Late last night we confirmed the signing of Abdisalam Ibrahim from Manchester City.
Ibrahim is a young Norwegian (born Somalia) midfielder who has signed a contract for the next three and a half years.
He has been on loan at various clubs (most recently at Stromsgodset in Norway) and will now go on loan to Ergotelis until the end of the season.
Vasillis Torosidis has left Olympiakos and joined Roma in a deal worth only half a million euros to our club. Torosidis had decided to leave the club recently and try his luck abroad after refusing to sign a new contract with the club.
The small amount for our captain is all we could manage after facing the possibility of the player leaving on a Bosman move in the summer.
A final announcement from the weekend. Olympiakos FC have announced that our Captain, Vasilis Torosidis, will not be renewing his contract with the club. After six years with the club, he has decided to move abroad to continue his career overseas.
Next week we begin our campaign in the most overrated competition ever, the Champions League. I know that many will not agree with me but I find this the most rigged, biased and boring competition ever. Let me explain....
Firstly it is rigged especially with the initial draw - country protection, byes and team seeding ensure that the four teams from England, Spain and Italy will make up the majority of the top two places in each group draw. The system is set up so that the numbers of teams from smaller countries are slashed in half before the group stage itself when the teams from the big 5 countries even enter.
The competition is boring, far more boring than the previous European cup. Does anyone truly doubt that the last 16 teams in the competition will be the 3-4 teams from England, 3-4 from Spain, 3-4 from Italy, 2-3 from Germany and 1-2 from France with only 1 or 2 places being made for the teams from the rest of Europe (ourselves included). Its the same every year and has been the same for the past 15 years at least.
It's no surprise that the majority of the money goes to teams in the last 16 stages and onwards. The money goes to the richest clubs and everyone else has to make do with the scraps. The big teams can then buy their way into the competition next year and repeat ad infinitum.
The only way that this competition could improve would be to set all countries to have the same amount of teams with no seeding, byes or country protection. However both UEFA and the big teams (which basically run the organisation) would ever want such a level playing field (ignore the pun) and so the biased and rigged system remains.
Even when a team plays well, the larger teams are pushed by the organisation. All too often I have seen our goals be ruled offside and perhaps too often to be ignored. I don't think I need to remind the readers of Okkas in Monaco, Derbyshire against Bordeaux, both games against Lazio where their offside goals remained on the scoresheet but our legimate goals were disallowed. Probably the most blatant push by the referees was the home game against Newcastle which has to go down in history for the worst corruption ever seen by the officials in one of our matches.
However even if the system was altered, the problem would still remain as the competition would still be one-sided simply through the money which has been accumulated for the big clubs over 10 or 20 years (or where some rich Arab/Russian has simply bought a team and bought all the best players). All of the best players are in just 5 leagues now - about 20 years ago were spread throughout Europe at different clubs so this allowed the likes of Zvezda to win the competition back in the early nineties. This would never happen nowadays.
Even the most ardent supporter of the Champions League would agree that the current format wasn't brought in to improve competition. It was introduced as :-
However these changes only benefitted the greedy few who were lucky enough to be successful in either Spain, Italy or England. The rules were altered in their favour to keep them at the top of the competitions
Wow, now thats a rant and a rambling one too. Anyway to sum up, the Champions League can go kiss my backside and I'd much rather watch the Superleague any day of the week. I'll support our team in Europe of course but I'd be happier with the domestic titles instead.
Fuck Modern Football.
Well, the long expected announcement has been made and Ernesto Valverde will be retiring from Olympiakos at the end of the season. This news had been widely rumoured over the last two weeks but had been formally announced today in a press conference between Ernesto and the chairman Vangelis Marinakis. Ernesto's reasons for leaving the club are personal but it is thought to be family orientated - he wants to see his son grow up and his family never moved across to Greece to be with him in either of his stints with us. Marinakis for his part stated that Ernesto is always welcome to return and thanked the manager for the last two years with the club.
The full statement is a little too long to type out but there was nothing more than mutual thanks and goodwill from both sides. During his time with us, Ernesto Valverde has returned the club back to the champions of the Greek Superleague after a catastrophic year under Ketsbaia, Zico and Bandovic and a european exit under Lienan. We have won two league titles under his reign and are in the final for the Greek Cup this year. In Europe, we managed to beat the reigning Bundesliga champions, the Ligue 1 runners up, thrash Arsenal at home and pass the formidable Rubin Kazan in a subarctic Moscow. All in all (despite some iffy player choices at times) Ernesto Valverde has been nothing but a revelation for us.
We let him leave with nothing but our gratitude and our best wishes for his future.