Posts Tagged Real Madrid

Top 25 teams on the continent

While Manchester City are basking in the glory of a historic title win. Their arch rivals Manchester United are trophyless unless you count the Community Shield.  The English Premier League has been turned upside down. While in Italy an Old Lady is back on the throne. In Spain, Barcelona are hurting and Atletico Madrid are the new UEFA Europa League champions.

Here’s how it all adds up on the European Power Index.

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Sergio Ramos: A star is born

Sergio Ramos, the man whose exploits alone could provide life long fodder for the meme community, has yet again proven that he is a man of many talents. It turns out the golden locked wonder, who likes throwing trophies off  the top of high buses, can sing.

In a recent video published on the official La Liga YouTube channel, the Real Madrid defender successfully crooned alongside Flamenco singer Canelita.

On the other hand, Swindon Town manager, Paolo Di Canio, restored the football-musical talent balance when he went onstage to sing the chorus to British band  Toploader’s hit song ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.

The band were doing a concert at The Country Ground as a part of the the celebrations for Swindon Town winning the League Two title.

The Robins’ manager could probably blame all the shouting at the referees for his performance.

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Real Madrid win: Ronaldo faux pas

In a record breaking season, Real Madrid claimed their 32nd La Liga title with two games to spare. The Spanish giants, who have lost only two games this season, still have a chance to surpass Barcelona’s record of highest points scored in a season. They have already broken the previous La Liga record of goals scored in a season and are sitting pretty with a 115 goals.

For Jose Mourinho too, this has been a milestone season. He was hired with the specific brief of defeating Barcelona. A job he has done exceptionally well. This is Madrid’s first title under the ‘special one’ and with it he has won league titles in four different countries. A feat accomplished by only three other managers – Ernst Happel, Giovanni Trapattoni and Tomislav Ivic.

While Real Madrid made history, Cristiano Ronaldo made a fool of himself.

Ronaldo, who has scored 44 of the 115 Madrid goals this season, also scored in their win 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao which sealed the title for them. But in true Ronaldo style, being just a hero was too much for the Portuguese who couldn’t let bygones be bygones.

It happened when Javi Martinez, who was sent off in the 72nd minute for his second handball, dared to come up to Ronaldo just as Madrid were starting to celebrate after the final whistle blew.

Ronaldo, celebrating his first title in Spain and the fourth of his career, shouted at Martinez and gave him the “shove it” gesture and then continued celebrating with his teammates.

So much for classy winners and losers.

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Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent

Liverpool FC have announced that Rafael Benitez has left the club by mutual consent. The Spaniard succeeded Gerard Houllier at the english premier league club 6 years ago in June 2004. In 2005, his very first season at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez lead the club to Champions League success followed by an FA cup in 2006. He became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to win major trophies in his first 2 seasons. American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillette took over the club in 2007 marking a new era for Liverpool FC and Benitez. The new owners were quick to back Benitez and Liverpool returned to the finals of the Champions League in 2007 but this time lost to AC Milan.

The fans however were getting impatient and wanted desperately to win the Premier League title back from their fierce rivals Manchester United. The owners made funds available for Benitez so he could deliver the Premier League. A record £26.5m pounds were spent to bring spanish striker Fernando Torres to the club but the premier league title eluded the Anfield faithful.

Last season Liverpool went out in the group stages of the Champions League and finished 7th in the league table, denying them Champions League football this season. Benitez’s tactics on the field as well as his transfer dealings including the £20m spent on the rarely used Robbie Keane and £20m on an injured Alberto Aquilani started to frustrate the fans and friction between the owners and Benitez became more and more public. However, it seems that falling out of the top 4 is what ultimately caused Benitez to lose his job.

Benitez, who had four years left of his five year contract to run, resigned after accepting a severance payment said that he was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club. The former Valencia manager had in the recent months been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid.  The posts at both these clubs have been recently filled since and it seems likely that Rafael Benitez might fill the spot left vacant by Jose Mourinho at at this year’s European Champions Inter Milan.

Liverpool FC which in debt to the tune of £351m and was put up on sale by it owners now focuses on finding a successor to Rafael Benitez. Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson as well as former Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink have all been linked with the job. The search for a new manager however could be hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the Liverpool FC’s future ownership and its precarious financial condition.

Article first published as Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent on Technorati.

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Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Manager

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It is typical of the man. He just puts his past behind him and looks ahead with hope and confidence verging on audacity. Jose Mourinho wrote a heartfelt goodbye letter to thank Serie A giants Inter saying Inter will always be in his heart and moved on to his new club Real Madrid. Less than two weeks later walking past the last European cup, in the trophy room at Real Madrid, he disclosed that the president said he missed this years’ Champion’s Trophy. Mourinho said, “I replied I only won my last one 10 days ago and I miss that too.”

Its the end of the football season in Madrid, so it comes as no surprise that Real Madrid are looking to sign on stars and a new manager. They hit the jackpot with Jose Mourinho, the star-manager who was unveiled as the new Real Madrid coach at a presentation in the Satiago Bernabeu press room on Monday.

Real Madrid haven’t won the Champions League since 2002 despite having spent millions of euros season after season. Last summer the Spanish club spent €252 million on stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso but failed to win any silverware.

The past two seasons, Real Madrid have lost the La Liga title to their biggest rivals Barcelona and this year they failed to make it past the round of 16 in the Champions League. This was even more disappointing since the final was hosted at their home ground.

Jose Mourinho however won the Champions League trophy at Bernabeu and in less than a week has made it his top priority to lead his new club to European glory. He said, “I don’t know if I was born to coach Real Madrid but I was born to be a football coach. I love important challenges. I am Jose Mourinho and I don’t change. I arrive with all my qualities and my defects.

“My attraction to Real Madrid is due to its history, its frustrations in recent years and its expectations to win.” Real, he said, is a unique club and he believed that not to coach Real left a void in a coach’s career. “Luckily, I’ve had a beautiful career and it makes me proud to have come here.I am very enthusiastic. I want my players to think that way. The beauty is not so much to train or play at Real, but to win at Real Madrid.” Mourinho said

Jose Mourinho becomes Real’s 11th coach in the past seven years and it will be his greatest test yet. He takes on a team full of superstars and very demanding fans, where failure is unacceptable. But he also has chance to create history by becoming the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs and proving yet again that he is the ‘Special One’.

Article first published as Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Coach on Technorati.

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Barcelona and Real Madrid – Saviours or Destroyers of La Liga?

La Liga is one of the football’s most exciting domestic leagues. So it is easy to see how the news of the indebtedness of the league in which footballing giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona play would make a football fan cringe.

According to a study carried out by Professor Jose Maria Gay of the University of Barcelona, it was revealed that La Liga’s debts have grown and at are at an all time high of  €3.53 billion (£3.03 billion) this year.

The study also revealed that of the 20 clubs that play in La Liga,  the  top two clubs in terms of exposure and income – Real Madrid and Barcelona – and the relegated Numacia made an operating profit.

The reason for this imbalance it seems are player wages, which are said to have made up  85% of the total operating cost of the clubs. In many clubs like Valencia, Sevilla and Atlético Madrid the outgoings on wages were way higher than the income.

The issue of  player wages driving clubs into debt becomes increasingly disturbing when you hear about Barcelona latest purchase of David Villa for £34.2 million and the anticipated signing of Cesc Fabregas for a similar amount, showing that the top clubs have no intention of curbing their spending.

Another fact adding to the imbalance is probably the fact that unlike English Premier League clubs who have a collective television deal with the broadcast income being divided equally among the 20 clubs depending on the number of  appearances and final league position, the Spanish clubs negotiate their own media deals. This once again means that top two – Barcelona and Real Madrid get the best deals. They were able to rake in Barcelona half of their incomes from media rights.

With more income coming in from media deals and exposure, the top two have much more spending power than the rest of the league. This in turn makes it possible for them to pay whatever it takes to bring the player they want to their club, raising the wage-rate higher for the entire league and thus pushing the others further into debt. It also makes the league lopsided, as was seen this season with Barcelona beating Real Madrid to La Liga title by three points, and Valencia finishing a distant third, 28 points behind the champions.

La Liga’s problems are further highlighted by the fact that Real Mallorca, a club which only narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of the season and finished 5th in La Liga had to file for voluntary administration after failing to find buyer  to take on their €85m debt.

Jose Gay who feels the current model is unsustainable warns that the league would be in “death throes”. “Barça and Madrid will have to make an effort, sacrificing today so the league can flourish”, he added.

It looks like it is time Barcelona and Real Madrid sat down and watched Spiderman, the movie… ” with great power, comes great responsibility.”

Article first published as Spanish Game in Crisis as La Liga Debts Soar on Technorati.

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Mourinho’s Inter Milan Wins Champions League

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Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0  to win the Champions League final, ending the club’s 45-year wait to regain Europe’s top prize. Argentnian striker Diego Milito scored both the goals for the Italian club in a game which was won by brilliant defending and individual magic. Today’s win makes Inter Milan the first Italian club to have won the Treble.

During the first half of the match, Bayern Munich controlled the game and were the better team. They kept possession and tested the Inter defense line time and again. The Germans, however failed to capitalize on their chances with shots from Ivica Olic and Arjen Robben and Hamit Altintop going astray.

In the 34th minute, Diego Milito headed a long ball clearance by the goalkeeper Julio Cesar to Sneidjer who then passed it back to the Argentine to put in the back of the net. The second half started in electric fashion with Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger finding himself in space 25 yards from goal but he chose to pass instead of shoot. During the rest of the game, Inter sat deep, defending splendidly and letting Bayern control possession.

In the 70th minute, Samuel Eto pass found Milito and Milito magic struck again with the Argentine adding to his goal tally with a sensational goal and effectively ending the contest.

Inter’s win makes Jose Mourinho’s famous quote about being the “Special One” truer than it has ever been before.No one predicted that Jose’s Inter Milan would become the Champions League holders this season let alone that they would beat the English champions Chelsea, the Spanish champions Barcelona and the German Champions Bayern Munich on the way. What makes the win even more special  for the Portuguese manager who had won the Champions League with Porto in 2005, is that he becomes only the third man to have ever won the Champions league with different clubs.

The Inter Milan manager achieved this feat by completely outplaying Bayern Munich who are managed by Mourinho’s mentor Louis Van Gaal. The duo had worked together in the 1990’s at FC Barcelona, where Mourinho started his career as a scout and an interpretor. This earned him the nickname of ‘The Translator’ with which Barcelona fans taunted him during the game. They were quickly silenced as Mourinho’s team knocked Barcelona out in the semi-finals to reach a first final since 1972.

It has been a season of personal vindication for the outspoken Portuguese who has a very frosty relationship with the Italian media and has often admitted to not being happy in Italy. Many reports link him with a move to Real Madrid. It seems almost perfect that his final victory at Inter Milan should come at the Bernabeu, Real’s home stadium.

The final whistle saw a warm hug between the protege and the professor as Mourinho went on to celebrate with his team and lift the trophy, Louis Van Gaal waved impassively at the supporters.

Article first published as Mourinho Fires Inter Milan to Champions League Glory on Technorati.

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