Saturday, January 31, 2009

Altidore Loaned to Xerez

Jozy Alitodore's stay in La Liga hasn't lasted long. 

The American has just been loaned from Villarreal to second division team Xerez until the end of the season. Xerez is currently in 1st place, and hopefully Jozy will get some playing time.

Jozy has only seen the field 6 times in La Liga scoring just once. Upon hearing of the transfer Jozy said, "It is a good option for me because I will have more options to add minutes on the field. This will help me adapt in this country, as I hope to continue to grow in my career."

I think this is a good move for Jozy, and I really think that he could be a great player in La Liga.

Here is Jozy's goal for Villarreal where he came on in the 90th minute:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2011 Champions League Final at Wembley

England's Wembley stadium has been chosen by UEFA to host the 2011 Champions League final. 

FA chairman Lord Triesman said, "This is fantastic news for London and the UK and is acknowledgement of Wembley's ranking alongside the very best football stadiums in the world."

Lansdowne Road in Dublin was also picked to host the 2011 UEFA Cup final (which is getting renamed to the Europa League tournament).

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium was the leading contender to host the 2011 UEFA Cup final, however UEFA rules state that 1 country cannot host both finals in the same year. Therefore when Wembley was picked, Emirates was out of the running. 

The 2012 Champions League final was also selected to be hosted in Munich at Allianz Arena. 

The 2009 Champions League final will be held at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, and the 2010 final will be held at the Bernabeu in Madrid.  

Why Serie A is Superior to La Liga

I have sometimes been criticized for liking Serie A too much. Some people have said to me that Serie A is an inferior league to the Premier League and La Liga. While I will not argue that Serie A has some work to do in order to match the Premier League, I feel that right now Serie A is a better league than La Liga.

I will try and come to the defense of Serie A.

First, I feel you must look at the number of quality teams that play in each league.

When you look at La Liga it is a league of 2 giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Since the creation of La Liga only 9 different teams have ever won the title, with Real Madrid winning it 31 times, and Barcelona winning it 18 times. Currently, Madrid and Barcelona have two of the most stacked lineups of any team in the world, with player like Iker Casillas, Raul, Cannavaro, Messi, Xavi and Henry all playing for those two squads. 

However, when you look past these two teams there isn't much else to offer in La Liga. In my opinion besides Real Madrid and Barcelona there are only 3 teams that have a chance of competing for the La Liga title, and have a chance for success internationally. Those 3 teams are Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal. By my count, there are 2 great teams in La Liga and 3 good ones, meaning only 5 of the 20 teams in La Liga even have a chance of being competitive. To me a league that contains 2 teams that run over the rest of the competition is not a competitive or quality league. 

Take the Barcelona vs Atletico game this season. This game was hyped as the Messi vs Augero matchup, a game which would show the competitiveness of La Liga. Barcelona destroyed Atletico 6-1 which to me shows how lopsided this league truly is. The current La Liga season is only 20 games in, and Barcelona already has the title locked up further proving the disparity between teams. I will repeat that having 2 great teams in a league of 20 teams does not make it a good league.

In the history of Serie A 17 different teams have won the title, which shows the competitiveness and quality that has been fielded by multiple teams. Serie A currently has 4 teams that legitimately have a chance to win the title every season; Inter, Milan, Juventus, and Roma. All of these teams fight to win the title each season, and all of them have had great success in the Champions League and other international tournaments. Besides these 4 teams, there are at least 4 other teams, Fiorentina, Lazio, Genoa, and Napoli that challenge for the title and have international success. This gives at least 8 legitimate teams in Serie A compared to a generous 5 in La Liga.

To compare Serie A to La Liga you can even look to the Juventus vs Madrid matcup in the Champions League this season. The outcome? Juventus defeated Madrid on two seperate occasions. While this does not exactly prove the superiority of Serie A, it does help to measure the quality of each league's top teams. I personally think a Barcelona vs Inter game would be great, and I felt Juventus vs Madrid was good, but I feel that if Milan played Valencia or Roma played Villarreal, Serie A would win.

In conclusion, while La Liga has 5 good teams once you look past them the level of competition drops immensely when compared to Serie A.

What do you think? Is Serie A better than La Liga or is it the other way around?

Post a comment and let me know.

Nike vs Adidas

Shout out to Nike and Adidas for putting out quality soccer videos.

However to promote their new shoes and merchandise, they have each taken a different approach to the type of videos made.

Nike seems to take the more serious approach, with in depth interviews with players and probably the best soccer commercial ever made.

Adidas however seems to be taking a more comical approach lately, as evidenced by the following video featuring Chelsea's Michael Ballack:

And this video featuring Liverpool's Steven Gerrard:

Which companies video's do you prefer, Nike or Adidas?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beckham Scores Again

If one goal doesn't convince him to stay, maybe another goal will.

David Beckham provided a trademark free kick goal today for Milan helping them to a 1-1 draw with 4th place Genoa.

In the 33rd minute, after Alexandre Pato was fouled outside the box, Beckham stepped up and shot an unsaveable free kick from the left side of the field, a free kick normally in a crossing position. 

Beckham couldn't have picked a better time to score, as the coach of the English national team, Fabio Capello was at the game. This goal and performance will surely mean that Beckham will be included in Capello's squad when England play Spain on February 11th.

Beckham has been linked with speculation that he wants to remain in Italy and leave the LA Galaxy, and I think that if he can continue to score goals like this, and still has the ability to play at a high level, he shouldn't waste his time playing in the United States (even if it means I won't be able to see him play in New York).


Van der Sar Sets the Record!

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has just set the record for most time without conceding a goal. 

Van der Sar has now gone 1,032 minutes without giving up a goal, which broke Petr Cech's previous record of 1,025 minutes from 2004-2005.

Van der Sar said, "The most important thing is the win, but of course it is great for the team to get the record. I just needed to keep the concentration levels high and fire up the defenders and midfielders." 

This type of play from Van der Sar is exactly what Man United needs in order to stay atop of the Premier League. When Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra return to action Van der Sar will have an easier time, but for now he has to continue to play well. 

Manchester United has to play Everton next and then West Ham. Look for Van der Sar to continue his streak.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Robinho Arrested for Sexual Assault!

Shout out to Robinho.

The Brazilian international has had a tough week. First, Robinho left Manchester City in the middle of training and returned to Brazil for "family reasons" which infuriated his coach and team. 

Now Robinho has been arrested over allegations of sexual assault at an English nightclub.

West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that Robinho was arrested and questioned for an incident of sexual assault at a nightclub in Leeds on January 14th. 

A statement on Robinho's website said, "We can confirm that Robinho met the police today, as pre-arranged and as part of a criminal investigation. He strenuously denies any allegation of wrongdoing or criminality and is happy to cooperate with the police if required further."

Robinho has had a history with nightclubs; In 2007 Robinho and Ronaldinho missed their flight from Brazil back to Spain and didn't play in their clubs game, after partying until 5 am the night before. 

Hopefully for Robinho and Manchester City's sake this is simply an incident of misunderstanding, where the normal actions that someone takes at a nightclub in say Ibiza or Rio de Janeiro don't translate to proper procedure in a nightclub in Leeds. Hopefully Robinho did nothing malicious in nature, but you never know.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Adriano Suspended

While Adriano's goal for Inter may have won the game against Sampdoria, his actions have just cost the team.

In the 40th minute of the game, Adriano punched Sampdoria player Daniele Gastaldello in the stomach while fighting for position during a corner kick. This punch wasn't noticed by the referee at the time, but the play has since been reviewed by Serie A.

Adriano has been suspended for 3 games for the punch. This suspension comes on the heels of coach Jose Mourinho also being suspended for 1 game.

While I think Gastaldello was diving a bit, what Adriano did was inexcuseable. There is no reason for a player to throw a punch, head butt etc.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beckham Scores as Milan Win

Milan can finally put the memory of their loss to Bologna behind them as Kaka and David Beckham powered Milan to a 4-1 victory.

Milan now remain in 3rd place in Serie A after Inter won 1-0 over Sampdoria.

Kaka scored twice effectively putting the Manchester City transfer saga behind him while Clarence Seedorf also found the back of the net. Beckham scored his first goal in Serie A in the 59th minute sealing the win.

With Beckham scoring however, all the talk seems to be revolved around whether this goal and victory can convince Beckham to make his stay at Milan permanent. 

After the game Beckham said, "At the moment I'm enjoying this experience. I'm at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and having won gives us confidence to continue."

Personally I feel that Beckham will return to the MLS and finish up his deal (in which he can leave after the 2009 season). Beckham is just too important to the financial success of the MLS and if he does not return to the Galaxy, I feel his stay in America would not be viewed as a success.  I feel that if Beckham does want to continue playing at a high level, he will return to Milan where I think he could find success.

Beckham has now scored a goal in 5 different leagues, English League 3, the Premier League, La Liga, MLS, and now Serie A. 


Friday, January 23, 2009

Liverpool For Sale

Much has been said about the troubled relationship between Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. 

This relationship could professionally be coming to a close, as recent reports indicate that the two are looking to sell the team. 

Hicks and Gillett refinanced the team in July and have hired Merrill Lynch to try and find possible buyers.

One group that seems to be interested is the Al-Kharafi family out of Kuwait. The net worth of M.A. Kharafi and Sons is over 4 billion dollars with the family's worth over 8 billion, which would certainly give them the buying power to buy the team.

When questioned, the Al-Kharafi's made it clear that they are not interested in only buying a share of the team, but rather assume full control. The family was close to buying the team in November, but they walked away from the deal. 

Regardless of who buys the team, English banks that are financing the team will demand that the team be sold by July in order for their loans to be paid back on time. 

Interested in buying the most successful club in England's history? Look for a price tag of over 500 million pounds.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Perez Wants Wenger

With the departure of Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, many people have been campaigning to take over the vacant spot.

News from the Madrid "campaign trail" is that current candidate Florentino Perez vows to bring Arsene Wenger, Cesc Fabregas, and Kaka to Madrid if he is named president.

Perez would name Wenger both coach and general manager, a position usually not given to coaches at Madrid.

Perez was previously the president of Madrid from 2000 to 2006. 

Wenger has rejected multiple offers from Perez in the past, so only time will tell if Wenger is lured to Spain.

Shevchenko to Leave Yet Again?

The triumphant return of Andriy Shevchenko to AC Milan might end sooner than many expected only a few months ago.

Reports out of Milan indicate that the Ukrainian squad Dynamo Kiev are looking to bring Shevchenko back.  Shevchenko started his career with Dynamo Kiev in the 1990's where he won the domestic league title in each of his five seasons with the club. 

Dynamo Kiev president Ihor Surkis has confirmed that he is interested in bringing Shevchenko to the team, and revealed that he is currently putting a deal together.

As many are aware, Shevchenko left Milan in 2006 for a move to Chelsea, a move that saw the former World Player of the Year sit on the bench for most games.

Milan brought Shevchenko back to the club (where he is the 2nd all time leading scorer) but has not appeared in many games, scoring only 2 goals for Milan this season. 

With Shevchenko currently stuck behind Pato in the starting 11, I wouldn't blame Sheva if he wanted to return home and get some deserved playing time. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Have You Seen This Goal?

Here is the 9th installment of the Goal of Week.

This week the Goal of the Week was scored by Julio Baptista of Roma in their 1-0 over Torino. 

Baptista received a cross and played it perfectly off his chest, before hitting  a perfect bicycle kick.

This goal was scored in the 91st minute, and this win was sorely needed for Roma.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Milan Fans Rejoice

Fans of AC Milan (such as myself) are overjoyed by the news that Kaka has rejected the possible transfer to Manchester City.

The 107 million euro bid would have more than doubled the previous highest transfer. 

Man City chairman said, "The club felt that it was unlikely that the two parties could reach common ground for an agreement. The discussions reached only a preliminary stage and the player was not involved at any time."

Over 500 Milan fans waited outside of Kaka's home hoping to catch a glimpse of the player. Kaka who had said that he hoped to "grow old" at Milan said his aim is to become the captain of the team.

Some feared that Kaka's father would possibly convince Kaka to take the money, however this did not happen and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was very happy to hear that Kaka has placed values such as friendship and fan affection over money.

Many people had publicly stated that Kaka moving to Man City would be both a terrible move for Kaka personally, and for the state of football in general. Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and even Giorgio Armani all stated that Kaka would not be happy in Manchester. 

Now that this circus and distraction is behind Milan, hopefully they can concentrate on winning the Scudetto. 

Serie A Awards

The Italian Players Association have announced the annual Serie A award winners.

The awards are obviously voted on by current Serie A players. 

Serie A Player of the Year- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter)

Best Foreign Player- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter)

Italian Player of the Year- Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)

Coach of the Year- Cesare Prandelli (Fiorentina)

Best Defender- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Best Goalkeeper- Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

Most Promising Young Player- Marek Hamsik (Napoli)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal against Bologna was also named the Serie A goal of the year.

I agree with pretty much all of the winners, and I really think that Hamsik could be Player of the Year in the future. 

Podolski to Leave Bayern

German international Lukas Podolski has agreed to a deal with Bundesliga team Cologne.

This deal takes effect at the end of the current season and will end a long unhappy streak for Podolski at Bayern.

Podolski was frequently overlooked by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who preferred to start Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose and even Landon Donovan was starting over Podolski.

The 23 year old Podolski started his career at Cologne who were just promoted back to the top tier of the Bundesliga this season. 

The deal will cost Cologne approximately 10 million euro.

Podolski said, "I am glad the decision for my future has been taken and all speculation about me is finally over."

Spain and Portugal Make Joint Bid

While many people think England are the frontrunners for hosting the 2018 World Cup, Spain and Portugal are attempting to change that.

Spain and Portugal have officially agreed to submit a joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup. 

The football federation president for Portugal, Gilberto Madail said that "This is an important day, the day we decide to go ahead and present a bid to FIFA."

FIFA has set a February 2nd deadline for submitting a bid to host, and there is simultaneous bidding going on for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Other than England, Spain and Portugal, the United States also were hoping to host the World Cup.

Poll Result

To the question, "Will David Beckham Make a Positive Impact on AC Milan?"

54% said Yes
27% said I Hate David Beckham
18% said No

Therefore the readers of Il Mondo Di Calcio believe that David Beckham will make a positive impact on Milan during his stay with the team.

Beckham at this point has played in a few games for Milan and so far he has looked pretty good. Beckham seems to be in good shape, and has already set up his teammates for goals.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ronaldo Wrecks His Ferrari

On Thursday morning at about 10:20 am, Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in a car crash.

Ronaldo was unhurt, but as you can see from the picture above, his new Ferrari was wrecked.

Ronaldo collided with a wall in a tunnel near Manchester Airport and was being followed to training by teammate Edwin van der Sar. 

Police actually breathalysed Ronaldo at the scene which came out negative. 

Ronaldo continued to training and was checked by Man United doctors to make sure he wasn't suffering from shock. 

Ronaldo could possibly face reckless driving charges.

To me the craziest part of the story is that Ronaldo was breathalysed at the scene. It was 10 in the morning and unless in England they breathalyse everyone involved in every crash, Ronaldo must have been acting in some way that warranted a test. Imagine how crazy it would have been if Ronaldo had drunkenly crashed his car on the way to training, only days before his match against Chelsea.