May saw the conclusion of not only most of the European domestic leagues but also the careers of some veteran professionals. Former England internationalists Paul Scholes, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and David Beckham all said goodbye to the game they loved and retired to spend more time with their families and relaxing. However it’s unlikely that this will be the last we see of the quartet as all have been connected with returns to football either as coaches, TV pundits or owners. David Beckham finished his career in style by securing the French title with PSG to become the first Englishman to win titles in four countries. As he hangs up his boots, Beckham is eying a return to the MLS as an owner this time, with a potential franchise in Miami under investigation. Meanwhile Jamie Carragher has been snapped up by BT to front their coverage of the Premiership next season as they battle to loosen the grip of Sky TV. Paul Scholes probably chose the best time to decide to retire again, and in traditional fashion, he did so away from the spotlight. That was fixed very firmly on his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who after 26 years in charge has too decided that enough was enough and has stepped down as boss at Manchester United. His replacement David Moyes started in earnest on the 1st June as one of many managerial changes across Europe.
The ongoing saga of Jose Mourinho’s much coveted return to Stamford Bridge still rumbles on but all the signs point towards it happening. With Rafa Benetiz clearing his desk at Chelsea to join Napoli and Mourinho confirming he is leaving Madrid, only time can now stop the inevitable from happening. Several managers are excited about the prospect of locking horns with the Special One again but one man who won’t get that chance is Roberto Mancini, who was sacked by Manchester City for failing to deliver their objectives. Malaga’s Pelligrini looks favourite to take that hot seat but, like the Mourinho saga, all has still not been confirmed. One move that does look likely is that of Roberto Martinez, who after four years at Wigan and having just guided them to FA Cup glory before suffering relegation, is likely to step into Moyes shoes at Goodison as the new boss at Everton. Other names have been bandied around but the Spaniard has done enough this season to convince Bill Kenwright that he is the right man for the job.
It’s important for the chairman to be sure he has the right man even if the fans aren’t convinced. Mark Hughes hiring at Stoke, following Tony Pulis sacking, has not been received well by the fans, who protested the move, leading Hughes to defend himself at his unveiling. Both Coates and Hughes are adamant that Hughes can put his QPR nightmare behind him and show that he is a quality manager. QPR’s nightmare is unfortunately just beginning as they face up to life in the Championship next season. Harry Redknapp will have a tough job ahead of him of stripping back his heavily laden squad to its bare bones and starting again. The purge of expensively paid players has begun with several stars leaving for pastures new and another paycheck. One club also starting from scratch is New York City FC, who were announced last month as the 20th franchise tem in the MLS. The club is starting to build from the ground up, with most of the working being done by their new Director of Football, Claudio Reyna. Reyna, like Redknapp has a challenge on his hands but the difference between the two is that Reyna and NYCFC will be backed by Manchester City’s wealthy owners and New York’s other famous residents, The Yankees.
Money, Money, Money appears to be the song playing in Monaco at the moment that splashed out over $100 million on three players in preparation for the new season. Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez join Aletico striker Radamel Falcao at the club as they prepare for life back in Ligue 1. More are likely to follow as manager Claudio Ranieri and owner Dmitry Rybolovlev look to transform the club into title challengers. Also making the news last month was the retirement of Stiliyan Petrov after a brave battle against Leukemia, a five goal blitz by Miroslav Klose in one game which gained him entry into a special group of players to have done so and a look back at some of the worst misses in football including that famous Ronny Rosenthal miss.
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