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.
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.
The debate of inflated prices during the Soccer World Cup is an unending one. And in the end, what is on the price tag is entirely up to the service provider.
According to Ms Nikie Botha, a manager at the Jacaranda Overnight Accommodation in Polokwane, all-round kindness to your guests is more rewarding than ripping them off.
I have decided that the World Cup fan parks are not my cup of tea. I am a bit of a football snob who prefers to either watch the game at the stadium or in front of the telly where I can follow the proceedings closely.
So, after much hustling and trying to purchase a ticket to the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, I ended up at the Sandton Fan Park at Innisfree Park.
Juventus have been fined 20,000 euros rather than receive a stadium ban for an offensive chant their fans sing about Inter Milan’s black striker Mario Balotelli.
As songs go, it is pretty insulting. “Se saltelli, muore Balotelli” (If you jump up and down, Balotelli will die).
Jose Antonio Reyes has some work to do to win over Atletico Madrid’s hardcore fans judging by the reception he received on Tuesday, when he came on as a late substitute at the Calderon in their 2-0 Champions League play-off win over Panathinaikos.
The tie was already over by the time Reyes was called up to replace Simao with four minutes left — Atletico won the away leg 3-2 — but he was met with a barrage of whistles from around the stadium.
The days when the details of transfer negotiations were closely guarded secrets could be coming to an end with the advent of the ‘Twitter transfer’.
On Wednesday, U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore all but announced a move to English Premier League Hull City on the micro-blogging site, keeping his fans updated while Hull remained silent.
Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Gary Mabbutt said recently that he never swore once during his 19-year career that ended in 1998.
It’s ironic, for nowhere is swearing more prevalent than in soccer. Over the years foul language has cemented itself as part of football culture.
Amongst all the talk of football and footballers losing touch with the common fan, supporters in Italy are fighting back.
There have been at least four recent incidents where fans have protested against potential signings they did not like. Juve supporters failed to stop Monday’s purchase of Christian Poulsen but did prevent a bid for Inter Milan’s Dejan Stankovic.
As a reporter at Euro 2008 you’re only as good as the team or teams you are covering and after Sweden and Romania’s elimination from the finals, I was the first of the Reuters team to pack my bags and go home.
It was disappointment tinged with relief as the call came after Sweden’s defeat by Russia. Exhaustion was beginning to catch up with me, so my own bed in Brussels was a very attractive offer.