Guardian: Demichelis turns his world around to bolster Argentina
- 08 July 2014 07:59
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
There's an Argentine flavour to today's City-related media round-up, ahead of La Albiceleste's semi-final clash with the Netherlands.
After it was reported yesterday that Sergio Aguero has apparently been declared fit for the encounter, today's headlines turn to the other two members of the Blues' Argentine trio - Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta.
Let's start with the article in the Guardian, in which Owen Gibson reflects on Demichelis' 'resurrection' with the defender having 'risen above the ridicule to play a key role' for his side.
"Manuel Pellegrini may have been among those affording himself a wry smile as Martín Demichelis stiffened a hitherto shaky Argentina defence on Saturday and helped his country break their quarter-final hoodoo," writes Gibson.
"When Demichelis was blowing hard and trying in vain to plug the gaping holes in Manchester City’s midfield as Eden Hazard delighted in the freedom of a cold Etihad in early February during a 1-0 Premier League victory for Chelsea, it was hard to imagine the 33-year-old appearing again in a sky blue shirt let alone the famous stripes of the Albiceleste.
"His career total of international appearances seemed destined to stay stalled on 37, a total that included appearing in every one of Diego Maradona’s sides at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa during a run that ended at the quarter-final stage with a crushing 4-0 defeat by Germany.
"But despite his humiliation against Barcelona, Pellegrini never lost faith in Demichelis and he proved his worth in the run that took Manchester City to the title. The turning point arguably came on 15 March against Hull City at the KC Stadium. When Vincent Kompany, who was also on the losing side for Belgium on Saturday, was sent off, Demichelis led his side to a 2-0 victory through force of will.
"Sabella had been monitoring his form and had been in touch with the player to gauge his fitness and desire. When his long list was announced, Demichelis was a surprise inclusion and he kept his spot when it was whittled down to the final 23.
"For Demichelis, his unlikely resurrection offers the opportunity to banish memories of 2006, when he narrowly and unexpectedly missed out on the squad at the last minute, and the disappointment of the chaotic 2010 campaign."
Staying with La Albiceleste and Zabaleta has praised the national team's supporters.
Quoted in an article on SportsMole, the full-back insisted the travelling fans have spurred his side to the last four of the competition.
"Argentina fans have been fantastic," he gushed. "We can feel when we go out on the field that there are so many Argentinians there cheering us on, singing and it's great.
"This is what Argentinian supporters are all about. They make you feel very proud so this group is trying to give them a massive triumph. This is massive for us.
"We have all been working so hard to reach the semi-finals. I think it was a great game [against Belgium] and we played fantastic for 90 minutes. We deserved it, now is time to enjoy it. We need to have a good rest and be 100% for the next game."
According to Ian Murtagh: "Black Cats' chief Gus Poyet has identified Rodwell as his top midfield target having lost Jack Colback, Craig Gardner and Ki from last season's squad.
"City are ready to loan out the 23-year-old, who has struggled to make an impact at the Etihad Stadium.
"But Poyet has a tough task on his hands to persuade Rodwell to join the Black Cats rather than his former club who sold him to City for £12m two years ago.
"Rodwell is desperate to move on having been starved of regular first team football for the past two seasons and would be guaranteed a place in the Sunderland engine room."