5 players who don’t deserve to play for Manchester United

It’s always easy to criticise, always easy to point out errors and bask in the sense of entitlement that a big club often generates to call personnel out… but sometimes there is a kernel of truth within the criticism – as good a footballer as the object of criticism maybe.

Most of the names on this list have never given up and have always shown great fighting spirit – but in another era of now-forgotten ruthlessness, they wouldn’t be near the Manchester United football team.

5 Daley Blind

5

Daley Blind was brought to Manchester United by Louis Van Gaal as he sought a trusted lieutenant to establish his own unique Dutch philosophy on United. A superb passer of the ball and a competent reader of the game, Blind, on the face of it was perfect for this – but the mere fact that Ashley Young is being preferred at left-back by the current management (and is doing much better than Blind was in the position, it has to be said) shows that Blind simply doesn’t have the quality to compete at this level of football.

The slowness of foot is also what keeps him from being an effective central midfield player in the (yes, it’s stereotyped, but that’s ‘cos it’s true) fast-paced Premier League.

4 Matteo Darmian

4

Matteo Darmian is one of the most versatile fullbacks in world football – comfortable on either the right or left of defence but he has never truly lived up to the potential he brought with him from Torino – and the Ashley Young factor again points out his limitations as a top-class full-back.

Not fast enough to trouble opposition fullbacks, with a cross that’s not good enough to for his center-forwards do anything with, Darmian is the kind of average-to-good footballer who have made United their home and have brought down the performance of the team as a whole.

3 Juan Mata

3

Now, now, calm down.

Nobody is saying that Juan Mata isn’t the nicest guy in world football. Nobody is saying that Juan Mata isn’t one of the loveliest footballers to watch when on song.

He is, though, hopelessly ineffective when things start getting even a bit physical and… as astoundingly blunt as this sounds… lacks the upper-body strength to be able to compete effectively with the increasingly more powerful opposition.

He also requires a whole lot of the ball to be able to make some impact on games – but is simply not good enough to build a team of United’s ambitions around, or to obtain the status of “luxury player” , one with the license to do anything without having the responsibility to hold position or trackback.

As hard as this is to read, and to write may I add, Juan Mata is just not good enough to play the role he seeks for a team that wants to win every competition it competes in.

2 Luke Shaw

2

Louis van Gaal, Roy Hodgson, and Mauricio Pochettino have all at one point of time in their interactions with Luke Shaw echoed Jose Mourinho’s comments on Shaw’s attitude, professionalism and struggle to maintain fitness.

Forget the fact that he still hasn’t shown what he is capable of (lad has bags of potential, no doubts about that), but for a team that prided themselves on being the fittest (and most professional-in-training) of the lot, Shaw’s attitude should in all reality be inexcusable.

1 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

1

Henrikh, he has chipped in with a bagful of assists (5 in the PL) already this season – but the correlation between his great performances and the presence of Paul Pogba on the pitch is quite simply eerie.

Without the Frenchman, Mkhitaryan was expected to take the reins and steer United moving forward, but in the past two months the Armenian has looked utterly lackadaisical, a touch lazy, and bereft of the creativity that he was supposed to bring to the ball park.

Oh and the way he shirks challenges can only grate on Jose Mourinho’s nerves.

Simply put, he still hasn’t earned the right to be the creator-in-chief of Manchester United, a mantle previously held by some of the greatest players this game has ever seen.

Former Barcelona superstar admits he could make stunning €91m return to Camp Nou

c4b70-1510288870-800

What’s the story?

Barcelona’s pursuit of Thiago Alcantara received a huge boost as the Bayern Munich midfielder admitted that he could envision a return back to his boyhood club. Speaking to the press ahead of the Spanish national team’s friendlies, Thiago confirmed his love for Barca, saying “Barcelona will always be my home, and not only because I love the club, but also the city. I will always look at them with love. You never know if I’ll be back; because I’m very happy at Bayern, but football changes a lot. Anything can happen.”

However, with Bayern Munich having tied him down to a long contract, Barcelona may have to part with a huge fee, in the range of €91 million.

In case you didn’t know…

Thiago Alcantara is a prodigal son for many Barcelona fans, with many cules viewing his sale to Bayern Munich for a paltry €18 million in 2013 as the most disastrous piece of transfer business by the club in the last few years. That situation was triggered by Thiago playing less than 60% of Barcelona’s games in 2012/13, which saw his release clause fall.

The heart of the matter

Having won the Bundesliga title in every season he has been at Bayern Munich, it is hardly surprising that the Bavarian giants are reluctant to let Thiago go. They have tied down the midfielder to a contract that is designed to keep him in Munich until 2021 and thus only a massive fee from Barcelona will turn their heads.

Barcelona were reportedly put off previously by the €100m+ fee they expected Bayern would want for Thiago’s services, but now that the player has made a public utterance of a possibility of moving back, the Blaugrana are hoping that a fee of €91 million will suffice.

It is no secret that Thiago remains the prodigal son of Barcelona, with the Spaniard considered the true successor to Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Ernesto Valverde would jump at any chance of signing the midfielder, and has reportedly spoken to technical director Robert Fernandez to broker a deal.

All Time Best Under Rated Goalkeepers

5) NEVILLE SOUTHALL

5

The Welshman played for more than ten clubs in his nineteen-year career. Often regarded as the best of his generation, Southall’s career came to a sad end. He was the man between the sticks for Everton for more than 500 games winning 2 FA Cups, one European Cup Winners’ Cup. He was selected for the PFA Team of the year for four straight seasons from ’86 to ’90. He also represented the national side in 92 games. Post-retirement, Southall went into management and enjoyed brief spells with the likes of Dover Athletic, Hastings United.

4) SHAKA HISLOP

4

The 6ft 6in goalkeeper played for the likes of West Ham, Newcastle United during his 15 year long stay in the English football. The England born goalkeeper represented Trinidad and Tobago on the international stage. Hislop, like many goalkeepers, was massively underrated. He was a part of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle, which finished in the second position for two successive seasons. Injuries played a major role in Hislop’s career. It was due to his injury problems that he left Newcastle for West Ham. His only major title came with Portsmouth, when the club won the promotion winning the Championship in 2002/03 season.

3) ADRIAN

3

West Ham United made a smart move back in 2013 when they signed Adrian from Real Betis. The goalkeeper arrived at the club with minimal expectations; however, he turned many heads that season with some stunning performances. He had a success rate of 98% that season and carried his fine performances the next season too. Known for his quick reactions and reflexes, the Spaniard is a prominent member of Bilic’s squad. His injury problems have paved the way for Darron Randolph to get in the side; however, Adrian is expected to give Randolph a tough fight for the number one position.

2) VINCENT ENYEAMA

2

The Nigerian does not have the likes of Champions league trophies in his cabinet, but he is easily one of the best goalkeepers of the modern game. After starting his career in his homeland, Enyeama moved to Tel-Aviv in Israel, where he played more than 100 games. His performances convinced Lille, where has been the first choice for last five years. Enyeama has saved his best for the international stage, where he was the goalkeeper in the African Team of the Year in 2010,2013 and 2014. He captained Nigeria to the African Cup of Nations title in 2013, keeping a clean sheet in the final against Burking Faso.

1) JUSSI JAASKELAINEN

1

The football fans fondly remember Jaaskelainen for his time at Bolton. The Finnish goalkeeper was the man between the sticks for the Wanderers for more than 10 years, representing the club in 400 games. Jasskelainen was a prominent figure of the squad that won the promotion and stayed in the top flight for several years. Jasskelainen was a strong example for the youngsters in the team due to his dedication and loyalty. However, his situation at the club deteriorated under Owen Coyle, who replaced him with Adam Bogdan. Jasskelianen, though, continued his career under Sam Allardyce as he helped the club to a 10th place finish in his first season.

FIFA 18 Team of the Week 8 Predictions

FIFA-18-Team-of-the-Week-8-Predictions-FUT-TOTW-8-Inform-Players-e1510000290125

FIFA 18 Team of the Week 8 Goalkeepers Predictions

  • Tiago Volpi (GK) 78 > 82 – Querétaro
  • Facundo Altamirano (GK) 62 > 72 – Club Atlético Banfield
  • Stefano Sorrentino (GK) 79 > 82 – Chievo Verona

FIFA 18 Team of the Week 8 Defenders Predictions

  • Alessio Romagnoli (CB) 79 > 82 – AC Milan
  • Steve Cook (CB) 77 > 82 – Bournemouth
  • César Azpilicueta (CB) 86 > 87 – Chelsea
  • Almamy Touré (RB) 73 > 79 – AS Monaco
  • Dani Alves (RB) 84 > 86 – PSG
  • David Alaba (LB) 86 > 87 – FC Bayern Münich
  • Barry Douglas (LB) 71 > 78 – Wolves
  • Leighton Baines (LB) 82 > 84 – Everton

FIFA 18 Team of the Week 8 Midfielders Predictions

  • Tortol Lumanza (CDM) 65 > 75 – Stabæk Fotball
  • Casemiro (CDM) 85 > 86 – Real Madrid CF
  • Dani Parejo (CM) 82 > 84 – Valencia CF
  • Kevin De Bruyne (CM) 90 > 91 – Manchester City
  • Anderson Talisca (CAM) 79 > 82 – Beşiktaş JK
  • James Rodríguez (CAM) 86 > 87 – FC Bayern Münich (OTW)
  • Valon Berisha (CAM) 74 > 79 – FC Red Bull Salzburg
  • Clint Dempsey (CAM) 78 > 82 – Seattle Sounders FC
  • Lulinha (CAM) 72 > 78 – Pohang Steelers
  • Nabil Fekir (CAM) 84 > 86 – Olympique Lyon
  • Héctor Herrera (LM) 79 > 82 – FC Porto

FIFA 18 Team of the Week 8 Forwards Predictions

  • Iago Aspas (RW) 85 > 86 – RC Celta de Vigo
  • Gerson Santos da Silva (RW) 67 > 76 – AS Roma
  • Kylian Mbappé (RW) 83 > 85 – PSG (OTW)
  • Mohamed Salah (RW) 85 > 86 – Liverpool (OTW)
  • Florian Thauvin (RW) 82 > 84 – Olympique de Marseille
  • Murilo Freitas (LW) 64 > 74 – Tondela
  • Paco Alcácer (ST) 79 > 82 – FC Barcelona
  • Zakaria Labyad (ST) 75 > 81 – FC Utrecht
  • Fedor Smolov (ST) 80 > 83 – FC Krasnodar
  • Stephan Hain (ST) 67 > 76 – SpVgg Unterhaching
  • Timo Werner (ST) 82 > 84 – RB Leipzig
  • Bafétimbi Gomis (ST) 79 > 82 – Galatasaray SK
  • Nicola Sansone (ST) 79 > 82 – Villarreal CF
  • Benjamin Girth (ST) 66 > 75 – SV Meppen
  • Sandro Wagner (ST) 82 > 84 – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
  • Leon Clarke (ST) 65 > 75 – Sheffield United
  • Samuel Eto’o (ST) 81 > 83 – Antalyaspor
  • Álvaro Morata (ST) 86 > 87 – Chelsea (OTW)

TEAM OF THE WEEK, PLAYER OF THE MONTH RETURN TO FIFA MOBILE SEASON 2

fifa-mobile-season-2-team-of-the-week-totw-1

While some of us are still waiting for FIFA Mobile’s Season 2 update to come to the Google Play store, the revised game’s first Team of the Week is here — with a twist.

TOTW (as well as the old event favorite, Player of the Month), are both back in S2, but now as Events.

“Every week, Players will be chosen to be part of the Team of the Week!” a message in game reads. “1 Captain, 11 Starters and 11 Reserves will be part of the TOTW. Find all the captains to unlock the Player of the Month!” it adds.

Each week, there’s a training exercise (similar to a Live Event from S1). For a set amount of stamina (two for Week 1), you grind towards 100 TOTW Points. Every two stamina in this instance will get you 5-15 TOTW points closer, plus throw in 500 coins and a chance at a Silver TOTW player and a very, very slight chance at that week’s captain. Week 1′s TOTW’s captain is none other than Manchester City’s Fernandinho:

fernadinho-fifa-mobile-season-2-totw-1

Once you reach 100 TOTW points, you’re able to play that Week’s TOTW Challenge. This week’s is a 0-0 second half against the TOTW. If you win, you get 1,000-25,000 coins, a guaranteed Gold or better TOTW player with a shot at an Elite (including that week’s captain).

There’s also a Limit 10 500 FP TOTW pack, which gives you 6 TOTW players from that week including at least 3 Golds and 3 Silver player items with a chance at an Elite and the captain.

Just navigate to the Events section after you get going in Season 2 and give it a shot. The events will last a week at a time, ostensibly from Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. UK, ordinarily) until the following Wednesday.

Here’s the first FIFA Mobile S2 Team of the Week:

– 85 CDM Fernandinho (Captain)

– 87 ST Gonzalo Higuain

– 84 ST Dries Mertens

– 84 GK Marc Andre Ter Stegen

– 83 ST Edinson Cavani

– 79 RW Hirving Lozano

– 79 RM Pablo Sarabia

– 77 LM Vincenzo Grifo

– 77 RM Elias Hernandez

– 77 LWB Sead Kolasinac

– 75 LB Fernando Marcal

– 75 CM Lucas Torreira

– 74 RWB Pablo Maffeo

– 73 LWB Ashley Young

– 71 CF Kenny Miller

– 70 ST Ihlas Bebou

– 70 RWB Brecht Capon

– 69 GK Zack Steffen

– 68 CAM Kieran Dowell

– 68 ST Manuel Schaffler

– 67 CB Joackim Jorgensen

– 65 ST Simone Rapp

– 63 ST Junior Negao

88 ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC FIFA 18 PLAYER REVIEW

1

Today, I’ll be reviewing 88-rated Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

2

I want to preface this review by saying that I play Zlatan at RCM in the 4321 (in before all the “I didn’t know Nep was on FUTHead” comments). I find that a player like him is very useful to have in middle of the park. His height, his power, his great dribbling and solid passing all make for a brilliant attacking minded midfielder. He just doesn’t have the pace I need my strikers to have, but I love his card, so I’ve moved him back into the midfield.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

IN-GAME STATS

3

Key Stats: 86 positioning, 87 finishing, 91 shot power, 85 long shots, 83 vision, 84 short passing, 81 agility, 88 ball control, 88 strength, 84 aggression

I use the engine chemistry style on Zlatan, which gives him the following boosts.

4

SQUAD

This is the squad I’m using Zlatan in:

5

In-game I swap Zlatan and Crespo, and Mane and Mkhitaryan.

6

STATS

Here are my stats with Zlatan:

Price: 157,000

Games: 267

Goals: 137

Assists: 64

Those stats would be impressive as a Striker, and they are mind-boggling for a center-midfielder.

Let’s get into the review.

REVIEW

Pace: 8/10

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – his pace.

Simply put, it’s absolutely fine. It’s better than fine – it’s very effective in game. No matter what his card stats say, he is not slow. The combination of great dribbling, good agility, and his tall frame make him far faster in-game than I expected. He easily feels like he has 80 pace, and in the 250+ games I’ve used him, I have had no issues with this stat. He’s a little slow off the mark, but once he gets going, he’s not easy to catch.

Shooting: 10/10

Perfection. He can finish anything, from anywhere, on either foot, with any kind of shot. The single best shooter I have used this year – he’s even better than Del Piero. Absolutely clinical inside the box, no matter who the keeper is or who the defenders marking him are. From range, he will tear the net with ease. Just before writing this review, he scored a 35-yard outside of the foot curler into the the top corner while being man-handled by the deadly duo of Sergio Ramos and Eric Bailly. The number of times he has bailed me out is incredible – whenever I need a savior, I get the ball to him at the edge of the box, press shoot, and celebrate before the ball hits the back of the net.

Passing: 9/10

Very, very good. With the engine chemistry style, he’s a very capable passer of the ball, and that shows in-game. His short passing is immaculate, and while he struggles on the most difficult of long passes and through-balls, he’s comes through the vast majority of the time. I especially like his driven passes, mainly due to the power he generates when striking the ball.

Dribbling: 9/10

Almost perfect. A little let down with his balance, but his high physicality makes up for it, and keeps him on his feet a lot of the time. On the ball he is superb – close-control is world class, the skill moves are executed in an instant, and his first touch is godlike. He’s a dream to dribble with.

Defending: 7/10

This will surprise some of you, but his defending is solid. A combination of great height and long legs, incredible strength and aggression, and a tendency to float around the middle of the park all make him great at breaking up the play. He intercepts a lot of passes, and he’s able to snuff out a lot of chances in the midfield. Just run up to the player you want to dispossess, and he’ll just bully him off the ball, or stick his leg in to make an awkward tackle. However, he shouldn’t be your main defensive player.

Physicality: 10/10

Awesome. If you use shielding correctly, he can hold off anyone, and I love that about the card. Once you get in front of a defender, it’s game over/ If you need a player to slow down the play and hold up the ball, this is your man. His jumping is better than his card stats say, which makes him even better in-game.

Heading: 10/10

I wanted to add this section, because he is lethal in the air. He’s at the front post when it comes to corners, and he wins everything, and scores a lot of them. He just casually flicks it backwards, and it usually hits the far side-netting.

SUMMARY

I love Ibra in this game. He might not be the sort of player I can use at striker, but he’s performed remarkably well in the middle of the park for me. What Zlatan brings to the table is his incredible ability to change a game. He can create chances out of nothing, and he will singlehandedly win you games. At his current price, he’s someone you need to bring into the side.

Rating: 9/10

Value for Coins: 9/10

FUTMOCALC’S FIFA MOBILE TEAM OF THE CLONES

attack-of-the-clones

Here is a fun little mental exercise for the end of the season. The object is to build the best team using just one card from FIFA Mobile 2017, cloned 25 times and put in each outfield position. So that means you need a player who will be the best striker, midfielder, and defender, all in one card. We’ll ignore goalies for now.

Another quick note: while many of these players are truly versatile, they’re not all even best at their own positions. The way FIFA Mobile is set up, with attacking and defending happening seperately, a uni-tasking specialist is often better than a generalist in many positions.

1

LET’S IGNORE BOOSTS

Boosts make this too clear cut, so let’s ignore them. A roster of all pre-season Hazards would be the obvious choice because of his +3 OVR boost. Even though Hazzy is a bit weak in the defence department, the boosts would give him a more than respectable 127 marking and 129 tackling. Combined with an insane 183 sprint and acceleration he’d be the best defender in the game. More crushing would be his offensive game, with a positively ludicrous finishing of 261 (each Hazard would boost the finishing of each other Hazard by 6 — 3 from his finishing boost, and 3 from the OVR boost, which boosts all stats). Oh, and the team would have roughly a 181 OVR. This makes it too obvious a choice, so let’s just ignore boosts completely.

Below are my top choices. I haven’t played with all of them, so we’re going to focus on stats. Since we can’t actually do this in game, there is some guesswork involved.

 

2

6. TEAM MCALLISTER

Little-known Grimsby Town midfielder Sean McAllister caused some head-scratching when he was selected as a golden egg player back in the Easter program. He is, however, an exceptionally well balanced player with a 90 attacker rating, 99 creator rating, and a 98 defender rating.

Out of every single card in FIFA Mobile, he has the most total aggregate stats. Not Messi, Ronaldo, Kanté, or any of the 100-rated pre season players. McAllister is number one in the whole game, making him a great balanced option.

His pace of 93 is a little on the low side though, making him a little too sluggish to build a whole team on.

3

5. TEAM KEÏTA

By pure stats alone, it’s hard to find a player even in the same ballpark as Keïta. Adding up all stats, Keïta is the second highest ranked card in the entirety of FIFA mobile, despite being just a 96 OVR. His 110 pace, 100 finishing, and 97 tackling would all make him a superb choice.

The main thing not working in Keïta’s favour is his OVR. A team composed of Keïtas would have a 3–4 OVR disadvantage compared to these other teams. That’s enough for him to drop a few spots in the rankings, despite having arguably superior stats.

If Keïta ever received a 99 or 100 rated card, he would probably take the top spot in this ranking. He’s just simply a beast of a card, and even with his lower rating he would probably give some of these higher ranked teams a run for their money.

4

4. TEAM KANTÉ

They already call him the Kanté twins, why not go a bit further and make 25 more of him?

While not boasting the incredible stats of Keïta, TOTS Kanté is a pretty complete package. Free kicks and heading are weaknesses, but other than that he has great pace, great defending, and attacking skills which could be classified as “not bad”.

N’Golo has the single best tackling and stamina of any card in the game, and is near the top for aggression. Playing against 10 Kantés would be terrifying, giving a psychological edge to his team.

5

3. TEAM SRNA

Darijo Srna is fast, can attack and defend, and his 100 overall rating would help. Some other high rated wingbacks have terrible shooting, but Srna is totally solid there.

The only real weakness with Srna is his small size and 85 heading, making team Srna a bit vulnerable in the air and on defence. Still, he’d make a wonderful choice. Team Srna would be right up there.

6

2. TEAM NAINGGOLAN

Srna and Nainggolan are neck and neck, but I give a slight edge to the Belgian midfielder. His attack and speed are good, and he’s a solid defender too. His pace is slightly better than Srna, with better acceleration (which I personally prefer over sprint speed). He’s got slightly worse passing stats, but he’s better at both attacking and defending.

Radja’s worst stats, free kicks and heading, are amazingly still 95. That is truly remarkable. For comparison, Kante’s worse stat, free kicks, is 72. Nainggolan is literally good at everything.

While Nainggolan excels in all stats, he is on the small side. A wall of Nainggolans wouldn’t be terribly imposing, and air battles could be an issue despite his strong heading abilities.

7

1. TEAM POGBA

Pogba has all around great stats, with his lowest being marking at 88. He’s a tad low on pace and defending stats compared to some of these teams, but what he really brings is a unique combination of physicality and skill.

The pure stats for Pogba are fantastic, but the thing that makes him special is the unique way they combine. He has third highest strength in the game, but also top-class dribbling and ball control, with pretty good pace. This combination makes it extremely hard to knock him off the ball, and makes him perhaps the best pure ball carrier out there. He really shines in shot power too, in which he is second best in all of FIFA Mobile. For those of us who use a lot of power shots, this makes him a strong scoring threat whenever he has the ball.

His skill move is rainbow, but his height and dribbling skill make his rainbow one of the best in the game. His dribbling and ball control make his cuts and jukes so tight and quick he usually doesn’t need to use a skill move at all.

Pogba and Nainggolan are so close, it’s hard to pick one over the other. In the end though, I’ll give it to Pogba for the unique combination of attributes he brings to the game.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

99 Dirk Kuyt

99 Sergio Ramos

98 Arturo Vidal

100 David Luiz

99 Eric Bailly (for pure terror and chaos)

5 legendary footballers who nearly joined the Indian Super League

We are nearly approaching the fourth edition of the Indian Super League and this time it’s even bigger with two more teams included in the 5-month football extravaganza. Many big International footballers have played in the glamorous competition and much more will follow. But there are players who were about to set foot in India, but eventually did not.

Let us have a look at footballers who nearly joined the Indian Super League:

5 Julio Baptista

5

Brazilian Julio Baptista was the latest player to be linked with the Indian Super League, with Kerala Blasters FC showing interest in the attacking midfielder for the upcoming season which is about to kick off on November 17.

The South American rejected the offer from the Kerala-based team, and was in close talks English club Bolton Wanderers but eventually failed to sign the contract.

Baptista has played for European powerhouses like Arsenal, Real Madrid and Roma. Popularly known as “The Beast” for his physical stature, he made his presence felt on the football pitch and is an asset to any team which he plays for.

The Sao Paolo-born footballer played 37 matches for his national team making his debut during the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. After being dropped from the 2006 World Cup, he was recalled for the 2007 Copa America and scored the opening goal in the final against Argentina in a 3-0 victory to clinch the title.

4 Didier Drogba

4

African striker Didier Drogba was offered a mammoth $1 million by the Kolkata giants for securing his services in the second year of the glamorous event. The Spanish midfielder, Luis Garcia, was the marquee player for Atletico de Kolkata in the inaugural edition of the ISL, but he was released and the owners had an eye on the man from Ivory Coast.

This is a real statement of intent from clubs in the Indian Super League, who are passionately trying to put India on the global football map,” said Drogba’s UK-based agent Baljit Rihal when the ISL team made the offer.

In spite of the tempting offer, there were no responses from the other side and the people from Kolkata were deprived of watching the star player from close quarters. He currently plays for the American club Pheonix Rising after retiring from International football in 2014 after leading his nation to two FIFA World Cup finals.

The Chelsea legend made a comeback to the Stanford Bridge outfit in 2014, and a year later he had an opportunity to play in the Indian Super League for a handsome pay but ended up signing for American club Montreal Impact instead.

3 Miroslav Klose

3

All-time World Cup leading goalscorer Miroslav Klose was in close talks with Chennaiyin FC but nothing was official just before the start of the third edition of the Indian Super League in 2016. According to reliable sources, Klose was on the verge of signing on the dotted lines before pulling out at the last minute.

Not only did he reject any possibility of playing for the club from southern India but he also retired from professional football on November 1, 2016.

The Polish-born German striker is one of the most celebrated footballers to have represented the nation. He was part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning squad in Brazil and also played a pivotal role in the 2002 edition where they were runners-up. He won the Golden Boot award during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

2 Kaka

2

Brazilian superstar ‘Kaka’ was on Atletico de Kolkata’s radar during the second edition of the Indian Super League. Former cricketer and ATK’s co-owner Sourav Ganguly was very keen on signing the former Ballon D’ Or winner but eventually, the Brazilian did not make the long trip across to the Asian nation. During that time, Kaka was playing for Orlando City as an attacking midfielder in the Major League Soccer.

About Kaka… talks are going on, but nothing has been finalised yet. When it is finalised we will surely disclose the news,” said Atletico de Kolkata co-owner Ganguly during a conference prior to the start of the 2015 season.

Failing to rope in the Brazilian, the Kolkata-based team qualified for the semi-finals during that edition before Chennaiyin FC had the better of them in a two-legged clash.

The former Real Madrid man has had an illustrious career both at club level and at the International level. The two of his most memorable achievements was the 2002 FIFA World Cup win and the 2007 UEFA Champions League title.

1 Ronaldinho

1

Brazilian wonder boy Ronaldinho was among the probable’s to grace India with his magical football when his agent was in close talks with ISL franchise Chennaiyin FC for the first season in 2014. It was learnt as per reports that a whopping $125,000 dollars a week was offered to the former FIFA Player of the Year award winner.

The proposed deal fell through due to some unavoidable disagreement in financial terms and the former Barcelona was roped in by Mexican club Queretaro.

I chose Mexico for the affection I have always received there. I am very motivated to represent Queretaro,” tweeted Ronaldinho after his move to Central America.

Ronaldinho would have been a dream signing. Life is all about winning and losing. We lost here but I am confident that ultimately we will win,” said Prashant Agarwal, CEO of Kshatriya Sports, technical partners of Chennai franchise, after they failed to sign the Ronaldinho.

Among his major achievement are the 2002 FIFA World Cup with his national team and the 2006 UEFA Champions League win with the Catalan giants, Barcelona.

Valverde hopes Messi scores 200th European goal this season

lionelmessi-cropped_174zsfsend421zm84gttwobko-800

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde joked he hoped Lionel Messi would reach 200 European goals this season.

Messi scored his 100th goal in European competition on Wednesday, netting in Barca’s 3-1 Champions League victory over Olympiacos.

Valverde is already hoping for more from Messi:

“I hope he reaches 200 goals this season,” he joked.

“These numbers endorse what we see every day in training.”

A Dimitris Nikolaou own goal gave Barca their lead, but they played the second half with 10 men after Gerard Pique’s red card.

However, Messi and Lucas Digne struck to put Valverde’s men in control before Nikolaou’s consolation goal.

Valverde is refusing to get carried away by his team’s form, even with Barca topping Group D and LaLiga.

“I do not know if the fans have fallen in love with me,” he said.

“The results are good and we continue to get them, but tomorrow is another day, things can change overnight.

“We are going to cross our fingers and keep working.”

 

4 Young Players Barcelona Must Sign In Future

4) MARQUINHOS

4

The young Brazilian is already among the best defenders at the moment. His ball playing abilities and speed make him an ideal candidate for Barca’s passing game. The Catalans have been huge admirers of the defender, chasing him ever since his Roma days. Still 22, Marquinhos has a long way to go in the modern football and has the potential to become the very best. Barca’s appeal may be enough to convince the Brazilian to leave Parc De Paris. He is often identified as a natural heir to Carlos Puyol, and a backline of Pique and Marquinhos could be a nightmare for strikers.

3) AYMERIC LAPORTE

3

Though 22, Aymeric Laporte has been a part of the transfer rumours for quite some time now. Some of Europe’s top clubs including Manchester City, who were reportedly willing to pay 50 million for the defender, court the Frenchman. Laporte has matured into a fine defender and has added a good passing range to his game. Destined for a great career, Laporte could be tempted by the appeal of Barcelona. He is no stranger to Spanish football, having made more than 100 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, which would help him settle with much more ease than Marquinhos.

2) PAULO DYBALA

2

Paulo Dybala has often been touted as the next Lionel Messi in the football world. It’s easy to understand why Dybala is compared to one of the best players ever. Dybala, like his compatriot, has quick feet, pace, skill and an eye for goal. Nicknamed “the jewel”, Dybala has had to deal with a lot of attention despite his young age. And to his credit, he’s dealt with it with great aplomb. Since joining Juve from Parma, he has taken his game to another level. He is the creative mastermind for the Bianconeri and has a bright future ahead of him. Understandably, his sublime talent has not gone un-noticed with Real Madrid, Barca both keeping an eye on him. The Argentine too could be tempted by the idea of playing with the Messi.

1) YOURI TIELEMANS

1

One of the biggest reasons behind Barca’s struggles this season has been their midfield problems. The likes of Busquets, Iniesta and Rakitic have been uncharacteristically out of form this season and have failed to stamp any kind of authority one associates with them. New signing Andre Gomes has dramatically failed to impress, thus increasing the pressure on Messi to create chances for the Catalans. A fresh injection is a must for Barca at the moment, with their stars apparently running out of steam this season. The Belgian wonder kid, Youri Tielemans, could provide that fresh energy. The midfielder has a great vision and an incredible stamina to go with it. He would surely add the much-needed inspiration. The 19-year old prodigy has played more than 100 games for Andrelecht and, is an important part of the squad despite his young age.