Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack is the opinion that Bayern Munich will struggle to get past Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League.
After suffering a narrow loss in the first leg, Bayern are hoping to take advantage of the return leg being at home. This has traditionally been seen as an advantage, but it remains to be seen if it will matter against Atletico Madrid team who are extremely happy to just sit and hit the opposition on the counter-attack. Pep Guardiola has set his sights on winning the Champions League in his final season at the club.
Success in this competition evaded Ballack even when he was at Bayern. He was a losing finalist with Bayer Leverkusen and this was a feat that he repeated with Chelsea in 2008. There is a danger of Atletico Madrid also being hit with the unlucky tag. The club has lost its previous two European cup finals. Only one of those games was in the new Champions League format and it was as recently as in 2014. Atletico came very close to winning the title only to suffer an injury time equaliser from Real Madrid, who went on to win the game in extra time. Atletico are looking to banish the memories of those painful defeats.
"It's difficult. One-nil is not a great result, not scoring away. They're strong enough to beat every team at home but this Atletico team seems very strong, they've grown in terms of experience as well since the defeat to Real Madrid two years ago.It will be really difficult for Bayern to reach the final. He's [Guardiola] still a great coach, he brought so much to the Bundesliga, to German football. It was a big achievement for German football as well, to get him,” said Ballack.
The former German midfielder Michael Ballack says that he has been impressed by three England players namely Ross Barkley, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
Ballack says that England has an excellent team with such talented players and that he look forward to seeing these players perform with the national team.
He has been impressed by the qualities of the Everton’s midfielder especially his strength and also his ability to run from box to box. Indeed, his playing style can be somehow reminiscence of how Ballack played during this youth. So far this season, he has made 39 appearances for Everton and scored 12 goals.
Concerning Harry Kane, Michael Ballack stated that he has good awareness and that he is a good finisher. Indeed, the Tottenham striker has scored 25 goals in 45 appearances for the club. Ballack believes that he is a quality striker that will definitely give England an edge in the big game.
Another player that has received praise from Michael Ballack is Raheem Sterling. The former German international believes that Sterling can be a dangerous player for England and that he has the necessary skills to beat players at will. Sterling has had a poor season this year with his club. This has mainly been caused by frequent injuries that have prevented him from having a sustained run in the team. He has made so far 42 appearances for the team and scored 11 goals.
Michael Ballack has some good knowledge of the English football from the time he was playing with Chelsea. He enjoyed some success with them where he won one Premier League title and 3 FA Cup. He also won the Champions League with the London club during the 2007-2008 season. He was a finalist with Bayer Leverkusen.
Remi Garde has provided the latest updates on Micah Richards and according to the Aston Villa manager; the England player should be available for the match against Chelsea. Micah Richards has suffered a groin injury in training and missed the game against Tottenham as well as Swansea.
According to the Villa’s manager, this is a light injury and will not require lengthy treatment. Micah Richards should be up and running very soon. The international break should provide Richards with enough time to recover and to prepare himself for the remaining games of the season.
For some pundits, Richards was not injured for the game against Tottenham, but he was rather dropped because of poor performance in the precedent game against Manchester City. Garde wanted to change things and as a result, Richards was axed from the first team.
This season has been difficult not only for Richards but for all the Villa players. Having been named as Aston Villa’s captain at the start of the season, Micah Richards has not enjoyed a good season with relegation looming. For a player of his stature and experience, this can feel like an experience that he will want to forget as quickly as possible. If ever Aston Villa gets relegated, there will be no shortage of clubs who will want to sign the player.
Micah Richards joined Aston Villa in 2015 on a free transfer and had made so far 23 appearances for the team and scored two goals. Previously the England international has been playing with Manchester City where he won the Premier League, FA Cup as well as the League Cup. He made 245 appearances for the Sky Blues and scored nine goals during his tenure at Manchester City. He also went on loan to Fiorentina where he managed 19 appearances.
John Terry has been performing with Chelsea since he was 14 years old and after having made over 450 appearances he has turned into an iconic figure for the Premier League club but his time in Stamford Bridge is about to reach it’s end as the captain of Chelsea announced his plans to leave the team that he has been performing in for over 20 years.
It’s important to take into consideration that John Terry did not say that he was going to retire in this season but instead that he is going to make his way out of Chelsea as the veteran defender has plans of retiring in another club and this is something that has affected Chelsea fans who did not take this news easily.
"I was in for talks last week before the Arsenal game and it is not going to be extended. It's not going to be a fairytale ending. I'm not going to retire at Chelsea. It's going to be elsewhere, which it took me a couple of days to get over." John Terry said after his team claimed a 5-1 triumph over Milton Keynes Dons in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
The veteran defender will be making his way out of Chelsea in their most disappointing of recent times but this was going to arrive sooner or later.
Chelsea has no realistic chance of winning the Premier League title in this season and John Terry is well aware of that, this is why the English defender went on saying that his last objective with the Premier League club is to win the FA Cup.
"It's my last run in the FA Cup, so I want to make it a good one. It's a big season for me and I want to push on not just in this competition, but in the Premier League as well’’ John Terry added on.
Joachim Low has assured the defender Jerome Boateng that there would be no rush in team selection for the European Championships and the management would wait till the last possible moment for him to be fit and ready for the tournament.
Boateng’s Euros chances took a hit yesterday as he injured one of his key Foot muscles while appearing in Bundesliga.
However, thankfully, there is still a lot of time for the Euros to kick off and if Boateng’s recovery doesn’t go wrong, he can back himself to be back to scene in time to be considered for selection.
Boateng also seems to have got the support of his national manager Low who is of the view that the 27-year old is strong enough to overcome the adverse circumstances.
Low was quoted as saying, “The situation is tough yes, but, I trust Jerome to come out of it and I have already conveyed to him that the door would not be closed on him until the very last moment.”
“It’s similar to what had been the case with Sami Khedira in 2014 when he was racing against time for World Cup and we had waited for him. We are going to do the same with Jerome and hopefully, he will be back.”
“He has got the correct attitude as a player and I am sure he would handle this situation quite patiently.”
Boateng was a part of starting line up of Germany in all the 7 matches that they had played in World Cup and he was to be the main man in the defence of the team in Euros too, but, obviously, there is a cloud over his participation now and if he does officially get ruled out, it will be a blow for the Germans.
New Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel says that he does not have the same football philosophy of Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola, who is widely known as a manager who wants to play his football on the ground.
Tuchel has a big job on his hands to replicate or even go beyond the achievements of his predecessor, Jurgen Klopp. There are suggestions that he may look towards making the club play a different style of football than they were used to under Klopp. Under the former regime, it was more about intense pressing and high tempo football.
This often did not result in an attractive football, but Tuchel has laid out his plans quite clearly. It remains to be seen if he can change the style overnight without affecting the results. His main task will be to qualify for Europe once again. Dortmund will be without Champions League football for the upcoming campaign, but they cannot remain in this situation for long if they are to retain the star players left like Marco Reus. Tuchel has had a brilliant spell with Mainz, who were known for playing attractive football. However, replicating the same at Dortmund will be a major challenge.
"As a fan and coach I simply admired Pep's work at Barcelona. But from this admiration I have not tried to copy or imitate Pep.It would not work, imitating his style,” said the reigning Dortmund manager. He also spoke about his contact with Klopp. "We have only had contact via text messages so far. But my wish is that we make up for it. I want a very cozy meeting and a good relationship," said Tuchel. Dortmund’s season begins early with qualification games for the Europa league group stages. The league campaign starts in the second week of August.
Dubai Sports City is a multi-venue sports complex located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and it contains a number of different sporting facilities including Spanish Soccer Schools and the former Real Madrid defender, Michael Salgado is the director of this complex as he helped children in developing skills as well as teaching them the basics of how to play football the Spanish way.
Michael Salgado along with Darren Lehmann launched this sporting complex in Dubai Sports City as a way to help the population of Dubai to have a place where they can compete and grow. The activities of this facility will not only be limited to football as it will also host cricket tournaments as well as camps of a variety of spots are planned on taking place within the near future.
Former Real Madrid defender, Michael Salgado said: “This is an incredible environment to play sport. The Football Dome is such a good place, and then you have everything else in Sports Village around you like the ICC Academy and places for the whole family to relax.’’
Salgado continues being active in the world of football despite having retired over 2 years ago. The retired footballer plays an active role in sports as he is currently serving as the Chevrolet regional brand ambassador at the Dubai Sports City Football Academy.
Chevrolet is considered to be one of the leaders in football in terms of branding sponsorships as they have been the official car sponsor of Manchester United since May of 2012 when Chevrolet replaced Audi.
Later in July of 2012, Liverpool confirmed their 4 year-long partnership with Chevrolet where the automobile business would become their official partners and sponsors.
Michel Salgado is hoping that he can continue making an impact in football even though it’s outside of the pitch.
Five years back, when Michael Ballack had said that Nemanja Matic was a future superstar, people thought that he was just overrating the Serb.
There was not much to like about Matic at that point of time. He was a young player coming through and he seemed to have a bit of potential, but, he had had quite a few flaws in his game too and to predict that he would go on to achieve greatness, it was a courageous call by Ballack.
But, that is turning out to be quite true and the German legend would be quite happy to see Matic proving him right.
Matic was at Vitesse playing on loan in the winter of 2010 when Ballack made that statement about him in a television programme.
Just after Matic returned to the Stamford Bridge from Vitesse the following summer; Chelsea put him on sale and got rid of him.
Matic was bought by Benfica at a transfer fee of about 25 million Euros.
People thought there would be no coming back for the holding midfielder to the English top flight again.
But, Matic showed what can be achieved if you are mentally strong and ready to dig in.
The Serbia International went from strength to strength at Benfica and turned himself from a talented young, rash player to a steady and matured one.
He added more dimensions to his game and started impacting games more often.
By improving regularly and putting in good performances day after day there in Portugal, the Yugoslavia born player made sure that he was noticed again and he was back to the Bridge within 3 years of his departure.
And, not only did he return to Chelsea, he became a prominent figure in the side this time around under Jose Mourinho.
He is so important for the Blues at the moment that they can’t think of doing without him.
He was recently not there for a couple of games because of a ban and Chelsea struggled a little bit.
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack witnessed the blues getting a comfortable 5-0 win over Schalke in the Champions League group stages.
After witnessing the destruction, the German said that Chelsea appear to be extremely strong across the pitch and they have enough quality to be considered as potential winners of the Champions League this season. Jose Mourinho has transformed this Chelsea team into a winning machine after adding the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, and Thibaut Courtois. They were once again at the core of this destruction of the very poor Schalke team, who were managed by Roberto di Matteo.
Tensions were clear ahead of the match after Jose Mourinho did not want to be reminded of Chelsea’s success in the Champions League under di Matteo. Ballack, who reached the final of this competition twice without winning, says that he is not judging Chelsea’s chances of winning the title on the basis of this match alone. He has witnessed enough performances from the West London team to suggest that they will be up there with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the campaign. Chelsea are one of the few teams in the top five European leagues to stay unbeaten so far.
“I cannot yet see any weak links, they are really solid and if you judge them after the game today, they can win it.And if you judge them after the whole season, then they can win it too! But it was not the right opponent today, and they know it too, and Mourinho is too experienced to get too euphoric. They will come stronger teams to beat like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.But they are one of these teams that can win it for sure,” said Ballack. Chelsea have secured top spot in the group as a result of this win.
Eliaquim Mangala’s reaction after his errors in the match versus Hull City the other day impressed Vincent Kompany.
Mangala’s errors had caused Manchester City concede two goals in the first half that day, but, the defender, did not let those setbacks get better of him and played confidently in the second half. That, according to Kompany, is a great sign.
Talking to the reporters, the Sky Blues captain said, “It’s not about the mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s about how you come back after that. If you have got good temperament, you don’t let those mistakes affect you and that’s what Mangala showed.”
“As a captain, you want your boys to get stuck to it no matter what. Sometimes, you have to encounter embarrassing moments. That’s how it is. It’s the name of the game, but, your reaction to that is very important.”
“Every player has had tough days over his career. I have had too. My own goal versus Fulham, people still talk about that. It happens especially if you are a defender.”
Mangala’s mistakes, however, did not cost City that game as they managed to score a couple of more goals after the break to come out victorious by 4-2.
Edin Dzeko, in the 67th minute (his second goal) and Frank Lampard in the 87th minute made sure that the full points went to City.
City had actually got up by 2-0 within the first 20 minutes, but, Mangala, first by putting the ball into his own net and then, by conceding a penalty, helped the opposition get things levelled.
With no goal coming in the next 45 minutes or so, it seemed City might have to be content with a solitary point only, but, it wasn’t to be.