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Soccer Break Thursday


SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So there were no incredible comebacks after all. Sorry Tottenham and hapless Heurelho Gomes, but the neutrals have got their Real Madrid v Barcelona semi-final and expect the hype to be greater than almost any two games ever played.

In the other semi-final Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson will be able to take a close look at Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was largely untroubled by departing holders Inter Milan last night.

With Edwin van der Sar set to retire, United are on the lookout for a new keeper and many reports say Neuer is top if the list although Bayern Munich will also be sniffing. Atletico Madrid’s David de Gea has also been linked to Old Trafford.

Now Inter are out, what about a cheeky bid for Julio Cesar? Gianluigi Buffon may also be available from Juventus while Liverpool’s Pepe Reina may want to quit if they miss Champions League football again.

Would Juve not be better off selling Buffon?


SOCCER-ITALY/Juventus need a striker desperately but don’t want to bust their budget and yet have two top goalkeepers.

The answer? Why not sell one of the goalkeepers and use part of the proceeds to recruit a world-class forward?

Could Birmingham’s Hart be Capello’s England number one?


England manager Fabio Capello might well have found himself an unexpected Christmas present this year in Birmingham City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Filling the gap between the sticks at next June’s World Cup finals in South Africa is perhaps the biggest conundrum Capello will face in the run up to soccer’s most glittering event, but Hart may just have made it a little easier.

Final tragedy for Robert Enke


Germany and Hanover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke has died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide, local police said on Tuesday.

“First indications point to suicide,” a media officer for the Niedersachsen police told Reuters before adding that Enke’s body was found at a train crossing some 25-km northeast of Hanover.

Lehmann on brink of Germany comeback?


When former Germany keeper Jens Lehmann said earlier this month he wants to play at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, many said it was just another provocative statement by the 39-year-old at the twilight of his career.

Even Germany coach Joachim Loew and national goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke ruled out a return, saying there were four talented keepers in the squad already, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Rene Adler, Hanover 96 keeper Robert Enke, Manuel Neuer who plays for Schalke and Werder Bremen’s Tim Wiese.

Opinion split as Atletico Madrid rotate keepers


CoupetTwo is better than one, or is it?

Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre has stirred up a debate over goalkeepers by refusing to name a first choice custodian at the Calderon, rotating Argentina’s Leo Franco with France’s Gregory Coupet.

The Mexican’s policy has prompted a flurry of differing opinions after Atletico were trounced 6-1 at Barcelona last weekend, with new recruit Coupet in nets.

Is Rensing good enough to replace Kahn at Bayern?


Rensing reaction

I’ve blogged before about the wealth of youngish goalkeeping talent in the Bundesliga, a list headed by Rene Adler at Bayer Leverkusen, Manuel Neuer at Schalke and Bayern Munich’s new number one Michael Rensing.

While Adler remains first choice in Leverkusen, and Neuer will certainly regain the gloves from the 19-year-old Ralf Faehrmann as soon as he’s fit, Juergen Klinsmann might just be getting a bit worried about Rensing, who had a shocker in Bayern’s 5-2 defeat at home to Werder Bremen at the weekend.