Moyes gets midfielder Tomas Soucek on permanent deal

After spending six months playing for West Ham on loan from Slavia Prague, Tomas Soucek has completed a four-year, £19m deal with the Hammers.

After arriving from his native Czech Republic, the 25-year-old defensive midfielder played 13 games for West Ham, scoring three goals, one of them in the win against Watford, three matches before the end of the season, when the David Moyes’ team secured their Premier League status for another year.

The two time Czech Player of the Year won the trust of the Moyes with both his defensive and attacking qualities, a strong physical presence and an eye for goal. Although the loan was Soucek’s first experience outside his home country, he was quick to adapt to English football and made a big impact in east London.

His versatility and enthusiasm was crucial after the Premier league restarted, when West Ham were on the cusp of relegation with only 27 points, the same as Watford and Bournemouth who are now Championship-bound. Since then Soucek has showed his full potential while also gaining interest from numerous of teams around Europe.

David Moyes expects the Czech to be one of the biggest assets for the Hammers in the upcoming season. With his 6ft 4in frame and energetic box-to-box game, Soucek provides something for Moyes that others in his squad lack, and team may well be adjusted to suit his skillset.

“I’m delighted that Tomas has signed his permanent contract to secure his long-term future at the Club. When I came in, we talked about needing another midfield player, to help Declan Rice and Mark Noble, and I think he’s been a really good fit for us. He’s a terrific lad with very good physical capabilities. He has scored some really important goals for us, against Chelsea, Newcastle and Watford. We’re glad he’s going to be a West Ham player for a good period to come”, said Moyes.

Soucek started his football dream as a six-year-old in a small club in his native Havlíckuv Brod. The club that is currently playing in the Czech Republics’ fourth division recognised his talent and potential. before letting him move on to the most successful Czech team, Slavia Prague. The owners of Havlíckuv Brod also put a clause in the contract demanding a percentage of any future transfer of Soucek from Slavia. Six years later, they will collect £1.4m on the back of this transfer.

Manchester City say goodbye to their player of the decade

The 5-0 victory over Norwich City was the last match in the Premier League for David Silva, who is leaving The Etihad after 10 years in the sky blue jersey.

The Spaniard has played a staggering 434 matches for Manchester City in all competitions, more than any other in the club’s history, recording 77 goals and 122 assists and managed to win 14 trophies: four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and three FA Community Shields.

With 309 appearances in the last 10 seasons in the Premier League he has the second most behind the goalkeeper of their Manchester rivals, David de Gea, who has played four.

Over the past 10 years, many great players have passed through the squads of Pep Guardiola, Manuel Pellegrini, Brian Kidd and Roberto Mancini, but no one has been more consistent and impactful as David Silva. The Citizens fans could always count on Silva to make an impact when it mattered.

“Of course I am very proud,” he told the club website. “To win so many titles and the way we won it. I am a lucky guy. I have had a lot of nice moments, and this one as well, the last one. I will miss everything – even the weather as well. I’m going to miss working every day with these amazing people. They have made my life much easier. It was emotional and I love all of them.”

Before the final farewell with City, Silva has the chance to challenge for the Champions League trophy, the only one that is missing in his glittering career. City play Real Madrid on at the Etihad in the second-leg of the last 16 clash, after they won 2-1 on at the Santiago Bernabeu in February.

“I hope we can win it,” he continued. “It’s a shame that we can’t play with the fans here, but of course, the safety of the people is the most important thing.”

The English fairytale for Silva began with the transfer from Valencia in 2010 when he signed a four-year contract with City, but stayed much longer. After a decade at the club, the 34 year old will possibly return to Valencia and has been linked with a move to Villarreal in La Liga. Also, Al Sadd’s in Qatar, where his fellow countrymen Xavi and Santi Cazorla already play, is also thought to be an option.

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When Luis Figo left Barcelona for Real Madrid

Throughout history the derby matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid have been real spectacles that no football fan on the planet wanted to miss.

But one of the most memorable El Clasico clashes was played on November 23, 2002. Unprecedented noise was heard at the packed Camp Nou, and the reason for that was the return of their former hero, and now perceived traitor, Luis Figo.

Although more than two years had passed since the Portuguese’s transfer from Barcelona to Madrid, Catalan fans had not yet forgiven his decision to leave the Blaugrana. Nearly 100,000 spectators tried their utmost to unnerve their ex-star, including by throwing all sorts of objects at him.

The most striking moment of the evening happened after half an hour of play when the Portuguese headed to take a corner from the right-hand-side of the field. Countless objects, whiskey bottles, mobile phones, golf balls flew his way, including an object that will become one of the symbols of the rivalry between the two clubs and the hatred of the Catalans towards Figo, a pig’s head. A delay of nearly twenty minutes was necessary to calm the fans down eoungh so that the match, that eventually finished goalless, could continue.

Twenty years later, when asked how he would celebrate the transfer that marked his career, Figo replied “with a pig’s head”.

It all started with the entry of Florentino Perez into the race for president of Real Madrid in 2000. Although Perez was considered an outsider in the candidacy against Lorenzo Sanz, who brought Real back to the top of Europe, the local politician announced major changes and planned on bringing in some of the best players around.

As his wing man, Perez had Paulo Futre, the legend of Atletico Madrid and the Portuguese national team, who was currently Figo’s advisor. Futre managed to persuade Figo to sign a pre-contract agreement with Real that would take effect if Perez became the head of the club, which would make the transfer of the Portuguese the most expensive in football history, and he would become the highest paid player.

A few weeks later, Perez won the battle against Sanz and becomes president of Real Madrid, which started the speculations on a transfer that seemed unreal to everyone. Although Figo reportedly regretted his decision and tried to stay in Barcelona, ​​he had no choice but to move to their arch rivals for a then record 62 million euros.

To add to the pain and anger for Barcelona fans, Figo as a Real Madrid player, just a few months later won the Ballon d’Or, as well as the World Soccer (magazine) Award for Player of the Year, although he played more games in that year in a red and blue jersey.

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