Saturday 29 August 2009

Video of the day: Chygrynskiy

Quote of the day: Guardiola

I take the responsibility for the signing of Chygrynskiy.

Josep Guardiola,
Barcelona manager

Chygrynskiy will arrive in Barcelona tomorrow

Barcelona's official website has announced that Shakhtar Donetsk central defender and Ukrainian international Dmytro Chygrynskiy (22) will arrive in Barcelona tomorrow.

Spanish news agency EFE claims that Chygrynskiy will travel to Barcelona together with Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Barcelona sports vice president Rafael Yuste, who are today in Ukraine for the inauguration of the new stadium of Shakhtar Donetsk.

Chygrynskiy would undergo the medical tests tomorrow afternoon and will then be presented to the press and the fans on Monday afternoon. Barcelona is believed to have agreed to pay a transfer fee of 25 million euros for the Ukrainian centre-back, who would sign a five-year contract.

Read more:
Chygrynskiy: "I could sign contract on Sunday"
Video: Guardiola meets Chygrynskiy
Chygrynskiy confirms transfer to Barcelona

Free transfer of Gudjohnsen to Monaco close

French sports paper L'Equipe claims that a transfer of Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (30) to French first division club AS Monaco is close (read more here).

Officials of both clubs would have met on Friday when Barcelona was in Monaco for the European Super Cup and the negotiations would at this moment be well-advanced.

The transfer could be closed this weekend, with Barcelona reportedly willing to let Gudjohnsen, whose contract expires at the end of this season, leave for free.

Monaco would have offered Gudjohnsen, who would now be earning a year salary of 4 million euros gross, a two-year contract worth 3 million euros gross a year. The player is believed to be willing to move to the Monegasque club. Spanish news agency EFE confirms that talks between the clubs have started but that Barcelona has made clear not to be interested in a loan deal.

Read more:
Gudjohnsen does not want to leave
West Ham finalising Gudjohnsen loan
Monaco interested in Gudjohnsen loan

Jeffren promoted to first team

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona Atlètic wing attacker Jeffren Suárez (21) has been promoted to the first team.

Sources close to the player reportedly told the paper that Jeffren would have talked with the coaching staff on Wednesday.

The player was reportedly told that he will stay with the first team this season. If he doesn't have enough playing minutes during the first half of the season or if the club signs a left winger in January.

Speaking at a press conference, Real Sociedad coach Martín Lasarte confirmed on Thursday that his club had received the official confirmation from Barcelona that Jeffren won't leave on loan this summer: "What we expected has now been confirmed by his club: Jeffren will stay there. I think that with this decision, we close are incoming transfers."

Read more:
Jeffren has personal deal with Racing Santander
Poll result: Who should stay?
Real Sociedad still waiting for Jeffren answer

Valencia definitely closes door for Mata transfer

Asked about the new rumours linking Valencia left wing attacker and Spanish international Juan Mata (21) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Valencia president Manuel Llorente told journalists yesterday that the player will stay this summer:

"I don't know anything about a possible renewed interest of Barcelona in Juan Mata.

I can anyhow tell you that no player will leave Valencia before the end of the transfer market on 31 August. Nobody has contacted us and in the case of Mata I think that it is clear that Barcelona has no chance of signing him. We have been able to keep our key players at the club this summer so that we can be competitive during the coming season."

Read more:
Mata hoping for last-minute Barcelona move
Barcelona not giving up on Mata

[2008] Victor Vazquez could also be promoted

this post was published one year ago:

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona Atlètic attacker Víctor Vázquez (21) could in the end also be permanently promoted to the first team.

If - like is expected - Barcelona doesn't sign any new forwards in the next days, Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola and his staff are considering to add Vázquez to the first team.

Together with six of his Barcelona Atlètic team-mates Vázquez started the pre-season with the first team (read more here) and participated in four friendly matches before returning to Barcelona's second team last week (read more here).

Earlier this week, Vázquez told the official club media that he hopes for a new promotion chance: "Now I have to work hard with the B team and if Guardiola needs me one day, I'll be happy to go there. Like every youth player, my ultimate goal is to get a place in the first team. I felt very comfortable playing with the first team and now I'm ready to work hard to reach the objectives of Barcelona Atlètic.

For now I'm adapting to the rhythm of the B team and I'm getting to know the new guys. I'm feeling good at the position I'm playing now on the pitch. I like to go forward from midfield. But of course I'll be as motivated playing wherever the coach puts me."

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Valiente to Sevilla B
Barça B: Jeffren, Busquets and Vazquez are back
Seven B players will start season with first team

Poll - Man of the match: Shakhtar

The Pictures: Shakhtar (part 2)

see more pictures here

(click a picture to enlarge)

see more pictures here

(click a picture to enlarge)

Pique: "We hope to be the Barça of the Six Cups"

Speaking to journalists after the European Super Cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday, Barcelona players Gerard Piqué and Bojan Krkic commented on the game:

"The conditions weren't the best ones for our type of football, with the heat and the pitch that was very complicated. We were warned about it before though, so we expected a difficult game.

I'm happy for Pedro. I didn't yet talk with him a lot but I'm sure he's the happiest man alive right now. I think the home-grown players are becoming more and more important and that seems to be a good thing for Barça. Now we will have to fight for the World Cup for Clubs so we can hopefully be remembered as the 'Barça of the Six Cups'."

"We are all being very emotional. This is being a spectacular year. I think there's no doubt anymore that we are the best team in the world and I hope we will finish the year in even better conditions. I already told Pedro that he gave me my best birthday present."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu - Pedro - Rat - Gai - Valdés - Alves - Ibrahimovic - Chygrynskiy - Kobin

Chygrynskiy: "I could sign contract on Sunday"

Speaking to journalists after the European Super Cup game against Barcelona yesterday, Shakhtar Donetsk players Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Vasyl Kobin commented on the match.

"It was a rather unusual situation, playing against a team you know will be yours in a few days time. But when the game started, I had a cool head. A lot of people have talked a lot about me in recent days and I have tried to deal with it as good as I can. I have tried not to think too much about it.

We've played well against a great team. In the end, we lost but that's not the end for this team. We have still the league and the Europa League left. I think I will travel to Barcelona on Sunday for the medical tests. I hope everything will be fine by then and that I will be able to sign my contract."

"I think we played well today. Actually we managed to do everything the coach had asked us and during the whole match we didn't allow Barcelona to create something near our goal. Except for the goal, of course. I didn't change my shirt after the match. Before the game I decided that this shirt would remain with me to remember because these games are somewhat special...

Yes, I remember the action where I could have finished the attack with a shot. Jadson and I understood each other very well there, he allowed me to be in a scoring position. But I had a full-back chasing me in my back and the distance to the goal was long. So I decided to pass."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu - Pedro - Rat - Gai - Valdés - Alves - Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic: "Soon I will be one hundred per cent"

Speaking to Italian television channel Sky Sport after the European Super Cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday, Barcelona player Zlatan Ibrahimovic commented on the match:

"When you're not in shape, there are other players to make the difference in a team like Barça. I'm still not at my best, I'm still recovering but soon I will be one hundred per cent ready.

I have to adapt to the style of Barça. It's another way of playing, another philosophy. The team plays more attacking and puts pressure higher on the pitch. They are little things that can make the difference.

Kissing the Barça logo? That was just the photographers asking me to do it. I am happy to play at Barça now but Inter will always be in my heart. I will be happy to return to Milan for the Champions League and I hope we will see a great game. At Inter, everybody treated me very well. From the team-mates to Moratti, Branca, the press... Mourinho? Yes, he too. I hope we win the Milan derby this weekend."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu - Pedro - Rat - Gai - Valdés - Alves

Shakhtar: Some ratings

by: John-Reid

Valdes - 7
Didn't have much to do, but did well when he was called on.

Alves - 5
Couldn't really get anything going. None of his crosses worked today and he had multiple misunderstandings with the others.

Pique - 7.5
Very solid in back and even contributed to the attack more than some of the forwards. Valdes would have been tested much more without him.

Puyol - 6
Did his job, but made more errors than expected from the Captain.

Abidal - 7
One of his more convincing games. Shakhtar never got the better of him and he even helped a little in the attack.

Xavi - 3
Completely anonymous. One of the Spaniard's worst games. He lost the ball more this game than any game I ever saw him play.

Toure - 5.5
Not very effective, but showed more of his versatility as he played everywhere from fullback to attacking mid.

Keita - 7
One of the only consistent players of the match. Continuously made solid passes.

Messi - 7.5
Completely absent at first, but got much better as the game progressed and had two good shots, a few good runs, and a great assist towards the end.

Ibrahimovic - 5.5
Showed glimpses of skill, but never really connected with the others. In particular, when he had Henry sprinting foward on the left in the second half.

Henry - 5
He started out better than Messi and Ibra, but quickly declined as by the end none of his passes worked. Tried a few long range shots, but relied more on luck than skill today.

Pedro - 7.5
Added life to the team and played overall well. And, of course, he got the game winning goal.

Bojan - 5
Looked promising, but added little.

Busquets - 5
Nothing noteworthy.

Alves: "This game has been a lesson for us"

Speaking to journalists after the European Super Cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday, Barcelona players Víctor Valdés and Daniel Alves commented on the game:

"We have the luck to have won another title, a very important one. We made up for the defeat of 2006. It has been a very good year, we could not ask for more.

I think a final should be won no matter how. The only thing that counts is winning it, not the way you win it. We owe this to the coaching staff for keeping us relaxed. They played a very tactical game, speculating on the counter-attack. The playing surface was in a bad state and the heat and humidity was difficult. But we weren't looking for excuses and we went for it in the extra-time. I hope this won't affect the team performance on Monday."

"This game has been a lesson for us. Every team is playing at a very high level these days and if you relax you can lose a title. The team had to work very hard. Today the field and the heat have not helped. The conditions were the most difficult opponent.

We are a great team that plays the game the way it should be played but we must keep improving. It is necessary to continue along this line, we must be prepared for anything. I think the team is well aware if everything we have achieved, but to continue doing important things, you always have to do more. We need to stay ambitious."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu - Pedro - Rat - Gai

Rat: "I trod upon Toure by accident"

Speaking to journalists after the European Super Cup game against Barcelona yesterday, Shakhtar Donetsk players Razvan Rat and Oleksiy Gai commented on the game:

"It is hard to say what we lacked to win. If Julius would have managed to score... In addition, the referee didn't give us a hundred-per-cent penalty. For that foul, Barcelona's back had to get a red card. But what can we say now... Believe me it is difficult for me to comment something now.

The incident with Touré? I trod upon him by accident. I was in the air and I had no other place to put my foot down. I approached him after that and wanted to apologize but he didn't understand me. Only after the match we shook hands."

"We know that Barcelona always tries to attack, to control the ball for a long period. So we tried to block all possible approaches to our goal. Actually we coped with it almost all the time. Probably we've lacked a little strength at the end, also because of the field. The pitch really was not good today. But the conditions were the same for both teams."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu - Pedro

Pedro: "Half the goal is Messi's"

Speaking to journalists after the European Super Cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday, Barcelona player Pedro commented on the game:

"It was a very important goal and I am really happy. I thank Messi for the pass that almost left me alone to score. Half the goal is his. I saw Messi in the centre, I gave him the ball and he returned it to me.

We all know what Leo can do. He is the best in the world. I am very happy with the goal and, above all, with the title. It wasn't easy at all but the spirit of the team has been decisive. I want to thank my team-mates who have always been there for me. And I also want to thank the fans, who have always treated me very well."

read more post match reactions:
Guardiola - Lucescu

Lucescu: "We deserved more"

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu shared his thoughts after the European super cup game against Barcelona at a press conference:

"It was a good match in difficult conditions. The heat made things very difficult. The teams showed a deep desire and great motivation to win.

Unfortunately we had to play in unbelievable conditions. Firstly it was very hot, secondly the field was not of good quality. The teams nevertheless played as gentlemen, on such a field there could be a lot of injuries, but the footballers acted respectfully.

We are used to Barcelona, they always play in the same style. We have great, great players and we made them work hard to win. They have various schemes of play. We had to double up in defence and we had some excellent counter-attacks that could have led to goals.

Unfortunately at the end of every time, the referee whistled when our team was counter-attacking. It proved again that in the matches with great clubs, referees are on their side. I can say that referee has influenced the result because at one moment there was a hundred-per-cent penalty. Everybody said this, including Guardiola and Platini. I think we deserved more than we got at the end of the game. If the referee would have been correct, he would have given a penalty. I think everybody agrees on that.

At the same time, it's extremely difficult to play against this Barcelona team. They're a great side and I'm happy because we gave a good account of ourselves. It's also a matter of courage. We made mistakes that we don't usually make, particularly when we had the ball. That made it possible for Barcelona to dominate the game.

I know how Barcelona play, I've studied them and I organised my team so they couldn't speed up play and move forward quickly. They attack with a lot of players but when they lose the ball there is room for a swift counterattack. I wonder why Spanish coaches don't examine this team well. I saw games where they had fifteen chances, something I don't understand.

We consciously acted from the defence, tried to block all zones where they built their attacks. In each zone our players backed each other. The task was to counter-attack as soon as the ball was ours. The rival was open and we had to use the spaces. We didn't always manage to do it because of the state of the field and because we didn't always made the correct decisions.

We showed a lack of experience, sometimes we were a bit scared, but our team is improving all the time. We are getting better and better and I hope that will continue. I'm happy with our game but you're always a bit bitter when you lose. It's ok to lose to a great team like Barcelona, but you don't have to be happy about it."

Read more:
Guardiola: "Messi best player I will see in my life"
European Super Cup: Barcelona-Shakhtar 1-0 (aet)

Guardiola: "Messi best player I will see in my life"

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola shared his thoughts after the European super cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk at a press conference:

"It's a great evening, this is the second time I've won this trophy. I'm very lucky to have been chosen to coach these great players. They've worked very hard and made sacrifices and it's all worked out.

We haven't lost the essence of our side, it's been physically tough but it all came right in the end. In April or May you're on a roll. Right now we're still at an early stage of the season. Suddenly it's August and you're contesting trophies. That's why it's hard to win this competition. We've managed to bring two Super Cups home already and that's not bad at all.

I don't create players, I try to advise and support them. Pedro scored the winner but it's a team game. We always maintain an excellent standard and I'd like to congratulate those who have helped Pedro to improve his game. Lucescu wanted a penalty? Well, we also should have had one on Messi, so that makes it one all.

I am honoured to have won the same number of trophies as the legendary team of Kubala in the fifties. In the end it was Leo who took the weight of the team on his shoulders. It's a different player, special, unique. He is by far the best player I have seen and will see in my life. Barça is lucky to have him at the club. He's a key part of the team.

The playing conditions were very bad. The heat, the humidity and playing on turf that has no adjective to describe it. Let's see if we can recover. If we would have lost I wouldn't have said this but the surface was a disgrace. The pitch was a real shame because we risked serious injuries. UEFA have to watch it and cannot consent to that in future.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is improving every day, he's getting better and better. It's a new team for him and it will take time but he can combine different styles of play and he'll find his own place in the team. He's such a good player that he will fit into our game. It's no problem since his mind is open. There's many things that need time but the squad will help him adapt as soon as possible. He needs time, training and games but step by step he's going to do well for us."

Read more:
European Super Cup: Barcelona-Shakhtar 1-0 (aet)

The Front: Sport


A late goal of Pedro gives Barça the European Super Cup

The fifth title of the year makes the team of Guardiola the best in the history

The Front: El Mundo Deportivo


European Super Cup: Barça-Shakhtar 1-0

Pep's Barça is already legendary after winning the fifth trophy of the year

Super Pedro finished a great action by Messi in the extra-time of a difficult final

Eboue dismisses Barcelona rumours

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Arsenal right back defender and Ivory Coast international Emmanuel Eboué (26) has said in an interview with British tabloid The Sun that he never wanted to leave the English club:

"Even when people were booing me last season, I never said I wanted to move. The aim is to keep improving and to win a trophy. I have two more years at Arsenal. If they want me to sign for longer, I will do that. I love this club.

I am very happy, because I have a new partnership with the fans and now we are all together. They understand I will always give 100 per cent for this team and it helps me to know I have the confidence of the boss. Last season was difficult. I wanted to give my best and it didn't always happen. But I have forgotten everything that happened with the fans. Now they sing my name and I thank them for their support."

Read more:
Eboue tops right back target list
Transfer of Arsenal right back Eboue close
Eboue honoured by Barcelona rumours

Green light for Financial Fair Play

The Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) has yesterday unanimously recommended that the Financial Fair Play concept be approved by the UEFA Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting in Nyon on 14/15 September.

The main purpose of the Financial Fair Play concept is to improve the financial fairness in European competitions and the long-term stability of club football across Europe.

In order to achieve this purpose, a set of measures will be put in place including:

- the obligation for clubs whose turnover is over a certain threshold, over a period of time, to balance their books, or break even, (ie clubs cannot repeatedly spend more than the generated revenues);
- to provide guidance on salaries and transfer spending;
- to provide an indicator on the sustainability of the levels of debt; and
- the obligation for clubs to honour their commitments at all times.

"Financial Fair Play is crucial in order to promote the long-term sustainability of European football," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "I have been asked by many clubs right across Europe to take action in order to protect our game. The principle has now been established and this is a major breakthrough. Now we will all have to work hard together over the coming months in order to put in place the all-important detail."

The proposed measures on Financial Fair Play are to be introduced in UEFA competitions starting from season 2012/13 and will also include a proposal to limit the size of squads, which in turn will help clubs to limit their expenditure on salaries and transfers.

read more here

Read more:
No more age limit on players switching nations
New step in ban on youth transfers
Europe could approve FIFA's foreign player's limit

Friday 28 August 2009

The Video: Shakhtar

Pedro goal

Full highlights

The Pictures: Shakhtar (part 1)

(click a picture to enlarge)

(click a picture to enlarge)

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