Category Archives: World Cup Packages

Football has reached saturation point, claims Blatter | World Soccer

Football has reached saturation point, with too many games being played and screened on television, according to FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

“We’re saturated with football – we’re at saturation point right now, especially with regards to television,” Blatter told a press conference at the Sportaccord conference in Madrid.

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of games, at the same time as clubs are getting into financial difficulties.

“This will sort itself out through supply and demand, however.”

Blatter also suggested that the players and the public would benefit if national leagues reduced the number of teams in their top divisions.

“We’ve seen that 16 or 18 is the ideal number – certainly not 20,” Blatter said.

“We need to respect the international calendar and keep the fans in mind.

“Some playersare playing upwards of 65 games a year and that’s not good for their health.

“Football is a magnificent product and we should be protecting it.”

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Makaay favours Manchester United switch | World Soccer

Deportivo la Coruna striker Roy Makaay has admitted he would rather play for Manchester United, despite overtures made by Bayern Munich.

Earlier this week Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the Dutch strike was the only player they were interested in signing during the close season.

But Makaay, whose has a contract with Depor 2005, wants to play in the Premiership, rather than the Bundsliga.

“Personally I prefer to play in Spain or England,” he told Munich newspaper TZ.

“If I had to choose between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, I’d not hesitate for United,” added the 28-year-old.

The left-footed Makaay is the leading scorer in Spain with 27 goals and is on course to win this season’s ESM Golden Boot.

Speculation about Makaay’s future mauy prove academmic, given that Depor president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro has stated that the sriker is not for sale.

Nedved distraught to miss final | World Soccer

Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved was distraught after collecting a second-half booking in last night’s Champions League semi-final victory over Real Madirid, that will rule him out of the final on May 28.

The Czech midfielder was already on one booking, before last night’s game and an innocuous foul on Steve McManaman eight minutes from the end of the game resulted in another caution and meaning Nedved will be unable to face Milan in the final.

“I am so disappointed,” the Czech international said.

“I won’t play in the final and I am so sad I could die. I made a mistake. I am delighted for the team but in Manchester I will be in the stands and I am not used to being there. I just want to say that I will spur on my team mates until they win.”

Nedved, who has been instrumentall in Juve’s success this season, has been tipped as a possible European Player of the Year.

“I wasn’t thinking about the Golden Ball award I was only thinking about that cup with the big handles which I so wanted to take in my arms at least once in my career,” said the former Lazio midfielder.

Juve coach Marcello Lippi said his team would dedicate any success to Nedved.

“We will dedicate any win in the final to him. I am very, very saddened that such an unselfish player as he, who has had such a great Champions League campaign, will miss the match that he wanted so much to be involved in,” Lippi said.

Juventus deserved it admits Del Bosque | World Soccer

Real Madrid coach Vicente Del Bosque has admitted that Juventus deserved to win their Champions League semi-final tie.

Juve won the second-leg 3-1 to secure a 4-3 aggregate win and earn the right to meet Milan in the first ever all-Italian Champions League final.

“When a team wins over two legs, when they score more goals than you then they deserve victory and all I can say is best wishes to Juventus in the final,” said Del Bosque.

“We had chances right until the end. We fought hard throughout the game but in the end it just wasn’t possible. I don’t think we played a bad game – we were up against a great opponent” added the Real coach.

Real looked tired on the night with Raul and Ronaldo not looking at their sharpest, and their midfield, lacking Claude Makelele, being overrun at times. Luis Figo, whose penalty miss midway through the second-half, could be seen as the turning point of the game, was another to look out of sorts.

“With the games coming so rapidly after each other players do find it hard to recover but you have to accept that – it is part of the game,” Del Bosque said.

Ronaldo, who came on as a substitute early in the second half, admitted he was not fully fit.

“I’m not in the best of condition. I did my best to get back into shape but it didn’t go well for me,” the Brazilian said.

“It was a great semi-final. Juventus played quite well and we had some problems in defence.

“We also had a chance of going through but then Figo missed the penalty and Raul didn’t get the header on target.”

Taylor quits at Villa | World Soccer

Graham Taylor Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor has resigned after only 15 months in charge.

After a disappointing season in the Premeir League, the former England boss was expected to begin a clear-out at Villa Park, but he has now decided to quit.

“Contrary to what may be perceived, playing results are not the reason for my resignation,” he said.

“I had always believed that last season was going to be one of transition, particularly in respect of emerging young players.

“I would however point out that modern football, with its well publicised financial pressures, involves much wider issues than mere playing matters and those are a major factor in my decision.”

Taylor had a highly successful spell in charge of Villa from 19987-1990 leading the west midlands club to runners-up spot in the First Division. He left in 1990 to succeed Bobby Robson as England manager.

He returned to Villa Park in February 2002 but was unable to emulate the success of his first period at the club and his final season will be remembered as much for rows off the pitch as anything that happened on it. Taylor came fell out with several players, most notably Turkish defender Alpay and the club’s record signing, œ9.5m Juan Pablo Angel, both of whom expressed a desire to leave the club.

LA Liga – preview | World Soccer

After this week’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Juventus, Real Madrid will be desperate to get their faltering league campaign back on track when they face Malaga on Sunday.

Madrid lie a point behind joint leaders Deportivo La Coruna and Real Sociedad with five matches remaining and failure to recapture the title they last won in 2001, would mark a low point in coach Vicente Del Bosque’s spell in charge. It may even jeopardise Del Bosque’s position at the club.

Dell Bosque’s battered troops retrun to the Bernabeu on Sunday, with doubts over the fitness of Ronaldo. The Brazilian appeared as a second-half substitute against Juventus, apparently against the advice of the club’s doctor and thereare fears that he may be out for up to a fortnight.

La Liga leaders Deportivo de La Coruna have the toughest assignment of the leading trio this weekend when they take on reigning champions Valencia on Saturday. Rafael Benitez’s side are equally desperate for the points as they pursue a place in the Champions League. Currently, Valencia lie 5th a point behind Celta Vigo who occupy the final Champions League place.

The contrast in form between Depor and Valencia could not be more stark. While Valencia have won just two of their last ten matches, Javier Irureta’smen have been on a roll, winning eight.

On Sunday, Sociedad face relegation threatened Recreativo de Huelva in a fixture whichmay give them an opportunity to improve their goal difference.

Near the foot of the table, Osasuna have a great chance to leapfrog their fellow strugglers Recreativo when they host mid-table Real Betis. A win or a draw combined with a defeat for Recreativo at Sociedad, would lift Osasuna move up the table.

Equally, Alaves, who have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, will hope to upset Athletic Bilbao as they continue their battle against the drop. For Bilbao, defeat could be costly as they scrap it out for a UEFA Cup spot with the likes of Barcelona and Mallorca, who, coincidentally, meet each other at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

FIXTURES

D Coruna v Valencia

Sunday 18th May
Sevilla v R Vallecano
Villarreal v Celta Vigo
Real Madrid v Malaga
Barcelona v Mallorca

Dacourt poised to complete Roma switch | World Soccer

Leeds are hopeful of concluding a deal for the permanent transfer of Olivier Dacourt to Roma, following talks between the two clubs.

In a statement on the club’s website Leeds say that “it is still likely that the 28-year-old will complete the move and not return to Elland Road.”

“Dacourt has been a success with Roma and revealed recently that he is very happy in the Italian capital, having settled well”, the statement added.

A œ4.2m fee was agreed between the two clubs when Dacourt made the switch in January, while the 28-year-old also finalised personal terms on a four-year contract. However, the Italians are believed to be looking for a reduction in the fee.

The riginal deadline for a deal to be struck is this Thursday, but the clubs have agreed a seven-day extension, by which time it is hoped a compromisewill have been reached.

Dacourt has spent the last four months of the season on loan at Roma.