Repeat this after me:
Say it, and really believe it.
“Rare is the ‘training stint’ that is 100 percent ‘training stint.’ ”
Players who go overseas for a week or two weeks or whatever do certainly get something out of the exercise. They are staying in shape and sharpening their all the little tools in their bag of technical tricks. Further, they get exposed to the professionalism and serious business of soccer in other lands.
But the clubs are getting something too. At some point, as I keep saying, these are de facto tryouts.
I give you Osvaldo Alonso, the Seattle Sounders’ crackerjack holding midfielder, who is training at Upton Park with West Ham. The club says it’s a training spell – and I have no trouble believing that on its face. However …what if they like what they see?
Here’s what West Ham boss Sam Allardyce says about that ticklish little scenario:
We’re never going to turn one down are we? Or two! You’ve always got to try. If there’s anybody there who can enhance or better the team, then we would like to go for them.”
“Whether that’s short term, long term, it depends when the window opens who is actually available and who we can to get to come in.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.
After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.
Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.
Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.
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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.
Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.
Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.
Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.
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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.
Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.
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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.
The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.