Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break – Friday edition

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Lionel Messi one day, Cristiano Ronaldo the next. It does not get any better than seeing the world’s best players at the top of the their game after Ronaldo’s hat-trick inspired Real Madrid to a 7-0 hammering of Malaga.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into here, while other Real blogs are debating the future of midfielder Kaka. Could you see him in the Premier League?

Back to England, and not good news for Manchester City after Kolo Toure was suspended after testing positive for a specified sample. The former Arsenal man has been key in the heart of City’s defence this season and they will struggle to replace the Ivorian international if he does get a ban.

North of the border, and Celtic and Rangers passionate yet fiery relationship lives on.

Soccer Break – Tuesday edition

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SOCCER-ITALY/Hello again everyone, and I hope some of the media material we pointed out to you on Monday helped your coffee/afternoon tea/cocktails go down well.

On Tuesday, following AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Serie A title rivals Napoli, we bring you a thorough run down of a match which hinged on a controversial decision in favour of the Milan club. Read here for more…

Don’t blame the referees, blame the players

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I watched the Brazil v Ivory Coast match in the bar of a Cape Town media hotel on Sunday and, not that it was really needed, was given another reminder of what an impossible job referees have in modern football.

When Luis Fabiano broke through to score Brazil’s second goal, the reaction of around 60 watching journalists ranged from joy to disappointment – but nobody was crying “handball.”

Pellegrini under fire after embarrassing Cup exit

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Real Madrid and coach Manuel Pellegrini were on the business end of some damning newspaper headlines on Wednesday after their humiliating exit from the King’s Cup at the hands of third-tier Alcorcon.

In the build-up to the match, Kaka suggested pride and the club’s history would inspire the players to a dramatic comeback from the 4-0 away defeat in the first leg.

Real Madrid take shaky first step towards home final

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Having spent 250 million euros on reinforcements and with the final due to be staged at their own Bernabeu stadium, winning the Champions League is seen almost as an obligation for Real Madrid this season, at least by much of the Spanish media.

Kicking off their campaign, perhaps appropriately, in one of Europe’s most expensive cities, Real showed flashes of what may be to come, both in terms of attacking inspiration and defensive vulnerability, as they beat Swiss champions FC Zurich 5-2.

World Cup will survive without Messi and Ronaldo

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“Ronaldo and Messi could miss the World Cup!” screamed the headlines after Portugal drew 1-1 in Denmark and Argentina were humiliated 3-1 at home to Brazil.

It sounds awful, doesn’t it? How will we ever manage without Cristiano and Leo, two of the poster boys for the elite, Masters of the Universe level of footballer we’ve come to know and love?

Real remains a work in progress after sneaky 3-2 win

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******Real Madrid’s expensive new team boasts an awesome array of attacking talent and huge goal-scoring potential but their defence looked worryingly porous in their opening match of the La Liga season on Saturday.******President Florentino Perez spent 250 million euros ($359 million) to bring excitement and spectacle back to the Bernabeu after two barren years and judging by Saturday’s 3-2 win over Deportivo Coruna, when Real twice surrendered the lead and created a host of chances, the fans will not be disappointed.******The return of the suspended Pepe and injured pair Christoph Metzelder and Sergio Ramos may help to eradicate the errors that blighted their performance.******However, Real’s hopes of mounting an effective challenge to treble-winners Barcelona seemingly rest on the ability of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and their team mates to score more goals than are inevitably conceded.******Sports daily Marca said in an editorial on Sunday that Real were following a script against Depor that the fans had become well used to over the years.******”An opponent with a solid back line who refuses to be intimidated by so many star players and knows how to exploit the whites’ defensive weakness but who ultimately yields to massive firepower,” the paper wrote. “This (Real) promises excitement.”******Perez’s latest creation resembles the band of “galacticos” he assembled during his first stint in charge in 2000-2006, who included Zinedine Zidane, Figo, David Beckham and Brazilian striker Ronaldo.******DYNAMIC SIDES***El Pais soccer correspondent Jose Samano said that coach Manuel Pellegrini was under orders from Perez to focus on attack because the president had grown up watching dynamic Real sides including players such as Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas in the 1950s and 60s.******”Over time soccer has become more conservative but not in the mind of (Perez),” Samano wrote.******”Manuel Pellegrini has no other option than to field as many defenders as attackers, a gamble that almost got them into trouble against Depor,” he added.******”Madrid were struggling to dictate the game and obviously won’t be a balanced and well calibrated side anytime soon but their box of tricks is limitless.”******Writing in El Mundo, Orfeo Suarez said that the new-look Real side were “terrific going forward and vulnerable at the back“.******”That’s the conclusion to be drawn from the start of the second Florentino Perez era; understandable because it’s a project under construction,” he said.******”Madrid kept Depor’s hopes alive because they are not yet a team and perhaps never will be, and some of the stars are still not firing on all cylinders.”******PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Raul celebrates his goal against Deportivo Coruna with Karim Benzema (L) and Kaka (C) during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Play Fantasy Football manager with Real’s Pellegrini

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Real Madrid’s 250 million euros spending spree has left new coach Manuel Pellegrini with the kind of headache most managers could only dream of.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero and Ezequiel Garay have all been added to a squad that finished second in the league under Juande Ramos last year.

Shamrock prepare for Real visit

Click the video above for a look at how Shamrock Rovers are preparing for the visit of Real Madrid — a match the entire soccer word will be keeping an eye on, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to make his debut for the Spanish club.

Interesting line about Real’s continued interest in Franck Ribery. Do they really need him still. Raul seems to suggest they’d still like him…

Tevez is a game changing signing for Manchester City

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Manchester City are finally shopping at the luxury end of the market, as befits their status as the richest of the rich, and as a result the fans can start to get excited about the new season.

Back in January I blogged about the depressingly familiar rollcall of mediocre players being linked with City: the likes of Scott Parker, Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Matthew Upson.

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