Friday, June 05, 2009

Football Braced for Transfer Mayhem

Real Madrid's attempt to initiate Project Galactico Part II with the £56m capture of Kaka may trigger the biggest summer spending spree in the history of football.

The Joy of Six: Transfers That Never Were

From Maradona joining Sheffield United to Michael Laudrup moving to Liverpool, Rob Smyth looks at half-a-dozen transfers that might have changed the course of history.

The Mill + ++

Friday's Rumours



Friday MLS Forecast: Week Twelve

The Forecast warns MLS Commissioner Don Garber to avoid his Twitter today before evaluating a Week Twelve fixture list hampered by players sidelined with injuries, suspensions and international duties.

2010 World Cup Qualifying Weekend Preview: CONCACAF

New coach Javier Aguirre has already breathed new life into Mexico’s stricken team even before they have kicked a ball in anger under his leadership.

Aguirre begins his second stint on Saturday when Mexico, currently out of the direct qualifying places for the World Cup finals, visit El Salvador’s Cuscatlan stadium, where visiting teams can be assured of a hostile reception.


Italy's Confederations Cup Squad - Old, Slow & Predictable

Marcello Lippi has named his 23-man squad for the Confederations Cup, Adam Scime discusses whether he made the correct choices...

Buffon, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Gattuso and Pirlo await Lippi's tactical instructions...

Goalkeepers: Amelia, Buffon, De Sanctis

Defenders: Cannavaro, Chiellini, Zambrotta, Dossena, Legrottaglie, Gamberini, Grosso, Santon

Midfielders: Camoranesi, De Rossi, Pirlo, Gattuso, Montolivo, Palombo

Forwards: Gilardino, Iaquinta, Pepe, Quagliarella, Toni, Rossi

2010 World Cup Qualifying Weekend Previews: CONMEBOL provides readers with a preview of round twelve of the 2010 South American World Cup qualifiers. With only four automatic World Cup slots up for grabs the results of this round are likely to have a huge bearing on the final outcome…

Uruguay vs. Brazil

Argentina vs. Colombia

Booing France "a form of racism" - Domenech

France coach Raymond Domenech
on Thursday said the jeering of his players during their 1-0 friendly defeat to Nigeria on Tuesday was "a form of racism".

The 1998 World Cup winners were whistled at throughout by a less than appreciative St Etienne crowd, who reserved most of their ire for players from local rivals Lyon.

2010 World Cup Qualifying Weekend Preview: UEFA

The Netherlands can become the first European side to clinch a place at the 2010 World Cup on Saturday. While England and Denmark are among the other teams able to move closer to a spot in South Africa, the Dutch can get there with two games remaining with victory at Iceland.

Ives: U.S. team overwhelmed in every facet by Costa Rica

Instead of being overwhelming, the U.S. national team was overpowered by a fast, inspired, skillful and organized Costa Rican team that took full advantage of the worst U.S. national team performance in years. The result was a 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory for Costa Rica, and a defeat that has the U.S. team asking a lot of questions about several positions.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Duke's New Class

Messi is Drunk

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


England: Top 10 Stories of 08/09

Chris Burton takes a look back at the most memorable moments from the 2008/09 Premier League campaign.


England: Top 10 Football Myths

Richard Bailey takes a look at some of the best football myths and discovers football lovers have never been shy of letting the facts get in the way of an interesting tale.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

Disclaimer: If you have been following these columns for a number of years, you might be bored by what you'll find below. I cannot be held responsible for this inconvenience, because it's time for the traditional end-of-season column which never offers anything new.

Postscript: Then again, the very fact that nothing ever changes with regards to the end-of-season column is, at least from my point of view, quite interesting in itself. So why not stick around for some brainstorming? La Liga Awards 2008-09

Best Midfielder

1) Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
2) Xavi (Barcelona)
3) Achille Emana (Real Betis)

The Rest Serie A Awards 2008-09

Best Midfielder

1) Felipe Melo (Fiorentina)
2) Thiago Motta (Genoa)
3) Esteban Cambiasso (Inter)

The Rest

Costa Rica 3-1 U.S.: Ticos rampant at home

When the U.S. soccer team plays in Costa Rica, the Americans resemble the doormat they used to be rather than the regional power they've become.

Player Ratings

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

World Cup Hexagonal Round: Costa Rica vs. USA

Who: United States vs. Costa Rica

World Cup 2010 qualifying, CONCACAF final round

When: 10 p.m. EDT, June 3, 2009

Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica

TV: ESPN and Galavision

Preview's Luis Bueno is down in Costa Rica, getting the take from the players on how they will deal with the artificial turf field of Saprissa Stadium.

Ives: U.S. undaunted by conditions at Saprissa
Steve Davis: U.S. would be happy with a point
Martin Rogers: U.S. has chance to make real impression

Guillem Balague's La Liga Team of the Season

No-one has watched or written more about the Spanish league over the last eight months, and as a result, Guillem's Team of the Season is NOT just made up of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Chants, Stadium Announcements and Banners of the Season

"Your car's too fast for you!"
Derby fans to Ronaldo before the Carling Cup semi-final second leg - days after he had totalled his Ferrari.

"John Carew, Carew. He likes a lap-dance or two. He might even pay for you. John Carew, Carew."
Villa fans to their striker after he was caught visiting a gentlemen's club.

"When the ball hits your head and you sit in row Z, that's Zamora!"
Heard at Bolton v Fulham to the tune of 'That's Amore'.

"We love our Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny,
Baldy Headed Warren Feeney."
Northern Ireland fans, to the tune of Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

"Allan, Allan McGregor, he couldn't handle his Stella!"
To the tune of Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band. Sung by Scotland supporters in the pub after the Iceland game, when MacGregor was banned for drinking.

"You don't know what you're doing!"
Leeds fans at Derby to a supporter who proposed to his girlfriend on the pitch.

"We are the Potters, the rip-roaring potters, back in the Prem where Pulis got us, so come on everybody let's keep Stoke up, keep Stoke up, keep Stoke up!"
'Pottermouth's' Stoke rap to the tune of Eminem's Real Slim Shady.

The Rest

Kaka's top 10 goals: Why Real Madrid will break the bank for AC Milan forward

Real Madrid’s likely signing of AC Milan’s Brazilian playmaker Kaka will challenge the world transfer record. But just what will Real president Florentino Perez be getting for his money?

The Mill + ++

Wednesday's Rumours



Oguchi Onyewu sues player over “racist insult”

In what many will consider an overdue reaction to racism in football, a black player is suing a white opponent over an alleged racist insult directed at him during a match in Belgium. Oguchi Onyewu, the United States and Standard Liege defender, has accused Jelle van Damme of Anderlecht of calling him a “dirty monkey”, a claim that Van Damme, who is white, has denied.

Dempsey a Rare American Soccer Attacker

"I think if I had stayed in MLS, I think you can get, you know, complacent. There's not too many people challenging for spots. You don't have a lot of depth on teams. You always kind of felt you were going start, and you felt like you weren't being pushed week in and week out."

Florentino Pérez aims for stars on return to Real Madrid

Florentino Pérez must feel as if he had never been away. Last night, barely 24 hours after returning to the Real Madrid presidency, he was already hunting down the first of a new wave of galácticos.

The former construction magnate is confident that a successful bid for Kaká will blaze a trail in which he firmly expects Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Franck Ribéry, David Villa and others to follow.

Manchester United to announce £80 million sponsorship deal with Aon

Manchester United are expected to announce the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in football history in the next few hours after agreeing an £80million partnership with Aon Corp, the American financial giant.

Carlo Ancelotti is a Gamble despite his Champions League form

Chelsea's manager will deliver trophies his club demands but defeats for predecessors and United show big task is not easy.

Tony Cascarino: He won't last a season

Denilson looking to cement his status in Vietnam

Denilson, once the world's most expensive soccer player, will rocket Cement FC to the top of the Vietnam league, his jubilant coach said, but the World Cup winner has made it clear he is only here for the love of the game - and the money.

The cement plant by night...

Manchester City snap up Gareth Barry for £12m

Manchester City have completed the signing of England midfielder Gareth Barry from Aston Villa for £12m.

Gareth Barry has apologised to the Aston Villa fans after turning his back on them in favour of a £12m move to Manchester City, worth an estimated £100,000-a-week.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Freddy Adu Waiting For New Benfica Coach To Clarify Future

U.S. international Freddy Adu is waiting for a new coach to be appointed at club team Benfica in Portugal before having his future clarified. His contract with the club runs through 2012, but under current manager Quique Flores, Adu was loaned out to Monaco in France.

Pampered Manchester United stars have their light bulbs changed

Frenchman Evra, who lives in a £3million Cheshire mansion, said: “This club is a big family because everybody works together. You can ask Barry anything. When you have a problem with your car, the Jacuzzi or the light, he is there.

Americans in the UK: Season Review Round 1

The Americans playing in the United Kingdom achieved some highly touted results this campaign, including league titles, cup finals, and European qualification.

Americans On The Continent: Dream Deferred

With most Americans Abroad finished for the summer, Carlos Bocanegra and Stade Rennais FC had their European dreams dashed to the ground violently as title hopefuls Marseille smashed them 4-0 on the final day of the season.

The Rest

The Mill + ++

Tuesday's Rumours



Sid Lowe in Spain

A dramatic denouement saw relegation decided only on the final day and by a single goal.

La Liga's final-day madness ends with riots by Betis fans.

Ben Lyttleton in France

The manager guided his side to 11 consecutive victories to end the season and claim the French title.

Bordeaux claim Ligue 1 title to justify faith in Laurent Blanc.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Ancelotti, Maldini, Nedved and Figo have gone, while Kaka and Ibrahimovic could follow. Where now for Serie A?

Italian season ends with an exodus to leave the future unclear.

Manuel Pellegrini Appointed As Real Madrid Coach

Following weeks of speculation, Real Madrid have released this evening an official declaration that Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini will occupy the hotseat at the Bernabeu on a permanent basis, bringing an end to Juande Ramos' six month tenure at the club. Profile:

Manuel Pellegrini

Latest figures show Premier League clubs owe £3.1bn

England's 20 Premier League clubs owe a total of £3.1bn in bank overdrafts, loans and other borrowings, according to the latest published financial information. The accounts for the clubs, mostly documenting the year to May, June or July 2008, show that the FA chairman, Lord Triesman, significantly underestimated football's indebtedness when he cautioned last October that debts in the sport as a whole, including the Football League and the FA itself, were at £3bn.

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

This season's final La Liga weekend had two main areas of interest: first, the remaining European football spots, and second, the relegation battle. The first issue was solved quickly on Saturday evening with no surprises.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Tracksuit Bottoms: 'I didn't know...' Teams of the Season

TSB's 'I didn't know he was that good' Team of the Season:

Schwarzer - how Boro must be regretting letting him go.
Johnson - a fine season has led to a regular England spot and may yet lead to Liverpool.
Turner - the only Hull player to excel all season.
Jagielka - Just like teammate Lescott, proof that a player from the Championship can do well in the EPL.
Hangeland - A real revelation, esp. considering other clubs turned him down after trials. That said, a move to a different team, one not based on Hodgson's defensive drills, will show his real worth.
Fletcher - from bit-part player to big game starter.
Benayoun - Gerrard maybe irreplaceable, but the goat-like Israeli has done a pretty good job.
Palacios - Wigan were excellent before Xmas, poor after. Spurs the opposite. Palacios switched from Wigan to Spurs at Xmas.
Ireland - Robinho's season was better than some have portrayed, but Ireland upstaged him repeatedly.
Cole - Zola's influence has not only brought goals but also, amazingly, an England call-up.
Davies - his best season for Bolton by far.

Bench: Figueroa, Faye, Taylor, Bramble.
Manager: Tony Pulis.
Fans: Stoke.

TSB's 'I didn't know he was that bad' Team of the Season.

Gordon - still a decent keeper, but the high price tag seemed to get to him. Or maybe it was working under Keane.
Coloccini - shite, and in typical NUFC style, they paid top dollar for it.
Steven Taylor - if this is the future of England back line, they're fucked. The mobility of an articulated lorry.
Richards - if this is the future of England back line, they're fucked [perhaps]. He does have some real quality, and the fact he's a certified twat does cloud one's judgment. But Stevie Wonder on acid has better positional sense.
Downing - why the hell are so many clubs interested in him? He didn't score all season for fuck's sake.
Deco - A bit like eating a vindaloo curry: everything started really well, but all of a sudden things went downhill.
Bentley - DB, the new Bex. Maybe not.
Duff - moving from Chelsea to Newcastle sounded wrong at the time, but who knew it would be so wrong?
Owen - moving from Real to Newcastle sounded wrong at the time, but who knew it would be so wrong?
Adebayor - Wenger could well regret not cashing him in last summer.
Alves - not wanting to be outdone by their Geordie neighbours, Boro also managed to spend a fortune on a pile of poo.

Bench - Keane, Nani, Kitson
Manager - Ince/Southgate/Keane
Fans - Boro

Tracksuit Bottoms: Good Guy / Dickhead Teams of the Season

TSB's Good Guy Team of the Season:


Bench: Given, Bullard, Tugay, Johnson, Lawrence, Modric, Laursen, Essien
Manager: Zola/Hiddick/Hodgson
Fans: Stoke

TSB's Dickhead Team of the Season:

No Keeper [they don't deserve one]
Santa Cruz

Bench: Cruz, Cattermole, Zaki, Sturridge
Manager: Phil 'fuck me, I look like a twat with this thing in my ear' Brown
Chairman: Mike Ashley
Fans: AC Milan fans who jeered Maldini. OK, they're not in the EPL, but could they be bigger wankers?

Tracksuit Bottoms: Best 11, Worst 11

TSB's EPL Top Team of the Season:


Bench: Van der Sar, Boswinga, Lescott, Ferdinand, Young, Alonso
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Fans: Stoke

TSB's EPL Worst Team of the Season:


Bench: Bendtner, Silvestre, Bale, Nani
Manager: Adams/Ince/Ramos
Fans: Wigan

Tim Vickery in South America

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand might not look back at the Champions League final with much pleasure, but a glance at Manchester United's goals against column this season highlights the importance of a great centre-back pairing.

It was Brazil who invented this concept - dropping an extra player into the heart of the defence to create the back four. Their first World Cup-winning side in 1958 featured the classic contrasting pair of centre backs.

English Premier League: Rants, Zaki and TicTacs - the story of a rollercoaster football season

As 2008-09 draws to a close it is time to reflect upon the good, the bad, the tame and the lame...

English Premier League: Five best and worst signings of the season

3. Abdoulaye Faye (Stoke) - Tony Pulis made a number of canny signings this term, but the capture of Faye from Newcastle was arguably his most important. The 31-year-old brought strength and leadership to Stoke's defence and delivered a seemingly countless number of outstanding performances. How Newcastle could have done with him rather than Fabio Coloccini this year...


5. Ricardo Quaresma (Chelsea) - The Portuguese's spell in London is conspicuous by his complete lack of impact, and just edges out compatriot Deco. He may only have arrived on loan from Inter Milan, but he still seems a waste of money and you can only hope Chelsea put him to good use around the training ground or something. Maybe as an odd job man or a ballboy, anything to justify his presence at Stamford Bridge, because he certainly did nothing on the pitch.

The Rest

The Mill + ++

Monday's Rumours



Monday MLS Breakdown: The Missing Piece?

After watching his teammates stumble to start the season without him, New England forward Taylor Twellman returned to the lineup and sparked the Revolution's return to form in Saturday night's 2-1 win over D.C. United.'s Kyle McCarthy caught up with Twellman after the game to see how it went.