Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
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.
In real life you and Wayne would be finished – no going back. And you might hammer the message home with a barrage of four-letter words. If he doesn’t want you, it’s his loss.
In football life, you sweet talk him, tell him he’ll never have to buy a beer again and kiss and make up.
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.
Maicon was hailed as the best right back in the world not so long ago but Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has terrorised him twice in two weeks and Inter Milan fans are beginning to wonder if they should have cashed in and sold him to Real Madrid after all in the close season.
In the opposite San Siro dressing room, AC Milan’s Alessandro Nesta will also be getting a little twitchy after being exposed by Real Madrid on Wednesday.
A sense of deja-vu is sweeping Eastlands after Manchester City’s lame surrender against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday re-opened the cracks in the club’s glittering facade.
Manager Roberto Mancini has unrivalled spending power in English football but, just like Mark Hughes who he replaced nearly a year ago, is realising that there is one vital ingredient money cannot buy — team harmony.