Strange results signify little… but we can all dream, can’t we?
Real Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…
It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.
Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!
We’re all too wise to fall for any of that, though, aren’t we? After all, the big leagues are just three games in at the most and none of us really doubts that normal service will be resumed once the international week is out of the way.
But at the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, perhaps this year will see a bit of a shake up.
Don’t Liverpool and Arsenal look a bit more vulnerable to challenges for top-four places in the Premier League? Might Juergen Klinsmann and Pep Guardiola find it tough in their first seasons in charge of big clubs?
Doesn’t Real Madrid’s failure to get Cristiano Ronaldo mean they’ll be short of a touch of inspiration? And, given all that’s happened, is there much chance of the Portuguese forward producing another season of such sustained brilliance for United?
I’m as resigned as anyone to the idea of the big league titles going to the usual suspects, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they face a few more bumps in the road this time.
PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy reacts after their Spanish first division soccer match against Deportivo Coruna in Coruna August 31, 2008. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal