Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chilean Footballers

Jeonbuk Hyundai Hires Jose Luis Villanueva

Villanueva is a 25 year old forward that was recently playing for Morelia in the Mexican First Division. The Chilean striker played 16 matches for Morelia during the “Opening Tournament” and scored 4 goals. Villanueva must be in Korea on January 4 to start training with his new club, Jeonbuk, the Korean and Asian champion that also took part in FIFA’s World Club Championship some weeks ago. Villanueva was also wanted by Argentine First division clubs such as San Lorenzo and Racing, and in this last club he played during the 2005 season so many were surprised by his decision.
“When the Koreans contacted me I didn’t think twice about it. I accepted immediately and I don´t care when people say that the Korean league is not very well known. They forget that Korea was third in the 2002 World Cup, there are Korean players in the English Premier League. I like the challenge of seeing a new culture, maybe I will also become a businessman. The Korean style of play is fast and strong and I like that,” said Villanueva during an interview with Chilean newspaper “Las Ultimas Noticias”.
Villanueva’s manager Leo Rodriguez stated to the press that “the one year contract arrived by fax from Korea and the salary is quite high, but I cannot reveal how much Jose luis will earn,”
Villanueva started his career as as footballer in Chilean clubs Palestino, Cobreloa and Universidad Catolica.

Arsenal Fires Three Goals Past Liverpool
Chile´s Mark Gonzalez is replaced in second half.

Arsenal played its 6th English Premier League match at the recently built "Emirates Stadium" on November 12th in front of a full capacity crowd of 60,110 spectators. This is the most modern stadium in the world and was built at a cost of 580 million euros. The main sponsor is "Emirates airlines" and part of the deal with the London club is that the airline will have the main publicity rights for the next fifteen years.
Arsenal is getting used to playing at its new stadium, and its form has not been as good as at Highbury, since in the past 5 matches the "Gunners" have won two matches and drawn three. On the other hand Liverpool has had a very bad record as a visitor with only one draw and five defeats. The local press rumors that coach Rafa Benitez may be near to losing his job if the results continue to be negative. Benitez made a lot of Chilean fans when he put on Mark Gonzalez on from the first minute, even if the Chilean midfielder is recovering from muscle fatigue. The match began at a nonstop pace and it was Liverpool that had the first scoring chance as Dirk Kuyt´s shot went over the Arsenal goal defended by Manuel Almunia. It was interesting to see that both teams have Spanish goalkeepers and that Arsenal did not field any English players, instead several French players, , two Ivorians a Bielorussian ( Alexander Hleb) , and Gilberto Silva, a Brazilian defender that along with Gonzalez were the only South Americans on the pitch.
Both teams played with a man to man marking system that left very few open spaces for Mark Gonzalez or any other player to run freely. Gonzalez was yet again the only dangerous striker for Liverpool, with a dangerous low cross from the left in the 27th minute to Boudewijn Zenden , that sent the ball over the crossbar.
However it was Liverpool that made the first defensive mistake that cost them the first goal by Arsenal. Hleb ran into the Liverpool area and made a good pass to Francesc Fabregas that in turn crossed a low ball to Mathieu Flamini whose shot gave Arsenal the lead after 40 minutes of play.
Liverpool controlled the first ten minutes of the second half in a desperate attempt to equalize but another defensive error in the 55th minute sealed the fate for the northern club. Robin Van Persie saw a space in the Liverpool defense and made a long pass to Kolo Toure that was left alone in front of Jose Reina and hit a low shot into the left corner of the net.
In the 60th minute, Rafa Benitez made another questionable substitution as he replaced Mark Gonzalez , the only man that had created danger for Liverpool in the left wing, and replaced him with Jermaine Pennant (that usually plays on the right wing).
Peter Crouch, that along with Kuyt had not shown much during the match was substituted by Craig Bellamy in the 70th minute. A curious note was added to the match as referee Mark Clutterbuck fell to the ground the next minute with an apparent knee injury, but the man in black was soon recovered by the medical assistants. The deathblow to Liverpool came ten minutes later as Van Persie took a corner from the right and incredibly William Gallas was left alone to head the ball past Reina. Liverpool's defense is its weak point this season, and no team can do well if they give advantage in this area of the field. The rest of the match continued with Sami Hyypia being substituted by Philippe Senderos and an on-the-pitch argument between Steven Gerrard and John Riise. Arsene Wenger´s tactics were superior to those of Rafa Benitez, whose days as Liverpool coach seem numbered.

Starting Lineups :

Arsenal (3) : Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Gilberto Silva, Francesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb, Thierry Henry.
Coach: Arsene Wenger

Liverpool (0) : Jose Reina, Sami Hyypia, Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise, Steven Gerrard, Mark Gonzalez, Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt, Boudewijn Zenden,
Coach : Rafa Benitez.

Chile´s New Generation Of Footballers
Who are they and where are they playing?

Like the majority of South American players, Chile´s professional footballers are tempted to emigrate to Europe in search of higher salaries and living standards. Never has there been so many Chilean players playing in foreign leagues and along with the election of a top FIFA official such as Harold Mayne -Nicholls to head the local federation and who promises to bring about radical changes, the stage is set for Chilean football to get back on the map. As follows is the list of the Chilean players and their clubs:

Italian Serie A ( First division) :

David Pizarro, Roma F.C : On Nov. 12, this midfielder played during the whole match against A.C Milan and helped his team to an important 2-1 victory over one of Italy's most famous clubs. Roma is also taking part in this year's edition of the UEFA Champions league.

During the last qualifying round for Germany 2006, Pizarro resigned from Chile´s national team after quarrelling with the coach but now it seems he will reconsider and return to help his country qualify for South Africa 2010.

Nicolas Cordova , Messina
: Another rebel that has refused to play for Chile due to personal differences with the coach, Cordova is a midfielder that has won a regular place in his team. Messina is currently in seventh place in the Serie A and with the forthcoming change of coach in the national team, Cordova has shown his willingness to play for Chile again .

Jaime Valdes, Lecce : Even if his team is in the second division, to be playing in Italy means that Valdes has been exposed to higher requirements and must surely be considered to play for Chile.

English Premier League :

Mark Gonzalez, Liverpool : Has been showing great form at one of England's top clubs and is winning the approval of the local fans. Also refuses to play for Chile (due to an act of indiscipline) but this striker will surely return when the new national team coach is appointed.

Scottish Premier League :

Mauricio Pinilla, Hearts : This striker was once considered the great young promise of Chilean football. After passing through several clubs in Italy, Spain and Portugal, it seems Pinilla is finally maturing and is settling down to his new club. Also a sure shot to play in the national team.

Spanish Liga Primera (Premier League) :

Claudio Bravo, Real Sociedad : Bravo is at present the first choice goalkeeper for the national team, and during his first season in Europe, is sure to gain valuable playing experience for the future.

Pablo Contreras, Celta : A defender with many years experience in Europe, has won a regular place in this club that recently defeated Real Madrid by 2-1 in its own stadium.

Portuguese First Division :
Rodrigo Tello, Sporting Lisbon : This midfielder has won a regular place in the squad, and has shown good form during this year's edition of the UEFA Champions League. A player of Tello´s experience cannot be overlooked by the new national team coach.

Alex Von Schwedler, Maritimo : Before moving to Europe he played many seasons for Universidad de Chile, one of the country's top clubs. Von Schwedler is a reliable defender that has helped his team to be in fifth place of the points table.

Dutch First Division:
Sebastian Pardo, Feyenoord : Pardo has been playing for several seasons in one of Holland's most popular clubs, so this midfielder cannot be left out of the Chilean national team lineup.

Brasileirao ( Brazilian first division) :

Jorge Valdivia, Palmeiras : Just to be chosen to play in the most competitive league in the world is a major achievement, but Valdivia has done more than that, he has become a favorite with the local fans due to his skilful "Brazilian" style of play in midfield.

Claudio Maldonado , Santos : A defender that has made a name for himself in the Brazilian championship after several years. A regular in the national team but that is nearing the end of his career.

Alejandro Escalona, Gremio : Also playing for one of Brazil's top clubs, Escalona is a midfielder whose club is fighting for a place in next year's edition of the Libertadores Cup (South American Champions league).

Mexican First Division :

Reinaldo Navia, San Luis : Like many other Chilean players, Navia was attracted to this up and coming league due to the high salaries paid by clubs. Navia is a dangerous striker that has been a regular with the Chilean national team.

Sebastian Gonzalez, Tigres Monterrey : Another goal scoring striker that has been highly successful in Mexico and just cannot be left out of any future lineup.

Hugo Droguett, Tecos de Guadalajara:
Recently transferred from Universidad de Chile, Droguett, an attacking midfielder has scored four goals during fifteen official matches in the Mexican league.

Hector Mancilla, Veracruz : Like Droguett, Mancilla was hired to Mexico at the beginning of 2006 and is doing his job as a striker with six goals in thirteen matches.

Chilean First Division :

Humberto Suazo , Colo Colo : Recently chosen by FIFA as one of the world's top strikers, Suazo has nothing else to prove in Chile and at the moment is considering several proposals by foreign clubs.

Matias Fernandez , Colo Colo : The golden boy of Chilean football. A skilful midfielder that was transferred in October to Villarreal of the Spanish first division, but will play for Colo Colo until January 2007.

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