Reuters Soccer Blog

Florentino’s back — is Kaka coming with him?

May 16, 2009

Florentino Perez is back on the scene and if the Madrid sports press are right the first ‘Galactico’ of his second era at Real Madrid will be Brazil’s Kaka, assuming he wins next month’s election to the presidency.

The Real Madrid Presidential Candidacy ‘Promisometer’

May 6, 2009

The campaign to be the next president of Real Madrid Football Club has finally kicked into gear with the claim from the little known Eduardo Garcia that, if elected on June 14, he will bring with him the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

United in for Ribery? Well, it would stop Barcelona getting him

May 5, 2009

It says more about the value of the pound than it does the value of Franck Ribery that the sum United are supposed to be prepared to pay for him is so high — 63 million pounds, if there’s anything to the story in this morning’s Guardian.

I won’t forgot my first ‘Clasico’ for a while

May 3, 2009

Pep Guardiola’s superb Barca side four clear at the top with five games left to play. Champions Real in second on a run of 17 wins and a draw in 18 matches since a 2-0 loss at the Nou Camp in December and refusing to capitulate. The nation’s arch soccer rivals locking horns. Spain versus Catalunya.The stage was set for my first “Clasico” at the Bernabeu.I had read about the great matches of the past and seen the headlines: “The match of the century!”, “The greatest show on earth!”.It was time to experience it for myself.I hopped off the bus near the stadium and fought my way through the throng of Real faithful, already in good voice and enjoying the evening sunshine more than an hour-and-a-half before kickoff.A policeman waved me through the barriers holding back the crowds and I collected my accreditation and took the lift up to the press tribune on the fifth floor.It was oddly quiet inside the mammoth arena, a few photographers and officials milling about by the pitch, and the muted sound of the boisterous supporters outside punctuated by the occasional firecracker and police siren.Fabio Cannavaro, Arjen Robben and a few other Real players strolled out on to the pitch for a few minutes and Royston Drenthe posed for some photographs as I leafed through the media notes.Biggest home defeat for Real in “El Clasico” 5-0 way back in February 1974, four days before I was born. Probably won’t be needing that particular stat.When the spectators were finally allowed in, the atmosphere quickly warmed up and any attempt at singing by the small knot of Barca fans high to my right was met with a chorus of whistles and hoots.The volume of noise was rising all the time and reached a crescendo as the two teams marched on to the pitch and the spectators held up pieces of card that turned the stands white. Game on.“You don’t want to do that,” I thought as Sergio Ramos gave the ball away to Lionel Messi in a dangerous position in the first minute, perhaps a sign of things to come.The Real faithful went nuts when Gonzalo Higuain grabbed the lead but it wasn’t long before Barca asserted themselves and Real’s chances of defending their league title were fast receding.As the goals rolled in, a colleague in the press box, a lifelong Real fan, was growing increasingly despondent and the invective issuing from the mouth of the Spanish journalist behind us, mostly directed at the referee, was increasingly extreme.When Messi scored to make it 5-2 with around 15 minutes left, waves of shell-shocked Real fans started heading for the exits.The referee did not prolong the agony, ending the match on 90 minutes, and I quickly filed my first take and a rapid update before dashing down to the press conferences with a beaming Guardiola and a glum Juande Ramos.Eight goals scored by some of the most exciting players around, tons of chances, plenty of controversy, passionate fans in a stunning soccer arena and a famous result in one of the most intensely contested fixtures in world sport.The kind of match you don’t forget in a hurry.PHOTO: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (L) celebrates his goal against Real Madrid during their match at the Bernabeu, May 2, 2009. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Game, set and match: Real 2 Barça 6

May 2, 2009

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

Metzelder may make it in Madrid after all

April 27, 2009

I nearly fell out of my chair on Sunday night when I realised the identity of the Real Madrid player who had surged into the box and sent across a perfectly-weighted centre for Raul to score the equaliser against Sevilla.

Pepe’s Zidane moment could cost Real dear

April 22, 2009

Real Madrid’s Portuguese defender Pepe faces a lengthy ban that could extend to the end of the season after he had an astonishing Zinedine Zidane moment against Getafe on Tuesday.

Is there any way back for Owen?

March 30, 2009

Quite how far Michael Owen’s career has nosedived was underlined at the weekend when the Newcastle United striker was again overlooked for his country despite the lack of attacking options for coach Fabio Capello.

Real’s Ramos unlikely to stay despite successful spell

March 18, 2009

Quite a few sceptical eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid gave Bernd Schuster the boot back in December and brought in Juande Ramos.

Barca put the boot in over Bojan’s beautiful goal

March 17, 2009

Barcelona were so proud of the slick passing move that led to Bojan Krkic’s second goal during the 2-0 win at Almeria on Sunday that they have published all the statistics surrounding the strike.