Martinez keen to prove his worth

11 December 2012 19:29

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez is determined to prove his worth and justify his hefty 40-million-euro price tag.

The Spain international joined the Bavarians from Athletic Bilbao in the summer transfer window for a record fee, but has so far been unable to live up to the high expectations at Bayern.

Nevertheless, Martinez has stressed that his price tag is not holding him back as it only motivates him to showcase what he can do.

“Athletic paid a lot of money for me, too. People think that I feel pressure to live up to my price tag, but it can also serve as a motivation. I want to show that I’m worth the money. It won’t be easy, but I’m motivated to do just that,” Martinez told Blickpunkt.

“I’m starting to feel better game by game. I’m not at 100 percent yet, but things are heading in the right direction. Last season was very long and intensive.”

The 24-year-old has made 20 official appearances for Bayern so far.

Casillas would sacrifice La Liga for Champions League

11 December 2012 19:28

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas says he would be happy to give Barcelona the La Liga crown if it ensured his club won their 10th Champions League.

A number of supporters and pundits have written off Jose Mourinho’s side in the race for the La Liga title, after a poor start to the season has seen them fall 11 points behind Barcelona.

But goalkeeper Casillas admitted that he would give their fierce rivals a landslide victory in the Spanish top flight if they were assured of European football’s biggest prize.

“I do not have to think about it. If you told me now that we would finish 25 points behind Barcelona in La Liga that is obviously not ideal as the domestic competition is very important,” he told Spanish TV station La Sexta.

“But if you tell me that we are going to win La Decima, I would sign for that right now.”

Mourinho is currently preparing his side for their Copa del Rey round-of-16 match against Celta Vigo on Wednesday, and assistant coach Aitor Karanka denied that the club have only one priority and that they will be doing all they can to win all the competitions they take part in.

“Is the priority the cup or the league? At this club, and for its coaching staff, the priorities are all titles and all matches,” he said.

“The cup match has no less priority than any other match.”

The former Athletic Bilbao defender also revealed that Real are doing all they can to close the gap at the top of the league as they aim to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2008.

“We do not think like Casillas. The coaching staff are already quite uncomfortable with the gap and we do not want to be further behind. Here you fight for every title, and so we will continue addressing it,” he said.

Uruguay Primera Division: Penarol 2 Liverpool 0

11 December 2012 19:28

Penarol celebrated their Uruguay Primera Division title with a 2-0 home win over Liverpool on Monday.

Jorge da Silva’s side had the title wrapped up with one match to go and finished off the season with a comfortable victory in front of their home fans at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

Sebastian Gallegos opened the scoring on 38 minutes for the winners before Juan Olivera’s 71st-minute strike sealed the result.

Penarol finished the 15-match season with 11 wins, three draws and one loss. Liverpool had a disappointing campaign and were 12th at season’s end.

Chelsea´s Romeu out for season

11 December 2012 09:27

Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu will be sidelined for six months after undergoing knee surgery on Monday, the club have announced.

The 21-year-old had anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery and medial meniscus ligament repair on Monday after being forced off in the first half of Saturday’s 3-1 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Romeu lasted just 20 minutes before being replaced by Oscar.

It was hoped the former Barcelona man would be fit enough to fly to Japan with rest of the squad to take part in the Club World Cup.

However, further assessment revealed the injury was more serious than first thought and the Spain Under-23 international, who has started four of interim manager Rafael Benitez’s five matches in charge, remained in London after it became clear he required surgery to correct the problem.

Romeu has appeared nine times for Chelsea this season, scoring once in the Capital One Cup thrashing of Wolves at Stamford Bridge in September, and has made 33 appearances in total since arriving from Barcelona in 2011.

The injury to Romeu leaves John Obi Mikel as Chelsea’s only fit, dedicated holding midfielder.

Evra fears Ferguson wrath

11 December 2012 10:29

Manchester United’s Patrice Evra says a repeat of last year’s Premier League title concession will not be accepted by Alex Ferguson.

United’s 3-2 victory away to rivals Manchester City on Sunday saw them open up a six-point gap over their neighbours at the top of the table.

However, having seen United’s give up an eight-point lead to lose the title to City on the final day of last season, Evra is determined to avoid a repeat of such a disappointment in 2012/13.

When asked about last year’s title race, the 31-year-old told reporters: “I think Ferguson is going to sack everyone if we did that (again).

“No, I’m serious. It would not be funny, for the fans, for the players, for everyone.

“I remember what happened. We were eight points clear and in the end we lost the league.”

Evra was keen to emphasise the significance of an away victory for United at Etihad Stadium, as well as the psychological implications the result could have on the remainder of the season.

“It was more important to win at City and give a sign out to them,” he said.

“We also broke their record at home. Psychologically, it was really important to win against City.”