Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Are polemics part of the football pantomime?

Spats like Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez’s recent run-in with his Manchester United counterpart Alex Ferguson are always guaranteed attention-grabbers.

But while I find stories of polemics between football’s top figures good fun, I sometimes get the impression they’re having us on.

Inter’s Jose Mourinho gave the game away some time ago, admitting he drank wine with Ferguson after matches despite their feuding in his Chelsea days.

Ferguson, especially, strikes me as someone who’s aware that he is acting a role in a pantomime which serves his purposes and helps generate interest in the game.

Was Ferguson right all along about Chelsea?

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Chelsea gear up for an easy-looking FA Cup tie at home to Ipswich Town this weekend knowing the match will be anything but given their recent form.

The crushing 3-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United recently was just one of a string of lacklustre performances and while their struggles may come as a shock to many, United boss Alex Ferguson saw this coming some time ago.

Here’s a simple way to stop fixture fuming

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Somebody must have bought Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger a calculator each for Christmas because both managers have done their sums and criticised the Premier League’s fixture programme.

After the United boss wondered aloud if the league was handicapping his club through their fixture list, his Arsenal counterpart crunched the numbers over the weekend

Tosic and Ljajic not yet United class

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Speculation that Manchester United are after Serbia winger Zoran Tosic has gained momentum after reports that Sir Alex Ferguson had gone to some length to obtain a work permit for the 21-year old Partizan Belgrade player.

Tosic, who has made 12 international appearances but is yet to score for his country, is a decent player with a sweet left foot from set pieces but he appeared to be as stunned as many of my colleagues here in Belgrade after being told that Ferguson sees him as an ideal long-term replacement for Ryan Giggs.

Should United sell Ronaldo after Champions League final?

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Cristiano RonaldoThe speculation in Spanish newspapers in the build-up to the Champions League final is all about Cristiano Ronaldo and the chances of him signing for Real Madrid next season (see Marca, for example).

The feeling in Madrid seems to be that if United beat Chelsea here in Moscow tonight, the ludicrously talented Portugal winger could leave Old Trafford thinking something along the lines of “My work is done here…”

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