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Saturday’s Champions League final should be the only show in town but the build-up to the game in Madrid is offering a host of distractions.
The beautiful Spanish weather could easily lull a Bayern Munich or Inter Milan fan into thinking they had just popped over for a holiday…that is until they look at the news stands.
All anyone wants to talk about is whether Inter coach Jose Mourinho will quit for Real Madrid after the match, where incidentally both sides are gunning for trebles.
The fact the game is being played in the Bernabeu and Mourinho’s squad are practising at Real’s training ground just adds to the drama that seems to follow the Portuguese wherever he goes.
The Arsenal manager thought he was building, slowly but surely, an Arsenal team that could go one better than the 2006 side that lost the Champions League final to Barcelona.
Franck Ribery will likely choose Spain if he decides to leave Bayern Munich, we learned from a Sport Bild interview this morning, and I guess few people reading another of today’s big football stories, this time in France Football, would blame him.
While the Frenchman highlights the nice weather as the motivating factor behind his “tendency” towards Spain, others in his position might be swayed by the following list of the game’s top earning footballers:
Arjen Robben arrived in Munich and passed a medical exam on Friday, scored two goals after coming on in the second half with his new teammate Franck Ribery on Saturday, and then left his new home town on Monday to meet up with the Dutch international team in Enschede.
It was a remarkable weekend trip to the Bavarian capital. In just 27 minutes Robben and Ribery — Munich’s new dynamic duo quickly dubbed “Robery” by German headline writers — combined for two spectacular goals to lead Bayern to their first win of the season, 3-0 against defending champions VfL Wolfsburg.
If reports in Spain are correct and Real Madrid have agreed to sell Arjen Robben to Bayern Munich for 25 million euros, that would seem to be an excellent piece of business for the Spanish club.
Real paid a king’s ransom to take Robben from Chelsea a couple of years ago — when £24 million pounds was a lot more in euros than it is now — and I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t quite make the impact the fans were hoping for.
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery is a joy to watch. His acceleration, ball control and creative play have quickly elevated him to the Bundesliga’s biggest asset.
But come next week the Frenchman could be gone as the pulling power quickly fizzles out of the German league.
It says more about the value of the pound than it does the value of Franck Ribery that the sum United are supposed to be prepared to pay for him is so high — 63 million pounds, if there’s anything to the story in this morning’s Guardian.
That sum is a shade over 70 million euros, which is a slightly less ridiculous amount than the 100 million euros it would have been a year or two ago but is still, of course, vastly overinflated.
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.
The names mentioned by the media as City’s current transfer targets represent a lack of imagination reminiscent of the post-title winning days at Blackburn Rovers, when Jack Walker’s millions were spent on players like Lars Bohinen, Billy McKinlay and Garry Flitcroft in a futile bid to build a team capable of challenging for the Champions League.