More success for Chelsea this season?

Jose Mourinho tells John Terry “he’s not safe”

Leave a comment

If John Terry thinks he’s got a free ride with Jose Mourinho at the helm, he’s got another thing coming to him.

The Portuguese manager made things crystal clear for the Chelsea captain on Friday, informing him that he’s not safe.

After acknowledging the history and friendship between Terry and himself, Mourinho informed reporters in Kuala Lumpur that “John’s not safe and he knows he’s not safe. The only thing he knows is safe is our friendship.”

Who Mourinho will deploy as his starting center-backs is one of the many issues ‘The Special One’ must sort out before the 2013-14 Premier League season kicks-off. Terry has long been a mainstay in that role but last year injuries and signs of aging derailed the 32 year old’s season.

Former Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez preferred a partnership of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz. Conventional wisdom suggests Mourinho will likely go the same way. Ivanovic remains one of the toughest and most well-rounded defenders in the Premier League whereas Luiz’ astonishing 2012-13 campaign has some critics considering him the best young center-back in the game.

There may be some wiggle room for Terry, however, as both Ivanovic and Luiz can make impacts at other positions on the field. Ivanovic is more than capable of playing as a right-back although his somewhat underwhelming speed can be a concern. Luiz, on the other hand, fancies himself a holding midfielder and whereas he’s proven himself dangerous going forward, he tends to loose himself on the pitch when afforded too much freedom.

Then there’s Gary Cahill, whose talent has yet to fully develop with consistency remaining an issue. Terry is arguably the more impactful defender but given his lingering injury issues, Mourinho may find Cahill to be less of a liability.

One way or another, Chelsea are in so many competitions that Terry will see decent time. But as a starter in big matches? I don’t see it happening.

Which is why Mourinho made clear that: “Professionally, no one is safe. We spoke about it and he understands. We say in Portugal, ‘Friends are friends, but business is business’.”

Gotta love Mourinho, a man after Jay-Z’s heart.

Ancelotti rules himself out of Liverpool job

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid CF
Leave a comment

Carlo Ancelotti will not be the next manager of Liverpool, if you’re not so cynical that you don’t believe Mr. Ancelotti himself, that is.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Ancelotti, who this summer was fired one season after winning the UEFA Champions League at Real Madrid, has been widely reported a top-two candidate for the Premier League club’s vacant managerial position ever since Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday.

While he may very well have been one of Liverpool’s top choices, to hear Ancelotti tell it, he’s not interested in taking the job, nor any other job anywhere in the world this year.

[ MORE: “Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings ]

Ancelotti, speaking at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I enjoy my time now but, of course, I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion. I want to take my time to rest, but next season I am ready.”

“Why not [return to Paris Saint-Germain]? I have very good memories of Paris, PSG, I have good relations with everyone, with Nasser [al-Khelaifi, the PSG president].

“But I’m thinking about other things and PSG has a very good coach in Laurent Blanc. I hope he will continue and shine in the Champions League.”

Of course, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly all but officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager, Ancelotti is probably doing two things by ruling himself out until next season: 1) saving a bit of face, given that he was pretty clearly not Liverpool’s first-choice candidate; 2) letting every Ancelotti-sized club know that he’ll be available come this spring and summer, just in case they’re considering firing their current manager and need a bit of assurance an elite candidate will be available.

[ MORE: Klopp expected to be named new Liverpool manager this week ]

For instance, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus immediately come to mind. A manager of Ancelotti’s quality will always have options and offers, and that’s something he clearly understands. Ancelotti has earned the right to enjoy a year-long sabbatical and to be picky when choosing his next job.

Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

The leader of FIFA, who will stand down following the next presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016, has been defiant in recent weeks despite growing pressure from corporate sponsors of FIFA for him to resign.

On Wednesday he spoke out and denied he will quit, while at the Leaders’ in Sport Summit in London another presidential candidate ,Chung Mong-joon, declared that he will sue Blatter for “at least $100 million” and believes the FIFA president and his “cronies” are deliberately sabotaging his own presidential campaign.