‘Championship stress definitely exists’ – Lock sees ‘real winner’ in Zerrouki
Jansen looks at former colleague Slot’s achievements with ‘due pride’
AZ is on a rock-solid season. Pascal Jansen’s team will play Ajax on Saturday night in a direct game for third place in the premier league and will play West Ham United in the Conference League semifinals next week.
“These are great times for the club, but on the other hand it is important to keep the focus and focus on the things that are on the program,” Jansen said Friday at the press conference. “It is nice that we are in the semifinals of the Conference League, but that is not on the agenda right now. Ajax first.”
Karlsson not yet fit
In the match against Ajax, Jansen cannot yet call on Jesper Karlsson. The Swede has not yet recovered sufficiently from an upper leg injury. Vangelis Pavlidis and Jens Odgaard have recovered sufficiently to make their appearance on Saturday.
Jansen looks with ‘due pride’ at performance of former colleague Slot
Slot remains silent about possible talks with Tottenham Hotspur
Arne Slot does not want to comment on media reports that he has been invited to a meeting with Tottenham Hotspur management. “I only want it to be about our game on Sunday against Excelsior now,” he said at the press conference. “I don’t want anything else to make the headlines. It shouldn’t be about other things.”
Slot is said to be in the picture for the Spurs head coach position. Xabi Alonso, Mauricio Pochettino and Julian Nagelsmann have also been linked with it. English clubs often invite several trainers for an interview before making a decision.
Hofpleinfontein ready for possible Feyenoord championship celebration
Protective measures for Rotterdam’s Hofpleinfontein have been completed, a spokesman for the municipality of Rotterdam announced. In preparation for celebrating Feyenoord supporters, the pond has been cleaned and the ornaments removed.
The club can become champions this weekend. PSV must then lose points at Sparta on Saturday and Feyenoord must beat Excelsior on Sunday.
The ‘Hofplein regulation’ will also come into effect in the event of a possible championship. This involves closing the area around Hofplein to traffic from fifteen minutes before the end of the match.
Traditionally, the Hofplein area is crowded when Feyenoord wins the national title. At the last championship in 2017, hundreds of people took a dip in the fountain.
No traffic measures will be taken around Stadhuisplein, reports the municipality. Crowds are expected there Sunday because of a “Feyenoord festival,” organized by catering establishments on the square. The match, which starts at 2:30 p.m., will be broadcast on the Stadhuisplein on a large screen.
Slot invited Kuijt: ‘Expect Dirk to get trainer success’
Dirk Kuijt recently joined Feyenoord for two days of training with Arne Slot. According to the trainer, it was an appointment that had been fixed for some time.
“Dirk was annoyingly dismissed. I asked him afterwards if he would like to join us for a few days, because I think Dirk has meant an awful lot to Feyenoord,” Slot said.
“I have noticed that Dirk is a very inspired trainer,” Slot said. “I hope and expect him to show this somewhere in the coming years, that he can achieve the same success as players as a trainer.”
In March, Slot also gave former player Danny Buijs the opportunity to walk with him for a few days.
‘Zerrouki real winner with good personality’
Arne Slot is delighted that Feyenoord managed to capture Ramiz Zerrouki at the fourth attempt.
“We have been able to see in recent years at FC Twente how important Zerrouki is,” Slot said at the press conference. “He wins a lot of duels and gives a lot of shape to the first build-up, a real winner with a good personality. It also says enough that several clubs were after him.”
Slot is reportedly referring to Ajax and PSV, the two clubs that were also linked with the Algerian international.
Slot happy with arrival Zerrouki: ‘Player with a lot of personality’
Van Bronckhorst reminisces about 2017
Championship stress. Does that exist? Yes it does. Former Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst recounts his experiences of how his team lost 3-0 at Excelsior in the championship match in the 2016/2017 season, but later still won the title with Feyenoord.
Salient detail: there is a possible scenario this weekend that Feyenoord could again play the championship match at Woudestein. For that, PSV must lose points at Sparta the day before.
An extensive article with Van Bronckhorst on Feyenoord’s upcoming championship and his take on trainer Arne Slot will follow on Sunday on NOS.nl and in the NOS app.
Van Bronckhorst on championship stress in 2017: ‘Yes, that did something to players’
Starting place Gravenberch at Bayern
Ryan Gravenberch will start Saturday’s Bundesliga away game with Bayern Munich against Werder Bremen. Coach Thomas Tuchel has named the midfielder as a replacement for the suspended Leon Goretzka. The coach told that at a press conference on Friday.
Bayern Munich acquired Gravenberch from Ajax for 18.5 million euros last summer. The 20-year-old midfielder received very little playing time with the reigning champion of Germany this season.
The club does not only miss Goretzka in Bremen. Josip Stanisic, Dayot Upamecano, Manuel Neuer, Lucas Hernández, Alphonso Davies and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will also have to watch.
Bayern leads the Bundesliga with a one-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, which has a home game with VfL Wolfsburg scheduled for Sunday.
Footballer Mattiello leaves Go Ahead Eagles effective immediately
Go Ahead Eagles can no longer call on Federico Mattiello during the final matches of the season. The Italian midfielder’s expiring contract was terminated immediately at his own request “due to personal circumstances.”
The 27-year-old Mattiello came to Go Ahead Eagles in September last year free of transfer fees. The former player of Juventus, Bologna and SPAL, among others, made six appearances in the premier league.
Go Ahead Eagles is in eleventh place with four matches to go. The team from Deventer concludes the league with matches against FC Groningen, Feyenoord, FC Volendam and sc Heerenveen.
‘United allow Weghorst to return to Burnley’
It looks like Wout Weghorst will not be offered a long-term contract at Manchester Uinited, the Manchester Evenings News writes.
The Burnley striker has been playing for United on a rental basis since January and scored twice in 26 games. Weghorst is still under contract with Burnley until 2025, which has already secured promotion to the Premier League.
The 30-year-old Weghorst had a spectacular start at United, including a goal in the Carabao Cup semifinals (the tournament he would also later win with the club) in the away game against Nottingham Forrest.
In recent times, partly due to the return of the once again fiit Anthoy Martial, Weghorst has increasingly had to settle for short substitutions.
Van Nistelrooij confirms: ‘Sambo returns from Sparta’
Coach Ruud van Nistelrooij also tells the press conference that Shurandy Sambo will return to PSV after this season. The 21-year-old right winger is currently rented out to Sparta and is making a good impression in Rotterdam.
Sambo participated in 27 of the 30 league rounds and was a two-time goal scorer. Those two goals came in Sparta’s last two premier league matches, against FC Twente and sc Heerenveen.
Based on his performance, the soccer player made his debut in the young national team at the end of March.
By the way, Van Nistelrooij will have to be patient before seeing Sambo at work again with his own eyes: the player is serving a suspension on Saturday night. The same goes for Ibrahim Sangaré at PSV.
PSV misses Hazard against Sparta
PSV will have to do without striker Thorgan Hazard against Sparta on Saturday night. The Belgian sustained an ankle injury from last Sunday’s cup final win against Ajax, coach Ruud van Nistelrooij reported at the press conference.
Hazard was still responsible for PSV’s 1-1 draw in the cup final and took the first penalty in the penalty kick series.
Apart from Hazard and the long-term injured Armando Obsipo and Mauro Junior, everyone is fit at PSV.
Berghuis doubtful at Ajax for fraught duel with AZ
It is still unclear whether Ajax coach John Heitinga can have Steven Berghuis at his disposal Saturday night. The attacking midfielder is struggling with an injury.
“Berghuis has not trained this week and has completed his own program, he had to be sidelined during the cup final (last Sunday, ed.) with complaints and is a doubt for Saturday night,” Heitinga announced on the Ajax website.
Kudus fit again
Heitinga did come with positive news about Mohammed Kudus. “For Kudus, the final came too soon but he did participate in all training sessions with the group afterwards and is available again,” the coach said.
“Devyne Rensch filled in at De Kuip on Sunday and came out well, he had no reaction on Monday. So he also just trained fully with the group this week.”
The match between Ajax and AZ starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
‘PSV and Ajax want Spierings from Toulouse’
Stijn Spierings’ performances at French side Toulouse have not gone unnoticed. According to Voetbal International and De Telegraaf, PSV and Ajax later have their eye on the 27-year-old midfielder.
Spierings has an expiring contract at the French club, making him of extra interest to clubs.
The defensive midfielder is seen by PSV as a replacement for Ibrahim Sangaré and Érick Gutiérrez. The duo are expected to leave Eindhoven in the summer.
At Ajax, Spierings could make up for the departure of Edson Álvarez. The Mexican is aiming to leave the Amsterdam club after this season.
Spierings played almost all the games this season for Toulouse, where he has been active since October 2020. With the club he won the Coupe de France last Saturday. Spierings was also active with AZ, Sparta, RKC Waalwijk and Bulgarian Levski Sofia.
PEC with veteran Van Hintum to premier league
Bart van Hintum will enter the premier league with PEC Zwolle next season. The 36-year-old defender has extended his expiring contract in Zwolle for another year.
Van Hintum returned to the club from Overijssel last summer after spending three years for FC Groningen.
“When I signed with PEC Zwolle last season on April 5, the club was in a spirited relegation battle,” Van Hintum remembers. “So how nice is it that thirteen months later I can say that after that painful relegation we are back in the premier league?”
Van Hintum promoted to the premier league with PEC Zwolle in 2012. He won the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruijff Schaal two years later with the current first division frontrunner.
Spalletti dedicates title to Napoli fans and deceased brother
In Italy, it is mostly about Napoli’s first national title since 1990.
Trainer Luciano Spalletti of the club from Naples dedicated the third title in club history to all the players and supporters. He did not forget his family either. “I dedicate it also to my daughter Matilde and the rest of my family who always support and push me. And of course to my late brother Marcello,” Spalletti said.
Spalletti became visibly emotional when he mentioned his brother’s name. “But to see all the fans of Napoli so happy, that is the most beautiful emotion for me,” he said Thursday after the draw against Udinese (1-1) that sufficed for the title.
“I found it quite tough the last few weeks. I felt the desire of the whole city of Naples. That does give pressure. Not all people have it easy in Naples. Precisely those people deserve this success.”
“Our older supporters still saw Diego Maradona play soccer,” Spalletti said of the Argentine who led Napoli to their first and second national titles in 1987 and 1990. “But after that they had to wait 33 years. I always promised them to get the most out of this selection. Fortunately that has worked out quite well.”
‘Twente will receive around 8 million for Zerrouki’
FC Twente will retain a sum of about 8 million euros from the transfer of Ramiz Zerrouki, according to Tubantia. The regional newspaper writes that Feyenoord had applied to Twente for Zerrouki for the fourth time.
The Tukkers rejected an initial offer of 4.5 million last summer, after which Feyenoord also made two unsuccessful bids for the Algerian international in the winter break. “
“A few weeks ago Feyenoord reported for Zerrouki again and this time the talks did proceed in good harmony,” Tubantia writes.
Zerrouki is considered a protégé of Feyenoord coach Arne Slot. In January, he still told about Zerrouki’s failure to transfer.
Slot on failure to transfer Zerrouki: ‘Pity, but am not disappointed’
Feyenoord and Twente agree on Zerrouki
There is immediate big news on this Friday morning! FC Twente and Feyenoord have reached an agreement on the transfer of Ramiz Zerrouki.
The 24-year-old midfielder from the Enschede club will sign a multi-year contract with the premier league leaders. Zerrouki still had a contract with Twente until mid-2024.
“After FC Twente and Feyenoord failed to reach an agreement last summer and during the winter break, both clubs have now reached an agreement,” Twente reported on its website.
The transfer of the 17-time Algeria international to Feyenoord will be finalized in the coming days. He is the second purchase for Feyenoord after Thomas van de Belt from PEC Zwolle for next season.
Zerrouki comes from Ajax youth and continued his education at FC Twente in 2016.
Program and standings premier league
Will this be the weekend that decides the battle for the national title in the Netherlands?
Leaders Feyenoord can become champions for the 16th time Sunday if they win the away game against low-flyer Excelsior and PSV lose points at number five Sparta on Saturday.
In Amsterdam, Ajax and AZ battle for third place on Saturday.
The fate of SC Cambuur and FC Groningen could be sealed this weekend with direct relegation to the first division.
It promises to be another day full of soccer news.
We look ahead, as usual on Friday, to the premier league playoff round. Feyenoord can celebrate the national title this weekend if they win against Excelsior themselves and PSV lose points at Sparta.
And how are Ajax and AZ faring? The two meet Saturday night in Amsterdam in a direct battle for third place.
We also dwell at length on Napoli’s first league title since 1990. The selection returns to Naples today, where it will undoubtedly be met by a huge crowd.