Spanish giants Real Madrid have beaten German champions Bayern Munich to the signing of Costa Rica goalkeeper Kelor Navas following his outstanding displays as the minnows reached the quarter finals in the World Cup.
The Costa Rican international goalkeeper was shortlisted for the Golden Glove award along with Sergio Romero of Argentina and eventual winner Manuel Neuer of Germany. He was one of the finest shot stoppers in the tournament and it was his displays in goal that proved pivotal as Costa Rica stunned Italy and Uruguay before holding England for a draw to progress into the second round from the Group of Death. Read more »
Barcelona recently completed the signing of Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who is expected to act as a backup for Marc-Andre ter Stegen. After losing both Victor Valdes and Freida Pinto last season, the club were in the market for two new goalkeepers. They did not waste any time in securing the first signing, Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The German came from Borussia Mönchengladbach and is expected to be the first choice for the club in the upcoming la Liga season. There was speculation that Barcelona would promote a player from the youth ranks in order to act as a backup.
This has not happened after they decided to go in for the experienced Bravo. The Chile goalkeeper has been impressive at the World Cup 2014 and helped his team qualify for the last 16 of the competition. At 31, he provides a wealth of experience – especially of playing in the Spanish league. He has been with Real Sociedad since 2006. During this period, he has made more than 200 appearances for the Spanish outfit. An experienced campaigner for the Chilean national team, he has made 82 appearances for the Latin American team.
Bravo has said in his first interview as Barcelona player that this move is a major step in his career. He hopes to be competing for a regular first-team spot in the coming campaign. “This is a huge step in my career. I am relaxed and focused on my main objective at the moment, which is the World Cup with Chile. But this is something really important for me. It is difficult to earn a move abroad and even more so to a club like Barcelona, so it fills me with pride. I’m relaxed. But these things help boost confidence ahead of what is an important game for me and for the team [against Brazil],” said Bravo.
Both Lionel Messi and Neymar have been criticised by former AC Milan midfielder Zvonimir Boban ahead of the World Cup 2014. Messi is regarded as the best in the world, while Neymar is regarded as the future successor to his throne. The two players have been playing together at Barcelona for the first time last season. Many expected this partnership to become one of the best, but there have been times when they look totally out of sorts. This led to Barcelona ending the season without a major trophy after eight years.
As both players head into the World Cup 2014 with Argentina and Brazil respectively, Boban says that they are both not in the best possible moment. Neymar struggled to live up to the expectations in the second half of the season, while Messi was heavily criticised for the lack of workrate. This could be a problem for both Argentina and Brazil at the World Cup according to Boban. In a staunch criticism, Boban also said that he does not expect Neymar to be in the running for the Golden Boot award. Since the 22-year-old is extremely lightweight, he will not be able to overcome the powerful defences.
This did prove to be a problem for Neymar in the second half of the season at Barcelona.
“Can Neymar win Golden Ball award? Not likely! He is not that good, not that powerful. He is amazing talent but currently is far from being top class. He will never be Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Iniesta, and specially Messi. Someone should tell him the truth about himself, Messi should face Messi. He is absolutely unprepared, unfit and demotivated the whole time, except against Real Madrid, where he played with 30 per cent of his capabilities and showed how superior he is,” said the former Milan player.
If anyone had asked you a few weeks ago who was going to win this year’s World Cup, you might well have said Brazil, perhaps Spain – or maybe even Argentina? And you might well have been right. After all, it’s early days yet and the team that wins this competition is usually the one that’s playing the best football at the end of the tournament, rather than the start of it.
If you think back to the last World Cup in South Africa 2010, Spain lost their opening game to Switzerland – a capable side indeed but hardly one to match the giants of world football. Of course, we all know what happened after that; Spain stormed through all before them, ultimately ending the tournament as convincing winners, in what was quite a disappointing final against the Dutch who played what was, for them, an uncharacteristically cynical game. Read more »