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and the NEW
Yep, agree completely on Fabregas and Xavi and on the part about the Spanish structure on the field.

What a team though hey! Definately a golden era in midfield and attack for them!

Yeh, the GD is going to hurt italy smile.gif ha ha.

Holland V France is HUGE for France, they NEED a win IMO, or they are going to have to beat Italy. France just lack that killer edge at the moment, and I don't like the speed (or lack thereof) of their defence. Well at least Thuram, the man is well past his day. They need Ribery in the centres, that is for sure!

Holland also get Robben back for the last game of the group, which should be a big lift, they definately lacked pace out on those wings.

What a fantastic tournament so far! Hopefully the end doesn't disappoint like the WC, which started out absolutely brilliant!

Yeh, Portugal lack a striker, though I think they have enough in the midfield to make up for that. They are playing a 4-3-3 formation also, so guys like Simao and Ronaldo will have to contribute.

and the NEW
Oh and just watched the Sweden V Greece game highlights, WHAT A STRIKE by Ibra!!!!!!!! Goal of the tournament so far for me! Hitting a shot off the outside of your right on that angle, was something only Queresma can do! At least I thought only he could do it!

Spectacular and technical brilliance!
No doubt. To me the the 2 best goals of the tournament thus far have been by Ibrahimovic and Sneijder. Just quality finishing.

You know its interesting because when I saw Ibra take that shot in real time, I thought it was going over the goal. And then when it found the back of the net, I jumped up and screamed. LOL!!!.... It was that great a goal..

Sneijder's goal was amazing because that was a VERY DIFFICULT finish right there. There are top strikers in the world that would not have put that ball into the net.

Amazing tournament thus far. Truly amazing. All we need is France to find a bit of form. They'll have their work cut out for them tomorrow. Holland are young, fast, and skilled. I think the French squad along with the media have put too much pressure on Benzema. They want him to step to the forefront and deliver on such a big stage despite knowing he's never been on this type of stage. I don't understand why they don't put Cisse out there to partner Benzema if Henry is hurt. Cisse has burning speed, and great skill.

BTW, what do you think of Nasri???... Is he the "new Zidane"???... I've not seen as much of him as I have seen of Benzema.
and the NEW
Nasri is a very good technical player, I think, in many ways, similar to Fabregas. Though I never see him having the tricks or speed to beat guys the way Zidane did, nor the ability to find that amount of space (though it was uncanny). I think Nasri can be a very very good player, but they already have Fabregas, they need more of an attacking centre mid, not a distributor with great technical ability.

France need to do something NOW, or they are gone.

On that note, I am going to bed, have the Portugal match taped, stayed up all night trading the US markets so too tired now, will have to watch the game tomorrow.
Its early days but Portugal, Holland and Spain have all been impressive. However, I'm not convinced about any of them as of the minute because they are all notoriously noted for failing in the big tournaments. Spain, more than anyone else, never seem to do the business when it really matters in a tournament of this nature, despite having possibly the strongest squad.

I thought Villa and that other player (plays for the scum over here, can't type his name laugh.gif ) looked good, as has already been mentioned but I just wonder if they can produce it as a team when the pressure really heats up. They always seem to fail and I have seen some great Spanish sides fall short over the years. Portugal pretty much controlled the game against the Czechs despite the scare from the equalizer, but for personal reasons I want them to go out asap so that the Ronaldo saga can finally be wrapped up, whatever the outcome. Well taken goal by Ronaldo btw.

Holland destroyed Italy and on that form I take them to win the tournament. I thought Van Nistelrooy was offside for the first goal and I disagree with ATN about the ref missing a penalty call. For me, that wasn't a penalty...

Anyway its a good tournament so far though I can't really get into it because.....well everyone knows why... laugh.gif l
Well so far, the tournament has been SPECTACULAR!!!... Maybe because the teams that I support are doing well, I guess. LOL...

But the performances thus far of Portugal, Holland, and Spain have been tremendous. Seeing Italy get absolutely EMBARRASSED is always great. LOL...

Germany are a team that I see as having great control in the midfield, able to keep possession but their defense is actually quite vulnerable too. Their group is easy, but if they meet up with Portugal in the quarters, that will be tough for them.

I see France making it through along with Holland in that group. Somehow, I think that those 3 goals are going to haunt Italy and there is NO WAY they're going to score 3 goals when they face Romania on Friday, and much less of a chance for that when they face France next week. I think for the firs time in a long time, we will get a tournament without Italy!!!... clapping.gif drinks.gif

My dream final would be any of Portugal, Spain, or Holland to face either of each other to decide the Euro Cup 2008.

Realistically, its still too early to tell. I won't get my hopes too high about Spain until I see them triumph in the quarter finals. Same with Holland and Portugal.

Oh and btw MAXY, I know you have to be absolutely FUMING after hearing Cristiano Ronaldo say "I like playing in a white kit", after Portugal's win over the Czechs in what was a SPECTACULAR display. But his remark is CLEARLY a taunt towards Man United and the fans. At least it seems that way to me. I know for a FACT that if either Villa or Silva say something like that, the fans would absolutely CRUCIFY them in Valencia.
and the NEW
I have seen penalties given for a lot less Maxy (Australia V Italy just one example sad.gif). For me, VN was tagged by Buffon, which threw his balance off, but either way, didn't matter.

To me, looks like Ronaldo is on his way for sure, which I am actually glad of, since I am beginning to hate him for his arrogance. Even if he is involved in a goal play, he runs off for everyone to chase him like he scored the goal!!!!!! I cannot say I have ever seen a player do this before! His ego is just out of control and I can hate him outright at Madrid and hope he gets chopped down!!!!!

Portugal looked fantatsic again, however their defence was a bit shaky. Once more, some very poor ref calls for me.

How about Scolari boys? The new coach of Chelsea! I would be worried if I was a Man United fan loosing Ronaldo and now this. Scolari is a very very good coach IMO. He will command respect instantly within the Chelsea ranks! Wonder who he will bring in............he has links to quiet a few big names, including coaching in the same area as Ronaldinho (down in Puerto Alegra), when he was growing up. Though, not sure the two have too much love for eachother.

and the NEW
Oh, must also say, how about Deco! How sad to see him play so well knowing he will no longer be a Barca player! The end of an era, so so sad for me. I always loved Deco.

I think Scolari will nearly surely bring him to Chelsea, or Inter Milan will get him, only two options I see. sad.gif

Deco looks reborn doesn't he!!... The way he was linking up play, running at defenders, and his goal that he scored was pure DESIRE because he could have given up and gotten pissed off and all but he was determined to finish. Such a big loss for Barca.

Ronaldinho has kept quiet. Its become quite clear to me that he prefers staying at Barcelona now that his dream move for AC Milan seems to have fallen through, with Milan now seemingly more interested in Eto'o. The only question I have if he remains, will he be part of first team plans for next season??... Guardiola seems to want him to stay. But I think Ronnie at the very least will have to work very hard to get back the Barca faithful on his side. He was literally BENCHED in favor of Bojan Krkic this past season by Rijkaard. I saw many Barca games where Ronaldinho was fit and would sit on the bench. So thats why I ask the question if Ronnie is still considered a 1st teamer at Barca... Because if he isn't, then he should not stay. But if he's told he'll have to earn back his place, then its up to him to do that. What I would not like to see is him going back to Brazil, with rumors now stating that Flamenco might try to get him on a cheap transfer. That would HORRIBLE... Not a way to go out for such a great player. While I understand that he doesn't want this to turn into another Ronaldo saga, I have always said that had he come out and defended himself a bit more, and either pledged full allegiance to Barca, or say that he wants out of Barca, and PUSH for the move, then this would have been alot easier for all of us.

As if I need another reason to hate Real Madrid. Imagine if they get Ronaldo!!... LOL... Oh man these Madridistas and their government funds. CORRUPT CRIMINALS...shiftyeyes_anim.gif

But with the way things have gotten, I just think that Ronaldo CAN'T stay at Man United anymore. He's allowed this to turn into such a circus that I think it would be impossible for him to return. I also think its in Man United's best interest at this point to sell the player. No club needs a guy that clearly doesn't want to be there. All it will due is cause tension on the training ground and dressing room. No team needs that. Ronaldo has maintained that he will discuss nothing until after the Euro Cup. He's supposedly shunned Ferguson from coming to Switzerland to talk to him and you can tell he seems determined to leave.

Bring him on, I say. I would love to see how he deals with these quck, skillful, tough defenders in La Liga.
and the NEW
No doubt, in La Liga, he will be a TARGET MAN for defenders and the dirty players! Ronaldinho copped so much at his peak, and the same treatment will be given to Ronaldo!

No way on earth Ronaldinho is going to Brazil to play. Impossible. Most experts still realise he is one of the best in the business. Not at his peak, he still does more than everyone bar a couple players in the world, for the team! His quality is undeniable.

I think he will stay at Barca now, not only is he quiet, but so are the club. They are not exactly trying to market him. Now Rijkaard has gone, I see no problems there, considering he is a well liked man in the dressing room also. Though he may need to go for Messi to really take over, like he did in the last match of the season, where he moved all over the pitch looking for the ball, distributing it, and making runs. Only room for one guy like that on a team, though Messi and Ronnie are great friends.

Man City are really trying to make it happen though. And apparently Ronnie has shown interest, though he wants a string of things to happen before he would sign and that includes getting a couple more names at the club to give them a chance. Jo looks almost a certainty, wonder who else they will target. But if they can get Ronaldinho, the drawing power to bring in other big stars in subsequent seasons would be there, would certainly put them well on the way to being the next Chelsea if they keep spending those billions.

On another note, I am planning on trying to get tickets for WC 2010, anybody else thinking the same?
^^^I've been thinking the same. I would have to start saving beginning NOW, however... I'll see if I can make it happen.

Laporta said a long while back that Ronaldinho needs a new challenge but has since not commented on the situation. But as a whole the club has been really quiet too even in the midst of negotiations with Milan apparentley failing. I've always wondered how much of all this is speculation as well. I mean if Ronnie is so likely to leave, then why hasn't it happened by now??...

Man City are a good side, but I question if they're a big enough club for such a player like Ronaldinho. Are Man City in the UEFA Cup next season??... I know they can't offer Champions League football to Ronnie. So to me that would be somewhat of a strange transfer. The reason I don't think its going to happen though is because Ronnie himself in interviews has expressed that he's not interested in England.

I'm not gonna be able to catch the France-Holland match so hopefully you guys will fill me in on how it went.
and the NEW
Yeh, I personally cannot see Ronnie in the pale blue. Not at this stage of his career. He is one of the hottest properties in global football, playing at Man City? Weird. Ronnie will stay at Barca IMHO. The reports are mixed, but the fact they said they want to keep the core of the squad that won them the CL, makes me think he will stay. Deco is gone, so who else is left? Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Puyol, Valdez, Xavi? That is just about all of them. The rest of the guys are new, or have moved on. And these few guys, along with Deco, ultimately were the core.

That being said, Chelsea were not that great before the last few seasons, though they still were above the level of City, especially since they had already brought in Zola in prevoius seasons.

Just finished watching Germany, what a pitiful match. Germany had quiet a few chances, but too much indecision! As I thought, not much of a chance of winning the tournament. So far my predictions are running hot, but like Maxy said, with their past record, it would be no surprise if they falter in the big matchups. My mates were around at 4am watching it with me, drinking beers and the discussion of the WC 2010 came up, looks like it is on the roster! Now just have to save and try and make sure we can get tickets!!!!!! It is something I HAVE to do before I die and who knows when that could be!

Will watch France V Holland tomorrow night (my time) and let you know how it pans out, in as unbias fashion as I can (considering they are both my tips and I am not a true fan of either, should be pretty spot on). Enjoy whatever you are upto bud!

If any of you boys are keen to join a WC expedition, let me know and I will try and get tickets for you also.
Wow. Germany lost. COMPLETELY OUTPLAYED by Croatia. Shocking result. Don't know if its as shocking as how Italy got their heads handed to them on a platinum platter by the Dutch but this was a surprise result. Could have very easily been 4-1.

I did a bit of investigating as far as tickets for the World Cup goes and they are scheduled to go on sale in early 2009. I'm definitely planning ahead for that one. Gotta go to at least 1 World Cup in my life as well and its also a chance to visit another country and continent.

Yeah lets give it a shot. I'm sure we could do something.
and the NEW
Germany played like rubbish, didn't give them a chance and now can see exactly why. Favourites? Come on. They are certainly missing that Klinsman type of player!

Yeh, I read the same, early 2009, I also read it was going to be some kind of sweeps? Where you enter your name for certain games, and then certain names are pulled out..................?

So I would enter for pretty much every single game except the rubbish ones where Saudi Arabia plays Venezuela! wink.gif

And on the visiting another continent, EXACTLY! Would love to do a safari at the same time! Just being at a WC around that atmosphere would be absolutely incredible, street parties everywhere! Would be a pretty tiring trip though, plenty of alcohol consumed I am sure!

and the NEW
Well well well, what a night of football!

Italy was unlucky IMO, Toni was clearly onside when he scored that header! About time they had some luck against them! Was a pretty close match, both had their chances, and Mutu missed a penalty kick, great save by Buffon though! A draw was a pretty fair result IMO, Italy played a LOT of long balls (so much for them paying out the English for doing this) and they were also just looking for crosses and for Toni to put them away.

The Holland Vs France game, WOW, talk about a game to miss PR! Game of the tournament so far, could have been a final!!!!!

Holland controlled the start, just ball possession, with Wesley and Van Der Vart in the centres, they controlled possession. After this, France really came on and DOMINATED, just couldn't put them away! Used their pace and played on the counter attack. Ribery creating trouble all over the place!

Second half, Robben and Van Persie were bought on, and everything changed. They scored a fantastic goal on the counter! And how about that last goal, what a strike!!! Wesley was probably man of the match! Robben right up there with him despite only playing a half! Thuram really should have covered Robbens goal.

Definately watch the highlights of the game PR, you will love it!

France could have easily gone into the second half with a lead, but it was not to be. Italy and France both HAVE to win now to make it, or draw and hope Romania get spanked. If Romania win, the two WC finalists are gone!!! Holland has really made an impact and will probably jump to favourites now!

What a tournament!!! It just gets better and better!!! WC qualifiers for South America soon also, cannot wait for the Brazil V Argentina clash!!! Brazil desperately appear to need Kaka back, but most importantly, Ronnie, who Dunga left out of the squad! They just cannot get anything going, beat by Venezuela was it? And had trouble even getting past Canada!!!! Terrible efforts!
I will certainly be sure to catch those highlights. I don't get it. I'm sure you remember during the qualifiers that Holland just couldn't seem to find that....FLOW... It looked like they were all over the place and never looked overly attacking, defense in shambles, and their counter attacks were unorganized and all over the place. Something happened to them. I guess fate/luck has a way sometimes of just playing things out. But right now, I have to be honest. Holland have established themselves as a CLEAR favorite to win, alongside Portugal. Spain need to beat Sweden tonight in good fashion. Swedes are tough and they have alot of world class talent. But in order for Spain to really establish themselves prior to the knockout round, they'll need a good win over a good team.

Italy were unlucky but lucky at the same time!!!...LOL!!!... And now they have no choice. They HAVE TO BEAT FRANCE... No two ways about it. I saw highlights of this one and Italy are just in shambles over all. The defense is not strong. And I don't believe that the loss of Cannavaro is the reason because Cannavaro was getting TORCHED all year in La Liga as we both know. The only defender out there playing decently is Zambrotta and this could turn out to be a big loss for Barcelona. But Italy's midfield is just nowhere to be found. Gattuso???... Pirlo???.. Both have been shocking all year and it continues. I don't understand Italy. They simply REFUSE to give any youngsters a chance. The only ones playing well are Toni and Buffon. And as great a keeper as Buffon is, he cannot be expected to carry his country to a title, and for the most part in this tournament, the service to Toni has been HORRENDOUS... Italy probably should have been eliminated by now but they still have a chance, provided Romania gets spanked by Holland, and if they can beat France. But if they draw, I think it goes to goal differential. I've also heard thats its possible it could be decided in a penalty shoot out. What a group. What a tournament!!...

I honestly think that thus far at least, this tournament has turned out to be everything all of us could have asked for with the exception of poor MAXY having to deal with England not being there. But at least his Red Devils are doing well, pulling off the rare double!...

What I love is that the ATTACKING TEAMS are doing well. I love the fact that we've already seen not just so many goals but some great goals and top performances from Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Villa, Sneijder, etc. etc.

This is gonna be something to remember. I can't recall either Euro 200 or Euro 2004 being this good.

Even the Turkey vs Switzerland match was quality!!... Back and forth match, down to the wire with Turkey scoring the winning goal in stoppage time and the Turks just going NUTS, running out of their seats onto the lower deck and just going crazy, you could almost feel the foundation of the stadium just shaking!!.. Just true quality stuff with passionate fans behind their team. Can't ask for much more..

World Cup qualifiers soon I know. I think Ronaldinho is injured still, ATN. Last I read he is currently in his hometown down in Brazil still nursing his season ending injury and his brother said that he doesn't expect Ronnie to be fit to play until the pre-season training starts. Kaka from my understanding should be fit to go and I'd be shocked if he's continued to be left out. Fabiano is also down there along with Danny Alvez, Anderson, and Robinho as well. Man when you look at it all, a FULLY FIT Brazil squad is SCARY.... I wouldn't want to face them during a World Cup. I know they've had trouble getting their chemistry together but my God, look at HOLLAND!!!... Not that long ago, they were playing very similar to how Brazil is now and then when it came time to get it together, BOOM!!!.. Like an explosion or something!!.. I think they'll start to gel soon. And once they get Ronaldinho back, we'll see them play some good stuff.

Shaky performance from Spain, btw... Despite the last minute heroics and all, not a good defensive display. The attack I actually thought for the most part was quite good. Nice chances were created but Sweden definitely had alot of luck(Villa, Torres, and Silva all missed open shots one after the other, talk about luck), and a clear penalty on Silva which was not called. Xavi and Iniesta today just didn't work. They mostly just passed around aimlessly and didn't really generate anything positive. Sergio Ramos was absolutely HORRID. Horrible defending on Ibrahimovic who just used his strength to stand his ground, and then fire away into Casillas' net. David Silva was all over the place but he made a couple of crucial mistakes. On 2 occasions he passed up on an open shot. That right htere is clear proof of the pressure he's feeling and maybe a little lacking in confidence. When Cesc Fabregas came on, a bit of order was restored to an unorganized midfield. Sweden's defense is VERY STRONG.. It is so hard to get anything past them. They tackled like maniacs out there but it was clear that they came to get a draw more than a win. Spain got it in the end because they never stopped trying to score, with Sweden just content to survive seemingly. They lost their confidence after Ibra was subbed off, along with their spark in attack. Villa's goal was heroic. Exciting finish to an entertaining match. But Spain must improve off this if they're to reach the finals of this one here. Aragones should have called up Vicente and Joaquin. I just hope this doesn't come back to haunt us.
and the NEW
Yeh, this is the best Euro I can remember I have ever seen. Much like France 98 WC, which was absolutely brilliant! I will never forget the Spain V Nigeria match or Brazil V Holland.

Holland have definately clicked. They have such talented players, but as you say, just like Brazil, could not find the flow! Definately favourites alongside Portugal at this time.

Spain looked ordinary didn't they! Villa and Torres again looked dangerous together, if I was Rafa Benitez, I would be doing everything under the sun to sign both Van Der Vaart and Villa. If he could sign those two, he could go damn close to winning the league IMO! It would add that strike partner to Torres (and what a stirke partner that would be) and VDV would provide that spark they are missing in midfield. Though a more explosive guy would be better.

Silva had two opportunities hey! Open goal, one tried to pass and the other wanted it on his left foot! Shocking moments for him!

Portugal tonight and they are apparently going to rest players sad.gif But that means we will get to see Queresma! He needs to do well on the big stage to market himself for a big club, as Deco is doing now!

Italy V France is going to be so tight! Imagine, Romania and Holland advancing, ha ha! The danger man for Italy is Toni, always just looks so so dangerous in the box! Definately one of the best strikers out there! I would happily have him at Barca despite the fact he is slow. I think he would add goals in any league in the world, a true class act! Agree on Zambrotta, I think he is a fantastic right back and AC Milan have just made a great signing getting him! Barca seem intent on letting go all their best talent and relying on Messi to bring them some kind of magic!
Wow. Portugal are more vulnerable at the back than I thought. Their attack is great but when Deco and Ronaldo aren't on the field, the spark is not there. But I wouldn't panic. If we look at this tournament closely, you'll notice that ALL THE TOP TEAMS have been a bit shaky in defence. Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Holland. Croatia and Sweden are the 2 teams that have defended very well. But maybe thats why we've seen lots of goals.

Did a little investigating and I just read that Kaka is injured as well, along with Ronaldinho and Danny Alvez. Ronnie is in Porto Alegre on holiday and nobody apparentley knows what he wants to do. Brazil lost to Paraguay. thumbsdown_anim.gif 2-0 was the score and from watching the highlights, they looked HORRIBLE. Robinho was not a factor, and Fabiano wasn't either. No attack threat from Brazil and an old and shaky backline. Dunga seems like he knows not what to do. Argentina lucked out with a draw against Colombia I think. 1-1, with Palacios saving them with a late goal. Messi from what I saw looked fast and was beating defenders and threading some nice balls but not much else happened for him. Aguero couldn't find any finish on his chances, and Riquelme just couldn't seem to get into the game. Weird stuff.

I'm a bit worried about Spain I must admit. Their defense or lack there of really scares me. And Aragones seems so calm about it. He seems to blindly trust all of them despite their moments of shakiness in the matches against Russia and Sweden. I like their midfield and attack, lead by Xavi, Iniesta, and Fabregas slowly but surely finding his niche. But I think Torres must continue to find his scoring boots. He seems to be gaining in confidence now and I hope it continues. It would be nice if Spain could find a 3rd scoring threat though. Either Xavi with his late goal heroics, or Fabregas whom has found the net plenty at Arsenal this past season. Silva could have been it had he taken at least 1 of those chances but he's really suffering from the pressure of this big event and I was a bit worried at the outset that maybe the occasion would get to him. But at the end of the day, I can just remain calm and see what happens.

On a more positive note, the goals of the tournament are...

Sneijder's goal against Italy. WOW.... A difficult and spectacular finish. Goal of the tournament so far.

Ibrahimovic against Greece. Great strike from a great player.

Villa vs Sweden in the dying minutes with the exquisite first touch and the smooth finish.


Thus far Sneijder has arguably been the player of the tournament. I think he's proving himself to be top quality again. If Holland win, I'm more than sure he'll get the award for the best player.

Big match between France and Italy. France worry me more than the Italians because they still have attack threat. But the winner of this one is the one that will face Spain in the quarters provided Romania don't spank the Dutch of course.
and the NEW
I can actually see Romania going through. They only need to loose by less than 3 goals and a draw between Italy and France (which I think is the most likely scenario) would put them through. Not to mention, how many guys will Holland leave out, now that they automatically top the group? Would be a much more comfortable game for Spain.

Sneijder has definately shown he is one of the best in the business. Spain looked HORRIBLE in the midfield once Zizou retired and were purely lucky to win the title against Barca 2 seasons ago, despite having an inferior goal difference. As soon as Wesley turned up, everything clicked, all of a sudden the midfield looked solid and had a general. Excellent player who doesn't get enough raps!

I think the Ibrahaimavic goal is goal of the tournament for me, nearly impossible to beat!

Yeh, Brazil are having a SHOCKER!!!! Kaka has knee troubles still after having an operation, it's just stiff, but a couple more weeks and he should be fine apparently. They need Ronaldinho back also, he creates so much space for them.

I watched the Argentina match, they dominated, but just couldn't put it away. Messi had a brilliant match, but kept getting taken out! The Ecuador goal was pure class, but about their only threat on goal all game!

Portugal were unlucky, that's for sure. One goal called offside was clearly ANOTHER ref mistake (the quality of refereeing for me at the Euro has been as poor as it is in Spain, where do they find these bums?). Nani was also clearly taken out in the box and another time pulled back and could have got a penalty, but like the little winger he is, dived to the ground like a stunt man and for this reason, probably didn't get it!

Without the engine room (Deco) and spark (Ronaldo), Portugal definately looked flat. Queresma could just never get into it. He looked like he wanted so badly to do well and for this reason, failed to do so.

and the NEW
Yeh, Chile aren't doing too bad again this time around!

Brazil V Argentina will be a ripper! Too bad both Ronaldinho and Kaka are out, without them, Brazil has to really rely on Robinho, nobody else really does much for them at the moment, including Fabiano who has the potential. I would also like to see Jo start up there with him instead of Vagner Love! They really miss Ronaldo, that's for sure!!!!!

Yeh, Portugal put out a weaker team, pretty much the core missing, with Carvalho, Deco, Ronaldo and Simao all causing trouble so far this tournament and none starting! Nani just isn't upto that class yet and Queresma just never got going!
and the NEW
Well Germany looked like junk once more, until about the last 15 minutes, when they really turned it on!

Shaky defence once more and really should have taken out Austria a lot easier!

Wonder how many Holland will rest tonight?

Italy V France will be the one to watch!
Some domestic football news while we are all enjoying the cracker that Euro 2008 has so far turned out to be.

Ronaldinho has rejected a HUGE OFFER from the La Galaxy that would have seen him earn up to 32 million a year after taxes. But Ronnie's reps made it clear that the player still feels that at 28, he can perform at the top level.

Meanwhile in Barcelona, Pep Guardiola held a press conference, stating that neither Deco, Ronaldinho, or Eto'o are in his first team plans at the moment. HOWEVER.... He seemed to be more open about Ronnie, stating that if Ronnie indeed is willing to work hard and get back to the player he once was, then he is more than welcome to stay at Barcelona. He went on to talk about that the way things went with such a talented squad really left him with a bad taste in his mouth, and he's not about to allow complacency get a grip of his players. He seems to want Ronnie to stay, but it seems like he'll make him earn it.

I know alot of Brazilians down here in South Florida, and they feel that most of Ronnie's problem are personal. They say that his family has gone through some tough times down in Brazil for the past year or so. They also say that its well known that Ronnie was clashing with Eto'o and Henry constantly(Something you also pointed out, ATN). The feeling is that Ronnie was basically benched in favor of young Bojan, and when that happened, he stopped caring. Alot feel that though his skills are still great, he's not as fast as he once was(Mostly due to injury and weight), and that because of that he can't beat defenders like he used to. They say Guardiola should move him to a more central position in the midfield where he can still make great use of his passing and vision, and defend more(I honestly don't see Ronnie as a Zidane/Fabregas type player so this would be interesting).

Germany had trouble scoring yesterday as well, along with their defense. Keep in mind that Austria aside from showing a strong defense are actually a pretty ordinary side. I don't see why people say Germany are such favorites honestly. They looked like crap in the 2nd half of their qualifying campaign, and thus far have failed to produce their World Cup 2006 form.

France vs Italy today I know. The feeling from most is that Italy will get lucky once again and barely get by. I hate Italy. I hate their anti-futbol and diving ways. I dont' want to see Spain's chances at a semis berth foiled because of this style that should be outlawed in football, IMO. All this does is kill the art of the game, and turns fans away whom could potentially become football fans. I hope for a draw, and for Romania to advance.
and the NEW
Well that was pure PAIN to watch! I am at least thankful that Domonech HAS to be fired! Abidal in the centre back position marking Toni? COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While Abidal THINKS he is a centre back, any man with half an eye can see he is a left back through and through!

Definatley a penalty, and Italy were clearly sitting on their lead despite having an extra man! I'm not so sure about the red card though! Ribery injury was HUGE and took away most of Frances attacking threat! What a horrible outcome, just so many things went wrong for France! See the faces of Gallas and Henry, both in very similar situations all this season and both must be feeling so so small!

Hopefully Villa and Torres can tear the Italian defence a new azz!!!!!!! I would have to favour Spain, but with Toni in there, and their defensive style, you can never discount the Italians!

Just saw the Barca news, HUGE statement by Pep! He better know what he is doing! To be honest with you, I feel completely sorry for Ronaldinho and HATE Barca now! Rijkaard last season at the beginning was telling the media non stop, I am very happy with Ronaldinho, he is very fit now and has worked very very hard! Ronaldinho looked in much better shape to me than he did in the previous season when he scored 17 and set up 8! He was CLEARLY not fat and in better shape than most football players! Very very fit also, contributing in defence, running all over the pitch! Then he had a personal issue with Rijkaard, got benched and apparently he is fat again? WTF, COME ON!!!!!! The media has no clue and the fans and "experts" are just as bad for being a bunch of sheep! Get the matches Ronnie played in at the start of the season and tell me he is fat, or even in the same shape he was the season earlier? He was in WAY better shape than that, and people were not complaining that season when he carried the team on his shoulders!!!!

Now, a kid comes on and gets more game time than you, Henry comes with his arrogance, playing ordinary and gets game time. Would you want to keep training hard? I can see Ronnies point 100% clear! He NEEDS to leave and go somewhere he is respected! What Rijkaard did to him and the media then did was totally unjustified and ignorant! Just their way of creating a story, unfortunatley, the footballing community is that fickle!

Eto'o gone, I can see he is a trouble maker, but with no Eto'o, Deco or Ronaldinho? We saw what they can do, and that is NOTHING. They need some HUGE names now in attack!

Why can people not see where the team was faltering? It was CLEARLY the defence! Replace Puyol, Milito, Thuram and Valdez! This is just becoming a circus sideshow with nobody capable at the healm! I expect another junk season from Barca, if Messi gets injured, look for them to miss a CL spot!

I would turn to Arsenal until this current Barca management has been shown the door after complete failure, but with the attempted signing of a second Fabregas in Nasri, I think I would be just as disappointed!
Its Spain vs Italy. I do know about Spain's choking history, but if there is ever a time for Spain to be confident against the Italians, its NOW... They are older, slower, they struggle to score(What a horrible goal to win by thumbsdown_anim.gif ), and they will be without Totti, Pirlo, and Gattusso. I would mention Cannavaro but he is not the player he was 2 years ago(Funny how things change so fast). However, I am worried for sure. Toni not having found the back of the net is unsettling to me because players like him do score at the right time. Aragones better partner Puyol with Albiol, whom is younger, faster, better in the air, and holds the lines together better than Marchena, whom has been absolutely HORRIBLE, and is always a red card waiting to happen. Sergio Ramos needs to step up. He's been the biggest disappointment for Spain. Capdevila needs to improve a bit too though he's been ok for the most part. Spain's midfield is basically held together by Marcos Senna. UNBELIEVABLE PLAYER... If it wasn't for him, I insist that the Sweden game for Spain could very well have turned into a full blown disaster. He is a rock out there. Xavi will need to be more direct this time and not just pass around aimlessly. Silva has been good overall but he needs to get confident and take his shots when he has them, and I feel he'll get some nice opportunities with Torres and Villa attracting lots of attention. I would like Fabregas to start alongside Senna in a 4-4-2. His keeping possession will be key against the Italians thats for sure whom will mostly look to make it a physical game. I don't expect Italy to just defend for 60 minutes this time, however. They don't have the type of players that can sneak up on you with quick counterattacks like that. Without Pirlo, thats not their best bet. Though against France up a man and a goal, they were very defensive and Benzema and Henry did get in there but the midfield was just nowhere to be found for France. Up front for Spain, Torres and Villa are a nightmare. Henry and Benzema got in there so surely these 2 young studs can as well. They TORCHED the Italians in the friendly a couple of months ago, and stand to do so again, provided they get proper service. This will be tough. It will be close. But you have to figure that Spain have to do it sometime. They just have to. Down to the wire it may be. But I think Spain will win via 2-1 score.

Ronnie actually scored 20 goals last season. And he did this with the likes of Eto'o, Deco, and Messi struggling with injuries. Laporta is behind alot of this too. I think he sided with Rijkaard during the whole feud. For a long time, he's seemed determined to build the team around Messi, and talked about partnering him with a top class striker, hence Ibrahimovic, Villa, and Benzema being brought up as possible transfer targets. It would take a top name like that to fill Eto'o's shoes because as much as I like young Bojan, he is not quite ready for that task physically or mentally. Either of those 3 provide a competent strike partner for Henry who's been playing more and more like a target man for Barcelona. Zambrotta has been replaced by Alvez and this will turn out well for Barca in the long run, once Alvez gets proper coaching on defense and time/experience takes its course. The weak link in defence for you guys was always Thuram. He's just too old and too slow now. Puyol has lapses and all but for the most part is competent and knows what he's doing. Gabby Milito has surprised me. Hasn't played to his best. But he's been more competent than Marquez thats for sure. Barca were definitely a victim of bad management thats for sure. But overall, it was the defense that blew away games you guys should have won(Like the Betis debacle when you guys went up 2-0 in the 1st half and ended up losing 3-2). The debacle at Patetico Madrid too was just a disaster too. Barcelona need a new center back. Puyol will never leave I'm sure you know, so what he needs is a competent partner(Not Thuram, whom sadly is now a joke). That and if Eto'o decides to fuck off, then a big name attacking player, and your ready to go. Hopefully Ronnie will stay, and then all you need is a striker and your set.

Things were rough at Valencia too. Miguel has now come out and declared a desire for a transfer. I'll miss him honestly. But I would sell him before either Silva, Villa, or Joaquin. But I will never forget how when he came back from injury, he basically along with Albiol restored a little bit of order in defence. His nightlife affected his performance, but Valencianistas will always love him. Manuel Fernandes could possibly find his way back into the team, according to Emery whom has said that he is willing to give him another chance, along with Ever Banega, despite his loan out rumors going on. Villa and Silva have pledged their allegiance and say they want to stay, with the club now declaring them "intransferible" and that they would only listen to the right offers(40 million at least in other words). We need a CB. And if big Zigic leaves, then we need another striker. Diego Milito has been talked about and thats a very competent signing that I would LOVE to have over at Mestalla. Albelda has now threatened to stay after the circus he caused, but he's surplus to requirements as far as I'm concerned. He contributes nothing at this point and continues to be a politician. Baraja has been a warrior for us and I would keep him around for the development of Sunny, Banega, and Fernandes(If he chooses to come back). Vicente and Joaquin, despite being fit would often sit on the bench as well for no apparent reason. I'm just glad we have a manager that likes attacking football now, and is a player friendly coach who isn't worried about stupid things.

Arsenal are setting themselves up for disappointment. They could have easily signed Villa for 17 million if they wanted to(I know, what a bargain, dntknw.gif ), and Wenger passed that up, despite Villa wanting to go there and having a group of strikers that are inconsistent, injury prone, and inexperienced. Wenger could have also signed Van Der Vaart to replace Hleb but won't do it. I honestly can't wait for the day that Fabregas surprises him and tells him that he's looking for a new club.
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Yeh, Villa has just added 20mil to his name! You guys desperately need to keep him and Silva!

Will wait to see who Barca sign and what they can do. But any injury to Messi and I am afraid we will be a basket case!

I think everyone is awaiting the Ronaldo saga! Not just if he goes, but who will Ferguson bring in if he does............? That's the big question.
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Jun 18 2008, 11:14 AM) [snapback]392921[/snapback]
Yeh, Villa has just added 20mil to his name! You guys desperately need to keep him and Silva!

Will wait to see who Barca sign and what they can do. But any injury to Messi and I am afraid we will be a basket case!

I think everyone is awaiting the Ronaldo saga! Not just if he goes, but who will Ferguson bring in if he does............? That's the big question.

Villa has just recently declared he has no interest in going to the Premier League and I think that is basically down to the fact that he would only want to join Liverpool if he came over here (for the Spanish connection) and Liverpool quite simply cannot afford him. Wenger surely has some targets up his sleeve. I just cannot believe he is content with what he has, especially in defence. I know they have the money available to compete for pretty much anyone out there but for some strange reason they seem reluctant to spend it. If things stay as they are I really do feel they won't make the top 4 next season. Time will tell.

Ronaldo isn't going to be sold. That is all I keep hearing from United and the player himself refuses to commit on what he wants to do next season. The sooner Portugal go out of the tournament the better because this whole saga has dragged on too long. If they go out he'll have to speak about his future but the truth is he has left it too long with a number of fans who have basically felt his silence has insulted them. United were loyal to him in the wake of the Rooney incident in 2006. We all stood by him, as did the club and the fans. Remember he has been at the club 5 years but only really delivered in 2 of them. Yes, two great seasons, but that doesn't mean he has a divine right to walk away and it certainly doesn't mean he will go down as a United legend should he ask to leave. No chance. Anyway, it's tiresome.

The thing I don't understand about the Ronaldinho situation is if he is still the player ATN thinks he is then why isn't there a queue of clubs wanting to sign him? Milan say he's too expensive and that they can't match the offer on the table from Man City. Man City?!? If it's all about money and Ronaldinho's demands then I think he's shooting himself in the foot. He could and should take less money to play for a prestigious club like Milan rather than a club who have a little bit of money and are trying to splash it around. If Barca don't want him he's fucked simply because of his demands. No-one else wants him. If Scolari doesn't come in for him now that he's at Chelsea then it tells me everything. Nobody has any faith in him anymore. Nobody seems to trust him. There just has to be some truth in that.
If worst comes to worst, I think Man United would ship Ronaldo off. I mean surely for the betterment of the club they would not want to turn it into more of a circus than it already is. My point on the whole matter is this...

I honestly don't know how Ronaldo could return to Man United after all thats happened. I just don't see how he could come back and be accepted there. He's basically held the club hostage and turned it all into a soap opera with all the "Will he leave", or "Will he stay" type of stuff. If I were a Man United fan, I wouldn't want him back after all thats gone on. He could have easily deaded this before the Euros, but he decides to play the game by not committing to anything and giving deadlines on when he will decide his future. All he's done is cause a big distraction and I wouldn't want any players that don't want to play for my team. I think its in Man United's best interest to sell. Its obvious to a blind man that the kid just doesn't want to play there anymore. So instead of playing a cat and mouse game, why not just ship him on his way, but not before collecting on that fine cash that the Madridistas will surely offer. Its the best move for all parties involved.

Villa has said in the past that he would love to play in the Premier League, but only if the club decides to sell him. His preference is Valencia of course, but the 2 teams he has mentioned are Arsenal and Liverpool, and its apparent that neither will make a move, so its pretty much out the door. Chelsea are a potential suitor but I don't think they fancy that 40 plus million price tag now, and with Drogba now coming out and pledging allegiance to Chelsea(What a warrior he is!.. LOL), that sorta throws a monkeywrench into the machine. Real Madrid are stocked up at striker, so that leaves Barcelona as the really the only potential suitors. Much will depend on what ends up happening with Eto'o, and also how much Guardiola wants to make Bojan a part of first team plans(Feeling is that he prefers Bojan to Ronaldinho at this point). As the days go by, its looking like our beloved Villa is going to be staying, along with Silva. But again, anything can happen in this crazy world.

Ronaldinho was really a victim. Everybody knew of his partying ways before so thats not it. Its just that the club bringing in Henry along with having another ego maniac like Eto'o in the mix really was a way of stepping on Ronaldinho's shoes. Ronnie basically fell out with the coaching staff, and suits at the club. And as a result, its clear to me that he was basically exed out of 1st team plans because of his refusal to cooperate. Throw in the fact that 17 year old Bojan Krkic pretty much took his place in the 1st team, and you have a guy that just doesn't want to play for the club anymore. I think Ronaldinho just basically told the club that he didn't want to play for them anymore, and that was pretty much that. He stopped training, partied even harder and basically didnt care. I actually heard from a friend who lives in Spain that the coaching staff ended up BANNING(Thats right) from training and kept him away from the rest of the team for weeks because of the situation. By then, the Laporta had already made up his mind that he didn't want him anymore, and that was when he allowed Ronaldinho to come back to train, but not before breaking the news to him that he would be released at the end of the season. Then of course as we all know the injury occured. But the writing was on the wall anyway... RONALDINHO WAS NOT GOING TO PLAY ANOTHER GAME FOR BARCELONA.... Those close to Ronaldinho say that he knew that already and it was at that point that his brother began to talk to AC Milan about the transfer deal for the player...

So of course anybody not close to the situation, wouldn't want a player associated with that type of "baggage" if you will, to play for his team... Its an unfortunate situation, but I blame the Barcelona organization because they didn't handle it the right way. The atmosphere could not have been good with all the politics, feuds, and divisions within the team. I mean anytime you have a player that is not allowed to even attend training because the coaching staff doesn't want him there cannot send a good message to anybody. That has to be a HORRIBLE working environment for any player. I wouldn't want that.

But it is what it is. Your only as good as your last season, and Ronnie's wasn't that good unfortunately. I still think he can offer a team alot, so he'll end up being picked up by either Man City, AC Milan, or possibly Chelsea. The price tag will be lowered and Ronnie will likely end up leaving for cheap(At least for a player of his caliber). I think he'll go for like 23 million or something and Barca will then use that cash to get a world class striker, since its likely Eto'o is gone as well.
and the NEW
Maxy, just like the media and everybody else who doesn't watch him, it tells you what you hear. I heard one talk show 'expert' in the season say how he had caught two games of Liverpool and Barca, and then went on to criticise the players. Excuse me, two games? Good one. Please get the games of him the previous two seasons and tell me he has lost his quality? Or he is fat? Then maybe you can form an actual opinion, the words you stated are EXACTLY why people have turned against him. The media moves against him, there has to be some truth, right?. No doubt, he was not destroying guys like he did at his absolute prime, but he was still one of the standouts in La Liga. Watch how much he opened up the game when he played and how many times he set Messi off free. It really really angers me, listening to these opinions without any facts. Because there are no facts to use against him, he took off his shirt and was shreded, he set up and scored a stack of goals and the team did a lot better when he played, won far more games. Anything else needed? He and Deco were benched because of a personal disagreemend with Rijkaard, simple as that, look at Deco now, one of the players of the Euro so far! The media wants a story, nothing more, nothing less.

He was at the Brazil V Argentina match (horrible match at that with only Messi showing some flashes of brilliance but again, no finish) and looked exactly the same. Dunga himself said a while back Ronaldinho still has a big place in Brazil, he just needs match fitness now. At least somebody still has a brain.

PR, Pep says he wants to use Ronaldiho on the left wing and Henry and Bojan as the two strikers, so no clash (position wise) between those 3 there. If Ronaldinho goes, he says he will look for a left winger. On the training incident, apparently at the same time Deco came out and said he wanted Mourinho at Barca, Ronaldinho had a HUGE feud with Rijkaard at training, which all the media and public not only saw, but heard! Apparently some very harsh words were exchanged, so that was that. After that incident, both said they would no longer play for Barcelona until they were given the respect they deserved or Rijkaard was gone. Ultimately, it was too many egos and nobody to put them in their place, this is where guys like Mourinho, Ferguson, Scolari and Wenger are experts!!!! Somebody had to suffer and it ended up all 3 of them! Eto'o is just trouble on his own, but you cannot doubt his goal scoring ability. As you say PR, all 3 of the Barca trio that took them to their heights of glory have now been labelled trouble makers, which will turn a lot of clubs off!

Milan don't have the money, simple as that. What else can they do? He is now getting up there in age and only has a few years left, so no big club is going to break a record to sign him and Barca still want him, but it has become a battle of pride now between he and the club and we all know Ronaldinho has a big ego and likes to sulk!

On another note, Russia looked fantastic last night! Such a technically brilliant squad! They will give Holland some troubles IMO!

Big match tonight, my prediction, Portugal 2-1 over Germany!

I honestly hope Villa and Eto'o end up in the Premier League (sad for Barca and Valencia)! Both will do spectacular there! Hope Rafa gets some cash to spend and can land one of them!
In football more than any other sport, perception is reality, unfortunately. Because football is such a euphoria in Europe, the media knows what to do to sell papers. Any chance for a story and they'll jump on it. Media in Spain unfortunately is the WORST at this. If you believe half of what they say, then Kaka and Villa were supposed to be Madridistas by this time and it never happened. But because of the TIMING in which the Spanish media jumped on this, you had many people believing it was true.

Same thing with the Ronaldinho training incident where he had his fight with Rijkaard, and then was sent away or whatever. HUGE STORY... And then more spin off stories followed after that. Its gotten to the point where you have to dig hard to seperate whats true and whats not. And unfortunately, you see so many fans of the game so misinformed and they believe what they hear.

When you have too many stars on one team, it causes nothing but trouble. Everybody cannot be a star. People get comfortable with the team playing around them and when it doesn't happen, you have a circus. In reality, even though Rijkaard was a disgrace for Barca the past 2 seasons, I think it would be difficult for any manager to grab hold of a squad with THAT many egos. After all, players like Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Messi, and Henry at their respective top forms, would start for virtually ANY TEAM in Europe and would be the focus of any opposing team as far as defending goes. I think Barca in 2005/2006 had the PERFECT team. Everybody knew their role, and played it to perfection. These past 2 seasons there was sort of a scramble with players doing more than they needed and as a result, the team suffered.

Anyway, Portugal and Germany for me in a few hours. I like Portugal via 2-0 score. I don't think Germany will get much of a shot at possession since I see them on their heels most of the match.

If Eto'o and Villa do leave La Liga, I'll go on record and predict that they both will be the top scorers in England.
2-0 to Germany as I write. 30 minutes gone and I'm delighted. Never ever thought I'd be pleased that the Germans are winning a game but for purely selfish reasons a German win puts Portugal out and opens the door for the Ronaldo saga to come to a close.

Fingers crossed it stays like this or gets even worse for the Portuguese.
So angry right now at the moment..... FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!..... angry2.gif

I may sound like a sore loser but I don't care. I thought Portugal deserved to win. They dominated possession, created more shots on goal, and Germany mostly scored from set pieces. Germany were so fortunate. I hate Ballack and his diving and bitching ways. What a woman he is out there!!!.... On the attack, Portugal looked dangerous almost everytime but what in the hell was Ferreira on???.... He didn't put ONE good ball into the area... Oh... Who said that Deco was past his prime???... I'm sure this must be killing you, ATN. The man is absolutely BRILLIANT.. Easy MOTM for me... I see no evidence that this man is past his prime and can no longer beat defenders and make create dangerous plays. Defensively he's solid as usual. I really don't think this guy deserves to be exited out of Barcelona this way. He's still a world class player and one of the best box to box midfielders in the world. So sad for him that this may well be his last chance at a big championship. Ronaldo had moments, but couldn't get it going. He's getting alot of hate now. Portuguese fans are calling him a choker and all this stuff, and thats unfair. Its like they want Ronaldo to fail. I could see if your a Man United fan, but come on!!... Ricardo was HORRIBLE today. What the hell was he doing coming off his line during that set piece. Fucking pissed off.

Great game nonetheless. But the wrong team won IMO. Hopefully Holland and Spain restore some order here.

Also, LMAO at Cristiano Ronaldo... So soon after his side is eliminated he says in regards to Real Madrid "I have many desires, and hopefully a deal can be worked out soon, but its not up to me." "We'll have news in a couple of days." His agent has said that he's had his mind made up about this since last season and he doesn't want to wait anymore. Rumors also state that he's in the process of selling his house and all.

If that doesn't end the speculation, I don't know what will. The guy wants to go Real Madrid, period. No ifs ands or buts about it anymore. Its unfortunate for Valencia because Real were already strong enough. Its become clear that United can't keep him much longer if at all anymore really. I think its time they ship him out.
and the NEW
QUOTE(PR316 @ Jun 19 2008, 09:02 PM) [snapback]393038[/snapback]
what in the hell was Ferreira on???....

I'm sure this must be killing you, ATN.

What was Ferreira on? That first goal was a joke, has he never heard of "GOAL SIDE"!!!!! He was just watching that German Beckham wannabe run in on goal!

It is killing me mate! The Barca management and media have ruined a perfectly good team!

Portugal were SHOCKING in defence, but their attack and midfield were great as usual! I thought a draw would have been a fair result, with it going into extra time to decide!

I have a bad feeling about this, Italy wins, Croatia and Hiddink pulls Russia into an upset!

What semi finals that would create black eye.gif

Yep, the Ronaldo saga is done and dusted, always was IMHO. Just seemed so obvious what he wanted to do, now it's upto the clubs to work it out! Fukcin Madridistas!!! Leo had better do a Ronaldinho and carry a struggling team! If it's time to grow up and lead the team, it is now!
Ronaldo's ego is bigger than he is. Yes, he had a tremendous season last year but he didn't exactly light up Euro 2008 did he? He's an excellent player but in terms of great players who are able to single handedly carry a nation to glory, I'm afraid he doesn't cut it.

Diego Maradona took an average Argentina side to world cup glory all on his own. Best player I've ever seen who produced magic on any stage. Ronaldo has pretty much admitted he wants to join Madrid so I say, let him go. He has had the best season he will ever have.....I'll put money on it. He'll never repeat the goals or the success of last season. Take the money.

However, United have issued a statement declaring the player is "not for sale" and they are "not listening to any offers." It's a strong stance to take but it's the clubs right to take it. He signed a 5 year contract last season...he has 4 years remaining on that contract so despite what he thinks, his decision is solely dependent on what United decide.

Ferguson has never sold a player he didn't want to leave. I hope this will be the first time he breaks that rule however because I simply don't want him at my club any more. He'll never be regarded as a United legend after this summers shenanigans. Two great seasons does not a legend make. He seems to believe he is bigger than the club now and that is a very insulting attitude to take.

Ferguson may be able to convince him to stay at United for two more seasons (when he himself will quit) and he may still produce some excellent football for us but the fans are already saying they will boo him when he touches the ball so its not good for team spirit.

So my final thoughts are - sell him for a ridiculous cash only fee and move on. Oh and I am already praying we draw Madrid in the champions league next season!
QUOTE(Fitz @ Jun 20 2008, 10:19 AM) [snapback]393123[/snapback]
What about letting him rot? Would it bother you having him there then? laugh.gif

Its been mentioned hasn't it? I recall United saying a while ago that if he openly wanted out of the club they would be prepared to stick him in the stands for a year rather than let Madrid have him!

I just reckon that would be counter-productive and isn't really viable. Might as well take what we can get, as much a we can claw out of Madrid and be done with it.
I'm saying my prayers... EVERY NIGHT... I absolultely do NOT want either Italy or Germany to contest this title.

If Spain lose to this ref reliant, pathetic, impotent, no defense having, lucky not to have been eliminated by Romania, non Pirlo and Gattuso having, Italian side, then I really don't know whats become of this game. And it would be such a sad moment too because thus far we've had a GREAT tournament. Fireworks have been provided to us by Holland, Spain, and yes Portugal. Its time for a new team to win this thing. I'm sick and tired of Germany, Italy, and France having dominated on the European scene. I don't want Spain to just win.... I want them to kick Italy's ass so bad, that all the shit talking Italy fans will stop calling teams like Holland and Spain soft. So sick and tired of seeing this anti-futbol teams win.

I agree with you MAXY... United have every right in the world to do what they want... HOWEVER... Im just thinking that for the better of the TEAM and for the FANS, that if he continues to reiterate his desire to go, then the best thing for all parties involved is for United to demand at least 90 million euros, and ship him the fuck out. You guys are still the best team in Europe with or without him until proven otherwise. It would be hard to replace him but hey, we all agree that if a player doesn't want to play for your team anymore, then its time to move on.

Here's to end the speculation.. In the center right you will see that little audio section with a small picture of Ronaldo that says "Escucha las declaraciones de Cristiano Ronaldo"(Translates to listen to Cristiano Ronaldo's declarations). In that audio for those who don't speak Spanish(Cristiano speaks excellent Spanish amazingly), he states his desire to go to Madrid and says that he will push for his own transfer and he believes that the situation will all work itself out.
Deserved win for Spain.. FINALLY!!!....

But man, I can now see why Italy got thrashed by Holland. If it wasn't for Italy playing with 9 men in their own box, Spain very easily would have won this game by a score of about 3-0 or something like that. From beginning to end, they ran the Italians around the pitch, created more goal scoring chances, while Italy just sat back all day, and launched long balls onto Luca Toni in hopes that he would get a lucky goal. Oh.. And what was up with this ref???... My goodness I wanted to hit him in his jaw. Silva suffered about 3 fouls in the penalty area and not ONE was called a penalty. And then Villa slips in the area trying to get around a defender and according to the ref, "Villa dove," and is shown a yellow card/ rolleyes.gif dntknw.gif After that decision, I thought Italy were gonna break through somehow someway through some lucky play. Once Cesc came on to the pitch, the Italians just had NO ANSWER for him. He threaded some dangerous looking balls, linked up amazingly with Villa(And Arsene Wenger was watching that), and restored some order to the midfield which got a little ragged at times. Senna was his usual self. Hard rock defense. Marchena SURPRISINGLY made no mistakes. But Sergio Ramos, man. Again, committing stupid fouls, AGAIN giving away the ball. I'm having patience with him because Spain won but damn. He needs to be careful. Puyol was a warrior. Capdevila as well. Torres had a decent game and made some lethal runs but couldn't find that last finish. Casillas is the man though. 2 SAVES in the penalty shootout...Wow...

Onward to Russia. Lets beat them again, damn it!!... LOL... cool.gif
and the NEW
Wrote a big reply but fukcin internet disconnected!

Agree on the Spain performance PR. Fabregas was a HUGE plus when he came on, Silva tried a bit more, but kept hooking his shots, Torres looked the most lively out there! Ramos had a shocker, Puyol is a great one on one marker and really gave Toni hell! Casillas is a legend, probably best keeper in the world, right there with Van Der Sar, both are just incredible! Though prefer, VDS. Villa had opportunities to take guys on, but just was not decisive! Guiza looked like the occassion was too big for him at this stage!

Holland V Russia was close, could have gone either way. Disappointing to see Robben on the bench injured once again! sad.gif He could have really made the difference! Sneijder and Van Der Vaart the only real standouts!

Hopefully some good semis and this msg goes through!!!!!!

I also hope the Spain V Russia game is as entertaining as the first, with the same outcome! This could and really should be Spains year! The other two (Portugal and Holland) have already chocked, despite both being involved in matches that could have gone either way, as is the nature of knockout tournaments (particularly ones like the WC and Euro, where you only have a single leg all the way from the group stages). It's one aspect that makes it exciting, but also very frustrating!

Only cheering for one team here on in and as we watch them every week PR, probably another reason they have been my favourite this Euro! GO SPAIN!!!!!!!!
Somewhat of an interesting twist in the Ronaldo saga. Check this out.

REAL MADRID last night ruled out a mega-bid for Cristiano Ronaldo.

President Ramon Calderon denied Real will smash the transfer world record by saying: “We’ll NEVER pay £80million for one player.”

And in another amazing twist, SunSport can reveal United would NOT be allowed to let Ronaldo rot in the stands rather than let him go.

FIFA rules state a player can walk away if he features in fewer than 10 per cent of his club’s matches in a season.

Calderon, who has infuriated United boss Alex Ferguson with his public chasing of Ronaldo, now claims to be delighted the player has made public his desire to move to the Bernabeu.

He said: “We are very happy with the declaration of the player. But it does not depend on him, it depends on United.

“There is no issue with Ronaldo but they don’t want to sell. The English club have to make the first step. United have the last word.”

Real boss Bernd Schuster sparked a frenzy of speculation when he said Real would pay “whatever it takes” to land the 42-goal ace.

But Calderon has put paid to rumours a world-record £80m bid — dwarfing the previous record of £46m Real paid for Zinedine Zidane — was in the offing.

United have maintained all along the Portuguese superstar would not be allowed to leave.

They even threatened to force Ronaldo to watch the season from the stands.

But under section four of FIFA’s articles for the status and transfer of players, it says: “An established professional who has, in the course of a season, appeared in less than 10 per cent of the official matches in which his club has been involved may terminate his contract prematurely on the grounds of sporting just cause.”

Damn, this just gets uglier and uglier. This is why Man United should just rid themselves of him now. The sooner the better. This is all just going to go against United at the end of the day. Better to just demand 50 milliion at least from Real Madrid, and ship him out. United do themselves no favors at this point by keeping him.
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Just sounds to me like they are attempting to get him a lot cheaper, a simple power struggle!

They can still let Ronaldo rot for most of a season then, until it's impossible for him to play 10% of games as the season draws to an end. But that would just be annoying to world wide fans of the game and to the game in general, talk about a sore looser! Villa and Barca already did that to Riquelme, Deco and Ronaldinho and it is disappointing to see. Players only peak for several years, why take one of them away from everybody!

Ronaldinho also spoke out for the first time, saying he is getting fitness back and will work to become #1 again (not sure he will get above Ronaldo and Messi at this stage) and that nearly all the top English squads are interested in him. Maybe he knows more than us........

Eto'o also came out and said he could stay at Barca if he wants, but that he has no motivation to stay with them......

Not sure if we are getting the whole story, infact, I am sure we aren't! Quiet a few political games and power struggles going on by the sounds of it.
I read a pretty annoying article in an Argentinian website, stating that Ronaldinho despite being great at the club level, will never be a true great amongst Zidane, Ronaldo, Pele, and Maradona, because he will never produce his club form for his country. Ever since World Cup 2006, the media has been VERY anti Ronaldinho. I guess they know something I don't know because what I saw was a WHOLE TEAM that didn't produce any good stuff. I mean its not like Kaka was lighting it up either in Germany and he gets praised as one of the top players in the world still. Maybe Ronnie won't ever produce at that high a level for his country, but again, the whole Brazil squad that season basically sleep walked through the tournament. I'm not saying Ronnie is the best player in the world or anything. I'm just saying that at one point he was, regardless of how the World Cup turned out for him, which was unfortunate because that Brazil squad was SCARY, as far as the talent went. I definitely think overconfidence got to them. They literally sleep walked their way towards France before exiting.

As far as Cristiano goes, I've always had that feeling that he'll end up going. He'll probably go for like 50 million. At the end of the day, no club should ever pay silly money for 1 player. And I think that United as an organization are smart and experienced enough to do the right thing for the club as a whole, and the team as well. If United however, let it become a battle of pride and emotion, then that could really turn things upside down for them for next season. Internal feuds really played a HUGE role with Valencia last season and when a bad environment is present in the locker room or training ground, it really causes players to lose motivation, and thus playing form goes down, results become shocking, and before you know it, your season ends nowhere near the expectations you had. I actually think United do itself, its team, and its fans a favor by letting Ronaldo go.

Either way, I think La Liga is going to be exciting next season. I think several teams are going to challenge Real for that title, particularly the likes of Villareal, whom were so dangerous last season. Barcelona I expect to be in that top 3 challenging for it as well. Valencia will probably finish top 5 or somewhere slightly lower. I don't think they'll flirt with relegation next season but I'm not ready to tip them yet as potential title challengers.

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Yeh, I agree on the Ronaldo saga, though I do think he is worth quiet a lot of money!

Ronaldinho was one of the stars of WC 2002 (despite Scolari being criticised for not playing Romario upfront as he was having a BLINDER in Brazil)! Rivaldo and Ronaldo were bigger names, and hence go the plaudits, but Ronaldinho produced just as much magic. Setting up 3 and scoring 2 I think. Including pretty much single handidly putting England out of that WC, setting up one and scoring one (though he says he meant to loft the keeper, I'm not so sure). He has also won the Copa America and the Federations Cup I believe. What else is left? The Olympics, I beleive 'the selection' have never done this before, and Ronaldinho is going to play for Brazil this time around. It is a HUGE national goal to acheive!

Ronaldinho is also the only man EVER, to play at every single age category for Brazil (though I am sure guys like Pele would have if they had all been around then).

Not done well in the national side? As for the last WC, a holding mid and distributor is not exactly his area of expertise. I have been searching for an area to critcise him, and that was defence, he is horrible there, but so are many great attacking players. Other than that, I really see absolutely no chink and no reason to doubt him, so am still waiting for the day to find someone who can point something out..........other than media spin doctors creating a story! We all know elections have been won and lost on such spin, so it is no surprise to see the same thing happen to a politician of the beautiful game!

Definately a media frenzy on him, if Ronaldo goes to Spain and does not perform (well to his last season or twos expectations), watch the media turn on him like an injured dog!

You can already sense it happening now, slowly sentiment is turning......
I will never for the life of me, understand why a coach would put Ronaldinho as a holding mid. That Brazil coach needed to be fired. Like Rijkaard last season playing Dos Santos and Bojan as target men, with Henry on the left wing. drag.gif Frank let me have some of that good stuff, please. It seems to me that coaches don't realize that he is called R10 for a reason. Because he's a number 10. An attacking midfielder at his best lined up behind the strikers. Just like Van Der Vaart, Silva, Sneijder, Kaka, etc.... He's not a striker. He doesn't make lethal runs off the ball to beat an offside trap. Nor is he a guy is gonna be dominant in the air against big and strong defenders. Reminds me alot of what Ronald Koeman did at Valencia with his 4-3-3, knowing that Valencia are a team that plays a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 with direct wingers who thrive on open space so they can make their big runs at defenders to stretch the defense. Sure Vicente is versatile because he links play and cuts inside, but he is not a number 10. And Villa is not a target man. Oh goodness that must be some good stuff that these Dutch smoke. LOL...

Ronaldo is gonna be LOVED by the Spanish media I think. He's a young, sharp looking kid, but unlike Beckham, not past his prime and just politicking his way into the starting lineup the way he did at Real Madrid. Granted the performances must be good if not great. But because he is known as a hard worker in training and with the team, Madridistas will adore him. Plus he's gonna be a huge hit with merchandise as well.
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I think the funniest things I saw last season under Rijkaard, was Eto'o as a right winger, Henry as a left winger, Ronaldinho and Messi as target strikers and Zambrotta on the bench with Puyol as a right wing back. ha ha ha ha ha, O H M Y ! ! ! And who wants Frank Rijkaard? I don't know how anybody could, I think of any sport I have closely followed, football has to be the dumbest of the lot as far as decisions go! Some things I see are just inexcusable!

Ronaldo may be loved in Spain, but if he does not live upto the hype, wonder how the entire European and world media will turn on him!

Not much other news as of yet, will really have to wait until after the Euro, then some others will be tied up at the Olympics. But I imagine a few sides will have a few new faces next season! I really hope Liverpool can gather the cash and bring in Villa, seeing him and Torres play alongside eachother every week would be so exciting and would really put Liverpool in a challenging position!
Well if Spain are gonna lift the trophy, they'll likely have to do it without Villa it seems. Very sad indeed, but Spain as a whole looked absolutely BRILLIANT against Russia. Rock solid defense, quick passing, fast counter attacks, and a dogged determination. Cesc Fabregas has OFFICIALLY brought his Arsenal form to the national team. Easy MOTM for me the moment he came on for Villa, playing almost like a 2nd striker. Torres and Villa had good games before coming off, both looking dangerous and testing the goal keeper a few times, and connecting with one another a couple of times for some real dangerous moments. Senna held Arshavin in check and allowed him to do absolutely NOTHING.. Sergio Ramos was a BEAST... Xavi was ok but he had a nice goal. Silva was quality as usual, and Guiza played well and scored a nice goal to cap off his performance. Spain just has Russia's number it seems.

Onwward to the final. Hopefully they take down Germany and get revenge for their next door neighbors Portugal. drinks.gif

Latest out of Spain is that Cristiano Ronaldo is in Madrid looking for a house. If this is true, he seems pretty assured that he's headed to La Liga.
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Well Turkey deserved the win against Germany, who have scraped through their matches!

M A S T E R C L A S S ! ! !

Spain were dominant in every area! Senna man of the tournament IMHO! Though we said Fabregas had to make this Euro his, and he has done so even from coming off the bench! Torres has also looked a live wire!

Best squad in Spanish history, what do you reckon PR? I have never seen a better squad, despite the quality always going around La Liga! Time for the Armada to take the spoils of war!

Airial attack is the only hope for the Germans! They will target Klose like Italy did Toni! Puyol needs another big man marking game! Also need to stop the speed of Podolski down the flanks!

Setting up for a FANTASTIC showdown!

I'll go on and predict that Sunday June 29th is Fernando Torres' big night. He hasnt' had one of those monster goal scoring games. I think its his turn. Villa is out injured sadly so he won't have his strike partner, but Torres has been getting closer and closer you feel in all these games and you get the feeling that this one will be it. Look for a HUGE night for El Nino. Marcos Senna is gonna make Podolski's life hell the same way he did to Arshavin, whom also had to deal with Sergio Ramos. Cesc is in Arsenal mode as of now, and I think he'll continue it.

It'll be a thriller. But I think its time for Spain. The best squad of MY TIME they've had thats for sure. They're easily the best team on paper. They've been consistent throughout. I think they'll finally lift a big trophy.

Spain 3 Germany 1 will be the final score.

Ancelotti has come out and said that Ronaldinho informed him that he is joining AC Milan. Then again, we've heard this back and forth before so now its just a matter of waiting and seeing.

Injury update on Villa is a "minor muscle pull." He has not been completely ruled out for the final, but even if he is to see action, it would likely be off the bench. IMO, there's no point in risking too much. Villa deserves to play in this final for sure but not at the risk of aggravating anything. Its not a serious injury, but it is one that if not played right could turn out bad. If Villa does play, it would be best if he comes off the bench and not do anything crazy. Spain should still win no matter what.
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What a wooping!!!!!!!

Lahm got BURNT by Torres, who established himself as one of the best strikers in the world currently, if not the best!!!

Have you noticed his touch and ball skills have improved since moving to Liverpool? Not nearly as many bad touches anymore and he has added a few tricks to his 'arsenal'!

Spain were too good all tournament, and other than the first 10 minutes in the final, moved the ball and were just all over the Germans! A classical example of La Liga and playing the ball on the ground! Stunning football to watch and great for the world game!

Ramos once more had a bit of a shocker, but WTF was Aragones doing taking Torres off again and Fabregas! ha ha, oh well, he got away with it!

Now it is going to be withdrawal symptoms until the season gets underway, which is a long way away! sad.gif

Apparently Adebayor is being chased by Barca now, fukc they are going to have a very very weird squad this season! An entire new beginning!
I have a slight hangover as I type this so forgive any mistakes.........VIVA ESPANA!!!!!.....VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!.... LOL...

Spain definitely deserved the victory. Should have been 3-0 if you ask me. The way the Spanish opened up the Germans with their 1-2 passing, and slashing runs was just vintage La Liga football. Torres had one helluva game and should have had at least 2 goals, missing that one header that clipped the post. But overall he was amazing and indeed has shown great improvement since being with Liverpool. I think that when a great player joins a great club from a good club, he just tends to step up his game sometimes. Torres touch has improved, even though once it let him down on another potential one on one with the goal keeper. But he was dangerous throughout. Just terrorized the Germans, who just had no answers, period. Too much strength, skill, and most of all, PACE... Torres is just too fast for defenders, especially in the PL where it is a very open style game there played, compared to La Liga's more congested midfields. Lahm did get burned. In all seriousness the whole night the German defense got TORCHED... Its difficult for me to remember such a one sided attack with only 1 goal scored. Torres literally OWNED the Germand defense. It was that bad.. Ballack was a bitch again, playing dirty and lucky to not have seen a 2nd yellow throughout the match. Klose and Podolski were shocking, and just complaining about everything all the time. The Germans for the 1st time, showed no heart. They didn't exhibit the toughness they were known for, and as a result, fell to the well deserved champions of Euro 2008.

Congrats Spain. Chokers no more. Underachievers never again.(Hopefully. LOL). They'll be a strong contender for the World Cup, along with Portugal, Holland, Brazil(If they get it together), Argentina, France, and Italy(Lippi is back). I'm hopeful that England improve and end up making it. 6 African teams will have a chance to qualify. Hopefully Cameroon and Nigeria get at least to the knockout round. Ivory Coast are class too. They gave Argentina all they could handle this past World Cup.

Adebayor would be a good addition. His touch and finishing is not impressive IMO, but he's fast, strong, and has great potential to improve.

I'll be partying alot with all my Spanish friends in the coming days. Hell, I'm sure all my Latino friends will be involved. Later, lads.
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ha ha ha, rip it up PR!

Have some beers for me!

The beautiful game is back! First United got the CL, now Spain the Euro! Encouraging and you can hear teams all the time talking now of how they need to be more attacking! Can't wish for anything more for the beautiful game (except Barca get back to their top)!
Well after some good rest, I have awakened to some big news.

Chelsea have OFFICIALLY completed the transfer for Deco for a rumored 8 million pounds. A 2 year deal Deco has penned with the club it seems. Deco spoke very highly of the club at the news conference and is very excited about reuniting with Scolari. Deco may be 30 years old, but I honestly have seen little if any evidence that this man is past his prime and can no longer create plays. He was easily Portugal's BEST in the Euro Cup this Summer and he was the architect of that attack. Too bad he had little help in defense. Barcelona are really going to miss him I feel. Deco opened up so much for Eto'o, Ronaldinho, and Messi back in Barca's hey day when they were winning everything. Amazing how incredible a team they were. Almost invincible. Apparentley Deco is the replacement for Frank Lampard who seems to be on his way to Inter. The first major transfer has occured now. Chelsea are just getting started, I think. I expect them to make a few big money moves this Summer.

Ronaldinho dropped hints in a recent interview that his time is over at Barcelona. The media is all over him in South America, criticizing him for being fat and out of shape in some charity game that he played with friends against Lionel Messi and some of his friends. They've come down on him heavy for not focussing on his training and getting ready for the Olympics. rolleyes.gif Reportedly Messi is trying to convince him to stay at Barca, but Ronnie still seems set on his dream move to AC Milan but the problem there appears to be the transfer fee. Laporta supposedly on "holiday" in the Canary Islands said that he is expecting an OFFICIAL transfer request from Ronaldinho within the next couple of weeks but has refused to comment on how it will turn out. Kaka wants Ronaldinho to join, obviously welcoming the Brazilian connection that already exists at Milan. I think Ronnie wants to stay, but has really struggled with this. Its clear to me that the man is not only conflicted over this situation, but also devastated. He did not deserve to be humiliated and villified by the Barcelona organization the way he was. The officials of Barca really ought to be embarassed for not behaving like a big club that handles situations the right way. A journalist in Brazil apparentley is making alot of money off an article he wrote titled "La Caida de Ronaldinho" which translates to "The Fall of Ronaldinho". Even in his home country they are turning on him. thumbsdown_anim.gif Barcelona really ought to be ashamed of themselves. We all love this game, but sometimes the way things are handled just leave us all scratching our heads.

Eto'o will be given notice in a few days of where his future lies. Guardiola knowingly does not count on him, likewise with Ronnie and Deco. The team that now seems more likely to get his signature are Inter Milan. Mourinho apparentley is a great admirer of Eto'o and very much would like to bring him over to potentially partner with Ibrahimovic. His days at Camp Nou seem numbered. I think before the month is over, we'll know his situation. His path is pretty much clear. The President of the club Moratti has said that a striker is on the agenda and is supposed to travel to Barcelona in a week or so to further the deal.

Check this, Bernd Schuster has gone on record saying "I'm expecting Ronaldo to be in Madrid in time for pre-season training". LOL!!!... Wow... What arrogance. Clearly taunting the Man United club and fans this man is. Such arrogance once again from the Madridistas. Oh man am I going to hate them even more next season if they sign Ronaldo.

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