STUNNER! Burdisso targets Mourinho, Cambiasso for Boca Juniors dream teamby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSacked Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is being linked with a sensational move to Boca Juniors.The deal is being driven by Boca’s new sports director Nicolas Burdisso, who played for Mourinho at Inter Milan.TMW says Burdisso wants to put together the dream team of Mourinho and Esteban Cambiasso, who would act as the Portuguese’s assistant manager. Like Burdisso, Cambiasso also played for Mourinho at Inter.While acknowledging it is a long shot, Burdisso is making a pitch to Mourinho, with contact already established.Guillermo Barros Schelotto left Boca as coach last week after losing the Copa Libertadores final to River Plate. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Man Utd ace Mata reveals unknown side to ‘frightening’ Van Gaalby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United veteran Juan Mata admits he was initially taken aback by Louis van Gaal’s unusual methods.The Spaniard spent two seasons under the Dutchman at United.Writing in his new book, Suddenly A Footballer, Mata said: “Hi, I’m Louis van Gaal, please can you introduce yourself and tell me things about you?”The manager, Ryan Giggs, myself and a bottle of Rioja wine – which he suggested we should try – were in that room.”It was pre-season, Los Angeles, and I was about to ‘introduce myself ‘ to my new coach.”Those who know Van Gaal know how intimidating he can be, face-to-face. Things about myself? I thought. What does he mean? I didn’t know where to start. I took the safe route.”‘My name is Juan, I’m 26 and I’ve been playing football since I’ve had a memory . . . ‘”‘I know that,’ he interrupted. ‘Tell me about your personal life. Do you have a wife? Children? What do you like apart from football?'”He started firing off direct questions about my life and career before moving on to footballing matters: ‘Where do you think you can play? What’s your position? Where do you see yourself in this system?'”Louis wanted to see what we were made of and how we reacted through his interrogation. He simply wanted to get to know his players better on and off the pitch.”The frightening aura around him soon dissipated to reveal a kind-hearted man. We started to notice how emotional he would get during his briefings.”When we had played very well or covered more ground and had more chances than the opposition, you could see the spark in his eyes, portraying how moved he was by his players’ effort.”He would also tell us about how he had received a letter from a mother thanking him because three players had stopped to sign autographs for her children after waiting for us for hours outside the training ground. He was genuinely moved by those small details.”On the pitch, he had a very special style of training that was structured in a rather routine manner. You were clear about what you were going to do before each session, which drills you would be doing and how you would prepare for games.”He really liked getting us to play on the deck and only opting for long balls as a last resort. His preference was for us to bring the ball out and play a passing game.”Off the pitch, he was also very structured in matters like all of us having lunch together at the training ground. We divided ourselves into tables and had to wait for one table to finish picking their food before we could pick ours.”When we travelled, whoever was one minute late was handed a not insignificant fine.”At the end of his time at the club, on his ‘farewell’, he let his emotional side take over and opened himself very honestly to us: ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be here next season, but I want to tell you anyway how proud I am of every single one of you. We fought together in adversity and we ended up lifting this special trophy. That is something that nobody will be able to change. Thank you to all of you’.”We had just won the FA Cup minutes earlier and he was saying ‘goodbye and good luck’. He handed out pieces of paper to each of us with our return date on it, as he had organised the pre-season for next July.”We all knew this was a routine process, going through the motions, because there were already so many rumours of him being sacked.”Only minutes after lifting the FA Cup trophy, they would end up being true.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Ben Hirsch’s incredible journey from Clifton Hill to Getafeby Chris Sermeno11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveIt’s game day, and you’re dressed from head to toe in team apparel, thinking of the game that lies ahead… The team bus is pulling into the stadium while crowds of fans mob the entrance, clamouring over each other with cameras and phones in hope of catching a glimpse of their idols through the windows. After a briefing in the change rooms, you lace up your brand new, personalised boots and take to the lush green pitch with your teammates, standing side by side while the adoring public chants and cheers, the spotlights flood the stadium with a brilliant white light for the game that awaits.What would it be like to be a world class footballer? We dream of what we would do with the money, the fame, the global outreach and the millions of adoring fans.While football is enjoyed by millions across the world, few really understand the hard work, career deciding choices and life altering sacrifices that’s required to make it to the professional scene. Australian footballer Ben Hirsch experienced the tough side of football that many of us don’t see. His stories from the humble suburbs of Melbourne to the cutthroat nature of the Spanish system has changed my views of becoming a professional footballer.-I was lucky enough to sit with Ben Hirsh for nearly two hours talking all things football. Apart from being a humble person, his insight and experience was rather unique, and relatable for a lot of young footballers.Ben was a reserved teen playing for Clifton Hill in the lower state tiers of Australian football. Granted, it’s better than your average Sunday league, but hardly of substance for those wanting to make huge leaps and bounds in the world of football. Ben was playing as a reliable left back for his side when he was scouted to train and play at a football academy in Madrid. As with any young player, a move to Europe for football sounds like a dream. In Ben’s case, the dream wouldn’t wait, he was asked to board a plane just a few days later.The two years that would follow had it all, the facilities, the first team treatment, the nerves and challenges of experiencing a new country that he wasn’t familiar with, injuries, and everything you can possibly imagine with being a pro footballer. His introduction to Spain was, in true Spanish fashion, rather direct and blunt. His chauffeur had nothing to go by but a picture of Ben, and they were unable to communicate due to the language barrier. His nerves were high as the driver took him to meet his agent.”Ready to train?”Sure enough, straight off a long flight to Madrid, an unfamiliar cab ride and he was still expected to come dressed to his first training session. There was no sympathy for jet lag, or culture shock. As an aspiring athlete you aren’t afforded such luxuries as a break like the international players.Ben recalls fond memories of his time at the academy, where his teammates welcomed him as one of their own. The share housing filled with aspiring footballers from around the world and local footballers trying to work their way up the Spanish system.”A few of them spoke English so I got to know them pretty well. It was like a family, we’d train together, eat together, live together. Everyone was always on the path for the same goal, to become a professional footballer and we all encouraged each other to keep playing our best and striving for more.”Language was one of the first barriers to overcome. Having come straight from Australia, Ben had no time to pick up any lessons or study beforehand, and it was lucky for him that some of his academy mates were able to converse with him, and make life a little more welcoming for the Aussie expat. The academy held a unique element of unity, which is something Ben was grateful for. Having been baptised in a myriad of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, his teammates were all very understanding of Ben’s disposition. Fortunately, private tutoring helped him to pick up the language and he was able to adapt to his surroundings a little more.I shifted the conversation slightly, and asked Ben “¿Todavía entiendes español?” (Do you still understand Spanish?)As it turns out his Spanish is still very good, we had a short exchange in another language. It’s almost funny how language, like sport, has the power to unite people.On the tactical side of things, Ben needed some time to adjust to the Spanish way of football. Stylistically, it flows much quicker, players are required to control the ball the same way in any scenario. The pace is highlighted by the understanding of both the system that was implemented and the players to execute the plan, regardless of their position or physical ability. “I felt like a fish out of water, at first not knowing much Spanish, then having to try and fit into a new team culture and system. “It took me a while to get used to, training up to 5 times a week doing tactics, drills, running and game play all on different days, as well as match days. There was no resting, or time to absorb the local culture when I first got there.”His teammates and opposition came from reaches around the world, however Ben humbly expressed how well he performed against some players that had taken to the international stage. “There were some internationally capped players, one in particular from the Republic of Congo who had a lot of fanfare about him. I marked on him for a game, and I almost had a laugh to myself about how this kid from Clifton Hill was playing against an international youngster, and did a pretty damn good job too.”Ben’s time with the academy was slowly coming to an end, and he was under the impression he would be jetting back to Australia with some overseas experience under his belt. As football takes its twists and turns, it was around the same time former Copa del Rey runners up Getafe CF came knocking.His parents joined him in Madrid for a few days, unbeknownst to all that he was about to be offered a 2 year contract with the La Liga outfit that same week. He signed a 2 year senior contract on the day of his late uncle’s birthday, which struck an emotional chord for him as his uncle was a passionate sports fan.”It felt like a dream, I had my parents in Spain with me, I got a shirt with my name on it, I couldn’t really believe this was happening for me. It felt like such a huge shift from the state leagues in Victoria to be training in Spain, then signing for Getafe.”From his academy and his roommates, he was thrust into his first professional environment at Getafe. He details the things that made it feel like the dream had become reality.”It’s the things like walking through the change room, getting treated by first team medical staff, stuff like that which makes you feel like you’re a part of something big.”We trained on top of the hill at the training grounds, and down below you could often see the first team training. Sometimes we’d be lucky to finish early and watch them train, and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. “They’d come up to us later, knowing we were the reserves and take time to say hello and get to know us a little bit.”As most footballing careers sound dreamy, this is where the hard yards kicked in for Ben.Unlike his time at the academy, Getafe is a professional outfit and the expectations were much higher. In terms of the team chemistry, Ben recalls it being a much harsher environment than his academy teammates. “It was much harsher. They weren’t exclusive or anything, but there’s this element of competition for places because for these guys, it was their career they’d worked hard for, or it was their means of making a living. They weren’t going to give up their spot without a fight.”As for many La Liga sides, their reserves play in lower tiers of the Spanish football pyramid. Ben tried as he might to get into the first team but stumbling blocks along the way slowly dissolved his love for the game. The difference in the culture and environment was easily the biggest difference, despite the academy and Getafe both being based in Madrid. The weight of expectation slowly began to play on his mental health. He credits his relationship at the time being one of the stable elements of his life during his footballing career. “This is the main reason I wanted to get my story out there. I didn’t realise until later on how much this was playing on my mental health. I was anxious, had bouts of depression because week in, week out you’re pouring in your blood, sweat and tears, only to find out you weren’t on the team sheet. But you’d do it all again the following week.”I played a few minutes in a game, maybe once a month if I was lucky. It was so tough, putting in all this effort for the chance to be involved. My girlfriend at the time was probably the best thing about my life. She was able to help me through some of the feelings and emotions I’d gone through, and if it wasn’t for her I probably would’ve had some sort of break down or gone home earlier, who knows.”It was an injury that lead to Ben questioning his future. A hamstring injury put him out for the better part of a few weeks, in which time he could finally relax and enjoy his surroundings, something he had lacked while living the tough life of a professional athlete. “The physio spoke English and she was really nice, it felt good getting treated by the first team doctors and being around the first team facilities. I wasn’t training for a while, so I got to go out and experience the city a little more.”I was wearing my Getafe tracksuit, and an older man saw me in the street, and he was thrilled to meet me. He asked how my leg was, said that I’ve got some talent and he can’t wait to see me play. It’s those sorts of moments that take away the hard yards a little bit and make you feel like a pro.”Ben made the most of his injury and took his first trip back home to Melbourne since leaving for the academy. Spending time in the unforgiving but glorious Australian summer, he realised what was most important to him, which was taking care of his mental health and spending time with his loved ones.”I simply couldn’t do that if I were to pursue being a footballer abroad. My mental health was suffering, and I didn’t realise until I’d spent time with family and realised what I was missing back home.”I went back to Madrid soon after and the manager agreed to let me go out on loan, but my mind was decided. I was ready to return home. My experiences were amazing, and I’m forever grateful for them, but evaluating what I truly believe to be best was to be back home.”After a long and arduous 2 years in Madrid, Ben finally returned to Melbourne. His life and career experiences have helped to shape him as a mentor as he manages Manningham’s under 16 side in the state leagues of Victoria, the same leagues he once played in at a similar age.”These days I love coaching and developing the next wave of players. Given my experience in Spain, I can play that big brother role for some of these younger guys, telling them what it takes to play in Europe and helping them to be the best they can be.”These days, Ben works in the family’s business of a winery, while continuing to manage and be involved in football at a coaching level. He hopes to one day move up in Victoria’s footballing world as a manager, but for now he’s content with life, and continues practicing his Spanish.Que viva la vida. TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris SermenoShare the loveHave your say
Brad Paisley College Gameday guest pickerBelieve it, college football fans – the 2015 season starts in just three days. That also means that Saturday morning, College GameDay will be back on our television screens. ESPN’s famed college football preview show will be broadcasting from Fort Worth, Texas, ahead of the Alabama vs. Wisconsin matchup. Monday, it was announced which celebrity would be joining the crew to make some predictions for the week.Country music star Brad Paisley will be doing some double duty for the event. He’ll be performing his new single “Country Nation” for the crowd and serving as the official celebrity guest picker.Paisley and Sam Ponder had an interesting Twitter conversation regarding the event, too. But no, she didn’t really convince him via social media. ESPN had already made the announcement via press release.Hey @BradPaisley got any plans on September 5th? Asking for a friend (or two)…— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) August 31, 2015Funny you ask, @Sam_Ponder… I was kinda hopin to hang with you and the @CollegeGameDay crew that day.— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) August 31, 2015@BradPaisley consider this your official invite! Fort Worth, TX. Sundance Square 9am.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) August 31, 2015.@sam_ponder Hell yeah. Guess I will see everyone on Sept 5th. Fired up for @CollegeGameDay.— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) August 31, 2015Paisley served as the guest picker for last year’s West Virginia vs. TCU contest. What do you think, college football fans? Is he the right choice to kick things off?
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has admitted he could leave the club following the current campaign.Valverde was named manager of the Catalan club prior to last season and the former Athletic Bilbao boss led his side to a successful campaign domestically, winning the league and cup double.Barca have continued to prosper this season under the 54-year-old, with the club topping La Liga currently and having advanced to the Champions League last 16. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Valverde has a contract through the 2019-20 season, but both he and the club have an option to terminate his deal a year early at the end of the current campaign.And he has confirmed that he could still choose to end his time at Camp Nou after just two seasons. “I do not know what I will do next season. In this football, who knows? We all know how things are. I never think long or long term,” Valverde told Barca TV.”For us, two months are a very long term. If you win a game, everyone is happy and if you lose, everyone is watching you.”What I want is for everyone to be satisfied with the work. But we are not going to cheat.”If you do not win the league, everyone looks at the coach because it is marked like that. I try to meet the objectives and, of course, how much we have left, so let’s see it.”Valverde went on to explain what he’s learned during his season and a half in charge in Catalonia, admitting that managing a club like Barcelona is a huge challenge.”It’s a continuous learning [process], Valverde said. “Every day something happens that you have to face in one way or another.”We all have a common goal: that the club works and is bigger each day, that we play well and that the people are happy.”Sometimes you hit them all or you’re wrong in all of them. Everything is analysed.”But I accept it and I take it well and trying to learn from all this, which is quite intense.”Barca return to action in La Liga on Sunday when they face Getafe.
Week 1 of the college football season kicks off in just two days – TWO DAYS!! It’s finally back from a lengthy hiatus.One of the team’s taking the field this week will be Tulane. The Green Wave kicks off its season opener against Wake Forest on Thursday night.Tulane rolled out new helmets for its Week 1 contest against the Demon Deacons. The Green Wave will be rolling into their home stadium with a very unique helmet decal.Check it out.Week 1 helmets for @GreenWaveFB @TulaneEquipment x #uniswag pic.twitter.com/KwxeSZ1DxU— UNISWAG (@UNISWAG) August 28, 2018Tulane features one of the more interesting mascots in the country and these helmets won’t do anything to quiet the fans of crazy alternate helmet decals and uniforms.Wake Forest opens the contest as a six-point favorite, with the over/under sitting at a comfortable 55. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. ET kickoff on Thursday night. It will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.Who do you think will take the win?
The harsh weather in Dallas truly affected both TCU and SMU, as the conditions caused several sloppy plays and blunders on Friday night.While the Horned Frogs certainly came alive in the second half, Gary Patterson’s offense couldn’t get a grip in the early portion of their matchup. Literally, TCU center Kellton Hollins committed the funniest turnover of the 2018 season against the Mustangs.Shawn Robinson was ready for the snap, but Hollins completely whiffed, which resulted in the first turnover of the season for the Frogs.Not often you see a guy whiff on the snap pic.twitter.com/vKRXEILMYn— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 8, 2018Fortunately for TCU, they scored 28 unanswered points in the final two frames. However, Patterson probably wasn’t too thrilled with his team’s inability to hold onto the pigskin. After all, his offense fumbled the ball five times last night.Now, the real test awaits next weekend at home for the Horned Frogs. With Ohio State coming into town, TCU can’t afford another barrage of turnovers.
Adrian Martinez suffered an apparent knee injury during Nebraska’s season-opening loss to Colorado on Saturday afternoon. Here’s the latest on the status of the Huskers’ freshman quarterback.Martinez, a former four-star recruit, left Nebraska’s game against Colorado late in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. His legs got twisted up under him while he was tackled by defenders. Martinez was down on the ground for a couple of minutes before getting helped off the field by trainers.The dual-threat quarterback immediately went into the medical tent. He was checked out for a couple of minutes before returning to the sideline. Martinez then sat on the bench with his knee taped.Nebraska head coach Scott Frost gave an update on Martinez’ status after the loss. It was an encouraging update.Frost says he received “semi-encouraging” news from the team’s doctors, but didn’t go into further detail. The head coach has a policy of not disclosing injury information about players unless they are season-ending injuries.“We’re going to wait before we talk about it and see what the doctors (say) it looks like,” Frost told reporters.Martinez had been playing extremely well, passing for 187 yards and rushing for 117 yards.“He’s going to be a really good player,” Frost said.Nebraska dropped to 0-1 on the season with the loss. The Huskers were supposed to begin the year last weekend against Akron, but the game was cancelled due to weather.Martinez made a couple of “freshman mistakes” against Colorado that hurt the Huskers. They were the type of mistakes you expect a first-year quarterback to make. Perhaps Martinez would have gotten those out of his system if the game against Akron had happened, though.Regardless, Nebraska is now 0-1 to start the Scott Frost era, and Martinez is dealing with an injury. Stay tuned for more updates on the status of Nebraska’s quarterback.
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 16: A member of the Oklahoma Sooners spirit squad waves a flag after a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones November 16, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State 48-10. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)The 2018 edition of the Bedlam Series takes place this weekend as Oklahoma take on Oklahoma State.The Sooners are ranked No. 6 in the polls and have been dominating opponents with their overwhelming offense.The Cowboys have beaten their previous ranked opponents so far (Texas and Boise State), but lost the following game both times.ESPN’s computer model has released its prediction for the game.ESPN’s computer model believes that Oklahoma are a lock to win. The computer model gives the Sooners a 88.8 percent chance to win this Saturday’s game.A win would put the Sooners on pace to win out the season and the Big 12 title provided they can beat West Virginia.The Bedlam Series has been historically one-sided in favor of Oklahoma. However, the Cowboys have a knack for spoiling things for the Sooners like they did in 2014.The game will be played at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC.