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Soccer Break Thursday – How to stop Barca?

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Just another night of footballing action and another trophy for the all-conquering Barcelona, who on Wednesday clinched their third successive La Liga title despite a laboured 1-1 draw away to Levante.

Manchester United will be hoping a similarly weary Barcelona turn up at Wembley for the Champions League final on May 28, hopefully having themselves recently won their top domestic honour, the Premier League.

Now, onto Manchester City, who are in the news for two reasons on Thursday. One, they play Stoke City in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Click on this link for facts and figures about the game. Two, newspaper reports say they are lining up a move for Barca’s Xavi. But then again, it was Cesc Fabregas on Wednesday.

Realistically who do you think they might poach for the new season?

Sadly the news dominating the sport this week has been the FIFA corruption allegations, where president Sepp Blatter is promising a swift enquiry into the accusations. Brazil 2014 World Cup chief organiser Ricardo Teixeira is coming under fire in his home country but he is defiant and says former FA chief David Triesman should prepare for legal action.

Soccer Break – Friday edition

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Lionel Messi one day, Cristiano Ronaldo the next. It does not get any better than seeing the world’s best players at the top of the their game after Ronaldo’s hat-trick inspired Real Madrid to a 7-0 hammering of Malaga.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into here, while other Real blogs are debating the future of midfielder Kaka. Could you see him in the Premier League?

Marvellous Marseille fans keep singing through the pain

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/I had been told the Stade Velodrome had a great atmosphere and after the constant noise the Marseille fans made in Wednesday’s 0-0 Champions league draw with Manchester United, I have one question – what would it be like if the stands had roofs?

Despite the dire match, the supporters at either side of the ground never stopped chanting and banging drums for a second. If the Velodrome wasn’t open to the elements I can only imagine that the noise would be even louder and give the home side an even bigger advantage.

Arsenal v Celtic in play-offs. Is this what Platini wanted?

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The draw for the Champions League final qualifying round raises the question whether Michel Platini and UEFA have done the right thing by giving teams from Europe’s less heralded leagues a better chance of reaching the money-spinning group stage.

On one hand, restructuring the qualifying campaign has opened the group stage doors to Latvian champions Venstpils, Cypriots APOEL Nicosia, Hungarian title holders Debrecen and Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol.

Nakamura’s Japan snub a no-brainer

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Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura’s decision to snub a return to Yokohama and join Spain’s Espanyol left his boyhood club devastated.

 

Yokohama’s club president slapped himself with a 50 percent pay cut by way of apology to furious F-Marinos fans, but arguably the most surprising aspect of the protracted saga was Yokohama’s “shock” that Nakamura opted for Espanyol instead of them after leaving Celtic, where he won three Scottish Premier League titles.

Old Firm big fish can’t swim outside small pond

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You shouldn’t laugh, but it’s hard not to after the mighty Old Firm, soccer’s biggest domestic bullies, once again found they were not so tough when they are allowed into the big boys’ playground.

Celtic might stick it to Hamilton Academical and Falkirk on a regular basis but AaB Aalborg proved too good for them on Tuesday as a 2-1 win for the Danes ended the Glasgow club’s interest in the Champions League early – again.

It really is time to call in the cameras now

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There has been a long-running debate about video technology in football and surely the time has now come to assist referees and linesmen with offside decisions.

This week’s Champions League matches featured several howlers. Both of Dimitar Berbatov’s goals for Manchester United against Celtic were shown to be offside by TV replays yet the Belgium linesman kept his flag down.

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