Archive for the ‘Fiorentina’ Category

Great Goals From Around The World

August 22, 2009

LFV frequent flyer Peruvian international Juan Manuel Vargas does it again by opening up scoring in Fiorentina’s 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon in Champion’s League play:

Here is a textbook finish by Al-Sawielh الهلال for Al-Hilal in the first week of the Saudi League:

An American youth player cracks a pub league shot – and makes it!

Here’s another one from the Champion’s League. How about Valencia punishing Staebeck 3-0, with all three scored from inside the six yard box?

Fiorentina, Palermo Enter The Race For Onyewu

June 28, 2009

According to press reports from Italy and Belgium, two Italian Serie A clubs are interested in acquiring American central defender Oguchi Onyewu. Fiorentina and Palermo now join Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Fulham, Besiktas, and Fenerbahce for the 6’4″ player who is available on a free transfer from Standard Liege in July.

Personally, I’d love to see him go to Fiorentina, a club which always plays with a good attacking style and appears on the verge of regaining a potentcy not seen since the Batistuta era.

The Viola had been aiming to sign Barcelona’s Mexican defender Rafa Marquez but since he signed a new deal with the Spanish champions on Thursday, Onyewu has emerged as an option. Their other option is Napoli central defender Fabiano Santacroce – a player also targetted by the deep-pocketed Juventus. This entire scenario also indicates that Juve could end up taking a look at Onyewu if Napoli (a club normally reluctant to sell key talent) decides to keep Santacroce.

The Gooch connection with Palermo looks less likely to result in a a serious bid since the club just made an offer for Sao Paolo central defender Andre Dias and a deal appears to be in the making.

Onyewu has been drawing ever more attention for his dominant play in Belgium’s Jupiler League and strong performances at the Confederations Cup, in particular for his heroic defensive efforts alongside Jay DeMerit in the USA’s 2-0 win over European champions Spain.

If Gooch can turn in another such performance tomorrow in the final against Brazil, expect the list of interested clubs to grow and don’t be surprised to see a few Champion’s League trophy contenders on the list.

Viola Take Roma Behind The Woodshed

April 26, 2009

The perennial fifth place Fiorentina sent a stong message yesterday that they want something more by embarrassing Roma 4-1.

My personal goal of the weekend (already) goes to the Viola’s Peruvian ace Juan Manuel Vargas for his 6th minute crusher into Roma’s net.

Watch it here:

Alberto Gilardino added two more goals for Fiorentina and Massimo Gobbi completed the butt whuppin’ with a 73rd-minute tap-in. Roma’s Julio Baptista grabbed a goal in the late going to prevent the shutout but the damage was done: 4-1 for the Viola.

Complete highlights here:

Serie A: Napoli Still Winless in Seven Matches

February 22, 2009

I haven’t been blogging quite enough lately, in part because of the dark mood which seems to have taken hold here in Naples. The home team, Napoli, had a strong start to the season and was hovering around 3rd to 4th place in Serie A when “the streak” started – seven games without a win.

In fact, the town’s beloved blue has earned just two points in seven matches and has slid down to mid-table, a place cemented by today’s 1-0 loss to Genoa. From December to January, locals were talking about the squad playing in the Champion’s League and now they are pointing fingers at players like German Denis (who promised 20 goals and a Champion’s League spot). Denis has not quite lived up to expectations but he remains the only decent option for a target man up front.

It seems that things really started to crumble after the team dropped a home match to rivals Roma 3-0, a loss which left the coffee bars full of long faces and hushed tones. Meanwhile, it seems Roma has switched places with Napoli after the slow starting giallarossi have roared back are now sitting on 43 points and poised to grab a Champion’s League spot. The most galling aspect for the Napoli faithful is that they’ve dropped so many points to some of the league’s weaker squads including Udinese, Palermo, and relegation threatened Bologna. Now, Napoli faces a real uphill battle to claw its way back into contention as it faces Juventus, Lazio, Reggina, and AC Milan in the next four matches.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Romanian striker Adrian Mutu was the savior for Fiorentina, scoring an injury time goal to give the Viola a 2-1 win over the pesky Chievo Verona. Chievo players threw a fit and started their own shoving match since their own Davide Mandelli lay injured on the ground while Fiorentina cashed in on its final attack.

Today’s goal of the day in Italy has got to be Catania’s Ciro Capuano in his 34th minute left-footed net ripper against Reggina.

Check it out here (1:03 into the video):

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Sacha Kljestan Closer To A Deal In Europe?

December 21, 2008

Chivas USA’s Sacha Kljestan has been on the radar of more than a few European clubs since his strong showing at last summer’s Olympic Games. A few Dutch and German clubs have reported interest in the young American along with Moncao, Zenith St Petersburg, and Greek side Piraeus.

Word out of LA this weekend is that Kljestan is about to board a plane headed for Milan. What is not clear is whether he is going for talks with a nearby club, catching a connecting flight to Monaco, or playing in a charity match which could raise his profile even higher on this side of the pond.

If we recall the Courtney Rule that for every known European club interested in a player, there is at least one more quietly working a deal in the shadows, don’t be surprised if Kljestan is drawing more attention south of the Alps.

Donovan in Munich: What Happens Next?

November 14, 2008

After a few days of training with Bayern Munich this week, the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan seems to have made a believer out of Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness who after watching him in practice told the Rheinischer Post “He can play.”

But even though Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann was already sold on the 26 year-old American and Hoeness now appears to be a believer, its still not clear if a deal will be in the offing. The question is not whether Donovan can contribute to the team, its whether he is a better option than Zenith’s Andrey Arshavin, Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez, or Fiorientina’s Adrian Mutu – all in the running to replace the soon-exiting Lukas Podolski.

The German press are calling a move for Donovan “risky” and are having a field day picking through his background with one (Rheinisher Post) even downplaying his recent 20 goal season by saying “…but the American soccer league is only at the level of third division football in Germany.” But even Donovan had to offer his own blunt assessment of MLS when he told the Sueddeutsche Zeiting: “On each team, there are at most 3 players that could hold their own in the Bundesliga and Bayern would easily win the championship.” He also told Spox.com that “All players in the Bundesliga are better than in the USA, from number one to number 22…many in the USA can’t play proper soccer.”

Another newspaper, Munich’s TZ , asked the question with its headline “Are You Good Enough For Bayern Mr. Donovan?” A few even think he can be purchased from MLS for around five million euros ($7 million) which would make him a cheaper option than Arshavin, Gomez, or Mutu – provided he can deliver the goods. This kind of press may not make it easy to explain if FC Hollywood signs this player from the real Hollywood and would put Donovan under a microscope from the beginning if he is signed.

But neither Klinsmann nor Hoeness are the type to make their decisions based on press clippings and both have no issues taking risks, especially Klinsmann. A decision is expected by the time his “guest training” ends next week and it could even be a loan until March, something Donovan did not rule out in an interview with Spox.com. When asked yesterday by the press if he thought he was ready to play for Bayern, Donovan answered in clear German ” Ich bin bereit.” (I’m ready)

Happy Birthday Diego!

October 30, 2008

Perhaps it is fitting that on Diego Maradona’s 48th birthday, his old club Napoli (which he led to two Serie A titles) is currently second in the Italian top flight, only behind Udinese on goal differential. At the same time the Argentina legend, who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title, has also been named the new national team coach.

He remains beloved in this city by the sea where the locals will tell you that he, not Pele’, is the greatest player of all. Whether the once great player is up to the task of guiding his team to glory at the 2010 World Cup remains to be seen, given his colorful and turbulent past off the pitch.

Franz Beckenbauer, who has been succesful as both player and coach seems skeptical, telling Sportal.de: “Maybe this comes in time for Maradona so he can find a break from his turbulent lifestyle. Managing the team is completely different to playing in it. You have to be more responsible. The lifestyle is also important but Maradona’s life hasn’t really been tranquil by any means over the years. In any case I am happy for him and I am looking forward to meeting him when he comes here to see Di Michelis.”

Perhaps Fiorentina’s Alberto Gilardino was just giving a salute to Maradona last weekend when he did his best “Hand of God” imitation against Palermo. The goal counted but later led to a two-game suspension. Watch it here:

Of course Maradona’s original version to beat England’s Peter Shilton in Mexico City at the 1986 World Cup counted and led not to a suspension, but to a championship:

Still, one thing Maradona will command from the players immediately is respect, given his long list of accomplishments and his enduring touch on the ball (even at 48). The question is whether he can manage the side through qualification and to take Argentina to where they feel they rightfully belong (given their quality and pedigree); the World Cup final match.