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FC Barcelona

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Chelsea will travel again to the USA for their pre-season tour this summer.

The Blues were invited another time to the International Champions Cup, along with other nine European top clubs:

AC Milan, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Celtic, Inter,  Leicester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

The Blues will open the tour in Los Angeles facing the Reds on Wednesday 27 July at the Rose Bowl stadium.

They will then travel to a city yet to be announced to face Real Madrid on 30 July, before finishing the tour in Minneapolis on facing AC Milan at the brand new US Bank Stadium on 3 August.

The full competition schedule:

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Jose Mourinho and his backroom staff at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Former Chelsea manager José Mourinho thinks that team are more important of individual players in contemporary football, with one little exception: Lionel Messi.

The Portuguese coach thinks to have him in your side makes winning a little easier, even if the team performances are still important.

Barcelona can become the first team in the modern Champions League to hold the trophy:

“First of all it’s about individual players. Just to give you an example, [Leo] Messi won the Champions League with three different managers,” he said in an interview with BT Sport.

“I think it’s easier to win with him, than against him. I am a football manager. I know that sometimes people think that the individual is more important than the team.

“But when I feel that it is time for me to take a permanent holiday – I still think that the team is more important than anything.

“But the obvious reality is that there are some players who can make a difference.”

About his future, Mourinho said:

“Yes I was lucky enough to have good options since I left Chelsea in December – not just options but good options,” the Special One added.

“But I made a decision to wait calmly. The reality is that I want to work. July, mid-July, new pre-season starts and somewhere, I want to be there.”

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kenedy chelsea

FC Barcelona will try an assault on Chelsea wonderkid Kenedy in the next summer transfer window, that’s what the Spanish sport newspaper Mundo Deportivo reveals today.

According to the Catalan media the Champions of Europe have been tracking him for several years and will try to steal him from Chelsea trying to convince him with money and participation to the Champions League next year, competition where the Blues won’t take part due to their bad position in the Premier League.

Anyway, it won’t be easy for Barcelona to sign Kenedy since Chelsea consider him a key player for their future project.

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JOSE MOURINHO
Ex Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

José Mourinho released his first interview since he parted company with Chelsea in December.

He did while being in Sweden for commercial act with Jaguar, whose the former Blues manager is testimonial.

In the cold Arjeplog, a one horse town in the far north of Sweden whose horses swell in number every winter as the car industry decamps to inflict a brutal cold weather testing regimen on still-secret new models.

“I remember playing a match in Russia,” Jose Mourinho says. “It must have been -10˚C, so cold that some of the players were crying. We thought that one of the linesmen had died…

“Look at the nature. My football world involves thousands of people, and we travel to the biggest cities. So to come here, it’s an empty place, but it’s so full of so many things. I just love it. I know it’s very cold, I know that I would not survive outside for many hours here, but the experience is magnificent, the beauty is fantastic. For people in my world, a few days in a place like this is amazing.”

And so José sits down with GQ and give his first interview since he left Stamford Bridge a week before Christmas:

 

You’re a big fan of London. Why?

When my kids were younger, we could move a lot, experience different countries and in my case different clubs, different football. But there was a moment where they needed some stability: so we made a decision three years ago to move back to London, and we manage my professional life around that. It’s an amazing place to live, amazing for them to study and search for their future, and for the family to be together.”

So you’re staying in the UK?

“At this moment I don’t have a job, and I don’t know where football will take me, because in football you never know. But for sure for sure for sure, as a family, our home will still be England, our home will be in London. But obviously I am ready to move. As a professional, I am ready to move, especially because football in London for me, in terms of clubs… I think it is clear that I have to move.”

It’s noble that your decision is at least partly down to your family’s needs. What else motivates you?

“I experimented with English, Italian and Spanish football, three of the top football sides in the world. I always say I need competition – I need competition every week. In Spain I was at an amazing club but I had four matches a year – Barcelona v Real Madrid, Real Madrid v Barcelona – and after that you win 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, 6-1…”

So it became too easy?

“Easy to win matches but difficult to win the league, because you are competing against a team that wins and wins and wins like you do, because there are two monsters together. So in the end I was champion in Spain with 100 points, and I lost the league in Spain with 91 points. Whereas in England you win leagues with 75, maybe less, so I need competition.”

Are you enjoying the down time?

“No, I am not enjoying it. I can have everything I love at the same time. I can have my family, I can have my friends, I can have my quiet life, which I also like, and I can have my football… I can have everything together and I don’t need to give up on one of them. To be fully happy I need everything, so I go back to football. I think it’s my natural habitat. I have worked since I can remember, and as a manager since 2000. I stopped when I left Chelsea in 2007, for a few months, and now is the second time I stop in 15 or 16 years, so it is not a drama. But for sure, I will be back soon.”

How do you cope with the pressure?

“Privacy is difficult to have, unless I come here for a holiday. But really, football is not pressure for me – it is a privilege. I cope because it’s easy to cope with something you like very, very much. That is why sometimes I don’t understand when players don’t enjoy their professional life. This is the kind of job were you are very well-paid, but at the same time you live the dreams you had as a kid. I think a 90-minute match is more pressure for the people that love us, the people outside. It’s why I sometimes have some conflicts with people who don’t share the same philosophy. You are in a sport to compete, you want to win, you hate to lose, you win once, so you want to win twice… When you are tired you can go home, and give up your place to someone else.”

What’s more difficult: winning for the first time, or repeating the feat?

“It depends. I always think you need new challenges, but there are different ways of getting new challenges. For example, if you are in a club that wins, if you want to win again you have to create instability in the winners. And to create instability in the winners you have to make them doubt, you have to buy new players, you have to make them feel not in their comfort zone. There is a normal tendency to go to your comfort zone. If you don’t react, if you believe that just because you won in one year that you are going to win again, it’s very difficult.”

Have you learnt everything there is to learn in football?

“Nooooo! I have always to learn. Even in football, which is an area in which I feel I am an expert, I am never perfect and I will always learn. Sometimes in my work, and also in private life, maybe people think I am not humble. But I am so humble, and I am always ready to learn from people who know more than me.”

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Guus Hiddink commented the signing of Pep Guardiola by Manchester City:

I think people were expecting this since his exit from Bayern Munich was announced, I think for young managers to act in this league is beautiful.And he will face another league than he’s used to.

“You have always this kind of domination at the teams he’s worked at before, and no one can achieve what he did. England is different from Spain and Germany because there are not dominant teams like there, it’s different but even for him is more attractive. In Spain in September you already know that one between Real Madrid and Barcelona is going to win the league, in Germany there is Bayern’s dominance.

“The big difference is that here you got a big team to play every three days.

“Guardiola is not naif, I know him personally he’s a very stable person.

“When he was playing he was already the tactical leader of the team.I met him once or twice on the pitch, working there with a team who hired the training ground and he was in the second team. He knows the youth as well. He’s very kind, but he’s also a guy that knows what to do.

“The transition to the Premier League is not that difficult because you have, in this case they have, a lot of time to prepare for the new year. They know their plans properly. You can adjust to that. But it’s a new experience, knowing that every week, or every three or four days, there will be huge opposition. But he will know. It’s not his first year in management, and the Spanish guys at Manchester City know this league.”

Hiddink was asked if after this move current Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini can go to Chelsea:

“That’s up to Chelsea to decide. What I think of him, not having met him or spoken to him, I admire his approach to football, to his team and to the game, and he’s a well balanced manager. I respect him without knowing him.”

 

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According to Spanish website Fichajes.com Chelsea are targeting Barcelona‘s defender Thomas Vermaelen to substitute John Terry next summer, after the Blues captain announced his contract won’t be extended for next season.

Vermaelen already spent five years in the Premier League, playing from 2009 to 2014 for one of Chelsea’s London rivals, Arsenal.

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Chelsea looking to add quality and depth to their strike force to ease the load on Diego Costa, they are said to be interested in Athletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.

The striker has scored 20 goals this season attracting the eye of Chelsea and also Spanish giants Barcelona.

Diego Simone, the Athletico boss has spoken about the importance of the Frenchman and this makes the player want to stay with the club.

“When the boss told the press that I’m such an important player, it made me want to stay even more.

“I wasn’t looking for another team or anything, but now I think about it even less.”

However, Diego Simone will not stand in the players way if he does change his mind.

“Of course he’s a very important player for us, but we can’t hold him here with chains.”

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Today Brazialian star Ramires left Chelsea to move to Chinese side Jiangsu Suning.

The midfielder joined the Blues in 2010 and scored very important goals in his career in the West London side: surely the one that Chelsea fans will bring in their hearts forever is the 2-1 goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2012, a goal that allowed Chelsea to go to Munich Champions League final, before El Niño Torres secured it with another goal at the last minute.

 

But he also scored a wonderful goal in the 2010-2011 2-0 win against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, that was later voted at the Goal of the Season:

 

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pogba
Pogba stayed at Juventus last summer but hinted an exit soon

According to reports coming from Spain Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is planning to make a £64m  bid for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

The 22-year-old was released by Manchester United in 2012 after Sir Alex Ferguson declared him surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

He made a terrific improvement in these three years in Italy, becoming one of the best and most expansive midfielders in the world, even if in this season failed to make an impact so far.

It was supposed to have already a done deal with FC Barcelona for the next season but his agent, Mino Raiola, recently stated:

“There haven’t been many calls to my phone for Pogba because so few can afford him, like a limited edition Ferrari. Are Barcelona in pole position? No, the only favourites are Juve.”

Chelsea already made an attempt last summer for the French star, offering £40m plus Oscar, but the deal couldn’t be closed because the Brazilian player refused the destination.

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German magazine Kicker are reporting that Manchester City and Pep Guardiola deal is done.

According to Kicker very trustworthy sources from England, Pep Guardiola will take over Manchester City next season. Last season, the rumors started and now they are true. It is not a suprise.

Pep will meet old friends like Ferran Soriano (Chairman) and Txiki Begiristain (Technical Director) from his Barcelona days: the two directors were in charge in the Spanish club when Guardiola was promoted to manager from reserves team coach.

If the news will be confirmed, Chelsea will lose their chances to sign the Catalan as their new permanent manager next summer.

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