Tag Archive | "Barcelona"

Drunk’s Champions League Picks: Day Two



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Who knew APOEL was good?

Who knew APOEL was good?

So what? I stand by yesterday’s picks. I went a respectable 4-4. It’s not like you lost money (not that we support gambling—Ed.) So I’m back today to give you a remarkable EIGHT winners. Read the full story

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‘Manu-Gate’ Part 2: Enough Already



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manupart2

On a day we should be excited that the Champions League group stage is underway, the news is still dominated by ‘Manu-Gate.’ Have people become overly sensitive? I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be punished for stomping on Robin Van Persie’s head, but people act like it’s the first time a player wildly celebrated after scoring against his former team. Now we have Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, claiming that Adebayor has damaged the League’s image. Are you f*cking kidding me? I’m sure people will stop watching because one player got a little over-exuberant. If that’s the case, I’m surprised the Champions League is being played after Chelsea’s actions in their semi-final loss to Barcelona in the last competition. And now, for some reason, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is getting involved and defending the Manchester City striker. Why is he involved? Who asked him? Can’t we just suspend him his three games and get on with it?

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One Country For Old Men



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He should come looking for some of Italy's aging stars.

He should come looking for some of Italy's aging stars.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen a Serie A match recently that Italy’s domestic league is home to the world’s oldest players and the least amount of club-trained players of any of the top five leagues in Europe. The Annual Review of the European Football Players Labour Movement, published by The Professional Football Players’ Observatory, found that players for the top Italian clubs were almost two years older than their counterparts in the other leagues (27.5:25.9). The study also shows that Italy has the least amount of club-trained players (12.5) and the highest number of players who move around the most (4.24 transfers every ten years). These should be alarming stats for any fan of Italian football as the study concludes that a starting eleven full of club-trained players who have been with the club for a number of years is the key to success—aging journeymen, not so much. Here are some clubs that have have high percentages of veteran club-trained players—Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal. Hmm, sounds like the names of some successful Champions League performers. Are you paying attention Italian football executives?

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Very Funny Papa Bendtner



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'My Dad thinks I'm great.'

'My Dad thinks I'm great.'

After signing a five-year extension with Arsenal, Nicklas Bendtner’s father/agent, Thomas, claimed that some of the ‘biggest clubs in the world’ (i.e. Barcelona, Inter Milan, Bayern München) were after the not-so-great Dane. Of course, Bendtner turned them down to stay with Arsenal, where he has developed ‘both on and off the pitch.’ (Nightclub episodes aside.) I find it hard to believe that any of those clubs would look at his 14 goals in 61 matches for Arsenal and would line up to sign him. But stranger things have happened—Real Madrid did sign Julien Faubert last season.

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The Champions League’s Back



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FK Mogren celebrates a very early goal.

FK Mogren celebrate a very early goal.

Maltese champions Hibernians FC and Montenegrin top dogs FK Mogren kicked off the 2009/2010  UEFA Champions League with a qualifying match yesterday. Mogren took the first game of the season with a 2-0 victory, and Marko Ćetković gets the distinction of being the first man to score in the competition. But I’m sure it doesn’t seem like a new season to any of the players, considering the match came just 34 days after Barcelona won in Rome. They’re definitely not having a Cristiano Ronaldo off-season.

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Six Isn’t Enough



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drogbapoint

I would like to the the first to stand up and congratulate UEFA for banning Didier Drogba six matches and Jose Bosingwa four for their antics in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. I am a shocked to see that Michael Ballack wasn’t forced to sit some games out as well. Not only do I think the penalties are fair, I feel they should have been harsher and I’m stupefied that Chelsea are now appealing the ban. For that alone, if I were UEFA, I would extend the suspensions to include all group matches the club plays in next season’s Champions League. If UEFA’s respect campaign is to ever have true meaning they need to stand their ground and uphold their decision.

If Drogba and Bosingwa’s suspensions are reduced, or god forbid, retracted, it means open season on the referees. As I wrote at the time, Chelsea’s actions at the end that match were embarrassing and completely disrespectful to the game. If these players go unpunished or are let off with a slap on the wrist, it further diminishes the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What’s going to happen the next time a referee makes an unpopular decision on a controversial play? And as we saw in the Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final, a referee can be faced with a good number of them during the course of a match.

Maybe some people didn’t see Ballack chasing the referee for forty yards or Drogba swearing at the TV cameras as that big of a deal, but I couldn’t disagree more. Aside from the magnitude of these matches, there are tremendous amounts of money riding on these games. The Champions League can generate tens of millions of dollars for the clubs, not to mention the commercial and marketing money that comes with winning it. Careers are on the line, so of course a player or coach is going to show emotion during a match. But they must remember that they must control themselves and that the referee is in charge. The referee must be respected at all times and those who don’t should be severely punished. If they aren’t, the entire game suffers.

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Who Lifts The Best Cup?



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The European season’s over and the trophies have been awarded, but I wondered which one of the ‘top five’ leagues had the best trophy presentation. Watch all five below and let  me know what you think.

Vfl Wolfsburg is unquestionably the most shocking league champion of the season. The little club from the town famous for making Volkswagens, won their first ever Bundesliga title on the last day of the season. While I think the Bundesliga trophy is a little goofy looking, I did like the presentation ceremony.  Rating: 4 Stars

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Posted in Steve MartinComments (1)

What’s This Shirt Worth?



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schalke04shirt2Now that Manchester United has secured the richest shirt sponsorship known to mankind, we thought that we would give you the most lucrative shirt sponsorships in the world. There aren’t many surprises, but we thought it was interesting nonetheless.

Second on the rich list is recent title holder, Bayern München.  They receive £17m a year from telecom giant T-Home, but apparently it’s still not enough to keep Franck Ribery.

Next up is Spanish runners-up Real Madrid. They’re deal is with Bwin. The Austrian-based gaming company shells out £15m a year for the right to be shown during a Champions League quarter-final loss.

Bwin is also the shirt sponsor of AC Milan. But the company apparently thinks their shirts aren’t worth as much as Madrid’s and only pays Milan £10.22m. Of course if David Beckham plays all of next season, who knows how much more Milan could squeeze out of them.

Lord knows they don’t need the money, but Chelsea is next on the list with a £10m deal with Korean electronics giant Samsung. If any club should donate their shirt space to charity, don’t you think it should be Chelsea?

Who knows why or how it happened but next on the rich list is Schalke 04. Finishing in eight-place in the Bundesliga this year isn’t stopping them from making £10m from Russian natural gas company Gazprom.

It’s a fact that Liverpool collects £8m from long time sponsor Carlsberg. Yet another reason why, I’m sure Rafa Benitez will tell you, that Liverpool can’t monetarily compete with the other ‘big four’ of the BPL.

Another team that doesn’t need the sponsorship money, Manchester City, just signed an £8m deal with Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad. I’m sure their billionaire sheik owner had nothing to do with this deal.

And finally, a shout out to newly crowned European champions Barcelona. Not only does the club wear children’s charity UNICEF on their chest, they pay UNICEF £1.5m a year to do so. Now that’s a fantastic shirt deal.

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This Is Why They’re Champions?



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It appears that Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola is not only a coaching genius, but he’s also a motivational film-making savant. The preceding short film was put together by the treble winning manager and shown to the squad just minutes before taking the pitch for the Champions League final. Watch out Señor Spielbergo.

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Tell Us What You Really Think



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stefaneffenberg

As the old saying goes, opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one. Unlike a**holes, which are only shared on adult websites and magazines (does anyone read porno mags anymore?), footballers opinions make front page headlines around the world.

Stefan Effenberg has been out of football since 2004, but that didn’t stop German newspaper Bild from digging him up for an interview. The former Bayern München player accused David Beckham of being underhanded. It shouldn’t be huge news, but mention the name David Beckham and you’ll make headlines. Maybe he just doesn’t want England to host the 2018 World Cup.

What is it with frustrated Germans today? Recently fired Jurgen Klinsmann is unhappy by the way he was treated by Bayern München. He claims he was made a scapegoat for things he couldn’t control and he could’ve won the Bundesliga if given the chance. Maybe he could have, maybe he couldn’t have; but like a Tootsie-Roll Pop, the world will never know.

Lionel Messi has decided to offer his two cents on the Carlos Tevez saga. The Flea says to sign him up as he’s one of the best in the world. I have to admit it struck me as odd that he didn’t make a plea for him to come to Barcelona. Normally when players talk up their countrymen, they say how great they would be at their club. Just saying.

‘Facts’ Benitez loves to talk about his club’s inability to financially compete with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. So I wonder how he can explain his club’s £50m bid for Carlos Tevez. Especially considering he recently said how United can spend £40-50m on a player and he can’t. Rafa, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided to stay at the Emirates and turn down the advances of Real Madrid. Considering his massive transfer budget this summer (which must make ‘Facts’ jealous), I have to take my hat off to the man for sticking by his club. Or as he probably knows, if he takes the Madrid position he’ll be out of a job within 3 months. I guess the march in support of the Professor isn’t necessary after all.

I know Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough won’t be happy to see Manchester United field a reserve team against fellow relegation battlers Hull City this weekend. But I hope to G*d that they won’t actually sue the club if they do. Why is it everyone feels the need to sue when they go down? Can’t they just accept they’re shit? Or maybe, instead of suing somebody, they should use the Hull City method of motivation.

His girl might have left him and his team might have had a disappointing season, but, damn it, this is Frank Lampard’s best season ever—according to him. Maybe instead of Fat Frank, we should start calling him Old Silver Lining.

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