Reuters Soccer Blog

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World Cup will survive without Messi and Ronaldo


“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?

Leaving aside for a minute the fact that Argentina almost certainly will qualify, and Portugal are by no means out if it either, let’s get one thing clear: the World Cup will get along fine without them or any other individual players, should their countries get left behind.

Comparatively minor tournaments, such as soccer at the Olympics and regional championships outside Europe and South America, need glamour players from the big leagues to attract worldwide interest from media and sponsors. Domestic leagues need them to do overseas rights deals, the Champions League needs them to keep the money flowing but the World Cup is in a different category altogether.

Game, set and match: Real 2 Barça 6


If Chelsea were cautious in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, what will they do after seeing this display?

Spain’s sports journalists will be doing their best to outdo one another in superlatives after a performance that ranks right up there with the 5-0 Barça managed at the Bernabeu with Johan Cruyff in their team in 1974.