Fantasy Football News

Kylian Mbappe makes demands to PSG in front of stunned crowd at awards show

kylianmbappe190519a(1)

The French have a saying for when you put your foot in it, it’s called faux pas and PSG striker Kylian Mbappe did just that at the French football awards at the weekend. Mbappe received the highest award with winning the player of the season in France and then hinted in front of a packed audience that included PSG’s owners and PSG manager Thomas Tuchel that his future may lie elsewhere, it was a stunning moment.

Mbappe took his award and then told everyone listening: “It’s a very important moment for me, I come to a turning point in my career. I have discovered a lot here, and I feel it is maybe the moment to have more responsibility.I hope that can perhaps be at Paris St Germain, that would be a great pleasure. Or maybe elsewhere with a new project.”

Mbappe’s statement is one of intent and he is clearly not happy at PSG. This in part may be to do with the fact that the club keep blowing up at the knockout rounds of the Champions League but at the same time there is a strong feeling that Real Madrid have approached PSG and offered upwards of 250 million euros for the player.

The 20 year old joined the club in 2017 after guiding Monaco to a Ligue 1 title, initially this was on a loan deal before he joined for a transfer fee in the region of £160m becoming the 2nd most expensive player in history behind Neymar his PSG teammate.

While Mbappe has had a fantastic season scoring 32 goals in just 28 games and 38 overall this season his speech will strike some as shocking. At just 20 he wants to rule the roost and have his say, and while he undoubtedly has the talent to be remembered as one of the greats one could wonder if he isn’t getting too ahead of himself. Or could it be that Real Madrid have already made contact and Mbappe was asked to stoke the fires somewhat- to do that in this company, well he has got a reaction that is for sure.

So what can PSG do to keep the player happy? First will be a wage rise, next could be that Mbappe wants more say, what exactly that extends to is anyone’s guess, but he has now laid down a marker and it feels that it is only a question of when and not if Mbappe leaves the club. The destination looks set for Madrid, rare has any player in the past turned the club down, why should that stop at Mbappe?

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here fantasyligue1.com

 

Juventus Top Performers – Round 37

mandzukic

In the Atalanta game, Juventus managed to defend home court with the help of a strong second half and a futuristic line-up, closing the season undefeated at the Stadium.

Wojciech Szczesny: the defense was subpar, which has been the case since the title was clinched, especially on set pieces, which is were Josip Ilicic punished the Old Lady. The goals could have been more if the Polish goalkeeper did not have few great saves: on Remo Freuler and Duvan Zapata’s attempts in the first half and on wicked free kick by the Slovenian attacker in the second half. Andrea Barzagli struggled to keep up with the Colombian striker, but far younger centre-backs have done the same this year and obviously it does not take anything away from his terrific services over the year. Alex Sandro had a rough day at the office and had to be taken out to avoid a red card, as he was too foul prone. Joao Cancelo benefitted from the squad’s offensive mentality and brought his crossing and playmaking to the table. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 37

criscito

Standings implications: Atalanta held on to dear life against Juventus and took home a point that allowed them to pull even with Inter in third position, but they are up head-to-head, as the Nerazzurri fell apart in Naples. Milan stay in the hunt one point behind them after defeating Frosinone, while Roma need a miracle since they bungled the Sassuolo game. Torino fizzled out of the Europa League race since they were topped by Empoli. In the race to avoid relegation, the Tuscan Azzurri leapfrogged Genoa, while Udinese and Parma punched their ticket for next year’s Serie A by topping SPAL and Fiorentina, Cagliari by tying with the Griffon. La Viola is very much in the thick of it since they will square off against Genoa next week, over whom they hold a three-point lead. Empoli will pay Inter a visit. Bologna need a point against Lazio to be sure.

Continue reading

Four big name players that are expected to leave their respective clubs this summer

De Ligt

That exciting time has come once again, where the summer transfer window will be filled with opinionated rumours and ridiculous speculations, before the deals begin to become finalised and publicly official. So far, the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have got down to business quickly within the transfer market, as they will potentially look to dominate their respective league for many years to come whilst also strongly challenge for the Champions League next season.

Meanwhile, it could be another enormous summer where the big name players will be making the huge moves left, right and centre. And if the reports that are constantly being raised within the English media and the European news outlets happen to be true, then we can expect a number of the best clubs inside of Europe to lose one or two of their key players or be forced to sell them.

With no further ado, here are the four big name players that will be on the move this summer…

David De Gea

The perfect player to start off with is none other than Manchester United’s David De Gea, someone who is seen as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League as well as one of the best in Europe. Since the moment his transfer to Real Madrid unfortunately broke down due to a faulty fax machine in August 2015, he hasn’t been the same despite being the team’s best player in recent years, as he has silently questioned the direction the club is heading and the lack of progress made by them on and the pitch.

On top of that, with Ander Herrera leaving on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and Juan Mata not receiving a contract extension by the board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper moving away after spending eight long years at Old Trafford. If there is much meaning to this and he does end up joining his fellow countrymen in the coming weeks, it will leave United with further problems to resolve, as they are currently in a transition period and will be losing their main man.

Gareth Bale

Another club that will be going through a transition period of sorts will be Real Madrid, who have surprisingly been quiet in the transfer window over the last couple of years and are now in a position to bring in young blood and fresh energy, as the likes of Luka Modric, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos are starting to age. But the main focus just happens to be on winger Gareth Bale, who doesn’t get along with coach Zinedine Zidane and will be looking to move away from the Spanish giants as soon as possible.

The ideal outcome for the player would be to return to the Premier League, a league he has already proved himself in rather than going into a new league and a new culture where it will most likely take him a number of months to adapt and settle into that environment. With Real Madrid being linked with the likes of Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah and Neymar, offloading the Welsh international instantly and at a discounted figure would make total sense, especially to balance the books on a financial note.

Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi has experienced a lot of ups and downs at Inter Milan, especially throughout the last five to six months, where he has had contract issues with the board, huge fallout with the manager Luciano Spalletti and then it leading to him being one of the main reasons to why the dressing room was filled with tension and diversity. Though, focusing on his ability on the pitch, there are no doubts that he simply knows where the back of the net is as he is the type of striker to score 30 goals a season.

The future of Icardi doesn’t happen to be quite crystal clear at this moment of time, and it will purely be dependent on if Spalletti is replaced by Antonio Conte, a well-known coach who does not allow anyone to get away with their antics or unprofessional behaviour. And if that is the case, the 26-year-old may as well start to look for a new club straightaway, which might not be a problem at all, as the likes of Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus and Manchester United could do with his goal-scoring prowess.

Matthijs De Ligt

After winning the Eredivisie title for the 34th time and reaching the Champions League Semi-Finals, Ajax have once again, caught the attention of majority of the football supporters around the world. However, when that tends to happen, they end up losing a number of key players which is something that they are starting to experience, as Frenkie de Jong has joined FC Barcelona whilst individuals such as Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek are now wanted by literally everyone.

For the time being, it’s time to put the full focus on De Ligt, a 19-year-old centre-back that is already seen as a phenomenal leader and has time and time again, showed his quality on and off the ball. From showing his physical strength to his incredible intelligence to be in the right place at the right time, he is seen as the full package of a defender, which cannot be said about many players that play within his department. If he is to leave during the summer window, it would be for around £65million-£85million.

Allegri leaves Juventus- what can his replacement expect?

allegri

“When Conte abruptly left, many felt the sky was falling. The Allegri hiring was universally mocked on social media and rocks were thrown at his car when he arrived for his first training session.” I know you’ve read and heard a variation of that line many times, I can vouch for fact I used it many times myself to illustrate that we shouldn’t take for granted Allegri’s success at Juventus.

The expectations were so low when a manager who had been sacked at Milan after being constantly mocked by Rossoneri fans, and even Silvio Berlusconi publicly at a political rally, replaced Antonio Conte, a club legend who had brought Juventus back from the ashes of Calciopoli. 

I bring this narrative once again to illustrate that Allegri’s stature as a candidate for a top club has only risen compared to five year ago and Juventus could very well keep winning even if his replacement doesn’t appear to be adequate at time of hire which is in line with both Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi, who won the Champions League at the club, as well as Antonio Conte.

There also appears to be the potential for some Allegri remorse amongst some of his biggest critics based on the same the names being discussed as his replacement (Simone Inzaghi and Sinisa Mihajlovic) but make no mistake about it- it was time for both Allegri and especially Juventus to part ways. 

It was bad enough that most of the club’s fans were done with pragmatic, defensive and “just do the bare minimum to win” approach, we now had Dybala’s brother and agent publicly stating many of the players were unhappy and ready to leave. Sacrificing all of the likes of Cancelo, Dybala and Douglas Costa (some of whom could still leave) because of their issues with the manager was too much of a price to pay for even the most ardent Allegri defender.

While Allegri will almost certainly land a top job abroad based on the fact he has a much higher approval rating outside of the Serie A bubble (it’s more a matter of when, since he could also take a year off and collect the checks from the last year of his deal at Juventus) it remains to be seen if the name of his replacement will be equally prestigious.

Certainly Juventus made a very significant and surprising splash by landing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer after years of being mocked for loan with option to buy deals, but they historically have always hired an Italian manager- the only exception in past 30 plus years was Didier Deschamps who had some black and white DNA after being a club captain as a player but was also hired when the club was relegated to the second division.

Zinedine-Zidane(1)

The fact that Zidane decided to return to Real Madrid was a game changer- just like Deschamps he has a strong tie to the club already and of course has a remarkable track record at the club. While Juventus would love to make an exception for Pep Guardiola, there appears to be no chance he leaves the club despite their potential escalating Financial Fair Play issues. 

While Mourinho is represented by Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, the biggest complaint about Allegri was his defensive and pragmatic approach and on top of that there’s the Special One’s iconic past at Inter to consider. Hiring Pochettino would be very expensive because of his release clause and he could be a candidate for Barcelona.

Maurizio-Sarri-Chelsea-1(1)

Recently Maurizio Sarri has also been discussed as a possibility. While there’s a distinct possibility he’ll leave Chelsea after the Europa League final, he would be an awkward fit culture wise at Juventus because of his style. It would also be interesting to see how the former Napoli coach would be greeted by all the Juve fans who loudly commented on the fact he hasn’t won anything despite playing beautiful football (at least at Napoli and Empoli)

While there has been a lot of buzz for Antonio Conte’s return, Inter are still confident they will appoint him as their next manager and there appears to still be some bad blood between him and president Andrea Agnelli based on the way he left 5 years ago- many have also noted how much warmer Juventus’ brass was with Allegri when announcing his departure compared to Conte.

Lazio v Salzburg - UEFA Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Stadio Olimpico

That would leave two former teammates of Juventus’ most prominent directors- Simone Inzaghi is close to Fabio Paratici and has been successful at Lazio, while Pavel Nedved played alongside Sinisa Mihajlovic and was one of the finalists for Juventus’ coaching job in the past and has recently raised his stock by turning around Bologna this season.

What is Allegri’s successor walking into? Juventus is focused on winning at least two more Scudetti to make it ten in a row, plus the fans also expect a much more attractive style of play. If that weren’t enough, Allegri had already substantially raised the bar in the Champions League- you can mock him for taking credit for making two finals and losing them, but without the substantial revenues that came with those deep runs, Juventus would have never been able to sign Ronaldo and Allegri is the last manager to eliminate the two coaches in the current final.

While the expectations will be enormous, the next Juventus manager can draw inspiration from his predecessor- Allegri leaves Turin with his profile raised despite fact many assumed he would fail as Conte’s replacement.

 

  

Pep Guardiola’s strive for greatness brings the best out of Raheem Sterling

“The boy who grew up in the shadow of the Wembley arch.” A tattoo on his left forearm depicts a young Raheem Sterling wearing his favourite No. 10 shirt, holding a football and looking at the famous Wembley arch. To the Englishman, this place has always been home. It’s only fitting that Sterling bagged a brace in his first FA Cup final for Manchester City. Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo was upstaged by Sampdoria’s Fabio Quagliarella

QUAG(1)

In Italy Juventus and in particular new signing Cristiano Ronaldo had it all their own way once again. Winning the league with weeks to spare and an 8th successive title. Ronaldo seamlessly joined the club from Real Madrid last summer and became the first ever player to win a Premier League title a Spanish one and then an Italian league. But there was one trophy he wasn’t able to get and it may have been his most jarring- the top goal scorer award which went to Fabio Quagliarella.

A former Juventus player himself Quagliarella now plays for Sampdoria and had a fantastic season scoring 26 goals in all and winning the trophy for top goal scorer. But what has been even more impressive about the player is that he seems to be getting better with age. His 26 goals are the most he has scored in a season and he is now 36. Indeed the season before he netted 19 goals which is his 2nd best campaign.

Of course Ronaldo will be content with a Serie A league title in his debut season but as everybody knows the Portuguese player loves statistics and loves scoring goals and one has to wonder if not landing the prize as top goal scorer has left a bad taste in his mouth?

Or is it simply that Ronaldo is running out of gas? Ronaldo’s haul of 21 league goals is his worst since he was in the Premier League playing with Manchester United in the 2008/09 season. While that sounds shocking he has only played 30 games this season in the league, the last time that happened was in the 2013/14 season with Real Madrid where he was able to score 31 goals, 10 more than this season.

Ronaldo is 34 and it would only be natural that his level would go down, or simply it could be a different manner of things. We should remember that he went the first few weeks of the season without scoring for Juventus, even though he had some superb chances and sometimes was simply unlucky. Purists will point to the fact that Italian football is better defending and seen as an art in the league and that is the reason that Ronaldo has scored his lowest tally in the league in a decade.

It will be fascinating to see how Ronaldo reacts next season, for now Juventus will be massive favourites to win another league title, their 9th in a row perhaps? And that will mean that Ronaldo will get plenty of chances to score goals, maybe he just needed that first season to fit in.

 

 

On this day: Remembering Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012

It was the greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club. Not for the first time during their Champions League run in 2011/12, the odds were stacked against the west Londoners heading into the final on 19 May: not only did they have to face a formidable Bayern Munich team stacked full of world-class players, they had to do so at their opponents’ own stadium, the Allianz Arena. Yet the Blues once again dug deep and found a way to win, becoming the first team from London to claim the continent’s biggest prize.

Continue reading

Martin Odegaard deserves Real Madrid chance

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard looks set to leave Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal to Dutch giants Ajax, according to the latest speculation. The Norwegian has starred during a series of loan stints in the Netherlands, and surely deserves a chance in the first-team squad at Los Blancos.

The 20-year-old is currently on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem after previously making 43 first-team appearances on loan at Heerenveen, with both his stats and reviews this campaign showing a marked sign of progress. The midfielder has impressed once again in the Eredivisie this campaign by netting eight goals and providing nine assists to help Vitesse into a top seven spot. Continue reading

Keylor Navas set for Real Madrid exit

Keylor Navas

A multitude of reports in the Spanish press on Monday stated that Real Madrid had informed long-serving goalkeeper Keylor Navas that his time at the club was up. The 32-year-old’s final game at the club is set to be against Real Betis on Sunday, in an opportunity for him to say his goodbyes to the fans after five years in the Spanish capital.

The Costa Rican appeared certain to leave the European champions last summer whenever their €40m deal for Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea was completed. However, the Costa Rican number one stuck it out in the Spanish capital and continually referenced his contract at the club and even stating ‘he would rather die’ than leave the Bernabeu. Continue reading