Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Italian soccer on the pitch has a largely undeserved image of being boring, with 1-0 wins and catenaccio supposedly the norm.
Off the pitch Serie A is surely the craziest league in Europe with match-fixing scandals, coaches being sacked the day before the season, and players and managers switching between rivals like they were picking teams in the school playground.
Former Inter Milan hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining AC Milan just a year after saying he was bored with Italy was weird enough but ex-Milan boss Leonardo becoming Inter coach takes the biscuit.
Leonardo is Milan through and through given he was also a player there but his season in charge of the Rossoneri last term was not that successful so why on earth would Inter president Massimo Moratti choose him to replace Rafael Benitez?
As the dust settles after the end of the transfer window, Italian soccer fans are gradually coming to terms with a possible shift in power at the top.
No one is outwardly saying it, but whispers and hints abound. AC Milan may finally have a squad capable off wrestling the title off Inter Milan after five long years.
As Barcelona close in on the signing of Javier Mascherano from Liverpool, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future at the club seems to becoming ever more complicated.
Coach Pep Guardiola’s decision to move for the combative Mascherano is understandable after Yaya Toure’s departure to Manchester City.
AC Milan have confirmed they are trying to sign Barcelona forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and judging by their pre-season form, they really need a spark.
Ronaldinho showed some good touches in Sunday’s drab 0-0 draw with Juventus, Milan’s final pre-season friendly, but he will never be the player of old and has never been a out-and-out striker.
Barcelona’s Thierry Henry is heading to New York Red Bulls in a widely expected move but don’t think the first big post-World Cup transfer means the window will suddenly be awash with deals.
An event before the World Cup is a major reason why Henry has decided to follow David Beckham’s lead and try out MLS. David Villa’s early move to Barca from Valencia meant there was no room for Henry at the Nou Camp and after France’s flop in South Africa there were few other interested parties.
A Barcelona-Real Madrid game that veered from the brilliant to the banal, as is pretty much always the case in these contests, was settled 1-0 in favour of the Catalans by a great finish from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, following an even better pass from Dani Alves.
Real will go back to the capital content with their performance in all areas … apart from in front of goal. They will rue missing six or seven good chances to get something from a game that was pretty even, although that was partly to do with the sending-off of Busquets for a daft handball.
While a lucky pool of soccer millionaires can now get down to some serious daydreaming about World Cup glory in South Africa next year, there’s another group of equally well renowned and respected players who will be spending the summer sprucing up the gardens (or getting their agents to buy them fridges).
Here at the Reuters Soccer Blog we’re a little bit saddened by this fact and, doing some daydreaming of our own, we’ve come up with a plan for a 33rd team at the World Cup, made up of players whose countries have failed to qualify.
Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ignored the predictable boos on his first return to Inter Milan without answering the sceptics who still doubt his ability to finally make a mark in Europe.
Wednesday’s 0-0 draw in the Champions League Group F opener prompted more questions than answers for both sides, even if Barca shaded the contest in terms of chances and technical ability.
Boy, the Champions League is back with a bang. How much juicier can you get than holders Barcelona at Inter Milan in their first game?
If the Spanish champions against their Italian counterparts wasn’t enough, we’ve got the added spice of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o playing against their former clubs at the first possible opportunity following their extraordinary close-season swap deal.