Expectations are high for Barcelona

After a summer of several signings, Barcelona have many new faces in the team. They also have one of the most potent attacks in the world as it features names like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Due to this, Barcelona are expected to be in contention for all major titles this campaign. They have made an excellent start to the season by already having a significant advantage over main title rivals Real Madrid and current champions Atletico Madrid. Midfielder Andres Iniesta, who is now one of the experienced players in the team, says that the presence of Neymar and Messi alone will be able to get Barcelona out of trouble on several occasions.
Barcelona recently struggled to find a way past a stubborn Athletic Bilbao at the camp Nou, but the opposition were finally broken down by the brilliance of Neymar and Messi. Unlike in the last few seasons, Messi turned into the provider against Bilbao with Neymar scoring both goals in the 2-0 win. The Brazilian striker appears to have started where he left off at the World Cup 2014, by scoring goals. Iniesta says that Barcelona should never be ruled out as long as they have players like Messi and Neymar in the team. Suarez is expected to return to the team for the El Clasico against Real Madrid.
“We’re talking about two unique players who have unending talent. We can always expect the very best from both of them. Fortunately we have players of a very high level to compete. Seasons are long and there are many games, and a team who wish to be champions need them all. Every season and every stage is different. In this one, we have new people, a new coach and we’re doing different things. We’re just trying to carry them out on the pitch. The sensations are good,” said Iniesta.

Iniesta Has Complete Faith In Enrique

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says that the team has complete faith in new manager Luis Enrique, who was appointed as the replacement for Gerardo Martino. After a trophy less campaign, Barcelona decided to go back to one of the former players. This move was highly successful in 2008, as it led to the revolution under Pep Guardiola. Martino tried to change the style of play at the club and this led to a lot of discontent amongst fans. Keen to win them back, Enrique is expected to play football familiar to Barcelona – possession based.
The team, though, has been looking little disjointed during the pre-season friendly matches. They could only get a 1-1 draw in the first pre-season friendly. This has led to rumours about players not taking in to Enrique’s style of management. Iniesta has dispelled those rumours by saying that the players have complete faith in the former Barcelona captain. Iniesta has grown from being one of the talented players in the squad to be one of the most important. At 29 years of age, he is at the peak of his career and will be expected to take over from Xavi in the next few years.
Iniesta says that it is extremely important that Barcelona return to winning ways from the new campaign. “I think it’s better this way, especially with so many new people. This way we can learn new concepts. It’s the perfect formula for a preseason. Let’s hope it’s right and that we’ll play better for it … Luis Enrique is a demanding manager but almost all the work we do is with the ball. It’s nice to work on tactics that way. The important thing is for the players to believe in the manager, and in that respect, we all have total faith,” said Iniesta.

Garay Snatched From United

Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay is a player that is routinely linked with Manchester United as the Argentinean defender is viewed as a performer who could be placed in the defence of the English club and considering that the defensive duo of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are no longer at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal has to search for players in the transfer market that can follow the legacy that was left behind by those who have departed.

Unfortunately for Manchester United, their target has been snatched up by the Russian side Zenit St.Petersburg as they signed Ezequiel Garay on a 5 year long deal with a transfer fee of €6 million.

Ezequiel Garay played an important role for Benfica the past season as the defender helped his former club on reaching the finals of the Europa League as well as lifting the League and Cup titles.

A statement on the website of Zenit St.Petersburg said: ‘’Football clubs Zenit and Benfica have reached an agreement over the transfer of the defender of the Argentina national team.The contract has been signed for five years from July 1. The player will join the team after the World Cup’’
Garay has played in all of the group matches of Argentina for the 2014 World Cup and during all of the games; he has looked assured in the backline of his country as well as providing impressive attacking options when going in the attack.

After the match was confirmed and announced to the media, Garay went on expressing his emotions and thanking everyone who has supported him during his time as a player of the Portuguese club Benfica.

‘’I want to thank everyone who supported me in these three magnificent years I spent at Benfica. In particular the president, who believed and invested in me, and the coach who made me evolve and reach a level that I’m very proud of. Thanks also to all my team-mates with whom I had the honor of playing with for this club. I want to return all the love that Benfica and the supporters gave me. I’ll take all the unforgettable moments I’ve had in Portugal in my heart. Thanks!’ Garay announced.

Arshavin Left Out Of Capello’s World Cup

At his 33 years of age Andrei Arshavin has earned a number of accolades throughout his entire career as the Russian attacker has spent time playing at the Premier League being a player of Arsenal as well as playing with Zenit Saint Petersburg where he has won the league title on 2 occasions and a few other pieces of silverware but the World Cup is a trophy that will not be in his cabinet.

With the 2014 World Cup less than 1 week away from starting, the deadline for managers to submit the players that they will be bringing to Brazil has already been reached and Andrei Arshavin was not included in Fabio Capello’s list.
The country that Arshavin captained some years ago will be making their stance and presence felt against the likes of: Korea Republic, Belgium and Algeria as those are the nations that Fabio Capello and his players have to face during the group stages of the 2014 World Cup.

This upcoming World Cup was going to be the last chance that Arshavin had of representing his country and fight for one of the most sought out pieces of silverware. The last few appearances that the former star of Arsenal made with Russia was during the Euro 2012 when he was named as the best midfielder of the tournament during the group stages of the tournament as he managed to create most assists in the least amount of minutes on the pitch.

Another noteworthy omission of Fabio Capello and his list of players that are going to play in the 2014 World Cup is the former Tottenham Hotspur attacker Roman Pavlychenko.

Russia kick-off their World Cup campaign by locking horns with Korea Republic on June 17.

Arshavin left disappointed

Former Arsenal winger Andrei Arshavin has suffered yet another disappointment in his professional career after being left out by Fabio Capello in the squad for the World Cup 2014. The Russian national team manager announced his preliminary squad for the World Cup. Arshavin, who moved away from Arsenal after a couple of years, has been playing with Zenit St Petersburg since 2013. Even though Zenit have been challenging for the Russian league title this season, Arshavin has not been in the best form of late. He has scored just four goals in 29 appearances this season.

At 32 years of age, he is also unlikely to contribute a lot to the team going forward. Hence, Capello has decided to do away with the Russian and choose other players instead. This is likely to mean that Arshavin has lost his final opportunity to appear in the World Cup. Russia did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Arshavin, however, came to prominence during the Euro 2008. The upcoming Euro 2016 may hold the final opportunity for him to appear in a major international tournament. After this snub, it remains to be seen if Arshavin will want to continue playing international football.

Since making his debut for the national team in 2002, he has made 75 appearances over the years. He continues to remain as one of the top players for the national team. He has scored 17 goals in these matches. More crucially, he has not featured for the national team since 2012. It is also looking highly unlikely that Capello will pick him for the Euro 2016. Such a chance become only the players in the current squad failed to perform at the World Cup where Russia will come up against the likes of Belgium and Algeria in the group stages.