Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Fergie’s smile spells trouble for Premier League title rivals

Photo
-

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/When Alex Ferguson declares he is happy with his squad for the season remainder, it is time for Manchester United’s Premier League title rivals to start worrying.

The busy Christmas and New Year period is often important in the Premier League, as fringe players are called upon to help negotiate a sea of fixtures which put managers under increasing pressure.

With the worst of it now over, United are beginning to emerge from the pack.

Their recent wins over West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City might not have oozed confidence or screamed ‘champions’ but the results will have worried Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Ferguson rested some key players in both victories, instead letting the likes of Tomasz Kuszczak, Gabriel Obertan, Darron Gibson and Javier Hernandez stretch their legs.

Inter v Bayern means repeat of 2010 Champions League final

Photo
-

SOCCER-SPAIN/Holders Inter Milan will face Bayern Munich, the team they beat to clinch the trophy last season, in the Champions League last 16 with a repeat of the 2006 final also due after Barcelona were drawn to meet Arsenal. 

Bayern might actually be favourites given Inter’s struggles so far this term while Barca and Lionel Messi destroyed Arsenal in the quarter-finals second leg last season despite the two sides’ similar style of play.

Can Mourinho triumph again in Champions League or have Real peaked too early?

Photo
-

Jose Mourinho’s gamble of swapping Champions League holders Inter Milan for recent underachievers Real Madrid looks to have paid off following a group stage where his new side excelled.

In contrast, Inter stumbled through to the last 16 in wholly unconvincing fashion, suggesting the coach with the Midas touch was right to bet the Italians would not be able to repeat the highs of last season’s glorious treble.

An Englishman abroad? Rooney might not have fitted the bill

Photo
-

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So Wayne Rooney says he would only have left Manchester United to go abroad. Could the fact that foreign suitors seemed shy to express any interest have anything to do with his sudden U-turn to stay at the Premier League club?

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was right in his prediction that Rooney would stay after all. He told United to ”give me call” if the striker’s departure was on the cards but never went further than that.

Will United fans forgive and forget?

Photo
-

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Football fans are very forgiving types – if my football club were a person I’d have stopped speaking to it a long time ago.

Pretend for a minute you are Manchester United and Wayne Rooney is your best mate. He swears undying loyalty to you – it’s a friendship that will last forever. Then suddenly he tells you you’re basically not good enough for him and that you should get lost.

Mr. Rich invests in Bedlington for the love of the game

Photo
-

SOCCER-ENGLAND/BEDLINGTONAmerican billionaire Robert Rich Jr, the 488th richest man in the world, can buy just about anything he wants to from private jets to diamonds, mansions to ocean-going liners and everything in between.

But this week it emerged that he has put some of his vast fortune at the disposal of a tiny, impoverished minor league English club by the name of Bedlington Terriers.

Will ‘Little Pea’ make Rooney green with envy?

Photo
-

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s two-goal and match-winning performance against Stoke City at the weekend for Manchester United could give manager Alex Ferguson the ideal headache.

Two thirds of United fans have yet to make up their mind on whether to forgive and forget the whole Rooney saga, Sky Sports reported from a Manchester Evening News poll, and with Hernandez and Berbatov on song is there an argument that the England man should have to wait to get his place back when his fitness is resolved?

Breaking news: Rooney to stay at Manchester United

Photo
-

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Well, what an extraordinary twist this is: Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year deal with Manchester United and is staying at Old Trafford after all. Here’s the club statement:

Wayne Rooney has agreed a new 5 year contract to stay at Manchester United until at least June 2015.

The agreement follows intensive discussions between the Club and the player’s representatives and means that by the end of his contract Wayne will have been a Manchester United player for 11 years.

Will Rooney’s departure signal United’s decline?

Photo
-

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Wayne Rooney’s demand for a move away from Manchester United has stunned manager Alex Ferguson, especially given the striker’s poor form and support the club have given him through personal problems.

After winning three successive Premier League titles with United and the 2008 Champions League, Rooney enjoyed his best personal season with the club in 2009-10 — when his impressive tally of 34 goals in all competitions was only enough to bring  the League Cup to Old Trafford.

Breaking news: Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, Ferguson shocked

Photo
-

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/England striker Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, manager Alex Ferguson said on Wednesday.

“We are as bemused as anyone can be, we can’t quite understand why he would want to leave,” Ferguson told a news conference.

  •