Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
After months of speculation, Liverpool have confirmed that coach Rafael Benitez has left the club.
Disagreements with the owners and a poor season for the Reds have led to the decision to part company by mutual consent. Do you think it was inevitable?
Inter Milan, without a coach after Jose Mourinho joined Real Madrid despite Champions League glory and an unprecedented Italian treble, are looking for a another high-profile boss and Italian speaker Benitez fits the bill.
First target Fabio Capello has committed to England while Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola and Fulham’s Roy Hodgson, both highly-rated by Inter president Massimo Moratti, look tied to their clubs.
Manchester City’s chief executive Garry Cook has made an impassioned defence of the reasons for Mark Hughes’ sacking.
The feeling persists, however, that Hughes was harshly treated by the club.
Cook states that he and the club’s owners gave Hughes all the resources that he needed to achieve the target of 70 points for the season. The one resource Hughes did not get was time. Had just two of the almost freakish seven successive draws been turned into victories, City would have been in an extremely strong position in the race for a top-four spot.
It may be good entertainment but new Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will not have enjoyed watching their 4-3 win over Sunderland on Saturday.
The uncomfortable nature of his appointment, with Mark Hughes taking charge of the game knowing he was sacked, will be a minor thought to the Italian now he has seen the challenge ahead of him.
Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov’s days with Manchester City may be coming to an end. Rigsby, as Petrov is known among City fans, has once again expressed his frustration to reporters back home about the lack of opportunities he is getting.
When Petrov joined Bulgarian giants CSKA Sofia they called him Hristo Stoichkov’s successor as he was fast, greedy for the ball and produced a memorably angry look when ending up on the losing side.
When Pablo Zabaleta signed for Manchester City this time last year he admits he wasn’t really expecting to be playing on the same team as Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor.
How times change. City are now being referred to as part of the “Big Five” in the Premier League and a Champions League qualifying place must be their target for the season.
There’s been a fair bit of speculation, here and elsewhere, about whether Manchester City could actually win the Premier League title but a more realistic goal is a top four finish. That being the case, the summer spending spree seen by some as being brash and uncoordinated is actually very shrewd.
Look carefully, and what City have managed to do, with the recruitment of Gareth Barry from Aston Villa and Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from Arsenal, is to weaken two of their rivals for fourth place.
Fuelled by millions of petro-dollars from the apparently bottomless pockets of their Abu Dhabi owners Manchester City have spent the summer accumulating what is beginning to look, on paper anyway, a squad that will challenge for the title.
Significantly, the players bought by manager Mark Hughes are tried and tested in the Premier League which augurs wells for City’s chances of shaking up the established pecking order in English football.
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.
Manchester United’s Red Devils will be wearing angelic white in Wednesday’s Champions League final, just how Alex Ferguson likes it.
Barcelona are the nominal home team for the ‘dream final’ in Rome and as their famous claret and blue tops clash with United’s usual red and their first choice blue away kit, the holders will wander onto the pristine Stadio Olimpico pitch in white.