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Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Gossip, Rumors, and Random News
Rumor is, Shinji Ono may be coming back to Urawa Reds. Feyenoord have apparently agreed to letting him come back to Japan. But there is some talk still of Ono holding out hope for a move to another Euro league. Though he just came back from his operation/injury, and has not played this season yet... so it will be highly unlikely, unless a club wants him for marketing purposes.

Gossip is, Kazu Miura may end up staying with Sydney FC. His contract was supposed to end after Sydney's final Toyota Cup game (5th place decider), but the club is extremely appreciative of the amount of press coverage and marketing power Kazu has brought to the team. And Litti also wants Kazu to stay.

Ramos wants Kazu too. Ramos, who you know just got his first job as part of the coaching staff at Kashiwa Reysol this season is rocketing up the career ladder like no one's business. He and Kashiwa manager Hayano essentially resigned from their responsibilities at Kashiwa this month, saying they had to take responsibility for Kashiwa's slide to the J2. But Ramos was jobless for about two seconds, when rumor has it an offer from Tokyo Verdy (also relegated for the 2006 season) came through for a proper manager position. There is talk that the former Verdy superstar wants to put together a Verdy-Loyal posse of coaches and players, including Kazu.

I was kinda shocked to see how poorly Takahara is looking in these past several Hamburg games (the three minutes he's played). He looks...grey. Sluggish and heavy, and his expression lacks vigor and strength, like he's retaining water. He reminds me of how Inamoto looked at the beginning of this year. Takahara is rumored to be looking for a transfer during the upcoming window. So two life-changing events await him in the course of the next month (he's getting married next week).

Do any of you know who Kenji Fukuda is? He has been playing as a forward in Paraguay and Mexico for the past couple years, after some time with FC Tokyo and Vegalta Sendai. He's more or less ignored in Japan, despite the fact that technically he is an "overseas" player; though sometimes when he gets goals in big tournaments or games there is some video coverage on tv news. >>Here is his blog. I like to keep an eye on his career because I like that he took the leap to move his career like he did, away from the comfort zone of Japan or even Europe (which, though it is a challenge to play in Europe, a lot of fuss and attention is made just for getting a contract). Anyway, it looks like Fukuda will be moving to the Liga 2nd division Castellon -- they are currently at the bottom of the table.

Gamba are galloping into 2006. I already told you about their offer for FC Tokyo's Kaji, and Oita Trinita's Magno Alves. Now they are out to get Vissel Kobe's forward Bando, Kashiwa Reysol's captain/midfielder Myojin, and Purple Sanga's defender Tejima.

Meanwhile, Urawa Reds may give Gamba some competition. I personally think it would be best not to change the Reds team around much, but certainly a few additions would be great to add depth. I already mentioned the possibility of Shinji Ono returning to his old haunting grounds, but even if he doesn't Urawa have some promising negotiations with Oita Trinita's Takamatsu and Tokyo Verdy's (well ex-Verdy) Washington, both forwards.
CWC: Liverpool 3-0 Saprissa
I was hoping Saprissa's nervousness was over and done with in the first half of the Sydney game a few days ago, but I think it this game against Liverpool may have been a little too much not to be nervous. Saprissa were way to quiet and docile, and it didn't help that Liverpool got a goal so early in the first half. Saprissa had no time to adjust, and I think they just couldn't find themselves on the pitch. Bolanos was the only one really making a real difference for his team; and Solis made his long-awaited entrance onto the pitch.

Liverpool were bigger, tougher, and better. Saprissa did threaten in the first half, especially down the middle, against the two centerbacks, but in the second half manager Benitez switched the defense to a 3-back to compensate.

>>Fifa has posted video highlights
Roy Keane to Celtic
>>Read Guardian article

The rumors were flying for a while now, so what a relief it's finally out of the bag. Though I am unsure how I feel about it. In my typical careful Japanese nature (careful? you, depflight?), I am wondering what such a huge persona will do to the currently fantastic balance of the Celtic attack. It's true, the defense shows vulnerability, but somehow the entire team has contributed when things get hairy in the back, and I had always thought that the vulnerability in defense is what keeps the posture of the team at attention...

But having Keane come to Celtic could also mean Shunsuke Nakamura can go to the left and be joined by Petrov on the right... or maybe Strachan likes to keep Nakamura on the right, I don't know. If any of you have any ideas, please type away in the comments section.
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