Saturday, May 31, 2008

Albiceleste News Around The Globe

It Was Messi And Now Masche

Javier MASCHERANO has become the latest player having trouble to secure release from Liverpool to represent Argentina in the Olympics. For more information about this you can
click here.

Volleyball – Olympic Qualification Tournament

Argentina fought back from one set down to tame South Korea 3-1 in their match of the first day of the men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.

The team, ranked sixth in the world, downed the 16th-ranked Koreans 16-25, 25-23, 25-23, 29-27 on their sixth match point of a fiercely-fought contest.

Rugby – Guinness Premiership Final

An unfortunate day for coach Marcelo LOFFREDA and prop Marcos AYERZA of the Leicester Tigers as they were defeated by the London Wasp 26-16 at Twickenham Stadium.
This is season LOFFREDA's first season as the Tigers coach after leading the Pumas to third place at the last World Cup.

NBA – Carlos To Join Manu & Oberto?

Apparently there has been report saying that San Antonio Spurs might show interest in Toronto's guard
Carlos DELFINO, as part of their plan to rebuild for next season.

Tennis – Roland Garros, Men's Double

Lucas Arnold KER/Juan Ignacio CHELA march into the third round with a comfortable 6-1 & 7-5 win against Nicolas DEVILDER/Olivier PATIENCE from France.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lautaro Acosta Joins Sevilla

In perhaps the first transfer involving an Albiceleste, Lanus striker Lautaro ACOSTA has joined Sevilla on a five year contract that is reported to be worth 7 million Euros. He will be re-united with Federico FAZIO, who was together with him in last year Under-20 World Cup winning team.

ACOSTA said on the Sevilla website: "I feel extremely happy to have at last closed the agreement. I am going to fulfil my dream, which was to be able to play in Europe, and as well as that I am going to do it at one of the most important clubs in the world."

He also revealed he had spoken to Sevilla B player Emiliano ARMENTEROS about the club and city. ACOSTA, who is friends with one of ARMENTEROS' brothers, said: "He told me that I am going to a spectacular city, a club who have all the details, with some great installations, and he has also spoken of the warmth of their fans. I know that I am going to need time to adapt, but I hope that this period will be as short as possible.

Roland Garros - End Of The Road For Schwank

Well he was making a name for himself during this Roland Garros. First he was a winner of three consecutive Challenger titles, then he manages to escape a near fatal incident when his hotel was caught on fire in Bordeaux.

And now at the French Open, he surprise many with his sizzling performance to reach the third round. Unfortunately, his campaign came to end after losing to local hero, Paul-Henri MATHIEU thus ending Argentina's hope of winning the men's single title.
Gordo (that is his nickname, I believe), was out of focus in the first two sets which allowed the Frenchmen to take 2-6, 3-6. Then suddenly he came back alive in the third winning 6-3. But in the fourth set, he did had his moment where he could have complete the set but mistakes and unforced error cost him badly.

After forcing the game to a tie breaker, Gordo was unable to capitalize on his chances thus losing 6-7(9-11). I would still say it was a gallant effort from him, and definitely he is one for the future.

Playoffs News - No Back To Back For Manu & Oberto

From the time the ball was tipped off, they knew they had huge mountain to climb. At the beginning it looks like that the Spurs were firing from all cylinders but as time when by, the ammo just seemed to run out. By then it was all over. The LA Lakers won by 100-92 to clinch the Western Conference title by 4-1 against the Spurs.

So the main question here is that where did it all go wrong them? Old legs, maybe. Wasted opportunities, maybe. A below par performance from Manu GINOBILI, definitely. Spurs only win in this series came from a game, which Manu played one of his best performances in the post season. Tonight he only had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists & 2 blocked shot.

But I will not take anything away from Manu, as far the whole season is concern. He did carry the team through tough times especially when both Tim DUNCAN and Tony PARKER were injured. He never complains about his status being a bench player. He gave 120% when every time he was brought in. He finished off as Spurs top scorer during the regular season. For his reward, he was named as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year.Fabricio OBERTO too in some ways perhaps will also have a season to remember. He finished off the game with 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists & 1 steal. As always, he was doing the little things that others wont do. Despite the arrival Kurt THOMAS, he still maintains his place in the team as the starting center.

Its time now our heroes to get some much deserve rest and prepare for their next challenge of the year, to defend our precious gold in Beijing.

So who I should be supporting from now onwards? It must be the Detroit Pistons, provided that they re-activate Walter HERRMANN back into the team for the Finals, if they make it.

Roland Garros - Disastrous Day 5

What a day to forget for all our boys? Five Argentine player were in action and none of them actually WON!!! And this is happening on clay, I just can’t believe this.

Our best hope David NALBANDIAN was the biggest casualty among them all. He took on local boy, Jeremy CHARDY who stunned the 6th seeded in five sets. NALBANDIAN was on a roll taking the first two sets 6-3, 6-4. Then the unimaginable happen, when CHARDY stormed back to win the next three, 2-6, 1-6 & 2-6.
This was follow by Maximo GONZALEZ, Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO, Diego JUNQUEIRA & Juan Ignacio CHELA. Here are the results.

Maximo GONZALEZ lost to Mikhail YOUZHNY (RUS) 3-6, 2-6 & 2-6
Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO lost to Jarkko NIEMINEN (FIN) 5-7, 1-6, 6-3 & 7-6
Diego JUNQUEIRA lost to Ivan LJUBICIC (CRO) 3-6, 4-6 & 2-6
Juan Ignacio CHELA lost to Fernando VERDASCO (ESP) 5-7, 6-4, 3-6 & 5-7

The only survivor that is remaining in the Men’s Single is Eduardo SCHWANK who later take on 18th seeded Frenchmen Paul-Henri MATHIEU. It seems like this guys is a must watch, so we might just get an interesting match up with SCHWANK going against the local crowd as well.

Not to forget, some of our players are also still involved in the Men’s double. Hopefully we will get some better luck there.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A mention in The Guardian

One week ago I saw a feature on the English newspaper The Guardian, called The Knowledge, about managers with spells in three or more clubs from the same city (anywhere in the world).

It was a very interesting article and after I read it, I thought: "Wait...there must be at least one manager with such a career in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo". So I did a little research (not very exhaustive) and I thought I'd drop them a line.

Turns out they published the information I sent them and I got a mention in today's edition of The Knowledge.

I thought I'd share it with you:

Scroll down to the last subject, called: WHO HAS MANAGED THE MOST CLUBS IN ONE CITY (2)?

Copa Libertadores - Boca/Fluminense (S/Final 1st Leg)

Roland Garros - Schwank Through To The Next Round

Day 4 at the Roland Garros saw three more of our players completing their first round ties and progressing to the next stage. But as for the second round fixtures, it was massive disappointment.

Juan Ignacio CHELA has manage to complete his tie against American John ISNER. After losing the first two sets, he made a brilliant comeback to win the game, 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 7 6-4.

Diego JUNQUEIRA manage to overcome local boy Adrian MANNARINO in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 & 6-2. Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO also progresses to the next round with a victory against Spaniard Feliciano LOPEZ 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 & 6-3.

It was unfortunate for Agustin CALLERI after he was defeated by Mardy FISH from America 7-6, 4-6, 2-6 & 4-6.

In the second round fixtures, Eduardo SCHWANK continues to impress the critics with a win against Marcel GRANOLLERS from Spain 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 & 6-4. But that was the only win we had from our boys in the second.

Jose ACASUSO saw his campaign came to an end after losing to Andy MURRAY 4-6, 0-6 & 4-6. While Juan Martin DEL POTRO was beaten by Italian Simone BOLELLI 6-3, 6-7, 5-7 & 2-6.

The other player to bow out in the second round was Sebastian DECOUD after he was defeated by Nicolas ALMAGRO in straight sets 6-7, 2-6, & 1-6.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Copa Libertadores - Boca To Take On Fluminense

Manchester United has already proven they are the best in Europe. Now it is obvious that they’re next conquest is for global domination, which will be at FIFA Club World Cup tournament later this year.

They could start doing their homework right now by paying attention to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The Copa Libertadores that is. After all, it is highly likely that the Final will be contested between Europe and South American’s finest.

One thing that I can guarantee is that, Argentina (whether it is in the form of a certain player or team) will have a winner.

One team that will grab most of the attention among Mundo’s reader will definitely be Boca Juniors. How can we all forget last year’s edition, which saw the Juan Roman RIQUELME inspired Boca capturing glory from the hands of Gremio from Brazil? We all know the love-hate relationship between Brazil, and us, which will continue again this year when Boca take on Fluminense in the semis.

Now I have to admit that my knowledge may be limited on the football scene in South America due to the lack of coverage here in Malaysia (the only staple diet that I have is either from Seba or Sam from HEGS). But it doesn’t take a genius to understand Boca’s deadly offensive trio of Roman, Martin PALERMO and Rodrigo PALACIO.

On his best and given half a chance, Roman can provide some delicious splitting passes against the tightest defense. PALERMO will benefit the most from this. Add to PALACIO mobility and trickery on the field, Boca does look good enough to go all the way.

From what I read, Roman has established a highly productive performance alongside Jesús DATOLO in midfield. Someone which I’m keen to look forward too. Not to forget, Gabriel PALETTA returning after a ill-fated stint at Liverpool. He could come in handy from set piece situations.

As for the rest, I’m sure plenty of you hardcore Boca supporters out there might want to share interesting stuffs about them. I would love to hear more about them.

My personal reason why I picked Boca to win (forgive me if I might sound controversial here) is the fact that Roman has never dissapointed anyone in a Boca’s shirt. Period.

Boca’s rival in the semis Fluminense will also bring their own Albiceleste flavour into the pitch, in the form Darío CONCA. The ex-River has been on loan for the past four years playing in Chile & Brazil. What amazes me the most, that how even Brazllian teams love to have an Argentine on roster (Carlitos, Javier etc.).

The other semi-final, which was played today, saw Club América of Mexico taking on Liga Deportiva Universitaria (LDU) from Ecuador at home. The match ended in 1-1 draw.

Sebastian DOMINGUEZ was sent off for a sliding tackle in the 73rd minute. Federico HIGUAIN (the brother of Gonzalo of Real Madrid) also came into action as a second half substitute. The Mexican side of course were playing without Federico INSUA who was still out injured (It seems his out for about 6-8 months).

While LDU was not short of Albiceleste talent in their line up with all three players, Damián MANSO, Norberto ARAUJO and Claudio BIELER, was in starting eleven.

LDU success on becoming the first side from the country reaching the semis in a decade is just another milestone for Ecuadorean football in this decade.

Playoffs News - Oh No!!!

As you all would have known by now, the Lakers won Game 4 93-91, after controversial decision by the referee in the dying seconds. It was clearly that Brent BARRY (he was spectacular tonight with 23 points from the bench) was foul and should have been sent to the free throw lines.

But I don’t know what to say about Manu GINOBILI, which I have to say, was horrendous for entire the game. He didn’t manage to post any points until 1:32 left in the third quarter. If he was at his best, maybe just maybe Spurs would have got this game. In total, he only manages to post 7 points, 1 rebound & 6 assists. This is really sad.

Fabricio OBERTO also struggle heavily wasn’t even able to have a shot and only had 3 rebounds & 1 assist.

The signs don’t look good for the Spurs to pull something out of Game 5 which will be played in LA. I’d hate to see Spurs going out at this time having realizing how close they came to clinch back to back championship. Much more for so Manu’s sake, after having a great season.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ginobili (On Game 4 Against LA Lakers)

Roland Garros - Early Exit For Coria & Others

He’s highly anticipated return to the scene took him to the peak of his career four years ago, was short lived. Guillermo CORIA couldn’t capitalize after a great start when he took on Spaniard Tommy ROBREDO in his first round match up. He stunned the 12th seeded player 7-5 in the first set. But the ROBREDO bounced back to win the game 6-4, 6-1 & 6-4 in the following three sets.
I’m just hoping that this could be a great comeback for El Mago after being out in the cold during last few years.

CORIA’s exit proves to be start of what was a disappointing day for all our boys. The most obvious being Guillermo CANAS after his surprise defeat to American Wayne ODESNIK in straight sets, 6-7, 6-7 & 6-7.

The other player who went out is Sergio ROITMAN, who went down to Guillermo Garcia-LOPEZ of Spain, 6-2, 6-4 & 7-6.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Manu Ginobili - Game 3 Post Game Press

Playoffs News - Manu Strikes 30 Against Lakers In Game 3

If there is one thing about the Spurs is that playing in front of their own fans tends to bring the best out of them. Not since the first game against Phoenix Suns in the first round, they had trouble seeing off their opponent at home. The Lakers became the latest victim as Spurs manage to pull one game in the Western Conference Finals, winning 103-84. The Lakers still lead the series 2-1.

Manu GINOBILI has never been like himself as far this series in concern during the first two games. In the previous game he posted as low as only 7 points. There was also some concern about his injury. But all that change tonight.
As a true competitor, he exploded into the arena to help Spurs win this game. In neck and neck battle between him (as the NBA 6th Man) and the leagues best man (Kobe BRYANT), he posted 30 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

There was also a much better performance from Fabricio OBERTO who posted 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal. Indeed a great effort from him.
Spurs will play Game 3 on Tuesday, should they maintained this kind of form we could see the series going square with 2 game each. But please remember that the Lakers too have their own agenda and will try to steal a game on the road. Another epic battle is definitely on the cards

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Roland Garros - Could This Be Our Year?

The Roland Garros, tennis second Grand Slam of the year will begin this Sunday. It is pretty turning much turning into the same story every year between NADAL & FEDERER. But lets not forget what happen at the Australian Open beginning of the year? Furthermore, the French Open has always turned out to be a boogey ground for some of the world top players.

As always being played on clay, this could represent Argentina's best ever chance of achieving a Grand Slam title. Something that has eluded us since Gaston GAUDIO triumph at the same place, four years ago. So now, what about our chances to win it again this year?

So what do have from the first round action's? Of course there has to be certain David NALBANDIAN who is seeded at No.6, who lead the Albiceleste troop. His match up will be against, of all things another player from Argentina, Carlos BERLOCQ.

Then not to forget our other hopeful, Juan MONACO (No.13 seed) who will take on Sweden's Robin SODERLING. Another tough match up will be between Agustin CALERRI and American Mardy FISH. While No.298 sees, Guillermo CANAS will take on another American Wayne ODESNIK.

Other interesting first round clashes will see the return of Guillermo CORIA (2004 runner up) taking on Spaniard Tommy ROBREDO.

Here are all the other first action on the Men's Singles, involving the Albiceleste Army: -

Juan Martin DEL POTRO vs. Josselin QUANNA (FRA)
Sergio ROITMAN vs. Guillermo Garcia-LOPEZ (ESP)
Sebastian DECOUD vs. Oliver ROCHUS (BEL)
Jose ACASUSO vs. Dominik HRBATY (SLK)
Juan Ignacio CHELA vs. John ISNER (USA)
Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO vs. Feliciano LOPEZ (ESP)

Goal From Pocho Lavezzi Against Catalunya

U23 1-0 Catalunya: Good intentions, bad execution

I was really looking forward to watch this offensive juggernaut that Checho BATISTA had in store for all of us when his U23 stars faced Catalunya at the Camp Nou of Barcelona.

After watching this match, I have to admit I'm a little bit worried if this is the way MESSI and AGÜERO are planning to play offensively. No cohesion, no team-work, no one-two combinations. It was like watching them trying to do all individually. HIGUAIN was anonymous. LAVEZZI was the best of those four with great mobility and scoring the only goal but still, they left a lot to be desired.

I applaud Checho's idea of picking his best offensive weapons and use them all together. The problem is that I think they are going to need to work a lot in playing with each other. But I don't think they will play like this in Beijing. The reason being JRR. RIQUELME will completely change the way they play. Of course one from MESSI, AGÜERO, HIGUAIN and LAVEZZI will have to sit on the bench when Roman joins the team. But RIQUELME is the key to give our attacking game another dimension and to exploit our weapons in the best way possible.

I liked the job the full backs did. ANSALDI looks very solid on and off the ball and he is a great option on the left. We all know what ZABALETA can bring to the team. Together, they helped GAGO and BANEGA in midfield, compensating the lack of marking from the likes of HIGUAIN and MESSI.

FAZIO and INSUA were OK. Just OK. It looks like if DEMICHELIS is not released by Bayern Munich, Checho will use his Over23 wild card in another central defender. Maybe COLOCCINI, maybe HEINZE or even BURDISSO. Whoever it is, he'll play alongside FAZIO and INSUA will compete with ANSALDI for a job at left-back.

USTARI had an easy afternoon and was only challenged by a shot from just outside the box that he magnificienly tipped over the bar. He showed great confidence and that was really important for his team-mates.

Finally, a few words on the holding midfielders' combo of GAGO and BANEGA. They were very good today. They complemented well with each other and started a lot of plays with clever passes to the wings. BANEGA was better in recovering balls while GAGO played more of a mixed role and his distribution was superb. He gets my man-of-the-match award for his immense composure, his quality and his work-rate.

The result is irrelevant in my opinion. It was a 1-0 win against a team with a few decent players and nothing else.

I liked the way Argentina played the ball on the ground and kept possession for most of the match, but I didn't like the way we played up front, the lack of through passes and the desperate way in which sometimes we made the transition to defensive positions.

A lot of work to be done by Checho. He's got the personnel and he's got some time. I'm confident the addition of a senior central defender, MASCHERANO and (most importantly) RIQUELME, will give this team the dimension it is capable of reaching.

Did you watch the match? Who was your man of the match? What are your thoughts after this test?

Playoffs News - Manu Not At His Best

They look extremely awful and perhaps the best reason they have is tiredness. For the second straight game, the veterans San Antonio Spurs lost to the Lakers, only this time they were blown away 71-101. The Lakers now lead the series 2-0.

Manu GINOBILI apparently looks to be hampered from an injury he suffered on his fingers and a sprained ankle. I supposed to avoid from risking to further injury, coach POPOVICH decided to start him on the bench. But little no good as he only manages 7 points, 2 rebounds & 2 assists. Even OBERTO was not at his best, posting just 4 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

“I blame myself for these two losses,” Manu said. “It should be 1-1. My mind is not fatigued. I need to step up. It will be different in Game 3.”

Spurs must regroup for Game 3 and use their advantage on home court to full effects to revive their chances in this series. Just as they did against the Hornets. The only difference is that this round is totally different ball game.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Up next is Argentina U23 v Catalunya

The date is set for this Saturday at the Camp Nou of Barcelona. The Argentina Olympic team will play a friendly match against Catalunya.

There are a few news regarding the team and a few of its members.

Sergio AGÜERO and Angel DI MARIA were the last ones to join the team. As they arrived, Fabricio COLOCCINI had to take the opposite direction after an injury will force him to miss this friendly, the tour of the USA with the big boys and the WC Qualifiers. A very bad timing for him to pick up an injury after completing an entire season in Spain without missing any minute in La Liga (he was the only field player to achieve that incredible feat). As you all know, I'm not a big fan of "big curls" but nevertheless, I feel sorry for him and I wish him a speedy recovery. It is a muscular injury in his left thigh. Hopefully nothing serious.

DI MARIA had a soft training session because he just arrived from a friendly match played with Benfica in Angola.

On to tactics and probable lineup, then.

Checho BATISTA has been working with a 4-2-2-2 system. The probable starters?

Oscar USTARI in goal.
A back four of Pablo ZABALETA, Federico FAZIO, Emiliano INSUA or Nicolás PAREJA and Cristian ANSALDI or Emiliano INSUA.
Boca's gems: Fernando GAGO and Ever BANEGA will be the holding midfielders, with Gonzalo HIGUAIN and Lionel MESSI playing wide to assist a front duo of Ezequiel LAVEZZI and Sergio AGÜERO

Who wants to watch these boys in action? I, for one, am really excited with all these names and the prospect of having HIGUAIN, MESSI, LAVEZZI and AGÜERO playing all together!

MESSI: "I will go to Beijing, no matter what!"

As Linda said in one of her comments on a previous post, Lionel MESSI has ended with the speculation that suggested he had chances of missing out on the Olympic tournament to stay with Barcelona and play the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. But Lionel himself has grabbed the bull by the horns and said at a press conference: "I'm going to Beijing. I'm the one who gets to decide and the Olympics are something that doesn't happen everyday and I may not have the chance to play there in the future."

Technically, Barcelona can't prevent MESSI from playing in the Olympics (like Bayern Munich is doing with DEMICHELIS or Milan with KAKÁ) because he is still U23. The only chance for him to be sidelined was if the player himself decided to skip the trip to Beijing. But Lionel is truly motivated to play in Beijing.

"I had enough rest while I was injured. I want to go to the Olympics because it's an amazing event and I want to live that experience".

"We don't even know which team will Barcelona face in the UCL Qualifying stages, but our team doesn't need me to win matches. We've got plenty of players that can help us win. I know the people at Barcelona can understand my decision."

And there was even time to talk about the coveted number 10 shirt. Will he be wearing it in Beijing?

"I'm wearing number 19 so far and I'm happy with it. I don't think the number of the shirt really matters. The important thing is to play well and do the job."

We've got our star-man in Beijing. Happy days!

Playoff News - Bad Night For Manu As Laker Takes Game 1

They were very much tired after that gruesome series against the Hornets. In fact, they even had to sleep on their plane during the trip to Los Angeles. But just how much did this game could have cost their chances of progressing further? Especially after you had a 20 points lead during half time.

That was the case for San Antonio Spurs as they could not hold on to their lead and went down to the Lakers 85-89. Most of the damage came from MVP winner Kobe BRYANT.

Manu GINOBILI had a really tough night, posting just 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal. It was really tough for him after being guarded by Sasha VUJACIC throughout the game. I would say that Fabricio OBERTO fared better in containing Lamar ODOM as he posted 4 points, 4 rebounds & 1 steal.

From this game, all I can say is that Spurs have manage overcome their lethargic condition and I do expect them to try and win Game 2 before the series heads back to San Antonio.

Tevez: I'm Living A Dream

They say that a pictures tells a thousand words. Well then I supposed through these pictures, everyone will know just how much of pride does TEVEZ has, for both Argentina and Manchester United. Check out the following article which I've discovered from

Muchos Gracias Carlitos!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TEVEZ is champion of Europe!

He has nothing left to win at club level!

Domestic league in Argentina: DONE
Domestic league in Brazil: DONE
Domestic league in England: DONE
Copa Libertadores: DONE
Copa Sudamericana: DONE
Copa Intercontinental: DONE


It wasn't a pretty game of football. But what it lacked in style it more than made up for in emotions and intensity.

Carlitos played the whole 120 minutes and he was in charge of opening the penalty-kick shoot-out. He accomplished his mission and despite being on the verge of losing it, Manchester United clinched the title after Edwin VAN DER SAR stopped Nicolas ANELKA's shot.

A whole country is behind its favourite player now and we all feel extremely proud for all the things this little fellow from Fuerte Apache has gone on to achieve.

There he is, with his Argentine flag around his neck and that smile that we hope to see again and again and again. Especially in two years time in South Africa!


TEVEZ starts in Moscow!

There were rumours suggesting Carlitos was going to start the Champions League final sitting on the bench, but the official lineups are already known and TEVEZ will start up front alongside his friend Wayne ROONEY.

Here are the lineups:

Manchester United:




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Playoffs News - Manu Stings Hornets In Game 7

This was the game of their lives for the current season. The rule was pretty much simply, winner takes all, loser go home. That should not be a problem for the Spurs but there was one minor issue that they needed to settle. Playing against the Hornets, in New Orleans. Why you may ask? Because in three previous games, the Spurs were butchered in the third quarter and went on to loose by double digit.

But in these sorts of situations and you need one man to start the fire and keep the flame burning. That man is non-other than Manu GINOBILI. Remember last year series against the Suns? He did just that again, killing the Hornets in the last two games to take the series. Eventually Spurs won this game by 91-82 and win the series 4-3.

It was very much game, with Spurs dominating the first 3 quarters but the Hornets surge back in the fourth. Four free throws in the final minute from Manu ensured that the game was beyond Hornets reach. He was the high five performer of the game, posting 26 points, 5 rebounds & 5 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO was a sensation in the defensive duties and did a terrific job in taking over the mantle from Kurt THOMAS. He proved that Big Pops made the right choice by putting him in the starting five. He had 9 rebounds to go with his 4 points & 2 assists.

Now we’ll have another tough series coming, against the MVP and the Lakers. Another heavyweight clash in the making can’t wait for that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

COCO announced the list for the USA Tour

There is a lot going on these days. The Champions League final on Wednesday, the transfer market that has already began its European summer frenzy. The final 4 weeks of the domestic Clausura tournament. The Copa Libertadores quarter-finals. The U23 and their friendly against Catalunya on Saturday...

Such is the offer this time of the year that we seem to have forgotten about the two friendly matches that Argentina will play in the USA in early June.

But Coco BASILE is doing his homework and he has announced a list of 21 players that will go with him to San Diego to face Mexico (4 June) and New York to play the USA (8 June).

He won't be taking players that compete in the local league this time and he has said that if he can't count on his first-choice play-maker, Juan Roman RIQUELME, he won't try to replace him with another player in that role.

So we could be in for a change of system. We'll have to wait and see.

Another surprising thing is that we can see a few players that are also on BATISTA's plans for Beijing.

We'll have to wait also to see which of the following players will also be involved for the double fixture of WC Qualyfiers coming up later in June (Ecuador and Brazil) and which players not in this list will be called when Coco makes the official announcement on May 30.

Enough with the conjectures. Here's the list of 21 players that will go to the Tour of the USA:



Fernando GAGO, Maximiliano RODRIGUEZ, Jonás GUTIERREZ, Ever BANEGA, Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO, José SOSA and Javier MASCHERANO.

Lionel MESSI, Julio CRUZ, Lisandro LOPEZ, Fernando CAVENAGHI and Sergio AGÜERO.

OK...back to the conjectures.

Here are the big news that we can read in this list.

1. BASILE said: "ABBONDANZIERI is still my first choice goalkeeper".

2. Gabriel MILITO and Ezequiel GARAY are not included here because of injuries so Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ gets a chance.

3. Javier ZANETTI is included as a midfielder and he will probably be used there. He gets a reward after captaining Inter to their third league title in a row. So do his team-mates: BURDISSO, CAMBIASSO and CRUZ. CRESPO is nowhere to be seen and he doesn't seem to be in Coco's radar anymore.

4. Ever BANEGA is called to the full national team for the first time in his career, after the Youth World Cup triumph in Canada and the friendly against Guatemala in Los Angeles for the U23. Congratulations to him.

5. TEVEZ is not there for obvious reasons: he is still in action for Manchester United and he is suspended for the next WC Qualifier (against Ecuador). But BASILE said he'll talk to Carlitos after the Champions League final to see how he feels and he might as well consider him to face Brazil in Belo Horizonte.

6. MESSI and AGÜERO are two of Coco's favourite offensive weapons and he demonstrates that by having both of them on this list.

7. He gives Lisandro LOPEZ a vote of confidence after winning the league with Porto, being the top-scorer and elected best player of the league. His partner in crime, Lucho GONZALEZ, is also falling behind in the manager's preferences and he is out of the list.

What are the significant points you see after reading these 21 names?

Any nice surprise? Any unfair omission by Coco?

Give us your thoughts!

GARAY will dress in white, KUN pipped by Raúl

It's the first big transfer involving a World-Class Argentine player that has been confirmed. Ezequiel GARAY, a key in Racing Santander's historic season that ended in qualification to play next season's UEFA Cup, will play for Real Madrid next season.

The U20 World Cup champion in 2005, was transfered to the Spanish champions for a fee of 10 million euros and the transaction was confirmed by Real Madrid president Ramón CALDERÓN himself.

GARAY is poised to start establishing himself as a solid option for Coco BASILE as a central defender for Argentina in the next few months. This move to Madrid will surely help his case and Ezequiel will keep improving and maturing.

Real Madrid continues to trust Argentine players after having Gabriel HEINZE, Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Fernando GAGO and Javier SAVIOLA in their league-winning squad.

Congratulations to Ezequiel GARAY and the best of lucks in this new and exciting challenge!


The sporting newspaper Marca, from Spain, have organized the Alfredo Di Stéfano award, given to La Liga's best player of the season.

This award combines the people's votes with those from a panel of pundits.

Real Madrid captain, Raúl GONZALEZ was the winner this time around but only after battling it out with Argentine Atletico Madrid ace, Sergio AGÜERO in a very tough voting process. Both players were actually tied at one stage and a third round of voting decided in favour of Raúl.

Iker CASILLAS, Real Madrid goalkeeper, finished third while it was said Lionel MESSI finished very near the podium but couldn't quite make it.

Another important recognition for Kun, who had a great season helping Atletico Madrid return to the Champions League after 12 seasons.

The worrying news? Now there are doubts over Kun's inclussion in our Olympic team because Atletico will have to play the Qualifying stages of the Champions League at the same time the Olympic tournament will be played in Beijing.

So now we have MESSI and AGÜERO as major doubts while Bayern Munich seem set to prevent Martín DEMICHELIS to join Checho BATISTA's team in China, supported by FIFA rules.

Good news for Argentina, bad news for the tournament and especially for Brazil: AC Milan have officialy announced that they won't let KAKÁ join the Brazilian Olympic team because he is not an U23 player anymore and they have no obligations to release him. They have also added that they won't stop Alexandre PATO if he is called up to play a part in Brazil's quest to win their only major international title this summer.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

From Manchester To Moscow, With Love

We at Mundo always believe in sharing our space with others who would like to post an article on our blog, just as long if it has some connection with the Albiceleste. For me personally, I have always fascinated to read people who support other clubs or team, to hear from their perspectie about a certain Albiceleste.

So with the Champions League Final fast approaching, I was on a mission to look for any Red Devils supporter out there to give his/her thought about a certain player for this match. Good for me, I need not to go that far as I have already found the best person for this job not that far from where I live. So take it way Senor Alwin....


What happens when you mix oil with water? The same result in football will be mixing Argentina and Machester United. Both liquefied elements that don’t seem to mix well. To me, both these teams represent my favorite foot baling nation and club. Well, born a Malaysian, we are left much to be desired about the state of our local football. Hence I seek solace and happiness in both these teams and we go years back.

I’m not going to talk in depth about what the Albiceleste has done for me for this time, as we know this is a blog focused on Argentina and many of us share the same passion and experience for the national team. What I would like to do now is to talk about Manchester United in this blog and I’m also going to proclaim that I absolutely disgust the English national team because I think they are utter rubbish. I always long to see Argentina beating England anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Not so much of a rainbow connection here right.

Hence it would make absolute sense if an Argentine plays for my favorite club. Moreover, the ultimate dream came true when my favorite player signed for my favorite club in 2001, talking about killing 2 birds with one stone. The player donned the No.4 Jersey and carried the nickname “La Brujita”. The smile on my face was beyond measure and after 51 appearance and 11 goals to his credit, the “Little Witch” flew from Old Trafford to Stamford Bridge. I guess it’s enough about Seba VERON for now; as I know many of you here have your reservations about it, fully respect your opinions.

The number 4 jersey was not left off the hook as the next player to don the jersey was a tenacious left-back who played center-back for his country. Senor Gabriel HEINZE who in his first season was voted as the FANS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR despite the ROONEYMANIA hitting the waves at that time. Just picture this; an Argentine defender goes into the English club folklore ahead of an Englishman who was cooking a storm, a moment to cherish without a doubt.

As time went by, VERON and HEINZE have become part of a Historical Archive. Many people would consider VERON as the “Man of Mystery” but I guess he is a “Man of History” these days. Both these players share 2 things in common. The first as highlighted before, they wore the number 4 shirt. The second is that both gentlemen always split the opinions of fans equally, some absolutely adore them, and some absolutely hate them. This is something I got to learn when I visited this blog where Argentine fans come from all walks of life.

I guess enough of the golden oldies. As we look forward to the future, or shall I say on the 21st of May 2008. Compared to both VERON and HEINZE who successfully split the votes, there is a man out there that does just the opposite.
People absolutely feel the power and passion of this guy. He can do something what the above two guys failed. He can draw the crowd with some scintillating displays, fast pace, quick footwork and never ending work rate. He is short and out of shape, he has got 2 great feet and he came from Boca and NO He is NOT Diego MARADONA. The person who can command all the above attributes that represents the Red Devils and Albiceleste is of course the “Apache” Carlos Alberto TEVEZ.

Carlos TEVEZ, or the Brazilians call him Carlitos, yes even the Brazilians love him. He was introduced to the Champions League this season and with 528 playing minutes under his boots, 4 very important goals especially the goal at the Stade Gerland and 1 assist, one might say a job well done. The importance of that away goal at Lyon helped to push forward the Man Utd juggernaut to the final.
We must come to terms that there is more to Carlos TEVEZ than just banging in the goals, he is forward, not a striker. From what I think, the difference between the two is that a forward contributes more by making off the ball runs to draw defenders away; they play behind the striker and assist the striker on most occasions, contributing overall to the game.
This is exactly what Sir Alex needs when he faces Chelski at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on the 21st of May 2008. He needs to start TEVEZ to play alongside ROONEY. Sir Alex called him his LION, at time, you can’t dispute this because you see the way he chases defenders is like a lion let loose on the gladiator circle, starving for days and wanting to win the meatball back.

Since 1999 every Man Utd fan awaits the day another final will beckon, and now we are just days away. I would love to see TEVEZ starting the match. He has come off the bench on a few occasions during the course of the champion’s league, but he needs to start this. I would want him to achieve the double from which he has already got his first League winners medal last weekend. People in England love him and he is a legend in Upton Park already. He needs to chase John TERRY whom I think will be playing with an injured elbow and give him a hell of a time.

So please TEVEZ, please show us, not only the Man Utd fans but football fans in general that Chelsea will not win the Cup because it’s in Moscow. You see the “rainbow connection” between Moscow and a particular owner of a London club. Let’s put that aside, put football into focus and the final will be the first time two English teams meet at the biggest stage in club football. Fair play to both teams and we get a spectacle to feast our eyes on.
This is a plea for you TEVEZ, I know you will play with your heart out, you always do, this time is going to be something extra special, and it’s the biggest final in your club career. I wish you the best. At the same time, you will provide me with a chance to finally silence some Chelsea glory hunters around me once and for all. What better to have an Argentinian involved on such an auspicious occasion I pray.

In the end, my passion for both the Albiceleste and The Red Devils is just like the composition of blood running in my body. The BLUE BLOOD (deoxygenated) representing ARGENTINA and the RED BLOOD (oxygenated) representing MANCESTER UNTED. No other person will make it more complete except for Carlos TEVEZ to have a master class performance. He has both the BLUE and RED that keeps me going. Just like in the past, something which VERON and HEINZE did proudly when they donned both these jerseys.

* Just a food for thought, wonder which team will Juan Sebastian VERON would be supporting in the final? Since he featured for both these clubs before.


Forza Pupi!!! Forza Inter!!!

We have already inaugurated Kings in Portugal, Spain, Germany & England and now we can say we also have one in Italy.

In 2006, many people would say they won through a match fixing investigation, in 2007 perhaps some would say, they had it too easy. So what about 2008?

So I supposed it is high time that everyone starts to acknowledge that Inter Milan are true legitimate champions of Italy, for third consecutive time in a row. Inter defeated Parma 2-0 on the last day of the season to clinch their
Certainly one player in that team deserve more than ever is Captain Marvel Javier ZANETTI. After all these years, he gave everything he had on the field but the major honours were far beyond reachable.

Now he can proudly claim himself as an owner of three Scudetto titles for the same club he has stood loyal for the past 13 years.
Also not to forget Julio CRUZ, whose goals this season proves to be equally important in Inter title defends quest. He finished off the season with 18 goals in all competition.

Well done to all the other Albiceleste army in the Nerazzurri squad, Nicolas BURDISSO, Hernan CRESPO, Santiago SOLARI, Walter SAMUEL & Esteban CAMBIASSO.

Another good news is that Mario SANTANA & Fiorentina have made it to the Champions League next season.

Meanwhile in the season finale in Spain, despite losing to Valencia 3-1, we can safely say that Kun AGUERO, Maxi & Gang will play in the Champions League. Kun scored the consolation goal for Atletico.

But on a sad note, Real Zaragoza has been relegated into the Spanish second division after losing to Real Mallorca 3-2. It will be interesting to see in the next few months where does the future lies for Roberto AYALA, Pablo AIMAR and Diego MILITO. Everyone knows that these guys are not meant for second tier football.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Manu Ginobili (Do Or Die Game 7)

A Season To For Bordeaux, Thanks To Cavegol

Lens 2-2 Bordeaux Resume Ligue 1 Journee 38
Video sent by sorkaaa

Once upon a time, the Ligue 1 was regarded as the crazy world of French football. Between 1994 to 2001, no team has manage to retain the league title after it has won the previous years. The arrival of Olympique Lyonnais, changed all that.

This season Girondins Bordeaux did tried to put Lyon sixth consecutive league title to and end as they travel to play against Lens. Their effort was strengthened by the arrival of Fernando CAVENAGHI whose goals exploit has taken them just two point behind Lyon.

Unfortunately, despite Cavegol scoring in the 66th minute to put them in the lead, the match ended in 2-2 draw. However as a consolation, Bordeaux will finished second and qualified automatically to the Champions League group stage next season.

But for me, what a revelation has CAVENAGHI turned out to be for them. Don't forget that not too long ago he was lost in the freezing Russian winter. This season, he is Bordeaux top scorer with 22 goals in all competition.

I'm happy to know he has found a place for himself in France and will be looking forward to see showing his worth in club football biggest stage next season.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Playoffs News - Gracias Manu, We Have Game 7

For the sixth straight games it is another comfortable win for the home team. But one real irony is that, it’s been a while since San Antonio Spurs had to face elimination in the playoffs.
But tonight like true champion they raised their game to conquer the New Orleans Hornets and force a decisive game 7.

And in true typical fashion, Manu GINOBILI was there again to ensure that the Spurs are not just finish yet with this series. Ultimately, he was the best contributor from the Spurs side, posting 25 points, 4 rebounds & 2 assists.
I was very happy to see Fabricio OBERTO back in the starting five though he contributed little with 4 points, 4 rebounds & 2 assist.
If you ask a Math’s genius to give him analyses of the series, chances are that he might say that the Hornets will take Game 7. All because of one good reason, they’re playing at home. Who could blame for that. On the other hand, surprises are always there. It’s just that you don’t know where it just might happen.

My only wish is that in true Argentine spirit, I want both Manu & Fabio to raise their game on Monday. And to the rest of the team, please stop that third quarter syndrome once and for all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rodrigo PALACIO from Boca to Barcelona?

It's in the news in Spain. It's in the news in Argentina. There's a chance Lionel MESSI and Gabriel MILITO will be joined by another Argentine at Barcelona. Rodrigo PALACIO, Boca Juniors' speed demon, is reportedly going to the Catalan giants in exchange of 17 million Euros.

We'll wait and see if this is just a rumour or if he will effectively be going to Barcelona.

For those Albiceleste Barcelona fans who maybe don't know much about PALACIO, who played in the last World Cup for Argentina, here are a few things he is capable of doing.

Doubts over MESSI's presence in Beijing

Now this whole European clubs non-sense is really getting to my nerves.

We all know about the dictatorship that's going on at Bayern Munich and they refusal to release Martín DEMICHELIS for the Olympics. They say they are not forced by the rules and they can decide to keep him in Germany while the clear desire of the player is to compete at the Olympics.

Now there are rumours suggesting Lionel MESSI could also be missing the Olympics because Barcelona have to play the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages in August.

What? They can't be serious.

Earlier this week, the player himself announced his desire to play in Beijing and confirmed his presence. Now we see this rumour and I can't believe it.

Barcelona will probably face a weak rival and they have more than enough guns to beat any of the teams that will be playing in that stage of the competition.

MESSI says "I would like to play both things (Olympics and UCL Qualy) but I can only do one of those.

"Therefore" he added, "I'm going to have to sit down with the Barcelona board and reach an agreement".

This smells horribly and I'm already mad at the way FIFA, UEFA and basically every association, federation or confederation, minimize the importance of the Olympic tournament. It's time for the IOC to get serious with FIFA and agree on giving priority to that tournament that is played only once every 4 years and gives international football fans a great ocassion to look forward to. It doesn't matter if it's U23, U20 or U5! It's the pride of the shirt and the importance of the Olympic medals! Ask around in Brazil or in Argentina and you'll see how much people care about it.

Fans will never give the Olympic tournament enough importance if the entities that organize these events don't give a damn about it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bad news for Gabriel MILITO

I've learned today that Gabriel MILITO will miss an additional three months due to his knee injury. He was believed to miss 6 months but he will now be sidelined for 9 in what's a really huge blow for him.

We wish him a speedy recovery!

Playoffs News - Third Quarter Collapse, AGAIN!!!

Orlando Magic 86 Detroit Pistons 91

Congratulations to the DEEEEETROIT PISTONS!!! For the sixth consecutive year, they will play in the Eastern Conference final after dispatching the Magic 4 games to 1.
After sitting out for the entire Game 4, Walter HERRMANN did played for 3:49 minutes but did not have any contribution. Not too sure whether this is something that I can be happy about, at least we al know that he has shot at winning an NBA championship ring.

Also our condolence to Antonio McDYESS after knowing that his grandmother had passes away just before the game.

New Orleans Hornets 101 San Antonio Spurs 79

I can understand how every Spurs fans must have been feelings. It’s the same as we feel when every time Argentina plays against Brazil. I mean, how many times do we have to go through this?

Tonight’s game was no different at all. Spurs to the lead at half time but again the third quarter turns to be another piece of nightmare. Despite a quick resurgence in the fourth, clearly the damage was already completed before that.

I just keep wondering is this fair to Manu GINOBILI? He posted 20 points, 2 rebounds & 7 assists and still ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Fabricio OBERTO was suffering from foul troubles and only manages to post 2 points, 3 rebounds and just one assist.
Even Tony PARKER was having his own foul problems while, Tim DUNCAN was guarded mostly by Tyson CHANDLER.

So back to the drawing board, as expected we will have a Game 6. But the real question here is that do we have Game 7. One thing is for sure Spurs thrive under these circumstances but can their old legs able to last for that long. Or would the Hornets put………I rather not saying anything right now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Young Argentina Scrapped To 1-1 Draw With Canada

Just incase if you're wondering what was the outcome in the Under-20 friendly match between Argentina and Canada. Well, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Jonatan LOPEZ scored in the 59th minute to put Argentina in the lead. However the celebration wasn't to last for long as the home team manage to equalize through Shaun SAIKO about a minute later.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Playoffs News - Manu Posts 15 & Spurs Brings Series Even

Jack was spot on!!! San Antonio Spurs did what they had to do and have now even the series against the New Orleans Hornet with 100-80 win. Finally the defending champion has managed to win convincingly against the surprise package of the season.

The Big Three responded with a high definition offense, which saw five players with double-digit points, including two from the bench. Tim DUNCAN had a gallant effort in defense posting game highs of 15 rebounds & 4 block shot including 22 points.

“We’ve got to play Game 5 the same way we approached Game 3 and 4,” Manu GINOBILI said. “That is going to be huge, so we don’t have to have any satisfaction with what we just accomplished. We are the same way we started.”

Manu was again pick as a starter, posted 15 points, 4 rebounds, a game high 8 assists, 1 steal and 1 block shot. With a doubt, a tremendous effort from him.

Fabricio OBERTO was given extended minutes towards the latter stage of the fourth quarter as Spurs have already established a comfortable lead. He manages to post just 4 points only.

Now the series will head back to New Orleans, in which Spurs must avoid the same tragedy, their suffered from Game 1 & 2.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Glory Glory Carlitos

This season has seen the closest battle ever in the English Premiership in recent times and I must say I’ll be glad to have Man Utd winning the title anytime over Chelsea. That is for sure.

But for one player in this United team, his journey in English football is absolutely EXTRA-ORDINARY.
For me, the stage was already set in last season’s finale when West Ham came to Old Trafford for a must win game to avoid relegation. And it was this little fella that scored the winning the goal that help the Hammers survival in the Premiership thus earning a round of applause from 70,000 attendees who watch that game. Among them was Sir Alex Ferguson, whom I believe knew exactly what he wanted to spearhead United’s challenge for the following season.
If Fergie needed to thank one particular player for helping United retaining their crown this season, no it’s not RONALDO or ROONEY or NANI or GIGGS or SCHOLES but without a doubt it has to be Carlos TEVEZ himself. If you think I’m simply being biased than let me give you three reasons why: -

- It was he who scored the only goal at Anflied against fierce rival Liverpool back in December

- It was he who scored a last minute equalizer against Spur back in February

- He also scored a last minute equalizer against Blackburn in April.

Take away them, and United will have already conceded the title to Chelsea even before the kickoff against Wigan.

From the way it looks like, TEVEZ is the type of player that is made for those special types of occasions and should definitely lead United’s attack in Moscow. After all we already knew how special he was a long time ago. But we will get into that later.

For now, congratulations to him on becoming the third Argentine player to win a Premiership medal with the Red Devils, following the footstep of Juan Sebastian VERON (2003) and Gabriel HEINZE (2007). Truly a living legend.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Carlitos To Do It Again?

An interesting article that I've discovered on Carlos TEVEZ from the Irish Independent website. Just like last season, would Carlitos determined on what the outcome would be on the Premiership Judgment Day.....

In other news...

Only a few highlights on Saturday with most of the crucial matches taking place on Sunday.
Among them was in Portugal. League champion FC Porto 2-0 win over Naval 1º Maio with both goals coming from Ernesto FARIAS. Mario BOLATTI and Mariano GONZALEZ were also starter while Lucho and Licha were all rested for this game.

The rest of the highlights came from the Swiss Super League. Raul BOBADILLA scoring a goal in Grasshopper Zurich 2-0 win over FC Sion Sitten. While Neuchatel Xamax won 2-0 over Lucerne with Julio ROSSI scoring the second goal.

Manu Ginobili (On Must Win Game 4)

Friday, May 09, 2008

BATISTA names 17 for friendly against Catalunya

We are getting closer and closer to the Beijing Olympics. And on May 24th we are going to have the chance to take another look at the core of our Olympic national team when we face a friendly against Catalunya in Barcelona.

Here are the 17 players chosen by Sergio BATISTA:

Oscar USTARI (Getafe, Spain), Sergio ROMERO (AZ Alkmaar, Holland)

Fabricio COLOCCINI (Deportivo La Coruña, Spain), Federico FAZIO (Sevilla, Spain), Cristian ANSALDI (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Pablo ZABALETA (Espanyol, Spain),

Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid, Spain), Ever BANEGA (Valencia, Spain), Lucas BIGLIA (Anderletch, Belgium), José SOSA (Bayern Munich, Germany),

Angel DI MARIA (Benfica, Portugal), Sergio AGÜERO (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Lionel MESSI (FC Barcelona, Spain), Ezequiel LAVEZZI (Napoli, Italy), Marco RUBEN (Recreativo Huelva, Spain), Mauro ZARATE (Birmingham City, England) and Gonzalo HIGUAIN (Real Madrid, Spain).

I have to say that the only name that made me open my eyes in awe was none other than that of Fabricio COLOCCINI. He is obviously over 23 and he wasn't in the initial plans to go to Beijing as one of the 3 senior players that are allowed to compete in each team.

But we look to be set to lose our battle with Bayern Munich and I don't think we'll be able to have Martin DEMICHELIS playing for us in Beijing, even when Sergio BATISTA made clear that he wants to take him, Javier MASCHERANO and Juan Roman RIQUELME as the three over-23 players. The German champions are insisting in that they won't release DEMICHELIS because they are not forced by the rules. They also said they have no problems releasing José SOSA, which makes their excuse for not giving us DEMICHELIS totally pointless.

Considering DEMICHELIS was ingored by PEKERMAN when he named the squad for a World Cup that was going to be played in DEMICHELIS' back-yard, this could be yet another huge blow for a guy that is always keen on joining Argentina, whatever the competition is.

Bayern Munich said in a statement that DEMICHELIS is a player that should go to the World Cups and not the Olympics. But what if they ask the player to decide? They'll never do that. This really pisses me off. I wonder why FIFA doesn't take any measures to avoid other clubs to go the Bayern way and keep ruining the beauty of international football.

All of these said, I think COLOCCINI is there for a reason and you all know I'm not a fan of him but I'll give him my support and respect the fact that he is having a great season and he is the only player in the entire La Liga to have played EVERY MINUTE OF THE SEASON (excluding goalkeepers. Just field players).

Not surprises with the goalkeepers, a strong midfield with the likes of GAGO, BANEGA, SOSA and one of the strongest set of forwards in the world in this category. Just take a look at those names!!!!

MESSI, AGÜERO, HIGUAIN, LAVEZZI,! I want to see this match and I want the Olympics to come!

Oh and...I want DEMICHELIS and SOSA to leave Bayern Munich so I can celebrate whenever they lose without feeling guilty of being happy at the expense of two very talented young Argentine players that have the misfortune of playing for a club run by a dictatorship.

Playoffs News - Manu Drop 31 & Spurs Win Game 3

The other day I made a wish on what that I wanted from this game. Thank God, they actually came true.

Because of this, the Spurs can breath a bit easier after what they’ve endured in the first two games. Spurs won the game 110-99 but the Hornets still lead the series 2-1.

Manu GINOBILI gave in what arguably his best game in the post season. Tonight the man in the NBA best 6th Man was even a starter. He posted 31 points, 4 rebounds & 6 assists.

“We know that going 3-0—it’s never been done to come back like that,” said Manu, who along with Parker consistently got to the rim. “Today, for us, it was a Game 7. We knew if we didn’t win today, it was almost over. So we had a different approach. We played with more passion, more edge.”

Of course everyone much have been anticipating the third quarter more than anything else. It will be a real test of time to see whether Spurs defense could hold itself strong. And yes they did. In fact the Hornets were well know for dropping 3’s so easily only had 2 shots out of 11 attempt.

Fabricio OBERTO took his game into another notch and was deputizing for Kurt THOMAS, collecting 9 rebounds including 2 points and 2 assists.

“We were waiting for that third quarter, that it would be on our side this time,” San Antonio’s OBERTO said. “I think we did a pretty good job. It’s not the best job we can do.”

Now I want both Manu and Fabricio to keep improving from here, and lets even the series in Game 4.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Breaking news: 10 players named for Beijing in basket

This Wednesday morning, Sergio HERNANDEZ announced the list of 10 players that will represent Argentina in the Olympic basketball tournament in Beijing 2008.

The squad will be formed by 12 players so we are going to have to wait for the remaining pair that will join those from the list below:

Antonio PORTA (PG)
Fabricio OBERTO (PF/C)

HERNANDEZ also named a list of players for the South American Tournament that will be played in June in Chile and said he will work for a period of time with a pre-selection of 15 players to prepare for the Olympic Games.

He will eventually cut three players out of those 15 and we'll have the final list of players that will go to Beijing.

The squad that will go to the South American Tournament is the following:

Maximiliano STANIC, Nicolás DE LOS SANTOS, Diego GERBAUDO, Luis CEQUEIRA, Paolo QUINTEROS, Matías LESCANO, Matías NOCEDAL, Javier BULFONI, Matías SANDES, Roberto GABINI, Sebastian VEGA, Diego LO GRIPPO, Andrés PELUSSI, Leonardo MAINOLDI, Federico AGUERRE, Juan GUTIERREZ and Roman GONZALEZ.

These 17 players will all be trying to showcase their talents to convince Sergio HERNANDEZ they are worthy of a spot in the Olympic team.

With Pepe SANCHEZ and Walter HERRMANN already announcing they won't be available for selection, the surprises are on the absenses of Olympic champions Ruben WOLKOWYSKI and Gabriel FERNANDEZ.

What HERNANDEZ said about them is that they are not in the list for the South American Tournament because after being in the national team for 15 years they have nothing to prove to him and they can still be considered if he feels the Olympic team needs them.

Finally...HERNANDEZ said a few things about Argentina's Group A rivals in Beijing:

"Russia is a very powerful team. They are the European champions and they have defeated the World Champions, Spain. A very difficult task."

"Lithuania? I know basketball in Lithuania is not a sport, it's culture. They'll be very tough".

"Australia will be a hard team to beat and Iran will go there to learn and make a good experience. But the Olympics are a short tournament, very intense and most of the teams are really good. So we'll have to give our best and play against all our rivals at the top of our game".

Manu Ginobili (On Game 3 Against The Hornets)

Some Goals & Much More

It’s the middle of the week and I’m pretty that there are some of us here might be just going through some tough time at work. What a better remedy there can be than to see more and more goals scored by the Albiceleste Army throughout Europe.

Of course it can’t get any bigger than the Super El Clasico in Spain. A night for every Real fans to remember and for every Barca fans to forget. Of all things it was Barca who had to perform the Guard of Honour role in the most unlikely place, Santiago Bernabau.

Just as he did during the weekend, the spotlight was once again on Gonzalo HIGUAIN during this special occasion. Coming in the second half for Arjen ROBBEN, he strikes a classy goal in the 63rd minute. Real went on to win the game 4-1.

Real Mallorca must thank Oscar TREJO for keeping their hopes alive to play in next season’s UEFA Cup. He scored the winning goal in their 2-1 win over Osasuna in stoppage time.

Federico FAZIO was the toast for Sevilla after a brace in their 3-0 away win over Racing Santander. He opened the scoring with first half header and added a second with a calm finish after the break. The win allowed them to move into fourth place, on level points with Atletico Madrid.

In the only sour note in Spain, was Lucas LICHT scoring an own goal against Almeria. But what a comeback it was from Getafe who went on to win the game 4-2.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about him but yesterday Javier PINOLA got everyone attention once again. He scored his first goal of the season of the season with a 20-yard drive in FC Nurnberg 2-0 win over MSV Duisburg.

Inter Milan are on track in winning the league and cup double in Italy after defeating Lazio 2-0. A poor clearance by Marco BALLOTTA allowed Julio CRUZ to tap in Inter’s second goal.

Javier ZANETTI could not hide his delight after the game. "We really wanted this final and we
are happy to have made it,'' he said. "I think we played well and now we must recover our energies in view of Sunday's game.''

Some NBA News...

Walter HERRMANN played for almost 13 minutes in Detroit Pistons 86-111 loss against the Orlando Magic. He posted 4 points and 1 rebound. The Pistons lead the series 2-1.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The BBC interviews Sergio AGÜERO

It's not very often that we get an interview with Sergio AGÜERO in English.

I've just seen this on the BBC and here's the link for you to read it:

Checho Names Squad For Canada U-20 Friendly

Coach Sergio BATISTA has revealed the twenty-man squad that will take part in a friendly match against Canada's U-20 side on Sunday.

The match will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the opening of the BMO Field in Toronto, the scene for our U-20's triumph in last summer's World Youth Cup. This match also represents Checho’s first game in charge of the U-20 side.

None of the players in this squad were from that winning team. This is mainly due to the timing of this match, in the middle of the domestic season in both Europe and South America.
River Plate and Boca Juniors are unsurprisingly the bigger contributors to the squad, with four River players and three from Boca included in the selection, while San Lorenzo and Estudiantes can claim two each.

Here is the list of names: -

Maximiliano SCAPPARONI (Boca Juniors)
Diego RODRIGUEZ (Independiente)

Fernando MEZA (San Lorenzo)
Alexis MACHUCA (Newell's Old Boys)
Federico FERNANDEZ (Estudiantes)
Julián FERNANDEZ (Atl Rafaela)
Mateo MUSACCHIO (River Plate)
Maximiliano OLIVA (River Plate)

Gonzalo BAZAN (San Lorenzo)
Jonatan MAZZOLA (Boca Juniors)
Ezequiel Benavidez (Boca Juniors)
Marcelo BENITEZ (Lanús)
Cristian GAITAN (Estudiantes)
Damián LIZZIO (River Plate)
Gustavo BOU (River Plate)
Facundo TORRES (Talleres de Córdoba)

Diego NADAYA (Instituto)
Jonatan LOPEZ (Atl Rafaela)
Eduardo SALVIO (Lanús)
Leandro VELAZQUEZ (Vélez Sarsfield)

I would definitly want to pay a close attention to this team because chances are (if everything goes according to plan), this could be the team that will come to Malaysia to compete in a Mini Pre-Olympic football tournament here (Please refer to my "Is This True" article).

All I know for now is that the tournament is on schedule and if there is any further development I'll post them here. In the meantime, due to my limited knowledge on the domestic football scene in Argentina, maybe Seba and the rest of you guys would like comment more on this list.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Give him the number 10: A tribute song for MESSI

There is a Spanish band called Los Búhos (The Owls) and they have composed a song dedicated to Lionel MESSI.

The song says something like: "Give him the number 10 shirt and let him play, be it with Barcelona or with the Albicelestes".

Here's a link to a video in which you'll see MESSI's pictures and you'll hear the song that's becoming a success in Catalunya.

Playoffs News - Manu & Spurs In Big Trouble

It’s hard to imagine but that is exactly what situation is for San Antonio Spurs. After overcoming a gruesome first round series against the Suns, they seems to have lost all that energy that brought them here in the first place. Just like in Game 1, they were battered and bruised by Chris PAUL and the New Orleans Hornets, losing 84-102.

But the reality is, Spurs are not playing in the same level that they were supposed to and now the Hornets are punishing them for this. Their defense was frustrating the Spurs all night and one could be asking who is the real defending champion actually?

Manu GINOBILI did whatever he could but his was poor from the 3 points (1-5) and had a game high 5 turnovers. Definitely not like his usual self. He finished off the game with 13 points, 4 rebounds & 7 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO was switching defensive duties with Kurt THOMAS but was struggling on most occasions. He only manages to post 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot.

Spurs will need to re-group and come up with urgent game plan to counterfeit these hard to control Hornets. Or else the dream of winning back to back might just look something that is far beyond reachable.

With the real bad news, comes the slight good news…

Walter HERRMANN was in action (for about 1:26 min) again for the Pistons in game 2 against the Magic. Pistons win 100-93.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hail Madrid & Cheers In Bavaria

All hail to the All-White of Spanish football!!! A dramatic 2-1 comeback against Osasuna ensured that Real Madrid clinched the Primera Liga title fir the second successive season (31st time in their club history).

For more than 80 minutes of play with no goals and the sending off of Fabio CANNAVARO, no one could have expected on what was in store for remainder of the match.

The home took a lead in the 82nd minute courtesy of Francisco PUNAL but not four minutes later, Arjen ROBBEN leveled the score to set up an intense finale.

If there was one player that Real can count on to score this crucial goal to wrap up their season, than it just had to be non other than Gonzalo HIGUAIN. After all he does seems to have the habit of scoring in crucial moment in recent games.

A quick counter attack with just a minute left before stoppage time, saw Pipita smashing the winner to spark a huge celebration among the players and coaching staff on the bench.

For some reason I do have some sentimental value towards this current Real team than the ones in the past.

For the latter part of the season, Javier SAVIOLA seems to be back in the groove and today his name was even on the starting line up. Gabriel HEINZE can claim another league crown after winning Premiership title with Man Utd last season. Both Fernando GAGO and HIGUAIN has been a major contributor for the current team and will play important role in the future.

Congratulation to all of them.

Lionel MESSI was on target from the spot Barcelona 6-0 win over struggling Valencia. But guess what? On Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabau, it will be Messi & Barca that will welcome Real on to the pitch with guard of honour. Ironic indeed.

However Inter Milan’s 2-1 defeat to city rival AC Milan means that the race for the Scudetto crown is wide open again. Already 2-0 down after goals from INZAGHI and KAKA, Julio CRUZ pull one back with a superb free kick but it wasn’t enough to salvage something out of the game.

Fiorentina’s completed their miserable week with a 2-1 defeat against Cagliari, after going out of the UEFA Cup semi-final against Glasgow Rangers. Mario SANTANA pull one back in the 53rd minute but it wasn’t enough.

With Milan’s 2-1 win over Inter, Fiorentina will drop out of the Champions League spot into fifth place.

In Turkey, Marcelo DELGADO scored the first goal courtesy of a penalty, in Besiktas 2-0 win over Ankaragucu.

Finally, Bayern München can put to rest their mid-week UEFA Cup disappointment after clinching their 21st Bundesliga title in their goalless draw against VfL Wolfsburg. This has to be a great moment for both Martin DEMICHELIS and Jose Ernesto SOSA.

Last season, Mico was nowhere to be seen and very much out of the picture under Felix MAGATH. The return of Ottmar HITZFELD saw him being reinstated back into Bayern’s line up, steering them to a near perfect season. Of course there was that recent player-coach bust up but in the end, even HITZFELD had to give in and could not afford to lave out his defense marshal.
SOSA was not used much during the start of the season but nowadays he has already become a permanent name on Bayern’s bench. He is slowly being integrated into the team and being just 22 years old, he has time on his side. The least I can say is that he faired better than Federico INSUA.

Congratulations to both of them and keep the beer flowing all the way to Bavaria.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Playoffs News - Surprise Sting On Manu's Spurs

Oh boy are we going to have another long series again. After trailing by 11 points in the first half, the New Orleans Hornets won the first game by 19 beating Spurs 101-82. If there one thing that the Spurs could learn is that these Hornets really do mean business when they arrive here.

If there is one thing that I need to be surprise was Tim DUNCAN erratic game tonight, posting just 5 points. The likes of PARKER, BOWEN and FINLET step up their game but wasn't just enough.

Manu GINOBILI did everything he could to provide the much needed damage limitation with a team high performance, posting 19 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists & 1 steal. Fabricio OBERTO, also from the bench, just manages 1 point, 6 rebounds, 1 steal & 2 block shot.

With the home court advantage not on their side, Spurs will have to re-group for Game 2 before the series heads back to Texas.