The battle to sign Brazilian starlet Neymar has been won by Barcelona, according to Spain’s biggest radio station, Cadena SER. The Catalan giants have reportedly already made a down payment of £11.6m to Neymar’s club Santos in order to acquire the player ahead of other notable suitors Real Madrid and Chelsea. Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who has extensive connections in Brazil having worked there for Nike, is reported to have made the deal at last July’s Copa América, agreeing a €58m fee. However, the date of his arrival in Spain is still being negotiated, with Barcelona wanting the player at the end of next season but Santos pushing for 2014.
When Argentina under-17 coach Walter Perazzo announced the 32 names who make up the squad for 2012 on Monday, the list contained a few familiar names. One was Ryduan Palermo, son of former Argentina international and Boca Juniors legend Martín ‘El Titan’ Palermo. The youngster, who is a striker like his father, won the Octava youth title with Estudiantes in 2011 and he is now top scorer in the more advanced Septima Division. Another player in the under-17 squad with a rich footballing pedigree is Mauricio del Castillo, who is the brother of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. The youngster, who plays for Independiente where a 15-year-old ‘Kun’ first burst onto the scene, has already been capped at under-15 level. Some have criticised Perazzo for picking players because of their famous relations, only time will tell whether he will be vindicated.
Thanks to the unconventional nature of the Argentine Primera División, Tigre find themselves in the strange position of being top of the league while simultaneously being in grave relegation danger. Their 1-1 home draw with Estudiantes this weekend proved enough to keep them at the league’s summit for the time being. However, relegation from the Primera is decided on teams’ average points over three seasons and in this parallel league table Tigre are not doing well at all. They currently sit just above the automatic relegation places but still facing the prospect of a play-off for their survival, with a team vying for promotion from the league below – the very play-off that proved to be the undoing of River Plate last season and led to their historic relegation.
Legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo has hinted that he is keen to pursue a political career in football, possibly with the presidency of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) after the 2014 World Cup. The 35-year-old, who is heavily involved in preparations for the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil, had previously stated he had no interest in the job, but he has now admitted he could run for the presidency after the finals. He also announced that he plans to meet with the new CBF president Jose Maria Marin, who took over following the resignation of Ricardo Teixeira, some time this week.
This week’s strike of the week is ironically a goal that should never have stood. However, thanks to an appalling decision from referee Diego Abal, Colon defender Ariel Garcé scored an equaliser against relegation battlers San Lorenzo and was not ruled offside – despite the linesman flagging it so. Understandably, the San Lorenzo supporters were not particularly pleased about this and a group allegedly tried to force their way into the dressing rooms after the game. The controversy did not quite end their, however, because accusations were later made that the referee Abal made a ‘you’re going down’ gesture to a group of fans as he left the stadium.
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