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Hiddink Says He Has No Decision On Captaincy

New Dutch manager Guus Hiddink has said that he has not taken a decision on the captaincy of the national team. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager was appointed as the replacement for Louis van Gaal, who decided to opt for the Manchester United job after two years in charge of the national team. Hiddink is no stranger to the national team after having been in charge of the Dutch from 1994 to 1998. He has also been in charge of several international teams across the world. As a club manager, Hiddink has enjoyed undisputed success by winning trophies like the English FA Cup and the Champions League with clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively.

Much has been speculated about the team Hiddink will select for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying matches. After finishing third in the World Cup 2014, Netherlands will be expected as one of the favourites for the Euro 2016. However, a number of crucial players are approaching the end of their international careers. This list includes the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. Both players were key towards Netherlands reaching the third place in Brazil, but they are above 30. Hiddink is expected to name his new captain with this in mind, but he says that no decision has been taken yet.

“It’s too early to talk about technical decisions. Robben and Van Persie were very important so I think that they will remain captains. I can’t say in what order yet,” said the 67-year-old. This is widely expected to be Hiddink last role as a manager. He has previously hinted at retiring after having been a manager since 1987. In order to assist him in his role, Hiddink has brought in former Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is one of the celebrated players in the nation’s history.

INIESTA TRAVELS

Barcelona has to travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on March 23 as they will face off against Real Madrid on a match that has the potential of deciding which team is going to win the Spanish League in this season.

Andres Iniesta has urged his teammates and insisted in saying that they must win the match against their rivals in order to keep the Spanish title hopes alive.

‘’The truth is that if we want to maximize our options of retaining the league title, we have to win at the Bernabeu. Madrid are leaders and have some of the best players, but form doesn’t always count in these games’’. Iniesta said.
During the last few ‘’El Clasico’’ matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona, it have been characterized by red cards, fighting and diving rather than actual football but Iniesta believes that this time around there is going to be less tension than previous years.

‘’They are always a difficult team to beat, but I don’t think that we’ll see the same tension of a few years back on the pitch. It’ll be a war, but a footballing war and we mustn’t step over that line’’. Iniesta added.

Andres Iniesta is going through a rather different season from the rest of his teammates as he recently had to cope with the misfortune of his wife, Anna suffering a miscarriage which even forced the Spanish of having to miss out from a few training sessions and matches for his club but Iniesta has thanked his fans from all the support they have given him in these tough times.

“When you’re having a hard time, feeling really down, you then realize all the affection that you get from people you don’t even know, and this gives you the strength to carry on. My wife, my family, we are all grateful for the affection we have received’’.

“Yes, I have received messages of support from the Real Madrid players; some things are more important than a football match.” Iniesta revealed.

MESSI IS BEST EVER

Andres Iniesta is one of the stars of Barcelona and the Spanish midfielder insisted in praising Lionel Messi as he stated that the Argentinean superstar does not need to win the World Cup in order to be considered as the best player of all time.

Lionel Messi has always been a subject of discussion and most typically its usually when some start talking about his accolades as he has already won 4 Ballon d’Or awards which is more than anybody else but even though he has accomplished this feat as well as many other, some fans and coaches still insist in stating that in order for him to be regarded in the same caliber as Zinedine Zidane, Pele or Ronaldinho, the thing he needs is a World Cup trophy.

The performances that the Argentinean does with Barcelona are simply mind-blowing as he is consistently breaking records each season, each year. But his performances with his national team, Argentina are not on the same level as his club but despite this, Iniesta still considers Messi to be one of the best players in history.
“Leo doesn’t need to win the World Cup to be considered the best player ever. I say that for those who demand he wins the World Cup to be considered the greatest ever in history. He’s decisive in every game he’s played in for six or seven years.”

“Messi always responds. He never misses and in just a few minutes he can change a game. He’s a fundamental player,” the Spanish midfielder told the club’s official website.

Lionel Messi is expected to be the driving force behind Argentina in the upcoming 2014 World Cup as the star of Barcelona was given the captain armband and he has already stated his desire on winning the trophy for his 1st time.

BARCA FACE CITEH

Barcelona will be meeting Manchester City in the last 16 stage of the Champions league and it is one of the standout fixtures of the competition. Even though this is the first time City will be appearing at this stage of the competition, they are considered as one of the favourites for the title after having spent in excess of £ 1 billion on the squad in the last few years. They already possess some of the best players in the world like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Touré in their respective positions. As a result, Barcelona need to be at their best in order to beat City according to midfielder Andres Iniesta.

The future of the Spaniard was finally sorted after he signed a new contract with the club. It was heavily speculated that he would leave Barcelona, where he has been playing for the entirety of his career, at the end of the season. City were rumoured to be one of the destinations since they would be one of the few clubs who could afford his astronomical wages. Iniesta is regarded as one of the finest creative midfielders in the world, but he has been marginalised after the arrival of Cesc Fabregas.

The first match will be at the Etihad stadium.

“We know Manchester City and they are powerful, especially this season. To defeat the English, it is necessary that we are at our best. We have two hard matches. The danger against City is not only the physical power of English clubs but also the good touchline team with Pellegrini on the bench. But we respect the rivals and we are prepared to fight. Barca arrive in 2014 with a positive atmosphere,” said Iniesta. Barcelona are likely to be at their full strength after the return of Messi following a long injury absence.

INIESTA WINS PRAISE

Following the 4-0 victory of Barcelona over Granada, Gerardo Martino was impressed by his teams’ performance but he singled out Andres Iniesta for a particular praise as he was chosen to captain the team for that match.

Despite having a noticeable amount of injuries ranging from the goalkeeper to the offensive lines of Barcelona as it includes: Valdes, Alves and Messi but that did not seem to be any problem for the Catalan side that remain at the top of La Liga.

“We controlled the pace of the game, knowing when we had to play more directly and when we had to slow the match down,” he said at his post-match press conference.

“This side knows how to play in different ways when they need to. We have a commitment to play attractive football and I think the fans enjoyed themselves. Granada want to play the ball around and if you don’t press these teams well, you can have problems’’.

“Iniesta was the best player on the pitch today. He did everything well.”

The 29 years old midfielder is waiting for Barcelona to offer him an improved contract offer as he already rejected the initial one that was proposed to him recently also claiming that he is expecting to be paid more than Neymar who currently is on a basic wage of on a basic wage of €7m.

David Moyes has already shown interest in signing Iniesta as he is one of his top targets in the upcoming transfer window but this is a player that is clearly out of the reach of Manchester United as Iniesta has not displayed any signs of leaving the club in which he grew up at their youth academy, La Masia and them team he has been playing for over 10 years, Barcelona.

INIESTA LINKED AWAY

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has been linked with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United in recent weeks. The rise of Cesc Fabregas has meant that new manager Gerardo Martino has often sacrificed Iniesta, which has led to rumours that he may demand a move away from the Spanish club. He will find your shortage of takers being one of the best players in the world in his position. He has won almost every title with Barcelona since making his debut as a youngster. He has now revealed that he does not want a transfer away from Barcelona. Instead, he wants to sign a new contract with the club.

The 29-year-old has a contract that runs out in less than 24 months and there has been speculation about City coming in for his services. In a recent press conference, Iniesta ruled out the possibility of leaving Barcelona and he has also said that money is not the problem when it comes to agreeing a new deal. Iniesta is already one of the best paid players in the world, but he does not care where he stands in the list of top earners in the world. He is more concerned about winning trophies and he wants to retire at Barcelona.

“There is nothing strange or any war going on between Barca and Iniesta. The club wants me here and I want to stay here I have said many times that my aim is to retire here and the club wants the same. We all want to reach an agreement. This has nothing to do with money or whether I am the second, third, fourth or fifth best paid player. What motivates me is knowing that I have some good years ahead in which I can keep improving and growing as a player,” said Iniesta.

MESSI RETURNS

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will be making their return to Celtic Park in the group stages of the Champions league this season after the Spanish giants were drawn in the same group along with Celtic.

This is an extremely tough group for Celtic since they will also have to play against AC Milan and Ajax. Between AC Milan and Barcelona alone, there are 12 Champions league titles and they are formidable opposition to say the least. Despite this, Celtic can draw confidence from the recent performance against Barcelona when they managed to stun the Spanish giants at home. Read more »

INIESTA BACKS NAVAS

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that new Manchester city signing Jesus Navas is very similar player to Gareth Bale. Tottenham star Gareth Bale has been linked with almost every major club in the world after a string of impressive seasons with the Premier league outfit. He is valued in excess of £ 50 million by his club, who are resisting the advances of Real Madrid to sell him. Navas has been signed for a much lesser transfer fee. He has cost Manchester city around £ 20 million in transfer fees, and this is his first move from Sevilla.

The former Sevilla winger has been unable to secure a move away from his hometown club due to an extreme case of homesickness. Iniesta reckons that Navas will have been spoken of in the same breath as Bale if he did not have such a problem. Navas has also been unable to achieve a lot at international level due to this inability to travel with the squad. The 27-year-old winger recently reached the final of the Confederations cup with Spain. Iniesta has said that Navas is one of the quickest players he has ever seen.

This coupled with his poise and elegance on the ball make him a complete player.

“He’s going to cause the defences in the Premier League a real problem when he plays for City. Jesus has so much speed, and his feet are so quick, that it becomes nearly impossible to stop him without fouling him. The only player that I can compare him with that is already playing in England is Gareth Bale,” said Iniesta. Navas managed to win only his 28th International cap during the Confederations cup. Iniesta has said that City have truly secured themselves a truly special player, who will be able to push them towards league success.

BARCA NEXT

Barcelona have been draw against German giants Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions league this season. Midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that it is a thrilling tie and one that he cannot wait to play in. The 28-year-old has said that he expects Bayern Munich to provide a tough competition. Hence, the fans should not be already thinking about an El Clasico in the final of the Champions League this season. Real Madrid will be playing against Borussia Dortmund in the other semi-final. Madrid are the favourites to progress from this tie.

Iniesta has said that it is always nice to be close to a final because it provides the team with an opportunity to win a title. However, they should not be looking too far ahead because Bayern Munich are one of the favourites to win the competition this season. The German club has had a relatively easy passage into the semifinals, but that is partly down to the incredible strength of the team. Many regard Bayern to be the complete team in the Champions League this season.

Iniesta has praised the strength of Bayern by saying that they have strong players across the field, while their bench is also extremely strong as well.

“Man, if I were a fan I would not be so nervous, whilst with the adrenaline it should stop. A final should be exciting, it should be looked at as it is, it is something big to get to play it and there is nothing so nice as to win another title. Today, however, I do not think about that, just of the semi-finals, which will be very difficult. Do we face them with fear? No, unapologetically, full of confidence and trusting that if we do things as we should then we will be in the final, we have our chances,” said Iniesta.

AN UPHILL TASK

The Spanish club Barcelona face an uphill task in their efforts to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, as they have suffered a shock 2-0 defeat in the first leg against the Italian club AC Milan. This has left Milan with the requirement of even a drab 0-0 draw to go through into the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Barcelona have been one of the most successful clubs in this competition over the last few years, as they have lifted the trophy two times. Even though they are currently top of the Spanish league by a massive 13 points, they are on the verge of being knocked out of the European competition. Read more »