Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ronaldo the Savior?



Following a shock 3-2 defeat against Milan at home in the Champions League, and an even more shocking defeat to Alcorcon 4-0 in the Copa del Rey, many Real Madrid fans are calling for injured star Cristiano Ronaldo to return to action to “save” the team before it is too late.

The ahem always modest Ronaldo has quickly calmed the Madrid faithful by saying “We are not going through a great moment but neither am I the savior.” Ronaldo’s comments went on to imply that it’s unrealistic for fans to expect one player to turn the team around. While I believe it is fundamentally true that one man does not make a team, I do not believe it is out of line for Madrid fans to put pressure on Ronaldo to “save” them.

Considering that Ronaldo scored five goals for Madrid in five La Liga games, all of them wins, and the fact that the £80 million transfer man’s yearly salary is roughly that of Alcorcon’s entire team, I would be hard pressed to find a Madrid fan who would not claim that Ronaldo is the key component of the Madrid lineup.

I believe that Ronaldo should not return from injury before he is ready just to please the fans, but at the same time I think Ronaldo needs to recognize his importance to both his team and the fans.

In short, when your team is struggling, and your most talented and highest paid player is injured, fans have every right to hope that his return will be the thing the team needs to turn the season around. Ronaldo should not take the idea of being a “savior” as added pressure, but instead look at it as a vote of confidence by the Madrid fans.

A return against struggling rivals Atletico Madrid on November 8th could be the perfect situation for Ronaldo to begin his campaign to save the Madrid season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stars Are Ready for Season Debut


While a Liverpool versus Arsenal match is always an interesting affair, the prospect of seeing two stars make their Premier League season debuts in the match makes the game all the more interesting.

Arsenal’s Samir Nasri and Liverpool’s big money signing Alberto Aquilani are both set to make their season debuts in Wednesday night’s Carling Cup match between Liverpool and Arsenal. Nasri is returning from a broken leg suffered in pre-season training, while Aquilani is coming back from a thigh injury.

The fact that both men are making their return from injury against one another forces me to choose which player I’m more interested in seeing play.

After blowing a two goal lead this weekend against West Ham, Arsenal would love to have Nasri in the lineup to boost their offense (as well as Theo Walcott). However, Nasri has already played a successful season in the Premier League, and has had time to gel with his teammates, which makes his return a little less compelling.

I am more interested in seeing Aquilani make his Premier League debut.

With Liverpool struggling, and Rafa Benitez’s job seemingly on the line, now more than ever Alberto Aquilani’s presence seems to be needed. Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have both missed time with injury this season, and Liverpool’s title chances seem to slip away the more their star players are off the pitch.

As a Serie A fan, I am interested in seeing how Aquilani makes the transition from the Italian game to the English game. Will Aquilani be able to adjust to the size and speed of the players in the Premier League? Will the language barrier be a factor in his performance? Is Arsenal too tough of a team to make a debut against? Will Aquilani ever be worth his transfer fee?

All these question could be answered Wednesday after what is shaping up to be a very interesting Carling Cup match.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Messi Was Wasted

Usually when you hear about a soccer player partying at a nightclub, you don't get to see a video of them acting in a drunken state. 

However, this video which has been going all around the soccer community, is of Lionel Messi wasted out of his mind following the Champions League Final in Rome. 

Messi was stumbling all around, and his teammates had to try and keep him from falling over.

Since we all know that Europeans can't drink as much as Americans, (and Messi is pretty much European by now) I'm assuming Messi had about 3 beers.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Your View: Maldini's Last Game

This past weekend was AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini's final game. 

Maldini spent his entire 20+ year career with Milan and was the consummate professional, and a mentor to many of the Milan players. 

In the past game Maldini has allowed to be the "4th" substitute during the game, to allow the fans to cheer Maldini for a final time. 

Even if you are not an AC Milan fan, it is impossible not to appreciate a player like Maldini, and the impact he made on the game of soccer in general. 

Only time will tell if Maldini becomes involved with the team again in some way, but for now I say thank you to a true legend for the many years of great service.

Here is a nice video of Maldini's final moments as a Milan player:



What do you think about Maldini's career and final game?

Poll Result

To the question, "Is Racism a Problem in Serie A?"

79% said Yes
20% said No

Therefore the readers of Il Mondo di Calcio believe that racism is in fact a problem in Serie A.

This poll was conducted as a response to the situation involving Juventus and Inter Milan when Inter's Mario Balotelli was racially abused by Juventus fans.

Thank you for voting on the poll, and keep voting!

Ancelotti To Chelsea? Mass Migration on the Way?


Despite the months of denying that he was interested in leaving Italy for the rainy shores of England, AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has left the Italian giants to become the new coach of Chelsea. 

While Avram Grant and Guus Hiddink have had good years as manager of Chelsea in the past, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic believes that Ancelotti is the right man to bring Chelsea to European glory.

Chelesa players such as John Terry seem very happy with the move, and have immediately urged Ancelotti to try and sign players like Carlos Tevez and Franck Ribery. 

Further bad news for AC Milan fans was also present as Milan owner Adriano Galliani said it would be difficult to resist another large offer for Kaka and Pato from large European clubs. He said that many of the players have taken Ancelotti's exit to heart, and some were crying after learning that he had left.

As an AC Milan fan, this is a terrible situation for the club. The team has already had 1 emotional exit, as longtime captain Paolo Maldini retired, and now this. 

I am also very disappointed that Ancelotti wound up leaving after saying he had no interest in the job only a few weeks ago.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Best EPL Blog

Hey everyone, the other website that I write for, Premiership Talk, has been nominated for the best English Premier League Blog award by EPL Talk.

I would really appreciate it if everyone could follow the link below, and vote for Premiership Talk.



-Thanks

Mike

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Have You Seen This Goal?

In this edition of Have You Seen This Goal, another Manchester United player makes his presence known.

Carlos Tevez has made it perfectly clear that he is not happy with the way Man United has been treating him, and is very mad that the team has not offered to extend his contract that ends at the end of this season...

Putting all the controversy off the field behind him, Tevez scored a fantastic back heel goal against Wigan, which sparked a 2-1 comeback for United.

United now only need 1 point in their next 2 games to clinch the Premier League title, and Tevez is once again making a case (which didn't need to be made) for why he should be re signed.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Diego is Coming to Serie A



A new superstar is well on his way to joining the Serie A.

Brazilian and current Werder Bremen star Diego has reportedly signed an agreement that will bring him to Juventus for the next 5 years. 

Diego's agent said that since Juventus is a company traded on the stock exchange, they cannot announce the transfer until May 31st.

For those of you unfamiliar with Diego, he won the Bundesliga Player of the Year award in 2006-2007, and currently has his squad in the UEFA Cup finals. 

I'm excited for this move to happen as a Serie A fan, but I'm not happy as an AC Milan fan. 

If you remember back to when AC Milan was in the UEFA Cup, it was Diego and Werder Bremen that knocked Milan out. Diego looked fantastic the entire game, and he seems to play really well against Serie A competition. 

What are your thoughts on the move?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Will Anyone Go to City?


Since the takeover of Manchester City by the Abu Dhabi based lads in September, it seems like every superstar in the world has been linked to the team. 

However, while every superstar has been linked to the team, seemingly every superstar has made it clear that they are not going to play for Man City, no matter the salary that is offered them.

Of course many people will remember how Kaka turned down the largest transfer in the history of the game earlier this year, and recently Gianluigi Buffon and Raul have both turned down City. 

This begs the question, will anyone actually go to Man City?

By going to Man City this summer, a player is essentially saying that they are in it for the money, and aren't concerned with winning a championship any time soon. Robinho certainly doesn't mind being in it for the money, but players such as Raul and Buffon that have played at 1 club their whole careers don't need the money, and are simply looking to win a championship. 

I asked my pal Martin Rodgers from yahoo sports for his opinion on the matter. 

He said, "City aren't going to change their policy - for the owners, running the club is a status symbol as much as anything and they want the best of the best. Some UK experts though they might change tack after missing out on kaka in order to avoid that kind of embarrassment again. But every sign is that they will steam ahead.
Hard to say who they will get - they will simply put themselves in the running for every big name on the market, plus a few who aren't. However, the real key to the future success of the club is to strengthen the depth of the squad with good utility players. That is the first, relatively simple step they can take to give themselves a big advantages over everyone outside the Big Four. Look at how Villa dropped off this season, a lot of that was due to limited options."

I certainly agree with what Martin said regarding strengthening the depth of the squad. While City might not get Kaka or Raul, getting names such as Yaya Toure or Miguel Veloso would certainly be a step in the right direction.

What do you think? Will any big name go to Man City? 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Replay in Soccer?


Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has made his opinion of referee Tom Ovrebo well known since his teams 1-1 draw with Barcelona that saw the Spaniards advance to the Champions League final.

Frustrated with repeated no calls by Ovrebo, Hiddink has now taken up the call to introduce video technology to soccer. 

Hiddink said, "In other sports like rugby and American football, they have the ability to use technology at vital moments...It's a fact that if technology had been in use we would be in the Champions League final now."

This is a very interesting idea to ponder, but ultimately I do not think this is going to happen. A lot of the people in charge of leagues are old school guys, and wouldn't want to change the game. I think if you did introduce replay into soccer, you would have to clearly define what a "vital moment" is, and determine who actually calls for a replay.


What do you think? Is replay in soccer a good idea?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Henry Out For Final?


Barcelona is reporting that Thierry Henry's knee injury could keep him out far longer than originally expected.

Barcelona has determined that Henry will not play in the Copa del Rey final, nor will he play in the final 4 La Liga matches for Barcelona. 

These statements could certainly mean that Henry will miss Barcelona's match against Manchester United in the Champions League final on May 27th. 

I feel that if Barcelona do not have Henry for the final, then there is almost no chance that they defeat Manchester United. The Barcelona offense looked stagnant without him, and if they don't have Henry on top of the defenders they are also not going to have for the final, Barcelona's chances look slim.

I believe that Henry is too much of a competitor to not play in the final. The final game is a little less than 3 weeks away, which unless the injury is far more serious than Barcelona is reporting, should give Henry enough time to rest before the final game. 

And for anyone that is questioning Henry's importance to the Barcelona attack, consider this: Henry has scored 25 goals in 39 appearances for the club this season, with Henry, Messi, and Eto'o combining for 69 of 100 league goals for Barca.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo Robbed!


Ronaldo wasn't exactly robbed the way Pele was over the summer, but 3 young FC Porto fans robbed Ronaldo's CR7 store in Portugal.

Ronaldo's sister who is featured in the video below was actually working at the store at the time, and she claims that the young men said insulting things about her brother and ran off with various hats, belts, and shirts.

The men were later arrested and all the products were returned.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Dream is Alive!


I have been saying since the tournament began, that my dream final for the Champions League would be Manchester United vs. Barcelona.

Although it took them over 180 minutes to do it, Barcelona finally scored a goal and advanced to the final to make my dream matchup a reality. 

Chelsea played a great game, and probably could have won if a few of the referee's calls went their way(more on that later), but ultimately I think Barcelona are the better team.

As I've said before, there were only so many times that you could play in a defensive shell and hope that Barcelona wouldn't score. 

In my opinion Barcelona weren't even that dangerous today. Danny Alves was probably the player most involved in the offense, and in case you forgot he is a defender. Alves had the ball probably for the same amount of time that Messi and Eto'o did combined. I feel that when your defender is creating all the offense, that is a problem. Eto'o was invisible out there, and Messi really seemed to be overmatched. Alves did pick up a yellow card today, meaning he cannot play in the final, which I believe will really hurt their chances against Man United.

Also, why can you have players suspended for the final? I don't understand why UEFA will not allow teams to be at full strength for the final match. I could understand if it is a 2 legged final, but the final is only 1 game. They should wipe out cards for the final to truly show who the best team is. Through injury and suspension, Barcelona have 1 starting defender ready to go for the final game.

Many Chelsea fans are probably going to complain about the referee in today's game. While there were a couple incidents of hand balls, please find me a referee that is going to make that call to decide a game, and ultimately a teams future. No ref is going to call a questionable hand ball to decide a game in the 90th minute. 

And to top it all off, the red card call on Abidal was possibly the worst call I've ever seen. Chelsea got a gift, a 10 man Barcelona and they still couldn't stop them. The red card call I believe cancelled out the other calls the ref made.


Ultimately this game between Barcelona and Chelsea was fantastic. Looking towards the final match, I believe that Man United have the advantage because they are playing at virtually full strength. Barcelona's defense has been reduced to 1 starter, which I feel makes a huge difference when you consider the amount of firepower United is bringing to the game. 

A lot of the final match also depends on what style of play United bring to the game. They saw how Chelsea's strategy shut down Barcelona for almost 2 full games, will they try the same approach? 

Time will tell, so until then I will have to keep dreaming. 

Have You Seen This Goal?

Who else could it be for this week except for Cristiano Ronaldo?

The World Player of the Year, and Ballon d'Or winner has been criticized for not playing defense, not always trying, and complaining for calls after every play, but you know what......when he scores goals like this nothing else matters...

When Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals that no one else in the world can score, no other factors matter...He scored 2 goals in Man United's 3-1 victory against Arsenal today and his free kick goal was certainly a world class strike..

How many other players could have scored this goal?


Monday, May 4, 2009

A Little Fire With Your Championship?

This story has been making the rounds on pretty much every website, but it's too good to not post here.

If you haven't heard, or haven't seen the video yet, essentially Brazilian side Corinthians were celebrating their Paulista Championship victory over Santos when all of a sudden the captain of the team William was set on fire. 

The story starts with the captain of the team and a few others being placed on a cherry picker, which lifted them up into the air, while the majority of the team were dancing and celebrating below. 

The problem began when streams of confetti were shot right into a stream of fireworks that were going off right next to the people on the cherry picker. 

Fireworks+things that can go on fire=fire

William lit on fire for a few moments before the fire was put out.

Everyone continued to dance.

What do you think? 

Funny? Scary? Both?


Sunday, May 3, 2009

2 Incredible Moments

It has been a great week in the world of soccer, with Barcelona destroying Madrid, AC Milan continuing their good form, and many title races still up in the air.

Here are two stories that you may have missed this week:

25 year old Dan Magness set a new world record for longest time controlling a football. Magness juggled the ball for exactly 24 hours, surpassing the previous record of 19 hours and 30 minutes. He juggled the ball an estimated 250,000 times during his attempt.

My personal record is about 24 times nevermind 24 hours. Well done Dan.



Also, in the Greek Cup Final, AEK and Olympiacos played to a 3-3 tie in regulation, a 4-4 tie after extra time, and Olympiacos pulled out the victory 15-14 in the penalty shootout...

When is the last time you watched a game where the ball went into the back of the net over 30 times? 

Even Americans would have liked this one....


Thursday, April 30, 2009

No More Serie A?


Following in the footsteps of the Premier League, Serie A has decided to break away from Lega Calcio and their Serie B comrades. 

Many people are wondering why would Serie A do this? 

The answer has to do with TV revenue. 

Serie A has to share TV revenue with Serie B and Lega Calcio. While this benefits the smaller teams, larger teams such as Inter, Milan, and Roma all seemingly felt that they could make more money if they got exclusive TV deals, in which they didn't have to share any money with smaller and unsuccessful clubs.

Serie B teams have long complained that they were not getting a fair amount of money, and Serie A teams have long threatened to break away and leave them out to dry.

The moment has seemingly come for this to happen. 

19 of 20 Serie A teams have agreed to break away, with Lecce being the only team against it. Lecce is currently in 19th place and are likely going to be relegated, so of course they don't want to see Serie A break away while they are in Serie B. 

When you look at how this same move affected the Premier League you have to be somewhat excited about this separation. When the Premier League broke away they got a ton of money from Sky Sports, which allowed their teams to go out and buy the best players, and essentially turn the Premier League into the premier league in the world. 

If Serie A can get a similar deal, teams would be able to go out and buy better players, which would ultimately mean more Italian teams having success in the Champions League and UEFA Cup. 

This deal would mean however the teams in Serie B would suffer. The rich would get richer and the poor would get much poorer. (Although the incentive to get into Serie A would be much greater, which I feel would ultimately improve the quality of the matches.)

As an AC Milan and Italian soccer fan I'm excited for the change. It was going to take a drastic move for Serie A to become the best league in the world again, and I think this is a good first step.

The Problem With ESPN




Here in America, ESPN is truly the "worldwide leader in sports." Millions of people wake up with Sportscenter in the morning, and go to bed with it on in the evening. Anyone in America that follows sports seemingly gets their information from ESPN.

The only problem? ESPN has literally no respect for soccer.

Let me start by saying that I understand the soccer isn't the most popular sport in America. I understand that most people in America would probably consider the NFL, MLB, NBA, and Nascar to be more popular, meaning ESPN putting hours upon hours of soccer on their networks would probably get them bad ratings.

With that being said, ESPN must understand that soccer in America will only go as far as they are willing to take it.

People have argued about making soccer popular in the United States, but I feel that no one has questioned the way in which soccer is presented on ESPN.

Many people are casual observers of sports, and Sportscenter is the show in which they derive most of their information. Here is where many of the problems arise:

There is absolutely no way that soccer will become popular in the United States if the anchors on Sportscenter continually make a joke of the highlights they are presenting. Anchors such as Neil Everett always make a joke of the names of teams and players when they talk about a soccer highlight, and act as if no one in America actually cares about what they are presenting. The only way a soccer highlight makes an appearance on Sportscenter is if a crazy goal is scored, or if they are contractually obligated to show it based upon their exclusive network rights. 

I'm not sure if soccer is some inside joke at ESPN, but I know that the people on TV would surely get reprimanded if they laughed through an entire NFL highlight, or harshly make fun of the city in which a team plays in. 

I can't tell you how many times I've watched ESPN and had to change the channel because the people on TV were passive aggressively bashing soccer. 

And what about the people at ESPN that actually do know about soccer. Where are they? 

Currently ESPN has 1 show dedicated to soccer called ESPN Soccernet Press Pass. You can't find this show on ESPN however, you have to go to one of their family of networks. Press Pass is currently on ESPN Classic for 2 days a week with a weekly coverage of 2 hours, all on a network that few people even get. 2 hours a week on ESPN Classic? Fishing legitimately gets more coverage than soccer.

ESPN has all the tools to make soccer in the United States popular. They have a seemingly endless budget, which in turn has given them the rights to the Champions League tournament, the World Cup, and the United States national team. 

Coverage of these tournaments is good when it is happening, and interest seems to sharply gain due to many casual observers noticing the high level of play that the MLS rarely provides. However,  after the tournament is over, ESPN does nothing with the new casual viewers. They make no attempt to draw new fans in.

I believe there is plenty of high level soccer year round, that if shown, would not hurt ESPN's ratings at all.

David Beckham proved that a proven superstar going to the MLS is not going to make soccer in America important.

I feel that the job truly belongs to ESPN.

What do you think? Should ESPN even try to make soccer popular in America?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking News: Ferdinand in the Hospital


Breaking news out of Manchester is Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has been taken to the hospital with a rib injury.

Sir Alex Ferguson said, "He's got a crack on the ribs."

I'm not sure if this means Ferdinand's rib is broken, but Ferguson does not think that Ferdinand will be fit for Man United's next game against Arsenal.

The injury supposedly happened when Ferdinand collided with Eduardo. 

This could be very bad news for Man United, as Vidic and Ferdinand completely shut down the Arsenal attack today. 

This could be the 2nd defender to get injured in the Champions League, as Barcelona's Rafel Marquez recently sustained a season ending injury.

How do you think this injury will affect Manchester United?

Poll Result



To the question, "Who Will Win the Champions League?"

40% said Manchester United
24% said Chelsea
22% said Barcelona
5%   said Liverpool
3%   said Arsenal
2%   said FC Porto
1%   said Villarreal
0%  said Bayern Munich

Obviously this voting started at the beginning of the Quarterfinals.

These results mean that the readers of Il Mondo di Calcio believe Manchester United will repeat as champions. 

Cannavaro Coming Back to Serie A?


Real Madrid defender, and captain of the Italian national team, Fabio Cannavaro is seemingly on his way back to the Serie A.

Recent statements from Cannavaro's agent suggest that the 35 year old will be playing for Juventus next season.

Cannavaro's agent said an offer from Juventus would be, "the most fascinating."

Cannavaro previously won 2 championships with Juventus, however they were revoked due to the match fixing scandal that saw Juventus relegated to Serie B. 

Most rumors surrounding Cannavaro's future hinted that he might join his brother at Napoli, however this now seems unlikely.

While I believe that Cannavaro has been an excellent ambassador for Italy and the Italian game abroad, I feel he belongs in Serie A.

What do you think? Is Cannavaro to Juventus a good move for him, for Serie A?

Chelsea Holds Barca


Sorry for the lack of updates lately, it's been a hard couple weeks here at school.

As many of you know, Chelsea and Barcelona tied 0-0 in Spain today. 

Barcelona had possession of the ball 70 percent of the game, and other than a Didier Drogba chance in the 1st half, Chelsea made no attempt to attack for the entire game.

When I watched this game, I could tell it was going to end 0-0. Every time Barcelona brought the ball up the field, they had to go through 8 to 9 players from the edge of the box. 

After this game I really feel that Barcelona will win. Chelsea can only play in a defensive shell for so long without Barcelona scoring, and I believe if Chelsea does decide to open up and attack they will leave themselves up for a counter attack.

Update: If you guys haven't heard, Barcelona's Rafael Marquez is out for the rest of the season after injuring his knee in the second half of the game.

What do you think?

Here are highlights of today's game:


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Premiership Talk Podcast

I was recently the co-host on the Premiership Talk podcast for episode 16.

Brian, the founder of Premiershiptalk.com and I talked about the last week of Premier League action, the FA Cup, the Champions League, UEFA Cup, and other top stories...

Go to http://www.premiershiptalk.com/podcasts and download or stream episode 16 to hear us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Russia With Love


After witnessing one of the most exciting Premier League games I have seen in a long time, Andrei Arshavin has possibly arrived. 

Arshavin scored 4 times today in Arsenal's 4-4 draw with Liverpool, and easily looked like the most dangerous player on the Arsenal side. 

The Russian playmaker has looked ok thus far, scoring 2 goals adding 3 assists in 7 Premier League matches, but you had to wonder whether or not the chemistry was really there between him and his teammates. 

This game I believe has sealed any chemistry issues between Arshavin and his teammates, and will certainly put the memory of his long transfer saga behind him.

For Liverpool fans this is not the game you wanted Arshavin to break out. Liverpool needed to get a win in order to move into 1st place in the Premier League. This draw now means they are equal in points with Manchester United, however United have played 2 less games than Liverpool.

I honestly feel that Arshavin has now personally seen to it that United take home the Premier League trophy this season. I believe the 2 game difference will be too much to overcome for Liverpool, so all you Liverpool fans out there say thank you to Andrei Arshavin for insuring Liverpool takes home no trophies this season.

All in all a performance like this hasn't been seen at Arsenal since Thierry Henry was up front, and Arshavin's 4 goal game will be a performance Arsenal fans will surely remember.

Early Look at the New Chelsea Jersey

Here is a leaked photo of the new home Chelsea jersey for the 2009-2010 season:



Personally I think that this is one of the worst jersey's I've ever seen. It looks like there is a bra in the jersey, and the thing in the middle is supposed to look like a zipper but its not. 

They also took out the collar that Chelsea has had in their jerseys for a while, and made the stupid mesh half the shirt. 

The away and alternate jersey doesn't look as bad, but the home one to me is terrible.

What do you think of the new kit?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Racism Hurts Serie A Once Again


Just when Juventus fans thought that AC Milan overtaking them in the standings was bad, news out of Serie A is that due to racist comments made by Juventus fans during the 1-1 draw with Inter Milan, Juventus will have to play their next home game without any of their fans in attendance. 

I'm not sure, but either that game will be the Italian Cup match against Lazio on Wednesday, or it could be their next home game in Serie A which is which is on May 3rd against Leece.

The player who the abuse was launched at is Inter's Mario Balotelli. Balotelli who's picture you see above is an Italian born in Palermo with Ghanian descent. The racist remarks were coming after Balotelli scored Inter's only goal in the match, and continued throughout the game.

Supposedly the fans were yelling at him, "a black Italian does not exist." 

These kinds of statements are obviously unacceptable, and really show how much work Serie A needs to do before it becomes the most respected league in the world again. 

I understand the passion that fans in Italy have for the game, but "a black Italian does not exist?" First of all that is clearly a false statement, and honestly I'm disgusted by the statement. 

Those fans need to grow up, get cultured, and stop acting like the rest of the world agrees with your racist attitudes. 

I hope Mario Balotelli scores 10 goals the next time Inter plays Juventus.

Juventus is appealing the ban.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Totti Into the Top 10


Roma's Francesco Totti scored 2 goals against Lecce today in Roma's 3-2 victory.

Those 2 goals put him into the top 10 in scoring all time in Serie A. 

Totti's second goal gave him 175 in his career in Serie A and he needs only 4 more goals to move into 9th place. 

Everyone else in the top 10 no longer plays, so Totti most likely will finish well above 10th place when his career is over. 

The all time leading scorer in Serie A is Silvio Piola with 274 goals. 

I would like to say congratulations to Totti, and hopefully he scores many more goals for Roma (just not against Milan). 


Here are the highlights of the Roma vs. Lecce game where you can see both of Totti's goals:


Saturday, April 18, 2009

The PFA Awards


As many of you know, the recent PFA or the "Players Football Association Player of the Year" nominees have been released. 

Essentially, this is an award that the players of the Premier League vote on, to honor who they feel is the best player of the year.

Now this year, many people are criticizing the nominees, because there are 5 Manchester United players among the shortlist of 6 players. Those 5 players are, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edwin van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Ryan Giggs, and the final nominee is Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

My personal opinion on the matter is this, I will trust the opinion of players voting for players than writers or coaches or owners. The players are the ones that play against each other, and they are the ones that get the truest sense of how each individual is. If the players of the Premier League believe that 5 of the best 6 players of the year come from Manchester United, than who am I to argue?

Last year a similar award was awarded in the Bundesliga, and Franck Ribery rightfully won. This season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic rightfully won the award in Serie A. 

I have no reason to believe that the players will vote for a fellow player that does not deserve the award.


With this being said, I believe the award comes down to Vidic and Gerrard. Vidic had an amazing season when the players were voting, and Gerrard has led his team to a position to win the Premier League....I believe one of these two players will win...


What do you think? Are the nominees for the award correct? Post a comment and let us know!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What About Babel?


What would you think of a coach who refuses to start an extremely fast and skilled 22 year old striker with loads of potential? You might call him crazy. Perhaps incompetent if he does not realize the talent he has on his bench. 

While Rafa Benitez is neither of those things (perhaps crazy) that is the situation he has on his hands when dealing with Ryan Babel. 

Ryan Babel came to Liverpool two seasons ago from Ajax as a youngster with loads of talent and potential. Babel was doing well in the Dutch league, and was quickly moving up the ranks on the Netherlands national team. Everything seemed to be in place for his breakout in the Premier League. 

A takeover or breakout has never come from Babel. Babel a natural striker has been stuck behind Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt in the lineup, and even Steven Gerrard seems to play up front more than Babel. 

This season Babel has only started 6 games and has now publicly admitted that he feels frustrated with his role on the team. If I could describe Babel's playing time this season in two words it would be erratic and infrequent. 

Babel claims to have made great improvements to his game but has never been given the chance or enough time to show it. It appears that Babel could be on his way out of Liverpool.

The question now becomes what is Rafa Benitez to do?

Babel is clearly a talented player, but he clearly should not be playing over Torres or Kuyt. Both of these players are well established in the Premier League and appear to be leaders on the team. 

The problem is a player like Babel will not want to sit on the bench for much longer. Plenty of teams could use another striker and would love to have Babel on their team. If Babel is not part of Liverpool's immediate plans, I think they should sell him. If Liverpool cares about Babel at all they will let him get playing time somewhere else. Perhaps a loan is possible? 

What do you think? Should Benitez play Babel more in order to keep him at Liverpool, or should he just let him go?

UEFA Cup Semifinal Set



The semifinal of the UEFA Cup has now been determined, and we are guaranteed to have a German and Ukrainian team in the final.

In the semi's Dynamo Kyiv will play Shakhtar Donetsk while Werder Bremen will take on Hamburg. 

With teams such as AC Milan, Valencia, Tottenham, Fiorentina and Aston Villa in the tournament when it began, this final 4 cannot be the one that anyone expected. 

Who is the team I'm putting my money on? I'm betting on the team that eliminated AC Milan to win.

When the UEFA Cup began, AC Milan was easily the most talented and prestigious team in the tournament and I figured them to win. However, when they played Werder Bremen they were defeated on the away goal rule and Bremen advanced. 

After seeing Diego lead Werder Bremen past AC Milan they then became my favorites to win it all. I mean if you can beat AC Milan you can beat any team in this tournament. 

Diego's 2 goals today helped Bremen defeat another Serie A team Udinese, and I gotta think that Bremen will take home the trophy in Turkey. 

Ibrahimovic Is Gone for 100 Million



Don't worry Inter fans it hasn't happened, yet.

However, Inter club director Marco Tronchetti Provera said that a 100 million euro offer for Zlatan Ibrahimovic would most certainly be accepted. 

Serie A fans know that such an offer was recently rejected by AC Milan when Manchester City tried to lure Kaka away. 

Provera seems to think that Inter Milan could win and be competitive without Ibrahimovic, especially if they went out an bought other players with the 100 million. 

Personally I feel that this kind of talk during a season can only be a distraction. If your an Inter fan, coach, teammate etc.. you don't want your star striker that's under contract until 2013 to be worried about whether or not he will be sold.

Even though I'm an AC Milan fan, I don't want to see Zlatan leave Serie A

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Has Anelka Ever Been Worth It?



Nicolas Anelka rejoined Chelsea this week after a 3 week absence. The question to me is, does it even matter? Do Chelsea even need him? Not only does it even matter, but has Anelka ever been worth his transfer fee or salary when all things are considered?

I'll answer the first question right now. Chelsea's 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League proved to me that Chelsea does not need Anelka to be successful. Didier Drogba is obviously a superstar up front, and the rest of the Chelsea midfield with Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Essien and the bunch provide the goals to win. Even substitute defenders can score for them. The second question however is a bit trickier.

For those of you that don't know, the Frenchman Anelka has played for 8 teams in his career including two stints with PSG. His recent move to Chelsea worth 15 million pounds made him officially the most paid for player in the history of football, with the transfer fee's in his career amassing a total of 87 million pounds. All this money has been paid for Anelka, and he's only scored more than 20 goals in a season two times. Let me repeat, the most paid for player in the history of the game has only scored more than 20 goals in a season twice, not to mention has been a distraction on almost every team he's played on.

When Anelka was at Arsenal in 1998 he had a great season and immediately wanted a raise in his salary. Anelka then did not try on the field causing fans to name him "Le Sulk." This prompted a record setting move to Real Madrid where he was later suspended for 45 days for refusing to train. Does this sound like the guy you want starting up front for your favorite team?

Even on the international level he's been less than spectacular.  Anelka has always been overshadowed by Thierry Henry, and when given his chance to play at the Euro 08 tournament he played an uninspired game against Romania, was substituted out, and didn't play for the rest of the tournament. 

Also, not to rub it in, but it was his penalty kick that was saved that gave Manchester United the Champions League title last season. 

To be fair, Anelka is obviously a talented player but I honestly feel that to be seemingly the most sought after player in the history of the game, he needs to show more on the field. I will be eagerly watching on Wednesday to see which Nicolas Anelka shows up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Premier League Capitalizes on Serie A Failure



Here is an article I submitted to the website Premiership Talk. Hopefully it will be published soon so I guess in reading this your getting a sneak preview.  I will be writing for the site in the future so be sure to check it out. 


The newest hero in Manchester, Federico Macheda, has made an immediate impact on his club, while at the same time exposing a flaw in the way Serie A does business. 

The Italian Macheda was born in Rome in 1991, and began playing for the youth squads of the Serie A club Lazio when he was 15. Macheda showed great promise and talent, however Italian soccer regulations state that a player is unable to sign a professional contract with a team until his 18th birthday. This rule did not make Macheda legally connected to Lazio in any way while he was playing for them. Shortly after his 16th birthday Macheda decided to make his talents to the Premier League, a league where regulations allow you to sign players from 16 years old and up. The Premier League had stolen a player away from Serie A because they allowed themselves to do it. 

In America leagues have age requirements, and they are followed by players because there is no competition. If the NFL says that you have to be a certain age to play, players will follow the rule because there are no other leagues to go play in. This does not happen in the world of soccer. If Serie A tells you that you are too young to play, there are countless other leagues such as the Premier League that would love to have you.

My view on sports has always been this: If you're good enough to play, you should be able to play. Of Macheda, Sir Alex Ferguson said, "He's only 17 years old but if you're good enough at this club, you'll play." I believe Serie A should change their regulations to the Premier League's and allow themselves to sign younger players. It would allow for younger players like Macheda to make an impact on clubs, and keep home grown talent in their native country.

The Serie A needs to look at the Premier League and realize that it's not everyday that you get an extremely talented 17 year old, and they shouldn't be limiting themselves on who can play.

Manchester United has certainly benefited from a failure in Italy.


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Have You Seen This Goal?

In the 11th installment of Have You Seen This Goal, we have a second appearance from Fernando Torres, this time playing for Liverpool.

This goal was scored today in the Liverpool vs. Blackburn game in which Liverpool won 4-0.

In this goal, Torres takes a pass from Jamie Carragher off his chest, and essentially no looks a volley into the back of the net. Torres is number 6 in my Power Rankings, and with goals like this he could certainly move up the ladder.


HERE IS THE GOAL:
the angle 25 seconds in is the best view

Is This Kid For Real?


Let's imagine this situation for a second. Your a 17 year old kid from Italy, playing for the most famous soccer team in the world. You get inserted into a game with your team down, and wind up scoring a remarkable goal to give your team the victory. Only in a dream right?

As many of you know, that's exactly what happened last week when Federico Macheda scored for Manchester United against Aston Villa, in United's 3-2 victory. 

The real question was however, What would Macheda do for an encore?

Your answer? How about score another game winner for Man United, this time within 61 seconds of entering the game. 

Manchester United played Sunderland today, and were tied 1-1 going into the 75th minute. That is when Macheda was inserted into the game, his second appearance of his career, and he deflected a Michael Carrick shot into the goal for his second goal of his career, and his second game winning goal of his career. 

The question now becomes, is this kid for real? Obviously he will not score a goal in his every appearance, but you have to like what you've seen so far from the kid. The first goal proves that he has the skills and the finishing ability to play at the Premier League level. The second goal showed his awareness on the field and finishing ability, as his deflection of the shot was no easy task. I would love to see the kid play more, and see if he has any speed or moves. 

Gotta love that the kid is Italian too!

Here is the goal from today's game:


What do you think? Is this kid the real deal, or just a 2 hit wonder?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Poll Result



To the question, "Who is the best goalkeeper in the world?"

32% said Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
28% said Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
23% said Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United)
11%  said  "Other"
4%   said Petr Cech (Chelsea)

Therefore the readers of Il Mondo di Calcio believe that Real Madrid and Spanish international Iker Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world.

Thanks for voting and keep voting on the polls!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quarterfinal Thoughts and Highlights

The first leg of the Quarterfinals of the Champions League tournament has completed. 

Manchester United Draw with Porto 2-2

I was very surprised that Porto played as well as they did, and Man United were actually lucky when they got a gift of a goal from Wayne Rooney. It is notoriously difficult to go into Porto and win, so all Man United fans should be worried. I gotta think that United will pull out a win in the second leg, but this tie won't be as easy as I thought.

Game Highlights


Arsenal and Villarreal Draw

Arsenal was boosted by the return of captain Cesc Fabregas, however his presence was not enough for a victory. Both goals in this game were amazing, with Marco Senna scoring from about 30 yards out for Real, and Adedbayor scoring a great bicycle kick goal that seemingly everyone is talking about. To me this game is really the only one that could go either way. Villarreal played this game without a lot of their starters, but at the same time Arsenal haven't played all of their best players either. I gotta think that Arsenal will find a way to win. 

Here are the full match highlights....


Barcelona DESTROY Bayern Munich

Who would have thought that a Quarterfinal matchup would be over within the first 45 minutes of the game? But thats exactly what happened when Barcelona scored 4 goals in the first half. When you watch the highlights of this game, it really is evident that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world. Messi, Eto'o, and Henry all scored in this game and they should be through to the next round.

Here are highlights...

Chelsea Grab a Victory Over Liverpool

Liverpool started this game out great, and the momentum from the past few weeks of great performances seemed to have carried over when Fernando Torres scored a goal early. However, some terrible marking on set pieces led to 2 goals for Chelsea, and Drogba added another one to make it 3-1 Chelsea. Liverpool hadn't lost at home in 14 months, and at this point I don't think there are going to be able to go into London and beat Chelsea by more than 2 goals. I think this game is decided as well...Chelsea will play Barcelona.

Game Highlights:



Some great games were played these past 2 days, with 2 games up in the air still, and 2 games pretty much decided. I think that if Man United can get past Porto, than I think the Man United vs. Barcelona matchup could really happen. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Have You Seen This Goal?

Wolfsburg sits atop the Bundesliga standings this season, and a 5-1 thrashing against Bayern Munich shows just how good they can be. 

This goal by Grafite was the 5th goal scored that game, and has been featured on ESPN sportscenter...

This goal could be a candidate for goal of the year...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jozy States His Case



As I'm writing this Jozy Altidore has scored a goal for the United States against Trinidad and Tobago. 

A few months ago I wrote how I think the United States 3 best young players, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Freddy Adu, should all be getting more playing time. 

Since that time Michael Bradley has become a fixture in the middle of the United States lineup, and his 2 goal performance against Mexico in February has certainly sealed his spot. 

However, Jozy and Freddy both have not seen much playing time as Bradley over the past few months. 

All this is hopefully about to change in regards to Altidore. Altidore was put into the game against El Salvador last Saturday and scored a nice goal. Today Altidore was put into the starting lineup and scored a goal. In my opinion Jozy makes a positive impact on the team each time he is out there. 

I understand that Jozy is the youngest player on the team but hopefully Altidore is included in the starting lineup more often from now on. 

UPDATE: Thank you to Jozy Altidore for further proving my point, as he has now scored a second great goal in this game. With 15 minutes remaining, perhaps a hat trick is on the way?

Second UPDATE: Wow. Just Wow. Jozy Altidore proves me correct once again and gets a hat trick. Please Bob Bradley, PLEASE, put in Jozy Altidore more often.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Could Marta Play With the Boys?

The inaugural season of the Women's Professional Soccer League kicked off this past weekend with the Los Angeles Sol defeating the Washington Freedom 2-0.

I must say that from seeing this game and re watching the highlights, the level of competition in this league looks to be very good. All of the women showed great skill and I really think that if the league is marketed right, it can succeed. 

However, the question that arose in my mind after watching the game was whether or not Los Angeles Sol star and without question the best women's soccer player in the world, Marta, could play in the MLS or any other men's league. 

While the Brazilian stands at only 5'4, she has the quickness and technical skill to match many men. 

The goal she scores at the 41 second mark of the video pretty much sums up what she's about:



What do you think? Could Marta play with the men?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Profile: Servet Cetin


A few weeks ago my friends and I were playing FIFA 09. Having played many games at that point, we wanted to play with some different teams. Eventually someone decided to play as the Turkish National Team, Erik Lanza discovered a player that I had never heard of. 

His name is Servet Cetin and apparently he is a scary monster of a man. 

In FIFA 09 Cetin is an unstoppable defender. He is 6'4 and extremely strong. No one can score on him. I decided to do some research on the player and here are some quotes about him that I have found.

After playing against Turkey Didier Drogba said, "I have never struggled like this against any defense in the English Premier League. Servet is devilish. I could hear him breathe and it sent chills down the back of my neck." 

A player who sends chills down Drogba's neck just from his breath? Epic.

Supposedly Galatasaray fans (the team Cetin plays for) call him Ayibogan which literally means "a man who could choke a bear." Is there a greater nickname in sports?

To further add to the legend of Cetin supposedly in the Euro 08 tournament, Cetin was playing despite the following injuries: 

1. Torn groin
2. Strained Knee Ligaments
3. A broken tooth
4. A bruised hip bone

Forgive me if I seem naive regarding Cetin, but I can assure you I will do my best to discover more legendary players like the bear choker. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AC Milan and Inter Headline U.S. Tour


A 4 team tournament featuring AC Milan, Inter, Chelsea, and Club America will take place this summer in the United States. 

Inter plays against Club America on July 19th at Stanford Stadium in Californian than plays Chelsea two days later at the Rose Bowl. 

Milan plays Inter on July 26th at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, which is surprisingly only the 3rd time that Milan and Inter will have played each other outside of Italy. The last time they played in the United States was in 1969 at Yankee Stadium. 

I'm very excited about the Milan vs Inter matchup and I've already bought my ticket. I wound up buying the VIP plan so that I can get access to each teams 90 minute practice the day before. I'm not even concerned about the 3 hour drive from New York.

Some other games this summer include Chelsea playing MLS expansion team Seattle Sounders on July 18th and AC Milan playing the LA Galaxy on July 19th in a game that was created as a stipulation in the David Beckham loan.

ESPN will be broadcasting most of the games so be sure to check them out. 

Is anyone else going to the games?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cent Sports

This is not a sponsored ad. 

If you guys have ever wanted to bet on soccer matches, but didn't want to use your own money Cent Sports is the website to go to. 

This website pretty much gives you 10 cents to start off to bet on sports and will actually pay you if your good enough to turn that 10 cents into more. 

The best part is that if you lose all your money, they just give you 10 more cents. 

Check it out: Cent Sports

Friday, March 20, 2009

Champions League Quarterfinals are Set



The quarterfinal games for the 2009 Champions League has been announced. 

After looking at the matchups, it looks like Manchester United is 100% in the finals. United do not have to face Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Bayern Munich until the finals. 

Liverpool and Chelsea will also have to play each other again. Last year Liverpool had Chelsea beat until an own goal from Riise put Chelsea into the finals. 

I would say that United will win, Arsenal will win, Liverpool will win, and Barcelona will win. 

Here are the games:

Manchester United vs. FC Porto

Villarreal vs. Arsenal

Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Arshavin Scores First Goal as Arsenal Wins

Arsenal picked up valuable points in the Premier League, defeating Blackburn 4-0.

15 million euro man Andrei Arshavin also scored his first goal in an Arsenal uniform as Arsenal finally ended the scoring slump that had plagued them for the past few weeks.

With the combination of Liverpool beating Manchester United today, and Arsenal winning, the Premier League title race is certainly heating up!

Here are second half highlights of the Arsenal game, including Arshavin's goal.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Worst Dive of All Time?

Diving in soccer is a topic up for debate...

Some people say that it takes away from the game, while others see diving as a strategic tool for winning. 

I don't think anyone could defend this dive....

In a game in Brazil last week, Argentine international Sergio Escudero pretended to get hit...by the ref....

Escudero completely missed the flag of the side judge but still fell down as if he got hit. This is just embarrassing for the game.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Champions League Review

The round of 16 in the Champions League tournament has ended. Lets see if my Champions League Preview was correct. 

Chelsea vs. Juventus



Chelsea vs Juventus was a very entertaining series, one that saw the resurgence of Didier Drogba. In the first leg Chelsea won 1-0 behind a goal from Drogba, and another goal from Drogba in the second game sealed Chelsea's advancement into the next round. 

More good news for Chelsea came out of this series as Michael Essien returned to the starting lineup in the second leg for the first time in 6 months. Essien wasted little time making an impact on the field and scored in the 45th minute. 

My prediction was that Juventus would advance however Juventus was never really in this series. Chelsea advances 3-2 on aggregate.  0-1 on predictions.

Villarreal vs. Panathinaikos



Villarreal and the Greek champions Panathinaikos drew the first leg of the series 1-1 in Spain. Giuseppe Rossi was rewarded for a great game with a penalty kick goal which proved to be crucial for the mindset of the Spanish team. 

In the second leg Villarreal and Panathinaikos traded goals in the second half but in the 70th minute a goal from Joseba Llorente gave Villarreal the 2-1 win and the 3-2 overall aggregate win. 

I correctly predicted Villarreal would advance. 1-1 on predictions. 

Bayern Munich vs. Sporting

This could be one of the most lopsided series in Champions League history. Munich exploded for 7 goals in the second leg of the series and won 12-1 on aggregate. 

Sporting looked outmatched in every facet of the game which makes me wonder whether Munich is really this good, or was Sporting just that bad. 


I correctly predicted that Bayern Munich would advance. 2-1 on predictions.

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Madrid weathered the storm in the first leg giving up an away goal to Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun in their 1-0 defeat but the in the second leg in England, the red storm proved to be too great.

The second leg of this series was characterized by the late and surprise addition of Fernando Torres into the starting lineup for Liverpool. As I predicted, if Torres and Gerrard could be healthy enough to be on the field together Liverpool would be dangerous, and they were winning the second leg 4-0 behind a goal from Torres and 2 from Gerrard.

Madrid never really threatened to score in either game, and if it wasn't for the great play of goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Madrid could have lost by even more. 


I correctly predicted that Liverpool would advance. 3-1 on predictions.

Atletico Madrid vs. Porto



FC Porto played to a 2-2 draw on the road and that score was all they needed to advance to the next round. The second leg of the series was 0-0 which meant that Porto advanced on the away goal rule.

As many of you know, I hate the away goal rule because I think it gives too much importance on the idea of playing away. In this series neither team won a game, however one team gets to advance. Don't like it. 

Porto could be a team to look out for because the last time a team was almost not allowed to participate in the tournament (AC Milan) they went on to win the whole thing.

I thought that Atletico would advance. 3-2 on predictions. 

Lyon vs. Barcelona

Lyon and Barcelona was one of the best matchups of this round. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in the first game, with a goal from Theirry Henry canceling out an amazing free kick from Juninho. 

The second leg of the series was far from close. Theirry Henry picked up right where he left off in the first leg, scoring two goals within 2 minutes of each other. Lionel Messi followed that up with an amazing goal of his own, and Samuel Eto'o made it 4-0 Barcelona before Lyon knew what hit them. 

This season there is no greater attacking trio than Henry, Messi and Eto'o with the 3 accounting for almost all of Barcelona's goals. 

Lyon pulled a couple of goals back but Barcelona comfortably advanced 6-3 on aggregate. 

I correctly predicted Barcelona would advance. 4-2 on predictions. 

WATCH THIS BREATHTAKING GOAL FROM MESSI:

Arsenal vs. Roma

In my preview I said that this series would be a close one, and it was. 

A Robin van Persie penalty kick was the only thing separating the two teams going into the second leg in Italy. 

Arsenal playing without Fabregas, Arshavin, and Adebayor were held scoreless and lost 1-0 in the second leg after Juan scored for Roma. 

Since both teams scored 1 goal each, and both goals were at home, the game went into extra time and ultimately penalty kicks. 

In the penalty kick shootout it was also close, but Arsenal prevailed 7-6.

Perhaps in the next round when Fabregas, Arshavin and Adebayor all play Arsenal can have the firepower to score more than 1 goal in 2 games.

Here is the shootout:

I correctly predicted Arsenal would advance. 5-2 on predictions.

Manchester United vs. Inter Milan


This game was probably the game that most people were watching. The defending champions had to deal with the Italian giants and certainly had their biggest test in the tournament so far.

The first leg was actually pretty uneventful with both teams playing to a 0-0 draw in Italy.

This meant that a scoring draw would put Inter through to the next round. 

In the second leg Manchester United dominated with goals from Vidic and Ronaldo giving them the 2-0 victory.

Much had been said of the Manchester defense before the game, and the defense really came through in the second leg holding Inter scoreless. Inter did get a bit unlucky with a Ibrahimovic header hitting the post and a shot by Adriano also hitting the post. 

I correctly predicted Manchester United would advance meaning I went 6-2 overall on my predictions. 

..........................................

Going into the next round I think that Manchester United and Barcelona are still the 2 teams to look out for. Bayern Munich probably had the easiest opponent in this round which makes their 12-1 victory a bit skewed. 

One team that really showed great form in this round was Liverpool. As long as this team stays healthy I believe that they can go all the way.

WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THIS ROUND? WHO WILL WIN IT ALL?