loaned to Juventus with an option for a permanent transfer, Pochettino said it would be difficult for him to resurrect his Southampton career.
It's clear this is something that no one expects. It's completely unpredictable.
Mauricio Pochettino on the Dani Osvaldo fall-out
Asked if Osvaldo could play for Southampton again after the incident with Fonte, Pochettino said: "Your question answers itself, if you know what I mean; meaning no. It's clear."
On the reported interest from Juventus, Pochettino added: "We have to wait. There is still a day and a half left and he is suspended at the moment and we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.
"As soon as anything happens about this matter, the club will make it public. It's clear this is something that no one expects. It's completely unpredictable and something we did not expect. In light of that, there is no explanation I can give."
Italian press reports claimed that Osvaldo was in Italy on Friday in order to undergo a medical examination at Juventus.

The transfers that might have been

( Friday 31 January 2014
The transfers that might have been
© Getty Images
Love it or hate it, deadline day is enthralling because transfers matter. The stories of clubs the world over have been shaped by fateful, occasionally fantastic, deals, be they big-money additions or bargain buys.

But although the pursuit of players can be satisfying, it occasionally leaves supporters lamenting what might have been. After all, as discovered, there are plenty of star footballers whose careers could have taken very different turns, and no shortage of clubs bemoaning the fact they did not.

Hopes dashed by wages and weight
A prime example is Sheffield United, where - 36 years on - fans still talk about one that got away. That is hardly a surprise when the one in question is Diego Maradona, spotted as a 17-year-old by the then Blades manager Harry Haslam during a 1978 scouting mission to South America. So impressed was Haslam that he immediately set about agreeing a £350,000 fee with Argentinos Juniors, only for the United board to decide that spending £160,000 on Alex Sabella represented better value. Hallam’s side went on to relegated from England’s second tier.
Boca Juniors ended up being the next stop on Maradona’s remarkable football journey, but he could easily have ended up at their bitter rivals. River Plate were on the verge of securing his signature when club president Rafael Aragon Cabrera refused to bow to the youngster's demands for a contract that would have exceeded those of Millonarios stars Daniel Passarella and Ubaldo Matildo Fillol. “I had the dream of playing for River,” said Maradona at the time, “but Cabrera has destroyed that dream.”
Missing out on Maradona would be a source of regret for any club but, in Sheffield at least, there is plenty of remorse to go around. Ask fans of Sheffield Wednesday, for whom Eric Cantona seemed set to sign following his ban in France for throwing the ball at a referee. Manager Trevor Francis, though, asked the Frenchman to stay on for a second week’s trial before making up his mind, and Cantona refused, signing for Leeds United instead.
Football is littered with such misjudgements. Zinedine Zidane should, for example, have ended up playing in England at the same time as his mercurial countryman. But while Kenny Dalglish, then manager of Blackburn Rovers, agreed a deal in principle to sign the then 23-year-old Zizou, chairman Jack Walker refused to sanction the move. “Why would we want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” was Walker’s explanation, as reported by the Lancashire Telegraph.
It seems that is the fate of every all-time French great to endure one such episode in their career. Michel Platini was certainly not immune, being declared “unfit to play football at the highest level” at 16 by a medical report at Metz.
The Metz president of the time also recalled the club’s coaches remarking that Platini “had a fat ass”, and a similar opinion put paid to Paul Gascoigne’s hopes of winning a move to Ipswich Town in 1983. Concerns about the midfielder’s weight led to the Tractor Boys rejecting him, a decision all the more galling in hindsight as it came just three years after they had turned down a young Dutchman – lacking in discipline, they felt - by the name of Ruud Gullit.

Opportunities spurned
One player misjudged by several clubs was Andriy Shevchenko. The Ukraine legend spent a week on trial at West Ham United in 1994, was offered to Cologne the following year, and two years later was again put on a plate for Werder Bremen. All turned up their noses, with then Hammers manager Harry Redknapp remarking: “He didn’t look anything special at all.”
Later the same decade, Turkish club Gaziantepspor made a near-identical error, baulking at Sao Paulo’s £1.5 million asking price for a young Kaka. Within three years, AC Milan would be multiplying that figure by six. And if Gaziantepspor were left to rue their parsimony, imagine how Flamengo must have felt. They, after all, lost out on Ronaldo by refusing to fund the bus fair – around 20p – from the striker’s home in Ribero.
Fulham also have a hard luck story regarding a Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner. In 1978, with the club in the second tier of English football, Paulo Cesar was convinced to join, only for the deal to collapse over a dispute over the player's phone-calls home to Brazil. Across London, Arsenal have also endured their share of costly near-misses in recent years. Yaya Toure spent a week on trial in 2005 but problems with his passport meant a deal was not pursued; their second such glaring error in a matter of years. “I had [Cristiano] Ronaldo at the training ground,” Arsene Wenger revealed some time later. “I showed him around and I gave him a shirt. But in the end it was a question of the transfer fee between the two clubs.”
Ultimately, Arsenal refused to pay a fee of around £4 million, and by this point they were making a habit of passing up future greats. After all, in 2000, they had Zlatan Ibrahimovic within their grasp and, once again, allowed him to slip away. As Ibrahimovic recalled: “Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey - the No 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it. Then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn't even try. It was more: ‘I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial.’ I couldn't believe it. I was like: ‘No way. Zlatan doesn't do auditions.’ So I said no and signed for Ajax instead.”
Just as a Gunners team with Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Toure would have taken some stopping, imagine an 1860 Munich side in which the talents of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller were fused. This could have become reality, with Muller having been on the verge of a move before Bayern – alerted to their city rivals’ interest – moved in to snatch the striker away an hour before TSV’s proposed signing talks. Beckenbauer, meanwhile, had his heart set on a move to Die Löwen only for one of their players to slap him in the face during a match for SC 1906 Munich. That act of violence set him against the club of his dreams and on a course towards Bayern, where he would go on to make history with ‘Der Bomber’.
If those two deals helped define an era, so too did the transfer of Alfredo di Stefano to Real Madrid. After all, Los Merengues’ great rivals, Barcelona, thought they had signed La Saeta Rubia, and lengthy negotiations resulting in an agreement that the player be shared on a yearly basis with Real for a period of four seasons. Later though, an interim Barcelona board would allow Di Stefano to join Real for a compensation payment of 5.5 million pesetas - small recompense for the misery he would inflict on the Catalans over the years that would follow.
A similar fate befell Monaco, who agreed a pre-contract deal with Jean-Pierre Papin in 1986 only for Marseille to dazzle the striker with a subsequent offer. Compensation was paid between the south coast clubs, but for OM it was a paltry price to pay for a player who would become one of their all-time greats, finishing as France’s top scorer for five successive seasons between 1988 and 1992.

Unlikely destinations
Though it is difficult now, given Papin’s heroics at the Velodrome, to picture him in a Monaco jersey, some transfers that nearly took place are positively unthinkable. Who, for example, could imagine Ronaldinho playing for unfashionable Scottish outfit St Mirren in advance of his move to Paris Saint-Germain? That, though, was a very real possibility, with the Paisley side intended to offer the Brazilian experience of European football before a passport scandal put paid to the deal.
A few miles away, Dumbarton came within a whisker of an even bigger coup. The great Johan Cruyff, still just 33, might have been seen as an impossible target for a mid-table team in Scotland’s second tier. But manager Sean Fallon, previously assistant to Jock Stein during Celtic’s glory years, almost convinced the Dutch master to swap Barcelona for Boghead, only for the Scottish weather to prove decisive. “Was I tempted? Yes, of course,” Cruyff said in Fallon’s biography. “Playing in England, or Britain, was something I had always wanted to do. But when you're old your muscles get stiff, and moving to a cold country like Scotland would have been asking for problems.”
It may be an unusual reason for this most audacious of transfers falling through, but others have been just as peculiar. Former Scotland international Darren Jackson, for instance, spent just eight days on trial at Dalian Wanda before returning home, citing his inability to stomach Chinese food. Another Scot, Kenny Dalglish, might have ended up at Liverpool as a 15-year-old, but turned down an extra week’s trial because it would have prevented him attending a midweek Old Firm derby. The future Anfield legend travelled back to Glasgow to cheer on Rangers, the team he followed religiously, and yet within months the youngster been convinced by Fallon to sign for the Ibrox club’s great rivals.
Liverpool also missed out on England international Frank Worthington, but for very different reasons. Bill Shankly had agreed a fee of £150,000 with Huddersfield only for the striker, well known for his off-field antics, to fail a medical due to high blood pressure. The reason? “Excessive sexual activity.” And while Shankly told Worthington to take a relaxing holiday in Majorca and re-attempt the medical on his return, more of the same behaviour on that sunshine break ensured the second test was even worse. The deal duly collapsed.
Transfers, as we can well see, can be a fraught business. And while there will be plenty of deals going through over the coming hours, deadline day is also sure to end with a few clubs – and a few players – rueing a golden opportunity missed.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sharks swimming with the big fish - AFRICA

Sharks swimming with the big fish

(African Football Media) Thursday 30 January 2014
Sharks swimming with the big fish
When Lucio Antunes stepped down as coach of Cape Verde club Academico do Sal in July 2010 to take over the national team, the Blue Sharks were ranked 108th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings and 26th in Africa on a total of 261 points. When he left them to take over Angolan club Progresso do Sambizanga three and a half years later, the team had reached their highest-ever ranking. In the January edition of the rankings, Cape Verde is 35th in the world and is considered the fifth-strongest team in Africa with 726 points.

That statistical achievement signifies a magnificent year for the Blue Sharks, one that not only saw them compete at their first-ever finals of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Much of the credit for the rise in fortunes of the tiny nation of islands has been given to Antunes, who was surely one of just a few national team coaches who continued with his day job whilst being in charge of the national team. To coach his team at the AFCON finals - where they were the smallest-ever country to compete - Antunes had to take time off as an air traffic controller at Nelson Mandela Airport in Praia.

What is even more remarkable about Cape Verde's trip to South Africa for the finals is that the team did not travel simply to make up the numbers, but to make an impact. And that is exactly what they did, drawing their two opening matches against the hosts South Africa and Morocco and then beating rivals Angola to secure an unexpected place in the quarter-finals. At the time Antunes told that they had reach their objective to go through to the next round. "We played three good games. We came to South Africa very determined, and I'm very happy about what we have achieved."

The two draws and the victory against the Palancas Negras took the Blue Sharks to 63rd in the February rankings with 512 points and a further rise in March to 57th with 540 points. Cape Verde's run up the ranking then continued with victories in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers against Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone, which saw them ranked 36th in the world in August.

Like a family
Forward Platini, who plays his club football for Cypriot side Omonia told in an exclusive interview that the reason why Cape Verdean football has taken such a leap forward is because they are like a family. "What makes our national team strong is our unity, and with respect, we deserve to be amongst the best teams in Africa because of the work our national team has been carrying out. I believe our national team can become one of the best in Africa because we are showing our quality, and this can only bode well for the future."

Platini believes this process will continue despite Antunes' departure. "Coach Lucio was clearly very important. He was very focused on his work and this was very important for the players. Especially, his motivation of the players was one of the secrets of the national team’s growth. But I don’t think there will be any difference [in the level of play] because our group is very strong. But, of course, we will miss Mister Lucio."

The striker, who has also played professionally in Portugal, scored Cape Verde's first-ever goal at the AFCON finals in the 1-1 draw against Morocco. "I was very happy when I scored because it was a historical moment for Cape Verde football. When I scored I was stunned, and did not quite know how to celebrate, but it felt really good."

For Platini the rise in Cape Verdean football goes beyond the sporting aspect. "This worldwide recognition is very good for our national team and our country." And there is little to suggest why Cape Verde's climb up the rankings should not continue for a little bit longer.

Chelsea ready for ultimate test at City

Chelsea ready for ultimate test at City

(AFP) Friday 31 January 2014
Chelsea ready for ultimate test at City
© Getty Images
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill admits his side's crunch clash with Manchester City on Monday will be the ultimate test of their Premier League title credentials.
City swept to the top of the table with a 5-1 demolition of Tottenham in midweek, while Chelsea lost ground in the title race after being held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to West Ham.
Jose Mourinho's third-placed team trail leaders City by three points and a defeat at Eastlands would be a major blow to Chelsea's hopes of winning the English crown for the first time since 2010.
Mourinho accused West Ham of playing "football from the 19th century" after the east Londoners settled for a cautious approach in midweek, but City's dazzling array of attacking talent may force the Chelsea boss to adopt a conservative gameplan himself.
The Blues have already beaten Manuel Pellegrini's side this season when a Joe Hart error allowed Fernando Torres to a score a late winner at Stamford Bridge in October.
They're banging goals in left, right and centre. I suppose it's the ultimate test.
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill
But City have been in majestic form since then and their five-star display at White Hart Lane extended their unbeaten run to 20 matches in all competitions.
Pellegrini's men have scored a remarkable 115 goals this season and they have been invincible at Eastlands, crushing all opposition to record a 100 per cent record of 11 wins on home turf in the Premier League.
Even the country's best teams have been embarrassed at Eastlands, with Manchester United conceding four and Arsenal and Tottenham both hit for six.
England international Cahill acknowledges Chelsea, who will move level on points with City if they win, will have to produce their very best to emerge from Eastlands undefeated. "They're banging goals in left, right and centre. It's going to be really tough," Cahill said.
"We had a really good result against them at our place but at home they've been so strong. I suppose it's the ultimate test. It's going to be a really, really tough game."
If City striker Sergio Aguero fails to recover from a hamstring injury, Pellegrini will choose between Alvaro Negredo or Stevan Jovetic as his replacement.
Jovetic replaced Aguero at Tottenham and notched his first Premier League goal since his £22 million transfer from Fiorentina last year.
The Montenegro forward, who is finally fit after battling injury and illness, warned his team-mates to guard against over-inflated expectations after a host of pundits this week labelled them champions elect. "We were really happy after beating Tottenham but we need to stay calm because nothing is finished," Jovetic said.
"The next one against Chelsea is going to be a crucial game. I hope we will play like we did against Tottenham. At the moment, everything is perfect but we need to do our job as we did until now and like this we can be successful."
Misfiring Gunners seek rebound
Second placed Arsenal, who host Crystal Palace on Sunday, can't afford another slip after falling one point behind City following a 2-2 draw at Southampton.
With City and Chelsea not playing until Monday, the Gunners would temporarily regain first place if they beat Palace.
"We have to look at ourselves and only think we have to move forward," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "The kind of performance we delivered at Southampton will not move us forward, so let's focus to come back on Sunday and produce a good performance."
Manchester United travel to Stoke looking to close the gap on fourth placed Liverpool in the race to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
United defeated Cardiff in midweek to mark the debut of £37 million club record signing Juan Mata.
And the Spanish midfielder has already made a good impression on his new team-mates, according to United winger Ashley Young. "Juan looked like he had been here for years," he said.
"He had only been training for two days and it was his first game but he has gelled straight away. When he has fully settled in he will add something special to the squad."
Newcastle host Sunderland in the highly-charged Tyne-Wear derby, while fourth placed Liverpool travel to West Brom aiming to build on their 4-0 thrashing of Merseyside rivals Everton.
English Premier League fixtures
Cardiff v Norwich
Everton v Aston Villa
Fulham v Southampton
Hull v Tottenham
Newcastle v Sunderland
Stoke v Manchester United
West Ham v Swansea
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
West Brom v Liverpool
Manchester City v Chelsea

Thiago late wonder strike seals victory over Stuttgart

Posted by Susie Schaaf
Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty ImagesThanks to Thiago's wonder goal, Bayern keep rolling in.
Making up the last match of the Hinrunde due to Bayern's Cup World Cup play in December, the club travelled to Stuttgart's Mercedes Benz Arena on Wednesday. And what most might have thought was a sure three points for Bayern -- as VfB is currently sitting in 12th place -- turned out to be anything but. Vedad Ibisevic opened the scoring for the hosts in the 29th minute and it would take a long time until the visitors pulled one back, with substitute Claudio Pizarro heading past Sven Ulreich with barely 15 minutes remaining.

Both sides deserved a point as the match grew increasingly testy over time -- eight yellow cards were handed out on the day by referee Manuel Graefe, but Stuttgart would have their hearts broken with half a minute to play with a wonder strike from Thiago Alcantara. 2-1 to Bayern as die Schwaben lay down, utterly dejected, on the pitch post-game as Bayern unbelievably -- and not wholly deservedly -- maintained their record 43-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga.

- Report: Stuttgart 1-2 Bayern

It would be the first time this season that Pep Guardiola made no changes to his Startelf, running out the same side as Friday's 2-0 Rueckrunde opener against Borussia Moenchengladbach. But what had worked so well against the Foals went missing here. Lackadaisical defending and an inability to mount any real sort of attack for much of the match left Bayern -- with their extremely high line -- especially vulnerable to Stuttgart's counter attacks. Stuttgart's Timo Warner and Ibisevic garner special mention for flummoxing Bayern's backline for much of the evening.

It was a bit of back-and-forth to get things started as Thomas Schneider's very young side were giving as good as they got, not cowed by the competition. Toni Kroos chipped early wide of Ulreich's goal before pressure by Jerome Boateng caused Werner to shoot over Manuel Neuer's not long after.

Referee Graefe might have called Rafinha for a handball in the box after a point-blank shot by Martin Harnik -- Harnik would continuously tangle with Austrian teammate David Alaba all game long -- before Moritz Leitner saw the first yellow on the day with a Toni Kroos tackle. But Graefe made up for his earlier non-call by allowing a slightly offside Ibisevic goal after Antonio Ruediger and Werner linked up to push the ball through to the Bosnian striker.

After falling behind, Guardiola's Bayern started to exert more pressure and gain chances, but Stuttgart stayed well-formed in defence. Alaba and Thomas Mueller did well to link up only to find Ulreich at the end, while Kroos shot well over before the VfB keeper made an incredible reaction save from a Thiago blast.

Guardiola made no changes to start the second half, but they were surely coming as Munich was lacking a target man with some height in the box. Equally, Stuttgart came out determined to seal the deal as Ibisevic nearly made it two for the hosts. Kroos saw yellow before Ulreich cranked a massive throw to Harnik, whose effort would be blocked off the line by Boateng.

The cards kept coming as Dante fouled Mohammed Abdellaoue and Gotoku Sakai got Alaba before Guardiola finally got some physicality into his line-up, substituting Mario Mandzukic for Xherdan Shaqiri -- this coming after the Croatian striker failed to make the team their last time out -- and Claudio Pizarro for a petulant Toni Kroos, who angrily threw his gloves as he left the pitch.

Both players would be crucial in turning the tide for Bayern as Pizarro's first touch saw him shoot just wide, and Mandzukic providing some lovely work for Alaba only to see the wing-back fluff his opportunity. Mandzukic continued to stay in the action as he and Thiago were denied point-blank, before Pizarro finally found the equaliser, a flicked-header from a Thiago free-kick that Ulreich could only get a hand on.

Stuttgart still fancied their chances after the Pizarro goal as they and Bayern traded shots for the remainder of the match. Dante perfectly timed a tackle to deny an Abdellaoue strike and Werner shot straight at Neuer, before an amusing kerfuffle as Harnik saw yellow for a Dante trip, while Boateng -- sticking up for his teammate -- got a card for dissent.

Mandzukic was saved by Ulreich and Konstantin Rausch shot wide at the other end as the match moved in to injury time, with Bayern only having three minutes to collect maximum points. It took them two-and-a-half as Thiago scissored Rafinha's cross home for his first Bundesliga goal -- a wonder strike, indeed, and an immediate front-runner for goal of the season.

The popular football adage is that great teams find a way to win even when they're not playing well. This match was certainly an example of that. But all that said, the adage should not diminish the accomplishments of a young, hungry Stuttgart side that came out to play ball. Well played, Schneider and your men! Well played.

Leo será el mejor pagado del orbe

Actualizado ayer 29 de enero de 2014
Por Jordi Blanco
Tata Martino negó charlas por la renovación
El entrenador argentino destacó la clasificación a semifinales de la Copa y en cuanto a su renovación, aseguró que no le hace falta "ese gesto" para confirmar el apoyo del presidente.Tags: espn, barcelona, gerardo martino, copa del rey
Sin tiempo que perder, apenas una semana después de acceder a la presidencia del FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu ha iniciado su primera y urgente tarea: adecuar el contrato de Leo Messi. Asunto que se arrastraba desde hacía meses y que el nuevo mandatario quiere cerrar a la mayor brevedad posible.
Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez
David Ramos/Getty ImagesEl sueldo que ganará Messi le hará sonreir en el futuro
Si ESPN dio cuenta este miércoles de los primeros contactos entre Bartomeu y Jorge Messi puede ahora confirmar que el club trabaja ya en una oferta concreta que espera reciba el visto bueno de los asesores del futbolista, por cuanto le convertirá en el mejor pagado del mundo.Así, el FC Barcelona ofrece a Leo una ficha anual, neta, de 20 millones de euros que le catapultarán a lo más alto en cuanto a salario del mundo futbolístico, añadiendo una serie de variables por los que en el mejor de los casos el jugador podría alcanzar los 27 millones.Esto llegaría a través de diferentes bonus, que especificarían 3 millones por ganar la Champions, otros dos por la Liga y uno por la Copa del Rey o el Mundial de Clubs, título este último al que solamente se puede acceder a través del título continental.Lo que no variará es la cláusula de rescisión del argentino ni la duración del contrato. Seguirán vigentes los 250 millones de euros, dando por hecho que ningún club estará dispuesto a hacer tal dispendio y que el deseo del crack es permanecer en el Camp Nou y se mantendrá la duración hasta junio de 2018, cuando el futbolista habrá cumplido los 31 años.Aunque el Barça no ha trasladado todavía a Messi ningún documento acreditativo de la oferta, el presidente conversó con el padre del crack invitándole a iniciar las conversaciones en un plazo breve de tiempo, comunicándole que los servicios jurídicos del club ya tienen preparado un borrador en el que se especifican los detalles del nuevo contrato.La exposición pública de los detalles contractuales en el fichaje y salario de Neymar pusieron en alerta tanto al entorno de Messi, que descubrió cifras desconocidas, como al club, que entendió la necesidad de negociar con el argentino en una postura desfavorable.Sin embargo, estos contactos que ha acelerado Bartomeu se tenían previstos desde antes de Navidad, cuando el ex presidente Sandro Rosell le prometió al padre del jugador cerrar el asunto en febrero.CRISTIANO, LA ESPOLETA
Aunque pueda darse por hecho que ha sido Neymar el que ha desencadenado el tema, éste se arrastra desde el pasado verano, cuando se conoció que la renovación de Cristiano Ronaldo por el Real Madrid convertía al portugués, como proclamó Florentino Pérez, en el futbolista mejor pagado del mundo.Lo sucedido con Neymar, de hecho, sólo cambió el escenario y condicionó los postulados en que pretendía moverse el club, obligado a hacer un esfuerzo mayor del que tenía previsto. El Barça tiene la certeza de que Cristiano se mueve en unas cifras aproximadas de 18 millones de euros de salario fijo más unos incentivos por títulos que le pueden conducir hasta los 24, cantidades que serán superadas por Leo.
Quique Garcia/AFP/Getty ImagesLa directiva culé muestra que no teme que Messi pueda lesionarse de gravedad
Bartomeu, consciente del terremoto mediático que rodea su ascenso a la presidencia, ha convertido la modificación del contrato de Messi es un asunto de máxima importancia y desea cerrarlo cuanto antes, consciente como es del golpe de efecto que significaría la fotografía oficial de la firma de este nuevo contrato antes de la consulta por la remodelación del Camp Nou.NO SE TOCARÁN LOS DERECHOS DE IMAGEN 
Al margen de esta oferta concreta, el club mantendrá a través de su Fundación la colaboración que ya existe con la 'Fundación Leo Messi', dándose por hecho que el futbolista seguirá siendo el poseedor de sus derechos de imagen, cuyos réditos en 2013 se cifraron por encima de los 22 millones de euros.Este aspecto fue motivo de discusión en la directiva del Barça a finales del año pasado. Por aquel entonces, y una vez solucionados los problemas del jugador con hacienda, el club estudio la posibilidad de que los ingresos y las estrategias de marketing y de explotación de los derechos de imagen de Leo fueran compartidos. Algo novedoso en la entidad azulgrana puesto que en la actualidad son los jugadores quienes tienen sus derechos de imagen.Dicha opción, sin embargo, se descartó por cuanto el entorno del crack se mostró contrario a dicha posibilidad.Sin que haya todavía fecha concreta para dar carpetazo al asunto, el presidente azulgrana espera solucionarlo inmediatamente después de la eliminatoria de octavos de final de Champions frente al Manchester City. Aunque su deseo sería hacerlo antes, la premura de tiempo (el partido de ida se disputará el 18 de febrero) y la trascendencia de dicho enfrentamiento hacen más adecuado buscar una fecha posterior.

French doctors work to bring Schumacher out of coma

Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher was skiing in the French resort of Meribel when he hit a rock

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Doctors treating injured Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher are reducing his sedation to prepare to bring him out of a coma, his manager says.
This step will allow the "waking up process" to start, Sabine Kehm said in a statement.
But bringing the seven-times champion out of the coma "could take a long time", she added.
Schumacher suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps on 29 December.
He was put into a medically induced coma by his doctors at a clinic in Grenoble following operations to remove blood clots from his brain.
Doctors have kept the 45-year-old German asleep to help reduce the swelling.
Ms Kehm was approached by the media for comment on Schumacher's condition on Wednesday - exactly a month after his crash. She said then that his condition remained "stable".
In her statement on Thursday, she said it had been agreed to communicate details of his sedation "only once this process was consolidated".

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher
  • Born: 3 January 1969
  • First GP win: Belgium 1992
  • Last GP win: China 2006
  • Races started: 303
  • Wins: 91 (155 podium finishes)
  • Championships: 7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
The statement again included an appeal by Schumacher's family for privacy for them and for his doctors, while at the same time expressing "sincere appreciation for the worldwide sympathy".
At his bedside since the accident, the family have received hundreds of letters and gifts from around the world.
Earlier this month, investigators probing the accident said Schumacher had been going at the speed of "a very good skier" at the time of his crash in the resort of Meribel.
He had been skiing 8m off-piste when he fell and hit a rock, investigators said.
Experts reconstructed events leading up to the crash after examining Schumacher's skiing equipment and viewing footage filmed on a camera attached to his helmet.
Schumacher retired from racing in 2012 after a 19-year career.
He won two titles with Benetton, in 1994 and 1995, before switching to Ferrari in 1996 and going on to win five straight titles from 2000.
map of piste

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Guardiola: Sometimes you need a warning

(AFP) Thursday 30 January 2014
Guardiola: Sometimes you need a warning
© Getty Images
Pep Guardiola reckons Bayern Munich needed the challenge of a dramatic win in Stuttgart to maintain their record unbeaten league run, with the Bundesliga title race effectively over.
The Bavarians went 13 points clear on Wednesday with a dramatic 2-1 victory, as ThiagoAlcantara's acrobatic 93rd-minute volley saw off a spirited Stuttgart challenge and extended Bayern's record unbeaten league run out to 43 matches. Bayern last lost in the Bundesliga back in October 2012, and this season's title race is widely considered to be over with more than three months still to play.
Sometimes we need a warning. A game like that is better than a 3- or 4-0 victory.
Pep Guardiola
But Bayern did not have things their own way in Stuttgart, falling behind to a Vedad Ibisevic goal after 29 minutes before Claudio Pizarro equalised 14 minutes from time. Guardiola believes his side needed a tough league match to remind them that nothing is yet decided, despite their massive lead.
"If a team doesn't lose for 43 games and everyone says that the Bundesliga is over and the championship is secured, it's not easy for the player's mentality," said the Spaniard. "To always win, win, win - I know how difficult that is."
Bayern have now won all of their last 11 league games, and having seized 14 titles in four years as Barcelona coach, Guardiola is familiar with the luxury problem of motivating a side who are used to winning. The European champions were issued with a wake-up call earlier this month when a experimental side lost 3-0 at Red Bull Salzburg in a friendly.
"Sometimes we need a warning, you need a problem like we had in Salzburg or the first-half in Stuttgart to react," he said. "A game like that is better than a 3- or 4-0 victory."
Having broken or equalled 25 Bundesliga records last season, Bayern are again setting new best marks. A 13-point lead after 18 matches is a new record and the question is whether Guardiola's side will better last season's record for the earliest confirmed title win on 6 April, which they achieved with six games to spare.
Lahm, Thiago reflect on victory
Stuttgart were just seconds from taking a deserved point from the game and their players were left pole-axed on the pitch after succumbing to their third straight defeat, their sixth loss in eight matches.
"Every opponent wants to be the first to beat us and we weren't as consistent as usual," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.
But match-winner Alcantara summed up the defending title-holders mentality.
"That's Bayern Munich - we tried everything we could to get the win," said the 22-year-old, who joined Bayern from Barcelona last July and scored his first Bundesliga goal in Stuttgart.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FIFA 14 - Search for Brazilian champion begins on 1 February

Search for Brazilian champion begins on 1 February

( Wednesday 29 January 2014
Search for Brazilian champion begins on 1 February
© Getty Images
On 2 and 3 July, amidst the festivities and celebrations taking place in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the world’s largest gaming tournament – The FIFA Interactive World Cup – will conclude it’s search for the next World Champion on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 14 at the FIWC 2014 Grand Final.
Twenty Grand Finalists from all over the world will compete over the course of the two-day Grand Final in the hopes of being crowned the next FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion. Defending champion Bruce Grannec will be there along with the 18 players that earned their seats through the various online qualification methods for the FIWC 2014.
The final player to join these elite finalists in Rio de Janeiro will be a Brazilian champion, ensuring that the 2014 FIFA World Cup and FIWC 2014 host nation is represented at the virtual showpiece.
Represent Brazil at the Grand Final
One lucky Brazilian FIWC player will have the opportunity of a lifetime: to witness the 2014 FIFA World Cup on home soil, while also competing to become the FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion at the FIWC 2014 Grand Final. The Brazilian representative at the 2014 Grand Final will be decided through a Brazilian Live Qualification event to be held on 24 April in Brazil.
To qualify for the Brazil Live Event, Brazilian gamers will have to compete online in either Season 5 or Season 6 of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2014. will release more details on the Brazil Live Qualification Event soon. You must hold a Brazilian passport to be eligible for the Brazil Qualifier. The search for Brazil’s FIWC champion begins on 1 February.
Brazilian gamers, don’t miss out on your chance to represent your country at the biggest gaming tournament in the world during the biggest sporting event in the world. Sign up for the FIWC in game now and secure your chance to qualify for the Grand Final in Rio de Janeiro!