Soccer Wiretap

Antonio Conte: I Showed I'm A Serial Winner

May 20, 2018 11:40 AM

Chelsea won the FA Cup 1-0 against Manchester United, which led to some level of gloating from Antonio Conte.

Conte is widely expected to leave Chelsea this summer.

“When you are used to winning every season, this type of season can create some problems in yourself,” Conte said. “But I also think in a difficult season like this, I showed I’m a serial winner. To win in this way this season gives me more satisfaction than my wins in the past.”

Conte won the Premier League title a year ago.

“After two years, the club knows me very well,” Conte said. “If they want to continue to work with me, they know me. I can’t change. I am this and my past speaks very clearly, as a player and as a manager.

“I’m a serial winner. I showed this in England in a difficult moment for the club after a 10th-place finish [in 2015-16]. In two seasons, I brought two trophies for this club.

“I have a contract and I’m committed for this club. As you know very well, our job is not simple. I understand that the club can make a decision, a positive decision or a negative decision. I’m the first to understand.

“You have to understand if, in this season, we had the maximum or not. There is the possibility, with this group of players, that we did the maximum.

“For sure, we’ll make the best decision. I’m the first to accept every decision for the future. After these two seasons, I will always love this club and these fans – also if my future must be in a different way.”

David Hytner/The Guardian

Tags: Chelsea

Roman Abramovich Waiting For UK Visa To Be Renewed

May 20, 2018 11:38 AM

Roman Abramovich is waiting for his visa in the United Kingdom to be renewed.

Abramovich returned to Russia after his visa ran out and did not attend Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.

Abramovich's visa situation comes at a time of heightened tensions between the UK government and Russia following the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury back in March, as well as allegations of illegal Russian interference in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum vote.

Liam Twomey/ESPN

Tags: Chelsea

Real Madrid Hope To Sign Young Goalie, Retain Keylor Navas

May 20, 2018 11:36 AM

Real Madrid will attempt to sign a young goalkeeper and keep Keylor Navas as their starter.

“Madrid want to keep Navas, there’s no doubt about that,” said Pedrerol during his report. “It’s also true right now that a young goalkeeper makes the most sense and Alisson seems to be the best option for the club at this point,” he added.

Roma will not let Alisson go for cheap and the first rumors suggest that the Italian club will be expecting around €100 million for the Brazilian goalkeeper. 

Thibaut Courtois could be a more realistic target for Real Madrid.

Lucas Navarrete/Managing Madrid

Tags: Real Madrid, Roma, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

Bayern Offers $70.7M To Leverkusen For Leon Bailey

May 18, 2018 7:53 PM

Bayern Munich have made a €60 million ($70.7 million) offer to Bayer Leverkusen for winger Leon Bailey.

Leverkusen has been holding out for a fee closer to €100 million and prefer to sell him to Real Madrid.

Bayern believe Bailey favours a move to the Allianz Arena over Real Madrid.

Bailey, a €13.5m buy from Belgium side KRC Genk in January 2017, has emerged as one of the breakout stars of the Bundesliga in his first full campaign.

Raphael Honigstein/ESPN

Tags: Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Madrid, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

Bojan Krkic Opens Up About Anxiety Issues

May 18, 2018 2:51 PM

Bojan Krkic was widely called the next Lionel Messi when he made his debut with Barcelona at the age of 17.

Krkic bounced around to Roma, AC Milan and Ajax before joining Stoke City in 2014. Krkic has since been loaned out to Mainz 05 and Alaves.

Krkic opened up to Sid Lowe about his issues with anxiety.

“It all happened very quick,” Bojan said. “In footballing terms it went well but not personally. I had to live with that and people say my career hasn’t been as expected. When I came up, it was ‘new Messi’. Well, yes, if you compare me with Messi … but what career did you expect? And there are lots of things that people didn’t know. I didn’t go to the [2008] European Championship because of anxiety issues but we said I was going on holiday. I was called up for Spain against France, my international debut, and it was said that I had gastroenteritis when I had an anxiety attack. But no one wants to talk about that. Football’s not interested.”

At 17 my life changed entirely. I went to the Under-17 World Cup in July and no one knew me; when I came back, I couldn’t even walk down the road. A few days later I made my debut against Osasuna, three or four days later I play in the Champions League, then I score against Villarreal, then Spain called [in February 2008]. And it was all good but your head fills until there’s a moment that your body says ‘stop’.

“Anxiety affects everyone differently. I spoke to someone who felt like their heart was beating 1,000 times a minute. With me, it was a dizziness, feeling sick, constant, 24 hours a day,” Bojan says, signalling his head. “There was a pressure here, powerful, never going away. I was fine when I went into the dressing room for the France game but I started to feel this powerful dizziness, overwhelmed, panicked, and they lay me on the physio’s bench. That was the first time but I had nasty episodes like that again. There’s medicine, psychological treatment to overcome the barriers you’ve erected, the fear. It started in February and it lasted until the summer. When the Euros came I decided I couldn’t go, that I had to isolate myself.

“Everyone at the federation knew: Luis Aragonés [the manager], Fernando Hierro [the sporting director]. Hierro sent me messages every week to ask how I was and the day before the squad was announced, they rang. ‘Bojan, we’re going to call you up.’ I was in the car, going to training. I said: ‘It hurts to say this but I can’t.’ I got to the Camp Nou and Carles Puyol was there. He said: ‘Bojan, I’ll be by your side all the way, I’ll be there for you.’ I said: ‘Puyi, I can’t.’ I’m on medication, I’m on the edge. And the next day I saw a headline: ‘Spain call up Bojan and Bojan says no.’

“That headline kills me, it’s as if I don’t care. I remember being in Murcia and people insulting me: they don’t know, they just think I don’t want to play. That was hard, although at that point I really didn’t care what people said. What hurt was that the headline presumably came from the Federation. How can you call me up when you speak to me the day before, know how I am, and then that comes out? I felt very alone. There are still people now who ask me: ‘Why didn’t you go?’”

Sid Lowe/The Guardian

Tags: Barcelona, Stoke City

United Would Buy Back Cristiano Ronaldo If Offered

May 18, 2018 12:58 PM

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United would be unable to turn down the opportunity to sign Cristiano Ronaldo back from Real Madrid.

Mourinho doesn't believe Real Madrid is interested in selling him.

"I consider that Real Madrid cannot sell, they can't," Mourinho told Portuguese newspaper Record in quotes reported by EFE. "It's prohibitive. He has to stay until the time when they authorise him to go and play one year to America or any other place where he wants to go. The door is closed. That is the impression I have.

"Everyone knows his history at Manchester, the passion they have for him, and that there are players in the world who, if clubs have the possibility of signing, will not say no."

Rob Dawson/ESPN

Tags: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

PSG Offers Two-Year Contract To Gianluigi Buffon

May 18, 2018 12:40 PM

Paris Saint-Germain has offered a two-year contract to Gianluigi Buffon.

Buffon has announced he will leave Juventus this summer but will not retire.

Buffon is seen as the perfect mentor and Alphonse Areola would be prepared to share playing time in order to learn from one of his idols.

Other targets include AC Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma and Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak but signing Buffon would enable the Ligue 1 club to still move forward Areola and guarantee his long-term future.

Jonathan Johnson/ESPN

Tags: Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

Arsene Wenger: I Am Still In A State Of Shock

May 17, 2018 8:36 PM

Arsene Wenger has managed his last of 1,235 matches with Arsenal and the reality has yet to set in for him.

“It’s just too soon to know what I will do next,” he says. “I haven’t even emptied my desk yet and in a way I am still in a state of shock. I am going to give myself until June 14, the day the World Cup begins, to decide. The question is do I still want to coach, to be on the bench, or is it time to take up different functions? The one thing I can say for sure is that I will continue to work.

“But do I want to continue to suffer as much? I want to continue to defend my ideas of football, that’s for sure. Spontaneously, I would say I still want to coach but I can’t really say that yet for sure.”

Wenger has worked for 34 straight years and hasn't had any time off since becoming manager of Nancy in 1984.

“I have friends who can go and lay on a beach all day long for the whole of their holidays and I envy them,” he says with a grin. “I just can’t do that. I get bored. I need to be doing something. I need a challenge. I have lived and breathed football all these years and it’s a passion – I can’t imagine doing anything else. That’s why in a way this is an exciting moment for me, too. I have a new page, a blank page in front of me. As all good writers know, that can be a time of anguish but I hope I won’t have too much of that. It’s also a chance to write new chapters.”

Darren Tulett/The Guardian

Tags: Arsenal

Pep Guardiola Signs Two-Year Extension With City

May 17, 2018 6:19 PM

Pep Guardiola has signed a two-year contract extension with Manchester City, which will ensure he spends at least five seasons with the club.

Guardiola spent three seasons with Bayern Munich before taking the job with City. Before that, Guardiola spent four seasons as manager of Barcelona.

Guardiola's existing deal had one more season remaining.

“I am so happy and excited,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to be able to work here. I enjoy working with our players every day and we will try to do our best together in the coming years.

“I will focus on the desire of my players to become a better team and every day that’s what I will try to do – to improve on the pitch and improve our players. We have a young squad with an average age of 23 and we want to keep taking steps forward and maintain the levels we’ve achieved this season.”

Daniel Taylor/The Guardian

Tags: Manchester City, Misc Rumor

Gianluigi Buffon Leaves Juventus, Will Consider Other Offers

May 17, 2018 10:52 AM

Gianluigi Buffon has announced he will leave Juventus at the end of the season but he is not prepared to announce his retirement.

Buffon's last match for Juventus will be on Saturday against Verona.

Buffon has received offers to play elsewhere that have led him to possibly change his mind on retirement.

“[On] Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said. “Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli. I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.”

The Guardian

Tags: Juventus, Misc Rumor

Antoine Griezmann: Not The Moment To Talk About My Future
Antoine Griezmann dodged questions about his future following his two-goal performance in Atletico Madrid's Europa League winning match against Marseille.

Dermot Corrigan/ESPN

Atleti Beats Marseille 3-0 To Win 2018 Europa League Final
Antoine Griezmann scored in the 21st and 49th minutes while Gabi scored in the 89th minute.

RealGM Staff Report

Lionel Messi Motivated By Seeing Real Madrid In UCL Final
Barcelona last was in the Champions League Final in 2015.

Sam Marsden/ESPN

Wenger Laments Arsenal Being Unable To Afford Cristiano Ronaldo In '03
Arsene Wenger said Arsenal was close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003.

Mattias Karen/ESPN

Everton Fires Sam Allarydce, Hopeful Of Appointing Marco Silva
Sam Allardyce had a disappointing six-month tenure as manager of Everton.

Andy Hunter/The Guardian

West Ham Parts Ways With David Moyes
West Ham has interest in appointing Paulo Fonseca and Rafael Benitez while also opening informal talks with Manuel Pellegrini.

The Guardian

Eden Hazard Waiting On Transfers Before Committing To Extension
Eden Hazard's current deal runs to 2020 and he expects to be at Chelsea next season.

Dominic Fifield/The Guardian

Mikel Arteta Emerges As Favorite For Arsenal Job
Mikel Arteta has had productive talks with the club.

David Hytner/The Guardian

Barcelona Opening Theme Parks In United States, Asia
The 3,000- to 10,000-square meter indoor parks will be found in city centers and will be dedicated exclusively to Barcelona.

Sam Marsden/ESPN

Joe Hart Left Out Of England's World Cup Roster
Joe Hart spent the season on loan at West Ham.

Dominic Fifield/The Guardian

Joachim Loew Signs Extension With Germany Until 2022
Joachim Loew had been linked to replacing Arsene Wenger as manager of Arsenal.


Gianluigi Buffon Expected To Announce Retirement
Juventus was eliminated from the Champions League in the quarterfinals in which Gianluigi Buffon was sent off with a red card.

Thomas Tuchel Appointed Manager Of Paris Saint-Germain
Thomas Tuchel was most recently the coach at Borussia Dortmund but parted ways in May 2017.

Jonathan Johnson/ESPN

Mauricio Pochettino Links Spurs' Future To Transfer Fund Availability
Mauricio Pochettino was asked whether he would definitely be at the club next season.

David Hytner/The Guardian

Barcelona's Unbeaten Quest Ends On Last Day Of Season
Lionel Messi was left at home to rest.

Sam Marsden/ESPN

City Expects To Keep Sergio Aguero Unless He Asks To Leave
Sergio Aguero is reportedly a target of Atletico Madrid.

Jamie Jackson/The Guardian

Raheem Sterling, City Open Extension Talks
Raheem Sterling earns about 170,000 a week on a deal that has two years remaining.

Jamie Jackson/The Guardian

Dani Alves Ruled Out Of World Cup Due To Knee Injury
Dani Alves suffered the injury in the French Cup final.

The Guardian

United Targeting Ajax's Justin Kluivert
Justin Kluivert scored 10 goals in 30 league games this season.

Jamie Jackson, Jacob Steinberg/The Guardian

Mohamed Salah Expected To Sign Improved Contract With Liverpool
Mohamed Salah sees his future as being at Liverpool.

Andy Hunter/The Guardian