Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Impossible is nothing, or so Bernd Schuster hopes

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Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster is all over the Spanish-speaking web, saying, “It’s impossible to win at the Nou Camp.”

Is he right? I guess it must feel that way after Barca’s 4-0 win over Valencia but I don’t suppose Schuster really believes it.

Schuster is engaging in a little light psychology ahead of the weekend’s match against Barcelona, setting the bar as low as possible in the hope of his team clearing it beautifully.

“The game against Barcelona is the one that worries me least,” Schuster said after Real’s latest defeat, 4-3 at home to Sevilla, left them nine points behind the leaders. “The team can put in a decent performance there, but you can’t talk about doing any more.”

It will take more than Huntelaar to save Real’s season

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Real Madrid appear to need more than the couple of ‘youngsters with a future’ their president Ramon Calderon has promised for January if their season is not going to drift away from them.

Ajax striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar will be the first new arrival after Real came to an agreement to sign him, but he will not have been impressed with Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Getafe.

Time for Ronaldo to retire?

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When you manage just 22 minutes in a charity friendly, it is usually a bad sign.

Brazilian Ronaldo was huffing and puffing after his short cameo in Morocco on Monday against a Zinedine Zidane XI and now he is seriously considering retirement.

“I don’t know if I will continue playing or retire. I still haven’t taken a decision,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “There is no rush. I could decide tomorrow or in a month. I really don’t know.”

Friday afternoon question: Should domestic cups be scrapped?

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Real Madrid were knocked out of the King’s Cup by third-tier Real Union this week and Chelsea lost to second division Burnley in the Carling Cup, but which sides were really celebrating?

Chelsea would much rather concentrate on the Premier League while Real need to focus on the Champions League after two defeats.

Del Piero…34 years young

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Italy coach Marcello Lippi doesn’t want him, his predecessor Roberto Donadoni wasn’t keen, but Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero just keeps on coming up with the goods.

Few visiting players get standing ovations at the Bernabeu, but Il Capitano deserved it after two sublime strikes in Juve’s shock 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday which sent the in-form Turin club to the Champions League last 16.

Media outbursts seldom have desired effect

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It seems even the most experienced players can forget that criticising your coach in the media pretty much always backfires.

Germany captain Michael Ballack has backed down and offered an apology after he angered coach Joachim Loew by suggesting in a newspaper interview that senior players were not being treated with enough respect.

Friday afternoon question: Which is the best derby?

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A typical Milan derby

Families will be divided and bars will be filled with talk of nothing else this weekend when Everton host Liverpool on Saturday and the Milan derby takes place a day later.

Despite the plethora of foreign players on show at Goodison and the San Siro, as well as Spanish, Scottish and Portuguese managers, the two derbies will still sum up what is great about being a football fan.

Have Real Madrid lost their transfer market mojo?

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Van der Vaart and Schuster

Have the nine-times European champions Real Madrid lost their pulling power, or did they just play the market badly this time?

They put all their eggs (well, most of them) in one basket to land Cristiano Ronaldo but only succeeded in upsetting Robinho when he found out they might sell him to help finance the deal.

Vlog on the pitch — transfer deadline day

Owen Wyatt is joined by a sober-shirted Jon Bramley to discuss the deadline day transfer deals.

Will Manchester United be unstoppable now they have added Dimitar Berbatov to their line-up? Can Robinho cope with the whole rough and tumble of life in the Premier League? And speaking of which, are Manchester City the new Chelsea?

Strange results signify little… but we can all dream, can’t we?

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Van NReal Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.

Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!

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