Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Man killed watching Boxing Day Matches

Ok. I am exaggerating, as you can see by this post, I am still alive, but barely. For Christmas next year, I will simply ask that the Italian, German, and Spanish leagues play through the holidays. We are only human, and can only watch so many English games at once. So without resorting to quirky posts or more pleas to the gods to grace me with some elegant soccer, I have decided to keep it simple and give you the latest rumors making the rounds:

Barcelona want Luca Toni from Fiorentina, willing to double his contract in June 2006 and trade Maxi in return. I doubt this and believe we are in for an avalanche of these type of rumors in 2006 as teams and countries try to confuse and distract their opponents. After all, if you were the Spanish media, do you really have anything else to do? Stay tuned.

Liverpool, proving to the be the Inter of England are going after more international players including Deportivo la Coruna defenders Fabrizio Coloccini and Cesar as they look for back-up for Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.

Do not, and I repeat do not piss off Sir Alex Ferguson, see Jaap Stam, David Beckham, Roy Keane...the saga now involves Mikael Silvestre possibly going to Lyon.

Newcastle aka Hell on Earth is considering selling striker Alberto Luque for £8m to Real Madrid and they would also get Thomas Gravesen. Sure, this will fix Real's problem, another striker with no service...hmmm, I guess Raul, Ronaldo will have another companion as they sit at the half-line as the ball is being pulled out of their net wondering, where the drinks tonight and how smart was Figo for leaving when he did?

Brazilian winger Gustavo Manduca has joined Benfica from Maritimo on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

Maradona will not sign for Primera C side Excursionistas. And even though Azzurri Dreams only comments on happenings in Europe, anytime you can mention Maradona, you do. I for one would have welcomed this. I bet there is a team or two in the Premiership that have tried to interfere with this signing and raced to sign him since top strikers are at such a premium!

And lastly, welcome to my overseas Azzurri Dreams colleague, Feyenoord. Its a good thing we will not have any shoot-outs on this blog...

Azzurri Dreams

The Dutch Conundrum

Here's my first post to the Azzurri Dreams blog. As Feyenoord I will be giving a slightly different view on topics than the eloquent and eternally witty Enzo Bearzot. I must first compliment the man on what is truly a unique commentary on the football world. Having said that, I have no intention of emulating nor competing with Enzo's style and opinions. I will find my own way through this and have decided to start with something that has always puzzled and intrigued me : The Dutch Conundrum.

The BBC often put it bluntly : The Dutch always find a way to implode. For over 30 years now, the army of Orange, or the Dutch National football team has the unique honor to be the best team to (almost) never have won a major tournament. The 1988 Euro's are of course an exception, but it's all about the World Cup. Twice they have lost to the host nations in finals (74 + 78) and in 1998 were playing the best football in the tournament until they hit their familiar foe - the penalty kick - in the semis against Brazil. 4 years earlier they also lost to champs Brazil in the quarters, while in the Euro tournaments of 1992, 2000, 2004 they again were semi-finalists twice losing on penalties, while in 1996 again losing on Penalties in the quarters.

What is it about a team that continually plays dominant football, can produce a squad with all its players on Champions League teams, is always a favorite pick of experts, continually ranks in the top 5 of the FIFA ranking, but somehow finds a way to lose. Well, I think I have finally figured it out.

Ask any Dutch person what they want most from their football team, and they will almost always first answer that they want to see "beautiful football". In other words, the result is often secondary to playing well. Now, there is no Dutch fan in their right mind that would give up winning a World Cup for just nice looking play, but it goes to show where the problem lies.

Ever since Johan Cruyff graced the world with his presence and impossible logic, the Dutch have prided themselves at being the master technicians and tacticians. They perfected the 3 forward system supported by an attacking midfield # 10, and ever since have demanded from themselves and the team that they play dominant football. This is of course all well and good as they often have had the players to do so, but as more teams have developed a knack for counter attacking styles of play with 2 lethal and very speedy strikers up front, the Dutch have fallen into the trap so often. And afterwards they always complain about having been the better team and deserving to win. Well, I have news for you orange folk, the scoreline determines the winner and not a panel of judges on the sidelines with signs ranging from "6" to "10".

Marco van Basten now is the head coach leading the team to Germany next summer. He also has proclaimed that they wish to play dominant football, but that they first are going to revitalize the team with young new talent. As it turns out, the team doesn't play very dominant at all (except for 1/2 in a friendly against Germany), but qualified for the tournament without a loss and the best record the team has ever had in the process.

And so the Dutch are now confused. The results are great and the aesthetic value of play has declined. If you ask me, WHO CARES ! Just win the damn game. After countless chokes, this may be the best remedy for the orange men yet. Bring it on, Mr. Van Basten. We need someone to at least pretend they have the capacity to beat Brazil next year...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Azzurri Dreams 2006 All Star Team

Here at Azzurri Dreams, we are steadfast in our belief that we provide objective analysis of European soccer. With that in mind, we have decided to put together our Azzurri Dreams 2006 All-Star team. These were the players that were just a notch above everyone else and fun to watch. What you won’t find on this list is David Beckham, overpriced and over-hyped Chelsea players, Inter defenders or French naturalized players(well ok, only one). And so, drum roooooooooooooll please:

Ikor Casillas, Real Madrid. Without this guy, Madrid does not finish in the top 10. I am certain those calls from Manchester United are on his mind when he is picking himself off the floor time and time again.

Lucio, Bayern Munich. I swear I am already having nightmares about this guy in canary yellow in Germany in 2006.
Gianluca Zambrotta, Juventus. Forget Ashley Cole, this is Chelsea's dream defensive signing. Dream on.
John Terry, Chelsea. And now he is beginning to score goals as well. AC Milan will try to sign him next year.
Fabio Cannavaro, Juventus. It was a great move for Inter to let him go and stick with three-back line defense. In a few months, he will have his second Serie A scudetto and Inter will still be left with Marco Matarazzi on defense

Andrea Pirlo, AC Milan. When Johan Cruyff calls you the best deep mid-fielder in the world, it means something. He is so talented, I won't even bring up that he looks like the Fonzi.
Claude Makelele, Chelsea. Like Judas before him, he was sold for pennies of what he is truly worth. But I am sure Thomas Graveson is a great replacement, right?
Mauro Camoranesi, Juventus. Even with the bad ponytail, the engine that makes Juventus click in the mid-field.
Ronaldinho, Barcelona. The only man granted immunity for bad hair in Europe, makes all those great Argentinian mullets look fashionable but what a joy to watch him play.

Thierry Henry, Arsenal. No matter how it pains me to compliment the French, it will be fun to watch him play outside of England next year.
Andryi Shevchencko, AC Milan. Berlusconi is the godparent of his first-born, the two of them can talk more while the (ex)Prime Minister sits in the San Siro stands watching more games next year when he is ousted as Prime Minister. Sheva is going nowhere, no matter how match Chel$ea are willing to offer.

Rafa Benitez, Liverpool. I am still trying to figure out how you won the Champions League with that team.

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ronaldo on the move, here we go again

Would it not be great if we could punish the top teams in Europe? Just enough, I am not saying we will make them watch a Charlton Athletic match, but just enough, to hear millionaires scream, breaking them down to the point where they have to realize the error of their ways. My solution is this:

As we are only a few days away from the winter transfer market, the ultimate sacrifice that top five teams in Europe need to make, is sometimes to be patient and eventually they will get the players they want. Barring Chelsea that can buy at will and outbid anyone, except for the fact that the top players do not want to go to Chelsea(would you, if everyone on your team played the same position?) three teams should be banned from buying any more players in the next transfer market.

Just once I would like to hear the heads of Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Inter say, enough is enough to their coaches and supporters, and say you need to WIN WITH WHAT YOU GOT! But only Azzurri Dream's is that bold to actually put it in print, and here it is, before we get into the latest Christmas wish lists for these three teams, YOU ARE HERE FORBIDDEN TO BUY ANY NEW PLAYERS UNTIL YOU WIN something.

My advice to Real Madrid, play Guti more and run the mid-field around him or someone off your reserve team. To Manchester United, start praying for a miracle that your academy has your next mid-fielder, because Ballack is not coming. And to Inter, its simple, you are forbidden to call yourselves or anyone else, your phones are tapped and you are prohibited to make any inquries, especially when it comes to Ronaldo.

The latest rumors are as follows:

Inter President Morratti acknowledges that linking Adriano and Ronaldo is not a far-fetched idea but that Real Madrid will not get Adriano in return. They have said also they will not contend for Antonio Cassano this winter market which means, the purse-snatcher is waiting for a SMS saying he has been sold from Roma. The funny thing is that Newcastle United is also looking to make a bid for him.

Santos of Brasil are currently trying to sign FC Porto midfielder Diego, a former Santos player, and striker Luis Fabiano, who is with Spain's Sevilla.

AC Milan is tracking Chelsea's John Terry to go to the world's oldest defense, but still better then Real Madrid's

I figure if the President of Real Madrid actually responded to one of my emails, I could help him spend some of that money, first of all, I would tell him he needs to buy banner ads on the Azzurri Dreams blog and that I am currently holding one small ration of the Trapattoni holy water which will help him more then other player he is thinking of buyiny as a special end-of-the-year clearance price.

Azzurri Dreams

Champions League Draw Spares us another Liverpool-Chelsea Nightmare

The football gods are smiling on me. Actually they are smilimg on all of us! Last night as I stared off at the oddly colored wall while making use of the the urinal in the Azzurri Dreams headquarters, I was reminded of the sacrifices I would make, actually just about anything to avoid another match between Liverpool and Chelsea in the Champions League. I have been told that I need to stay more positive and I will be rewarded in life. But one last negative thought of having to watch these two teams play again had me thinking mean thoughts. And my mean(some would say anti-English rhetoric) thoughts were matched by an inconceivable act of randonness, by which, the toilet seat I had just put up, came down with the force of an Essien tackle, broke off its hinges, and clipped me on my foot, which now has an abrasion, not to mention, there was urine all over the place. I now walk with a noticeable limp but still very thankful the Champions League draw just released has spared us ALL another 0-0 draw between the "English Giants." The Draw is as follows:

Chelsea v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Arsenal
Werder Bremen v Juventus
Bayern Munich v AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven v Lyon
Ajax Amsterdam v Inter Milan
Benfica v Liverpool
Rangers v Villarreal

Unlike the English press that has major problems, like trying to explain how Chelsea will beat Barcelona, my only problem is that I cannot walk without a limp. But I still would not trade places with them.

Azzurri Dreams

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Drama in Europe

As the Roy Keane drama is about to end not a day to soon, I am reminded of all the drama that European Soccer will feed us in the months leading up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Soccer and Drama are now interwovern, like gagging and watching a Julia Roberts movie, you cannot have one without the other.

Roy Keane not going to Real Madrid as I reported when this whole ordeal started, is no surprise. He is either going to sign in the next 48 hours for Celtic or play for either Bolton or Everton. But I got to thinking, where would I be without this drama? For one, my blog would be any empty assortment of white pages with photo-shopped pictures of Sven-Goran Eriksson wearing lipstick, for how else would I pass the time, seriously? And secondly without the drama, we could not try to really attempt to gauge what is happening in the game, especially in a season where managers and press try to unsettle even the greatest to gain any competitive advantage going into the World Cup.

And the next few months leading up to the World Cup, I believe will give us enough drama to rival that of few summers back when both Beckham and Ronaldinho were being pursued, with almost hourly reports having us blown in different directions like the Real Madrid defense. So what is true and fake, will be very difficult to gauge. But here it goes, as far as I see, this is what we have to look forward to and trust me, going into the new year, these stories will take on a life of their own:

1)Thierry Henry will leave Arsenal, if not my faith in an athlete's choosing loyalty over €(aka as Euros, only Azzurri Dreams has the font) will be re-stored. And with Arsenal struggling to even secure a spot for the UEFA Cup next year, the full press from Catalonia will be hard to escape.
2)Frank Lampard will be linked with Barcelona and if Chelsea wins the Champions League(I shudder at the thought of another English Team winning this) and has a good World Cup, look for him to swoon over Barcelona especially if England makes it far enough to play Brasil(whoops, ok, I am back from laughing).
3)Antonio Cassano will be seen latching unto an elderly women's purse outside the Piazza Navona but still every one will try to buy him especially if he does not renew his contract with Roma. Something has to be done by the end of January or Roma lose him a free-transfer.
4)Michael Ballack will go, he will stay, he will go, he will stay. Seriously, with the problems Germany has in mid-field, I would be concerned with other things right now.
5)Sir Alex Ferguson. This will be a Shakespearian Drama to rival any day-time soap and will get ugly. The media has in it for Sir Alex Ferguson, he is coaching a second-rate team that is going nowwhere and fast. The Glazers will be all to happy to cut him lose considering Manchester United has not won anything since 2003. You will start to see Sven's name surface for the position. Sir Alex will be torn to pieces and will also reach out to the Pope to change the Sir to Saint before before all this is done.

All these fun events will make us feel like we are watching the whole David and Posh text-message sex scandal all over again as we are inadated with too much information, drinking warm beer once again feeding the cycle of drama that I pray never ends!

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

February seems a long time away

I am addicted to soccer(aka calcio, football, futbol), lets just put that out there right now. But, besides this Friday's UEFA Champions League draw which Azzurri Dreams will publish for all our readers as soon as humanly possible, I have realized, there is no significant soccer to be played until February when the Champions League starts up again.

The title races in England, Italy and France are done, Chelsea, Juventus, and Lyon will win again. But at least we can watch as these events happen simultaneously to keep us all entertained:

Manchester United will disintegrate before our very eyes and this will be interesting(see DRAMA) but only for a while, listening to Frank Lampard say how much he loves Barcelona will become very boring, very quickly unless it is his hot girlfriend saying it, and wondering why Newcastle boss Graham Souness still has a job, I figure my good-natured responsibility as a 'soccer journalist' is to simply report the latest news. Here it goes:

1)Newcastle United will make a bid for Real Betis Joaquim and try to beat Chelsea to him in the January transfer window. Would you want to commit to a team whose coach looks like he is pissing himself every game on the sidelines while Freddy Shepard looks over him?
2)Manchester United will bid for PSV's Nigel De Jong. I guess all my emails to Sir Alex telling him he needs a mid-fielder have finally paid off.
3)Juventus will make a play for Bayern Munich's French defender Willy Sagnol which has has Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge annoyed at the Italians as they were also able to steal Robert Kovac away last year. But wait, where is the love, weren't we allies once.
4)Arsenal will make a move for Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Nothing to boost your confidence when you are Jens Lehmann and trying to get the number 1 for Germany and hearing rumors like these to help you concentrate.

At least in the process of writing this, we are already closer to February 21st when the Round of 16 starts in the Champions League!

Azzurri Dreams

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Thought Pele Could Do No Wrong

At this pace, why even play the World Cup in Germany next year, I say we just sit back and give it to England. Pele's comments today ranking England(as well as Italy) as Brazil's biggest challengers just made me laugh. As if the British Media needed any other reason to not start popping open their Champaign, I think this could actually be a detriment to England's chances. They are already lining up their moves through group play and into the finals, only to probably be reminded as the whole world will be next year, that games are won on the field, not through paper analysis and dumb-smiling Sweedes that exude dumb-looking confidence. I guess if I slept with half the staff of English Football Association, I would be smiling too. I forgot there are these two other little soccer nations, Holland and Argentina that will have something to say before the tournament is over.

Ok, lets get one thing straight, we are a little under seven months from the World Cup, enough for all the soccer channels across the world to beat the proverbial horse into a jack-in-the-box cheeseburger(see Beef Scandal circa 1985) and actually try to convince us that they know who will win the World Cup. It is too early. But since we all have computers and access to the web, what's another opinion out there, right?

Since Pele made as bold of a prediction, I will make a few predictions about England as well but only with the legal Azzurri Dreams disclaimer that at any time, I can say, "I was wrong."

1)Tony Blair will declare victory in Iraq later this week
2)There is evidence of human-like life form on other planets and Sven-Goran Eriksson has slept with one of their representatives to prove it.
3)England has found a way to cure world hunger, stop AIDS and actually knows Boy George's real sex and will be doing a Geraldo-like expose' later this week on the BBC

Seriously, please stop the insanity and self-applause...on the other hand there is reason to stay optimistic if you are English, at least you do not have to play Northern Ireland again(see September 7th, 2005 if you need a refresher course)

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, December 09, 2005

World Cup Draw has people screaming

Relax, even with this draw Germany cannot win the world cup and England will still only be the prettiest team in Germany. Even with four midfielders ALL playing the same position, I still have visions of David Seamen from 2002 and this just makes me smile. If England wins the World Cup, I will do the following...well let me think about this, because right now I am still laughing too hard already listening to the BBC planning their victory celebration down Piccadilly Square. But lets break this down on the few groups that are truly difficult and hopefully prevent some of our friends from jumping from the balconies on the second floor.

This morning as I showered, shaved, and wondered, what shall I do with my life today, I realized, the more competitive the group stages of the world cup is for your country, the better it is for their chances to advance. My logic, very simple is this:

When you have two or three strong teams in a group, being conservative simply will not work for you. You have to play your game and take points, preferably try to win games. Case in point, while the Italians are probably fretting over this group draw, I say bring on the challenge of Ghana, United States, and the Czech Republic. These are three teams with a legitimate claim for making the knock-out rounds. Group E and I would claim this to be the group of death because you'd better win this group or you face Brasil in the quarterfinals....Ouch, unless the Soccerroos win their Group.

And for my Dutch brethren, do not worry about your games aganist Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro. The team is strong enough to advance out of Group C but start your 'WE NEED SEEDORF" campaign because you do. At leats this year you made the World Cup and Marco van Basten is the man to make winners out of this country for the first time(excuse me, you know winning the Euro's does not Count). This is definitely not the group of Death as my friends would want me to believe. But maybe if you play well enough you can exorcise the demons of 1978, but we will not touch on that, it could be a sensitive subject.

The cup is to see who plays Brasil or Argentina in the final. Barring any major setbacks or another Ronaldo 1998-like breakdown on the eve of the finals, this team is so dam strong, it will be fun to watch. Group F with Brasil, Croatia, Japan, and Australia. Two strong, attacking teams like Croatia and Japan could make it interesting on Brasil's defense, leaving us to wonder, are Robert Carlos and Cafu actually the same person, but so old, they had to clone one to fill in their defense?

As for the other groups, seriously who cares...we all dream of adding stars to our jerseys, and the only star in this World Cup will come from one of these three groups...unless Saudi Arabia can pull off the miracle of all miracles(second only to helping us find Bin Laden).

Azzurri Dreams

2006 World Cup Draw

I have to catch my breath and will be back with commentary shortly

FIFA World Cup 2006 Group Stage Draw
A1 Germany GER
A2 Costa Rica CRC
A3 Poland POL
A4 Ecuador ECU

B1 England ENG
B2 Paraguay PAR
B3 Trinidad & Tobago TRI
B4 Sweden SWE

C1 Argentina ARG
C2 Ivory Coast CIV
C3 Serbia & Montenegro SCG
C4 Netherlands NED

D1 Mexico MEX
D2 Iran IRN
D3 Angola ANG
D4 Portugal POR

E1 Italy ITA
E2 Ghana GHA
E3 United States USA
E4 Czech Rep. CZE

F1 Brazil BRA
F2 Croatia CRO
F3 Australia AUS
F4 Japan JPN

G1 France FRA
G2 Switzerland SUI
G3 South Korea KOR
G4 Togo TOG

H1 Spain ESP
H2 Ukraine UKR
H3 Tunisia TUN
H4 Saudi Arabia KSA

Group winners and runner-ups qualify for the Knockout Round of 16.
Winner Group A plays Runner-up Group B in Munich on Sat., Jun. 24.
Winner Group B plays Runner-up Group A in Stuttgart on Sun., Jun. 25.
Winner Group C plays Runner-up Group D in Leipzig on Sat., Jun. 24.
Winner Group D plays Runner-up Group C in Nuremberg on Sun., Jun. 25.
Winner Group E plays Runner-up Group F in Kaiserslautern on Mon., Jun. 26.
Winner Group F plays Runner-up Group E in Dortmund on Tue., Jun. 27.
Winner Group G plays Runner-up Group H in Cologne on Mon., Jun. 26.
Winner Group H plays Runner-up Group G in Hanover on Tue., Jun. 27.

Azzurri Dreams

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

FIFA Gets It Wrong, Again

So, today FIFA announced that Germany, Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, Mexico and England were named as the top eight seeds for next year's World Cup finals in Germany. Lets recap the last world cup in Japan/South Korea and see if these seedings were actually justified, before I tell you how I think FIFA should seed countries:

1)Brazil, enough said, deserves a top seed, plus with their travelling (sometimes almost topless)fans, well now you know why Sepp Blatter is constantly holding binoculars at matches
2)Germany, not since the Berlin Wall have Germans seen anything fall so quickly as their chances to win and the true ranking of where they stand in the pantheon of great teams. FIFA has to give them a top seed since they are the host country.
3)Italy, hate to admit it, do not deserve it, what I remember from this World Cup is terrible calls against the Italians, holy water being used on the sidelines and a team that underachieved, again.
4)France, great performance...what you scored one goal in three games?
5)Argentina, my early favorite to contend for the World Cup in 2006 along with Brazil, they didn't do anything in 2002, oh yeah, we got to see Veron in the national jersey for the last time...thanks for the memories, another team like Italy that totally had within its grasp the Cup with their team, but leave to Coach Bielsa to screw this one up.
6)Spain, seriously, Spain, because besides criticizing the Italians for complaining about the referees and then doing the same thing after they lost, is all I remember the Spaniards doing in 2002.
7)Mexico, can anyone even name three players off the 2002 team?
8)England, hold on, I am still laughing, seriously, what have you have done since 1966? I'm waiting.

So, what is the point, the point is simple, FIFA needs to update their ranking system, start from scratch and use the two-year qualifying cycles for the world cup to be a true barometer of the nations ranking. Forget friendlies, preferential treatment(see ticket sales and traveling fans) and forget this outdated methodology of using the countries performance in the previous two or three world cups, keep it relevant and make the 'dominant' countries have to earn these top seeds again. Based on your ten matches(more in other qualifying regions) in your two-year European window is how you should be ranked. This could possibly throw the game in chaos, but also challenge the smaller nations to thrive for these lofty seeds while insuring that the larger European nations no longer coast into the world cup.

Azzurri Dreams

Monday, December 05, 2005

Paging Vicente Del Bosque times have changed since they canned Vicente Del Bosque in 2003 after winning their last championship...and rather then sit here and go over every coach since then that Real Madrid has had like every other site, Ill keep it simple and say...suckers you deserve it.

"Madrid's sporting failures are notorious and no commercial success can hide this," El Pais sports editor Santiago Segurola wrote in Monday's edition. As I copy his sentiments to my blog I cannot help but laugh and realize when the circus started(see Beckham's arrival) is when the problems really started and they have not truly been assessed since. Simply put Segurola is correct but yet with all the (wrong) moves in place, these guys have become so much more then a great football team...words like mediocre, boring, brutish and out-of-touch come to mind when describing Real Madrid. Focus on what needs to be done like:

1)updating your defense, I think the combined age is about 425..Their defense makes the AC Milan back four look like a bunch of spring chickens
2)buy a dam mid-fielder that does more then prance around and look pretty...give Zidane some support and give him someone to win the ball so he can distribute it to your overly priced strikers that are bored out of their minds waiting for service...see Makelele, whoops, Gattuso, Emerson if you need suggestions
3)think outside the box for your next coach...maybe Paul Le Guen ex-Lyon, think big Guss Hiddink of PSV, that will really piss off Barcelona, if you went out and actually got a Dutchman of your own who can outcoach just about anyone out there
4)Bench Raul and start playing your youth players, lets face it, this season you are not going to win anything, might as well start getting them ready for next year
5)And lastly you are prohibited from buying anymore Brazilian players until either you start winning and playing pretty soccer again or you shave Jonathan Woodgate's head

Azzurri Dreams

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bad Hair, Bad Players

It's early December, so teams are getting desperate to buy players for the January 2006 transfer window. And desperate is the key word. Real Betis want to bring in Florent Sinama-Pongolle of Liverpool on a short-term loan. Seriously, I am available and even with a bad knee could help you win games more then this kid can. An able 21-year old, he has made 8 'appearances' for Liverpool. I must have watched only two or three of there exciting draws....Yawn

Marseille are likely to swoop in for Liverpool's Djibril Cisse which makes me wonder, if this guy worried as much about his game as he did about his hair, he might actually make a better player. I think, reading between the lines, if Rafa benitez cannot field a starting team with only Spanish players with the exemption of Steve Gerrard, he does not want players that have better hair then he does on the field.

Louis Saha, gone from Manchester United, which is a bummer because this guy can flat-out play but because of injuries, Rooney, when he was brought in from Fulham, he never really got a chance to play. Rumor has it he is back to France in January

Real Betis is also looking at the Portuguese Striker Helder Postiga

Azzurri Dreams

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Who Wants to Coach Real Madrid:

Three coaches that will not coach Real Madrid are:

Fabio Capello
Arsene Wenger
Rafa Benitez

Fabio Capello with this designer glasses, has a young Juventus team, is on the verge of dominance in the Serie A, and he beats Milan to the Champions League this year, he is not going anywhere. Why would you leave Juventus for the David Beckham circus and have to start over. Arrigo Sacchi's presence at Real Madrid gives them a chance, but it will not happen.

Arsene Wenger, as much as it pains me to compliment a Frenchman, is doing an awesome job this year and yes, unlike Manchester United and all the other pretenders in the England, has his team rebuilding for 2006-2007. A young team, with the likes of Van Persie, Kleb, and Fabregas, this man is a maestro at buying the right players under the radar. With that sneaky smile, he knows he has a team that next year can contend with Chelsea, is seeking European Glory(this won't happen) and a new stadium while waiting to take over the French Side. But he will probably lose Henry, but for now he is not going anywhere

Rafa Benitez won the Champions League with Liverpool and with Players like Cisse nonetheless. A class act that can simply coach, and while the rest of us are still trying to figure out how he it did last May in Istanbul, he is not going anywhere. Which brings me to the why these coaches are attracting so much attention.

Real Madrid is going nowhere. They are a second-rate team, with the likes of Villareal and Valencia vying for number tow in La Liga. But Vanderlei Luxemburgo is going to be fired for sure, its just a matter time, but my theory is not before Real Madrid get another one or two top Brazilian players to commit to come over to play in Madrid. I think just as Beckham was brought in to sell mass appeal, hair gel and whatever else he is into this week, Luxemburgo was brought in to shore up the pipeline of young players from Brazil to Real Madrid. So for now, the top three sought after coaches after Mourinho are going nowhere, but I have a solution, have Roy Keane coach Real Madrid...that would be cool, watching him and Posh Beckham fight over who get the last slap on David...

Azzurri Dreams