Has the Caribbean caught up with Jamaica and TT in football?

By July 22, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Ben Yedder targets European football with Monaco following move from Sevilla Ben Yedder targets European football with Monaco following move from Sevilla

    Wissam Ben Yedder is determined to help Monaco qualify for European football again after taking the "hard" decision to leave Sevilla.

    The France forward signed a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 side last week as part of a deal that saw Rony Lopes move in the opposite direction.

    After scoring 38 LaLiga goals during his three seasons with Sevilla, the former Toulouse player had been linked with a move to Spanish champions Barcelona and also Premier League side Manchester United during the close season.

    Ben Yedder has instead returned to French football with Monaco – and he is not concerned about last season's successful battle to avoid relegation, insisting Monaco's struggles were an "anomaly".

    "It was hard to leave Seville," he said at a press conference on Wednesday. "There was a lot of emotion, a lot of things happened in Spain for me. 

    "But with the vice-president, [Oleg] Petrov, we exchanged a lot about the project. Monaco wants to be at the top of the table. Monaco is my choice. 

    "We don't know what would have happened if I had stayed in Spain. There were many clubs that were interested in me. I chose Monaco and I am satisfied.

    "It's a big club, although the situation is difficult at the moment. But during the last five seasons, there was a Champions League quarter-final and a semi-final. 

    "We will make sure that what happened last season is just an anomaly. We will do everything to reach the European competitions."

    Ben Yedder's arrival at Stade Louis II was expected to pave the way for Radamel Falcao to leave, with Galatasaray heavily linked with the Colombia international.

    However, Petrov wants Falcao to stay put and see out the rest of his contract.

    "Falcao told us that he wants to play in the Champions League, but we want him to stay in the team," Petrov said. "Falcao is a very good professional. He has to respect his contract with us."

    Ben Yedder led Monaco's attack in Falcao's absence against Metz last weekend but was unable to prevent his new employers slipping to a second successive defeat at the start of the new season.

    Rather than replace him, Ben Yedder hopes to get the chance to play alongside the 33-year-old.

    "I will be glad if Falcao stays," he said. "Falcao is an extraordinary player and if he stays we will try to do everything to be at the top of the table, scoring as many goals as possible. 

    "I learned a lot from the Spanish league and it's very important for me to continue and improve."

    Monaco are reported to have paid €40million to trigger Ben Yedder's buyout clause, offset by receiving €20m for Lopes in a separate deal.

    Islam Slimani became the French side's latest signing of a busy window on Wednesday, following on from the arrivals of Gelson Martins, Benjamin Lecomte, Henry Onyekuru, Ruben Aguilar and Ben Yedder.

  • Ribery to Fiorentina: The five big names to represent Bayern and La Viola Ribery to Fiorentina: The five big names to represent Bayern and La Viola

    Franck Ribery is to take on a new challenge in Serie A at the age of 36, having agreed a deal to join Fiorentina.

    The winger has signed for La Viola on a free transfer after leaving Bayern Munich at the end of last season.

    Ribery enjoyed 12 hugely successful years in Munich but is excited by the prospect of playing for "a big team" in "a beautiful city", while others of a similar age elect to wind down their careers on less high-profile shores.

    The former Marseille man says he spoke with ex-team-mate Luca Toni before accepting Fiorentina's offer - a wise decision, given Toni is one of only four people to have represented both clubs as player or head coach.

    Below, we look at how the others got on...

    Stefan Effenberg
    Bayern: 1990-92
    Fiorentina:1992-94
    Bayern (again): 1998-02

    Although best known for his success at the heart of the midfield of Bayern - where he won three Bundesligas and the 2001 Champions League among nine trophies in total - Effenberg did spend two years in Tuscany.

    Joining at the age of 24 after Lothar Matthaus had returned to Bayern to take his place, Effenberg endured a miserable first season as Fiorentina were relegated from Serie A. He helped them bounce straight back to the top flight as Serie B champions, though, before returning to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach.

     

    Mario Gomez
    Bayern: 2009-13
    Fiorentina: 2013-16

    Gomez won the treble in 2012-13 in his final season with Bayern before heading to Florence, having scored 113 goals in 174 appearances in all competitions and lifted seven trophies.

    The striker's time in Italy was unlucky, though, with knee ligament damage restricting him to only 21 starts in Serie A before he was loaned to Besiktas for the 2015-16 campaign. He helped them win the Turkish Super Lig.

     

    Franck Ribery
    Bayern: 2007-19
    Fiorentina: 2019-?

    Winning 23 trophies in 12 seasons is remarkable by anyone's standards, and it highlights just how important Ribery has been to Bayern's restoration as the pre-eminent force in German football over the past decade.

    The treble of 2012-13 was his crowning achievement and should, arguably, have seen him win the Ballon d'Or. Since then, injuries have begun to take their toll, and it is unclear just how effective the Frenchman will prove to be in Italy.
     

    Luca Toni
    Fiorentina: 2005-07
    Bayern: 2007-10
    Fiorentina (again): 2012-13

    Toni won the World Cup with Italy midway through an impressive first spell with Fiorentina, prompting Bayern to spend a reported €11.6million to take the striker to Germany.

    Three domestic trophies in his first season were followed by a more fallow spell, however, while an Achilles injury and disagreements with coach Louis van Gaal led to his departure in 2010. A return to Fiorentina would come three years later, where he enjoyed a single productive season before heading for Hellas Verona.

     

    Giovanni Trapattoni
    Bayern: 1994-95
    Bayern (again): 1996-98
    Fiorentina: 1998-00

    For a man who turned out for just two clubs as a player, Trapattoni has certainly enjoyed a nomadic coaching career.

    He was twice Bayern boss, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Ligapokal in his second spell, before he returned to Italy with Fiorentina. Those two years in Florence ended trophyless, but they were enough to land him the job with the national team.

  • I can still be a successful coach - Henry targets return to management I can still be a successful coach - Henry targets return to management

    Thierry Henry is confident he can become a managerial success, despite being sacked three months into his first job as head coach of Monaco.

    The 42-year-old was suspended and then dismissed by the Ligue 1 side in January after a run of four wins in 20 matches.

    He had previously worked as assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgium national team before making the transition into management.

    Seven months on from leaving Stade Louis II, former Arsenal striker Henry has targeted a return to the sport and revealed he has already received a number of offers.

    "Call me crazy if you want, but I love football and I still believe I can be a successful coach," he told The Telegraph. 

    "I'm not thinking about the pain, I'm not thinking about failure. I don't like easy. I like to lead and it's on me to make it happen. The same when I joined Arsenal as a player, the same when I went to Belgium with Roberto. It's an evolution. 

    "My phone didn't ring for four months after I left Monaco and then all of a sudden I got five calls. Some were not what I was looking for and some were as a number two - very interesting offers, but I can't leave my staff behind. 

    "I've got guys who stopped working for me and what do I say to them? 'Hey guys, you stopped working for me but now I've got a job'. I won't do a number two job because I want to be a number one."

    Henry does not regret taking on the Monaco job and is grateful to have been given a chance at the club where he started his player career, but admitted he will think carefully before accepting his next position.

    "There is something I always say," he said. "You win or you learn and, as you can imagine, I learned a lot. 

    "I still have Monaco in my heart, it's the club that gave me my first opportunity as a player and gave me my first opportunity as a coach, so I will always be thankful to the people who gave me that, people who are there, some are gone.

    "My heart talked at the time. I wanted to go back to where I started everything. I have zero regrets about what happened. It was a very difficult task and I felt that if I'd had more time I could have done more.

    "If I knew I only had three months, then maybe I would have acted a different way, but I was trying to plan something for the future and doing that in such a little amount of time is very difficult."

    Henry failed to inspire a turnaround during his short time at Monaco, leaving the club a point and a place above the bottom of the Ligue 1 table.

    Leonardo Jardim, the man Henry replaced, was appointed as the Frenchman's successor and kept them in the top flight.

    "I'm proud of what we did achieve with such a young team," Henry said. "We had to win in Caen and Amiens, and those six points were very important. I had no doubt that team was going to stay up because there was enough quality.

    "I am not complaining and I can only say thank you to everybody, but to build a legacy and build something for the future, it takes time."

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