World Football Gossip Roundup: Cruyff, Guardiola, Hazard, Arturo Vidal & More
As the end of the season approaches in football leagues across Europe, there is much uncertainty in the air.
Teams across Europe are fighting to edge out their title rivals, or nab the last Champions League qualifying place in the league, or simply trying to avoid relegation.
As is always the case in world football, whenever there is uncertainty, there is plenty of gossip. And so that is the case today.
In today's edition of World Football Gossip Roundup, we'll talk about a coach's unexpected departure from his club (hint: we're not talking about Guardiola), see what Vincent Kompany has to say about the Manchester derby, and of course we'll cover the latest transfer rumors.
Excited? So are we. Let's get to it.
Johan Cruyff Up to His Old Tricks
Johan Cruyff may have invented one of the most pleasant ways to play the beautiful game, but there's been nothing pleasant about his recent activity in the football world.
After falling out with his colleagues at Ajax for the umpteenth time this February, Cruyff finally decided to leave the Dutch club (which is set to be crowned Eredivisie champions in the coming weeks) in peace.
Unfortunately, that did not mean that he was taking a break from football entirely. On the contrary, Cruyff decided to try a completely new experience—introducing his style of football to Mexico.
Since being appointed this past February as an advisor to Chivas Guadalajara, Cruyff's influence has grown steadily, and last week, he stepped up his influence big time by informing Ignacio Ambriz, the coach at the time, that he would be relieved of his duties at the end of the season.
Outraged, Ambriz immediately resigned, leaving Chivas without a coach to finish the season. Guadelajara released a statement recapping the events that lead to Ambriz leaving the club:
The firm responsible for the Chivas sporting project, headed by Johan Cruyff, determined that Ignacio Ambriz should remain in his post until the tournament concludes.
However, on being notified of the decision, Ambriz decided to decline that plan and opted to leave the coaching position.
Um...duh? Why should any coach see out the season with his team if he knows he'll be sacked at the end of the season no matter what happens?
Granted, Ambriz had not recorded good results with Chivas, but Cruyff completely mishandled the situation.
I can't wait to see how Cruyff's latest project ends up. I'm betting he and his "advising firm" are sacked in less than two years.
Vincent Kompany Says Manchester Derby Is Second Only to El Clasico
I guess it has become, after el Clásico, the biggest game in the world in a league competition. After Real Madrid and Barcelona, it is the biggest game in the world.
That's what Vincent Kompany had to say about this weekend's big Manchester derby, one that many expect will settle the title race, one way or another.
When it comes to this, we have experience of these big games. But it's crazy, and you don't want to know that there will be 400 million people watching the game. It's the phone calls as well, it's everything. Not just from here but from China, America, all over: it's ridiculous the amount of people who are into this game, you can't imagine.
I'm inclined to agree. Derbies become derbies when there is a historical rivalry between the two teams involved. But if the two teams in the derby are not only historic rivals, but also city rivals and the two best teams in their league...well, that's just about all you could possibly want from a derby.
It should be an exciting game. Kompany doesn't think that the game will decide the race if City wins, and indeed Manchester City will have to overcome an in-form Newcastle the following week, but I'm fairly confident that City will be able to win the last two games of the season if they do overcome United.
Jean Tigana Officially Sacked by Shanghai Shenhua
After a week of conflicting reports, Shanghai Shenhua have finally confirmed that Jean Tigana has been sacked for the club's poor start to the Chinese domestic football season.
In his place, Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge has been named acting head coach, with a coaching staff consisting of four other coaches, including player-coach Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka is hoping for a Roberto Di Matteo-esque revival at Shenhua:
Changing the coach has provided (Chelsea) with a lot more space for imagination. The change of coach has set the club free in many aspects and that is why they are in the final.
There is a great possibility and a great chance for them to win the Champions League. I wish them all the best.
We will try our best to work on the positives with the change. Of course, Chelsea is Chelsea and Shenhua is Shenhua.
We'll see how things pan out. Tigana was sacked only seven games into the season, leading some to believe that his sacking was premature.
As for Anelka, he's scored only two goals in six games so far, and will need to up his scoring significantly to justify the hype around his transfer from Chelsea.
Guardiola Not in Talks with Chelsea
This past Friday, Guardiola confirmed reports that he'd be stepping down from his role as Barcelona's manager at the end of the season, citing the need to "recharge [his] batteries."
He also distanced himself from any of the jobs that will be available this summer, saying: "Sooner or later I'll take up another coaching job, but not right now."
But since the rumor mill rarely lets facts get in the way of a good story, they continued to press Guardiola on the possibility of him taking over at Chelsea next season, even though he had just acknowledged that he was leaving " the best place to work in."
So when asked about whether he'd met with Roman Abramovich this past February, and had discussed the Chelsea job, Guardiola once again distanced himself from the job, saying he didn't since doing so would've been disrespectful to the club.
Does this mean that the Guadiola to Chelsea rumors will finally come to an end? Doubtful. I wouldn't be surprised to see them back in full force by next week.
Eden Hazard Wanted by City and United
Hard luck, Arsenal and Tottenham.
For so long, it looked as though the two London clubs would be the only two major suitors for Eden Hazard this summer.
But at long last, both Manchester clubs have registered their interest in the player. Speaking with France Football, Mancini had nothing but good things to say about Hazard:
I like Hazard a lot. He's a good player, he's young and he would do great things in our team. Given his technical qualities City would be the perfect destination for him.
I know him and have been following him for a long time. He's a player a lot of teams want.
Not to be outdone, Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to also compliment the player:
I was at the game and watched Hazard, as well as other players. That's part of my job, looking at good players.
Hazard is a very good player and has a lot of qualities. He's particularly quick over the first ten yards.
Spurs and Gunners fans shouldn't be too disheartened though. For a player of Hazard's quality, it was only a matter of time before the wealthiest clubs of Europe jumped into the fray, and Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid's interest will ensure that whoever gets Hazard won't get him cheaply.
Arturo Vidal Not for Sale
Arturo Vidal has been a monster for Juventus this season.
Alongside Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio, Vidal's given Juventus one of the strongest central midfields the team has had in years, and is a huge reason why Juventus have overcome massive odds to remain undefeated and on course for the Serie A title.
Though Juventus haven't been in the media spotlight as often as they're used to because of their lack of European football, Vidal's performances have not gone unnoticed, and have reportedly interested Real Madrid.
However, Juventus' director general Beppe Marotta has warned Real Madrid to steer clear of the Chilean superstar, saying in an interview with Tuttosport:
I made it clear to Felicevich, and indirectly to Real, that Vidal is not for sale. Vidal isn't available for transfer and it has nothing to do with his fee. The simple truth is that Vidal is one of the pillars at Juventus for today and tomorrow.
That's really unfortunate, because Vidal one of the few players in the world that could truly give Real Madrid a massive boost in quality.
As good as Sami Khedira has been this season, he's no Vidal, and a defensive midfield combination of Vidal and Xabi Alonso or Vidal and Nuri Sahin would wreck havoc on La Liga and the Champions League next season.
Gonzalo Higuain Linked to Chelsea...Again
It's the rumor that just won't go away.
Well, there's actually a lot of those (move back three slides for another one), but this one has somehow managed to push itself along without any real support.
That could be set to change though, as The Sun recently quoted a "Chelsea source" confirming the rumors about Higuain:
Higuain is top of the shopping list. He has a phenomenal goalscoring record for Real and for Argentina but he helps make lots of goals too.
He would be perfect for us, the sort of player who would thrive in the Premier League.
Being the skeptic I am, I'm not buying it. Roman Abramovich would have to be pretty stupid to go out and buy another center-forward with Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku all in desperate need of playing time next season.
But, Abramovich has made stupider moves in the past. I suppose now we can't rule this transfer as being completely impossible.
Neymar Knocked out by an Orange
We close out this edition of World Football Gossip Roundup with a somewhat funny, somewhat serious video of Neymar getting knocked out by an orange.
The funny part? Neymar getting knocked out by an orange of course. His reaction is quite funny as well...he takes some time to process that he's been hit before going down.
The serious part of course is that fans should never be throwing objects of any kind at opposing players, especially not in a competition as prestigous as the Copa Libertadores.
It's unknown whether Bolivar have been punished or not for their fans' aggression, but you'd think that there'd be serious repercussions for such actions in South America's most prestigious competition.
Here's another angle of Neymar vs. the orange.