REAL STAY QUIET

Real Madrid was completely invisible during the January transfer window as they neither saw any of their players either joining or leaving the club but things are looking very likely to change in the summer as there are a number of clubs interested in signing a few players from the Spanish club.

The Premier League side Manchester City is considering making a move for Luka Modric after the impressive performances that the Croatian midfielder has been making for Real Madrid, now City wants to add him into the main squad.

The former Tottenham player now plays a fundamental role in the club of Real Madrid but it wasn’t always like that as the Croatian player endured a tough debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu but he went through a dramatic turnaround as he is back playing like the days when he was playing Tottenham some years ago.

Raphael Varane is another player that is being watched by the Premier League as the French defender is on the wish-list of Jose Mourinho is already taking a look around the transfer market for a long-term replacement of John Terry.

Jose Mourinho and Varane have already worked together when they were at Real Madrid and it is believed that the Portuguese coach wants to reunite with the young defender.

Tottenham still have not found a player that can fill in the gap left by Gareth Bale. The Welshman along with Luka Modric formed the structure of Tottenham during the sensational season that the Premier League club enjoyed some time ago and now Tim Sherwood is reportedly ready to be closing in on a summer move to sign the Argentinean winger Angel Di Maria.

Angel Di Maria could play in a similar position that Gareth Bale played during his time in Tottenham but it is doubtful if Carlo Ancelotti is willing on selling Di Maria considering that he is a consistent performer for Real Madrid.

REAL TOP RICH LIST

According to a study made by the Football Money League, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the word’s two richest clubs for the 5th year running. Real Madrid had a turnover of €518.9 million which is 1.2% more than their previous season with the majority of that income arriving from advertising, sponsorship and merchandising while TV rights is another big source of Real Madrid’s improved year.

Barcelona on the other hand claims the 2nd spot with revenues that reach €482.6 million.

The world’s richest club is now planning on making a €25 million move for the Manchester United player Wayne Rooney. The English forward has 18 months remaining on his contract but the player himself has showed concerns about his future with the club as he is reluctant on extending his contract despite having talks with the head chiefs of Manchester United.

Sergio Aguero and Luiz Suarez are other high profile targets on the radar of Carlo Ancelotti but both players have already completed signing long-term deals with Manchester City and Liverpool respectively.

Real Madrid will still continue trying to sign Aguero, Suarez and other targets that have already committed their future with their respective clubs but it will be a much harder task for Real Madrid to accomplish.

Fabio Coentrao is wanted by Manchester United and he could be used as bait in order to lure in Wayne Rooney. The young forward Alvaro Morata was linked with Juventus and Inter Milan but there was a club that had a special interest in Morata, and that was Arsenal.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Morata has already expressed his situation in Spain and in Real Madrid as he stated that he is happy and wants to remain where he is right now.

“Despite all the stories that have emerged, I am happy here. I have spoken with the club and the coach and told them I want to stay here. This is the team I have spent my entire life at and I will stay here and do whatever the club asks of me or needs of me, even if it’s to play a minimal amount of games.” Morata said.

PLAYOFF HOPES

The manager of the Romania national football team, Victor Piturca, has said that he wouldn’t mind facing any opponent in the World Cup qualifying play offs which will take place next month.

Romania couldn’t qualify directly for the World Cup finals as they came second in Group D. They will be taking part in the play offs now and their possible opponent in the play offs will be one of Croatia, Portugal, Ukraine and Greece.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, Piturca said, “Earlier today, I had a look at the teams we might be playing against and I don’t think I would mind facing any of them.”

“Portugal and Greece are the two dangerous sides. People might not consider Greece that strong, but, they have got some experienced players.”

In its previous game against Estonia on Tuesday, Romania secured a 2-0 win. It was Romania’s 50th win under Piturca. He is the only Romanian manager who has guided the team to so many victories.

This is Piturca’s third tenure as Romania boss and he has been criticized at times in the recent past. According to the experts, he gets over tactical at times. But, the ex Steaua Bucharest player has made it clear that he will not bring any significant change in his approach for the play offs.

Meanwhile, the Ajaccio striker Adrian Mutu who was not included in the Romanian squad for the last two World Cup qualifiers has said that he expects the manager to call him back for the playoff games.

Mutu said, “I am expecting the manager to ring me up. I really want to feature in the play offs and play my part.”

Mutu has so far made 77 appearances for Romania and has scored 35 goals.

YILMAZ ON WAY OUT

Galatasaray SK is looking to offload the Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz this summer. The president of the club, Unal Aysal, made this announcement yesterday.

This is really shocking from Galatasaray. Yilmaz was the stand out performer for them in the last season and had helped them getting to the Round of 16 in the Champions League.

Yilmaz had made 39 appearances for Galatasaray in the last season and had found the back of the net 32 times. These numbers suggest that he had a great last season, but, despite that, Galatasaray is not too keen to keep him at the club.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, Aysal said, “If Burak is ready to make a move and any club meets our demands, we would sell him.”

Galatasaray had bought Yilmaz from Trabzonspor only at the start of the last season. The Cimbom had paid a transfer fee of 5 million Euros for that move.

Yilmaz started making his mark right from the outset and scored his first goal for Galatasaray against Bursaspor on 2nd of September last year. Galatasaray won that match by a close margin of 3-2.

Yilmaz kept scoring goals throughout the season especially in big matches. He was mighty impressive in the group stages of Champions League.

Because of Yilmaz’s great form last season, a lot of clubs all around the world will be making bids for him.

It should not be a surprise for anyone if Yilmaz decides to join a Premier League club especially Arsenal. Before signing for Galatasaray in the last season, Yilmaz had said in an interview that he would be more than happy to accept any offer from Arsenal.

The Turkish international had said, “If I had to play abroad, I would like to move to UK. If you ask me which club in UK I would like to sign for, I would say Arsenal.”

HAGI BACKS REAL

Romanian football legend Gheorghe Hagi has said that Real Madrid are the favourites to win the quarter-final Champions league match against Galatasaray. Real Madrid were drawn against Galatasaray and they are widely considered as the favourites to progress into the semifinals. The Spanish club have won this competition nine times in their history, while Galatasaray have rarely featured in the quarter-final stage of the competition. The first leg will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu with the return leg at Galatasaray in a week’s time.

Gheorghe Hagi is regarded as one of the greatest Romanian players of all time. He represented both Real Madrid and Galatasaray during his illustrious playing days. Even though he has an affiliation with both clubs, he thinks that it will be Real Madrid who will make it into the semifinals of the competition simply because of their superior quality. Galatasaray raised recently signed the likes of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, but they will struggle against the opposition to boast of the likes of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid are currently second in the league table several points behind leaders Barcelona. As result, they are putting their entire focus on the Champions league. The club are chasing the elusive 10th European trophy.

“Madrid are the favourites, no doubt. They are in a good run of form, are very strong and will fight to win the Champions League. They are hard and a fast team, very strong, but also creative. They are disciplined, organised and have a winning mentality in every minute,” said Gheorghe Hagi ahead of the match. Since the prospect of winning the league title is all but over, Mourinho is expected to rest a number of key players during the weekend. Galatasaray, though, are fighting with Fenerbahce for the Turkish league title.

GALA PROGRESS

Galatasaray progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of the German club Schalke. The 4-3 aggregate victory has helped Galatasaray play in this stage of the competition after a long time.

The decision taken by the club to bring in high profile players like Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder during the January transfer window has definitely paid off. The manager Fatih Terim has said that he is extremely delighted with his players after the stunning victory. (more…)

ONLY A DRAW

Galatasaray could not manage to take advantage of the presence of a striker like Didier Drogba after they could only manage a draw against Schalke in the last 16 stage of the Champions League. However, the manager Fatih Terim has said that draw was probably a fair result for both teams. Galatasaray recently secured two big names in the form of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder during the January transfer window with the hopes of making it into the latter stages of the European competition. Galatasaray have failed to progress past the last 16 stage in recent seasons.

Due to the fact that they had not drawn against a big team like Barcelona and Real Madrid, Terim would have been hoping to progress to the quarter-final stage quite easily. However, the German team provided a strong resistance in the first leg match between the two teams. Schalke now have the upper hand in the tie after they have scored a crucial away goal. Galatasaray opened the scoring through Burak Yilmaz in the first half, but Jermaine Jones goal just before half-time has given the German team an advantage ahead of the second leg match. Terim admitted after the match that his team were unable to capitalise on the good start provided by Yilmaz’s goal.

“We went in front with an early goal because of our good play, but we unfortunately made a mistake just before half time that led to Schalke’s equaliser. We had previously had chances to score a second goal, although Schalke also had openings in the second half to go in front themselves. It was an even game,” said the Galatasaray manager after the match. The Turkish club also have the league title in their sights. They currently have a four point advantage over Besiktas having played a game less.

GALA SNAP UP SNEIJDER

The Turkish club Galatasaray recently managed to secure the star signing of the Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder. The Dutchman is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world, and he has agreed a move to Turkey. This has shocked many people in the world, but the Galatasaray chairman Ugur Hamedi has hailed the signing by saying that it will herald a new era for the club. The 28-year-old Dutch midfielder was responsible for helping Inter Milan to the treble in 2010, while also being a hugely influential figure for the Dutch national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Galatasaray have been lacking an idol since the days of the Romanian international Gheorghe Hagi. Hamedi has compared Wesley Sneijder with the Romanian by saying that he can be the next Hagi. Sneijder said after completing a move that he is extremely looking forward to making his debut for the club. He has also praised the atmosphere created by the fans inside the home ground, which is one of the famous in the world. Galatasaray will be playing in the last 16 stage of the Champions League, and Sneijder will be hoping to make his impact sooner rather than later in this competition that he won in 2010.

“Hagi was the last real number 10. After him, many players tried to follow him, but no one succeeded. Sneijder will be the new Hagi. Hagi was 31 years old when he moved to Galatasaray came Sneijder is 3 years younger. We have the best footballer in the Netherlands attracted our new maestro. For years we have been looking for a new number 10, a successor to George Hagi. Finally we found our new maestro. Galatasaray The family is very proud of the arrival of Sneijder,” said the Galatasaray chairman.

HAGI CHOSE CRUYFF

Gheorghe Hagi has said that he had decided to join Barcelona in 1994 just because of Johan Cruyff who was the manager of Barcelona at that time.

Hagi played for Barcelona between 1994 and 1996. His tenure at Barcelona wasn’t that successful and he was sold by the club only after two years. He featured for Barcelona in only 36 games. But, according to the former Romanian midfielder, he enjoyed his tenure at Barca quite a lot.

While talking to the correspondent of a Romanian sports channel, Hagi said, “Johan Cruyff was the main reason why I joined Barcelona. He was just fantastic. He was in charge at Barca in 1994 and when I got the offer from him, I was more than happy to accept it.”

“I didn’t get too many playing opportunities during my two-year tenure at Barca, but, getting the opportunity to work with Johan Cruyff was like dream come true.”

“During my childhood days, I didn’t get to watch too many international matches, but, I knew that Cruyff was the no. 1 player in the world. I have been his fan since then.”

Hagi left Barcelona in 1996 and joined Galatasaray. He played for Galatasaray for 5 years and then, retired from professional football. His performance for Galatasaray was fantastic. The Romanian midfielder played 132 matches for Galatasaray and scored 59 goals. He was very popular among Galatasaray fans.

When asked about his tenure at Galatasaray, Hagi said, “Playing for Galatasaray was fantastic. It was the club for which I played the most number of matches and scored the most number of goals as well. I also won a lot of trophies with Galatasaray. Winning UEFA cup after defeating Arsenal in the final was one of the best moments of my career.”

HAGI USED TO PLAY LIKE MESSI

The Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi has said that he used to play like Lionel Messi, while his son plays like the French legend Zinedine Zidane. Gheorghe Hagi is regarded as one of the best players in the world and he had a stellar career. Now, he is currently the owner of the Romanian club FC Viitorul Constanta, who are doing extremely well in their first season in top-flight. The club are currently 13th in the Romanian Premier league table. Even though it may be a while before the start winning the league titles, FC Viitorul Constanța owner Gheorghe Hagi reckons that the club can certainly survive in the division.

He was recently interviewed by the AFP, who asked questions about his son. Gheorghe Hagi has said that while he was a player similar to Lionel Messi, his son is extremely similar to Zinedine Zidane in terms of the way he plays his game. Zidane Zidane is regarded as one of the best players in the world, and he held the world record for the most expensive transfer for many years before it was eventually broken by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. He has also spoken about the recent World Cup qualifying group stages.

“He is more combination than me, than it was at his age. Is creative, team game. I was more selfish. It brings into play with Zidane, I’d compare with Messi. Ianis has both foot and stand off and on mentally chapter. Is leading fabric has evil in the game. Yes has to work in terms of strength, the physical. At 15, 16 years I can tell exactly where it’s better to move, or at home or abroad. You will have a surprise … Alibec will be selected. He realized he lost his career during tough. He saw where he Ballotelli of his generation and he knows where he can reach,” said Hagi.