Antonio Mohamed

Report: Coaching shuffle could see ex-Tijuana boss Mohamed at Club América, Herrera with Mexico’s permanent job

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If you don’t read in Spanish, allow me to translate this, a tweet sent out this morning from Argentine journalist Juanjo Buscalia:

Bottom line: Miguel Herrera is going to be named permanent Mexican national team coach.

No, that’s not the literal translation. In fact, the tweet doesn’t even mention Herrera, thought that’s the subtext. In English, Buscalia says Antonio “El Truco” Mohamed (huge part of Club Tijuana’s rise to Liga MX champions last year) will coach Club América next tournament. That  tournament starts in January, meaning sometime between now and then, Herrera is moving on, presumably to take the permanent position with the national team.

Herrera, the current Club América boss was appointed to the Mexico job on an interim basis after El Tri’s October loss in Costa Rica, a defeat that relegated the team to the World Cup’s intercontinental qualifying playoff while costing Victor Manuel Vucetich his job. After resounding success in qualifying Mexico (El Tri having defeated New Zealand 9-3 in the teams’ two-leg playoff), Herrera is expected to be given the full-time post, even if the Aguilas boss has always insisted he would return to América once qualifying was over.

Increasingly, that return looks destined to be short-lived. The Apertura’s playoffs begin on Nov. 23, with the top seeded Aguilas playing Tigres the next day. If they make a second consecutive final, Club América’s last game of the season will be on Dec. 7. Shortly after, Herrera is expected to be announced as Mexico’s permanent boss.

In his place, América appear set to lure Mohamed back from Argentina, the 43-year-old having left Xolos earlier this year. In moving on from Club Tijuana, the former Argentine international said he wanted to return home to be with his family. Previously, however, Mohamed had said staying in Mexico would be possible if his family could come live with him. The difference between Mexico City and Tijuana, as well as a chance to run a club the size of América, could lure the former title-winner back from Huracán.

For now, it’s just one report, but it’s one that sees a lot of square pieces slide into square holes. After his success against New Zealand, there’s little doubt Herrera will be the permanent national team coach. If Club América can lure Mohamed back from Argentina, it would certainly soften that blow.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.