Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

United teach Inter and Barca how to avoid the jitter bug

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Nerves are totally understandable at the end of the season with so much at stake.

Even seasoned campaigners get afflicted by the jitter bug, with Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan losing the lead twice in a 2-2 draw at Chievo on Sunday with a fourth straight scudetto almost theirs.

Inter let a 12-point lead slip last term and tumbled over the line on the final day while fans will always remember their incredible collapse in 2002, which included a 2-2 draw with Chievo…

Spanish leaders Barcelona were even worse on Sunday, seeing their title party ruined by Villarreal’s two late goals in a 3-3 draw at the Nou Camp.

Is there any way back for Adriano?

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Adriano looks to have played his last match for Inter Milan after failing to return to the Serie A leaders from international duty with Brazil this month and announcing he was taking a break from football.

President Massimo Moratti said last week that Inter were considering extinguishing the player’s contract, which runs until the end of next season.

Should Juve receive stadium ban for Balotelli abuse?

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After years of racist chanting from the stands, Italian soccer has finally realised it has a problem.

Inter Milan goalscorer Mario Balotelli, born in Palermo and of Ghanaian descent, was racially abused by sections of the Juventus crowd during Saturday’s 1-1 Serie A draw in Turin.

Where has Adriano been?

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A missing person’s hunt has ended happily in Brazil. Inter Milan striker Adriano has been found.

The burly 27-year-old, who has battled drink and personal problems in the past, failed to return to Italy last week after being an unused substitute in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers with Ecuador and Peru. Inter had no idea where he was.

Mourinho goes all shy on us

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Jose Mourinho has finally met his match.

I’ve never seen the Inter Milan boss look so timid and uncomfortable as when he was confronted by a pole dancer on a famously bizarre Italian TV show.

He looked away as the half-naked beauty strutted her stuff, twitching in his chair and scratching his ear to try to avoid embarrassment.

Ibrahimovic – Europe’s biggest enigma

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During a typical football discussion at a Milan pub recently, a friend made a comment which really stayed with me.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest there is to Van Basten.”

After thinking about it, I realised he was probably right. Ibrahimovic’s touch for a big man and his ability to score wonderful goals really do mark him out as special. It is right to talk of him in the same breath as one of Holland’s finest.

Even Mourinho can’t halt Serie A decline as England dominates

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The sight of Serie A sides flopping in the Champions League has become a familiar one and although the three teams eliminated this week were a little unlucky, a mental block against English opposition is developing.

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, who won the trophy with Porto in 2004, was hired in June largely to boost their hopes of challenging Europe’s elite after years of failure.

Aguero magic could pose problem for Atletico

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The sort of performance Sergio Aguero turned in to inspire victory over Barcelona could be a curse as well as a blessing for Atletico Madrid, who are only going to find themselves under more pressure to sell him to one of Europe’s powerhouse clubs come the end of the season.

The gifted 20-year-old, nicknamed “Kun” after a Japanese comic book hero, scored two superb goals, including a dramatic 89th minute winner, as Atletico twice came from behind to stun the visiting Primera Liga leaders 4-3.

So are we set for another all-English Champions League final?

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There’s still a long way to go to the final in Rome but from what we saw over the first legs of the opening knock-out round of the Champions League a lot of people will be expecting another all-English affair at the Olympic Stadium.

If you take Mark’s dad as an authority, and I’m sure he knows as much as anyone, serie A sides are unlikely still to be challenging but is there anyone else capable of preventing another Premier League tour match?

If Inter are the best in Serie A…

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My dad was a sports journalist too so he has seen a fair few matches in his time.

After Inter Milan’s 0-0 Champions League draw with holders Manchester United at the San Siro, he sent me a very abrupt text message.

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