Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mundo Albiceleste Best of 2009

Wow! I find it hard to believe how time flies so fast that we have reached the pinnacle end of 2009. A year which started with plenty of optimism, suddenly we had to go through some trouble times but in the end, it was nevertheless a happy note.

Despite of being a rollercoaster year, there’s were some great things to look back in Mundo Albiceleste during the past 12 months which I would like to personally to highlight here.

Firstly, the Mundo team grew from two to three with the arrival of Roy from Canada as our new member. He gave us some great insight among which statistics, match preview and most importantly the Mundo Albiceleste Chat Room which has always served as a great place for fans of Argentina to interact with one another (especially during live matches).

Speaking of matches, lets not forget the contribution of Dave P (from New York) and GK (from Canada) on the player ratings which also been another regular post on the blog.

The biggest featured that we brought to you on Mundo has to got to be our very own Podcast Show. We’re glad that you love the idea and I must say thanks to all our friends for being our special guest and making it a great show.

Another new feature on the blog was our very own Twitter page, thanks to our friend P2BN. We also did promote the blog through facebook courtesy of Networked Blogs. Apart from this, we also did a collaboration with Sam Kelly from Hasta El Gol Siempre for the HEGS/MA Award for Best Argentine Abroad 2009.

I can assure you that we’re not done just yet. If there is anything that you feel can help to promote this blog (contribution, advertising etc.) please do let us know or write to us. We appreciate all the feedback coming in.

Now it is my pleasure to bring you our annual Mundo Albiceleste Best of 2009, counting down from Ten to One

10. Gonzalo HIGUAIN The Non-Galatico Madrid. This year was a breakout year for Pipita as he was the most outstanding performer in a Los Merengues side that is overwhelmed by a numbers of superstars; forcing a certain Diego to say “Welcome to the National Team”. Thank goodness for that. Sorry Les Blues, Pipita is here to stay with us.

9. Diego MILITO He was the best striker we had in 2009. At club level, whether he was playing with little Genoa or the giant of San Siro, the script always remains the same; just goals after goals (I believe the it was 25 in total, sorry incase if I’m wrong here). All I’m asking for in 2010 is that he gets a decent 90 minute football for the National Team.

8. Luis SCOLA
For once basketball was not about Manu GINOBILI as SCOLA took over the mantle and helped the Houston Rockets to win their first play off series in 12 years and captained an under strength Argentina at the FIBA Americas to qualify for next year’s World Championship; in which he was also named as the tournament’s MVP.

7. Marcelo BIELSA Step aside Diego. El Loco was the best Albiceleste that stood on the sideline. Of course he is coaching another National Team but lets not forget that he was the main architect behind Chile’s brand of attacking football thus helping them to qualify for their first World Cup in 12 years. Wish him luck in South Africa.

6. Javier ZANETTI
The evergreen Pupi is still going strong at the tender age of 36. A charismatic figure, he lead Inter to another Italian Serie A title, his fourth in a row. A remarkable achievement when you are playing in arguably the toughest league in the world. Now the real question is, will we ever see Ill Capitano in an Albiceleste shirt ever again?

5. Luciana AYMAR For the female category, surely it’s got to be non-other than “La Maga” AYMAR. She was instrumental in helping Las Leonas claiming the Champions Trophy and has already cemented her place as the games greatest ever player after winning her sixth (a record for both men and women!) FIH Player of the Year award.

4. Estudiantes de la Plata
La Brujita VERON & Co. truly deserves the honour as the best football team from Argentina. Compared with the National Team (at all levels), the Rat Stabbers carried the Argentine flag proudly by winning the Copa Libertadores against a club from Brazil and were just merely one minute away from being crown as the King of the World.

3. Angel CABRERA Another historical moment for the mighty duck of Cordoba. Just like the US Open two years ago, Pato CABRERA being the odd man out, with some luck came back strongly to ensure that for the first time, the famous Green Jacket of Augusta will come to Argentina. A true working class hero indeed.

2. Juan Martin DEL POTRO In the midst of darkness, then there was light everywhere. The hero from Tandil finally ended our drought at the Grand Slam by winning the US Open. All this despite playing against a familiar foe, Roger FEDERER. Apart from clinching two other ATP event, he ended the year by winning the Olimpia de Oro as the Best Sportsmen in Argentina.

1. Lionel MESSI This year was indeed that Year of the LION-el. What else there is that left to say about a young man whom at the tender age of 22, has already achieved almost everything there is available for a footballer. I’m sure you don’t need me to list them down because throughout the time of this blog’s existence, we have followed him closely. We’ve heard all the never ending critics and all the haters that never stops attacking him. In the end, it was just mere words to this genius Flea. It only makes him better and better. Now all that is left for him….well I’m sure you know what I’m referring too.

So what can we look forward to in the coming new year? Well definitely 2010 is going to be a real challenging one and we will do our best to bring the best coverage and the latest news on the Albiceleste.

Now to end this article, on behalf of the Mundo team I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all our readers/friends for the comments and contributions on this blog. It was pleasure reading all of them even if sometime we tend to disagree on some of them. After all, this is what made Mundo a great place to be and you guys played a part of it.

With that said, its time for us to wish all of you a very Happy New Year and the best of luck in 2010.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ace Manu & Scola Post Double-Double

Surely they’ve had better night than this. Nevertheless both Manu GINOBILI and Luis SCOLA were key figures in their respective franchise win.

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-99 with Manu showing his other capabilities. He was on course for a triple double performance but settle’s with 14 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and one block shot.

As much he has been know for his shooting, he also threaded passes to Roger MASON and Richard JEFFERSON and found Tim DUNCAN and DeJuan BLAIR open under the basket. Wolves coach regarded him as one of the most dangerous player in the league.

“He just creates so much havoc with his energy,” Kurt RAMBIS said. “His ability to crash the glass, get steals, play defense, shoot long shots, penetrate and find guys open. He just plays an unorthodox style of basketball that makes it difficult to cover.”

Not to forget, even Spurs coach Gregg POPOVITCH was all amazed with his all around game.

“Tonight was probably one of his best all around games,” Pops said. “He played well defensively. He rebounded fantastically and offensively, he looked like Manu. Everybody is excited to see him play that way.”

Meanwhile SCOLA too had his own personal double-double, as always helping his team in both scoring and rebounding. The Houston Rockets at one point trailing their opponent the New Orleans Hornet, came back to win the game 108-100.

Much of this thanks to SCOLA’s 13 points, 12 rebounds and 1 steal to his credit. In his own words “It wasn’t looking very good for us, but we came back and closed the game pretty good.”

Great to see to see the Tall Albiceleste in the best league in the world closing 2009 with such high numbers. Just a day earlier, Andres NOCIONI scored a season high 21 points (including 6 rebounds, 2 assists & one block shot) for the Sacramento Kings in their 106-101 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Carlitos Double Cracks Wolves

Carlos TEVEZ continues his hot scoring streak after netting twice in Manchester City 3-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

His first goal came in the 33rd minute when he was picked out by Craig BELLAMY from the left. His first time shot took a deflection off a defender on it’s way past Wolves keeper Marcus HAHNEMANN.

City were already 2-0 up after a wonderful curling free kick from Javier GARRIDO and then with four minutes left, TEVEZ scored his second goal in the game to seal the win for his team. He fired a left footed shot from the edge of the penalty area after a cross from ROBINHO.

He has already scored 8 goals in the last 7 appearance and in total so far 11 goals in every competition. In was City’s first away win in four months and the second in a row for new manager Roberto MANCINI.

Nice to see this little fellow playing with such confidence and let’s hope he keep this up in the month to come.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Average Manu Thus Far Against Bucks

For a while it did look like he was back but much to my fear, it wasn’t the case in San Antonio Spur’s four of the last five games.

Tonight I was hoping to see the dad to be Manu GINOBILI (twin boys to be exact!) would able to come up big against the Milwaukee Bucks and it was pretty much average game. The Spurs did out run the Bucks to win 112-97 with Manu posting 13 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

“We just had a different mind-set tonight,” a positive Manu said. “We played very aggressively and moved the ball really well, so it's easier to make shots. We didn't walk the ball up every time. For me, getting a couple of easy transition baskets makes you feel better. That was the big difference tonight. We played faster and better with faster pace. It was more fun, definitely.”

Hopefully slowly he would gain the same form that we were so used to watching from him. On the opposite end, Carlos DELFINO started for the Bucks and posted 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 1 steal.

In the absence of Tracy McGRADY, Luis SCOLA played a leading role for the revamp Houston Rockets as the continue to pile misery on the New Jersey Nets with 98-93 win. He posted 17 points, 8 rebounds and 1 assist.

In other games, Fabricio OBERTO posted 2 points in the Washington Wizards 89-101 loss to Minnesota Timberwolves. Andres NOCIONI only had 1 point and 1 assist in the Sacramento Kings 103-112 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Diego BUONANOTTE Suffers Car Accident & Narrowly Escaped Death

A sad and tragic incident that happened during this festive and joyous season.

2008 Olympic Gold Medallist and River Plate striker Diego BUONANOTTE was involved in a severe car accident while heading towards Teodelina village in his father's vehicle. He was travelling with three close friends, all of whom died because of the crash. BUONANOTTE himself has been hospitalised.

The accident occurred on Route 65 in Santa Fe Province when the 21-year-old was heading towards the Teodelina village, where he hails from. He and his friends were supposedly returning from the neighbouring town of Arribenos.

It's been reported that the car, a Peugeot 307, hit a tree along the route around 6:45am amidst a heavy downpour. Authorities have also reportedly said that the car could have taken a slide against a small hill beside the road and then hit a huge tree. BUONANOTTE's three friends died shortly afterwards.

BUONANOTTE has been hospitalised at the San Martin de Venado Tuerto clinic. He is currently in the Intensive Care department. Initial reports suggest that he has suffered a broken humerus, collar bone, a pulmonary contusion as well multiple injuries. Authorities are now trying to find out whether there was any other vehicle involved in the accident.

On behalf of all Mundo Albiceleste readers and friends, our thoughts and prayers goes to the family of BUONANOTTE’s three friends. We also wish him to get well soon and speedy recovery.

Carlitos Scores In MAN-chester-CINI Debut

After of couple of days enjoying this festive moment with family and friends, time now to relax and enjoy some football once again. With most of the Europeans leagues now on a holiday break, that means it’s all about the traditional Premiership’s Boxing Day fixtures.

Of course the on going news (or controversy) was all about the appointment of Roberto MANCINI as the new manager of Manchester City. Well how did this effect on the status quo of the two City’s Albiceleste?

For a start, MANCINI has decided to name both Carlos TEVEZ and Pablo ZABALETA in the starting line up against Stoke City. Now that’s sounds like a good start in particularly for ZABALETA, whom for a while I thought he had probably lost his place in the team.

Today those could do no wrong as the Citizen start their new era with a 2-0 win over the Potters. The first goal came in the 28th minute after a brilliant run from TEVEZ on the left from which his cross inside the penalty area was touched onto Martin PETROV by ROBINHO.

Then close to stoppage time, a cross from ZABALETA found Gareth BARRY and the Englishmen headed the ball into path of TEVEZ from which the little fellow delicately lifted the ball over Stokes keeper Thomas SORENSEN. No doubt in my opinion, Carlitos was the Man of the Match.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Player Ratings for Catalunya vs. Argentina... Version 2!

Earlier I posted GK's player ratings, now it's time to post Dave's player ratings! Compare both and see who you agree with more!


Have been waiting to see the NT play for awhile, and even though this is not a true FIFA team, Catalunya is full of talent. It does not matter who we play, every time the Albiceleste suit up it is important game. With that being said, and this being an “exhibition match,” I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting a 4-2 loss. Much like our struggles in every other match Catalunya showed our faults. Our lack of even having a defense that works, combine with no organization in the midfield allowed for Catalunya to hold possession and push forward to break down our terrible defense all game. There were some positives, which were our ability to actually have an attacking presence for once. We created plenty of chances, but we could not finish for anything all night…Anyway here are the ratings.

Pozo 4: Poor performance by Pozo, should have saved at least 2 of the four gols, but it is hard to come up big, when your defense are non existent. Had a great save on a break away from Bojan. Overall was slow to react and showed no confidence in coming off his line all game. Should never be called up to the NT again.

Alvarez 4: First time starting for the NT and showed some quality in the first half. However, as the game went he was caught out of position far to many times and allowed Bojan to run around him. Alvarez would push forward and played some good balls into Higuain but could not track back fast enough and allowed Catalunya to counter on us too easily. Was too slow to apply pressure out wide on their wings. Also, all game his corners and free kick distribution were pathetic. Like Pozo should never be called up to the NT.

Demichelis (8/3): A tale of two halves for Demichelis our captain in the back. In the first half Demi showed why he is probably our most set in stone defender coming up big with strong enforcing tackles all half. He saved Otamendi by sliding out of nowhere to push the ball out of bounds on a break away. Demi was always in good position in the first half. However, in the second half he seemed clueless. He was always slow to react, and was caught flat-footed by Bojan who blew by him and scored on us. Another gol was Demi’s fault as well when a free kick was sent into the box and Demi was caught sleeping allowing Hurtado an open header on Pozo. Also, all game he made poor distributive passes up front which would just be picked off.

Otamendi 3: Much like our other defenders was caught out of position way too often. Showed no confidence in applying pressure to Catalunya’s strikers. Was beat 3 or 4 times in our own box all game and proved that he is still young and has very little ability to perform on the NT. Also, allowed his defender to get on the inside of him far too easily to let Catalunya score first at the end of the first half.

Papa 3: Terrible performance by Papa. He always seemed to be nervous even when he did not have the ball at his foot. He does not have the talent to be on the NT as well. He would push forward with the ball only to lose it. In the first half a sloppy tackle on Bojan who was in, should have been given a red card. We do not need Papa to be playing left back for our NT. Anyone such as Insua and even Heinze could play there far better then Papa.

Gago -1: Wow so much negativity in these defensive player ratings. I have nothing to say for Gago other then he was invisible. It was like we were playing with only 9 outfield players when he was on the field…Awful should not be called up ever again unless he goes to a team in the transfer window, starts every game, and a miracle happens. That’s, one two, three, four, five players that started this game that should not be even called up to the NT.

Bolatti 4.5: He played well in the first half covering for two positions because Gago was not existent. Played well with helping out Otamendi and Demichelis in defense and bossed some of the Catalunya attackers around. However, as the game went on Bolatti failed to solidify his position in the midfield. Would make poor decisions and would be too slow with moving the ball up to Pastore. There was one instance where Bojan caught him because he was too slow to react which gave Bojan a breakaway.

Pastore 6: Played the role of linking the midfield to the attack and did a decent enough job for his first cap on the NT ever. Played good balls out wide to Di Maria and played well with Lavezzi. Pastore was a little slow at first but as the game went on he settled in fine. Set up Di Maria multiple times as well as got the ball forward to Higuain. Also not to mention a wonder strike for our first gol. He popped the ball up to himself, by accident, but was quick to react and power it into the side netting past Valdez. Continue to keep an eye on Pastore and he may find himself into the WC side.

Di Maria 7: His rating would be a lot higher had he scored all four brilliant chances that he had all game. All game Di Maria was running at defenders looking to combine either by drawing the ball back or crossing it across the box. To start the game he had a brilliant cross to Lavezzi, who pushed the header wide. As the first half went on he continued to press forward and had a few one on one’s with Valdez, only to shoot wide or be stopped at the last moment. Di Maria proved how dangerous he can be, and how valuable he is to our NT. There should have been a PK called on Valdez when Di Maria beat his man end line and Valdez to the ball, only to have Valdez chop his legs down. Anyway, great attacking mindset by Di Maria. Much like our other attacking players, we lacked the finishing touch tonight.

Lavezzi 7: Played very well in the attack and single handily sprinted past much of Catalunya’s defenders. Lavezzi is a truehearted player who runs much like Tevez and Jonas (workhorse mentality). All game he worked hard and drew defenders to him to set up Higuain who could not finish at all tonight as well. Lavezzi ran at the entire 4 man defense cut to his right and had a rip that was saved away from Valdez. Also, he missed a header which was sent into the box by Di Maria. And finally at the end of the game he had a little cross-laid into the middle which he hit wide. Many missed chances but good optimistic play. Anybody who questioned Lavezzi’s value to the NT cannot say he doesn’t deserves his spot after a performance like this one.

Higuain 5.5: He played well when he had the ball and was trouble for Catalunya’s defense all night. However, our #9 could not finish to save his life tonight. He had a one on one with Valdez after he cleverly beat Puyol and Pique but hit it over the top. Also, Lavezzi supplied him with a brilliant cross at the 6 yard box which he headed right at Valdez’s chest. As the game went on he became frustrated and it showed. He would force runs and recklessly shoot the ball wide. That being said Higuain did show some very good foot work, he proved his quality having the ability to beat Puyol and Pique all night, he showed his speed by blowing past them on the outside many times. Also, he played well as the game went on in combination with Di Maria. He will continue to grow and I hope that he can play well with Di Maria in the future.


Pareja 3: Finally we got to see a different center back get some playtime as Pareja was subbed in for Otamendi at half time. However, Pareja looked more confused then Otamendi out there in the central defense. All half he was out of position and was too slow to move the ball out of the back. Very sloppy play by Pareja, even gave up a PK for clumsily colliding with Catalunya’s striker. Poor play and should not be called up again as well.

Datolo 6: Did well as a sub, his first touch on the ball was a run at the defense and then combined well with Di Maria to set up Pastore’s gol. Datolo had the same mindset as Di Maria and would always look to pass and move. Definitely a useful spark to have on the bench.

Palermo 0: Came on for Higuain in the 66th min and did nothing all game, I think he touched the ball once…Never call him again.

Banega N/A: Can’t really give him a rating because he entered the game in the 75th min for Gago. But he did show his ability to hold up play on the ball and combine well with other midfielders. He played one clever thru ball to Di Maria who again put his shot wide. Overall would like to see more of Banega.

Salvio: N/A 78th min sub for Papa

So in the end an overall terrible performance by our defense and midfield lets us down again. The only positives that I can take out of this game is that Pastore looks to have a bright future with our NT and should have more play time, Di Maria is a attacking machine and when his finishing is on he will definitely be important, Lavezzi’s work rate is top notch, and the fact that our defense was so utterly dismantled all night by Catalunya will hopefully wake Maradona up and make him think twice about who he calls up for defense. Names such as Zanetti, Samuel, Garay, Insua, and Zabaleta should be given chances to play defense instead of, Alvarez, Otamendi, Papa, and Pareja. So now we will wait and see what changes will be made to our next team that gets called which I don’t believe is until March. Another embarrassing loss under Maradona…we will wait to see what happens.

Player Ratings for Catalunya vs. Argentina

As always here on Mundo, following every match we have Dave send in his player ratings for the match. But for this match, we had GK give us his player ratings. So without further-a-do, here are the ratings!


I am not any kind of journalist or writter, just a die hard Albiceleste fan....

We end our terrible year with another terrible performance. We had our chances and our time to shine but we didn't finish and the end result was another defeat for the Albiceleste.


Player ratings (by position more or less)....

GK - Pozo
Really? Who is this guy? He was absolutely terrible, embarassing even. He failed to handle a routine cross early on and let it slip through his hands. He looked like an ameteur more than anything. Why didn't one of our potential backups for the World Cup start this match? Andujar should have got the call over Pozo to get more minutes in just in case Romero goes down with injury anytime before or during the finals in June. He did come up with one big save late in the match and that is where he scores his ratings points.
Rating: 4

Again, terrible. If Argentina plan to compete for glory this coming June they really need to take the time and sit down and work on our back line. Demichelis was really the only one of the four who looked like he knew what he was doing and where he should be during the Catalan attacks. He bailed out Otamendi with a beautiful tackle and really controlled the defence. He is the man we want starting in the middle of our defence come June. Papa was more than terrible and I continue to scratch my head 'why is this guy called?'. He was bad in the defence pretty much all game and blew an open net oppurturnity. Otemendi was decent though far from impressive and Alvarez could have done much better in my opinion.
Rating: 3

Pastore. What a pleasant surprise for the Albiceleste. He only was called up because Messi couldn't make it and he really did his best to impress Diego. He set up a fair amount of attacks and finished one himself with a beautiful opening volley goal for Argentina. What made his volley especially nice is that flicked up the little volley for himself and finshed it beautifully.
Pastore personal rating: 8

Gago. Where to start? We just discussed Gago's terrible performance in the Mundo chat room with Roy and others. I really don't know what to say about him. He is, or was tonight at least, by far our weakest link on the national team. Did he even touch the ball in the first 45? Did he even want to be on the field to begin with? He showed no motivation and no passion what so ever. I have my fingers crossed that he won't be apart of our 23 man roster come June but if he is, let's pray that he is moved during the January transfer window and goes to a club where he will see minutes as a starter rather than a sub, or in his case not selected at all.
Gago personal rating: 2 (is that too generous?)

Bolatti. To be honest I didn't really notice him out there or knew why he was out there to begin with. He scored against Uruguay to secure our place in the finals. Does this justify his place in our midfield? I think there are plenty of other Argentines that can fit into the middle other than Bolatti and I know I'm not the only one telling from the comment boxes of previous Mundo posts. (Cambiasso anyone?)
Bolatti personal rating: 6

Di Maria. Sure he blew quit a few chances and I know its frustrating as a supporter but there is no denying that he was great out there tonight. He was the best player out there on the field tonight (you can argue Pastore was superior). He scored the second goal for us and should have been awarded a penalty kick before that which could have changed the entire outcome of the match. Great game for Di Maria, I am convinced he will drop jaws in South Africa.
Di Maria personal rating: 8

Lavezzi. Like Pastore, a pleasant surprise. I know alot of us here a Mundo (including myself) have complained about his call up on the national team. He seemed so energetic and ambitious out there tonight that would start him over Tevez or Aguero in a heart beat. We can keep calling for Lisandro and Milito but until they are called, Lavezzi might be our solution up front. I know he didn't score but he is definatly capable of scoring or setting up chances for us.
Lavezzi personal rating: 7.5

Higuain. Another player who just couldn't finish for the life of him tonight. Missed a header early on and had a few other chances afterwards and couldn't do anything with them. I don't think he took this friendly lightly but maybe he took it a little too personal being a Real Madrid star? Overall I was happy he got the start, although the mediocore performance and hope to see him in the starting 11 come June.
Higuain personal rating: 7

Not sure if any sub had any kind of influence other than Datalo who seems to score or create chances soon as he is subbed in. You don't really look at him as national team material but once he is on the field and playing for us he tends to impress. Like I said this is my first player rating but if I had to rate him I would give him a 7.5
As for the rest of the subs, I can't really come up with a player review or rating for them other than Palermo. Did he touch the ball even once with his time on the field? Did we even see him on the screen? Again, like Bolatti,he scored a heroic goal in qualification but you can't use that as justification to be on the national team.

I hope this was a decent player rating for fill in for Dave P.


Mundo Albiceleste Podcast - Season's Greetings!

Well, this is it. With 2009 coming to an end and 2010 fast approaching, Mundo Albiceleste does a Year in Review in our very own "Season's Greetings" Podcast.

We cover everything from the U20 South American tournament in January to Lionel MESSI winning the Ballon D'Or and World Player of the Year in December. We also preview the Catalunya/Argentina match which is in less than an hour. Not only that, but we also talk about some possible transfers concerning Argentine's in January(there's even a mention of the forgotten Maxi LOPEZ!), possible 2010 friendly's and more.

So join John and I(Seba was un-able to make it due to a schedule conflict) as we cover everything, from A to Z in this monumental podcast!

*NOTE* This podcast was recorded a few hours prior to MESSI winning the World Player of the Year.

To download the Podcast, click here.

Catalunya vs. Argentina - Match Topic

Catalunya vs. Argentina is at 2:30PM Eastern time and will air live on GolTV in the United States(and I'm assuming Canada as well). Here's the rumored line-up for the Albicelestes.


No BANEGA in the starting line-up and PASTORE starting ahead of SALVIO. The news on MESSI is that he might be on the bench.

With that line-up, expect(and this is a no brainer) DEMICHELIS to wear the captain's armband.

Here are a few options/links for the match.
At 2:30PM(Eastern time), click on Catalunya vs. Argentina to stream.
Click on Catalunya vs. Argentina and it will give you several links to watch the match.

MESSI Wins FIFA Player of the Year

Sorry for not posting this earlier but still its always a worthwhile to look back at this memorable moment in 2009 for this young man. Now there is only one thing left for him to do and we all know what it that, right?

Anyway, Congratulation El Pulga! Truly Deserving.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Javier SAVIOLA The Hero In El Clasico Portugal

In the biggest fixture of the season, Benfica defeated the arch rival FC Porto with Javier SAVIOLA scoring the only goal of the game. In the 23rd minute the Porto defence was caught napping, when a long ball from the half-way line from David LUIZ set SAVIOLA through on goal, who slotted coolly past Helton.

In Italy Serie A, AS Roma defeated Parma 2-0 with Nicolas BURDISSO striking from the six yard box into the bottom right corner after the visitors failed to clear Rodrigo TADDEI cross.

In another match, Catania handed Juventus their third straight defeat after beating the Grand Old Lady 2-1 at the Stadio Del Alpi. Mariano IZCO became the hero for the visiting side when he raced through on the counter in the 87th minute to score his first goal in Serie A.

While Greece, in the seven goal thriller between FC Xanthi and Iraklis which the home side won 4-3, Mauro POY was among the goal scorer for Xanthi.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SCOLA Excels As Rockets Survive Scare Against Thunders

The Houston Rockets nearly gave away a 17 points lead at point only to hang on to the last minutes to post their 13th consecutive win over the Oklohoma City Thunders, 95-90 win on Saturday. Luis SCOLA provided an equally important contribution for the Rockets to survive this scare with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 1 shot block.

"We all know how the NBA is," SCOLA said of the weariness that gripped the Rockets down the stretch. "You just have to play through. You can’t think about that too much. You can’t let that be a factor. No one will remember at the end of the year if we lost this game because we were tired. It was just a game you need and you have to get."

San Antonio Spurs also notched another win thanks to last seconds shot from Tim DUNCAN to defeat the Indiana Pacers 100-99. Manu GINOBILI as always did provide the spark plug from the bench posting 13 points, 3 rebounds & 2 assists from the bench. Among his notable highlight came in the fourth quarter, when he drove to the basket to picks up the foul on Roy HIBBERT and go to the line.

Both Andres NOCIONI and Carlos DELFINO went head to head in the Sacramento Kings versus Milwaukee Bucks game. DELFINO was instrumental for the Bucks in the fourth quartet, posting 11 of his 17 points. Not to mentioned he also had 4 rebounds and 1 assists. Despite only managing 3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists & 2 steals, NOCIONI had the last laugh as his Kings came away with a 96-95 win.

Pipita On Target Twice As Real Trash Zaragoza

On the same night where Barca were crown as King of the World, their bitter rivals Real Madrid took the opportunity to close the gap on them in the La Liga standings to just two points after routing Real Zaragoza 6-0.

The in-form Gonzalo HIGUAIN was on target twice with both goals from coming in the first half. He opened Real’s scoring in the 3rd minute with a firing a left footed drive. Later on he made it 4-0 for Real, capitalizing on a defensive error from Roberto AYALA to fire a looping shot for his 10th goals in his last eight games.

In the English Premiership, Manchester City came away with 4-3 win over Sunderland in what was the last match for Mark HUGHES as he was sacked after the game. Carlos TEVEZ, who earlier this week backed his coach, scored from the spot in the 12th minute.

In a sour note, Javier MASCHERANO was sent off in what was another controversial decision from the referee in Liverpool’s 2-0 loss to Portsmouth.

Fernando CAVENAGHI scored his first goal of the season for Bordeaux in their 4-1 win over Lorient at home. The visiting side missed a penalty through Franco SOSA.

In the Bundesliga, Lucas BARRIOS sealed his name in Borrussia Dortmund’s history as he scored the only goal against Freiburg on the clubs 100th anniversary. He headed home his ninth goal in the last 10 games.

Meanwhile back to FIFA Club World Cup, Santiago SOLARI and Federico VILAR scored from the spot in the penalty shoot out for Atlante, but Mexican side lost 3-4 after 1-1 draw with Pohang Steelers.

Lionel MESSI - A Chest Of Brilliance

First it was Spain, then it was Europe and now the World. Sounds familiar, right? That’s just about almost summed it up for Lionel MESSI in 2009.

Barcelona can finally now claim the only title that was missing from their trophy cabinet after defeating Estudiantes of Argentina 2-1 in the FIFA Club World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. In the process, they ensure European dominance in the competition for the third straight year.

Barca started the game brightly but fail to capitalize on the chances they created. Despite of their dominance it was the Rat Stabbers that took a surprise lead in the 37th minute with a power header from Mauro BOSELLI.

MESSI came close to equalize in the 41st minute with an in swinging free kick but was well saved by Damian ALBIL to ensure that his side going into half time with the lead.

In the second half, it was all Barca as they kept pushing forward but were unable to break down a determined Estudiantes defense. MESSI forced ALBIL into another save in the 70th minute after dribbling past four players.

Just as when it did looked like the trophy was heading back to South America after a two years lapse, the Blaugrana finally had their breakthrough. With just a minute left, Gerard PIQUE flicked the ball to substitute PEDRO to head in the equalizer forcing the game into extra time.

When the match restarted, it was the same script again. Then just like in Rome almost six months ago, MESSI rose to the occasion to score Barca’s winner with just 10 minutes left to play. Instead of using his head, he chested the ball in after a brilliant cross from Dani ALVES.

There’ more. FIFA also named him as the winner for the adidas Golden Ball and Toyota Award for being the best player in the tournament. Juan Sebastian VERON came in second.

As for Estudiantes, they can still go out with their heads held high for putting such a remarkable display. Kudos to their fans for making their presence felt.

But certainly 2009, belongs to no one else but Lionel MESSI.

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 FIFA CWC - El Pulga vs. La Brujita

Please be warned! On the 19th of December, the city of Abu Dhabi is expected to be infested with fleas and surrounded by witches with their evil sorcery. Not the kind of place for the faint hearted.

That’s the story behind this years FIFA Club World Cup final between FC Barcelona and Estudiantes de la Plata.

Though it may be the least important tournament in FIFA’s calender, I’m sure this years edition will have the Albiceleste fanatics attentions. The match will bring together two important figures of the National team, both equally motivated to close out this year with a title.

For Lionel MESSI, having return from injury and scored in the semi-final, its all about making six out of six title. With Andres INIESTA out for this match, the Blaugrana will certainly need him more than ever in order to avoid a repetition of the 2006 final. Furthermore, the chance to play against an Argentinean side is an added extra motivation for the mercurial Flea.

"It's special to play against them, a very nice thing since I've never played against an Argentine team," he said on Friday.

With the FIFA Annual Players Gala taking place on Monday, Lionel certainly has a great chance to cement his status as the World’s best.

While for Juan Sebastian VERON, he too will be eager to close out in what has been a great year for him. Despite of his age, the Little Witch still has it with him and will be the Rat Stabbers main key to unlock Barca’s defense.

Then there is the family connection with the club which will be another motivation factor. He will be also keen to follow his father’s footstep who this tournament when it was know as the Inter-Continental Trophy back in 1968.

“You don't manage something like that, you inherit it and carry it with pride. Given the level of the match and the characteristics of the rivals, because I was born in the club with a father with a similar or better past, lifting trophies for the club, it's not going to be just another day, but rather the day” he said.

Overall, its certainly going to be an interesting final. The question is, which one of these two will be smiling after the final whistle?

AGUERO out, SALVIO in... MAXI out

And the call-ups continue. Sergio AGUERO is out due to muscular problems and MARADONA has called-up Eduardo SALVIO up for the Catalunya match.

For those who might remember Mundo's coverage of the 2009 South American Youth Championship in Venezuela, you will surely remember SALVIO's name. In my opinion, he was one of(if not the) best player for us that tournament. He currently plays for Lanús in Argentina.

This will be SALVIO's second match with the National Team(0 official FIFA matches). He made his debut with Argentina on May 20 where Argentina defeated Panama in an un-official FIFA match 3-1.

In related news, Atletico Madrid has not released Maxi RODRIGUEZ for the Catalunya match. No clue if MARADONA will decide to call someone up to replace him(though he might as well, he's pretty much called-up everyone in Argentina at this point).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Watch Lionel MESSI Goal Against Atlante

Lionel with a minute genius! Just felt that I needed to put up this another great goal from the Flea himself.

As we all were worried about his situation struggling with an ankle injury, he didn’t took that long to show everyone that he is doing A OKAY. Now we
can breath with sight relief that he will be there in the final this coming weekend.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Javier PASTORE and Emiliano PAPA called up

And the new call-ups continue. First ALVAREZ and BANEGA, now PASTORE. MARADONA has called up Palermo midfielder Javier PASTORE to the Catalunya match. This will be the 20 year olds first call-up to the National Team. PASTORE is not the only player called-up today, Emiliano PAPA has received another call-up after being ignored by Diego for the Spain friendly.

According to reports, the reason why PASTORE has been called-up is because of MESSI's condition at the moment. He injured his ankle last week against Dynamo in the Champions League and is doubtful for the Club World Cup. Here's the full list.

Diego POZO (Columbus)
Mariano ANDUJAR (Catania)

Emiliano PAPA (Vélez)
Nicolás PAREJA (Espanyol)
Martín DEMICHELIS (Bayern Munich)
Nicolás OTAMENDI (Vélez)
Cristian ANSALDI (Rubin Kazan)
Cristian ALVAREZ (Arsenal).

Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid)
Maxi RODRIGUEZ (Atletico Madrid)
Jesus DATOLO (Napoli)
Angel DI MARIA (Benfica)
Pablo AIMAR (Benfica)
Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool)
Mario BOLATTI (Hurricane)
Javier PASTORE (Palermo)

Gonzalo HIGUAIN (Real Madrid)
Sergio AGUERO (Atletico Madrid)
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona)
Martin PALERMO (Boca Juniors)
Ezequiel LAVEZZI (Napoli)

Javier MASCHERANO is not 100% confirmed for the Catalunya match as it has been reported that Liverpool manager Rafael BENITEZ will not allow him to play in the match, which is why MARADONA called-up Ever BANEGA.

Catalunya's list, DOMINGUEZ signs with Valencia

This is more of a random post, mixing a few things together. So let's start this off with Catalunya's list for their match against us, shall we?


FC Barcelona: Víctor VALDES, Carles PUYOL, Xavi HERNANDEZ,
Gerard PIQUE, Sergio BUSQUETS and Bojan KRKIC.

Deportivo La Coruna: Sergio GONZALEZ and Albert LOPO.

Getafe: Jordi CODINA.

Valencia: Bruno SALTOR.

Sevilla: Fernando NAVARRO.

Racing: Oscar SERRANO.

Real Betis: Sergio GARCIA.

Villarreal: Joan CAPDEVILA.

Arsenal: Cesc FABREGAS.

Ajax: Oleguer PRESAS and GABRI.

Some very familiar faces here, with PUYOL, XAVI, PIQUE and others having just played against us last month. Do note however that this is an unofficial match and there is some news that Arsenal coach Arsene WENGER will not allow FABREGAS to take part in the match.

Alejandro DOMINGUEZ signs with Valencia
Yes it's everywhere, so it might as well be here as well. We normaly do not post news like this here on Mundo, but the only reason I'm posting this is because I know alot of people here are excited that DOMINGUEZ will get to play for a top side in Spain which might increase his chances of getting into the National Team. For those who haven't gotten the chance to see DOMINGUEZ in action, out of the 2-3 matches I've seen him in the Champions League this season, he was fantastic and easily the best player for Rubin Kazan. So who knows? If he can do well with Valencia he might actually get his first chance with the National Team.

2010 FIBA World Championship Draw - Tall Albiceleste Drawn In Group A

The draw for next year’s FIBA Basketball World Championship in Turkey has been made in the capital city Istanbul this morning . Argentina were drawn in Group A together with Serbia, Australia, Jordan, Germany and Angola.

Here is quick note on the other Groups before we give some information on what will Manu GINOBILI and the rest will face in Turkey.

Group A

Group B

Group C
Puerto Rico
Ivory Coast

Group D
New Zealand

Argentina will be based in the city of Kayseri for the preliminary stages and the following are their fixtures in order

28th August - Argentina vs. Germany
29th August - Argentina vs. Australia
30th August - Argentina vs. Angola
31st August - Argentina vs. Jordan
2nd September - Argentina vs. Serbia

Overall a relatively fair group for the Tall Albiceleste considering that we will not have Olympic gold medalist USA and reigning World and European champions Spain. Apart from that we also manage to avoid Greece, France, Brazil and Lithuania in the process.

Still, there is still tough game to look out for from their group.

Among which will be a renaissance Serbian side which finish runners up in this years Eurobasket. Should they get their best players together they will definitely provide a strong challenge for us. I reckon that it will be either our boys or them that looks good to finish top of the group.

On the other hand, both Australia and Germany are the dark horses from this group. Angola are the Kings of Afro Basket and do have plenty experience of playing in the international stage. Jordan will be making their debut but that doesn’t mean they will be the easiest opponent as every game will be as equally important.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Manu On Fire For Third Straight Game

I might have been too pessimistic with Manu GINOBILI in recent times about his performance. Of course the injury that he had suffered in the past has taken its toll but in no way that will ever prevent or stop him from being the player he is on the court.

I do have my fair share of believe in him that he will get back to the Manu that we’re so used to love. So I guess, it’s pretty much based on the last two games, we are seeing the old Manu himself.

And so he was against the Los Angeles Clippers, chipping in 17 points as the San Antonio Spurs started their 3-game road trip with a 115-90 win. Plus he was also hand for his team with 3 assists, 3 rebounds, one steal and a block shot.

Just like the Rockets in their previous game, the Clippers were punished by the constant shots that were made from beyond the arc. Manu was leading the way for the Spurs converting five 3-pointers out of eight attempts (including the four in the first half alone).

So the answer to all my previous doubts is that he is back. And that can only bad news for the rest of the league.

In another game, the Houston Rockets could not capitalize on Luis SCOLA’s 21 points and 15 rebounds (plus one steal and block shot) after failing to overcome a poor start against the Toronto Raptors. The Rockets lost the game 88-101.

“We can’t afford to start this way,” SCOLA said. “We’re not that good. We can’t expect to come out and be down 20 and pick it up whenever we want to and come back and win the game. It happens once in a while, but it won’t happen against good defenses. We’re going to lose 95 percent of the games that we start this way.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

6 different goalscorers, 8 goals!

Let me just start off by saying that we have 6 different goalscorers in the top European leagues that scored on Saturday, with a combined 8 total goals between them! With that said, I will be posting the links to the goals because I have received comments from people who's browsers are crashing because of the amount of flash/Youtube videos on the blog. And since there are 8 different goals, I will not be embeding 8 different videos, instead, I will be linking.

First a free kick goal against Chelsea last weekend and now 2 goals against Bolton, all this on top of the fantastic goal he scored against Arsenal in the league cup 2 weeks ago. I think it's safe to say that Carlos TEVEZ is back to his Boca and Corinthians goal scoring ways. With the score at 1-0 for Bolton, TEVEZ's shot from outside the box was deflected off a defender and into the back of the net. Then with the score at 3-2, again TEVEZ(this time with his left foot) was the one to tie things up for his team as he fought off 2 Bolton players in the box to put the ball into the net. The match ended in a 3-3 draw.

To view highlights of the Bolton/Manchester City match, click below.

Speaking of someone who's on fire at the moment, Gonzalo HIGUAIN scored 2 of Madrid's 3 goals as they beat Valencia 3-2. BENZEMA beat his man in the box and sent a cross to a completely unmarked HIGUAIN as Gonzalo's header gave Madrid a 1-0 lead. With the score tied at 1-1, HIGUAIN received a short pass into the box as his shot beat the goalkeeper and gave Madrid the 2-1 lead. However the Albiceleste goalscoring in this match doesn't end there. At 2-2 in the 83rd minute, Xabi ALONSO sent a free kick into the box and Olympic Gold Medalist Ezequiel GARAY was the first player to connect as his header went low into the bottom of the net to give Madrid the victory.

To view both of HIGUAIN's goals and GARAY's goal, click on the following 3 links. HIGUAIN's first goal HIGUAIN's second goal GARAY's goal

In Italy, this time it was a different Ezequiel but still an Olympic Gold Medalist, Ezequiel LAVEZZI was on tap for Napoli as they were visiting Cagliari. With the score at 0-0 in the 21st minute, LAVEZZI got the ball and beat his marker as he sent a low shot from outside the box to beat the keeper. Once again, the match ended in a 3-3 draw.

To view LAVEZZI's goal in the Cagliari/Napoli match, click below.

It seems to be a regular thing this season but Gabriel HEINZE has scored once again for Marseille! Yes, you read it right, Freddy HEINZE or Gabriel KRUEGER, whatever you want to call him has once again scored for Marseille. Off a corner kick in the 48th minute, HEINZE was the first to the ball as his header went straight into the net. The match ended 2-0 for Marseille.

To view HEINZE's goal in the Marseille/Boulogne match, click below.

In Portugal, Benfica was in action as they were playing Olhanense SC. With Benfica down 1-0, Javier SAVIOLA scored in the 28th minute to give his team the equaliser. Then in the 41st minute, Angel DI MARIA was red carded. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. I cannot find highlights or goals from this match at the moment.

Friday, December 11, 2009

GINOBILI - Guess He Is Back, Still For Now

After a big night against the Kings, the jury was still out there on Manu GINOBILI whether he was back in full swing.

Well it looks like we can all sit and smile to see the old MAN-u with another top performance but judging on how close he and his team nearly gave the game away, guess there is still a lot to be concerned of.

Manu scored 22 points and the Spurs beat the Charlotte Bobcats 104-85 to give the them the momentum of consecutive wins before starting a three-game West Coast swing on Sunday that will be their longest road trip yet.

Coming from the bench, he went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and also posted 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block shot. However, 20 of his points came in the first half but then he made just one shot for the rest of the game.

While the Spurs may have survived to grab another win despite the huge numbers of turnovers. Clearly they need Manu to be more consistency for the entire game, not just for one half to revive their season.

Luis SCOLA had another double-double performance as the Houston Rockets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 96-91. He scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds plus 2 assists to his credit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Manu GINOBILI Spark Spurs & Is Back, For Now

This season Manu GINOBILI was supposed to return with a bang after resting during the summer and having his injured knee rehabilitated. Instead, he hasn’t been very productive and clearly his game is lacking in confidence.

So far he is averaging just 12.7 points on 36.8% from the field as the San Antonio Spurs have stumbled out of the gate to a 9-9 record. But when the Spurs welcome the Sacramento Kings, it was obvious that he was again doing what he does best.

Manu came from the bench and posted 20 points, including a couple of big plays in the late run (back-to-back drives, including a dunk with 1:57 left that followed a three-point play) to help the Spurs win 118-106. He also had 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of steals.

“It just happened a couple of times late in the game,” Manu said. “It made me feel really good, and it’s something that’s going to happen more often, hopefully.”

So the question remains on whether Manu is back to his very best. For now, as long as he continues to remain healthy, we all know Manu will get eventually get it together this season, and with that the Spurs will improve.

In other NBA highlights, the Houston Rockets defeated the highly favored Cleveland Cavaliers 95-85 with Luis SCOLA posting 5 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Carlos DELFINO posted 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and one block shot to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 117-95.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

MESSI free kick wins it for Barcelona

He scores with his left, he scores with his right, he scores with his head, he even scores with his hand... and now he scores off free kicks! This isn't MESSI's first goal off a free kick(his previous was versus Atletico Madrid last season, but the goalkeeper wasn't ready and it was an open net), but it's a beauty. With the score tied at 1-1 and with less than 10 minutes to play, MESSI was fouled outside of the Dynamo Kiev box. And then this happened...

He's been working on his set pieces and most of the time he comes close, but never really lands it. This time, however, what a goal. On a side note, I love the look on Pep GUARDIOLA's face near the end of the video. Here's to hoping he can score free kicks while playing for Argentina!

2009 FIFA Club World Cup Preview

Once again, the tournament which puts together the best football clubs from each FIFA’s Continental Confederation gets underway. This time, it will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Lets take a look on what’s in store for us this time as there is plenty of reason to be excited with the many Albiceleste connection that is involved.

Lionel MESSI and FC Barcelona

Having missed out in 2006 because of injury, Lionel MESSI will finally have the chance to grace to the World stage for his club. Clearly that both him and his team are the hot favourites to win it but their history in this competition is unfavorable.

Two of their previous outings have ended in defeat (in 1992 losing 1-2 against Sao Paolo and in 2006 0-1 against another Brazilian side, Internacional). However this season, after dominating in their domestic and continental campaign, the next thing they need to achieved has to be for Global dominance.

After winning the European footballer of the year award, a good outing in this tournament will sealed MESSI’s destiny to become World’s Player of the Year. He will be eager to follow the footstep of what Carlos TEVEZ achieved last year.

The Iron Colts Albiceleste

The only that is likely to stand Barcelona’s way in the final is Mexican side Atlante FC. They will await the winner of the home side Al-Ahly and Oceania’s Champion Auckland City.

Some of the club’s big names are no stranger to us. Among which is non other than Federico VILAR. El Jefe, as he is known, could come in handy for side from set piece situation as he is well know for scoring from free kicks.

The other big name for this team is former Real Madrid and Internazionale winger, Santiago SOLARI. He will be eager to another World title to his name having won the Inter-Continental title with Real in 2002. Atlante will look to him for some source of creativeness, something which well known from him throughout his career.

Other players in the team are Miguel Angel MARTINEZ, Gabriel PEREYRA and Andres CAVEVIC.

La Brujita and Estudiantes

Having defeated Manchester United to win the competition in 1968, Estudiantes will be motivated to come to Abu Dhabi with a aim to surprise everyone.

After all it has been 39 years since they last tasted continental glory, The Rat Stabbers went on to win their fourth crown after defeating Cruzeiro of Brazil.

Much of this success comes from the magic of Juan Sebastian VERON (by the way his father, Juan Roman VERON was a major figure in that team which won it in 1968). The last 12 months has been pretty spectacular for La Brujita, having won the South American Player of the Year in December 08, he was voted as the best player of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.

However Estudiantes is not just about VERON only as the team does contained some other quality players. There Marcos ANGELERI, who has won few caps for the National Team this year. Alongside him, another key figure in defense is Leandro DESABATO.

Plus in midfield, there is Rodrigo BRANA and Jose SOSA, on loan from Bayern. Up front, they will be relying the goal scoring exploits of Mauro BOSELLI.

Good luck to all of them as we hope to see a much more significant ending for an Argentine player in this competition.

Champions League Matchday 6 - Wednesday Preview

Firstly, lets watch Lucho GONZALEZ’s consolation goal for Marseille as they will now make the trip in the Europa League after losing to Real Madrid 1-3.

Now to complete this round, here are matches involving the Albiceleste from Wednesday’s fixtures.

Liverpool vs. Fiorentina
Javier MASCHERANO, Emiliano INSUA, Jose Ignacio CASTILLO and Mario SANTANA

Olympique Lyon vs. Debreceni VSC
Lisandro LOPEZ and Cesar DELGADO

Internazionale vs. FK Rubin Kazan
Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Walter SAMUEL, Diego MILITO, Alejandro DOMINGUEZ and Christian ANSALDI

Dynamo Kiev vs. FC Barcelona
Lionel MESSI and Gabriel MILITO

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Unirea Urzeceni

Seville FC vs. Glasgow Rangers
Federico FAZIO, Aldo DUSCHER, Lautaro ACOSTA and Diego PEROTTI

Olympiacos vs. Arsenal
Luciano GALETTI and Christian LEDESMA

Standard Liege vs. AZ Alkmaar

Looks like all the matches will have an Albiceleste connection but only a few will have critical significant in terms of qualification for the next stage.

If there was a “Group of Death” in the Champions League, then its got to be Group F. Going into the final round fixtures all four teams stand a chance to make it to the next stage.

Lionel MESSI & Co will travel to Kiev from which a win will ensure they finish top of their group. The other match will see the Albiceleste of Inter needing only a draw against surprise package Rubin. Lets remember one thing that this Russian side are capable of doing the unthinkable.

The other side surprise side in this tournament is Romanian side Unirea. A win for them against Stuttgart will ensure that Pablo BRANDAN and his teammates fairy tale in the competition will continue.

As a consolation, AZ will bank on the heroic hands of Sergio ROMERO to help them progress to the Europa League.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Champions League Matchday 6 - Tuesday Preview

It’s judgment day in the Champions League. Who makes it to the next round and who does not? All that will be revealed in the next two days. For now, we will focus on the Albiceleste players that will see action from day 1 on match day 6: -

Juventus vs. Bayern Munich

Maccabi Haifa vs. Bordeaux

Besiktas Istanbul vs. CSKA Moscow

Olympique Marseille vs. Real Madrid
Gabriel HEINZE, Lucho GONZALEZ, Gonzalo HIGUAIN and Fernando GAGO

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto

From the fixtures, we can tell there are two intriguing matches. One of which will take place at the Stadio Del Alpi, DEMICHELIS and Company will look to come away with a surprise win against the Grand Old Lady and book themselves a place in the knockout stages.

The other will be from Group C, between Marseille and Real Madrid. A win will be good enough for either one but honestly; I will be happy with both of them progressing. For that to happen, FC Zurich will need to repeat their heroic performance against AC Milan, this time at home.

Not to forget, Kun and Maxi will do their part to help Atletico get a win against already qualified Porto and book them a place in the Europa League. Most of the other matches are only played for formality purpose. Hopefully we will see some goals from the Albiceleste Army.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mundo Albiceleste Pod - World Cup Draw review

Yes, we had fun with our mock draw last week, but now it is time for us to discuss what the real thing gave Argentina and the rest of the teams that are going to play in South Africa 2010.

Join John and Seba for the analysis of every group and a look at possible surprises and mouth-watering potential clashes in the second round.

Simply click the audio player above or right-click on the following link and save it as an MP3 file or listen to it in your computer: download.

Enjoy! And don't forget to send us your views to or right here in the comments' box. If you want to participate in a future edition of our podcast, make sure to drop us an e-mail too.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

An All Forward Delight As MESSI, Carltios & Other Shines

Now that we know who we’re going to going to face in the first in South Africa next year, perhaps it’s time to start predicting the names that are likely to make the trip. The following names all had an excellent weekend and could possibly join Diego’s party.

First stop it’s Spain’s La Liga.

Kun AGUERO was on target for Atlético Madrid in their 2-0 win over Xerez, their successive win which gives them some breathing space at the bottom end of the standings. He latched onto Paulo ASSUNCAO’s pass and drilled into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Then it was Real Madrid’s turn as they needed to win to keep pace with league leader’s Barcelona. They did just that defeating Almeria 4-2, with Gonzalo HIGUAIN scoring from miscued clearance in the 73rd minute.

With their lead cut to just two points following Real’s win, Barca needed to response back in their match against Deportivo La Coruña. Lionel MESSI capped off his week with another outstanding performance following his return from injury in last weeks El Clasico win and crowing as European footballer of the year.

MESSI put Barca in front in the 26th minute, lashing on a fierce drive past Depor keeper Daniel ARANZUBIA. He restored their lead in the 79th minute, with a well placed header following PEDRO’s cross.

Carlos TEVEZ also had a marvelous week after steering Manchester City towards the League Cup semi-finals with a win against Arsenal. And here he was again, to help them win another big clash this time it’s the much hated Chelsea. He curled in a free kick into the bottom corner in the 56th minute thus keeping the Citizen in place for a place in Europe next season.

Other notable goal scores of the night, Lucho GONZALEZ scoring after a beautiful display for Marseille in their 3-1 win over Nice in the French Ligue 1. And the on it’s Germany’s Bundesliga, the ever improving striker Lucas BARRIOS was on target again in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Javier PINOLA’s Nurnberg.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Blast From The Past

Now that we know who is in our group and the fact that we have played against them in previous World Cups. So lets go down in memory lane to watch highlights on those matches.

Argentina vs. Nigeria (2-1)
Samson SIASIA (8), Claudio CANIGGIA (21, 28)
25th June 1994
Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough

Argentina vs. Nigeria (1-0)
Gabriel BATISTUTA (63)
2nd June 2002
Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki

Argentina vs. South Korea (3-1)
Jorge VOLDANO (6, 46), Oscar RUGGERI (18), PARK Chang-Seon (73)
2nd June 1986
Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Mexico City

Argentina vs. Greece (4-0)
Gabriel BATISTUTA (2, 45, 89(p)), Diego MARADONA (60)
21st June 1994
Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough

Argentina to face S. Korea, Nigeria and Greece

The real World Cup draw is over now. Just like in our mock draw, we go to Group B, but that's as far as the coincidences go when it comes to Argentina.

Argentina will play against familiar faces in a group that's certainly not amongst the toughest for next year's World Cup.

Our debut will come 12 June against Nigeria at the historical Ellis Park of Johannesbourg.

Four days later, 17 June, we will face South Korea also in Johannesbourg, but this time in the Soccer City stadium.

And we will play our last group game on 22 June against Greece at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Just like in 1986, Argentina will face South Korea, a team we defeated 3-1 in our debut at that tournament in our way to our last World Cup victory.

Nigeria is another team we have a World Cup history with. We faced them in 1994 (2-1 win with CANIGGIA scoring both goals -it was the infamous game in which MARADONA tested positive of ephedrine-) and we also played against them in our debut match in 2002 (and the only one we won -1-0- with BATISTUTA scoring the only goal).

Finally, Greece, which was another of our rivals in 1994. We beat them 4-0 with a hat-trick from BATISTUTA and a great strike by MARADONA himself.

The eight groups for the World Cup look like this:


South Africa


South Korea








New Zealand


DPR Korea
Ivory Coast



Thursday, December 03, 2009

BANEGA called, Liverpool denies MASCHERANO

And we have our first case of a club not releasing one of their players. Here's the problem with these un-official FIFA dates. Clubs have the right to deny their players the chance to play with their National Teams. And since the match against Catalunya is an un-official FIFA date, Liverpool have done just that to MASCHERANO.

Like the old saying, one man's fortune is another man's mis-fortune. With MASCHERANO unable to make the team, MARADONA has given the chance to a new face to join the National Team. In the past, it was ANGELERI, DATOLO, BOLATTI, ANSALDI, PEROTTI and I'm sure I'm missing a few others. In this case, along with Cristian ALVAREZ, it's Ever BANEGA. Many readers here on Mundo will be glad to hear it since many of them have wanted him on the team for a while now. BANEGA has been having a great season with Valencia so far and is a regular starter on the team.

However, BANEGA's call-up is contingent on Valencia releasing him for the friendly.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mundo Albiceleste Pod - World Cup Mock Draw!

Right, we took a long time in between podcast shows, but we couldn't afford to waste more time as the World Cup Draw is fast approaching and we wanted to play a little game and have our very own Mundo Albiceleste World Cup Draw!

John in Malaysia picks up the names of the teams. Roy in Canada allocates them into their respective groups and Seba in Argentina does you the information as the groups take their shape and teams know their destiny.

Of course, come Friday, none of the groups we drawn in our very own World Cup mock draw may look the same, but according to our little game, Argentina drew a very interesting group.

Do you think I will reveal it here without forcing you into listening to our podcast? Think again!

Simply click the audio player above or right-click on the following link and save it as an MP3 file or listen to it in your computer: download.

Enjoy! And don't forget to send us your views to or right here in the comments' box. If you want to participate in a future edition of our podcast, make sure to drop us an e-mail too.

Argentina World Cup Away Shirt

We've already seen the home jersey for the World Cup and we've even seen the players play in them. But now it's time to reveal the Argentina away jersey for the World Cup. If you guys thought the home jersey had a 1986 look, well, let's just say that this one is pretty much the same thing.

Pretty much the same color, plain, the AFA crest with the thick border around it. Since we're on the subject of 2010, I didn't want to post this in another topic by itself, so I thought I'd throw it in. Here's the Official Match Ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Argentina will be seeded for Friday's draw

FIFA has announced the eight seeded teams for the upcoming World Cup draw that will be held in Cape Town on Friday.

France, on the other 'HAND', are not. Which proves that all the reports you saw in the media were nothing but speculation and were not accurate.

All I read the last few weeks was that Les Bleus were going to be seeded and Holland were not.

The eight seeded teams will be South Africa (as hosts) and Brazil, Spain, Italy, England, Argentina, Holland and Germany.

FIFA took the October 2009 placing in their ranking to determine the seeded teams.

We're getting there. Only a couple of days to know our fate.

In the meantime, have a look at the four pots:

Monday, November 30, 2009

MESSI claims the Ballon D'Or France Football

We've been hearing it for ages. Everywhere you heard people saying: 'There's no way MESSI will not win the Ballon D'Or'. Well...all those people were right, as Lionel MESSI becomes today the first Argentine player to ever win this prestigious accolade awarded by French magazine France Football.

Not only that, by winning the election, MESSI got 473 out of a possible 480 points, which represents a record in itself.

No other player in the past collected as many votes.

It's worth mentioning that non-European players became eligible to win this award only in 1995.

Prior to this stage, 30 finalist were announced and the following is the complete result of the voting.

1. Lionel Andrès MESSI (Argentina, FC Barcelona) : 473 points
2. Cristiano RONALDO (Portugal, Manchester United/Real Madrid) : 233 pts
3. Xavi HERNANDEZ (Spain, FC Barcelona) : 170 pts
4. Andrés INIESTA (Spain, FC Barcelona) : 149 pts
5. Samuel ETO'O (Cameroon, FC Barcelona/Inter Milan) : 75 pts
6. Kaka (Brazil, AC Milan/Real Madrid) : 58 pts
7. Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC (Sweden, Inter Milan/FC Barcelona) : 50 pts
8. Wayne ROONEY (England, Manchester United): 35 pts
9. Didier DROGBA (Ivory Coast, Chelsea): 33 pts
10. Steven GERRARD (England, Liverpool) : 32 pts
11. Fernando TORRES (Spain, Liverpool): 22 pts
12. Cesc FABREGAS (Spain, Arsenal) : 13 pts
13. Edin DZEKO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wolfsburg) : 12 pts
14. Ryan GIGGS (Wales, Manchester United) : 11 pts
15. Thierry HENRY (France, FC Barcelona) : 9 pts
16. Luis FABIANO (Brazil, FC Sevilla), Nemanja VIDIC (Serbia, Manchester United), Iker CASILLAS (Spain, Real Madrid): 8 pts
19. Diego FORLAN (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid) : 7 pts
20. Yoann GOURCUFF (France, Bordeaux) : 6 pts
21. Andreï ARSHAVIN (Russia, Arsenal), Julio CESAR (Brazil, Inter Milan), Frank LAMPARD (England, Chelsea) : 5 pts
24. MAICON (Brazil, Inter Milan) : 4 pts
25. Diego (Brazil, Werder Bremen/Juventus) : 3 pts
26. David VILLA (Spain, Valencia), John TERRY (England, Chelsea) : 2 pts
28. Franck RIBERY (France, Bayern Munich), Yaya TOURE (Ivory Coast, FC Barcelone) : 1 pt
30. Karim BENZEMA (France, Lyon/Real Madrid): 0 pt

Congratulations to Lionel and now let's hope for a 2010 that's better and more memorable for him and for Argentina!

Kun & Maxi Steers Atlético Out Of Relegation Zone

The whole world had it’s eye on El Clasico Spain and it was a happy return for Lionel MESSI who played a pivotal role to help Barcelona beat Real Madrid 1-0.

However the star among the Albiceleste in Europe was Kun AGUERO after helping Atlético Madrid to a 4-0 win over the other side from Catalan, Espanyol. The results ensure that Atlético moves out of the relegation zone in the La Liga standings.

Kun, whom in recent weeks has been much in the spotlight with a speculated move in the January transfer, scored twice; one of which is from a curling free kick. Also on the score sheet is Maxi RODRIGUEZ, tapping in the far post courtesy of a cross from Kun himself.

In Italy, Diego MILITO scored from the spot with 5 minutes left as Inter Milan won 1-0 against Fiorentina, a result which takes them eight points clear at the top. German DENIS was on target for Napoli in their 1-1 draw with Parma.

In the French Ligue 1, Lyon could only salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Rennes with Lisandro LOPEZ scoring their equalizer.

NBA News - Manu Returns But Scola’s Hurt

It was all good news for the San Antonio Spurs as Manu GINOBILI return to action against the Philadelphia 76ers, after missing the last six games, and posted 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block shot. Spurs won the game 97-89.

However as one player makes his return another could be out as the bad news came in the Houston Rockets 100-91 win over the Oklohama City Thunders. Luis SCOLA was hurt on a freak play as the Thunder’s Etan THOMAS dunked with his right hand, simultaneously smacking SCOLA in the face with his left.

A trainer came onto the court to help him, and he held a towel up to his face as he walked to the locker room. He would end up getting seven stitches on his right eyelid. We certainly this is not something serious and that he will be back in action soon.

The worst team last season are currently the surprise package as the Sacramento Kings overcame the New Orleans Hornets 112-86, with Andres NOCIONI posting 13 points, 2 rebounds and an assist.

ATP World Tour Finals - No Good Ending For Delpo

Juan Martin DEL POTRO could not finish his remarkable year with another title after losing to Russian Nikolay DAVYDENKO in straight sets 3-6 & 4-6 at the London O2 Arena. Nevertheless keep an eye on him during the 2010 seasons.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DEL POTRO Wins Epic Semis To Play In ATP Finals

US Open champion Juan Martin DEL POTRO beat Robin SODERLING in a heavyweight encounter to reach the final of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.

The 5th seeded won 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to set up a decider against Russian 6th seed Nikolay DAVYDENKO, a surprise 6-2 4-6 7-5 winner against top seed Roger FEDERER. DEL POTRO is now one victory from landing the biggest title outside the four Grand Slams.

For a while, he looked to be in trouble when SODERLING converted his first break point of the night to lead the third set 4-2. However DEL POTRO immediately responded back with a break serve thus forcing the final set to a tie breaker.

DEL POTRO dominated the shoot-out after opening with a raking backhand winner and an ace.
After two hours and 10 minutes the man from Tandil found himself with four match points and he converted the second with an ace before raising his arms in triumph.

"I'm very happy to make my first final, one more match before my holiday," an exhausted DEL POTRO told the crowd.