Valdes impressed by ´special´ Neymar

3 August 2012 19:49

Victor Valdes believes that Barcelona would be a suitable destination for Brazilian starlet Neymar.

The 20-year-old has long been mooted as a transfer target for both the Blaugrana and Real Madrid, and has been in fine form for Brazil at this year’s Olympic Games, helping his team storm to the quarter-final stage with three wins in as many group games.

Valdes has been watching Neymar in the tournament, and feels that the Santos striker has the ability to play in any team and compete at any level.

“I have discovered Neymar by watching the Olympics,” he said. “I always said that a player with a special talent can fit into any team.

“He does things that only he can do. This is valuable for any team and especially for a team like Barcelona.”

Barcelona play PSG in their third pre-season friendly on Saturday, where Valdes will face former team-mates Thiago Motta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxwell.

And he expects a tough fight from the French Ligue 1 side.

“It’s always a difficult time playing the match during the season because we don’t know what form we will be in, but it’s a major title and we’re going to do everything we can to win. We’ll see if we can get it,” he said.

Mourinho hails Real win over Galaxy

3 August 2012 19:26

Real Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho believes his side’s crushing 5-1 win over MLS side LA Galaxy was important for their preparations.

The Portuguese said the friendly win would provide the early foundations to repeat their success of last season, which saw them win the La Liga title for the first time since 2008.

After the win, Mourinho was quick to pay tribute to the Galaxy’s English star David Beckham, who he felt was desperately unlucky to miss out on Great Britain’s team for the Olympics.

A known admirer of Beckham’s, Mourinho said the 37-year-old should have made the squad after playing a critical role in securing the London Games.

“If now the Olympic Games are in London, it’s because of him,” Mourinho said of Beckham.

“It’s because of other people (as well), but he was the most important face of that project. I don’t understand why he’s not playing now. I cannot understand.”

“I think in a group of 18 players, you have qualities to give, human qualities to give, and he is one of the best soccer professionals to express what is the ideal of Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the modern Olympics).”

Beckham featured for the hosts at the Home Depot Center in front of a record crowd of over 30,000, which Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said would result in further growth of the MLS.

“I’m never happy to lose games and be beaten like we were tonight, but at the same time Madrid’s commitment to the game was outstanding,” Arena said.

“If you look at the games Madrid play in La Liga they beat teams by bigger margins than they won today.

“We don’t claim to be at the level of Real Madrid at this point.

“It’s a fabulous experience for our fans, they get to see one of the great teams in the world and see some of the great players. It’s not about the result, who won tonight and bragging rights.”

Masiello banned for 26 months

3 August 2012 18:01

Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello has been banned for 26 months for his involvement in the Scommessopoli scandal.

The 26-year-old faced charges for six illegal activities in the match-fixing probe, all committed during his spell at Bari between 2008 and 2011.

He has also been fined 30,000 euros after his plea bargain was accepted by the disciplinary committee.

Alessandro Parisi, Marco Rossi and Marco Esposito, all former team-mates of Masiello, all had their plea bargains accepted as well.

Parisi will be banned for two years, Rossi for 20 months, and Esposito for three months and 10 days.

Meanwhile, Sampdoria will start the 2012-13 season with a one-point penalty following their role in the scandal, while Bari will start with a five-point deficit in Serie B as both clubs also had plea bargains accepted.

Ferguson: Scholes will be difficult to replace

3 August 2012 17:30

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says replacing Paul Scholes is going to be ‘very, very difficult’ for the club.

Scholes returned to the Red Devils’ in January after initially retiring at the end of the 2010-11 season, and showed he had lost none of his talent, producing some excellent performances as United pushed rivals Manchester City all the way in the title race.

And Ferguson has hailed the impact Scholes has had on the team, but insists that it will be a tall order to replace such a gifted midfielder.

“A year ago, he was coaching my reserves team,” Ferguson told the club’s official website.

“Now he’s back playing and everybody attached to United is absolutely delighted because he’s such a fantastic player.

“In the long term, trying to replace Paul is a different issue all together. It’s going to be very, very difficult. To replace a great player like that would be hard for anyone.”

Centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes that to come back after so long and perform at the standard the veteran midfielder did is a testament to his character, and a great example of all the young players to aspire to.

Ferdinand said: “‘Sat Nav’ Scholes has it all – it’s a great opportunity for the young players to learn from someone who has honed his craft for years and can still do it at the top level.

“To think he had a period out and can still come back and play is phenomenal. He’s a shining light for all the players to look up to. Long may he continue playing!”

Terry denies FA charge

3 August 2012 17:21

The English FA have confirmed that John Terry has denied a charge of using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour.

The charges against the Chelsea captain include a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry has requested a personal hearing, with the date yet to be confirmed.

However, the FA have stated that Terry will remain available to play for England until the hearing.

Terry was acquitted of charges of racially abusing Ferdinand at the end of a four-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court, with magistrate Howard Riddle stating that it was ‘impossible to be sure’ both of what Terry said to Ferdinand, and what Ferdinand had said to him.

But the FA have charged Terry only with using racially motivated abusive language and behaviour.

The governing body were quick to clarify that its investigation into proceedings was held entirely separately from the outcome of the trial and would relate to ‘rules governing football only’.

The FA will make no further comment on the matter.