Thomas Vermaelen Joins Barcelona

Thomas Vermaelen Joins Barcelona

Thomas Vermaelen Joins Barcelona

Thomas Vermaelen has signed a 5 year deal with Barcelona after completing his £15 million move from Arsenal.

EPL Club Manchester United were also interested on the 28 year old Belgium International but pulled out of the deal when Arsenal asked for a player, believed to be Chris Smalling, in part exchange.

Thomas Vermaelen is the second defensive addition of the transfer window by Barcelona. Last month, they confirmed the signing of Valencia’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu for €20 millions.

Barcelona’s defence was a weak point last season, when they failed to win major silverware for the first time in 6 years, and coach Gerardo Martino was replaced by former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Luis Enrique.

Thomas Vermaelen will be competing for a place with Spain international Gerard Pique, Frenchman Jeremy Mathieu, and Barcelona academy graduate Marc Bartra. Barcelona starts their La Liga campaign, when they will be chasing a fifth title in 7 years, at home to Elche on 24 August.

More on Thomas Vermaelen:

Thomas Vermaelen joined Ajax youth academy in 2000 and won the 2003-04 Eredivisie title in his first season with the club. He then had a loan spell with RKC Waalwijk before rejoining Ajax and winning the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruijff Shield. After Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s departure in 2009, Vermaelen served as club captain for the remainder of the season. He then joined Arsenal in 2009 and was included in the PFA Premier League Team Of The Year for that season. Following former captain Robin van Persie’s transfer to Manchester United in August 2012, Vermaelen was named club captain for Arsenal.

Vermaelen’s career has been hampered by injury and he made only 21 appearances in the 2013-14 season after falling behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order.

A left footer, Vermaelen usually plays as a left sided centre back and can play at the left back as well. His key attributes includes aerial ability, leadership skills and quickness with the ball at his feet.

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Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Spain’s greatest ever midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

Xavi, 34, has won 133 international caps for Spain but lost his starting place during their disastrous FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil as Vicente del Bosque’s side exited the competition after just 2 games – and were the first to exit the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The 34 year old midfielder admits that he was due to retire after Euro 2012, but was persuaded to continue by coach Vicente del Bosque. During a Barcelona-based press conference, Xavi said,

I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil which was of course a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.

After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope Del Bosque stays as manager as Spain because I don’t think there is a better man for the job. I want to thank everyone involved in that team for the way they treated me and the respect and I could not wish for a better time as an international.

More than any other player, the Barcelona midfielder has embodied the possession-based philosophy of Tiki-Taka, which took Spain to glory at the Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2012. In each victory, Xavi played an instrumental role, monopolising possession with unrivalled pass-completion statistics and allowing Spain to win game after game in the international arena.

On his decision to leave the national team, Xavi said, “I’ve taken the decision to leave the national team. My time there has finished. I’m grateful for all those years. It has been a fantastic time. I’m not 20 any more, but I still have the motivation of a kid. I was going to retire after Euro 2012 but head coach Vicente del Bosque persuaded me to stay on and go to Brazil, which of course was a huge disappointment for everyone and myself individually.”

“After Euro 2012, it was generally understood I was going to be leaving after Brazil 2014. I hope del Bosque stays as manager of Spain because I don;t think there is a better man for the job. ”

Long time international team mate Xabi Alonso is also reported to be considering his future with Spain.

Xavi Hernandez Retires From Spain International

Although Xavi is quitting Spain, he remains with his club Barcelona. Xavi told a press conference that he had indeed made the decision to quit Barcelona but he has now reversed his decision and will stay put at the club where he has been for his entire football career.

7 time La Liga winner and 3 time Champions League winner says he was convinced to extend his career at Barcelona after discussions with new coach and former team mate Luis Enrique.

“I thank the club for being so patient and letting me think over my situation over the summer,” he said. “I’m happy that the club has faith in me and wants me to see out my contract. Having spoken to the coaches, they’ve made me feel competitive and useful.

“My contract is for two years so nothing changes. I think I made a rash decision to [consider leaving] the club and changed my mind. I wish to apologise and thank everyone.”

No one did more to establish Spain as football’s pre-eminent team and impose Tiki-Taka as the prevailing orthodoxy then Spain’s maestro Xavi Hernandez, who retires from the international side as the most influential player ever to wear the red of La Roja. Not only did he excel on the pitch, his close relationship with captain Iker Casillas also helped to heal rifts caused by the numerous El Clasicos between Barcelona and Real Madrid as Spain put aside their club rivalries to become arguably the greatest international side ever assembled, forget the FIFA World Cup 2014 folly.

Very few players quits the international duty having won 3 major tournaments, especially when the team in question had suffered so many heartbreaks before. Xavi’s style of play and quality has helped develop modern football as we know it today, a sport which should rightfully class the magician as a true icon.

A legend has departed the stage.

Xavi Hernandez World Cup

Xavi Hernandez World Cup 2010

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Alexis Sanchez Signs For Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez Signs For Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez Signs For Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez from La Liga Club Barcelona has agreed to join English Premier League Club Arsenal on a long term contract for an undisclosed fee.

The 25 year old Chile forward completed his medical in London on Thursday and will join his new Arsenal teammates at the end of July after spending some time on holiday following Chile’s exit from the World Cup Round Of 16.

Alexis Sanchez, who won the 2013 Primera Division title and 2012 Copa del Ray with Barcelone, is likely to make his first appearance for his new club at the Emirates Cup over the weekend of August 2-3.

On the signing of Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, “As many people have seen during the World Cup this summer, Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us at Arsenal Football Club. Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks. He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.”

Alexis Sanchez was more than happy to sign for the English Club. He said, “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London. I’m looking forward to meeting my new team mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier league and Champions League. I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.”

More on Alexis Sanchez:

Born in Tocopilla in Chile’s northern mining region, a grim port city dominated by a gigantic power plant and a saltpeter processing facility, Alexis barely knew his father and was raised by a mother who scrapped a living as a cleaner at her son’s school.

Like many, all Alexis wanted to do was to play football but had to take odd jobs like cleaning cars while still at school to supplement the family income. His talent shone from an early age and he was nicknamed El Nino Maravilla (Boy Wonder). Alexis quickly realised that football offered a way out that would allow him to help his mother and family.

Blessed with exceptional pace and ball control, Alexis is at his best when running at defenders down the right, either cutting inside to shoot or darting to the byline and sending over dangerous crosses.

Alexis Sanchez debuted for the first team with local club Cobreloa at the age of 16. After his first season, he was signed by Italy’s Udinese Calcio in 2006. He was then loaned to Colo-Colo and River Plate and began playing at Serie A. In 2011, Sanchez was signed by Barcelona for US$43 million, becoming the most expensive transfer in Chilean football history.

Sanchez has been a full international for Chile since 2006, earning over 70 caps and playing in 2 FIFA World Cup (2010 and 2014 ) as well as the 2011 Copa America.

Suarez Set For Barcelona Move

Suarez Set For Barcelona Move

Liverpool will have further talks with Barcelona over the transfer of the Uruguay International Luis Suarez. The Reds were adament before negotiations began that they would not sell the forward for less than the value of his confidential buy-out clause, believed to be between £70 million and £80 million.

Opening talks seemed to have been productive and it is seen as a significant step forward with the club confident that a deal can be done in line with their valuation. Further talks and discussions will occur in due course although nothing has been finalised yet.

Barcelona have the option of offering Chile forward Alexis Sanchez as a makeweight in negotiations and it is understood at this stage that discussions are taking place considering both options – a straight money deal and also he option of a player plus cash alternative. The latter seemed more plausible but it would depend on Alexis Sanchez, who is not that keen at this moment to make a move to England.

Luis Suarez is currently banned for 4 months for biting Italy’s defender Giorgio Chiellini at the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil. However, the 27 year old forward has since issued a statement apologising for his actions. Barcelona are suspected to have had major influence in procuring as they have stepped up and began to lay the foundations for a move.

Last summer, Arsenal failed in their attempts to sign Suarez after a bid of £40 million was made in the mistaken assumption that it would be sufficient to trigger Suarez release when it only entitled them to begin negotiations. Since then, Liverpool have moved to make Luis Suarez contract more definitive in terms of his release price.