Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Real’s problems begin in the boardroom

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The Spanish press have one question on their minds following Real Madrid’s Champions League humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.

Why has the club that dominated Europe from 1998 to 2002 failed to make it past the last 16 of the Champions League in five years, despite spending (wasting?) tens of millions of euros in the transfer market?

Amid pictures of a tearful-looking Iker Casillas and a jubilant Fernando Torres (the former Atletico icon’s success is a bitter pill for the Real faithful to swallow), the consensus seemed to be that the club’s institutional problems were a big factor.

In Vicente Boluda, Real currently have a stop-gap president following the resignation of Ramon Calderon in a vote-rigging scandal.

A European night at Anfield is a trip back in time

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I had heard a great deal about the fabled Anfield atmosphere on European nights but nothing quite prepared me for my first visit.

Quite a night I chose as well. The 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid in what was the first meeting on Merseyside between the two European powerhouses will sit high on anybody’s list of magnificent Anfield occasions.

Vlog on the Pitch: table football special

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Owen Wyatt has invested in new 3-D technology to provide a fresh look at Real Madrid chances of knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League.

Click on the video above to hear our views on the key battles at Anfield, and a look at what the Spanish papers and Real Madrid players are saying ahead of the match.

Vlog on the pitch – Can Real really catch Barca?

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A few weeks ago the La Liga title looked a done deal but Juande Ramos has steadied the ship and Real Madrid now find themselves four points behind Barcelona with the two teams still to play each other at the Bernabeu on May 3.

Can Real complete an unlikely comeback?

Vlogonthepitch host Owen Wyatt and Kevin Fylan discuss.

Did Spain’s Euro 2008 win jinx the clubs?

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Spain overcame 44 years of underachievement on the international stage when they were crowned European champions at Euro 2008. Not only did they win the tournament, but their players, their style and their attacking ambition were hailed around the world.

However, that success appears to have had a detrimental effect on their domestic teams, who have traditionally been some of the strongest performers in Europe’s club competitions.

Round one to Liverpool, but don’t believe Benitez rumours

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Rafa Benitez celebrated a famous victory over his hometown club when Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in their Champions League last 16, first leg on Wednesday.He outfoxed his counterpart Juande Ramos with an astute tactical display, but anyone linking the Spaniard with a move to the Bernabeu in the near future would be mistaken.

Real Madrid are in limbo. Former president Ramon Calderon sacked Bernd Schuster in December and installed Ramos on a contract to the end of the campaign, and then was forced to resign in disgrace after a vote-rigging scandal at a club general assembly was exposed.

So are we set for another all-English Champions League final?

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There’s still a long way to go to the final in Rome but from what we saw over the first legs of the opening knock-out round of the Champions League a lot of people will be expecting another all-English affair at the Olympic Stadium.

If you take Mark’s dad as an authority, and I’m sure he knows as much as anyone, serie A sides are unlikely still to be challenging but is there anyone else capable of preventing another Premier League tour match?

Real Madrid v Liverpool — what a difference two months make

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Back in December, when the draw for the first knock-out round of the Champions League was made, Liverpool could be forgiven for feeling pretty pleased with the prospect of renewing their acquaintance with Real Madrid. How different things look now.

Back then, Liverpool were top of the Premier League, six points ahead of a Manchester United side facing a fixture pile-up and struggling for form. Real Madrid, in apparent disarray after sacking coach Bernd Schuster, were 12 points behind Barcelona, having just lost 2-0 to their arch-rivals.

Is it possible for Barcelona to lose the Primera Liga?

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Barcelona look unstoppable this season but did Sporting Gijon coach Manolo Preciado tempt fate when he said it was crazy to think La Liga was not already in the bag?

Pep Guardiola’s team swept aside Sporting 3-1 on Sunday to make it 10 consecutive league wins.

Which shock late transfers would you like to see?

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The end of the transfer window is fast approaching and so far it has been fairly quiet (if we exclude the Manchester City-Kaka saga as it didn’t go through).

The deadline this year is February 2 given January finishes on a weekend so there is a little extra time for some late deals.

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