World Football: 25 Bold Predictions For 2011

James RiggioContributor IDecember 28, 2010

World Football: 25 Bold Predictions For 2011

0 of 25

    BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 15:  Xavi Hernandez and Andr?s Iniesta of Barcelona celebrate victory during the Copa del Rey match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla, played at the Camp Nou stadium on January 15, 2008 in Barcelona, Spain (Photo by Bagu Blanco/G
    Bagu Blanco/Getty Images

    With the new year just around the corner, some people are starting to prepare their New Year's resolutions. Others like to make predictions as what may happen in the coming year. 2011 should be interesting in one in the year of football and fans can expect to several exciting things happen. Because there is no World Cup or European Championships, clubs have more time to focus on the transfer market. Look for some big moves over the summer.

A Spaniard Will Win The 2010 World Player Of The Year Award

1 of 25

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  (L-R)  Andres Iniesta and Xavi of Barcelona celebrate victory in the UEFA Champions League Semi Final match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on May 6, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Imag
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    We all know a Barcelona player is guaranteed to win the 2010 World Player of the Year Award. But this time it will not be Lionel Messi and rather one of two Spaniards -- Xavi or Andres Iniesta.

Edin Dzeko Will Move to Juventus

2 of 25

    VILLARREAL, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Edin Dzeko of Wolfsburg looks on before the UEFA Europa League football match between Villarreal CF and VFL Wolfsburg at El Madrigal stadium on February 18, 2010 in Villarreal, Spain. Villarreal and Wolfsburg tie 2-2.  (P
    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    The star Bosnian striker for German side Wolfsburg will sign for Juventus next summer, after indicating a desire to play in Italy.

Fabio Coentrao Will Move to a Bigger Club

3 of 25

    LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 28:  Fabio Coentrao of Benfica controls the ball during the Portuguese Liga match between Benfica and Vitoria Setubal at Luz Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Patricia de Melo/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Left back Fabio Coentrao, one of Portugal's bright young stars, will leave Benfica for greener pastures. While a number of clubs will make bids for him, in the end he will choose to play for countryman Jose Mourinho with Real Madrid.

Serie A Will Win Back Champions League Spot

4 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 18:  Alessandro Nesta (front) of AC Milan competes for the ball with Marco Borriello of AS Roma during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 18, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudi
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    With the German Bundesliga all but guaranteed to have four teams in the 2011-12 version of the UEFA Champions League, Serie A squads will once again overtake them to have four Champions League squads for 2012-13.

Jose Mourinho Will Still Claim He Is The Best

5 of 25

    MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 22: Head coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid looks on before the first leg round of 16 Copa del Rey match between Real Madrid and Levante at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Ge
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Jose Mourinho will fail to win Spain's La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, but it won't stop him from proclaiming himself as the greatest manager in the world.

Javier Pastore Will Move In Summer

6 of 25

    PALERMO, ITALY - NOVEMBER 14:  Javier Pastore of Palermo celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Serie A match between Palermo and Catania at Stadio Renzo Barbera on November 14, 2010 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
    Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

    Clubs will start lining up for Palermo's Javier Pastore in the spring time. Come summer, the financial offers will be too difficult for the Sicilian side to hold on to the Argentine playmaker who reminds many of Kaka.

    Expect Pastore to end up with Kaka's first European club, AC Milan. Pastore is the perfect replacement for Ronaldinho.

Edwin Van Der Sar Will Retire

7 of 25

    BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 23:  Edwin Van Der Saar the Manchester United goalkeeper during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, first leg match between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou stadium on April 23, 2008 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo b
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Edwin Van der Sar will hang up his gloves at the end of the season, leaving a hole for Manchester United to fill. Look for the Red Devils to look outside England to find his replacement.

Rafa Benitez to Return To England

8 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 24:  FC Internazionale Milano head coach Rafael Benitezl during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between FC Internazionale Milano and FC Twente at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 24, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claud
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Rafa Benitez will return to England and find a job, possibly once again with Liverpool.

Ronaldinho Will Return to Brazil

9 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 03: Ronaldinho of AC Milan in action during the UEFA Champions League group G match between AC Milan and Real Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 3, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Ronaldinho will return to his native Brazil in either January or the summer. But a return is a guarantee. AC Milan will replace him with Palermo's Javier Pastore.

Thierry Henry Wins MLS MVP Award

10 of 25

    HARRISON, NJ - NOVEMBER 04:  Thierry Henry #14 of the New York Red Bulls reacts after a missed scoring change against the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2nd Leg of the MLS playoffs on November 4, 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Thierry Henry will show that is still a great player by winning Major League Soccer's 2011 MVP award for New York Red Bull.

Alexandre Pato to Pack Bags

11 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 10:  Pato of Milan celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 10, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
    Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

    AC Milan will sell Alexandre Pato now that it has Robinho and Antonio Cassano that play the same position. Pato will command a tremendous amount of money from an English club, much of which will be re-invested with the acquisition of Javier Pastore.

Antonio Cassano Will Get Into Fights With Teammates, But Nobody Will Know

12 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 24:  Antonio Cassano of UC Sampdoria in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 24, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Antonio Cassano will have some altercations with teammates, most likely Gennaro Gattuso, but it won't be leaked out because AC Milan is excellent with taking care of its internal problems.

    In the end, Cassano will end becoming an asset to the club after the air is clear.

Gareth Bale Will Move to Manchester United

13 of 25

    BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur at St Andrews on December 4, 2010 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty
    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Tottenham left back Gareth Bale is expected to move to one of the elite sides in the world. Bale will more-than-likely join Manchester United to replace Patrice Evra, who is expected to leave the club.

Patrick Vieira to Join Major League Soccer

14 of 25

    TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 16: Patrick Vieira of Manchester City in action during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Juventus FC and Manchester City at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on December 16, 2010 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Patrick Vieira will be the next veteran French star to join Major League Soccer, following Thierry Henry.

Adrian Mutu Will Leave Italy

15 of 25

    FLORENCE, ITALY - DECEMBER 05:  Adrian Mutu of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between Fiorentina and Cagliari at Stadio Artemio Franchi on December 5, 2010 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
    Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

    Romanian striker Adrian Mutu will leave Italy and he certainly won't be going back to England. He may move to Turkey and join Galatasaray, which is coached by former Romanian great Gheorghe Haji.

Fernando Torres Will Return to Spain

16 of 25

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20:  Fernando Torres of Liverpool looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on November 20, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Fernando Torres will return to Spain unless Liverpool qualify for the Champions League in 2011-12.

    Barcelona would appear to be the most obvious destination given that he grew up with Atletico Madrid and thus is highly unlikely to join rival Real Madrid.

Leonardo Will Fail To Win a Title

17 of 25

    MILAN, ITALY - MAY 15: Head coach Leonardo of AC Milan gives a thumbs up during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 15, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Inter Milan has hired former AC Milan coach Leonardo to take over for Rafael Benitez. But don't look for Leonardo to win any titles. Inter has struggled and this hire appears to be more of an attempt to get back at AC Milan, which has taken several ex-Inter players in recent years including Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Juventus to Return to Champions League

18 of 25

    TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 16:  Juventus FC head coach Luigi Del Neri looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League group A match between Juventus FC and Manchester City at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on December 16, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennici
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Led by coach Luigi Del Neri (pictured), Juventus will finish in the top three in Serie A in 2011 and return to the UEFA Champions League  in 2011-12.

Borussia Dortmund Will Win Bundesliga

19 of 25

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15:  Borussia Dortmund players pose for the photographers prior the UEFA Europa League group J match between Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on December 15, 2010 in Seville, Spain. The match ended 2
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Borussia Dortmund will win its first German Bundesliga title since 2001-02. The club enjoys a 10-point lead over Mainz and Bayer Leverkusen heading into 2012

Mario Balotelli Will Return to Italy

20 of 25

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Mario Balotelli of Manchester City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers at the City of Manchester Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Balotelli will return to Italy at the end of the season and join AC Milan, the club he admired as a child. He will be inserted as part of a deal that will send Alexandre Pato to Manchester City.

Erik Lamela Will Move to Europe

21 of 25

    It remains to be seen which club is in pole position to sign River Plate's 18-year-old attacking midfield sensation. Lamela is being monitored by all of the top clubs in the world.

Sergio Araujo Will Move to Europe

22 of 25

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16:  Rodrigo Vargas of the Melbourne Victory tries to tackle Sergio Araujo of the Boca Juniors during the pre-season International Friendly between Melbourne Victory and Argentina's Boca Juniors at Etihad Stadium on July 16, 20
    Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

    River Plate will lost Erik Lamela to a European side and rival Boca Juniors will do the same as young Sergio Araujo will also be part of a bidding war for clubs across Europe.

Liverpool Will Fail to Make Champions League

23 of 25

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  A Liverpool fan cheers on his team during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Liverpool and FC Utrecht at Anfield on December 15, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
    Clint Hughes/Getty Images

    For a second consecutive season, Liverpool will fall short in its bid to finish in the top four in England's Premiership, which would guarantee a spot in the UEFA Champions League.

Portugal Will Fail To Qualify For Euro 2012

24 of 25

    CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 29:  Dejected Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal after his side is knocked out of the tournament during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Spain and Portugal at Green Point Stadium on June 29, 201
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Portugal started out slowly and although it has recovered slightly, it will fail to qualify for Euro 2012.

Kaka Will Leave Real Madrid

25 of 25

    MALLORCA, SPAIN - MAY 05:  Kaka of Real Madrid looks on during the La Liga match between Mallorca and Real Madrid at the ONO Estadio on May 5, 2010 in Mallorca, Spain. Real Madrid won the match 4-1.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Kaka will leave Real Madrid for either Inter Milan, where he is wanted by Leonardo, or Chelsea, where he will be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!