Thomas Vermaelen became the first Arsenal captain to lift a major title in the last nine years. This was despite the Belgian international not playing much football in recent seasons. The centre back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny has been preferred by Arsenal winger this season. This coupled with his contract situation meant that Vermaelen has been heavily linked with a move away from the club in recent months. He did extremely well to put speculation out of his career and lift the FA Cup after a 3-2 win over Hull city.
Despite this victory, the 27-year-old’s future at the club is still in doubt and he has been linked with clubs in Spain and Italy. This is primarily to protect his interests with the national team. Owing to intense competition, his place in the Belgian national team is under threat. However, he appears to be heading to the World Cup 2014 as one of the perfect players for the national team. Vermaelen says that he is just concentrating on the task ahead – to get Belgium to the latter stages of the competition.
Vermaelen is likely to partner Vincent Kompany at the back for Belgium, who are regarded as the most talented squad outside the usual favourites like Brazil and Spain.
“I’ve a lot of experience of sitting on the bench then coming back so I’m not worried about being match fit. There is still plenty of preparation time for the World Cup and I will have the chance to play in a few friendly games before the tournament starts. A lot of people are talking about this Belgian team and wondering how we will do in Brazil. We are stepping into unknown territory. Only one player in our squad has experience of it,” said Vermaelen ahead of the World Cup.
Gareth Bale’s first season playing in Spain with Real Madrid has gone amazingly well as he was one of the protagonists in the journey of his new club and their mission to win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.
€85 million was the astronomically high that Madrid had to pay in order to bring the Welshman from Tottenham after a majestic debut season with Real Madrid, it has paid off or at least starting to.
From his incredible winning goal which clinched the Copa del Rey trophy for Real Madrid as he raced past Marc Bartra in the dying few minutes of the match and an own pass allowed him to reach for the ball before anyone else and slipped it past Pinto which secured the Spanish cup for the team of Carlo Ancelotti.
At that point in time Bale started paying off his price tag but there still was things that needed to be done before calling it over in his opening season as a Real Madrid player.
The Champions League scenario was set as Real Madrid and Athletic Madrid locked horns with Lisbon being the stage where both teams meet and even though it was Sergio Ramos who named as the man of the match, the contributions made by Bale cannot go unnoticed as the Welshman scored the 2nd goal for Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale revealed his excitement about what it feels like winning a trophy such as the Champions League.
“I’ve learned from past experience to keep going, forget about the chances you’ve missed and keep persevering. Thankfully I got the decisive goal. It was great to see it go in. I came here to play in big competitions and win trophies. This is what every footballer dreams of and it doesn’t get any bigger in club football. Lifting that trophy is a feeling you can’t describe and it will be a memory I will never forget.” Bale confessed.
Gareth Bale’s lighting speed goal against Barcelona in the finals of the Copa del Rey has amazed many fans, coaches and players around the globe as the Welshman is proving why Real Madrid was willing to offload €91 million for the 24 years old midfielder.
When the match concluded there was nothing but praise towards Bale. Carlo Ancelotti considered Bale’s goal to be the most defining moment of the entire match while Xabi Alonso recognized the work and the goal that the former Tottenham player scored during their match against Barcelona. Continue reading 'UP TO SPEED'»