Monday, June 29, 2009

Xabi Alonso Will Confront Rafa Benitez This Week About Liverpool Future

Xabi Alonso, voted man of the match in Spain’s 3-2 victory over South Africa in the Confederations Cup third-place playoff, is set to meet with Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to clear up his future once and for all.

The midfielder, who scored the winning goal in extra-time against Bafana Bafana, is still being hotly tracked by Real Madrid, and certain quarters of the Spanish press are convinced that he wants to join Florentino Perez’s revolution.

According to AS, Alonso spoke to Benitez on the telephone last week, asking the gaffer to allow him to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, only to be told, “I will not sell you to Madrid for less than €40 million.”

It is now believed that Xabi, who will touch down in Spain with La Seleccion later on Monday, will seek a meeting with Benitez sometime this week to clarify his future.

Speaking to reporters after the South Africa game, he said, “I myself do not know what my future is. I do not know if I will play in Madrid or not.”

Many around the Anfield camp feel that it’s only a matter of time before the 27-year-old makes his exit, especially after he reportedly bid farewell to certain staff members of the club.

The Spanish paper, meanwhile, is speculating that Madrid and Liverpool could reach an agreement of around €35m for the transfer fee.

If Los Blancos do wish to sign Xabi, they will have to move quickly, as arch rivals Barcelona have their eyes set on his team-mate, Javier Mascherano, and it is believed that Benitez will only let one or the other leave Merseyside.

Johnson's In, Money's Fine, Sun's Shining, What Now?

Glen Johnson has completed his estimated £18m pound move from Portsmouth to Liverpool, becoming the first transfer signing to arrive at Anfield in this summer of a thousand random names.

Johnson was away on holiday when the negotiations took place, but upon arriving back in England he quickly whisked away 'up north to put his John Hancock on a four year contract, putting to bed any rumours about us not having enough money to compete.

On those rumours - the RBS took the unusual step of writing to Liverpool fans reassuring them that there was nothing wrong with the way the club was being run. While we all agree there's very little right in the way the business is done, what with us all coming from a world that is very quickly discovering the pitfalls and perils of being in debt, the fact is that Liverpool is turning in a profit, and that any debt worries belong to the Yanks and not us.

Incidentally, I've been seeing some ridiculous accusations flying around at Rafa for spending £18million on a right back. How can Rafa win?

Every year the press slate us for taking the cheap option with signings like Voronin, Degen, Pennant, Bellamy, Riera, Aurelio, Zenden, Ngog, Arbeloa and others being greeted with a fanfare of disapproval from supposed 'neutrals'

So when we do go and spend big money, those same 'neutrals' complain that we're over spending. Calling £20m for Torres a gamble, booing over our funding of the third-party style of ownership by buying Mascherano for £18m (um, therefore removing him from third party ownership) and bitching about us 'tapping up' Keane, which we sort of confessed to (a donation to a charity of Spurs choice) but it's not like Spurs weren't compensated handsomely, wasn't it? We made a small loss on Keane, and if we were to sell Torres or Mascherano now it'd be at a huge profit. Yes, Rafa clearly knows nothing about spending big money.

So, why all this antagonism in the media about the fee for Johnson? I mean, Chelsea and City matched the bid, but we don't hear anyone vindicting them about it, do we? No, because we are apparently poor, and must remain so in the eyes of the media.

We're not allowed to spend £18million on a full back! That's something rich teams at the top of the table do.

Liverpool Star Celebrates Ronaldo’s Departure

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United selling Cristiano Ronaldo has undoubtedly benefited themselves as well as title chasing Chelsea and Arsenal.

Having helped Liverpool lose just two games in the league all year, Carragher is as confident as ever of beating Manchester United to nineteen league titles, despite seeing them draw level on eighteen apiece last campaign.

Carragher told the Star: “It’s hard to win the Premier League as our top four sides, plus Barcelona, probably make up the best five sides in Europe."

“But that’s the challenge we face as United face their own challenge in carrying on without Ronaldo.”

“He’s a great player and I think he will be a big miss for the Premier League. “

“He made a big difference to Manchester United, even though they have a lot of other great players. And I think he was one of them.”

“We all know it will be difficult for them to replace Ronaldo, no doubt."

“But maybe they will do it a different way and get two or three players."

“But, as I’ve said, it will be so difficult to replace someone like him."

“Hopefully they won’t bring in someone as good as Ronaldo.”

Although he admitted Ronaldo’s absence would be difficult to replace for the English Champions, the Liverpool stalwart also suggested their manager undoubtedly knew what he was doing.

Carragher added: “I’m sure Sir Alex knows what he is doing…”

Rafa's Second Signing Could Be His Most Important

I honestly whole heartedly believe that we have the strongest starting 11 in Europe.

Why? Well we currently have Europe's best keeper in Reina, three of the best center backs in the league in Carragher, Daniel Agger and Skrtel, as well as one of the best left backs in the league in Aurelio and a very promising left back in Insua.

Now we have the premier league’s best right back in Johnson and the world’s best defensive midfielder in Mascherano, as well as one of the best players in Europe this season in Alonso, along with 07-08s Champions League top scorers (including qualifiers) in Kuyt who has the best stamina of any player in Europe.

A top notch winger able to break down most defences in Riera, the world’s best midfielder in Gerrard as well as the world’s best striker in Torres.

People always talk about depth being the difference between us and the title, but the difference this year has been the one and only once, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now like Jamie Carragher, I believe that on the 1st of July when Ronaldo signs for Real Madrid, the pendulum will finally swing our way.

Now that the scum have sold Ronaldo, they've lost one of their main advantages on us, someone that can break down teams when there drawing in boring games against teams that put 10 men behind the ball. The sort of teams that have lost us the league.

People say that Ronaldo doesn't perform in the big games, but you dont need him to.

To go back to one of the many title costing games of the season, let’s remember the 28th of January 2009. A groggy evening at the JJB stadium with over 25 shots on goal, a Yossi strike put us 1 up. And in the final minutes, Wigan's one and only shot on target came through a penalty, costing us 2 points.

Now to take Ronaldo as an example, someone who may not perform in big games, but who scored (in need of clarification) 47% of Manchester United's match winning goals this season.

To add another winger, in the form of David Silva or his team mate Juan Manuel Mata, would add another dimension to our team, the short skilful players that can change a game with one touch.

United may bring in 4 players worth 20m each from the Ronaldo money, but I can’t see that replacing him, adding more depth to their squad will only improve an area that they are already superior. The only way I could see United making up for the sale of Ronaldo, is by spending at least a 3rd of the 80mil on a player experienced in our league of Ronaldo's calibre. Now I can’t see that happening as I can’t imagine Torres/Gerrard/Fabregas/Lampard joining United.

We need a young skilful talented promising goal scoring match changing winger to step up to the plate and give us that spark when others can’t. Now I'm not saying we would have to pay anywhere near Ronaldo's fee, but someone like David Silva, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla or Jesus Navas to name a few.

If Rafa can hold onto the likes of Mascherano and Alonso keeping our starting eleven in place but adding one more skilful match winning winger I can see us bringing home number nineteen.

Arbeloa Wants Reds Exit - Agent

Alvaro Arbeloa's agent claims the Liverpool defender is keen to leave Anfield to join Real Madrid.

The Spanish international's future at Liverpool is in doubt following Liverpool's big-money capture of Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.

Liverpool are in talks with Arbeloa over a new deal with the full-back entering the final year of his contract, but Reds boss Rafa Benitez has refused to rule out a transfer for the former Deportivo La Coruna man.

Real Madrid have confirmed their interest in Arbeloa along with team-mate Xabi Alonso and Arbeloa's representative Manuel Garcia Quilon believes Liverpool should let him move on.

"Alvaro has a year left on his current deal and Rafa Benitez knows that it's best to let him go now," Garcia Quilon told the Sunday Mirror.

"The career of a football player has many stages and he is qualified to play anywhere."

Alonso Strikes Winner For Spain

Xabi Alonso's free-kick in extra-time enabled Spain to beat South Africa 3-2 and clinch third place in the Confederations Cup.

European champions Spain, whose 35-match unbeaten run came to a shock end against the United States in the semi-finals, were lethargic for much of the encounter and appeared to be heading for another defeat when Katlego Mphela put the tournament hosts ahead after 73 minutes.

But two goals in the final three minutes from substitute Daniel Guiza turned the match around only for Mphela to send the game into extra-time with a blistering free-kick.

Spain sealed it when Liverpool midfielder Alonso curled a 107th-minute free-kick from the left into the area which eluded everyone and ended up in the bottom right-hand corner.

Marseille Would Let Cana Leave

Marseille will not stand in the way of captain Lorik Cana if the midfielder decides to leave the Stade Velodrome.

Cana has been an ever-present for Marseille since joining from Paris St Germain in 2005 and has played over 100 league games for the Ligue 1 giants.

Reports suggest the Albania international is keen to move on, with Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Bundesliga sides Hamburg and Wolfsburg said to be interested.

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo claims they would not force the 25-year-old to see out the remaining three years of his contract.

"It's not that he's shown his desire to leave," Anigo told L'Equipe.

"It's simply that at a given moment it's been four years that Lorik is here and he has the right to want to experience other things.

"Today we're open to his transfer, if something happens we'll listen."