Champions League

Lavezzi

Move Over Manchester City, There is a New Big Spender in Town

Move over Manchester City, there is a new big spender in town. After Qatar Investment Authority gained sole control over Paris Saint-Germain, the club has been on a major spending spree. So far, PSG has spent over $122.7 million during this transfer period.
The first of the major signings was Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli. The Argentine international cost $38 million and will be joining fellow Argentine international Javier Pastore. It seems as though Pastore is happy to have Lavezzi join the Paris club. According to Yahoo! Sports, Pastore said, “I got to know him in national team, and his coming here has made me very happy. It’s certain that he will bring us a lot going forward, and that is decisive for us.”
This week, the other major signings were finished for PSG. They were able to buy the services of both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan. The duo cost PSG over $75 million and Ibrahimovic will make $18.4 million annually. This will make Ibrahimovic the highest paid player in Ligue 1. The addition of these two players is a huge boost for PSG and a massive loss for AC Milan. Ibrahimovic was the leading scoring in Serie A last season, scoring 28 goals in the AC Milan jersey. PSG will be hoping he keeps this goal-scoring record up in his new league.
The upcoming season will provide a large challenge for PSG. Last season, PSG finished second in Ligue 1, three points behind Montpellier, and will be playing in the Champions League this upcoming season. Therefore, these players will need to bring their A game immediately so that PSG will be able to compete in the Champions League. Something positive that PSG will be able to rely on is experience in the Champions League. They now have Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Alex, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who all have experience in the Champions League that will be extremely helpful for PSG to compete and possibly go far in the tournament.
On a less positive note, Manchester City showed that it takes more than money to assemble a team that can win the Champions League. Similar to PSG, Manchester City has paid an outrageous amount of money to bring in players and create an elite team. However, the men in Manchester City jerseys failed to make it out of the group stage in the Champions League.
One thing is certain; PSG will be a fun team to watch during the upcoming season. They have put together a team full of talented players and it will be interesting to see how the players gel on the field. It will also be fun to watch them play against the best players in Europe in the Champions League.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Chelsea vs. Bayern

Champions League Preview

The Champions League final features two teams that no one expected to make it there. Everyone, except Chelsea and Bayern Munich fans, was looking ahead towards a Super Clasico final to decide the champion of Europe. However, after a solid defensive performance and opportune goals, Chelsea were able to stun Barcelona and Bayern Munich were able to book their place in the final following a penalty shootout against Real Madrid.
The defeat of Barcelona came at a price for Chelsea. For the final, they will be missing John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and Raul Meireles. These are all significant players to be without, especially in defense. Chelsea is also currently without both Gary Cahill and David Luiz, so the back line is significantly weakened if those two players have not fully recovered from their injuries. On a more positive note, Chelsea will have Didier Drogba, who played a big role in the matches against Barcelona. Chelsea fans are hoping he can lead their team to European glory and not have a final like this one below.

The men in Bayern Munich jerseys have played very well in the Champions League this season and it has resulted in the chance to lift the Champions League trophy in front of their home crowd. Similar to Chelsea, Bayern are also without some players for the final. They will be missing Luiz Gustavo, Holger Badstuber, and David Alaba. The absence of these players will be missed, but should not be as detrimental to Bayern as the missing Chelsea players will be. Arjen Robben has had an up-and-down season and will be hoping to have a good game against his former team.
Playing in the Champions League final in your home stadium is definitely a good position to be in. This should help Bayern Munich, being supported by their home crowd and having the familiarity with the stadium and the fact that they don’t need to travel. However, Bayern has had their fair share of struggles this season, and just this past weekend they were beat by Borussia Dortmund 5-2. That is not the best result going into a final and it could have players doubting themselves. Even though playing at home is an advantage, it could also be a disadvantage for the team. They may feel the pressure of winning the trophy in front of their home crowd.
Because of this, I am going with my gut feeling that Chelsea will finally win the Champions League they have come so close to claiming recently. Even though the team lacks style and flare, they have a solid group of players that can play a physical game, defend well, and steal a goal against the run-of-play. The loss of the four suspended players will hurt, but Gary Cahill and David Luiz have resumed training, which will help the defense.

Winning the Champions League is no easy feat and, if accomplished, Roberto Di Matteo should be given the manager position. He has taken a struggling team and brought some life back to them. If he can take them to the promised land with a Champions League final victory, there is no reason to think he cannot lead the men in Chelsea jerseys in the coming seasons.
No matter what, it should be a good game and hopefully Chelsea will not be as defensive as they were against Barcelona, so we can witness some free flowing soccer.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Messi

Barcelona Needs a Change

In a battle between David (Chelsea) and Goliath (Barcelona), David was able to prevail, resulting in a Champions League final appearance.
In their past three matches, Barcelona have not resembled the team that has dominated both Spain and European competitions. Even though they rack up an astounding amount of possession, what good is possession if you can’t score? Barcelona has become known for their possession-dominating, short-passing style, and it has successfully won them many trophies. The problem with the players they have and style they play is that they have no back-up plan. If they aren’t able to break down defenses with their passes, they just continually try and hope to eventually succeed. They also try to pass the ball into the net at times, with players afraid to take shots from distance. That is why a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic was an asset to a team like Barcelona. If there original approach failed, they could bring on Ibrahimovic to add size. This allowed them to put crosses into the box to someone who actually had a chance of winning them.
This is precisely what happened against Chelsea today in the Champions League; Barcelona ran out of ideas when their short passes couldn’t break down the defense. Chelsea was able to get bodies in front of Barcelona and was resilient in defense. This game proved that Barcelona needs a second plan of attack. All of the players in the current squad are too similar.
In the two games that were played between Barcelona and Chelsea, Barcelona dominated in every category except goals. They had more possession, more passes, more shots, etc., however, Chelsea decided to play the exact opposite of how Barcelona plays; direct. Chelsea would defend strongly, send the ball up to either Drogba or Torres and hope for a goal on a counter. They were direct and scored three goals as a result, while having less than 20 percent of the possession. This has earned them a coveted spot in the Champions League final.
While it is impressive that Chelsea were able to stun Barcelona, I do not think that Chelsea’s style was what teams should aspire to nor do I think Barcelona will fall off the map after being bounced from the Champions League and most likely placing second in La Liga. Chelsea parked the bus, plain and simple. Even though it is an extremely negative way to play the game, it is effective. If a team like Barcelona, who love possession, want to play around with the ball without creating great opportunities, why not let them pass around, especially when Barcelona’s defense has let up goals on the counter-attack.
It would also be ignorant of anyone to think Barcelona is not a great team anymore after an off year or that Pep Guardiola is suddenly a bad manager. When you have players like Xavi, Iniesta and Messi in your side, you are still a good team no matter what happens.
During the off-season, Barcelona need to look at the squad they assembled and assess the weaknesses. Sometimes playing beautiful soccer does not result in wins and there needs to be a back-up plan. Chelsea and Real Madrid have now shown Barcelona that being direct can be a good thing from time-to-time. After all, being direct is what helped those teams beat mighty Barcelona.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

CR7 WTF

Crisitano Ronaldo Boots and Shirt Stolen From Dressing Room Before Bayern Match…

Seems Cristiano Ronaldo’s ego took a hard blow before last nights Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich as mystery thieves stole three pairs of boots and his Ronaldo jersey just before kickoff. Mezut Ozil and Karim Benzema are also understood to have lost some gear as an unknown assailant broke into the away dressing room despite the presence of security cameras and made off with the goods. Its unknown how exactly the thief penetrated security around the stadium and made it into the dressing areas which are supposed to be heavily guarded before every match. Its not known how the players involved took the loss of their prized kit.

“The stealing of Cristiano’s shoes is a shame, it’s impossible something like that could happen at the Bernabeu,” Jose Mourinho fumed in his post-match press conference, but the real issue here is how the security apparatus at one of Europe’s biggest venues was so easily breached. The cheeky theft of a bit of kit and a few pairs of boots, which are sure to be up on eBay soon, isn’t a huge issue as Nike and Adidas have plenty of spares ready to go for kit men at a moments notice. However, if the thief has more nefarious or hostile intentions it could be a very different story in the papers today.

Real Madrid have filed an official complaint with UEFA over the incident, the only question now is who will be cheeky enough to “borrow” some items from the Bayern dressing room at the Bernabeu.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Fernando Torres

Chelsea Need to Change the Squad to Compete

Yesterday, Chelsea played Fulham to a 1-1 draw, and they were fortunate to have a debatable penalty call go their way. This game showed some of the flaws in Chelsea and why, in my opinion, they need a desperate shake-up within the club.
The average age of the starting Chelsea lineup against Fulham was 27.4-years-old. This doesn’t look that old until you see some outliers within the lineup. John Terry is 31-years-old, Frank Lampard is 33-years-old, and Raul Meireles is 29-years-old. The lack of youth and creativity are hurting Chelsea and are primary reasons they have struggled greatly this season. They move the ball methodically, but run out of ideas once they get into the attacking third.
Chelsea is currently sixth in the table, which would keep them out of the Champions League next season. They also have a major task coming up in the Champions League tournament against Barcelona. After struggling against Fulham, their chances look slim at best to knock out Barcelona and advance to the final.
No matter how the season ends, Chelsea has some major moves to keep them relevant in both Europe and the Premier League. First of all, Roberto Di Matteo is most likely not going to be the manager next season. Even though the team has had some positive results under his leadership, there are several big names floating around. Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benetiz, and Pep Guardiola have all been mentioned with the job. However, I do not see either Guardiola or Mourinho switching from their current clubs.
The next issue that needs to be addressed is how to fix an aging squad. As I said above, there are several players who should be headed for the doors. These players include Torres, Malouda, Bosingwa, Drogba, and Meireles. All of these players are aging and have not been performing at a top-level anymore. Even though Torres is still relatively young, his form has been hard to ignore and Chelsea should cut their losses and try to get as much money back for him as they can.
Since all these players will be leaving Chelsea, once again in my opinion, the club will need to replace them. The ideal replacements would be younger players who have a bit of creativity. Some of the players reportedly on Chelsea’s radar are Edison Cavani, Demba Ba, Wesley Sneijder, and Arjen Robben. All of these players would fit in well with the team, while also adding creativity. They are also all under 30-years-old, but have loads of experience. An interesting storyline for the next transfer window would be if Robben would be willing to head back to Chelsea. He has stated earlier this season that he could possibly leave Bayern and it could be a potentially huge signing for Chelsea to bring the talented winger back to Stamford Bridge.
If Chelsea were even able to add two or three of these players, it would bring in new energy and style, and it would greatly improve the squad. Chelsea has already added Gary Cahill and Juan Mata, who have proved to be good signings. With a few more good transfers as well as getting rid of some of the older squad members, Chelsea could once again compete for Premier League titles. Currently, they are looking older and slower than the competition and a finish outside the top four would not be a good season with an owner who demands success and wants to compete for trophies domestically and in Europe.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Adidas Real Madrid Home Jersey - 2012

Adidas Real Madrid Home Jersey Review – 2012

Real Madrid currently sits at the top of the La Liga table, and is in comfortable position to take back the league crown. They are also looking to win the Champions League, which is the one major title that has eluded them for many years now. In order to gear up for the epic conclusion to this season, now is the time to purchase a Real Madrid jersey and cheer your team on to victory.

Style

Staying with the classic Real Madrid style, this home jersey is all white. To add a little style to the jersey, there are three gold stripes that run down the sleeves as well as gold trim throughout the jersey. This provides a very clean and stylish look that fans are sure to love. Unlike previous years, this jersey features a collar. For added authenticity, the Real Madrid badge is pressed on the left chest with the Adidas logo stitched on the right chest. It also has the La Liga patch stitched on the right arm of the jersey.

Feel

This jersey, like most Adidas jerseys, is extremely comfortable. It is made out 100 percent polyester to add durability, but it feels more like silk when you are wearing it. As with all Adidas gear, this jersey features climacool technology. This helps to provide ventilation and moisture management to keep you cool and comfortable. This is achieved through mesh under the arms to allow your body to breathe. All of these features will help you stay comfortable while you support your team.

Overall

As I said above, this jersey is awesome. The style is clean and the gold trim helps give it added class. The Real Madrid squad are looking to have a historic season winning both the La Liga title and Champions League, so what better time to get a jersey to support the squad. Another great thing about this jersey is the fact that it is currently on sale for $67.49 at SoccerPro.com. So head over there today and grab one of these before we run out.

Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com

Two Commentators Caught Singing the Same Song That Got Ashley Cole Slapped on Live TV…(Video)

As we’re all hilariously aware at this stage that an unnamed Manchester City player slapped Ashley Cole in the tunnel after their Champions League defeat that sent City into the UEFA League. What many of you may not know is what he said to make the acquaintance of the back of someones hand. If the reports from the tunnel are to be believed, he was singing the same song these commentators, the theme tune to Channel 5′s UEFA Coverage.

Now the video of these two muppets singing the theme song when they think the camera isn’t on is funny enough, but the image of Ashley Cole singing this down the tunnel and promptly getting backhanded makes it so much better.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Epic Fail: CSKA Moscow’s Defender Scores Peachy Own Goal (Video)

This CSKA Moscow defender would most certainly be congratulating himself on a beautiful goal had he simply managed to put it into the right net. Sadly, he is instead our leading candidate for best looking own goal of the year. And honestly, what kind of a muppet tries to put the soccer ball over their own net to save a goal. He could have just as easily put it out on either side.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Graeme Souness of Sky Sports News Hit Carlos Tevez with Both Barrels…

As you may or may not have seen, Carlos Tevez refused to come off the bench for Manchester City last night, and Graeme Souness of Sky Sports gave it to him with both barrels during the post match commentary. Its truly a classic moment, and at least one of these overpaid shills has his finger on the pulse of the common man, and my disgust with a whinny millionaire who doesn’t wants to go play a game ’cause he misses his home. Tevez is a disgrace to the Manchester City jersey, and has no business wearing it any longer.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com