Reuters Soccer Blog
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Brazil-born Juventus striker Amauri failed to get an Italian passport in time for Italy’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Bulgaria but he hopes the documentation will come through soon.Azzurri coach Marcello Lippi has indicated he will then consider Amauri for international duty but said he did not want the situation to be repeated.This seems to have ended any chance of Inter Milan midfielder Thiago Motta following Amauri’s lead. The former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid player could qualify for Italy if FIFA decided his two Brazil appearances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup did not count as full caps because it was a under-23 team.After Diego’s classy brace in his second game for Juventus, many Italians became excited when they realised the playmaker has Italian lineage. However, they forgot the basic rule that Diego had played competitively for Brazil and therefore was not eligible for Italy.Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva plays for Croatia despite being born in Brazil while the London club’s uncapped Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has often been talked about as a potential England candidate.Is the situation out of hand? I’m just old enough to remember when domestic clubs had a majority of players from the local town. Now few top sides have players from the same country.Is international football going the same way? Why not have Premier League v Serie A rather than England v Italy?Liverpool’s Alberto Aquilani and Andrea Dossena may feel a bit torn.PHOTO: Juventus forward Amauri warms up during a training session at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin March 9, 2009.REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Ever since returning to Serie A following their demotion for match-fixing, Juventus have had a terrible run in the transfer market.
Third and second-placed finishes in their two years back in the top flight are largely thanks to players who stuck with Juve during their season in Serie B such as Alessandro Del Piero and Giorgio Chiellini.
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.
There will be a heavy Brazilian influence in Wednesday’s UEFA Cup final between Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen in Istanbul — despite the absence of Werder’s influential playmaker Diego through suspension.
Brazilian players have made a major impact in recent finals and with Ukraine’s Shakhtar boasting five in their ranks, and Naldo lining up for their German rivals, expect the boys from South America to take centre stage.
What a Bundesliga season! Exciting, fast-paced and at least five teams in the running for the title and believe it or not, Bayern are not top of the table.
But next season may be very different. Many of the league’s top players who have carried their teams into title contention could leave at the end of the campaign.
Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi took a step closer to Beijing on Wednesday when FIFA ruled that clubs are obliged to release players aged 23 or under to play at the Olympics.
Barcelona and Bundesliga clubs Werder Bremen and Schalke, who want to keep Diego and Rafinha out of the Games, will probably fight on in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but for now FIFA has made the right decision, one that’s for the good of the game as well as the Games.
Werder Bremen have dashed the Olympic hopes of Brazil playmaker Diego, telling the 23-year-old they will not release him and thus depriving the Games of perhaps one of the world’s most exciting young players
Werder sporting director Klaus Allofs said there was no legal reason for clubs to release their players because, he said, the Olympics are not part of world soccer’s governing body FIFA.