May 7, 2013
Posted: 1332 GMT
After 124 games and 355 goals, there are only two teams left standing in the European Champions League.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund managed to navigate their way through an intense group stage and six dramatic knock-out stage matches to reach the final, scheduled for May 25 at Wembley.
Since there is still plenty of time to look ahead to the Battle of the Bundesliga, I have decided instead this week to take a look back at what has been an exhilarating season and pick my Most Valuable Player of the competition. Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2013
Posted: 1348 GMT
With its youth system, strong national team, and financial prudence as well as the entertaining style of football employed by both the country's international side and its top clubs, it's not difficult to understand why Germany has been branded a soccer success.
And it is. Just not as much as we perceive it to be. Yet.
While the march of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to Wembley has been thrilling to watch, it's too early to tick the box marked "Era of German domination." Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2013
Posted: 1525 GMT
English Premier League footballers have it pretty good. They are rich, famous and idolized by millions of fans around the world.
It would be fair to say they are reaping the rewards of all the work done by English football officials over the last 21 years in making the nation’s top flight the most marketable and profitable soccer product on the planet.
However, as the Luis Suarez case showed this past weekend, the increased money has brought increased scrutiny, and that means players need to realize they have a responsibility to act in a professional manner. Read the rest of this entry »
April 16, 2013
Posted: 1200 GMT
Bayern Munich have clinched the Bundesliga title in record time, reached the semifinals of the European Champions League and the German Cup, and yet they are preparing to say goodbye to manager Jupp Heynckes at the end of the season.
Considering how well the Bavarians have done this year, we have to ask, do they really need Pep Guardiola? I say no they don’t.
Whatever way you look at it, Bayern have had an amazing campaign. Domestically, they are on course to set new league records for victories and points. Read the rest of this entry »
April 12, 2013
Posted: 1734 GMT
The decision late last year by Augusta National to break with tradition and allow its first ever female members has been widely applauded with the general consensus being " about time too!"
Current world No.1 Tiger Woods described the news as "fantastic" while three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson said Condoleezza Rice is one of his favourite people to spend time with.
"Lefty" even played an Augusta practice round with the former U-S Secretary of State who impressed all watching by reportedly sinking a huge 40 foot putt on the very last hole!
Rice - along with South Carolina financier Darla Moore - remain the only female members at the private Augusta National Golf Club - as far as we're aware - and ahead of this year's Masters, club chairman Billy Payne described their joining as a joyous occasion adding "it's just awesome". He added he feels his club is a "beacon in the world of golf".
There's certainly no question that after years of intense focus on the club and its all-male policies –the admittance of two women is very much a step in the right direction but is it enough and will it indeed trigger other iconic venues to see the light of the Augusta beacon and follow suit?
This year's British Open championship venue Muirfield in Scotland for example still doesn't allow women members.
At a packed media press conference on Wednesday I asked Chairman Payne if he felt other clubs should now follow Augusta's lead. He responded that any such move would have to be their own decision while Mickelson declared he doesn't get involved in the "politics" of the game.
Here at Augusta fans out on the course are known as patrons. In truth, while the majority do fully agree it's high time to move on and adapt to the times, I did find a couple of female voices united in their belief that membership issues are down to each individual club.
That said, it's certainly not going to change the growing pressure of that majority to change. In addition to Muirfield - the world governing body of the game outside the USA - The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at Saint Andrews - is also male only.
Since its beginning in 1754, it's simply never had a female member! After almost 260 years - and following the recent example of Augusta - is the time now right for us to even dare to dream of change?
April 9, 2013
Posted: 1807 GMT
Carles Puyol is out. Javier Mascherano is out. All of a sudden, Barcelona have yet another defensive crisis ahead of a crucial Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain.
At a time when speculation regarding a big money move for Neymar continues to grab the headlines, is signing another forward really a priority at the Camp Nou?
Securing a top defender would be a better investment. Without one, future European campaigns could proves fruitless. Read the rest of this entry »
April 2, 2013
Posted: 1156 GMT
How tough is it to win the Champions League? So tough that since the competition's format was changed in 1991, no team has won the trophy in consecutive years.
You may know that the last club to successfully defend its title was AC Milan, and that was a side which had some world class players in its ranks. I am talking about guys like Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten among others.
As I prepare to interview Gullit on the CNN FC show this week, I decided to take a closer look at all the challenges clubs face in winning the competition these days, and I will tell you what, I don’t think any club will win back-to-back titles any time soon. Read the rest of this entry »
March 26, 2013
Posted: 1052 GMT
Everywhere I look, everyone I talk to, has Bayern Munich as the favorites in an upcoming high-profile European Champions League quarterfinal clash with Juventus.
I honestly can’t believe it. In my book, the Italian giants will not only knock the Bavarians out of the tournament, but they could go on to lift the trophy at Wembley in May.
I have said it for a while and I will say it again: Juventus may be the most underrated team in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
March 5, 2013
Posted: 1126 GMT
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo admitted to being unhappy at Real in September last year, speculation has surrounded the future of the Portuguese star. His form may have been nothing short of miraculous but his Madrid-based ambitions remain plagued with vacillations.
The European Champions League glamor tie with his former club Manchester United has seen this area of unease brought into focus following a spurious report in El Pais that Real would sell Ronaldo if he didn’t commit to a new contract and after former teammate Nemanja Vidic told reporters he wouldn’t be "surprised" by a CR7 return to Old Trafford.
Whether driven by unhappiness in Spain, his love for the English Premier League, or due to stalling contract negotiations at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to some, it seems it is only a matter of time before the 28-year-old goes back to Old Trafford. Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2013
Posted: 1537 GMT
This week on The CNN Football Club show, we are welcoming one of the greatest defenders of all time - Marcel Desailly.
As I started to prepare topics of discussion with my star guest, who won two Champions League titles, the 1998 World Cup and Euro2000, I decided that it would be a good idea to write about the top center-backs in the Champions League this season. In other words, just like Desailly had inspired Olympique Marseille and AC Milan during the '90s, which top stoppers could do the same for their respective clubs during the current campaign? Read the rest of this entry »