Tag: champions league

Pep Guardiola: Kevin de Bruyne needs trophies to win Ballon d’Or

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says that team playmaker Kevin de Bruyne needs to win “lots of titles, especially the Champions League” to win the Ballon d’Or.

Belgium international de Bruyne made three assists in City’s 5-1 victory over Leicester on Saturday, taking total in the league this season to 14, four more than the next best player, his club teammate Leroy Sane.

However, while Guardiola is certain that it would be difficult to find anyy other player performing as well across Europe, that de Bruyne would first have to gather more accolades to his resume before he is to win football’s top individual award — a title dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo every year since 2008.

“No doubt,” said Guardiola. “He is not (just doing it in) one game. It’s the whole season, every three days playing that way. Every three days.”

“But he knows and everyone knows, to be there you have to win titles – and titles and titles, especially one. But the way he’s played it’s difficult to find one (better) in Europe.”

When asked if the ‘one’ title he was referring to was the Champions League, Guardiola said: “Of course. You have to be there in the latter stages. Without the latter stages you will not be nominated.”

Although Bruyne has now provided 18 assists for his team-mates in all competitions this season but the Belgian insists that he is not interested in individual praise.

“I am doing what I have to do,” the 26-year-old said. “It is something you reflect on after you get something like that. I am not busy with that before.”

“I do everything to win titles with the team. What happens after is an extra. I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way. It makes it easier for me, it makes it easier for them.”

“At the end, if you get an individual honour, it is beautiful.”

Manchester City considering defensive boost in Dani Alves

The Manchester City squad could receive a boost in their defense through the signing of Dani Alves as coach Pep Guardiola considers signing the former Brazilian international over the summer.

Alves’s current club Juventus confirmed their interest in letting the former Brazilian international goal despite a impressive run of form into the Champions League final — notably in the semi-final victory against Monaco, in which he was involved in his side’s first three goals across the tie before scoring the fourth.

Guardiola, who had worked with Dani Alves at FC Barcelona, won three La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups and two Champions Leagues together as coach and player before Guardiola left the Nou Camp in 2012.

Alves still holds the Catalan in high regard. In the buildup to the Champions League final earlier this month, Alves had high praise for the Catalan, saying in a column on the Players’ Tribune: “If you turn the word ‘computer’ backwards, it spells ‘Steve Jobs’. If you turn the word ‘football’ backwards, it spells ‘Pep’. He is a genius. I’ll say it again. A genius.”

Should his transfer takes place, Alves could be the key to City’s defensive next season after the squad had put up defensively suspect performances through the 2016-17 Premier League season, with easy goal conceding rates hurting their charge for the title early on.

The Blues are also currently lacking in their back four options since defensive duo Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta will leave the club when their contracts expire at the end of this month, and, with a move for Tottenham’s Kyle Walker falling through, Guardiola is inquiring after Alves.

Nonetheless, City have been told that a bid of around £5m would be sufficient to persuade Juventus to sell the 34-year-old, who has only one year left in his contract.

While reports in Spain claimed that a deal has already been agreed, it is understood negotiations are continuing but Alves has agreed a contract in principle to link up with his former manager at FC Barcelona.

Craig Shakespeare named Leicester manager on three-year deal

Craig Shakespeare has been confirmed as Leicester City’s permanent manager on a three-year contract.

Negotiations with the club’s owners at the end of the season culminated with the news that Shakespeare has been given a long-term deal to build on the results of last season where he steered the team away from the relegation zone after Claudio Ranieri’s sacking in February.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for me to continue along this new path in my career and to continue to work with a club and a group of staff I’ve grown extremely close to,” Shakespeare said after signing his contract. “I’m grateful to the owners and the board of directors for their continued faith and support.

“Our preparations for pre-season and the new Premier League campaign have been ongoing for some time, but we can now move on with certainty and ensure we are well equipped to compete at the levels now expected of a club like Leicester City.”

Leicester’s owners had been impressed by Shakespeare, who galvanised the players across the final three months of the season and won eight of his 16 matches in charge, including seven in the Premier League, ensuring that any fears of relegation were allayed as Leicester finished 12th after winning the title the season before.

He had also managed to help Leicester progress in the Champions League quarter-finals after overseeing a memorable 2-0 second-leg win against Sevilla at the King Power Stadium in the Round of 16, although they ultimately succumbed to Sevilla’s La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals.

It was also clear that Shakespeare enjoyed the support of players who were disillusioned under Ranieri, and that showed in a turnaround that led to Shakespeare becoming the first British manager to win his first five Premier League matches in charge.

“Craig has shown all the qualities in leadership, motivation and talent management that are required to be successful in this role,” Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester’s vice chairman, said.

“Those qualities, aligned with his first‑class coaching acumen, his knowledge of Leicester City and its philosophy, and the respect he has earned at every level of the club make him the ideal choice to help take us forward.