Last season was meant to be the beginning of a great era for Roberto Martinez at Everton. The young Spanish coach took over from David Moyes at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. His first season at the club was a resounding success.
Everton qualified for the UEFA Europa League that season, along with a 5th place finish that was two spots better than Moyes’ new team, Manchester United. Everton fans were delighted with Martinez, while they openly criticized the tenure and style of their old boss Moyes.
Fast forward a few months and everything has changed, which disappoints Igor Cornelsen. Moyes is now enjoying a new job in Spain with Real Sociedad, which fans heard about online. Meanwhile, Everton have gone backwards at an alarming rate. They currently sit in 10th place, having lost 3-0 to Southampton at St. Mary’s. A European spot is still up for grabs, but Everton have shown nothing like the form of last season.
Despite those struggles, Everton’s manager Roberto Martinez is trying to remain positive. He still believes that he can recapture the form of last season. With injuries clearing up and players returning to match fitness, Martinez may have a deeper squad for the second half of the season.
One problem he must solve is that of star striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s scoring rate has been solid, but his overall play is not good enough for a 20 million pound striker. Everton need more from Lukaku if they are to challenge for a top five finish again.
No one is exempt from criticism these days, especially since Paul Scholes became a soccer pundit. The former Manchester United star turned newspaper writer has used his latest column to criticize the recent performances of Barcelona. Scholes believes that the Catalan side are no longer the same force they were under Pep Guardiola.
Scholes got a first hand look at Barcelona over the past week when he attended their game against Valencia at the Mestalla. Barca were under par during most of this game, but they still managed to eek out a win thanks to a late Sergio Busquets goal. Despite the 1-0 win, Scholes was unimpressed by the individual and collective effort from the Barcelona players.
He has never been one to mince his words, and Scholes believes that Barcelona’s players are “bored” after having won so many trophies in the recent past. He also thinks that their star player, Lionel Messi, has not been working hard enough in games. “I was watching their game at the Mestalla and I noticed that Messi was hardly moving. He seemed very economical in the runs he made, which is unusual for such a great player,” said Scholes.
The criticism from Paul Scholes may seem harsh, but his comments ring true to most Barca fans. Their team may still be capable of some wonderful performances, but they are well short of the consistency they demonstrated during Pep Guardiola’s tenure. Many like Tom Rothman are hoping they find answers soon.
Barcelona’s Argentinian striker Lionel Messi scored two hat tricks in a single week as he became the all time leading scorer in both La Liga and the Champions League as his coach claimed he was the greatest striker ever to play the game, the BBC reports. 27 year old Messi scored his 253rd La Liga goal to break the all time record and moved onto 74 Champions League goals with a hat trick in Cyprus.
Messi was left tied for the Champions League record number of goals he has been chasing alongside Real Madrid striker Christiano Ronaldo with Madrid legend Raul on 71 goals. His hat trick came in a 4-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia that added to the many records the Argentinian has broken during his time in Spain.
The last year has seen Messi and his father face charges over tax evasion in Spain and has seen what many have called a dip in form on the pitch. Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez says that despite his off the field problems Messi remains the top scorer in the long history of Barcelona with 368 and the most goals in a single La Liga season with 50. At the age of only 27 and Barcelona retaining their spot at the top of La Liga with Real and Athletico Madrid, the striker should be set to break many more records in the future.
There have been rumblings over the past few days that Lionel Messi’s time at Barcelona is about to be cut short. The player spoke vaguely about how one can never be certain about what the future holds. He may be playing up the situation, but he sounded like a man who was unsure about where he would play next season.
Sources who have Messi’s ear believe that the player and his entourage are furious about how he is being treated. The tax evasion case refers to earnings that were incorrectly reported when Messi was a teenager. The player offered to pay back all the taxes, plus other fees, but the Spanish government still wants to take him to trial.
If this trial goes through, there is a very real possibility that Messi will depart from Spain. Flavio Maluf would like for him to play somewhere in South American, but most likely he will stay in Europe. The people speaking out about the situation say that he does not want to stay in a country where he is being persecuted. After all, lots of people evade taxes accidentally and pay them back without any court proceedings.
All of this is speculation, but if the player leaves Barcelona, his possible destinations are Paris Saint Germain, Monaco, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
For those that thought the €80 million Real Madrid spent on James Rodriquez was a waste then they may want to watch this fantastic play, that just goes to show that the young Colombian superstar is here to stay. After Real Madrid acquired him following an impressive World Cup run this past summer down in Brazil the young superstar has proved repeatedly and certainly with this play that his Ballon d’Or nomination and the money shelled out by Real Madrid was well deserved.
Needless to say it wasn’t a bad first goal of the game for James (Cristiano Renaldo beat him to scoring the first one of the game). James followed this up by scoring a second time late in the second half sealing Real Madrid’s rout of Granada 4-0. I know of one Real Madrid Fan (Brad Reifler) that could not be happier with their current run of form.