Tello left out of Barca squad

7 August 2012 03:28

Cristian Tello has not been given a first-team squad number by Barcelona just weeks before the Liga season starts.

The former Espanyol forward featured heavily toward the end of the last campaign for Barca, making 22 appearances for the club in all competitions between January and the end of the 2011/12 season in May.

Despite this increased involvement, the youngster is yet to be assigned a first-team squad number for the new season, and does not appear on the first-team squad profile on the club’s official website.

Jordi Alba, the club’s only new arrival of the off-season to date, has been given the No.18 shirt, the same jersey he wore while representing Spain at Euro 2012.

Both Alba and Tello were part of Luis Milla’s Spanish Olympic squad which crashed out of the football competition at the London Games in the group stages last week following a surprise defeat to Honduras.

Barca’s first Liga match is against Real Sociedad on August 19.

Kagawa still adapting to new surrounds

7 August 2012 03:21

Shinji Kagawa is pleased with his short stint at Manchester United and insists that he will get better once he adapts to life in England.

The Japanese star, who moved from German outfit Borussia Dortmund this close season, has impressed in the club’s pre-season tour.

Looking ahead to the Premier League campaign, the 23-year-old feels that he can only improve once he gets more accustomed to life at Old Trafford.

He told reporters: “Every time I practise with my team-mates is satisfying. When I get used to my new surroundings more I’ll do even better.

“I know most of them know I could do better, and bring out their strong points.

“I feel as though I should be making more chances to get goals.”

Kagawa was recently been praised by team-mate Rio Ferdinand and the playmaker hopes that his versatility will lead to extra first-team chances this term.

“Having reliable players on both sides of me makes things easier,” he said.

“I can play in one or two positions, and if I play in one of them I’ll get hold of the ball, I’ll be able to create goals.

“I’ll keep trying for good form so my team-mates can trust me and my presence in the team.”

Ramos praises Mourinho influence

7 August 2012 03:17

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos says it is a privilege to work with the club’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho.

Spain international Ramos believes he has grown both as a player and a man since Mourinho’s arrival at Real from Inter Milan in May 2010.

And, after enjoying La Liga title success last term, Ramos is adamant former Porto and Chelsea coach Mourinho is the right man to take the team forward.

“You learn a lot from Mourinho,” Ramos said.

“He knows a lot about football and on a personal level he teaches you a lot. Good advice makes you grow as a person and having him in charge is a privilege.

“A footballer should always be ambitious and try to win titles every year. We worked really hard last year and now the goal is to defend the league and to start again from scratch humbly. Who better to achieve this than Mourinho, who knows the team inside out and gets the best out of each and every player?

“You grow over time, both personally and professionally. In each training session, with his philosophy, we understand each other better and we have more confidence thanks to the manager.”

Mourinho guided Real to the Copa del Rey in 2010/11, his first season at the club, before helping them to the Liga title last season.

Wiese aims to surpass Bremen

7 August 2012 03:10

Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese believes his new club have the potential to finish above Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.

Thomas Schaaf’s Bremen side finished in ninth position last season, one point ahead of the Hoffenheim, who 30-year-old Wiese joined on a free transfer in May.

Hoffenheim coach Markus Babbel has also brought in forward Eren Derdiyok from Bayer Leverkusen.

And six-cap Germany international Wiese is confident of finishing above his former team-mates in the upcoming campaign.

“I want to finish above Werder,” he told Bild.

“I really want to help Hoffenheim qualify for Europe.

“At Hoffenheim we have the best training conditions. We have a better training centre than Bremen do.”

When asked about the state of the squad, he said: “It is full of experienced and young players. We have a great mix. It’s just all there.”

Hoffenheim kick off their Bundesliga campaign against Borussia Moenchengladbach on August 25.

Mazzarri praises marksman Pandev

7 August 2012 02:40

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has hailed Goran Pandev following the Macedonia striker’s two goals in a friendly against Braga.

Pandev, 29, spent last season on loan at Napoli from Inter Milan, before transferring to the Stadio San Paolo club in June.

He struck twice in a 3-1 friendly victory over Braga on Saturday, in what was Napoli’s final warm-up match before travelling to Beijing to take on Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana.

And Mazzarri is clearly thrilled to have the former Inter man on board again for the coming campaign.

“I have already said everything about Goran. He is football. To see him at this level again makes me glad,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Uruguay international Miguel Britos was likewise effusive in his praise of the Macedonian, and was especially grateful for the goals which helped overturn the Portuguese side.

“We started very well, and then we dropped, perhaps because of the heat. Unfortunately, we conceded a goal from a restart by Braga, which was avoidable,” Britos said.

“Luckily, Pandev has made a big difference up front. Moreover, he is a champion, as demonstrated during his career.”

Napoli now travel to China for their Supercoppa Italiana showdown with Juventus, and Mazzarri is confident they can get a positive result which could see them kick on in the new Serie A season.

“In Beijing, both for us and for Juventus, there will be the unknown factor of the first official match, but I’m confident,” Mazzarri said.

“The goal is to reach the top. This past year we have been penalised by (extra matches in) the Champions League, but this time will be different, even though the Europa League will not be neglected.

“We’ll see where we are in March and then we will understand where we can get.”