by FRANCO PANIZO
Real Madrid has made a habit of trying to sign the world's top defenders in an effort to field a stout defense, and the club's latest target is Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho.
After receiving the news that street fighter Pepe would be out six months with ruptured ligaments in his right knee, Madrid has set its sights on Carvalho as a replacement, and hope to land the Portuguese international in the winter transfer window. Madrid attempted to sign Carvalho from FC Porto in 2004, but Chelsea outbid the Spanish giants.
In addition the lofty bid that is sure to be offered, Madrid are also willing to offer striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who could provide depth for Chelsea, who will likely lose forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou to international duty in January for the Africa Cup of Nations.
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Ballack downplays Germany's chances
Michael Ballack is the unquestioned leader of the German national team, but the Chelsea midfielder does not believe Germany is capable of winning the World Cup next year.
Ballack has downplayed Germany's chances of lifting the World Cup trophy in South Africa, stating the Germans lack consistency and that their performances in friendlies have left for much to be desired.
While Ballack may be feeling pessimistic about his national team's chances, the Germans finished without a loss in its World Cup qualifying group and are favored to get out of Group D, where they will play Serbia, Australia and Ghana.
Larsson lands coaching job
If you were wondering who was going to be the next star player to turn coach, look no further than former Barcelona and Sweden forward Henrik Larrson.
Larsson landed the head coaching gig of Swedish second division club Landskrona Bois on Monday. Larsson, who signed a one-year deal with the club, told reporters he was flattered by the offer and is eager to tackle his first coaching assigment.
Larsson and Landskrona Bois begin their 2010 season in April.
Gattuso extends contract with Milan
AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has ended any speculation about his future with the club by signing a new contract that will keep him with the "Rossoneri" until 2012. Gattuso had recently been linked with a move to the Premier League, but the 31-year-old's new contract could see him retire with AC Milan.
Should Chelsea accept Madrid's offer for Carvalho? Are you as pessimistic as Ballack about Germany's chances next year? Think Larsson will succeed in his first coaching role? Happy to see Gattuso stay with Milan?
Share your thoughts below.