BBC BLOGS - Phil Minshull

Archives for January 2011

Is Adebayor the answer to Real's problems?

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Phil Minshull | 17:54 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho have finally got their man, although not many expected that man to be Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

In recent weeks, numerous players have been touted as possible stand-ins for Gonzalo Higuain, who has been sidelined since the start of December with a back injury and could be out until the end of the season.

Some of them had clearly been suggested by Real sources and included the likes of Bayern Munich duo Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez, Lyon's Lisandro Lopez, Mainz's Hungarian international Adam Szalai and Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy's return to the Santiago Bernabeu, an idea that the Dutch striker himself seemed to relish following interviews given to the Spanish media last week, looked like a distinct possibility for several days until Hamburg turned down Real's rather derisory offer of 2m euros and a friendly between the two sides.

Now Mourinho, the 'Special One', has made Adebayor his 'Chosen One' - until the end of the season at least, when Real will decide whether to sign him permanently.

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Goodbye to Hell

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Phil Minshull | 10:04 UK time, Thursday, 20 January 2011


Hell has not frozen over in Istanbul - the temperature still rarely drops below five degrees centigrade at night in January by the Bosphorus - but the bulldozers are moving in.

Very soon the famous - and many fans of western Europe clubs would say infamous - Ali Sami Yen Stadium will be nothing more than rubble and a memory, soon to become a shopping centre.

No longer will the Galatasaray fans unfurl their legendary banners, which greeted foreign opponents and local rivals alike, with the announcement 'Welcome to Hell'. No more flaming torches will be lit - emblematic of Galatasaray's yellow and red colours that the club's founder Ali Sami Yen chose because they looked like fire - and the deafening drums have been silenced.

"I've never experienced anything like Galatasaray," reflected Ryan Giggs after one of several visits to the Ali Sami Yen by Manchester United during the mid-90s.

"Two hours before kick-off, we went out to have a look at the pitch and the stadium was packed! The chanting was brilliant. One side starts, then the other, then quiet, then all of them chanting. The players really enjoyed it. Before it was good, after it wasn't!"

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Did the wrong man win the Ballon d'Or?

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Phil Minshull | 12:03 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011


With Barcelona players having a stranglehold on the final three-man shortlist for the new-look Fifa Ballon d'Or, there was saturation coverage in Spain of Monday's gala in Zurich.

Six television stations across Spain, as well as many internet sites, showed the event live but commentators, almost to a man and woman, were surprised when Lionel Messi was announced as the winner

In a close contest, Messí got 22.65% of the votes from the captains, coaches and journalists from Fifa's national federations, while Andres Iniesta finished second with 17.36% and Xavi Hernandez got 16.48%.

Even Messi himself, looking just ever so slightly uncomfortable in his Dolce & Gabbana suit, seemed rather embarrassed at the outcome.

Never the most verbose of individuals, he was almost lost for words at the presentation.concerned.

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McClaren finds life tough at Wolfsburg

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Phil Minshull | 09:00 UK time, Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Steve McClaren is still the boss at Wolfsburg and on Monday the former England manager was keen to show it to his players and an accompanying horde of spectators which included some of his most vociferous critics from the German media.

At the club's Marbella winter training retreat, McClaren led his players - including the apparently Manchester City-bound Edin Dzeko who might have been wishing his transfer had progressed a bit more quickly - on a 30-minute dawn run before breakfast.

This was a prelude to two further punishing training sessions later in the day, during which McClaren was reported to have reminded his players on several occasions: "This is not a holiday, we have lots to do, we are not here to have fun."

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