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and the NEW
I think Barca is stale alltogether actually. It was said at the end of last season, and thats why they bought in quiet a few new faces, from both the youth squad (Dos Santos and Bojan) and from abroad (Henry, Toure, Abidal), and apparently it worked, they were all very motivated at first! Though since, rumours are the team has been very demotivated at training! I honestly think its what happened to Real under their last president, where he would turn up and training and ask guys like Ronaldo and Zizou if they were ok and if they wanted anything. They were allowed to run the show and thats the case with Rijkaard! He just doesnt have the control in him, his too quiet and too soft in personality. While I admire that in people, I dont like it in a coach! He just doesnt lead whatsoever and lives off his own football reputation and close friend relationship with LaPorte!

Interesting about Deco, I have never heard that, though I have heard Ronnie is developing a big rift with Rijkaard and that the team openly admits there is a rift in the squad, apparently this is it from what I hear. Deco and Ronnie are also meant to be close, along with the other Brazilians on the squad and Messi also. Always with eachother for BBQs on the wkend and always playing computer games together. Interesting to hear. I think the rift needs to end and you need to get rid of one or the other! Just look at Arsenal this year, whilst not playing as attractively as last year I honestly beleive (last year, especially in the first half of the season, Arsenal played some STUNNING football), they are now all fighting for eachother! A real team! Much is the culture at Man United from what I hear, with everyone getting along great and the team spending many hours outside training together as a whole squad, including many dinners! Has to do a lot with the manager, just look at how loved Ferguson is, if he has a rift with a guy, Van Nistelrooy for example, he gets rid of them quick and proper, simple as that. It has to happen, one has to go!

Yeh, the Spanish La Liga is definately disappointing, though Real are playing a lot more attacking than last season, I will give them that! They have some great technical ability on the team also, guys like Real and Van Nistelrooy are seasoned veterans and technically proficient! They get the job done! Though they do lack charisma, pace and that sharp edge to their game! Whilst Robben and Robinho have been adding a lot of the missing spark from last season to the team this season!

Ballon Do'r went pretty much how I expected, well exactly how I expected! Kaka better enjoy it, because AC Milan aint winning anything this season, and you MUST win something to win the award! They looked TERRIBLE against Celtic until the last 10 minutes, where Kaka ripped them apart with his speed and timing of his passing! Cafu made a big difference to them, and he should still be starting for them! He is a living legend and still has great ability!

Man United looked blistering again, love their game, the most entertaining in the world at the moment I beleive. Ever since the very opening game of last season where if I remember correctly, Rooney and Ronaldo combined brilliantly to deliver a 5-1 romping of someone! Ronaldo once again looked like the best player on the planet! So much confidence (infact the whole team was trying to play like Ronaldo on Monday, though most of them couldnt pull it off obviously)!

Arsenal slaved to a win over Newcastle and this is what I expected to happen now Fabregas has been absent for a couple weeks, along with Hleb, who are their two best performers so far this season. Probably along with Adebayor, Toure and especially Almunia who has looked world class in goals! No wonder Lehman lost his spot! Sagna and Clichy are also having very nice seasons! Though Hleb and Fabregas really give them that attacking edge! All they really had yesterday was Adebayor and Rosicky trying to put it together. The goal from Adebayor was a class act however!

Onto the weekends matches, where Man United will enjoy a feast at home against Derby! The worst team Ive seen in the premiership in a while!

Oh and the club World Cup is coming up, where AC Milan will most likely play Boca, wonder if the South Americans can spoil the European clubs once again, as has become the trend in this competition! I dont think so, its hard to play on the counter against AC Milan and this is the usual way of most South American clubs in this competition against the European giants! Though, if Riquelme plays, we could see some individual magic!
The reason I have always disliked Real Madrid is because of their politics. It seems at Real its more about the glitz, glamour, money, and celebrity as opposed to the football. Before last season, Ronaldo, Zidane, and Beckham were all treated like celebrities, being catered to and getting special treatment. Then you have Raul who has not done much of anything at the world class level in quite some time continue to hold on to his spot, though he has shown some form this season. Guti is just a player I cannot stand. Never liked him. He acts like a child every time on the pitch, and if I watch a Real match one of the reasons is to see him get either sent off or fouled hard by opposing defenders. Cannavaro is another I cannot stand with his reckless play and arrogant attitude in the media. He's a fantastic player, though. Robinho has finally seen time that he should have been seeing a long time ago. Other than that, the only other Madridistas I like are Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas.

Rijkaard I feel is just a pushover. He pretty much lets the guys do what they want because he wants everything nice and easy with as little problem as possible. I guess based on the pure talent that Barca has, they can get away with it. However, now that Ronaldinho is being benched in favor of guys like Dos Santos, and with the season not going quite as expected, period, I could see the rifts finally boiling over. I don't blame any of them for wanting to stay. They're all treated like royalty in Barca, and they have the most star studded squad possibly in the history of Spanish football. I sense an overall lack of hunger and complacency within the club. They've been the best for so long, and dominated for so long and it seems that neither Real Madrid or Valencia really rose to the challenge this season to keep them hungry. Real are more attacking, but they still have some problems. Valencia are just in turmoil with no end in sight at the moment. And Sevilla who may have played the most beautiful football of last season, have been a disappointment thus far. No team has stepped up either to rekindle the fighting spirit of Barca, and I don't think that helps them. Even in the Champions League, teams like Lyon and AC Milan are not quite as strong as they were last season. Man United has also had their share of problems despite being a top team in Europe along with Chelsea whom after the firing of Mourinho are not the same. The strongest squads are Arsenal, Inter, and Liverpool IMO. I think 1 of those 3 are going to win the Champions League.

I can't see Ronaldinho leaving honestly. He IS Barcelona if we just want to cut to the chase. If anybody is going to, it will be Rijkaard. Deco I think will leave in the Summer, and I think Eto'o and Henry's futures at the club could be determined by how well they bounce back from injury. Samuel Eto'o, man... I'm still waiting for this to become the player he was in the 2005/2006 season where he edged out Villa for the Pichichi with 26 goals in the season. I hope that these recent injuries aren't the beginning of his fall. Thierry Henry... All I can ask is what happened to the player of 2 seasons ago???... His drop in form has been shocking to say the least. Ronnie, Eto'o, and Messi continue to defend him and say he is in fine form and as good as he's ever been and while they see more of him than any of us do, I just can't get over the seemingly apparent drop in pace. Can't beat defenders anymore, mis times his runs, has trouble staying onsides, the missed opportunites. Hell, its like he just disappeared. I can't see both of those guys on the same team together for too long, honestly. There is an overload of stars and the chemistry is just not there. Yes they're winning and they're still in the hunt for La Liga but the more I look at it, its difficult for me to see them winning anything now this year. I think they'll finish either 2nd or 3rd in La Liga, and they'll probably go to the 2nd round of the Champions League before losing.

Wouldn't say its a crisis because these aren't things that can't be fixed. But I think that teams like Villareal, Atletico, and Espanyol are taking over where Barcelona, Valencia, and Sevilla were last season. Barca will finish in the top 4 for sure, but they're gonna have to really FIGHT if they want to get any hardware this season.

Valencia is going down plain and simple. There is no desire there, and it all starts with the owner, who is more interested in a new stadium than he is bringing the right talent to the team. Valencia will be lucky to finish top 10 this year. And its so sad to see from a club with so much history and pride. What has it become... So sad.

and the NEW
Yeh a lot of politics at Real. Though, buying Zidane was a GREAT buy for them, he was one of the very best to every grace the sport! A living legend I beleive! Beckham was overrated and Ronaldo has the ability to score still, but lacks that 'phenomenon' ability that he once had! He probably had more potential than any other player on the planet if he could remain fit and healthy! Unlucky for him!

I agree on the rest of the Madrid analysis, though I beleive Cannavaro has always been overrated! Never liked him! He just played with good defenders around him and is way too reckless. Now that Madrid has holes, he is being exposed! Not to mention, from his WC performance, it was obvious a lot was luck!

I think Chelsea has looked just as good without Mourinho, very similar in most games. Tough, solid structure and get the job done, after the first couple weeks of settling into life without Mourinho was over!

Rijkaard is a pushover and I dont think they needed another team to play great football, I think they themselves just lack inspiration and that is a lot to do with the fact that Rijkaard is a pushover and that they were rated so highly that it went to their heads. They still think they just have to turn up to win, it is obvious! Pizzes me off!

Valencia are really going to struggle! January approaching, lets hope they get out there in the mix!

I still think Barcelona can win both the Champions League and La Liga (maybe Im just bias), but I cant see them finishing anywhere below 3rd in La Liga and think they will make at least the quarters in the Champions League (unless they draw Arsenal or Liverpool, who can beat any team on their day, both those matchups will come down to the wire).

I cant pick a favourite for the Champs League this season, but I think its between Barca, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Inter. Dont think anyone else can win it, even AC Milan and Real Madrid, just too inconsistent! The others like Porto, Roma, Sevilla could do ok, but I wouldnt call them a favourite.

QUOTE(PR316 @ Dec 6 2007, 10:47 AM) [snapback]368690[/snapback]
Thierry Henry... All I can ask is what happened to the player of 2 seasons ago???... His drop in form has been shocking to say the least. Ronnie, Eto'o, and Messi continue to defend him and say he is in fine form and as good as he's ever been and while they see more of him than any of us do, I just can't get over the seemingly apparent drop in pace. Can't beat defenders anymore, mis times his runs, has trouble staying onsides, the missed opportunites. Hell, its like he just disappeared. I can't see both of those guys on the same team together for too long, honestly. There is an overload of stars and the chemistry is just not there. Yes they're winning and they're still in the hunt for La Liga but the more I look at it, its difficult for me to see them winning anything now this year. I think they'll finish either 2nd or 3rd in La Liga, and they'll probably go to the 2nd round of the Champions League before losing.

Barcelona newspaper columnists believe Arsenal are laughing at their club over the summer sale of Thierry Henry.

Henry joined Barca for £16.1m on a four-year contract in July having missed five months of the 2006-07 season with back trouble. A related injury left him unable to face Espanyol last weekend and initial reports said that he would be out of action "indefinitely".

The Guardian says Catalan columnists have been biting in their criticism, describing Henry's signing as a "huge con" and "massive error". The newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, recalling that Arsene Wenger had made £30m on the sales of Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars to Barcelona, said: "Arsenal must be laughing themselves hoarse."

I'll never count Barca out totally. There is still alot of time left between now and June. But something is not there. And that something is "chemistry." Of course complacency has come over the club as well, and now we have internal bickering. I guess Rijkaard must feel that Ronaldinho has just shown poor form this season because he has benched him inexplicably. I could understand if the guy is either exhausted from international duties, coming off any type of injury, minor or major, or just not at full fitness. But I don't get it because I don't think Ronaldinho is necessarily showing poor form. I just think that the team is not comfortable as a whole. A number reasons for that I can name, but it happens. Teams are marking them tighter now and basically just suffocating the flanks due to Deco not being there to provide the threat down the middle. But thats no reason to bench your star player. I think Barca will finish near the top, but if they're to win a trophy this season, I think they're going to have to turn it up big time. Their form is good, but the consistency is not quite there yet, and in the Champions League, it will be more difficult this year than last year's I believe.

Henry is seems to just be past it. His last great season was 2 years ago. I believe he scored 27 goals that year for Arsenal. On the subject of Ronaldo that ATN spoke of, I think "El Fenomeno's" fall has been due to his party lifestyle that he lead at Madrid. He allowed himself to get out of shape and began training less and less frequently with the team. I'm no fan of Fabio Capello, but I believe him when he said that Ronaldo would show up late to training, hungover, and was often unable to complete the sessions due to being out of condition. And we don't need to be geniuses to know that didn't help him with dealing with the injuries better. I think Ronaldo may well be the best striker of the past 10 or so years, but he lost his commitment and desire for football.

Which brings me to the World Cup of 2006 when the whole Brazil squad were believed to be "the greatest team of all time". You know what, they may well be in terms of pure talent. But I saw a lack of hunger and desire. The commitment was not there. They didn't want to work hard, and the way the team was assembled was not good. I think they played Ronnie on the left wing a couple of times and that is NOT his position, for he is too withdrawn from goal there, and he isn't a pure crosser. Weird stuff I saw from the Brazilian team, and throw in the rumors of intense partying and lackadaiscal training sessions and you have insult to injury.

Valencia need to buy a good center back at a decent price. In a perfect world, I would get rid of Helguera and Albelda. They probably won't be bought by any other club, so I would send them both to the reserves squad and never allow them to wear the Valencia colors on any pitch again. Hopefully enough dead wood can be weeded out to make room for a possible big transfer in the name of Van Der Vaart.

However, there is a problem. While Van Der Vaart wants to come, and Koeman is doing what he can to bring him, there are 2 potential roadblocks.

1- Juan Soler- He has shown in recent times his reluctance to show the cash. He's more concerned about his new stadium and has balked at paying the right amount of money for players like Lucho Gonzalez, Kim Kallstrom, Wesley Sneijder, and of course he balked at paying Jose Mourinho the 6 million he was asking for to take over Valencia. Never mind that Soler is a billionare who has more than enough money to do what he wants, but he seems to know nothing about football and nothing on how to build a team.

2- Barcelona- This is actually Van Der Vaarts' "dream club". And despite their sometimes weird politics, one thing Barca NEVER FAILS to do is show the right amount of money to bring in whomever they want. True, there is no room at the moment for Van Der Vaart, but if any of the big stars in Barca leave, this opens them up to bring in a player like Van Der Vaart.

So I think this could be a problem. But we won't know until next season.
and the NEW
Ronnie is nowhere near bad form for me. He has still scored equal goals to Henry (second most for the team this season) and hasnt played half the matches! He has set goals up and been the guy who provided that cross off his right foot that curls over the backs to Messi who comes down the right and then sets Henry up a couple of times! Those crosses of Ronnies truly unlock defences! Other than Messi, he has been the second best on the squad this season so far! Rijkaard is forgetting who got him to where he is today!

I think Ronnie is good out on the left, he usually plays there for Barca also, though he does drift also, not just a pure left winger! Brazil played him deep, they were trying to use him to distribute, like Deco, Zidane, Pirlo do. Ronnie is a creator, not a distributor.

Ronaldo did get lazy, but he had 4 years PLAGUED by injuries, which really killed his motivation! His first injury at Inter, he was out for 5 months and came back super motivated. In his first game back for Inter, he made a BRILLIANT run and then after 5 minutes back crumbled to the ground as he had tore a ligament or something to that effect in his knee. He was then out for around another year! This knee has plagued him since he was a teenager at PSV! Poor guy, I really feel sorry for him, he was perhaps going to be the greatest player of all time! Though, who knows, he might have lost motivation anyways, but that is all the ifs that are part of life!

I beleive Barcelona might be an impedement to Van Der Vaart, if Deco leaves, they will probably buy him (assuming they dont get Lampard, which I doubt they will!). Barcelona are probably the biggest problem for Valencia at the moment. I think they are getting desperate and Soler will HAVE to shell out the cash!

Mayweather V Hatton tomorrow, I can barely wait!!!!!!!!

Oh and you are right PR, Barca are really just missing Chemistry! They look lost at the moment as the structure keeps changing! Though, Eto'o looks like he might return off the bench against Deportivo, apparently him and Ronnie have been CARVING up in training! Looks like we might get back to the Barca of old afterall! Just hope Rijkaard plays Ronnie and Eto'o together, they are the best attacking duo in world football without a shadow of a doubt!

and the NEW
Oh and on another note, not sure how much you have seen of Alexandre Pato "the duck", but he is a very good talent.

Watch the part when he runs it bouncing on his shoulder and begins and ends it with flicking it on the outside of his foot, I remember this from last year very clearly! Incredible peice of skill!

He will be with Milan in January, should be interesting to see if he starts and I dont see no reason why not! He has a lot more talent than Inzaghe (who does get the job done in Europe, but is not a prolific scorer by any account) who appears their first choice striker at the moment along with Kaka! Will be good to watch him develop, he is still just a baby in the football world! But in Brazil, the news on this guy is HUGE! They cant get enough of him! He is apprently the heir to the football throne and their best young prodigy to come out of Brazil in a while!
Yeah that Alexandre Pato looks good. I've been hearing a lot about him for some time now but these "next big things" coming out of Brazil are ten a penny. Time will tell how good is.

Great day today....Man Utd 4 Derby 1, topped off by Reading 3 Liverpool 1.

United took a while to break Derby down but were predictably too good in the end, although Ronaldo should hang his head for his dive in the final minutes to win the penalty. We hate diving over here, even if they play for our club. Thats 8 straight home wins in the league now.
Rafael Benitez will never win the premier league. He has no idea and it makes me laugh when I see people suggest they are going to be one of the contenders for the title. They won't. This league is between United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
I hate diving too, Maxy. But Ronaldo is one of my favorite players in the game today. I LOVE watching him burn defenders with his pace.

Diving is just one of those things that will never stop. Its up to the refs to determine this however. They're the ones responsible for all the little things. Its not easy I would think. I think in the heat of it, its hard to determine who dives and who doesn't, and who is offsides and who is not.

Valencia are playing the worst football in Spain at the moment but aren't alone in that regard. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla have all not been as good as expected. Difference is, both Barca and Real are in contention for the title at the moment, while Sevilla and Valencia continue their tailspin into turmoil with seemingly no end in sight. Meanwhile, teams like Villareal, Espanyol, and Atletico Madrid have all been playing pretty good football. I'm so frustrated not just with Valencia, but with the Spanish league as a whole this season. The quality in football is so bad this year.

In Germany there is some good football being played at the moment I must say. Bayern, Bremen, and Hamburg along with others are playing some good stuff. Haven't kept up with Italy but I know that Inter is a powerhouse and one of the best teams in the world and are favorites for the Champions League.

I'll check back later, fellas.
QUOTE(Fitz @ Dec 8 2007, 08:00 PM) [snapback]369126[/snapback]
I was watching the Man U and Derby game last night as well. I support Man U, but Ronaldo goes down for anything and everything and then shakes his head if he doesn't get a free kick. He is always expecting it.
Also Tevez had 2 fucking goals to his name and Ronaldo wins a penalty in like the 90th minute. Wouldn't the cool thing to do is give your team mate the chance at the hat-trick? After all, the game was wrapped up. He should have given the penalty to Tevez. Ronaldo is a gun and if not the best player in the world, one of the best and plays for Man U, but he still kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Its probably a load of bollocks but people keep saying that Ronaldo and Tevez don't get on. I think Tevez deserved to take that penalty, even though the penalty itself wasn't deserved. Then again, its swings and roundabouts cos last week against Fulham Ronaldo definitely deserved a penalty. At least it didn't affect the result because that would have left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Arsenal looked dire today, the worst I have seen them play in ages. Its been a good weekend for United and I'm already buzzing about next weeks games when Chelsea visit Arsenal and we play the scummy scousers at Anfield!
Come on United!!!
Arsenal looked lackluster but they couldn't keep that level of play up forever. They had to lose sometime for sure. They're definitely favorites for the Premiership title still, and I think Man United, Chelsea, and Liverpool will all compete well for it through the end of the season. There's really good football being played in England this season and at a very high level. That will be a fun race to watch to the end no matter whom lifts the crown. Top quality we are seeing this season in England and thus far its looking like it will go on this way to the end.

Barcelona looked good against Deportivo, while Madrid barely got by Bilbao. Sevilla, Valencia, and Zaragoza still struggle and continue to disappoint, though Sevilla beat Murcia. Espanyol, Atletico, and Villareal are playing very well, though Villareal shockingly lost to Betis. Spanish football is such a disappointment this year. With all the talent in La Liga, the matches themselves for the most part are boring. Lots of talents on all of the squads all in the top 10 and many of those teams seemingly are clueless on how to use it. Unbelievable.

Valencia head to the England shores to take on Chelsea at the Bridge. I think they'll get crushed even if Chelsea play all their backups. You just can't win with a lack of confidence. They couldn't beat Chelsea at home, so there is no reason to believe they'll beat them now. As far as I'm concerned, Valencia's season is over and there is no possible way they can turn it around. I honestly wouldn't blame them if they didn't show up. They're just going to get humiliated and that won't do any good for their fragile psych at this moment. They want a UEFA Cup spot but even that is going to be tough for them to get.

Then this coming Saturday, they welcome Barcelona at home. What a horrible mismatch that will be.
and the NEW
Yeh, Barca looked very good! Though yet again, some defensive lapses! Sylvinho prooved once again he is not the best back out there and only good at going forward and crossing! He stood off and let Deporvito have that free shot at goal and then they had to work hard all match to get back in it! Ronnie played very well, Messi had a bit of an off night! Was FANTASTIC to see Eto'o back and Deco distributed well also! Good time for them all to be back, running into the knockout phase of the Champs League soon! Hope they can stay fit, if they can, Barca have a great chance of lifting one of the two major trophies on offer! Now Eto'o is back, I hope Henry gets benched, this will leave Ronaldinho, Eto'o and Messi out there, who all work great with eachother and are all potent threats in their own right!

What a squad when they are complete! No idea why Marquez was on either. With Valdez in goals, Abidal, Milito, Puyol and Zambrotta in the backs, Deco, Toure, Xavi (or Iniesta) in the mids, and Ronaldinho, Messi and Eto'o upfront, you have one SCARY team!!!!

Big games next week! Very very important!

Oh and Chelsea looked ordinary again, though was great to see Scheva get a goal to his name! He looked so happy afterwards!

Real played like trash again and scraped past thanks to Van Nistelrooys class! Weird to see him score a good goal for once! ha ha

I think Arsenal have been playing bad lately full-stop! This season they havent been as entertaining as the same point last season! They are just more complete this season and working harder! For some reason, Im starting to think its a one horse race to the title this year, Man United just has too much depth over the course of a season! They are going to be very hard to beat!

Didnt get to see Man United V Derby unfortunately!

Oh hate to say it also PR, but Im sure glad Barca are hitting Valencia now! Though the big one is really the Madrid match, that is 6 points right there that match!
The only danger for Barca in their next 2 fixtures against Real and Valencia is their occasional tendency to have a let down after a very good performance. But Valencia cannot hang their hat on that. The players particularly guys like Villa, Vicente, and Joaquin are CONFIDENCE GUYS.. Confidence is everything with these guys and when they're not feeling it, they don't play well, either individually or as a team. Valencia are just going to have to fight HARD. This isn't an issue over who is the coach. These guys just need to be injected with a team pride and confidence. They need to approach it as warriors and just bite down. Players like Vicente and Villa are known for that during a bad spell, they just redouble their efforts and keep on. But its a team thing. The boys just have to stand up and fight, and decide that they're going to at least try for a top 5 finish. The last couple of matches they have looked uninspired and lacking in that real hunger to demonstrate that they can come back from a crisis. They go to London to face Chelsea in the CL and if they want a UEFA Cup spot, they NEED to win, and hope that Shalke loses to Rosenborg. Chelsea may play their back ups due to them already having qualified, but Valencia need to show heart and make a real statement now. If they're going to head back to La Mestalla with any chance of beating a somewhat sleeping giant like Barcelona, then they need a good confidence booster, simple as that.

Barcelona is an awesome squad. Ronaldinho was once again criticized for his performance by alot of people but I don't understand it. He dictated alot and linked play very well I felt and provided some nice balls. And he even fought a little on defense, which he is always criticized for not doing. If anything, Leo Messi is the one who has cooled off and not performed at the high level he is still receiving so much praise for doing. Eto'o is back and he just needs a string of matches behind him now and of course avoid injury. Rijkaard recently said that he believes Henry could be on the pitch at the same time with Ronnie, Eto'o, and Messi. Thats gonna be tough accomidating them all.

Maxy, my friend this one right here is for you. Curious to see if you feel that this list is good.

And for you And the New, I'd like to see what you think about this one and if you agree with it or not.

and the NEW
Saw Madrid DOMINATE Lazio as expected, Lazio are overrated, and even though Madrid are not playing great, they put on a fine performance! Robben looked dangerous as usual, Van Nistelrooy and Raul are saving Real, they are looking menacing together! Robinho always also dangerous and Sergio Ramos probably their best player along with Casillas!

Also saw Liverpool look their DOMINATE selves against Marseille, they are such an incredible team in the Champs League, probably explains why they have won it 5 times (I beleive). They again, will probably be hard to beat in the knockout stages, they just turn up the intensity incredibly, and it was great to see Benitez actually play a VERY GOOD squad in a very good formation! No idea why he doesnt leave it like it is now. All he needs to do is sometimes change around say Sissoko or Alonso for Mascherano in the centres, and then maybe Babel for either Benayoun or Kewell on the wing. Kuyt and Torres work well upfront, and the backline picks itself! If he only stopped rotating the squad completely and just changing players if one tires (he now has cover throughout the midfield and forward line), but just leave the guys in their natural position for gods sake!

If there is one team I hope Barca dont draw in the round of 16, its Liverpool! Though, Arsenal would still be bad! Any of the other 6 will most probably be relatively easy!

Valencia is out of the UEFA Cup also, glad to see Schalke make it through to the knockout stages, they are much better than Rosenberg! Chelsea drew Valencia, though I read it was pretty one sided?

Ronnie played well I think, Messi was giving away easy balls. Eto'o looks like he will fit in very nicely! Cant wait to see how he will play the quartet all together, though I would bench Henry. He is not upto their quality anymore, sad to say.

As for the Dinho goals, 10 was a great free kick, similar to the one Zidane put on England in the Euro. 9 was against Chelsea, but other than that, it was nothing special. 8, spectacular, probably his 2nd best goal ever. 7, never forget that standing ovation, very good goal! 6, against a rubbish team, though it was a good goal, not one of his very best. 5, a great free kick, but again, Ive seen better. 4, his BEST goal of all-time, love how he played the one-two, then chipped the next guy, fainted the third guy, and then calmly slotted it past the keeper! Absolute BRILLIANCE!!!!! 3, a rocket, off his left foot is even more special. 2, great great bomb of a shot, one of his best, considering he ran the whole field just about and beat two guys on the way. 1, I think he miscontrolled the chest in the first place, and then improvised and got a bit lucky. Definately not one of his greatest goals. They are also missing a couple from him for Brazil, one where he chipps it over one guy, outside of the foot to control it and drills it in, the other he does the 360 turn to get through, rounds another guy I think and then slots it home.

I will now watch the Ronaldo clip just for fun!

Onto tonights matches of the Champs League! Hope Eto'o and Ronnie play together, though the match dont mean much!

Here is one of my all-time favourite goals! Not just the technique and ability of the left foot strike, but the occassion! Sensational!
PR316, I always find it difficult putting a list like this in an order I'd prefer. They were all good goals, but I got to admit I enjoy watching him score in our shirt rather than the Portugal strip. I liked that chip....was he playing for Lisbon then? Being the type of player he is, he's always going to score eye catching goals and I'm pretty sure that one day he'll score the sort of goal that has the whole world talking.

I'm interested to know who you think is the best young player in the world right now? I think Ronaldo is worthy of that title but Fabregas and Messi both have strong shouts also. Maradona recently said he thinks Wayne Rooney is the best but even though I rate Rooney highly, I don't think you could put him above the aforementioned 3. I've got high hopes for Anderson. I'm amazed by how quickly he has settled here and his all round play convinces me that we have found a gem of a player. In the recent Arsenal-United game, Anderson actually outshone Fabregas in the centre of the park!

Reports coming out of Spain continue to link Ronaldinho with a move to the Premier League. Despite Barca's denials I think there is a very strong chance we'll see him over here. If he doesn't sign a new contract his valuation will drop so Barca need to sell him if they are to get anywhere near his true value. Chelsea seem the most likely destination although Man Utd have also been linked with him again in recent days. Apparently he would prefer a move to Utd over Chelsea...can't blame him for that, I mean, Utd are far and away the bigger more prestigious club! We don't need him though. David Villa has also been linked with a move over here. Has he been playing as well this season for Valencia? His agent said, "He will not move in January, but everything can happen next summer. He will study every offer from the clubs who will come to discuss with us and we never know what can happen. The player is committed and focused on Valencia in order to help them bounce back for the moment and I will not tell if we are in contact with another club. We consider Valencia to be a great club with whom David is under contract until 2013. Of course Fernando Torres is a good example of a Spanish striker who has quickly adapted to English football. But they are two different players and Torres was convinced his football corresponded to this league. Villa is a different player who can settle in Italy and England as well."

That chip was a brilliant shot. I watch Ronaldo run with the ball and the pace is just BLISTERING!!... He definitely has a bomb of a shot on him. He definitely scores spectacular goals. Number 9 was a KILLER strike. I remember watching that match and jumping off the couch when that happened. It all was so fast that I couldn't believe it. The bicycle kick was BRILLIANT. Truly mesmerizing stuff. I believe that chip he scored he was still playing for Lisbon at the time. One of the best players in the world for sure. Arguably the best winger. Only Joaquin and Vicente when on form I believe can compare.

As for the Ronaldinho goals, my favorite is number 7, his 2nd goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeau. For one, I always love seeing Real get humiliated. Also because to me its vintage Ronaldinho; running at defenders at full speed, with perfect precision and ball control, not knowing if he is going to pass or take the shot himself. Top class. Number 3 in which he scored with his left foot is probably my 2nd favorite goal Ronnie has ever scored. Just tremendous stuff that proves that Ronaldinho is lethal with either foot. The number 1 goal was a nice bicycle kick but I guess he did get a little lucky with the chest control and the keeper wasn't in exactly classical position. But it was class no matter how we look at it.

To answer your question Maxy, to me RIGHT NOW, the best young player is Cesc Fabregas. I think he has as of now, 6 goals and 6 assists. But what does it for me is that he is getting it done on the defensive end as well. He is doing it all at a very high level and its scary to think how good he can become. Of course we got Lionel Messi who is class, though he has levelled off a bit as of late. Probably because Ronaldinho is getting back to form and thus demanding the ball more. But Messi is one guy who will possibly one day be called the best player in the world for a long time if he is able to avoid major injury. Anderson also has lots of potential to be great. He is a special talent thats for sure and he held his own with Fabregas, as you pointed out. Wayne Rooney now??... A very good striker. But I wouldn't rate him top class yet. When we discuss pure strikers, I think that belongs to Ibrahimovic, Eto'o, Villa, and Torres. Torres in particular has elevated his game I feel the past 2 seasons to warrant the praise.

As for the Villa rumors, anything is possible. It may well be time for him to consider a move. I know that Jose Mourinho tried like hell to bring him to Chelsea last season and it looked for a while like it was going to happen. I also am aware that Man United at one point was very interested in his services though I'm not sure what the status on that is now. In truth United does not need him, but if either Rooney or Tevez was to leave for some reason, Villa would fit in rather nicely. He has pace to burn, can score with either foot, has a high workrate, and is lethal on set pieces. He'd fit in at Chelsea too. He would give them a burst of pace that they seem to lack. He could also fit in at either Arsenal or Liverpool. Arsenal in particular if they ever decide to let go of either Van Persie or Adebayor, Villa would be a nice fit there. Perfect for his style of play are teams like that.
Now do I really want him to go??... In all seriousness, no. But he's been abandoned a bit by the fans and media at the club. He's not playing at his absolute BEST, but he still has 4 goals and 1 assist, in La Liga, and 3 goals in the Champions League. And lets keep in mind that he has dealt with some minor injuries this season, along with missing another game for getting red carded. So he's not playing bad. He's just a bit out of form right now. But if a move he is to make, then he deserves the best possible team. Difficult to see Valencia letting him go to Barcelona unless if the offer the club makes for him would be absolutely UNBELIEVABLE. I wouldn't want him to go to Italy, honestly. If he moves, I'd rather him go to England and only to a TOP English club. Totteham is NOT IT... I would hate to see him go there. If he goes to one of the big 4, then so be it. Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Liverpool would be a great move for him. In Spain, if he was to leave Valencia, I would only like to see him do it for either Barcelona or Sevilla. No other club.

Ronaldinho now is always being linked with a move here and there. In truth, life is rather difficult for him in Barca at the moment. But Ronnie has always dug down in the situations and just upped his level of play. There's always criticism for him no matter what. But if he was to make a move, I keep hearing either Chelsea or AC Milan. I honestly don't think he'll leave. If anyone off loads, it will be either Deco, Eto'o, or Henry. One or more of those 3 will be gone I think in the Summer.

and the NEW
Any of you guys know when the Champions League round of 16 is drawn?

Heres hoping for a Barca V Olympiacos draw! AC Milan V Liverpool! Arsenal V Inter! I want those 2 Italian sides OUT! No big cups for Italy for at least a couple years!

Just watched the Barca game also, good display by them, PR you must be just shattered with whats happening? One of the comentators was saying, how can Koeman "stop the rot"? Just made me think, that is really what is happening, they appear to just be rotting away! I cannot beleive what has happened to them, while I have been watching them occassinoally, this really hit home, after watching all Barca V Valencia encounters (which are always close), but this was just a mismatch! They looked AWEFUL! Astounding, I dont think Ive ever seen such a dominant team in world football, end up like this! I mean last season, they gave Inter, Barca and Chelsea all they could handle! This season, they are not going to have a chance against any side like that!

On another note, WTF is up with Rijkaard (even Tommy Smith, the most random guy in world football, was saying he cannot beleive the decisions Barca are making, that its the weirdest decisions his ever seen himself)! I mean they are lucky Eto'o is back, because Frank the fukcing idiot left both Deco AND Ronaldinho on the bench AGAIN, after a great Champions League performance!!!!. WTF do they have to do? Even Gudjonson was on the park, then Messi got injured (hope its not serious) and he bought Dos Santos on, WTF...............? Then Bojan came on, I mean come on, 17 year old kids over Deco and Ronaldinho? I hope to fukc they leave Barca now, go to the same club, and then draw Barca in the Champions League and fukcing punish Rijkaards azz severely! LaPorta is just as bad and said Barca will keep Rijkaard as coach as long as he wants to stay!!!! Its hard, because LaPorta has bought Barca where they are today (but you cannot forget both Ronaldinho and Deco who bought them here also and are still CRITICAL to their success)! Its definately the strong friendship with LaPorta over business sense keeping Rijkaard there! They are lucky they played Valencia in a state of chaos, because in that second half they looked horrible (though Messi and Eto'o looked brilliant in the first half, nobody else stood out and definately didnt earn a spot infront of both Deco and Ronnie)!

Though I must say, Barca is not Barca without Eto'o on the field, in his last two games, he has just cemented my thoughts on him, best pure striker in world football, second to none, and its not even close!!!!

Oh, and on another note, just read Messi is injured (that is HORRIBLE news for Barca), and he will DEFINATELY be out for Madrid! That is absolutely terrible news! They really need him, if Ronnie doesnt get on the park now, they really have NO great playmakers! With none of these guys on the park, Barca look very very ordinary! Nobody for Eto'o to link up with either! Rijkaard better play Ronnie with Eto'o against Real Madrid, or Barca are in for a very tough night at the office! This match is absolutely CRITICAL! If Real win, it could put them clear by 7 points, a very comfortable gap! So disappointed Messi isnt playing against Real, I guess all I can hope for now is that he is back and fit very soon, before the start of next years fixtures!
and the NEW
As far as yesterdays games, Real Madrid looked their usual selves, get the job done! And I think they are actually improving! They have a lot of technical skill on that team, and its starting to gel now! Need Van Nistelrooy to get injured, Madrid has not been injury hit in years!

AC Milan and Boca was a very close game, though Kaka was the difference, too good! The score did not represent the game!

Liverpool V Man United made me laugh, each played a PACKED team, probably each of their best lineups! Stars all over the place from every corner of the world!!!! I think Liverpool deserved at least a draw, and created more chances in a physical, quick, hard game! I think they also deserved the win! Though, Ronaldos pass to Rooney was the best peice of skill all game, and should have been put away!!!! God Liverpool are going to be a tough draw in the Champs League! Ronaldo didnt do much other than that one flash of brilliance!

Arsenal V Chelsea was ONE SIDED to say the least! Arsenal dominated them! Just way too good technical skills, and should have been a lot easier than 1-0! Adebayor was SKINNING Ferreira, and Van Persie missed a few sitters, along with Fabregas!

PR, we said if Fabregas and Hleb get injured it will spell BIG TROUBLE for Arsenal, and it did! Though, they are both back now, and they should be in the title race if they can remain healthy! Though, over the course of the season, I stay with my pick of Man United, just too much depth, way too much depth! Chelsea looked ordinary, though at least Scheva is looking better! Might come out of his shell without Drogba there! Joe Cole was surprisingly quiet, and Chec stuffed up on that goal!

Break from football until the weekend! Hopefully Ronnie is played and Barca can beat Madrid without Messi!
I knew what was going to happen, so I just sat back and enjoyed the genius that is Samuel Eto'o. Played like the top striker in the world indeed and can be number 1 again like he was 2 years ago so long as he avoids injury. You guys are definitely a different team on the field with him on the pitch. Messi is out for a month I hear and thats brutal but we'll see. Barcelona did what they had to do against an inept team that is poor form and lacking in confidence. On to El Classico for you guys, though I read that Ronnie may not be played again. Apparentley, there is a rift going on. Ronnie supposedly showed up to training and didn't take part in a few exercises and supposedly was punished by Rijkaard, and its the reason believed to have caused the benching of Ronaldinho against Valencia. It seems you guys have a few problems but your at least winning. Might not win any hardware this season but I anticipate nothing less than a 3rd place finish. You guys are still a great club no matter what happens this season.

I hate to say this, but Valencia are headed for relegation at this point. The bottom half teams are not too many points behind. Its sad. The players don't even care anymore. Koeman has done some stupid things too with the formation that hasn't helped, like playing Villa a winger and moving Vicente to the right wing, and playing Silva as a number 10. The defense is just in shambles, with Miguel declining as a player, Moretti past his prime, Helguera getting owned, and Albiol doing the work all by himself. I just don't think the team is even trying. Word is that David Villa wants to be sold in the Summer, and more could follow. Ronald Koeman IS NOT the man for this club it seems. He has the talent at his disposal, but he leaves them on the bench too. The season cannot end soon enough. And with a Champions League spot out of reach, injuries piling up, and more internal dissent by the day, I think the best that can be achieved would be a top 15 finish. Fan attendance is way down(And yet the fat fuck Soler is talking about a new stadium). That right there is enough to tell me that the team's President DOES NOT care. I'm starting to wonder if I should care anymore either. I mean, we sack Quique Sanchez Flores, then the organization PROMISES Jose Mourinho to the team and fans, brings in Ronald Koeman, and the team looks WORSE than ever. I don't know. I don't know whats gonna happen at this point.

In other news, Kaka recently stated he wants to stay at AC Milan. Though I still think Real Madrid could bring him over. But from the looks of it, no. Real seems set to go for Van der Vaart in the Summer.

Arsenal's chances at a title depend on how they handle injury. If they could make it through this spell and maintain their top level, they'll be in it to the end. Man United however looked good in beating Liverpool and that sends a strong message. Maxy's team should definitely win it the season in the end, with Arsenal being close the whole time. Anything could happen though.

Not sure about the CL draw. HAven't paid as much attention for obvious reasons but I will get to that. Whomever wins it between Arsenal, Barcelona, or Man United, I'll be happy with. This all involves a fair amount of luck too, though.
Really delighted to beat Liverpool at Anfield AGAIN. Benitez hasn't beaten Ferguson yet and that win yesterday means we have won 5 of the last 6 games there, the other being a draw. Also we equalled Evertons 97 year old record of keeping 4 clean sheets against the scum in a row. Marvellous. It was a scrappy tense game, as is always the case in this fixture, but we never looked in any trouble. Rio and Vidic must be magicians because Torres disappeared in the second half....completely marked him out of the game. Yes, Liverpool had more possession but our game plan there is to play on the counter attack. It worked a treat and signals the end of Liverpools premier league hopes for another season.

The champions league draw is on Friday this week btw.
Even if Liverpool would have beaten you guys, I still think they won't win the title. I don't think Benitez is the problem. I just think that team is too inconsistent. They have alot of talent, for sure. But Man United has their number.

and the NEW
Yeh, this Friday it is! Will be very very interesting! A couple of teams are going to be VERY unlucky to draw Arsenal and Liverpool!

I think Benitez is the problem at Liverpool, he has some solid players and cover for most positions, if he plays the team he played against Man United, every week, only rotating when need be, and rotating players into their preferred position (I mean playing Voronin on the wing, come on, when you have the likes of Kewell, Benayoun and Babel)! Torres and Gerrard should NEVER be rotated if possible, similar to Rooney and Lampard.

I think if Barca loose the Clasico, there goes their season hopes! We need at least a draw!

I also dont think Valencia will slip that far behind, they will finish mid table I beleive, with their talent, they are sure to turn things around at some point! They just have to keep the talent in their squad, and not sell guys like Villa in the summer. Cant see them being relegated!

I just read Kaka won FIFA World Player of the Year, Messi second and Ronaldo third! Thought it was meant to be on Friday.........weird.........
Well things continue to tailspin in Valencia though this may not be so bad. Koeman has told Albelda and Canizares to basically pack their bags and find another team. Shocking huh??... Don't get me wrong, Albelda needs to go. Our so called "captain" cost us big in the CL match vs Shalke with his idiotic tackle which lead him to read, and his continous non effort on the field really needs to be called on. Should have ousted him this past Summer, really. Canizares I have mixed feelings on. He's still a crack of a keeper despite his dumb mistakes in recent weeks and if he had some help from his defense, maybe we wouldn't be in this position. But thats whats happening it seems.

Benitez may well be on the way out. I would sure love for him to come back to Valencia, but of course I'd rather have Mourinho than him. But Liverpool is a club that will finish in the top 4 just based on their talent.

If Barca wins El Classico, that IMO is a HUGE boost for Spanish football this year. At least 1 team will then begin to seperate themselves from the pack. I'll be pissed if Ronaldinho is benched again too. Its getting a little ridiculous now.

Kaka now stating that he wants to stay at AC Milan forever really throws me off. I really thought he wanted to come to Real Madrid. But with that in mind, that opens the door for Real to go for Van Der Vaart or a similar player.
and the NEW
Yeh, interesting news on Ronnie! Definately something going on there, and I dont think its possible he is there next season. I think we might see he and Deco go! Though, Messi would be shattered if that happens and Barca may spiral downwards! But there is no way Ronnie will become like Riquelme, no way on earth!

Read that about Albelda and Canizares, though I dont mind the latter. He is still a good keeper, as good as Victor Valdez, yet somehow he still gets his place, and then Zambrotta sits on the bench! Rijkaard is really a nob!

You guys really do need a coach who teaches structure, cause your all over the place at the moment! Odd, because that is what Valencia is known for! Imagine Chelsea or Liverpool all of a sudden becoming really open and defensless! Weird, especially considering Flores was still there! Benitez or Mourinho, even Lippi, would be ideal for Valencia! Who knows, Mourinho may still be an option if he doesnt get any other big offers!

If Barca win El Classico, the season is back on! Will only be a point difference then, which is far better to see! I mean, this Premier League season is killing that of last season! All 4 teams still in with a shout, and the attacking teams doing the best! Remember in Italy several years back, most teams didnt even get past the 50s goals a season scored, even the Champions, that is disgraceful! Shows the defensive style of play!

I think Kaka is fresh after his win at the World Club Championships! Though, AC Milan arent winning Serie A anytime in the next couple years, and I honestly think they are a LONG SHOT at winning the Champions League (they are just not looking good going forward, and their defence has holes). You cannot rely simply on Kaka, and think that other than him and some Inzaghe scraps, Seedorf is their next most potent attacker! I mean come on, Seedorf is not a goal scorer whatsoever! Even less than Deco! I honestly beleive Milan are riding off that one night against Man United, and a whole lot of luck through the rest of the Champions League (though they did look good at times, against Bayern Munich for example, but then again, last year they were trash). If Kaka cant win titles and he wont this year, I think he may start looking for another club! To win individual honours, you pretty much have to win titles also! And those two things are what his after!
More bad news. David Villa has all but made it public that he wants OUT of Valencia, either this January or next Summer. He has reportedly clashed with Juan Soler over contract issues and issues with the team. Villa has not SAID anything, but his agent has all but laid it out that Villa is unhappy and wants to be transferred as soon as possible. Such a sad state for a once prestigious club to be in. The losing is one thing, but now it looks like all the internal dissent has started to boil over and is beginning to implode. The club is being destroyed inside out and it appears that almost nobody wants to be there. This is rock bottom. I can't see how they can bounce back from all this now. This has turned into a joke. Valencia are now officialy the bitch of European football. Can't blame Villa for wanting to leave. Valencia has to be a miserable place to play for now.

Apparently, Fenerbace have now put themselves out for an offer to bring Ronaldo out of AC Milan. Apparentley, AC Milan is tired of catering to Ronaldo. He apparentley is used to being treated like royalty like he was at Real Madrid and its not happening at AC, along with the fact that the club has lost their patience with his injuries.

Ronaldinho, man. What is going on??... Is Frank Rijkaard serious??... I mean, come on!!!.... My God, all thats needed now is that Ronnie makes it public that he too wants to leave his club. I wouldn't blame him if he does, especially if he is benched yet again.

I need a break from football, now. This is too much.
Breaking news emanating from Brazil has confirmed that São Paulo FC will be an interim club for Inter striker Adriano as the centre-forward has been allowed to sign a loan agreement with the Brazilian champions that will see him play the Copa Libertadores (Liberators' Cup) and return to the Italian giants for the 2008-9 season...

I think this signals the end of Adriano at an elite European club unless he can rediscover his form back in his homeland. Such a talented player, it's strange how his star has dwindled.

Valencia's hopes of landing John Arne Riise have been hit by the news the defender wants to stay with Liverpool. The Norway international, by his own admission, has not had the best of seasons to date and it was thought if Valencia made a big enough offer Liverpool may be tempted to sell.

Valencia manager Ronald Koeman has made the left-sided defender his top target and is ready to test Rafa Benitez's resolve by launching a £4million move for the 27-year-old's signature.

Koeman, who left PSV to join Valencia last month, said: "He is a player with experience and would offer some options for our game."

However, Riise has ruled out a move when saying: "I will stay here. Look at the games I've played, the boss would never have let me play those games if he didn't have confidence in me."

What do you think of the news linking David Bentley with a move to Valencia?
I don't know, honestly. Even if our needs are filled now, their such a black cloud over this club that whats really needed is a good manager who can fix them up. Our defense is bad, and our midfield too. I honestly think that the end of the season cannot come soon enough for us.

Alot of people say that Riise is a terrible player and would be badly exposed in La Liga but I'm not sure about that. He isn't playing great now, thats for sure.

Bentley is an interesting option. But who knows now. The organization has really let the fans down these past couple of years and its blowing up in our face now.
and the NEW
Angulo, Canizares and Albelda are now all out in the rain! Definately internal issues going on here! The experienced, Valencia faithful obviously in a power struggle with Koeman I think, similar to what happened with Riquelme, and whats now happening with Deco and especially Ronaldinho, with the President (as usual) siding with the coach!

But Valencia really need a STRONG coach, because I agree with you, after this latest news, they are really starting to implode! They are rotting from the inside out and they could become a HUGE loss for Spanish football, absolutely incredible! If Villa leaves, they are in deep, deep trouble!

Bentley played well last season and this season so far. An interesting buy, but isnt he really just a winger? I have seen him play some great balls in the centre of the park, but generally he sits on the right wing, and Valencia already have enough wingers. Its really backs, a couple of centre mids and really another striker that they need! With the centre mids being the most crucial, assuming they can get their structure together which will add to their defensive woes! But as PR did ages ago, Im starting to loose hope, especially in Koeman! I think he needs to go already, not the man for the job, he is trying to make them play a different game alltogether than what they are used too, and its not working whatsoever!

I actually think Riise is a very very good player, he is quick, very strong and defends well. He also pushes up nicely down the wing and can crack some goals! He would be a good buy for Valencia.

Fenerbache, not surprising they are going for Ronaldo, they LOVE their Brazilians! Its practically a team of Brazilians! Though, they have surprised me this Champions League and might cause some round of 16 troubles I think! They matched it with Inter in the group stages!

Yeh, I also read about Adriano to Sao Paulo, I think its good for him, he needs game time to really get the passion for the game back! If his partying continues, I think it destroys his career and he never makes it back to an elite club! Either way, since we dont see him anyways anymore, it doesnt really bother me. 6 months to proove himself, might be a very important time!

As for Ronnie, Rijkaard is a fukin n*b!!!!!!! Zambrotta and Ronnie on the bench, I just hope he is not dumb enough to keep leaving Deco as a sub also! Ronnie has been benched like half the season, and his still the second top scorer for Barca!!! Oh, and that is a bad season! Too much bad press on Ronnie, when he is really not having a bad season. Same as last season, 21 goals, 8 assits in like 31 outings? Nearly won the golden boot award in La Liga, if thats a bad season, Id hate to see him regain "form"..........? Not to mention, 8 assists, though not high for Ronnie, would still be one of the highest in La Liga last year! No doubt they keep playing Henry when he comes back, even though he is wasting numerous balls! I am just thanking god Eto'o is back now, or Barca would be bound for some shocking results! They have the dream team, and yet they are playing ordinary lineups, much like Rafa does at Liverpool! Thats why I love Ferguson and why I respected Mourinho, at least they can spot the great players, and play them week in and week out! Then they just rotate the rest of the squad around them!

Oh and one other thing I have to mention, though Sevilla are not having a great season, LUIS FABIANO!!! What a player he is developing into! Makes great runs now, works hard, has the pace, finish and GREAT dribbling control! At this moment in time, he is one of the very best strikers in the world!

Just read the draws, very very interesting to see my hope came absolutely true!!! ha ha ha.

Inter Milan Vs Liverpool - this one is the game of the round of 16 I beleive. I think Liverpool will take it! Down to the wire.

AC Milan Vs Arsenal - AC Milan are not at their best, so long as Arsenal are healthy, they go through! Down to the wire.

Barcelona Vs Celtic - Barca easily.

Man United Vs Lyon - Man United, close, but United are too strong.

Chelsea Vs Olympiacos - Chelsea easily.

Real Madrid Vs Roma - could be very very close. I have to go with Madrid, they have more quality.

Porto Vs Schalke - Porto in a close game, too much speed and technical skill for Schalke.

Sevilla Vs Fenerbahce - this will be interesting! Though I think Sevilla should make it through.

Who do you guys pick PR and Maxy?

Only real upsets I can see are Fenerbahce over Sevilla and Roma over Madrid. Dont think it will be an upset if Liverpool or Arsenal win, both teams are as quality as their Italian counterparts.
Celtic - Barca; I think this one will be tight in the first game but Barca will prove too good at home.

Lyon - United; Got to be wary of Benzema, Juninho and Govou but should do enough to go through.

Shalke - Porto; Porto are clear favourites for me in this one.

Liverpool - Inter; I'll never pick Liverpool for anything. I hate the scum. Besides, I think Inter are better.

Roma - Real Madrid; Wasn't impressed by Roma at all vs Utd. I expect Madrid to go through comfortably.

Arsenal - AC Milan; Arsenal can win this one easily as long as their nerve holds. Milan are past it as a force.

Olympiacos - Chelsea; Chelsea get the easiest tie. Typical!

Fenerbache - Sevilla; Probably the most difficult to pick but I expect Sevilla to be too strong over two legs.

Karim Benzema is one of the most highly regarded young strikers in Europe at the minute so it'll be good to see how we deal with him. As long as we are on form we should beat Lyon....but I'll dread it everytime they have a freekick anywhere near the box...that Juninho fellow is awesome from 35 yards in!

Barca vs Celtic- Barca comfortably. Only internal dissent can keep Barca from going far in any tournament this season.

Man United vs Lyon- United clearly. Lyon are good, but United have too much quality.

Porto vs Shalke- Porto easily. Shalke are TERRIBLE. The fact that Valencia couldn't beat them shows how inept they are.

Liverpool vs Inter- Tough one. But Inter are stronger I feel this season. Hardest one too call. Inter in a close one.

Real Madrid vs Roma- Real will go through in ugly and unimpressive fashion.

Arsenal vs AC Milan- Arsenal!!!... Too much quality in attack and the midfield to go with their improved defense. Milan will be humiliated. Bank on it.

Chelsea vs Olympiacos- Chelsea very easy. Too strong and experienced and too much quality.

Fenerbache vs Sevilla- The 2nd hardest to decide. Sevilla are bad form this season. I'll say Fenerbache in a close one.
and the NEW
Maxy, what do you think of Manucho who Man United just signed? I have to admit, I havent seen a THING of him, not even on ManUTV in training! I hear though he is a tall, strong guy, so I imagine a bit like Adebayor (who Man United previously tried to get I beleive).

Also, Ill tell you who I think is a great young talent, look out for Ben Arfa, he is also only 20, and has some great vision! He could cause some big problems should he play! Juninho is still a very good talent, even at his age. Very subtle the things he does, though, his free kick is spectacular, like Ronnie, if he gets one in range, its always heart in mouth time!

Liverpool V Inter is the one we are split upon! I think its the intensity and ferocity Liverpool play with in these sort of games that will get them out. Too much pressure, good structure, will end up squeeking past Inter, who though are a good team, are still to impress me the way they have done for so many others! Though, Zlatan is always the very big danger man! Some GREAT matchups to come out of this round! I will be watching pretty much all of them!
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Dec 21 2007, 08:42 PM) [snapback]371710[/snapback]
Maxy, what do you think of Manucho who Man United just signed? I have to admit, I havent seen a THING of him, not even on ManUTV in training! I hear though he is a tall, strong guy, so I imagine a bit like Adebayor (who Man United previously tried to get I beleive).

Also, Ill tell you who I think is a great young talent, look out for Ben Arfa, he is also only 20, and has some great vision! He could cause some big problems should he play! Juninho is still a very good talent, even at his age. Very subtle the things he does, though, his free kick is spectacular, like Ronnie, if he gets one in range, its always heart in mouth time!

I've seen a bit of Ben Arfa but not enough to make a judgement. He's been massively hyped in France at the minute but personally I think Jeremy Toulalan looks a better player overall (although of course they play in different positions) from the games I have seen. Benzema is the main threat but I'm very confident that Rio and Vidic can deal with him. They are a fantastic partnership right now.

Not sure what to make of this Manucho signing. He's 24 so he's not exactly a kid and it strikes me as strange that nobody has heard of him. Is he good? There is no footage of him on youtube, I've never seen him play for Angola. Guess I'll have to trust Fergie's judgement as they recently had him on a 3 week trial, so he must have done something to impress. I mean, last season we had Freddy Adu on trial and didn't follow it up so...

Anyway Manucho can't be any worse than the laughable Dong can he? If he's like Adebayor I would be happy, and yes, we did approach him a while ago but he's obviously very happy at Arsenal. However, Ferguson did say Manucho is unlikely to play for us this season and may even be going on loan to someone like Sporting Lisbon so it's a strange one and hardly inspiring. I worry that if we lose either Tevez or Rooney to injury we will struggle up front because Saha isn't reliable and it doesn't look like we will sign anyone else in January. Berbatov would be great, although he's too expensive and Benzema, if he's as good as I think he is, will probably be going to Arsenal at the end of the season.
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Ferguson might just be trying to make a bit of cash out of Manucho, buy him cheap, loan him to a decent club, if he impresses, he can sell him for a handy profit.

Rio and Vidic are the best centre back pairing in the world at the moment I beleive. Great, great players! Even outperforming Terry and Carvalho (or Alex) when they have played together this season. Toure and Gallas are playing well together however. Carragher sadly, has to work alone.

I think Saha is a very very good striker. I would be happy to have him at Barca! His quick, strong, skillful, direct. He had a BRILLIANT last season, and was outperforming Rooney while he was fit I beleive. His had a very patchy season this one, barely playing, and when he did he looked rusty. I dont think it looked like a lack of heart (as you did Maxy), I think he just looked poor on the ball, due to a lack of playing. Who knows, maybe he wants out, to play somewhere he will get a starting position. He even played for France last WC, so I dont think he would have trouble making it to another big club.

As far as Benzema, I dont think he is that great, just in a patch of form right now (so I hope he doesnt go to Arsenal, but I may be wrong)! What surprises me, is that Wenger is playing Hleb upfront while Van Persie is injured, while he has very good strikers on the bench!

PR, did Valencia draw Zaragoza? The match is on right now, says its final, but it has two different scores up, it has 2-0 Zaragoza and 2-2. Which one was right?

The mess at Barca is FULL BLOWN now! Ronnie apparently had a HUGE arguement with Rijkaard at training, infront of fans! Deco came out and said he wants Mourinho there instead! They are both probably going to be benched in the Clasico! Like Valencia, internal matters are destroying Barca! (Though, at the demanding Barca, that is a problem throughout history)!!!!

Its quiet simple now, either Rijkaard has to go, or both Deco and Ronnie have to go! I personally would rather see Mourinho come and them keep these two, who along with Eto'o, made Barca what they are today! I mean really, with a full strength team, and Messi on the right instead of Guily (as was when they won two consecutive La Ligas and the Champs League), HOW THE FUKC CAN YOU GO WRONG? Rijkaard HAS to go! If they offload Deco and Ronnie in favour of Rijkaard, the Camp Nou faithful (including myself) are in for some DARK DARK days and LaPorte will never be forgiven! If he is such a ruthless businessman as he is said to be, he will put the club before his personal ties to the side and get rid of Rijkaard, a man who is ruining his relationships with the absolute cream of his crop!

Oh, I also watched Arsenal look ordinary beating Tottenham (who looked a lot more structured and patient under Ramos), and Liverpool DOMINATE Portsmouth. Rafa playing a very good side for the third time in a row, which was great to see, lets hope it remains!!!! Torres the standout once more for me, and Fabregas his usual self controlling the action V Tottenham! Though I think Hleb is still a very big standing for that team, he played extremelly well! Definately a better play up the centre, than on the wing! I really hope Arsenal brings in out and out wingers more than anything, as they really have NONE at the moment. Playing guys like Hleb, Eboue and Rosicky out there, when at least Hleb and Rosicky do their best work in the centre of the park!

Just read it was definatley a draw for Valencia, a fightback from 2-0 down! At least they have scored for the first time in 7 games! Plus, at least they picked up a point, and Zaragoza aint the worst team! I also read Valencia looked pretty good in the game, more to do with the keeper making errors, bad decision to drop Canizares!
So pissed that Real beat Barca. I HATE the scum that is Real Madrid. Always will. They always get lucky. Barca however should have finished some of the chances they created. They definitely were a bit "off". Ronaldinho getting whistled at by the fans in Camp Nou and the criticism is getting worse. Now more and more people are suggesting he is past his prime and can't beat defenders anymore but thats nonsense. I think he's lacking in confidence right now I think. The club is getting by on its talent as of now. Time will tell if the internal issues will take this club down out of the top 4.

Valencia drew 2-2 against Zaragoza and didn't look horrible. But funny how it wasn't until Koeman was red carded and sent off that they started to play. Overall, the timing is perfect for the holidays. Even though the club needed to bench Albelda, getting rid of him the way they did was heartbreaking. Koeman is a nut with no honor. Guys like Albelda, Canizares, and Angulo may be old and not what they once were, but they didn't deserve this. Not this way. Albelda was DEVASTATED, as he was left humiliated in front of the media explaining to them how he feels about all this. Vicente, Villa, Fernandes, and Miguel are also "rebels" in the eyes of Koeman who may be on the way out. Koeman is the Fabio Capello of this year, only difference is that Real Madrid has a president who knows what he's doing unlike Valencia who has a president that is apparentley clueless about football. Overall, its still a sad time for the time and if Koeman stays on board, it will be an even sadder Summer.

Arsenal are getting it done without much style, but they'll need to get as many cheap wins as they can so that when they do hit form, they'll be in the race to the end against Man United.
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FUKCING PISSED OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Real do this every single time, scrap a win! Barca had more chances, just could not finish! I actually thought Ronnie was probably the standout of Barca, he created a nice chance when he fainted and went to the line and cut it back! He skinned Ramos a couple of times and Ramos is no slouch!

Eto'o did the disappearing act after Cannavaro chopped him down enough in his usual roughhouse junk! Iniesta tried hard but couldnt make much difference! Wish Messi was fit, trust Real to hit Barca without Messi!

I think the title race is all over! Real are looking solid at the back, I really think Pepe was a WONDERFUL buy for them! Robinho and Robben had a couple of moments between them!

Interesting to see Rijkaard give in and play both Ronnie and Deco, but I hope they both leave Barca either in January or in June, its just time, they dont deserve the rubbish that Barca currently is behind the scenes (Im really starting to get sick to death of it myself, Catalans are really fukcs sometimes, arrogant, rude, and loyal to their own regardless of how crap they are (Valdez) fukcs!! Makes you wonder how so many wonderful players, from Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Maradona, Rivaldo move there, do wonders for the club, only to be caught up in politics and end up gone. Barca and their crap is starting to wear very thin on me! You never see this kind of crap at Man United and usually not at Arsenal either (until that short patch at the start of the season). They keep their brilliant players for most of their careers and allow the coach (who are both great coaches), full control over their rosters.

Ronnie should move to the Premier League, it would suit him, he would be quicker than most guys there and would love the flowing football over there! Deco might as well join him, he would be a great distributor for any team!

Man United got lucky yesterday, thanks to an AWEFUL, STUPID tackle by Everton on Giggs! There was no need to take him down, he was not even in a dangerous position! Though, Ronaldo scored a screamer of a goal, cemented my opinion of him as currently the best player in the world!

Now gonna go watch the Chelsea replay!

Oh, and those Valencia old boys definately didnt deserve what happened, though I doubt Koeman had much choice, they were probably disrupting things behind the scenes. Its either him or them as far as he is concerned, which is probably true. Too bad the president doesnt realise he should be the one going! The coach should gel and earn the respect of his players, not have to be a dictator!

As for Ronnie, I think he is confident in himself and isnt quiet at top form, but still a much better player than most in the world, he could start for any club out there, Catalans just like to drive their best away and keep their locals in the squad. They will pay for it with two consecutive seasons without a trophy!

Oh and another thing, WTF is Marquez still doing in the centre backs, he single handidly gave away that goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In Spain it seems more than in England, the big clubs(The rich ones in other words) there is always alot of politics. With Real Madrid, for starters, we recently talked about the special treatment that Ronaldo, Beckham, and Zizou would get, often getting to take off practice sessions, being catered to as if they were movie stars, the big fat contracts, etc.. Beckham in particular was rubbish for quite some time and still held on to his spot, taking every single free kick, every corner, every penalty. Always hated that about Beckham. Cannavro I hate because of his usual dirty play that he always gets away with, and we saw some of that against Eto'o last night. In truth, Casillas made some awesome saves, and Pepe was all over the place. Wish Valencia had a defender like that.

In Valencia, Rafa Benitez left because Juan Soler didn't want him there. Talk about one of the biggest WTF decisions in all of football. Soler kept Quique on for a long time and only fired him when it damn near appeared that the fans would burn down La Mestalla or something. Then to cover his own ass, he says that Koeman is "acting alone" in all what is going on, then Koeman says it was either "them or me". This is why Valencia are always below Real and Barca. Those other two clubs at least KNOW FOOTBALL and when it comes down to it, spend the cash that they have to in order to bring the fans what they want or the team what it needs. Juan Soler is a billionaire, and about the 700th most richest person in the world, and refused to bring Mourinho over to Valencia because Mourinho wanted 6 million a year, and full control of all transfers in and out of the club. Its fucking JOSE MOURINHO!!!!.... Talk about a President who knows nothing about the sport. I personally hope that Villa leaves. He deserves better. Hopefully somebody like Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United, or Chelsea make a generous bid. Valencia should cash out on him because his is unhappy. Vicente and Joaquin too. They've been trashed by the Valencian media and the fans are turning on them. Its probably time for a move, UNLESS there is a good remodeling that occurs over the Summer for Valencia.

Barcelona are defined by the tight relationship of Laporta and Rijkaard seemingly. Part of the rift I hear, is a strong rumor that Ronaldinho is dating Rijkaard's daughter. Not certain of the accuracy because Spain is always into that type of gossip. Barcelona have always had politics, but the winning has kept the club together from falling apart. Barca has been the best in Europe for a good amount of time. And there is more than enough money to keep a team together that have the type of caliber players they have. And most of all, a President willing to spend the necessary money in keeping the big stars on the team. In all seriousness, what Ronaldinho needs is a move. Its time. AC Milan and Chelsea have been on the prowl for the likes of Ronnie, Villa, and Deco for quite some time now. Chelsea are a bit tight but if Drogba leaves in the Summer(Seems likely from speaking to a Chelsea fan), then Chelsea would definitely jump on that. Of course if Arsenal ever parts ways with either Hleb, Rosicky, or Van Persie, that could be an option. If the club can no longer get the best out of Ronnie, then its time for him to pack his bags.

BTW, check out this disgraceful display towards Ronnie as he left for Brazil on vacation from Barcelona fans after the last night's game.
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Yeh, its rediculous Soler got rid of Rafa! I heard it was a dispute over the players he wanted to bring in at the time? Either way, Rafa had tremendous success in Spain, what was it, two Champions League finals and won La Liga, or was he there in 2001-02 also, cant remember now, feels so long ago?

I agree though, Spain has a LOT of politics, I really dispise it sometimes! The fans are so damn demanding over there, its incredible! So frustrating!

Also, I agree in that Casillas possibly saved Madrid in the Barca game, he made some great saves. Really was just him and Pepe who won them that game! Oh and Marquez serious lack of pace and defensive ability!

Becks taking all the free kicks really frustrated me, when they had Zizou right there who was brilliant at them himself! Even Roberto Carlos (who was RUBBISH at them, but had power and only scored a spectacular free kick against France) got to take more than Zizou.

I couldnt make out most of that in the cilp, as I only have very limited Spanish (only spent 6 months in Mexico and barely learnt a thing, actually studied French while i was there, ha ha). Plus have only been to Spain briefly. Was all that noise them yelling abuse? If so, I would not bother going back if I was Ronnie. The amount of success he bought them, not to mention, their "business plan" mainly revolved around Ronnie bringing in more fans than any other club in the World currently, is what has given them their current war chest. So they are lucky they will sell him for a lot (god I wish he could do to them what he did to Gremio and leave on a very small transfer), so they will have plenty of cash to buy up big if they want! I keep hearing they are after Fabregas, who wants to go back to Barca.

Arsenal has a HUGE amount of surplus funds now, no idea why they didnt buy Ribery (they need wingers), but Ronnie would be a perfect buy, along with Villa. Who knows, we might see Wenger swoop in and surprise everyone on some of these loose guys at the moment. He sure needs too if he is going to compete with Man U over the rest of the season! We have already seen what injures to either Fabregas or Hleb can do (Rosicky will be just as big loss), and they only have two strikers scoring all their goals. Adebayor and Van Persie are their main scoring threats, so they could do with Villa.

Dont know about the Ronnie and Rijkaards daughter gossip, from what I know, Ronnie doesnt like having girlfriends (nor does his Mother let him), he says he just likes to bang them (weird to hear a superstar openly admit it) and some of the girls he has banged that I know of are STUNNERS! Not sure if Rijkaards daughter is quiet on the same level! But Ronnie is a horn dog from what I hear, so I wouldnt put it past him! ha ha

Merry Xmas also boys! Im off to a family lunch to play the beautiful game in a yard with my futsal ball! Should be fun!
I'm fluent in Spanish so I'll translate some stuff. One of the fans seemed to scream "Puto" which means bitch, and I thought I caught one scream "Ronaldinho, vete ya", which means "Ronaldinho, get out of here now!"... Mostly it was abuse. Really fickle fans in Spain, particularly those of either of the big 3 clubs. Fans basically CHEERED Robinho and when Ronnie gets out, he gets ripped on. Disgraceful. He's headed for Brazil on vacation. He'll probably reflect a good deal and maybe face up to the fact that it may indeed be time for a move. You can see it on his face. The man is really devastated. A city and club he gave so much to and now because of 1 loss, he gets turned on. It gets me because last year with an injury ridden Barca, Ronnie not only lead the team in goals, but also nobody on that team assisted more goals than him. They say that he lacks the hunger and desire of 2 years ago, and that he's past it, can't dribble, can't beat defenders anymore and I'm just like "ARE THESE PEOPLE SERIOUS"??.... Ronnie was the heart and soul of this club last year and basically WILLED them to a 2nd place finish that would have been 1st had Marquez, Puyol, Zambrotta, and Thuram actually DEFENDED well late in the games, and lets not forget the Valdez blunders either. Tragic really. Such a great player does not deserve that.

Arsenal has alot of money now. They could make a big move for either a Ronaldinho or a David Villa, but...... I don't know what Wenger would feel about that. He's got his squad and he might not want to risk altering any chemistry. But I think that Arsenal lack a little pace in the attack. Villa would be perfect here because he brings plenty. And since they have more strength in the backline now, they could also play with an attacking midfielder like a Ronaldinho. Van Persie is injury prone, and he's more of a 2nd striker, and Adebayor is a player I like, but I don't see him being very fast and his first touch is kind of dysmal to me and Eduardo is decent but nothing spectacular. But he's very clinical in front of goal and a good "fox in the box" type striker who works hard in there to be in position. Either Villa or Ronnie however would provide a more direct, pacey attack up the middle that may be the final piece Arsenal would need to reign supreme in England for some time to come. I would love to see either guy go there and see what they could do for that club. Anything is possible in football.

Chelsea may look to buy up big too, though. Drogba may go, and Chelsea has always struggled in my eyes to create chances on goal. I think for sure that they'll be on the market. Maybe they'll look to make a big bid on somebody in June.

Liverpool for obvious reasons would look to make a big bid. They're overloaded on strikers though, so I think that its more likely that Ronnie could possibly be lured there.

AC Milan is in need of a consistent striker, so they could possibly use a David Villa, whom of course would have the likes of Kaka providing some through balls, though I don't like AC Milan as a club that much. Ronaldo is apparentley going to leave and its a shame he failed there. I keep hearing them being linked with Ronaldinho though so who knows. They would definitely have the money to lure him there if thats where Ronnie wanted to go.

Don't know details about Ronnie and Rijkaard's daughter, and we all know not to read too much into tabloids. But there's an apparent rift between coach and player and it appears to me to be a little more than just football. Something else is going on IMO. Maybe just maybe Rijkaard knows that Ronnie doesn't want to play for Barca anymore.

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Yeh, I dont get all the Ronnie is past it junk, he is no doubt not at his PEAK, but he was still the best player on Barca last season and this season probably only second behind Messi (who is in a purple patch and a future legend of the sport anyways). Nothing wrong with that. Barca fans are just not appreciative sometimes! But I guess the only one who has escaped that curse, is Cryuft, though I beleive he only one 1 La Liga for Barca as a player.

As for Arsenal, Im just not sure Wenger would cough up the cash for big players, he never seems too! Barely remember a time when he has bought a world class player, he tries to get those cheap, gifted guys who have not been spotted yet. Like he did with Hleb, Rosicky, Fabregas, even Henry who was not playing well in Italy. Doesnt really go for big names at big clubs (except his trade for Gallas). Missing out on Ribery was CRIMINAL, with all that cash, he should have got him! He is the successor for Zizou in France.

Though, Arsenal could really do with a wide player (Ronnie) and a forward (Villa), so I hope Wenger coughs up sometime soon! He needs to give his side more depth if they are going to compete over the long haul.

I think Adebayor is QUICK, he skins defenders all the time, has a decent touch and works damn hard! Always looking to make runs! I think this season at least, he has developed into a fine striker, and last season he was still pretty solid! Van Persie is too injury prone at the moment! Though, I really like what Arsenal has developed into. Now they have Gallas and Toure in the centres, Sagna was a great buy, a very solid right back, and they dont miss Cole whatsoever, Clichy has developed into one of the best left backs in the word! Great and shutting down those quick wingers, though Lennon got him a couple times in the Tottenham game.

Chelsea HAS to buy forwards! Kalou is not an out and out goal scorer, Sheva is looking in a bit better form, Pizzaro isnt a top notch striker and Drogba looks likely to leave (Ive been hearing Lyon and Barca?). Their number one target is said to be Anelka, who would be a GREAT buy I beleive!

Not to mention, keep hearing over and over again, Berbatov to Man United. Interesting speculation! Hope AC Milan play Pato when he comes in January, his skill is great to watch, though luckily for him the Italian league isnt super quick, cause he appears to lack that dynamite pace!
Looking more and more like 2 of our favorite players will indeed be making big moves by the intense increase in reports.

This has really been tumultuous. Spanish football this season has really hit a LOW... So much has happened...

1- Antonio Puerta's death.
2- Battle of the TV networks
3- Managers from major clubs being let go
4- Internal bickering amongst 2 of the big clubs
5- Fans turning on their once favorite idols.

I don't know, man. So sad because I have always ADORED La Liga. Don't get me wrong, I love the Premier League, but La Liga is what I always anticipated, even if it wasn't Valencia. It could have been Barcelona, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Real Madrid(Even if it was just to watch them lose), or Espanyol. Now it seems my precious league along with my team has taken a turn for the worse and it seems like there's no end in sight at the moment.

I know I shouldn't complain too much during the holiday season but stuff like this is indeed very sad.

I just pray that these two guys move to winning teams, preferably in England if its no longer possible to continue in Spain.
According to reports from Spanish newspaper ‘Marca’, either Ronaldinho or Frank Rijkaard will soon be leaving the club. After watching the footage posted by PR316 I've got to conclude that Ronaldinho will be the man to go...but where? Surely he can't stay after being disrespected so badly by his so called fans, or at least the fans of the club he plays for. I'm thinking that maybe they will both be on their way, possibly in January but I'm really intrigued to know who will sign Ronaldinho.

There has been a lot of talk about him going to either Milan or Chelsea...Chelsea, surely, is the only English club who'll take him. Arsenal won't be interested, I'm 100% certain of that, Liverpool can't afford him and Man Utd simply don't need him. So it boils down to Chelsea or Milan. Would Milan want him? Flamengo are apparently making moves to sign Ronaldo, who is clearly past it so would Milan want to bring another high profile Brazilian to the club for an extortionate fee as a replacement? I'm not sure. For me Chelsea remain favourites if they want him.

Man Utd won 4-0 today at Sunderland. Although the result was predictable it was a great performance considering we were able to rest Tevez, Giggs, Evra, Hargreaves and Anderson, plus make do without the injured Van der Sar. Rooney, Saha (2) and Ronaldo with an exquisite free kick got the goals today. Now I'm hoping Arsenal slip up away at Portsmouth!
Just saw the Arsenal/Portsmouth game. It was rather dull in the first half, but the 2nd half was exciting. But man, Arsenal are struggling to create chances lately. I don't know if its because they're missing RVP, but the attack definitely is lacking the sharpness of earlier this season. Maybe more reason to suggest the need for another scoring threat either in R10 or Villa. Adebayor looked off. Poor touch, and poor passes. Fabregas controlled but found nothing. Perhaps their best player was Rosicky who created some nice opportunities and got a little unlucky. Tough break as they fall down behind Man United now by 2 points I believe.

Man United are just class through and through. They're probably gonna win it all in the end. Very consistent all around squad who can afford to rest 1st teamers and still dominate. The more we get into the season, the more difficult it looks for Arsenal to be able to catch them. Man United just have more depth and thats the major difference betweent the two clubs.

Ronaldinho just needs a bit of a revive. There's no inspiration at Barca right now. Lots of talent but no purpose. I could see it very easy to become complacent there. Thats still no excuse for the ridiculous fan abuse he is getting in Barcelona, but I guess it is what it is. Ronnie could revive his career at...

Chelsea- They could use a playmaker that could bring in that direct attack down the center. And of course if they can convince Drogba to stay and possibly reel in el Guaje himself, David Villa, then you form arguably the most dangerous attack in England and one of the best in all of Europe. Fans of Barca would be gutted to see him rip defenses apart which he would if he joined Chelsea who are a more attacking team now.

Man United- They probably don't need him, but the great SAF would definitely bring him back to his best if Ronnie came. Sorry Maxy my friend, but I have come to the conclusion that Ole Giggsy's time is up. The work ethic and professionalism are there, but the pace and flare are gone. He could still play a role within the team but I think Ronnie would fit in rather nicely on the left side.

Arsenal- For reasons already stated. Have doubts about Wenger spending the cash but if he did, it would be a great buy for the Gunners.

Clubs he should avoid IMO...

AC Milan- This club has gone to shit. They're living off past glory, and all they do is sign up washed up legends and then fail to get the best out of them anyway. Sure their midfield is loaded and we can't deny that, but they have a joke of a defense, and no flare in the attack. Plus the organization as a whole has gone into a hell hole and thats the last thing Ronnie needs if he's to leave Barca.

Real Madrid- Though it would be a good slap back at Barca, Ronnie has too much class to stoop that low. Plus we would see some riots in Spain IMO.

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PR, it is sad to see hey! Spanish football, not quiet as bad as Seria A though, are being washed down the drain by the Premiership, which is overall far better viewing (the camera systems are top notch for most of the big clubs, even Camp Nou is like watching it from halfway up the stands). The refereeing system is a JOKE at best (though the England refs are more professional, still make some rediculous calls). Politics (as you say, the TV network debarkle), is all killing La Liga! Luckily they still have some star power, and the big clubs can still compete in Europe! Though, the big 4 from the Premier League, along with teams like Everton, Man City (signing Castillo was a great buy IMO and will be seen next season), Portsmouth, Aston Villa are all very good sides which will do well in Europe. Ramos has Tottenham more organised now and will do well next season!

Im away on holidays, have the matches taped, only got to watch the Chelsea V Aston Villa (they both looked horrible, though Sheva is playing well and Ballack looked a lot better without Lampard hogging the spotlight), and Tottenham games before I flew out.

I think Ronnie will go to Chelsea, I just have that feeling. They BADLY need goals, and Ronnie can bring them that! Roman hasnt payed up for a while now, and I think he will be good for the cash come at least summer! Anelka will also be signed I beleive, and he plus Ronnie can bring them a lot more sting in their attack!

Man United dont need Ronnie, though he would be far more lethal than the past it Giggs on the left. Though, no doubt, they are going to try and develop Nani in that role. Though Nani isnt even a comparison to Ronnie!

Man United are too strong at the moment, they will win the Premiership comfortably by the end I beleive. Arsenal need another striker also, as well as a winger. Could see them go for Villa, it wouldnt surprise me!

As for Milan, that would be a dreadful move for Ronnie! As PR said, they are in big trouble, and need a serious revamp! Kaka would be stupid to stay past summer as well! Real Madrid look good for trophies and thats what he wants, I think he will end up in Madrid playing for "the Government team"!
Whats going to be sad for Catalans and any Barcelona fans is that Ronnie can and probably will get back to his best at a club like Chelsea and he would once again rip defenses apart. That right there would be heartbreaking because he could be doing that for this very own Barcelona club but the fans are just too unappreciative and ungrateful. Its one thing to expect alot out of your club because of the talent and management. And while I think the talent is there, the management is terrible. Rijkaard IMO is not a great manager. At best good. He gets too much credit IMO for the system at Barca. I've always felt that it has more to do with the type of PERSONELL you have on the pitch, moreso than any system. True some managers prefer more attacking tactics while others are more defensive minded. But regardless of who the manager is, it comes down to what type of players you have on the field. And when you have the personell that Barca has, no matter whom manages, I feel that they would play beautiful football regardless because of the PLAYERS. This is where Rijkaard gets too much credit. I challenge anyone who says that Rijkaard made Barca. Absolute nonsense. Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, and Deco are the core that made Barca the succesfull attacking team that it is.

Take Frank Rijkaard and put him at Chelsea and I guarantee you that not only would he not have been able to play beautiful football, but he would NOT have won any Premier League titles or any Champions League titles either. This isn't to say Rijkaard is the worst manager, but very overrated IMO. Ronaldinho is 20X more responsible for the success at Barca than Rijkaard is and anyone who says otherwise IMO doesn't know the situation.

What hurts most here is that I absolutely LOVE Spanish football. I always watch the Premier League games, especially Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City. Even Tottenham. But La Liga is what I always anticipate more than anything. Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Espanyol, Atletico, Villareal, and Real Madrid(I watch them in hopes of seeing them lose), all provided us for the past 3 and a half years great football at one time or another. Even with the not so great camera coverage and the constant politics and TV network issues. The quality of football and the TALENT I would see week in and week out was amazing. Just so many great players that were nothing but class. For a long time, I always felt the most entertaining and competitive football was coming out of Spain. I would get SO MAD when the season was over that I would always anticipate the next one.

Now I'm just bored of Spanish football. I still watch it because it has its exciting matches, but the quality is not what it once was, and the top teams are just not at their best anymore. I guess its easy to become complacent but I still yearn for Spanish football to get back to what it was even last year. Last year we saw some great football out of Spain. Entertaining and competitive. This year is just really bad and I'm hoping it gets out of this slump soon.

After seeing Arsenal's last game, I am convinced that they need something extra. An extra spark they need because at the moment, Man United is playing the best football in all of Europe and if Arsenal is going to stay in the race and possibly win it, they need to pick it up and get back to how they were playing earlier this season. Man U's depth is really starting to show and the quality on that team is SCARY. I would not want Arsenal to come across them in the Champions League. Chelsea and Liverpool I believe will actually make it close and exciting but will fall short in the end. Very difficult to see how Man United won't be crowned champions. In fact, I see them pulling the double this year and winning the CL.

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Yeh, no doubt the quality of the team (which requires the internal structure and strength to buy them the players), is what makes them what they are. In the Premier League, this comes down to the coach a lot, who chooses the players he wants. Wenger, Ferguson for example. In Spain, other men do this, which is a BIG problem I beleive. Its much better the coach seeing what type of players they want, and buying them themselves. Its only really Tottenham who has adapted and tried the Spanish approach. Which has brang them horrors after hopes of breaking the top four! Look at Erikson, he has total control and has (with money) turned around Man City! He is making some great buys! Adding that Latin flare to his team!

Mourinho and Benitez are great at team structure, I beleive this comes down ENTIRELY to the coach! Its the coaches job to ensure the players play the way they want, give them their formation and yell at them and show them when they fall out of position. Also, Wenger ensures he only buys players with pace and mainly technical ability. Ferguson trains even at fast pace, allowing the players to play so fast in the games for its entire duration.

Lyon plays a lot of strength, fitness and diet. Whereas Barca trainings are spent doing a lot less work in the gym and on fitness and doing a lot more technical work. So this is where the coach, the system the coach uses, what he concentrates on is very important! Though no doubt, you need the quality and depth to implement this over an entire season! A squad like Barca though, would do well with any coach! I guess in summary, its really an entire system you need, but a good coach is imperative to ensure that money is transferred into titles! Something Rijkaard, with all at his disposal, has failed to do for possibly two seasons! Madrid are getting a lot of points this season, but no excuses for last season! His setting of his lines were disgraceful!

It is sad seeing La Liga and whats happening too it. I think I watch the Premier League more though. I really just watch two matches a week from La Liga and probably 3-4 from the Premier League now. I try and never miss Barca, Man United or Arsenal. I also watch Chelsea, Real Madrid (hoping they loose) and Liverpool most weeks. Every week I also try and catch another match without any of these teams. So I really do watch a lot of football these days. I catch AC Milan pretty often in the Champs League also.

I agree, since the first game of last season, Man United has been playing the greatest football in the World! No doubt about it! They will win the league again this season, though Fabregas will keep Arsenal in the race! They need to purchase in January to stay in the run however!

Champions League, I still think Liverpool will be a very big threat in this competition. Barca and Inter are going to be tough also, as will Arsenal. Real Madrid might do ok also, they are like the Chelsea of old, just get the job done, and I think they could make the semis at least!

In knockout tournaments and in Leagues for that matter though, you really cannot discount the teams with those superstars and that individual brilliance, which plays a part in so matches, both big and small, so Fabregas, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Messi, Zlatan and Kaka and their respective teams, all really have the biggest chances I belei
Deco is really making waves about wanting to have Mourinho there at Barca. Its definitely a job that Mourinho would take I believe, for he wants his next job to be in Spain. In truth, he would do wonders with any club IMO. He didn't play beautiful football at Chelsea, but when you have guys like Lampard, Shevchenko, Drogba, and company, you can't really play fast paced beautiful football. But when he managed Porto back in 2003, I watched a few of their domestic league matches and their UEFA Cup matches and they were very attacking. And I also watched their 2004 Champions League run and I thought they were very impressive and exciting to watch. That year they eliminated Man U, Lyon, and Deportivo La Coruna back when they were actually pretty good. And the personell he had (Baía, Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha, Deco, Dmitri Alenichev and Postiga) made it possible. Hell, even earlier this season before being inexplicably let go, he was playing more aggressive. I believe he would bring back Barca to their best. Hell, he could pull just about any team to their best. I think his style is more tailor made for a club like Valencia, but this is the Special One here. He knows how to build a great football team.

Arsene Wenger is a genius I feel, but I think he needs to add some more spark to his team's attack either in January or in June. They need another guy who is a serious threat on goal like a Ronaldinho or a Villa type of player. Their defense is much improved and they are doing very nicely mixing it up. They lack depth though, and are pretty injury prone overall. But I like that they're a young and hungry squad and the pieces are almost all there. I was sad to see Henry go honestly, but I knew deep down in my heart that he was past his time and not quite the same guy he was before. Plus he missed almost the entire season with injuries anyway and the team still played great football. Robin Van Persie is a favorite of mine, but he's just so vulnerable to injury. Adebayor is good, but I think he'd be even more effective with a striking partner that is quick and technical. The midfield is already good, though they could use a left winger maybe. But when it all comes down to it, Arsenal is a club that could expect to win the league sometime soon if not this year.

I would like Liverpool to win something this year. They're a great club and they're LOADED with talent. They have some tough competition though and they may lose to Inter. Here's a very good article on Fernando Torres and its very interesting how he compares the football in England to that of Spain.
When depression hits, it hits me hard. United have just lost 2-1 away at West Ham despite having the chance to go 2-0 up when Ronaldo took, and missed a penalty. Gutted. We rested Rooney, took Tevez off at 1-0, replacing him with Anderson and then at 2-1 down we brought on O' Shea. O' Shea to rescue the game???

Oh dear. Gotta hope Everton get a result against Arsenal later.

Fucking gutted!!
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Man United, what a swing in the race! Arsenal got it done against Everton, who had their chances. Fabregas did the disappearing act though! Very quiet game from him! Man United just looked like they thought they could turn up and win. West Ham isnt a bad squad this year and they outplayed Man United quiet simply. That ball Ronaldo played to Giggs was brilliant, Giggs of old would never have had such a bad touch!

Anderson coming on was obviously Ferguson shutting up shop, which I hate to say, Im glad to see him get stung for! Man United NEVER shuts up shop, and they should have tried to pour it on! Ronaldo tries, but unfortunatley Man United are SO reliant on him! If he doesnt fire, they usually dont either! They still have a very good squad, but he is without a shadow of a doubt, absolutely integral to the team!

Arsenal definately need more attack! Their defence is solid now, bar any injuries! Though I always say a good team needs a very good/great centre back, distributor, a playmaker and a guy upfront who is good for around 20 goals. Every single good team in history has had this. Barca: Puyol, Deco, Ronaldinho (now Messi also) and Eto'o with their success. Man United have Ferdinand (Vidic also now), Scholes (plus many more now), Ronaldo and Rooney for their success last season. Arsenal: Toure (plus Gallas now), Fabregas, Hleb (this season he has stepped upto the plate, even over Rosicky), Adebayor. Very nice building block for them. Chelsea: Terry, Lampard (also Ballack), .......... (the playmaker is the peice they are missing desperately, Robben played it for a while when he was fit, Cole can also play it if they get it through their heads that he is NOT a striker), Drogba. Liverpool: Carragher, Gerrard, ...............(missing a playmaker also), Torres. AC Milan: Nesta, Pirlo, Kaka, ............. (missing that goal scorer). This is what I put the success (or lack thereof) of the last 3 clubs down too. They are missing a peice to the puzzle!

These 4 positions are VITAL for every great side!

Maxy, I know the feeling all too well as of late! Just imagine what its like for poor PR!!!!! At least Man United arent 7 off the pace (and at least they arent loosing to Liverpool), thats the similarity with Real Madrid!

PR, I read that on Torres before. He appears to LOVE it at Liverpool! Very helpful for Rafa! They were missing that striker peice last season also!

Van Persie is missed (though Eduardo should be played more, he had a cracker in Croatia last season and plays well at national level, he also scored a GREAT goal against Everton on the wkend)!!!

Mourinho, not sure what I think about him at the camp! I would love to have him fix up the defence, but he takes a bit of the creative genius out of his players! He wants perfect order and formation, no allowance to roam! Dont like those kind of coaches, though he would get that backline and midfield in order! Not to mention, with the players Barca have, they could not possibly play boring! I guess he could not do any worse than Rijkaard has this past 1 1/2 years now! Something needs to be done, because with that defence, I cant see them winning the Champions League, and with Real turning up the quality of their own football and not just scraping by now, I cant see them winning the league! I have to give it to them, last season they were DESPERATELY, and I mean DESPERATELY, missing that midfield distributors in Zidane! Wesley has added that link back to them!

Just bought Zidane: a 21st century portrait, so off to watch it now!

Heres a good one for you guys also. What would be your fantasy team (from players over the past decade, which we are probably all most familiar with).

I would play, at their peaks a formation like this.

Ronaldo (Brazilian).

Ronaldo (young one). Ronaldinho. Zidane (Captain). Fabregas. Messi.

Lucio. Ferdinand. Terry.

Van Der Sar.
A fantasy team is difficult. But I'll give it a stab.

Forwards- Thierry Henry and Ronaldo(Brazilian)(On the bench would be youngsters Eto'o, Villa, and Ibrahimovic).

Midfielders- Vicente, Fabregas, Zidane , Cristiano Ronaldo (Ronaldinho, Joaquin, and Kaka for subs)

Defense- Moretti, Ayala, Terry, Ramos (On the bench Danny Alvez, Thuram, Miguel(Young Miguel)

Goalkeeper- Van Der Sar(Backed up by Buffon)

Manager- Jose Mourinho
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Yeh, actually, I would have Henry up there as opposed to Kaka.

I am also sceptical about Terry at the back (Maldini or Nesta are guys I think are great at the back also), and may also play Casillas instead of Van Der Sar.

I would have Ferguson as coach.

I like Ramos at the back, but with only 3 at the back, I wouldnt play him due to him being more of a wing back, which requires 4 backs. I also dont think his the greatest defender, but no doubt, his probably the best there is at going forward from the right back position. Lahm and Zambrotta are the other two who rival him as a right back. Though, since it is over the last ten years, I would probably have Cafu on the right if I were to play 4 defenders.

You would honestly play Vicente on the left? As opposed to both Ronaldinho or Kaka who can play on the left very well?

Interesting to see Fabregas make both our teams even at his young, untested age.
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