Roque Santa Cruz

KOEMAN CONTINUES TEAM REBUILDING

Everton Manager Ronald Koeman is continuing his effort at rebuilding the team even after a brilliant run in 2016/17.

With the budget and calibre of players the team had, they finished seventh behind Manchester United. Only big clubs were above them so it was a worthy spot.

With the club set to lose star striker Romelu Lukaku soon after he it was revealed that he has agreed terms with another Premier League side, Koeman would have to search for a capable replacement as Lukaku played a big role last term.

Koeman has already seen his £8 million bid for Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford rejected. The relegated side are hoping a top team would pay as much as £30 million for the rated player. It seems the club needs the fund from the deal to float in the Championship. Everton would likely move on from the deal as the Black Cats remain firm on their valuation.

Manchester City had to part with record £35 million for Benfica keeper Ederson. This is £5 million above the asking price for Pickford even when he is far from the refined product. Ederson is the second signing after City swopped Bernado Silva for £43 million.

City have continued their huge annual spending. From when they spent big to lure Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure, Gareth Barry and others, the cycle continues. The money has delivered two Premier League titles aside other titles. Guardiola is expected to reach higher ground in the league this time.

TOP GAMES BETWEEN BRAZIL AND PARAGUAY

Ahead of the clash between Brazil and Paraguay in the Copa America World Cup qualifying match, we look at some of the biggest and most exciting games between both sides.

Both sides have met 76 times ahead of this game slated for Sao Paulo in the 14th round of the qualifying campaign. Of the 76, the Selecao have lost just 11 times. Of the games, 15 were in World Cup qualifying and Brazil have lost just two times.

1. The Copa America 1949

Brazil hosted the event that year and they were the favourites to lift the title. They had an excellent tournament en route to the final but crashed 2-1 to Paraguay. After finishing joint leaders, there was a need for a playoff. The hosts hit their competition 7-0 with goalkeeper Sinforiano Garcia delivering a sterling performance.

2. 1969 qualifying campaign

Brazilian soccer legend Peledelivered this important victory for the country. Paraguay put up a tough fight initially but they fell horribly later. An own goal from Valentin Mendoza, and goals from Jairzinho and Edu did the job.

3. 1985 comeback

In 1985 Brazil used Paraguay as a comeback after being knocked out in the second round three years earlier by Italy. They maintained their tiki taka style with their team riddled with stars like Zico, Renato Gaucho, Socrates and Cerezo. Edinho, Renato and Casagrande combined for the first before Zico did a flick and volley for the second.

4. 1997 Ronaldo brilliance

Both sides met in 1997. Ronaldo got a brace in the game as they saw off Paraguay in the quarter finals. The legend ended up being selected as the most outstanding player as Brazil sailed to victory.

5. 2008 stain

Dunga led Brazil to the 2010 World Cup on a brilliant note as they demolished their continental rivals in the qualification stage. They were the leaders in the 10-team log but their record was tainted with a loss to Paraguay. RoqueSanta Cruz scored the opener in the game at Asuncion before Salvador Cabanas completed the rout.

This time Brazil are the favourites to win as a victory would almost guarantee their spot in Russia 2018, even with games to spare. Paraguay have not had favourable results that would have kept them in contention for qualification but they would not be a walk over the Selacao side.

Roque Santa Cruz will continue performing for Olimpia Asuncion

At the age of 35, Roque Santa Cruz appears to not have any plans of hanging up his boots anytime soon as the Paraguayan player is currently performing for Olimpia Asuncion and he has recently stated his intentions to keep on playing with the club despite speculation that was surrounding his future of retiring.

The Paraguayan attacker revealed his near-future plans as he talked during a press conference and said: ‘’ I will be making the pre-season with the team in order to be in a better physical form and that it’s going to help me make more appearances in the upcoming campaign. I have a huge desire to continue performing with Olimpia Asuncion and be a champion with them before I hang up my boots’’

Roque Santa Cruz performed with Olimpia Asuncion back in 1999 when he was a youngster but he failed to win any titles with the Paraguayan club and now he is reaching the final stages of his career, Santa Cruz is attempting to do it before deciding to retire.

Even though Santa Cruz is still eager to continue performing with his club for at least 1 more year, the Paraguayan attacker does feel the toll that comes with aging as he retired from performing at the international scene as Cruz only wants to focus the remaining years of his career with OlimpiaAsuncion.

The last performance that Santa Cruz made for Paraguay was on November 10 of 2016 as they faced off with Peru in a 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and it was a very difficult for him to make, especially taking into consideration the fact that he has made over 100 appearances for Paraguay and he is the all-time leading goal-scorer.

Despite the impact and importance that Santa Cruz has made with the Paraguayan national side, he opted to retire as it was a decision that the veteran player had to take in a point in time.

PARAGUAY LEGEND RETIRES AMIDST POOR WC QUALIFIERS RUN

Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz has retired from international football amidst a poor World Cup qualifying campaign by the national team.

The player earlier said his last game for the country would be the game against Bolivia in La Paz and he acted on his words by resigning at the age of 35.

Santa Cruz starred in his debut at 17 years far back in 1999. The player appreciates the country for still deeming it fit to invite him to international clashes but decided he has had enough of the round leather game.

The player said ahead of the Bolivia game:

“With this call-up, I am bringing to an end my time in the national team. It’s a decision that’s hard to take, but it had to be taken at some point.

“I think it’s time to just dedicate myself to my club. I’m happy to retire at a time when I still feel good enough to play.”

The player, who has over a hundred caps to his name in a Paraguay shirt, is credited with 32 goals since his April 28, 1999 debut. The player started his professional career at Olimpia – a club based in the country’s capital. Santa Cruz has also played for German champions Bayern Munich, English clubs like Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, and Spanish sides Real Betis and Malaga. His long football career also includes time in Mexican club Cruz Azul before he joined the tradition of returning to boyhood clubs. He agreed to the Olimpia move this season.

He leaves at a crucial time for the national team who are outside the top four teams that are set to get automatic qualification for the World Cup in 2018. A fifth side will play the continental play-off for a chance but Paraguay is one team that would likely sit outside the top five in the dramatic qualifiers so far.

SUAREZ SET TO BREAK RECORD AGAINST ECUADOR

Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez is set to break a goalscoring record when the team takes on Ecuador on Friday, Novermber 11, 2016 in a CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying game.

When Uruguay forced Columbia to a 2-2 draw last month, the Barcelona talisman scored his 19th goal in a World Cup qualification game. The goal made him the record goal-scorer with Hernan Crespo in South American history.

Eight games were left when he equalled the record in the CONMEBOL WC qualifiers. With Uruguay hosting Ecuador, Suarez is poised to get another goal to break the record. The former Inter Milan and Chelsea man did his 19 goals in 33 World Cup qualifying games for Argentina. Suarez equalled the record in 36 games, but is set to rewrite the record if he gets a goal against Ecuador.

Chilean Marcelo Salas is third in the list with 18 goals in 32 games between 1998 and 2010. Another Chilean Ivan Zamorano did 17 goals in 23 games from 1990 and 2002. Joaquin Botero and Agustin Delgado from Bolivia and Ecuador respectively follow with 16 goals in 30 matches.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi also has 16 goals but reached his after 38 games.

Peru star player Jefferson Farfan is next with 15 goals after featuring in 36 matches. Uruguay legend Diego Forlan has 15 in 46 games from 2006 to 2014 world Cup qualifying campaign.

Paraguay international Jose Cardozo did 14 goals in 36 games, while his compatriot former Man City and Malaga striker, Roque Santa Cruz scored 13 goals in 38 games.

Quite surprisngly, no Brazilian player apear in the top 15 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifing game. Romario and Zico are the ones who top Brazilians with 11 goals. However, they place 16th on the overall list. a

Roque Santa Cruz Wants Variation and Quality Against Uruguay

Paraguay opened their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign with a solid win over Chile in stunning fashion.

The back-to-back Coppa America champions were seen as overwhelming favourites for the win, but Paraguay managed a narrow 2-1 win to create a shock in the first match day of the South American qualification campaign. Óscar Romero and Da Silva were the scorers in the game, but failure to keep a clean sheet was probably the only blemish. Paraguay have no time to rest on their laurels as they are up against another top opponent in the space of a few days.

Uruguay, who are one of the top three teams in South America, will be the hosts in the next qualification game. Since this is away from home, Paraguay could be forgiven to have lofty ambitions, but that is not the case with Roque Santa Cruz. The striker, who may not start against Uruguay, says that Paraguay need all the help in the form of possession, variation, and ability to surprise the opponent when it matters the most. Team morale will be a factor in deciding the probability of success and Santa Cruz says that this quality was in abundance following this recent win.

"Both Paraguay and Uruguay have a very important air power, the slogan will be very vigilant in the ball stop. It will be a game of great concentration and much friction.The group is super happy and optimistic, was greatly strengthened the work we have been doing thanks to the victory we get to Chile.We're fine, we should try to make a great game, challenge it and try to get the three points home," said Santa Cruz.Jorge Moreira also expressed the idea of being able to repeat the win achieved against Chile in the opening World Cup qualification campaign.

Roque Santa Cruz is confident that Guardiola will improve City

Roque Santa Cruz is a 34 year old Paraguayan footballer who is currently performing for Olimpia Asuncion but his playing career is very comprehensive as he has worn the jersey of many clubs from around the world including: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Malaga, Betis, Cruz Azul and his current club Olimpia Asuncion.

The experienced attacker knows what it takes to perform in different leagues and clubs, Santa Cruz has recently voiced his thoughts concerning Pep Guardiola as the Spanish manager has the task of pushing Manchester City to the Premier League title as well as various other pieces of silverware.

Pep Guardiola is expected to do a good job in Manchester City; he has already won every top club competition back when in charge of Barcelona. The Premier League is a very different breed of league compared to those where he has participated in before as the English League is not a competition where only 2 or 3 clubs have a realistic chance to actually win, this League has much more competitors and obstacles before any club can emerge as champions but Santa Cruz is confident that Guardiola will make it happen.

The 34 year old Paraguayan attacker of Olimpia Asuncion, Roque Santa Cruz said: "I think City like to play good football. They have some great players. I think they will value Guardiola's playing philosophy a lot. They'll keep evolving even more and they'll be even more competitive with him. I think we may see Manchester City playing much better football."

"As a group they are a very solid team, that's their strength."

Santa Cruz spent around 4 years performing as a player of Manchester City and he knows a thing or two about that league and that team, he is certain that Pep Guardiola will transform Manchester City into a new squad, a squad that might be capable of winning the biggest competitions in the world of football.

Santa Cruz Decides To Go Back To Olimpia Club

Santa Cruz of Paraguay would be returning to the Olimpia club where he started off the first time. His career can be termed as a much traveled one.

Being a striker, Roque Santa Cruz would be closing his career by getting him to Paraguay and being part of Olimpia. The team is based out of Asuncion. The player who is about 34 years of age is known to be top scorer for Paraguay. He has been in 111 international games and achieved about 32 games. He joined Olimpia after having played in Malaga. He had been given on loan from Cruz Azul which is a club of the first division in Mexico.

On social media the club owners welcomed him back with encouraging notes. Indeed, he has also won Copa Libertadores three times. He had left the first club in 1999 when he had been chosen for Bayern Munich. He stayed with the club till 2007. He then moved to clubs like Blackburn Rovers, Real Betis, Manchester City and others like the last clubs mentioned above.

The Paraguay captain of former times had played and represented the country in three World Cups between the periods 2002 to 2010. The recent Copa America did not see him participate as part of the country’s squad as he had suffered a knee ligament injury. Indeed, his decision to return to the club he originated from being common with other players as well. Indeed, it is a great feat when players of international fame decide to bring back their knowledge and experience to the club where they develop their playing skills initially. It definitely helps in the progress of the club and to help them get justified returns from the time and effort that is invested in building players for tomorrow.

Roque Santa Cruz believes that Lionel Messi should win a title with Argentina

Roque Santa Cruz believes that Lionel Messi should win a title with Argentina if he wants to fulfill expectations of fans.

Former Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz has stated that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi should win a title with Argentina if he intends to meet the fans’ expectations. He believes that the player who is recognized as a world-class player with Barcelona need to win at least a trophy with his national team if he wants to be accepted at home.

Many Argentina fans believe that Lionel Messi has yet to replicate his form with the national team, but Roque Santa Cruz does not agree with this statement. He said that Messi has always played well with Argentina, but it is the fans pressure that makes it appear this way. For him, the only solution for Lionel Messi is to win a trophy with Argentina so as to fulfill their wishes.

Messi has played in 2 finals so far with Argentina but has yet to win any of them. He was present in the 2014 World Cup final and the 2015 Copa America and both time Argentina lost the match. He will be hoping for another outcome at the Copa America Centenario where Argentina is again among one of the favorites to lift the trophy.

Roque Santa Cruz, who has not been selected by Paraguay for this tournament, said that his team has a very strong team. He believes that there is a strong team spirit and that each player is determined to win the trophy. For him, this is the best Paraguay team for quite some time, and it is natural to have some big expectations.

For him, Argentina is one of the favorite to win the Copa America, but he also believes that Brazil is not far behind despite having some troubles recently.

ROQUE SANTA CRUZ SET TO LEAD PARAGUAY TO LAST COPA AMERICA

Paraguay International, Roque Santa Cruz is set to lead his country to possibly his last Copa America tournament before he retires after playing 20 years as a professional footballer.

The 34-year-old striker has not only made himself a glittering career on the pitch, but managed to do some good off it as well. The player is Paraguay's all-time leading scorer, which is as much a result of longevity as it is quality.

Santa Cruz started as a professional for Olimpia in his home country before most American kids even learn to drive, at the absurdly young age of 15. Two years later he moved to the club where he truly made his name - Bayern Munich. In eight years with the Bavarian giants, Santa Cruz won a number of trophies, but never found any real consistency and never scored more than 10 goals in a season.

After leaving Bayern, he landed in England, bouncing from Manchester City to Blackburn - he scored 20 goals in a season there, the best year of his career - before taking off to Spain with Betis and Malaga. In 2015 he signed with Cruz Azul for a short spell before then returning to Spain, where he currently plays with Malaga on loan.

The player is also unsurprisingly a hero in Paraguay. The people love him for his work off the pitch, but it also helps that he's been brilliant on it. And now he gets another big stage to shine on in Copa America Centenario.

Drawn into Group A with the United States, Colombia and Costa Rica, Paraguay face a tough test even though they have beaten Brazil in penalties at last year's Copa America, expectations are high. With Santa Cruz as vice captain of the team and other experienced player, Paraguay can only wish for the best in the tournament.

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