Tag Archives: Serie A

How Would Wesley Sneijder Fit In At Tottenham Hotspur?

Sneijder-Spurs

Tottenham could be set for a major coup in the January transfer window after reports in Italy claimed Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has agreed terms on a move.

Sneijder, who starred for the Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup, has been out of the Inter first-team for almost three-months because of a pay dispute. The Serie A giants apparently want him to take a pay cut, and the Netherlands international is willing to leave the club and move on.

Manchester United came very close to signing him in the summer of 2010, and Inter rejected their advances and £30 million plus offer. With the Dutchman struggling with injuries and his form dipping over the last two years, their failure to cash in is looking like an error of judgement. Even so the playmaker is very talented, and is wanted by many clubs across Europe. At 28, he still has plenty to offer and a new challenge may well be just what he needs to get his career back on track.

Fenerbahce are said to have made an enquiry for the Champions League winner, and the two Manchester clubs (City and United) are also in the race, but the reports in Italy have made Tottenham the favourites if the London club can agree a fee – believed to be around £10-12 million.

There is every chance the Dutchman could be a huge success and a right fit at White Hart Lane. Sneijder’s best postion is as an attacking midfielder just behind the striker and Spurs could well be the club to make it work for him.

Andre Villas-Boas’ preferred formation of 4-2-3-1 would see him fit straight into the line-up. With Aaron Lennon on the right and Gareth Bale on the left, the void Rafael van der Vaart vacated for a central attacking midfielder role would be ideal for him. So far, new signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey have attempted to fill it but have not been very impressive. With the midfield platform of Mousa Dembele and Sandro behind him, Sneijder would have ample of time and space to dictate games.

So, if the opportunity to bring the former Ajax and Real Madrid star to White Hart Lane crops up, as it has, then Tottenham should grab it with both hands.

The two big issues Spurs will face in trying to secure his signature is the present lack of Champions League football and his huge wage demands. But the Dutchman sees Tottenham as club on the rise and if Spurs can satisfy Emmanuel Adebayor’s demands – who was earning almost the same at City as Sneijder is doing at Inter – then why not Sneijder’s. With Daniel Levy at the negotiating table the fans can remain optimistic about and can be sure that they won’t pay over the odds for the midfielder.

Five Possible Destinations For Mario Balotelli

Balo-Destinations

Mario Balotelli’s relationship with Manchester City is in hot waters after his decision to take the club to a tribunal over disciplinary fines and that could leave the club with no choice but offload him in January.

The Italian striker has earned himself an infamous reputation in his short spell at the Etihad Stadium – his indiscipline on and off the field and his inconsistent form could catalyze a move away from Eastlands in the upcoming January transfer window. Here we have a look at the five possible destinations for the Italian star.

1. Inter Milan

Many newspapers across the UK have reported that the Inter owner Massimo Moratti is keen to bring back Balotelli to the club where he spent three prolific years before his big money move to Manchester. The 22-year-old is rumoured to be suffering from homesickness and has also been spotted several times this season in the stands at the San Siro. A move back to Inter will be the best thing for Italian as he will be back home.

2. AC Milan

Since the Rossoneri sold Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG in the summer, they have not been the same force of the old and are now 17 points behind leaders Juventus in the Serie A. Chief executive Adriano Galliani is an admirer of the volatile forward and has pondered a possible bid for him. Whether it’s a temporary loan move or a full transfer back to the San Siro, Balotelli would probably prefer a homecoming with a new challenge.

3. Paris Saint-Germain

Where there is a world-class player, there is PSG transfer rumour. The French capital club had a bid rejected for striker in the summer, but it looks highly unlikely that the reigning Premier League champions would rejected another offer for the striker, low in the pecking order, should it be made again in January. Super Mario would no doubt take the Ligue 1 by storm, but the move would certainly upset PSG’s current alpha male, Ibrahimovic.

4. Real Madrid

Elsewhere, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is another admirer of the City striker since he was at Inter and was reportedly considering a move for him this summer. Perhaps now he could reignite his interested to lure Balotelli to the Bernabeu, but I doubt it will happen. The former Chelsea and Inter boss wouldn’t want to rock the Madrid boat that is already edging closer to capsizing as it is.

5. Fulham

The outsiders are the West London club Fulham. Boss Martin Jol has expressed his admiration and interest in the Italian striker but that the Cottagers would find it ‘impossible’ to lure him to Craven Cottage and afford him. Perhaps Mancini would consider sending Balotelli to Craven Cottage on loan for the rest of the season and keep an eye on him. But I doubt Mario will give Fulham a consideration.

A Complete Guide To The Final 16 Teams Of The Champions League

UCL-Draw

Manchester United and Arsenal, the only two remaining English sides, will be looking to avoid the big guns in the draw for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, which takes place in Nyon (Switzerland) on Thursday 10:30am GMT.

Manchester United qualified as Group H winners and so are seeded in the draw but they still could be drawn against the big sides, while Arsenal finished as runners-up and like United could face the top guns especially Barcelona (third time in the past four seasons) in the knockout stages. On the other hand, Chelsea became the first holders to be eliminated in the group stages, while Manchester City were completely knocked out of Europe as they ended bottom of their group.

Group Winners: Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Group Runners-Up: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray

Below we have a look at each of the above 16 teams in detail..

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Country: France
Coach:
Carlo Ancelotti
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Other Star Players: Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi & Javier Pastore
Rising Star: Marco Verratti
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 1995
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: PSG are one of the richest clubs in the world and have ambitions to win the Champions League this term. If striker Ibrahimovic can continue his superb form from the group stages, it might just happen.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

SCHALKE 04

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jens Keller
Key Player: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Other Star Players: Benedikt Howedes, Lewis Holtby & Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Rising Star: Julian Draxler
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Galatasary, Valencia, Celtic, Real Madrid
Chances: The Germans were unbeaten through their group which consisted the likes of Arsenal, Olympiakos and Montpellier, which shows they are not a team to be taken for granted. One their day they could upset the big guns.
Prediction: Round of 16

MALAGA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Manuel Pellengrini
Key Player: Isco
Other Star Players: Joaquin, Martin Demichelis & Eliseu
Rising Star: Francisco Portillo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Debutants
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: Have been very impressive so far in their debut season in the Champions League, but their inexperience in the competition may prove costly in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jurgen Klopp
Key Player: Marco Reus
Other Star Players: Roberto Lewandowski, Mats Hummels & Mario Gotze
Rising Star: Moritz Leitner
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1997
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Bundesliga champions have very much caught the eye in the group stages after finishing at top of the Group of Death and are the team to beat. Considered as the dark horses for the title.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

JUVENTUS

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Antonio Conte
Key Player: Arturo Vidal
Other Star Players: Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon & Giorgio Chiellini
Rising Star: Paul Pogba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1985, 1996
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Serie A champions remained unbeaten in the group stages and topped their group by winning on the final matchday. The Italians are expected to step it up when the competition resumes in February.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

BAYERN MUNICH

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jupp Heynckes
Key Player: Franck Ribery
Other Star Players: Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger & Philipp Lahm
Rising Star: David Alaba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The current Bundesliga leaders ended as the beaten finalists last season and will be looking to make amends for it. They have been in fine form so far and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

BARCELONA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Tito Vilanova
Key Player: Lionel Messi
Other Star Players: Andres Iniesta, Xavi & Sergio Busquets
Rising Star: Christian Tello
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal, Galatasaray, AC Milan
Chances: The Catalans were the pre-tournament favourites to win the competition and there has been very little so far to suggest that they won’t win it this term. Vilanova has done brilliantly since taking over from Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Prediction: Winners

MANCHESTER UNITED

Country: England
Coach:
 Sir Alex Ferguson
Key Player: Wayne Rooney
Other Star Players: Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic & Antonio Valencia
Rising Star: Rafael
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1968, 1999, 2008
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic
Chances: Unlike last season, United have marched pretty easily into the knockout stages and with Van Persie & Rooney both in form they are a team to fear. Surely one of the contenders for the title.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

PORTO

Country: Portugal
Coach:
 Vitor Pereira
Key Player: Jackson Martinez
Other Star Players: Joao Moutinho, Lucho Gonzalez & Nicolas Otamendi
Rising Star: James Rodriguez
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winner 1987, 2004
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: The Portuguese champions have gone all the way before but its very unlikely it will happen again this season. They have a very good squad with some very talented players but its highly unlikely they will trouble the big teams.
Prediction: Round of 16

ARSENAL

Country: England
Coach:
 Arsene Wenger
Key Player: Santi Cazrola
Other Star Players: Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen & Lukas Podolski
Rising Star: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2006
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: The Gunners have had a stuttering season both domestically and in Europe – especially at home. They will need to improve a lot in the second half of the season if they want to be genuine title contenders.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

AC MILAN

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Massimiliano Allegri
Key Player: Stephan El Shaarawy
Other Star Players: Philippe Mexes, Ricardo Montolivo & Kevin-Prince Boateng
Rising Star: Mattia De Sciglio
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Arsenal, the Rossoneri are struggling this term domestically and in Europe. They are not the force of the old, although their pedigree and experience in this competition means they should not be taken lightly.
Prediction: Round of 16

REAL MADRID

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Jose Mourinho
Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Other Star Players: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos & Mesut Ozil
Rising Star: Raphael Varane
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Its been over a decade since Real Madrid last won the Champions League and the boss Mourinho has never appeared more determined to win the tournament for the club this season. With the team they have they are regarded as the joint favourites alongside Barca.
Prediction: Runners-Up

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Country: Ukraine
Coach:
 Mircea Lucescu
Key Player: Luiz Adriano
Other Star Players: Darijo Srna, Willian & Fernandinho
Rising Star: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Quarter-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Dortmund, Shakhtar are another side that have grabbed the attention of many in the group stages. They are the ones who dumped Chelsea out of the tournament and a side very few people would want to face in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

VALENCIA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Ernesto Valverde
Key Player: Roberto Soldado
Other Star Players: Jonas, Sofiane Feghouli & Adil Rami
Rising Star: Daniel Parejo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2000, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester United
Chances: The Spaniards have been very impressive in the group stages with their star striker at the top of his game but do not appear equipped for a really extended run in competition this season.
Prediction: Round of 16

CELTIC

Country: Scotland
Coach:
 Neil Lennon
Key Player: Giorgos Samaras
Other Star Players: Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama & Gary Hooper
Rising Star: Anthony Watt
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1967
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Had little hopes of making it through to the knockout stages after being grouped with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow but they did it. Anything else from now will be a bonus for the Scottish champions.
Prediction: Round of 16

GALATASARAY

Country: Turkey
Coach:
 Fatih Terim
Key Player: Burak Yilmaz
Other Star Players: Felipe Melo, Nordin Amrabat & Hamit Altintop
Rising Star: Semih Kaya
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-finals 1989
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: Snatched the second spot from CFR Cluj on the final matchday. Like Celtic, anything else they achieve from now on will be a bonus for the Turkish side and very few teams will fancy making the trip to the intimidating Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul.
Prediction: Round of 16

Revealed – Manchester United Have The Best Youth Academy In England

danny-tom

According to research by Sporting Intelligence, Manchester United have the best youth academy having produce more first-team players for club in Europe’s top 5 leagues than any other team in England.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are ranked fifth in the world behind the likes of Barcelona, Olympique Lyonnais, Real Madrid and Stade Rennais. Twenty of the twenty-four players who have graduated from the Old Trafford academy have gone on to play in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 or the Serie A.

Nine of the twenty-four players produced are still at United ( including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck), and the remaining 15 playing elsewhere include the likes of Phil Neville (Everton), Kieran Richardson (Fulham), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96), Paul Pogba (Juventus) and Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Arsenal came second behind United with 20 players, Aston Villa third with 15, Tottenham and West Ham joint fourth with 13 primary products. Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are in seventh with 12 home grown players, while Chelsea are eight with total 12 players and Liverpool are tenth with a total of 10 primary products.

Outside the Premier League, Barcelona are the undisputed kings of producing players – with a massive 38 players produced by the famous La Masia academy. And it’s not only the number of production that impresses, its the unbelievably high talent level too. The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique are all home-grown players.

Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnias lie second behind Barcelona with 29 primary products, while Real Madrid have 27 home grown players. Another French club, Stade Rennais, are above Manchester United with 21 primary prodcuts. Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are sixth with a total of 23 players followed by Sochaux, Real Sociedad, Atalanta and Atletico Madrid.

Top 10 from the Premier League

Manchester United – 24 total academy products
Arsenal – 20 academy products
Aston Villa – 15 academy products
Tottenham Hotspur – 15 academy products
West Ham United – 13 academy products
Newcastle United – 13 academy products
Manchester City – 12 academy products
Southampton – 12 academy products
Chelsea – 12 academy products
Liverpool – 10 academy products

Complete list..

Top 10 from Europe

Barcelona (La Liga) – 38 academy products
Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1) – 31 academy products
Real Madrid (La Liga) – 29 academy products
Stade Rennais (Ligue 1) – 24 academy products
Manchester United (Premier League) – 24 academy products
Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – 23 academy products
Sochaux (Ligue 1) – 22 academy products
Real Sociedad (La Liga) – 21 academy products
Atalanta (Serie A) – 21 academy products
Atletico Madrid (La Liga) – 21 academy products

Complete list..

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United – Match made in Heaven?

Mourinho-United

Sir Alex Ferguson recently in an interview admitted that the Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho can manage anywhere in the world and is more than capable of replacing him as Manchester United manager.

Mourinho this year completed his decade in European football and it seems like everything he touches turns in gold. He won the League and the Champions League with Porto, the Premier League and the FA Cup with Chelsea, the Treble (Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League) with Inter Milan and the La Liga with Real Madrid. However, his biggest challenge of his career could come in Manchester.

There has been a lot of talk of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement this season with many different names – like Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, David Moyes, Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to name a few – linked to succeed him at Old Trafford. The Scot has openly admitted that one manager who is certainly good enough to do the job is Mourinho. A brilliant coach with a brilliant track record.

Here, we have a look at the five reasons why Mourinho and Manchester United are a match made in heaven…

1. Challenge

Mourinho loves a challenge, whether it was making Porto a European giant or making Chelsea a English powerhouse or winning the unprecedented treble with Inter or stopping Barcelona’s dominance in the La Liga, he just loves them and there won’t be any bigger challenge than coaching Manchester United once Fergie has hung up his coat. On the pitch, United are one of the top clubs in the world and will provide him with the opportunity of fulfilling his dream of winning the Champions League with an English club.

2. Guaranteed Success

The Portuguese boss is a winner and knows how to win the major trophies. He has won the league in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and also has the experience needed to manage a top side like Manchester United having managed Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid. He will keep United at the top of their game and will ensure that there is no fallout period when Fergie has gone. Ferguson has been at the club for more than 25 years and ensuring there is no fallout period will be one of the biggest priorities for the club as they will be expected to challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League.

3. Brilliant Tactician

Like Ferguson, Mourinho is a brilliant tactician and that makes him a slight favourite to succeed the Scot at the helm of Old Trafford ahead of Guadriola and Moyes. United will need a tactical genius to replace Fergie, as he will be very important for all the future battles the club will have with Manchester City and Chelsea over the league title and other giants in Europe. Ferguson is not afraid of making the big and bold tactical decisions during the big games and Mourinho would carry this element of the side forward perfectly.

4. Brilliant Off The Pitch

Mourinho is not only brilliant at getting the results on the pitch but also off it. He is second to none when it comes to man management and sticking up for his players and his club in general. Very few outside United can target the club without some form of retribution from Sir Alex and this is something that would carry on under Mourinho’s guidance. Like the Scot, he is a great motivator and also good at playing the mind games, giving his side the psychological advantage before an important game. At the same time, he is a brilliant coach to watch in any press conference.

5. Perfect Opportunity To Settle Down

Mourinho is known more of a journeyman as he moves on quickly from one club to the next after he has achieved success. This aspect of him will have to change because United will not appoint someone they don’t expect to have the same sort of longevity as Ferguson. This is why some fans are saying that Guardiola would be a better option than Mourinho. But, to be honest, the Portuguese boss hasn’t got a chance to show his longevity at any of his clubs. When he was at Porto, a super-rich Chelsea came calling and it was always going to be very difficult for anyone to reject Roman Abramovich’s cash and the chance to manage in the Premier League. After three years at Stamford Bridge and a series of disagreements with the chairman, he was asked to leave and later he joined Inter. He won the treble with the Italians and then came Real Madrid. Who wouldn’t want to manage the most successful club in the world? However, he isn’t going to keep changing clubs forever, sooner or later he is going settle down somewhere and Manchester United could provide him with perfect opportunity to do so.

So, what do you think? Should Manchester United go for Mourinho? Will he be a success at Old Trafford?

Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

Top Five Keepers Who Can Replace Reina At Liverpool

According to the reports, Liverpool have given Pepe Reina until January to prove his ability to fit into Brendan Rodgers’ new system, or face being sold.

Reina’s role as Spain’s second choice keeper has already been given to Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and his club career looks in danger of following the same path, but who could replace him at Anfield? Here, IntoTheTopCorner has a look at the top five candidates..

1. MICHEL VORM (SWANSEA CITY)

The Dutch international has been very impressive since moving to the Premier League from FC Utrecht a year ago. Vorm kept 13 clean sheets in 37 appearances last season and his performances won him the Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and the Away Players’ Player of the Year awards. The 28-year-old worked under the current Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers at the Liberty Stadium last season. Good reflexes, good ball distribution and comfortable with ball at his feet, Vorm fits into Rodgers’s system perfectly.

2. CRAIG GORDON (FREE AGENT)

The Scotish international was once famously hailed as one of the best keepers in the world by Gianluigi Buffon, but with him currently being a free agent, it looks like no one is willing to take a gamble on the injury-prone former Sunderland stopper. Though a move to Liverpool would be a risk for the club, should they keep him injury free and get the best out of him, then it could be the bargain buy of the year.

3. JACK BUTLAND (BIRMINGHAM CITY)

Jack Butland’s performances for Team GB at the London Olympics 2012 has done justice to his hype that had build around him after being selected in the England squad for the Euros. The youngster has only played first-team football in League Two while on loan at Cheltenham Town, but was tipped for a move to one of the top Premier League sides this summer. Signing Butland would be a major gamble due to his age and experience, but he could develop into one of the top keepers in the world and occupy the number one spot for many years to come.

4. MAARTEN STEKELENBURG (AS ROMA)

The Dutch number one inherited the jersey from the former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar upon his retirement from national football. Since then Stekelenburg has improved steadily and has also made AS Roma’s number one jersey his own ousting current Liverpool back-up Doni at the Stadio Olimpico. With the rise of Tim Krul in the last year or so, the Roma man may need to move elsewhere to fight off the challenge for the Netherlands number one jersey and a move Liverpool could be the best opportunity. He being a product of the Ajax academy, it won’t be difficult for him to adjust to Rodgers’ style of football.

5. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)

The German has got many scouts from across Europe excited with his performances in the Bundesliga over the past season. Just 20 years old, Ter Stegen has already made his debut for the senior Germany side and also saved a penalty from Lionel Messi in the recent international freindly. The young keeper forced himself into Gladbach’s starting XI while still a teenager and is a very exciting prospect for the future. His style of goalkeeping has been frequently compared to the great German keeper – Oliver Kahn

Manchester City’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

What a season it was for Manchester City!! On a dramatic final day of the season, the Blues went on to win the Premier League for the first time in 44 years but were very disappointing in Europea – both the Champions League and the Europa League.

This summer, Roberto Mancini has not signed any player yet but is expected to sign a couple of big players before the start of the season to strengthen the squad. With the Citizens having won the Premier League in the previous season, their aim for the upcoming season will not only be to defend their title but also put in a good performance in Europe ie atleast reach the the quarter-finals or the semi-finals of the Champions League. Here are Manchester City’s potential summer transfer targets..

JACK BUTLAND – BIRMINGHAM CITY (GOALKEEPER)

The 19-year-old English keeper was the part of the England squad for the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine. The Birmingham City stopper – who spent the previous season on loan at Cheltenham Town – has impressed the England coaching staff and Joe Hart has urged City to try to sign him. However, the young keeper who is in the Great Britain squad for the upcoming Olympics, wants to sign for a club where he will be assured regular first team football so that he can progress and reach his potential. That looks highly impossible at City, but they could sign him and loan him away immediately to another Premier League or Championship club.

FABRICO COLOCCINI – NEWCASTLE UNITED (DEFENDER)

Roberto Mancini is reportedly trying to sign players that will strengthen his backline and the Argentine defender from St. James Park is said to be on his shopping list. Coloccini was at his best last season as he helped Newcastle finish fifth in the league, above Chelsea, and qualify for the Europa League. Coloccini will be a great good addition to the squad and will also add the necessary competition for places at the back. The 30-year-old has recently signed a new deal at Newcastle but the lure of Champions League football and winning titles will be very hard to reject.

STEFAN RADU – LAZIO (DEFENDER)

Stefan Radu is another name mentioned around the Etihad Stadium for the past couple of months. The 25-year-old Romanian has been in impressive form for Lazio since arriving in Rome, in 2008. His performances has attracted interest from many clubs across Europe. The 6ft centre-back, who can also play as a left-back, will be a great addition to the City squad and will also strengthen their defence which looked very vulnerable in the absence of Vincent Kompany. City will tough face some competition for his signature as Arsenal and Tottenham are also said to be interested in him.

MARTIN SKRTEL – LIVERPOOL (DEFENDER)

Stefan Savic looked vulnerable as a cover and with Joleon Lescott ageing, another centre-back is a need for City after their league winning season. According to the reports, Martin Skrtel is one of the transfer targets of the club. The 27-year-old was Liverpool best man last season, having featured in every league game. The arrival of the Slovakian, who is rated around £20m, will be a great addition to the squad and will no doubt strengthen the defence. The transfer might also see Lescott leave the club and head in the opposite direction.

THIAGO SILVA – AC MILAN (DEFENDER)

Manchester City being interested in Thiago Silva is no news as its been going on since the start of the summer. Reports in various UK papers claimed that Mancini met the Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri in May to discuss a possible deal for the £42m rated Brazilian defender but nothing as ever materialized. Some reports in the past month suggested that the 27-year-old could snub interested from City and join Paris Saint-Germain but he also squashed all those rumours by signing a new deal at the San Siro.

DANIELE DE ROSSI – AS ROMA (MIDFIELDER)

Its a well known fact that Roberto Mancini is a huge fan of Daniele De Rossi and with Nigel De Jong linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, the Italian, who starred for the UEFA EURO 2012 finalists in Poland/Ukraine this summer, may well join his compatriot in Manchester. The 28-year-old, who recently signed a new five year deal with the Serie A side, has said he is ready to try his hand in different league having played in the Serie A for more than 11 years. De Rossi would be a huge addition to City midfield, who are set to lose Yaya Toure in January due to the African Cup of Nations.

JAVI MARTINEZ – ATHLETIC BILBAO (MIDFIELDER)

With Nigel De Jong’s future doubtful and Yaya Toure’s international commitments during the mid-season, City reportedly are preparing a £25m offer for Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish international. Javi Martinez, who can also play as a holding midfielder or as a centre-back, has been attracting a lot of interest from many European clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich after an excellent season with the Europa League finalists. Martinez will be real coup for the champions but they are set to face some tough competition from Barcelona, who are said to be the favourites to land him.

GASTON RAMIREZ – BOLOGNA (MIDFIELDER)

Ramirez, 21, is an attacking central midfielder with an eye for goal and was impressive for his Serie A side during last season. Ramirez is rated around £16m by his Italian club and has attracted interest from many European clubs in the past one year with Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus being one of them. The midfielder who scored eight times last season would be a great signing for future and at the same time would provide good cover for David Silva and Samir Nasri.

WESLEY SNEIJDER – INTER MILAN (MIDFIELDER)

Sneijder has been linked with a move to the Red side of Manchester for the past couple of seasons but now City are the favourites to land him. Mancini has been looking at various different attacking midfield options since Hazard snubbed the Citizens to join Chelsea and signing Sneijder would be like putting salt on the wounds of Manchester United, who have spent more than 2 season in trying to sign him. The Dutch international would no doubt strengthen the team but he would cost more than £30m and his form since the World Cup has been very disappointing.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus, Manchester City are the favourites to sign the Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Edin Dzeko set to leave during the summer, there is place for Van Persie in the squad. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be accepted.

GONZALO HIGUAIN – REAL MADRID (STRIKER)

The Argentine is one of the most hottest property available in European football this season. Higuain has scored 22 La Liga in just 18 starts last season and yet he is second choice at Madrid behind Karim Benzema. The 24-year-old was linked with a move to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the summer but nothing at all developed. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has stated his intend to keep Higuain at the Bernabeu for many more seasons but a chance to play in the Premier League and alongside his Argentina teammates Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta may be too hard to reject.

EDINSON CAVANI – NAPOLI (STRIKER)

Along with Robin van Persie and Gonzalo Higuain, Manchester City are also keeping tabs on the inform Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. If the 25-year-old Uruguayan was unknown to English football then he made himself known by scoring against both Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League last season. Cavani has been tremendous goal scoring form since joining Napoli in 2010, having scored 66 times in 94 league matches. The strong forward would be a marquee signing for the club but the Premier League champions face competition for his signature from Serie A champions Juventus, who are also interested in him.

Liverpool’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets


Liverpool have had a very strange season. Their performance in the league has been very terrible and they ended the season in eight position behind their Merseyside rivals Everton. However, their performances in the cups have been very impressive, as they won the Carling Cup and reached the finals of the FA Cup.

This summer, big changes have been made at Liverpool. A new management is in place along with a new head coach. Kenny Dalglish was shown the door after a poor season and he was replaced by the impressive young Brendan Rodgers. No new players have arrived at Anfield so far this summer but the Reds’ squad has been boosted by the returns of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani from their season-long loans.

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

There have been doubts raised over the future of Pepe Reina in the past couple of weeks. Reina has attracted some interest from Italy and has been linked with the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan. Lloris is seen as a possible replacement for Reina, if the Spaniard decides to end his stay at Anfield. The Ligue 1 club are ready to sell the France skipper for a fee around €20m, but the Reds will face competition from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, who are also interested in the 25-year-old stopper.

JOLEON LESCOTT – MANCHESTER CITY (DEFENDER)

Despite the England man putting in some solid performances during UEFA EURO 2012 and having a very good previous season, Roberto Mancini is reportedly considering selling the former Everton player maybe because he isn’t glamorous enough to play for Manchester City. Lescott’s availability has interested Liverpool, who face the prospect of losing either Daniel Agger or Martin Skrtel. Lescott would be more than good replacement for either of them but price tag could be a stumbling block.

RASMUS ELM – AZ ALKMAAR (MIDFIELDER)

The 24-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to Anfield ever since the end of last season but nothing at all developed. According to some reports, the Reds have cooled down their interest in the AZ Alkmaar midfielder since the departure of Kenny Dalglish. If Liverpool do sign Swede international, he would be a good addition to the squad and will cost the Anfield club in the region of £8m.

VICTOR WANYAMA – CELTIC (MIDFIELDER)

The Kenyan international has earned rave reviews during his spell in Scotland with Celtic and has attracted interest from many top clubs from Italy, Spain, France and England. The 21-year-old who is valued around £6m-£7m arrived at Celtic Park last summer, for bargain fee of £900k from Belgian side Beerschot. The Kenyan midfielder who surely be a good signing for the future but won’t be a certain first team option and more of a cover for Lucas.

MARK DAVIES – BOLTON WANDERERS (MIDFIELDER)

According to the gossip columns, the Reds are reportedly interested in the Bolton Wanderers’ midfielder Mark Davies. The 24-year-old England U-19 international, who got relegated with the Wanderers, has also been target by Aston Villa and Newcastle United. The £5m rated midfielder would be a decent addition and increase the depth of the squad, but surely not regular first choice option.

JUAN MANUEL VARGAS – FIORENTINA (MIDFIELDER)

The 28-year-old Peruvian international has been linked with a move to Anfield a lot in the past couple of months but nothing has developed at all. Papers suggest, the Reds are still interested in Fiorentina winger, who can also play as a left back. The Serie A club value Vargas around £8m and he would really be a great addition to the Liverpool squad – keeping in mind they need a creative winger with Stewart Downing failing in his first season – but his age could count against him.

ADAM JOHNSON – MANCHESTER CITY (MIDFIELDER)

Adam Johnson is another winger Liverpool are interested in signing this summer. With Downing and Henderson both failing to deliver on the wings, so naturally strengthening the wings is Rodgers priority this summer. Johnson has fallen out of favour under Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and is looking to leave the Etihad Stadium in search of some regular first team action. The England international has attracted many Premier League clubs but he won’t come cheap as the asking price is said to be around £15m.

GASTON RAMIREZ – BOLOGNA (MIDFIELDER)

According to the reports, the Reds are set to step up their interest in the Bologna playmaker having missed on signing Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 21-year-old is an attacking central midfielder with an eye for goal and was impressive for his Serie A side during last season. Ramirez is rated around £16m by his Italian club and has attracted interest from many European clubs in the past one year with Manchester City being one of them. A chance to play alongside his Uruguayan teammates – Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates – could swing him in favour of Anfield over City.

VICTOR MOSES – WIGAN ATHLETIC (STRIKER)

Having helped Wigan Athletic survive relegation and stay in the Premier League last season, the Nigerian is ready to move to an ambitious club this summer and the Reds along with a few other Premier League clubs are interested in signing him. Moses will be a good addition to the squad but his consistency is a huge question. Liverpool are interested in signing the pacey forward but the papers in UK suggest that the former Crystal Palace man is close to signing for Chelsea.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Liverpool struggling for goals during last season and reliable Dutchman Dirk Kuyt leaving the club; a move to bring in some addition attacking options seems almost certain. The 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – will add something different to the Liverpool attack but the Reds will face some tough competition for his signature from both Tottenham and Arsenal.

DEMBA BA – NEWCASTLE UNITED (STRIKER)

With Liverpool in need of some striking reinforcement, the Newcastle United forward – Demba Ba is another name linked to the Reds this summer. The Senegal international had a fantastic start to last season and went on to score 16 goals in 36 matches in total. With the 27-year-old available for just £7m till the end of July, due to a clause in his contract, the Reds are expected to face some stiff competition from a host of Premier League clubs including the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

FABIO BORINI – AS ROMA (STRIKER)

Another striker linked to the Reds this summer is the former Chelsea and current AS Roma forward Fabio Borini. The 21-year-old Italy international is a known face to Rodgers having worked under him on loan at Swansea. Borini had a great time at the Liberty Stadium scoring 6 goals in 9 matches and later went on to become a hit with Roma. The young Italian, who has a £7m buyout clause in contract, will surely be a great signing for the Reds and will give the new boss with plenty of options upfront.

European Team Of The Season 2011/12

What an exciting season of football it has been across Europe this year. Real Madrid, Manchester City, Juventus all won their first ever league titles in years, while Montpellier won the Ligue 1 for the first time in their history and Dortmund made it two in two years in the Bundesliga. Chelsea shocked the footballing world by winning the Champions League against all odds and Atletico Madrid defeated their Spanish rivals Athletic Bilbao to win the Europa League in Bucharest.  

As we draw to an end to league football across Europe for the season and as we move closer to the European Championships in Poland & Ukraine in the summer,  we look at the eleven best players and one manager who form our European Team of the Season 2011/12.

Gianluigi Buffon (GK) – Juventus

He has been a loyal servant to the Bianconeri having stayed at the club through the Calciopoli Scandal and the relegation to Serie B in 2006/07. At 34-years of age, many thought he was past his peak but he has proved everyone wrong. Except for that one blunder against Lecce, the 2006 World Cup winner was back to his best and with 21 clean sheets and just 16 goals conceded, he has to be the best keeper around Europe this season ahead of the likes of Iker Casillas, Joe Hart or Manuel Neuer.

Lukasz Piszczek (RB) – Dortmund

The Poland international has been sensational for Dortmund this season as they went on to do the domestic double by winning the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal. The 26-year-old has had an outstanding season for the Bundesliga champions this year and he comes in this team ahead of the German captain Philipp Lahm and Barcelona’s Dani Alves. Piszczek has been very good both offensively and defensively for his side and he is the leading goal scorer as a right back this season with 4 goals.

Mats Hummels (CB) – Dortmund

He is the second Dortmund and Bundesliga player in this team and truly deserves his place. Hummels has been a rock in the defence for the Bundesliga champions this season and his partnership with Nevan Subotic in center of that Dortmund defence, has conceded just 25 goals this season. He is in the team ahead of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol and Thiago Silva and is there for a good reason as he has been able to stop Bundesliga’s top strikers like Mario Gomez, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Lukas Podolski, Raul, Claudio Pizarro and Marco Reus from scoring any goals against BVB this season.

Vincent Kompany (CB) (C) – Manchester City

What a season this man has had. He led City to their first ever league title in 44 years and also scored the most important goal against Manchester United in the Manchester derby at the Etihad stadium which decided the title. Like Hummels, Kompany has been a rock in that City defence and the Premier League champions have missed him badly whenever he was injured or suspended. The Belgium international who has scored three goals and created one this season is also Premier League’s Player of the Year. He has been a true leader on and off the pitch and has also been an inspiration for his City team-mates and that’s why he is also the captain of this team.

Jordi Alba (LB) – Valencia

This year has been a dream year for Jordi Alba. The left back who came through the ranks at La Masia has been in form for Valencia this season, making the step up to the national team to become Spain’s first choice left back. With 2 goals and 5 assists, Jordi Alba has been a key member of the Valencia team that finished third for the third time in a row. With his performances attracting interests from the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, dont expect him to be around at the Mestalla next season.  The young Spaniard is in the team ahead of Philipp Lahm, Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra.

Andrea Pirlo (CM) – Juventus

For me Pirlo has to be Serie A’s Player of the Season. Many thought the Italian international was past his prime and finished when he left Milan for free last summer and joined Juventus. But like Buffon, he has answered his critics by the performances on the field. The veteran was a  standout in his debut match against Parma as he put in an outstanding performance in 4-1 win and as the season progressed he got better and better. With 13 assists and 3 goals to his name in 37 league appearances this season he has proved everyone that he is far from finished and is surely a player to watch at the Euros this summer.

Yaya Toure (CM) – Manchester City

David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero got all the praise for guiding Manchester City to their first ever league title in 44 years but Yaya Toure has played a key part as well. He play like what Patrick Vieira use to play during his times at Arsenal and is the driving force in the heart of the City midfield. The Blues missed the Ivorian badly when he was on international duty during African Cup of Nations but ever since his return he has been inspirational in their bid for the title. He also scored the two important goals for City at Newcastle in penultimate game of the season that got them one step closer to the title.

Mesut Ozil (CAM) – Real Madrid

For an attacking midfielder with an advanced role Mesut Ozil doesn’t score enough goals but has been a vital part of Real Madrid team this season as they went to win their 32nd La Liga title. The German international has just 7 goals in 52 appearances this season but has created 23 goals which is only second best to Lionel Messi (28). His movement off the ball is one of the best in the world at the moment and has been consistently the best attacking midfielder for the last two years for both club and country. He is in the team ahead of David Silva because he guided Los Blancos to the semi finals of the Champions League and also created the goal for Cristiano Ronaldo against Barcelona which handed the league title to Jose Mourinho’s men.

Cristiano Ronaldo (RW) – Real Madrid

The Portuguese failed to win the Golden Boot or the Pichichi Trophy this season as he ended just four goals behind Lionel Messi but it was Ronaldo who had the last laugh as Real Madrid went on to win their first ever league title since 2008. With 46 goals in the La Liga and 60 in all competitions, the former Manchester United player has played a pivotal role in helping Mourinho’s men win their 32nd La Liga title and also reaching the semi finals of the Champions League this season. The 27-year-old’s winner against Barcelona at Camp Nou guaranteed that the league title will be heading back to Madrid.

Lionel Messi (LW) – Barcelona

It hasn’t been a good season for Barcelona as they finished second behind Real Madrid in the league and were knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea in the semi finals of the Champions League but on a personal note it has been Messi’s best season as he continued to break more records. He went on to become the club’s all-time highest goalscorer this season with 252 goals in all competitions and also set a new record of goals in a European season with 72. He also created a new record of most number of goals scored in the league with an incredible number of 50 goals.

Robin van Persie (ST) – Arsenal

The Dutcman has single-handedly carried Arsenal on his shoulders and guided them to a third place finish in the Premier League after having one of their worst starts to the season. He scored 30 league goals this season and those goals consisted of both stunning striker and poacher like finishes which proves what a complete striker he is. The PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Golden Boot winner has been a true leader for the young Arsenal side on the pitch and has brought them back from the dead too many times this season. He is the key to any future success that is in store for Arsenal and the Gunners must do everything possible to keep him at the club.

Antonio Conte (Manager) – Juventus

It was a tough choice to choose between Conte and Jose Mourinho as both led their clubs to league success after many years but in the end it was Italian for me. The former Juventus fan favourite was appointed as the new coach at the start of the season and did a tremendous job in his first season by lead the Bianconeri to their first ever  Scudetto title since 2006. In the process Juventus stayed unbeaten in the Serie A through out the season, winning 23 and drawing 15 games. Conte also guided the Zebras to their first ever Coppa Italia final since 2004 only to be beaten by Napoli 2-0. The Italian who joined in May last summer has now signed a new contract which will see him stay at the Juventus Stadium for the next three years.

Substitutes

Petr Cech (Chelsea), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).