Reuters Soccer Blog

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from Left field:

Quiet day for April Fools

I've been scouting around for some sporting April Fools but I've not spotted many good ones.

Maybe some websites and blogs have held off on the jokes given the state of the world economy is no laughing matter.

Gazzetta dello Sport's French football blog Sotto La Tour Eiffel says Zinedine Zidane will come out of retirement to play for Marseille.

Have you seen any better April Fools? We are assuming of course that Alan Shearer is really going to manage Newcastle United. However, there has been no official confirmation so far...

Vlog on the Pitch — Thierry Henry’s sparkling return to form

Thierry Henry did not enjoy the happiest of starts to his new life in Barcelona but it’s clicked for the Frenchman this term.

He plays more as a winger than a striker under Pep Guardiola yet he’s still managed 15 league goals this season and the Premier League certainly seems a poorer place without him.

Is there a more superstitious industry than football?


After a foray into the mix zone after the English League Cup final, the injured Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe replied to one journalist who asked him why he had cut all his hair off.

“I had to, I only ever seem to get injured when I have longer hair,” he said.

Another passport probe shows system needs review


Sportspeople have been shifting nationalities to suit their careers for years, and most of it has been legal.

Controversies have occurred, however, with the latest incident again happening in French soccer.

The sad case of Patrick Vieira


Portsmouth are interested in bringing Inter Milan’s Patrick Vieira back to England.

The only problem is that the former Arsenal man is injured…again. 

I’ve been the Reuters sports correspondent in Milan for nearly two years and I have interviewed Vieira more times than I have seen him play live.

Why St Etienne are green with envy


If you don’t mind the sight of St Etienne glued near the bottom of the Ligue 1 table, you did not grow up in France in the 1970s.

Everybody there then had two teams, their own and Les Verts (The Greens). Even today, many fans of other sides have a soft spot for the team from a small industrial town near Lyon.

Attack is the only way back for France


Why are France struggling so much in their World Cup qualifying campaign ?

Such a team should not have had any problems against Austria, Serbia or Romania, the three teams they’ve met so far. Yet, they only have four points and it could have been worse, as it seemed Les Bleus were in for a spanking in Romania in their last game as they were trailing 2-0 after 15 minutes.

That was until Yoann Gourcuff netted with the kind of shot you see in the Bundesliga every weekend but that we have not seen here in France since Franck Sauzee in the 1990s: a 30-metre drive that went under the bar and put France back on track.

Let’s scrap anthems before international matches


Do all Honduras fans dress like that?French politicians were outraged after the Marseillaise was booed by the large contingent of Tunisia fans before Tuesday’s friendly at the Stade de France.  

Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot said that France matches must be stopped if it happens again and French Football Federation chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes was summoned by President Nicolas Sarkozy for a meeting.  

Should France keep inviting African teams to Paris?


Tunisia fansYou can understand why the French rarely invite any of their former colonies over for so-called friendly internationals. On Tuesday night they again faced a barrage of abuse in their own backyard, with the vast majority of a sell-out crowd at Stade de France coming to support Tunisia against Les Bleus.

When Algeria played at the Stade de France in 2001, the game was eventually called off midway through the second half after Algerian supporters invaded the pitch. The match against Morocco last year earned notoriety after the jeering during the singing of La Marseillaise.

Ronaldo and total football may not be the winning formula


Shirtless RonaldoTotal football is everywhere these days, in newspaper headlines and pub conversations. A few exciting performances from attack-minded teams at Euro 2008 and we’re back in the 1970s. Endless guitar solos, long greasy hair and flying Dutchmen.

On one side, you have the likes of Portugal, the Dutch or Spain, a bunch of daring young artists delighting football romantics with their wizardry. On the other side are the usual suspects, Italy and France, ageing cynics boring everybody with their cast-iron back fours and tireless holding midfielders.