Daily Archives: December 18, 2017

Guardiola set for contract talks as City aims to rival Ferguson dynasty

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Pep Guardiola will discuss a new contract with Manchester City in the summer, with club chiefs believing his presence could help rival Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-term legacy at Manchester United.

City’s neighbouring rivals had won eight of the first 11 Premier Leagues titles under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and City would like to replicate that dominance even as the Blues beat Tottenham 4-1 on Saturday to extend their record winning run in the Premier League to 16 games and are 11 points clear of United at the top.

Guardiola, who previously coached FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, became City manager in the summer of 2016.

His contract with City is set to expire by the summer of 2019.

In his debut season, the team finished third in the Premier League, and exited both the Champions League and EFL Cup at the last-16 stage before losing the FA Cup semi-final to eventual winners Arsenal.

However, while chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak described the season as “disappointing”, the clubs believe the 46-year-old is now reaping the benefit of that campaign.

City executives also reportedly never doubted Guardiola would succeed, even though last season was the first during his career in which he did not win a trophy.

While whether he is able to bring Champions League success remains to be seen — with City’s best result so far reaching the semi-finals in 2016 — those in power at City have noted with some admiration that Real Madrid have won the competition in three of the past four seasons, and are keeping that aspiration in mind.

Kaka retires at 35 to pursue manager/directorial role

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Former Real Madrid and Milan star Kaka has announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the professional football scene.

Kaka, who was in Brazil’s World Cup-winning squad in 2002, said the time was right to call it a day as he announced his retirement on Twitter, as well as during an interview to Brazilian commentator Galvao Bueno, aired by TV Globo.

“It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you!” he tweeted. “I’m now ready for the next journey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Earlier this year, 35-year-old Kaka had announced that he would not extend his contract with Orlando City but opened the door to a possible return to Milan, the club where he made his name.

“I would like to participate in the club in another way, as a manager, a sporting director, as someone who is between the pitch and the club,” he said in a farewell interview with Globo TV in Brazil. “I prepared very hard to be a professional footballer and I want to prepare for this new role.”

Kaka also added that Milan, with whom he won the Champions League in 2007, had offered him a role but did not specify the exact nature of the job or say if he would accept it.

Both Milan and Kaka’s very first team, Sao Paulo, had offered him contracts in the capacity of a player to extend his career but were turned down.

The Brazilian joined Milan in 2003 and stayed for six years before joining Real Madrid for €65m, the second highest transfer fee ever only behind the €77.5 million fee Real paid for Zinedine Zidane at the time. But after limited success in which he only won one league title and one Copa del Rey in Spain, he returned to Milan in 2013 before joining the new MLS side Orlando City, becoming the highest-paid player in MLS history.

Kaka was the last player apart from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or, winning in 2007 after leading Milan to the Champions League, scoring 10 goals in the process.

Milan thrashed by Verona amidst UEFA concern over club books

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UEFA has expressed concern over AC Milan’s financial situation even as the club’s miserable season hit a new low after slumping to a 3-0 loss at struggling Verona in Serie A on Sunday

Verona rose to 17th in the table and above the relegation zone after earning only their third league win of the season, thanks to goals from Antonio Caracciolo, Moise Kean and Daniel Bessa scored.

Caracciolo, who was left unguarded by the Milan defence headed in from Romulo’s corner in the 24th minute, with the ball hitting the bar and going in off goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Kea then scored the second after Bessa pulled the ball back 10 minutes after halftime.

After the break, Bessa tripled Verona’s unchallenged lead in the 77th minute by finishing from Romulo’s pass after the Brazilian burst down the right unchallenged. Milan forward Suso was then sent off for kicking Daniele Verde, who was on the ground, in a decision made with the help of the video assistant referee.

The result meant that Milan have managed one win, one draw and one defeat in their three league games since Gennaro Gattuso was appointed as coach, who said his side had started well but failed to react after falling behind in the 24th minute.

“Until the first goal, we played some good football and created plenty of chances,” Gattuso said. “Then, at the first sign of trouble, we collapsed as we have so often this season. We need to understand why we collapsed like that…..we don’t know how to react when we go behind. There are no excuses, we made fools of ourselves.”

Milan, who are seven-time European champions have came under Chinese ownership since April, and spent more than €200m (£176.5m) in the last transfer window in an attempt to re-establish themselves as a force in Serie A. The effort turned out mixed results, as they are currently seventh in the table with seven wins and seven defeats.

Topping off their miserable run, UEFA has rejected Milan’s request for a voluntary agreement that would have temporarily exempted the club from European football’s financial fair play rules last week.

The European football governing body said regarding Milan’s finances that there were “still uncertainties in relation to the financing of the loans to be paid back in October 2018 and the financial guarantees provided by the main shareholder”.