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Monday Kickoff: Real Madrid closes in on Ozil, Bellamy set for City departure and more

MesutOzil (

Real Madrid hasn't spent anywhere near the amount of money this summer that it spent last summer, but the Spanish giants may be set to score their best signing of the off-season by landing German World Cup star Mesut Ozil.

Real Madrid is reported to have agreed to personal terms with Ozil, but must still finalize a transfer fee with Werder Bremen for his services.

Of Ozil arrives, he'll join World Cup teammate Sami Khedira as Real Madrid's most recent summer reinforcements for new manager Jose Mourinho. Ozil should also help Real cope with the absence of Kaka, who is sidelined after major knee surgery.

Manchester United had been believed to be in the race for Ozil as well, but appear set to make a move for Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles instead. Manchester United begins its Premier League season today against Newcastle United (3pm, ESPN2).

Here are some other stories to get your Monday start:


Following his latest clash with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, Welsh striker Craig Bellamy looks set to leave City, with a potential move to Cardiff City a real possibility.

Bellamy has butted heads with Mancini ever since the Italian manager arrived and took over for Mark Hughes. Now the question is where will Manchester City send Bellamy. A Cardiff loan is possible, but the club has no intention of selling Bellamy to Tottenham, a known admirer of Bellamy.


Diego Maradona walked away from his job as Argentina men's national team coach and has found a new job he apparently has eyes for. The legendary former playeris interested in the Aston Villa managerial position recently vacated by Martin O'Neill.

Maradona has no historical ties to Villa, but his agent insists that Maradona would consider taking over as boss if an offer was made.

You may now scratch your head.

Villa is coming off an impressive week one victory against West Ham under interim manager Kevin MacDonald.

Bob Bradley had been considered a candidate to replace O'Neill, but a Yahoo report last week revealed that Bradley isn't being seriously considered.


Chelsea continues to chase Brazilian phenom Neymar.

Fenerbahce has completed the signing of Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang.

Marseille's planned move for Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano has fallen apart.

Benfica was dominant in Portugal last season, but began this season with a surprising loss to Academica thanks to the longest last-second game-winner you'll ever see.


What do you think of these developments? Think Ozil can help Real Madrid top Barcelona this season? Can you really see Bellamy playing in the Championship? Did you burst out laughing at the thought of Maradona managing Aston Villa?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Agreed.

    If the Ozil deal goes through Kaka needs to be sold (would probably happen in January). Didn’t seem to take long for the braintrust at RM to realize he is not the player he was at Milan.

    Ozil, Di Maria, Canales . . . my goodness.

  2. Well, if Aston Villa is the club that I think that they are, they will stay far away from Diego Maradona. Many here may think Bradley isn’t the man for the job there, but he SURELY would be a superior choice to Maradona. Maradona is an erratic juggernaut, prone to media gaffs, and would surely somehow find himself in hot water with the FA in short order.

  3. Ives,

    Have you gotten any confirmation about Jozy staying at Villarreal? Most news organization say that Garrido really likes him and wants to have him in this year’s squad, except if there is an acceptable offer.

    I wonder if anything happens between now and Thursday when the team start international competition.


  4. Uhm, Yeah… exactly the same, except Bebe played for a third division team instead of a 1st division team and Ronaldo scored against ManU in a friendly, but other then that…

  5. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona!!

    I cant wait for the Classico

    Real Madrid:


    —–Ozil/Di Maria————Ronaldo/Leon–

    —–Kaka/Granero——–Xabi/Van Der Vaart–












  6. They said they didn’t want to sacrifice the development side for the sake of the first team.

    However, if McDonald does well in the next game they might keep him.

  7. I think Sir Alex stays in contact with his old assistant coach and current Portugal Nat’l team coach Carlos Queiroz who basically tells him who he should buy and develop in Portugal.

  8. Argentines weren’t too popular after the Falklands war. 🙂 Can’t wait to see him there if it ever comes true and probably one of the first questions somebody will ask is about those islands and he will refer to them as Islas Malvinas. LOL

  9. If Ozil goes to Madrid then they have to make it to the Champions League final. Anything less will be a disappointment. They have the best goalie in the world, two of the best field players in the world and the best coach in the world. I would love to see a Madrid/Barca Champions League final, yikes.

    Oh yeah, Bellamy will go to Fulham.

  10. I think Villa should do the right thing and give the interim manager Kevin McDonald a real shot for the job. He brought up a lot of the young talents in that squad from the reserve team and the players are responding to him

  11. so how exactly will Real Madrid’s front 6 line up?




    pretty freaking disgusting. You can even make a sick line up with their bench.

  12. Bob Bradley needs to look for a job in one of the smaller European leagues like in Belguim or the Netherlands. If he’s going to do it in England… he’ll most likely have to start with a Championship level team.

    I have no doubt he would do fine at Villa… he just doesn’t have the connections/scouting experience/transfer experience that a European manager can offer and that is going to scare them away for now.

  13. Ozil is in Werder Bremen’s official team photo (Marca). They are calling it a “cold war” — it sounds inevitable that Ozil will move, and that WB is just holding out for money.

  14. I think its MLS or bust for Adu.

    No one wants him. He couldn’t cut it with a mediocre Swiss team that is about to have a transfer ban slapped down on it.

  15. I am so confused as how Manchester United wouldn’t pony up a VERY reasonable price for Ozil but would pay 7.5 million quid for an unproven Bebe.

    Now I have no doubt that United has done its homework and will do its best to turn Bebe into a star… but you have a proven talent in Ozil.

  16. Bummed Bradley is not being seriously considered for the Villa job. Ives, any idea on where Adu and Demerit stand in regards to new teams?


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