Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Italian protest reopens doping ban debate

All professional matches in Italy started 15 minutes late at the weekend in protest at the Court of Arbitration for Sport banning two players for a year for turning up late for a doping control.

Daniele Mannini, now at Napoli, and Davide Possanzini were punished for tardiness after Brescia’s game against Chievo in Dec. 2007. Both said they did nothing wrong and Italian football has for once come together to support them.

The Italian soccer federation is looking at ways of appealing CAS’s decision but any hope of reversing the verdict is very remote.

We have been here before, of course, both with Rio Ferdinand and British 400 metre Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu.

A read of the FA Cup rules unlikely to put off Redknapp

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Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s frank admission that he will send a “mish-mash” side to face Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup tie adds to concerns that the competition has lost its elite status.

Speaking after sneaking through their League Cup semi-final second leg 6-4 on aggregate against Championship (second division) Burnley on Wednesday, Redknapp moaned:

Beckham takes Serie A switch in his stride

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David Beckham was in a chirpy mood after making his Serie A debut as a surprise starter in AC Milan’s 2-2 draw at AS Roma on Sunday.

“I thought it was great, I enjoyed it immensely,” the grinning England midfielder told the reporters stretching and scrambling to get their Dictaphones near him in the Stadio Olimpico’s Mixed Zone.

Beckham takes first 38 touches for Milan

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David Beckham’s first appearance for AC Milan was analysed in such detail by the Italian press that we know he made 38 touches of the ball.

He only played the first half of the friendly in Dubai against Hamburg and was steady rather than spectacular. An error in the defensive third has been highlighted by pundits but generally they thought his two crosses, two headers and two tackles showed promise.

There’s only one Michael Ballack..

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Like political pundits on local election night, football reporters can’t help reading too much into the results of international friendlies.

Pretty much the least interesting thing about England’s error-strewn 2-1 win over Germany in Berlin on Wednesday was the result, but there was food for thought in the performances of two under-strength teams.

Another meaningless friendly? Well, not quite…

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Germany’s friendly against England at the Olympiastadion later on Wednesday will have the feel of a B international, given the absence of so many familiar players.

England are without Beckham, Gerrard, Rooney, Ferdinand, Heskey, Owen and a couple of Coles, and Theo Walcott has now joined the injured list. 

English managers on the rise in Premier League

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The Premier League will always have its army of foreign players, some of whom are no better than English teenagers who make way for them, but the number of home-grown managers is at least growing.

Ex-Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams became the 10th English manager in the 20-team Premier League on Tuesday when he took over at Portsmouth, following Englishman Harry Redknapp’s move to Tottenham Hotspur days before. (more…)

Could Beckham be the new Pirlo?

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If David Beckham’s loan move to AC Milan goes through, one of the options coach Carlo Ancelotti has in mind is to use him as an alternative to Andrea Pirlo as a deep midfield playmaker.

It’s an interesting possibility which could help Beckham edge towards Peter Shilton’s record of 125 England caps as a protagonist rather than the bit player he is at the moment.

Why Owen’s England future looks grim under Capello

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Capello and Owen

Fabio Capello said Michael Owen’s England career is not necessarily over after omitting the Newcastle man from his squad again for the Kazakhstan and Belarus World Cup qualifiers.

But the manager’s history in Serie A suggests it’s going to be mighty tough for Owen to get back.

Beckham to AC Milan? Your views

It’s not totally confirmed yet but it looks like David Beckham is joining AC Milan on a short-term loan deal.

The LA Galaxy midfielder, desperate to keep his fitness up and impress England coach Fabio Capello during the U.S. close season, is taking a big risk in coming to Italy.

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