Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cavani angered by transfer rumours

The Uruguay star insists he is not worried about where he will play his football next season and is only focused on playing for his country

Edinson Cavani says he is angered by persistent rumours surrounding his future as he looks to fire Uruguay to victory in their Confederations Cup third-place play-off against Italy on Sunday.

The Napoli striker has been linked with a whole host of clubs across Europe, with Real Madrid and Manchester City both reported to hold a strong interest in acquiring his services.

But the 26-year-old has grown tired of the persistent rumours and has refused to discuss his future anymore in a bid to focus on his next international test.

“Your talking at the beginning didn’t disturb me but now I have to confess these rumours are bothering me,” he told reporters.

“You’re talking too much about things you shouldn’t be talking about now. I’m still engaged in this competition and just thinking about the next game [versus Italy].

“I play in Italy, I know all of them. I was expecting them to play a great tournament, so I must congratulate them. But tomorrow, we want to win. I want to raise my country in the world standings as much as possible.”

Oscar Tabarez echoed his striker’s words: “We are facing a strong side but at this stage anything can happen. We want to try to the end and finish this competition in the best possible way.”

Luis Suarez and Diego Godin then revealed they would be using the clash with the Azzurri as an opportunity to exorcise their demons from losing the World Cup 2010 third place play-off to Germany.

“Every time we pull on the Celeste shirt we want to win and claiming third place would really mean a lot to us,” Suarez revealed to Fifa.com.

“What’s more, it still rankles that we didn’t finish on the podium at South Africa 2010, when we lost to Germany.”

“It was really painful for us all, because we came so close to reaching the final,” Godin reiterated. “All we’re thinking about now is beating Italy. Finishing fourth is not the same as finishing third.”

Suarez: Italy a threat without Balotelli

The Azzurri lost their top forward to injury at the end of the group stages but the Liverpool hitman feels Cesare Prandelli has a number of worthy replacements

Luis Suarez says Italy can “hurt” Uruguay in Sunday’s Confederations Cup third-place decider without star striker Mario Balotelli.

The AC Milan attacker is back at home, having been ruled out of the tournament with an injury sustained in the group stage defeat by hosts Brazil.

The Azzurri missed ‘Super Mario’ in their semi-final shoot-out defeat by Spain on Thursday, but Suarez still says Cesare Prandelli’s men have more than enough firepower in reserve.

“Even if they do not have Balotelli, there are a lot of players of the same quality, like [Sebastian] Giovinco,” the Liverpool hitman told Globoesporte.

“Besides, Italy are always the same. They love to exploit the space left by opponents. If we do not play a great game, they can hurt us.”

Suarez strengthened his argument by citing the way in which Italy came from behind to beat Japan 4-3 in an epic encounter in the group stages.

“We should not be surprised that they did that,” he said. “Italy are a team that you have to put away when you have the chance; otherwise they will always find a way to come back.”

Suarez admitted Uruguay’s primary concern is making sure they are back in Brazil next summer for the World Cup, but insisted that they intend on finishing their Confederations Cup campaign on a high.

“Getting third would be very important for us , even if we are also already thinking of the qualifiers,” the 26-year-old added.

Uruguay sit fifth in the Conmebol qualification standings.

Gerrard excited by new faces

The Reds midfielders is thrilled by the Merseysiders’ recent signings, including Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas and cannot wait to play with his new team-mates

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is excited about the quality and timing of the club’s new signings.

The Reds have announced four new aquisitions already this summer, with Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Simon Mignolet all agreeing to move to Anfield.

Gerrard feels that the fans should be pleased with the early business and hopes that they can push them to secure Champions League football next season.

He told the club’s official televsion channel: “Especially with the news of us making a few signings, I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“It’s always important to get faces in as soon as possible; they can get a full pre-season under their belt, get to know the lads and how the manager wants to play.

“There are some exciting names in there so everyone is excited.”

The skipper admits that he does not know much about the new Spanish pair but has faith in the club’s scouting system.

“I know very little about them but I have got a lot belief and confidence in Brendan [Rodgers] and the scouting department that they are going to make the right decisions and I have seen bits and bobs of new signings we have made,” he remarked.

“I am really looking forward to getting back to work next week and seeing what the new players have got to offer and see if they can help strengthen our squad to put in a better fight for a top-four finish.”

Gerrard welcomes ‘healthy’ goalkeeper competition at Liverpool

Following Simon Mignolet’s arrival from Sunderland, the club captain believes a rivalry with current No.1 Pepe Reina will only serve as a positive for the Reds next season

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes the arrival of Simon Mignolet will provide important competition to current first-choice goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

The 25-year-old sealed a switch from Sunderland on Tuesday, prompting further speculation that his Spanish rival is heading for the Anfield exit.

Reina has been linked with a move to former club Barcelona following Victor Valdes hinting at a Camp Nou departure, and admitted he is open to a move to a “bigger club”, but Gerrard is sure the Liverpool No.1 will stay and compete with Mignolet.

“I think who becomes the Liverpool No.1 is going to be Brendan Rodgers’ decision,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.

“I think he has gone on the record and said he wants to keep Pepe Reina, who is a world-class goalie – and Mignolet had a fantastic season as well so competition for places is going to be really healthy.

“It is going to be an interesting one, we are going to have to keep our eye on it.

“I know Pepe won’t give up the No.1 without a fight. I have experienced him in top, top form and I think on his day he’s in the top five keepers in the world so it’s going to be an interesting one to keep the eye on.”

Mignolet is Liverpool’s fourth summer signing following the arrivals of Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure, while Goal exclusively revealed the club have made a move for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

Liverpool & Tottenham make moves for Benteke

The Premier League big hitters have made enquiries for the Belgian striker, who has yet to agree a new contract with Aston Villa after a terrific first season in England

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey

Liverpool and Tottenham have made enquiries for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, Goal understands.

The Premier League big hitters are both prepared to offer the Belgium international a bumper rise on his current 24,000-a-week terms this summer as well as a major playing role.

Liverpool are believed to have registered their interest in Benteke as they prepare for the possible departure of Luis Suarez, with Real Madrid leading the chase for the Merseysiders’ prize asset.

As reported by Goal, Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers has been assured that he will be given a large portion of the 47 million-plus Suarez fee to buy a proven centre-forward if the Uruguayan is successful in engineering a move this summer.

Spurs have also targeted Benteke as they prepare to reinforce a front line that was found wanting last season. The Londoners have currently dropped their interest in No.1 target Leandro Damiao and turned their attention to high-calibre alternatives.

Benteke had an outstanding debut campaign in England after signing for Villa last year in an 10 million deal, scoring 19 top-flight goals to help maintain the club’s Premier League status.

The 22-year-old has three years remaining on the contract he signed 12 months ago but there is a growing acceptance among the Villa hierarchy that they are vulnerable if the powerhouse forward pushes for a move.

Villa manager Paul Lambert revealed recently that Benteke has been offered an improved contract but his future remains in doubt while it remains unsigned. Borussia Dortmund are also closely monitoring developments.

Speaking during the international break at the end of last month, Benteke admitted he may demand a transfer this summer. “If Aston Villa say I must stay, I won’t necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn’t get the most out of my career.”

Asked about the possibility of joining Arsenal, who had been linked with a move for him, the striker said: “If the chance comes up for me to join a club like Arsenal, I’m convinced we can reach a compromise where everyone comes out a winner.”

It is understood that Benteke would be attracted to a move to Anfield but he might have to bide his time as the Suarez saga could drag on all summer.

Spurs are looking at other striker alternatives, including Barcelona’s David Villa, Saint-Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and Porto’s Jackson Martinez.

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Gerrard on course for pre-season return following shoulder surgery

Six weeks after undergoing shoulder surgery, the Liverpool midfielder is on course to return to fitness in time for the club’s pre-season training next month

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists he is recovering well from shoulder surgery and should be back in action in time for pre-season training.

The 33-year-old featured in every minute of the Reds’ Premier League season up until the 36th game, when he ended the campaign early in order to undergo surgery on a long-standing injury.

Six weeks later, the England international is now almost ready to return to training, and admits he cannot wait to get back in action.

“It’s going well and feeling strong,” the midfielder told the club’s official website.

“I’m six weeks down the line with the rehabilitation from surgery.

“I’m not too far away, maybe a couple of weeks away from contact and being back in full training if everything goes well. I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s probably the longest break I’ve had at this time of year – being out of the game for six weeks is enough, I’m itching to get back.”

Gerrard enjoyed his best season in four years last term, scoring 10 goals in 36 Premier League games.