Alex Chick

  • The hollow pursuit of trophies

    For most of Robin van Persie's eight years at Arsenal, success has stayed frustratingly out of reach.

    The team has looked poised for glory, only to lose key players and take a step backwards.

    At 29, time is not Van Persie's friend and his desire to win at the club - cited in his statement on Wednesday - is completely understandable.

    He has not submitted a transfer request, nor has he gone on a three-month golf break in Argentina. He has merely stated that he will not renew his contract, which is entirely his right.

    But what does he hope to achieve by leaving? Win trophies, he says.

    Of course,

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  • The Spanish flags are still fluttering in celebration, but Spain is already looking forward.

    Captain Iker Casillas and coach Vicente del Bosque were first off the plane at Madrid's massive Barajas airport on Monday afternoon after the flight from Kiev. They'd partied in a restaurant after the game, with another goalkeeper Pepe Reina again leading the celebrations. Every circus needs a clown and Reina's enthusiasm for the task makes him one of the most popular players in Spain, a country whose footballing dominance is relentless.

    It looks set to continue. Yesterday, Spain released their

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  • Euro 2012 awards

    From Mario to Michel, from Robben to racism, Alex Chick looks back at the best and worst of Euro 2012.

    BEST PLAYER - Andres Iniesta (Spain)

    Nobody relishes the big occasions like Iniesta, the man who provides Spain with much-needed incisiveness to go with their metronomic tiki-taka. Described by Zinedine Zidane as a paler verison of himself, Iniesta might just go down in history as the great man's equal if he keeps this up. Was the pick of an exceptional Spanish bunch in the final to cap off a wondrous tournament.

    On the podium: Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Jordi Alba (Spain)

    BEST GAME - Denmark

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  • After each round of Euro 2012 matches, we will publish our pick of the top performers.

    A strange set of quarter-finals produced four somewhat one-sided games, though the last one went to penalties as England clung on against Italy.

    However, seven of the eight teams are represented in our team of the round - the winning teams' defences were largely untroubled, while there was some heroism in defeat from Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and John Terry.

    Into midfield, where Andrea Pirlo's god-like display against England sees him take pride of place alongside two-goal Xabi Alonso and the improving

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  • Euro 2012 Team of the Round

    The final round of group games proved a stage for so-called underperformers to come to the fore.

    Cristiano Ronaldo produced an electric display as Portugal beat Netherlands, making his critics eat their words.

    Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic also shone, scoring a brilliant volley - as did Mario Balotelli, who does not make our side.

    Balotelli's Italian compatriot Antonio Cassano does make the cut, putting controversy behind him with a glorious display against the Irish.

    Even John Terry might have squeezed in had he not been so reliant on myopic officials to maintain England's clean sheet against

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  • Euro 2012 Team of the Round

    After each round of Euro 2012 matches, we will publish our pick of the top performers.

    The second group games saw pre-tournament favourites Spain and Germany assert themselves.

    The former with a thumping 4-0 win over Ireland, the second with a closer - but no less impressive - victory over arch-rivals the Netherlands. Both countries boast two players in our team and might have had more.

    Theo Walcott is the first substitute to make the team, after he delivered the very definition of an impact performance against Sweden.

    However, his Arsenal clubmate Nicklas Bendtner is unlucky to miss out

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  • Euro 2012 Team of the Round

    After each round of Euro 2012 matches, we will publish our pick of the top performers.

    We begin with the leading lights from the opening eight matches, with nine countries represented.

    We have old stagers like Pirlo and Shevchenko, the fresh blood of Dzagoev and Hummels; global superstars Sneijder and Iniesta, and journeymen Poulsen and Debuchy.

    Goalkeeper - Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) - Expert rating 7, User rating 7.6
    A strangely forgotten man, Buffon rarely enters 'best in the world' chats these days. But he outshone Spain's Iker Casillas and earned the Azzurri a point with a commanding

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  • Don’t expect Chelsea to park the bus

    "Unjust, cruel, horrible, unmerited. Any adjective is not enough to define the incredible elimination of Barca at the hands of Chelsea. Few times has a team done so much to deserve to reach the Champions League final as that of Guardiola's. And rarely has a rival, with so little, gained that very prize."

    Sport (Catalan daily newspaper), 25 April 2012

    "A big issue will be how to play against a defensive team like Chelsea. I believe that Bayern will have a lot of ball possession. Chelsea played effective football against Barcelona, but Chelsea won't win a beauty award. The footballing skills of

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  • Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad created a host of talking points, with enough contentious selections to get #HodgsonOut trending on Twitter.

    But did the new England boss make the right decisions? Here is a look at the key inclusions and omissions.

    IN

    John Terry

    Teflon Terry strikes again. On recent form, he is a borderline selection at best. When you add his off-field issues, plus injury problems that are no less severe than Rio Ferdinand's, it seems clear that he is no longer worth the hassle. Yes, he has experience. But it is experience of discord and failure. How on earth does he do it?

    Good

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