Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
La Liga had a familiar look to it on Tuesday morning.
Wealthy behemoths Real Madrid and Barcelona top the standings on goal difference after each recorded emphatic wins against opponents who were utterly outclassed.
Villarreal, through to the Champions League group stages after finishing fourth last term, were thrashed 5-0 by Barca at the Nou Camp on Monday night, a day after Real Madrid romped to a 6-0 victory at Real Zaragoza.
Barca’s financial clout was underlined by the fact that coach Pep Guardiola was able to start without Spanish World Cup-winners Xavi and David Villa as new signings Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez scored on their home debuts in the league.
The red carpet was out in the VIP lounge at the Bernabeu last week and four immaculately-dressed Emirates air hostesses helped usher in the dignitaries as Real Madrid presented a new sponsorship agreement with the Dubai-based airline.
No financial details were given, but the five-year deal will no doubt further boost the coffers of the world´s richest club by revenue.
In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at Qatari Sheikh Abdullah al Thani’s ambitious plans for Andalusian club Malaga and an impressive victory for Spain over United States that underlined the world champions’ strength in depth.
Future looks bright for ambitious and deep-pocketed Malaga
It’s been a long road back since they went into voluntary administration in late 2006, but for Malaga the future looks extremely promising.
Just another night of footballing action and another trophy for the all-conquering Barcelona, who on Wednesday clinched their third successive La Liga title despite a laboured 1-1 draw away to Levante.
Manchester United will be hoping a similarly weary Barcelona turn up at Wembley for the Champions League final on May 28, hopefully having themselves recently won their top domestic honour, the Premier League.
Mourinho begins strengthening for next season
Jose Mourinho has acquired the first new weapon in his arsenal for the 2011/12 campaign as his Real Madrid side seek to loosen Barcelona’s stranglehold over the domestic title and dream of a 10th triumph in Europe’s elite club competition.
Manchester United took less than 40 seconds to score against title rivals Chelsea, all but killing the game and the Londoners’ hopes of retaining their Premier League crown, while in Italy AC Milan made it 18 Serie A trophies with a 0-0 draw at AS Roma. Barcelona took a giant stride towards a third straight La Liga title with a 2-0 win over Espanyol. Click on this link for our European roundup.
European competition is almost over for another season after Braga and Porto booked their places in the Europa League final in Dublin.
They might be running away with the Premier League title and facing a side who are 10th in their own table (ok, those portents look pretty rosy), but they have come unstuck the last two times they have lined up against German rivals in the semi-finals.
In our latest Monday Spanish soccer post, Mark Elkington in Madrid looks at the state of play ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final between arch rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, Diego Forlan’s relegation to the bench at Atletico Madrid and the curse of the balls on the pitch.
Real bristling with confidence before Champions League semi
Last week’s dramatic King’s Cup final victory over Barca has provided a palpable boost to Real coach Jose Mourinho and his players and they romped to a 6-3 win at third-placed Valencia on Saturday despite resting several key squad members.
It’s Easter weekend but there’s no rest for the world’s football players with another hectic schedule of matches.