Tag Archives: frontman

Lionel Messi proves he is human after being foiled by a Japanese moving robot

Man v Machine: Messi proves he is human after all… as he is foiled by a Japanese moving robot

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

02:48 GMT, 9 April 2013

This might be the only way for managers to stop Lionel Messi in his tracks – by signing a Japanese goalkeeping robot.

Messi has been branded a killing machine after rattling in 57 goals this season.

His exploits have left managers in La Liga and throughout Europe tearing their hair out as just how to halt the Argentine striker.

Scroll down for video

Man v machine: Messi prepares to step up against the robot

Man v machine: Messi prepares to step up against the robot goalkeeper

Not spot on: Messi steps up for his penalty (above) and sees his spot-kick saved (below)

Not spot on: Messi steps up for his penalty (above) and sees his spot-kick saved (below)

Messi pen:

But the Barcelona frontman, considered by many as the game's greatest ever player, struggled when the man took on the machine in a game show broadcast on Japanese TV.

Messi took three penalties against the moving piece of cardboard – but missed his first two spot-kicks.

He is human after all then.

VIDEO Messi goes head-to-head with a robot in a penalty shoot-out

Messi takes on robot in penalty shoot-out

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Wilfried Zaha swears at Leeds fans over Manchester United abuse

Zaha gives Leeds fans the middle finger after abuse over transfer to Man United

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

21:55 GMT, 9 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:31 GMT, 10 March 2013

Manchester United's new signing Wilfried Zaha was spotted swearing at Leeds United fans on Saturday.

The Crystal Palace attacker was being berated by Leeds supporters over his transfer to their bitter rivals.

He responded by grinning and sticking up his middle finger at them.

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Response: Wilfried Zaha had a message for the Leeds fans giving him stick

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United this summer

Top form: Zaha again showed the star quality yesterday that earned a move to Manchester United this summer

Red Devils fans took to Twitter to praise their new signing, saying he was 'getting into practice'.

Whether Sir Alex Ferguson would approve of this gesture is another matter entirely.

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds player Lee Peltier

Eyes on the ball: Zaha used his head to get past Leeds player Lee Peltier

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Wing wizard: Zaha cuts inside to beat Leeds United's Stephen Warnock

Palace fought hard and earned a 2-2 draw with Leeds thanks to a late goal by Glenn Murray.

The Eagles frontman hit a brace – and so did Leeds' Steve Morison – as they shared the spoils at Selhurst Park.

DJ Campbell to return to QPR

Harry hoping DJ can put QPR in a spin with striker set to return from Ipswich

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UPDATED:

12:23 GMT, 31 December 2012

Harry Redknapp is hoping that DJ Campbell can help fire QPR to safety when he returns from a three-month loan spell at Ipswich this week.

Campbell’s Hoops career appeared to be over under Mark Hughes as he was frozen out the first-team squad and then sent to Portman Road on a temporary basis in October.

In a spin: DJ Campbell is heading back to Loftus Road in January after shining on loan at Ipswich

In a spin: DJ Campbell is heading back to Loftus Road in January after shining on loan at Ipswich

But a run of 10 goals in 16 games for Mick McCarthy’s Championship strugglers has seen the 31-year-old catch the eye and he will be thrust back into Rangers’ Premier League squad on his return to Loftus Road.

With both Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson out with long-term injuries Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie are the only fit strikers currently available to Redknapp.

The former Spurs boss is expected to bring in a frontman to bolster QPR’s survival bid once the transfer window opens but Campbell’s services will still be required as Rangers look to haul themselves to safety.

Welcome him back with open arms: QPR boss Harry Redknapp needs to bolster his attacking options

Welcome him back with open arms: QPR boss Harry Redknapp needs to bolster his attacking options

Olivier Giroud urges Arsene Wenger to sign Thierry Henry

Get Henry! Arsenal frontman Giroud urges Wenger to sign legend for a third time

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UPDATED:

11:38 GMT, 26 November 2012

Olivier Giroud has urged Thierry Henry to re-sign for Arsenal in January.

Henry has been training with the north London club during the MLS off-season, and manager Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out another move for the Gunners legend.

The New York Red Bulls striker, 35, scored twice during his seven-game loan spell last season, including a storybook winner against Leeds in the FA Cup on his return to the club he served from 1999 to 2007.

Fancy seeing you here, Thierry: Henry may be in line for a third stint at Arsenal

Fancy seeing you here, Thierry: Henry may be in line for a third stint at Arsenal

Wenger said he would make a decision on Henry's potential return in January but admitted it was a tempting prospect given the former France star's qualities and the fact Arsenal will be 'short' of strikers in the new year owing to the Africa Cup of Nations.

And Giroud admitted he'd love to link up with his fellow Frenchman at the Emirates.

'Henry misses the enthusiasm around the Premier League,' Giroud said. 'But he didn't tell me if he will be back. It would be great joy to play with him.'

Leading the line: Giroud has urged Wenger to re-sign Henry

Leading the line: Giroud has urged Wenger to re-sign Henry

Giroud has scored four goals in his last five appearances for the Gunners and says he's slowly beginning to adapt to life in the Barclays Premier League after his arrival from Montpellier in a 12million deal during the summer.

'I have to improve my statistics again and again. I have been patient and worked, said Giroud who was speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe.

'When you come into a new club, there is a time to adapt. Even Thierry Henry experienced it. If I could achieved just half of what he achieved.'

He added: 'I love that city [London], it is eccentric, and so cosmopolitan. There are so many things to do. You can never be bored.'

Chelsea prepare bid to sign Marouane Fellaini

Chelsea preparing hair raising 30million bid to lure in-form Fellaini from Everton in January

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UPDATED:

13:07 GMT, 11 November 2012

Roman Abramovich is ready to break the bank and splash 30million on in-form Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini in January.

The Belgian has dazzled for David Moyes' side this season and scored his sixth goal of the campaign on Saturday as Everton came from behind to beat Sunderland at Goodison Park.

Now Chelsea’s billionaire owner is keen to bring Fellaini to Stamford Bridge to deputise in midfield.

Hair raising: Chelsea are preparing to prise Marouane Fellaini from Everton for 30million

Hair raising: Chelsea are preparing to prise Marouane Fellaini from Everton for 30million

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo wants to bring in some new blood in the upcoming window, and sees the big-haired midfielder as an ideal candidate, according to the Sunday People.

Another advantage of signing the 6ft 4in midfielder would be his eligibility to play for the club in the Champions League for the remainder of Chelsea’s campaign.

The 24-year-old is a powerful and versatile individual. He can play in defensive midfield, off a frontman like Fernando Torres, or even lead the line himself.

It would take a big bid to prise Fellaini away from the Toffees, but Chelsea are willing to spend big, having already signed the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and Csar Azpilicueta for a combined 79.5million this season alone.

Assistance: Fellaini would support lone striker Fernando Torres

Assistance: Fellaini would support lone striker Fernando Torres

Assistance: Fellaini would support lone striker Fernando Torres

Shola and Sammy Ameobi hoping to make history at Newcastle v Club Brugge

Ameobis hope to be Toon brothers in arms as Shola tips Sammy to reach the very top

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UPDATED:

16:25 GMT, 24 October 2012

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is backing younger brother Sammy to surpass him as the pair prepare to launch a double assault on Europe.

The Ameobis would become the third pair of siblings to start a senior competitive game for the Magpies if manager Alan Pardew gives them the nod against Club Brugge at St James' Park on Thursday evening after George and Ted Robledo in the 1950s and Matty and Richard Appleby four decades later.

Striker Shola, now 31, broke into the first-team squad under Sir Bobby Robson as a teenager and now midfielder Sammy, almost 11 years his junior, is attempting to do the same. However, the older brother is convinced the younger has a massive future in the game.

Plenty to smile about: Sammy Ameobi has been tipped for great things by his brother, Shola

Plenty to smile about: Sammy Ameobi has been tipped for great things by his brother, Shola

Shola said: 'There's nearly 11 years between us, so when we were growing up, I think he was maybe a little bit intimidated by me, which is normal.

'He's trying to go through what I've been through. But we have got a great relationship now.

Proud brother: Shola Ameobi in training

Proud brother: Shola Ameobi shoots in training

'I feel that as a big brother, I have to make sure he's on the right track all the time. I know my parents expect that of me, and it's something I'm conscious about doing.

'I'm sure he's well aware of how hard it's going to be and what he has to put in to make it to the very top.

'But I want to see him surpass anything I've ever done in this game and I know he has the ability to do that. He can do that, without a shadow of a doubt.'

Ameobi senior, who unlike his brother, was born in Nigeria, but raised on Tyneside, has had to deal with injuries and the pressure of being the local boy during his rise from promising starlet to senior frontman.

The wisdom gained during that, at times, difficult journey has served him well over the years, and he is hoping he can pass that on to Sammy as he attempts to negotiate a similar path.

Shola said: 'I don't coach him because I don't profess to be a coach, but I try to explain to him what I've been through.

'I try to tell him about the mistakes I've made along the way – which are a few – and try to help him not to repeat them.

Just warming up: Hatem Ben Arfa (centre) in action during training at Little Benton

Just warming up: Hatem Ben Arfa (centre) in action during training at a chilly Little Benton

'I just try to give him encouragement
because that's important in this game. You need people to tell you when
you're doing things right, as well as when you're not. I try to be a big brother to him and help him in that way.'

Pardew has confirmed that the younger Ameobi will start, along with Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson and midfielder Cheick Tiote, who will spend much of the next month kicking his heels after being sent off in Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland.

Pardew said: 'They are two players, I think, who can effect the first-team at this football club and take us forward as a club.

'It is a big game for them and they are training very, very well. We hope to see some fine performances from those two in particular tomorrow.'

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who made a stunning return from injury at the Stadium of Light before succumbing to cramp in both calves 10 minutes from time, will not figure as Pardew keeps one eye on Sunday's Barclays Premier League fixture against West Brom.

Newcastle are yet to concede a goal in four games in Europe and currently sit a point clear at the top of Group D, although the manager is expecting a tough test from a Brugge side which had not lost in the Pro-League until Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Leuven.

He said: 'We have to respect that Brugge are top of the league. We did that with Bordeaux and put a team out that was very strong, and the same will go for Brugge.'

Robert Lewandowski misses chance to impress English suitors

Flashes of brilliance but Lewandowski failed his Premier League audition

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 17 October 2012

He was the man Roy Hodgson wanted watching closely and he had his defenders mobilised to do it. He's also the man the Premier League's biggest clubs want watching and they have mobilised their scouts to do it.

But Robert Lewandowski didn't take full advantage of his time in the transfer shop window that was Poland's World Cup qualifier with England.

Coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, to mention but three of the English sides who have pencilled the Borussia Dortmund frontman on their wish lists, Lewandowski is a hot property surely bound for these shores sooner rather than later.#

Nearly: Lewandowski reacts after seeing a shot flash across the face of goal

Nearly: Lewandowski reacts after seeing a shot flash across the face of goal

There were a few flashes of his
tremendous potential – a few swashbuckling runs towards the penalty
area, a fizzed shot across the face of goal when a cross might have been
preferable, a few clever darts through the peripheral vision of the
England back four.

But largely he was shackled by Phil
Jagielka – outwitted and outmuscled, willing but unable. He's a
livewire, no doubt about it, but England managed to blow the fuse.

Lewandowski's statistics speak for
themselves. A goal every three internationals, prolific 30-goal seasons
in the Bundesliga and a well-honed set of attributes which make the
24-year-old an almost complete player.

Chase me: Lewandowski tries to break clear of England's Ashley Cole in the first half

Chase me: Lewandowski tries to break clear of England's Ashley Cole in the first half

But this all-round ability was part of the
problem – in the early stages, employed by Poland coach Waldemar
Formalik as a lone striker, he seemed a little unsure of his role.

He was falling unnecessarily deep, to
the half-way line in many cases, and roaming far and wide. But this was
someone else's job.

He was treading on the toes of Ludovic Obraniak, the number ten, and getting hounded out on the half-way line.

Was Lewandowski the number ten The number nine The nine-and-a-half

Lewandowski has developed the right
attributes to fulfil the number ten job – the hold-up play, the
movement, the direct runs and the radar – but he needs to know when to
just chase the goals.

Shackled: Lewandowski challenges for the ball with Lescott and Jagielka, who kept him quiet for much of the game

Shackled: Lewandowski challenges for the ball with Lescott and Jagielka, who kept him quiet for much of the game

After all, this is what Manchester
City, Manchester United, Chelsea or whoever entices him away from
Dortmund will require of him.

When he gained clarity about his role,
his stature in the match grew. He began jostling for every half-a-yard
of space with Jagielka, though noticeably tried to drift towards Joleon
Lescott, whom he clearly saw as the softer touch.

Future teammates Lewandowski shares a joke with Joe Hart

Future teammates Lewandowski shares a joke with Joe Hart

When deeper, there was menace in his
driving runs towards the penalty area and his one big opportunity of the
night arrived when bursting down the right channel.

Caught in two minds, he drilled a
dangerous shot across goal instead of looking up and laying the ball
back to teammates arriving in the box.

It proved costly – Wayne Rooney gave England the lead three minutes later and Poland had to chase the game.

Just before half-time, there was a second glimpse of Lewandowski genius – a cute, chipped pass to release Grosicki.

Chosen one: Lewandowski is coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, according to reports

Chosen one: Lewandowski is coveted by the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, according to reports

But it was the only time all afternoon that Lewandowski managed to outwit England's central defensive pairing.

In the second half, he was largely disappointing as Poland chased the game. He sometimes found the right areas but didn't receive the service – notably when Piszczek bombed forward from right-back on 52 minutes and played a dangerous low ball behind his clever run.

Unfortunately, a set piece did breach England's resistance and Poland's Glik managed to get them a deserved share of the spoils.

The accusation that Lewandowski
doesn't perform in the bigger international matches has become a common
one. It certainly was the case here.

But don't think it'll stop the Premier League scouts watching a player of immense potential.

Wayne Rooney must reinvent himself to stay at the top, says Gary Neville

Adapt or die! Rooney must reinvent himself to stay at the top, says coach Neville

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 15 October 2012

Wayne Rooney must find a way to reinvent himself if he wants to play on at the very top for another decade, according to England coach Gary Neville.

It is 10 years since Rooney exploded on to the Premier League scene with a spectacular goal for Everton against Arsenal and on Tuesday night in Poland he will win his 78th cap.

Adapt or die: Wayne Rooney has been told his future may lie in another position

Adapt or die: Wayne Rooney has been told his future may lie in another position

Friendly advise: Gary Neville

Friendly advise: Gary Neville

'At the age of 26, you always have to
think that there's more to come,' Neville told BBC 5 Live. 'You can't
get to the age of 26 and think, “My best years have gone.” He has to now
challenge himself.

'He has great examples of players who have continued to do that in Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, how they have adapted their games.

'Giggs has gone from a flying, out-and-out left-winger to someone who now plays off the front, inside-left, he plays central midfield.

'Scholes was a goal-scoring midfielder, off-the-front No 10 player when he started playing as a 16-year-old. Now he's a holding midfielder who controls the game.'

The arrival of Robin van Persie is expected to change Rooney’s role in the Manchester United team and England manager Roy Hodgson sees him as a No 10 playmaker, with more involvement in midfield, than a hard-running frontman as he has been in the past.

'You have to adapt,' said Neville. 'Rooney is still a centre forward, but he’ll adapt over this next 10 years to continue to become someone who’s thought of in the same way as those two players.

Moving back: Paul Scholes redeveloped his style to prolong his career

Moving back: Paul Scholes redeveloped his style to prolong his career

'He's a wonderful player. Rooney is best when he plays like the street kid — fights for every ball, loves playing football, wants to take every free kick, every throw-in, tackles, heads, fights like he has the passion to win.

'The last couple of weeks, coming back from injury, I’ve seen a lean, fit, hungry Rooney. He looks like he is up for the next challenge in his career, to maintain his position at Manchester United but he looks like he is really up for it.'

Sir Alex Ferguson happy with Robin van Persie at Manchester United

Ferguson happy with Van Persie, despite seven-goal striker's assist fears

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UPDATED:

12:44 GMT, 6 October 2012

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is 'quite happy' with Robin van Persie despite claims from the player he must do more.

Van Persie took his goal tally since joining the club to seven in as many games with a double in the midweek Champions League win at Cluj but then said he needed to contribute more assists.

But Ferguson said: 'I think he is a good passer of the ball and has good vision in his passing too. I think the goal he made last week for (Shinji) Kagawa against Tottenham is evidence of his passing ability. I am quite happy with what he is doing now.

'The refreshing thing for me is, he has actually not had any pre-season games, which is quite remarkable, having seven goals from seven games.

Net result: Robin van Persie hqas scored seven times for Manchester United

Net result: Robin van Persie hqas scored seven times for Manchester United

'I am quite pleased about that and I think his fitness will improve even more.'

Van Persie scored 37 goals and was named player of the year in his final season at Arsenal before moving to Old Trafford in a 24million deal in the summer.

The Dutchman has settled quickly at his new club and Ferguson would be delighted if he could emulate what he did last term.

'I would love that to happen,' the Scot said. 'In my experience of where we are the moment I think you need two strikers who will get you 20 goals. You get that, then you definitely have a live chance.'

United have strong attacking options with Van Persie, fit-again Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez – all three of whom started in Cluj – and Danny Welbeck, a substitute in Romania.

Hands up: Van Persie in action against Spurs

Hands up: Van Persie in action against Spurs

England forward Rooney, who returned to action from a badly-gashed leg last week, played deeper than the leading frontman Hernandez in a difficult game in which United need to come from behind.

Ferguson said: 'In the last couple of years he has played that position a lot. We tried to avoid the counter-attack as much as we could. Their goal was from a counter-attack.

'We saw that and the difficulties they created and we tried to force them onto us so we could counter-attack. It didn't quite work like that but, with Chicharito occupying the two main central defenders, it gave a bit more space for Rooney and Van Persie.'

As well as pondering his own forward permutations, Ferguson must contend with Newcastle's dangerous strikers as United travel to the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.

Demba Ba has six goals to his name this season while Papiss Cisse, who scored 13 last season after joining the Magpies in January, has emerged from a barren run with two in three games.

'Both have good scoring records,' Ferguson said. 'They rested Ba on Thursday (their 3-0 Europa League win over Bordeaux) and played (Shola) Ameobi.

Last time out: Demba Ba hits Newcastle's first against Manchester United

Last time out: Demba Ba hits Newcastle's first against Manchester United

'I don't know what the combination will be. There is talk about including Ameobi in the team for Sunday. But, either or – Ba and Ameobi are strong, aggressive players and Cisse has scored some fantastic goals for them.

'We are aware of their strengths and (Hatem) Ben Arfa from midfield is an excellent player.'

United beat Newcastle 2-1 when the sides met in the Capital One Cup last month but both managers fielded much-changed sides and that encounter is unlikely to have any bearing on this weekend's.

Pardew wary of Van Persie

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is preparing himself for a high-octane shoot-out as Manchester United roll into town intent on revenge.

The two sides last faced each other on Tyneside on January 4 when Sir Alex Ferguson's men left on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline having been comprehensively beaten.

He said: 'Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment. He is one of those players who actually believes he's the best, and that's dangerous.

'Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score.

'Demba is a little bit like that – he has that kind of attitude. There will be great strikers on view on Sunday, for sure.

'There will be so much ability on the pitch, you can't help but think there are going to be some great moments in the game – hopefully more for us than them.'

One thing puzzling Ferguson is why his team keep falling behind, the Cluj game being the sixth occasion this has happened this term.

He said: 'I can't give you an answer. It is not as if we haven't addressed it. We started well the other night but from their first attack we were 1-0 down.

'That was the strength of their game. It was brilliant movement. It was hard to blame somebody.'

Ferguson has noted that more teams – particularly in Europe – now excel in an area where his teams have always been strong – the counter-attack.

He said: 'I think the game has changed. The counter-attack in the Champions League has changed dramatically.

'Twenty years ago you maybe counter-attacked with one or two players. Now they are flooding forward in fours or fives.

'And there is always an attraction to shove four and five bodies in the box for a corner. Every team that has a corner sees it as an advantage. I don't know whether it is an advantage sometimes.'

United have Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick available again after illness while Jonny Evans has recovered from a dead leg. Paul Scholes was rested in midweek and could return.

Liam Gallager watches Manchester City lose at Real Madrid

Just Roll With It! Real fans bemused as Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher goes wild in home end during Man City thriller

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UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 19 September 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini accused his players of lacking courage in a thrilling climax to their Champions League encounter in Madrid… and it seems their celebrity fans couldn't stomach the tension either.

Former Oasis frontman and City mad Liam Gallagher had been sat with pals among the Real Madrid fans and celebrated wildly when sub Edin Dzeko gave them a shock 69th minute lead, reportedly running up and down the aisle and kissing a security guard.

'Ave it: Manchester City fan Liam Gallagher in the stands in Madrid

'Ave it: Manchester City fan Liam Gallagher in the stands in Madrid…

... but the former Oasis frontman gets a little bit too excited

… but the former Oasis frontman left before the end

But the Beady Eye singer, who also owns the menswear label Pretty Green, threw one of his famous tantrums when Madrid equalised through Marcelo's fierce strike in the 76th minute.

Gallagher stormed out of the Bernabeu Stadium and missed three goals in the last five minutes as City let slip a 2-1 lead and went down 3-2 to the Spanish giants.

Celebrity fans: Gallagher and legendary DJ Mike Pickering at the game

Celebrity fans: Gallagher and legendary DJ Mike Pickering (second left) at the game

Mad for it: Real Madrid celebrate Ronaldo's late winner

Mad for it: Real Madrid celebrate Ronaldo's late winner

Spanish newspaper AS reported that Gallagher had been thrown out for his rowdy behaviour but a source told The Sun: 'Liam got ticked off. He was so hacked off when Madrid got
back in the game he left with pals before the end.'

His spokesman added: 'They left without escort.'