Authors Posts by Francesca Ceciarini

Francesca Ceciarini


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FIFA’s main sponsors have praised outbound FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign.

The 79-year old announced his decision earlier today, amidst a huge corruption investigation which saw seven officials arrested last Wednesday. Two of those were FIFA Vice-Presidents.

Blatter was elected for a fifth term as President on Friday, but was immediately hit by calls to resign and admitted today that football’s governing body needed “profound restructuring.”

FIFA has five main sponsors, as well as two World Cup sponsors. These are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Hyundai, Gazprom, Budweiser and McDonalds.

Immediately after the arrests, the sponsors stated that they expected change throughout the whole organisation.

Visa and Coca-Cola repeated this in their statement following Blatter’s resignation.

Visa, who became a top-tier sponsor in 2007, said it was encouraged “by the recognition by FIFA that extensive and fundamental reform is needed as reflected by the announcement that President Blatter is resigning.

“This is a significant first step towards rebuilding public trust, but more work lies ahead.

“We repeat, however, that it is our expectation that FIFA will take swift and immediate steps towards addressing the issues within its organisation to quickly rebuild a culture with strong ethical practices that will restore the reputation of the games for fans around the world.

Coca-Cola, one of FIFA’s longest-standing corporate partners, echoed this feeling, describing the move as “a positive step,” but added that it expected FIFA to “act with urgency” and “win back the trust of all who love the sport of football.”

“We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st Century structure and institution.”

Budweiser, Adidas and McDonald’s all issued broadly positive statements:

“We expect today’s announcement to accelerate FIFA’s efforts to resolve internal issues, install positive change and adhere to the highest ethical standards and transparency,” said Budweiser.

Adidas said the decision represented “a step in the right direction on FIFA’s path to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.”

McDonald’s said it was “hopeful” that the changes being implemented would lead to FIFA being reformed and “gaining back trust from fans worldwide.”

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Outbound FIFA President Sepp Blatter is now under investigation as US officials continue their corruption inquiries.

Blatter had announced his resignation just hours earlier, stating FIFA needed “profound restructuring.”

The 79-year old had won his fifth term in charge of football’s governing body on Friday, but immediately faced calls to leave his post of 16 years amid the criminal allegations.

US authorities arrested seven officials last Wednesday on charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering.

One of those arrested included FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb.

At the same time, Swiss authorities opened an investigation into the bidding processes of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the outcomes of which were heavily criticised.

Blatter, who first took charge of FIFA in 1998, had said at the start of what is being described as FIFA’s biggest ever crisis that he wasn’t part of any investigation into corruption.

When the original arrests were made, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch did not address Mr Blatter’s position directly. However, she described the corruption as “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted.”

But she did say that this was the beginning of the investigation, not the end.

She also called for a new start at FIFA.




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Former Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is set to be named as Real Madrid boss on Wednesday.

The 55-year old, who was born in Madrid, ended his stay at Italian side Napoli with a 4-2 loss to Lazio on Sunday. He had managed to guide them to the Europa League semi-final this season.

Benitez, who had a six-year stay at Liverpool with whom he won the Champions League in 2005, said as he arrived in Madrid, “I am enthusiastic and happy, although there are things that still need to be discussed.”

Benitez, who won the Europa League in a six-month stint as Chelsea’s interim boss, will replace another ex-Chelsea boss in the shape of Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked last week.

He has previously managed Real Madrid’s B Team, as well as being Madrid’s assistant coach in the 1993-94 season.

Benitez has also managed Inter Milan and Valencia.


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Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has turned down the chance to rejoin AC Milan.

The Italian was at the reigns at the San Siro for eight years, presiding over 420 matches. He won the Italian league in 2004 and two Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007. He also spent five years at the club as a player, winning two European Cups in 1989 and 1990.

After being sacked by Real Madrid last week, the 55-year old reportedly held talks with Milan’s chief executive Adriano Galliani about a potential return. The club finished 10th in Serie A under current boss Filippo Inzaghi.

Ancelotti, who managed Chelsea for two years, said: “Thanks to AC Milan for their interest. It was hard to say no to such a beloved club to me, but I need some rest. I wish them the best.”

The former PSG, Parma and Juventus coach had said that he was considering taking a year off, citing the need for surgery on a back problem as the cause..

“I must have an operation because of spinal stenosis that for some time creates a tingle in my hands.

“I don’t know how long the period of recovery will be,” he added. “I can assure you that I’ve had plenty of offers from Italy, England, Germany. I’m sure they will not be lacking from here until next year.”

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nathaniel chalobah chelsea

Two Chelsea players have been named in the final 23-man England U21 side for the upcoming European Championships.

Nathan Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have both been named in Gareth Southgate’s side, ahead of the competition in the Czech Republic.

England will face Portugal, Sweden and Italy in the group stages, which takes place from 17–30 June.

Loftus-Cheek, who has won the FA and UEFA Youth Cups with the Chelsea U19 side this season, has made a name for himself in the Chelsea midfield after breaking into Jose Mourinho’s side. The 19-year old made his Premier League debut against Liverpool on 10th May, going on to make another two appearances as well as getting a run out in the Champions League.

Chalobah has also turned heads whilst on a season-long loan at Championship side Reading. Playing the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat against Arsenal, the 20-year old has made 25 appearances in all competitions this season.

Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, who struggled with an ankle injury in the latter stages of the season, hasn’t made the cut despite impressing during a loan spell at Championship side Middlesbrough.

“It’s a shame for Patrick,” Southgate said, “because he’s been injured and that’s why he misses out.

“We were conscious that towards the end of the season, he [Bamford] wasn’t really fit to train with Middlesbrough, so he needs that period to get himself right now.”


England squad for European U21 Championship

Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jonathan Bond (Watford), Jack Butland (Stoke City)

Defenders: Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Luke Garbutt (Everton), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal), Michael Keane (Burnley), Liam Moore (Leicester City), John Stones (Everton), Matt Targett (Southampton)

Midfielders: Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Will Hughes (Derby County), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Danny Ings (Burnley), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)



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Ruben Loftus-Cheek in action against Liverpool

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has told Ruben Loftus-Cheek to up his game following a disappointing display against Sydney FC.

The 19-year old played just 28 minutes before being substituted at the ANZ Stadium, and now his manager Mourinho has said his relationship with the young midfielder has taken “a step back.”

“So, with Ruben, it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know what it is to play for me and Chelsea it’s one step back,” Mourinho said.

“He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s.”

Loftus-Cheek, an academy product who has won the FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth Club with the Young Blues, made his first-team debut against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on the 10th May. He made 27 passes, and retained a 100% pass completion rate before he was substituted after an hour.

But, despite Loftus Cheek’s good opening impression, Mourinho said that his recent performance was a poor one – and that he will need to improve to have any chance of cementing a place in his starting XI:

“The Under-18 competition is too easy for him. He’s too good to play in the Under-18s but I don’t accept that when he’s playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic when we don’t have the ball he doesn’t press, doesn’t have intensity and he’s waiting for everybody else to recover the ball.

“I don’t accept that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what it takes to play for us.”



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Rafa Benitez managed Chelsea in 2013, winning Europa League

Ex Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is very close to become new Real Madrid coach.

The rumour was confirmed by Real Madrid vice-president, Eduardo Fernandéz de Blás, during an event last Saturday, when he’s reported by AS to have said:

“I’ll tell you one thing, Carlo Ancelotti is a real phenomenon. We give our thanks to him. Until three days ago, he was, for me, the best coach in the world, just as two years ago it was José Mourinho, and as from this week will be Rafa Benítez.”

Benitez managed Napoli for the last time yesterday and then announced he has intention to leave the Italian club.

A curiosity: all the last three Real Madrid coaches – Mourinho, Ancelotti and now Benitez- were also Chelsea bosses.

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Mourinho meets a koala in Sydney: he said he enjoyed the Australian experience

Chelsea are enjoying they trip to Australia and the players and the staff met some koalas while exploring Sidney.

One of them was the boss, José Mourinho, who met a cuddly koala while visiting the city with his staff.

Here is the video, with José asking “Are they happy to be touched?”

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Nathan Ake

Having failed to get promoted, losing to Norwich City in the Play-Off Final, it looks as if Middlesbrough will be looking towards Chelsea for some young talent to take on loan next season to try to get promoted to the Premier League.

Reports suggest that Patrick Bamford is on their wanted list as they seek to retain, for a second season, the player who was their top-scorer in the season that just ended.

Rumours doing the rounds suggest that Bamford would like a chance to impress at Stamford Bridge but it’s more possible he will be loaned again in the next season, as Mourinho believes is not ready to impress in the Chelsea first team yet.

Another name on top of Karanka’s list is the one of the Dutch midfielder Nathan Ake, 20 – who this year spent a month on loan to Reading- but the deal is still far to be done.

Boro will ask Chelsea for more loanees, as they will try to be even more competitive in the next campaign so to try to directly access the Premier League.

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Sterling wants to leave Liverpool

According to the Daily Express Chelsea and Real Madrid will challenge this summer to sign Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling after Bayern Munich pulled out of negotiations.

The 20-year-old is expected to leave Anfield this summer citing a lack of success with the club and talks over a new deal have completely broken down after he declared his desire to leave the club a couple of weeks ago.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with a move for the England youngster.


Chelsea defender David Luiz is enjoying a massive start to the new Premier League season as the Blues earned 15 points from 5 games so...