Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break Tuesday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Spring is here and love should be in the air, but instead all we’re left with is bickering managers.

Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are no strangers to controversy, so it’s no surprise to see them at it again, though the timing is odd. Mourinho still has it all to prove at Real Madrid over the next two months, while Capello has yet to truly inspire confidence in England fans.

What do you make of Capello’s captaincy decision after handing the armband to Gareth Barry, days after excluding him from the squad to face Wales?

And Real fans, does it annoy you to see Mourinho flirting so openly with other jobs?

Major League Monday

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SOCCER-MLS/

THE NEW AMERICAN HOPE?

MLS’s odd policy of playing through FIFA international dates meant that the league action was overshadowed by the big friendly in New Jersey, where nearly 80,000 fans watched Bob Bradley’s U.S. team battle to a 1-1 draw against a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina. The U.S team is dominated by players based in Europe but there was a big bright point for MLS when New York Red Bulls teenage striker Juan Agudelo came off the bench to score. Agudelo, who scored on his international debut against South Africa last year and bagged on the opening day of the MLS season last week, is the hottest young talent in MLS and has huge potential. For his sake though, it is hoped that he doesn’t have to endure the premature hype that surrounded the last great American hope in soccer – Freddy Adu. Adu was treated as the American Pele as a teenager but having failed to live up to such ludicrous expectations he has stumbled around Europe and at the age of 21 he has already slumped to the obscurity of the Turkish second division.  Agudelo would be well served by a couple of years gaining experience in MLS before he starts thinking about a big move abroad.

One of the interesting things about Agudelo is that he hasn’t come through the old-fashioned college system in the U.S. Born in Colombia, he moved to the States with his family as an eight year old and came through the Red Bulls academy. That surely is the future for soccer in North America – players who come through the college system might get a good all-round education but if they want to be an internationally marketable talent when they are at the key age of 20-21, they need to be playing professional soccer in their teens. The likes of Messi and Wayne Rooney wouldn’t be where they are now if they had been studying social sciences at 21 and playing three or four months out of the year.

TV spat threatens La Liga matchday 30

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SOCCER-SPAIN/TAX-STRIKEIn the latest edition of our Monday Spanish soccer blog, Mark Elkington looks at a dispute that threatens the next round of La Liga matches, Spain’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Lithuania and the problems affecting second-division leaders Rayo Vallecano.

Courtroom drama

Many of La Liga’s finest packed their bags and headed off to represent their countries last week while the action in Spain switched from the pitch to the courtroom.

Soccer Break Monday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Welcome back to another week of digesting the global game, and where better to start than with a look at the Lionel Messi effect on the sport.

The wizard-like Argentine is a joy to watch and by playing in countries such as the United States, where soccer is not the main sport, he can only have increased enthusiasm for the round ball game.

Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EURO/SPAINIt’s gone quiet on the football news front though the sun’s still out in Europe as we await another weekend of unrelenting on-pitch drama in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Anyone out there lucky enough to be attending the Serbia v Northern Ireland match? 240 fans got the nod.

Soccer Break Thursday

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONSGareth Bale. The dashing Welsh winger primed to scare the living daylights out of England on Saturday. Injured. Did anyone else hear that collective sigh of relief from England fans today?

But what about Tottenham Hotspur fans. Are you worried your star man’s recent struggles with injury could hamper your club’s Champions League quarter-final chances against Real Madrid?

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-EURO/Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.

Don’t look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It’s just this week it’s the international break.

Beckham bashers have got it wrong

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SOCCER-MLS/

By Simon Evans in Miami

Television coverage of MLS’s opening game began with an attack on David Beckham from two television pundits and critics have continued to question whether the Englishman cares about the league or his club, LA Galaxy, Simon Evans says the Beckham bashing is off target.

The debate over David Beckham’s commitment to L.A Galaxy and Major League Soccer should have ended on November 22, 2009. On that rainy, cold day in Seattle, Beckham took a series of pain-killing injections, wrapped up his injured ankle in bandage and went out to face Real Salt Lake on the unforgiving artificial turf at Qwest Field.

Does anybody actually care who captains England?

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Last week, when Chelsea held a news conference to preview their Champions League match against FC Copenhagen, manager Carlo Ancelotti spent the first 20 minutes fielding questions about John Terry’s re-instatement as England captain.

The Chelsea press officer finally stepped in in an attempt to steer the subject back to club football by asking if there were any questions about the forthcoming match or for fellow guest, defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Soccer Break Tuesday

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MALAYSIA/Football’s governing bodies are dominating the news on Tuesday as the FIFA presidency candidates hit the campaign trail and the UEFA presidency will be retained by an unopposed Michel Platini.

The sport is more global than ever, highlighted in December when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of the United States, Japan, Australia and South Korea despite the fact a Middle Eastern country has never before hosted a major global sporting event.

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