SCOLARI WANTS COSTA

Brazil national team manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed that he wants to use Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa for the national team. Costa is a Brazilian who is playing for the Spanish club. After being relatively unknown in the last few years, he has managed to announce himself in style this season. Following the departure of Radamel Falcao in the summer, many expected that David Villa would be the number one striker at the club. Costa, though, has broken all expectations by scoring 13 league goals this season.

This tally is only three behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who is regarded as one of the best players in the world. Costa has also scored more league goals so far than Lionel Messi, who has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award in the last four seasons. There have been rumours that Costa may decide to play for the Spanish national team. Brazil, though, do not have a quality striker, which is surprising since the national team has always had some of the best in the world like Ronaldo and Romario. After much speculation about Costa’s international future, Scolari has confirmed that he would like to pick the 24-year-old for the Brazilian national team.

Costa is eligible for both Brazil and Spain.

“Diego Costa will receive the opportunity to be called up for the World Cup. The first striker is Fred, who is injured, Diego is the second striker and I’ll have to find a third one. I intend to take him to the World Cup. If the tournament was today or tomorrow, he would be in the squad. I will call up the player for the games next month against Honduras in Miami, and Chile in Toronto,” said Scolari.

Brazil have been doing well since the arrival of Scolari, as they recently won Confederations cup.

BARCA CHASE SILVA

Barcelona have been showing a lot of interest in the Brazilian centre backs like Thiago Silva and David Luiz over the last few months. They are looking to replace ageing defender Carlos Puyol. The club has so far been relying on midfielders like Javier Mascherano and Alex Song to substitute the 35-year-old captain when he is absent from the first-team squad. Barcelona recently failed in their attempts to persuade Silva to join the Catalan club. After several weeks of transfer rumours, the 28-year-old Brazilian centre back signed a new contract with his club PSG.

As a result, the Catalan club have stepped up their interest in Chelsea defender David Luiz, who has been on their radar for a long time. In fact, Barcelona have been looking at Luiz even before he signed for Chelsea. The 26-year-old defender has established as one of the important members of the Chelsea squad. He is valued in excess of £ 40 million by the club, who paid only £ 21 million for his signature in 2011. Barcelona recently came in with their first official offer of £ 35 million, which was instantly rejected by Chelsea. Now, manager José Mourinho has said that the Spanish club are wasting their time in their efforts to sign Luiz because Chelsea do not want to sell him.

“The bid? It’s lost time for them. My advice to them is to go to the second player on their list because they are wasting their time. We don’t want to lose our best players. No chance,” said the Portuguese manager. Mourinho also confirmed that Brazilian right back Wallace is likely to join Inter Milan a season long loan deal. The 18-year-old only recently joined Chelsea, but heavy competition for the first-team spot is likely to meant he will leave on a loan deal.

BRAZIL ARE CHAMPIONS

Brazil managed to beat Spain 3-0 in the final of the Confederations cup to win the trophy once again in their illustrious history. After the match, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has said that this victory could prove to be the start of a great period for the national team. Scolari was appointed in place of Mano Menezes several months ago, but the results have so far been disappointing. The Confederations cup saw Brazil play in competitive matches for the first time in two years, but they did not disappoint as they managed to dominate their opponents throughout the tournament.

The domination continued against world and European champions Spain as well. Spain are coming into the tournament as the clear favourites after having lifted the World Cup and the European Championships in the last five years. However, they were beaten soundly by the Brazilian team possessing the likes of Neymar and Oscar. Neymar has been one of the standout players in the tournament and he dominated the opposition once again. He scored a goal for his efforts, while Fred was once again at the right place at the right time to score two.

This is the second spell in charge of the national team for Scolari, and he is delighted to have tasted success once again.

“I don’t think I could feel any better than how I am right now. I thought that any positive result would be great and to beat them 3-0, that is much better than I imagined. But I also believe that overall, not only because of the score but the way we played, we had a very good match. Now I am able to dream that we have an idea, that we have a path ahead of us, and that we have a good team to play in the World Cup next year as equals with other strong contenders,” said Scolari.

MILITO SUFFERS INJURY PROBLEMS

Argentine striker Diego Milito was one of the main reasons for Inter Milan winning the Champions league back in 2010. The striker, though, has since suffered several injury problems, which have worsened in recent seasons. As a result, there have been recent rumours that the 33-year-old may announced his retirement from football at the end of the season. Milito, though, has rejected such speculation by saying that he expects to start playing again when he recovers from his current injury problems.

Milito has been suffering from a serious knee problem, which has kept him out of action for the majority of the year. There have been reports that the striker has failed to make a full recovery from the injury, thus prompting reports that he may be contemplating retiring from football.

Milito has said that returning back to his home country Argentina to play for an Argentine club would be one of his dreams. It is not known whether the 33-year-old may be sold in the summer in order to achieve this dream. The former Genoa man has said that he is right now concentrating only on returning to the pitch, and he will have to take thoughts about his future from there on. Milito was signed from the Italian club Genoa four years ago.

“My future? I expect to start playing again. There’s just one goal in my head right now and that’s to try and make a good recovery and get back on the pitch. Will I end my career at Inter? I honestly don’t know. I’ve always said that I’d like to go back to Argentina and play with the club I started with. You never know. Now I’m focused on recovering and getting back on the pitch. I don’t know what will happen after that,” said the striker.

HOOPER STAYING

The Celtic manager Neil Lennon has said that the Premier league club Norwich City should not be wasting their time in trying to sign the Celtic player Gary Hooper. The striker has been linked with a move to the Premier league for quite a while now. Norwich even had two bids rejected recently. The bids were thought to be in the region of £ 5 million. However, Lennon has urged the Chief Executive of the club not to consider any offer for the player because of the lack of time to find a replacement. A few weeks after the end of the transfer window, Celtic will be playing against the Italian champions Juventus in the last 16 stage of the Champions league.

Celtic have valued the player at around £ 8 million, but even if Norwich manage to match that figure Celtic will now not be looking to sell the player according to Lennon. He has also said that Tottenham are also interested in the player. Due to the rebuff from the Scottish club, it is thought that Norwich will be focusing their attention on the Leeds United forward Luciano Becchio. Lennon has also said that he would like to ideally strengthen the squad before the end of the transfer window.

“We’ve had two bids in from Norwich and that’s been it. It won’t surprise me if another bid comes in, but the answer will be the same. That (Spurs) is just speculation. People are working hard down the road, maybe to unsettle the player for their own reasons. I have left Gary to it. I spoke to him maybe a week to 10 days ago. He is playing brilliantly, it hasn’t seemed to have affected him. Everyone has a price, but the timing would be so wrong for everything we want,” said Lennon.

NEYMAR STILL IMPROVING

The Santos striker Neymar has been regarded as one of the best players in the world, but not in the eyes of everyone. There have been suggestions that the 20-year-old has not yet proved himself at the highest level possible. He has repeatedly avoided the opportunity to join a big European club in order to stay in Brazil. However, the Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari is of the opinion that Neymar will be equal to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2013 season. Neymar has only stated that he would be willing to leave Brazilian football only after the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The arrival of Scolari means that there are likely to be a few changes with regard to the team selection. Even though Neymar will be the central figure to the plans of Scolari, it remains to be seen if he can match the players from Europe. Scolari has also identified several key youngsters for the Brazilian national team. He has said that he will see in the future whether the likes of Oscar of Chelsea and Lucas Mora of PSG will progress in the same way that they have did in recent years. Scolari will be naming his first squad since taking over the job as the national team manager.

“I’m 99% sure, next year Neymar will be among the top three. Not just the current season, but also over the past two or three years. Neymar has been excellent in 2011 and 2012, and will probably be even better in 2013. In 10 years, we had probably five great players, but in the last two or three years they were not at the top. In 2013, Neymar will be for sure. Lets see how it goes for Lucas Moura in Paris, I see Oscar is playing very well,” said Scolari.

SCOLARI WILL CUT MISTAKES

The Brazilian national team manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has said that the team has to cut out the mistakes if they are to win the Confederations cup that will take place in the summer. The former Chelsea manager was recently appointed as the successor for the recently sacked Mano Menezes. He has been given the task of once again guiding a Brazilian team that is not at its best in recent years. Despite having some of the best talent in world football like Oscar and Neymar, Brazil have not been able to dominate the tournaments. They recently lost at the London Olympics 2012 in addition to the failures at the Copa America.

The group stages of the Confederations cup has recently been announced with Brazil facing Japan, Mexico, and Italy in the group stages. The 64-year-old manager has said that Brazil have the opportunity to win this tournament, but only if they cut out the mistakes. He has said that this will be a great chance to see the potential of the team because the group is extremely balanced. The technical assistant of the national team Carlos Alberto Parreira also said the same about the national team. If they commit any mistakes in the group stages, then it will be extremely tough to win the competition itself according to the technical assistant.

“It is an interesting draw because the teams in our group are all very balanced. It is a good chance to see our potential in these matches. We cannot choose who we are going to face in the first match but the order is not going to change our ambitions. We have to cut out any mistakes against those three teams,” Scolari told Globo. “This group does not give us any chance to make mistakes,” said Parreira.

BRAZIL ARE YOUNG

The Brazilian national team manager Mano Menezes has said that he is of the opinion that the current national team is extremely young, and it could certainly do with the presence of a few experienced players like Kaka. The 30-year-old Real Madrid midfielder was recently called up for the Brazilian national team after a gap of more than two years. During this period, Brazil have pressed to go back to their roots by playing a passing style of football rather than the counter-attacking style that became popular less than a decade ago. However, results have been mixed so far and the Brazilian manager recently called up the experienced campaigner in the form of Kaka.

He has backed his decision to bring the 30-year-old backed international fold despite the fact that he has played very little football over the last few seasons due to the culmination of poor form and a number of injuries. He has said that the team with the likes of Neymar and Oscar is extremely young, and it needs the presence of players like Kaka in order to flourish. The Real Madrid midfielder has so far represented the national team in 84 matches and has scored 29 goals. He is expected to be picked for the 2013 Confederations cup if he retains his fitness levels.

“Football is not just about experience. But it is clear that we need it and that is very important. Kaká is already known from other major competitions and we respect him for that. I see a lot of other international selections, and compare. There are several players who have over 100 games and we have a group that is not there yet. We will try to do the best possible with a mix of youth and experience,” said the Brazilian national team manager.

GETTING USED TO IT

The Brazilian midfielder Lucas Mora has said that it will take awhile before the national team gets used to playing without some of the high-profile names like Kaka and Ronaldinho. The Brazilian national team has always been synonymous with extremely high profile players like Ronaldo, who was followed by Ronaldinho and Kaka. However, the Brazilian national team is now in a transformation state with a number of the star names either close to the end of their careers or not in the best of shapes. As a result, the current national team manager Mano Menezes has tried to bring in a number of young players with a view of building for the future.

The 19-year-old Lucas Mora is one among the players to be part of the national team that is being reshaped by Mano Menezes. However, Mano Menezes has come under intense criticism of late for the poor performances of the national team, despite the fact that they have been successful in the last four matches. Brazil recently managed a lacklustre 2-1 win over Argentina, who rested a number of high profile players like Lionel Messi. It took a last-minute penalty from Neymar to win the match, which did not please the Brazilian fans. However, Mora has called for patience because it will take time to integrate these new players.

“People are a little impatient I guess, we are performing well but we had a difficult time against Argentina, because it was a complicated match. They kept themselves behind the ball at all times and waited for us to attack. But we worked hard to find spaces, and we were rewarded with the late penalty scored by Neymar. I know that the Selecao isn’t having its best moments, Mano Menezes is still looking for a way to make this team click,” said Lucas.