Thursday, April 29, 2010

NBA Playoffs News – Maverick Manu & Spurs Progress

When the SA Spurs were paired against 2nd place Dallas Mavericks, it was expected to be an unforgettable match up. It was indeed, more so for Manu GINOBILI.


A lot has happened to him throughout this series. First he announced that he would not be traveling with the National Team (later this year in Turkey for the FIBA World Championship due to the birth of twin sons), getting an unpleasant facial makeover (thanks to Dirk NOWITZKI) and even being grabbed around the neck and pulled to the ground (gracias to Eduardo NAJERA).


It didn't matter in the end as the Spurs rides on to Manu GINOBILI recent hot form to win the series 4-2. Despite of the spirited effort from the Mavs, the home team hang on to win the game 97-87, with Manu being the top performer posting 26 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 steal.


Eventually it was sweet revenge for the Spurs after being eliminated in the same round last year by the Mavericks. This victory also clearly shows how much they've missed him, as he was absence through injury back then.


Now in the Western Conference semi-finals, Manu & Co will await the winner between the Blazers/Suns series

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Four Argentines can do more than two

Football is not mathematics. Thank goodness it's not!

In this case, it's just the headline I've found to play around a little bit and signify that Inter, with four Argentine players from the start (Walter SAMUEL, Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO and Diego MILITO), were able to get past Barcelona and their two Albicelestes: Lionel MESSI and Gabriel MILITO.

This match gives us so many things to analyse and talk about. For starters, lets get ready for another attack of the anti-MESSI brigade. They wasted no time. They were even having a go at Lio during the match. Saying he is not effective when he is well-marked and that when things are hot, he goes cold.

I'll be the one cooking the humble pie for them. If not this summer, it'll be eventually in 2014, 2018 or somewhere along the line. Wait...what am I saying? He already showed it time and time again last season scoring in almost everyone of the 5 finals Barcelona played. He is not a player that will shy away from the responsibility. He will ALWAYS keep trying. Things may work out for him or not, but he'll keep trying till the end.

A very heated debate is going on strong. It's the old MENOTTI vs. BILARDO football philosophy argument. All across the media in Argentina, you'll find the 'Líricos' (term used to describe those who like the beautiful football, the passing game, the attacking mentality) and you'll find a lot more 'Resultadistas' (those who only care about the result. Those who enjoy a defensive display more than they enjoy victory by 3 or more goals. Those who could even say that a 0-0 is the best result in football because it means that there were no mistakes made, because they say that goals are only scored when a defender or a goalkeeper makes a mistake in allowing a rival a chance).

Líricos vs. Resultadistas or Menottistas vs. Bilardistas will both go at it disguised as Barcelonistas vs. Interistas.

It goes without saying that I'm more inclined towards the way Barcelona plays. The way that Argentina tends to play a lot more often than not (though sadly it's been a while since we last saw us play or try to play like that). I'm not a fan of MENOTTI, but if I have to choose between those two ideas, then he gets my vote. Though I'm not radical at all.

It's an argument that will never end and those radicals are incredibly quick to slag off MESSI (and amazingly inserted as the top names in the broadcasting companies. I'm talking about Bilardistas here) and all they do is to create this anti-MESSI atmosphere amongst those fans who don't really think or analyse football. No wonder why Estudiantes fans reacted by painting the walls with messages against MESSI after he scored against them in the FIFA Club World Cup final. Estudiantes being the club where BILARDO was brought up as a player and then became a manager too.

I feel sorry for Lionel here. He was just a victim of a cold and cruel logic that do happens more often than not in football: IT IS EASIER TO DESTROY THAN TO CREATE. Period. There is no argument.

Inter, tonight, played without using the ball. I read the statistics after the match and whilst Xavi HERNANDEZ had 108 passes for Barcelona, Diego MILITO, topping the Inter chart for passes completed, had only 10. He was the only one with double-digits in that department.

I think it says it all.

That said, Inter went to the Camp Nou with a game-plan an executed to perfection. You may like it or hate it, but you can't deny they set out to play a game like that. To frustrate Barcelona. To interrupt their flow. To block them in the final third of the field. And that's exactly what they did.

Like Chelsea did last season only to be denied by Andrés INIESTA's game-winning goal at Stamford Bridge (it was a draw, but it was the crucial away goal).

Tonight, Barcelona could have (should have?) gotten to the final had the referee not signalled a ridiculous hand-ball he saw from Yaya TOURE before Bojan KRKIC got the ball inside the area and scored with a great shot towards the first post. But they didn't and Inter got what they set out to acquire at the Camp Nou.

For much as I feel it was another victory for a kind of football I don't like, I can't help but to feel extremely happy for the four Argentines at Inter. Especially for Javier ZANETTI, captain of a thousand battles, and for Diego MILITO, the most underrated striker in the world. If it's true that facts are way above merits in football, then the indisputable fact here is that Inter advanced to the Champions League final because Diego MILITO scored that third goal in the first leg.

Without it, Barcelona would have advanced with the away goal PEDRO scored at the Giuseppe MEAZZA.

I'm sure there are plenty more to talk about after this match and I'm sure you'll be discussing it in our comments' box.

Then why should I keep writing...give us your thoughts.

Oh...and one more thing: SAMUEL was brutally good tonight. What a wall!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A farewell for ORTEGA? He will play against Haiti

Argentina, formed by the domestic-league players with Martín PALERMO as the main man when it comes to those with chances to make it to the World Cup squad, will play Haiti in a match that will serve as a fund-raiser for the victims of the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation in January 2010.

For troubled fallen Argentina hero, Ariel ORTEGA, this could serve as a chance to bid farewell to our national team.

Well-known are ORTEGA's troubles. He has been suffering from alcoholism for a long time and came out not so long ago whilst still playing for River Plate. He's been trying to overcome that nightmare but has had many set-backs. Nonetheless, he is still a very important player for a River Plate team that is in complete disarray.

As recently as on Monday, Ariel ORTEGA was involved in a car accident (the fourth I remember). I think this call up is more of a gesture from MARADONA, who was his room-mate during the USA 1994 World Cup (when ORTEGA was a youngster poised to become the New MARADONA).

If anything, El Burrito will bring more people to the stadium and will raise this friendly's profile. Certainly amongst River Plate fans from the province of Neuquen (the match will be played in a town called Cutral-Co) in the Patagonia.

The other interesting aspect has to do with the goalkeepers. MARADONA said many times his choices as shot-stoppers are: 1. Sergio ROMERO; 2. Mariano ANDUJAR and 3. Diego POZO.

Now with Diego POZO going through a difficult season with Colón de Santa Fé and having conceded five goals last weekend, it seems Adrián GABBARINI, from Independiente, is poised to take his place and probably increase his chances of being called up for the World Cup as our third goalkeeper.

GABBARINI has been impressive this season with Independiente and I've seen him saving crucial shot after crucial shot in El Rojo's quest to win the title. With 11 goals conceded this tournament, he is the best goalkeeper available in the domestic league.

Continuing with his trend, MARADONA has called a few new players to that list of over 100 footballers he's called up since he took over as Argentina manager. Roy will surely have the numbers there and he'll know exactly how many players has Diego called.

Here are the new names ahead of the Haiti friendly:

Adrián GABBARINI (Independiente, goalkeeper)
Paolo GOLTZ (Huracán, central defender)
Juan Pablo PEREYRA (Atlético de Tucumán, forward)
Ariel GARCE (Colón de Santa Fé, left-back)
Nicolás OLMEDO (Godoy Cruz de Mendoza, midfielder)

Ariel ORTEGA is not really a new face but, if he gets some minutes, he'll go on to increase the number of players on that list of Diego call-ups.

And the rest of the list is:

Diego POZO (Colón de Santa Fe, goalkeeper)
Matías CARUZZO (Argentinos Juniors, central defender)
Luciano MONZON (Boca Juniors, left back)
Juan Manuel INSAURRALDE (Newell's Old Boys, central defender)

Juan MERCIER (Argentinos Juniors, defensive midfielder)
Patricio TORANZO (Huracán, offensive midfielder)
Leonel VANGIONI (Newell's Old Boys, midfielder)
Facundo BERTOGLIO (Colón de Santa Fe, offensive midfielder)
Sebastián BLANCO (Lanús, offensive midfielder)

Franco JARA (Arsenal de Sarandí, striker)
Martín PALERMO (Boca Juniors, striker)

One more thing...the match will be taking place in the middle of the run-in for the domestic tournament and the knock-out stages of the Copa Libertadores.

Knowing that Estudiantes de La Plata, Velez Sarsfield and Banfield are still in contention for the Copa Libertadores (plus Estudiantes are leading the Clausura tournament with 3 matches to go), MARADONA has intentionally avoided calling up players from those teams.

The problem here is that he called up two key players from Argentinos Juniors (second in the standings, just one point behind Estudiantes). I wonder what the reaction would be from Argentinos Juniors, a club so close to Diego's heart so much that they even named their stadium 'Diego Armando MARADONA', if any of those players gets injured facing Haiti.

We will see whether there will be more controversies going MARADONA's way.

Back where we started

A little bit of self advertising here, but also something that I think will be big for Mundo Albiceleste.

I have been selected, for the second World Cup in a row, to be Soccernet's correspondent for Argentina.

Some of you are Mundo Albiceleste's readers these days, but you actually first got in touch with me through that Soccernet space.

Four years after that painful elimination against Germany, we have come a long way. John and Roy have joined the team, we created our very own podcast show (a new edition coming up soon, hopefully!), we were joined by so many Argentina fans from all over the world and we even have our very own match-cast everytime Argentina play.

Right, this new space at Soccernet (still not fully launched) will surely bring more Argentina-supporting friends along and will definitely make of Mundo Albiceleste a better place.

Feel free to visit and comment over there too. Here's the link to my Argentina correspondent blog.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Argentina vs. Serbia and Montenegro - 2006: A look back

If the England game from 1998 was difficult, the group stage game against Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup looked like the complete opposite. Never has Argentina looked so dominant against an opponent in recent memory. And that includes against Greece in 1994 and Jamaica in 1998. We all knew the story heading into the game... the 2002 World Cup. And this was a chance for our players to put that behind them. And did they ever!

It was the first time we had faced Serbia and Montenegro(in a World Cup) under that name. And I say at a World Cup because two years prior, we had defeated Serbia and Montenegro by a score of 6-0 at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The last time we faced Serbia and Montenegro(at a World Cup) was in Italy in 1990 against Yugoslavia. The first match(of two) for us which went to penalties. A match in which Yugoslavia played very well and a match where Diego MARADONA missed his penalty against the now defunct country.

Serbia and Montenegro had allowed only 1 goal in their World Cup qualification and lost their opening group game against the Netherlands. However, it wasn't to be for them as our boys had an inspiring game to say the least. Juan RIQUELME got awarded the FIFA Player of the Match, Javier SAVIOLA had 2 assists, Maxi RODRIGUEZ had his coming out party with 2 goals, CRESPO netted his second of the tournament(and had one goal wrongly disallowed for offside), TEVEZ came on as a substitute and scored a fantastic goal and the reigning World Player of the Year came on with 15 minutes remaining to set-up CRESPO and score a goal himself.

However, it was the second goal which took the breath away of the entire futboling world. Esteban CAMBIASSO finished off what was an absolute exquisite world class play of the highest order. A play which consisted of 24 passes, that absolutely carved Serbia and Montenegro wide open. On the Guardian's website, they described the goal as: "Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Back-heel from Crespo. Cambiasso... goal!"

This match helped Argentina reach a Goals for Average of 2.2, the highest of any team at the 2006 World Cup.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Sunday For Current & Ex Atletico’s

Both Atletico Madrid and Liverpool flexed their muscle over the weekend with comfortable win’s in their domestic league, as next week they will resume the second leg of their Europa League semi-final encounter.

For Atletico, it was their win after three successive defeats as they defeated relegation trouble Tenerife 3-1. January signing Eduardo SALVIO was the star of the match scoring twice in the first half. Kun AGUERO wrapped it up for the Rojiblancos.

Liverpool who will entertain Atletico at home, also had great weekend with a 4-0 win over Burnley. Maxi RODRIGUEZ finally scored his long awaited goal for the Reds ever his transfer from Atletico.

In Serie A, they were two goals from the Albiceleste but both ended up on the losing side. First it was Rodrigo PALACIO for Genoa in his side 1-2 lost against Lazio. The other came from the inform Maxi LOPEZ as he scored a consolation for Catania in their 1-3 defeat to Livorno.

In the Swiss Super League, Eulogio ZARATE was on target for Grasshopper in their 4-0 win over FC Basel. Lastly in the Belgian Jupiter League, Matias SUAREZ was on target in Anderlecht 4-2 win over KAA Gent.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Eagle’s Albiceleste Close In On Title

Benfica are within touching distance of winning the Portguese League title after another five star performance. They hammered Olhanense 5-0 with a master class display from both Angel DI MARIA and Pablo AIMAR.

The Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the 18th minute with DI MARIA scoring a fine individual goal and he even provided two more assist in the match. AIMAR rounded things up for the night with a clinical strike. Javier SAVIOLA was brought in a second half substitution in the 61st minute.

Benfica’s fierce rival, FC Porto also had a big win with 5-2 trashing over Vitoria Setubal, one of which coming from Fernando BELLUSCHI.

Whilst in Serie A, Inter Milan returned to the top of the table after 3-1 win over Atalanta. Diego MILITO, who had a sensational week against Barca in the Champions League, was on target again. Though we’ve been hearing about him joining to the Paraguay National team for the World Cup (remember, nothing is certain until you get your first senior cap), Lucas BARRIOS scored a hat trick over the weekend against Nurnberg in the Bundesliga. Lastly in the English League One, former giants Leeds United hammered Milton Keynes Dons with a 4-1 with a goal from Luciano BECCHIO.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh...the irony!

I wasn't going to post about this, but the turn of events just made me do it!

Everytime a World Cup is coming, I become a child again. This time, I wasn't going to do it the old-fashioned way (that will probably come in the next World Cup when I do it together with my son Felipe), but since I found an online virtual version of it, I couldn't say no.

What am I talking about?

I'm talking about the stickers' album! FIFA and Panini are running it online here and I can't stop! hahaha!

Right...I've been playing this for almost a week now and I have completed 30% of the album (no need to pay. It's absolutely free). I have completed the entire Paraguay team and I'm nearly there when it comes to completing Argentina.

And you know what the irony is I'm referring to in this post's headline? I'm only missing one sticker to complete Argentina and that I need to say it?

I have (and lets use this to discuss whether Panini got their 11 Argentine players right): Sergio ROMERO, Martín DEMICHELIS, Walter SAMUEL, Angel DI MARIA, Javier MASCHERANO, Juan Sebastián VERON, Sergio AGÜERO, Lionel MESSI, Diego MILITO and Gonzalo HIGUAIN.

Just in case you didn't find out the name of the the player I'm missing, I'll reveal it to you. Is a defender who I love to hate: Gabriel HEINZE.

Are you collecting too? If you have that HEINZE sticker, I think I'll think twice before swapping with you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Argentina vs. England - 1998: A look back

What? Argentina vs. England - 1998 FIFA World Cup Round of 16.
Where? Geoffroy-Guichard, St. Etienne, France
When? June 30, 1998

With the World Cup under 50 days away, I've been watching some old Argentina matches. Last week it was Argentina vs. England from the 1998 FIFA World Cup. So what happens today when I visit I see an article on that very match. described it as "A match which had everything". Goals, drama, passion, cards, penalty kicks, etc... You name it, it had it.

In the past, Argentina has played a few matches which have since been called the "Match of the tournament". Following the 2006 World Cup, held a poll for the match of the tournament. Argentina vs. Mexico finished in first place. And at the 1998 edition, it was much of the same. For neutrals, it was arguably the match of the tournament, for us Argentina fans, it WAS the match of the tournament.

If the 1986 match was about the war, the 1998 match was, according to Diego SIMEONE “Quite apart from the political history, the desire of the whole country is to defeat England." That simple. The heart and the passion displayed by the man who once called his style like playing with a knife between his teeth, was evident. It wasn't about shining as an individual, but winning the match for your country. Something some of the current players on the National Team lack.

Let's take a look at the starting XI for both sides.

With two goals in the first 10 minutes and 4 goals in the first half, Diego SIMEONE took matters into his own hands as he got "tripped" by David BECKHAM which resulted in the Englishman getting sent off. With the match going to penalties, BERTI and SHEARER made it 1-1. Up next was CRESPO for Argentina who missed his penalty, followed by INCE who also missed his penalty.

Roberto AYALA scored to make it 4-3 for the Albiceleste and David BATTY missed his penalty as Argentina eliminated England from the 1998 World Cup to head to the quarter finals.

To watch the entire penalty kicks, click here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Micho wins, Lisandro survives RIBERY

First of all, it wasn't a great football match.

That said, Martín DEMICHELIS and his Bayern Munich have taken an important step towards the Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Lisandro LOPEZ, César DELGADO and Olympique Lyon in the first leg of their semifinal series.

Arjen ROBBEN scored the only goal from outside the box, but from our point of view (that is from the point of view of Argentina fans), the most notable thing was that Martín DEMICHELIS helped the German giants to keep a clean sheet and had a good performance, but the outstanding incident that will perhaps be remembered for some time is the horrible challenge from Frank RIBERY on Lisandro LOPEZ.

The France international surely had better weeks than this one. First of all, he was accused of having sex with an under-age prostitute and then he sees a straight red for a horrible kick on Lisandro's ankle.

The former Racing Club and Porto FC striker, who unbelievably seems to be on his way to miss out on our World Cup squad, needed treatment and sure gave us all a big scare when he was taken out on a stretcher. But he managed to stay in the game, though he was left all alone with no company up front and didn't manage to impact the game the way he is used to.

His team-mate and former Argentina player, César DELGADO, was replaced with 10 minutes to go in the game after doing a lot of running and chasing.

The tie is not over. Not at all. But Lyon will have to play to the maximum of their ability to keep Bayern from scoring the all important away goal that would force Lyon to score 3 to advance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diego MILITO steals the show from MESSI

I swear I'm not being biased towards Diego MILITO here. You can ask anybody who watched Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 on Tuesday and they'll surely tell you I'm right in saying he was the difference-maker at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium.

Even without watching the match, by just taking a look at the stats you'll have enough information to prove me right: Diego MILITO - 1 goal and 2 assists.

It was a strange game. It looked like Barcelona had the edge and were about to demolish Inter when MAXWELL went past Esteban CAMBIASSO and then crossed to PEDRO who scored a little bit before the 20-minute mark. 1-0 to Barcelona and the very important away-goal already in the bag for the Catalans.

But Inter reacted. It's true that Diego MILITO missed a couple of good chances but the third, he wasn't going to let it go. He didn't take it himself. Instead, he controlled a ball that came through the floor from the right (courtesy of ETO'O) and surrounded by three Barcelona defenders, he unselfishly decided to pass it wide to the left for an open Wesley SNEJDER who scored past Víctor VALDES.

That was the score after the first half and Inter came out strong in the second. Determined to win it.

Only three minutes into the second half, Lionel MESSI had the ball on the right in an attacking position. In my opinion, he was clearly fouled. He even stood still thinking the ref gave him a free-kick. Instead, the referee waved play on and that really hit Barcelona because on the counter-attack, MILITO was launched on the right and he wrapped the ball as a present for MAICON to score Inter's second of the night.

Barcelona kept going forward (as they always do) and Inter hit them again. Only this time, the Italians made the Blaugranas taste a little bit of their own medicine. Why? Because Thiago MOTTA did what GUARDIOLA's men always do. He recovered the ball very near the opposing area and then fed it to ETO'O, who crossed it for SNEJDER to head it towards Diego MILITO (who was in an offside position) and the rest was history.

MESSI was pretty much controlled throughout the entire game. He did force Julio CESAR into making a great save and then won a header in the box that almost turns into a glorious assists for PIQUE, but between Julio CESAR and LUCIO they prevented the former Manchester United defender from scoring.

The other Argies?

As some of you are pointing out, Javier ZANETTI was sublime. He started as a left-back and never had a problem with PEDRO and/or MESSI. Then MAICON got injury (colliding with MESSI) and as CHIVO got introduced by MOURINHO, Il Capitano was sent to play in his natural right-back position. It goes without saying that he excelled there too. Wonderful game from ZANETTI and I echo those voices of concern. I will be devastated if he doesn't make it into our World Cup squad.

Esteban CAMBIASSO. He was at fault in Barcelona's goal. He let MAXWELL run past him and couldn't chase him. His passing was a little bit shaking tonight, but his marking was spot on. He had the unpleasant task of interrupting the circuit between XAVI and MESSI and he never stopped running and getting his body in the thick of the action.

Walter SAMUEL. Very solid at the back. Zlatan didn't touch the ball. SAMUEL had a great game and it's good to see his recent form as he will be much needed in South Africa.

Gabriel MILITO didn't play but he looks set to start at the Camp Nou because Carles PUYOL saw a yellow card and got suspended.

For the MESSI advice is to keep quiet and to remember he didn't have the best of games at the Emirates against Arsenal in their QF first leg. You all know what happened later. I'm not saying he will do the same next week against Inter, but the boy has it in him and it'll be up to him and GUARDIOLA to sort out the trap MOURINHO placed around The Flea. Can he do it?

UCL Semi-Finals Preview - Titanic Clash Await’s the Albiceleste

The title to this article say’s it all when it comes to this season’s Champions League semi finals clashes. There is just plenty to look forward to.

First up, Barcelona will take a bus trip (due to the volcanic ash cloud which have erupted most part of Europe) to Milan to face Internazionale.

Once again, Lionel MESSI will be the focal point in this game but he will have company in the form of Walter SAMUEL. Not to mentioned that there is plenty of emotions for the MILITO’s as this is going to be more than just another football match. Should Gabriel start for this game, he will be given the task in keeping an eye on his brother Diego. Esteban CAMBIASSO will also have a huge job in his hand as he will come face to face with Barca’s midfield supremo, XAVI. As always, he will have the backing of Javier ZANETTI. Most certainly (unfortunately for me), a match not to be missed.

The following day will see the two surprise package of the competition this season, Bayern Munich will be playing host to French side Olympique Lyon.

This will be another match which will see a “defence vs. attacking” situation. It’s good to see Martin DEMICHELIS back in full gear to lead Bayern defence. However this time he will have his work cut out as Lyon will deploy Lisandro LOPEZ to lead their attack. Licha will have plenty of ammunition provided to him through Cesar DELAGO. A bit off topic, Bayern is also expected to start a young player by the name of Diego Armando CONTENTO, a German born Italian whose parents hails from the city of Naples. Guess I don’t have to tell you after whom did they named their son.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pipita & Real Close In On Barca

Gonzalo HIGUAIN was again on the mark for Real Madrid as they defeated third place Valencia 2-0 to close in Barcelona (they drew 0-0 against fellow Catalans Espanyol on Saturday) by just one point.

Real got the breakthrough in the 25th minute following a defensive error from Bruno SALTOR, who gifted the ball to GUTI near the touchline. The Madrid captain played in to HIGUAIN and coolly slotted past Cesar SANCHEZ from the edge of the box. That was his 25th goal of the season and he could have added a couple more after twice being put through by Fernando GAGO, but in both attempts he failed to make use of those opportunities.

They were plenty of goals (seven in total) coming from the Italian Serie A.
Ezequiel LAVEZZI increased his chances for a place in Diego’s team for South African after scoring twice in Napoli 2-1 away win against Bari. Also scoring twice was Rodrigo PALACIO in Genoa’s 3-2 win over Parma. The other was from the in form Maxi LOPEZ in Catania’s 2-2 draw with Siena. He could have added a second after missing a penalty later on during the match.

In the French Ligue 1, Alberto COSTA was on target for Montpellier in their 1-1 draw with Toulouse. I’ve been keeping an eye on him as in recent times he seems to be making good wave’s in France.

In the Greek Super League,
Emanuel PERRONE last minute goal ensured that Atromitos collected 3 points in a 3-1 win against Panthrakikos. Another goal came from Mauro POY in FC Xanthi 4-2 away win against Iraklis.

In the Belgian Jupiter League Championship playoffs,
Matias SUAREZ ensured that Anderlecht came away with 2-1 win against arch rival Club Brugge after scoring his side second goal.

Finally, it was a happy Sunday for two Albiceleste players as they scored for their respective teams in the State Championship final match. First it was
German HERRERA scored (later on was sent off) in Botafogo’s 2-1 win over Flamengo to clinch the Rio State title. While in the Rio Grande do Sul state second stage championship, Andres D’ALLESANDRO scored a late goal for Internacional in their 3-2 win over Pelotas.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Diego says he's got 20 of the 23 squad members

As we get closer and closer to our World Cup debut against Nigeria on June 12, Diego MARADONA continues to hint at some names and formations.

On Friday, he spoke again with Radio Metro 95.1 FM and confirmed a few names whilst he made a couple of not-so-surprising announcements ahead of the deadline (May 10) for him to submit a list of 30 players that will later (June 1) be reduced to the final 23-name World Cup squad.

"I will play with four central defenders at the back because those are the guys who gave me enough insurance. We haven't conceded goals (1-0 at Uruguay and 1-0 at Germany) and they didn't even created us scoring chances. I have tried with wing-backs like ZANETTI and PAPA, but I ended up using four central defenders. I'm going to take some alternatives in both defensive wings. ANGELERI or Clemente RODRIGUEZ...I'll see" said MARADONA.

He then confirmed he will use a 4-4-2 system and the lineup he hinted will take the field against Nigeria will be the same that played against Germany. That means Jonas GUTIERREZ, Javier MASCHERANO, Juan Sebastián VERON and Angel DI MARIA will be the midfielders.

"Jonas has always played great for me. I have spoken very clearly to him: even if he was to be relegated again with Newcastle United, he was going to come to the World Cup with me", said MARADONA about GUTIERREZ.

Regarding Angel DI MARIA, Diego said: "I don't know why they gave him a 4-match suspension for that red against Bolivia. We lost him almost for half of the qualifiers".

According to reports published by Olé, Diego already has the 30 names in his head and 20 of the 23 he will take to South Africa.

Starting with the goalkeepers: Sergio ROMERO will be his first choice (he will also be the first to start working at the AFA headquarters in Ezeiza as the Dutch League will be over before all the others where Argentine players are competing. ROMERO will be free from his duties with AZ Alkmaar after the next weekend). Mariano ANDUJAR (Catania) will be his sub and the third keeper will be Diego POZO (Colón de Santa Fé). The name of Adrián GABBARINI (Independiente) was mentioned as this young goalkeeper became the new sensation in the Clausura Tournament in Argentina, but it seems Diego will decided in favour of POZO.

The defenders that have a ticket more than confirmed are: Nicolás OTAMENDI, Martín DEMICHELIS, Walter SAMUEL, Gabriel HEINZE (all of them should be the starters to face Nigeria and continue to be so if things go well). Together with them, Nicolás BURDISSO and Clemente RODRIGUEZ should be in the list. Diego suggested he will wait to see if Marcos ANGELERI (right back, Estudiantes de La Plata) recovers his form after a serious injury that kept him out for a long time and it seems that only if he fails to make it, Javier ZANETTI would be given a chance.

Luciano Fabián MONZON (Boca Juniors) also have chances, though they are a little slim.

Gabriel MILITO, suggested through the press by Lionel MESSI and recently recovered from injury to play a key part in a few FC Barcelona matches, didn't convince Diego with his performance at the Super Clásico against Real Madrid and should miss out too.

It appears MARADONA thinks it would be unfair to the other players who fought during the Qualifiers while MILITO was injured. Which begs the question: "Then what the hell is Walter SAMUEL doing there and why on Earth will you wait for ANGELERI? Right?". That reasoning is more than weak and very hard to understand.

When it comes to the midfielders, the mentioned GUTIERREZ-MASCHERANO-VERON-DI MARIA and the rest has a big question mark all over it.

GAGO was not ruled out (here's another question from me: Gabriel MILITO had a very solid game against Real Madrid while GAGO was all over the place making foul after foul after foul and providing Real Madrid with nothing and yet MILITO appears to be out of the picture while GAGO could still find a place in the list?).

Mario BOLATTI is starting to play less and less for Fiorentina and he is hurting his chances to make it to the World Cup.

Javier PASTORE, on the other hand, has improved a lot for Palermo and look set to be considered ahead of Pablo AIMAR as a potential play-maker if the team needs it.

Esteban CAMBIASSO will surely have to watch the World Cup on television and we will all be left missing out on one of the best left-side all-round midfielders we've got. But Diego doesn't like Cuchu, even though MOURINHO will play him every single minute of every single game.

José SOSA? MARADONA said the Estudiantes de La Plata midfielder still have chances and if you ask me, he is a very good option to have on board. He can play on the right or the left hand side of our midfield. Can help in defensive tasks and can join in the attack very efficiently and is deadly on set-pieces. Plus...he plays everyday with Juan Sebastián VERON and he's got the experience of having played in Europe (Bayern Munich). It seems to be like SOSA is ahead of Maxi RODRIGUEZ. But...would there be room for any of them?

Up front?

Three guys already confirmed: Lionel MESSI, Gonzalo HIGUAIN and Carlos TEVEZ. Another one with one foot in despite not having a season to write home about: Sergio AGÜERO. Then..there are a few names fighting for 2 more spots.

Even though MARADONA mentioned Diego MILITO's name as one of those he wants to come to the people's mind when remembering South Africa 2010 in the future, the inclusion of Inter's top-scorer this season is not written in stone.

Martín PALERMO was '80% confirmed in my World Cup squad' after the joke friendly against Jamaica and now it seems those numbers could be decreasing. Though I wouldn't bet against him making the squad as long as Diego is our manager.

There are rumours of MARADONA following Lisandro LOPEZ lately. Lets remember Licha was 'deleted' from Diego's team just before the double-header against Brazil and Paraguay because, reportedly, MARADONA didn't like the expression (out of frustration) on Licha's face after being constantly ignored when Diego picked the starting XI and the subs. I hope this rumours are true and that's why I wish Lisandro can have a couple of cracking performances against Bayern in the Champions League semifinals. His ticket to the World Cup could depend on that.

Ezequiel LAVEZZI still have some chances as he is one of the options MARADONA sees to have someone attacking from the flanks. In that regard, it doesn't seem probable that both Diego MILITO and Martín PALERMO can make the list because Pipita HIGUAIN is also there as a main striker and taking three would be too much.

To recap this information and clarify it a little bit...let's see what we've got.


1. Sergio ROMERO
2. Nicolás OTAMENDI
4. Walter SAMUEL
5. Gabriel HEINZE
8. Juan Sebastián VERON
9. Angel DI MARIA
10. Lionel MESSI
11. Gonzalo HIGUAIN
-------the names above are not only confirmed but they look set to be our starting XI---------
12. Mariano ANDUJAR
13. Diego POZO
14. Nicolás BURDISSO
15. Clemente RODRIGUEZ
16. Carlos TEVEZ
17. Sergio AGÜERO
------even though MARADONA said he's got 20, I can only count till 17 pencilled players-----
18. Marcos ANGELERI
19. Javier PASTORE
20. Fernando GAGO
------would those three be the ones I'm missing to make it 20?-------------------------------
21. Martín PALERMO/Diego MILITO
22. Ezequiel LAVEZZI
23. Mario BOLATTI
-------one from PALERMO/MILITO and the other two could complete the WC squad--------
24. Diego MILITO/Martín PALERMO
25. Luciano MONZON
26. Javier ZANETTI
27. José SOSA
29. Lisandro LOPEZ
---------though I have my doubts about Lisandro LOPEZ, he could be included in the list of 30 if Diego decides to forgive and forget what happened----------------
30. Gabriel MILITO
---------I think we shouldn't rule him out. He could be in the list of 30 and he could have a chance to impress Diego in the upcoming La Liga and Champions League decisive matches-----

It's too late now and I got fired up with this subject so I've been writing for a long time. Here's hoping I didn't miss obvious names above. If so, I'm sure you'll pick them up and let me know so we can work together on these lists.

Let me get my thoughts together and when I have some time, I'll give you what would be my 30 names and my probable 23-man squad. In the meantime, you can start that exercise yourselves.

Random Video of the Day!

It's now time for the highly anticipated moment you've all been waiting for! Mundo Albiceleste's Random Video of the week!(or month, depending how often we decide to do this!). Plus, it's Friday, so try to take this little time to relax.

In this wonderful edition, the idea to post this video was sparked during the MARADONA/PELE debate that was going on in one of the comments boxes. So without further a-do, the ingenious Diego MARADONA!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

TEVEZ shortlisted for PFA award

The shortlist of candidates to win the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) award as best player of the year in England has been announced and Carlos TEVEZ is amongst the four elite footballers with a chance to win it.

The favourite to win it is Manchester United's Wayne ROONEY and apart from TEVEZ, the two other contenders are Cesc FABREGAS (Arsenal) and Didier DROGBA (Chelsea).

It should come as no surprise to those of us who have been following the English Premier League this season.

TEVEZ was at his absolute best and he never scored as many goals in a season since he made the leap to Europe.

He is probably the main reason why Manchester City are pretty much alive and with great chances of making it to Europe next season.

With the big Manchester derby coming up this weekend, Man City's manager, Roberto MANCINI, has stated that "Carlos TEVEZ is already an important player for us but he could improve over the next year. He has already improved this year because he has never scored 28 goals before."

"I'm happy about that. When you pick the top players, you pick Rooney, Messi and Tevez. Messi is the best at the moment. But Carlos and Rooney are very, very close."

The former team-mates, Wayne and Carlitos, are set to collide once again this weekend with both their teams facing a must-win situation in order to chase their respective objectives.

I'm guessing Carlitos has more chances to beat ROONEY this Saturday rather than at the PFA Player of the Year Award, but as long as he's alive in the race, he'll fight till the end.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

MESSI's PlayStation controller

Arsenal manager, Arsene WENGER, described Lionel MESSI as a 'PlayStation character' after the young man from Rosario destroyed the Gunners in the Champions League.

Well...I've found this image on the internet and I thought you may like it.

Is Arsene right about this?

With a controller like the one in the image...I'm a believer!

A Brace from Carlitos In City’s Big Win

Manchester City notched up another big win, thus increasing their chances for a place in next season’s Champions League. This time they hammered Birmingham City 5-1, subsequently cementing their place in fourth place in the standings.

In form striker Carlos TEVEZ was on target twice for them. He opened the fold gates for City in the 38th minute, scoring from the penalty spot. He then went on to put the Citizen 2-0 up in the 40th minute, with a delicate last touch after a header from Nedum ONUOHA; thus increasing his tally to 28 goals in a remarkable first season at the club.

Plenty of action coming from the Italian Serie A.
Maxi LOPEZ continues his goal scoring form this time against AC Milan as Catania drew level 2-2 in the San Siro. Javier PASTORE scored from a header in Palermo’s 3-1 win over Chievo Verona. Then there was Jose Ignacio CASTILLO scoring in for Bari in their 2-3 defeat against Siena.

In the Greek Super League, former Under-20 international and 1997 Youth World Cup winner Diego QUINTANA scored for FC Xanthi in their 2-1 win over Atromitos. Lastly
Sebastian BARTOLINI was on target for Asteras Tripoli as they defeated Aris Salonika 2-1.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Did Madrid Dance To The MESSI-mania Tune?

Of course they did!

It took 33 minutes for the MESSI bug to hit the Santiago Bernabeu when Lionel plays the ball to XAVI who chips it over the defence and back into MESSI's path, who took it down with his left foot and shot past the onrushing Iker CASILLAS with his right foot. It was nice to see all Albiceleste players on the starting line up; MESSI, Gabriel MILITO (both Barca), Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Fernando GAGO & Ezequiel GARAY (all Madrid).

As for the rest? You know the result and you saw what happened, So the comment box is yours.

Not to forget there were plenty of goals elsewhere.

In the Segunda Division, Juan Pablo CAFFA was on target for Real Betis in their 4-0 win over Cadiz. Marco RUBEN was on the score sheet for Villareal B in their 2-0 win over Girona.

Fresh from their Champions League success, Inter Milan were held to a 2-2 draw away to Fiorentina. Diego MILITO scored with a close range shot in the 74th minute to make it 1-1 after the home side took the lead earlier. Down in Serie B, Grosseto hammered Vicenza 4-0 with Luis Maria ALFAGEME on target for them.

The party was still ongoing in Newcastle as the Toon Army celebrated their quick return to the Premiership with a 4-1 win over Blackpool. Jonas GUTIERREZ kicked things off in the 12th minute with a deflected goal.

Then in the French Ligue 1, Gonzalo BERGESSIO scored his first goal in 2 months for St Etienne in their 2-0 win over Sochaux. In Portugal, Ernesto FARIAS scored the only goal in FC Porto win over Rio Ave. Lastly, Eulogio ZARATE scored the winner for Grasshopper against Neuchatel Xamas in the Swiss Super League.

P/S - A special note to GK to remind me that I owe him a glass of beer for getting the prediction right whenever I come down to Canada. Cheers!!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

MESSI-Mania Podcast: All about the MESSI show

MESSI, MESSI and MESSI. What else could be the subject of our latest podcast with everything surrounding the little genius? In this hour long podcast, Seba, John and I discuss everything that has to do with MESSI. Whether it be how the media talks about him or his meeting with MARADONA. If it has to do with Lionel MESSI, we talked about it.

Of course we also touch on the other players in the National Team and how the Champions League/Domestic Leagues can effect our players come World Cup time.

To download the Podcast, click here. Don't forget to check us out on iTunes by clicking here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Lucas BARRIOS eligible to play for Paraguay

This morning he's got the news. Borussia Dortmund's striker, Lucas BARRIOS, has become a Paraguayan citizen and so he will very likely play for the Albirroja in South Africa 2010 after Gerardo MARTINO publicly said he would love to have him on the squad (especially after Salvador CABAÑAS' unfortunately incident in which he got shot in the head -he will miss out on the World Cup though he is making a wonderful recovery and we are very glad to hear that-).

Lucas BARRIOS is the son of a Paraguayan woman who got married to an Argentine man and therefore he was eligible to obtain his Paraguayan passport and so he did.

Speaking to a journalist from, BARRIOS is saying he is very happy to have become a Paraguayan citizen because that's his mother's country.

"I'm happy to have the chance to be called up by MARTINO, but I don't know what is the decision he will make. I only care about what happens here with Borussia Dortmund".

"I don't have much information about the national team of Paraguay. Just what I hear about from my team-mate here in Dortmund, Nelson HAEDO VALDEZ. I know Paraguay have a lot of great forwards and everybody knows that".

I remember when Lucas BARRIOS was still playing for Colo Colo in Chile and Diego MARADONA said he was watching him. Said BARRIOS had chances to be called up in the future.

But to be fair with Diego...just take a look at the number of attacking options he has at his disposal.

It is always going to be the case for countries such as Argentina and Brazil that inevitably some players are going to choose to play for other national teams. The depth and the competition for places at Argentina and Brazil (perhaps the best two examples, though there are many other countries we could mention here) surely prompt players to search elsewhere in order to fulfil their dream of playing in a World Cup. Player that would have never ever been good enough to play for their home countries.

I'm not saying this is BARRIOS' case, because we are talking about a young player with lots of potential and maybe after South Africa with some forwards getting older and more experience in Europe he could have had opportunities with the Albiceleste.

We've seen David TREZEGUET opting to play for France (though he was born in France and people were questioning why he didn't play for the country in which he spent his life between the age of 4 and his late teens). We've seen Mauro CAMORANESI lifting the World Cup trophy for Italy, though he is 100% Argentine. We will probably see Nestor ORTIGOZA (who plays for Argentina) join Lucas BARRIOS in the national team of Paraguay.

Guillermo FRANCO will play in the World Cup for Mexico. And the list goes on and on and I'm sure I'm leaving a lot of names out from this brief look at the subject.

To be honest...I'm not taking a radical stance on this. They are entitled to chase their dreams though it is sometimes gutting to see them opt to play for a different national team.

I guess it would have pissed me off had Gonzalo HIGUAIN choose to play for France, for example. Not to mention if MESSI would have taken a very different path and opted to play for Spain! It hurts just to think about it!

We still need to see whether MARTINO calls BARRIOS up and what would BARRIOS do if MARADONA decides to dial his number.

In the meantime, good luck to BARRIOS and hope he finds a place called Mundo Albirrojo to see his goals and more articles about him.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Diego: "Lio is playing his own game with Jesus"

Dumbfounded by that statement?

It's just another of those (great) quotes from MARADONA! I mean...who is up there with him when it comes to delivering classic quotes? Mohammad ALI, Brian CLOUGH and John LENNON, probably, but these days? Diego is in a league of his own.

In an interview he gave a radio station from Buenos Aires (Radio Metro 95.1 FM), MARADONA spoke about a number of things, but most importantly, he spoke about Lionel MESSI.

Here's what he said:

"I told Lio that my stuff (note: his career) was done, now he has to go on and build a career of his own and at the end of it, we will see who was the best of all times. But I think he is on the right path. I saw him more mature and with great desire".

"Many things were said after our match against Germany and that's why I went to talk to him privately. We spoke for two hours at the hotel. We spoke 'mano a mano' (note: face to face) and we solved a lot of things. I told him some of the stuff that happened to me. I told him that every Sunday he'll have to face a different hurdle and he is going to have to improve all the time. Many outrageous things were said about Lio, but I'm the one who saw him training and playing. We are now very happy with for him".

"MESSI is in a select level, being the best in the world and a star for Barcelona. Lio is playing his own game with Jesus (note: with this, he doesn't mean Jesus DATOLO, of course. It's just his way of saying that MESSI is playing a 'divine' kind of game). There will come a time when loneliness can invade you, but you have to fight against it so you don't make the kind of mistakes I made. He is great with his family and his girlfriend".

When asked about what would happen if MESSI takes Argentina to World Cup glory in South Africa, MARADONA said:

"Then the debate about who's the greatest of all-time: MARADONA or PELE, will be over. The best thing is that MESSI is Argentine. Brazilians, Spaniards, Germans, French and Italians will have to admit that the best in the world was born in this country".

Asked about his job as a national team manager:

"I like challenges. I haven't changed when it comes to that. My issues with drugs over the years didn't change the way I am. I won't lose my crown for losing a match. The manager has his influence, but the players are those who have the final saying".

Comparing the current situation to that of the build-up for Mexico 1986:

"That BILARDO team was the worst in history. But we went there, we did what we had to do and we were champions. That's the message I'm trying to get across to my players. They have a better level than the one we had back in 1986. When we got together back then with RUGGERI, BATISTA, we thought we were heading for the funeral home..."

"I've got a blind faith in these guys that I'm taking to South Africa. And when it comes to the people? They have given me a lot. I can't ask them for more. Now if I have to risk anything, it'll be worth it".

There you have it.


An Argentine to win the Champions League

With Bayern Munich eliminating Manchester United, this guarantees us that atleast one Argentine will win the Champions League this season. The remaining four teams have atleast one Argentine in the squad.

Internazionale: Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Walter SAMUEL and Diego MILITO.

FC Barcelona: Lionel MESSI, Gabriel MILITO

Olympique Lyonnais: Cesar DELGADO, Lisandro LOPEZ

Bayern Munich: Martin DEMICHELIS

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Am I 9 years-old again? Should I feel this way?

It's 2 AM at home in Buenos Aires. With the time difference, Barcelona-Arsenal started at 3:45 PM, so it's been almost 10 hours after the final whistle was barely heard amongst the crazy chants the Camp Nou was giving MESSI.

After a quick first-impression post, I spent most of the day thinking: "There must be more I should write about what happened!"

And there is plenty. Many angles you can take to approach the subject. My pick?

Well...tonight on cable TV in Argentina, they showed the first episode of 'V', the remake of that almost mythological series about aliens that was aired in the 80's, when I was a boy.

I wasn't paying much attention, but I knew it was on as my wife (incidentally called Diana, like the main character in the original series -they changed the name to 'Anna' in the new one-) was watching .

So I asked her: "Is this better or worse than the original?".

Her reply was what prompted this post. "You know what?" she said, "How can this new stuff compete with what I saw when I was a 9 year-old girl and my imagination was all over the place?"

She had to say '9 years-old'! Did she? Because that was my age when Diego, who just like Diana (both Dianas if you ask me), came from another planet and triggered every possible emotion my young mind could experience back then.

"It won't be better than the original" she concluded, "and I don't want it to be better".

Which generated another thought and another comparison: "Do I want this new coming to be better than the one I witnessed more than 20 years ago?"

I didn't need much time to get to the conclusion that I may be one of the few Argentines of my generation that would answer with a big fat 'YES' to that question.

In a way, I am a romantic when it comes to my football. I won't blush when I say football was better when I was boy (in most aspects. And I'm open to debate if you think I'm wrong, but let's leave it for another time). I know for a fact that nobody will get to me the way Diego did when I was a little boy. I wasn't all that judgemental back then and I was all emotion, all instinct. But back then it was easier to win over me.

My answer is 'YES' because the love I've got for the Albiceleste is bigger than the love I've got for Diego (again, I won't blush) and, opposite to what a lot of Argentines that were born around the same time I was born (late 70's), I'm ready to embrace MESSI without giving him a funny look.

I'm ready to let myself go and enjoy him without much analysis. Without much dissecting team tactics, rivals, level of competition and all the variables you like.

I want this new alien to entertain me like he's been entertaining me since the day I first saw him.

I'm not that easy to win over these days, but I've got to admit that I'm getting some flashes of the time in which my very young mind was full of dreams. Lionel MESSI is feeding my imagination and it's been more time than I can remember since I last felt that way and just like that David BOWIE song, I'm 'believing the strangest things. Loving the alien'.

MESSI is not from this planet

Some people were worried after MESSI failed to make an impression at the Emirates Stadium for the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals first leg against Arsenal.

Some others went farther and said he doesn't perform when he is under pressure and that he is not the kind of player a lot of people are suggesting he is.

Well...when Barcelona conceded early and was heading for elimination trailing Arsenal 1-0, Lionel MESSI responded with an incredible hat-trick in just 21 minutes (the fourth fastest in the history of the Champions League -only bettered by Mike NEWELL, Joseba LLORENTE and Marco SIMONE-).

With Barça in control for the rest of the game, they seemed to step off the gas and save some legs ahead of the crucial 'clásico' against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

But...Lio left what was perhaps the most beautiful goal of the night for the last part of the match. In a move that saw him dribble what looked like the entire Arsenal squad of today, plus Tony ADAMS, Sol CAMPBELL and David SEAMAN or whoever the historical figure in the Gunners' history you can think of and slotted the ball between Manuel ALMUNIA's legs for his fourth of the game.

An absolutely dominant performance from MESSI who demolishes the English media argument about Wayne ROONEY being better than him or at a par. There is no doubt whatsoever that MESSI is far superior and he showed them exactly that against an English team (so they had no option but watch him).

Now Barcelona, the defending champions, will face Internazionale in the semifinals.

The Italian giants are hoping to win this competition for the first time since they won it in 1964-65.

Today with an early Wesley SNEJDER goal, they secured their ticket to the big clash against Barcelona and with that, we are guaranteed of at least 2 Argentines playing in the big final at the Bernabeu in May.

Why? Because Barcelona, with MESSI and Gabriel MILITO in their team, will face an Inter side full of Argentines (Walter SAMUEL, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Javier ZANETTI and Diego MILITO). If Barça advance, we've got two Albicelestes in the final, if Inter eliminate them, then we'll have four.

Not only that, this Inter-Barcelona match-up will see the MILITOS squaring up against each other. Like they did when Gabriel used to play for Independiente and Diego was a striker for Racing Club (both teams from the same city of Avellaneda, just South of Buenos Aires).

That early Inter goal completely killed CSKA Moscow and the remaining 84 minutes of the match were pretty dull, with the Nerazzurri keeping the ball and not trying too hard to score a second.

Diego MILITO missed a couple of one-on-ones and was one of the four Argentines in action. He was replaced after 74 minutes by Mario BALOTELLI. The other three (Walter SAMUEL, Javier ZANETTI and Esteban CAMBIASSO) played the whole 90 minutes.

Tomorrow we will see if Martín DEMICHELIS and his Bayern Munich can finish what they started last week and advance to the semifinal, where Lisandro LOPEZ (suspended for the second leg against Bordeaux) and Cesar DELGADO could be waiting for them, if they kill off the match against Fernando CAVENAGHI's team.

In the meantime...let's all enjoy the beautiful present Lio MESSI gave everyone of us (even those who follow Arsenal).

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Manu Thumps Lakers, Pipita Keeps Real on Top

Real Madrid responded Barcelona's win over Bilbao with a 2-0 win over Racing Santander away, a result which ensures that next weekend El Clasico will see both teams equaled on points at the top of the table (with Real having the edge on goal difference).


Cristiano RONALDO had given Real the lead earlier but they had to wait until the 76th minute to double their lead. Substitute GUTI created the opportunity for HIGUAIN as he chipped the ball over the top and Pipita coolly slotted past Racing keeper Fabio COLTORTI


Spurs Clinch Playoff Berth, Thanks to Manu


When Manu GINOBILI was brought back into the starting line up, San Antonio Spurs became an all too different team since the All Star break. Along the process, he has helped them to win over the Cavs, Celtics and the Magic.  


Just two days after his big performance against Orlando, he comes with another one against Kobe's Lakers in Los Angeles. Manu outplayed the former MVP with 32 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 steals as the Spurs defeated the Lakers 100-91, a result which did not go down well with the home crowd.


While Manu's playoffs campaign is secured, two of the players will probably be resting this summer to prepare themselves for the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.


The Houston Rockets, already out of the playoffs picture lost to the Indiana Pacers 102-133 with Luis SCOLA posting 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal. While in Washington, the Wizards won against the New Jersey Nets 109-99 with Fabricio OBERTO playing as a starter and posted 8 points, 5 rebounds plus 1 steal.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Maxi’s Double Leads Catania’s Survival

We had plenty of goals from the Albiceleste from Saturday’s European fixtures including one from Carlos TEVEZ and Lionel MESSI. But I just felt the best performance of the night should be awarded to Maxi LOPEZ.

He took Catania another step forward to Serie A survival after scoring both goals in their 2-0 win over Palermo. This taking his tally to 6 goals in 11 appearances. His first came in the 14th minute after he caught Dorin GOIAN off guard when he made a pass back to his goalkeeper, striking a shot into the left corner past Salvatore SIRIGU. The second goal was again, a mistake by GOIAN as this time Jorge MARTINEZ intercepts and then make a good pass for LOPEZ to slot in from close range.

After years of uncertainty even since his arrival in Europe playing for Barcelona, it’s just good to see that Maxi has found a place his co0mfortable playing and back to his scoring mode again. A chance to crack into Diego’s team in South Africa? Who knows.

Speaking of Barcelona, they thumb Athletic Bilbao 4-1 with MESSI guided the ball from the edge of the area from PEDRO’s cross in the 67th minute. Real Zaragoza move a step closer towards La Liga survival with a 2-0 win over Malaga with the first goal coming from Leandro PONZIO superb 25 yard finish. Further down the stretch in the Segunda Division, Oscar TREJO scored and was sent off in Elche’s 2-2 draw against Rayo Vallecano.

Moving to England, Carlos TEVEZ was the star for Manchester City’s six star performance against Burnley. He scored one and assisted as City ran out 6-1 winners as they close in on a Champions League spot. However not to forget something also equally important for our friend Seba, as he beloved Queen’s Park Rangers settled for a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday with a goal from Alejandro FAURLIN half volley.

In the French Ligue 1, Lyon and Bordeaux who will resume they battle in the Champions League next week took to the field on Saturday. Bordeaux decided to give Fernando CAVENAGHI his start in five games and responded for them with a goal in their 1-2 defeat to Nancy. Lisandro LOPEZ on the other hand, netted the winner for Lyon in their 2-1 win over Stade Rennes.

Finally in the Belgian Jupiter League, Matias SUAREZ continues his fine form for Anderlecht in their 2-2 draw against arch rival Club Brugge.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Will we see Benicio DEL DIEGO soon?

Through a Brazilian sports website I got to an American showbiz portal and the news is about how actor Benicio DEL TORO is the favourite to portray Diego MARADONA in a film about the life of our national team manager.

This is no April's fools joke. I just thought I'd throw this news out.

Benicio already played another Argentine icon such as Ernesto 'Che' GUEVARA and his impression of him, I've got to say it, was sublime.

If you look closely, you'll see he's got some of El Diego's features and he's got my approval, so to speak, to play this part.

No other details about this MARADONA biopic were revealed and we're going to have to wait and see if Benicio becomes yet another one of the 'New MARADONA'.

Here's a link to the website with the story.

Diego MARADONA reaches blows with GRONDONA

News floating around Argentina today is that Diego MARADONA has quit his position as National Team manager. All this coming days after his dog allegedly bit him on his lip. It appears as though MARADONA had a huge blow-out with AFA president Julio "Don" Grondona. According to sources, fists were thrown by MARADONA with GRONDONA telling him he's fired. But Diego responded with the usual "You can't fire me, I quit!" line. Gabriel HEINZE was also featured in the fight as he was the special guest referee for this match, declaring MARADONA the winner.

After the fight, Diego MILITO came in and helped GRONDONA up, saying he's sick and tired of constantly being overlooked by MARADONA. Which then resulted in a Gabriel HEINZE vs. DIEGO MILITO match with our very own Sebastian GARCIA as the special guest referee, who then automatically called MILITO the winner.

For those still reading and not taken away by the title, happy April Fools day. :)