Maicon wanted by Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid, claims agent

Inter full-back Maicon is being chased by Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid this summer, according to the player’s agent.

Having expressed a desire to explore a new challenge, the Italian giants are willing to listen to offers as they look to shift on some of the more experienced members of their squad on high wages and the player’s representative Roberto Calenda has named the clubs after the player.

“There is interest from Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea in the player,” Calenda told Calciomercato.

“There is no possibility that he goes to AC Milan or Juventus.

“He has worn the Nerazzurri shirt for six seasons and has too much respect for the fans to betray them in that manner.

“He could also yet remain at Inter.”

With Chelsea recently completing a deal to sign Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, it remains to be seen whether they still remain in the race for the Brazilian.

However, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is known to be anxious to add some depth to his squad before the transfer window closes as he seeks to bolster his squad in a bid to retain the Premier League title this term.

Cartoon of the Day: Valdes plays the clown as Barcelona blunder leaves Real Madrid laughing

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has been left looking the clown after his late blunder allowed Real Madrid to pull a goal back in the Supercopa El Clasico clash which ended 3-2 on Thursday night.

The first leg at Camp Nou was going in the Catalan giants’ favour as goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and Xavi replied to Cristiano Ronaldo’s opening headed goal.

However, Valdes’ heavy touch from a pass back led to Angel Di Maria easily pouncing on the loose ball and ensuring the cup competition is not over with the second leg of the tie to be played next Wednesday.

Valdes plays the clown as Barcelona blunder leaves Real Madrid laughing

Butragueno confident Real Madrid will win Spanish Supercopa

Emilio Butragueño - Real Madrid

Emilio Butragueño – Real Madrid

Emilio Butragueno is confident that Real Madrid will make amends for Thursday’s 3-2 Spanish Supercopa first-leg loss against Barcelona at Camp Nou in the return at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Los Blancos went 1-0 up in the 55th minute courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo header, but goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and Xavi helped the Catalans to a seemingly-comfortable 3-1 lead.

But Angel Di Maria pulled one back in the closing stages thanks to a Victor Valdes error to make sure the tie is still wide open, and Butragueno is confident Madrid will eventually come out victorious.

“All the players are mentally prepared for these matches. The Spanish Supercopa can still go either way,” the 49-year-old was quoted as saying on the official Madrid website.

“It will be a very attractive second leg and I’m sure we’ll be able to win with the fans’ support, and give our supporters more cause for celebration.”

The second leg takes place at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, and is scheduled to kick off at 22:30CET.

Mascherano: Barcelona have to maintain their identity

Javier Mascherano has voiced his satisfaction with Barcelona’s 3-2 Spanish Supercopa victory over Real Madrid on Thursday, and was pleased to see the Catalans taking control of the game against their old rivals.

The Argentina international feels they could have won the game by a bigger margin, but was happy to see the Blaugrana stick to their own footballing philosophy in the first leg of the tie.

“Beyond the result, we were the ones that controlled the game and that’s important. We have to maintain our identity and be ourselves,” Mascherano was quoted as saying on the Barca website.

“Seeing what we did on the pitch it is a bit of a shame that we only won 3-2, but we’re happy with the final result. I believe that we did a good job. We won and that’s what we wanted to do.

“We can’t forget that we won and that we beat a great team, now it’s up to us to go there and win the title.”

The return takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, August 29.

Messi and Ronaldo are better than me, I'm just making a name for myself, says Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao - Atletico Madrid

Radamel Falcao – Atletico Madrid

By Martin del Palacio Langer | Spain Chief Editor

Radamel Falcao admits Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are better players than he is and claims he is honoured to play alongside the world’s two finest footballers in La Liga.

Messi scored 73 goals in all competitions last season for Barcelona, while Ronaldo netted 60 for Real Madrid in 2011-12. Falcao recently claimed he could score as many as the prolific pair, who are likely to fight it out for this year’s Ballon d’Or award, but says he cannot hope to become a better player than Leo or Cristiano.

“Messi and Ronaldo are certainly the best in the world,” he told in an exclusive interview. “They are both unbelievable. Actually I am very happy to be a contemporary of those geniuses, to enjoy them on the pitch.”

Falcao himself was on target 36 times in 50 games for Atletico last term as the capital club claimed the Europa League under Diego Simeone, who took over from the ousted Gregorio Manzano in December.

However, the Colombian striker believes this is merely the start for him in Spain.

“I’m only earning a name for myself,” he added. “I am well aware that my season was very good, especially as I’m not playing for one of the biggest teams in Spain, but I hope to improve and, certainly, as you gain international recognition, the facts speak for themselves.”

Atletico missed out on a Champions League place on the last day of the season and Falcao – who has won back-to-back Europa League titles with Porto and the Madrid side – hopes to play in Europe’s premier club competition in the near future.

“We will try to be in the Champions League and to get closer to the top league places,” the 26-year-old revealed. “And, hopefully this season, with some new signings, we may be better prepared to fight with those above us.

“I have not set myself a deadline to play the Champions League with Atletico, but I really want to play in it.”

While the top four looks a realistic goal for Simeone’s side, anything more seems unlikely for a team that last won La Liga in 1996 and finished 44 points behind Real Madrid last term. Falcao, though, is aiming high, despite the dominance of the top two in Spain.

“I am aware that Real Madrid and Barcelona are on a higher level than other teams in the league,” he admitted. “But I would love to win a title. I have set goals and challenges to myself and one of them is to fight to win the title or reach the Champions League.

“I know it’s very hard to win the league but the challenge remains because each team has goals depending on their capabilities.

“Yes, I dream of achieving important things with Atletico. But I know it doesn’t depend only on me and it also goes hand in hand with the sporting project that the club has for the next few years.”

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