Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
In the latest move of their summer spending spree, Barcelona have brought in another piece to help solidify their defense.
Barcelona added defender Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal Saturday, with the Belgian international joining the Catalan club on a five-year deal. Vermaelen is just the latest Barcelona purchase, as the Belgian joins forward Luis Suarez, midfielder Ivan Rakitic, defender Jeremey Mathieu and goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo on the list of the club’s summer acquisitions.
“This is one of the best clubs in the world,” Vermaelen said. “It’s a dream for many players to come here, so it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make.
“I want to put the injuries I’ve had behind me and look to the future,” Vermaelen added. “My aim is to play in lots of games and help the team. Last year was tough, but I want to start from zero and I am sure I’ll have a fantastic season here at Barça”
Here are some more news and notes from around the soccer world:
ARSENAL TOP MAN CITY TO WIN COMMUNITY SHEILD
After snapping their much-talked about trophy drought with an FA Cup victory in May, Arsenal have picked up their second trophy in a calendar year.
The Gunners brought home the FA Community Shield Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Manchester City behind goals from Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.
Cazorla opened the scoring in the 21st minute, as the Spanish international sidestepped Man City defender Gael Clichy before firing past goalkeeper Willy Caballero for the first goal of the day.
Ramsey added a second right before the halftime whistle, when the Welch star finished on a pass from a heavily marked Yaya Sanogo to double the Arsenal advantage. Substitute Giroud added a third in the 60th with a 25-yard shot that found the top corner to effectively end any hopes of a Man City comeback.
With the victory, Arsenal pick up a major confidence boost less than one week away from the start of the Premier League season. Arsenal will kick-off their Premier League campaign Saturday at Leicester City, while Man City will look to put the loss behind them when they head to Newcastle Sunday.
AMERICA’S JIMENEZ LINKED WITH MOVE TO ATLETICO MADRID
After impressing throughout the 2013-14 Liga MX season, forward Raul Jimenez might just be making a move to one of the world’s best breeding grounds for young strikers.
The Club America and Mexican National Team star has been linked to a move to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, who have famously produced such strikers as Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Falcao and Diego Costa.
Club America’s sporting president Ricardo Pelaez confirmed Atletico’s interest Saturday after the team’s 2-0 victory over Tigres.
“The offer from Atletico Madrid is good,” Pelaez said, “and if both parties are satisfied, he’ll go.”
The club is set to have a meeting with Jimenez’s representatives this week to discuss the details, but Jimenez already has his sights set on Spain.
“It’s an opportunity that you can’t let go,” Jimenez said after the win. “(Atletico) is the Spanish champion, it reached the Champions League final and anyone would want to go there.”
NASRI CITES UNHAPPINESS AS REASON FOR RETIRING FROM FRANCE NATIONAL TEAM
After being omitted from France’s squad for the 2014 World Cup, it’s easy to understand midfielder Samir Nasri’s frustration with the international game.
The Manchester City midfielder announced Saturday that he was quitting the international soccer, citing unhappiness with coach Didier Deschamps the French National Team as the reason for his decision.
“Let’s face it, as long as he is going to be the manager I don’t think I have a shot after everything that has happened,” Nasri said.“I will only be 29 in 2016 for the European Championships but the French national team doesn’t make me happy.
“Every time I go there, there is just more trouble. I face accusations about me and my family suffers from it and I don’t want to make them suffer, so it’s better to stop it and focus on my club career.”
Despite his frustration with Deschamps, Nasri also insisted that he didn’t feel welcomed amongst his compatriots and said he didn’t want to be part of a group that added to his unhappiness.
“It’s not just him,” Nasri added. “He did what he thought was best for his team. I understand his choice, it is not something about him, I don’t have any problem with him. It’s just everything. It is not him who talks in the press, it is the press who say things about me and the players as well.
“Before this World Cup they were saying that some players complain [about me],” Nasri continued. “Why do you want me to be in the group with some players who can’t even be true in front of me and tell me that they have a problem? I don’t want to be there. I am not happy. I don’t want to go there any more.”
In response to Real Madrid’s addition of Kaylor Navas, goalkeeper Diego Lopez is set to leave the club for AC Milan. (REPORT)
Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell warns young players about joining former club Manchester City. (REPORT)
Aston Villa add French left back Aly Cissokho from Valencia. (REPORT)
With three potential choices at his disposal, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is still unsure of his starting goalkeeper. (REPORT)
Liverpool routed Borussia Dortmund, 4-0 in Reds’ final preseason friendly. (REPORT)
What do you think of the Vermaelen signing? Do you expect more trophies for Arsenal this year? Would Atletico be a good fit for Jimenez? What do you make of Nasri’s comments?
Share your thoughts below.