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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – Ganso has no plans to leave Brazil – at least right now.
The talented midfielder reiterated he has no desire to seek a transfer from Santos and wants to help his team win the 2011 Club World Cup in December in Japan, denying rumors he’s interested in playing for rival Corinthians or Italian power AC Milan.
“I have given my word to [Santos] President [Luis Ribeiro] and I want to make it clear for the fans: I will play the Club World Cup and there will be the centenary next year,” Ganso told reporters. “I have not received any offer and I believe neither has Santos.”
Santos and the DIS Agency each own a 45% share of Ganso’s economic rights. Santos wants its star to stay – Ganso has eight goals in 46 club matches and is regarded as an elite playmaker – but DIS wants a bigger deal for its premier talent.
“The Santos fans need to know that this fight is between DIS and Santos, and not Ganso and Santos. I have given my word and I can guarantee to all the fans I will not leave.”
Pedro Conceição, Santos’ director of soccer, said Ganso is committed to playing for the São Paulo state-based club he led to its first Copa Libertadores title since 1963 with a victory over Uruguay’s Peñarol in June.
“The player does not have the character to make a negotiation like this – it is impossible,” Conceição told reporters. “Even though Ganso is more reserved and shy, he has a very strong character. He would not do something like that to Santos. If the player really wants to leave the club, then he will come to us and we will talk. But I believe he will stay to play the Club World Cup. If he wants to leave, he will leave through the front door.”
Agent Gaetano Paolillo disagreed last month when he traveled to Milan to try to hammer out a deal with the Serie A side. However, AC Milan rejected a potential Ganso move, leaving DIS to search for another way to get its star to Europe.
“He wants to play against the likes of Inter, Roma and Juventus,” Paolilo told reporters. “(Ganso) is fascinated by the Italian league.”
Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela earn berths in 2011 Beach Soccer World Cup
It’s still a day at the beach for Brazil.
The Seleção claimed the top spot in the CONMEBOL qualifying tournament for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2011 with a 6-2 win over Argentina in Copacabana on Aug 7.
The hosts and five-time world champions won the tournament with a perfect, 6-0 record, scoring a staggering 56 goals.
“This is the best team Brazil has ever had,” Brazil coach Alexandre Soares told reporters. “I call them ‘the Dream Team’ – they’re a side that has everything.”
And it also wins every award.
Brazilian striker Bruno Malias scored a dozen goals en route to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Goalie Mao allowed just 10 goals and was named the top player at his position in the tournament.
“Everything I do is for my family, my wife Aline and my son Arthur,” Malias told reporters. “And when I’m out on the pitch, these players are my family too and I give everything I’ve got for them. All these goals are for them.”
But Brazil isn’t the only South American team that will take the sand in Ravenna, Italy, for the World Cup next month, as Argentina and Venezuela earned berths in the 16-team field.
La Albiceleste qualified by beating Venezuela in the semifinals, 3-2. But La Vinotinto wouldn’t be denied the final qualifying spot, as Vinotinto defeated Colombia, 5-2, in the third-place game to book its first ticket to the Beach Soccer World Cup.
“I’m very pleased with the team’s performance, particularly as we’re currently making a lot of changes,” Venezuela coach Francisco Petrasso told reporters.
The biggest surprise, however, was the way perennial power Uruguay flamed out of the event. La Celeste had qualified for every Beach Soccer World Cup, including finishing second, third and fourth during the past five years.
But Uruguay couldn’t continue its run, losing to Colombia and Argentina in group play.
“Beach Soccer is growing strong in the whole world, and the growth of participants is the best proof of that,” Joan Cuscó, member of the FIFA Futsol and Beach Soccer Committee said. “The competition will be really hard-fought as all the teams are doing a great job, and you cannot say who is better than who.”
The draw for the 2011 Beach Soccer World Cup was held this past weekend in Rome.
Group A has Italy, Iran, Switzerland and Senegal. Group B features El Salvador, Portugal, Argentina and Oman. Group C consists of Tahiti, Venezuela, Nigeria and Russia. Group D has Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico and Japan.
“The squad enjoys what they do and I think that’s why we’ve been unbeaten in qualifying and at World Cups for the past four years,” Soares told reporters. “Besides which, this is the best team Brazil has ever had.”
7-year-old Argentine soccer prodigy turns pro
Real Madrid thinks it has found the next Lionel Messi – he just needs time to grow up.
The La Liga superpower inked 7-year-old Leonel Ángel Coira of Argentina to a one-year deal on Aug. 6, beating a host of other European suitors that reportedly included Real Madrid’s rival, Atlético Madrid.
The boy, who goes by “Leo,” will begin training in the club’s youth system in Spain on Sept. 6. He’ll play on team comprised of mostly under-9 players.
“(My) dream is to meet Messi, play in the first division with Madrid and for Argentina in the World Cup,” Ángel Coira told Spanish newspaper ABC.
Barcelona signed Messi when he was just a teenager with Argentina club team Newell’s Old Boys. Since joining the Spanish side he has won the FIFA Player of the Year twice and helped his team claim 15 major trophies, including five Spanish league titles and three Champions League crowns.
“It looks good when I say it because I’m the father, but I’m excited to see how he plays with the ball,” Miguel Coira, Leo’s dad, told reporters.