Zorc: Dortmund disappointed Gotze ditched us

The BVB chief criticised the timing of the Germany international’s decision to swap Bundesliga clubs and insisted Marco Reus is going nowhere

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has spoken out about his disappointment in Mario Gotze’s decision to ditch the club for Bayern Munich this summer.

The prodigiously talented 21-year-old agreed to swap Signal Iduna Park for the Allianz Arena for an estimated €37 million in April, just before a crucial Champions League semi-final game with Real Madrid.

The move angered many BVB fans and Zorc admits it was frustrating to know Gotze would leave but criticised the extreme reaction in some quarters.

He told Bild: “Of course we were disappointed about his decision to leave us – especially about the timing. One has to admit that.

“However, the vilification of him I condemn in the strongest terms. I have recently congratulated him for his birthday [June 3].”

Zorc shot down suggestions that Gotze’s fellow Germany international Marco Reus might be the next star exiting Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

“We have long-term plans with Marco, which is also discussed with him that way,” he added.

'Iniesta is out of this world' – Javi Martinez

The Bayern Munich man has heaped compliments on his team-mate and played down marking the attacking midfielder out of the match in the Champions League last season

Spain midfielder Javi Martinez has lavished praise on “out of this world” Andres Iniesta and joked that he would love to have the Barcelona star’s skills for just one day.

The 29-year-old put in a man-of-the-match performance in the world champions’ 2-1 win over Uruguay in their opening Confederations Cup clash and the Bayern Munich man thinks his international team-mate makes the most complex tasks look like child’s play.

“Andres is out of this world,” he told Marca. “What he did against Uruguay was amazing. Quite often it seems like he’s playing against kids. He gets around his opponents with such ease.

“I was telling [Victor] Valdes the other day, I would love to be Iniesta for just one game. He is unbelievable.

“When Iniesta is on the other team to you, you don’t enjoy it. He makes you suffer a lot and, if you give him an inch, he can do just about anything. But, when you play by his side, you can enjoy watching him do amazing things while making them look so easy.”

Martinez was coy about ensuring the Barca attacker was marked out of both legs of the European last-four clashes between the German and Spanish giants towards of the end of last season.

He added: “I was fortunate that in both Champions League semi-finals we were able to stop him and he didn’t create too much danger.”

Spain face Confederations Cup minnows Tahiti in their next game on Thursday, with kick-off at 21:00CET.

Who is your top defender of the season?

Ahead of this year’s Goal 50, we want to know who you think was the best stopper during the season 2012-13

POLL

The latest Goal 50 for 2012-13 is fast approaching as we review the best players from all regions of the world over the previous season.

This is the sixth edition of the prize, which has previously been won by current holder Cristiano Ronaldo (twice), Barcelona star Lionel Messi (twice) and Wesley Sneijder in 2010.

As part of the build-up to this year’s gong, we are running a series of polls asking readers to vote for their own best players in each position for what should be an intriguing debate.

After kicking off with the goalkeepers, we now put forward a number of high-profile candidates who can lay claim to having been the best defender in the world game over the last 12 months.

Bayern Munich were undoubtedly the team of the season and they have three representatives in our list. Right-back Philipp Lahm, central defender Dante and left-back David Alaba all impressed throughout 2012-13.

In Spain, Raphael Varane’s emergence in defence was one of the highlights of Real Madrid’s season, while Gerard Pique was again important for Barcelona as they notched up 100 points on their way to winning La Liga. At left-back, Jordi Alba’s performances have been outstanding for club and country.

Over in Italy, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci ensured Juventus secured a successful defence of their Serie A title, while Thiago Silva cemented his reputation as one of the game’s best stoppers with his performances for Paris Saint-Germain in France.

It was not a vintage season for defending in the Premier League but Rio Ferdinand reminded everyone of his quality as Manchester United secured league glory and Jan Vertonghen enjoyed an impressive first campaign at Tottenham.

HAVE YOUR SAY

In total we have 15 goalkeepers up for your vote to decide on the best goalkeeper for the 2012-13 season.
Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll and leaving your comments below. You can also get in touch via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Guardiola will improve Bayern, says Schuster

The former Barcelona midfielder believes the 42-year-old has the ability to make the Bavarians even better than they already are when he takes over

West Germany legend Bernd Schuster is confident that Pep Guadiola will prove to be a resounding success when he takes the reins at Bayern Munich.

The Bavarians sealed an historic treble under the tutelage of Jupp Heynckes in 2012-13 but the 68-year-old will make way for the former Barcelona boss when his contract expires on June 30.

However, Schuster is certain that the Spain international will continue the club’s hegemony for years to come.

“He has the ability to develop an already-dominant group,” the former Real Madrid and Barca midfielder told Kicker.

“I trust him to inspire Bayern with his own ideas and tactics. He senses how the Bayern bosses live football.”

Guardiola enjoyed a glittering career as a player and Schuster went on to say that he was most influenced by the ideas of Johan Cruyff.

The newly-appointed Malaga coach said: “Guardiola is influenced by the style of Cruyff, who invented Barca’s brand of football, as it were. Pep brought this to the modern day.”

However, Schuster is unsure whether Guardiola will attempt to institute a copy of his Barcelona team at the Allianz Arena.

He added: “Only time will tell whether there will be the spectacle of tiki-taka. Whether it fits in with German values is questionable.”

Betting Special: Expect Cavani to shun Chelsea and Manchester City for a move to Real Madrid

Napoli’s Uruguayan striker is a target for the Premier League’s two richest clubs, but Al Hain-Cole expects him to turn them down in favour of a move to the Spanish capital

After three seasons and over 100 goals, Edinson Cavani seems set to leave Napoli this summer, prompting a transfer scramble among Europe’s biggest clubs.

The Uruguay international is currently playing alongside Luis Suarez at the Confederations Cup, and apparently shares his strike partner’s dream of playing for Real Madrid, who are 11/10 (2.10) favourites with Bet Victor to seal his signature.

With Gonzalo Higuain seemingly on his way out of the Bernabeu, it must be only a matter of time before los Blancos offer the requisite €60 million to bring the Napoli striker to Spain, particularly after rivals Barcelona splashed out on Neymar, and it is worth getting in on those odds now before they drop any lower.

Madrid’s main competitors are to be found in the Premier League, where their former manager Jose Mourinho is available at 7/4 (2.75) to lure the 26-year-old to Chelsea, after already seeing a player-plus-cash bid involving Fernando Torres turned down.

Manchester City’s comparable offer of Edin Dzeko plus €29 million was met with a similar lack of enthusiasm by Aurelio De Laurentiis, and Manuel Pellegrini may have a difficult task on his hands if he is to convince both chairman and player to shun other offers for a move to the Etihad Stadium, at odds of 5/2 (3.50).

Considering the Partenopei’s hefty asking price, it is no surprise to see moneybags Paris Saint Germain in the running, but odds of 40/1 (41.00) suggest that Monaco’s Radamel Falcao will remain French football’s highest profile attacking acquisition this summer.

That same 40/1 (41.00) price is also available on Cavani moving to either Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but having signed Neymar and Mario Gotze in big money moves respectively, neither club have shown much interest in the Uruguayan.

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Manchester United are both on offer at 50/1 (51.00) to gazump their Premier League rivals by completing a shock move for the Napoli man.


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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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