Who saw that coming?
No comment necessary. Enjoy!
We are finally down to 16 clubs in the Champions League. Some of these draws look to be very exciting and could go either way, while others promise to be a one-sided affair.
Who will advance? Who will win it all?
As expected, Josep “Pep” Guardiola has called it quits at Barcelona and will be leaving at the end of this season. What’s slightly different from what I expected is this year long hiatus. I expected him to go straight to Manchester United and replace Alex Ferguson, which could still happen next summer.
As we all know Alex Ferguson is an institution at Manchester United, someone who has led their team with amazing success since 1986 and his replacement (which is inevitable considering he is nearly 71) will have to be someone who has experience, knowledge, results and class – all of these qualities are possessed by Guardiola. On the other hand, as always, José Mourinho could be considered a contender for that position as well, but in my personal opinion he lacks class when compared to Guardiola which is equality important when selecting a replacement for Ferguson and the great Manchester United.
Guardiola is quoted as saying:
“I don’t have any energy left, I need to recharge. I need to recover the feeling that I had when I first started – time has taken its toll. I just don’t feel the same – Barca don’t deserve that. That’s all I’m going to say. I’m going with the understanding that I’ve done my duty, and I’m proud of everything I did. This club is an unstoppable force. My replacement will be very able, and will do his job marvelously.”
As he leaves Barcelona, Guardiola will be replaced by one of his long term assistants, Tito Vilanova.
Lazar Marković from FC Partizan Belgrade is an amazing talent and someone who will undoubtedly play for the largest European clubs in years to come.
Keep an eye on him as many big clubs have over the past year. Last month FC Barcelona called to wish him a happy 18th birthday – you think they are thinking of making an offer as early as this summer? 😉 Other teams who have shown interest thus far are Chelsea and Liverpool. Not a bad company to keep.
Sergio Ramos missed a penalty kick against Bayern Munich last night.
Now, we all know why.
By the way, this kid would be in serious trouble if he did this at an eastern European match (speaking from personal experience).
Champions League Final will be held on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany on Allianz Arena (home field of one of the finalists by the way). We now know that the 2012 UEFA Champions League finalists are Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Each of the teams have advanced to the final in slightly different fashions. Chelsea, with a lot of heart, textbook team defense (remember, defense wins championships) collective tireless effort and a bit of luck which was certainly needed to beat the raining champions and arguably the best team in the world, Barcelona. Bayern on the other hand, simply played better football and as such has advanced past Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
Now onto the part that bothers me and makes this final less than ideal. Due to archaic and nonsensical yellow cards rule both clubs will have players missing due to suspensions. Bayern will be missing David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo, while Chelsea will be without Branislav Ivanović, Raul Meireles, Ramires and John Terry. I among many others urge UEFA to change this rule and change it now (don’t wait until next year). Finals are considered “holidays of football” and as such millions of fans across the world deserve to see two BEST teams play with their BEST players. This should pertain to all of those players except John Terry whose idiotic, self-centered move nearly cost his team the final – for him I have no sympathy. Then again, who knows, he could have “helped” his team by not playing.
Either way, I’m looking forward to the final, one that will be won by Chelsea (2:1).
Cup competitions are generally known to surprise and enable less known teams to advance and win some trophies. However, this is not the case in England this season. This year’s finalists are two big clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Could this be the only trophy Chelsea wins this year as they have no shot in the English Premier League (EPL) and defeating Barcelona in the Champions League will be very difficult.
Summer transfer window is closed, lots of money was spent and here’s who was paid the most.
|1. Sergio Agüero
|(Atletico Madrid – Manchester City)
|2. Javier Pastore
|(Palermo – Paris Saint Germain)
|3. Radamel Falcao
|(Porto – Atletico Madrid)
|4. Fábio Coentrão
|(Benfica – Real Madrid)
|5. Cesc Fàbregas
|(Arsenal – Barcelona)
|6. Samir Nasri
|(Arsenal – Manchester City)
|7. Juan Mata
|(Valencia – Chelsea)
|8. Samuel Eto’o
|(Inter Milan – Anzhi Makhachkala)
|9. Alexis Sánchez
|(Udinese – Barcelona)
|10. Stewart Downing
|(Aston Villa – Liverpool)
Money well spent?
FC Barcelona wins the 2011 UEFA Super Cup by beating FC Porto 2:0 (Messi 39′ and Fabregas 88′). They are an amazing team and they have started another season with a trophy. Barcelona is definitely the team to beat in Europe this season again and I wonder who will do it.
This puts them one trophy behind the absolute leader of all time, AC Milan.