Tag: Real Madrid

Ancelotti’s lesson to Iranian coaches.

After a very hard and heavy defeat against a long-time rival,  Barcelona, Ancelotti the Real Madrid head coach gave a great unintended lesson to every single Iranian coach in how to be graceful in victory and truthful in the loss.

Khabar Varzeshi newspaper suggested that The Italian coach was exemplary after his team lost at home 0-4 to bitter rivals Barcelona by accepting full responsibility, unlike typical Iranian coach who is looking for scapegoats and false excuses to justify his team’s defeat.

The newspaper wrote: “Compare the behavior of the experienced and Professional Real Madrid coach to the behavior of some Iranian coaches who blame everyone but themselves in case of defeat. Barcelona scored four goals at Real Madrid’s home stadium to avenge a series of previous defeats by Ancelotti’s players. Barcelona Fans could not believe at all that their team would cross the barrier of Real Madrid with such ease playing this good game and with astonishing results,

 After this game, Carlo Ancelotti, without giving any excuse, just said: I am responsible for this defeat, but I ask you not to create a crisis from this loss; Because we will return to our normal routine and bounce back stronger.” If we compare this behavior of the Real Madrid coach with the behavior of most Iranian coaches who blame everyone but themselves in case of defeat, it is an education and teaching that needs to be followed if Iranian coaches really seek success and respect. Iranian coaches usually blame the referee being their favorite targets, the federation, the Ministry of Sports, and other factors for the loss but never apportion the blame or even think of the possibility that they have misread the game, made the wrong substitution, used the wrong gameplan or simply they were outplayed by a better organized and coached team.

Certainly, with his experience, this coach can turn Real Madrid into the same good and invincible team again. The first step is for a coach to admit his mistakes, which Ancelotti has accepted, so there is a lot of hope that he will get his team back on track. “Unlike Iranian coaches, who do not take the first step, which is to admit their own mistakes and weaknesses.”

Beiravand in defiant mood

Team Melli and Antwerp’s goalkeeper was in a defiant mood when interviewed by a Dutch website. Here is the excerpt.

And then the sky cleared. He conceded seven goals in his first three matches, but in the past ten days, he collected three clean sheets. Alireza Beiranvand (28) is currently doing so well at Antwerp – last night he was Man of the Match against Eupen – that even an extra goalkeeper is no longer so urgent. ‘All the Iranian people are praying for me,’ he claims.

‘It was so difficult’ we could not describe the first months of Beiranvand near Antwerp any better. Months after his arrival was first announced, he still arrives at the Bosuil behind schedule. At a time when goalkeeper Jean Butez has been training for weeks with the team. Result: Beiranvand is warming the bench. ‘But the fact that I wasn’t playing meant that I had to train twice as hard. Leave? Didn’t think about it for a second. Never. I wanted to do my best to convince the coach.’  ‘You are two months behind,’ the coach told me when I arrived. But it’s not that I hadn’t done anything for two months, huh … It was frustrating that I didn’t get a chance. I was really angry. Watch out, that had nothing to do with Jean. He’s my best friend off the field. But on it, he is my nemesis. ‘


Casillas & Kepa

Ultimately, Beiranvand got his chance. Against Tottenham in the Europa League and afterward at home against Club Brugge. That did not go smoothly. Even more: Ivan  Leko was remarkably hard on Beiranvand after the match. Something Beiranvand and his 3 million Instagram followers could only accept moderately.

‘How could he say such a thing? You do not do that. I was mentally broken by those statements. A coach is like a father, then such a statement is a major mental blow. If a coach talks about you like that, you don’t think you will get a chance anymore of course. Look at the relationship between José Mourinho and Iker Casillas at Real Madrid at the time. He also put it behind him. But those things sometimes happen. Kepa, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, is now also on the bench at Chelsea. And somehow I knew that sooner or later I would get my chance. I’ve never doubted myself. Not a moment. And haven’t regretted signing here for a second, really. Every day I enjoy working more and more in Europe. And all the Iranian people are praying for me. That inspires me even further to work harder. I did not come to Antwerp to stay here for the rest of my life. From here I will go to one of the best clubs in the world, you will see. ”

Queiroz and the European style in Asia.

It is not a solid rule that a coach with a strong curriculum vitae and great experience can succeed, make a difference, lead a tactical revolution anywhere in the world, and with any footballing entity he trains.

Alberto Zaccheroni has been strongly established in Asia, where he lifted the AFC Asian Cup title with Japan, and had a reasonable time with UAE, not to mention that he was one of the biggest names in football world coaching beforehand. Yet , he failed to repeat the same success in UAE.

It is also not possible to think that moderately famous coaches with modest CVs and achievement have no keys to success. There simply no specific rule on that.

Zlatko Dalic for example, was not a great coach before coming over to train in the Persian Gulf,  training at club levels and not really to any great success, yet with Croatia , this man achieved a remarkable success.

The simple reality is that , many factors in football has to combine to produce success and lift trophies. Before coaching in Asia Marcello Lippi, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Alberto Zaccheroni and Carlos Queiroz, were household names, but that is no guarantee for winning titles.

The other reality is that the experience of most of the big names coaches is not so good in Asia, especially the European mindsets that have not been able to prove themselves, or have not succeeded in imposing their style on Asian footballers.

The nature of football in Asia and Europe is different in many aspects and that is the major reason for the lack of success of European coaching celebrities. It may be associated with physical weakness, mindsets, discipline, mental abilities and failure to absorb the European tactics, as hinted by veteran Italian Lippi when he talked about the players of China.

The current AFC Asian Cup  2019 wrote the final scenario in the march of Marcello Lippi, Goran Erikson and Carlos Queiroz, while continuing to swing Paolo Pinto with South Korea in spite of the state of anger sweeping the Korean fans  after their exit from the tournament and the loss of the dream they have been looking for 85 Years.

It is interesting to study Queiroz’s case

Carlos Queiroz has been with Team Melli for 8 years. More than any coach in the history of Iran National Team. The man coached Real Madrid, Portugal, UAE and South Africa with two stint as assistant coach to Sir Alex Ferguson in Manchester United. There is no denying his record of excellence. However, if one follows Queiroz’s career, a major lacking is noted in his CV. Queiroz is no title winner and has rarely succeeded in lifting trophies. Regrettably, he has no championship pedigree.

Queiroz succeeded in leading Iran to the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, and that was never achieved before him, it is a huge achievement but the big prize has always been the AFC Asian Cup.

It was a sad end for Queiroz tenure with Team Melli when they he was comprehensively beaten by Japan in the semi-final. Team Melli which has not conceded a single goal from the start of the competition, collapsed and lost by 3 goals. Queiroz , true to his character, blamed the momentary lapse of concentration of his players leading to the first goal for that defeat. The truth is much more complex. It was his failure to change the style of play and his poor reading of the Japanese tactics, that lead to this defeat. But the Portuguese man is adept in deflecting blame on something or somebody.

Ironically, he never talked about winning the title. Perhaps Queiroz never believed in his team’s ability and skill to lay a claim for the title. He did not even consider Iran Team good enough for the semifinal at the beginning naming Korea Japan Australia and China as the real contenders. Surely he knew his players much better than we do and hence he never intimidated the Championship.

His personal trait was quite suspect.

Carlos Queiroz was a man with so many persons created in one. By far the most contentious of Team Melli coaches. Frequently controversial, Creator of many soaps, divisive personality, and a person who will never shy from belittling or  insulting his opponents (the Donald Trump side of him). The man always depicted himself as the one that has the monopoly of knowledge and intelligence when it comes to football and Team Melli in particular (the Jose Mourinho side).

He could also be compassionate, caring and kind when he wanted to be.

The Portuguese, known for his controversial expressions and words, quoted the famous lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s song “The moment has come.”  Before he set course to what looks like a Colombian adventure.

Some will miss him, some are glad to see the back of him. In any case, credit must be given to the man for making a difference in Team Melli. It is doubtful that his legacy will survive, if a local coach is appointed to replace him.  A coach in the class of Queiroz or better might achieve the big success with this generation of Iranian footballers and win something. Queiroz has changed or at least tried to improve many aspects of the organization of Team Melli, his players mentality, discipline, physical training regime among many other positives of his career.

Spain announces their squad for the World Cup 2018.

 Such is the abundance of talent available to Julen Lopetegui, that the Spanish boss has been able to omit a number of high profile players from his squad for this summer’s tournament in Russia.

High profile players left out the squad

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Premier League fans will be interested to hear that a number of players that ply their trade in the English top-flight will not be with La Roja this summer. Chelsea quarter Marcos Alonso, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata have all missed out on the 23-man squad.

Manchester United counterparts Ander Herrera and Juan Mata join the Blues players in being snubbed by the Spanish boss, while unsurprisingly Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin will miss out too. Barcelona’s highly-rated utility man Sergi Roberto will fell hard done by not to be on the plane, though.

Big decisions in attack

In terms of quality, Lopetegui is spoilt for choice, just like his France, Brazil and German counterparts. He can only name 23 players in his squad, while are likely to be players who have missed out that the Spanish boss will have wanted to take, but just could not fit into the squad. The Spanish bosses’ attacking selections are interesting.

The exclusion of Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was particularly noticeable, as the Chelsea striker had been La Roja’s first choice forward at Euro 2016. Morata has endured a difficult for first season in English football, scoring just 11 Premier League goals after a big money summer move from Real Madrid.

Spain does not have a great deal of choice in the central striking department. Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is back in the squad but has struggled for form with La Roja. The home-based players like Iago Aspas and Rodrigo have both been in good form this season for Celta Vigo and Valencia, scoring 22 and 16 respectively in La Liga. However, both have question marks over their quality at international level.

One of the favourites to win the World Cup

The sheer quality in La Roja’s squad makes Spain one of the favourites to win the World Cup. In the last decade or so, they have been there or thereabouts when it comes to challenging for the big titles.

La Roja seems strong in every area of the pitch, so they should definitely go far in the competition. Lopetegui’s side kick-off their World Cup campaign with a tough game against neighbours and European champions Portugal on 15th May. On paper, it is the Spaniards tough game of the group, with Iran and Morocco the other two teams in Group B.

Whatever squad the Julen Lopetegui picked, Spain were always going to one of the teams to watch. The players in La Roja’s squad have the potential to go all the way. Only time will tell if they will become world champions for the second time.

Spain squad for 2018 World Cup:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Atletico Bilbao)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) , Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nacho (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Saul (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: Isco (Real Madrid), Sergio Asensio (Real Madrid), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo (Valancia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

Has Julen Lopetegui chosen the correct squad for the World Cup?

Morocco announces FIFA World Cup 2018 squad

Morocco coach Herve Renard announced a provisional list of 23 players and three reserves that will make up the North African team, who return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

The team will begin their preparation in Rabat on 24 May before taking part in three warm-up matches, prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

Renard’s Atlas Lions will play Ukraine on 31 May and Slovakia on 4 June (both games in Geneva, Switzerland) before taking on Estonia in Tallinn on 9 June.

Morocco’s match schedule at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

All squads are provisional until the final list of 23 players is announced by FIFA, following their submission by participating teams, on 4 June.

Morocco provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia, Spain), Yassine Bounou (Girona, Spain), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger);

Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus, Italy), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir, Turkey), Badr Benoun (Raja Casablanca), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid, Spain), Hamza Mendyl (Lille, France);

Midfielders: M’bark Boussoufa (Al Jazira, UAE), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord, Netherlands), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen, France), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord, Netherlands), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray, Turkey), Faycal Fajr (Getafe, Spain), Amine Harit (Schalke, Germany);

Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor, Turkey), Aziz Bouhaddouz (St. Pauli, Germany), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes, Spain), Mehdi Carcela (Standard de Liege, Belgium), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax, Netherlands)

Shojaei left out of Team Melli squad.

Team Melli arrived in Korea well ahead of the clash against South Korea at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday 31st August.

The Taeguk Warriors have a poor record against Iran of late, losing their last four meetings 1-0. For the Koreans this match is more than beating Iran as their qualification to the finals is in doubt if they lose.

Iran, who have already booked their berth in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, will also play Syria five days later in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.

“South Korea are one of Asia’s most powerful teams. It will be a good opportunity for us to learn and to continue our progress,” Carlos Queiroz, the former Real Madrid coach told the reporters at Incheon International Airport.

“I’ve never lost a game to South Korea yet and we are going to keep our unbeaten record against them. We will do our best in this match,” Queiroz added.

“Iran will not defend against South Korea and we will display our best performance. Team Melli have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup but we are going to defeat South Korea because I believe that the best way for learning is victory,” he stated.

When asked about the ban on Team Melli Captain Masoud Shojaei and his club and country teammate Ehsan Hajsafy, the Portuguese head coach refrained from answering.

“We Will Not Go to Russia as Tourists” Carlos Queiroz

John Duerden

Carlos Queiroz has been making history this week with Iran, and he wants to do so again next summer.

On June 12, Team Melli, as the national team is known, qualified for the World Cup — the first time they’ll be in back-to-back competitions — and now their sights are set on a debut appearance in the knockout stages.

Not long before midnight at the iconic Azadi Stadium in Tehran, the Mozambique-born manager was thrown into the air by his squad of Iranian players after they had defeated Uzbekistan 2-0. It was in recognition of a perfect World Cup qualification campaign and their being second only to Brazil in booking a berth in Russia.

“The atmosphere and excitement of the fans were great. They deserve this,” Queiroz told ESPN FC.

Iran deserve it too, and have been dominant in the third round of qualification, doing the job with two of the ten games still to play. Not only are Iran unbeaten, but not once has the defence been breached. Perhaps most impressive was that all knew a win at home to Uzbekistan would be enough for a ticket to Russia, and all expected exactly that would happen. This is a team that delivers.

“We tried not to think about the World Cup, not to play two games in the same game,” said Queiroz who was appointed in 2011. “We just wanted to focus on Uzbekistan, just win the game and collect the points. No doubt we were the best team on the pitch and fortunately we won. Someone needs to win in football, and it was us.”

After four years in which Iran was Asia’s highest-ranked team according to FIFA, few would argue that this team is the best on the pitch, the only one of any of the traditional continental powerhouses to shine consistently in qualification.

Despite that, Queiroz believes Iran still has work to do.

“I think that, honestly, there are two competitions in Asia,” said the former Real Madrid and Portugal boss. “The stats and the real competition. From a data point of view, the numbers show that we are the No. 1 and there is no doubt about that. We did not concede one goal, did not lose and qualified with two games left.

“But overall, we are far away from the international level. In that sense, I believe that South Korea and Japan are one step ahead of us. They have more experience and football closer to European standards. This is the gap we need to close during our preparation.”

Carlos Queiroz’s Iran became the second team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, after Brazil.

Preparation is key. There is a year until it all starts. In the past, Iran have struggled to arrange training camps and friendlies, watching with envy as Asian rivals play all around the world.

“Not many [understand] as to the right amount of credit we deserve for this qualification,” he said. “It is hard to explain to the world our problems and that it is hard to find a place to train or teams to play.”

Queiroz has had numerous run-ins with bosses at the Iranian Football Federation and various clubs in his six years in the position. Now he wants total support in the 12 months leading to Russia.

“I will try to make a statement similar to a famous statement made by a famous old and great president: The question is not what Team Melli can do for Iran, but what Iran can do for Team Melli.

“In order to progress, we need better infrastructure and financial support for camps and friendly games.If we don’t do that, the result will be stagnation. This is not the expectation for Iran fans and not what they deserve.

“It is time to say that the national team has been doing everything for Iranian football, now it is time for the authorities to step up. The passion is there and we need to implement a different program in order for different players to progress. In Portugal we were producing good players 26 or 30 years ago, but in Portugal we did not sleep and kept producing players. This is what Iran misses — a master plan with an infrastructure and individual support.”

If all goes well, the next stage of the plan is within reach. Iran has appeared in four World Cups but has yet to survive the group stage.

Iran performed well in 2014, but this is a different team now — more cosmopolitan, confident and consistent. Young stars like striker Sardar Azmoun and midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi are already in Russia but ready to make the jump to the big leagues and expand further the country’s growing pool of players who are active and impressing in Europe.

“We have built a team and a squad of 26 and more players and I have more options,” he said. “I have three goalkeepers, three right-backs and so on. At the next World Cup, I can rest people and keep them fresh for the games while keeping the same standard.

“This is due to our players being brilliant. I have never saw in my life players who made such sacrifices.”

Now is not the time to stop.

“My goal and dream is to get to the knockout stage at the 2018 World Cup. I am fighting against this satisfaction disease. We should not be satisfied with the first round. We need to be ambitious. We need to think big. We will not go to Russia as tourists.”

John Duerden covers Asian football for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.



Big test awaits Korea in Iran match


By John Duerden

Korea coach Uli Stielike has been fond of saying lately that there are no easy games at this stage of qualification for the 2018 World Cup. This time, the German is definitely correct. The Taeguk Warriors are in Iran for another vital showdown.

Korea has never won in the country ― this is the fourth visit in the space of seven years ― but this would be a good time to start. Both teams have seven points from three games in the final round of qualification so far. Iran sits on top of Group A with a slightly better goal difference. Uzbekistan is third with six points, Syria has four, China one and Qatar has yet to pick up a point. The top two from the six-nation group automatically qualify for Russia 2018.

Stielike boarded the plane at Incheon International Airport on Friday a relieved man. At half-time in Thursday’s game with Qatar at Suwon World Cup Stadium, the visitor was leading 2-1. Second half goals from Ji Dong-won and in-form Son Heung-min gave the host a very important win. It means that a draw at the cavernous Azadi Stadium, which saw 100,000 attend the same fixture between the two teams four years ago, would not be a bad result.

“It’s not just the fact that Iran is a strong team,” said captain Ki Sung-yeung, who scored the opening goal against Qatar and generally had a much-improved game compared to September’s 3-2 win over China and 1-1 tie with Syria. “There is also the altitude which makes it difficult too.”

Tehran lies around 1,200 meters above sea level. There are lots of stadiums around the world that are higher but with limited time to acclimatize, it makes things just that little bit trickier.

Iran, looking to qualify for a first back-to-back World Cup, is going well under experienced coach Carlos Queiroz. The wily former Real Madrid coach has led Team Melli to a win over Qatar, a tie in China and then a fine 1-0 victory in Uzbekistan on Thursday. He rested a few regular starters for that match. Iran should be a little fresher for the big game.

It remains to be seen as to what condition Son Heung-min is in. The Tottenham Hotspur man scored the winning goal against Qatar. It was his sixth goal in six games ― the 24 year-old is one of the most in-form players in the world right now. Yet he took a little punishment from the Qataris and left the stadium with his ankle wrapped in ice. A precaution, said the staff, but he has played a lot of football lately.


Hong Jeong-ho will miss the game as he was harshly sent off on Thursday. That will leave his fellow defenders to deal with the threat of another of Asia’s big stars in Sardar Azmoun. The striker is hugely talented and has been linked with a move to Arsenal (the big London rivals of Son’s Spurs). At the moment, the striker, 21, plays his club football in Russia but a move further west is not far away.

Names such as Masoud Shojaei and Andranik Teymourian will be familiar to Korean fans who have grown accustomed to facing Iran on a regular basis. The big absence is the legendary midfielder Javad Nekounam who scored the winning goal in Tehran when the two met in qualification for the 2014 World Cup. The Prince of Persia has retired.

The faces come and go but the size of the fixture remains. Korea and Iran have nothing but mutual respect for each other. Whichever teams wins on Tuesday will take a major step towards the World Cup. Tehran will be no place for the faint-hearted.

Carlos Queiroz says Iran exit due to federation clashes


11 April 2015 Last updated at 14:53 GMT

The Portuguese, 62, who assisted Alex Ferguson at Manchester United for five years, took Iran to the 2014 World Cup.

There has been no official confirmation of Queiroz’s departure, but he spoke of his intention to quit after his side’s friendly defeat by Sweden on 31 March.

“Based on the words of the president, there is no other option,” he said.

“We feel the team and the players are doing great and everybody has a lot of pride every time Iran play. But unfortunately the federation don’t see it like all the other people.

“We’ve been preparing with no support, no friendly games, no money, no salaries. But for them it’s not enough.”

Queiroz in international management

Portugal 1991-1993 and 2008-2010 United Arab Emirates 1998-1999
South Africa 2000-2002 Iran 2011-2015


Queiroz previously managed Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team before joining the Iran set-up in 2011.

He led the nation to last summer’s World Cup but said he planned to quit after the tournament because of a lack of government financial backing.

After finishing bottom of Group F, Queiroz decided to stay on and managed the side in this year’s Asian Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals.

But now his future is once again up in the air, even though federation president Ali Kafashian appeared on national television saying he wanted to keep him on as manager.

Speaking of a meeting he held with the federation, Queiroz insisted: “The president agreed there was no other option but to go our separate ways.

“We’ve been forced to make a mutual agreement. But now it looks as though I’m the bad boy in the story.

“But for a peaceful agreement, I don’t mind becoming the bad boy because the fans know the truth.”

Queiroz loses staggering €700,000

 Former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz has founded himself allegedly FLEECED to the tune of €700,000!

Former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz has founded himself allegedly FLEECED to the tune of €700,000!

Correio da Manhã reports the former Real Madrid coach had the sum removed without his permission from a banking account to be invested in a company which has since gone insolvent.

“I feel robbed of years of work and sacrifice,” said Queiroz, now coach of Iran.

“It is a sum of more than 12 years of work and savings.”

Late, last year, Queiroz told reporters: “Under the huge pressure coming from Lisbon, the commercial director of ES Bankers Dubai went into my account, took out a fortune… removed more than half my life’s work, and sent it to the owners of Rioforte!

“He put funds that I had been saving to support my retirement into Rioforte in a fraudulent and abusive fashion.”