Soccer Break – Thursday edition

March 3, 2011

SOCCER-SPAIN/Good day to you all wherever you may be, and let’s start with some advice from Barcelona defender Dani Alves about his teammate and arguably the best footballer in the world, Lionel Messi.

The fast-passing Catalans snuck past Valencia last night, while over in Germany Raul was making the headlines for scoring the goal that sent Bayern Munich crashing out of the German Cup in the semi-finals.

Could the end be approaching for coach Louis van Gaal?

In other European action, Ligue 1 leaders Lille progressed to the semi-finals of the French Cup, and are being tipped for a domestic double.

News on the owl-kicking footballer is that he is being banned and fined.

And to finish, both sides of the story following Aston Villa’s 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.

On the one hand, manager Gerard Houllier was criticised for fielding a weakened side, while the Aston Villa blog says avoiding relegation is their primary concern.

At this point of the season, do you take the former Villa and Arsenal player Paul Merson’s view that trophies are there to be won and therefore field your best team at all cost, or do you sympathise with ex-Liverpool boss Houllier’s predicament?

Discuss this and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (R) kicks the ball past Valencia’s goalkeeper Vicente Guaita (C) and Ricardo Costa during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Heino Kalis


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