Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

When the clock strikes 12…will the late start hit Utd and Chelsea?


Having a sleep Cristiano?

After 60 minutes of the 2008 Champions League final all eyes will be on the pitch, but for a not-so-obvious reason.  

The match, to be held in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, kicks off at 2245 local time to accommodate mid-evening audiences in the rest of Europe. 

Fans will surely be wondering what happens to footballers after midnight…  

Will a Cinderella story turn sour for somebody when the clock strikes 12? Will Cristiano Ronaldo’s golden slippers turn into useless flippers?

Domestic bliss for Real and Bayern, but what about Europe?


Hitzfeld gets soaked

Two giants of European football, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich wrapped up their respective league titles with plenty of room to spare this weekend.

Real, the nine-times European champions, snatched a dramatic 2-1 win away to Osasuna in the teeming rain to clinch their 31st Spanish title.

Time for UEFA to rethink Champions League finals


Luzhniki Stadium

With Manchester United and Chelsea fans scrambling frantically for match tickets, flights, hotel rooms and visas for the Champions League final in Moscow, should UEFA now rethink the way it awards its showpiece event?      

Many senior UEFA officials have admitted the violence which marred last year’s final between AC Milan and Liverpool in Athens was caused in some way by the fact the stadium was “not fit for purpose”. In other words it was an Olympic Stadium and not a true soccer stadium.      

Friday afternoon question: Should Fergie quit if he wins a double?


Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has been elusive over his retirement plans but with a possible double looming, should he start thinking about leaving on a high note if he manages to win this season’s Premier League and Champions League?

Ferguson, 66, has been at the club since 1986 and has brought nine league titles, five FA Cups and one European Cup to Old Trafford – will he ever feel he has won enough silverware?

Vlog on the pitch – Drogba gets the last laugh with Benitez


Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said Didier Drogba was a diver ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, but the Ivorian had the last laugh with two goals in Chelsea’s victory.

Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by Tony Donovan to discuss Drogba, Avram Grant’s future, Frank Lampard’s courage and the amazing Stamford Bridge atmosphere.

Has Grant finally been accepted at Chelsea?


Grant shows some emotion

He has achieved something no other Chelsea manager has by taking the club to a Champions League final, but there is still speculation Avram Grant will be axed at the end of the season.

With a Premier League title still also a possibility, what more does the man need to do to keep his job?

Third time lucky for Chelsea


On a soggy night at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea finally prevailed against Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final after failures in 2005 and 2007.

Didier Drogba was immense on the muddy surface and bagged two lightning quick goals at the near post as the Londoners triumphed 3-2 after extra time and 4-3 on aggregate. 

Struggling Henry slips down the pecking order


A dejected Henry

According to a poll on Facebook, strikers Nicolas Anelka and Karim Benzema are favourites to be in France’s 23-man squad for Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.

95.8 per cent of the Facebook addicts who drew their own list think Anelka should be included, 95.7 believe Benzema also has to be in the squad for June’s tournament.

Manchester United 1 Barcelona 0 – your views


A great European night following the dull first leg last week but did Manchester United deserve to win over all?

They were negative in the 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp and defended deep for long spells on Tuesday after Paul Scholes’ rocket had given them the lead.

Let’s be Frank about Lampard


Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has returned to training following the death of his mother last week but, even if he wants to, should he play in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool?  

Lampard sat out Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United, which came two days after the death of his 58-year-old mother Pat, and in his absence Chelsea produced their best performance for months.