Ryan Babel makes Netherlands squad after six-year absence

Former Liverpool attacker Ryan Babel has been named in Dick Advocaat’s Netherlands squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Sweden.

The 30-year-old makes his comeback to the national side after a six-year hiatus, where he has played across Europe.

Babel, who made 91 appearances for the Reds between 2007 and 2011, has hit form with Besiktas this term with goals in the Champions League games against RB Leipzig and Porto. On top, he has also managed three goals in the Turkish Super Lig, and that form has made it hard for Advocaat to ignore him for selection.

Netherlands are currently in a precarious position of missing out on the World Cup qualifiers, and Babel will hope to contribute in must-win games against Belarus and Sweden. The Flying Dutchmen are currently in a straight fight with Sweden for the playoff spot in second place, and they will have to beat them by a significant margin in order to overcome the goal difference. Continue reading

Besiktas plot late raid to sign Diego Costa

Turkish giants Besiktas are reportedly prepared to lodge a late raid to sign Spanish striker Diego Costa from Chelsea.

The 28-year-old is currently on an indefinite strike in his native Brazil after Antonio Conte decided to exclude him from his first-team plans via a text message in June.

According to OK Diario, Costa could leave Stamford Bridge on a temporary basis to Istanbul this week with the Turkish transfer window only due to close on Friday. Costa has recently been included in the Blues’ Premier League squad for the current campaign, but he has yet to end his self-imposed exile in Brazil after his move to Atletico Madrid fell through.

Diego Simeone’s side were eager to wrap up a deadline-day move for their former striker, but they could not finalise an agreement with the Blues, who were reluctant to negotiate on their £50m asking price. As a result, Atleti are likely to return for the marksman in the New Year when they will have their transfer ban lifted. Continue reading


Jeremain Lens has exited Championship side Sunderland for Besiktas to play alongside Ryan Babel. It was widely reported that the player would exit soon but the club has now confirmed that the winger has left the club. Before the Black Cats acknowledged the sale, the Turkish side had posted a video online that showed the player and another addition Alvaro Negredo.

Lens was also pictured on the club’s social media links on Twitter and Instagram hinting that the deal had been completed – before Sunderland later confirmed the sale. The player in questioned had even retweeted the online picture of him posted by the Super Lig side and added a message that a Besiktas player Ryan Babel sent to him. It was later that Sunderland announced that the deal had been completed.

Lens netted four times in the preseason to confuse fans over his next move as reports were rife that he was certainly leaving during the summer. The Dutch international played a key role in the team since he joined in Dick Advocaat’s tenure. The former manger managed the player at PSV Eindhoven and even at the international stage before bringing him to England.

Lens played at Fenerbahce last term on a season-long loan, where he piqued Besiktas’ interest. The player stated his interest in continuing in the league with Fenerbahce but the deal did not happen so the rivals made the move. Whilst Fenerbahce are the title favourites – click here for the latest odds – Galatasaray and Besiktas have both strengthened and will put up a fierce challenge.

At Besiktas, there is opportunity to feature in the Champions League and reunite with former players at the various clubs he has played for. Sunderland managers Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and now Simon Grayson did not have the player in their plans else they might have sought to retain him. He was somewhat underwhelming during the time he spent at the club.

Meanwhile, French club Nice have secured the signing of midfielder Wesley Sneijder following his release from Turkish giants Galatasaray. The Netherlands international has signed a one-year contract with the Ligue 1 outfit after he decided to buy himself out of his Galatasaray contract for €4.5m. The Turkish League will be sad to see him go.

Sneijder, who is the Netherlands’ most-capped player in history, bagged five goals and 17 assists for the Istanbul outfit last season. MLS expansion franchise Los Angeles and Sampdoria were both keen on pursuing his services earlier last week, but he opted to join the French league instead where he will hold a fresh challenge with Nice.

“It’s now official. OGC Nice’s 2017-18 squad now has a third UEFA Champions League winner in it. After Dante and Mario Balotelli, former European champion Wesley Sneijder will also wear the red-and-black shirt this season after passing a medical on Monday. He also knows which shirt he’ll be wearing this season. Mika Le Bihan respectfully agreed to ‘give up’ the number 10 he had been wearing it to present it to the new arrival in the dressing room,” a statement on the club’s website said.

Sneijder’s addition is likely to have a direct influence of Ivorian midfielder Jean Seri, who has been strongly linked with a summer exit from Allianz Riviera. Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur are all said to be in the hunt for his services, and he could be cashed in in order to recruit a couple more players to the ranks.

The French outfit have done extremely well in their domestic league over the past few seasons, and they will have the chance to qualify for the Champions League proper, should they beat Napoli across two-legs in the playoff round. Despite his trailing age, Sneijder continues to be an influential player for the Holland national team for whom he has managed 131 caps to date.


Sunderland manager Simon Grayson says he is working hard to get more players in ahead of the August 31 deadline.

The team moved to the second round of the Carabao Cup recently after defeating Bury by the slimmest of margins. The Black Cats are poised to clash with Norwich in a Championship clash next but the manager is focused on getting an attacker.

Sunderland have been linked with Grant Leadbitter but Grayson refused to confirm the interest in the city-bon star. So far they are in negotiations with Aston Villa over a possible transfer for Ross McCormack.

The Chronicle claims the club would likely complete the deal for cheap but decent attacking option YassineAyoubfrom FC Ultrecht this summer. Leicester City are also on the case of the Dutch winger and being a top flight side it might appeal more to the player.

Ayoubis a product of the Ajax academy. He can play in central and left midfield. He is in his final 12 months with his current side but seems interested in a move away from the club. The 23-year old has been a major player in the team since he joined in 2012 but he could move to England soon. Continue reading


Liverpool fans are still emotional over the departure of long serving star Lucas Leiva.

The Brazilian joined the Merseyside in 2007 from his home country. He used to feature for Gremio before he made his switch when Rafa Benitez convinced him to move.

Of all the additions that year by the Spanish coach, Leiva was the least exciting. Israeli Yossi Benayoun was a creative force, Ryan Babel was a Dutch striker and Fernando Torres was the goal machine from Atletico Madrid.

Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso were the generals in the midfield so Leiva had to fight for a spot in the team from day one. The pressure from the beginning could have overwhelmed him but his resilience and calm is exceptional. He made many mistakes as he tried handling the pressure of expectations and that of his roles. Continue reading


Cristiano Ronaldo is a player loved by many both in his country home, in Europe and all over the world, due to his style of play and his goal scoring ability.

However, he is always compared side by side in terms of achievement with Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi.

DuskoTosic, Beskitas defender is one who is yet to be impressed by any of the two, especially Ronaldo.Tosic stated that on various occasions, he has faced off with Ronaldo and he was not impressed by his style of play.

The 32-year old also noted that if he to pick members of his team, he would not be inclined to pick either the Portuguese striker or Messi over any of his current Beskitas team mates.

“I would not replace anyone at Besiktas in favour of Messi or Ronaldo,” Tosic told Fanatik, as quoted by Four Four Two.

“I love my team-mates and my team.

“Besides, I played against Ronaldo in the past and he never impressed me. He played like he was not even there,” he added.

For almost a decade, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the Spanish football space, winning a combined nine Ballon d’Or awards between them.

However, Tosic states that he prefers the attacking style and talents of star players such as Anderson Talisca,CenkTosun,Ryan Babel and Vincent Aboubakar.

Ronaldo is yet to make any comments on the criticism from Tosic who has appeared for Serbia in 19 international games with incredible success.

In the history of the game of football, Messi and Ronaldo remain the finest players with outstanding records at Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. In the Super Lig, Tosic has also made a name for himself, helping Beskitas to win two consecutive titles.

Continue reading


Besiktas forward Ryan Babel is disappointed that he was snubbed from the list of invited players for the Netherlands national team.

He says it is “a shame” that his efforts in Turkey continue to be ignored even after a good season.

The 30-year old has obvious talent which is known for but he struggles at consistency. Since moving to Turkey to play for Beskitas, he has been decent. He scored eight goals and helped three in all competitions. He was instrumental as the club won its 15th Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig title.

Beskitas defeated competition from other team to win the league with a game in hand. Their performance sent them straight to the Champions League group stage next season without going through the qualifiers.

Coach Dick Advocaat yet ignored him when he drew up his list of players for the international window. The Dutch side are hoping to play Morocco and Ivory Coast in friendly games. 

“They said my career was finished. A shame the Dutch national team doesn’t want to use my confidence & current form in this crucial time,” the outspoken player shared online.

Babel is in better form that Manchester United flop Memphis Depay and Spurs’ wonder flop Vincent Janssen. The Netherlands failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and they have had a mixed start to the qualification of next year’s World Cup. They lost to France and Bulgaria but are hoping to still qualify for the tournament.

Continue reading


Turkish champions Besiktas are set for a fairy tale title parade on an open boat after they cruised to their 15th league title. The team is set for their final game of the season on Saturday but the celebrations are in earnest after they were confirmed winners.

The Super Lig Champs are taking the victory parade a notch higher as they sail up the River Bosphorus instead of the conventional open top bus ride. Fans followed them in hundreds of boats – a sight that is truly remarkable to behold. Continue reading


Turkish football club Besiktas reportedly want to submit a bid for Arsenal star Joel Campbell.

They successful defender their Super Lig title this term. Their closest rival was Basaksehir who ended up four points adrift.

The club wants to reinforce this summer to keep rivals at bay. Several players have been linked with them but they are set for a showdown with local rivals Galatasaray for Campbell. Ryan Babel and Ricardo Quaresma were decent this season. They played in wide positions, churning out assist after assist. They largely helped striker CenkTosun get his 24 goals in all competitions.

Besiktas is planning ahead so they want extra options just in case the wide men fail to deliver anytime. Campbell was away at Sporting Lisbon this term but he is set to return to the Emirates this summer. He barely got chances in Portugal, starting just seven games and scoring three goals. Continue reading


Dutch giant Ajax are set to make the trip to France for the return leg of the Europa League semi-final clash with Lyon. The odds are now firmly in Ajax’s favour after the 4-1 result in Amsterdam.

While Lyon would be seeking to usurp the guests, Ajax have had the most attempts on goal, with their shots on target more than any side this term.

Ajax have been scoring consistently this season. Of 13 matches, they scored in all but one. They played a goalless draw at Legia Warszawa. With their three goal cushion, if they get any goal in France, then it might be over for Lyon as it would be a mountain to come back from.

Lyon booked their semi-final spot after winning the penalty shootout against Turkish side Besiktas. Talisca had opened scoring for Besiktas before Alex Lacazette equalized. Continue reading