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.

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Courts | Singapore Soccer Fields

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

David Villa Retires From International Football

Steven Gerrard Retires From International Football

SG Soccer Pitches

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Courts | Singapore Soccer Fields

Tottenham complete Eric Dier Deal

Tottenham Complete Eric Dier Deal

Tottenham Complete Eric Dier Deal

Tottenham have confirmed the signing of Sporting Libson defender Eric Dier for a fee in the region of £4 million.

Spurs announced on Thursday that they had signed the 20 year old from Sporting, pending the completion of a medical, which has now been completed. The Portuguese club, however, were far from happy at the way the deal unfolded.

Eric Dier had been on Sporting’s books since he was 10, eventually signing his first professional contract just over 4 years ago. In the midst of talk with regard to a new deal, Sporting were then stunned when presented with Spurs’ escape-clause bid, forcing them to part with the young defender.

A statement from Sporting’s website read, “Over the course of the last month, Sporting Clube de Portugal began negotiations with athlete Eric Dier for the renewal of his contract. Unexpectedly, Sporting was confronted by the player’s father and official representative with a bid from Tottenham Hotspur, with that bid activating a clause agreed by previous boards of directors for the sale of the player for an amount of 5 million Euros or more, unless the personal terms offered as part of the bis are matched.”

“Due to the club’s current salary policy, the respective balance within the squad and the ongoing financial restructuring under way at the club, it was not possible to match the proposed terms.”

“Furthermore, Sporting was also informed the player did not want to remain with the club even on equal terms, and that any equal or improved personal terms would not have been accepted. In light of the above, Sporting announced the complete sale of the economic rights of the player Eric Dier to Tottenham Hotspur for 5 million Euros without any rights relative to the player.”

“Despite the above mentioned events, Sporting wishes Eric Dier all the best in his career.”

More on Eric Dier:

Born in Cheltenham, Eric Dier moved to Portugal from England when he was 10 years old. Dier then signed professional terms with Sporting Libson in 2010 when he was 16. In January 2011, Eric Dier joined Everton on a short term loan until 30 June. He made his debut with Sporting B in a 2012-13 Segunda Liga 1-3 away win against Atletico.

In 11 November 2012, Dier was called to play for the first team in a 2012-13 Primeira Liga 1-0 home win against S.C. Braga. He then signed a 5 year contract with English Premier League Club Tottenham Hotspur on 2 August 2014, in a £4 million transfer.

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Fields | Singapore Soccer Courts

Dejan Lovren joins liverpool

Dejan Lovren Joins Liverpool

Dejan Lovren Joins Liverpool

Liverpool have signed Croatia International Dejan Lovren, 25, from Southampton for £20 million. Lovren now joins Saints team mates Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert in moving to Merseyside this summer.

The 6’2” centre back only joints Saints last season, arriving on the South Coast for a fee of around £8.5 million from French Club Lyon.

Liverpool finished second last season and are spending big after selling star player Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75 million. They have made 5 signings so far this summer, buying Lazar Markovic from Benfica and Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen. A deal to buy Loic Remy from Queens Park Ranger fell through after the France International failed a medical for unspecified reasons.

On signing for Liverpool, Dejan Lovren was more than delighted. He said, “It’s a dream come true. I’m happy and glad to be here. I’m proud and can’t wait to start. I know we have millions and millions of supporters – Liverpool is more than a club. After I played at Anfield last season, I said to myself: ‘One day I hope I’ll be able to play here for Liverpool.’ The fans will know from the first minute that I’m a player that will give 100 percent on the pitch.”

More on Dejan Lovren:

Dejan Lovren began his career at GNK Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Olympique Lyonnais in January 2010. Lovren spent 3 and a half seasons with the Ligue 1 team, winning the 2012 Coupe de France. In 2013, he signed for Southampton, making 31 appearances and scoring 2 goals. After 1 season there, he joined Liverpool for £20 million.

Lovren has represented Croatia at many levels, having been a full international since 2009. He has established himself in the Croatian giants’ first team, making 28 appearances and scoring 2 goals for his country.

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Fields | Singapore Soccer Courts

Didier Drogba Resigns For Chelsea

Didier Drogba Resigns For Chelsea

Didier Drogba Resigns For Chelsea

English Premier League Club Chelsea have announced the return of Champions League hero Dider Drogba on a 1 year deal. Drogba, now 36 years old, left Stamford Bridge in 2012, after scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich after a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes and extra time.

On signing for Chelsea again, Drogba said,”It was an easy decision – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me. My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I am excited for this next chapter of my career.”

Didier Drogba remains a firm fans favourite among the Chelsea die-hards with the Stamford Bridge club expected to announce his return before the weekends. He will sign as a player with a view to becoming part of the coaching staff at the club where he spent 8 seasons between 2004-2012 scoring 157 goals.

Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho said,”He’s coming because he’s one of the best strikers in Europe. I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he’s not protected by history or what he’s done for this club previously. He is coming with the mentality to make more history. His 34 goals in European competition remains a Chelsea record, as do his 9 strikes in 9 cup finals.”

More on Didier Drogba:

Didier Drogba joined Chelsea from Olympique Marseille in 2004 for £24 million, at the start of Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge, and scored 157 goals in 342 appearances. He won 3 English Premier League Titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups as well as the Champions League Title before leaving Chelsea in 2012.

Didier Drogba remains their record scorer in European competition with 34 goals while his 9 strikes in 9 cup finals is also their record. In 2012, Drogba joined Shanghai Shenhua in China and many thought that his career was on the wane as his performances has been between brilliant and largely ineffective.

He then moved to Galatasaray in Turkey, making 37 appearances and scoring 15 goals, before resigning with Chelsea in 2014.

Singapore Soccer Pitches | Singapore Soccer Fields | Singapore Soccer Courts