Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Should Real Madrid have stepped in and taken Zlatan Ibrahimovic off Barcelona’s hands instead of AC Milan?
Perhaps a preposterous idea, but after the opening round of matches in La Liga, Real may be concerned they did not heed coach Jose Mourinho’s warnings about the need for a third striker.
Mourinho’s league debut ended with an uninspiring 0-0 draw away to Real Mallorca on Sunday, which was in sharp contrast to Barcelona’s supremely confident 3-0 victory at Racing Santander.
Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain, Real’s top scorer last season, led the line and blew the best of his side’s chances, perpetuating the idea that he is sometimes profligate in front of goal.
New Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho will get a quick return to the San Siro but instead of facing former club and champions Inter Milan, it’s another double header with AC Milan for the Spaniards like last year.
Chelsea’s Didier Drogba can look forward to a trip to old haunt Marseille and Arsenal will have a speedy reunion with ex-striker Eduardo who now plays for Shakhtar Donetsk.
As Barcelona close in on the signing of Javier Mascherano from Liverpool, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future at the club seems to becoming ever more complicated.
Coach Pep Guardiola’s decision to move for the combative Mascherano is understandable after Yaya Toure’s departure to Manchester City.
Liverpool’s current plight was laid bare on Monday when they were humbled 3-0 by Manchester City — a result which left Roy Hodgson’s side fourth bottom of the Premier League.
After just two games it would be churlish to suggest Liverpool will spend too long down in the bottom half of the table, but the feeling that the 18-times English champions are in danger of losing touch with the top four was inescapable.
AC Milan have confirmed they are trying to sign Barcelona forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and judging by their pre-season form, they really need a spark.
Ronaldinho showed some good touches in Sunday’s drab 0-0 draw with Juventus, Milan’s final pre-season friendly, but he will never be the player of old and has never been a out-and-out striker.
‘Plus ca change’ was the defining refrain of the Premier League’s opening weekend, but football fans tired of the established order will hope déjà vu is lurking round the corner for Manchester United and Chelsea.
Neither the champions nor the runners-up broke sweat as they strolled to opening victories that pointed ominously to another two-horse race for the Premier League title.
Real Madrid’s signing of Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil is further proof that they have opted for youth and pace this year, after glitz and glamour failed to knock Barcelona off their perch last season.
Poster boys Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema were Real’s star signings in a 250 million euro rebuilding programme last summer, but they only managed second place as another trophyless campaign ended back in May.
August remains a time for cricket and athletics in many people’s minds but if we are going to have football then it was probably fitting that the most uplifting performance of the opening day of the Premier League season came from the country’s number one seaside holiday destination.
For a few heady hours Blackpool were top of the league after their remarkable 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic and though Chelsea later displaced them after thrashing West Brom 6-0 Blackpool’s fans will cherish memories of Saturday for as long as they live.
Fabio Capello’s impromptu announcement that David Beckham was too old to play for England has divided opinion across the blogosphere.
Some have said it was typical of Capello’s hard-nosed, no-nonsense style. Why should he have informed the 35-year-old? Why should he have made the announcement in a more official way? As coach he has the right to do as he wants and Beckham should have had the know-how to quit the international scene long ago.
Perusing through the latest influx of major pre-season signings to join the English Premier League can quickly become a competition to find which transaction does not include the words Manchester and City.
As expected, it is the blue half of Manchester that have splashed the cash on behalf of Italian manager Roberto Mancini, as they bid to break into the top four and come away with a minimum of Champions League soccer this season.