Category Archives: sports

Juventus great Nedved announces retirement

(CNN) — Juventus playmaker Pavel Nedved has announced he will retire at the end of the season.

The former Czech Republic international nearly quit before the current campaign but instead opted to sign a new 12-month deal with the Turin club.

But, speaking after the 1-0 Champions League defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday, he told I’m still enjoying playing but considering my physical and mental condition I understand that the time has come to make way for younger players — they deserve to play.

“Maybe you think I’m still young but I’m almost 37. I will quit at the end of the season, no matter how well we do in the Champions League or Serie A.

“The decision is final and I don’t think I will change my mind — I don’t need to. It is the right time to quit.”

Nedved, who joined Juve from Lazio in 2001, suffered European heartbreak when he was forced to miss the Bianconeri’s Champions League final defeat to AC Milan in 2003, the year he was named European footballer of the year, because of suspension.

He did win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Lazio in 1999 and landed the Serie A crown the following year. He has also won two more Scudettos with Juve.

Champions League: Alessandro Del Pieros last hurrah

Alessandro Del Piero likes to describe how he learnt to be so clever with his free kicks. His father, Gino, used to park the family car next to the back garden of their Treviso home and turn on the headlights so that little Alex could carry on after dark his private, endless practice, landing a ball precisely on a chosen spot. His techniques have altered a little in nearly 30 years since but those hours, he tells, gave him the basis.

The renaissance of Del Piero may not be quite the right term for what has been an extended Indian summer to his career. He never started winding down, though he did voluntarily depart the big stage for a while. He was Juventus captain when, in the summer of 2006, the club he had served for 13 years were relegated to Serie B, Italy’s second division.

A few days earlier, he had won the World Cup with Italy. Two months earlier he and Juve had celebrated what they thought was a 29th league championship. It was not. Revelations that senior directors had been in frequent and improper contact with referees led to two of Juve’s titles being confiscated and to their demotion.

Most of the better players – Fabio Cannavaro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira – left. The skipper stayed aboard, a decision that would burnish an already strong image of dedication that surrounds probably the most iconic Italian footballer of his generation.
The image is carefully managed, it is profitable and it gains Del Piero considerable sway at Juventus. Now 34, he is not beyond pulling the odd long face when the head coach makes a decision he thinks incorrect and he has had his disagreements with bosses such as Marcello Lippi, for whom he scored important goals in the World Cup semi-final and in the penalty shoot-out that won the Berlin final, and with Fabio Capello.

There have been moments of tension, too, with Claudio Ranieri, his current coach at Juventus, not least when, on being replaced earlier this month, he threw to the ground a jacket offered him as he took his seat on the bench. Typically, he explained his feistiness with a moment of delicate humour. The jacket offered him, he later smiled, was not in his size.

Last season, Del Piero scored more goals than anybody else in Serie A, for a team who finished third in the table the year after promotion. Last November, he was given a standing ovation by spectators, including Diego Maradona, at the Bernabeu for the two goals that earned Juventus a second win in the space of a month over Madrid in the Champions League.

Just after the new year, he converted his sixth direct free kick of the campaign, a figure that puts him, on form, ahead of the many specialists in this area, the Ronaldos and Beckhams. “Is it six already?” asked Ranieri, apparently not keeping count of Del Piero’s dead-ball expertise.

The Juventus head coach also played the innocent to the suggestion that this sort of precision from set-pieces might be precisely the trick that undoes Chelsea, whom Juventus visit on Wednesday in the last 16 of the European Cup, a Chelsea who have looked unusually vulnerable to manoeuvres from a dead ball.

“So Chelsea have problems at set-pieces?” smiled Ranieri. “Aha! That’s good to know.” We should not, said Ranieri, be distracted just by his captain’s expertise at curling a ball around a defensive wall. “Del Piero is amazing on the pitch everywhere, a fantastic player,” beams his head coach. “I think everybody in the world knows Alessandro Del Piero the man because he is such a good example. He’s a fantastically hard worker, in every training session he wants to be the best. That is important. It means that up here, in his head, he’s still a young player, as young as the rest. That’s central to his ability to keep improving.”

Searching for comparisons in English football, Ranieri thought not only of Ryan Giggs’ longevity but also of Gianfranco Zola’s extended excellence. Del Piero works in the league of evergreens. Francesco Totti, the Roma captain, was Serie A’s leading scorer, into his 30s, the season before Del Piero. Paolo Maldini, the Milan captain, is six years his senior and another four Milan regulars are Del Piero’s age or older. Luis Figo, 36, may get a run out for Internazionale against Manchester United on Tuesday and the streak of blond mane you will see along the left wing for Juventus at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday belongs to the Czech veteran Pavel Nedved, like Del Piero, a Juventus survivor. These two have lasted so well for a reason. Both spend their evenings not out on the town in Turin but at homes where gyms have been built.

Several of their colleagues, meanwhile, have spent much of the season on the side-lines. Ranieri’s Juventus entered 2008-09 as a squad full of experience. They have achieved their heights – a sustained challenge to Inter’s leadership that only faltered in the past fortnight, the victories over Madrid – with a back-up of half a dozen younger men supported by Nedved and Del Piero. Many of the veterans are now back in training and the coach’s decisions this week will be vital. He must weigh up the fitness of the prolific French goalscorer David Trezeguet; assess the readiness of the Italy winger Mauro Camoranesi; inspect the fragile but combative Cristiano Zanetti’s claims for a place in midfield.

“It’s important in this period to see who is at a high level for the Chelsea game,” says Ranieri. “I have had a lot of injured players. Now we are restarting with many of them and a lot of them are real champions: Camoranesi, Trezeguet, Tiago, Zan-neti, Jonathan Zebina, Giorgio Chiellini. I don’t know if, say, Trezeguet can play 90 minutes. We have to take things carefully.”

So the Tinkerman has some sharp choices to make before Juventus travel to London. But the presence of his totem, young Alex Del Piero, is not expected to prompt any second thoughts.

Wednesday, 7.30pm
Sky Sports Xtra, kick-off 7.45pm

Juventus slipped a long way behind Internazionale in the domestic Italian title race after taking two points from their past four Serie A matches before last night. Claudio Ranieri has managed resourcefully for much of the campaign without half-a-dozen injured players but he hopes that striker David Trezeguet will be match-fit for Stamford Bridge. Italy winger Mauro Camoranesi, France defender Jonathan Zebina and former Chelsea midfielder Tiago make the squad – Ian Hawkey

Tiago locked Juve chief in toilet!

Juventus President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli has confirmed that disgruntled player Tiago Mendes locked him in the loo!

In quite the strangest story to emerge from Serie A in many a year, the
tension between the club and Tiago seems to have gone overboard.

“The story of me being locked in the toilet by Tiago is true,”
confessed Cobolli Gigli live on Sky Italia television.

“It’s a shame it got out, as this was something I told a friend in
confidence. In any case, Alessandro Del Piero responded to the noise of
me punching the door and offered to break it down.

“I told him it was better if someone else did it, as he needed to keep
his shoulders in good shape for the Fiorentina game.”

Tiago has repeatedly refused transfers to Everton and Monaco because he
wants to play in the Champions League, but Juve cannot sign a new
player until they have disposed of the Portuguese flop.

“Claudio Ranieri considers Tiago to be part of our squad, but anything
could happen tomorrow in Italian football,” continued the patron.

“Hopefully by midnight Tiago will have found another club.”

The story had emerged over the last couple of days, but the report only
stated that Del Piero had rescued Cobolli Gigli when he was
accidentally locked in the bathroom at the club’s training ground.

Rumours later suggested the ‘accident’ was in fact a spiteful gesture
from Tiago, who was furious at Juventus pushing him to sign for Everton
or Monaco.

It is reported Cobolli Gigli was locked in for an hour before Del Piero
happened to walk past and heard the pleas for help.


Former Juventus Midfielder Attacked By Lecce Fans

Bari Manager, Antonio Conte, was attacked by several Lecce fans
while seated on a bench watching a game of five against five football.
Italian police are currently investigating the incident and hope to
make arrests soon.

Conte had been punched in the face several times, after which a
number of bystanders came to his aid causing the assailants to flee.

What is your opinion, do fanatical fans especially Ultras have to be reined in by Italian police?

Bay enjoying comeback season

PITTSBURGH — The Jason Bay of 2008 is looking a lot like the Jason Bay of 2005 and 2006, which bares little resemblance to the Jason Bay of 2007. Bay, who posted a two-season run as one of the most productive offensive players in Major League Baseball two and three years ago, regressed last season. But buoyed by a scorching fortnight and a strong May overall, Bay is reminding people how good he can be.

“Is it Old Jason? Whatever, it’s [the real] Jason Bay,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “He’s swinging the bat very well. He’s a threat at the plate and comes up with big hits for us.”

Bay hit .306 with a.559 slugging percentage, 32 home runs and 101 RBIs in 2005, and batted .286 with a .532 slugging percentage, 35 home runs and 109 RBIs in 2006. But last season (.247/.418/21/84) was the worst of his young career.

This season, the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year is back to his old ways, batting .287 with a .517 slugging percentage, 12 home runs and 25 RBIs in 171 at-bats.

“He’s been coming through a lot lately, and that’s what he’s capable of doing,” Russell said. “It’s nice to see him feeling really comfortable. He really likes the way he’s feeling physically and that’s really helping him mentally.”

Bay has been red-hot in recent weeks after a .253 average through April. He was hitting .329 with a .440 on-base percentage, .658 slugging percentage and six home runs in May heading into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.

In particular, Bay had homered in five of his past nine games before Sunday, and had reached base safely in nine consecutive contests, and in 11 of 12.

“I am very streaky, and this is one of the times where, even when I haven’t been hitting the ball, I still have been seeing it, which is a positive,” Bay said.

Bay has been scorching at PNC Park this season. He’s hitting only .215 with three home runs on the road but was batting .348 with nine home runs in his 25 games at home.

Those totals are counter-intuitive for a right-handed batter because PNC Park’s power alley in left-center is the deepest part of the park, and the right-field porch is conducive to home runs.

Indeed, entering this season, Bay had hit 72 of his 117 home runs as a Pirate away from PNC.

“I think playing here for a few years, he knows the park,” Russell said. “He’s comfortable here. He knows if he hits the ball well, it’s going to go out no matter what park he’s at. He’s played here long enough now to know that balls he hits here are going to go out. He goes to right-center very well, which is nice in this ballpark. I think it’s just a comfort level he’s at because he knows the park well and has played here a lot.”

Bay homered Saturday and had the winning RBI single in the 14th inning later in the night. It was his first RBI single of the season and the first walk-off RBI of his career.



Sooooo yeah. Random things going on:

Canucks traded Matt Cooke to the Capitals for Matt Pettinger, someone I know very little about but hopefully he fits in with the team and can contribute right away. With Burrows playing so well and Cooke being a UFA after this season – was somewhat expected. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t make a bigger splash to be honest. So here is my honest opinion on things (no sports radio or articles influencing my opinion)..we all know a Canuck fan who can pinpoint a time in Canuck history where they lost some of their enthusiasm due to a certain game or play that ended the Canucks playoff run. For me it was game 4 of the Anaheim series last year, I believe they were either up 2-1 or 3-1 going into the 3rd, Anaheim leading the series 2-1 so it was a huge game for us, losing means basically losing the series being down 3-1 with no real chance of coming back from that deficit. We let Anaheim win the game and went on to lose the series. So I was hoping the Canucks would end up making a bigger splash then they did, I have no problem letting go Bourdon, Schneider and even Kesler. Edler was the one player I was hoping we wouldn’t trade. I understand our GM’s reasoning for not pulling the trigger, but you wonder how much longer we’ll truly have at a shot to make a serious run for the cup. I guess with Naslunds and Mo’s contracts being up at seasons end, we can sign some players that are actually worth paying as much as we do for those two.

What else…today I’ve been vibing to some Bebel Gilberto, a Brazilian singer with a great voice. Oh No (madlibs bro) from Stones Throw Records, his “Dr.No’s Oxperiment” instrumental album is excellent.

I’ve got a lot of projects at work going on right now, too many it seems. Off to Dallas next week for 2 days of vehicle installtions. I got a ticket for a Stars game, they’re playing the Coyotes so it should be a decent game.

I watched Taxi to the Darkside the other day, it won best documentary at the Oscars. Another great documentary regarding all the screwed up shit with the current U.S. administration, in particular the way they authorized torture techniques in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’ve got my first Tai-Chi class on Saturday morning, looking forward to it.

Anyways, I’m writing this while eating my lunch and I’m done, later.

Juventus Fined For Ibra ‘Gypsy’ Banner

haha…this is great…

Juventus have been fined £12,000 after Bianconeri supporters unveiled an offensive banner against Inter star Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the week 11 clash in Turin.

Ibrahimovic is public enemy number one among Juve fans following his acrimonious move to Inter following the Calciopoli crisis last summer.

The Swede is seen as something of a traitor and was given a rough ride throughout the Derby d’Italia at the Stadio Olimpico on November 4.

Juve fans booed and jeered Ibra continuously and unveiled a banner reading “Ibrahimovic the grubby gypsy”.

Ibrahimovic, who has been in stunning form this season, was also given some rough treatment by Juve hardman Giorgio Chiellini.

Chiellini marked the 26-year-old completely out of the game and put in a number of strong challenges.

Ibracadabra is currently training with the Swedish national team ahead of their crucial Euro 2008 qualifier at home to Latvia on Wednesday. The Swedes require a draw to clinch qualification for next summer’s finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Ref set to be dropped for Juve penalty blunders

Some serious action being taken against napoli players and the ref after juventus lost to napoli 3-1 on two hugely disputed penalties…

MILAN, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Italian referee Mauro Bergonzi will not officiate in this week’s matches and looks set to be dropped for a longer period after wrongly awarding two penalties against Juventus on Saturday.

Juve lost 3-1 at Napoli having been level at 1-1 before Maurizio Domizzi converted both controversial spotkicks.

Bergonzi decided Giorgio Chiellini fouled Ezequiel Lavezzi despite replays showing he won the ball and the official pointed to the spot again after former Juve striker Marcelo Zalayeta dived over keeper Gianluigi Buffon. The referee has not been selected for any of Tuesday’s Serie B games or Wednesday’s Serie A matches, the Italian Soccer Federation website said.

Media reports have said referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina could now ban Bergonzi for as much as a month and then keep him in Serie B for longer.

An online petition asking for the referee to be struck off has received thousands of signatures on a well-known Juventus fan website.

Zalayeta has been banned for two games for his dive, the Italian league said in a statement.

Juventus boss Claudio Ranieri said he hoped his club were not being victimised because of their role in last year’s match-fixing scandal, which involved clubs securing favourable referees. Juve were stripped of two titles and demoted in the affair but won promotion straight back to the top flight last term. ‘We have already paid for the past, two championships and a relegation. We want to be treated like everyone else,’ he told Italian media.

wooo del piero re-signs!

 Del Piero

It is now official – Alessandro Del Piero has extended his Juventus contract until 2010. “This was a decisive choice for my career and my life.”

He had been locked in negotiations with the club over a new deal for several months and at one point it looked as if he would end his decade-long stay in Turin.

However, today’s crunch talks found an agreement and pen has been put to paper on a contract until June 30, 2010.

“Today I made a decisive choice for my career and my life,” explained Del Piero. “Juventus have given me a lot and I want to continue winning here.

“The negotiations that took us to this signature were long and at times complex, but I wish to underline the effort put in from Jean Claude Blanc, Alessio Secco, my brother Stefano and Dario Tosetti, President of the Family Office who has been assisting me for 10 years.”

Brother Stefano is also Del Piero’s agent and he engaged in day-long talks at the club’s Turin headquarters today to find an agreement.

“I am relaxed and confident, because I share the project that I am sure will enable us to give our fans some wonderful moments,” continued the World Cup winner.

Juventus hinted in their Press release that Del Piero has indeed accepted a 20 per cent pay cut, which will go to 25 per cent for 2009-10.

“The agreement underwritten gives an economic recognition to a world class player, but also allows us to further develop the image potential of the captain in sectors and countries that are still unexplored, thanks to the full collaboration of the Juventus commercial structure.”