Ronaldo wants Coutinho at Real Madrid

The Brazilian has admitted he would like to see the Liverpool star at Los Blancos, while he also considers former Reds and current Barcelona star Luis Suarez amongst today’s bes…

Former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has spoken of his desire for compatriot Philippe Coutinho to make the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Move over Neuer & Buffon – De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world

Liverpool forward Coutinho has become a key figure at Anfield since joining from Inter in January 2013.

The Brazil international’s performances on Merseyside have drawn admiring glances from elsewhere, with Madrid’s La Liga rivals Barcelona having previously been linked.

And Ronaldo, who spent five years at Los Blancos, would be keen for Coutinho to follow his lead of playing in Madrid.

“I would like to see Coutinho, the Liverpool player, at Real Madrid,” the former Brazil star told Onda Cero.

VIDEO: Just how bad was Pogba?

The 40-year-old also stated that there is little to separate Cristiano Ronaldo from Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar when it comes to deciding who is the best player in the world.

“Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar are all great players – and I would include Suarez in that list as well,” he added.

“We often forget that they are all great players when we are talking about who is the best. It is very hard to say who is the best.

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“I am going to say Cristiano, because he plays for Madrid. But we cannot ignore how good the others are. We have to respect them.”


10 2016

Jesus rises again, Willian but not out, Neymar-dependent no more – 5 talking points from Brazil's Venezuela victory

Brasil Global Tour looks back at the major talking points after new coach Tite made it four wins out of four with victory in Merida on Tuesday


Brazil took a huge step towards Russia 2018 on Tuesday as goals from Gabriel Jesus and Willian sealed a 2-0 victory in Venzuela to make it four wins from four World Cup qualifiers for new coach Tite.

The five-time world champions came into the tenth round of the CONMEBOL qualifying in second place but earned all three points in Merida to leapfrog Uruguay, who were held to a 2-2 draw in Colombia.

REPORT: Brazil defeat Venezuela | In Stats: Venezuela 0-2 Brazil | Brazil’s World Cup qualifying campaign so far

Future Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus gave the Selecao the perfect start when he pouned on an error from Dani Hernandez before executing a sublime chip over the Venezuela goalkeeper. Chelsea’s Willian, back in the side due to a suspension to Neymar, rounded off the win eight minutes into the second half.

Below, Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour looks back at the major talking points from another happy night for Tite’s Brazil.


In the absence of the suspended Neymar, teenager Gabriel Jesus stepped up once again to turn in probably his side’s best individual performance and net his fourth goal in four internationals. The 19-year-old continues to grow into his role as Tite’s No. 9 and showed yet more signs that he continues to mature both technically and mentally. He showed his immense class after seven minutes with a fabulous finish to calm any Brazilian nerves and subsequently led the line more proficiently than he has done on previous occasions. Moreover, unlike Neymar, he did not retaliate to any rough treatment he received as his pace and guile frustrated the Venezuelans from the outset.


Arguably Brazil’s best and most consistent performer in the two years between World Cup 2014 and Tite’s June arrival, Willian has struggled since the new coach’s appointment as he was left marginalised by a team that was targeting most of its attacking play down the left. The Chelsea midfielder lost his place in the side last week to Philippe Coutinho, but Neymar’s suspension handed him another chance and he did not disappoint. He was again left isolated but took advantage of his solitary role by ghosting in at the back post to convert a Filipe Luis cross and secure the victory in Merida. His performance will have left Tite scratching his head in the run-up to the clash with Argentina next month.


A breath of fresh air has been blown through Brazilian football. After two desperately disappointing years, the Selecao have rediscovered their cohesion, collectiveness and, most importantly, their domination. The team continues to evolve with every match under Tite’s stewardship. They are pressing with more intensity, and success, switching the direction and tempo of their play, introduced more midfield elaboration and found their cutting edge. Moreover, returns for the likes of Thiago Silva, Fernandinho, Oscar and Marcelo are further illustrations that tensions have been lifted around the squad. What a difference a coach makes.


It is the question that has dogged Brazil for more than three years. Can they really play without Neymar? It is one they have failed to answer time and again as the Barcelona star continued to pick up suspensions. The answer, under Tite, however, appears to be yes. In every game there have been fewer signs of the “neymardependência” that Luiz Felipe Scolari and Dunga were unable to correct. Brazil created plenty of chances in the absence of their talisman, with Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho in particular having opportunities to make the scoreline considerably more convincing. The key to getting the best out of an individual is establishing a cohesive collective. The cohesion was on display on Tuesday as his side took to the field without their greatest individual.


Ahead of Copa America 2016, there were real concerns in Brazil that football may see its first ever Brazil-less World Cup. Fast forward four matchdays and that now appears as unthinkable as ever. With 12 points from 12 since Tite’s arrival, the Selecao have shot up from sixth, outside the final qualification slot, to sitting pretty on top of the continent with 21 points. With eight more stops on the journey yet to come, there will be plenty more twists and turns in the World Cups most competitive qualification process, but right now few expect Tite’s Brazil to miss a step.


10 2016

Spirit so high in Brazil squad Willian has supported me taking his place – Coutinho

The Liverpool man says new coach Tite has given the Selecao its swagger back after leading the side to three consecutive World Cup qualifying victories

Brazil star Philippe Coutinho says new coach Tite has handed a desperately needed confidence boost to the five-time world champions.

The Selecao were left reeling from two disappointing Copa America campaigns directly following their shock 7-1 defeat to Germany at World Cup 2014 and were struggling in qualifying for World Cup 2018 when former coach Dunga was sacked in June.

Neymar nets 300th career goal | In Stats: Brazil’s rout of Bolivia | Coutinho earns Brazil starting role

His replacement, Tite, has since led Brazil to three successive victories to get their qualification campaign back on track and Liverpool man Coutinho says the former Corinthians man has already had a huge impact on the side.

“The confidence has returned,” Coutinho told a press conference. 

“We are training a lot on positioning and tactics and in games we everything has flowed just like it has in practice. This has been very important for us.

“Tite is a coach who keeps all the players focused, everyone feels important. Even when you don’t play, he’s always talking to you and when you get the opportunity you are ready to do what he asks.”

After two years of waiting in the wings, Coutinho appears to have finally cracked the first team this month after replacing Willian in the starting line-up, and says the Chelsea midfielder’s support and encouragement speaks volumes of the feel-good atmosphere that has now engulfed the group.

“We did not talk about it a lot, but when I scored Willian was the first to come and congratulate me – that shows how important our friendship is,” Coutinho said.

“A lot happens in football. Things happen quickly. It’s a healthy dispute, one taking place in a united group. 

“We all have to be an option. I do not know if I will continue to play. If I have the opportunity right now, and will give my best. Being in the group is a privilege for me, as is playing alongside Willian.”

Brazil travel to Caracas to meet Venezuela on Tuesday. The Selecao sit second in Conmebol World Cup qualifying at the halfway stage, one point behind leaders Uruguay.


10 2016

RUMOURS: Liverpool to offer Coutinho new deal amid Barcelona interest

The Brazil international has been linked with a move away from Anfield, with the Catalan club said to be interested, but he is set to be offered a contract extension by the Reds

Liverpool are set to offer Philippe Coutinho a new deal to ward off interest from Barcelona, according to the Sunday People.

The report suggests that the Reds will use the increased Premier League TV money to offer improved contracts to a number of key players, including Coutinho.

Barcelona are said to be keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old, who signed a fresh agreement with Liverpool just 18 months ago.



10 2016

Brazil coach Tite explains why he's picking Coutinho over Willian

The Liverpool star produced impressive performances coming on as a substitute in his last two games for the national team, while his manager insists it is his “moment” to shine

Brazil coach Tite has explained why he is opting for Philippe Coutinho ahead of Willian for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Liverpool star Coutinho, who has started the 2016-17 Premier League season in impressive form, is set to start the matches against Bolivia and Venezuela.

Willian had been preferred for Tite’s first two matches in charge but Coutinho’s displays off the bench have seemingly earned him a place ahead of the Chelsea star.

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“Why Coutinho instead of Willian? There’s a reason he is called the Magician [by Liverpool fans],” he told ESPN

“It was a difficult decision for me, but right now this is Coutinho’s moment. And in football, you have to follow the moment. 

“With his passes Coutinho opens the lines, creates space. I like his mobility, he was influential in both games when he came on.”

Tite’s first two games have resulted in wins, a 3-0 victory over Ecuador followed by a 2-1 win against Colombia and the 55-year-old says he wants to see his team maintain those standards.

“The three points with Ecuador are worth the same as the three of Argentina,” he added.

“The objective is to qualify.”

Brazil sit second in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, a point behind leaders Uruguay.


10 2016

Liverpool carpool karaoke? Reds stars sing YNWA to training… and more

Dejan Lovren, Marko Grujic and Lazar Markovic enjoyed an eventful car ride to training one day that included initiation song recitals and prank calls


The Carpool Karoake craze has caught on and made its way to Liverpool, with three of the club’s stars made to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

The club had Dejan Lovren pick up Marko Grujic and Lazar Markovic to training one day – after first installing cameras inside the defender’s car.

READ MORE | Grujic targets defensive improvement to become Liverpool starter

As well as being made to to sing their rendition of Liverpool’s anthem and their initiation song upon signing for a club, there was plenty of time for engaging in other sorts of tomfoolery.

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The journey involved Lovren making a prank call to Philippe Coutinho, telling him that his car had broken down and hurrying him to pick them up for training.

The trio also had to offer their craziest impression of fans cheering a Liverpool goal – we reckon they’re better at being footballers, though.


09 2016

Klopp not completely satisfied despite Derby demolition

A second-string Reds side eased through to the last 16 of the competition thanks to a comfortable victory at the iPro Stadium but the manager feels his team can do even better

Jurgen Klopp praised his Liverpool players for a job well done after they eased to a 3-0 win over Derby County in the EFL Cup – but insisted there is still room for improvement.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius and midfielder Marko Grujic were handed their first starts as Klopp shuffled his pack following the 2-1 win over Chelsea in Premier League action.

Despite seven changes to the starting XI, Liverpool brushed aside their Championship opponents at the iPro Stadium to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.

Ragnar Klavan opened the scoring in the 24th minute before the visitors hit Derby with two goals straight after half time, Philippe Coutinho doubling their lead before setting up Divock Origi for a third.

“We were better and deserved to win, we created chances,” Klopp told LFC TV.

READ MORE | RATINGS: Coutinho runs riot in Liverpool win

“Could we have done better? Yes, a lot. Is it important? No, because that’s what you want to have. You need to be 100 per cent professional, be really serious and take games like these like they are.

“They could be difficult but it wasn’t difficult because of us. The opponent was ready for each opportunity but we didn’t give them [any]. So it was good.

“First half, we could have been a little bit better in the last pass. Second half, we could have been better in the counter-attack.

“That would have changed the result a little bit but we scored the goals, so it’s not that I would say ‘I would rather score this goal than this goal’. I take them like they are, 3-0, all good.”

Klopp was particularly pleased to give Danny Ings the opportunity to make his first appearance of the season.

The forward – who missed much of the previous campaign with a serious knee injury – replaced the impressive Coutinho in the 63rd minute.

“Of course [it was good to see him]. It was a difficult time [for him], I know this but, like all the others, he’s on a really good way and everybody can see this, I’m pretty sure,” the German manager added.


09 2016

Fantasy: Premier League players to pick

Our fantasy football scout picks three players you should consider transferring into your team ahead of the weekend’s action

It’s week five of the English Premier League and there are some interesting matches to look out for.

If you haven’t started playing Goal Fantasy Football yet, don’t worry; it’s not too late to play as you can play to win weekly and monthly prizes so you won’t need to play catch up.

Every month, we are giving away a fantastic games console and the top manager at the end of the season will win a VIP match day experience.

It’s free to play, just create a team to enter.

Just remember to set up your team before the start of the first fixture which kicks-off on Friday night. Chelsea host Liverpool in what promises to be an exciting game between two title contenders.

Fantasy Pick: Phillipe Coutinho
Midfielder: Liverpool. Value £7.0m
Chelsea vs Liverpool. Friday, kick-off 8pm.

Liverpool should be confident after an almost perfect attacking display against Leicester City last week. Coutinho didn’t start that game but he should feature in the starting line-up this week.

The Brazilian enjoyed his last visit to the capital; he scored a brilliant free kick at Arsenal on the opening game of the season.

Expect Coutinho to take advantage of any space the Chelsea defenders give him. They were exposed against Swansea last week and they are sure to be severely tested by the movement of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge.

Coutinho scored twice in this fixture last season and is definitely worth picking for your team.

Fantasy Pick: Kevin De Bruyne
Midfielder: Manchester City. Value £7.8m
Manchester City vs Bournemouth. Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

The Belgian is in the form of his life and netted the opener in the Manchester derby last weekend.

De Bruyne is clearly enjoying playing for Pep Guardiola and benefiting from the excellent form of Fernandinho and David Silva, who play alongside him in midfield.

City host Bournemouth on Saturday, a team they scored 9 goals against last season and De Bruyne will surely be one of the first names on the team sheet.

The attacker has started all 4 games so far, racking up one goal and one assist.

Fantasy Pick: Erik Lamela
Midfielder: Tottenham. Fantasy Value £6.8m
Tottenham vs Sunderland. Sunday, kick-off 4.30pm.

Lamela seems to be enjoying playing under Maurico Pochettino at Tottenham and is starting to realise his potential.

He has impressed in the three games he started this season, scoring once and providing an assist.

Lamela is negotiating a contract extension with the club and its been reported that he is looking to double his salary at Spurs.

It will give him extra motivation to perform well on the pitch and he should get plenty of opportunities to prove his worth against lowly Sunderland on Sunday.

Download and Play for FREE!

Download the app for free now and get unlimited transfers until the start of the gameweek. 

Everything you need to know to play the game can be found in the Help guides; how to pick your players, how to make transfers, scoring points, creating and joining leagues and how to set up head-to-head challenges with your friends to win app credits.


09 2016

Neymar will be a greater leader for Brazil without the captaincy – Rai

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09 2016

Studious Tite reaps reward for prep work with dream start as Brazil coach

With tactical shifts, new faces young and old, and six points from two games, a new-look Selecao is beginning to take shape under the new boss

Brazil coach Tite has grown accustomed to the making the most of his time.

Overlooked by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in 2012 and 2014, he was finally handed the role in June but his decision not to lead the Under-23 side into the Rio Olympics left him with two months to fill.

Profile: New Brazil coach Tite | Brazil’s World Cup qualifying campaign so far  | 5 lessons from Brazil 2-1 Colombia | Douglas Costa: Brazil can win World Cup

On both occasions, he stayed busy. After leaving Corinthians in 2012 Tite spent his free-time travelling the globe, visiting some of Europe’s biggest clubs in order expand his knowledge of the game and fine-tune his philosophy of play.

Between his unveiling during this year’s Copa America and his official debut on the bench this month, he watched endless matches in the Brazilian championship, studied his first opponents, Ecuador, and travelled to the USA to cast an eye over Colombia at Copa America 2016. He also sent his son to Asia to observe the Brazilian nationals now plying their trade in the Chinese Super League.

Tite is a studious man, and his preparation paid off as he made a dream start to life with the Selecao. He opened his tenure by ending a 33-year wait for a Brazil victory in Quito before seeing off Colombia 2-1 in Manaus – two results that catapulted the Selecao into second-place in Conmebol’s World Cup qualifying table.

Widely considered to be head and shoulders above all other current Brazilian coaches, expectations were high, but back-to-back victories surprised even him.
“I try to find a balance, because there is a great burden of responsibility in this job, but it went rather better than I thought. I’m really very happy because the performances were even better than I expected.”

Those performances were a direct result of all the work Tite had done during a period when some would simply have sat scratching their heads.

With just three days to work with his players ahead of their trip to Quito, Tite had prepared meticulously for the Ecuador match. He’d identified that smart-passing midfielder Christian Noboa was key to the home side’s chances, and that neutralising him would be vital.

The scouting report he’d requested from Asia spoke positively of Paulinho, who’d played a major role the Copa Libertadores and Club World Cup victories Tite had achieved with Corinthians. 

Despite not having represented Brazil since a very disappointing showing at World Cup 2014, Paulinho returned and was put straight into the first team with a specific task: stop Noboa.

He did exactly that, and after another tactical tweak to slow the early progress of Jefferson Montero on the left side of Ecuador’s attack, Brazil ran away 3-0 victors thanks to an inspired performance from another debutant, Gabriel Jesus.

19-year-old Jesus had struggled at centre-forward in the Olympics, but Tite was convinced his pace and incisive running would stretch the play, open up the field to leave greater space between Noboa and his colleagues, and provide Brazil an outlet for the ball over the top.

Ecuador were restricted to just 38% possession at the altitude of Quito. Noboa attempted half as many passes and had around 40% less touches than he’d managed in his side’s previous home qualifier, against Paraguay.

Paulinho remained for the second of a World Cup qualifying double-header against Colombia, and fulfilled a similar function as he stamped out playmaker Macnelly Torres, who sets the tone and rhythm of Jose Pekerman’s side.

Utterly ineffectual, Torres was withdrawn five minutes into the second half and his direct replacement, Juan Cuadrado, was the player who failed to track Neymar for Brazil’s winner in the 2-1 victory.

 Another key aspect of Tite’s approach was how much his side concentrated their attacking play down the left side. All three goals against Ecuador resulted from attacking plays built on that side of the field, and so did Neymar’s winner against Colombia.

Naturally, the team is drawn to left-sided forward Neymar when in possession, but Renato Augusto, another who achieved success alongside Tite at Corinthians, has left his deep-lying playmaker role to operate as a left-midfielder in order to improve the supply-line to Neymar.

The recall of Marcelo in place of Filipe Luis also appears designed to assist Neymar in the Brazil attack. His Real Madrid colleague Casemiro was sublime as the lone pivot in midfield triangle that has been inverted under Tite, an attacking variation many of the local media have been demanding for decades.

Time and again he stamped out counter-attacks and, considerably more gifted on the ball than many of his predecessors in that role, it was his pass that made the key breakthough last week when a smart ball in behind Ecuador saw Gabriel Jesus race onto to win a vital penalty that gave Brazil the lead.

The one victim of Tite’s first week in the role appears to be Willian. The Chelsea wide-man has, arguably, been the Selecao’s most consistent player since World Cup 2014, but the concentration of play on the opposite side left him completely marginalised.

He was largely a passenger and was replaced by Liverpool’s Phillippe Coutinho in both matches. Coutinho has faced a wait of his own for a proper crack in the Brazil side and impressed in both cameos, leaving the right-side of Tite’s lop-sided 4-4-2 to operate almost as a second-striker alongside Gabriel Jesus to form a more penetrative 4-3-3.

A collectiveness and cohesion looks to have returned to the side, who are also pressing much more productively. 

“They all know that without the ball they will have to work hard,” Tite said. 

“Neymar will appear only if he is receiving the ball in the final third. Marcelo will appear only if Casemiro offers cover and Renato can provide the supply.”

There have been a number of interesting and productive practical changes under Tite, but there also appears to be a change in the emotional tone of the group.

The entire atmosphere around the Brazil camp changed following the dismissal of Dunga, a fierce and often misanthropic coach who appeared desperate to stress that the Selecao were forever at war.

A Marquinhos own goal and a reckless Neymar tackle that earned a booking just before the break to against Colombia could previously have been signs that Brazil were at breaking point. But Brazil kept their cool, even as they were repeatedly frustrated by a dogged Colombian defence in their hunt for a winner.

With Paulinho’s work for the evening already done, Giuliano – another former Tite alumni – was introduced to add some extra dynamism alongside Coutinho and it was the two substitutes who combined to create Neymar’s winner.

September continued the feel-good factor kicked off by August’s Olympic gold. Talk of winning World Cup 2018 may be premature, but Brazil are certainly looking better than they have in the two years since ‘the 7-1’.

“We are in a process of evolution,” says Tite. “The level of concentration and commitment is fundamental. This team already has a spirit and solidarity.”

Brazil will ride the wave of optimism for another month now as the Selecao return to qualifying action in October by hosting Bolivia before visiting Venezuela. Tite will no doubt spend the next four weeks hard at work.


09 2016