Griezmann Better Than Rodriguez

Atletico Madrid have got into the noses of their arch rivals Real Madrid by saying that their new signing Antoine Griezmann is much better than Madrid’s marquee signing of the summer, James Rodriguez. Griezmann has been signed from Real Madrid for a transfer fee of € 25 million, which would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago given the financial problems faced by Atletico. However, success in the league followed by an appearance in the Champions League final last season has boosted their revenues significantly. Further, the sale of players like Diego Costa and Filipe Luis has also provided manager Diego Simeone with significant transfer funds.

After spending on the likes of Mario Mandzukic in the last few weeks, Atletico recently brought in Griezmann. They also witnessed the arrival of James Rodriguez, who was the superstar at the World Cup with six goals. Rodriguez moves to Real Madrid just one summer after his € 30 million move to Monaco. The impressive World Cup campaign has boosted his price to € 80 million, which is reported as the figure paid by the Spanish club to the French outfit. This makes Rodriguez the fifth most expensive player in the world.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says that despite the price, he feels that Griezmann has the ability to become a better player.

“Antione is a player who is more tested across Europe and is the signing of the summer. [Griezmann] is comparable to players like Luis Suarez. He’s a great reinforcement for the club and we made a great effort to bring him in. Though I had many offers, he decided on a serious and important club like Atletico. We don’t know about James because he still doesn’t have a defined path,” said the Atletico Madrid president at the unveiling of Griezmann.

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van Gaal Defends Team Tactics

Dutch national team boss Louis van Gaal has defended the tactics of his team in the 2-0 win over Chile. For most of the match, Netherlands tried to defend. Whenever they got their ball, they tried to quickly bring their strikers into play with long balls. Winger Arjen Robben was also playing as the striker along with Jermain Lens. The Dutch, though, failed to take a number of opportunities that fell their way particularly to Robben. After the introduction of Memphis Depay brought out of the first goal of the match.

It was a frustrating match from Netherlands after having given football fans across the globe a lot of entertainment in the first two group matches. They had beaten Spain 5-1 in the opening match followed by a 3-2 win over Australia in the subsequent group match. They came into the match against Chile already having qualified, but with the group winner yet to be decided. Being the group winner was extremely important for both teams since it would meant avoiding Brazil in the last 16 of the tournament.

Netherlands managed to achieve this with a 2-0 victory. They will face Mexico in the last 16 of the tournament, while Chile go on to face Brazil. Louis van Gaal stated that they were certainly not going to play to the strengths of Chile. Hence, they adopted this tactic. “If I played 4-3-3 against Chile, Robben would have had to run after them. They can’t do that for 90 minutes. You just have to play according to your strengths, it’s all about winning. I’ll pick a system that helps me win. This is proof of the pudding. We’re not giving away very much, but we’re creating a lot. If I didn’t do that, you’d chop off my head,” said Van Gaal.

Costa World Cup Future In Doubt

Spain striker Diego Costa has stated that he is not worried about his fitness right now. There is a lot of concern surrounding the 25-year-old’s fitness, which took a turn for the worse in the last few weeks of the campaign. The Atletico Madrid striker was forced off the last few matches of the league football campaign, while he also played only a couple of minutes in the Champions League final as well. He has been struggling with a hamstring problem. As a result, there is a lot of doubt as to whether he will take part in the World Cup 2014.

He has been included in the squad by Spain manager Vicente del Bosque, but he has not been moving freely in the recent warmup friendly matches. Despite this, he has stated that he will be fit for the opening match against Netherlands. This is expected to be a tough World Cup for Spain, who come into the tournament as the defending champions. However, they do not have the finest compliment of strikers. This led to Spain calling Costa, who was born in Brazil and is also eligible to play for the host nation. This is expected to create a lot of hostility surrounding the 25-year-old.

“Things are going well for me. People have treated me well and in the manner I hoped. I have the support of most people who understand what has gone on. My parents are very happy that I am here, close to them. They support my decision. I needed the match with El Salvador. Now I am fine and I will have no problems for the first match,” said the Spain striker. Costa is widely expected to agree a £ 32 million move to Chelsea in the summer. The striker scored more than 35 goals last season.

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Martinez has No Plans To Move

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has claimed that he is not planning to leave the club in the summer transfer window after a frustrating season at the club. The former athletic Bilbao midfielder was a £ 25 million signing for the German giants in 2012. In his first season at the club, he lifted the Champions League title along with the league. It was highly anticipated that the arrival of manager Pep Guardiola last summer will improve his fortunes at the club, but it has worked in the opposite way. Martinez has found himself subjected to squad rotation more than in previous years.

As a result, he has been unable to get the consistency going and he has largely been a substitute due to this reason. After making 43 appearances in all competitions last season, he ended up making only 34 this time around. As a result, he has been widely linked with a move away from the club in the last few weeks. He has a contract until the summer of 2017. Ahead of the World Cup 2014, Martinez has claimed that he is only focusing on his international career with Spain and that he intends to stay at Bayern Munich for the time being.

There have been several reports that Guardiola is reportedly unhappy with his performances.

“I am just focused on staying on [at Bayern Munich]. I have read the newspapers saying Pep [Guardiola] is happy with my input. I believe the club is also delighted about my services. I have had great conversation with the authorities. We have never spoken about leaving the club. If the club is wanting me to stay on, I will stay on. And this is what I expect the club to be out for,” said Martinez. The player has been named in the provisional 30 man squad for the World Cup.

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EVER PRESENT KOLAROV

Manchester City left back Aleksandar Kolarov has been an ever present for the club this campaign, as he has managed to consistently come in front of Gael Clichy in terms of team selection. However, this was not the case last season when the Serbian defender found himself on the fringes of first-team more often than not. He has now revealed that he came close to leaving the club in the summer, but the decision to stay and play under Manuel Pellegrini has proven to be a wise one in hindsight.

Even though he was brought into the club by former manager Roberto Mancini, Kolarov has only become a regular first-team player – especially in the big matches – under Pellegrini. Even though Clichy is much more attacking left back than Kolarov, the Serbian has managed to establish himself as a niche player due to the high quality crosses that he delivers into the box for the likes of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo to attack. One of the main reasons for Manchester City striker’s to have found the net on a consistent basis this campaign is the attacking intent shown by Kolarov.

Further, he has also been defensively secure and it has helped City maintain one of the best defensive records in the division.

“Last season I was thinking, because I didn’t play a lot, that maybe it was a good thing for me to move. I had a couple of opportunities, but in the end I refused everything because I didn’t want to go from here. I hadn’t shown the people what I can do. Now, this season, I think I have shown what I can do. For me it has been a victory, personally, for myself. If you play regularly you can improve a lot in every game,” said the Serbian defender.

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