Eden project shows Real are eager to broaden their footprint in 2019-20

THE MOST famous football club in the world is determined to regain its position at the top of Spanish and European football, judging by their frantic activity in the current transfer window, notably the signing of Eden Hazard from Chelsea for € 100 million. Real Madrid have been big players in the transfer market this summer. Over the past 10 years, their expenditure on new … Continue reading Eden project shows Real are eager to broaden their footprint in 2019-20

Naples and Maradona, a dream that won’t end

NAPLES provokes great debate. At first glance, it is dirty, unruly, scary and ugly. It is a sprawl, Italy’s most densely populated urban area, overlooked by Vesuvius, Europe’s most dangerous mainland active volcano. A 30 minute walk around Naples may bring you to the conclusion that this city of 3.5 million people is dancing, both literally and metaphorically, on a volcano. Poverty runs through Naples … Continue reading Naples and Maradona, a dream that won’t end

UEFA Champions League: King Klopp or Crown Prince Mauricio?

THIS year’s UEFA Champions League is not just about two teams battling for the right to stand astride the European game, it is also about a clash of ideals and a journey of affirmation. Liverpool, of course, have been here before, all too often if you ask the fans of clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea, but the premier European trophy has defined the club … Continue reading UEFA Champions League: King Klopp or Crown Prince Mauricio?

Europe’s most prolific teams

MANCHESTER CITY are probably the most successful team in Europe this season in that they won all three domestic trophies on offer. But City did not have the best league record across the continent, that honour arguably belongs to Red Star Belgrade of Serbia and Greece’s PAOK Salonika. In real terms, Red Star, with 33 wins from 37 games, have a win rate of 89.19% … Continue reading Europe’s most prolific teams

UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

IF Arsenal or Chelsea were not up against a local rival, Baku and the Europa League might not mean as much as it probably does to the fans of both clubs – those that decide to make the journey to Azerbaijan. The fact that the clubs have returned tickets to UEFA says a lot about the appeal of Baku as the stage for a major … Continue reading UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

Bayern’s double – more nutritional, healthy and balanced

IN BRITAIN, we used to think we were the only football community that truly cared about domestic cup competitions. Other countries were blasé about their FA Cup, it was considered to be a sideshow to the league. In recent years, the media, fans and some clubs have forced us to admit that the FA Cup has lost some cachet, that it is not the primary … Continue reading Bayern’s double – more nutritional, healthy and balanced

Poland crowns a new champion

FOR the first time in 28 years, a new name has been engraved upon Poland’s football championship trophy. Piast Gliwice, a team from Upper Silesia, have won their first ever title, outshining reigning champions Legia Warsaw, who had won the Ekstraklasa in five of the last six seasons. Piast finished four points ahead of Legia, clinching the title on the last day when beating Lech … Continue reading Poland crowns a new champion

The Eagles have landed again

ON SATURDAY May 18, hundreds of Portuguese expatriates gathered in south London to celebrate Benfica’s 37thPrimeira Liga title. The Wandsworth area has a large Portuguese community and there’s even a restaurant, Casa Benfica, that draws in the fans. Benfica clinched the title with a 4-1 victory against Santa Clara, meaning they finished two points ahead of reigning champions, and fierce rivals, Porto. A crowd of … Continue reading The Eagles have landed again

For Ajax, it could be 1974 revisited

THE UEFA Champions League knockout stages never disappoint – they represent the very best football in the world, more engaging than the World Cup, more exciting than the Premier and more dramatic than an episode of Line of Duty. Where else can ecstasy turn to agony, grown men openly weep, higher orders get called upon and TV pundits abandon all decorum and reserve? The competition … Continue reading For Ajax, it could be 1974 revisited

Only in Liverpool

JÜRGEN Klopp has his legend, his place in Kop mythology. Whatever happens over the next few weeks, be it gallant failure in the Premier League title race and Champions League final in Madrid, Liverpool have their moment, a comeback that outstrips Saint-Etienne (1976-77) and Istanbul (2004-05). Just how much this drama was carved out of a keep ‘em awake firework display, Barca capitulating for the … Continue reading Only in Liverpool

Football needs more from Milan

THERE WAS a time when English football glanced enviously across Europe to Italy, viewing its league as the epitome of glamour, cosmopolitanism and affluence. Italy had the world’s leading players, the most passionate and colourful supporters and the financial clout to attract top talent. Furthermore, its clubs, AC Milan, Internazionale and Juventus, among others, represented the European elite. That was in the 1980s and 1990s, … Continue reading Football needs more from Milan

Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs

FOR Premier League advocates, the first legs of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals must have been a huge disappointment. The chances of an all-England final look very remote now, although those that enthuse over the essence of European club competitions will be thankful – there is nothing so anti-climatic than a European final between two clubs from the same country. The smart money, however, is … Continue reading Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs