Van der Vaart disappointed by Netherlands snub

5 September 2012 11:27

Rafael van der Vaart has voiced his dismay with Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal’s decision to leave him out of the squad.

Van der Vaart was omitted from the team for upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Hungary, as the former Ajax coach feels he lacks match rhythm and has other things on his mind than football as he only just completed his move from Tottenham to Hamburg.

“I am fully match fit and really wanted to be part of the team for the match against Turkey. It’s very disappointing that I was excluded from the squad,” he was quoted as saying by De Telegraaf.

“I think that there’s always something happening in the life of a footballer. I don’t want to say too much on the matter, though.

“I just want to make an impact at Hamburg, have fun again, and we will then see what happens.”

Netherlands start their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign with a home match against Turkey on Friday.

Inzaghi inspires Atletico┬┤s Falcao

5 September 2012 10:04

Atletico Madrid attacker Radamel Falcao has voiced his admiration for Filippo Inzaghi, citing the former Italy international as his hero.

The 39-year-old ended his professional career this summer after an 11-year spell at AC Milan, and the Colombian has admitted that the ex-Juventus striker was an example to follow for him.

“Is it true that I asked Mario Yepes to ask Inzaghi to sign a Milan shirt for me? Absolutely,” Falcao told Tuttosport.

“Inzaghi is a striker who I have always really admired because of his eye for goal. He has inspired me with his style of play.”

Falcao has been linked with a move to a bigger club on more than one occasion in the past few months, but insists he is not thinking about a transfer.

“The truth is that my wife and I are very happy with life in Madrid. I still have a four-year contract here. You can ask any questions regarding a transfer to the Atletico directors or to my agent,” he said.

The prolific hitman also heaped praise on Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo.

“They are without a doubt the two best players in the world. They are great champions. Messi netted 50 goals in La Liga last term, while Ronaldo scored 46 goals. I only came third with 24 strikes,” Falcao said.

Falcao has not wasted any time to impress in the opening stages of the 2012-13 campaign with hat-tricks against Athletic Bilbao and Chelsea.

Alonso elated at Villa comeback

5 September 2012 09:54

Xabi Alonso is delighted with David Villa’s return to the Spain fold and is confident the Barcelona attacker will soon play a key role.

The former Valencia star missed Euro 2012 due to a broken leg, but returned to action for his club earlier this season, and received a recall from Vicente del Bosque for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

“Villa’s return is great news. He has been fundamental for us before he got injured and it’s great that he has made his comeback,” Alonso said.

“He always creates a lot of danger and is a threat to any defence. He always scores a lot of goals, regardless of whether he plays from the wings or as striker.

“It is essential for us that he has returned. We have missed a player like him. I am sure that he will soon be important for the team again.”

Spain take on Saudi Arabia on Friday in an international friendly, before kicking off their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Georgia four days later.

Bolt set to play for Manchester United – in friendly

5 September 2012 09:45

The fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt – could make an appearance for Manchester United next season in a friendly game against Real Madrid.

Bolt urged fans to help persuade United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him up for the Red Devils team when he was guest of honour during a 3-2 victory against Fulham in the Premier League earlier in the season.

The world record holder could get a surprise phone call from Ferguson after he hinted that the sprinter’s dream of playing for the club could come true.

“Usain’s a character and a big United fan,” Ferguson told Inside United magazine.

“But it’s interesting he says he’d like to play in a charity game. It could be brilliant, and next year when we play Real Madrid’s Legends again, there could be opportunities to bring him up and see how he does.”

Previously Bolt, 25, has trained with the Manchester United squad and even said that he would be willing to leave athletics for a spot in the Red Devils’ team.

The game is set to be played on June 3, 2013, at Old Trafford following last year’s success which saw the proceeds support Real Madrid’s Foundation work currently taking place in Africa.

Bolt won the 100m and 200m sprint double at the London 2012 Olympics, as well as leading Jamaica to the 4x100m gold medal.

Cavani not leaving Napoli soon, says agent

5 September 2012 09:26

Edinson Cavani’s agent said the Uruguay international has no intention to leave Napoli and wants to stay put until 2017.

The prolific attacker recently signed a five-year deal to stay in Naples, but reports in Italy suggested he has agreed with the club that he will be allowed to leave the club mid-2013.

The Uruguayan’s representative Pierpaolo Triulzi has insisted his client is not thinking about leaving the Neapolitan side any time soon.

“These reports are utter nonsense. He has signed a contract until 2017 because he wants to stay here until then,” Triulzi told Corriere dello Sport.

“The inclusion of the 60-million-euro buy-out clause is a signal to interested clubs that Napoli do not want to sell. Then again, if some madman is willing to pay that fee at some point, we will see what the options are.”

Cavani has netted once in Napoli’s opening two Serie A games of the 2012-13 campaign.