Saturday, June 6, 2009

Austria falls to Serbia

Dietmar Constantini's Austria side can hold their heads high after falling 1-0 to Serbia in Belgrade. The result is another import cog in Austria's long climb up world rankings and much will be learned from the match.

With over 50,000 in support Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Dietmar Constantini pushed forward with Rapid Wien duo Stefan Maierhofer and "Jimmy" Hoffer paired up top as well is giving international debuts to Aleksandar Dragović and Jakob Jantscher. The visitor gave the White Eagles a startle early on with Stefan Maierhofer's however it was only seven minutes in before Radomir Antić's side found the mark. After Danko Lazović was brought down in the area by Spartak Moskva's Martin Stranzl, the spot was pointed to. Crvena Zvezda's talented captain Nenad Milijaš calmly stepped and made no mistake giving Serbia the 1-0 lead. Chances were at a premium for the balance of the half with Austria unwilling to expose itself to the Serbia's fast pace countering ability. At the restart Serbia ushered in 1860 München's Antonio Rukavina for an injured Nemanja Vidić and the defender came in handy as he cleared Stefan Maierhofer's effort off the line. Eleven minutes in Austria summoned Rubin Okotie and goal scoring machine, Marc Janko in at striker but it was the Serb's who came close three minutes later as Genoa's Boško Janković rang the ball off the post from a set-piece. Still on the hunt for the equalizer, Austria's Marc Janko came within a whisper of finding the needed touch as he pounded the ball off the crossbar from twenty metres with thirteen minutes remaining and later-on, only to be denied by Serbian 'keeper Vladimir Stojković. Without further mark the match concluded with Austria falling 1-0 to Serbia in a superb display.

youthful exuberance leads Wales to victory

Laden with injuries Wales manager John Toshack was forced to deploy a an extremely young side against Azerbaijan. However in a reaffirming note, Wales etched the promise of tomorrow into stone as they defeated a tough Azerbaijan 1-0.

With Readings Simon Church earning his first international cap, Wales encountered a stubborn host side and within a difficult playing environment John Toshack's side did extremely well keeping emotions in check. To many the match had a sharper tone to this with the Azerbaijan side both highly physical and the beneficiary of a series obvious calls not being called. After a few reasonable chances Wales took the lead three minutes before the break as Azerbaigan 'keeper Farhad Veliyev pushed a cross out but the ball fell to Wolverhampton's David Edwards to scuttled the ball in. Down by one the hosts poured forward keeping Wales under constant pressure but once again it was another Wolves man who came to the rescue, this time 'keeper Wayne Hennessey turning aside a number of chances. Despite the pressure Wales left Baku with the 1-0 victory.

In stressing a team victory John Toshack told BBC Sport Wales after the match:

"I think we are pleased to have got a positive result, particularly under the circumstances.

"In view of the absentees which has been well documented, I think the side did ever so well.

"I don't want to pick out any player, they were all excellent.

"But Simon Church on his full debut gave us everything he had. He ran and worked all night and can be very happy with his display.

Răzvan Lucescu era begins in style

The Răzvan Lucescu-era began in style as the young manager lead Romania to a 1-0 victory over Lithuania. The result pulls the "tricolori" level with Austria, two points behind the Lithuanians in third.

From the start Romania went on the attack as Tiberiu Ghioane of Ukraine champions Dynamo Kyiv narrowly missed connecting with Ciprian Marica only three minutes in. The VfB Stuttgart striker, Marica, was a whirlwind of activity and after a number of failed efforts he found the mark with six minutes remaining as he sent the ball in from twenty metres. The Lithuanian side continued to have difficulty marking Ciprian Marica but with Romania displaying textbook defending, their was no breaking through and the match concluded without further mark.

Along with "tricolori" debuts for Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni) and Mihai Roman (FC Braşov), the match will be remembered as a exciting first step to recovery with Răzvan Lucescu in charge.

Japan claims World Cup spot with victory over Uzbekistan

Takeshi Okada's Japan claimed a World Cup spot with 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan.

The Blue Samurai opened the scoring nine minutes in when Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki’s got on the end of Kengo Nakamura through ball and after his initial attempt was saved he managed to head the rebound in. With the exception of the early goal, Japan displayed a masterful plan that nullified Uzbeks dangerous attacker Server Djeparov (FC Bunyodkor) and rarely allowed a legitimate effort towards 'keeper Seigo Narazaki until late. Finally in the last stages of the match the Uzbeks started to apply pressure but efforts by Djeparov and Islom Tuhtahujaev (Neftchi Farg'ona) were unable to find the net.

Following the match the manager said:

“It was a tough game, as we had expected, and our players fought hard until the very end of the game. They showed their mental toughness when our opponents wouldn’t let us play our brand of football. This is just the start for us. I’m grateful that we have got this opportunity.”

Ricardo Quaresma edges closer to Genoa

Confident that Ricardo Quaresma is set to make the move to the Rossoblù, club president Enrico Preziosi declared on Italian media outlet "Radio Radio" that negotiations for the Portuguese international will be finalized next week:

“I am certain we will conclude negotiations for Quaresma next week."

Of the talented Robert Acquafresca, it appears he is unlikely headed to Genova as Mr. Preziosi said, "I think he will go elsewhere with a team able to guarantee him first team football."

Addressing concerns of Domenico Criscito and Raffaele Palladino, the president assured Genoa supporters that terms will be met with Juventus to seem them return:

“Our intention is to keep (Raffaelle) Palladino and (Domenico) Criscito. We will soon meet with Juventus and I am sure we will reach an agreement.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Samuel Eto'o edging closer to Man City

While you may want to hold off the celebratory bubbly a morsel longer, a variety of internal sources are confirming that Barcelona is preparing to accept a hefty offer from Manchester City for Samuel Eto'o.

Earlier in the week less reliable media outlets in Spain had suggested the deal was nearing the final stages but of-course the difference between the negotiation table and signature on a contract is quite a long walk. For Samuel Eto'o the decision tree is convoluted because he would be leaving a Champions League title holder to a side out of a European football but with hefty promises for the future and of-course a substantial pay hike.

Barcelona's motivation on this seems to be very straight forward as they are looking to pull off a mid-day heist of Bayern München's Franck Ribéry and with Cameroonian contract expiring at the end of next season, they could easily fund much of their attempt with a purchase by City. Equally stated with much of the Footballing world on a crash course of budgetary constraints options their are limited for the twenty-eight year old striker despite being one of the best pure goal scorers in the game today.

Michael Skibbe era begins for die Adler

Stressing an era of "attractive, attacking Football", Michael Skibbe has been appointed Head Trainer of Eintracht. At only forty-three years of age, he has already amassed a long history in the coaching world, starting first with Schalke twenty years ago, with significant stops with Dortmund, Leverkusen and proudly serving the DFB.

Beyond the opening press conference this should be seen as a possible long-term solution for Eintracht along with a leader who is known for keeping an eye towards developing players.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jesualdo Ferreira adds Alvaro Pereira to Porto lineup

Os Dragões have acted quickly in the transfer market with the brilliant signing of Alvaro Pereira from Romanian side CFR Cluj for a fee of €4.5m representing eighty per-cent of his rights. The twenty-four year-old Uruguayan international, while primarily being used in more of a defensive position with Cluj had previously shown quality scoring vision with Argentinos Juniors previously.

Dragões add Maicon from CD Nacional

Porto bolstered its back-line with the addition of Maicon from CD Nacional. The twenty year-old former Cruzeiro agreed to terms that will see him a part of os Dragões through June of 2014.

In joining the azuis e brancos, the young defender noted:

"It's the happiest day of my life. Porto are one of the best and most respected clubs in Europe. I've always dreamed of playing in the Champions League because it's a great stage. Porto have a tradition in the competition and I hope I can maintain that."

Wolfsburg to be tempted with offers for Edin Džeko

As rumours swirling of Edin Džeko possibly heading to Manchester City, AC Milan or Chelsea, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international stated in a radio interview:

"Talks on a new contract with Wolfsburg are currently underway. If I get what I have asked for I will most likely stay there for another year."

That aside, with Manchester City sniffing around, the asking price of £9m could make a sizable jump to the point that it would be impossible for Wolfsburg to turn down. With Man City's attempt to sign Carlos Tevez suffering some growing pains, it is very possible the Wolfsburg could see a bidding war erupt for the Sarajevo native.

Man City's dirty dealings

As foretold last July, Manchester City has announced a long-term branding partnership with Nike subsidiary Umbro.

Former Brand-Jordan lead, now Man City CEO Garry Cook said of the deal:

"We are thrilled to announce this key partnership. We are building a successful and sustainable football club for the future and our partners are integral to that. Umbro share our commitment to innovation, the city of Manchester and creating world-class experiences for its customers and our fans."

This deal was as good as done the moment Garry Cook was brought into City in May of 2008 with the first steps laid when Nike purchased Umbro for £285m earlier in the year. While the business aspect of it is a muddled pool of questionable relationships, for City fans behind the scenes the association will assist in the clubs many dealings to materialize.

Danijel Pranjić moves to Bayern München

Per a variety of reports Heerenveen will be without Danijel Pranjić next season as he has moved to Bayern München for a fee rumoured to be €10m. Since arriving from Dinamo Zagreb in 2005 the Croatia international has been a constant goal scoring threat for de Friezen and a will be tough loss in Trond Sollied's lineup. Speaking to German media giant Bild, he expressed his excitement of the move to Bayern who additionally signed his former Dinamo teammate Ivica Olić:

"I am already really looking forward to playing together with Ivica Olić in the future."

Hernán Crespo on a mission

Without a doubt Hernán Crespo has sent a message in joining the Rossoblù as he wants to not only prove he still prove he can be a force in Serie A once again but worthy of selection to the Albicelestes. In speaking to Buenos Aires based newspaper Clarìn, the former River Plate sharpshooter reiterated that the noble pride of playing for his homeland and that, "the move to Genoa gives (me) the opportunity to play with confidence and the chance of playing in my fourth World Cup."

Yuri Zhirkov focused on Russia's match against Finland

With CSKA Moskva's Yuri Zhirkov quickly emerging as one of Russia's brightest young stars, the faithful around Luzhniki fret whether they'll be chanting “Zhirkov” for much longer. The play-maker extraordinaire has been linked to Roman Abramovich's Chelsea and most recently, Barcelona.

Hopeful that he'll continue to grace CSKA's lineup but the deeply patriotic Russian international might not be so inclined to make the move unless he is confident of a spot in the starting eleven. Speaking to Russian media giant Sports Express he noted that with regards to a possible move to London, "I know no more about it that any other people." Equally young Mr Zhirkov is very focused on CSKA's Champions League efforts, noting that his side will be in the Champions League this year.

However at present his focus is squarely on Russia's World Cup qualifying match against Finland next Wednesday stating, "now I am preparing for the coming match in Finland and try not filling my head with other things."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crisis mode for PSG

Deny it all he will, new manager Antoine Kombouaré takes the reigns of Paris Saint-Germain with the club veiled in crisis mode.

Through a series of mismanaged moves by PSG président Sébastien Bazin, the club is not only dealing with a end of season collapse that dropped the club out of the Europa League, precipitated by the poorly timed decision of announcing Paul Le Guen would not be back and a likely defection of a number of players. The laundry list of talented players either fed-up with the events around the capital since Charles Villeneuve was ousted or simply be sought-after in the transfer market effectively works through their starting eleven. While there is quite obviously a great deal to be settled it is entirely possibly that les Rouge et Bleu lineup by the time August rolls around will no longer include Mickaël Landreau, Guillaume Hoarau, Stéphane Sessegnon, Jérémy Clément, Clément Chantôme and Jérôme Rothen. Add Mamadou Sakho to the delight of Arsène Wenger's wish list and first course of business now that the dog and pony show introduction of Antoine Kombouaré to the public is complete is to stem the crisis.

Unfortunately at this time the club seems more focused on deflecting attention by bringing in Patrick Vieira from Inter Milan, most likely on-loan, then concern over building upon a fine core lineup. Respectfully the addition of a midfielder, albeit one with extraordinary pedigree, who will be thirty-three years of age at the start of the campaign and equally has a poor track record of injuries isn't the precise direction the club needs to take. Most certainly he is a top shelf addition but this is far removed from addition of players moving towards the highlight of their career and lest PSG supporters forget how easily it was to pry David N'Gog from their roster last year.

Daniel Sturridge likely heading to Chelsea

Mancunian's will be left scratching their heads on this one as it appears that Daniel Sturridge, when he turned down the Citizens most recent contract offer, wasn't bluffing and near to inking a contract with Chelsea.

While Academy product's must be a priority for the club at all times, The Guardian is reporting that the young England U21 international was offered £55k per-week by the Man City. While this number naturally has not been substantiated by the club, unless grossly inaccurate it is peculiar comment of young Mr. Sturridge's loyalty to the club that he would leave the club at this time not to mention his business savvy. Unfortunately the young mans agents are doing him a disservice because not only would he be assured of be a fixture in Mark Hughes plans but I hasten to tell him, he can likely get by on what amounts to just under £3m per year.

crumbling Setanta ready to drop on SPL

With Irish broadcaster Setanta tumbling into deep financial crisis, all Scottish Premier League clubs are facing some highly turbulent days. At present Setanta owes the SPL its final £3m installment but given the companies crumbling business, unless it works out an arrangement with another broadcaster or receives an inflow of capital not only is the final payment for the 2008/2009 campaign in jeopardy but next years £25m fee as well.

Setanta has until next Monday to pay the amounts owing before going into formal default. Should this occur, each SPL will be faced with some highly problematic cash flow situations and financing credit lines are likely to be tightened considerably.

While this problem is shared by all Scottish Premier League sides, the Gers face a number of balance sheet woes that must be dealt with. Should the existing broadcasting contract go into default the Rangers will likely need to expedite cost cutting measures.

Borussia's new coach

His work complete, Hans Meyer once again exhibited great care for Borussia as he stepped down at the end of the season. Citing the need for the club to have a younger coach, the now-legendary legendary stepped aside for what he believed to be the best interest of Borussia. There is only one word needed to describe such a move; leader.

Now in the wake of this move die Fohlen have acted fast and appointed Michael Frontzeck as coach. For Borussia, it hopefully leads towards a long-term solution of coaching as the forty-five year old former player of over 250 appearances for the club, deeply recognizes its traditions.

Taken in lump sum the work of Hans Meyer can not or will not be forgotten. Through his genius and simple command of "courage", Borussia did what others felt impossible. Now, after his noble stepping down, the next generation of leadership can take the club forward and none better Borussia-man Michael Frontzeck.

Genoa closing in on big signings

As per the Genoa web-site the club is going through the final stages of completing the transfer to bring Sergio Floccari from Atalanta's and Inter Milan's Hernán Crespo to the Rossoblù. Both players are likely to be formally introduced shortly but this seems

In addition to trying to woo Ricardo Quaresma to ply his trade in Genova, club president Enrico Preziosi is very interested in Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Juninho, Moussa Dembélé from Eredivisie champions AZ and Fernando Menegazzo from Bordeaux. Of the latter three the commentary seems more to be a "wish-list" best of players of interest. Whle Juninho at thirty-four years of age is definitely still remarkable from set plays, the young Belgian striker Moussa Dembélé is full of enormous promise and would be a premier signing for years to come.

Die Schwarzgelben send back Kevin-Prince Boateng

While not a surprise, Kevin-Prince Boateng is set to return to English side Tottenham as BVB will not be exercising this option. The German U-21 international had moved to the English side from Berlin for a rumoured fee of £5.4m in July of 2007 (then €8.6m). Despite showing a great deal of promise for Jürgen Klopp with a option fee reputedly in the range of €6.7m to €8.6m, he was simply out of the Dortmunders price range.

Dick Advocaat to lead Belgium

In an absolutely stunning move, Dick Advocaat has resigned from Zenit Saint Petersburg and will now manage the Belgian national team. While the sixty-two year old leader had recently noted the in the media that, "Zenit will by my last club. I will be 62 by the end of the year, so it is time to change my life a little bit", it is certainly a surprise for the clubs loyal supporters.

Mr. Advocaat leaves Saint Petersburg after three years of loyal service that includes the winning the Rosgosstrakh Russian Football Championship, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.

Mark Hughes targets Carlos Tevez

With City staking the first major coup of the summer signing season adding Gareth Barry to the fold, Mark Hughes and company are pushing onward. The club has some clear cut targets and will use the hot and heavy summer to radically transform their squadron. With rumours running rampant of notable's such as Samuel Eto'o and Joleon Lescott being targeted, next in the big-game hunting season appears to be Manchester United's Carlos Tevez, with City apparently more than willing to ante up the £32m.

How reliable are said rumours of the Argentine's signing being imminent are a matter of debate. However City's approach is without a doubt to make quick-fire signings with surgical precision thus enabling further high-profile signings.

Austria v Serbia match preview

Dietmar Constantini's Austrian side travel to Belgrade's Stadion Crvena Zvezda to face surging Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday. Following the 2-1 victory over Romania in April, Austria still has a slight chance of qualifying, albeit through a multitude of unlikely results. Regardless of qualifying the turnaround orchestrated by the Österreichischer Fußball Bund has been nothing short of remarkable as Austria has catapulted from 108th in FIFA World ranking in July 2008 to 70th in the most recent results. Combined with the superb play of the development "unders", the future bodes well for Austria.

Standing in the way on Saturday is one of the hottest nations in World Cup qualifying, Serbia. Radomir Antić has his White Eagles side on the verge of sealing qualification and a packed house in beautiful Belgrade will ensure the match is played in a smoldering cauldron. After an early stumble against France, Serbia heads into Saturday's affair knowing that a victory is crucial in securing a trip to South Africa.

Austria will be without their leader Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz and will debut Aleksandar Dragović (Austria Wien), Julian Baumgartlinger (1860 München), Jakob Jantscher (Sturm Graz) and Florian Klein (LASK). Experience is at a premium and given the attacking prowess of the hosts in conjunction with a youthful Austrian side, Dietmar Constantini is likely to deploy a more defensive minded approach.

Răzvan Lucescu led Romania travels to Lithania

In his first match in-charge of Romania after taking over from Victor Piţurcă, Răzvan Lucescu prepares his side for a difficult test against a tough Lithuania. Unquestionably the "tricolori" have entered into a rebuilding mode with an eye towards the future but that won't stop the young leader in reestablishing pride and confidence.

In putting together his lineup the new manager has the luxury of captain Cristian Chivu returning to the lineup but once again Adrian Mutu will miss out. Romania will welcome six to the honour of international competition with Iulian Apostol, Mircea Bornescu, Ovidiu Dănănae, George Galamaz, Răzvan Pădureţu and Mihai Roman each earning their first cap. New faces aside will feature Timişoara's Gigi Bucur who has been virtually unstoppable this year and Florin Costea, who has his side on the verge of a Europa League bid.

With it impossible to temper my confidence in Răzvan Lucescu, expect a very strong performance and for Romania to big its move back upon FIFA World rankings of 28.

Dănuţ Coman (FC Braşov) Costel Pantilimon (FC Timişoara), Mircea Bornescu (Universitatea Craiova), George Galamaz (Unirea Urziceni)

Cristian Chivu (Inter Milan), Ovidiu Dănănae (Universitatea Craiova), George Galamaz (Unirea Urziceni), Dorin Goian (Steaua Bucureşti), Mihai Neşu (FC Utrecht), Mirel Rădoi (Al-Hilal), Răzvan Raţ (Shakhtar Donetsk), Cristian Săpunaru (FC Porto)

Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni), Florin Costea (Universitatea Craiova),Tiberiu Ghioane (Dynamo Kyiv), Costin Lazăr (Rapid Bucureşti), Bogdan Mara (CFR Cluj), Răzvan Pădureţu (Unirea Urziceni), Mihai Roman (FC Braşov), Cristian Tănase (Argeş Piteşti),

Gigi Bucur (FC Timişoara), Ionel Dănciulescu (Dinamo Bucureşti, Ciprian Marica (VfB Stuttgart), Marius Niculae (Dinamo Bucureşti)

Wales heads to Azerbaijan with youthful side

Without anywhere else to turn Wales manager John Toshack will dip further into his U21 pool of talent as his side faces Azerbaijan on Saturday. To call Wales "plagued with injuries" is a modest understatement as they are without Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, James Collins, Jack Collison, Simon Davies, Ched Evans and Sam Ricketts, thus requiring a number of players jumping the gun into top flight international play.

Nottingham Forest's elder statesman Robert Earnshaw, at the well preserved ancient age of twenty-eight will lead the youth troop in Baku with young guns Chris Gunter, Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey in tow. For Wales this is most certainly a "learning experience" where they learn to compete in the line of fire with management knowing full-well that many players are years off from their prime. While showing fine patience and discipline in the most recent match against Estonia, they need to slowly build their confidence and learn to attack.

For Wales supporters this is an intriguing look at the younger players development Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder David Edwards, Leicester City's Andy King, Joe Allen of Swansea City and Reading striker Simon Church getting a chance to prove their worth on the international stage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gareth Barry joins Manchester City

With a well fortified balance sheet in place, Man City acted quickly to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa for a fee of £12m. Upon signing a five-year contract rumoured to be in the vicinity of £90k per week, the midfield said via the club web-site:

"I'm delighted to be joining City. It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go. There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer."

Manager Mark Hughes said of his new midfielder:

“Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League, and that is a recommendation in itself. When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them, so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.

“The experience required to compete with the best in the Premier League is vital, and with Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played week-in, week-out in the hardest league in the world. He plays at a level that has an impact on the game, and we are thrilled that he is joining us”.

The English international is just the first cog in what is surely to be a hefty grouping of signings for Mark Hughes and company as they are poised to act on numerous opportunities. Combined with the clubs rock solid balance sheet, a stated commitment to bring some of the sports most exciting talent to the City of Manchester and numerous players available this year for the "right price", it promises to be an exciting few months.

Neven Subotić staying in Dortmund

At twenty years of age Neven Subotić has quickly established himself as a fixture in Jürgen Klopp's starting eleven. Naturally that has not went unnoticed and a number of prominent sides are apparently making overtures towards the young Serbian international. Most notably English side Everton to which the top brass of BVB, Hans-Joachim Watzke, told Bild that he is "integral part of our plans".

Vacationing at home in Belgrade, Neven added his commitment to die Schwarzgelben, citing his excitement of the clubs future and that he is "feeling good being there (BVB)". While the option of moving abroad looms in the future, he acknowledges it is likely too soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Newcastle's relegation woes continue

Week two of relegation purgatory started with of-course Mike Ashley's rather public announcement that he was targeting a quick-sale of the club for £100m. Unfortunately prior to the rather obvious strategic use of the media, banking groups considered to orchestrate the sale, Seymour Pierce and NM Rothschild hadn't informed the owner that his asking price is roughly £10-20m over the best valuation and in the summer of 2009 investment opportunities of faltering sports teams with massive payrolls are not very attractive. That warm piece of information aside the real problem that is looming large for Newcastle is the £40m working-capital facility from Barclays Bank that Newcastle uses to manage operations is under review by the financial institution. While Mike Ashley has requested the facility be extended, Newcastle will need to satisfy some very difficult financial tests to have it extended including having a positive transfer cash flow. All this spells out further problems for the Magpies as not only is a move to retain Alan Shearer as manager delayed but plans for the upcoming campaign are well on the back-burner.

The first step in solving this problem is for the present owner to sit down and listen to a financial management team as they go through a possible acquisition. His announcement of yearning for a "quick sale" and the public knowledge has done little to assist the sale and I presume he is aware hitting the "panic button" will not garner you top price but instead attract more vultures to pick the last traces of flesh. Secondly internal financing is necessary, albeit a difficult one to digest for Mike Ashley, as they go through the crucial third step; selling off unwanted players reduce salary concerns by roughly fifty per-cent. The most challenging decision will be the need for strategic transfer sales in order to raise funds with notable players such as Oba Martins and Sébastien Bassong possibly involved. This final point will depend on the second point and should be avoided if possible.

Once this abbreviated action plan is instituted, the more typical plan, including hiring of Alan Shearer can turn towards more traditional Football related matters.

Porto leader stays on

Basking in the winning the fourth consecutive Liga title as well as hoisting the Taça de Portugal, Porto can rest easy as Jesualdo Ferreira has extended his contract for two more years

Os Dragões manager commented on the decision:

"The day we faced Manchester United at the Estádio do Dragão, the Porto president and I agreed to extend my stay here for two more years. There is nothing written yet and the agreement was sealed with a handshake.

"It’s a verbal compromise, nothing is yet signed, but I’ve accepted it without hesitations. I will go on with great pleasure. We will start working from tomorrow in the defining aspects of the new season.

"These three years at F.C. Porto are the ones more fulfilling in my career, which make me more proud but also which demanded more effort from me. I want to express my gratitude to the club that allowed my success. I’m grateful to F.C. Porto.

"There are no records to beat at F.C. Porto. This club has already won everything there is to be won. We maintain our winning ambition, which is closely related with this institution, because we know that in F.C. Porto is possible to reach excellence. Our upcoming goal is the Portuguese Supercup, which we want to claim, and that’s the reality of a natural born winner, the one who wins all the time. We will try to be up to the exigency that the club demands to its professionals."

With so many top level managers changing sides of recent, Porto's signing of Mr. Ferreira is a tremendous step forward as the club looks to continues its championship run.