Neymar: It would be wonderful to play with Riquelme

Neymar is of the opinion that it would be wonderful to play alongside Juan Roman Riquelme at Santos.


The Argentine has revealed that there has been interest in his services from the Brazilian outfit, but is unsure whether the move will materialise in the near future.

“It would be wonderful [to play with him]. Riquelme is a great player, a brilliant playmaker. A type of player that any attacker would like to have on his team,” he told reporters at TV Gazeta.

Riquelme himself admitted that a move is possible, but made clear that there has been nothing concrete as of yet.

“Santos called me, but nothing more than that. You will have to wait and see if any club shows real interest,” he said.

“I talked a lot with Juan Pablo Sorin. He also knew a lot of people at Flamengo, and tried to convince me to play here, but the president of Boca declined to sign the papers and I never got the move.

“Brazilian football has grown a lot, all the teams have great players. I see much football in Brazil. In July, it is true that I spoke with Flamengo, Gremio and Cruzeiro.”

Grant rules out Chelsea return

Avram Grant has ruled out the possibility of returning to Chelsea to work with newly-appointed interim boss Rafael Benitez.

The former Blues boss, who guided the club to the Champions League final in 2008, has been linked with a return to the Stamford Bridge dugout in recent weeks after Benitez’s less-than-auspicious start at the club, although the club have denied the reports.

However, the 57-year-old has dispelled the notion he could be set to take the reins at the European champions, adding that the club ought to get behind Benitez as they seek to challenge for honours this season.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Nobody from Chelsea has offered me this job. I heard a rumour but I think this is not what’s important.

“What’s important is Chelsea have a manager and the club need to support him and not look for any other things.

“I don’t think it’s the right idea for the moment. I don’t like to speak about myself now because I have other things to do at this stage.

“I think Benitez is a very experienced coach and manager and I don’t think a few weeks after they give him the job he will leave and I don’t think it will be right.

“He needs to use all experience to take the club in a different direction and they need to do everything to support him and not to look around.”

Bayern not interested in Sneijder, insists Heynckes

Jupp Heynckes has laughed off rumours that Bayern Munich are interested in signing Netherlands international Wesley Sneijder from Inter.

The attacking midfielder is unhappy at the Giuseppe Meazza side following an ongoing contract dispute, but Bayern have no intention to make a move for Sneijder according to the Roten head coach.

“There’s absolutely no truth in these reports. If we would sign every player who’s being linked with a move to Bayern, we would end up with more players than Wolfsburg!” joked Heynckes to TZ.

Sneijder has a contract with Inter until the summer of 2015, but a transfer seems inevitable following his refusal to accept a pay-cut.

The former Real Madrid star was allegedly close to joining Manchester United two seasons ago, and is now being linked with clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Anzhi Makhachkala and Fenerbahce, although the latter have revealed that a transfer is not an option for now either.

“We can say that, as of now, our interest in Sneijder is zero. If there is any, it is without my knowledge and I have no comment,” head coach Aykut Kocaman told Radyspor.

“As of now, we have not made any attempts to transfer anyone. However, on the other hand, we are going through a critical and delicate period.”

Cartoon of the Day: 'Worth the Mona Lisa' – Raiola paints pretty Balotelli picture

He may have yet to reach his potential at Manchester City, but Mario Balotelli continues to be linked with Europe’s top sides, with Milan firming up their interest in the 22-year-old.

Rossoneri boss Massimiliano Allegri hinted at a January move for the striker on Tuesday, hailing the Italy international’s “extraordinary physical and technical qualities”.

However, the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, has reiterated that Balotelli will not be leaving the Etihad Stadium, before insisting his client is would cost “as much as the Mona Lisa”…

‘Worth the Mona Lisa’ – Raiola paints pretty Balotelli picture

De Bruyne uncertain over Chelsea return

Kevin De Bruyne has made it clear that he will not necessarily return to Chelsea at the end of his current loan spell.

The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Werder Bremen as he seeks to gain first-team experience, and is due to rejoin the Blues at the end of the campaign.

However, the Belgian has stressed that his return to Stamford Bridge is by no means definite, adding that he would rather continue to play at a lower level than sit amongst the Chelsea substitutes.

He told Bild: “According to plan, I will return to Chelsea in the summer. But in football a lot of things change – very fast.

“That’s like in the standings: One week you’re in 12th place, then sixth place, then down again. You have to cope with new situations quickly. If Chelsea doesn’t want me in the summer, you have to think about other options.

“It’s difficult for me to sit on the bench. I know myself, I can’t stand it. I want to play football. If not with Chelsea, then one level below Chelsea.

“As a footballer you think about the next week, maybe two weeks ahead. But not about something about to happen in six months. I have to prove myself on the pitch. I give my best here und try to help Werder. That’s my job. The rest will follow.”

De Bruyne was quick to point out that he keeps a watchful eye on Chelsea’s form, adding: “I follow the club with interest. Losses annoy me, victories make me happy.”

The former Genk midfielder also believes that the appointment of Rafael Benitez has no impact on his own future, with the Spaniard currently only in charge on an interim basis.

“It doesn’t change anything for me,” said De Bruyne. “Last week I had a call with a Chelsea worker. Benitez seems to be a caretaker coach. For how long, it is not clear.”