Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
It’s one of the most farcical scenes I’ve ever seen in soccer. Real Madrid duo Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos taking ages to take kicks in the 4-0 win at Ajax and getting second yellow cards for timewasting and hence being sent off.
Deliberate? They face automatic one-match suspensions in the final group game against Auxerre, which is a dead match for Real with the Spanish club already assured of first place in Group G and qualification for the last 16.
However, the red cards mean they will have a clean slate when the round of 16 begins, assuming UEFA hand them only the mandatory one-match ban.
Players have got yellow cards on purpose for similar reasons in the past. Real are not commenting but if these two players did it deliberately, they could be in trouble. Was coach Jose Mourinho aware?
So that was MLS Cup again.
Call me a typical English soccer-snob but I still find the very idea of the game to be just wrong and ultimately self-defeating for the North American league.
Most league’s internationally have the best team in the country crowned champions but the top team in MLS, the L.A Galaxy, weren’t even on show at MLS Cup. Neither were the second best team, Real Salt Lake or the third and fourth best teams New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew.
A lack of fit players, lack of effective training, lack of buys, lack of hunger, lack of Jose Mourinho.
The possible reasons for Inter Milan’s troubles, which leave coach Rafael Benitez clinging to his job, are widespread and not all his fault but the treble winners have to do something to reverse their steady decline.
Football fans are very forgiving types – if my football club were a person I’d have stopped speaking to it a long time ago.
Pretend for a minute you are Manchester United and Wayne Rooney is your best mate. He swears undying loyalty to you – it’s a friendship that will last forever. Then suddenly he tells you you’re basically not good enough for him and that you should get lost.
Former Chelsea midfielder Tony Cascarino must be in the running for an award for biggest over-reaction by a football pundit.
Cascarino told Sky Sports that Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is now fighting to hang on to his job, after the Blues lost two out of their last three games, including a particularly humiliating 3-0 defeat by Sunderland at the weekend.
I blame the late, great Keith Weller of Leicester City.
He started the trend for “cold-weather clothing” when he pulled on a pair of white tights one winter’s day in the 1970s.
He did not know it at the time, but that began the wimpish drift towards gloves, hats and now the ridiculous snoods, or neck warmers, being worn by the likes of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, and most fetchingly, Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal in the last few weeks.
Any eyebrows raised when Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho signed 32-year-old Portuguese compatriot Ricardo Carvalho from Chelsea have been firmly put back into place as the centre back is proving an extremely astute purchase.
As well as helping to keep Real’s tally of goals conceded down to five in 10 La Liga matches, Carvalho has netted two key strikes, scoring the only goal against Osasuna in September and the opener in Sunday’s 2-0 Madrid derby win over Atletico.
Lucas Leiva has often been dismissed as a mediocre battler with little or no star quality, but the much-maligned midfielder’s performance against Chelsea marked him out as an influential part of Liverpool’s recent recovery.
Few players have attracted as much ire as the combative Brazilian who was reportedly close to strolling out the Anfield exit door during the summer with a host of European also-rans touted as a possible destination.
American billionaire Robert Rich Jr, the 488th richest man in the world, can buy just about anything he wants to from private jets to diamonds, mansions to ocean-going liners and everything in between.
But this week it emerged that he has put some of his vast fortune at the disposal of a tiny, impoverished minor league English club by the name of Bedlington Terriers.
The appointment of Damien Comolli as Liverpool’s director of football strategy represents a step into the unknown for the Anfield club, with statistical analysis likely to replace the traditional eye for talent in the transfer market.
Comolli, like the club’s new owner John Henry, is a devotee of sabermetrics, a form of sporting number crunching used to judge the value of players.