With Spanish giants Real Madrid chasing Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric, the door for Brazilian legend Kaká to depart the Bernabeu is wide open. Because of injuries and competition for places, Kaká has almost found himself as the forgotten man of football, but is keen to revive his fortunes and prove that he still has the magical touches that once made him the most in-demand footballer in the world. The 30 year old has sensatioanlly now been offered a link back to his former club, AC Milan in Italy's Serie A.
It will be a fitting return for the Brazilian, who left the Milanese to move to Real Madrid back in 2009. In order to make his mark on his new club, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez went and stumped up and offer of €68.5 million to prise Kaká away from AC Milan. That was the kind of money that the Italian giants could not afford to lose of course. So once again, footballing decisions about keeping their best player, turned into financial and economic decisions. AC Milan took the bait and Kaká moved to Spain.
Former England manager Fabio Capello has snubbed any prospective moves to the English Premier League, by deciding instead to take on the challenge of the Russian national side. Capello will take over from Dick Advocaat, who led Russia through Euro 2012, but stepped down to pursue club management instead. For Capello, after walking out on the English national side after Chelsea defender John Terry was stripped of the captaincy by the English FA, amid the player awaiting trail for alleged racists remarks against QPR's Anton Ferdinand, it was expected that the Italian would be looking for work in England with a Premier League club.
The man himself had said that he wanted to try his hand in the Premier League, but would only take over a club that was a genuine title contender. That really narrowed his options a bit, but he was heavily linked with a move to Champions League holders Chelsea. This was because the owner of the London club, Roman Abramovich, dragged his heels over offering interim boss Roberto di Matteo a permanent contract. But, with that door finally closed, and with Andre Villas-Boas taking charge at Tottenham, there weren't any real options left for Capello in England, so he has now become the next manager of Russia.
Russia have gone through quite a few managers during the last decade or so, never really settling on anyone. Capello becomes their third manager in six years, so there is a rapid turnaround in the national hot seat. After two Dutchmen, Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat having tried their hand, it now passes on to the Italian. So what can Capello bring to the table? Experience, will be the biggest factor that the Russia authorities will be looking at. Capello has had tremendous success through his years as a club manager, winning league titles in Italy and Spain, as well as a Champions League. His first taste of international football came with England, but after a miserable 2010 World Cup, where England were wholeheartedly disappointing in every aspect, he stayed around and was with charged with putting some youth into the English game.
Uruguay are rapidly becoming one of the teams most fancied to take Olympic Gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games football tournament. What has sparked this interest? Namely the fact that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Napoli forward Edinson Cavani have been named in their Olympic squad. That is a huge forward presence, and both of them enter the 23 man squad as two of the allowed three over-age players. La Celeste are now running as one of the favourites to challenge Brazil and Spain for the top honours, and they go for their third Olympic title after winning in 1924 and 1928. Along with Cavani and Suarez, Uruguay have named Egidio Arevalo Rios as their third over-age player and with the resurgence of Uruguay as a football nation over the past few years, should put them in good standing at London 2012.
Of course, despite the three named players, the rest of the squad is made up of youngsters under the age of 23. So this in not the fully fledged side that we are looking at, but it is still one which shows a huge amount of promise. Uruguay are the second ranked team in the Coca-Cola FIFA World Rankings followed victory at the 2011 Copa America and finishing third at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as well. So while the senior side have made huge strides forward, the task with that of course, is keeping the momentum going, and now all eyes will turn to the next generation of players coming through the ranks of Uruguay. All in all, it looks pretty good and with banking on the proven talent of Suarez and Cavani in particular, then they will be a force to be reckoned with for some time.
Glasgow Rangers, along with city rivals Celtic have dominated Scottish football for well over a century. Rangers themselves have won 54 Scottish League Championships, 33 Scottish Cups and 27 Scottish League Cups since being formed in 1872. But after falling into liquidation on June 14th, its assets were sold off and the club itself was projected to get dissolved completely in the space of eight weeks. But a lifeline was handed to them as a consortium snapped up those assets for the sum of £5.5 million and then reformed Rangers as a completely new company (or a “newco” which is the new buzzword in the media). However, despite the club being saved, it was not enough for them to maintain their place in the Scottish Premier League.
But Blanc it seems, did not really have the full backing of the tentative French Football Federation (FFF) and once more, moody, behind the scenes unrest, plagued the national side. This time the unrest was over contract details between Blanc and the FFF, with the manager expecting to have his contract extended before Euro 2012, following all the good work that had happened over the previous two years. But the FFF had different ideas and weren't prepared to offer that apparently, with some reports saying that they had never intended too. Blanc believed differently, that the Federation had made a breach of contract and a rift opened up before Euro 2012, which the parties involved tried to keep muted.
This has become an all too familiar story with the French, tales of unrest, uncommitted players on the pitch and dressing room fall outs. Some French players staged a rebellion against Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup, refusing to train and they subsequently received bans. Now, at the conclusion of Euro 2012, four more players have been sanctioned, with Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yann M'Vila all cited for disciplinary action for misdemeanors during the tournament. So it is not very often that the French camp seems a very happy one, and you don't often see them unite as a team. This is a terrible shame, because with a positive outlook on things and camaraderie, they would be a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.