Football = Life is moving!


Football = Life’s domain is moving!

We’re no longer a WordPress blog but are now our own website. Keep an eye on how the site develops over the next few months, with new posts coming out. But please follow the new site, not this one:

www.footballequalslife.com/homepage/ 

Thanks for your support.

Football = Life

DEADLINE DAY: JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW 2012


As the Transfer Window gathers pace, you can see our hourly-updated page for all of the incoming transfer news. So far, Chelsea have finally completed the signing of Kevin De Bruyne, while Blackburn have swooped for Martin Olsson’s brother Marcus from Hammarby.

DONE DEALS

KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Genk -> Chelsea
£7 million

MARCUS OLSSON
Hammarby -> Blackburn
£1 million

BILLY SHARP
Doncaster -> Southampton
£1.85 million

IN THE PIPELINE

RYAN WILLIAMS
Portsmouth -> Fulham
£500,000

RICARDO VAZ TE
Barnsley -> West Ham
£1 million

DAVID PIZARRO
Roma -> Man City
£5 million

NIKICA JELAVIC
Rangers -> Everton
£6 million

PATRICK BAMFORD
Nottm Forest-> Chelsea
£1.5 million

RAVEL MORRISON
Man Utd -> West Ham
£500,000

WAYNE BRIDGE
Man City -> Sunderland
£2 million

ADRIAN MARIAPPA
Watford -> Newcastle
£2 million

NICKY MAYNARD
Bristol City -> West Ham
£2 million

POSSIBLE DEALS

GIOVANI DOS SANTOS
Spurs -> Granada/Villarreal
£6 million

CARLOS TEVEZ
Man City -> AC Milan/Anzhi Makachkala
£21 million

Sunderland hand trial to bad boy Balotelli’s brother


Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill will run the rule over Mario Balotelli’s young brother Enoch this week after offering the youngster a week’s trial in an attempt to earn a deal at the Stadium of Light.

Enoch Baruwah Balotelli, 19, has accepted the offer of a trial and will travel this week to undergo his assessment for the academy.

The Ghana-born Italian bears a uncanny resemblance to his big brother, who has been in the limelight for the right and wrong reasons since his £24 million move from Inter in 2010.

Enoch did have a trial at Stoke last month but the club decided that he wasn’t right for the club. However, it is believed that along with former PAOK midfielder Zlatan Muslimovic, Martin O’Neill is looking to cut costs and sign a free agent in the January Transfer Window.

O’Neill has spearheaded a revival in Sunderland’s campaign after taking charge last month, with the North Eastern club picking up 16 points out of a possible 24 since Steve Bruce was controversially sacked as manager. But now, fans at the Stadium of Light must be wondering whether to be excited or furious about the decision to take on another Balotelli.

If Enoch wins a contract at Sunderland, him and Mario will join the list of other brothers in the Premier League: Phil + Gary Neville, Rafael & Fabio Da Silva, Bradley & Shaun Wright-Phillips and Rio & Anton Ferdinand.

Lets hope they don’t host a fireworks party if he does!

Copa del Rey – Real Madrid v Barcelona Preview


There may be a huge emphasis being placed on club transfers at the moment as we approach the climax of the January Transfer Window. But it seems inevitable that Sky Sports News will suffer a dip in their viewership this evening as fans eagerly anticipate tonight’s Copa del Rey Quarter-Final clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

El Clasico is never a friendly match, whether it’s Copa del Rey, La Liga or the Champions League. You can almost guarantee a red card, penalty or a controversial decision will be included in the script for tonight’s clash of the titans.

Critics may point to the fact of the cup’s lack of attraction as an indicator for a stalemate, but this simply is not the case with El Clasico. While the Copa del Rey is one of little importance for both sides, you’d be naive to think that the prize of victory over their rivals would not be enough motivation to secure a win.

The game will have some extra spice added (not that it needs any) due to the league situation at the moment – Real are five points ahead of Barcelona with 21 games remaining – where La Liga has again transformed into a two-horse race after Valencia’s shock loss at the weekend left them trailing Real by 12 points.

Perhaps Jose Mourinho will be more inclined to push for a win when you view his record v Pep Guardiola. In the past one-and-a-half seasons, the teams have met eight times, with the former coming emerging victorious on just one occasion, while his counterpart has enjoyed the taste of success four times.

Recent years have seen great clashes between the two, but they have met relatively infrequently in the Copa del Rey, with this being the 6th time. If Barcelona avoid defeat at the Bernabeu tonight, they become the first ever side to go seven games unbeaten there.

But Pep Guardiola knows that this could prove a task too difficult for his Barcelona side, who have struggled for consistency away from home in recent weeks. Sevilla, Athletic, Getafe and Espanyol have all taken points off the Catalan side in recent games, while Real Madrid are the form team of Europe at the moment, winning 22 of their last 23 games in all competitions, with Cristiano Ronaldo is terrific form which has seen him bag 21 goals in 18 La Liga games this season. So by no means can one assume that Barcelona will stroll to a win in tonight’s crunch clash.

 

KEY CLASHES 


Lionel Messi v Sergio Ramos

Every defender would have mixed feelings about coming up against the little magician Messi. On the one hand, you can prove your credentials to the world if you keep him quiet. On the other hand, as Arsenal defenders will tell you, he can run rings around you and expose you to the football world as vulnerable. However, Ramos has faced the little Argentine many times in his career and will know what to expect from the 24-year-old.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo v Jose Manuel Pinto

Ronaldo, despite scoring an incredible 74 goals in 65 games for Real, has come under-fire from a section of the Madridstas for his lack of goals in the past few games. So he will be hoping for a decent performance tonight. But in his way is reserve keeper Pinto, he comes in for Victor Valdes who is rested. Pinto has shown he has elements of quality but also has a tendancy to make glaring errors. It will be an interesting clash for the Spaniard.

 

Xabi Alonso v Xavi 

In the centre of the park, the Battle of the Passmasters will commence. Alonso is known as one of the most accurate passers and provides solid support to both attack and defence when he plays with his elegant style. But Xavi, who has been named in the Top 3 of the Ballon D’Or for the last four years, has incredible vision and execution with his passes. He is a firm believer in Pep Guardiola’s six second method of retaining possession, and this is key to Barcelona’s success in the midfield.

 

PREDICTION: 1-2

It will be a tense game with lots of chances, action and of course, controversy. However, I think Barcelona will come out on top, purely because they have so much to prove after some lacklusture performances recently. Real have been so good lately it seems inevitable that a team will eventually halt their run, and I think Barcelona will just about edge this fiery encounter.

 

City win race to sign Real starlet Pozo


According to reports in Spain, Manchester City have beaten the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool to the signing of highly-coveted Real Madrid starlet Jose Angel Pozo.

Despite being just 15-years-old, Pozo’s enormous potential has been recognised by Europe’s top scouts and was rumoured to be interesting Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

However, with the knowledge that Spanish clubs cannot agree a pre-contract agreement with the player before the age of 16, City have moved quickly to sign Pozo on a five-year deal when he turns 16 in March.

Despite calls from Jose Mourinho and Florentino Perez to stay in Madrid due to his exciting ability, Pozo has seemingly snubbed the opportunity at the Bernabeu to continue his development at Eastlands, and it signals a growing trend of Spanish youngsters moving to England, with Hector Bellerin, Fran Merida and Cesc Fabregas just a handful of players joining English clubs recently.

It is believed that City have agreed a compensation deal with Real rather than go to a tribunal, which will see them pay €200,000 now and up to €5 million depending on appearances.

However, Real never let one of their future stars go far from the tree and are said to have placed a option to buy the player back in 2014-15, a clause they also exercised with striker Jose Callejon this summer after he left the club to join Espanyol in 2008.

Galatasaray launch €10m swoop for Liverpool target Shaqiri


Basel have confirmed that they have received an offer from Turkish giants Galatasaray for Swiss sensation Xherdan Shaqiri.

The 20-year-old winger, who has already made 17 appearances for Switzerland, has been attracting interest from the likes of Barcelona, Porto, Liverpool, Newcastle and Bayern Munich in recent weeks.

But now Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim has confirmed the club are looking to steal a march on their rivals by signing the Kosovo-born starlet, submitting a sizeable offer believed to be around €10 million.

It’s common knowledge that Basel see Shaqiri as a key part of the club’s adventure in the Champions League this season, and as a result have insisted they are not encouraging offers. However, it’s been reported that a bid in the region of €15-17 million could force Basel’s hand.

Shaqiri is quoted on skysports.com saying that “a move to Istanbul is not something that he really wants”  but “would consider any offer made to him”. The opinion of the media in Switzerland is that the winger, who has scored four times this season, is keen to see out the season at his hometown club and seal a big-money switch in the summer.

Gala seem eager to push through a deal for Shaqiri and will be hoping that he can make the same impact that Franck Ribery made when he moved to Turkey for a short stint in 2004, with the idea of selling him for an inflated fee a possibility.

COMING SOON – AspireBlog


To all readers,

Thank you for your support, comments and views over the last 18 months. I would like to take this opportunity to reveal a new project I’m taking on as well as being the Editor of Football = Life.

You may have heard about an innovative, revolutionary drink called Aspire, created by a company called Farenheit 60. Everyone knows that the market is dominated by the big brands such as Coca Cola, Pepsi or Britvic, with the former known to sell billions of units annually, but the unique selling point for Aspire is something that gives it a chance of establishing itself as a huge brand.

After all, it has something that neither of these drinks can boast. The ability to burn on average 200 calories a can. Tried, tested and proved. Aspire is a phenomenon.

Aspire has become a rapid sensation in the world of Food & Drink, and during the past year the likes of Selfridges, Holland & Barrett and luxury supermarket Waitrose have snapped up distribution rights for their many stores across the UK. Such has been the rise in the reputation of Aspire that global distributors are looking to snap up rights for their respective countries, meaning that Aspire is going global.

In conjunction with their expansion plans, Aspire have gone about creating a blog and I have been commissioned to do it for them. So while I will be carrying on my work with Football = Life, I will now also be focusing on AspireBlog.

More details will follow about when the site will be up and running, but the expected date will be in February 2012. So watch this space!

Please take the opportunity to view their website:

www.aspiredrink.co.uk

Once again, thank you for reading my blog and hopefully 2012 can bring bigger and better things!

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