Tag Archives: milan

Bolivia 0 Brazil 4 – match report: Neymar scores two goals in friendly

Bolivia 0 Brazil 4: Scolari off the mark as Neymar double leads rout in friendly

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

23:19 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:19 GMT, 6 April 2013

Neymar scored two goals as Brazil beat Bolovia 4-0 in a friendly to give Luiz Felipe Scolari his first win since returning as national team manager.

Brazil fielded a strong team captained by Ronaldinho and Bolivia were no match for them in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Leandro Damio opened the scoring as early as the third minute after getting on the end of a cross from Jean.

Double: Neymar scored two goals as Brazil beat Bolivia 4-0

Double: Neymar scored two goals as Brazil beat Bolivia 4-0

Off the mark: Luiz Felipe Scolari earned his first win since returning to manage the national team

Off the mark: Luiz Felipe Scolari earned his first win since returning to manage the national team

Neymar then got in on the act as he found the target twice to extend Brazil's lead to 3-0 before half-time.

Former Milan striker Alexandre Pato came off the bench in the second half and Brazil competed their rout when Leandro scored his second goal in injury time.

Brazil's last round of fixtures saw them draw 2-2 against Italy before being held to a 1-1 draw by Russia at Stamford Bridge.

Leader: Ronaldinho captained a strong Brazilian team for the friendly in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Leader: Ronaldinho captained a strong Brazilian team for the friendly in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Leader: Ronaldinho captained a strong Brazilian team for the friendly in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Jose Mourinho should return to Premier League – Andre Villas Boas

Bring back the Special One! Spurs boss AVB admits he'd love to see Mourinho back in the Premier League

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

15:51 GMT, 28 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 28 March 2013

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas would welcome back rival Jose Mourinho to the Barclays Premier League.

The Special One has been linked to a surprise return to Stamford Bridge and a reunion with owner Roman Abramovich this summer.

Mourinho’s infamous antics have seen him fall out with the hierarchy at Real Madrid and interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is in no danger of having his contract renewed.

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Open arms: Andre Villas-Boas (above) insists he would welcome the return of Jose Mourinho (below)

Face in the crowd: Jose Mourinho was pictured wearing a dark hoodie at Chelsea

Asked what he thought about Mourinho’s potential return to Premier League football, the Tottenham manager said: ‘I think it will be excellent, excellent for everybody.’

Villas-Boas worked under Mourinho to great success at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, but the pair fell out when he left the San Siro on 2009 to go it alone as a manager and the rift has never fully healed.

Last year he admitted that the pair had not spoken for quite some time.

Tottenham have suffered three defeats in the row and need to rediscover their winning form in order to stay on course for a Champions League spot.

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Training day: Tottenham prepare for their trip to Swansea this weekend as the Premier League resumes

Asked whether the international break would benefit his side or not after such a poor run, he said: ‘I don’t know, you can’t really say if it’s good or bad. I think all three of those defeats were very, very different.

I think we assume the worst one was Fulham in terms of performance, but I think it came as a consequence of the extra-time being played in Milan.

The Liverpool one was an excellent performance and in Milan, we left it very, very late to save the leg.’

Villas-Boas thinks faltering Tottenham Hotspur need 16 more points from their last eight games to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and earn a another crack at Europe’s premier club competition.

Third place would guarantee a place
in the group stages of next season’s Champions League while fourth would
offer a playoff – the same route Tottenham used in their only previous
foray into the competition two seasons ago.

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Tough time: Tottenham suffered a setback in the race for the Champions League after defeat to Fulham

Dimitar Berbatov

Last season they finished fourth but were denied a chance to play in the Champions League this term because sixth-placed Chelsea took their place having lifted the trophy in Munich.

Tottenham had looked favourites to finish above Chelsea and Arsenal in third place until a few weeks ago, since when defeats by Liverpool and Fulham have halted their momentum.

They travel to Swansea City on Saturday in fourth place, one point behind Chelsea and four points above Arsenal, with both their London rivals having played a game less.

'Normally (to finish in the top four) requires in the 70-72 point margin,' Villas-Boas said.

'70 is usually enough to be in the four spots. There are 24 points to be played for so that means we need 16 more points. You never know, but I think at this time we are within our objectives.'

Lionel Messi Tokyo Madame Tussauds with David Beckham

Beckham and Messi the stars of the show in Tokyo Madame Tussauds

By
Bill Rungay

PUBLISHED:

16:31 GMT, 13 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:54 GMT, 13 March 2013

When Cristiano Ronaldo claimed that God sent him to earth to play football, Messi said: ‘I didn’t send anybody’.

We all thought that was a joke; however it appears that the Argentine was in Tokyo pointing to the skies last night at the same time as he was in Barcelona scoring twice to help his team progress in the Champions League.

Is he really God Can he be in two places at once Sadly not.

Lifelike: A Lionel Messi waxwork is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Japan this week

Lifelike: A Lionel Messi waxwork is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Japan this week

Matchwinning performance: Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat AC Milan 4-0 on Tuesday night

Matchwinning performance: Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat AC Milan 4-0 on Tuesday night

A visitor poses with the wax figure of Lionel Messi at the Madame Tussauds exhibition in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Madame Tussauds in Tokyo, Japan are reopening this Friday, exhibiting 60 wax figures of Japanese and worldwide stars. These include Messi and England’s finest patriot, Mr David Beckham.

Beckham, now of Paris Saint-Germain, can be seen in his LA Galaxy kit doing sit ups on a bench.

Laid Beck: A David Beckham model can also be found at the museum

Laid Beck: A David Beckham model can also be found at the museum

TOPSHOTS Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham

Many tourists and fans will be at Friday’s reopening in Tokyo, however Messi and Beckham will both have their eyes on the Champions League quarter-final draw, where their sides could possibly meet each other.

Ronnie Wood at Barcelona v AC Milan

Rolling Stone axeman Wood spotted in the Nou Camp getting plenty of satisfaction

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

20:45 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:41 GMT, 12 March 2013

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood knows plenty about hot tickets. But usually people are buying them for his shows.

On Tuesday it was Wood shelling out, as he treated his wife Sally to an evening of high quality football as Barcelona faced AC Milan in the Nou Camp.

Many claim the Stones are rock's greatest band and Wood found himself watching someone else at the top of his trade too, as Lionel Messi went on a rampage.

Excited: Ronnie Wood enjoying the action with his wife Sally... and with a cigarette (below)

Excited: Ronnie Wood enjoying the action with his wife Sally… and with a cigarette (below)

Smokin'

Ruby Tuesday: Ronnie Wood and his wife Sally were in the Nou Camp to see Barca take on Milan

The Barca star painted it black with two stunning first half strikes to rock Milan, who had come to Spain with a two-goal lead.

The first was some real hot stuff – the Argentina international finished exquisitely from outside the box.

Messi then shattered Milan's advantage with his second, sending Barcelona fans out of control.

Barcelona went on to win 4-0, thanks to additional strikes from David Villa and Jordi Alba, leaving Milan firmly under their thumb.

You got me rocking: Lionel Messi celebrates after turning the tie on its head

You got me rocking: Lionel Messi celebrates after turning the tie on its head

Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0: Match report – Lionel Messi strikes twice to send Catalan giants through

Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (4-2 on aggregate): Magical Messi makes mockery of Italian giants and Villa seals the deal

PUBLISHED:

21:34 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 12 March 2013

Lionel Messi put in another astonishing display to lead Barcelona to the quarter final of the Champions League following a dominant display against AC Milan at the Nou Camp.

Two goals down from the first leg, Messi was on target after just five minutes and although Christian Abbiati was at his best to repel the home side, he could do little to stop Messi doubling Barca's lead five minutes before the break.

David Villa – preferred by Jordi Roura to Cesc Fabregas – scored a vital third before Jordi Alba's injury time strike settled the tie.

Magical: Lionel Messi celebrates after vanquishing Milan's first leg advantage

Magical: Lionel Messi celebrates after vanquishing Milan's first leg advantage

Ecstasy: Gerard Pique roars with delight after Messi's second put the teams level on aggregate

Ecstasy: Gerard Pique roars with delight after Messi's second put the teams level on aggregate

Match facts

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano (Puyol 77), Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro (Adriano 83), Messi, Villa (Sanchez 74).

Subs not used: Pinto, Fabregas, Song, Tello.

Goals: Messi 5, 40, Villa 55, Jordi Alba 90.

AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant, Montolivo, Ambrosini (Muntari 60), Flamini (Bojan 75), Niang (Robinho 60), Boateng, El Shaarawy.

Subs not used: Amelia, De Sciglio, Nocerino, Bonera.

Att: 96,000.

Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

Milan struggled to deal with the
movement of an inspired Barcelona while they failed to create enough
chances with Victor Valdes rarely tested in the home goal.

It took just five minutes for Barcelona to reduce the deficit and take the lead on the night.

Xavi's intricate pass found Messi whose unstoppable curling effort into the top corner gave Abbiati no chance.

It was Messi's 52nd goal of the season
and he almost created one for Andres Iniesta moments later before
Philippe Mexes intercepted.

The home side were in full flow and
after 13 minutes Abbiati was forced into making a fantastic save to tip
Iniesta's effort on to the bar before Messi somehow shot wide following
up.

The stopper had to be in top form four minutes later to acrobatically tip Xavi's stinging effort around the post.

Poise: Messi bent the ball home from the edge of the box to get the scoring underway

Poise: Messi bent the ball home from the edge of the box to get the scoring underway

Great start: Before long Barcelona, thanks to Messi, had wiped out Milan's first leg advantage

Great start: Before long Barcelona, thanks to Messi, had wiped out Milan's first leg advantage

Quarter finalists

Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund
Galatasaray
Juventus
Paris St Germain
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich or Arsenal
Malaga or Porto

Even at this early stage it was a case
of when, not if, they were to draw level on aggregate and the home side
thought they should have had a penalty when Massimo Ambrosini collided
with Pedro inside the box.

However, the visitors survived and
slowly began to deal with the attacking onslaught of the home side,
whilst creating chances of their own.

The best fell to lone striker M'Baye
Niang who raced clear after breaking the Barca offside trap and although
he beat Valdes, his effort hit the post and away from danger.

Under siege: Abbiati pummels the ball away as Barcelona turned up the pressure

Under siege: Abbiati pummels the ball away as Barcelona turned up the pressure

Company: Messi is surrounded by Milan players but still manages to find a way to score

Company: Messi is surrounded by Milan players but still manages to find a way to score

At the double: Messi's second goal squeezes past Abbiati's outstretched left arm

At the double: Messi's second goal squeezes past Abbiati's outstretched left arm

Milan were made to pay just seconds later and again it was Messi who was the scorer.

Ambrosini lost out to Iniesta who fed Messi, who looked to be in an offside position when the ball was played.

The flag stayed down and the Argentinian cut inside and fired past a helpless Abbiati with his lethal left foot.

Pedro picked up a booking before the
end of the half for a foul on Ignazio Abate, meaning he would miss the
quarter-final first leg should they progress, while Mathieu Flamini was
also facing a suspension for a challenge on Pedro.

Barca began the second period much
like the first and after 55 minutes Xavi's pin-point pass eluded a
sliding Cristian Zapata to find Villa, whose left-footed finish gave the
Milan stopper no chance.

Pulling the strings: Xavi (left) was at his influential best as Barcelona dominated possession

Pulling the strings: Xavi (left) was at his influential best as Barcelona dominated possession

Shackled... or not: Milan tried to keep Messi under wraps but failed miserably

Shackled… or not: Milan tried to keep Messi under wraps but failed miserably

Easy does it: Villa steers home the third with panache

Easy does it: Villa steers home the third with panache

In a bid to increase their attacking options, Massimiliano Allegri brought on Robinho and Sulley Muntari for Niang and Ambrosini respectively.

With 15 minutes left goalscorer Villa was replaced by Alexis Sanchez, with Carlos Puyol coming on for Javier Mascherano shortly afterwards.

The home side were thankful for Jordi Alba's intervention after 81 minutes to deny Robinho a simple chance from close range, before Adriano came on for Pedro.

The win was sealed late on when Alba somehow gathered the strength to burst down the left to fire past Abbiati in what was another memorable Barca performance at the Nou Camp.

Watching on: Jordi Roura takes care of Barcelona in the absence of Tito Vilanova

Watching on: Jordi Roura takes care of Barcelona in the absence of Tito Vilanova

In tatters: Abbiati rages as Villa and Co celebrate their third goal of the night

In tatters: Abbiati rages as Villa and Co celebrate their third goal of the night

Perfect show: Villa celebrates in front of Barcelona's delighted fans after his superbly taken goal

Perfect show: Villa celebrates in front of Barcelona's delighted fans after his superbly taken goal

Spotted: Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones fame) was seen in the crowd with wife Sally

Spotted: Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones fame) was seen in the crowd with wife Sally

We're a team! Barcelona fans' message of unity for their players ahead of the clash

We're a team! Barcelona fans' message of unity for their players ahead of the clash

Mario Balotelli scores as Milan beat Genoa 2-0

A booking within 30 seconds of coming on and a second-half goal… just another day at the office for Balotelli at Milan

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 8 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 9 March 2013

Mario Balotelli came off the bench fire 10-man AC Milan to a 2-0 win at Genoa in a crazy Serie A match for the former Manchester City striker on Friday.

The Italian was booked within 30 seconds of coming off the bench in the first half to replace the injured Giampaolo Pazzini, who had just given Milan the lead.

Balotelli then latched onto Cristian Zapata's pass to fire home the second goal with an hour played.

Scroll down for video…

On target: Mario Balotelli scored Milan's second goal in their 2-0 win at Genoa

On target: Mario Balotelli scored Milan's second goal in their 2-0 win at Genoa

Regular: Balotelli scored for the fifth time in as many games since his move to Milan

Regular: Balotelli scored for the fifth time in as many games since his move to Milan

It was Balotelli's fifth goal in as many matches since joining Milan. The former City forward was making his first appearance since the Milan derby two weeks ago.

Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini was also booked for diving as he tried to win a penalty in the second half.

Blow: Balotelli replaced the injured Giampaolo Pazzini, who earlier gave Milan the lead

Blow: Balotelli replaced the injured Giampaolo Pazzini, who earlier gave Milan the lead

Eventful: The former City striker was booked just 30 seconds after coming off the bench

Eventful: The former City striker was booked just 30 seconds after coming off the bench

Milan came under extreme pressure after
Kevin Constant was sent off in the 65th minute for lashing out at Genoa
defender Cesare Bovo, but their defence held firm as they strengthened their grip on third place in Serie A ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Milan now have 51 points, two behind second-placed Napoli and four ahead of Inter Milan and Lazio.

VIDEO: Watch Mario Balotelli's clinical finish against Genoa

Xavi ruled out of

Beaten Barca will be without El Clasico veteran Xavi for Bernabeau clash, as Madrid look for second win in five days

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

13:36 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:38 GMT, 1 March 2013

Barcelona's fears of a second El Clasico
defeat in five days were made worse today after discovering influential
midfielder Xavi has been ruled out of tomorrow's match with a hamstring
injury.

The Spaniard, who has played in 37 Clasico's, the highest of all current players, risked his niggling injury by appearing in Tuesday's 3-1 Copa Del Rey semi-final defeat to Real at the Nou Camp.

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

The 33-year-old first discovered a small tear after leaving the pitch against Valencia on February 2, but was rested before playing with no apparent trouble in San Siro for the Champions League last-16 first leg against AC Milan last week.

But Xavi suffered another small tear in a training session on Sunday, and despite playing on Tuesday has been officially ruled out of the clash at the Bernabau.

He will now have a week to recover before Barcelona's next match with Deportivo in eight days, and will hope to be involved when the four-time champions of Europe look to overcome a 2-0 last-16 first leg deficit against Milan.

Barcelona hold a staggering 16-point gap over Madrid in third place, while Atletico Madrid trail the Catalan giants by 12 points.

The game will be played at 3pm on Saturday, meaning British television stations will not be able to televise the game due to Saturday football blackout rules.

Inter Milan 1 AC Milan 1: Mario Balotelli misses several chances

Inter Milan 1 AC Milan 1: Balotelli misses raft of chances and his side are made to pay by supersub Schelotto

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 24 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 24 February 2013

Mario Balotelli only had himself to blame as AC Milan were pegged back by fierce rivals Inter in Serie clash at the San Siro.

The striker missed several opportunities as Milan dominated the first half, opening the scoring through Stephan El Shaarawy.

Inter fought back in the second period, substitute Ezequiel Schelotto equalising with a powerful header.

Whoops: Mario Balotelli can't make the contact with the ball he desires and Samir Handanovic collects it

Whoops: Mario Balotelli can't make the contact with the ball he desires and Samir Handanovic collects it

Temper temper: Balotelli argues with Inter stalwart Javier Zanetti

Temper temper: Balotelli argues with Inter stalwart Javier Zanetti

How about that Inter came from behind when Ezequiel Schelotto powered in a header

How about that Inter came from behind when Ezequiel Schelotto powered in a header

More to follow.

The Footballers" Football Column – Frank McParland: Liverpool playing Real Madrid and Histon was a real experience

FRANK McPARLAND: Playing Real Madrid in Qatar was all well and good… but a cold, wet night in Histon is what really makes a Liverpool player

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 20 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:59 GMT, 20 February 2013

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Liverpool’s Director of Academy and Player Development Frank McParland returns for his second Footballers' Football Column. He and his young players have been on their travels – from a cold wet night in Histon to taking on the might of Real Madrid in Qatar. Having watched the likes of Andre Wisdom move into the first team squad , McParland is busy developing the next generation of Anfield stars.

It's been an important couple of weeks in the education of our young players. We took a group to Qatar for the Al Kass International Cup, we played Histon in the FA Youth Cup fourth round and tonight we face Sporting Lisbon in the NextGen Series.

Qatar was fantastic. Some of the biggest clubs in the world were there: Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Fluminense, Boca Juniors, Paris St Germain and we were playing at the Aspire Zone where Manchester United had been for their break the week before.

We were there for 12 days to play in the tournament and the facilities were superb with glorious weather.

The contrast with Histon last Wednesday night was stark but so important.

Meeting an old friend: Frank McFarland with former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes

Meeting an old friend: Frank McFarland with former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes

We made a real point on the night of
speaking to the lads about how much we do for them. How we take them to
places like Qatar, how we play in the NextGen Series against big-name
sides and in the big stadiums. But this, in the FA Youth Cup, this is
real football and, if you can't adapt for both, you are not going to be a
top player for Liverpool Football Club.

It couldn't have been a better
leveller to keep them grounded. It was a horrible night, absolutely
freezing and the pitch at the Glass World Stadium was really
challenging.

Histon's first team had played on it the night before, there
were over 1,500 fans in the ground and they had some really good
players.

The great thing for us was that the
lads responded to what we had said. They handled the physical side and
played like proper professionals with a good attitude and controlled the
game.

We had a few Under 16s in there and it was pleasing how they came
through. Kris Peterson, Jerome Sinclair, Jack Dunn and Dan
Trickett-Smith got the goals an d we won 4-0.

Joining in: Liverpool academy players at the Shafallah Center

Joining in: Liverpool academy players at the Shafallah Center

More from The Footballers' Column…

ROHAN RICKETTS: Cows in the road and Twitter row meant my Indian adventure ended early… but I went back in time to live the dream in South America
16/02/13

RICHARD LEE: If League Two Bradford can make it to Wembley, what's stopping us at League One Brentford knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup
14/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Ball: I was really good at tackling, but I would have been sent off today… And it is the refs I feel sorry for as they can't win
13/02/13

Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with SuBo… England may have won, but the Thomas Ince tale reveals everything that's wrong with our game
13/02/13

ASHLEY WILLIAMS: The ball-boy row, my spat with Suarez and 'almost killing' Van Persie – you learn to live with it… playing for 80 and working as a waiter – THAT was hard
11/02/13

LEON OSMAN: What makes an Everton player Desire, heart, quality and character… But Pienaar reckons it takes a bit of the Bee Gees, too
07/02/13

ADAM ECKERSLEY: I played with Beckham and Ronaldo – but Becks was better… and on one of the few occasions Fergie spoke to me, he warned me of dangers of gambling
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The aim is to keep educating and make these young players more rounded as men and footballers who will help the first team.

It was pleasing last month that when Andre Wisdom got his new long-term contract he came down to the Academy at Kirkby to thank the coaches and staff for their help in his development. It was a nice touch.

We take pride in the fact that as well as Andre and Raheem Sterling, Conor Coady is training with the first team – as is Suso – but they all take time to come across to the Academy not just to see their mates but to keep in touch with the staff.

We're still here for them if they need us and it shows they appreciate what we have done.

Qatar was a great learning experience on and off the pitch for the lads. There was a big focus on the Al Kass tournament and every game was live on TV.

They had to deal with different styles and approaches in the games. Against Esperance Sportive, of Tunisia, for example, Jerome Sinclair came in for a bit of rough treatment where one of their guys kneed him in the back three times. He didn't react once.

It's something we constantly tell them. It's not always easy in the face of provocation but teams from abroad will try different things.

Some defenders will spit at you, some will pull at you, block you, the important part is you have to stay in control.

The play-off games pitched us against Real Madrid and gave me a chance to catch up with Fernando Morientes who is part of their U17s coaching set-up now. I played a part in helping bring Fernando to Liverpool from Madrid and it was good to catch up with him.

We lost 2-1 to Madrid but Rodolfo Borrell, our head of coaching, was chatting to their staff afterwards and they were complimentary about our style of play.

We had given them their best game they said and they also believed we played more like a continental side than typical British one. It's always beneficial to hear that sort of feedback.

Tournaments often mean players have a lot of downtime and we've stressed how they need to be responsible in this time for themselves and the club. Liverpool are really powering forward off the pitch in terms of embracing new media and embarking on different commercial activities to spread the word about the club and the players got a taste of what may lie ahead.

Stepping up: Andre Wisdom has moved up into the first team squadStepping up: Andre Wisdom has moved up into the first team squad

Stepping up: Andre Wisdom has moved up into the first team squad

Doing their bit: The Liverpool players with disabled children at the Shafallah Center

Doing their bit: The Liverpool players with disabled children at the Shafallah Center

Dee Kundra, the club's PR manager, came with us. Dee was the only woman in the group and while the lads stopped short of calling her 'Miss', they were all on their best behaviour, no swearing and all putting on their best manners.

Dee co-ordinated with Standard Chartered, our sponsors, to set up a visit to the Shafallah Centre in Doha which is a place for children with special needs and some are severely disabled.

It was an incredible experience for the lads and they got really involved. They helped out not just in the sports classes but the music ones.

We were actually due to leave when one of the children started playing a Justin Bieber song and Jordan Rossiter, one of our 16-year-olds, made sure everyone waited until the song was finished and all the players stood and gave a round of applause.

It underlined to the lads how important a role they can play in other people's lives.

Guitar hero: Justin Bieber performs in Oakland, California last October

Guitar hero: Justin Bieber performs in Oakland, California last October

We spent an evening with the supporters club out there also and gave them official status as the Qatar Reds with a little certificate presentation. Even the British ambassador Michael O'Neill professed to being a Liverpool fan.

He went to our first game and asked us to put on a coaching session for Doha College at the embassy.

Myself and the lads also had a little treat as Spain were over playing Uruguay so we took the chance to get our pictures taken with the World Cup and European Championships trophies that they had brought over.

There's no harm in dreaming – even for me.

Different ball game: The players join in with a game at the Shafallah Center

Different ball game: The players join in with a game at the Shafallah Center

SEEING IS BELIEVING
Frank and the Liverpool FC Academy support the Seeing is Believing campaign

Media training is something that has become pivotal to our young players' education and we work hard on that. Being
prepared for what questions they may face as they develop is another
facet we have to take care of and they got some good experience after
the games.

There was one particularly where Jerome Sinclair, Jordan Ibe, Dan Trickett-Smith and Cameron Branningan had to deal with answering questions post-match on their headphones and wait for the translation from Arabic.

They handled it brilliantly.

Liverpool has also launched 10 new international Twitter feeds, which means we have overtaken Barcelona as the most globally active club. The idea is to interact with fans more so we have feeds in areas such as Bahrain, India, Turkey, Spain and Thailand and we use local people on the ground to bring conversations from fans to the club.

I'm not sure I believe all the lads though. Jordan Ibe said he wanted to be a maths teacher in one of his Twitter questions… I didn’t even know he liked maths.

Time for a photo: The team pose with chairman Hassan Ali Bin Ali

Time for a photo: The team pose with chairman Hassan Ali Bin Ali

Doing it for the kids: The Liverpool players put a smile on the faces of the children

Doing it for the kids: The Liverpool players put a smile on the faces of the children

Pass and move: The players teach the children the Liverpool way

Pass and move: The players teach the children the Liverpool way

Supporters would have been aware that for the West Bromwich Albion Barclay's Premier League game last Monday, the first team wore shirts with the 'Seeing is Believing' logo as part of Standard Chartered's campaign. The shirts have been signed by the first team and are to be auctioned off on e-Bay to raise money for the charity. It's also something we got our lads involved in at the Academy.

A week before we went to Qatar, we had a few young people from Royal Society for the Blind down and got involved in some coaching sessions.

Again, it was rewarding how the lads responded. They really looked after the people they were paired with and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

The downside to a footballer's life was brought home when Marc Pelosi suffered a bad injury against West Brom on Sunday as the U21s won 2-1. Marc is 18.

He is a versatile midfielder who had been playing really well of late but a tackle two minutes from the end broke his leg in two places.

He spent the night in hospital for his operation but he will be looking at around six months out.

It's not been a great month for injuries with Brad Smith our Australian left-back and Sami Yesil, the German striker we bought last summer, both injuring anterior cruciate ligaments also.

A young footballer's life isn't always as perfect as it seems and it's important at this stage we give them plenty of support. We obviously wish them all a speedy and full recovery.

Jordan Ibe’s responses to questions from the Turkish Twitter feed @LFCTurkey
Jordan Ibe

How did you feel in your debut with LFC
I felt quite nervous and it was a lot to take in as I didn't know I was starting

What's is your favourite food Do you have a special food pre-games
Food before a game is usually pasta and mince but my favourite food is macaroni cheese!!

How does it feel to be a part of LFC How did it happen
I was playing for the first team at Wycombe Wanderers at 15 then LFC came for me and I've never looked back

Who is your best mate in the team
Ryan McLaughlin…we're the youngest in the reserves so we get along well

How do you describe the fans
Fans are amazing! I'm always impressed with the support they give us young players

If you weren't a footballer, which profession would you choose If you we're to be a coach, which team would you like to coach
I love maths so would've been a maths teacher. I'd coach Chelsea for sure!

How is it like to be in the same team with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher
They are both really supportive and encouraging of young players and make us feel welcome in training

What are your future plans with LFC Can you tell us about the first moment he heard LFC's interest for him
Hope to stay here as long as I can. I was excited about a big club showing interest in me

Who is your idol in football
Brazil's Ronaldo!!!

What type of music and which artists do you enjoy listening to
I like all music apart from opera and rock n roll. Listening to Chris Brown and Drake at the moment

Rafael Nadal inspired by Ronaldo

Nadal takes inspiration from Ronaldo after Brazil legend watches Rafa's winning return

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rafael Nadal is drawing inspiration from Brazilian football great Ronaldo to continue his successful return from injury.

With Ronaldo watching, Nadal took an important step on Sunday by winning the Brazil Open for his first title after a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee. Now he wants to repeat the Brazilian’s successful story of recovery from much more serious injuries.

Nadal said Ronaldo is “an example” to be followed because of his determination to rebound from a series of knee injuries that threatened his career.

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Fan: Former footballer Ronaldo (left) watched Rafael Nadal with Brazilian mixed martial artist Anderson Silva

Despite winning again, the Spaniard is still bothered by his knee and said he is far from fully recovered, although he hopes the victory in front of Ronaldo will mark a new beginning in his career.

'Ronaldo is an example to a lot of people because of all that he was able to achieve despite what he had to go through with all the knee problems in his career,' Nadal said. 'He is definitely an example to me. He’s an example of determination and hard work.'

Ronaldo ended his career as one of the world’s top strikers after overcoming three serious knee operations. The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan striker won two World Cups with Brazil and remains the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 15 goals.

Nadal said he has always admired Ronaldo, and as a kid proudly took a photo with the striker when he played for Barcelona in the late 1990s.

'He was unstoppable, one of the best players of all time despite all the bad luck he had with the knee,' Nadal said.

The Spaniard was out of action since last year because a torn and inflamed tendon in his knee, an injury that he says is improving but still bothers him from time to time. He downplayed his difficulties compared to Ronaldo’s, but said he now has a better understanding of what the Brazilian had to go through.

'I didn’t have so many problems, I never needed the surgeries,' Nadal said. 'But I can imagine how hard it must have been for Ronaldo with the complicated surgeries that he had to go through.'

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Taste of victory: Nadal bites the trophy of the Brazil Open after beating David Nalbandian

Nadal beat former world No. 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 in Brazil on Sunday, winning his 51st career title and first since beating Novak Djokovic to lift his seventh Roland Garros trophy last June.

The Brazil Open was Nadal’s second tournament since his return. He played at the VTR Open in Chile the week before, losing the singles and doubles final. The final in Brazil was only his eighth singles match since the comeback. He withdrew from the doubles in Sao Paulo to rest his knee for the singles tournament.

Nadal looked far from his best in his first two tournaments and said that the knee injury still limited him physically.

'There are days that the knee still hurts and it’s very complicated,' he said. 'I need some time to keep improving and become more competitive again. Let’s see how it goes.'

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

Road to recovery: Nadal found some form in Sao Paulo yesterday

The 11-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the level of the competition in Brazil was not as high as in other tournaments but said that it wasn’t bad either, giving him the perfect opportunity to put his knee to test.

Nadal will play another clay-court tournament in Mexico later this month and the goal is to be fully fit again by the time Roland Garros arrives in May, although his future schedule will depend on how the knee holds up. He had intended to play in Indian Wells in March, but on Sunday said that he won’t know whether he will make it until closer to the tournament.

'We are thinking day-to-day, week-to-week,' the 26-year-old Nadal said. 'We’ll see how I feel before making a decision on where I’ll be playing in the near future, it will depend on how the knee improves.'