January 2nd, 2009

Martin Skrtel & Fernando Torres Set to Return!

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FERNANDO Torres and Martin Skrtel have handed Liverpool a major double boost by declaring themselves fit to start tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Preston.

The star duo have missed large chunks of the season so far through injury but are now ready to return, and Reds boss Rafa Benitez will see how they fare in today’s final training session before deciding whether or not to pitch them in from the start at Deepdale.

Skrtel was given a brief 11 minute run-out in the closing stages of Liverpool’s 5-1 rout of Newcastle last Sunday and has taken a full part in training this week after recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained at Manchester City at the start of October.

In the three months the Slovakian has been missing, Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger have taken it in turns to operate alongside Jamie Carragher.

But with Carragher currently playing at right back due to the absence of Alvaro Arbeloa because of a hamstring injury, the Liverpool manager will be delighted to have his central defensive options boosted by Skrtel’s return.

The 24-year-old has been a massive hit at Anfield since moving to Liverpool from Zenit St Petersburg in a £6.5m transfer a year ago.

Torres has not featured since Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Marseille in the Champions League at the end of November.

Persistent hamstring problems have meant the Spanish striker has only been able to play in half of the Reds fixtures so far this season, and having had to do without the services of last season’s top scorer on so many occasions Benitez will be keen to see Torres back in action.

The Reds boss must now decide whether to give his fit again stars immediate recalls to Liverpool’s starting eleven or to ease them back into action more gradually.

Having adopted a safety first approach with Torres in a bid to ensure he comes back injury free, Benitez will not be willing to risk Liverpool’s record signing unless he is 100% convinced that his latest hamstring injury has totally cleared up.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are set to conclude their first business of this year’s transfer window by snapping up Icelandic starlet Victor Palsson.

The midfielder, 18 yesterday, will celebrate his coming of age by completing a move to Anfield from Danish club AFG Arhus for a fee in the region of £300,000.

Palsson has made 10 appearances for Iceland’s under-17 and 18 national sides.

Source: Liverpool Echo

 Edit: Can't seem to get the LJ Cut or tags to work today....lol


I am Probably the Only Person that Cares But it's Now Official


Man City agree a fee for Bridge

Manchester City have agreed an undisclosed fee with Premier League rivals Chelsea for England defender Wayne Bridge.

City boss Mark Hughes confirmed the deal on Friday and it is thought the club could pay up to £12m for Bridge.

The 28-year-old left-back joined Chelsea from Southampton for £7m in July 2003.

But Bridge has seen his opportunities at Stamford Bridge reduced since Ashley Cole's arrival.

He signed a new four-year extension to his Chelsea contract in July 2008, but has become surplus to requirements since the arrival of Scolari, who has opted to use Juliano Belletti as deputy for Cole at left-back.

"If they have a good deal, no problem for me," said Scolari on Friday.

And speaking ahead of City's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Hughes said: "My understanding is the clubs have agreed a fee.

"We need to speak to the boy and try to agree personal terms. If we can do that hopefully Wayne will be a Manchester City player, that's the aim.

"Wayne will probably travel to Manchester this evening and hopefully negotiations will go well and he can have a medical tomorrow."

Hughes was in the twilight of his career when he first noticed Bridge as an up-and-coming player at Southampton.

"He is a player I knew when I was at Southampton and he was coming through the ranks," added Hughes.

He was outstanding and has progressed year on year. I would be delighted to welcome him here.

"Wayne is already a successful player - he is an England international who plays for one of the top four clubs in the country."

Bridge is currently suffering an injury which will keep him out of Chelsea's FA Cup third-round match against Southend United on Saturday.

City's oil-rich Arab billionaires Sheikh Mansour and club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak are set to bankroll a January spending spree with the intention of lifting City clear of the relegation zone.

Bridge has made 142 appearances for Chelsea in over five years, as well as earning 32 international caps for England


Sergio Ramo Ass Kissing: A Fanboy tries to Compete with the Fangirls


Comment: Sergio Ramos Is Real Madrid's Real Signing

Cyrus C. Malek argues that Real Madrid must tie Sergio Ramos down at the Bernabeu as a symbol of the Blancos...

Feliz año nuevo; Happy New Year. January is upon us and it's not a moment too soon for Real Madrid. Beginning 2008/09 with the Robinho saga, season-ending injuries to the prolific Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Mahamadou Diarrà followed. The Ruben De La Red medical emergency and long-term absences to Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Gabriel Heinze and Pepe have all contrived to see Madrid literally limp into 2009.

The already-tumultuous first half of the season has been most heavily accented with a coaching change as Juande Ramos controversially took the helm before El Clásico and Bernd Schuster bid his former team farewell via text message.

The offices at the Bernabéu have been busy drawing up ways to salvage this campaign’s project and in the midst of the turmoil, three intriguing signings have already been made. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is set to don the number 19 shirt, canterano Dani Parejo has been brought back to Madrid to conjure some much-needed creation in the merengue attack, and Lassana Diarrà has been prised away from Portsmouth to serve as a much-needed clot in the Madrid midfield.

Management has assured the arrival of at least one more new player, most likely a winger, and the rumour mill has run wild with speculation. But one crucial fixture seems to have been curiously left out of the mix and Real Madrid’s squad of the future depends on the re-signing of a performer already at the club.

In late November, an eyebrow-raising report surfaced that AC Milan was keen to sign Sergio Ramos at season’s end and that Real Madrid would be willing to negotiate if Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato was put on the bargaining table. While Pato has acquitted himself in his first full season at Milan and looks to be on the path to becoming one of the world’s best, to part with Sergio Ramos would be a cardinal sin for Los Merengues.

A product of the Sevilla youth system brought to the Spanish capital in the final year of Florentino Perez’s attempt to build a team of international All-Stars, 22-year-old Sergio Ramos has already begun to inherit the face of Real Madrid. Touted as the next Paolo Maldini, Ramos’ deft touch on the ball, no-compromise defending and offensive prowess already make him one of Madrid’s best players. His skill is unquestionable, but perhaps most important is the sense of identity Sergio Ramos brings to Madrid.

A team’s identity is an important reflection of how a side is received by fans and while a group of international stars may dazzle spectators on the pitch, behind a microphone there tends to be a disconnection when fans feel a cultural/linguistic separation from their idols. While the football may be what matters most, fan support is only maintained at a local level when those that fill the seats feel a certain solidarity with a team’s players.

Barcelona engenders local support by way of their youth system. Messi aside, with such players as Puyol, Xavi, Valdes, Bojan, Piqué, Busquets, and Jorquera who hail from Catalunya and Iniesta and Pedro who are Spanish, fans are made to feel, in a manner, a part of the team. While Madrid has begun to utilize their youth system to a greater extent with the inclusions of De La Red, Palanca, Parejo, and Bueno, it can be argued that today’s Madrid-based players like Javi García and Miguel Torres play far less central roles than their rival counterparts.

For a Real Madrid club that has long been “Spain’s team”, there are just four Spanish players in Madrid’s starting line-up (Casillas, Raúl, Ramos, and Guti), of which only two (Casillas and Ramos) play for La Selección. As a result, Ramos has assumed the role of fan favourite not just for his consistent form, but also for his ties to country.

Already, the dynamic Andalusian defender is a fixture at right-back for La Roja and does not look like he will be relinquishing the position any time soon. Having helped win a European Championship for Spain, he developed an excellent understanding and friendship with Iker Casillas. Ramos is so versatile a defender he can be used in virtually any position (including at left-back as he was assigned to neutralize Messi in El Clásico), and looks to be on the path to become an iconic Madrid player in the same vein as Fernando Hierro (who also wore the number 4 shirt).

If Madrid are to ensure their continuation as the royal club of Spain, Sergio Ramos must play an integral role in that project. As Raúl, Guti, and Salgado fade into the twilight of their careers and with Casillas contracted as a “madridista for life” with a blockbuster deal last season, Sergio Ramos looks tailor-made as the future bearer of the captain’s armband. As he continues to mature, his strength and shouldering of responsibility make him the Spanish embodiment of the next generation of Madrid leadership. Even the prospect of Pato’s Brazilian flair pales in comparison to the value of those qualities Sergio Ramos seems destined to bring to Los Blancos.

So as the Bernabéu offices contemplate the signing of a new fleet-footed winger, one hopes that a long-term contract is also in the process of being drafted. For if it is, Sergio Ramos could be Madrid’s most important signing of the winter transfer window.

Where can I sign up for the job to just wax poetic players I'm fangirling?
*Marchena / heart
  • kat_lys

I only can make fangirl posts

David Silva, Señor Ambassador

Here are an article, a video and some pics of our favourite Canarian modelling for the promotion of Gran Canaria, including:

- BB Silva with some blond hot girl
- BB Silva in a pink shirt
- BB Silva in a white shirt looking amazing
- Gran Canaria looking beautiful (cause no, I didn't only stare at him)

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