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World Soccer views and news

Chambery’s French passion underlines renaissance of domestic cups

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SOCCER-FRANCE/Fifth division Chambery’s stunning win over top-flight Sochaux to reach the French Cup quarter-finals has got a lot of people talking and I think it’s fair to say domestic cup competitions around Europe are enjoying a bit of a resurgence.

As this week proved with other games, Cup shocks are nothing new in France – something I knew before moving to Paris on Monday — but the fact newspapers and fans are stilll excited about Chambery’s run speaks volumes.

A packed little stadium for a game played in the midweek afternoon, a huge front page picture in L’Equipe and non-soccer fans mentioning the win in lifts all go to show that there is still magic in the Cup.

The FA Cup in England has taken a bit of a battering over recent years but minor league side Crawley Town being drawn at Manchester United in the fifth round and moneybags Manchester City needing 30 million pound striker Edin Dzeko to salvage a draw at third division Notts County has brought back a lot of romance.

Torres is a one-goal striker and a steal for Chelsea

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SOCCER-EURO/Will Fernando Torres ever recapture that heady mix of fearlessness, ruthlessness and irresistible skill he showed in his first 24-goal season at Anfield?

Is £50 million enough to buy you a strike rate of a goal every 1.375 games?

You know what? It doesn’t matter.

Liverpool needed a 24-goals-a-season striker but Chelsea don’t. Chelsea have spent so much money for a player who can score one goal rather than 24, or to put it another way, the goal.

If Torres goes, Liverpool should heed Spanish lessons

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SOCCER-SPAIN/If the excited reports on the 24-hour channels are correct, Fernando Torres may soon arrive at Chelsea’s training ground to seal a move that will leave Liverpool in a dangerous situation — under pressure to sign high-profile reinforcements and with wodges of money to spend as the deadline fast approaches.

Kenny Dalglish accepted on Monday that transfers are part of football and the internet chatter suggests many fans have reached the conclusion that Torres may have reached the end of the Anfield road.

Liverpool sign Suarez but will he play with Torres?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/UPDATE: Liverpool have confirmed that Torres put in a written transfer request on Friday night. The club have rejected it. Read the statement here.

Liverpool and Ajax have just announced that Luis Suarez is joining the Premier League club in a deal worth up to 26.5 million euros.

Is Adebayor enough to placate Mourinho?

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Jose Mourinho got the birthday present he had been pestering Real Madrid for on Tuesday when the La Liga club landed Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor on loan until the end of the season.

The Portuguese, who turned 48 on Wednesday, has been pressing for a centre-forward since the start of the season when Real set out with Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema as their two recognized frontmen.

Would Juve not be better off selling Buffon?

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SOCCER-ITALY/Juventus need a striker desperately but don’t want to bust their budget and yet have two top goalkeepers.

The answer? Why not sell one of the goalkeepers and use part of the proceeds to recruit a world-class forward?

Football still offside in attitude to women

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The British media furore over two television presenters’ sexist comments over a lineswoman at a Premier League match at the weekend has thrown the spotlight on the subject of women in soccer – be it on the pitch or off.

Sky Sports duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologised for saying female officials “don’t know the offside rule” when they were talking about lineswoman Sian Massey at Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool when they thought their microphones were switched off.

Moses and Chadli become latest to ‘test drive’ a nation

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/A new phenomenon of ‘dipping a toe’ into the waters of international football is beginning to emerge, further devaluing the ultimate individual achievement in the game.

Rules on international eligibility have been watered down over the years but the changes could not have foreseen the growing global village, immigration and movement of people that is providing the game with a much more multi-cultured generation.

Sunderland’s Bruce can’t lecture Bent about loyalty

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Much-travelled Sunderland manager Steve Bruce either has a very short memory or the biggest brass neck in football but either way his claim that his club had been let down by Darren Bent’s disloyal move to Aston Villa takes some swallowing.

“It’s hugely disappointing and the players, our supporters and the club as a whole have every right to feel massively let down,” he complained after Bent’s transfer.

Cosmos and Cantona could take MLS to the next level

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FRANCE/For all the progress made by Major League Soccer since it began in 1996, there is not one team in the league that can match the old New York Cosmos for name recognition – not globally and not in the United States.

But when the new owners of the Cosmos name announced in August that they planned to bring the team back to life and take them into MLS, there was a good deal of scepticism in the American soccer community. Now they have named former Manchester United great Eric Cantona as director of soccer.

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