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The way the UEFA Cup has been going, it was fitting, perhaps even inevitable, that Shakhtar Donetsk triumphed over Werder Bremen to win the competition’s final final before its rebranding as the Europa League.
As Sonia Oxley pointed out, Easter European teams have been the ones taking it seriously of late, and as Justin Palmer noted, the Brazilian influence on the competition has been getting ever stronger. Werder were missing Diego and it showed, as they searched in vain for inspiration after falling behind for a second time. Shakhtar, of course, have far the greater Brazilian contingent.
And as someone who was based in Germany for a long time, I must just spare a thought for Tim Wiese, who had another European night to forget.
Ronaldo was not surprisingly delighted to lay hands on a winner’s medal so soon after returning from last year’s knee injury but even he probably knows deep down that it is not that much to get excited about.
Ronaldo’s performances for Corinthians have already started talk of a Brazil recall — he has not played for his country since the 2006 World Cup — and national team coach Dunga was in the crowd when Corinthians held Santos 1-1 to win the Paulista championship on Sunday.