Thursday, July 31, 2008

Checho & The Boys Have Landed

Thanks to P2BN for alerting us on this great news. So it is now confirmed that the Atomic Flea will fly to join the rest of the Under-23 squad in Shanghai. Now, I just hope Barca will respect his decision.

Meanwhile the rest of the squad arrived today in Shanghai, where the team will play some of its group stage games. Coach Sergio BATISTA and his boys arrived at Huating Hotel at 12:35pm. As the first Olympic soccer team to arrive in Shanghai, they were welcomed by ZHAO Wen, the city's vice mayor.
Checho was given welcoming flowers at the hotel as hundreds of soccer fans watched. All 17 players (minus MESSI that is) were present after a week of training in Japan. They may kick practice at a training camp in Songjiang District later today, but the plan had not been confirmed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Checho's Boys To Take On Japan Under-23

Sergio BATISTA and the rest of the squad have arrived in the land of the rising sun for a friendly against their Japanese counterpart. The match will be played today at the National Stadium in Tokyo, around 7.20 pm local time.

Much of the time here will be used by Checho to test his players before departing to Beijing. Apart from this, there will be plenty euphoria around team on the availability of Lionel MESSI for the Games.

Them team had a practice session game (which consists two periods of 30 minutes) against a local side, Verdy Kawasaki. Not that surprisingly, Checho side won the game 4-0, courtesy of goals from Sergio AGUERO, Ezequiel LEVAZZI, Angel DI MARIA and Lautaro ACOSTA.

Reports suggest that, BATISTA has also confirmed that the line up for the upcoming friendly game will be the same as the one that played in that warm-up match, which is:-

Oscar USTARI, Pablo ZABALETA, Nicolas PAREJA, Ezequiel GARAY, Fabian MONZON, Fernando GAGO, Javier MASCHERANO, Juan Roman RIQUELME, Diego BUONANOTTE, Sergio AGUERO & Ezequiel LEVAZZI.

I'm not that really sure whether this
could probably be the same line up that Checho will employ during the Games. Of course much of this is subject to whether Lionel will join the team or not. Anyway like what they say, it’s just a friendly game. So I do believe there is a lot more ahead of us after this game.

Unfortunate for me (again!!!) as they will be no coverage for this game on my local TV. But I’m sure you guys will be kind enough to keep me (and the rest of us as well) updated on the game.

2008 Mundo Albiceleste Award - The Results

Finally all the votes have been counted and it’s time now to unveil our respective winners. So let’s not waste anymore time here and see which Albiceleste prevail in 2008, as chosen by you.

Best Goalkeepers

1. Juan Pablo CARRIZO (59.26%)
2. Roberto ABBONDANZIERI (29.63%)
3. Mauricio CARANTA (7.41%)

CARRIZO was phenomenal for River during the Clausura campaign from which he was the star for the Los Millonarios defense. As we look forward to see him having a great season with Lazio, here is a message to our dearest coach, Coco BASILE “The people have spoken”.

The only nominee to have won a title this season, and he was easily the most important member of River's defence, which was all over the place. The Argentine league's answer to Iker CasillasSam from HEGS

Best Defender

1. Javier ZANETTI (41.38%)
2. Ezequiel GARAY (17.24%)
3. Martin DEMICHELIS (17.24%)

It seems like Il Capitano could go on forever as his age was never a factor that influence his game. Here is a toast, to more success for him and may he still keep that fire burning until 2010.

The evergreen defender, whom guided his club to a 3rd straight Serie A title & is now part of El Loco team, deserves all the praise after being bitterly left out in WC 2006 - Bala

Best Midfielder

1. Javier MASCHERANO (51.72%)
2. Esteban CAMBIASSO (20.69%)
3. Juan Roman RIQUELME (20.69%)

Let’s see, first he was sent off against Man Utd and then the English Media went on to paint a bad picture on him. But still, more than half of the votes can’t be wrong about this. Javier, you will never walk alone.

One of the best holding midfielders in the world. Great tackler and reader of the game. If you compare him to the other argentine midfielders no one has been more consistent then him. Even though he did not win anything with Liverpool he never failed to live up to the expectations people hade for himJoe Gergi

Best Forward

1. Carlos TEVEZ (33.33%)
2. Lionel MESSI (30.00%)
3. Sergio ‘Kun’ AGUERO (30.00%)

From the word go, it was already three way battle between our small in size but gigantic by heart forwards. At the end, all of them were on level number of votes. So it was my turn to pick and my choice just had to be the one that achieved the most last season.

Again, another tough call. Lopez had a breakout season with Porto; Cavenaghi put himself on the map with his scoring in France; Messi... I love him to death but with those 2 injuries this season; I just couldn't pick him over Tevez. Aguero lite up La Liga this season, but winning the EPL and the Champions League overshadows it for me. Tevez played a vital part of Manchester United's success in both the EPL and Champions League. Scoring a late goal (away) versus Lyon in the Champions League, scoring a late goal against Tottenham and scoring a late goal versus Blackburn. All those 3 resulting in either Manchester United winning a point or 3 points in the standings Roy

Now I do have something else to show you. Based on all the votes that I received, I’ve manage to form the 2008 Mundo Albiceleste All-Star line up.
Let me know what you think about that line up.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have participate in our first annual poll contest. It was great pleasure to do it. At first, I had some doubts about doing this but after taking some serious thought, than I said to myself just why not. Every day as I open my Yahoo Mail, I’ve been receiving many votes from our faithful readers and it was from that moment that I knew that this will be success. I just can’t wait to start it all over again in 2009. At the same time, I would like to hear your feedback on the final outcome. This is the time, for you to highlight your preference. A big shout of VAMOS goes out to all of you.

NI HAO from Beijing!

I arrived in Beijing on 18 July but I was unable to post anything until right now, when I'm at a Starbucks coffee near the Workers' Stadium.

In only my second day in this incredible city, I met the little fellow that's pictured next to me in the picture above and I didn't hesitate to take a picture to capture that moment. The back of his shirt said: MESSI and I think it serves as a message to FC Barcelona! China wants to see MESSI! MESSI wants to come to China! Come on, Barcelona! Get your act together!

Anyway...let's forget about it for a second.

I want to let you know that this city is completely ready for the Olympics. The locals are incredibly nice and they make you feel at home wherever you go. I think they have 5 volunteers for each visitor! I'm exagerating here, but I can assure you the volunteers are always smiling and doing their best to help you with anything.

I've had many conversations with a lot of people about Argentina and football in Argentina and there's no doubt the Albicelestes are one of the darlings of the Chinese football fans.

I hope I can give you regular updates on my experience in China.

I have to sign out now, but I'll be back soon!

Before I leave, though, I thought I'd share another picture with you with yet another young fan of the Albicelestes (but please, don't make any comments about my pants! hahaha!)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Inaugural 2008 Mundo Albiceleste Award – We're Closed

Yes, finally we have come to that moment that we've all been waiting for. Time now to open the ballot box (my mailbox that is!!!) and start counting all those votes that were submitted in. But just hold on for a sec. About the results, I will be posting an article on that very soon. I'm sure that all of you just can't wait to know what is the final outcome. So please hanging there.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

United To Break The Bank For Tevez?

There is an on going talks right now between Manchester United's chief executive, David GILL and Carlos TEVEZ's adviser, Kia JOORABCHIAN when United return from it's pre-season tour in South Africa. The topic? Well you guess it right as it is about TEVEZ's permanent move to Old Trafford.

The deal is expected to be around £35 million, smashing the previous British record transfer when Chelsea signed Andrei SHEVCHENKO from AC Milan. The move was made after several top European clubs have shown interest for TEVEZ. Without a new deal, Tevez would be free to talk to other clubs in January.

In his first season with the Devils, after moving from West Ham, TEVEZ became an instant hit and scored 19 goals in all competition. He won a Premiership and Champions League medal with the Red Devils.

I must say I feel good about this as United (though I'm not a fan of the club) are a very popular club here in Malaysia. Watching Carlitos mesmerizing move every weekend have indeed raised Argentina profile even more here.

It's good to know that rather than moving elsewhere, TEVEZ will stay with where I believe he feels much more settle and comfortable. And I'm sure this will only enhance his profile of being another legend at Old Trafford.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Transfer Talk

Now I would like to put the MESSI saga aside, just for the moment and concentrate on what is the latest news that has been taking place over the past few days.

In Spain, Espanyol has secured the service of towering midfielder Román MARTINEZ from Arsenal de Sarandi. The 25 years old is expected to fly on Friday, where he will undergo the relevant medical tests before signing a four year contract with the blanc-i-blau. He will be presented at the club stadium, the Montjuïc on Monday.

The 1.84m tall midfielder said that he is relieved to have two fellow Argentineans at the Montjuïc: “I’m glad that I will have two compatriots playing in Espanyol. Christian ÁLVAREZ is a good goalkeeper who I’ve faced before and Pablo ZABALETA is a great international player.”

Former Bayer LEVERKUSEN and Celta VIGO player, Diego PLACENTE will play in Ligue 1 for Bordeaux next season. The club’s coach, Laurent BLANC, has been courting for a left back all summer and his search has lead him to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

BLANC found the signing appealing because of PLACENTE’s Champions League experience (he reached the final with Leverkusen in 2002) and also because of a clause in his contract that allowed him to move to Europe for free. He will under go a medical tomorrow. If, as expected, the 31 year-old passes this test, he will sign a two year deal worth in the region of €2 million.

Meanwhile Liverpool have loaned out Sebastian LETO to Greek side Olympiakos for next season. LETO is ineligible to play in England at the moment due to complications in obtaining a work permit, so he is looking forward to the prospect of playing elsewhere on a borrowed basis.

Perhaps the much anticipated transfer talk of the week will take place in Italy. Both Juventus and Napoli are now racing for the signature of Diego BUONANOTTE, dubbed as the “New Messi”.

However the Naples side looks to be in the lead to grab the wonder boy and are confident of succeeding due to director general Pierpaolo MARINO’s contacts in South America that have already enabled him to capture both fellow Argentines Ezequiel LAVEZZI and German DENIS.

For me personally, it will be an ideal situation to see BUONANOTTE playing for Napoli and form a trio of Argentine offense and just who knows, the good old days might just return to the San Pablo. With all the hype around this player, are just can’t wait to see him in action in Beijing.

Most importantly, what do you guys think? Do you think he should move to Europe at a very young age? If yes, which club might be your preference? Or do you think he should stay in Argentina for the time being?

These are the news that I have to offer for now. In case if there was anything else that I might have missed out, well the comment section is all your.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Plea To Barca - Let Lionel Go!!!

Over the past few days, I’ve been keeping an eye on this particular report more than anything else. It doesn’t matter to what RONALDO or LAMPARD have in mind about their future because this is the one that matters to me to most.

For now all I got is some bad news. With Lionel MESSI still with the Barca squad for their pre-season training in Scotland, it is confirm that he won’t be joining the Olympic squad in Japan and will not appear in the friendly encounter against the Japanese.

I must say that I’m really puzzled by the club’s decision to stop the player from realizing his dream to play at the Olympics.

The situation is very unlikely that Barcelona will face a tough opposition in the qualifying round of the Champions League. Furthermore, with the squad like that, Pep GUORDIOLA has plenty of options to pick a strong team.

It is a well known fact that the football in the summer games is relatively a second tier event due to the fact it does not featured the biggest names in the sports, unlike other disciplines.

But in my opinion all that has changed when BIELSA took an overwhelming strong side to Athens. That success has definitely raised the standard of football in the Olympics.

Even now the Brazilians are taking things an extra further by bringing their best as well. They want top snatch the gold away from us. I partially feel that RONALDHINO’s main motivation to move away from the Nou Camp might have due to this reason. Chances are that Barca might not want to let him go either. Now KAKA is mad with AC Milan for stopping him and ROBINHO has express his dissatisfaction over Real Madrid for this matter as well.

The moral of the story? Yes football clubs are the ones that pays the players wages but they cannot undermine a players wish to play for his country, period.

Then again, prior to MESSI rose to stardom, Barca never had a great relationship with past Argentine players that have worn the club’s shirt. The great Diego never enjoyed his time there and the Camp Nou was never kind to RIQUELME and SAVIOLA. So now they are doing it all over again to a player that has been the face of the club in recent times.

So what other reason is there for them to stop him? Injury? Well MESSI never encountered any injury in an Albiceleste shirt. He was injured prior to the 2006 World Cup in a Barca shirt. He was injured earlier this year, once again in a Barca shirt.

So to Barca, this is my plea. Just let him go. By doing this the world will recognize your contribution to the spirit of the Olympic Games. After all, in the past your club has always engaged in numerous humanitarian efforts. In MESSI, you will have a great ambassador to support your cause once again in the world’s biggest sporting event. MESSI deserve to be there. In my humble opinion, he is football greatest answer in the Olympics, to the likes of Mark SPITZ, Michael JORDAN, Nadia COMECI, Sergey BUBKA and a host other Olympian Gods.

Should you ignore my plea, therefore just like what my friends have told me “Barca, Argentina Is More Than Just A Club”

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Inaugural 2008 Mundo Albiceleste Award – Just One Week Left

Greetings to all Albiceleste supporters worldwide. I’ve got an important announcement to make regarding our very first contest on Mundo.

As the title says it all, we are just ONE week away before we close the door for any incoming votes and start counting the ballots. I must say that it’s going to be very interesting for me after receiving an overwhelming of votes from all of you. I can’t really wait to do that. Once again, thanks for your participation.

For those of you who haven’t submitted your vote, kindly please mail them to me at Just in case, here is a recap on all the nominations.

Best Goalkeeper
Roberto ABONDANZIERI (Getafe)
Leo FRANCO (Atletico Madrid)
Juan Pablo CARRIZO (River Plate)
Mauricio CARANTA (Boca Juniors)
Mariano ANDUJAR (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Best Defender
Gabriel HEINZE (Real Madrid)
Ezequiel GARAY (Racing Santander)
Martin DEMICHELIS (Bayern Munich)

Fabricio COLOCCINI (Deportivo La Coruña)
Javier ZANETTI (Inter Milan)

Best Midfielder
Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool)
Esteban CAMBIASSO (Inter Milan)
Lucho GONZALEZ (FC Porto)
Juan Roman RIQUELME (Boca Juniors)
Maxi RODRIGUEZ (Atletico Madrid)

Best Forward
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona)
Sergio Kun AGÜERO (Atletico Madrid)
Fernando CAVENAGHI (Bordeaux)
Carlos TEVEZ (Manchester United)
Lisandro LOPEZ (FC Porto)

Oh yes!!! Don’t forget to drop us a line a two on why did you pick that particular player. Please be creative because you acknowledgment might just be published once we unveiled the results.

Before I end this, may I request a small favour from you? For those of you who have submitted your votes to Seba’s, could you kindly forward your choice to me as well. I would appreciate that very much.

Now let’s all hope that Lionel MESSI will say Si or 是 to Beijing.

Keep the votes coming and Vamos Argentina!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hernandez Names The Final 12 (including Manu)

Sergio Hernandez has named the final 12 players that will go to Beijing with a quest of defending the gold medal that we've won four years ago in Athens.

The good news is after plenty of speculations during the last month, it is confirm that Manu GINOBILI is fit to play. Manu has been a big uncertainty because of an ankle injury suffered with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA play-offs but he has been included on the final roster.

"I've been playing more frequently and improving well," Manu said. “The joint is doing well and that makes me happy."

"I see Manu, in every aspect, in excellent condition," HERNANDEZ said. "He seems more confident every time. He has improved so much from his injury that you see him really happy."

Manu says that no matter how good Argentina’s players are, they also need have some luck.

"Humility and sacrifice have always been keys to our national team," he said, "and for the Olympic Games we not only depend on our game, but also on the health of all of our players."

The final list of names also includes Antonio PORTA. A knee injury disrupted PORTA’s season at Spartak St Petersburg but the point guard appears to have recovered in time to play at the Athens Games.

As for the rest of the squad, all the usual suspects were in the team including Carlos DELFINO. He was finally able to focus on the Olympics after deciding to return to Europe to play for BC Khimki Moscow Region in Russia’s top flight.

More news and details on the team later but for now here are list of the final 12.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Some Latest News

Lucho For Atletico?

Wow!!! Atlético Madrid is being serious about the challenges they face next season, both in La Liga and the Champions League. And they are seriously looking at another Albiceleste to spearhead their campaign.

Imagine this. With Maxi RODRIGUEZ, Leo FRANCO and Kun AGUERO (provided that he stays next season at the Vicente Calderon) already there, now comes another star in the form Lucho GONZALEZ joining them next season.

El Commandante has spoken of his wish for a fresh challenge in a new league on several occasions and that has alerted the attention of the Spanish capital club. Lucho has been a long-term target for Atlético, according to reports, with the club monitoring his situation since 2004.

Atlético are now ready to launch a final offer for him after seeing their previous bids rejected, having heard that Porto have agreed with the player on his sale if an offer worth €15 million is made. Lucho, 27, joined Porto from River Plate in 2005 and has helped the club win the league for three times, having been named its best player last season.

I for once would like to see Lucho play in a stronger league and prove his worth to Coco BASILE and get a re-call to the national team.

Barca At Odds With Leo

I used to have plenty admiration for Barcelona and have always regarded them as my favourite club in Spain. But lately, sad to say that is, they have been getting on my nerve just a little too much.

Of course the main subject here has to be Lionel MESSI decision to go the Olympics, from which Barca officials have repeately fail to respect.

This is the same club which comes from a city that has hosted the Olympics in the past and perhaps should have a much better understanding that how important it is for any athlete just to be there.

FIFA has come out clearly by saying that clubs must released their players for the Games, just as long he is Under-23. That's fair enough for me. While Barca keeps arguing that the football tournament at the Games is not part of FIFA calender, and they have a case here.

The latest news that has just come out that MESSI was vaccinated against hepatitis B and other diseases earlier this week in order to be able to fly to Beijing. The AFA has already sent Lionel his plane ticket for him to join the rest of the squad in Japan. So looks like we are on the right track.

My advice to the respective officials at the Camp Nou, don't spoil the player's special relationship with the club. Just let him go.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Writer Pays Tribute To The Maestro

While watching Lewis HAMILTON winning the British Grand Prix last week, I kept wondering when will be the time before an Argentine grace the world of motor sport. By the way, does anyone here might know the last driver to ever race in Formula 1 from Argentina?

But for now, I would like to pay my tribute to the man that took Argentina to sporting glorious way before Mario KEMPES and his band of brothers delivered Argentina’s first Cup of Life.

As it was also mentioned in the sports official website, "Many consider him to be the greatest driver of all time. Several highly successful later drivers, such as Jim CLARK, Alain PROST, Ayrton SENNA and Michael SCHUMACHER, have been compared with him. It is generally acknowledged that such comparisons are not realistic, as the qualities required for success, the levels of competition, and the rules have changed over time”.

He is non other than Juan Manuel “El Maestro” FANGIO, a winner of five Formula One World Driver’s Championship (with four different teams, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati), a record which stood for 46 years.
His superlative track record was achieved by some of the greatest displays of skill and daring ever seen. After all, he came from an era where in Formula One, taking big risks might just be putting your own life on the line and safety issues wasn’t much of a concern (over 30 of his peers died during his career). But FANGIO survived them all and did it all with style, grace, nobility and a sense of honour never seen before or since.

However he did have his own close call. In 1952, after driving all night long through the Alps to race in a pre-season non championship event in Monza, he lost control of his Maserati on the second lap and crashed heavily, suffering a broken neck that left him with a permanently stiff upper torso. As a result, he was out of the 1952 Championship season altogether in order to recover fully.

Balding, short, stocky and he was also nicknamed 'El Chueco' (bow-legged), his unprepossessing physique belied a personal magnetism that together with his driving exploits made him a figure of worldwide adulation. In 1958 he became even more of an international celebrity when he was kidnapped in Cuba by members of Fidel CASTRO's revolutionary movement to draw attention to their cause. As was the case with everyone who met him, his captors were charmed by FANGIO and they released him unharmed.

He was a true gentleman, generosity of spirit, sense of fair play, invariable courtesy, surprising humility and sheer humanity were universally praised and appreciated, especially by his peers. He always befriended his mechanics and even provides practical contributions (he often wielded wrenches himself).

His most epic race would arguably be the 1957 German Grand Prix in Nurburgring. After losing nearly a minute to the Ferraris of Mike HAWTHORN and Peter COLLINS while during a pit stop, he went to smash the lap record to smithereens around the mother and father of all tracks, and beating the British youngsters into second and third. That race turned out to secure his fifth driving title and was his last victory.

Right from the moment in his first grand prix, 1950 British Grand Prix until his last race at the 1958 French Grand Prix, FANGIO’s has won 24 Grand Prix from 51 starts.

FANGIO received numerous of accolades and awards during and after his time as a racing driver. The most notable one was the “Fangio XXI” brand launched by Repsol YPF, as homage to him.
Even Michael SCHUMACHER who won his sixth title in 2003 said “FANGIO is on a level much higher than I see myself. What he did stands alone and what we have achieved is also unique. I have such respect for what he achieved. You can't take a personality like FANGIO and compare him with what has happened today. There is not even the slightest comparison."

On July 17th will be the 13th anniversary on the passing of one of Argentina’s truly greatest ever sportsmen. He may not be around in terms of flesh and body, but his genuine spirit and strengths will remain in the minds of millions of his supporters.


More Transfer News & Some Homecoming

With less then a month away before Argentina kick starts its Olympic defense campaign, here is some interesting transfer that has been taking place.

According to my friend Sean from, there is a possibility that
Hernan CRESPO might return back to Argentina to play for Independiente, as a replacement for German DENIS. The main reason is obviously Jose MOURINHO. For more news on that, you may check it out on his blog.

CRESPO did play under the so-called Special One for one season at Chelsea, but struggle to fit into MOURINHO’s system, whom I remember has always had a soft spot for Didier DROGBA. With MOURINHO now in charge of Inter, I do have some reservation about the future of our other stars currently there.

Also making a return across the Atlantic Ocean is non-other than our 2006 World Cup captain, Juan Pablo SORIN who will be making a return to join Cruzeiro of Brazil (the club which he spent for a couple of years during the earlier part of this decade). After the World Cup he was signed by German outfit Hamburg SV. However his time there was mostly plagued with injury, eventually the club has decided to terminate his contract. He is expected to be out for another three months and will continue his recovery at Cruzeiro’s facility.

One of our stars of the 2004 Athens Games, Andres D’ALESSANDRO could be on the verge to sign a lucrative deal with Inter. Hold your breath my friend, it’s Internacional of Brazil. Despite of the offers that were coming from Europe, his agent Gustavo MASCARDI had stated that Andres is more than happy to move to Brazilian football. It’s just sad to sight for me to the way things are going for him as I always felt that he was going to be a big star for our national team. Sincerely, my only hope is all the best for him.

With Damián ESCUDERO leaving Velez Sarsfield to join Villareal, going the other way is Leandro SAMOZA. It’s a real pity that SAMOZA never really manage to fulfill his expectation when he first went there. Perhaps a return home might just help him to resurrect his career.

Still in Spain; after losing Pablo AIMAR, Diego MILITO could the next Albiceleste that is also bound to leave Real Zaragoza. Report suggests that the striker has personally told the club that he wants to leave the club and join Valencia. The club has earlier rejected ₤12 million bid for him from Napoli.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The time has come: I'M GOING TO BEIJING!

Dear Mundo Albiceleste friends, I'm writing this to let you know that I'll be traveling to Beijing on Wednesday to start working with the Olympic News Service as a football reporter.

It's an amazing time for me and I can't wait to arrive in China and live this incredible experience of working at an Olympic Games and following the action on site!

The bad news is that I've been informed that Blogger is blocked in China (censorship is still going strong there) and I'm afraid I won't be able to post, comment or even read this site.

I've got a plan, though, and you'll hear from me from the shadows! I'll be e-mailing John all the text and/or pictures I'd be willing to share with you and he'll post them in my behalf.'ve got to find your way around, don't you?

I'll be staying in Beijing until 18 September as I'll also be covering the Paralympic Games.

I'm sure I'll miss you all and I'm gutted I won't be able to read all your comments, but I'll also ask John to send me your comments regularly so I'm in touch with you all.

There'll be plenty to discuss with the football and basketball teams fighting to defend their respective gold medals from Athens. The female field hockey team (Las Leonas) and a few tennis players with NALBANDIAN heading the lot, will be looking to get medals too. And I'm sure it'll be a very exciting event to witness.

There's also the start of the new season in every European league and I'm sure John will keep an eye on the established Argentine stars and all the newcomers!

Anyway...this is just a "see you soon" message and I would also like to thank you for all your continued support of Mundo Albiceleste and your valuable opinions and your friendship!

Checho & His Misfits Prepares for Beijing

Coach Sergio BATISTA and 13 of the Under-23 players started their first training session today. The team will be training in Buenos Aires until Saturday. On Monday they will depart to Japan where they will be schedule to play a friendly against the Japanese Under-23 on the 29th of July.
Among those who were absence were Jose SOSA, Federico FAZIO, Javier MASCHERANO, Lautaro ACOSTA and Lionel MESSI. SOSA is expected to join to rest of the squad this week while the rest of them will be schedule to join the team in Japan.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Transfer News & Much More

After surviving in what turns out to be another boring weekend, here I am back posting on some of the latest news which I’ve manage to come across.

Aimar Set for Benfica Move

First it was Everton and Newcastle that was bidding for his signature. Then it was Portsmouth that came into the picture.

But for now, it looks like that El Payaso could be on his way to Portugal to play for Benfica. At least that’s what his agent believes.

“I’m awaiting at the moment a phone call from (Zaragoza owner) Agapito IGLESIAS telling me that Benfica’s money has arrived,” his representative Gustavo MASCARDI told Portugese newspaper Record.

“As things stand, AIMAR will be a player at the Portugese club.”

Man United In For Agüero?

His agent, Jose SEGUI, has claimed that a leading English side is interested in signing the striker but here is the catch, it’s not Chelsea.

“I have had interest from a leading English team and they have asked me to approach Atletico with a bid. I cannot say more until I have spoken to the club about the offer. All I can tell you is that it is one of the best teams in Europe and it's not Chelsea.”

Kun is reportedly valued at around £35 million, however should United sell Cristiano RONALDO to Real Madrid; it is a price tag they could easily afford.

Last season he scored 19 goals in La Liga and helped Atletico finished fourth which earned them a spot in the Champions League.

Personally I would welcome him to Old Traford anytime (not that I support them or what) to see him teaming up with non other than Carlos TEVEZ.

Another part of me suggests that it might be Liverpool, due to the Spanish connection there. There is a high possibility that Rafa BENITEZ might want to reunite him with Fernando TORRES at Anfield.

Manu confident of fitness for Argentina title defense

Manu GINOBILI says he is recovering well from his left ankle injury and will be fit to help his country defend their Olympic men's basketball crown in Beijing.

"I feel much better. I'm taking it with humor and optimism. For the moment my ankle is very good," the San Antonio Spurs guard told local media, who has be chosen as the flag bearer for Argentina during the opening ceremony.

Manu had said in June that he was a doubt for the Beijing Games. But, following a successful recuperation period, the 30-year-old has bounced back to fitness quicker than initially expected.

Del Potro topples Gasquet for Stuttgart crown

Juan Martin DEL POTRO took full advantage of his first chance for a crown. The unseeded player collected his first career title by toppling second seed Richard GASQUET, 6-4 & 7-5, in the title match of the Mercedes Cup on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

REMINDER - The Inaugural 2008 Mundo Albiceleste Awards

This is just remind all our wonderful readers about The Inaugural 2008 Mundo Albiceleste Award which we’ve started since last month.

Once again, thanks for all those who has e-mailed us your vote. In case for those you who haven’t, don’t worry as there is still plenty of time for you to do so.

Just go to the following link to find out more on how you can participate in this interesting contest.


Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm a correspondent for ESPN Soccernet Podcast

Yes, my friends!

Today I made my debut for the ESPN Soccernet Podcast as a South American football correspondent!

Some of you may remember that during the last World Cup in Germany 2006 I was a written correspondent in charge of telling you all about Argentina and their quest for that elusive third World Cup title. That's how I got to meet a lot of the current Mundo Albiceleste's readers and, in fact this blog was born because of that great response I got from you when I wrote during the World Cup.

Now I joined the ESPN Soccernet Podcast team as a correspondent from South America and I don't know if it'll last for long but I'm sharing this with all of you and I hope you like my participation in that show.

Here's a link for those of you who would like to listen to the show.

You can listen right from their website (they've got a player that's very easy to open) and you can also download it to listen from your computer or your MP3 player.

My conversation with the host, Adriano Russo, begins roughly in the 31st minute of the show and we talked about the Copa Libertadores, the transfers involving South American players in the Premier League and a quick preview on the Olympic tournament.

I'd love to hear from you and read your critics and comments.

Hope you like it and I'll welcome any critics and comments from you.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Copa Libertadores Final Second Leg – Well Done Bauza, Bieler, Manso & Araujo!!!

Once again my wish was granted, as I've mentioned in my previous post about the final that I wanted to see Fluminense to make a great comeback. Before that, I have some an interesting info that I would like to share. In total, there were 8 Argentinean being involved in this final. Four players, three match officials and plus one from the sideline.

In my opinion, I believe the latter from the sideline has perhaps played the most important role in steering Ecuador major honour in South America. Well done to coach Edgardo BAUZA on this historical moment.

The visitors gave the home a real scare when Luis BOLANOS strike in the 6th minute but Fluminense recovered with a hat trick from Thiago NEVES, to level the match 5-5 on aggregate.

Liga Deportiva Universitaria (LDU) forward, Claudio BIELER had couple of chance that would have out his name in Ecuadorean folklore. First he hit the post during regular time and then had a goal disallowed during extra time (a wrong decision from the linesmen indeed).
So like the Champions League, both teams had to place their lottery card in the penalty shoot-out. José CEVALLOS became the hero for LDU, saving three penalties including one from Dario CONCA.
A BIG congratulations from Mundo to BAUZA, BIELER, Damian MANSO and Norberto ARAUJO on this wonderful achievement. LDU will represent South America in the FIFA Club World Cup where they might take on Carlos TEVEZ's Manchester United.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BATISTA names Olympic squad

They've got a mission. They have to defend the gold medal Argentina won four years ago. They are 18 men and now, finally, we've got their names!

Sergio BATISTA announced the entire and definite Olympic squad that will represent Argentina in the football tournament in Beijing in August.

The AFA lost the battle with Bayern Munich and with Real Madrid and Argentina won't be able to count with Martín DEMICHELIS and Gabriel HEINZE.

I can't imagine what DEMICHELIS must be feeling after PEKERMAN left him out of a World Cup that was going to be played in his backyard in Germany and now after being denied by his employers when he looked poised to participate in this big tournament. Hopefully, Martín will get his revenge in 2010 (will it be in South Africa?).

HEINZE was not allowed to join the team by Real Madrid so the 3rd over-23 player that will be joining Javier MASCHERANO and Juan Román RIQUELME will be Inter defender Nicolás BURDISSO.

Here's the rest of the squad:

Oscar USTARI (Getafe, Spain) and Sergio ROMERO (AZ Alkmaar, Holland).

Pablo ZABALETA (Espanyol, Spain), Ezequiel GARAY (Real Madrid, Spain), Federico FAZIO (Sevilla, Spain), Nicolás BURDISSO (Internazionale, Italy) and Luciano MONZÓN (Boca Juniors, Argentina).

Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid, Spain), Ever BANEGA (Valencia, Spain), Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool, England), Juan Román RIQUELME (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Angel DI MARÍA (Benfica, Portugal), José SOSA (Bayern Munich, Germany) and Diego BUONANOTTE (River Plate, Argentina).

Lionel MESSI (Barcelona, Spain), Ezequiel LAVEZZI (Napoli, Italy), Lautaro ACOSTA (Sevilla, Spain) and Sergio AGÜERO (Atlético Madrid, Spain).

There are also 4 stand-by players that will be able to replace any of the 18 in case of injury: Nicolás NAVARRO (goalkeeper, Napoli, Italy); Lucas BIGLIA and Nicolás Pareja (midfielder and defender, Anderletch, Belgium) and Emiliano INSUA (defender, Liverpool, England) .

On 29 July, Argentina will face Japan in Tokyo in a friendly match and from there, the team will move to China where they will play 2 of their first round matches (Ivory Coast and Australia) in Shanghai and the third one (against Serbia) in Beijing.

As well as being gutted for Martín DEMICHELIS missing out because a decision by his club, I'm absolutely thrilled to see BATISTA made justice and called up Lautaro ACOSTA. After all, he was the one who scored a dramatic winner against Uruguay in the last minute of injury time to give Argentina the chance to reach the Olympics and defend the gold medal.

What are your thoughts on this list and Argentina's chances to win it all?