Friday, December 04, 2009

Let the madness begin...

Let me get this straight. 1.5 hours to pick 32 balls out of a glass bowl and tell us the fate of the 32 teams in the World Cup? Call me a skeptic, but maybe, just maybe, The brain-trust that is FIFA is rearranging things behind the scenes for a clearly planned route for the ultimate final in next years world cup: South Africa vs. Switzerland! Ok, maybe they are just trying to milk TV and advertisements dollars for every single minute on TV, but seriously, 1.5 hours to tell us what we already know: There are two teams that will contend for the Cup, and everyone else is looking up to them.

The unfortunate thing about watching this draw in the US, is only having two TV options, none of which is great. I can watch the ESPN crew and the brilliant commentary and conjecture as they pull for the US to get drawn with England...whoa, great insight guys. On the other hand, I get the BBC feed which is boasting about England's new attitude. Surely they will win now! I wish to revise to my earlier prediction of a South Africa-Switerland Final and think its now all about that other amazing final possibility, USA-England! Bummer, it won't happen.

It comes down to this. Brazil, Spain. Nothing else matters with the two teams. Midfield's and attitude's win Cup's, not supermodel girlfriends, dope, luck of the draw...all that can help, but the those two team are a notch above everyone else. Spain now has the confidence it has always lacked and Brazil, well they are Brazil. Plus historically, no European team has ever won outside of Europe and No Latin America team has ever won in Europe. But their is something about this Spanish team and Brazil always shows up and this team will grind down opponents unlike previous Brazilian teams.

On top of that, the cultural voodoo and pomp of next year's celebration will scoop in and frighten a few players ala Ronaldo 1998 when something spooky took over his soul and his country lost to France. I am expecting some really weird things happening next year, not of which will be shady officiating(surely mandated by FIFA to get South Africa to the knockout stages), players being upset about pending transfer rumors right before their big games, robberies by the locals and David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo losing their hair gel. But really it to comes down to this Cup being a total crap shoot and for once everything possibly being able to happen, including the Ivory Coast coming out of the Group of Death to run crazy through the it a hunch.

Leave the silly bracket guessing to the American and English press. And now for my prediction...I will wait on that for at least a moment or two. Forget everything we know, this is going to be a grand World Cup and a lot can happen between today and the first kick off...lets just enjoy it and let it breath! The countdown has started.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

So, what did I miss in the last 3 years??

Like Krishna, I too have been called back from my very long hibernation and have been asked to write again. And while I have been basking in World Cup Glory since July 9th, 2006, the time had come for me to come back. Adoring readers and their emails kindly requested that we start blogging about the beautiful game again.

Yes, it feels great to be back and with a vengeance. I feel the game in the last three years, is pretty much where it was before I disappeared, in total chaos.

Essentially here is a quick recap:

The state of soccer is being sacrificed to the idiocies of Sepp Blatter(nothing has changed since I last blogged 3 years ago), players and their supermodel girlfriends are running to placenta cures and new age stuff that would make the ballers from the previous era's call them wimps, Beckham is sporting a goofy haircut even for his standards, The French are doing stupid stuff on the field (again) and Liverdrool(aka Liverpool), well, there being Liverdrool and putting me to sleep with every draw.

You see, I had to come back and shed some light on the what really matters, the game itself! Boy it feels great to be back! So we look forward to reconnecting with all of you and be on the look out for out "Get Sepp Fired" campaign to launch shortly.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Calling for a Boycott

And no I am not referring to a boycott of the Spice Girls Reunion. Seriously, I am so disturbed today, that I had to write on my one day off. Feyenoord is MIA...again, and to tell you the truth, since I saw him at the Spice Girls Reunion show the other night, he has gotten even weirder then usual. Is that possible? No one here today to keep the Azzurri Dreams offices running smoothly, except for me. So I decided, and realized, there really is a comparison to be made between how I run and operate Azzurri Dreams, and what the FA is trying to do in hiring a new coach.

My boycott is simple. I am calling for the José Mourinho fan club to stop positioning this guy as the top contender for the gaffer of the English Side. What the myopic English fans do not realize is how wrong for the job this guy is. True he is a winner. I will give him more credit for his work at FC Porto then for his work at Chelsea. And as if reading Feyenoord's ever-absent mind, I will tell you why.

He won the domestic league and Champions league with a team from the Portuguese League. I, and I mean, I or anyone could have coached the Chelsea teams he had for the last few years. And no disrespect to the FA Cup, a poultry two league titles with the pounds spent at Chel$ki, had to be expected.

His football was unimaginative, dry, and functional. But they won. No one can take that away from him. Ever wonder why they got rid of him this year, and of all of sudden, a certain flair come to the London club with the hiring of a Dutch field master, Henk ten Cate and the continuous approach for a truly once again potentially spectacular player in Ronaldinho?

Chelsea needs to contend for the Champions League, like the top teams in Europe have been doing for since the tournament took over as the pre eminent club football tournament in Europe. I mean, if Liverpool (aka Liverdrool, since I tend to fall asleep watching their matches), can win in, why and what is wrong with Chelsea?

And while I applaud him for actually fielding English players in England(novel concept, huh Arsenal and Inter, use domestic talent, very interesting??), his lack of creativity ultimately cost him his job. And the point is this. True Jose truly understands the English game, but lets be honest, he is not going to get this job. Brian Barwick is not going to hire him. Jose is simply positioning himself, getting some attention and headlines and keeping himself relevant.

What England needs is a coach that understands the English game, and can mold a strong defensive spine, and create some creativity at the same time, and get his flank players to be able to make a cross (reference to this mornings' Chelsea Match where Shaun Wright Phillips could not make one). Creativity is the key word here. I know I have said to hire someone with experience and age, someone willing to go at his own way and be willing to deal with the consequences.

What the FA needs is to look beyond the obvious, like so many fans are incapable of. Go old school, look at the rosters of the great Liverpool and Manchester Teams, and start cold calling to inquire who is still alive and who is still willing to get off the links to even consider this position. Alan Shearer and Gerard Houllier are potential candidates. But lets all agree, their is once again, no need to make a hasty decision, i.e., Steve McClaren.

I mean it could always be worse, like the Scottish Vacancy that has Grahame Souness associated with it. Just when the national program was on a rise, you are going to consider giving it this guy, who has dismantled more teams that I can even rattle off. I digress, as always, but lets just wrap it up and say this. Stop the internal bickering at the FA, make sure your assistants are not sleeping with the coaches, and no not make a hasty decision.

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, December 07, 2007

Rumor Control

I owe our growing readership an apology...again. I know this, as last night, set up an interesting moment in the careers of Feyenoord and I both. As I sat patiently awaiting my opportunity to shower Victoria with presents, I saw Feyenoord in the same line as me waiting to get into the Spice Girls reunion show in Lala land. He pretended to ignore me, and let me tell the ever growing Azzurri Dreams readership, Feyenoord has been acting very very strangely lately.
I quickly, asked, if you are," here, who then is answering our phones...?" but he just pretended to ignore me, so typical lately. I am wondering if Feyenoord is seriously considering another job offer at another football orientated website. I pretended to have better seats then him, but I could not lie. He had the better tickets because of his Azzurri Dreams Press pass. But the conversation quickly evolved to what I know best, which besides know the Spice Girls reunion is football.
One of the best times of the year is among us...almost, the winter transfer market. And what I have asked for in the past, is actually happening, i.e, the big clubs holding off and potentially acquiring ONLY one player if not anyone! Can you imagine Manchester United or Inter not associated with the next wonder kid or Ligue 1 starlet? But I digress and here is the latest. The latest rumors are:

Lulinha, the under 17 year old phenom is supposedly going to Chelsea. Hopefully, anything to spice up a Chelsea is game is well worth it.
Mirko Vučinić , finally, healthy, ala his Lecce Days, playing as Roma's goal scorer, linked with Real Madrid. Then again, what striker is not linked with Real Madrid. Just once I would like to see a player stay and give thanks and appreciation to a club while he got paid for rehabbing.
Amauri, also finally healthy, the move that was supposed to happen last summer, might finally happen now, with AC Milan, desperate to add yet another Brazilian. If he shows, the gordito aka Ronaldo I have to believe is LA Galaxy Bound.
Fabio Cannavaro, rumors continue to swirl around the master of central defense. He wants out of Spain, but if you have seen a Real Madrid game lately, even with Cannavaro there, their defense is...well lets just leave it there, I don't know if I trust my back four to two or three Brazilians.
Gianluca Zambrotta. As far as I have been told, going nowhere, even though Milan are trying to make a push for him
Adriano. I never thought I would say this, but maybe the Swedish-Savant might be able to resurrect his game. After all, is the party scene that good in Manchester? Maybe he can just focus on playing ball again.
Rafael Ferdinand Van Der Vaart. With a name like that he has to be good, right? After the move to Valencia fell through, he stayed at Hamburg. Just when I thought I had had enough of Inter, here they are again linked with yet another player. Visions of Bergkamp, anyone? Feyenoord will like this move, as he is already hounding me with SMS' telling me how the Azzurri should be fearing the Dutch in June 9th's showdown in Switzerland. Bottom line, this move actually makes sense, because no matter what the Italian press say, Caesar is not that great a playmaker, and this is the one thing Inter lack. The kicker, is he would be eligible for the Champions League. Don't count out Valencia in going after him again.
Yoann Gourcuff, gone from Milan and possibly heading back to France to play with PSG along with Juventus midfiuelder Tiago.
Tulio De Melo, Brazilian kid to Palermo

Azzurri Dreams

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dreams do Come True

Well, enough said. The posting title says it all. Feyenoord will get his dream and watch his beloved Dutch play my beloved Azzurri in next years Euro's.

Since we have four stars, and he has none, I am not too worried. But, let me assess the group draw and come back with some notes and navigation's. Here we go, the countdown has begun.

I haven't seen Feyenoord this animated since the 2000 Euros or when I tried to out him and his performance last year when he disappeared with his lover. But seriously, I know you are the 'real' brains behind Azzurri Dreams, but can you , please please give me one minute to at least assess the Euros Draw. I have already lit my candle and asked the great Lippi for his guidance on how to navigate this group. You see he knew something about not only surviving but winning the previous group of death during the 2006 World Cup.

Brief Thoughts on the Draw:

Group A:
Czech Republic

Also very tough. And what this group has, is a home team, so you can never discount the home field advantage, the illogical calls they will get, and possibly Sepp Blatter communicating directly to the refs during matches to insure Switzerland at least advance to the knockout phases.

Group B:

Leave it to the Germans to always get an easy round to navigate. I swear these guys are always at least assured of a semifinal in every tournament.

Group C:

Where is the love?? At first take, you know there has got to be apprehension for the members of Group 3. To think that we get to ignite WWIII between the French and Italians, Gattuso and Raymond Domench warms my heart. I am confident we will see some beautiful matches, but realistically, two potential contenders could not make the elimination round.

Group D:

Guss Hiddink for leader of the WTO, UN, and President of the European Union. Seriously with this group, he will be able to weave his magic again and again. I can hear the FA making their offer to him somewhere between his second and third game.

And although there are member of the ever growing Azzurri Dreams readership, looking for their nearest oxygen tanks to help them comfort themselves and wonder what their countries did to deserve these draws, I leave them with this.

It could be worse, you could be England.

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Azzurri Dreams

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Christmas Wishlist

Feyenoord, showed up this morning to the Azzurri Dreams offices. I must have shown him distrust or wonderment, in my expression, because he kept staring me, as if to say, "its me..." I mean I know he is busy, very busy lately, but it does not excuse him from his daily responsibilities to our ever growing readership.

The latest numbers show Azzurri Dreams to be the most read soccer blog among our Gutrati brethren and San Francisco, CA. But as he kept looking at me, I must have sensed he was getting weirded out by me and not the other way around. He calmly, asked, "why the bottle of whisky and the Santa Clause outfit so early this morning?"

My response, was simple, the whisky is because I love this game, and usually publish news before the bigger sites get it, kinda of like my posting on the Balon d'Or yesterday, only to have ESPN Soccernet publish the same information today: Click here

Now I am not saying that ESPN and some other notable brands get ALL their news on European football from me, but I am sure you can infer, that although the www is a small place, and we are all fans of the beautiful game, there are some poachers who need some information and thus they log unto to Azzurri Dreams. And I am more then happy to share with you big guys. But I digress, and Feyenoord continuing looking at me as I told him this very thing.

Secondly, the Santa Clause outfit is because my date with an Internet babe went so poorly last night, that I wanted to bring merry and gifts to our readership and myself. And who else besides Santa Clause delivers all the goods on time as we do at Azzurri Dreams. Thus the outfit I explained, plus it made me feel festive, slightly drunk with power(and whisky) and I decided, going into the end of the year, I would ask the real Santa Clause for certain gifts that pertain to the state of of my beloved football in Europe.

Feyenoord, looked at me, like the great publicist he is, and I knew what he was thinking, with this whisky in his belly, who the hell is going to spellcheck this latest wish list. But nonetheless here it goes. This football(holiday season), I want:

Safer matches in my beloved Italy. Stop the insanity and just watch the game. Teach the young ones in the stands, that with this game, you will learn all you ever need to know about life and love

Francesco Totti back on the Azzurri for the Euro's in 2008

FIFA to ban their ranking systems. Funny how teams that don't play actually go up in the rankings. Could be a good strategy for the US National team going forward

All my football in the US to be on HDTV

To view all the African Cup of Nations matches

To see Riquelme play for one of the top teams in Europe. With the excess pounds being wasted on some of this years players, can I ask the Azzurri Dreams readership to contribute to the Riquelme Fund to keep him here and not in Argentina

For the FA, not to stop being as screwed up as you are. When the Sweedish-Savant left for Manchester City, I was wondering who would be as easy of a target, and lo and behold, the FA quickly volunteered.

For the English Press to stop thinking they are the centre of the football universe. You might have been during the times of scurvy and when you first introduced the game, but have not been for so long, its too funny. Yet annoying.

To see an Italian team say no to a Brazilian player. Note to Milan, just because you can have Ronaldinho, does not mean you should. One lazy gordito on your bench is enough.

To see Fabio Grosso come back and play in Italy

To see England stop thinking they have the best league in the world. Although I like the fun.

To see David Beckham and Posh unedited, wondering if this is what was published on this youtube video, what was cut out?

To see Posh eat a double burger

To see any of the these top players' model girlfriends naked

For the LA Galaxy to reimburse fans for this years ticket purchases 100%.

For coaches to stop complaining about the players they do not have and just play the dam game with what you got

For Luciano Spalletti to smile

For players to stop pledging their "futures" and life to one club. In today's era, most players lack the integrity to turn down the the big money moves and play for their childhood team their entire careers

For a wonderful 2008 Euros in Switzerland and Austria, considering Azzurri Dreams will be there in person reporting on the fate of the 16 nations

For South Africa to finish their stadiums, we already have rooms booked for 2010

Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am appalled

In the Azzurri Dreams offices early this morning, and let me tell you, our ever growing readership, the title of today's posting has nothing to do with the fact the Spice Girls are actually on some sound station in Liverpool working out their new routines for their upcoming 'reunion' tour....I never knew they broke up, kinda of like, I didn't know Becks was still playing.

And today's mood, is also not at related to the fact that George W. is seeking a leadership role in fostering middle east peace; its almost like wal-mart coming in, tearing you house apart, then saying, hey I brought some donuts and coffee, want to talk! The point being, if it were not for Feyenoord doing his best geisha imitation and trying to relax me this morning, I very well might have had to tell our ever growing readership that I am through!

I am referring to the 'unofficial' ranking of Europe's top ten players. I do not contend with the fact the the Ballon D'or will be awarded to Kaka' next week, but what I have a problem with is the morons that decide this award must not understand, sometimes, the less glamor as a player, the bigger star...I mean the bigger stud you actually are.

For instance, no one question's Posh's role in the evolution of the Spice Girls, but she could not do it alone. And the fact of the matter, great players do not act alone. When you look at the rankings which will read like this when they are officially announced next week, I have a few questions:

1. Kakà
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
3. Messi
4. Drogba
5. Pirlo
6. Van Nistelrooy
7. Ibrahimovic
8. Fabregas
9. Robinho
10. Totti

What happens when you take numbers 2, 3, 4, 7 off their respective teams. Their coaches go to their bench and they bring in another player, maybe not as dynamic as #'s 2, 3,4, and 7 but you know Barcelona, has two 17 year old phenoms that can still play off the flank, score, and even a gordito Ronaldinho, can still feed them the ball. Drogba scores his goals, well a)because he plays in England, and b)because Sheva takes two runners with him on diagonal runs. If they sub him, the midfield, still scores enough goals, and well eventually, Shevenchko, might score again.

If Mancini takes Ibrahimovic off, he calls to replace him with half the Argentina National team, and they will continue to put goals in. The same goes for Ronaldo at Manchester United. The point being, there great, dynamic, but their positions are easily filled. Now you look at Andrea Pirlo, aka the Fonz(for an uncanny resemblance) and you realize, Milan cannot move the ball without him. Nothing, no where, the team stagnates. And lets not even mention the free kicks. When was the last time Drogba got one through a Wall outside the 18 yard box?

Pirlo is a great orchestra leader, he pulls all the strings, lets Seedorf(calling Marco, either play him for 90, or don't tire him out with needless travel, on a side note I will be at the Euros next year, and if I don't see the one player who I think actually proved Ponce de Leon was correct in finding the fountain of youth, I will boycott all your future press conferences,) and Kaka' do what they want in the midfield.

And if you look at the game tape of Milan and the World Cup Matches, you realize he plays box to box and actually has become tougher at getting the ball back himself. He'll work, he'll set up the team, with accuracry and let his players, operate freely. If you have seen a Milan match in the last few years without Pirlo, its like watching a Birmingham-Derby match, full of drab, boring football, the type you only wake from when you realize you have started to drool on yourself.

And yet his ranking was number 5. There were plenty of media in Italy that actually believed Pirlo should have and could have won the award. But he simply just gets it done, weekly, both for country and club. I guess that was and is not enough. What I don't understand, is how he would have dropped to number 5, thats right number 5. In today's tv generation, there are only a handful, of truly great midfield players, throwbacks, where the ball and the team runs through them. And yes, Riquelme is one of them, too bad he was exiled to Argentina again this week. Pirlo, while not a true number 10, is up there with Ronaldinho, Juninho and Diego(Werder Breman). So with that said, we at Azzurri Dreams have come up with our own top 5 list:

1. Kakà
2. Pirlo
3. Ronaldo
4. Messi
5. Posh

Azzurri Dreams

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beginning of a new Era

Would you trust this man to lead your nation into a major tournament? And would you trust the management behind the country's football association, who chose this man, to help lead their leader??

And with that, I reclaim my spot in cyber eternity, bringing you a fresh look at the debacle known as English Football...But wait, I can already hear it, here it comes via a blackberry message from Feyenoord, "don't the English have the best league in the world?" and wont this translate to the world stage.

Too many questions and delirious tidbits going through my head right now, and although I have been underground working with the South Africans, sending out communication after communication, reassuring, Sepp that they will be ready to host the world cup in 2010, I could not be quiet any more.

And while Feyernoord, might say, it is usually at the expense of the drama that befalls the French and English, that brings me out of hibernation to write, I will keep this simple and impart my knowledge to the FA and what they need to do.

But first, a quick lesson. Post 2006, when Beckham was too "exhausted," and the Swedish-Savant was fired, the FA had their pick of coaches. Here is a quick refresher and their current status:

Guus hiddink, Coach Russia, qualified for the Euros and on in a chateau somewhere, thinking boy those voodoo dolls that I had made up for the England-Croatia game really work. Especially that one of Carson.

Luis Scolari, Coach, Portugal, currently working on his jabbing, as he gets ready to kick some Greek ass for revenge next year. If only England had shown as much passion at this old man, they might be getting ready to plan their itineraries to Austria/Switzerland. Oh well.

Marco Van Basten, Coach, Holland, still alive in Holland, for reasons unbenownst to me, and still coaching well.

Steve McClaren, ex-coach of England. I am sure you get the point. After the World Cup, with an abundance of riches, both financially to pay out their new coach and in the quality of world renowned available coaches, the FA did what the FA have recently become giants at doing; over reacting and making a bad choice. In their nationalist ego trip and wanting to appoint an Englishman to the post of national caretaker, they forgot one critical thing- the English, on the World Stage have not accomplished anything, since, when...and I don't mean Beckham coming back from an injury or qualifying, seriously when did they last win something?

So here we are, the creators of a beautiful game, without a coach. And while I know the players and coaches are equally to blame for this, I would also put the blame on the FA. What the FA cannot recognize, and more deeply troubling, what they fail to comprehend, that besides the 7 minutes of folly in Istanbul in 2005, the English game, even domestically has not even come close to the level of play and dominance to that of the Italian and Spanish Leagues. France and Germany's domestic leagues, have been able to excel as well, incorporating foreign talent without affecting their national teams.

All European leagues are inundated with foreign players, in all their divisions, but what the English fail to recognize is that all the long balls in the world wont beat the top defenses in the world especially, when your ball control and mid field has absolutely no creativity. And on top of that, you bestow the Country's legacy to a guy, who I think, greatest sporting accomplishment in recent memory, was getting his club team to the final of the UEFA cup.

The FA are just as much to blame for this mess and crisis in the English Game. As I have often told Feyernoord (but I think he tunes me out a lot these days, I guess that is the problem with always being right,) is that this could be the best thing to happen to English football.

I know the pain must be excruciating for the die hard fans of the Three Lions, but here is my logic. The English team can only go up from here. You also have the same opportunity the Dutch had post their 2002 World Cup qualifier howler and Argentina and France did post 2002 world cup folly; to build, to go young, and bring in a completely different approach and start building towards, well you know the only true great football tournament in the world, the World Cup in 2010.

Here is my advice to the FA. Don't screw this up again, Don't rush and make the same mistake you made 18 months ago, don't think about even looking at the Stuart Pierce's of the world. Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce , great coaches, but seriously, sit on your decision for a while since you do not have a truly significant game until September 2008. Watch the Euros and make your approach for the multitude of world acclaimed coaches that will be available even before the tournament starts.

My second piece of advice, go with with a Foreigner, who can at least bring some creativity and mold a team...hmmm Hiddink, I mean if you could have had him for 10M Pounds in 2006, what do you think he will command in 2008 when his next turnaround job is complete as Russia advances far into the tournament. Thirdly, don't hire anyone under the age of 60 or so unless you run it by me first. I swear I am here to help you idiots. Bring in a gang of translators ala the United Nations and hope the Lippi's of the world would even consider this job. Your country and players, need experience, and someone willing to make difficult decisions and make it his team, mold his own identity and be willing to deal with the consequences and carry the litany of media scrutiny on his shoulders and let his players focus on one simple thing; playing football.

Start thinking outside the box, start thinking Jose Peckerman, Juergen Klinsmann, Fabio Capello, you know, winners, just to name a few. Think long and hard about it, because no matter how much we bagged on the Swedish-Savant, at least he got you into tournaments. And lastly, just so that the laughter and boredom that goes along with watching an England match passes, please please find some creativity in the midfield and get me four players, that play four different roles. I know this is a lot to ask of the FA, but you, know, for a nominal fee, I am always open to "consulting," and providing some suggestions. I am sure Feyernoord can man the Azzurri Dreams offices for a while.

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Intimately Azzurri

No this is not a picture of Feyenoord on vacation. As if Feyenoord and I did not have enough to do, he had to perform CPR on me this morning. Having found me passed out in the Azzurri Dreams offices pre-dawn, he was determined to know what had caused this sudden change in my physical appearance.
When he leaned over to breath 'life' into me, I was so startled, I sprayed him with my limited edition of Intimately Beckham perfume. I went ahead and told Feyenoord I had passed out from the odorous and gaseous intoxicating fumes of this over-hyped package...he wondered if I was talking about David Beckham or the perfume. Touché, I said!

Things have gotten so nutty, that Sir David could not even attend this ceremony to launch his perfume. Nor could his skinny wife that now rivals Peter Crouch as the skinniest Brit alive. But at last account, his fragrance had outsold his wife's by a 2-1 margin. I can only imagine what type of text messages are going back and forth as we speak. Then Feyenoord, slapped me. The first one was talking about his sweaty lover in his absence he said. The second time, was so that I would focus and report the news of the day.

But he was adament I not stoke the Ronaldo rumor. Ok I wont, but Milan are worried about his 18-20M valuation from Real Madrid, and Fabio Capello being who he is, already has made it known he prefers the Dutch Phenom as his number one striker. Something fishy at Milan, might have to do with only having a one goal lead going into their Champions League Match, but they have nixed their moved for Brazilian Sobis. Attention has now turned to Carlitos, aka Carlos Tevez, now that he has said he will never play for Corinthians again and has gone into MIA. Iaquinta is still in play here. They should get bold and grab Adrianno from the brain trust at Inter, but then again I am not here to start rumors.

Roma, once again proving me correct and showing, that they, unlike Inter, will play some attractive ball this season, are on the move for some good players. They are intent to sign Vucinic while also bringing in Esposito. Both these kids can flat out play and would add speed and length to Roma's attack.

Inter. Ok, here we go again, have agreed to purchase Mauro Camoranesi from Juventus. Phenomenal player with width and speed, too bad Inter have another 16 midfielders. What is another player to contirbute to the fall of their coach come this spring? Anyone thinking what I am for his replacement with the Annointed One, Marcello Lippo?

And in the please don't say so section of today's news, Anelka is off to Bolton. If anyone can turn this kid around, its Big Sam. But why oh why do you need this kid? If Juventus, yes Juventus, a relegated team, can say no to a perpetual malcontent such as Bobo Vieri, why couldn't Bolton do the same thing. Then I just remembered, I was writing on Bolton and decided to quickly move on. I have lost all concentration, which is typically what happens when watching any English match and have decided to stop writing. I will be back shortly with more news.

Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dutch Team

No I have not decided to go with a Dutch motif today to appease Feyenoord so that he would leave this shacked-up existence to respond to the media inquiries that are coming into the Azzurri Dreams offices. I know for a fact, he is alive and well, and while his lover is napping, he is sending me SMS messages showing what a powerhouse Van Basten's team is after yesterday's triumph. I responded by saying, when you win a game against a)someone other then Ireland, b)a penalty shoot-out, or c) a game that actually matters, there is nothing to talk about and go back to your business...and notice the SMS messages have stopped coming in.

But suffice it say to say, last night after their great performance, something we have been mentioning for a while happened. Liverpool signed Dirk Kuyt which does two things:

1)It spares us the bummer of having him play for Newcastle where his career would have rotten away worse then a Grahame Souness pep-talk

2)This insures Van Basten's future team, young team is all playing in England(competitive league), keeping them in top shape and all playing Champions League. The exposure will be great for these guys. And while I know Feyenoord, the team, have lost another great player, the Dutch national side now have another kid aside from Robben, V. Persie and van der Vaart that will be playing top flight football for a few years before the real opportunity will arise, the World Cup in 2010. Van Basten's future success is linked to these youngsters as well as Klaas Jan Huntelaar. Now for the rest, lets have some fun with this:

AC Milan delegates are in Rio to negotiate the transfer of Carlos Tevez. Finally, the rest of the world will be able to see this kid play. Not to say it again, but I will, players like Tevez do not end up in England. Sorry Fergie

Massimo Oddo also is ok'd to transfer to AC Milan. Good pick-up, even though he was on bench for Marcello Lippi's, incredible squad, he's young, an excellent crosser of the ball, and should make the Milan defense younger by about 45 years...and that just on Cafu's side.

And rounding up the Dutch mood for today, our condolences to Servaas ("Faas") Wilkes who passed away yesterday. Another great Dutch player, gone, but never to be forgotten.

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kiss the Shirt

No I am not referring to the fact that right now, Feyenoord is somewhere with his lover, probably kissing her sweaty shirt as he peels it off of her. I swear this guy takes more vacation then is humanly possible, but in all fairness, he does play a role in establishing AzzurriDreams as a media giant in the world of reporting football news.

But I am referring to the drama surrounding Shevchenko's first goal for Chelsea over the weekend. Now if only the game was as exciting as the fallout from his former AC Milan teammates responding to his kissing his new jersey, and all this exhilaration after one goal? Even Pele has been brought into the discussion to say that players need to stop kissing their sweaty jerseys. I thought the English press was hard to deal with, but the Italians...well we take drama to another level, but chicks dig it.

Supposedly, everyone chimed in and was upset that he showed disrespect to his former team and so quickly when he kissed his jersey. One should note, that any man getting such satisfaction out of kissing a micro-fiber polyester shirt, should be examined. And secondly, seriously who cares when he followed it up by saying the only jersey he truly loves is that of the Ukraine. For that I respect the world's greatest striker. As Feyenoord and I often discuss(excluding this week, since he is tied up or, is it the other way around?) country over club. One hard tackle by Gattuso in some eventual Champions League match should suffice to put all animosities aside.

Now for the real drama. Leave it to the brain trust at Inter to get creative. They are listening to offers for Adrianno from Manchester United and Real Madrid. The sum being thrown around is roughly € 45 Million , or only a tips worth more then was spent on Michael Carrick(still laughing about that one). OK I am exagerrting but you get the point, you cannot even compare the two players.
The strange thing, is if this deal goes through, Inter loses out on a young talent and has him replaced with Hernan Crespo(who I adore) but has a limited time left being a solid #9. Two years done the road, even with Ibrahomovich will not replace him. And by-the-way, players like Adrianno do not end-up in England. I wish Fergie would understand that. And in the rumor that I just wont let go of, if he ends up Real Madrid watch for the gordito aka Ronaldo to come back to Inter.

AC Milan need a striker. With the Fernando Torres deal still not finalized, the back-up plan is Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Lens midfielder Alou Diarra is off to Roma for about €5 Million.

Ok, now its time to shower to rinse myself of the dirty thoughts I have just had about Feyenoord and his lover. But I will be back shortly. But do expect a delay when ringing our offices, because my faithful assistant is not here to answer the phones.

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oh Captain, My Captain

To quote Walt Whitman is an honor. To quote him to discuss Sir David is blasphemous...but then again, here at AzzurriDreams, we can do whatever we want. Feyenoord and I talked about the 'news' that David Beckham is no longer the captain of England and has been omitted from McClaren's first match next week. Then we realized, unless you are metrosexual with a David Fetish or the English Press, this is really not news worthy anywhere else in the world. Who cares, when was the last time he played a full 90 and earned it for England?

I believe that due to his exhaustion, at always needing to be next to a camera and to make sure his wife does not eat too many tic tacs, he can now focus on playing club ball. For the remaining part of his career, he can dazzle us, for once in a long time, by just hustling and playing football. I know this is a bit of a stretch, but it could happen. Yeah, and England will play the short ball.
England need to rejuvenate itself, its image and hopefully qualify out of a very difficult group for the Euros. So like I have mentioned quite often in the last few weeks, go young, go different, and don't play five in the midfield. This is good change and only the beginning to make this his own team. McClaren and I have been speaking and he has hired me as a virtual assistant. If you are reading this, Steve, you are getting tired, very tired(I need tickets, I need tickets).
David Beckham's plight is like all players at this phase of their career. They cannot all be like Fabio Cannavaro, still excelling(I kid Feyenoord, that has grown tired of my allusions to the 4-time World Champions at any opportunity). They start to fade because their bodies change and the natural progression of the next generation of players that are coming in. They retire from International Play and let the youth take over. It will be difficult for Sir David to let go of the limelight. Unfortunately, even the great ones become carted off us last weeks news.

That is the unfortunate plight of the footballer, to still connect with fans long after their magic has passed. David Beckham's right foot has lit up many a stadium and will do for a little while longer. But to have his mug all over the soccer press and websites, today, I felt sorry for him because I was sadder to see the Swedish-Savant go then this guy. But I know not all is lost, I will get to heckle him when he comes to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Can you imagine him on the same bench with Landon and how much abuse(I mean friendly fan banter) the AzzurriDreams Staff will welcome him to this country with.

Azzurri Dreams

Monday, August 07, 2006

All Wet

And no its not from the fans in the cheap seats that kept pelting my friends and I with water missile's as we watched the Barcelona-Chivas match at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Its from the sprinklers that were turned-on in the second half of the match and to the amusement of 90,000 plus fans, I was reminded, no wonder no team wants to professionally play at this awful stadium. It made the pitch in Milan seem like a field of dreams. The last time I was at this stadium, Feyenoord missed two Van Nistelrooy and he still has not forgiven me.

But as one of the only four white guys in a wonderful crowd draped in Marquez jerseys, I was reminded what a wonderful experience live football is. Sprinklers and all. I am happy to be alive when it involves this nutty game.

Even with the two brawls in the stadium, a fat woman flashing us her breasts, Chivas not being able to score sitters, no Lionel Messi and Ronaldinhno coming on in the second half, watching the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Edminilson, Puyol and Von Bommel about sixty feet in front of me is a surreal experience. Better then any television experience, even with the new, plush flat-screens at the AzzurriDreams offices, the game, live is like nothing else. And this all for a pre-season friendly.

Can you imagine what it will be like when next month Feyenoord and I are in Portugal watching champions league matches? Actually I can, but I might be taking applications for his substitution, as he has completely vanished lately. If you are young, a female, into football and with and European passport, please send me your headshots...whoops I mean your resume and I promise to call you back. Tickets are pre-paid. But I digress.

As I sat in the stadium, talking to my Mexican brethen, I realized, just how similar we men are. We talk the same, we act the same, we struggle the same and we celebrate the same in this goofy game called football. And I would not want it any other way. The atmosphere and the pulse was a calumniation of great marketing and public relations and a lot of beer. 90,000 plus fans just watching a game. Of course, I told as many people as I could about this blog, hopefully our readership will spike today. Now if only MLS matches were this exciting. Now unto the news:

The real deals will start after this weeks Champions League matches insure teams like Arsenal and AC Milan they will have their Euros for spending this season. Rev them up because until the end of the month, the real deals are to be fast and players you thought were going one place, end up somewhere else.

Milan and Inter are in the race to get Zlatan Ibrahomovich. I don't know what Inter would do with this kid, since they just signed Hernan Crespo(on top of Cruz, Martins, Adrianno, and someone else to be yet named so so they could have him) as we have been saying for, how long now? But another version of the Milan derby is under way.

Franck Ribery wants out of Marseille. Why, that is such a shock. This is a repeat of what he did in Turkey last year. At this pace, he will have a new team every year and become the French version of Christian Vieri. Arsenal supposedly pick him for the fee collected after the sale of Reyes. What a neat coincidence.

William Gallas to Milan. Initially we had him going to Juventus, but we all know what happened, so now its between Arsenal and AC Milan. This would be a good move for Milan as their defense is about 218 years old. And Gallas said he wants to play in a different league. We wont hold the fact that he is French againist him.

Roma are set to push for Mahamadou Diarra with Milan eyeing this situation but like I said earlier, I do not expect any movement from Milan until after the qualifiers.

Palermo are now linked up with Mirko Vucinic as is Roma. This kid can flat-out play.

Juventus have officially made an offer of €4 Million to Corinthians for Ricardinho and are also intent on signing Ghanaian Sulley Ali Muntari. I guess this answers who is the hottest set of players post-World Cup(excluding the Juventus players) as they are being linked with many top teams. Nothing like beating the USA to increase your market value. More news to follow shortly.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Historic First:

Feyenoord has not picked up his phone for two days and it leaves me wondering how we are to build our media empire when he screens his calls. Who is setting up my next media days? I know he is at the Stadium in Rotterdham already looking, desperately trying to scalp tickets to his teams upcoming match against Chelsea, but let me tell you something my friend, do not spend the money. Any team with Shaun Wright-Phillips is not fun to watch so much that you need to spend your hard earned Euros. Especially with today's performance.

Some of my readers believe me wanting to replace him with Alexandria might have irked Feyenoord. But he has no idea what irked is until he has to listen to dumb and dumber(ESPN's Dave Ryan and Eric Wynalda) do play-by-play as I just have painstakingly done for the last 90 minutes as I watch the MLS All-Star Game. Seriously I could comment on the game, but Bruce Arena would probably blame me for everything, so I decided not to mention much.

My boredom reached an all new level on this lazy Saturday afternoon. No I am not talking about being so bored that I actually had to watch the MLS all-star Game. Actually I am...just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, the growing readership of AzzurriDreams knows I dislike the MLS. It reeks of mediocrity and a hype machine, which, well to say the least, does no good to the future of the development of its National team.

But you just beat a Chelsea team. Some would say it, so, it was Chelsea's b-side team, and their first match of the summer. But either way, and my compliments are, well very sparse towards American players(maybe in some way, that is maybe why Feyenoord is avoiding me, maybe he feels overlooked, overshadowed...more on the therapy, later though) you beat them and these are building blocks for the success of the game in United States. Moral victories go a long way towards shaping the future.

New heights were reached today. A slow, but productive, counter-attacking style that actually won you a game on a beautiful Dwayne DeRosaio goal. Congratulations. And to the MLS and its players, do not be annoyed that I keep my praise so short, I am sure Feyenoord is envious nonetheless.

Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rumor Has It

We are huge in the United Kingdom. Actually I over-exaggerated, more like England. Funny because I rarely have anything pleasant to say about the English...actually not really true, I love the English folk, its the French I tend to dislike...but then again who does not?

Feyenoord came into the AzzurriDreams office to find me alone this morning, in deep meditation, lighting many candles. He wondered if the visits to the doctors had gone well. I assured him I am healthy but was just praying for the football season to start. Seriously, how many MLS matches can one man endure? And since the start of my beloved Serie B...whoops Serie A was pushed back another two weeks, I had to call my physic and find out when I will actually get some competitive matches(barring the Euro's clash between Italy and France). I am feeling like a junkie needing a quick fix, and bad. Feyenoord assured me that we are close to the start of the new season. I said that the Charity Shield does not count. He said I should be nice. I said, what else do you have for me as I lit one more candle.

But August 16th looms he mentioned, when we will see the top English teams field teams, that will don't really look English. Look at the landscape of the top English club teams right now and, well to say the least, they look like Inter. Very few domestic, English players. But oh well, that might not be such a bad thing, right? It might cut down on the long balls and two-footed, studs up tackles into the shins. So with only a few days to the start of their season, I was wondering what is the most exciting thing happening in England right now. Besides the Swedish-Savant being unemployed, what else is there to report. I am reaching for anything right now.

I am just handed a piece of paper from Feyenoord that shows that Azzurri Dreams fastest growing readership is coming from England. So, ok twist my arm just a little bit more. The latest is this:

Are these photos of David Beckham in his Speedos while vacationing??: CLICKHERE, you dont want to miss this: Seriously, no children should browse these photos. Can I get away with calling him a wanker even though I am not English?

Ok, Feyenoord, just mentioned, to focus on the football:
Liverpool really want Dirk Kuyt. And he wants to go. He would make an interesting paring with the naughty-sms sender, Craig Bellamy with some tremendous speed between the two of them. But my hunch is Martin Jol, still laughing at how he got all that cash for Michael Carrick, will try to steal this kid.

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge Argentina fan and adore their players. So when one of the best central defenders, Roberto Ayala wants a new club, I have to speculate why he has not been snatched up. He would make a perfect fit with Fabio Cannavaro in the Real Madrid central defense and let Ramos play on the side with Cichino. Or he could end up at Inter with every other I am just kidding on that. This guy can flat out play, and even at 33, should be assessed by Manchester United, AC Milan and Roma. Why not, its my rumor. I can do whatever I want.

Seriously does anyone care about Robert Huth or Thomas Gravesen...I don't so I wont spend any time on it. The two best strikers left on the market are making it ugly with Zlatan Ibrahomovich claiming to use legal action to get out of his contract and Luca Toni calling on his crook employer to let him go so he can play Champions League. The funny thing, is I am convinced Juventus do want Zlatan to stay because even with a 17 point deficit, they will rise back to Serie A next year and to sell this player, so young and gifted does not make sense. Ok, now Milan can steal him.
The more interesting point here, is the legal precedent that might be allowed to let this player void his contract because on the demotion of this team(unless his contract had a disclaimer on this?). I know there are a lot of lawyers that read Azzurri Dreams, so if you know anything on this, specially with Italian Law, we would really like to hear from you.

I need to sign off, the candles are all dwindling now and Feyenoord believes this might be a safety issue...he is no fun lately. But this is a warm welcome to our new viewers overseas. Come back and come back often and please let your friends know. I might need some new friends. And please let me know when Wembly is completed.

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

End of an Era

No, that picture is not of Feyenoord. It is the a picture of how I feel today. The end of an Era is upon us and we at Azzurri Dreams, are definitely, well to say the least very sad. We will need to name a new captain, find a striker who can score, and put the Swedish-Savant-era in the very distant future...that and work diligently towards a second star. Whoops, now I sound like Steve McClaren. Sven, please find a new job quickly and please let a microphone be near you on all your cruises or staff meetings because you have given me so much enjoyment over the last few months that I am seriously wondering if we can sustain Azzurri Dreams without your participation. Sven we will miss you but here is my take on the situation in England.

My question, actually more of a rambling today is to ponder the following in regards to the FA. You paid a stiff for close to five years all that money who brought you nothing but shame and a few quarterfinal appearances and yet you were not willing to pursue Hiddink or Scolari with the funds necessary. And no disrespect to McClaren, but seriously, he is not the guy for the job. And although I had to turn down the position because my numerous speaking engagements would not allow me to be in two places at once, my initial thoughts on the state of English Football are these:

Build your team on fluidity and be stern. Stick to one or two formations, not the Swedish-Savants preferred method of numerous formations on any given whim to match the mood of the last woman he was sleeping with. Keep your players informed but keep it simple. Play to your strengths.

Use the next two years and the qualifications for the Euros as the necessary development of your English youth. The tournament is worth, what half-a-star, so go young, give them experience and help them grow-up.

Don't put 5 in the midfielders(whoops 4, Beck's doesn't actually count, does he?) all playing the same position. Use some flair and go offensive, you have the strikers to do it, so use them.

Sell some of your top players to the other domestic leagues in Europe. It'll do wonders for their adaptability and growth in the game. They will learn to play different styles and get them away from only using the acclaimed long ball.

Don't think you are going to win simply based on history. Seriously, you have won 1 World Cup, nothing to brag about...unless you are the French. Stop the press from creating champions before they have proven something on the field. As far as we are concerned, for South Africa 2010 everyone is on equal grounds right now...well, except the Azzurri who just clinched their 4th, but we do not need to bring that up again.

And definitely not least importantly, please do not sleep with any of your staffers. Be the gaffer and let your players own the spotlight and let them excel. Do not talk behind their backs and of course, please do not have the stupid smirk on your face, as if you are actually deep in thought while watching a match...wait, this message is addressed to McClaren, not the Swedish-Savant, so strike the last point.

Azzurri Dreams

No Doubt

Like I keep telling Feyenoord, there is no doubt in my mind that what I write is true and will happen. Now convincing the powers to be to follow my advice is another story all-together. A difficult job. Almost like being unveiled at an Inter press conference but dreaming of playing for Manchester United...see Patrick Viera. But let us focus on the big deal that I have been talking about for a while. Feyenoord has been making all his calls and the rumors are in fact true, that is until they change again later today.

AC Milan have agreed to personal terms with Zlatan Ibrahomovich. Trust me when I say this deal is done. Now they just need to work on personal terms with the player himself. Next to be posted on their website is once again confirmation of something we have been talking about for a while--Gigi Buffon going there as well. Just a matter of time.

Juventus is looking to strengthen their squad with purchasing Livorno players Marco Amelia and Cristiano Lucarelli. They have also said they will not get rid of Mauro Camonaresi. Juventus is already building its team with an eye on being back to the Serie A after this season. And if that was not enough, they have already started pursuing Robinho...but I am not here to start rumors.

Now I could chime in on the Michael Carrick situation. But I wont. Ok I lied. Are you kidding me with what you paid for this 25-year old midfielder. Thats right, £18.6m for Carrick. If that is the case, what is a Seedorf, Appiah, Gattuso, Camonaresi or Cambiasso(all proven International Players) worth? Manchester United, once again, taking notes from the Inter braintrust, have overpaid...lets see, can we say Rio Ferdinand, part II? Just because someone asks for the money, does not mean you have to give it to them. Wow, good thing you leveraged all that debt because you are going to need it with another another average performance this season in both the league and Champions League. Good things you sell a lot t's and have premium sponsors because, winning titles is not going to fund your acquisitions.
Sir Alex, I know you have an eye for talent, but this is just too much. Seriously with the way Roy Keane played the last few seasons for you, why still focus on finding his replacement? I would have given you a Feyenoord on a season-long loan, whom even with his chronic smoking, would have been a better deal then this one.

Azzurri Dreams

Monday, July 31, 2006

Im Speechless

I'd like to say she is the new spokesperson for Azzurri Dreams. I love Feyenoord and he is invaluable to our opertaion but if this woman, Alexandra Paressant, wanted his job, his ass would be out in a moment. But unfortunately I have not replaced Feyenoord.
In the where are we until the football season starts part of the summer, we are reminded that those pesky Brazilians are always scoring. Maybe not against France, but who cares when rumor has it you scored with this woman. night in and night out. So what if they only burned down your statue, I am sure you did more then that to her in the hallway.

Now I understand why Ronaldihno did not have his game legs during the World Cup. And I promise not to stoke this fire any more, but one can only say that I rarely respect the English press, but this story, as reported in The Sun, whether true or not, just made my day.

But now, for legal purposes, I need to focus on football.

Ashley Cole is going to Chelsea. Next story. Oh wait he is going to Real Madrid. No, wait he is going to Chelsea. Just sign this deal will you, you're driving us all crazy. Hope you had a great honeymoon, now make up your mind so you can join up with some new team for your tour of America.

Juventus are asking Inter for €40M for Zlatan Ibrahomovich, pricing him out of the market so he either ends up staying at Juventus for one season until they come up to Serie A next season. Or just a hunch, so he can end-up at Real Madrid.

Palermo are intent on signing midfielder Christian Zanetti.

Turkey calling. Why is it all that Brazilians end-up there. Latest has Roberto Carlos going to Fenerbahce. He has come out since meeting with Fabio Capello saying he wants to stay at Real Madrid. But with Cannavaro, Ramos, Cichino, and one more addition to the defense(see Ashley Cole), Madrid's MLS-like defense is solid and then don't need him. I am sure Roberto can hang out with fellow Brazilian Marcelinho in some Turkish cafe' wondering if the rumors about Alexandra Paressant are true.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Reading the Future

I too would look this worried. No not for the 9-month suspension I just received after my national football tribunal. But because if I knew my star's father had been in Madrid negotiating a new contract on his behalf, I would be this long-faced. But wait, Galliano always looks this way, doesn't he...but I digress.

This summer's deal are fun, aren't they? Although the most protacted deals in the past few years were those of Sir David and Ronaldihno, the ones that are about to happen still have another 32 days before the summer conclusion to this transfer market. So get ready, because some of these we will get tired of hearing about. And the name-calling(see Real Madrid vs. Milan) and finger-pointing will only intensify. Players will know their interests are best-served by asking for transfers and then bidding will offically being. See Kuyt, Tevez, Reyes, Landon(nah, I am just kidding on this one).
No I am not a psychic who knows what is going to happen before it happens. But when it comes to Real Madrid I do know one thing; what they want they get. Two news agencies, Telemadrid and AS both have Milan's Kaka' signing for Real Madrid. And the kicker is this, they will unveil him on August 9th so that Kaka' does not play Champions League for Milan this year-Ouch. Now, the growing readership at Azzurri Dreams knows we do not like to speculate(ok, well I lied) but I have a feeling we will see Ronaldo or Julio Baptista mentioned possibly in some swap. Great, a great player for a fatty. That is fair but I digress again. Call it a hunch. And to add injury to insult, supposedly Kaka', with the thousands of Real Madrid fans already waiting for him and sleeping in the parking lot of the Santiago Bernabeu, will be unveiled wearing the #19 jersey as worn by the great, drum-roll please...Jonathan Woodgate whose greatest contribution to that team has been his fashionable hair style over the past two years. This move makes absolutely no sense to me and why Milan would want to sell him is beyond me.

But maybe, just maybe, its because they need the money to launch an official bidding war for Fernando Torres and are intent on bringing defensive midfielder Mahamadou Diarra from Lyon. The Mali star is great but he plays a different position but Carlo Ancelotti wants to remake the mid-field of his team freeing up Andrea Pirlo. Milan is thin with strikers and should focus on this. They are already looking to offer Bonera whom they just signed from Parma last week.

Back on the other side of town, its getting sticky. Luca Toni's bid from Inter is rising by the moment, just as my blood pressure does when I watch an England match. One vicious rumor has Adrianno going to Fiorentina and Toni coming over for close to €20M. Fiorentina now needs to compensate for the loss of Champioms League money and Inter know this. zlatan Ibrahimovic is to follow shortly for close to €12M. Juventus keep claiming they are not selling any other players but then again, they say that because their phones are still being tapped and are trying to deflect all the calls that aren't from the cash-rich Inter.

As for me, I need to make an appearance and wave to the many passerby's that stand below the Azzurri Dreams offices hoping to get a glance of me. More news to follow shortly.

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, July 28, 2006

Clean Urine

As if there was any doubt that I would pass any drug test, I am here to announce to the ever-growing Azzurri Dreams readership that I have not doped. Not now, not in the past. My analysis of the game is all natural. Although some would suggest my disgust at anything to do with the French and English national sides is heightened by some 'abnormal' substances recently found in my bloodwork, I am here writing with this the full legal and moral support of Feyenoord. With that said, we can now address today's ramblings. Roma are looking to strengthen their team ahead of their Champions League appearance this year.
They are keen on signing Ghanaian midfielder Stephane Appiah. I am sure he will want to leave his Turkish experience behind and go back to a country with no match-fixing implications. Roma are also looking to bring in Serbian striker Mirko Vucinic. And just to re-assure our American viewership, I did not intentionally choose the picture with a dejected American team from the last game of this years Group of Death, it was merely a coincidence.
It is on. It is off. Luca Toni has been categorically told he will not being to Inter. Oh well. I do not buy it. Now the brain trust has decided to focus on bringing the Juventus strike force of Ibrahimovic and Trezeguet to Inter. Lets see, what to do...with Adrianno, Martins, Cruz. I think Trezeguet goes elsewhere, but as you all know I have been know to be wrong from time to time.
Manchester United are after Argentina players Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez. No way. Supposedly Mascherano is off to Inter and Tevez is too good to end up at Manchester United. Tevez is on his way out and that is obvious after what happened in Brazil on Monday night. I look for AC Milan to make a move for this kid that can flat-out play and pairing him up with Crespo.
As for other news, lets just say if I were Liverpool I would focus on not going to Haifa without at least 1,000 hooligans. I am sure they can offer all the security they would need in a war zone to handle Hezbollah, Israel and the PLO and still have time to have some very nice pints of warm beer.
And in the 'did miss something' portion of today's ramblings why is Sol Campbell such as hot commodity right now. Seriously, if anyone can tell me, please email me. The latest has him linked up with Roma and Marseille. Ok, I have to go back to have my Sample B re-tested but will be back shortly.

Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Im Out

No, not like Lance out-of-closet. But out of ideas on how to hide the fact, the disappointment, that surely must come with not being able to bash the Swedish-Savant. But it may be my lucky day after all. Rumors circulating in England have him, minus one-sheik taking over the Aston Villa coaching job. Could this be my lucky day? Seriously, if that is the case, Feyenoord may never be able to pry me away from the AzzurriDreams offices. If that is the case, can you imagine an entire-seasons worth of sexual innuendos, meetings with Beckham and whatever drama that merely being the Swedish-Savant brings. I shudder to think at how much worse my carpal tunnel will become because I will be typing at a feverish pace...almost non-stop, like the media lining to ask him what the hell he was thinking in Germany.

But for now, lets just report some news. Feyenoord has just handed me a small piece of paper. It reads, "Do not mention Hezbollah and mention something Dutch." So I say, for lunch today, we will go Dutch. He frowns and I know what he means. Ok, here it is, the deal for Dirk Kuyt is back-on with Liverpool. The Dutch team wants €14 Million, Liverpool, after picking up another dud in Pennant only want to pay €10 Million. But this kid can flat out play.

Milan, have just trumped Inter's bid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, offering €22 Million. This along with Gilardino upfront and Kaka' running wild behind them would make for a great, young striking force. Look for Inter now to really start freaking out and trying to secure Luca Toni that wants to leave but has been told by Fiorentina that he now going anywhere.

As if this makes any sense. We all know Ruud Van Nistelrooy is leaving Manchester United. That is not the news. The news is that Ferguson is taking a chance and looking to bring in Jermain Defoe to replace him. Seriously, are you kidding me. Replace one of the top Champions League scores of the last few seasons and a guy with a 150+ domestic goals with a guy...wells lest just say, the Swedish-Savant did not even pick him for his illustrious squad in Germany. The argument here is about age, and just once, I would like to see Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledge this rather then publicly out his players that have given him so much. Ruud we wish you only the best at youre new team and don't worry, Manchester United will do nothing without you this season. But seriously look at the picture above and I too would be that happy to leave the drama that is now Manchester United. Oh wait he now has to deal with the Real Madrid circus.

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Only a Warning

This type of media attention usually follows Feyenoord and I when we leave the plush offices of Azzurri Dreams. It usually takes at least a drink or two to take the edge off after I feel like Carvalho whose personal space has been intruded(but for the sake of legal purposes, I cannot decribe this analogy any further).

I must admit, we at Azzurri Dreams always looked at the match-fixing crisis in Italy and subsequent verdicts as those huge rainmaker law settlements only to usually see the actual damages awarded dwindled down. And so it goes that the Italian landscape has changed, for the short-term, but the long-term implications have not. Lost in all this that a message was sent, a strong one, but teams were still given the lucrative opportunities to play back in the Serie A so really, what type of message was sent. This was the opportunity to clean out the game. And it did not, entirely.

In all, we saw the dismantling of Juventus for two years and Milan(-8), Fiorentina(-17), Lazio(-11) appeal and rejoin the race for the scudetto. Now the funny thing, is you have two teams vying for the Championship, Inter Milan and Roma with Milan probably focused on the Champions League.

Now the idiots at Inter still do not have a team that will run away with the title with AC Milan still being able to make a strong run for it. As for Roma, I do not know if they can win it as they need strike support(look for them to grab Iaquinta) but then again they are only chasing Inter. I wonder how great it will be watching a team play that has 2 games in hand over their nemesis and city rival. At least, in the Serie B, we are geared up for nights of fabulous riots when Napoli and Juventus play...take that Inter, oh wait that is what your fans do.

Now let the deals start coming together. Inter up their bid for Luca Toni, want Viera(almost a foregone conclusion) and will sign at least another Argentine player they do not need to go along with the other 11 they already have. Watch for Crespo to be linked up with either Inter or Milan and for the conclusion of the Buffon deal in the next short few days now that his new employer will be playing in the Champions League.

The Italian Championship now looks like this:

Fiorentina (-19)
Lazio (-11)
Milan (-8)
COPPA UEFA: Palermo, Livorno e Parma.

The future is that the lesson here in Italy(again) is that the special interests in the game, won out again. Corruption has a smiling face on it again. There is a dink in the armor, but they all came out alright. Again, as they always do.

Now we can focus on the new story rocking the European football community...the scandal in Turkey. Not really, that would be as interesting as watching David Beckham apply hair gel at half-time to spike his hair. But lets give thanks that this saga just like Wayne's kick and the terroist head butt situation is behind us and I can get back to doing what I do best, talk about football and not the drama that comes along with it. Then again, I might be bored.
Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, July 20, 2006

45 Million and Counting

No, that is not the number of times Zidane's ass has been kissed in the media since July 9th. Or how many times I have watched Fabio Grosso's penalty kick to win the World Cup. That is the what the crisis at Juventus has netted them as of today in selling off the worlds top players. Gone, Zambrotta and Thurman to Barcelona. Lost Cannavaro and Emerson to Real Madrid. And while I cannot hide my sadness that my National players will not enter their own stadiums to the cheers of Gladiators upon the start of the upcoming Serie A season, I wonder if there has ever been a player Diaspora like this. Sir Alex and the rest of the gaffers in England must be wondering why, just why they cannot recruit any of these players to England. But I will answer that later on.
And the selling will continue with Buffon off to Milan, Vieira set to reach terms with Inter while they also try to sign Ibrahimovic and Trezeguet to be offloaded by next week. Its sad with all this player movement from the team where we have seen so many of these players becoming great. But not as sad as the Chelsea signing of Roberto Carlos so the owners son can watch his favorite player at $tamford Bridge every weekend and maybe, just maybe on occasion get a free kick on target(notice I did not say score).
Seriously, though with the quality of the players that the Spanish giants have signed, the European landscape is altered again...this time dwindling the group of ultra-competitive teams across Europe vying for the Champions League down to just a hand full. Look for Bayern and maybe one other team to team to be able to keep up and compete this upcoming season for the Champions League.
But hey, somewhere, of course in England someone is signing Nicolas Anelka as I mentioned some idiot would do many months ago. But the bottom line is what a coach like Fabio Capello, just maybe in the post-Galatico phase of Real Madrid, they might actually just focus on playing the game again and win something. And if they could only get rid of a fat Ronaldo(ok, now I sound like the Brazilian Press, I am now sure from the early training videos that Fabio Capello may be, just maybe, be the man that ultimately says to the world, Becks take you and your wife off to the MLS, we do not need another prancing midfielder who disappears for the entire game but re-appears for the photo opps.(this comments might seen rude and needless but now that I cannot bash the Swedish-Savant and grown tired of my own Zidane-tirades, I might need a new target).

Real Madrid will still have some problems in defense but with Cannavaro, Ramos, Cichino and another stiff(see Woodgate, Pavon, see entire 2003-2006 Madrid Defense) Capello has just secured a strong defense with two flank options in Ramos and Cichino that can make those runs and keep teams pegged back. Barcelona has just added Thurman to help Carlos Puyal in the middle and with Zambrotta on the side, have also revamped a defense that was suspect last year. Now if they get some striking support for Et'o, now that Ronaldihno has gotten over the disappointment of seeing his statue burned to the ground upon his return from the World Cup(some would say he never left?), you have the top two teams in Europe contending for the Champions League making Spain, not England(as the only the English Press would lead you to believe) the dominant league in Europe. Eclipsed in all this, is that Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United will once again only pretend to compete for the Champions League and be able to offer their players an incredible array of fish and chip platters as parting gifts. Although with a weaker landscape in Europe this year, they should be able to cash in.
Dare I say it, if England is the greatest domestic league in the world, why is that their teams have not signed anyone truly great this summer(with the exception of Andriy Shevchenko)? The argument for great cannot be made for Ballack, Kalou but granted Rosicky will let Arsenal once again play the most entertaining and tactically sound and free-flowing ball in England, English teams will not compete for the Champions League. I tell you, the readers of AzzurriDreams why England's league is lacking... because England for all its prowess and open and entertaining style, in this league, their is a lacking technical and tactical capabilities of the Italian and Spanish Leagues. The long ball just does win games(Ask the Swedish-Savant and Bruce Arena, to name a few).That is why the truly creative players(the Dutch excluded) typically opt to not play there. Now trying to convince the England media to leave what happened in Istanbul...well in Istanbul will be difficult. We will reduced to watching European matches in the next two to three years without Juventus and Milan contending but I still do not think it will be enough to bring the English league up to par with the other league I have mentioned...but hey we all have the Charity Shield and the Carling Cup to look forward to this year in England.