Tag Archive | "Champions League"

Euro 2012: Creating History Together



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Cute, but is it football worthy?

Nice, but is it football worthy?

The logo for the first European championship held in Eastern Europe has been unveiled. While I find the tulips cute (perhaps a little too cute for a football tournament), I don’t think it’s as cool as the logos for 2008 or 2004. The logo was designed by Portuguese firm Futurebrand, who also designed the logos for the Champions League and Europa League. So take a look and let’s us know what you think.

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When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go



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Stuttgart’s keeper, the always entertaining Jens Lehmann, couldn’t wait for a break in action during yesterday’s Champions League match against Unirea Urziceni to relieve himself. Instead, the crafty veteran decided to duck behind the advertising signs to take care of business. Unfortunately, it looks like the former Arsenal man couldn’t fully shake it out before action headed back his way.

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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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The Latest In Controversy Is ‘Manu-Gate’



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emmanueladeboyorcelebrate

As we discussed last week, this young season has been full of controversy. First, we had ‘Eduardo-gate’ (now resolved), then ‘Kiddie-gate’, and now ‘Manu-gate’. Yes, I am over-using the ‘Gate’ thing, but can you over-do something that’s so overdone? And if you can, I don’t care, adding ‘Gate’ to things is fun to me.

In case you didn’t notice this weekend, ex-Arsenal and current Manchester City ‘star’ Emmanuel Adebayor took on his former team. And let’s just say that he had a full game. He scored a goal, kicked ex-teammate Robin Van Persie in the face and taunted the Arsenal fans with his goal celebration. And for all of this, he’s facing some serious suspensions. This story has it all, Adebayor is confused by all of the furor over his actions, manager Mark Hughes defends his player’s actions, Van Persie doesn’t accept Manu’s apology and even Roy Keane has given his two cents. La Liga might have the world’s top players, but the BPL has all of the drama. F*ck the new Melrose Place, this is must see TV.

In non-face stomping Arsenal news, Andrei Arshavin has put a gag order on his wife’s loose lips. Just thought you’d like to know.

Good news for Liverpool fans. After reporting on Liverpool ending their sponsorship agreement with Carlsberg, the club has reached an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for an astounding £80m for four years. Word is the deal will enable the club to build their long rumored new stadium and even buy a player or two. Why do I think neither of these things will happen? Oh, right because it’s the Hicks and Gillett run Liverpool.

Roman Abromovich isn’t one known to be shy to splash the cash, but apparently all the money in the world won’t help you tackle Mount Kilimanjaro. After reportedly suffering from altitude related sickness, Chelsea has released a statement refuting that. Why they felt the need to do so, I have no idea. But in a world of 24-hour news coverage, ‘Altitude-gate’ is a story.

In some more money-related news, English clubs have pocketed nearly twice as much Champions League money as Spanish sides over the past six seasons. In fact England’s ‘Big Four’ hold the top four places among all Champions League clubs. Now those are some figures to make one dizzy, and then distribute a press release saying that you weren’t.

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A Bolt Of Lightning Everywhere



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usainbolt

Well it’s the last day of the international break and let’s hope our favorite players don’t get Tevezed before they return to their clubs. While club football may have been on a break, conspiracy theories and over-inflated egos didn’t. Nor did we take a break (don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.)

The world’s fastest man and, apparently, the world’s number one celebrity football supporter, Usain Bolt, will be a guest of the English FA as England take on Croatia in a World Cup qualifier. Not that long after palling around with best mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid last week, he’ll be at Wembley rooting on England. The Jamaican sprinter is such an England fan he even used the word ‘we’ when talking about today’s match.

He may not be as fast of foot as Bolt, but Didier Drogba is quick to pat himself on the back. The former want away striker, who has now declared himself Chelsea-for-life, claims that he’s an unselfish player who doesn’t, ‘look at my scoring statistics.’ I agree with him. The way he got himself red carded during the 2008 Champions League final so that John Terry could be forced to take a penalty was definitely soulless selfless.

Another man who doesn’t mind taking one for the team is Manchester United midfielder and Scottish captain Darren Fletcher. The hard-nosed player has encouraged his teammates to question their opposite number if they’re ‘up for a battle?’ He also goes on to say he’ll be ‘in your face and kicking at your ankles.’ I’m sure those are comforting words for Arsene Wenger after he questioned Fletcher‘s role on the pitch during the last Manchester United v. Arsenal match.

Wenger’s problems with the Scottish aren’t restricted to the playing field. He blames the Eduardo diving suspension on, ‘Scottish people working at UEFA.’ David Gold, former chief executive of the Scottish FA and current UEFA general secretary, has come out and explained that, ‘It’s not all pals together’ at UEFA. No word if he was having a glass of red wine with Sir Alex Ferguson at the time of the statement.

Old pal Juande Ramos has been tipped for a return to football. After resurrecting his reputation at Real Madrid after his Tottenham debacle, the Spaniard is rumored to replace Leonardo at AC Milan. Like Martin Jol (now at Ajax after a successful stint at Hamburg), Ramos is finding that being fired from White Hart Lane might be the best thing to happen to a manager.

And let’s end on a truly joyous note (for once). Liverpool fan Michael Shields, who was incarcerated four years for a crime he didn’t commit after Liverpool’s Champions League victory in Turkey in 2005, has been released from prison today. Congratulations Michael.

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End Of Summer



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endofsummer

We hoped you missed us and we apologize for the delayed summer vacation. But quite frankly the transfer season bores the hell out of us. My daily dose of where will David Bentley end up lobotomized me into a drooling stupor. I admit that Real Madrid’s Galacticos Part Deux and Manchester City’s attempt to buy their way into the big boys club in the BPL definitely piqued my interest. But since those were the two biggest stories of the summer, we figured you had heard enough about them. Plus there will be plenty of time to talk about them, and besides, we’re really lazy bastards during the summer. But now that the season’s back, so are we. So please continue to compulsively check us out and you can now even follow us on Twitter. So thanks for your patience and let’s get to the juicy business of football.

Nothing says the start of the football season like controversy. And I’m not talking about a certain French manager who coaches a team in England and who has an issue with UEFA and a team from England bossed by a certain Scottish fellow (although we will get to that in a minute). No, we’re actually going to start in the Bundesliga, where perhaps the only big name player Real Madrid didn’t buy, Franck Ribery, isn’t getting along with new Bayern manager Louis van Gaal. But then it seems as if the Dutch manager isn’t even that chummy with his own family.

Meanwhile the Croatian FA has gone all conspiracy theory on us. After Lee Bowyer broke Luka Modric’s leg this past weekend, FA president Vlatko Markovic wonders if it was really an accident. After losing Arsenal youngster Eduardo to a broken leg last season against Birmingham, Vlatko wonders if the Blues are out to get them. Of course Birmingham is aghast at the allegation. Of course with England set to play Croatia in a World Cup Qualifying match next week, it does make you wonder (cue X-Files theme song).

Speaking of Eduardo, the ‘light of constitution’ striker has been handed a two game ban for his theatrics against Celtic in last week’s Champions League match.

Manchester United’s economical striker is in ‘awe’ of the talent surrounding him at the club. He says he sees his teammates do things in training that he wouldn’t even attempt. That should certainly come as a shock to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who isn’t a big fan of United’s playing style.

In case you care…David Bentley has been loaned to Burnley.

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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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Ronaldo Gets His ‘Dream Move’



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Ronaldo gives the deal a thumbs up.

Ronaldo gives the deal a thumbs up.

It’s a move that’s been two years in the making, and now it’s come true. Cristiano Ronaldo is going to Real Madrid. Manchester United has accepted £80m for the petulant Portugueser, making a nice £67m profit off of the sale of the whining winger (they bought him for £12.2m in 2003). Newly elected Madrid president Florentino Perez has quickly fulfilled his promise of bringing superstars to Madrid by signing Kaka yesterday and Ronaldo today. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Perez was in charge during the first Galactico era. Now let’s see if Madrid can get past the first knockout stage of the Champions League.

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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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Weekend Of Cheats



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While über-actor Cristiano Ronaldo was hoisting the Premiership trophy at the Theatre of Dreams, in Scotland and Spain there were some theatrics the Portuguese pouter would approve of. Rangers midfielder Kyle Lafferty did his best WWE impersonation as he went down upon minimal contact with Aberdeen’s Charlie Mulgrew. His actions got Mulgrew sent off and helped Rangers secure a valuable three points in the Scottish League race. At least Rangers fined Lafferty and made him issue an apology. Read the full story

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