Damiao: I dream of playing for Real Madrid

Leandro Damião, atacante do Internacional (Crédito: VIPCOMM)

Leandro Damião, atacante do Internacional (Crédito:VIPCOMM)

Internacional forward Leandro Damiao has revealed his dream of playing for Real Madrid.

The Brazilian has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe and although he admits it is a personal ambition of his to play for the Santiago Bernabeu side, he insists he is committed to his club and enjoys playing in his homeland.

“Every footballer dreams of playing at a club such as Real Madrid, but I am only 23 and there is plenty of time to take that step forward,” he told UOL.

“Now is not the moment to be thinking of playing in Europe, I just want to continue improving and scoring goals.

“I have a contract with Porto Alegre, I love it here and do not feel the need to move away right now, although it is obvious that the day will come when I will leave Brazil to go and play in Europe.”

Shevchenko approached to coach Ukraine

Retired Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko is being considered the country’s FA as the next head coach of the national team.

Having retired from professional football after Euro 2012, the 36-year-old has now been asked by the organisation’s president Anatoly Konkov to train the national side, after having been briefly linked with a job at his former club Chelsea in May.

“A few years ago, Pep Guardiola achieved incredible results [with Barcelona]” the football chief was quoted as saying on the Ukrainian FA’s website.

“I’m sure Shevchenko will also be able to conquer football as a mentor of the national team, he has enough experience and character. In return, the federation will ensure any necessary assistance is given.”

In October, Shevchenko had suffered a setback with his social-democratic political party Ukraine Forward, securing only 1.6 per cent of the ballot in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections of the five per cent required to claim a seat in the parliament.

Besides playing for the Blues, the experienced forward also spent time at Dynamo Kiev and AC Milan, scoring 219 goals in 444 appearances during his career.

Arsenal ready to off-load Emmanuel Frimpong in new year

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal will listen to offers for Emmanuel Frimpong in the new year after opting not to open negotiations over a new deal, Goal.com can reveal.

The Gunners academy graduate, who has been at the club since he was nine, is out of contract at the end of the season.

But Arsenal chiefs have been unimpressed with the development of the midfielder and it is understood there are no plans to extend his stay at the club beyond next summer.

There is strong interest in Frimpong from Wolves, where the 20-year-old began a loan spell in the second half of last season only for it to be ended after five games because of a cruciate ligament injury to his right knee.

The club, who were relegated to the Championship in the summer, are keen to take Frimpong on loan again in January as it grows increasingly likely that he will leave Emirates Stadium.

Wolves are also interested in buying the feisty midfielder, although there are doubts about whether the Ghanaian is willing to drop down a division permanently.

Frimpong began his comeback with the Arsenal Under-21s at around the same time as his good friend Jack Wilshere and has made two appearances for the first team in the Capital One Cup, against Coventry and Reading.

But he is not expected to add many more to his 16 senior Arsenal appearances. Sources have told Goal.com that Arsene Wenger does not believe Frimpong will develop into a first-team regular and the manager has also been disappointed with the attitude and discipline of the youngster.   

Frimpong courted controversy by involving himself in a spat with Samir Nasri last season and in August was fined £6,000 by the FA and warned about his future conduct following comments made to a Tottenham supporter on Twitter.

Frimpong’s impending departure will represent a blow to the Arsenal academy, as he has been at the club for 11 years, joining in the same intake as Wilshere.

Chinese club Guizhou Renhe confirm Lampard talks

Chinese Super League club Guizhou Renhe have claimed that they are in talks to sign Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

Deputy board chairman Yang Xiayou says that discussions have begun with the England international, who could be set to follow former team-mates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka to the Far East.

Lampard, as well as left-back Ashley Cole, has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in recent weeks with his current contract set to expire at the end of the season.

“Yes, we are in contact with Lampard but so far nothing has been settled,” the Renhe official told the Beijing television station BTV-6.

Roberto Di Matteo has admitted concerns about the chances of the Blues holding on to veterans Lampard and Cole, but expressed his desire to keep the duo at the club.

Lampard has previously been linked with a switch to Major League Soccer in the United States, where he could link up with the likes of David Beckham at Los Angeles Galaxy.

Previously, the Renhe chairman, Dai Yongge, has been quoted in a Chinese newspaper as saying that Lampard will join the club – who will play in the Asian Champions League next season – as captain in the January transfer window.

The Chinese domestic season is set to begin in March, when Guangzhou Evergrande will defend their second league title.

Arsenal target Taarabt is better off at QPR, claims Mark Hughes

QPR manager Mark Hughes has warned Arsenal they will face a struggle to sign Adel Taarabt, insisting that Loftus Road is the best place for the Moroccan midfielder to continue his development.

Rangers are currently bottom of the Premier League after a 1-0 loss against Stoke on Saturday left them without a win in 11 games, but the 23-year-old has impressed with his dribbling and shooting ability so far this season.

And while Arsene Wenger is reportedly interested in bringing the talented youngster to the Emirates Stadium, Hughes is adamant Taarabt is happy where he is – and can become an even better player.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if clubs were looking at [Taarabt] but I know for a fact that he is very happy here and he sees his future here,” he told reporters.

“This is the best place for him because we support him, we give him the best chance to be successful and he understands that.”

Hughes believes the midfielder has worked harder to become a team player, which was a criticism during QPR’s first season back in the top flight in 2011-12 when Taarabt was not a regular fixture in the starting XI.

“He is working exceptionally hard for the team, which in the past has been a criticism of him,” he argued.

“That’s not the case now. He is in a really good place now in terms of his attitude to his work and what he is able to produce on the pitch. We are really pleased with what he is showing on the pitch.”

And Hughes suggested he has not worked with many more talented players than Taarabt – although he can keep on improving to become an even better footballer.

“He’s an outstanding player. In terms of ability alone he is arguably one of the best players I have played or worked with,” he added.

“Obviously that is not the whole package. There are still parts of his game that he has to work on and he understands that.”