Taking on one’s first professional coaching gig is never easy, but it is even more difficult when one is taking charge of a team that is currently facing a relegation battle.
That is the task that Xabi Alonso will be facing as Bayer Leverkusen’s new coach. After parting ways with Gerardo Soames, die Werkself moved quickly to find his replacement, and announced that Alonso will be their new manager as of October 5th.
The 40-year-old Alonso has enjoyed a highly successful career, playing for big clubs such as Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, where he won multiple trophies at club and continental level. In addition, he was part of the Spanish team that won three major titles on the trot (EURO 2008 and 2012) as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Alonso inherits a side that are in dire straits. At the moment, die Werkself have won just one of their last five matches and sit in a disappointing 17th place after an awful start to the season. German youngster Florian Wirtz has been out injured, which has severely hurt the team’s creative efforts, and players like Patrik Schick and Moussa Diaby have really struggled to make any sort of impact.
However, despite the challenge, Alonso appears ready to take it on and help Leverkusen rediscover the form that helped them to qualify for the Champions League last season.
“I was attracted by the club, the project and the team [as] I feel that I can play an important role here and have an impact on the team, that I can improve the team and myself,” he noted in his first ever press conference.
“I want us to play modern football, be dominant, intense and dynamic. [More important], the players should enjoy and like how they’re playing. We want the stadium to be packed and to have a great atmosphere.”
In a curious twist of fate, Alonso’s first match in charge of Leverkusen will be against Schalke on Saturday. During his time at Bayern Munich, Schalke were also the first time he faced after signing for die Roten back in 2014.
Like Leverkusen, Schalke have been in poor form, sitting just one point ahead of die Werkself so this match could present a great chance for Alonso to hit the ground winning and guide his new team to a much needed win.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hits back at criticism from Aubameyang
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reacted to criticism from former captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, stressing that the current Arsenal’s dressing room is the best he has been in.
The Spanish manager insisted that his current squad is more hardworking than in previous years.
Aubameyang left the Emirates stadium for Barcelona in controversial circumstances after a fall-out with Arteta over disciplinary issues.
He, however, returned to England after a six months stint at the Camp Nou, signing for Chelsea.
A video emerged recently of the Gabonese International slamming Arteta over his management skills.
“To manage big characters or big players, he (Arteta) can’t deal with it. He (Arteta) needs some young players, they don’t say anything, they listen,” Aubameyang was recorded as saying in an interview with A Jewellers.
Arteta was asked about Aubameyang’s comments on the eve of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Bodo/Glimt.
‘People are free to discuss what they want,’ he told reporters in Norway.
‘I have never been in a better dressing room (than this season) – more enjoyable, more hard-working, a better relationship between staff and players and it is an absolute pleasure as a coach to be a part of this group.’
The Gunners sit top of the Premier League table after beating Liverpool 3-2 on Sunday, with Bukayo Saka grabbing a brace.
In the Europa League, they also sit on top of their group table, and will face Bodo/Glimt on Thursday in Matchday 4 of the Europa League.
Chaos at PSG: Kylian Mbappe and sporting advisor Luís Campos want to leave the Ligue 1 giants this January
PSG are gearing up for a crucial UEFA Champions League showdown with Benfica on Tuesday, but on the day of that interesting European fixture, several shocking reports have broken regarding the behind-the-scenes mayhem at the club.
The first involves star player Kylian Mbappe, who just recently signed a new deal at the Parc des Princes. However, despite snubbing the opportunity to join Real Madrid for free over the summer, the Frenchman has reportedly grown frustrated with the French champions and now wants out.
RMC initially broke this news, with Marca later posting an exclusive, claiming that the relationship between Mbappe and PSG has completely broken down. The attacker, who has scored eight goals in nine Ligue 1 outings and netted three in three in the UEFA Champions League, feels betrayed by his employers and is ready to leave.
This story has also been corroborated by well-known French journalist Julien Laurens, which is a concern for the Parisiens fans. And to make things worse, Kylian wishes to leave the capital this January.
The reasons are simple: before signing his new deal, the 23-year-old was made several promises by the PSG board, and many have not been kept. The goalscorer is particularly upset with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari ownership, and Antero Henrique.
It’s no secret that the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner prefers to play in a two-man attack, similar to the French national team where he plays off of Olivier Giroud. However, under Galtier, Mbappe remains merely a member of a star-studded three-man attack alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Hence, he is not the jewel in the crown, the man the team is built around. Instead, he continues to share the spotlight with the Argentine and Brazilian superstars.
As a result, the player wishes to leave this winter but it remains uncertain whether Real Madrid, the club he desires to join, will make a move for the Frenchman. Marca claim that his PSG deal is until 2024, not 2025 as publicly reported, but any attempt to land the world-class attacker will be difficult nonetheless.
As for Luis Campos, Le Parisien reports that the Portuguese sporting advisor could leave if Mbappe departs as the pair enjoy a lovely relationship from their time together at Monaco. Additionally, Campos is also unhappy with Henrique, the man tasked with spearheading the club’s transfer negotiations, as he failed to sell the unwanted players last summer, which then prevented the club from strengthening as initially planned.
Ronaldo scores 700th club goal of his career
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th club goal of his career after coming off the bench to put Manchester United in front at Everton on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been relegated to the bench for the majority of Erik ten Hag’s time in charge at United, but made his entrance on the half-hour mark to replace the injured Anthony Martial.
It took Ronaldo just 14 minutes to net his first Premier League goal of the season as he latched onto Casemiro’s pass before firing low past Jordan Pickford to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
That strike took the 37-year-old’s tally in two spells with United to 144. Real Madrid’s record goalscorer hit 450 for the Spanish giants, while he scored 101 times for Juventus and five for Sporting Lisbon.
The Portugal captain also holds the record for goals at international level with 117.
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