Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Mark Meadows:

Montpellier need belief not Santa Claus to win Ligue 1

Put a beard on avuncular and rotund Montpellier president Louis Nicollin and he could easily be mistaken for Father Christmas.

Sadly for supporters of the high-flying Ligue 1 club, Nicollin is not a fan of miracles.

"I don't believe in Santa Claus," he said.

Nicollin refuses to dream that his side can massively upset the odds and win their first French title having finished way down in 14th last term.

But on Sunday's evidence, Montpellier really can pull off the impossible after they outplayed big-spending leaders Paris St Germain for long spells before coming away from the capital with a 2-2 draw which left them a point behind in second place.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday – Champions League recap

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Where to start after four brilliant Champions League quarter-finals, even if the intrigue for next week's second legs has all but gone from three of the ties with Barcelona leading Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1, Real Madrid 4-0 up against Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 in total charge against holders Inter Milan after the 5-2 triumph at the San Siro.

However, the appetite has most certainly been whet for the very probable 'Clasico' semi-final between Real and Barcelona, a meeting of the world's two best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. April 26 or 27 and May 3 or 4. Do not miss these dates. Not that Spain's two leading clubs are thinking that far ahead.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Transfer deadline day live blog

We're following all the deals as they happen on the final day of activity in the transfer market. Comments always welcome...

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals — live

We're live blogging the night's two Champions League quarter-final first legs, with expert commentary and analysis, including on-the-spot details from our reporters in the stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer).

Join us here from around 1645 GMT for all the build-up and action from the biggest club competition in town.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Another passport probe shows system needs review

Sportspeople have been shifting nationalities to suit their careers for years, and most of it has been legal.

Controversies have occurred, however, with the latest incident again happening in French soccer.

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