Just wait a minute. Am I the only one who is outraged by the amount of money Real Madrid are willing to spend on Gareth Bale?
The latest reports suggest the Spanish giants are ready to splash a world record $120 million on the Welsh winger.
Surely this is too much cash for a player who has yet to win a single trophy and has only truly enjoyed one world class season with Tottenham? FULL POST
Martino who? That’s what most football fans were thinking when Gerardo “El Tata” Martino was announced as FC Barcelona’s new manager.
The truth is the 50 year-old Argentine is practically unknown outside of South America, given he has only ever managed in his home continent.
So how did he get the job? Well, in my opinion, there were three factors which led the reigning Spanish Champions to appoint Martino: the influence of Leo Messi, the coach’s football philosophy, and the lack of other alternatives. FULL POST
The dust may still be settling at the Santiago Bernabeu following Jose Mourinho’s turbulent reign at Real Madrid, but a new era is already dawning at the most successful club in European football.
Real officially kick off the new season on Monday with Carlo Ancelotti taking the reins and we can be sure about one thing: there will be less acrimony with the experienced Italian manager in the dugout.
That is one of the few certainties surrounding Real right now because there are many questions which hang over the squad as the players get back to work. FULL POST
Let’s face it, if I could predict the future I would not be working as a sports journalist. Considering all the money I could make foretelling events in the coming days, weeks, months and years to come I would ideally work less than a sloth on strike. Clearly then, this is not a superpower I possess. However, though I can’t tell you exactly what will occur in this weekend’s UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, I can make an informed guess; so that is what I am going to do.
So let’s start with the score. I think Bayern will beat their Bundesliga rivals 2-1 so it will be the Bavarians celebrating their fifth European Crown when the dust settles at Wembley on Saturday night.
Bayern will win because they have been the best team in the competition: simple. They have won nine of their 12 games, have scored more goals and conceded less than any other side. They have shown they can dominate games by hogging most of the possession while also being effective as a counter-attacking team against Barcelona. This is a well-oiled machine, which plays to its strengths and seems to score at will against any opposition.
The key to Bayern’s success this season has been their wing play. Most of their attacks are conducted down both wings and they rely on deadly combinations between the full backs and wingers to create two-on-one situations around the opposition’s box. We all know Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben create goal-scoring chances, but what full backs Phillip Lahm and David Alaba have done is quite extraordinary. They combine for six assists in 12 Champions League games this season.
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST