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USA stun Spain to reach the Finals ,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

http://www.mysoccerplace.net/video/usa-vs-spain-20-highlights

It was arguably the greatest victory for the United States since the 1950 World Cup, when they recorded a famous 1-0 victory over an England side that included Billy Wright, Wilf Mannion, Tom Finney and Stan Mortensen.
Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the US a 2-0 victory over Spain in the first semi-final of the Confederations Cup.
The European champions, who had won 15 straight matches and had not been defeated since November 2006 - both world records - were at close to full strength, with Fernando Torres partnering David Villa up front and Xavi Hernández, of Barcelona, the only interloper in what was otherwise an all-Premier League midfield four.
The idea was to defend deep - to negate Torres's pace - and narrow - clogging the middle to hinder Spain's intricate passing. This meant conceding the flanks, but, against a side who lack a genuine aerial threat in the front six, it was a risk worth taking.
The early going rewarded the Americans' game plan. Spain's insistence on forcing their way through the middle left them frustrated and, in the 26th minute, Davies and Dempsey linked up well on the left before the Fulham midfield player picked out Altidore, who turned Joan Capdevila brilliantly on the edge of the box and smacked the ball past Iker Casillas.
With Vicente del Bosque's men pushing forward, a Spanish equaliser appeared inevitable, but in the 74th minute Sergio Ramos failed to clear a cross by Landon Donovan and Dempsey was on hand to tuck it into the net.
Spain predictably laid siege to Tim Howard's goal in the dying minutes, but the US weathered the storm, even after Michael Bradley was sent off with five minutes to go.

USA stun Spain to reach the Finals ,

http://www.mysoccerplace.net/video/usa-vs-spain-20-highlights

It was arguably the greatest victory for the United States since the 1950 World Cup, when they recorded a famous 1-0 victory over an England side that included Billy Wright, Wilf Mannion, Tom Finney and Stan Mortensen.
Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the US a 2-0 victory over Spain in the first semi-final of the Confederations Cup.
The European champions, who had won 15 straight matches and had not been defeated since November 2006 - both world records - were at close to full strength, with Fernando Torres partnering David Villa up front and Xavi Hernández, of Barcelona, the only interloper in what was otherwise an all-Premier League midfield four.
The idea was to defend deep - to negate Torres's pace - and narrow - clogging the middle to hinder Spain's intricate passing. This meant conceding the flanks, but, against a side who lack a genuine aerial threat in the front six, it was a risk worth taking.
The early going rewarded the Americans' game plan. Spain's insistence on forcing their way through the middle left them frustrated and, in the 26th minute, Davies and Dempsey linked up well on the left before the Fulham midfield player picked out Altidore, who turned Joan Capdevila brilliantly on the edge of the box and smacked the ball past Iker Casillas.
With Vicente del Bosque's men pushing forward, a Spanish equaliser appeared inevitable, but in the 74th minute Sergio Ramos failed to clear a cross by Landon Donovan and Dempsey was on hand to tuck it into the net.
Spain predictably laid siege to Tim Howard's goal in the dying minutes, but the US weathered the storm, even after Michael Bradley was sent off with five minutes to go.

Confederations Cup Semi Finals, Spain vs USA

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spain enter another match as hot favourites having won all the games at this year’s Confederations Cup but they will not have an easy job against awakened USA. USA surprised everyone with a convincing win over Egypt and they managed to sneak into the semis as Brazil beat Italy.

Spain keep on winning

After winning the 2008 Euro, Spain continued to terrorize their opponents across the World and the team are yet to drop any points under Vincent Del Bosque. This is definitely one of the best team Spain have ever had and they are the favourites to win the tournament. Fernando Torres and David Villa form the best attacking partnership in the World at the moment and no wonder that the team have been scoring goals with ease. Vincent Del Bosque also has an excellent midfield at his disposal even though he cannot count on Senna and Iniesta. Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fabregas, Silva, Cazorla are all outstanding players and are obviously in great form. After winning the first two games, Spain had some problems against South Africa and things did not look good when David Villa missed the penalty but the striker soon made amends by scoring the opener in beautiful fashion before Fernando Llorente added another to set the final result at 2:0. Considering Spain’s latest performances, I rate them as hot favourites in this match, especially since I don’t think USA will be able to repeat the performance from the match with Egypt. Del Bosque has absolutely no worries and he will be able to choose from the full squad.

USA produced a major surprise

Even though the players had been hoping to create a surprise and qualify for the semis, USA side looked completely incompetent in the first two games and they were thought to be out of the competition after two heavy defeats. They needed a miracle to happen in order to qualify for the semis after the two defeats and that is precisely what I saw in the last round. Brazil helped them by beating Italy 3:0, but USA still needed a three-goal margin win over Egypt in order to go through. Even though Bob Bradley’s side struggled at the start of the match, they picked up the pace and managed to open the scoring, profiting from keeper El Hadary’s mistake. Egypt opted for a defensive approach in the second half, but United States, nevertheless, managed to score two more goals and thus create a true miracle. I have no doubts that the players will be buoyed by the latest success but I still don’t see how they will stop Spain from winning this match. I don’t think they’ll be able to repeat that kind of performance and this is likely to be end of the road for them.

Confederations Cup Semi Finals, Spain vs USA

Spain enter another match as hot favourites having won all the games at this year’s Confederations Cup but they will not have an easy job against awakened USA. USA surprised everyone with a convincing win over Egypt and they managed to sneak into the semis as Brazil beat Italy.

Spain keep on winning

After winning the 2008 Euro, Spain continued to terrorize their opponents across the World and the team are yet to drop any points under Vincent Del Bosque. This is definitely one of the best team Spain have ever had and they are the favourites to win the tournament. Fernando Torres and David Villa form the best attacking partnership in the World at the moment and no wonder that the team have been scoring goals with ease. Vincent Del Bosque also has an excellent midfield at his disposal even though he cannot count on Senna and Iniesta. Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fabregas, Silva, Cazorla are all outstanding players and are obviously in great form. After winning the first two games, Spain had some problems against South Africa and things did not look good when David Villa missed the penalty but the striker soon made amends by scoring the opener in beautiful fashion before Fernando Llorente added another to set the final result at 2:0. Considering Spain’s latest performances, I rate them as hot favourites in this match, especially since I don’t think USA will be able to repeat the performance from the match with Egypt. Del Bosque has absolutely no worries and he will be able to choose from the full squad.

USA produced a major surprise

Even though the players had been hoping to create a surprise and qualify for the semis, USA side looked completely incompetent in the first two games and they were thought to be out of the competition after two heavy defeats. They needed a miracle to happen in order to qualify for the semis after the two defeats and that is precisely what I saw in the last round. Brazil helped them by beating Italy 3:0, but USA still needed a three-goal margin win over Egypt in order to go through. Even though Bob Bradley’s side struggled at the start of the match, they picked up the pace and managed to open the scoring, profiting from keeper El Hadary’s mistake. Egypt opted for a defensive approach in the second half, but United States, nevertheless, managed to score two more goals and thus create a true miracle. I have no doubts that the players will be buoyed by the latest success but I still don’t see how they will stop Spain from winning this match. I don’t think they’ll be able to repeat that kind of performance and this is likely to be end of the road for them.

Confederations Cup Semi Finals , South Africa vs Brazil

South Africa have done well to get this far but an impressive looking Brazil look good value to stop them in their tracks. That said, don't expect the floodgates to open when it comes to goals though.
I was determined to not get sucked into the Confederations Cup prior to its start but once again curiosity got the better of me. There were so many questions that could be at least part answered and so far it hasn't let me down. I need to know just how good Spain are against non-European sides and that is something we can all ponder once the tournament is done. Most of the other posers surrounded the two teams contesting the second semi-final. Much is expected of Brazil and everyone hopes that South Africa can hold their own as hosts of next year's World Cup.

I think it is fair to say that thus far Brazil have looked pretty impressive. They have been in cruise control since their controversial and rather dramatic opening win over Egypt. It is a team packed full of stars that virtually every neutral wants to see go head to head with Spain in what would be a dream final. I am delighted that South Africa have got to this stage but you would have to think this is far as it goes.

Make no mistake, South Africa can play and they will be backed by a noisy crowd in Ellis Park. That might be enough to see them through the opening exchanges of this match but that won't be enough to stop them being beaten by the better side.

Confederations Cup Semi Finals , South Africa vs Brazil

South Africa have done well to get this far but an impressive looking Brazil look good value to stop them in their tracks. That said, don't expect the floodgates to open when it comes to goals though.
I was determined to not get sucked into the Confederations Cup prior to its start but once again curiosity got the better of me. There were so many questions that could be at least part answered and so far it hasn't let me down. I need to know just how good Spain are against non-European sides and that is something we can all ponder once the tournament is done. Most of the other posers surrounded the two teams contesting the second semi-final. Much is expected of Brazil and everyone hopes that South Africa can hold their own as hosts of next year's World Cup.

I think it is fair to say that thus far Brazil have looked pretty impressive. They have been in cruise control since their controversial and rather dramatic opening win over Egypt. It is a team packed full of stars that virtually every neutral wants to see go head to head with Spain in what would be a dream final. I am delighted that South Africa have got to this stage but you would have to think this is far as it goes.

Make no mistake, South Africa can play and they will be backed by a noisy crowd in Ellis Park. That might be enough to see them through the opening exchanges of this match but that won't be enough to stop them being beaten by the better side.

Florent Malouda stays at Chelsea



Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has signed a new two-year extension to his current contract with the club.

The 29-year-old Frenchman, who had two years remaining on his existing deal, has ended speculation over his future at Stamford Bridge by signing a new deal that will now keep him at the club until 2013. Malouda, who enjoyed a fine end to the Barclays Premier campaign under interim coach Guus Hiddink, was linked with a move to AC Milan.

But a spokesman for Chelsea confirmed to PA Sport: "The club and the player have agreed terms on a new four-year contract."

Malouda had two years remaining on his existing deal and was expected to move on, especially when the London club were linked with a move for Russian Yuri Zhirkov.

Florent Malouda stays at Chelsea



Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has signed a new two-year extension to his current contract with the club.

The 29-year-old Frenchman, who had two years remaining on his existing deal, has ended speculation over his future at Stamford Bridge by signing a new deal that will now keep him at the club until 2013. Malouda, who enjoyed a fine end to the Barclays Premier campaign under interim coach Guus Hiddink, was linked with a move to AC Milan.

But a spokesman for Chelsea confirmed to PA Sport: "The club and the player have agreed terms on a new four-year contract."

Malouda had two years remaining on his existing deal and was expected to move on, especially when the London club were linked with a move for Russian Yuri Zhirkov.

Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid - Bernabeu




Cristiano Ronaldo says he will need time to adapt to the different style of the Spanish game, but is confident he can quickly match the Real Madrid fans' high expectations as he closes in on a world record £80m move to the Bernabeu.

Having reportedly passed a medical over the weekend, the Portuguese star knows that even the FIFA World Player of the Year can struggle to adapt to new surroundings.

"Football in England is different, it is more physical," he told Sky Sports News while on holiday. "No matter how good you are it takes time to adapt to any type of football. I just hope I can get used to it as quickly as possible."

Ronaldo is also aware of the weight of expectation that will come with his staggering transfer fee but he insists he is comfortable carrying the burden.

"My career has always consisted of different challenges. At Manchester United it was like that every year," he added. "This season is different because it is a completely different experience for me and the challenges ahead are different ones.

"The expectations will be very high but I am used to that. I know who I am and I know what I have to do.

"Right now I am relaxing with my family to make sure I am fully rested mentally and physically for my arrival to Real Madrid."

Ronaldo also expressed hope that the fans he was leaving behind in Manchester would understand and respect his decision to join Madrid.

"Real Madrid is a club I have always wanted to play for. I am very grateful for the effort they have made on my behalf," he highlighted. "I hope the fans of Manchester will understand my decision. It was a mutual decision that quickly came to an agreement and I am very happy about that."

Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid - Bernabeu




Cristiano Ronaldo says he will need time to adapt to the different style of the Spanish game, but is confident he can quickly match the Real Madrid fans' high expectations as he closes in on a world record £80m move to the Bernabeu.

Having reportedly passed a medical over the weekend, the Portuguese star knows that even the FIFA World Player of the Year can struggle to adapt to new surroundings.

"Football in England is different, it is more physical," he told Sky Sports News while on holiday. "No matter how good you are it takes time to adapt to any type of football. I just hope I can get used to it as quickly as possible."

Ronaldo is also aware of the weight of expectation that will come with his staggering transfer fee but he insists he is comfortable carrying the burden.

"My career has always consisted of different challenges. At Manchester United it was like that every year," he added. "This season is different because it is a completely different experience for me and the challenges ahead are different ones.

"The expectations will be very high but I am used to that. I know who I am and I know what I have to do.

"Right now I am relaxing with my family to make sure I am fully rested mentally and physically for my arrival to Real Madrid."

Ronaldo also expressed hope that the fans he was leaving behind in Manchester would understand and respect his decision to join Madrid.

"Real Madrid is a club I have always wanted to play for. I am very grateful for the effort they have made on my behalf," he highlighted. "I hope the fans of Manchester will understand my decision. It was a mutual decision that quickly came to an agreement and I am very happy about that."

Stuart Taylor - From Aston Villa to Manchester City

Manchester City have signed former England Under-21 goalkeeper Stuart Taylor from Aston Villa in a move that will allow Joe Hart to leave Eastlands on loan.

Taylor, who follows Gareth Barry from Villa Park to City, will serve as back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Shay Given, with Hart expected to join Birmingham City in a season-long switch in the coming days.

The 28-year-old Taylor spent four years at Villa after joining from Arsenal.

It offers Taylor a chance to see if boss Mark Hughes, and goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock, live up to their impressive billing after Friedel worked with the duo at Blackburn.

"I talked to Brad for some advice and he couldn't speak highly enough," Taylor told www.mcfc.co.uk

"I can't wait to start.

"This is a fantastic club to be joining, a club that is going places."

The 28-year-old is City's third signing of the summer and follows in the footsteps of Gareth Barry, who could be installed as Blues captain if Sunderland pursue their apparent interest in Richard Dunne.

With Hughes still to strengthen his defence, it is unlikely he would allow Dunne to leave just yet.

However, if the quality he has brought in this summer is anything to go by, Hughes may eventually view Dunne as a disposable asset in the quest for honours.

The Welshman has already suggested the lack of European action for City next season could work to their benefit.

Yet he concedes if Roque Santa Cruz had arrived last season, the Blues might well have been in the new Europa League.

Hughes said: "If we could have had him in the side at the beginning of last season, his presence in certain games, against certain opponents, would very possibly have made a difference to the results that we had."

Stuart Taylor - From Aston Villa to Manchester City

Manchester City have signed former England Under-21 goalkeeper Stuart Taylor from Aston Villa in a move that will allow Joe Hart to leave Eastlands on loan.

Taylor, who follows Gareth Barry from Villa Park to City, will serve as back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Shay Given, with Hart expected to join Birmingham City in a season-long switch in the coming days.

The 28-year-old Taylor spent four years at Villa after joining from Arsenal.

It offers Taylor a chance to see if boss Mark Hughes, and goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock, live up to their impressive billing after Friedel worked with the duo at Blackburn.

"I talked to Brad for some advice and he couldn't speak highly enough," Taylor told www.mcfc.co.uk

"I can't wait to start.

"This is a fantastic club to be joining, a club that is going places."

The 28-year-old is City's third signing of the summer and follows in the footsteps of Gareth Barry, who could be installed as Blues captain if Sunderland pursue their apparent interest in Richard Dunne.

With Hughes still to strengthen his defence, it is unlikely he would allow Dunne to leave just yet.

However, if the quality he has brought in this summer is anything to go by, Hughes may eventually view Dunne as a disposable asset in the quest for honours.

The Welshman has already suggested the lack of European action for City next season could work to their benefit.

Yet he concedes if Roque Santa Cruz had arrived last season, the Blues might well have been in the new Europa League.

Hughes said: "If we could have had him in the side at the beginning of last season, his presence in certain games, against certain opponents, would very possibly have made a difference to the results that we had."

Roque Santa Cruz moves to Mancheter City

Santa Cruz - joins City.

SANTA CRUZ SEALS MOVE TO CITY

Mark Hughes felt it was vital for Manchester City to snare Roque Santa Cruz.

The South American completed a £17million move from Blackburn after a lengthy medical earlier on Monday.

It was Hughes' second big signing of the summer, following the arrival of Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

And, while the City chief has already highlighted Barry's leadership qualities, he is convinced Santa Cruz can be just as important an addition to a swiftly improving squad.

"It was really important that we signed him because it's an area of the squad that we have needed to address for some time," Hughes told the club's website.

"The qualities Roque brings will be of great benefit.

"His ability in the air and his physical presence are things we have been missing. But he also has technical ability and good pace for a big man.

"He is a very good player and one I know well from our time at Blackburn."

It is the form Santa Cruz showed during his first year in England after Hughes signed him from Bayern Munich that City fans will be hoping to see at Eastlands.

The Paraguay forward, who is set for his third World Cup campaign next summer, scored 23 goals in 43 appearances, compared with just four in the Premier League last term, when he was badly affected by knee problems.

City had to be satisfied those injury problems were a thing of the past before committing such a hefty fee to Blackburn coffers, with Santa Cruz equally delighted the news was good.

After being heavily linked with a move to City during the past two transfer windows, Santa Cruz is relieved not to suffer another disappointment.

"I know the kind of football Mark Hughes wants to play and the kind of character he is - he's a winner, he wants to make things happen and be successful," said Santa Cruz.

"Those are always my thoughts as well, so knowing what he wants was a big factor in coming here, because I know the club is going in the right direction.

"I know his staff and the kind of training they will have the team doing, so everything was very attractive for me."

Santa Cruz spoke with chief executive Garry Cook and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak before agreeing to the move and was impressed by their response.

Now he can't wait to get started.

"The owners want the club to be more successful - they want to break into the top four, and the fact that the fans are so passionate about everything to do with City was also a factor," said Santa Cruz.

"I am very motivated to play for these fans.

"I spoke to the chairman and I know his ambitions are known to everybody at the club - he made sure that I know as well. It was a good conversation. He wants the best for the club and to give something back to the fans."

Santa Cruz added on Sky Sports News: "The main idea of the owners and the gaffer is to take the club as far as possible.

"I think everybody expects a lot and the fact the club are signing big players, great players, shows we want to be as good as possible.

"Everybody is talking about breaking the top four so once we get there, we need to keep looking forward and see what is the best we can get."

According to Santa Cruz's father Aproniano, the striker has signed a five-year deal with City.

"By signing this contract, we can confirm Roque is a man of Manchester City,'' he told Paraguay radio station Purofutbol.

"He signed a contract that runs to until 2014, but the formal unveiling will be arranged in a couple of days.''

Aproniano Santa Cruz also revealed that his 27-year-old son will most likely remain in Manchester to continue treatment on his troublesome knee.

Santa Cruz missed a large part of last season with the complaint and had planned to return to his homeland to continue his rehabilitation.

"The club are deciding what Roque's next move will be - whether he goes back to Paraguay or whether he completes the remainder of the treatment at the club,'' he said.

"The most likely outcome is that he will stay in Manchester for better attention.''

Roque Santa Cruz moves to Mancheter City

Santa Cruz - joins City.

SANTA CRUZ SEALS MOVE TO CITY

Mark Hughes felt it was vital for Manchester City to snare Roque Santa Cruz.

The South American completed a £17million move from Blackburn after a lengthy medical earlier on Monday.

It was Hughes' second big signing of the summer, following the arrival of Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

And, while the City chief has already highlighted Barry's leadership qualities, he is convinced Santa Cruz can be just as important an addition to a swiftly improving squad.

"It was really important that we signed him because it's an area of the squad that we have needed to address for some time," Hughes told the club's website.

"The qualities Roque brings will be of great benefit.

"His ability in the air and his physical presence are things we have been missing. But he also has technical ability and good pace for a big man.

"He is a very good player and one I know well from our time at Blackburn."

It is the form Santa Cruz showed during his first year in England after Hughes signed him from Bayern Munich that City fans will be hoping to see at Eastlands.

The Paraguay forward, who is set for his third World Cup campaign next summer, scored 23 goals in 43 appearances, compared with just four in the Premier League last term, when he was badly affected by knee problems.

City had to be satisfied those injury problems were a thing of the past before committing such a hefty fee to Blackburn coffers, with Santa Cruz equally delighted the news was good.

After being heavily linked with a move to City during the past two transfer windows, Santa Cruz is relieved not to suffer another disappointment.

"I know the kind of football Mark Hughes wants to play and the kind of character he is - he's a winner, he wants to make things happen and be successful," said Santa Cruz.

"Those are always my thoughts as well, so knowing what he wants was a big factor in coming here, because I know the club is going in the right direction.

"I know his staff and the kind of training they will have the team doing, so everything was very attractive for me."

Santa Cruz spoke with chief executive Garry Cook and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak before agreeing to the move and was impressed by their response.

Now he can't wait to get started.

"The owners want the club to be more successful - they want to break into the top four, and the fact that the fans are so passionate about everything to do with City was also a factor," said Santa Cruz.

"I am very motivated to play for these fans.

"I spoke to the chairman and I know his ambitions are known to everybody at the club - he made sure that I know as well. It was a good conversation. He wants the best for the club and to give something back to the fans."

Santa Cruz added on Sky Sports News: "The main idea of the owners and the gaffer is to take the club as far as possible.

"I think everybody expects a lot and the fact the club are signing big players, great players, shows we want to be as good as possible.

"Everybody is talking about breaking the top four so once we get there, we need to keep looking forward and see what is the best we can get."

According to Santa Cruz's father Aproniano, the striker has signed a five-year deal with City.

"By signing this contract, we can confirm Roque is a man of Manchester City,'' he told Paraguay radio station Purofutbol.

"He signed a contract that runs to until 2014, but the formal unveiling will be arranged in a couple of days.''

Aproniano Santa Cruz also revealed that his 27-year-old son will most likely remain in Manchester to continue treatment on his troublesome knee.

Santa Cruz missed a large part of last season with the complaint and had planned to return to his homeland to continue his rehabilitation.

"The club are deciding what Roque's next move will be - whether he goes back to Paraguay or whether he completes the remainder of the treatment at the club,'' he said.

"The most likely outcome is that he will stay in Manchester for better attention.''

Gareth Barry moves to Manchester City

BARRY COMPLETES CITY SWITCH

Manchester City have completed a surprise £12million transfer swoop for Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

The 28-year-old England midfielder has signed a five-year contract at Eastlands.

Barry, who was a target for Liverpool last summer, leaves Villa after 12 years and more than 400 matches.

City manager Mark Hughes is banking on the midfielder's experience in the domestic and international arena to take the club to the next level.

Hughes said: "Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League and that is a recommendation in itself.

"When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.

"The experience required to compete with the best in the Premier League is vital.

"With Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played week-in, week-out in the hardest league in the world.

"He plays at a level that has an impact on the game and we are thrilled that he is joining us."

Club captain Richard Dunne welcomed Barry on board.

"He is a really good player and a player the Aston Villa fans will really miss, " said the defender.

"It shows the pulling power of the club. It's the sort of signing the manager is looking for - players with Premier League experience who can push the squad on."

Barry has proved to be adaptable over the years and that is a trait that Hughes believes will serve City well.

"I like players that have the sort of flexibility that enables you to change your tactics if you need during a game, and Gareth has that," he told City's official website.

"He also has a range of passing that I am keen to introduce to the team, and he has got great delivery at set-plays as well. He will bring a lot to City.

"I have spoken to him briefly, and I will do at greater length soon. It is clear to everybody that being at City is going to be exciting in the future, and Gareth sees that."

Barry said: "I'm delighted to be joining City.

"It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go.

"There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer."

GARETH BARRY FACTFILE

1981: Born, Hastings, February 23.

1997: Joins Aston Villa as a trainee from Brighton for £50,000.

1998: February 23 - Signs first professional contract at Villa.

May 2 - Makes debut as substitute in 3-1 Premier League win at Sheffield Wednesday.

May 10 - First start for Villa is in 1-0 home win over Arsenal.

November 17 - Makes England Under-21 debut in friendly against Czech Republic. Goes on to earn 27 caps.

1999: April 24 - Scores first Villa goal in 2-0 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest.

2000: May 31 - Makes senior England debut as substitute in 2-0 friendly win over Ukraine at Wembley.

June: Called up to England's Euro 2000 squad but does not feature during the tournament.

September 2 - Starts first senior England game in 1-1 draw with France in Paris.

2006: August 19 - Awarded Villa captaincy for opening Premier League game of the season at Arsenal and retains the job.

August 27 - Ends speculation about his future by signing a four-year contract at Villa.

2007: February 2 - Named in England squad for first time since 2003 for friendly against Spain.

October 28 - Becomes youngest player to make 300 Premier League appearances (aged 26 years 247 days), beating Frank Lampard's record.

2008: May 1 - Liverpool launch bid to buy Barry.

May 2 - Villa boss Martin O'Neill confirms Liverpool's bid but decries it as "a mish-mash of nameless player exchanges". O'Neill also criticises Liverpool for making their interest public.

June 1 - Scores first international goal in England's 3-0 friendly win in Trinidad and Tobago. Also captains England for the first time in second half of the game.

Describes Liverpool's interest as "flattering".

June 29 - Reveals he wants to join Liverpool and criticises O'Neill for not making enough effort to keep him at Villa Park.

July 2 - Barry is fined two weeks' wages and ordered not to return for pre-season training for his criticism of O'Neill. Villa reveal they have rejected another improved offer from Liverpool.

July 16 - Barry is permitted to return to training.

July 22 - Plays for Villa in a friendly at Walsall and is booed by the travelling supporters.

August 22 - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reveals his own interest in Barry.

August 27 - Barry's agent confirms the player will stay with Villa.

2009: May - Villa offer to make Barry their highest-paid player if he signs a new contract.

June 2 - Barry joins Manchester City for £12million.

Gareth Barry moves to Manchester City

BARRY COMPLETES CITY SWITCH

Manchester City have completed a surprise £12million transfer swoop for Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

The 28-year-old England midfielder has signed a five-year contract at Eastlands.

Barry, who was a target for Liverpool last summer, leaves Villa after 12 years and more than 400 matches.

City manager Mark Hughes is banking on the midfielder's experience in the domestic and international arena to take the club to the next level.

Hughes said: "Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League and that is a recommendation in itself.

"When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.

"The experience required to compete with the best in the Premier League is vital.

"With Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played week-in, week-out in the hardest league in the world.

"He plays at a level that has an impact on the game and we are thrilled that he is joining us."

Club captain Richard Dunne welcomed Barry on board.

"He is a really good player and a player the Aston Villa fans will really miss, " said the defender.

"It shows the pulling power of the club. It's the sort of signing the manager is looking for - players with Premier League experience who can push the squad on."

Barry has proved to be adaptable over the years and that is a trait that Hughes believes will serve City well.

"I like players that have the sort of flexibility that enables you to change your tactics if you need during a game, and Gareth has that," he told City's official website.

"He also has a range of passing that I am keen to introduce to the team, and he has got great delivery at set-plays as well. He will bring a lot to City.

"I have spoken to him briefly, and I will do at greater length soon. It is clear to everybody that being at City is going to be exciting in the future, and Gareth sees that."

Barry said: "I'm delighted to be joining City.

"It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go.

"There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer."

GARETH BARRY FACTFILE

1981: Born, Hastings, February 23.

1997: Joins Aston Villa as a trainee from Brighton for £50,000.

1998: February 23 - Signs first professional contract at Villa.

May 2 - Makes debut as substitute in 3-1 Premier League win at Sheffield Wednesday.

May 10 - First start for Villa is in 1-0 home win over Arsenal.

November 17 - Makes England Under-21 debut in friendly against Czech Republic. Goes on to earn 27 caps.

1999: April 24 - Scores first Villa goal in 2-0 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest.

2000: May 31 - Makes senior England debut as substitute in 2-0 friendly win over Ukraine at Wembley.

June: Called up to England's Euro 2000 squad but does not feature during the tournament.

September 2 - Starts first senior England game in 1-1 draw with France in Paris.

2006: August 19 - Awarded Villa captaincy for opening Premier League game of the season at Arsenal and retains the job.

August 27 - Ends speculation about his future by signing a four-year contract at Villa.

2007: February 2 - Named in England squad for first time since 2003 for friendly against Spain.

October 28 - Becomes youngest player to make 300 Premier League appearances (aged 26 years 247 days), beating Frank Lampard's record.

2008: May 1 - Liverpool launch bid to buy Barry.

May 2 - Villa boss Martin O'Neill confirms Liverpool's bid but decries it as "a mish-mash of nameless player exchanges". O'Neill also criticises Liverpool for making their interest public.

June 1 - Scores first international goal in England's 3-0 friendly win in Trinidad and Tobago. Also captains England for the first time in second half of the game.

Describes Liverpool's interest as "flattering".

June 29 - Reveals he wants to join Liverpool and criticises O'Neill for not making enough effort to keep him at Villa Park.

July 2 - Barry is fined two weeks' wages and ordered not to return for pre-season training for his criticism of O'Neill. Villa reveal they have rejected another improved offer from Liverpool.

July 16 - Barry is permitted to return to training.

July 22 - Plays for Villa in a friendly at Walsall and is booed by the travelling supporters.

August 22 - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reveals his own interest in Barry.

August 27 - Barry's agent confirms the player will stay with Villa.

2009: May - Villa offer to make Barry their highest-paid player if he signs a new contract.

June 2 - Barry joins Manchester City for £12million.

Liverpool signs Aaron King

REDS SIGN KING OF DIAMONDS

Liverpool have completed the capture of teenage striker Aaron King from Rushden and Diamonds.

King, 16, impressed during a recent trial period with the Anfield giants and has now signed a two-year scholarship agreement.

"We are all absolutely thrilled for Aaron - this is a brilliant achievement for everyone involved in his development throughout the five years that he has been with us," Rushden's head of youth development Paul Driver told the club's official website.

Liverpool signs Aaron King

REDS SIGN KING OF DIAMONDS

Liverpool have completed the capture of teenage striker Aaron King from Rushden and Diamonds.

King, 16, impressed during a recent trial period with the Anfield giants and has now signed a two-year scholarship agreement.

"We are all absolutely thrilled for Aaron - this is a brilliant achievement for everyone involved in his development throughout the five years that he has been with us," Rushden's head of youth development Paul Driver told the club's official website.

VERMAELEN COMPLETES ARSENAL MOVE

VERMAELEN COMPLETES ARSENAL MOVE

Arsenal have completed the signing of Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax.

Vermaelen, 23, joined Ajax in 2004 and has made over 100 appearances for the Dutch club and has picked up valuable experience in the Champions League and UEFA Cup.

The undisclosed fee is reported to have been in the region of £10million and Arsene Wenger is convinced his new signing can provide a "solid" base on which to help build Arsenal's challenge next season.

He said: "Thomas is a solid performer with good experience of Champions League and UEFA Cup football and is also a regular with the Belgium national team.

"Thomas is primarily a left-footed centre-back, but he is multi-functional and can also play at left-back.

"He is strong technically with a positive winner's attitude and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team.

"Thomas Vermaelen will be a huge asset to Arsenal."

Vermaelen, meanwhile, is in no doubt of just what his new club - who were knocked out at the semi-final stage of both the FA Cup and in Europe - can achieve next season.

"Everything is set up for Arsenal to be very successful for years to come and I joined this club because I know Arsenal will be challenging for trophies," Vermaelen said in an interview with www.arsenal.com.

"Arsenal are a great club with a world class manager, high quality players and a fantastic stadium.

"I have had a good taste of the Champions League during my time with Ajax and this is something I am looking forward to experiencing again with Arsenal."

Vermaelen added: "I am also looking forward to playing in the English Premier League, which for me, is the best league in the world.

"I just want to assure the Arsenal fans that I will give everything for this club and I hope we can enjoy winning some trophies together next season."

VERMAELEN COMPLETES ARSENAL MOVE

VERMAELEN COMPLETES ARSENAL MOVE

Arsenal have completed the signing of Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax.

Vermaelen, 23, joined Ajax in 2004 and has made over 100 appearances for the Dutch club and has picked up valuable experience in the Champions League and UEFA Cup.

The undisclosed fee is reported to have been in the region of £10million and Arsene Wenger is convinced his new signing can provide a "solid" base on which to help build Arsenal's challenge next season.

He said: "Thomas is a solid performer with good experience of Champions League and UEFA Cup football and is also a regular with the Belgium national team.

"Thomas is primarily a left-footed centre-back, but he is multi-functional and can also play at left-back.

"He is strong technically with a positive winner's attitude and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team.

"Thomas Vermaelen will be a huge asset to Arsenal."

Vermaelen, meanwhile, is in no doubt of just what his new club - who were knocked out at the semi-final stage of both the FA Cup and in Europe - can achieve next season.

"Everything is set up for Arsenal to be very successful for years to come and I joined this club because I know Arsenal will be challenging for trophies," Vermaelen said in an interview with www.arsenal.com.

"Arsenal are a great club with a world class manager, high quality players and a fantastic stadium.

"I have had a good taste of the Champions League during my time with Ajax and this is something I am looking forward to experiencing again with Arsenal."

Vermaelen added: "I am also looking forward to playing in the English Premier League, which for me, is the best league in the world.

"I just want to assure the Arsenal fans that I will give everything for this club and I hope we can enjoy winning some trophies together next season."

Daniel Sturridge to join Chelsea

STURRIDGE SET TO JOIN CHELSEA

Manchester City's talented teenager Daniel Sturridge is to join Chelsea this summer but the exact fee will be decided by a tribunal.

The two clubs have failed to reach an agreement on a suitable compensation package but as the player is under 24, he is not available to sign on a Bosman-style free transfer.

The 19-year-old's contract expires at the end of the summer and City are looking to get a 'development fee' of around £10 million from Chelsea.

Chelsea's valuation of the teenager is thought to be somewhat lower at an estimated £3 million.

City rejected Chelsea's initial package and it is now likely that a settlement of around £5 million will be agreed which will include a number of add-on clauses related to performance and appearances.

Sturridge is one of the game's top prospects an

Daniel Sturridge to join Chelsea

STURRIDGE SET TO JOIN CHELSEA

Manchester City's talented teenager Daniel Sturridge is to join Chelsea this summer but the exact fee will be decided by a tribunal.

The two clubs have failed to reach an agreement on a suitable compensation package but as the player is under 24, he is not available to sign on a Bosman-style free transfer.

The 19-year-old's contract expires at the end of the summer and City are looking to get a 'development fee' of around £10 million from Chelsea.

Chelsea's valuation of the teenager is thought to be somewhat lower at an estimated £3 million.

City rejected Chelsea's initial package and it is now likely that a settlement of around £5 million will be agreed which will include a number of add-on clauses related to performance and appearances.

Sturridge is one of the game's top prospects an

ROBINHO HOPES FOR ETO'O DEAL

Robinho believes Manchester City would be "almost unbeatable" if they sign Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona.

Eto'o is reportedly a target for City as the big-spending Premier League side look to add even more firepower to Mark Hughes' attack.

A deal has already been completed for Roque Santa Cruz, while Carlos Tevez is expected to arrive after his loan at Manchester United expires.

And Robinho is hoping Hughes can persuade Cameroon striker Eto'o to leave European champions Barcelona before the start of the new season.

ROBINHO HOPES FOR ETO'O DEAL

Robinho believes Manchester City would be "almost unbeatable" if they sign Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona.

Eto'o is reportedly a target for City as the big-spending Premier League side look to add even more firepower to Mark Hughes' attack.

A deal has already been completed for Roque Santa Cruz, while Carlos Tevez is expected to arrive after his loan at Manchester United expires.

And Robinho is hoping Hughes can persuade Cameroon striker Eto'o to leave European champions Barcelona before the start of the new season.

CASILLAS STAYING WITH MADRID

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has heard nothing from Manchester United or any other club about a possible transfer and sees his long-term future at the Bernabeu.

Reports in the both the Spanish and English media suggested United were looking to invest some of the £80million they are set to receive from Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo on Euro 2008 winner Casillas.

MESSI APPEALS TO MASCHERANO

MESSI APPEALS TO MASCHERANO

Lionel Messi has again urged Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano to consider a move to Barcelona.

The Argentine forward admits he would relish the opportunity to play alongside his countryman at club level.

Stoke after Michale Owen

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has revealed he would be interested in signing Michael Owen if a deal is "viable".

Owen's contract at Newcastle expires at the end of the month and the striker is to leave St James' Park in the hope of securing a deal with a Premier League club.

The England international's representatives have sent a dossier to several clubs, with Aston Villa and Everton among those to be linked with a bid.

HREIDARSSON inks one year deal

HREIDARSSON inks one year deal

Veteran Portsmouth defender Hermann Hreidarsson has agreed a new one-year contract at Fratton Park.

News of the 34-year-old left-back's decision to stay on the south coast will end speculation linking the Iceland international with a move to Middlesbrough.

The new deal also includes the option of a further year should Hreidarsson play a certain number of games next season.

Emmanuel Adebayor set to get transfered

Emmanuel Adebayor's agent claims a "very important team" has made contact about the Arsenal striker, but says there has been no interest yet from Chelsea or Manchester United.

Tabloid speculation has claimed the Gunners have offered Adebayor to both AC and Inter Milan in an attempt to prevent the Togo ace joining Chelsea.

The former tried to sign Adebayor last summer and former Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti's move to Chelsea has prompted rumours the forward could also head to Stamford Bridge.

United have also been linked with a bid, but the player's agent Stephane Courbis says Arsenal's domestic rivals have not been in touch.

Joleon Lescott to join Manchester City

CITY FACE BATTLE IN BID TO LAND LESCOTT

Joleon Lescott will have to force the issue if he wants to join Manchester City.

While the cash-rich Eastlands outfit are refusing to respond to speculation that Mark Hughes is ready to lodge a £15million bid for the England international, Everton are eager to get their response in first.

Franck Ribery for Real Madrid

Franck Ribery's agent believes the Bayern Munich midfielder would choose Real Madrid over treble winners Barcelona but insists nothing will be done until next month at the earliest.

Ribery is one of Europe's hottest properties, with Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly set to do battle with the Spanish pair for his signature.

Bayern insist Ribery is not for sale, but Alan Migliaccio claims his client has not given up on a move to the Bernabeu this summer.

"Ribery would prefer to play for Real Madrid than Barcelona," . "The player has talked with Zinedine Zidane and he wants to play for Los Blancos for him.

"But at this moment everything is blocked because the people at Bayern are on holiday until the end of this month.

"I can't say anything else until we meet them in the next few weeks."

Sergio Aguero

Argentine footballer who currently plays as a striker for Spanish La Liga club Atlético de Madrid and the Argentine national team, is not for sale after he was linked with Manchester United

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