Guardiola, Drogba, Iniesta and more reaction from London

Leave a comment

Not only are the particulars talking in the wake of today’s result in London, but given the way the match played out, they have a lot to say.

Barcelona were handed a 1-0 loss by Chelsea, with the talking points centering around how the Blues went about their play. As you’ll see, nobody was too interested in moralizing about Roberto Di Matteo’s tactics. Instead, the focus has shifted to Tuesday’s second leg.

  • “It was a collective performance by the whole team. We knew we would get chances and Didier [Drogba] was in the right spot at the right time.” – Roberto di Matteo, via UEFA
  • It’s not simple to come here. People say Barca are much, much better … but this [CFC] team is experienced in the semi-finals.” – Pep Guardiola, via @SamWallaceIndy
  • “It wasn’t perfect because they had chances but we’ve done what we could. There’s amazing quality in their team but we gave 100% and we tried to stay organized. Mentally it’s very difficult to keep focus all the time but we’ve done it.” – Petr Cech, via UEFA
  • “Deserved more? Result is what it is, you’ve to congratulate Chelsea. Probably our semi with most chances, but we didn’t score.” – Guardiola, via @barcastuff
  • “If football is about counting possession we would win every game. The game is putting the ball in the net.” – Guardiola, via @JohnBrewinESPN
  • “Chelsea took advantage of the chance that they had while we were lacking that killer instinct in front of goal. They waited for us at the back and defended very well tonight.” – Andrés Iniesta, via UEFA
  • “It was more or less the game we expected, created more chances than we had thought, but couldn’t make that goal.” – Guardiola, via @barcastuff
  • “We’ve had to be patient tonight. We didn’t touch the ball for the first 15 minutes. Didier [Drogba] worked very hard and it was a tireless performance by everyone.” – John Terry, via UEFA
  • “Chelsea wasting a lot of time, especially Drogba? They play the way they think is best, we should know how to deal with that.” – Guardiola, via @barcastuff
  • “I think we’ve learnt and improved from three years ago. We are happy because the result is a good one. Now, we need to go there and score to qualify.” – Didier Drogba, via UEFA
  • “The winner is always right, so tonight Chelsea had the right tactics.” – Guardiola, via @barcastuff
  • “The challenge is to again have 24 shots on Tuesday like we had tonight, and then score from those.” – Guardiola, via @barcastuff
  • “They’re an exceptional side but we were brilliant. For the effort and the commitment we deserved what we’ve got. We’ll see how important [not conceding an away goal is]; last time we kept a clean sheet at the Camp Nou so it could be very important if we manage to score there.” – Cech, via UEFA
  • “We will play in front of our own fans next week and we have to look to be aggressive at home.” – Iniesta, via UEFA
  • “The away leg will be a very tough game. They will have lots of chances on their big pitch. We respect them but we’re not in awe of them.” – Terry, via UEFA
  • “It won’t be easy because it’s never easy when a team defends so deep.” – Guardiola, via @RobHarris
  • “Now the favorites are Chelsea. They have a great result. We have 90 minutes to challenge them.” – Guardiola, via @OliverKayTimes
  • “I think it’s still 50-50, we have a second leg away from home and know it’s going to be a difficult one.” – Di Matteo, via BBC
  • “Only winners are remembered.” – Guardiola, via @RobHarris

Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Wolfsburg hires Martin Schmidt after firing Andries Jonker

Twitter/@VfLWolfsburg_EN
Leave a comment

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.

[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]

Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.

The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.

The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.

More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]

The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Dodging Rain Drops…. Reaction Drill… Keep Moving!! 💧🎾 @chrisvarnavas

A post shared by Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) on

Cavani, Neymar feud presents questions about PSG chemistry

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
3 Comments

Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.

[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]

In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.

The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.

First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.

The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.