Aurelio Deal Imminent?
FABIO AURELIO will officially become a Liverpool player this weekend. Aurelio will sign his four-year Anfield contract on July 1, having already agreed terms with the Reds. The 27-year-old Brazilian left back, who is signing on a free Bosman deal from Valencia, will start pre-season training with the rest of Liverpool's non-World Cup internationals next week.
Benitez will welcome at least three new faces to Melwood when the players return, with Aurelio joining fellow South American Gabriel Paletta and new striker Craig Bellamy. Unfortunately, Mark Gonzalez will still need to await clearance from the department for education and employment, although that decision is anticipated a week today.
Ideally, Benitez wants at least a fifth new face to join the club by then - followed by another two before the transfer deadline.
Drogballs: Hopefully, the report is true. He rejected Barca and Real Madrid for Liverpool, so he must be really desperate to play for the Reds I guess. The Brazillian left back a little injury proned, but has an excellent record of scoring as a defender and is a free-kick specialist, adding to the list of players like Gerrard, Alonso and his new competitor, Riise. And if Mark Gonzalez's permit is approved (PLEASE!), then we'll have lots of cover for the left winger position with Kewell and Zenden the left wingers while Riise and Aurelio the wing-backs. He'll give us more 'POSSIBILITIES' as said by Rafa. But, after watching Dirk Kuyt played against Portugal, I have my doubts. Let's hope it all turns out well.
The World Cup is always filled with joy, disappointments and of course, surprises. So after yesterday's post on Flops, today I'll name some of the major surprises in this World Cup, be it teams or players.
- Lucas Neil (AUS) - The rugged right-back of Blackburn Rovers, he has impressed me in this WC with his performance. He's ordinary when playing in the Premiership, but looks class in the middle of the defence for his nation. Surprisingly good!
- Czech Republic - They performed extremely well in Euro 2004 and is said to have their best squad in recent times. Was touted to be one of the 'black horses' of the competition but after losing to the Ghanians, they did not pick themselves up and lost to Italy on the last and crucial match. But I sympathise them for losing both their Milan Baros and Jan Koller.
- Owen Hargreaves (ENG) - The media slates him and I do criticise him sometimes, but he really surprised everyone this time round. He played the holding midfielder role in the game against Sweden and was one of the better player while still competent enough to play in the right-back role in the game against Ecuador. Shares the title of Carraher for Mr. Versatile.
- Ghana - When they're grouped together with Italy, Czech Republic and the USA, everyone wrote them off and thinks that their exit in the first round is inevitable. But they defied the critics and went out only to world champion, Brazil in the second round. Still, they managed to put up an excellent show and beat USA and Czech Republic in the first round, while the lost against Italy looks more like a lesson for them rather than a defeat.
- Ruud van Nistelrooy & Wesley Sneijder (HOL) - I wanted to place this two names under the 'flop' section, but I really didn't expect them to do so badly, so it's more of a surpise. Ruud's season went pear-shaped near the end of the season as he was being taken over by Saha in the ManYoo starting XI. Poor form and attitude was to be blame and he managed only 1 goal in the 2 games he played. Still, overall performance is disappointing. Sneijder, alot are expected from this young midfielder, but surprisingly did real badly. Can't shoot or pass I presume.
- Arthur Boka & Yaya Toure (CIV) - One is an unknown quantity while another is the elder brother of Kolo Toure. They played well considering they were not big names and were relatively unknown, especiall Arthur Boka, who was named the Roberto Carlos of Africa.
- Poland - Surprisingly finished 3rd in the group after being defeated by Ecuador on opening day and succumbed to a last minute winner by the Germans. Everyone expected them to go through to the second round along with Germany, but failed spectacularly.
- Serbia & Montenegro - They conceded 1 goal in 10 matches during the World Cup qualifers. But after getting their butt smacked by Argentina and Ivory Coast, they are now officially the team that concedes the most number of goals, that is 10 in total.
- Switzerland - A team that doesn't have any history when it comes to World Cup, they did really well especially defensively when they conceded a grand total of ZERO goals in the 4 games they played. Shame they lost to Ukraine in the penalty shoot-out and missed all 3 of them. Defence doesn't win you games for sure.
- Angola - Everyone thought they're gonna be te whipping boys and cannon fodder of the World Cup. But they managed to put up good performances and deserved a litte credit here.
- Saudi Arabia - Surprisingly good. Oh, wait.....