Reuters Soccer Blog
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For all the talk of his City career being over, after the Argentine was accused by manager Roberto Mancini of refusing to come on in a Champions League game in September, no concrete offer has been forthcoming.
AC Milan are interested in cover for Antonio Cassano, out for months after heart surgery, but are keeping a lid on spending and only want a loan deal in the January transfer window.
City only want to sell Tevez and Milan’s proposal does not appeal. But City don’t have many other options if they want to recoup tens of millions of pounds in transfer fees.
So there were no incredible comebacks after all. Sorry Tottenham and hapless Heurelho Gomes, but the neutrals have got their Real Madrid v Barcelona semi-final and expect the hype to be greater than almost any two games ever played.
In the other semi-final Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson will be able to take a close look at Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was largely untroubled by departing holders Inter Milan last night.
Mother Nature has handed Manchester City the perfect chance to spend Christmas on top of the Premier League and with a decent fixture list over the next month their title prospects should start being taken seriously.
City have been underwhelming at times this season and the future of leading striker Carlos Tevez remains in doubt but with all their rivals grounded by heavy snow, Roberto Mancini’s millionaires will go top if they beat Everton on Monday.
I blame the late, great Keith Weller of Leicester City.
He started the trend for “cold-weather clothing” when he pulled on a pair of white tights one winter’s day in the 1970s.
He did not know it at the time, but that began the wimpish drift towards gloves, hats and now the ridiculous snoods, or neck warmers, being worn by the likes of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, and most fetchingly, Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal in the last few weeks.
Carlos Tevez has quickly gained the love of supporters wherever he has played, first at Boca Juniors, then Corinthians, now in the Premier League, with his never-say-die attitude added to considerable ball skills.
On Monday in Buenos Aires, he played as if he were facing Brazil in the World Cup finals and not Canada in a friendly. He chased and harried for 70 minutes, laid on the second goal in a 5-0 win for Maxi Rodriguez, passed to Angel Di Maria for his celestial third goal of the night and got on the scoresheet himself.
After the century of call-ups and largely meaningless tests against mediocre opposition in friendlies, not to mention the lack of direction in the qualifiers, talent and form look set to win out in the race for places in Argentina’s World Cup squad.
Most if not all 20 of the players picked by Diego Maradona for the warm-up against Germany in Munich on March 3 would appear to have booked their ticket to Argentina’s Pretoria World Cup base in June.
It seems like ages since we last managed a proper weekend programme* but at last, here we are, with an all-singing, all-dancing snow-free extravaganza, with the dubious attraction of Arsenal v Man Utd’s traditional handbags at 10 paces highly competitive fixture being shown in 3D at select boozers across the land.
Below you will find the Reuters Soccer Blog standings and predictions for the week but remember, we’d like you to join in as well. If you’re a newcomer, you get 10 points for correctly predicting the exact score from the weekend’s Premier League game, or two for getting the right result. (If you’ve been with us for a while, it’s five points and one point).
Fuelled by millions of petro-dollars from the apparently bottomless pockets of their Abu Dhabi owners Manchester City have spent the summer accumulating what is beginning to look, on paper anyway, a squad that will challenge for the title.
Significantly, the players bought by manager Mark Hughes are tried and tested in the Premier League which augurs wells for City’s chances of shaking up the established pecking order in English football.
Manchester City are finally shopping at the luxury end of the market, as befits their status as the richest of the rich, and as a result the fans can start to get excited about the new season.
Back in January I blogged about the depressingly familiar rollcall of mediocre players being linked with City: the likes of Scott Parker, Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Matthew Upson.
Manchester City’s failed 100 million euros plus bid for AC Milan’s Kaka now begs the question: should there be a limit on the amount of money a club can pay for a player or should there be a salary cap?
Some of Europe’s top soccer clubs and the game’s European governing body UEFA seem to think so, with the news that they have started talks on curbing the amount of money that can be spent on player transfers or wages.