Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
You just can’t keep FIFA out of the news and the latest in the almost daily unfurling of allegations is perhaps the most devastating yet.
But just how seismic are the latest round of accusations and is there any way back Mohamed bin Hammam now?
One bonus for non-Manchester United and Barcelona fans is that the latest FIFA news has distracted everyone from the round-the-clock build-up to the Champions League final.
Saturday’s showpiece is looming on the horizion and the diminutive Lionel Messi is looming largest for Manchester United.
In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Mark Elkington in Madrid looks at the dramatic final day of La Liga action, which saw once-mighty Deportivo Coruna relegated. Rayo Vallecano were promoted, meaning there will be four clubs from the capital in the top flight next season for the first time.
Hasta luego Depor
Roberto Soldado scored his 18th La Liga goal of the campaign on Saturday, his best tally for a season, but there were no celebrations as he trudged back to the centre circle with his head down, in Deportivo Coruna’s silent Riazor stadium.
River Plate’s former goalkeeping great Ubaldo Fillol, a World Cup-winner with Argentina in 1978, has resigned as their first-team keeping coach after what he felt as a lack of respect shown by Juan Pablo Carrizo on Sunday.
Carrizo brushed Fillol aside when the older man tried to console him as he left the pitch with jeers ringing in his ears after a blunder that allowed San Lorenzo to equalise for a 1-1 draw that left River in the relegation zone.
Club president Daniel Passarella, a temperamental former River and Argentina captain and coach, exploded at the weekly Argentine Football Association board meeting chaired by AFA chief Julio Grondona.
It was no classic but Porto cemented themselves as one of Europe’s top sides on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over compatriots Braga in the Europa League final in Dublin, surely the start of better days for the Portuguese game.
Key to this is that Porto’s coach Andre Villas-Boas and figurehead striker Radamel Falcao have agreed to stay at the club, a nice touch in the fast-paced football world where players and coaches come and go all too often.
Will you be watching the Europa League final later on Wednesday? Do you even know who is in the final? Does it annoy you that such a tough competition gets undervalued because of the unstoppable rise in popularity of the Champions League?
Anyway, enough questions. Venue: Dublin. Teams: Porto and Braga, two very contrasting Portuguese clubs. This could be one hell of a game, so watch it.
In our latest Monday post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers and Mark Elkington in Madrid select the best and worst of the 2010/11 season, a campaign marked by Barcelona’s continued superiority in the domestic league, a first piece of silverware for Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho in the King’s Cup and four eagerly-anticipated but ultimately rather depressing “Clasicos” between the big two.
Coach of Season
There is really only one candidate for this, the man who has won three league titles in his first three seasons as a top-flight coach and a host of other trophies. With Mourinho around, Guardiola did not have such an easy ride this term but when it came to the Champions League crunch his team was the one that made it through to the final. Best moment: dropping his customary cool in the Bernabeu press room and laying into Mourinho on the eve of the semi-final second leg.
Read here for a roundup of all things European football over the weekend, during which titles were won, tears were shed, and more trophies were dropped.