December 28th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Out with the old and in with the new in 2012

The football fields of the world are set for a thrilling 2012.
The football fields of the world are set for a thrilling 2012.

The approach of the New Year is often a time to take mental stock: to consider and reflect on what has past, while at the same time anticipating and renewing energies for what the next 12 months will bring. And it is with this philosophical dichotomy in mind that I have decided to share my thoughts on what 2011 taught me and what I hope to see in 2012.

Five lessons from 2011:

1. I will never pick Barcelona to lose a Clasico ever again ...

Leading up to the seventh and final Clasico of 2011, I predicted Real Madrid would beat Barcelona at the Bernabeu. It was my belief that Los Blancos were in better form and had matured enough to beat their eternal rivals. I was wrong. Barca still proved they are the best team on the planet, even if they were a little lucky on December 10th in Madrid. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 26th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Get ready to crown King James

LeBron James showed on Christmas Day that he can lead Miami Heat to NBA glory this season.
LeBron James showed on Christmas Day that he can lead Miami Heat to NBA glory this season.

The Miami Heat chose to remain in their locker room while the Dallas Mavericks celebrated their championship at mid-court before Sunday's season-opener for both teams.

Miami then came out and burned hotter than a pine forest in mid-August, building a 35-point lead in the third quarter en route to a more than comfortable opening-day win over the team that beat them in last season’s Finals. FULL POST

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
December 23rd, 2011
03:12 PM ET

Is this Barcelona team the best of all time?

Italian footballer Cristiano Doni, European champions Barcelona and Liverpool's Luis Suarez have all hit the headlines.
Italian footballer Cristiano Doni, European champions Barcelona and Liverpool's Luis Suarez have all hit the headlines.

Normally, on my weekly blog, I pick one football topic and discuss it at length. This week, I decided to do something a little different. There are various subjects I would like to discuss and since it is Christmas, I thought I would do something to make myself happy and talk about them all.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate FC Barcelona for being crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions. Let’s face it, we already knew the Spanish giants were the best team on the planet, but now they have the trophy to prove it. I think it is fair to say we are running out of superlatives to describe Barca, aren’t we? FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 21st, 2011
01:09 PM ET

Footballers are TV stars, and should act like it ...

Luis Suarez was banned by the FA for eight matches after racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
Luis Suarez was banned by the FA for eight matches after racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

The ruling by the Football Association to ban Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for eight matches and to fine him $63,000 for racial abuse has proved controversial for a number of reasons.

It is the first time the governing body of English football has disciplined a player on such terms, a move that has been welcomed by many in the game as tangible evidence that talk of "kicking racism out of football" has some teeth. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 13th, 2011
03:06 PM ET

Is Mancini the right man for Manchester City?

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City lost for the first time in 15 Premier League games this season on Monday. (Getty Images).
Roberto Mancini's Manchester City lost for the first time in 15 Premier League games this season on Monday. (Getty Images).

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Roberto Mancini is not the right man to guide Manchester City to major football honors. I will go further by stating that while the Italian coach is still at Eastlands, the Citizens will not win the English Premier League or the European Champions League.

My opinion is based on several factors, some of which were quite evident again at Chelsea on Monday when City lost for the first time in the domestic league this season. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 7th, 2011
08:31 PM ET

Tiger holds no terror for golf's new world order

Tiger Woods celebrates his victory in the Chevron World Challenge but sterner tests await in 2012.
Tiger Woods celebrates his victory in the Chevron World Challenge but sterner tests await in 2012.

If you want to know why Tiger Woods isn’t about to dominate golf the way he once did, watch Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy go head to head at the Dubai World Championship this weekend.

Suddenly the sport’s focus is on two Brits –- 1st and 2nd in the world rankings -– battling it out to finish top of Europe’s money list. In years gone by, that sort of headline-grabber would have played out in the United States.

But this isn’t about a switch in golf’s geographical power base; it’s about a generational change. And the disappearance of Tiger’s fear factor despite his first tournament victory for more than two years. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Golf
December 6th, 2011
02:59 PM ET

Real Madrid to topple Barcelona in 'El Clasico' clash?

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go head-to-head on Saturday (Image courtesy of Betclic).
Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go head-to-head on Saturday (Image courtesy of Betclic).

1929. According to the Spanish football almanacs, that was the year the first league clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona took place.

Los Merengues came out on top then, and I think they will be the ones celebrating a victory when the dust settles at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.

Before the season started, in the European previews I wrote, I picked Real to win the title this year. I did so because in my mind, Jose Mourinho has had the necessary time and money to build a team capable of beating Barcelona. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 5th, 2011
06:20 PM ET

Socrates – The day a football dream died

Socrates was the captain and lynchpin of Brazil's 1982 World Cup side -- the greatest team never to win the World Cup.
Socrates was the captain and lynchpin of Brazil's 1982 World Cup side -- the greatest team never to win the World Cup.

The anticipation prior to the 1982 World Cup finals tournament in Spain was electric.

Were the rumors true? Did Brazil really have a team to match the great 1970 World Cup-winning side? Could 12 years of hurt be finally over with the "Class of '82" living up to the hype by taking the trophy back to Brazil for a fourth time? FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football