Former Real Madrid and England coach Fabio Capello confirms retirement

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Former Real Madrid and England coach Fabio Capello on Monday confirmed he has retired from football management and ruled himself out of the Italy coaching job.

The 71-year-old Italian had been linked with the vacant Italy coaching job after leaving Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Super League (CSL) last month.

“I’ve already had some experience with the English and Russian national teams, I wanted to try to train a club once again and Jiangsu was my last football experience,” Capello told Radio Rai.

“I did everything I wanted, I’m very happy with what I did, and now I am delighted to be a TV commentator. You always win in this role!”

Italy are seeking a successor to Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked after the national team missed out on World Cup qualification.

And Capello said he was backing former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, the coach of Zenit Saint Petersburg, for the role.

“Roberto is a coach of experience who has travelled the world,” he said.

“His experience will help him build relations with the players, but the national team lack talent.

“We are good coaches when we have good players.

“It is difficult to do well with mediocre players. At the moment Italian football is missing great players that can make the difference, there are no leaders.

“In Serie A there is little quality. You learn from the best but if the best are bought by the strongest foreign clubs, Italian football doesn’t have good teachers, good players from whom to learn.”

Capello, whose decorated career also included coaching spells at AC Milan, Juventus, Roma and Russia, last June became one of the most high-profile names to move to China, where clubs have been spending big to lure foreign managers and players.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Everton 0-0 Liverpool - Gini Wijnaldum runs the show and other things learned

Alex Rea 7/04/2018
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The 231st Merseyside derby will not live long in the memory as Everton failed to capitalise on a weaker than usual Liverpool side in an uneventful goalless draw at Goodison Park.

With a Champions League quarter-final second leg, in which they lead 3-0, against Manchester City to come on Tuesday the visitors could be forgiven for being preoccupied and manager Jurgen Klopp’s team selection reflected the importance of that game rather than this.

Despite a late rally in which Seamus Coleman and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin could have snatched victory the Toffees’ seven-and-a-half-year wait for a derby win was extended to 17 matches.

Here, we examine four things learned from Goodison Park.

THE MISERYSIDE DERBY

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The soul of Merseyside is a living and breathing beast, which when harnessed by Liverpool or Everton can turn this fixture into a feisty and ferocious affair.

But despite the vivid display of contrasting red and blue at Goodison Park, the 231st meeting between the city’s inhabitors was utterly colourless.

Of the three games to open up April for Liverpool, this fixture’s timing – sandwiched between the Champions League last-eight tie with City – was always likely to retreat it into irrelevance.

Compound Klopp’s European priority with a limited Everton side which currently sits in mid-table and is extremely low on confidence and a dire derby was entirely predictable.

The earlier kick-off time, deluge of rain and a weakened Reds squad hit by injuries all played their part in what was a truly miserable Merseyside Derby.

WIJNALDUM IMPRESSES 

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From a Liverpool perspective, it wasn’t a completely negative day. Indeed, Klopp’s side came through the game with their pride and personnel intact with key players handed a necessary break while others executed a dress rehearsal for Tuesday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Captain Jordan Henderson was tremendous in the first-leg against City in a Liverpool midfield trio which produced an absolute masterclass. A soft booking will mean he misses the second-leg through suspension and his absence was rightly being met with pessimism.

However, Georginio Wijnaldum was the best player on pitch on Saturday, operating in the No6 role he’ll inhabit on Tuesday.

The Dutchman achieved the most touches (91) and most passes (81) in the game and was second only to Ragnar Klavan for passing accuracy with 96.8 per cent.

Beyond the numbers, though, he was deeply impressive, using his physicality to protect possession while frequently using the ball from the deep pivot for the runners ahead of him.

He ran the show, and away from home as well, which will be hugely comforting for Klopp who will be without Emre Can and Henderson on Tuesday.

BASHING FOR BOLASIE 

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Yannick Bolasie came closest to finding the net as his caressed curler forced a stunning finger-tip stop from Liverpool No1 Loris Karius in the first half.

The strike, quite literally, was the sole piece of positivity from Bolasie in an otherwise abhorrent performance.

Goodison Park can be a hostile atmosphere for the home side at the best of times, but there was a cacophony of frustration whenever a fancy flick was followed by poor distribution.

The winger looked well off the pace, was prone to lapses of concentration both on and off the ball with the adjectives clumsy and clueless perhaps the best synopsis of his display. He was mercilessly hooked on the hour with his pass accuracy of 35 per cent the worst by any outfield player, and by some distance, too.

Bolasie is arguably the most obvious example of Everton’s peculiar dealings in the transfer market – he flatters to deceive.

EVERTON FAIL TO TAKE THEIR CHANCE

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In truth, the responsibility was on Everton to make this a spectacle and they ultimately failed to show up.

With Klavan uncomfortably slotting in at left-back, Liverpool’s front three shorn of their 38-goal marksman Mohamed Salah through injury and Roberto Firmino afforded a break on the bench, the impetus was on Sam Allardyce to pump up this clash.

But after a positive start, the air quickly escaped and left in its wake a flatulent mess. There was no spark from the hosts and if one statistic best exemplifies their lack of ambition it was that for the first hour, the most passes into the attacking half was from the boot of Jordan Pickford.

It’s not hyperbole to suggest this was one of the most boring derby days in recent memory and Allardyce cops a portion of blame for that.

Up until the final 10 minutes when Everton did finally to arise from their slumber, they looked the side to experience an unrelenting European midweek encounter.

Why a partnership of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun was gambled upon against Man City and not against Liverpool was truly baffling.

And that is justified when Dejan Lovren looked incredibly anxious up against Calvert-Lewin when when was eventually introduced. This was the game to go two up top and the Blues paid for a lack of enterprise.

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Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo among those to have scored the best Champions League goals

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Zidane's effort in 2002 was a thing of beauty.

Football fans were left in awe of what they just saw when Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a sensational bicycle kick in Real Madrid‘s 3-0 first-leg Champions League win against Juventus.

It was another fine effort from the Portuguese star and will surely be talked about in years to come.

Here, we look at the top 10 best Champions League goals since its inception in 1992…

In no particular order, we kick off with ZZ.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE v BAYER LEVERKUSEN, 2002

A fitting goal from one of the sport’s legends. Fans and millions worldwide applauded the Frenchman after he scored one of the finest goals in Champions League history. In the final in Glasgow, Roberto Carlos looped in a high cross from the left and an unmarked Zidane closely followed the ball in the air and when it was heading back to the ground, set himself nicely to hit a sensational volley. It was even more sweeter considering it settled the showpiece and another Champions League title for Los Blancos.

GABRIEL BATISTUTA v ARSENAL, 1999

The Argentine hit one of the best goals at the Old Wembley Stadium in Fiorentina’s group stage clash, with Batigol underlining his status as one of the deadliest strikers around. Surging down the line after a counter-attack, his angle was getting narrower with every passing moment but he unleashed a ferocious strike that gave David Seaman no chance at all.

RAUL v MANCHESTER UNITED, 2000

It was one of the easiest goals the Spanish legend scored but it was all about the the magical touch of Fernando Redondo. Fooling Henning Berg, Redondo back-heeled the ball past the defender before running past him and setting up the Prince of Madrid with a cut back across the six-yard box, creating a simple tap-in at Old Trafford.

DEJAN STANKOVIC v FC SCHALKE, 2011

If it wasn’t for Manuel Neuer rushing out of his goal, Dejan Stankovic would not have been celebrating one of his best goals. Just inside the opposition half, the Serbian tried his luck with a volley – and we’re glad he did. With great technique and vision, he got enough power for the ball to fly over the German and into an empty net.

RONALDINHO V CHELSEA, 2005

The Brazilian has scored some wonder goals during his career and his strike at Stamford Bridge is certainly up there. Trailing 4-2 on aggregate, Ronaldinho found himself marked by three Chelsea players but still, somehow, sold a fake shot dummy before toe-poking it past a stunned Petr Cech.

ANDRES INIESTA v CHELSEA, 2011

A goal that shattered Chelsea’s hearts and that too with just seconds left on the clock. Trailing 1-0 and in need of a goal to go through to the final on the away goals rule, Barca went on the attack. With plenty of defenders around him, Lionel Messi rolled the ball to Andres Iniesta outside the box and the Spanish playmaker stuck the ball as cleanly as you’ll see with the outside of his boot into the top corner.

STEVEN GERRARD v OLYMPIAKOS, 2004

Liverpool were left needing three goals to advance out of the group stages after falling behind early on at Anfield but their captain made sure there was Champions League football after Christmas with a sensational third strike. From 25 yards out, Steven Gerrard struck the ball so sweetly to send the crowd wild.

LARS RICKEN V JUVENTUS, 1996

The German would not have scored a better goal in his whole career than the one against Juventus. On the pitch for just 20 seconds, the substitute made an instant impact by catching Angelo Peruzzi off guard with a glorious scooping strike to seal Dortmund’s first and only Champions League trophy.

CRISTIANO RONALDO v FC PORTO, 2009

Manchester United travelled to Portugal knowing they needed to score and they did that in some style thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo. Receiving the ball from 40 yards out, the attacker only had one thing on his mind and send a piledriver on its way. Travelling at 64.2mph, the ball arrowed into the top corner to take United through.

LIONEL MESSI v REAL MADRID, 2011

Out of all places, Lionel Messi chose the Bernabeu – home of Barcelona’s arch rivals – to score one of his most memorable goals. Getting the ball from Busquets, the Argentine blazed forward before beating four defenders including Marcelo and Sergio Ramos to slot the ball past a helpless Iker Casillas.

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