Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
The deft chip on the run with which Fernando Torres beat Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to seal Spain’s 1-0 victory in the final of Euro 2008 gave the success-starved Iberian nation their first major trophy in 44 years.
The best was yet to come of course, Andres Iniesta’s dramatic stoppage-time winner in Johannesburg last year securing a first World Cup triumph.
Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar commissioned an artist to capture those two landmark goals and three others and the five paintings were presented at a gala ceremony on Thursday at the RFEF’s training facility outside Madrid, with Torres, Iniesta and their team mates present.
Fernando Torres woke up to mocking headlines on Monday after his open goal howler against Manchester United but there were signs at Old Trafford that the Spaniard is beginning to rediscover the form that prompted Chelsea to sign him from Liverpool for 50 million pounds.
Since joining in January he has been barely recognisable to the player who scored goals for fun while playing for Atletico Madrid and then Liverpool, managing just one goal in Chelsea blue before doubling his output with his side’s reply in the 3-1 defeat at United.
Fierce competition for places in Spain’s frontline for Euro 2012 has increased the pressure on misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres.
In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at Qatari Sheikh Abdullah al Thani’s ambitious plans for Andalusian club Malaga and an impressive victory for Spain over United States that underlined the world champions’ strength in depth.
Future looks bright for ambitious and deep-pocketed Malaga
It’s been a long road back since they went into voluntary administration in late 2006, but for Malaga the future looks extremely promising.
AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi seriously believes he can sign Cristiano Ronaldo in the next transfer window. Where did that one come from? Probably because of his frustration with Zlatan ibrahimovic for being sent off for swearing and banned for three games (see Wayne, the punshment is even worse in Italy).
Of course Berlusconi has no chance of landing Ronaldo but he’s a politician and positive thinking can do the world of good.
Got your breath back yet? Perfected the Dejan Stankovic volley in your mirror ready to take out on the pitch? Well Tuesday’s first installment of four Champions League quarter-final evenings was spectacular and there is more to come on Wednesday.
First, a recap of last night. The Real Madrid backlash did kick in, though against the 10 men of Tottenham Hotspur and two extremely well-taken goals that on another night may have gone wide of the post.
So Real Madrid finally broke their last 16 jinx and made the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 with a solid home performance against Olympique Lyon. Can’t imagine anyone left in the draw would like to face Jose Mourinho’s men when the last eight and semi-final draws are announced on Friday.
Which team would you want? Managerless Schalke 04? Real are divided on that given they would then face former striker Raul. Or Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk? Tottenham Hotspur would appear to be another one of the weaker teams left but at this stage of the competition any side is a threat.
That Champions League and drama undoubtedly go hand in hand was again in evidence after another tense night in Europe, with one blog even describing Inter Milan’s comeback victory over Bayern Munich as one of the best Champions League matches of all time.
As if that’s not enough, a “Little Pea” was scoring a double for Manchester United to send them through to their 11th quarter-final in just 19 years of the competition. No club has reached the last eight on more occasions.
The pain for Arsenal fans just rolls on it would seem, as a trip to my office’s kitchen confirmed on Monday when I heard two voices grumbling about “Van Persie” and “not enough shots”.
The North London club’s woes of the last two weeks or so have been much publicised, but perhaps at last there is some news to cheer Gunners fans up in the return of former keeper Jens Lehmann? Who would you prefer in goal? Lehmann, or Arsenal’s only currently available goalie Manuel Almunia, in good form in the last two matches against Barcelona and Manchester United?
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.