Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Xabi Alonso’s 30th birthday on Friday has prompted an avalanche of praise for the Real Madrid midfielder and has also served to highlight the former Liverpool man’s importance in coach Jose Mourinho’s plans for Spanish and European domination.
Widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation, as well as one of the most astute purchases by big-spending Real president Florentino Perez, the quietly-spoken Alonso has gone from strength to strength since joining Real for a fee of 35 million euros ($47 million) at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Spraying passes around the pitch from the centre of midfield with consumate ease and unleashing a crunching tackle when necessary, he is the well-oiled cog at the heart of Mourinho’s Real machine and it would be hard to see them mounting a realistic challenge to great rivals Barcelona without him.
Mourinho has used him more than any other player this season, more even than captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
The deft chip on the run with which Fernando Torres beat Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to seal Spain’s 1-0 victory in the final of Euro 2008 gave the success-starved Iberian nation their first major trophy in 44 years.
Fierce competition for places in Spain’s frontline for Euro 2012 has increased the pressure on misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres.
The red carpet was out in the VIP lounge at the Bernabeu last week and four immaculately-dressed Emirates air hostesses helped usher in the dignitaries as Real Madrid presented a new sponsorship agreement with the Dubai-based airline.
No financial details were given, but the five-year deal will no doubt further boost the coffers of the world´s richest club by revenue.
In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at Qatari Sheikh Abdullah al Thani’s ambitious plans for Andalusian club Malaga and an impressive victory for Spain over United States that underlined the world champions’ strength in depth.
Future looks bright for ambitious and deep-pocketed Malaga
It’s been a long road back since they went into voluntary administration in late 2006, but for Malaga the future looks extremely promising.
In our latest Monday post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Barcelona muses on the ill-tempered Champions League clash between arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid and the possible repercussions for the Spanish national team and looks at the unrivalled brilliance of World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
Bad Spanish blood boils over into Champions League “Clasico”
Last week’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The first day of the fourth month means April fools day, so we would really love to hear from you if there are any dubious stories doing the rounds.
Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?
Tuesday’s matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana’s lighting up of London, to Australia’s World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.
In the latest edition of our Monday Spanish soccer blog, Mark Elkington looks at a dispute that threatens the next round of La Liga matches, Spain’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Lithuania and the problems affecting second-division leaders Rayo Vallecano.
Many of La Liga’s finest packed their bags and headed off to represent their countries last week while the action in Spain switched from the pitch to the courtroom.
Welcome back to another week of digesting the global game, and where better to start than with a look at the Lionel Messi effect on the sport.
The wizard-like Argentine is a joy to watch and by playing in countries such as the United States, where soccer is not the main sport, he can only have increased enthusiasm for the round ball game.