Kroos could've been Scholes' heir at Manchester United, claims Moyes

The Scot believes the Germany international would’ve been the perfect replacement for Scholes and a ‘top player’ at Old Trafford


David Moyes has revealed that he wanted to sign Toni Kroos for Manchester United and believed the Germany international could’ve been Paul Scholes’ heir.

The Scot lasted just 10 months at Old Trafford before he was sacked, while only Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata were signed during his reign.

And Moyes, who remains without the club after being sacked by Real Sociedad last November, believes Kroos had the ability to be a key player in United’s midfield.

“I wanted to bring Kroos to Manchester United, from Bayern,” the 53-year-old said in an article for the Sunday Times.

“I thought his range of passing and his ability to play people in would have made him a top United player, maybe Scholes’ heir.

“He’s gone on and shown at Real Madrid what a fantastic footballer he is.

“Kroos is a special talent, probably the closest thing at this tournament [Euro 2016] to a Xabi Alonso, an Andrea Pirlo or Paul Scholes.”

26

06 2016
No Comments

Pogba's early struggles at Euro 2016 show he's not ready for Real Madrid


GOAL COMMENT

The last fortnight has been a learning curve for Paul Pogba. He started Euro 2016 expected to be France’s figurehead but has slipped into the shadow of Dimitri Payet and, ahead of the last-16 meeting with Republic of Ireland, there is still no absolute guarantee that he will start.

An improved individual display in Group A’s final match against Switzerland, a 0-0 draw, should be enough to ensure that the midfielder retains his place at the heart of Didier Deschamps’ plans but, with transfer speculation still lingering over the 23-year-old, there remain doubts over a man under pressure.

In particular, Real Madrid have considered a potential transfer for the Juventus star but the evidence of the last couple of weeks suggests that he would be better advised to mature for another year in Turin before making the leap to arguably the biggest club in the world.

Related

  • France’s best player? People still talk about Pogba, not me – Payet
  • Pogba: Critics will talk, I don’t need to answer
  • Deschamps hails Pogba as ‘heart and soul’ of France
  • Pogba makes all the right moves as France get the job done

Pogba is a man who wants everything and wants it immediately. Not only does he want to win the Ballon d’Or, he wants to revolutionise what it means to be a central midfield player. “When I say I want to become a legend, some people say it’s pretentious. For me, it’s a challenge,” he told ESPN .

True, he was able to make the leap from starry-eyed Manchester United youth to Juventus regular, but it appears that he has put unnecessary extra pressure on himself during Euro 2016.

There was no doubt that he was determined to grab centre stage on the opening night against Romania – but, instead of France’s great conductor, he was their fool. Invariably overambitious when in possession, little worked for him over the course of the game and he was unceremoniously dropped for the 2-0 victory over Albania four days later.

With France struggling, Deschamps released the ambitious youngster at the interval and, though he gave a more coherent, understated display, he was still far from his best. It seemed that he had learned his lesson, though, as his play was less frantic and more realistic. Restored to the starting XI for the Switzerland match, he was Les Bleus ‘ star man in what was the team’s most mediocre display.

So far, there is little doubt that the pressure is weighing on him and that must beg the question of whether or not a move to Real Madrid might come a little too soon for someone who has grown so used to being the star attraction. This should not be taken as a slight on a brilliant player’s ability; rather a realistic view on his current maturity and state of mind.

Madrid are a club like few others. Of course there is a high level of expectation on Pogba at Juventus but he arrived a big-mouthed kid of whom such stardom was hoped, not anticipated. He has grown into those shoes. At the Santiago Bernabeu, he would be expected to do what he does on a regular basis in Serie A now – only better and in every match. Time to settle is not an option.

The presence of Zinedine Zidane would certainly be an aid to the young Frenchman and it is ironic that it is ‘Zizou’ to whom he is so often compared. To put his career into context, though, Zidane, the greatest midfielder of the modern age, had won only a handful of caps when he was 23, was still playing with Bordeaux and his greatest honour was the Intertoto Cup. 

France’s other great No.10 of the modern era, Michel Platini? He was still at Nancy and was forging a promising career with France at that age but his biggest prize was the Coupe de France.

At his current age, Pogba is comfortably ahead of both.

“We still expect a great deal more from Pogba,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Konobini.com , “but we can’t forget that he’s only 23 and, when you’re 23, it’s difficult to be a leader of a team like France. Guys like Platini and Zidane were also questioned at that age. He’s still learning his trade.

“He’ll be the player we hope when he’s 26. I’ve known of no player to be able to carry France at 23. No-one. He’s going through a maturation phase. It’s the mental test in a career of a great player. It’s a normal phase on the track to becoming a great player.”

Good things come to those who wait, the old adage goes, and while opportunities like Madrid do not come around on a regular basis, there is no doubt that they will continue their pursuit of the Juventus star if he maintains his level while improving his mentality.

Pogba has shown encouraging signs – his more measured approach after an opening-match nightmare is testimony to that – but he is still a young man. A time will come when he is mentally ready for a move to Madrid but that may still be 12 months away.

Goal journalists are powered by the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Gear 360

26

06 2016
No Comments

Zero chance of Neymar joining Real Madrid, claims Barcelona star's father

The Brazil international reportedly has three offers on the table but the forward’s father insists that a move to the Spanish champions’ major rivals is out of the question

Neymar’s father insists there is no chance of his son joining Real Madrid.

The Brazil international has been linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, although Goal understands that the Spanish champions have offered the forward a new deal that will run until 2022.

Brazilian agent Wagner Ribeiro has claimed Neymar has three offers from “massive clubs” but when asked if a switch to Real Madrid is possible, Neymar Sr. told Fox Sports Brasil: “The possibility of him ending up there is zero.

“Neymar’s owners are Barcelona. Any proposals, any notifications, or any formality that comes in respect to Neymar, without question passes through Barcelona and Barcelona alone. 


GOALREAD MORE  | ‘Ronaldo and Messi need each other’

“He’s still under contract with the club and they know everything that’s going on.

“There’s lots of speculation and it’s clear he’s become mixed up in all that. People know that there are various clubs interested in him for his football, but they don’t want to say that he’s talking to them or having any dealings. 

“People have said 10,000 different things about my son. Neymar has a contract at Barcelona, and he has two years left. That’s the only certainty. He has to obey that contract – besides, he’s happy at the club. 

“The speculation will go on, like it has been for a while, but everyone’s used it by now.”

25

06 2016
No Comments

I never saw Ronaldo look in the mirror! – Ancelotti

The perception that Cristiano Ronaldo is vain and only out for personal glory is wide of the mark, according to his former coach at Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti.

Ronaldo’s Portugal face Croatia in Euro 2016’s last 16 on Saturday and Ancelotti, who is taking over from Manchester City-bound Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich for the 2016-17 season, defended the forward against accusations of self-interest.

Ancelotti, who won the 2014 Champions League with Ronaldo and Madrid, insisted the 31-year-old’s public image does not match what he experienced as his coach between 2013 and 2015.

Related

  • Santos: Croatia are not an easier opponent for Portugal than Spain
  • Portugal energised despite lack of rest – Joao Mario
  • Ronaldo ‘cannot be the whole of Portugal’
  • ‘Ronaldo and Messi need each other’ – Ancelotti

“You see a different kind of Cristiano Ronaldo when you are the manager of his team,” Ancelotti wrote in The Telegraph. 

“The rest of the world has become obsessed with the image and the look of the man, or how he celebrates when he scores, or how he reacts when things go wrong. I just saw a guy who always wanted to do his best.

“First of all, I never once saw him in front of the dressing-room mirror or worrying about how he looked. For Cristiano the priority was always to win.

“There were a lot of strong guys in that Real Madrid dressing room – it was a basic requirement of being at the club that you needed a big personality.”

Ancelotti hailed the work Ronaldo has put in to become one of the finest footballers in the history of the game, noting he is particularly interested in the fitness side of the sport and “lived for the game”.

“He is a pleasure to manage,” said Ancelotti. “We all know about the work he puts in to be so strong and his perfectionism on the training ground when it comes to technique.

“He also understands that a lot about being a top footballer, with the demands of the modern game, is about recovery. It is what you do in between the games that counts for so much. He would talk to our medical staff all the time, he would try to figure out what he needed.

“The boy lived for the game – everything else was built to fit around it. That meant his recovery times, what he ate, when he ate, his commercial commitments, even his private life. All of it was organised so that when he stepped on the pitch he would be at the absolute peak of his performance.

“No footballer can be 100 per cent fit every time he plays, but Ronaldo never got badly injured because he did so much of the prevention work that can help you avoid those sort of problems.”

25

06 2016
No Comments

'Ronaldo and Messi need each other' – Ancelotti

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi need each other, according to former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Madrid’s Ronaldo and Barcelona star Messi have been regarded as the best two players in the world for the best part of a decade, winning eight Ballon d’Or awards between them.

And Ancelotti, who guided Madrid to Champions League glory with the help of Ronaldo in 2014, believes the rivalry between the pair motivates both players to keep improving.

Related

  • Ronaldo ‘cannot be the whole of Portugal’
  • We’ve stopped Ronaldo, we can deal with Bale – O’Neill
  • Portugal energised despite lack of rest – Joao Mario
  • Croatia v Portugal Betting Special: Ronaldo can equal Platini’s record

“I always get asked about Lionel Messi and how Cristiano regards him,” Ancelotti, who will take over at Bayern Munich ahead of the new season, wrote in The Telegraph. “The truth is, we did not spend all our days at Madrid talking about Messi.

“Cristiano respects Messi; he respects him a lot. In a way I think they need one another. Each one pushes the other to new heights, to new records of goalscoring.

“Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in 2003 and played his first international tournament in 2004. Twelve years on he is still the biggest European star. That’s incredible.

“Were it not for the other, one of Cristiano or Messi would probably have won the Ballon d’Or eight times, rather than three for one and five for the other. Or perhaps they would not have flown so high without the other pushing them on.

“As a manager it was a pleasure to be in charge of Ronaldo. He wanted to play every week and he wanted to score every week. I never went to bed the night before a match worrying about whether he was going to be ready.”

Ronaldo is leading Portugal at Euro 2016 and, after struggling to make his mark on the country’s opening two matches, he scored two goals in a 3-3 draw with Hungary on Wednesday.

Ancelotti says Ronaldo considers the chance to play for Portugal a privilege and knows the attacker would dearly love to add international silverware to an already glittering CV.

“He cares a lot about Portugal. You can see that he never swerves a game,” he added.

“His best friends in the dressing room when I was there [at Madrid] were the other Portuguese players, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao. If he was Spanish he would have won two European Championships and a World Cup by now, perhaps even more.

“Playing for Portugal is fundamental to him. He would like to win something on the international stage, but very few do, and if it does not work out – well, that happens.

“The point is that he showed his country that he cares about Portugal, that it matters to him as much as anything else. Sometimes, as a great player you have to be happy with that and that alone. It is not like you can change your country, even if you wanted to.”

Portugal meet Croatia in the round of 16 on Saturday in Lens.

25

06 2016
No Comments