?Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti has slammed his own side for their abject performance against Wolfsburg in Friday night’s 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena. The Bavarian giants threw away a two goal lead, with the away side powering back from the deficit in the second half to steal a precious point in the last ten minutes of the match.
Speaking in the wake of the match, via FourFourTwo, the Italian manager didn’t hold back on his criticisms of the team performance, offering a staunch critique of the second-half capitulation. Ancelotti claimed:
“We did not play as we wanted. We were slow, without intensity and not compact enough.
“We did not have the game under control as usual, so the game went like this. Sven (Ulreich) made a mistake, but the result is that we did not play well as a team.”
Bayern got the game off to the flyer, with relentless goal machine Robert Lewandowski slotting home a penalty to bag his seventh Bundesliga goal in six matches so far this season. Veteran forward Arjen Robben doubled the lead just before the break, leaving the hosts in a comfortable position going into the second half.
However, Wolfsburg showed far more attacking intent than their opposition in the second half, with star midfielder Maximilian Arnold pulling a goal back after a terrible error from stand-in Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich, before super sub Daniel Didavi stunned the home side with an 84th minute equaliser – slamming home a beautiful finish off the near post.
Bayern have no dropped points in two key matches this season, having previously lost 2-0 in a shock away defeat to Hoffenheim. Ancelotti’s men are in danger of letting Borussia Dortmund run rampant at the top of the league, and will be eager to improve their fortunes next weekend against Hertha Berlin.
In an age where transfer fees are becoming astronomical, a good old fashioned free transfer cannot go unappreciated.
These usually come about when a player becomes disillusioned at his current club, or due to some sort of contractual clause, allowing alerted clubs to pounce on a potential bargain.
In that respect, here are some of the most influential free transfers of the last decade…
6. Demba Ba
The Senegalese hit-man scored seven goals in just 12 games for West Ham in the 2010/11 season, but could not prevent the Hammers from dropping down into the Championship.
As a result of the Irons’ relegation, Ba become available on a free due to a relegation clause in his contract, which Newcastle quickly took advantage of.
Under Alan Pardew, the now 32-year-old managed to score an impeccable 29 goals in 54 games for the Magpies, before leaving to join Chelsea.
Ba led Newcastle to a 5th place finish in his first season at St James’ Park, earning them a Europa League spot, and can be considered an immensely shrewd piece of business.
5. Dani Alves
The Brazilian has become somewhat of a poster boy for the effectiveness of free transfers in recent years, signing for both Juventus and more recently Paris Saint-Germain for nothing.
His PSG career is in it’s infancy, so we will focus on his time in Serie A, in which he scored five goals and made six more as he helped Juventus to another Serie A title, the Coppa Italia, and to the Champions League final, which they ultimately lost.
4. Andrea Pirlo
One of the all time great string-pullers in midfield, Andrea Pirlo shocked AC Milan back in 2011 when he decided to reject their offer of a new contract and join Serie A rivals Juventus.
Pirlo’s decision was vindicated, as he embarked on a trophy laden four years in Turin whilst the Rossoneri declined drastically.
The now 38-year-old cited his reason for leaving the capital as a result of a lack of game time following a period out injured, as he struggled to regain a first team place upon regaining fitness.
Milan’s loss was Juventus’ gain however, as Pirlo helped the club to four Serie A titles in his four years in Turin.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Despite the discounted nature of his free transfer being clouded by his reported £367,600 weekly wages, Zlatan can still be regarded as one of the best free transfers of all time.
The Swede reunited with Jose Mourinho for the 2015/16 campaign, and played a starring role as the Red Devils won the EFL Cup and the Europa League, the former of which saw the 35-year-old net a match winning brace.
In all competitons, United’s number nine notched 28 goals, cementing his place as an exquisite free transfer.
2. Paul Pogba
Juventus became the beneficiaries of yet another situation of player unrest when the then 19-year-old Paul Pogba became disillusioned with life at Old Trafford, as Sir Alex Ferguson opted to play full back Rafael over the Frenchman in midfield.
He consequently refused United’s offer of a new contract and joined the Serie A side on a free transfer, and went on to win four Serie A titles, the 2013 Golden Boy award and was named in the FIFPro World XI for 2015.
Juventus later made a hefty profit of a then world record fee of £89.3m for the 24-year-old, and can count the capture of Pogba in 2012 as exceptional business.
1. Robert Lewandowski
The prolific Polish international opted to run down his contract at Borussia Dortmund and joined their arch rivals Bayern Munich on a free transfer back in 2014, and it could arguably be deemed as the best bit of business of all time.
Lewandowski scored 103 goals over a four year spell at the Westfalenstadion, and since joining the Bavarians, the 29-year-old has bettered those numbers and scored 120 goals in just 155 games.
These staggering numbers just further reinforce the fact that the Pole should go down as one of the best free transfers in footballing history.
Bayern Munich missed out on the chance to go top of the table after drawing 2-2 at the Allianz Arena on Friday against VfL Wolfsburg, proving to be a moment to smile for the traveling fans after the Wolves sacked manager Andries Jonker earlier this week.
Both sides spent the opening 15 minutes testing each other, without offering a serious goal threat. The hosts tallied up three shots and three corners while the traveling Wolfsburg failed to get off the mark in either.
A Robert Lewandowski free-kick flew narrowly wide of Koen Casteels’ goal, while Arjen Robben narrowly missing out on a Sebastian Rudy through ball increased tensions inside the Allianz Arena, Bayern unable to capitalize on early domination.
Just after the 30-minute mark, Lewandowski cleverly won a penalty for Bayern after a stunning flick over his own head. The referee judged that the Polish international was fouled and stepping up to resume responsibilities for the spot kick, the former Borussia Dortmund striker sent Casteels the wrong way to put Bayern in front.
Just before half-time, Bayern’s veteran Dutchman was involved in doubling Bayern’s advantage. With a helping hand from his Brazilian teammate Rafinha, Arjen Robben saw a shot deflected over the top of Koen Casteels to help Bayern breathe easy going into the half-time break.
Maximilian Arnold and Josuha Guilavogui both had quickfire opportunities to pull Martin Schmidt’s side back into the game at the start of the second half, however, the Wolves duo were unable to test Bayern’s stand-in goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.
Wolfsburg’s German midfielder then found a way past Ulreich with his first goal since February, and in some style too. Striking a free-kick from well over 30 yards out, former VfB Stuttgart keeper Ulreich comically fumbled Arnold’s powerful effort into the back of the net, giving the Wolves a lifeline in Bavaria.
Franck Ribéry should have restored Bayern’s two-goal lead with just 10 minutes to go. Thomas Müller beautifully set the French winger up for a free shot at the Wolfsburg goal, however, Ribéry leaned back when taking the shot and saw the ball sail over the crossbar.
Daniel Didavi leveled the score with time running down, nodding a header past his former Stuttgart teammate. Running onto the end of Paul Verhaegh’s cross, Didavi saw his header trickle over the line after hitting the inside of the post to secure a vital point away from home for Wolfsburg.
Bayern Munich defender Rafinha has quashed any hopes of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte landing the 32-year-old any time soon after recently speaking of his devotion to his current club.
Rafinha was a popular man over the summer. After publicly stating that he was unaware of how much game time he would receive over the coming season (thus making the Brazilian question his future), it appears that his doubt was unwarranted – after a tremendous start to this campaign’s Bundesliga.
Chelsea manager Conte was linked with a move for Rafinha over the recently closed transfer window, but Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti managed to keep hold of his man, and now it seems that Rafinha is set to stay for as long as he can:
“Bayern’s bosses know I already had offers from England and Spain before the season started.” Rafinha told reporters (via the Sun).
“I have Bayern in my heart and I always give 100 per cent. They can always count on me.
“Therefore, I think those responsible understand that I really want to play, otherwise I will have to think about my future. I have a very good relationship and contact with the coach [Carlo Ancelotti] and I’m convinced I will get my game time.”
Injuries and varying line-up selections have allowed Rafinha to start three of Bayern’s opening games this term – despite obvious choice David Alaba being Bayern’s favoured left-back.
With some solid performances from the veteran defender, Rafinha has helped oversee victories in the Bundesliga champions’ last two games – scoring seven and not conceding once.
?With the impending release of FIFA 18 by EA Sports, the leaked player ratings and Ultimate Team cards have got the fans of the video game questioning who comes up with them.
And the most recent mind-boggling rating comes for none other than Bayern Munich boss, Carlo Ancelotti.
The questions have come about since the rating of Ancelotti was leaked on ?Reddit, and football fans everywhere are shocked to learn that he is not a gold card in Ultimate Team – but in fact a mere Silver.
Ultimate Team is a side game on FIFA which allows you to create your own squad with the world’s best players – that’s the aim anyway. You must win matches to get coins and the coins you spend on packs which then gives you cards that have players, tactics, fitness levels and even managers.
Recently, Liverpool fans have been the centre of the uproar with the majority of their players – in their opinions of course – much lower rated than they should be. Many questions surrounded Philippe Coutinho’s overall rating and also the defensive work-rate of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
The manager cards aren’t that much to be concerned about because you don’t need a top manager in your side to win games, as long as you have some impressive players on the pitch.