Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

What has happened to Maicon and Nesta?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONSMaicon 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.

He looked out of position for Gonzalo Higuain’s opener and his distribution was the worst I have seen from him. Even fans sat near me were surprised by his poor display, which shows what high standards Nesta has kept.

Nesta was among the very best centre backs in the world when Milan triumphed in the Champions League in 2007 but a long period of injury since has robbed the 34-year-old of some of his aura.

Champions League podcast – 4

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Kevin Fylan is joined by Owen Wyatt, Mark Meadows, Jon Bramley and Martyn Herman for a look at the week’s Champions League matches. Will Real Madrid be too much for AC Milan? Our panel seems to think so.

Listen!

A sense of deja-vu for Man City

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SOCCER-ENGLANDA 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.

A not so happy birthday for Maradona

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SOCCER/Diego Maradona is spending his 50th birthday on Saturday far from the two things that have dominated his life — soccer and being constantly in the public eye.

That leaves Argentina’s greatest player at a crossroads a few short months after a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals cost him the job as coach of his beloved Argentina.

Ballon d’Or shortlist should give Premier League pause for thought

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SOCCER-SPAIN/England performed well below expectation at the World Cup in South Africa and judging by the FIFA Ballon d’Or list announced on Tuesday the stock of the Premier League is not at its highest either.

Just three players from the league that likes to call itself the best in the world are on the list and it would be a huge surprise if any of them made it into the top three:

Paul the Octopus will predict no more…

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GERMANY-OCTOPUS/SOCCERIt is with great sadness that we report the death of the world’s foremost psychic cephalopod.

Paul the Octopus, the mystic mollusc himself, became a more significant World Cup figure than Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo or Franck Ribery with his extraordinarily accurate predictions from his tank at Sea Life in Germany.

Will ‘Little Pea’ make Rooney green with envy?

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s two-goal and match-winning performance against Stoke City at the weekend for Manchester United could give manager Alex Ferguson the ideal headache.

Two thirds of United fans have yet to make up their mind on whether to forgive and forget the whole Rooney saga, Sky Sports reported from a Manchester Evening News poll, and with Hernandez and Berbatov on song is there an argument that the England man should have to wait to get his place back when his fitness is resolved?

Why can’t divers be punished immediately?

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SOCCER-ITALY/Juventus winger Milos Krasic dived to win a penalty in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Bologna. We know this because his team mates have admitted it, even if the replay evidence was pretty clear anyway. No contact at all and no slip.

Justice was done for Bologna when Vincenzo Iaquinta fluffed the spotkick but if he had scored, the goal would have stood and there is nothing in soccer’s rules to reverse it.

Breaking news: Rooney to stay at Manchester United

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Well, what an extraordinary twist this is: Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year deal with Manchester United and is staying at Old Trafford after all. Here’s the club statement:

Wayne Rooney has agreed a new 5 year contract to stay at Manchester United until at least June 2015.

The agreement follows intensive discussions between the Club and the player’s representatives and means that by the end of his contract Wayne will have been a Manchester United player for 11 years.

Inter 4-3 Spurs. The loopiest game I’ve ever seen

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/I’ve seen quite a lot of soccer in my time but never have I attended a match as crazy as Inter Milan v Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday.

For those who missed it, here’s a very quick rundown of the main incidents.

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