Football News: Messi Owes Ronaldo, Man City Upset Australia And Dortmund Not Quite Ready Plus More

 

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Messi Owes Ronaldo, Man City Upset Australia And Dortmund Not Quite Ready Plus More
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1. Livingston youngster gets Manchester United trial
Matthew Knox recently became Livingston's youngest ever player, when he made his debut in a 4-1 victory over St Mirren on Boxing Day, now he has just had his fourth trial with a major Premier League team, following trials with Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the 16 year old has now spent a week at Manchester United's training ground in Carrington. "He's had interest from Manchester United and Chelsea and he's been on trials at Spurs, Everton and Liverpool," his father, who is also called Matthew, told the East Lothian Courier this month. It is a meteoric rise for a teenager who has only had a few minutes of first team football so far in his career.

2. Evans looking to the future after leaving the bright City lights behind for Reading
George Evans became just the second player ever to represent Manchester City at all levels from under-8s to the senior side earlier this season when he made his debut as a late substitute in a 4-1 win over Sunderland in the League Cup. Despite this, the 21 year old has moved away from big spending City to join Reading in the Championship during the January window in the hope of getting some regular first team football. He had previously been loaned out by the Citizens to Scunthorpe United, Crewe Alexandra and Walsall to get it, but Evans is looking forward to getting a regular chance with the club that now owns him. "I am absolutely delighted," Evans told the official Reading website. "I am really excited about the opportunity. I had time on loan at Walsall which was a fantastic experience for me and I then had a few opportunities for a permanent move and, as soon as I heard Reading were interested, it was an option I really wanted to take. It is a massive club. Great manager, great stadium." The Royals are nine points off the play offs, after just two wins in their last ten matches, but the fans have been lifted by the recent return of the manager who led them to their last spell in the Premier League, fan favourite Brian McDermott.



3. Dortmund still not fresh according to Tuchel
The Bundesliga's winter break is just about to end, yet, after a month off to recharge the batteries, mainly spent in Dubai, Thomas Tuchel believes his Borussia Dortmund side are still not fresh. Dortmund have won all three of their friendlies during the break, against Eintracht Frankfurt, Jeonbuk Motors and Slavia Prague, but Tuchel believes they are far from being match sharp yet. "We had good and not-so-good spells - that's how it is when you play again on a Tuesday evening and are looking ahead to Saturday," Tuchel told the BVB website. "We got another victory, that was our third game won. But there is still room for improvement in all areas. We are still not completely fresh, the competition and the atmosphere are still missing too. For the point in time we are at, we are looking good on the pitch. We have now had three friendly matches and we will definitely need more sharpness - but that will come in due course. Today you could see that in some situations we did not give it everything we had defensively to avoid risking injuries." Tuchel will hope to keep the winning run going when they return to Bundesliga action on Saturday against Borussia Monchengladbach.

4. Jovetic believes cup win over Napoli can lift the team
Serie A leaders Napoli were defeated 2-0 in the Coppa Italia quarter finals by Inter Milan, who were struggling in the league of late, winning just one of their last four and dropping down to third. Inter forward Stevan Jovetic believes that the victory can lift the side and help them pick up their league form once more. "That's just the win we needed, against a good side in a tough place to come. The whole team played well," Jovetic told the Inter website. "We struggled a bit in the first half but we stepped it up a gear after the break and played our football. I was missing a goal. At times you don't manage to do what you set out to. I always try to give 100% but we're not machines." Inter are now four points behind Napoli in Serie A.



5. Klinsmann faces selection criticism
Whether it is a case of sour grapes, after USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has ignored him in recent squads, or whether Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber has a genuine reason for his gripe, it is difficult to dismiss his criticism of Jurgen Klinsmann's selection policy for the national team, as his voice is one of many. Feilhaber believes that there is nothing he could do to get himself in the side, no matter how well he plays. "I don't know what that reason is," Feilhaber said Tuesday. "I don't know if Jurgen doesn't like these players, he doesn't like their attitude, he doesn't like their faces, he thinks they are ugly. I don't know. I've accepted the fact that Jurgen's not going to call me," Feilhaber added. "If I play the year that I played this last year, and I'm not getting a call, then I'm not going to get an opportunity under Jurgen. He would rather put young guys on the team that potentially could become somewhat important on the team and he leaves out players that could make the team better right now. That's the number one job of a national team coach. Not to make the team as good as he can make it in five years, to make it as good as he can make it now and continuously improve it," Feilhaber said.

6. Phoenix hit out at Man City deal
Melbourne City have just signed 23 year old Australian midfielder Anthony Caceres from parent club Manchester City, just days after the Manchester club signed Caceres from Melbourne's A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners. With A-League clubs currently unable to transfer between themselves, Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has made it clear he is unhappy with the deal. "I find that whole situation strange - we're trying to link up with Chelsea now, and hope they'll sign a few players and put them out on loan to us for $5 a week," he said. "It's getting farcical really, but that's for the FFA to deal with. I can't think of anything more ridiculous." The FFA admit the rules need to be looked at in a bid to close the loophole, but admit nothing can be done during the current season. "The transfer of Anthony Caceres from the Central Coast Mariners to Manchester City and the subsequent loan from Manchester City to Melbourne City has been completed in line with the current FFA regulatory framework," A-League chief Damien de Bohun said in a statement. "Those regulations are reviewed in the normal course of business after every season."



7. Transfer round up
Rafa Soares Porto to Coimbra on loan
Jean Fluminese to Palmeiras undisclosed fee
Fedor Kudryashov Terek Grozny to Rostov £1.4m
Damien Budjemaa unattached to Astra Giurgiu
Hakan Aslantas Osmanlispor to Genclerbirligi free
Roger Bahia to Red Bull Brazil free
Nejc Vidmar NK Domzale to NK Olimpija Ljubljana £210,000
Hicham Belkaroui released by Club Africain Tunis
Daisuke Suzuki released by Kashiwa Reysol
Gilberto Macena Buriram United to Al Qadisiyah free
Vitor Junior Siam Navy to Al Qadisiyah free
Stephen Hendrie West Ham United to Southend United on loan
Will Buckley Sunderland to Birmingham City on loan
Bard Finne 1. FC Koln to 1.FC Heidenheim £490,000
Guilherme Santos unattached to Sampaio Correa
Jota Brentford to SD Eibar on loan
Yura Movsisyan Spartak Moscow to Real Salt Lake on loan
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez CA Tigre to Estudiantes free
Emiliano Rigoni Belgrano to Independiente £700,000
Emmanuel Mayuka FC Metz to Zamalek undisclosed fee
Javier Matilla released by Real Betis
Bill Busan Ipark to Ceara SC free
Marcelo Diaz Hamburg SV to Celta Vigo £1.26m
Marco Ruban Dynamo Kyiv to CA Rosario £2.03m
Ignacio Nicolini Racing Club FC Flamurtari free
Valentin Viola Apollon Limassol to Mouscron on loan
Mason Bennett Derby County to Burton Albion on loan
Adnan Aganovic FC Viitorul to AEL Limassol £35,000
Thaer Bawab CS Universitaria Craiova to Steaua Bucharest free
Pedro Franco Besiktas to San Lorenzo on loan
Dario Lezcano FC Luzern to FC Ingolstadt £1.75m
Santiago Trellez Arsenal de Sarandi to Le Equidad on loan

8. Fletcher leaves English football to return home
Australian Matthew Fletcher has spent the last few years in English football, but has now returned home to join Central Coast Mariners. The 23 year old Fletcher has been training with the Mariners since before Christmas and did enough to persuade Mariners coach Tony Walmsley to add him to his squad. "He needed to work hard for this opportunity after time out through injury and has shown a real appetite and dedication to his craft," Walmsley said. "His potential excites me. He has all the makings of a top class striker and we expect him to start to fulfil that potential and be a great contributor to the Mariners' future success." Fletcher had spent time with Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City while in England and is in line to make his debut at the same time as new marquee signing, former Liverpool and Barcelona star Luis Garcia.



9. Lampard backs Chelsea to get a top half finish
Despite Chelsea's struggles in the bottom reaches of the English Premier League table, their former midfielder Frank Lampard has backed them to finish in the top half of the league. While interim manager Hiddink has warned the Blues players and fans that the club is in a relegation battle, their club legend Lampard believes that relegation is not going to happen. "We're not used to it," Lampard said about Chelsea's league position. "I was really fortunate to part of a really good era. A bad season was like second, third, or fourth at the most, so I think it's shocking. Now, I think the club will come back. They're a huge club, and there's obviously been issues there. You see that when they fire the manager who won the league six months before. I know a lot of people at the club. They will come back." Lampard has moved to the MLS to join New York City FC in recent months, after a season on loan at Premier League rivals Manchester City, their parent club. Lampard backed Roman Abramovich's decision to sack Jose Mourinho: "I think it was a difficult call. It's not easy to say whether it was the right or wrong solution until you look back and how it goes in the future, the next two or three years," Lampard said. "Nobody was happy at Chelsea. The players wouldn't have been happy with its position. Jose Mourinho himself wouldn't have been. Sometimes that means a change. Chelsea are very used to change, but what they've always had is results, so I'd like to see them get back to the top half of the table very soon."

10. Ronaldo says Messi owes him
Cristiano Ronaldo has ruined all the talk of a bitter rivalry between himself and the other current major world superstar Lionel Messi. With the pair playing for rival clubs, in the shape of Real Madrid and Barcelona, and facing off in the Ballon d'Or year after year, the media have built up a story of a rivalry that lacks any warmth or friendliness. Ronaldo has completely debunked that talk now, as spoke to the media about their relationship and joked about how Messi and Neymar Jr (who finished third in the voting for the Ballon d'Or behind the pair) owe him money for working as their English translator at the awards ceremony. "When we were up there on the stage neither Messi nor Neymar speaks English, and I was their translator," said Ronaldo. "I spoke with them later and told them not to forget to pay me later for the translation!" On Messi he said: "We have become closer, we have always enjoyed a good relationship but perhaps in the last few years it has become a little closer."

Written by Tris Burke

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