Archive for April 16th, 2008

Felix Magath Makes Cooking Compulsory for Wolfsburg Players

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Felix Magath super chef

Here’s a funny story from Germany. He may not be liked in Italy (due to his famous 1983 Champions League final goal vs. Juventus) and he may not be liked in Germany (the players have nicknamed him “the torturer”), but one thing’s for sure: Felix Magath is quite the resourceful man. While still coaching Bayern Munich not so long ago, the ex-Hamburg player once decided to have a 4am training session (yes, 4am!!) right in the middle of the German Winter! The reason he claimed, was that the players needed punishment for their last cup performance vs. Erzgebirge (a second division team): the team had won the match and qualified to the next round, but played poorly.

WolfsburgFortunately this time (Magath has been managing VfL Wolfsburg since the start of the 2007-08 season) his players should have something milder to endure, or if you will, ‘tastier’. Indeed, the entire Wolfsburg roster will be forced to attend… cooking classes until the end of the current season, in order for them to “learn the benefits of eating more healthy, both in everyday life and for their sports professional careersaid Magath to German magazine Sport Bild.

Sven ElverfeldIn particular, the German coach hopes to avoid any future food poisoning incidents: the recent health problems of striker Ashkan Dejagah (who fell ill after ordering Chinese take-out) and defender Alexander Madlung (poisoned from poorly cooked meat in a fast-food joint) have pushed Magath to arrange his buddy Sven Elverfeld (well-known 5-star chef of the Berlin Ritz-Carlton hotel) to teach the players (and wives) his cooking secrets.

In addition to cooking classes, the whole team will be forced to eat a big dinner together twice a week, where lean fish and meat will replace hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries (which currently constitute the unealthy food of choice of many Wolfsburg players). The club is currently 7th in the Bundesliga rankings… I guess that for Wolfsburg, UEFA Cup qualification must start at the table.

Amauri-Juventus, It’s Getting Close…

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Amauri-Juventus, We’re Getting Close…

His name is Amauri Carvalho de Oliveira. He’s a target of half the big teams of Serie A, on the shortlist of many more teams in Europe (Lyon, Valencia, and Real Madrid notably), and seemingly very close to heading to Juventus next year.

At least according to Gazzetta dello Sport: the pink newspaper is reporting that Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini confirmed the latest rumours, and indeed met with fellow president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli and the entire Juventus staff, earlier on Tuesday afternoon. “We sat down, talked about many things, and confirmed the Bianconeri interest for Amauri. We looked at the players they have available, and we shall now see” admitted Zamparini. “There will be another meeting next month, at which time general managers Rino Foschi [Palermo] and Alessio Secco [Juve] will work together to find an agreement, and I believe it will be successful“.

The basis of the agreement, Gazzetta speculates, is said to include a €12m transfer fee, plus the exchange of Palermo-interested players such as Marco Marchionni, Paolo De Ceglie, Davide Lanzafame, Sebastian Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio or Antonio Nocerino. As for Raffaele Palladino, given the Juve midfielder/striker’s recent declarations he wasn’t interested to moving to Sicily, Zamparini declared that “he is no longer a club’s target”.



A short Amauri biography

Coppa CarnevaleThe Italian history of Amauri began in the year 2000, as the then-18-year-old Brazilian striker participated in the prestigious Viareggio Tournament, with his Brazilian club Santa Caterina. He immediately impressed the Italian scouts, after AC Bellinzonascoring a double in the match vs. Empoli, but either by personal choice or deemed to be unsufficiently prepared for the Italian league, ended up at the Swiss club of AC Bellinzona in order to start his career in Europe slowly.

After two seasons in Switzerland (during which, because of a knee injury, he ended up playing only 5 matches and scoring 1 goal) Amauri was signed by Parma and immediately loaned to Napoli in January 2001, making his Serie A debut on April 14 in a league match against Bari. The match ended 1-0 for the Neapolitans (despite Amauri having a perfectly valid goal disallowed) and was the occasion for the Brazilian striker to get his first real taste of top flight Italian football. Amauri’s experience in Southern Italy was brief but positive, and would also be the opportunity for him to score the first Serie A goal in his career (Napoli-Verona 2-0).

At the end of the 2000/01 season, Napoli were relegated in Serie B and the poor financial situation of the club prevented them from signing Amauri on a permanent basis. The young Brazilian thus successively transferred to Piacenza (Serie A, 2001/02), then to Messina (Serie B, 2002/03) where Amauri began to regain his goalscoring confidence, until he virtually exploded at Chievo Verona from 2003 to 2006.

Amauri at Chievo VeronaIn the 2005/06 season Amauri showed most of his potential, becoming one of the key players for his team and leading the club to their first ever qualification to the preliminary phase of UEFA Champions League (also favored by the Calciopoli scandal, which removed the main ‘big clubs’ from the top of the Serie A standings). Amauri was sold to Palermo on August 31, 2006 (the last day of the 2006 summer market) for a sum nearing €8m, soon after scoring 2 goals in the return match of the third qualifying round against PFC Levski Sofia.

Immediately from his debut with Palermo in the 2006/07 season, Amauri rapidly became a fan-favourite and a key player for the Rosanero, Amauri presented with Palermo shirtscoring 8 goals in 18 league matches and convincing everyone to be the ideal substitute for striker Luca Toni (who had meanwhile transferred to Fiorentina). In December 2006 however, a serious knee injury in the match against Siena forced Amauri to a 7-month stop, keeping the Brazilian star on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Amauri recovered right in time for the start of the 2007/08 season, being immediately featured in the regular lineup for the Palermo debut match (against AS Roma) and scoring his first season goal in the next (a 4-2 away win to Livorno).

So far, Amauri has played in 31 Serie A games with Palermo this season and scored 13 goals. The commitment, energy, and quality goals of the Palermo striker have earned him much attention from European clubs, as well as Italian national team coach Roberto Donadoni. Indeed, having never appeared at the international level for the Brazilian team, (and being eligible to acquire an Italian passport, having lived and played in Italy for 5 years) Amauri is considered a likely future call-up to the Azzurri squad, being technically and physically the ideal substitute for Italian forward Luca Toni.

Biography info from the English and Italian Amauri Wikipedia pages