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Monday Kickoff: Dunga discusses Neymar’s star status; Sturridge says Liverpool are better without Suarez; and more

NeymarBrazil3-CameroonWorldCup2014 (Getty)


Prior to suffering a tournament-ending back injury, Brazilian star Neymar had played his side into position to potentially win a World Cup on home soil. However, despite his best efforts, the young Brazilian has a long ways to go if he is to impress his new national team manager.

Brazil manager Dunga insists that Neymar is yet to reach the level of the game’s top stars, while also stating his intentions of helping the 22-year-old forward become one of the world’s best.

“He’s the best player in Brazil but no star, Dunga said. “To have star status, you have to have world champion credentials on your back, but we are going to work to make sure that, when he’s with the Selecao, Neymar performs above the level that defines a star.”

Dunga, who was a member of the Brazil team that won the 1994 World Cup,  was appointed as successor to Luiz Felipe Scolari in July.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:


With the loss of star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool have chosen to focus on improving the team as a whole ahead of their first Champions League campaign since 2009-10. Despite not purchasing a true like-for-like replacement, Suarez’s in-house successor insists Liverpool can thrive without the Uruguayan.

Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge, who scored 24 goals alongside Suarez’s 34 last season, believes his side has enough talent to not only cope with Suarez’s loss, but improve on last year’s performances.

“I think so, with the players we’ve brought in,” Sturridge said when asked if Liverpool can be better this season. “No disrespect – he’s a great player and will be missed – but we move on.”

The 24-year-old striker scored the winner in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Southampton Sunday.


With the additions of seven new players, including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Thomas Vermaelen, Barcelona has conducted plenty of business throughout the Summer Transfer Window. However, new manager Luis Enrique is open to seeing even more new faces at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona manager still feels the squad has room for improvement, going so far as to say that the team may not be done in the transfer market.

“I haven’t ruled out further signings,” Enrique said. “Neither has the club. Not now and not in the future. We’re always open to strengthening and improving the squad”.

Enrique’s biggest signing, Suarez, will be serving a suspension for the first few months of his Barcelona tenure. However, the Uruguayan is available for training and friendlies and Enrique expects to play Suarez in the club’s friendly against Club Leon.

“He looks like a world-class player,” Enrique said. “He knows what we’re all about and he is exactly what I expected. He’ll feature in the game. It’ll be good for the fans to see him”.


With the arrival of Diego Costa, former Chelsea striker Demba Ba saw the writing on the wall, and responded with a move to Turkish side Beskitas. The Senegalese striker, who scored five goals in 19 appearances last season, believes that his lack of opportunities at Chelsea were more-so due to his lack of star status than his production on the field.

“Sometimes when you are at a club with a lot of big stars, the name counts for more than the statistics,” Ba said. “Unfortunately, it was like that in my case. But I am happy I moved from Newcastle to Chelsea and achieved what I did.”

Despite his move to Turkey, Ba went on to say that he would continue rooting his former team.

“I have lots of friends there,” Ba said. “Eden Hazard is one of my best friends. I am close to Branislav Ivanovic, too. All my wishes are for them to win the league.”

Chelsea kickoff their Premier League Monday when they travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.


Sevilla have announced the signing of midfielder Ever Banega from Valencia. (REPORT)

Sporting CP defender Marcos Rojo has apologized to the club for trying to force move to Manchester United. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola expects to go out and find a replacement for the injured Javi Martinez. (REPORT)

Do you think Neymar is a star? How will Liverpool cope without Suarez? Where do you think Barcelona could strengthen their team?

Share your thoughts below


  1. All I can say is everything goes in cycles, there was a time when serie A was the best…then the PL. but now you see that is starting to change , cause the very best players don’t want to be in the EPL. Hell even Man Utd is having a hard time signing players. C ronaldo left some time ago, Bale (one of their own I should add …is out. Ibra has never even wanted to come or Messi, Cavani, Suarez, Neymar etc even Rooney considered leaving…the very best. Now the next batch of good players one step below the names given, remain in the league. Who were the big signings in the PL this summer? Sanchez yes very good…but then Mangala?? 40 million euro? for a guy who didnt play a minute in the WC? behind Sakho and awful Koscielny in the pecking order? Bojan at Stoke and possibly Di Maria?….sorry not interseted

  2. “Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola expects to go out and find a replacement for the injured Javi Martinez.”

    Anyone else think that Geoff Cameron, who was left off Stoke’s game day squad, is on Pep’s long list? I there is a better than slight chance that this could happen.

  3. Gald that Suarez left the premiere league, biting aside, he didn’t belong there. I’m done with the Americanized Premier League too, It’s still a great league don’t get me wrong, and there is more parity and all, but……everything around it, it’s entourage the show businness part, tabloid stupidity and the cliche words narrators use …everything around really annoys me. Bundesliga on the other hand is the league to watch , the only downside being that there’s only two teams that are above the rest… but I have a feeling that will change. The Germans will change that. I think think the Bundesliga is a serious, and at the same time low key compared to PL …more humble should I say? and the fact that teams like B Munich are so financially succesful and have been generating revenues for quite some time, without the help of Sheiks or Russian oligarch’s money. The national team players are World Champions unlike the PL nationals.English players are really really bad….so overrated and concerned with the celebrity part of being a player. man I could go on and on

    • True, but the EPL has the greatest revenue and pays the highest median salary. That being said, I think that EPL and Bundesliga have the best stadium atmospheres in Europe.

      • Sometimes, its not all about revenue and$$$ c’mon thats the american influence . there is the glory part ..that really captivates me. The Germans want the glory too …and revenue. But most important winning and winning in style

    • Oh c’mon, the EPL has always been “showtime,” a big show and tabloid central. Have you been to a game? The NBCSN broadcasting is something separate and American. You wouldn’t blame F1 for how it is covered by NBC, why would you blame EPL.

      The big changes to me have been American style LBOs that saddle teams with debt, an emphasis on profit and raised ticket prices, and the EPL teams becoming ever more cosmopolitan. But the idea that tabloid England has suddenly turned the EPL into too much of a show is naive, it’s been years since people could, for instance, simply watch their team’s games on TV.

      I also think that EPL commentators’ knowledge and calmness was at one point a step up from American commentary. Our quality has now improved where being a calm understated broadcaster is more style choice we can take or leave. But if you remember 90s telecasts, we are ages ahead of where we once were.

      • agree but up to a point…I still believe that there’s is a better future for Bund because they have got the right approach and can learn from the mistakes of the EPL…relying on foreign money and Intl players. What does EPL do to make the league better buy buy buy and spend on foreign talent to the point where they dominate the league (intl players) what happens to domestic talent? you’ve seen it in the WC and Euro championship…Nada. Rooney is like the only outstanding exception. true they generate revenue but in Germany if they keep doing things the way they been doing , they will dominate this sport for years to come. they have been developing the league and at the same time developing the players from a young age. No help from sheiks… Bayer Munich is the biggest spending team in Germany right? (money they have made revenue of) and how many nationals in the starting 11? 6? something like that? and world champs!! now look at Man City….how many nationals in the starting 11? and Chelsea? even those two combined don’t equal Bayern in terms of nationals out on the field. This is what really is happening to English football. I’m not into cosmopolitan leagues really I look up to leagues that work hard and create their own talent

      • Just think back to David Beckham and his hair.
        Articles were written guessing about his hair. He would hide it from reporters to show it only during games etc….

        The UK is plenty good at Tabloid madness.

    • More humble? Like Robben? Pshaw. They don’t get as much hype, so they act like they don’t get as much hype. You have a feeling that two team dominance will change? I hope you can take solace in that feeling for the next decade as Bayern wins 17 trophies or so out of 20.

      • The EPL is fun to watch. There is lots of competitiveness and most of the matches will keep you throughout. Who wants to watch Mighty Bayern blow out 12 opponents in a row week after week. The same will probably be said for PSG in that league also. I don’t care that @57 of their last @70 of Newcastle’s goals have been scored by French speakers, all I care about is that the level of play is good and the competition is there.

    • Is the problem that English players are bad, or that the sheer financial clout of the league is inhibiting its players from reaching the top echelon?

      You look at the teams at the top, they’re almost entirely foreign-born in their starting 11’s. Man City, for instance, has one – repeat (1) – Englishman in their starting 11, and that’s the goalkeeper, Joe Hart. Now that Lampard and Cole are gone, Chelsea’s down to 1 as well, CB John Terry. Arsenal’s the one developmental club at the top tier but that’s benefitted the French as much as England because of Wenger. Liverpool’s got a few more but even most of their offseason signings were foreigners.

      I don’t think it’s complicated. You only develop a top player by actually playing them (and often living with their mistakes), but that isn’t happening with the top English prospects right now…much to the detriment of the English national team setup and the development of the individual English player. Much easier and more certain just to buy a foreign player who’s already a proven commodity than give a young guy a chance and live with his growing pains.

      You have to look no further than MLS to see what getting regular minutes in a stable environment can do…even for English players like Dom Dweyer and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Be very interesting to see what happens when Man City starts loaning their young guns out to NYCFC for peanuts; that little power bloc has the potential to completely distort both leagues.

  4. Liverpool looked ok yesterday, they were lucky not to end up in a tie, but they are not nearly as good as last year. Suarez will be missed

    • Did any team look sharp yesterday or Saturday? Suarez will be missed but the first game of the season is hardly an accurate judge of anything. But Daniel is training with all these new players. He sees the upgrade in quality per position. I believe him when hays hs better.

      • Liverpool poured on 101 goals last season but also allowed 50. They allowed 13 more than City, who won the title with roughly the same GF. The key to me is not so much offense as defense……can they trim GA enough to shrink their ties and losses?

        But it’s not Chelsea, who had nearly half their GA (27) but also 30 fewer GF (71). They need to worry about goals for.

      • agreed. liverpool was great to watch last year, but partly because they through caution to the wind when attacking. without suarez’s reliable scoring, it’s even more imperative that they lock up the back.

    • I love it when Hendo is coupling with the two headed speed monster of Sterling and Sturridge, but I’d really love to see the Reds go after Cavanni from PSG.

    • My understanding is that the transfer ban has not kicked in yet, so they are trying to load up on players before the transfer ban is in effect.

      • Exactly. It’s on appeal. Conveniently, the club can indeed load up on transfers before the punishement (if any) takes effect. Like eating a ginormous lunch when you know you’re going to be sent to bed without any dinner.

      • Still, it is unfair to the club that pays Suarez’s wages for him to be banned from club activities/games for something he did with the national team.

      • i hear ya, but the other side is that a theoretically innocent club could be effectively punished by denying them any reprieve while the decision is under appeal.

        i think the current process does favor the clubs/players more than the governing organizations, but i’d rather err on that side.

        and, if you haven’t noticed, barca is also having to pay premiums (20m for mathieu?) on those transfer fees due to other clubs knowing they’re desperate; so wouldn’t say the punishment isn’t having any effect yet.

      • OK, maybe some effect — but keep in mind that Barcelona is worth about $2.4 billion, with annual revenues in the neighborhood of $600-700 million. I think the answer is a quicker appeal process that prevents the offending club from effectively blunting the penalty.

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