Preview: Chelsea vs. Sporting


Nani will be unavailable for the Sporting-Chelsea match through injury. Can Sporting still secure a result? Photo: express.co.uk

Nani will be unavailable for the Sporting-Chelsea match through injury. Can Sporting still secure a result? Photo: express.co.uk

On Wednesday evening, Sporting travel to Stamford Bridge to take on the already-qualified Chelsea in a crunch match that will decide whether they go through to the Round of 16 of the Champions League or not. They go into the game needing just one point to qualify as the group runners-up, having beaten Schalke (4-2) and Maribor (3-1) at home in their last two Champions League games. Continue reading

Tiago Mendes Returns to Chelsea


Tiago Mendes-Chelsea 2004-2005

Tiago (left) during his first stint with Chelsea, when he helped Chelsea to its first league title in 50 years. Photo courtesy express.co.uk

After a stellar season at Atletico Madrid which saw the team win the league and reach the final of the Champions League, Tiago Mendes is set to rejoin Jose Mourinho at English giants Chelsea. This will be Tiago’s second stint at the English club, after representing the team during the 2004-2005 season, also during Mourinho’s first season at Chelsea. An integral part of Atletico Madrid’s much-hailed midfield last season, Tiago found himself in arguably the finest form of his career at the advanced age of 33. He was in such fine form that he publicly regretted his decision to retire from the Portuguese National Team following the 2010 World Cup. At the time, it looked as if the midfielder’s career was on the steep decline, despite positive performances for Portugal at the aforesaid World Cup.

At the time of his international retirement, Tiago was languishing at Juventus, having only managed 7 league appearances during the first half of the previous season.  A loan to Atletico Madrid was arranged in January of 2010 (still prior to the World Cup), and the midfielder showed his worth, making 18 league appearances in the latter half of the season. After a successful half season and a positive World Cup campaign, another loan was arranged for the 2010-2011 season. But this time it was a season-long loan. Tiago continued to perform well for the Spanish club, managing 31 league appearances. After the loan expired, Tiago was purchased outright by Atletico on a two year contract. Since that time, Tiago has established himself as a tactically-sound asset to the team. He’s not the player he once was, but his knowledge of the game has grown immensely-an attribute he showed to perfection this season.

Many are speculating that Tiago’s move to Chelsea is one that will see him become part of the team’s backroom staff after his playing days are over. He was signed on a two-year deal, which will see him under contract until he is 35 years old, a prime age for retirement. There have been no secrets about his relationship with Jose Mourinho, and many are speculating that Tiago may have been signed to become Mourinho’s assistant a few years down the road. Will this happen? Only time will tell. For the mean time, Chelsea have signed an experienced player who was at the heart of one of the finest underdog stories of last season.

Pedro Mendes Included in Champions League Squad


Youngster Pedro Mendes has been included by Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho in the team’s champions league roster. His inclusion comes as a surprise as he is currently playing for Real Madrid Castilla (the club’s B team) on loan from Sporting Lisbon. The defender featured for the team in preseason, but, to no one’s surprise, has failed to feature since. He is competing for a spot in the team against the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Raul Albiol, and Raphael Varane, among others. His inclusion shows the faith that Mourinho has in him, faith that the coach made quite clear when the loan was secured.

Jose Mourinho Interested in Pedro Mendes


According to reports coming out of Portugal, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is interested in acquiring Pedro Mendes’s services. This Pedro Mendes is not the one that played for Portugal in last summer’s World Cup. This Pedro Mendes currently plays for Sporting Lisbon, after returning from his loan last season to Servette. According to the reports, Jose Mourinho sees immense potential in the 20 year-old. Standing at 1.84 meters, he is the perfect size for a central defender. Mourinho is interested in snapping him up and putting him in Madrid’s B team for further development. Mourinho is obviously very interested in the player, but as to whether the move will be a loan or a permanent one remains to be seen.

Portugal Approach Mourinho About Vacant Hot Seat


Portuguese Football Federation president Gilberto Madail has flown to Spain in order to negotiate the hiring of Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for the Seleccao’s two upcoming games. Portugal are currently without a coach after the firing of Carlos Queiroz and Madail is trying to take the matter into his own hands. After these upcoming two games, the Seleccao doesn’t have another Euro 2012 qualification match until June 2011. That is plenty of time for the Federation to made a decision as to who will coach the National Team. Paulo Bento is currently in pole-position to land the job, but there are others in the mix too. News leaked out of Portugal last night that Paulo Bento had indeed been offered and accepted the job of Portugal manager. Bento denyed that rumor, saying: “I want to make it clear that I have not signed anything, nor have I been contacted by anyone from the FPF.”