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.

SONG NOT FOR SALE

The Barcelona vice president Josep Bartomeu has said that the Premier league club Arsenal were not interested in selling the star midfielder Alex Song. Barcelona have secured a number of Arsenal players in the past, which has helped them quickly seal the deal for the 24-year-old Cameroon international Alex Song. However, the vice president of the Catalan club has now revealed that Arsenal did not want to sell the player, but were left with no other alternative after the decision by the player to leave the club. Despite having spent a number of years at the Emirates stadium, Song has not lifted a major title with the club.

It is thought to be a major factor in his decision to leave the club. Song was signed for just £ 2.5 million by the manager Arsene Wenger. He has made a hefty profit on the player after deciding to sell him for more than £ 15 million. Even though Josep Bartomeu has said that the speed of negotiations was extremely satisfying, the negotiations themselves was not easy because Arsenal were needed to be persuaded a lot in order to sell the star assets. Song and Robin van Persie are the major departures from the Emirates stadium in this summer.

“It was not easy to bring Song to Barca. As happened with Cesc [Fabregas], Arsenal did not want to sell him and were asking a high price, but we are happy with what we paid both for Cesc and Song. The negotiations weren’t easy, but the player wanted to come, and that made things easier. It was tough, but it all went much faster than other negotiations have done,” said the vice president of the club after unveiling the signing of the 24-year-old Cameroon international, who had 14 assists to his name last season.

VALDES BACKS DEL BOSQUE

Spanish and Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has come to the rescue of manager Vicente del Bosque, who has been criticised after the 1-1 draw with Italy in the opening group game of Euro 2012. The Spanish national team manager decided to replicate the Barcelona style of football by not using a traditional striker.

Instead, he used Cesc Fabregas has the false striker in a match. Even though Cesc Fabregas scored the equaliser for Spain, many criticised that they could have easily won the match had they used a proper striker like Fernando Torres. Victor Valdes, though, has said that Spain should be extremely happy with the 1-1 draw given that they were playing against the 2006 world champions.

Spain will now be facing France in the quarter-final stage of the competition after having qualified as the group winners. This is certainly going to be a tough match for Spain due to the fact that many are comparing France with Barcelona. Valdes acknowledges that France are looking to play the way Barcelona play their football, but reckons that Spain have enough quality in their ranks to get the result. He has also said that the team should be wary of the threat given by French striker Karim Benzema.

“I do not understand the criticism targeted at the coach, nor do I share it. In football, things can go better or worse, but the results are there. I think the coach has got everything right since he took charge of the national team. He is calm and seeing how we are working to prepare for the matches. He wants to protect the group and make sure we keep doing things well and secure the results like we did at World Cup 2010. He is one of the most dangerous strikers in the world,” said Victor Valdes.