June 30, 2009
The Carlos Tevez conundrum has continued in the firing of the latest in a series of parting shots at Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Tevez’s latest complaint is his omission from United's starting line-up in the Champions League Final they lost to Barcelona in May. "You cannot argue with Alex Ferguson," said the striker who is free to join who he wants from July 1. "He is like the president of England. It is impossible, you always lose.
"But he made a mistake to leave me on the bench. That was the only final the team had lost since I had been at Manchester United." He may believe he has a case, though in fact United actually only won the other two finals in which Tevez featured on penalties. And United's problem in Rome was not a lack of forward players, it was a lack of midfield quality. Tevez could perhaps have replaced one of close pal Ji-Sung Park or Ryan Giggs yet it was the onslaught of Xavi and Iniesta’s passing that proved United’s undoing.
June 23, 2009
A cherished possession in the Soccernet office is a not-so weighty tome entitled "Michael Owen: In Person". Its publishers sent us a copy in the autumn of 2000 and we rejoiced in the chance to hear how "football's hottest property lets you into his private world and reveals all".
Mike tells us his favourite dish is "steak and chips". That's as opposed to his favourite ever meal, "salmon and broccoli", and his favourite film and book, "Cool Running (sic)" and Roald Dahl's The BFG, "it was read to us by a schoolteacher". That's as deep as it goes, the rest being proof positive that Owen was an early adopter of the barren platitudes associated with a modern sportsman.
That book's blurb describes him as a "world football superstar and a household name". Nine years on, Owen's current management company, Wasserman Media Group, has composed an infamous 32-page brochure to find a home for an out-of-contract 29-year-old striker. It has been pulled apart in the British media for its descriptions of Owen's "brand values" as "resilient", "charismatic", "young" and the rather strange "technical".
June 11, 2009
At least this didn’t carry on for the whole summer. When Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United went all quiet in the face of a series of public utterances from Real Madrid’s various honchos, it became obvious that this time it was going to happen. At £80m, few would argue that Ronaldo has not been sold for a fair price.
Where that cash is spent is the leading question for United fans, most of whom had long steeled themselves to the loss of the Portuguese forward. Ronaldo’s on-field demeanour and habit of painting a different picture to Iberian microphones than he had to English reporters endeared him to few as time went on. Rationalisation is already being voiced.
They will miss his talents, his ability to conjure up moments that turn a game. Season 2008-9 was regarded as below par for Ronaldo, as compared to the previous two seasons, yet two goals against Aston Villa gave Federico Macheda the platform to arrive on and it was a 40-yard strike on Portuguese home soil that took United past FC Porto.
June 3, 2009
The silly season is upon us. Transfers are the name of the game in the absence of meaningful football so expect to see plenty of coverage here on Soccernet.
The Gareth Barry saga of last summer was not repeated. In fact, this time it was over before it had begun. And he ended up at Manchester City...so much for Champions League football. Liverpool meanwhile have had to reset their targets. And maybe keep hold of Xabi Alonso.
So, it's Kaka that looks likely to be the big story. Until the Cristiano Ronaldo roadshow gets underway, that is. Expect both to roll on for some time yet. Real Madrid are back as key players and the hapless Ramon Calderon has been replaced by Florentino Perez as club president.