Reuters Soccer Blog

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Soccer Break – Tuesday edition

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SOCCER-ITALY/Hello again everyone, and I hope some of the media material we pointed out to you on Monday helped your coffee/afternoon tea/cocktails go down well.

On Tuesday, following AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Serie A title rivals Napoli, we bring you a thorough run down of a match which hinged on a controversial decision in favour of the Milan club. Read here for more…

However, Mark Meadows makes the point in a piece for Reuters here that this is far from a vintage Serie A season and the current Milan side would have been nowhere near the scudetto in other recent years.

Over to England, and with the most congested bottom half of the table for years the Premier League’s relegation fight is set to go down to the wire. Could Mexico striker Carlos Vela be the answer for West Bromwich Albion’s survival? Read here.

Should the cup-tied rule be abolished in the Champions League?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/How AC Milan were crying out for the guile of Antonio Cassano or the tough tackling of Mark Van Bommel (who could have replaced Gennaro Gattuso before he lost his head) in Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

Both were ineligible having played in the competition for Sampdoria and Bayern Munich earlier in the season.

Champions League returns — can anyone stop Barcelona?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/BUSQUETSHow we’ve missed the Champions League. It’s nine weeks since the line-up for the last 16 was completed and a couple of months since the draw offered up a handful of belting ties, including Inter Milan v Bayern Munich in a repeat of last season’s final.

We’ll have to wait a week for that one, with the more leisurely format these days meaning we see just two matches a night. This week, we can look forward to AC Milan v Tottenham and Valencia v Schalke on Tuesday, with Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk and Arsenal v Barcelona on Wednesday.

Serie A gets wackier as Leonardo joins Inter

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SOCCER-ITALY/Italian soccer on the pitch has a largely undeserved image of being boring, with 1-0 wins and catenaccio supposedly the norm.

Off the pitch Serie A is surely the craziest league in Europe with match-fixing scandals, coaches being sacked the day before the season, and players and managers switching between rivals like they were picking teams in the school playground. 

Inter v Bayern means repeat of 2010 Champions League final

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Holders Inter Milan will face Bayern Munich, the team they beat to clinch the trophy last season, in the Champions League last 16 with a repeat of the 2006 final also due after Barcelona were drawn to meet Arsenal. 

Bayern might actually be favourites given Inter’s struggles so far this term while Barca and Lionel Messi destroyed Arsenal in the quarter-finals second leg last season despite the two sides’ similar style of play.

Where does benchwarmer Ronaldinho go from here?

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AC Milan are flying high at the top of Serie A but Ronaldinho is stuck to the bench with Massimiliano Allegri-branded glue.

The struggling Brazilian has started once in the last nine games and that was in the lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam, Milan’s only loss during the spell.

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.

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!

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

Champions League podcast – 2

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Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Karim Benzema and Juan Mata are among the strikers up for discussion in the latest edition of our Reuters Sports Champions League podcast. Kevin Fylan is joined by Ed Osmond, Owen Wyatt, Paul Radford and Mark Meadows.

Listen!

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