Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Welcome back to another week of digesting the global game, and where better to start than with a look at the Lionel Messi effect on the sport.
The wizard-like Argentine is a joy to watch and by playing in countries such as the United States, where soccer is not the main sport, he can only have increased enthusiasm for the round ball game.
The U.S. will also face world champions Spain in June.
In Europe, while Spain huffed and puffed and finally blew the Czech Republic’s door down for a 2-1 win in Granada with yet another mesmerising display of quick passing, there was little else to go crazy about.
In fact, UEFA president Michel Platini fears that Euro 2012 qualifiers are becoming a little boring, and he is concerned that players look forward more to Champions League matches than internationals.
After Chelsea’s vintage performance in a 3-1 win at Blackpool, Tuesday’s edition will start with a look at Fernando Torres.
Poor old Torres. He’s undoubtedly a classy player, but one who seems to be feeling the burden of expectation that has fallen on him after his British transfer record fee of £50 million in January.
Newcastle United fans have put up with a lot over the years but selling “naming rights” for James’ Park might be the final straw for some fans.
At 10pm on Tuesday the club announced that Chris Hughton would be made full-time manager and that owner Mike Ashley would no longer be selling and instead would inject 20 million pounds this week.
Most people agree that sacking a manager after a few weeks or a handful of matches is ridiculous, but sometimes chairmen go to the other extreme and exhibit reserves of patience that would be beyond most fans.
Given the frantic pace of the soccer industry, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate can consider himself an extremely lucky man after a season that brought the club just seven league victories, 28 goals and relegation.
It’s been a while since Burnley last enjoyed top flight success but fans of the Lancashire club can dream once more after winning promotion to the Premier League on Monday, beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Wembley.
Founding members of the Football League in 1888, Burnley, join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City as next season’s new boys, replacing relegated West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.
Roy Keane is back, with a new gig as manager of Ipswich Town.
Whatever else the appointment will do, this seems a surefire way for Ipswich to reacquaint themselves with the spotlight. Keane generates a huge amount of interest in Britain and considering he’s already engineered one successful promotion campaign, with Sunderland, it could be a good move from a purely footballing point of view as well (assuming he has some money to spend).
Ipswich, of course, have had a few very high profile managers. The list includes Alf Ramsey and (for a brief spell) Jackie Milburn, as well as Robson, and that’s just the footballing royalty.