Former UEFA President Michel Platini arrested in 2022 World Cup probe

Press Association Sport 14:08 18/06/2019
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Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been detained for questioning by French police over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The National Financial Prosecutor’s office confirmed to Press Association Sport that 63-year-old Platini had been detained.

Platini was head of European football’s governing body until 2015 when he was handed an eight-year ban over ethics breaches that was later reduced to four years on appeal.

The ban expires this October and Platini has persistently denied any wrongdoing.

Platini and former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter were banned for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee in December 2015, although a FIFA appeal body reduced that to six years, for a “disloyal payment” of £1.5million paid by Blatter to Platini.

The pair then made separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld Blatter’s sanction but cut a further two years off Platini’s.

Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing.

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Xabi Alonso a future Liverpool boss? Raul at Real Madrid and Xavi with Barcelona? What to expect from UEFA Pro license class of 2019

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Xabi Alonso

The class of 2019 is pretty special.

Last week saw Xavi HernandezRaul GonzalezXabi Alonso and Esteban Cambiasso graduate from legendary players to rookie coaches.

All four, icons in their own right, completed the UEFA Pro license together which has opened the doors to pursue management careers.

The nucleus of a golden generation, the quartet have intrinsic knowledge gained from storied playing careers to take with them into coaching.

But what can we expect from the class of 2019 on the sidelines and how might their experience under some of the world’s best tutors impact their style?

RAUL GONZALEZ

Played for

Real Madrid, Schalke, Al Sadd, New York Cosmos and Spain

Notably managed by

Vicente del Bosque, Jupp Heynckes, Guus Hiddink, Fabio Capello, Luis Aragones

Current role

Real Madrid Castilla manager

BeFunky-collage - 2019-06-17T180623.642

What to expect

The Real Madrid suit is being tailored for Raul in La Fabrica. Los Blancos cottoned onto a managerial style which fits them after the success of having groomed Zinedine Zidane for the senior role, and while Raul is unlikely to replace his former team-mate anytime soon, it is a matter of when, not if he does.

The 41-year-old is somewhat mirroring his emergence as Real Madrid player as a manager, initially taking charge of the under-15 side last season before moving on to head up the under-18s and replacing the sacked Alvaro Benito.

Having completed his Pro license, Raul has assumed the Castilla position full-time for 2019/20.

So what can we expect? Little can actually be discerned about Raul’s coaching philosophy but time with the Castilla should allow the Spaniard to implement his style.

According to his former boss, Jorge Valdano, Raul is “more German than Brazilian in his football taste with a Castilian seriousness”.

One trait which hallmarked Raul as a player is that he was a very intelligent striker and smart in an understated sense. In the media, he was respectful and dignified – something we can certainly expect to be translated into his coaching.

And respect is a thread which will knit his philosophy together because winning at all costs is not his mentality.

Speaking to the UEFA Grassroots Conference recently, Raul said: “I feel it’s important to have very high ethical standards.

“There are beautiful ways of winning a match, and there are other ways, and these are not my ways.

“Respect is part of my being. You have to be connected with your own values and I will always try to be connected with things that I think are good in football, and try to leave aside what is negative.”

XABI ALONSO

Played for

Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Spain

Notably managed by

Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, Luis Aragones, Vicente del Bosque

Current role

Real Sociedad B manager

BeFunky-collage - 2019-06-17T180610.090

What to expect

Given the illustrious list of managers he has worked with, the classical styles of each one and his understanding of the game as a successful player in three major leagues, Alonso the manager is an enticing proposition.

Speaking to the Coach’s Voice for their excellent Masterclass series, Alonso’s explanation of his roles at Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich gave an illustration of his acumen.

And no doubt all of his previous clubs will be keenly watching his progress because Alonso left an imprint at each one as an elegant deep-lying playmaker and organiser.

It’s fitting, though, that he takes his first major step into coaching where it began as a player in San Sebastian.

The 37-year-old will be Real Sociedad’s B manager next season, meaning he will be in the opposite dugout to Raul with Real’s Castilla also lining up in the Segunda B, Spain’s third tier.

Alonso does so after guiding Real Madrid’s Infantil A outfit to an undefeated season with the under-13 side claiming the Division de Honor Juvenil.

But which identity will be his coaching face? Will it be the intricate defensive nuance of Rafael Benitez? The artful pragmatism of Mourinho? Perhaps he will twin the programmed possession game of Pep Guardiola given their likeness as players?

Again, it’s difficult to assess what philosophy he will trace at the moment, but what can’t be denied is that Alonso has all the tools to develop into a successful manager.

XAVI HERNANDEZ

Played for

Barcelona, Al Sadd and Spain

Notably managed by

Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque

Current role

Al Sadd manager

BeFunky-collage - 2019-06-17T180604.588

What to expect

Xavi’s football religion is clear – the church of Cruyff.

There is an element of ambiguity with the other students that does not exist with Xavi.

A disciple of Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona icon emerged as the greatest exponent of the ‘Tika-Taka’ movement as he developed into arguably the best centre-midfielder we’ve ever seen.

The teachings of Guardiola during his playing career will undeniably be carried through as a manager.

In past interviews he’s said as much, explaining how Guardiola “marked me the most”.

“It’s what I want to convey, I’ve grown up like that, I’ve really enjoyed this style, we’ve won with this style, Barca and the national team and, therefore, I think it’s the best style to play football,” he told Marca earlier this year.

His bind to possession-based football could be his undoing as Xavi clearly won’t have the tactical fluidity of other managers.

But we will get an early indication of his coaching potential as the takes the reins of defending Qatar Stars League champions Al Sadd next season.

Still, it’s hard to find a more intellectual player than Xavi, so doubting his ability to adjust is extremely harsh.

It must not be forgotten as well that Xavi is shrewdly showing the same degree of patience on the ball with his coaching career.

Despite the allure of managing Barcelona, the 39-year-old has said that target is much further down the line with Al Sadd and possibly even the Qatar national team for the World Cup in 2022 the first signposts on his path.

ESTEBAN CAMBIASSO

Played for

Independiente, River Plate, Real Madrid, Inter, Leicester City, Olympiacos and Argentina

Notably managed by

Vicente del Bosque, Roberto Mancini, Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez, Marcelo Bielsa

Current role

N/A, but he was previously a coach for Colombia

BeFunky-collage - 2019-06-17T180555.444

What to expect

Cambiasso is bald so automatically in management terms, he holds an advantage considering the success of Zinedine Zidane and Guardiola.

All jokes aside, the Argentine’s cerebral nature means he could well be the most successful of the prospective coaches analysed here.

And his tutors are some of the best around having spent time working with Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez and Marcelo Bielsa.

However, the early signs are that he won’t be another Bielsa-inspired coach given the Leeds United boss once remarked that ‘if football was played by robots, he would win’ while Cambiasso on the other hand, told Marca last year: “I want to understand well the problems of each player and team. Soccer players are not dominoes.”

But besides Diego Simeone, there’s arguably no other former player Inter supporters would love to see in the dugout than Cambiasso.

Having bled black and blue for a decade, the 38-year-old showed he was welded from composite materials of steel and silk, displaying tremendous leadership qualities, aligned with a graceful streak.

The sample size from a coaching perspective is incredibly small as his only post so far is working alongside Jose Pekerman for Colombia during the last World Cup.

His energetic celebrations from the touchline suggests he’ll be as passionate on the touchline as he was on the pitch, though.

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Barcelona star Luis Suarez looks in great shape as Uruguay thump Ecuador in the Copa America

Sport360 staff 11:57 17/06/2019
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Uruguay forward Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on target as Uruguay thumped 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their opening Group C match at the Copa America on Sunday.

Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring after just six minutes before Ecuador full-back Jose Quintero was dismissed for a flailing arm.

With a numerical advantage, Uruguay ran riot at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte as Cavani and Suarez netted before the break. The rout was completed 12 minutes from time with an Arturo Mina own goal.

“We had chances in the first half, we managed to take them and that gave us the tranquility to manage the game,” said Cavani, who finally scored his first Copa America goal in his fourth participation.

“It was an important step.”

It was the ideal beginning for Uruguay in a tough Group C alongside champions Chile and guests Japan, who meet on Monday in Sao Paulo.

“We’re not as bad as that,” lamented Ecuador’s Colombian coach Hernan Dario Gomez.

“It was a match that got away from us, especially in the first half when it got away from us in every aspect.”

Uruguay were off to a dream start.

Suarez crossed from the right and Lodeiro proved the coolest customer in the Mineirao stadium as he beat one defender with his chest control, flicked the ball over another and then hit a crisp, low volley into the bottom far corner.

Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring with a fine strike

Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring with a fine strike

“We knew they would be very tough opponents. The important thing was start the game with maximum concentration and we managed that,” said Cavani.

Uruguay were rampant and had the ball in the net soon afterwards only for Cavani to be given offside in the build-up.

Ecuador brought a physicality to the contest that upset the Uruguayan players and Quintero was perhaps lucky to escape punishment when catching Diego Laxalt with an elbow in an aerial challenge.

But moments later, his arm made contact with Lodeiro’s face when challenging for another header, this time drawing blood.

Brazilian referee Anderson Daronco — whose bulging arm muscles put even Ecuador’s strapping players to shame — initially showed the full-back a yellow card but after consulting VAR he changed that to red.

That left Ecuador with a mountain to climb.

On 27 minutes, Alexander Dominguez made a brilliant low save to turn behind Cavani’s half-volley from 15 yards.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani was denied again when Dominguez stunningly tipped his clever back-flick onto the post one-handed.

But it was third time lucky on 33 minutes as Diego Godin headed the ball into the danger area and Cavani acrobatically rasped a bicycle kick from seven yards past a helpless Dominguez, his 47th international goal.

Patient Uruguay

Nahitan Nandez wasted a good chance, shooting straight at Dominguez but Suarez put the game to bed a minute before the break, stealing in at the back post to poke home a flick-on from Martin Caceres.

With the game all but over as a contest, the second half was a damp squib of an affair. Uruguay had the ball in the net soon after the restart but Cavani was offside again.

Ecuador showed plenty of commitment, continuing to rough up Uruguay’s more technical players, but never looked like they believed they would get anything out of the game.

Uruguay looked content to play a patient possession game without pushing for more goals.

Cavani did send Suarez scampering in on goal after a defensive mistake but Dominguez was quickly off his line to snatch the ball off the Barcelona forward’s toes.

The fourth came in calamitous fashion as Gaston Pereiro tried to pick out Suarez from Cavani’s cross even though he was only six yards from goal.

His header dropped to Ecuador center-half Mina, who inadvertently volleyed into his own goal.

“The important thing was that the team won and now we’ll prepare for the next match,” against Japan on Thursday, said Suarez, who notched his 57th goal for Uruguay.

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