Archive for the ‘Kaka’ Category

A Few Things

January 20, 2009

My fingers are still sore from picking bass strings so all I can offer on this historic inauguration day are a few links worth checking out.

The New York Times/IHT on Bradley’s depleted squad for Saturday’s friendly against Sweden.

Dave Clark’s thought provoking idea to rapidly expand MLS. Can it be done without catching the same flu that the NASL succumbed to? You decide.

Is ESPN about to buy the US broadcast rights for Premiership matches?

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has announced that Kaka is going nowhere.

And to make matters worse for Manchester City (after failing to land the big fish), Robinho has walked out of training camp.

And speaking of transfers, just how close is Arsenal to signing Russian phenom Andrei Arshavin from Zenith? It seems about $11.7 million.

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AC Milan on Kaka: "Talks Can Begin"

January 16, 2009

As Manchester City’s ever-rising bid for the Rossoneri’s Brazilian playmaker climbs higher into the stratosphere, we’re starting to see the first kinks in Milan’s armor. After Silvio Berlusconi’s spokesmen continued to say no, City finally looks like they are making an offer Milan can’t refuse. Last night as the bid reportedly hit $145 million, word came out that “talks can begin.”

Rumors that the player’s father had travelled to Manchester were confirmed this morning and by this afternoon, the price was rumored to be approaching $150 million. I mean let’s face it, that is a sick amount of cash, especially in a depressed economy. There are a lot of things you can pay for with $150 million, including:

– Tuesday’s Presidential inauguration

– One F-22 Raptor Fighter Plane

– 15 Jozy Altidores

– The entire Werder Bremen team

– DC United’s planned new stadium

– The entire MLS player salary four+ times over

Or how about an entire new AC Milan team for the future? That’s right, the ageing Rossoneri still have a lot of quality in the side but its a club in need of a fresh wave of young talent (and $150 million can buy a lot of talent). Juve’s Gigi Buffon, Roma’s Phillipe Mexes, and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos are just a few of the players they could scoop up with change to spare for Barcelona’s Sammy Eto’o or Lyon’s Benzema. Instead of being the big loser, AC Milan could end up paving the road to the Scudetto using Manchester City’s gold.

Meanwhile, City’s move is not without a great deal of risk. They are currently a 15th place team with only 22 points, 15 behind Wigan, and have lost five of their last 10 Premiership matches. They’ll need to spend even further to build the right cast to play around Kaka and Robinho, lest they stay mired in mid-table without a Champions League or UEFA Cup slot.

Indications are that City plan to do just that as they are close to signing Hamburg’s holding midfielder Nigel de Jong for 15m euros while they continue to chase strikers Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Scott Parker respectively from Blackburn and West Ham. On top of that, they are reportedly about to close a deal for Espanyol’s talented keeper Carlos Kameni.

Ronaldo Named 2008 FIFA World Player of The Year

January 12, 2009

Tonight at Zurich’s Opernhaus, Portugal and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo was named the FIFA World Player of the Year, beating out Argentina and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Brazil and AC Milan’s Kaka (the 2007 winner), Spain and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres, and Spain and Barcelona’s Xavi (Euro 2008’s Best Player).

As he presented the award, Pele remarked that at last year’s ceremony when he handed the award to Kaka, he turned and shook Ronaldo’s hand, telling him “next year I’ll be handing it to you.”

An emotionally charged Ronaldo dedicated the award to his family, his friends, teammates, and all those involved in his career.

Perhaps FIFA was tipping its hand before it made the announcement, having the Zurich Opera perform scenes from Handel’s Rinaldo just minutes prior to the final award presentation.

The World’s Female Player of the Year was also named; Brazil’s Marta, winning for the third year in a row.

The winners of the FIFA Best Player Awards are selected by votes from the captains of all 208 member federations’ national teams.

The winners of the 2008 FIFA Fair Play Award were Armenia and Turkey, who overcame years of enmity to play each other three times in 2008, including a September World Cup qualifier attended by both heads of state. These matches set the stage for both sides to begin a reconciliation process which continues to grow.

The FIFA Presidential Award went to the US Women’s National Team for their contributions to the popularity and growth of the women’s game around the world (not to mention their overflowing trophy case). Heather O’Reilly accepted the award on behalf of the team.

Beckham Loan To Milan: Find A Comfy Spot On The Bench

October 24, 2008

OK, so the LA Galaxy will loan David Beckham to AC Milan so he can stay fit for duty with England’s team as they aim for World Cup qualification. After watching him spend so much time wither injured or back in England, I’ll be the Galaxy management are glad that Silvio Berlusconi will be picking up his salary tab for a few months.

Still, its hard to see where Becks would fit into a Milan scheme except on the bench. They prefer to play in a 4-3-2-1 formation, letting Kaka and Ronaldinho run off a lone striker such as Andrei Shevchenko. The only way Becks breaks into this lineup would if he bumped Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo or Massimo Ambrosini – I’m just not seeing it.

Look for Beckham to play the role of super-sub while helping the club to sell millions of new AC Milan jerseys, all the while trying to keep himself in England manager Fabio Capello’s good graces. Let’s just hope that when he returns to LA next spring, he shows up ready to play.

Summer Transfer Season: Far From Over

July 13, 2008

This summer we’ve already seen some major trades at a number of big clubs but some of the biggest deals have yet to be made. Where will Arsenal’s now discount priced Emmanuel Adebayor end up? Will Zenith St Petersburg’s Russian phenom Andrei Arshavin be sold or is he about to be priced out of the market? Will Cristiano Ronaldo go to Real Madrid or stay at Manchester United? What about Chelseas’s bid for AC Milan’s Kaka? First, let’s take a look at the top five spenders so far this year:

1. FC Barcelona €77.5 million
2. Fiorentina €50.3 million
3. Olympique Lyon €45.200.000
4. Tottenham Hotspur €39 million
5. Liverpool €32.1 million

When you consider the huge sums which have been discussed for Kaka (€94 million), Ronaldo (€100 million), and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres (€65 million) – you’ll know immediately that the transfer season is just getting started. You’ll also note that you don’t see Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, or Inter Milan on this list (to name a few). My experience tells me that Fiorentina, Lyon, and Tottenham are pretty much set while Barcelona and Liverpool may still pick up a player or two. The truly big spenders this year have yet to draw from their war chest so you can expect this list to change. There are still quite a few top players up for grabs and plenty of deep pocketed teams available to bid for them.

Another point to consider is that not all transfer deadlines are created equal. The French League, which does not have the financial bidding power of some others, ends its transfer period on August 17th. So, if Americans Freddy Adu, Michael Bradley, Oguchi Onyewu, or any other players are headed for Ligue 1, we’ll know it by then.

The clash of the titans will occur in the coming weeks as the deadline approaches on August 31st for Italy’s Serie A, the Spanish Primera, and the English Premier League (and others). For each big player sold to another club, they’ll need to replace them so the domino effect can also tip which way a club is moving. For example, Britain’s Sunday Express reports that Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari is looking hard at Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Moutinho as a replacement for Frank Lampard (who is a likely transfer to Inter Milan). So, when you see Stamford Bridge making a strong move for Moutinho, you can expect that Lamps will be packing his bags for Inter.

In the meantime, with so much cash flying around, we won’t get a true sense of where the big teams stand until the dust settles on September 1st – which also happens to be the Champion’s League roster deadline.

Transfer Facts and Rumors on Americans Abroad:

– According to Corriere Dello Sport, Gabriel Enzo Ferrari of Sampdoria reserves has been loaned o Perugia of Serie C1 (3rd division).

– Vincenzo Bernardo of SSC Napoli is still waiting to see if he will be loaned to a Serie B team or if he’ll stay onboard in the reserve (primavera) side.

– In an article for Tutto Mercato, Francesco Letizia recommended that Bologna pursue American defender Oguchi Onyewu, figuring he was just the type of physical presence they’ll need in central defense. Bologna has yet to express interest in Onyewu but has looked into acquiring Freddy Adu.