||Union de Santa Fe
Facundo Ferreyra scored arguably the two most important goals of his fledgling career last weekend, as he struck twice against Union to guide Velez Sarsfield to championship glory in Argentina with a round to spare.
The 21-year-old headed home powerfully at the near post to put his side in pole position in the match, before settling matters late on with a superb finish from inside the area to secure a 2-0 win for Velez and leave them with an unassailable five-point lead over Lanus at the top of the Torneo.
Not only that, but the two strikes took ‘Chucky’ Ferreyra’s tally to 11 for the tournament, moving him ahead of Newell’s Old Boys’ Ignacio Scocco in the race for the top-scorer prize. As Pablo Aro Geraldes, chief editor of Goal.com Argentina, says: “He was tournament top scorer, and his goals made it possible for Velez to claim the title, avenging the relegation he suffered with his beloved Banfield. He deserves all the awards.”
Goal.com‘s South America expert Rupert Fryer summed up the striker’s whirlwind 12 months: “Ferreyra could have packed his bags for Europe when his club Banfield were relegated last season, but instead decided it might be better for his long-term development to stick around at home a little longer. Having decided to do so, the choice was clear – Boca Juniors or River Plate? Chucky, however, was playing the long game, and so opted for perhaps the most efficiently run club in the country. On Sunday that decision was truly vindicated as he screamed, “¡Velez campeon!”
|Congratulations to Facundo Ferreyra, Goal.com’s 185th World Player of the Week winner!
Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy
?@Conrad_Osei: “He scored and contributed a huge amount to their win against Houston.”
Goal.com’s Zac Lee Rigg: “MLS final MVP. Beckham kept dumping the ball into the box, and Gonzalez kept out-jumping everyone.”
Michu – Swansea City
@Sifsta: “Second goal showed how cool and composed he is.”
Goal.com’s Jamie Dunn: “Scored twice in the final few minutes to make sure Swansea were rewarded for their positive approach with a win at the Emirates Stadium.”
Mrisho Ngassa – Tanzania
@MgayaYahya: “He is simply high-performance.”
Goal.com’s Dennis Mabuka: “He grabbed the headlines, scoring five goals and creating two as Tanzania booked their place in the last eight.”
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
@dejaiigalactico: “Super goal, great tricks and tracked back when required..inspirational.”
Goal.com’s Luis Herrera: “Real Madrid were considered the underdogs by many, but Cristiano brought the rivalry back to its usual course.”
Mesut Ozil feels that he is being unfairly criticised this term and has stressed that he cannot be held solely responsible for the club’s disappointing results so far this term.
The Santiago Bernabeu side trail arch-rivals Barcelona by 11 points in the Liga table, and Ozil’s relatively poor form seen by many as one of the reasons for Blancos’ struggles in the opening months of the 2012-13 campaign, much to the midfielder’s dismay.
“Generally speaking, the people always seem to expect extraordinary performances. Putting in a normal game isn’t enough any more. That already leads to criticism. You have to get used to that at a club like Real Madrid,” Ozil told Kicker.
“I am always willing to listen to constructive criticism. However, people forget about my good games. A lot depends on the team’s performances. We have not always shown what we’re capable of. We have made too many mistakes.
“The team has missed its start and people will always criticise one or two players. Unfortunately, it’s always Sami Khedira and I, and nobody else.
“A team like Real Madrid win together and lose together. My third season at Madrid is a bit bitter because the team makes too many mistakes. The season is still long, though. We will be back.”
Ozil has made 14 Liga appearances this term, netting twice and creating three more.
Jose Mourinho goes into the match knowing that their second place finish in Group D is secured. Due to their head-to-head results with Borussia Dortmund they cannot win the group, so the Real Madrid coach may opt to freshen up his starting XI.
It is unlikely to be a complete overhaul, but Raphael Varane has been impressive in his rare appearances this season, and may be given a starting berth at the back due to Alvaro Arbeloa’s suspension. Sergio Ramos could be shifted out to right-back.
Xabi Alonso has been playing a lot of football recently and may be allowed to sit this one out, with Luka Modric ready to drop back into the deeper role in midfield.
Despite resting some faces, Mourinho will still want to end the Group Stage on a high, so expect big hitters Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to still feature.
Ajax, on the other hand, have plenty to play for. The Eredivisie champions are placed third in the group and find themselves one point ahead of Manchester City, and with a place in the Europa League up for grabs, they will need to put in a good performance at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ryan Babel is still sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, so there could be a chance in attack for Danny Hoesen, who scored in Ajax’s 3-1 victory over PSV at the weekend.
- Real Madrid’s seven-game winning streak at home in the Champions League was ended by a 2-2 draw with Dortmund on matchday four.
- Los Blancos‘ home record against teams from the Netherlands is W9 D1 L2.
- Ajax have failed to win on any of their last five visits to Spain, losing four. Their last success was a 3-2 victory at Atletico Madrid in the 1996/97 season.
- During four years as a Barcelona player between 1999 and 2003, Ajax coach Frank de Boer faced Madrid nine times in the Liga and the Champions League.
- De Boer played under Madrid coach Jose Mourinho at Barcelona. The Portuguese was assistant to Louis van Gaal in the year 2000.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his belief that Jose Mourinho would be a worthy candidate to succeed him in the Old Trafford hot seat.
The 70-year-old has been in charge at United since 1986 and has yet to reveal when he plans on stepping down from the role in order to retire.
But he has hailed the Real Madrid boss as a man with the qualities to manage the Red Devils in the future.
“He can manage anywhere, absolutely,” Sir Alex told an ITV4 documentary on the Portuguese when asked if the 49-year-old could succeed him at Old Trafford.
“I would never think a guy who hasn’t played a game could be a top coach but then you’ve got to look at his personality. He’s got a marvellous, strong personality and that bridges that gap.
“I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea] and I thought, ‘Christ, he’s a cocky b*****, him’. He was telling the players, ‘Look, I’m the special one, we don’t lose games’.
“Bloody hell, coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the special one! But it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league.”
Sir Alex went on to reveal he enjoys a close friendship with the former Chelsea boss, adding: “When he comes into my office he can take a joke against himself, that is what I like about him.
“I give him a lot of stick and he laughs it off. I don’t think it bothers Jose [having a controversial image]. He knows it is results that count.”
Real Madrid left-back Marcelo has stated his belief that he is currently the world’s best player in his position.
The 24-year-old arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu in January 2007 from Fluminense as a future heir to Roberto Carlos, and has since lived up to expectations by becoming a first-choice performer for the Blancos.
“I think I am the best left-back in the world because I have to believe in myself,” Marcelo told Globoesporte. “I have to think about myself and continue growing [as a player].”
The Brazil international’s start to the season was curtailed by a metatarsal injury which he sustained during a training session back in October.
However, he is being primed to make a return in January, and he revealed the legendary ex-Madrid full-back has been a source of inspiration whilst being on the sidelines.
“I felt my foot buckle,” Marcelo added. “My legs were shaking but I did not think the injury was that bad.
“[Roberto Carlos] is my idol, everybody knows that. Even today, when I talk to him I get nervous. He was always the best.”