Fernando Muslera

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UEFA bans Galatasaray from Europe for 1 season for Financial Fair Play violations, coach quits

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Galatasaray has been banned from the next European competition the club qualifies for over the next two seasons due to breach of Financial Fair Play rules, UEFA confirmed in a statement. They have also been ordered to cut player benefits costs.

The club has repeatedly broken the rules, and was put on a probationary period for the 2014/15 season having signed a break-even agreement. That agreement has been broken, it was announced in January, thus resulting in punishment.

Galatasaray chairman Dursun Özbek predicted this punishment back in January, adding that the club was doing its best to limit spending and reduce the heavy losses the club had been reporting over the past few seasons.

“The committee wants to ban Galatasaray from the European cups for 1+1 years. This is not their decision, but the meetings suggest it,” Özbek said during a press conference in January.

“If there is an improvement in the second year of monitoring us, if there is a loss of 10 million by the end of 2016 and 10 million at the end of 2017, then they recommend only a one-year ban,” Özbek said. “We are working to bring the losses down to 5-10 million euros and minimize spending in the second half. This is not just for UEFA; this is necessary for Galatasaray’s survival.”

UEFA rules say a club cannot post a loss of over €30 million ($32.5 million) for three consecutive seasons. The Turkish club posted losses far in excess of that amount for between 2012 and 2015, reaching €70 million ($76 million) in the 2013/14 season.

Galatasaray has already been eliminated from European competition this season, finishing third in their Champions League group, and falling in the Europa League knockout stages to Lazio on a 4-2 aggregate.

With the ban looming and the defending champions currently sitting fifth in the league standings with 37 points, 16 behind leaders Fererbahce, manager Mustafa Denizli quit his post after just three months in charge. The 66-year-old Denizli had taken over back in mid-November to replace Hamza Hamzagolu, marking his third spell in charge of Gala, but the club confirmed on Tuesday that he would leave, replaced temporarily by developmental coach Orhan Atik.

Notable players who could see these events affect their future at the club include Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder, Arsenal loanee Lukas Podolski, and club captain Selcuk Inan.

Liverpool legend says Simon Mignolet is ‘worse than Dracula’

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If anyone has the right to criticize Liverpool’s goalkeeper, it’s Bruce Grobbelaar.

The Zimbabwe international stood in between the sticks for Liverpool for 13 seasons, making over 600 appearances for the Reds.

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As Liverpool continue to struggle in the Premier League, many players have come under fire from critics, especially keeper Simon Mignolet.

Although Liverpool finished second in the league last year, they conceded 50 goals on the season, prompting Grobbelaar to criticize Mignolet long before his recent struggles.

When asked if he was being too harsh on the Belgian keeper, Grobbelaar had some choice words.

I’m not being too harsh on him. Not at all. He’s worse than Dracula, because at least Dracula comes out of his coffin now and then. He seems to stay on his line and that’s it.

The whole 18-yard area – not just the six-yard area – is the goalkeeper’s, in modern goalkeeping. If you come out and get the ball, and you get smacked, you’re going to get the foul. It’s not rocket science.”

[ PL Playback: Should Liverpool fire Brendan Rodgers? ]

While Grobbelaar did compliment Mignolet on his shot-stopping abilities, he said his lack of aggression in the box is one of the reasons Liverpool have been conceding so many goals.

Since Mignolet’s arrival at Anfield in 2013, talks of his replacement have been ongoing. Reports linked Victor Valdes or possibly Fernando Muslera, but no major talks have taken place.

 

Report: Fernando Muslera wants move to Premier League

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Galatasaray is looking to cash in on one of their star players.

The club is reportedly willing to sell Fernando Muslera, their starting goalkeeper who has been with the team since 2011.

[ REPORT: Pedro to Arsenal? ]

The Uruguayan international came to Galatasaray three years ago for about $15 million, and the club is now looking to sell Muslera for over $30 million.

For a club in financial trouble like Galatasaray, it might be more of a business decision than a personnel decision.

In a recent interview, the goalkeeper said he has always dreamed of playing in the Premier League, putting clubs on high alert for more news out of Turkey.

The Premier League is my childhood dream. It’s every players dream to play at a top club in England one day, however, that’s up to my club.”

Reports state Liverpool and Manchester City are both interested in Muslera, who has played in two World Cups for Uruguay. The Reds have been unhappy with the play of their keeper Simon Mignolet, while a move to City would cause a great battle between Muslera and Joe Hart for the starting role.

[ WATCH: Wesley Sneijder scores two wonder goals for Galatasaray ]

AC Milan are also reportedly lining up a bid for Muslera, who played in Serie A for Lazio before moving to Turkey.

While Muslera has expressed his personal desire to play for a Premier League club, Galatasaray will only be looking at the dollar signs when clubs start asking for their star goalkeeper.

UEFA Champions League roundup: Arsenal cruise, Liverpool lose, Real Madrid win

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Their were contrasting fortunes for the two Premier League teams in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

[RELATED: Champions League news]

Arsenal hammered Turkish giants Galatasaray 4-1 at the Emirates as Danny Welbeck bagged his first-ever hat trick, while in Switzerland Liverpool lost 1-0 to Basel as they’re now without a win in four games.

[RELATED: UCL schedule]

Elsewhere Real Madrid squeaked by Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets and their were also wins for Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Malmo.

[RELATED: Champions League standings]

Below are details on all eight matchups, while you can find all you UCL news courtesy of ProSoccerTalk right here.

Group A

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Juventus

Last years runners up got their 2014-15 UCL campaign up and running by beating Italian champions Juventus at the Vicente Calderon. Arda Turan got the game-winning goal 15 minutes from time in a feisty game as Diego Simeone’s men are back in business.

Malmo 2-0 Olympiakos

Swedish side Malmo are holding their own in the UCL as former West Brom striker Markus Rosenberg bagged a brace to give them a 2-0 win at home vs. Olympiakos. All four teams are on three points in Group A.

Group B

FC Basel 1-0 LiverpoolRecap

Marco Streller was the game winner for the Swiss side as Liverpool were poor in Basel. Mario Balotelli’s long-range free kick caused Basel trouble but it was another night to forget for Brendan Rodgers’ men who now face back-to-back matches vs. Real Madrid.

Ludogorets 1-2 Real Madrid

A shock was on the cards as Ludogorets took the lead against the reigning European Champions through Marcelinho but Cristiano Ronaldo first missed a penalty kick and then scored one to make it 1-1 at half time, then substitute Karim Benzema jumped off the bench to bag a controversial winner late on. Real favorites to win Group B, but they made hard work of this one.

Group C

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Benfica

Kiessling gave Leverkusen the lead after tapping home a lose ball from close range, then Son Heung-min scored before half time as Benfica suffered a second-straight defeat. Salvio pulled one back for Benfica just after the break but Calhanoglu scored a penalty to make it 3-1 and send the points to Germany. Leverkusen now have three points and are in second.

Zenit 0-0 Monaco Recap

Zenit and Monaco lead the way with four points in Group C after their 0-0 draw earlier on Wednesday. Carrasco came closest to scoring but his shot across goal clipped the post. Poor game but both teams are still unbeaten.

Group D

Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray – Recap

Danny Welbeck scored a hat trick for Arsenal as they hammered Galatasaray. Early on at the Emirates Welbeck dinked the ball through Fernando Muslera‘s legs after a great pass from Alexis Sanchez. Welbeck grabbed a second before the break, then Sanchez got in on the act to give the Gunners a commanding lead. Shortly after half time Welbeck bagged his hat trick, the first of his career and just the sixth Englishman to do so in the UCL, with a delicate finish. Burak Yilmaz scored a penalty for the Turkish side as Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for bringing him down but Arsenal cruised to their first Champions League win of the season.

Anderlecht 0-3 Borussia Dortmund

Ciro Immobile made it two goals in two UCL games for Dortmund as the Italian forward put BVB ahead in Belgium, then Adrian Ramos jumped off the bench to add two more and put some gloss on the scoreline. Two wins from two for Dortmund who sit atop Group D with six points.

Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray: Welbeck’s hat-trick leads 10-man Arsenal to victory

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After a sub-par performance against Tottenham in last Saturday’s North London Derby and injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta, expectations of Arsenal fans heading into today’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray were understandably muted.

What a reward it was, then, when the Gunners provided one of their most stunning performances of the season on Wednesday, dismantling Group D opponents Galatasaray 4-1 behind a Danny Welbeck hat-trick and a clinical strike from Alexis Sanchez.

Arsenal began like a house on fire with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain streaking down the right side, Sanchez cutting in off the left and Welbeck eager to exploit space behind defenders. And it was the Englishman who got his side off the mark in the 22nd minute when Sanchez drew in the Gala defense and slipped a perfectly weighted pass to Welbeck, who stabbed his shot past an onrushing Fernando Muslera.

For as good as Arsenal were in attack, Gala were equally poor in defense. Perhaps this was no better evidenced than by Aurelien Chedjou whose misjudged header at half-field lead to Welbeck’s second goal of the night. Anticipating Chedjou’s error, Welbeck sped past Felipe Melo – who was also at fault in the opening strike – and opened his hips well to fire past Muslera into the bottom corner.

In full control, Arsenal didn’t take their foot off the gas committing five men – Welbeck, Sanchez, Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla – to the attack at all opportunities. With the Gala defense in sixes-and-sevens, the visiting fans showed their displeasure by unleashing a handful of flares onto the pitch. After a brief delay and a calming by Wesley Sneijder the Turkish fans settled in only for Arsenal to take a 3-0 lead minutes later.

This time it was the lively Sanchez, who linked up with Mesut Ozil before finishing low and hard past Muslera. If the half-time lead had Arsenal fans happy, Welbeck’s hat-trick in the 52nd minute put them into sheer delirium. Collecting the ball on the left side, Welbeck played the ball inside before finding space behind the Gala centerbacks to meet Chamberlain’s weighted pass and dink his effort over Muslera’s head.

The ensuing appreciation from the Arsenal fans was impossible to miss:

“He scores when he wants! He scores when he waaaaaants… Danny Welbeck! He scores when he wants!”

The floodgates looked to be open for Arsenal but on the hour Wojciech Szczesny crashed through Gala striker Burak Yılmaz, leading to a straight red card and a penalty. It was a rash decision from the Polish keeper, who should’ve done better to hold his line despite the temptation to cut down the angle. Arsene Wenger removed Sanchez for David Ospina, who went the wrong way on Yilmaz’ penalty.

Down a man but up on confidence, the Gunners focused on maintaining possession in the final stages of the match. Yilmaz nearly found his brace on a stunning header with 10 minutes to play but Ospina was up to the task with a diving effort and two minutes later Welbeck nearly created his fourth but was unable to convert. At the end of the day it was a stunning display from Arsenal who hardly looked troubled in defense and were well-served by the sensational pace and incision of Welbeck and Sanchez.