Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

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.

Having cheated death more than once and defied doubters to get the job in November 2008, it would be unwise to write off his chances of returning to it one day.

Indeed, former Boca Juniors and Argentina team mate and friend Claudio Caniggia saw him recently and confirmed Maradona was still interested.

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.

Will Rooney’s departure signal United’s decline?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Wayne Rooney’s demand for a move away from Manchester United has stunned manager Alex Ferguson, especially given the striker’s poor form and support the club have given him through personal problems.

After winning three successive Premier League titles with United and the 2008 Champions League, Rooney enjoyed his best personal season with the club in 2009-10 — when his impressive tally of 34 goals in all competitions was only enough to bring  the League Cup to Old Trafford.

Breaking news: Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, Ferguson shocked

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/England striker Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, manager Alex Ferguson said on Wednesday.

“We are as bemused as anyone can be, we can’t quite understand why he would want to leave,” Ferguson told a news conference.

Champions League podcast, episode 3

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This week the podcast panel discuss the clash of European aristocracy at the Bernabeu, where nine-times winners Real Madrid host seven-tiems champions AC Milan, plus the Wayne Rooney saga and the plight of Liverpool.

Kevin Fylan is joined by Owen Wyatt, Mark Meadows, Jon Bramley and Toby Davis

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