Posts Tagged ‘Nenê’

French football quotes of the year 2012

Samir NasriFrom AVB to Zlatan, Newcastle to Donetsk, Football Further is proud to present its third annual compilation of the year’s best French football quotes.

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“Yesterday, I make one tackle and all everybody speak about is this tackle. Nobody speaks about the 50-yard pass that kills [Florent] Balmont and causes a red card for ‘im.”
– Replete with some elaborate eyebrow-waggling and a healthy dose of Gallic shrugging, Joey Barton‘s attempts to ingratiate himself with the Marseille media become an instant YouTube classic

“Eden Hazard’s English is catastrophic. I asked him: ‘Are you happy with your transfer?’ He said: ‘I don’t understand!'”
Romelu Lukaku on his new Chelsea team-mate

“It was the feeling I had with the coach. He said he trusted me, but he didn’t let me play. He said I was too young. He said: ‘Your time will come.’ It didn’t come. Even though he’s had a 25-year career and despite the fact he’s the boss, my objective was to play … I’m impatient. When I want something, I’ll do anything to get it.”
Paul Pogba crosses Sir Alex Ferguson, and lives to tell the tale

“The only thing I miss is in the changing room. I can’t understand all the jokes and it’s frustrating. French is more difficult than I thought. I’m trying to take my lessons very seriously. I listen to them for at least half an hour each day. The other day I watched a film in French, with English subtitles. It was Ne le dis à personne [‘Tell No One’], which was a great film. I’m going to do it again.”
Joe Cole may have left Lille with a sub-GCSE level of French, but he is now a leading authority on the films of Guillaume Canet

“I could become a doctor!”
Abou Diaby tries to put a positive spin on all the medical vocabulary he has acquired during his time in and out of the Arsenal treatment room

Euro 2012

“I accept that you can ask questions about his sporting performances … But when I hear that he could be dangerous for the concept of the group, I feel like we’re trying to bring a wolf into the sheep pen. He’s been a part of the group since the start. He dropped out due to injury and then loss of form. Don’t make him out to be a wolf, because he isn’t one.”
Laurent Blanc tells the media not to cry wolf after handing Yoann Gourcuff a place in his preliminary squad

“Shut your face! Shut your face!”
Samir Nasri celebrates his goal in the opening game with England by thanking the gentlemen of the French press for their support

“There was a bit of a slanging match in the changing room.”
Olivier Giroud lets the cat out of the bag about the row that erupted after France’s shock 2-0 loss to Sweden

“Go fuck yourself! Go fuck your mother, you son of a bitch! There, now you can write that I’m badly brought up.”
– Such a nice boy, that Samir Nasri – lashing out at a journalist following Les Bleus‘ quarter-final elimination by Spain

“We’ve told them to be vigilant and not to say anything that could hurt the group.”
– French Football Federation press officer Philippe Tournon, prior to the tournament, on the instructions given to France’s players about how to handle the media

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Report: Ait-Fana takes Montpellier to brink of title

“PARIS — A dramatic injury-time goal from Karim Aït-Fana gave Montpellier a 1-0 win over Lille on Sunday that took the Ligue 1 leaders to within a point of their first ever French league title.”

My AFP report on Sunday’s penultimate round of Ligue 1 matches, which saw Auxerre relegated and Montpellier take a giant stride closer to the title, can be read here.

Report: PSG fluff chance to exploit Montpellier setback

PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain failed to capitalise on leaders Montpellier’s slip-up against Lorient after conceding an 87th-minute goal to draw 1-1 at Ligue 1’s bottom side Auxerre on Sunday.

My AFP round-up of Sunday’s Ligue 1 action, including setbacks for PSG and Montpellier, a fine goal by on-loan Arsenal forward Joel Campbell, and Joe Cole’s first league goal since December 21, can be found here.

Report: PSG sink Ajaccio to reclaim top spot in Ligue 1

“PARIS — Ligue 1 title favourites Paris Saint-Germain returned to the top of the table after overwhelming third-bottom Ajaccio 4-1 at a rain-soaked Parc des Princes on Sunday.”

My AFP report on PSG’s return to the Ligue 1 summit, including a summary of all the weekend’s major stories in the French top flight, can be read here.

Report: Menez, Nenê get PSG back to winning ways

“PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain brought a measure of solace to their beleaguered coach Antoine Kombouaré with a 3-2 win at home to Auxerre on Sunday that ended a damaging four-game winless streak.”

Read my round-up of the weekend’s Ligue 1 action for AFP here.

Po-faced Pastore misplaces his magic touch

For the pundits on Canal+’s Ligue 1 review programme, Les Spécialistes, it was something of a radical departure. Usually tasked with the scrutiny of borderline offside decisions or the analysis of new tactical experiments, the panellists on Monday night’s show were asked to study Javier Pastore’s smile. Or, more specifically, its sudden disappearance.

Ever since a jaw-dropping piece of control during a warm-up shortly after he arrived at Paris Saint-Germain, Pastore’s pre-match preparations have been the focus of much more attention than the more perfunctory stretching and jogging of his contemporaries. As a result, the production staff at Canal+ were able to compare and contrast footage of the Argentine’s demeanour in the build-up to PSG’s match at Ajaccio three weeks ago with his behaviour in the hour before kick-off at Bordeaux on Sunday.

At Ajaccio, he was all smiles and loose-limbed jollity. At Bordeaux, a concentrated frown did not leave his face – not when he alighted from the team bus, not when he went through his pre-match routine on the pitch at Stade Chaban-Delmas, and not when he lined up with his team-mates in the tunnel prior to the start of the 1-1 draw. “He doesn’t smile once,” observed host Hervé Mathoux.

PSG may be three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and on course for the Europa League knockout phase, but that has not spared them from criticism. Paris, it is widely agreed, are impressive on occasion, but they remain a team of individuals. When Pastore isn’t on his game, Jérémy Ménez steps up. When Kévin Gameiro leaves his shooting boots at home, Antoine Kombouaré’s side turn to Nenê.

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Report: Cole on target as Lille fightback floors Lyon

“PARIS — Joe Cole capped a Lille fightback with the third goal in a 3-1 defeat of Lyon on Sunday that allowed the defending champions to steal a march on their rivals in the nascent Ligue 1 title race.”

To read my AFP round-up of the weekend’s Ligue 1 action, click here.

La semaine en France: Week 33

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
The quota controversy that has dominated the French media agenda this week means that Marseille’s 1-1 draw at home to Auxerre last Sunday did not yield the level of scrutiny you might expect from an unscheduled setback for the reigning league champions.

For once Marseille were decent value for the lead given to them by Mathieu Valbuena, but a 77th-minute equaliser by Auxerre’s South Korean substitute Jung Jo-Gook – his first goal for the club – enabled Lille to hold onto top spot after their breezy 5-0 demolition of Arles-Avignon the day before. If Lille win at third-bottom Nancy on Saturday night, defeat for Marseille at Lyon the following evening would leave OM four points behind Lille with only four games to play.

Lyon’s own title ambitions received a likely fatal blow in an abject 2-0 defeat at Toulouse. Michel Bastos and Aly Cissokho were both sent off, the latter for a petulant lunge on Daniel Braaten after he had inadvertently doubled Toulouse’s advantage by lobbing his own goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris. Cissokho’s 1/10 rating from L’Équipe was the lowest of the season to date.

Lyon’s slip allowed Paris Saint-Germain to draw level with them in third place, as Nenê ended his four-month Ligue 1 goal drought with a vicious 20-yard volley (see below) in a 3-1 defeat of Valenciennes. Rennes failed to win – again – in a 0-0 draw at Bordeaux, who saw Lorient creep above them into sixth place after a late, Kévin Gameiro-inspired rally saw the Brittany side register a 3-2 win at imperilled Lens.

Caen climbed to 16th place with a fine 4-0 win at Nice, with Nancy falling into the relegation zone following a 1-0 loss to Sochaux. It prompted Nancy coach Pablo Correa to announce that he will reverse his decision to leave the club if they go down.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Lens 2-3 Lorient, Lille 5-0 Arles-Avignon, Rennes 0-0 Bordeaux, Sochaux 1-0 Nancy, PSG 3-1 Valenciennes; Sunday: Marseille 1-1 Auxerre, Montpellier 0-0 Brest, Nice 0-4 Caen, Toulouse 2-0 Lyon, Saint-Etienne 1-1 Monaco

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La semaine en France: Week 31

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Another misstep from Lille allowed Marseille to close to within a point of the leaders in Week 31, while Paris Saint-Germain confirmed their return to form by beating Lyon 1-0 and relauching their bid for a Champions League place.

Lille were held to a 1-1 draw by Bordeaux last Saturday – Vujadin Savić cancelling out Moussa Sow’s 21st goal of the season with a near-post header from a corner – but Rudi Garcia refused to sound the alarm and said he had been much more encouraged by his team’s performance than in the 1-0 loss at Monaco the week before.

Marseille capitalised by winning 2-1 at Montpellier, but as so often this season, they elected to do things the hard way. Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock for the hosts but OM replied immediately through a fine André-Pierre Gignac strike (see below) before Taye Taiwo completed the comeback from the spot. Loïc Rémy won the penalty after being held back by Abdelhamid El Kaoutari but both men were then sent off for a needless spot of argy-bargy, meaning they will both be in the stands for Saturday’s Coupe de la Ligue final.

PSG recorded their second win on the spin with a superb victory over Lyon at Parc des Princes. Antoine Kombouaré’s side completely bossed the first half but had to weather a Lyon flurry early in the second before an untidy goal by Zoumana Camara secured the points. It left Lyon six points off Lille’s pace and just a point above fourth-placed PSG.

Auxerre leapt clear of the relegation zone after a stunning injury-time free-kick by Dariusz Dudka snatched a 1-0 win at Toulouse, with Caen slipping into the bottom three thanks to a 3-2 reverse at Sochaux. Arles-Avignon were finally put out of their misery by Valenciennes and Lens are now six points from safety following a 1-1 draw with Brest.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Lens 1-1 Brest, Nice 3-2 Monaco, Rennes 1-2 Lorient, Saint-Etienne 2-1 Nancy, Sochaux 3-2 Caen, Toulouse 0-1 Auxerre, Lille 1-1 Bordeaux; Sunday: Arles-Avignon 0-1 Valenciennes, Montpellier 1-2 Marseille, PSG 1-0 Lyon

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La semaine en France: Week 27

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Once may have been a fluke, but to score match-winning goals in injury time twice in the space of a week suggests Lille may have the stomach for a bare-knuckle title brawl after all.

Seven days after Pierre-Alain Frau gave them a last-gasp victory at Marseille, Lille found themselves being held 1-1 at home to local rivals Valenciennes as the clock ticked into stoppage time. Cue Eden Hazard. Having located a pocket of space inside the visitors’ box, the Belgian showed a sublime, Velcro touch to cushion Rio Mavuba’s stinging pass before rattling a shot into the bottom-left corner. He claimed that he had “just hit it hard,” but no matter. Lille’s three-point lead remains intact and they now face a kinder run of fixtures than their rivals.

Rennes stayed second but saw their five-game winning run come to an end in a 2-0 defeat at home to Marseille. Lyon, adopting an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation, prevailed by the same scoreline at Sochaux to leave the two Olympiques on 48 points, one shy of Rennes and four adrift of Lille.

With 31 minutes of the weekend’s action remaining, fifth-place Paris Saint-Germain were just a point behind Marseille and Lyon, only for Olivier Giroud’s slick strike – his second of the game – to earn Montpellier a 2-2 draw after they had fallen 2-0 down inside 13 minutes. For Paris, a club permanently on the brink of eruption, defeat in Sunday’s clasico at Marseille could spell the end of their Champions League ambitions.

At the bottom, Monaco displayed remarkable efficiency to claim a 1-0 win at Bordeaux despite mustering just two attempts on goal. They are now out of the relegation zone on goal difference above Auxerre, for whom the autumn’s Champions League sojourns to Milan and Real Madrid must now seem a very long way away.

Ligue 1 results
Friday: Rennes 0-2 Marseille; Saturday: Arles-Avignon 3-3 Lorient, Lens 0-1 Toulouse, Nancy 2-0 Caen, Nice 1-0 Auxerre, Saint-Etienne 2-0 Brest, Sochaux 0-2 Lyon; Sunday: Bordeaux 0-1 Monaco, Lille 2-1 Valenciennes, PSG 2-2 Montpellier

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Preview: Benfica v Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain travel to the famous Estádio da Luz on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie with Portuguese champions Benfica. I have co-written a preview of the game for the PortuGOAL website, which can be read here.

La semaine en France: Week 23

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
One by one, the pack closed in and Lille could do nothing but watch. The fixture computer having scheduled their home game with Toulouse for Sunday night, the league leaders had no choice but to watch as first Marseille, then Lyon and then Rennes whittled away their lead. By the time Lille took to the field at Stadium Lille-Métropole, they were just two points clear.

The pressure was on, then, but Rudi Garcia’s side produced a quietly efficient performance to win 2-0. A badly deteriorating playing surface did not make life easy, but the visitors obligingly evened things up by giving the ball away in dangerous areas with a frequency that – in the first half at least – bordered on the suicidal. Gervinho scrambled home to put Lille 1-0 up in the 38th minute and teed up substitute Túlio de Melo for the second goal in injury time.

It meant that Lille ended the weekend with their five-point lead intact. Rennes are now second after an equally straightforward 2-0 defeat of Nice. Marseille moved up to third, a point behind Rennes, after André-Pierre Gignac’s impressive double saw them come from behind to win 2-1 at Sochaux. Lyon also had to overcome the concession of an early goal, weathering a first-half storm at Saint-Etienne to record a 4-1 victory that left Jean-Michel Aulas beaming.

Paris Saint-Germain were the only title pretenders who failed to win, a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Lens dropping them to fourth, level on points with OL. Bordeaux’s mini-revival came to an end, as Romain Hamouma’s last-minute header saw them fall 2-1 at home to Caen. There were also wins for Caen’s fellow strugglers Nancy and Monaco, who won 3-1 against Auxerre to leave the erstwhile Champions League participants in 17th place and without a win in 14 games across all competitions.

Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Arles-Avignon 0-0 Montpellier, Bordeaux 1-2 Caen, Monaco 3-1 Lorient, Nancy 3-1 Auxerre, PSG 0-0 Lens, Sochaux 1-2 Marseille, Saint-Etienne 1-4 Lyon; Sunday: Rennes 2-0 Nice, Valenciennes 3-0 Brest, Lille 2-0 Toulouse

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La semaine en France: Weeks 18 and 19

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Fittingly, after a first half to the season in which several teams enjoyed time at the top of the table without ever being able to pull clear, not one of the sides in the top half of Ligue 1 signed off for the winter break with a victory.

Lille’s penultimate pre-Christmas game against Nancy last Sunday fell victim to the snow but they managed to cling on to top spot by virtue of a 1-1 draw at home to Saint-Etienne on Wednesday. Rudi Garcia’s side, the division’s top scorers with 33 goals from 18 matches, lead by a point from Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes and Lyon but have a game in hand on all their rivals. Marseille are three points off the pace in fifth, above Saint-Etienne on goal difference.

An 88th-minute equaliser by Daniel Niculae had seen Monaco snatch a 2-2 draw from their trip to PSG last weekend, and Paris looked heavy legged in a 2-0 defeat at Nancy on Wednesday – only their second defeat in 23 matches. Rennes’ goalscoring problems continued as they went down 1-0 at third-bottom Caen, while Lyon recorded a 1-1 draw against Auxerre to extend their unbeaten run to 12 league games.

Marseille, who drew 1-1 at home to Lyon in last Sunday’s ‘Olympico‘, once again looked worryingly blunt going forward in a 0-0 draw at Brest, which was their fifth game without a win. New signing Rod Fanni went off injured, Charles Kaboré was sent off and André-Pierre Gignac was substituted to ironic jeers in the 84th minute after another fruitless and frustrating night in front of goal.

Valenciennes (16th) and Monaco (17th) boosted their bids to avoid relegation with victories over Toulouse and Sochaux respectively, but a stoppage-time equaliser by Yoan Gouffran saw second-bottom Lens denied victory at Bordeaux (2-2), and Arles-Avignon are now 11 points from safety following a 0-0 draw with Nice.

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La semaine en France: Week 17

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Lyon’s trip to Marseille this Sunday has the potential to be the defining game of the season’s first half, and although both sides have been undermined by injuries and suspensions, their recent form contrasts starkly.

Fifth-placed Marseille, who drew 1-1 at Auxerre last Sunday, are now without a win in three league games. Stéphane Mbia was harshly sent off at Auxerre for a foul on Julien Quercia that yielded a penalty – and an equaliser – despite occurring outside the box. He joins César Azpilicueta (knee ligament injury) and Souleymane Diawara (suspended) on the sidelines, but Rod Fanni arrived from Rennes on Thursday to plug at least one of the gaps in the back four.

Cris, Pape Diakhaté and Jérémy Toulalan have been ruled out for Lyon, while Anthony Réveillère is a doubt with a calf injury, but Claude Puel’s side are unbeaten in 10 league games and climbed to third with a 2-0 win at home to Toulouse. Lisandro López, thriving in a left-flank role, broke the deadlock early on and Bafétimbi Gomis completed the scoring from Kim Kallstrom’s through-ball 10 minutes before the break.

Lille required a header in the third minute of injury time from substitute striker Túlio De Melo to snatch a 1-0 win at Arles-Avignon that kept them top. Paris Saint-Germain trail them by a point after the latest installment of The Nenê Show (see below) concluded with a 2-1 victory at Valenciennes.

A 0-0 snorefest at Bordeaux left Rennes in fourth place, but Saint-Etienne moved up to seventh by ending a nine-game winless streak with a 2-0 defeat of imperilled Monaco. Montpellier’s goalless draw at Brest featured a horrendous elbow by Emir Spahić on Nolan Roux that has landed the Bosnian centre-back – and self-proclaimed Arsenal target – a date with the league’s disciplinary committee.

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La semaine en France: Week 16

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Just as Marseille looked to be gathering momentum, a setback arrived in the form of a 1-0 defeat at Nice. Little matter that OM dominated the game at the home of their Mediterranean near neighbours. They barely created a chance of note and were punished in the second minute of injury time when former Reading man Emerse Faé side-footed home unmarked from Anthony Mounier’s cut-back.

Defeat saw Marseille drop to fourth, a point behind Rennes and Paris Saint-Germain and two shy of leaders Lille, who rompted to the top of the table – and the scoring charts – with a scarcely credible 6-3 annihiliation of Lorient. The game, postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to snow, was chiefly remarkable for a perfect hat-trick from in-form Moussa Sow (see below), but Kévin Gameiro was unfortunate to finish on the losing side after claiming a smartly taken brace.

Rennes won 1-0 at home to Monaco on Saturday and PSG joined them on 27 points a day later by beating Brest 3-1. Nenê, again, supplied the breakthrough, with Mathieu Bodmer and Ludovic Giuly re-establishing the hosts’ lead after Nolan Roux had equalised. Bodmer was operating in a new role as the central attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, but PSG coach Antoine Kombouaré played down the significance of the tactical shift. “If we win, it’s because it’s the right formula. But I prefer 4-4-2.”

Lyon are fifth, level on points with Marseille, thanks to an injury-time winner from Lisandro López – his second goal of the game – in a 2-1 win at Montpellier. Bordeaux, eighth, also needed a late goal to salvage a point at Saint-Etienne, with Fernando’s 89th-minute header stretching Les Verts‘ winless streak to nine matches. Meanwhile, Sochaux’s 2-1 win at home to Valenciennes took them up to seventh.

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