SoccerLens Archives for January 2009

Chelsea 2-1 Everton - Goals

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Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 in the 2009 FA Cup Final to record their only trophy of the season in Guus Hiddink's last game in charge.

Louis Saha had given Everton the lead straight from kickoff in the fastest goal ever to be scored in the FA Cup final, but Chelsea came back strongly in the first half, with Drogba scoring from a free header in the 21st minute before Lampard sealed the deal in the 72nd minute.

Madrid Merry-go-round: Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United remains a mystery

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Last summer I was bored of all the Ronaldo moving to Real Madrid stuff pretty quickly, it carried on through right up until the transfer deadline and I'm fairly sure everyone was thinking ‘just go already'.

When Florentino Perez started his campaign for the Real Madrid presidency he didn't seem too keen on Ronaldo and focused his attention on other targets.

Transfer Rumors (29 May 09): Benzema in, Tevez (and more) out at United, Chelsea to land CSKA Moscow star Zhirkov, Fulham after Kaka’s brother, and more

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The party is still going on in Barcelona, and there might still yet be a few angry hangovers in Manchester right now, but the aftermath of the Champions League final means transfer gossip aplenty for the loser.

As you would expect, a few butts will be met by boots this summer at Manchester United, and a few new faces will take their place in an attempt to help erase the disappointment of the Rome defeat.

A tale of two trebles: Manchester United v Barcelona

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By winning the Champions League on Wednesday evening Pep Guardiola could stand be chucked in the air safe in the knowledge that he had become the first manager in Spain to have won a treble that comprised of a league and European Cup double.

Even though they failed to retain the Champions League it's still been a truly magnificent season for Manchester United too and while it may be considered something of a ‘poor man's treble', a treble they have won nonetheless.

Soccerlens Podcast: The Embarrassed United, The Brilliant Barcelona and their summer transfers

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On the fourteenth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by the editor of TEAMtalk.com, Simon Wilkes to look back at Barcelona's triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome.

The show will be debating exactly where things went wrong for Sir Alex Ferguson and his side and Simon will be offering his thoughts on just how good this Barcelona team is under the leadership of Pep Guardiola.

Soccerlens Podcast: A Pep talk, Iniesta and the brilliance of Barcelona

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On the fourteenth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by the editor of TEAMtalk.com, Simon Wilkes to look back at Barcelona's triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome.

The show will be debating exactly where things went wrong for Sir Alex Ferguson and his side and Simon will be offering his thoughts on just how good this Barcelona team is under the leadership of Pep Guardiola.

Is the FA Cup Relevant to the Modern Game?

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Chelsea began the 2008/2009 season with astronomical expectations and a new manager in place, the fans and players were chomping at the bit to avenge the pain of coming so close in the Carling Cup, Champions League and Premier League in 2008.

However, for a multitude of reasons that warrant a topic unto themselves Chelsea were been unable to put in the sustained performances to exceed or match 2007/2008's medal tally.

Transfer Rumors (28 May 09): AC Milan’s Pirlo to follow Ancelotti to Chelsea?, Stoke City offer Man United’s Scholes player/coach chance, Aston Villa intere

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This weekend will mark the official end of the season in Europe's top leagues, and after that, we can look forward to the start of the summer transfer window. As the window approaches, the transfer news and rumors are running rampant, and while a number of top clubs are already busy making signings, many more are trying to make sure they're not too far behind.

The Juventus Revolution: Why the Bianconeri will take Europe by storm in 09/10

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The transfer window hasn't even started yet, and some of the most anticipated signings have already been finalised.

Kaka will be unveiled for Real Madrid next Thursday in a sensational move. Cristiano Ronaldo announced that the UCL final in Rome would be his last match for Man U, before going to Real Madrid.

McBride on Fire as Chicago top MLS East

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The 14th Major League Soccer season has had something of a messy start. Of 74 matches played at the time of writing, 27 have resulted in draws. Matches are frequently turning on defensive errors and the officiating is once again prone to horrific incompetence. But for the past few weeks a few sides have begun to hit some form and rise to the top.

Barca rule Europe, and have done it their way

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For nine minutes, I was smug and self-satisfied, as well as disappointed. My pre-match predictions were being played out in front of my eyes; the men in all-white were on top, and the Catalans were struggling to adapt to the intensity of their play.

Victor Valdes had taken just thirty seconds to nervously prod a backpass from Gerard Piqué out of play, and Cristiano Ronaldo had already hit three shots at goal, one of which had drawn a less than authoritative stop from Valdes' legs, with only Piqué preventing Park from burying the rebound.

Chelsea v. Everton - Live Blog - F.A. Cup Finals - 30 May 2009

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Watch Chelsea v Everton live here.

Chelsea v. Everton
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, England
Competition: F.A. Cup Finals
Date: 30 May 2009
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT, 10:00 EST

Chelsea and Everton will clash for the right to lift the F.A. Cup at Wembley Stadium!

Transfer Rumors (27 May 09): Manchester United ready to pay up for Tevez, Liverpool target Middlesbrough’s Wheater, Arsenal after Crystal Palace star Clyne, a

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Much of the focus in the football world today is on the massive UEFA Champions League final showdown between Manchester United and Barcelona (which you can follow live on SL), and rightfully so. And in case you haven't seen it yet, check out Soccerlens' exclusive interview with Lionel Messi (yes, the one and only).

CL Special: Manchester United v Barcelona Live Blogs

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The season isn't actually over yet, but several managers have quit (or in Sunderland's case jumped before they were pushed out) and clubs from Celtic to Chelsea are looking for a new manager. Remarkably, Eriksson is not on any shortlist this time around (not even the bookies) and perhaps more surprisingly, Southgate and Brown still have jobs while Shearer is seriously considering sticking around at Newcastle.

The True Value of The “Champions” League

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"Ceux sont les meilleurs equips"
"Die Meister, die Besten, les meilleurs equipes, the champions."

What UEFA has tried to do in the infamous CL anthem played before European nights, during European nights, and even during those new god-awful commercials played during half-time is instill in all viewers the sense that the teams that participate in its glory competition, the UEFA Champions League, are truly "die besten".

Sunderland want Wigan to get relegated next season

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By some accounts, Sunderland should have been relegated this season. They didn't, and with Ellis Short due to complete a full buy-out of the north-east club, the Black Cats are looking for a manager to take them to the 'next level', whatever that means.

While the press has hopped from the impossible appointment of Frank Rijkaard (waiting for Chelsea or Milan, pending Ancelotti's fate) to flirting with the idea of bringing back Steve McClaren (staying with FC Twente) and Martin Jol (now going to Ajax) to even tempting Gordon Strachan to join the show (now taking a break from football), one name has stayed the bookies' favourite - Steve Bruce.

Transfer Rumors (26 May 09): Chelsea in hunt for Inter target Arnautovic, Aston Villa target Liverpool winger Babel, Bayern Munich sign Stuttgart striker Gomez,

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The summer transfer window hasn't even opened yet, but a couple of big names from Europe's top leagues are already on the move to new destinations, and a few others could soon have new addresses. Who are those players, and where are they going? We've got all of that and more in today's transfer news roundup, which includes news and rumors from England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and even Turkey.

This is not a season review, because this season happened already!

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The phenomenon of déjà vu is quite common to us nowadays, endlessly chronicled in movies and novels. As my comrade Alex Bogatiryov stated in his blog piece, one of the questions on all of our minds recently has to be, "Do we have luck?"

Well, it seems to me that if you compare the past season to the one ending right now, Chelsea are quite lucky indeed.

Breaking down the Manchester United/Barcelona Champions League final

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The stage is set for one truly wonderful team to ascend to heights attained never before. No Spanish side has ever done the treble in history. No side in the history of the Champions league has managed to successfully defend it.

Manchester United and Barcelona stand at the brink of imposing greatness.

The Big Interview: Lionel Messi on imposing Barca’s style on Manchester United and stopping Crisitano Ronaldo

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Like a butterfly floating around the pitch, Lionel Messi has an uncanny ability for making things look easy.

With the ball at his feet and a pair of defenders flanking him on both sides, what seemed like a lost cause only seconds before turns into an opportunity to make the opposition pay.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Greatest Manchester United XI

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Obviously, we know that Sir Alex Ferguson has won many trophies, coached a lot of great players, and accomplished a lot of extraordinary things during his time at Manchester United. His critics (namely Rafa Benitez) might point to the amount of money that he's spent, especially in recent years, as evidence of Sir Alex Ferguson buying his way to greatness.

Shearer is the man to bring Newcastle back. Honest.

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Forty eight hours have passed, yet still the inquests rumble on. Still the post-mortem is being carried out, still each and every name and role is under scrutiny, with every pundit and his dog having their say on exactly where Newcastle have gone so terribly wrong, and how they can sort out this most farcical of quandaries.

Soccerlens Podcast: Manchester United v Barcelona Preview and Newcastle hit rock bottom

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On episode thirteen of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by Off The Post's Rob Parker and Soccerlens blogger Neil Jones to preview the Champions League final and to sum up the final day of the Premier League season.

The show will be looking in detail at the showpiece clash between Manchester United and Barcelona and there's also a chat about what the future may hold for Newcastle United after their relegation to the Championship.

Why Middlesbrough and Newcastle shouldn’t, and Sunderland and Hull City should, be in the Championship

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How would the Premier League table look if refs got all the key decisions right? A quick glance at the Right Result league tables for the last 3 seasons will tell you how crucial refereeing decisions can be for certain clubs.

In the 06/07 season, refereeing mistakes allowed Tottenham to claim a European spot while pushing Aston Villa all the way down to 11th.

Manchester United v Barcelona - The Numbers

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Here's a look at key Champions League, Manchester United and Barcelona stats going into Wednesday's game. Victor has done a great job previewing the Champions League final so once you've browsed through the stats below, head over to the match page for discussion, live coverage and the post-match report.

Transfer Rumors (25 May 09): Real Madrid make 65m Kaka bid, Arsenal and Merseyside rivals chase Marseille’s Cana, Bayern Munich to bid for Portsmouth defender

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The start of the summer transfer window is a week away, and with seasons at an end or almost at an end, many signings are already completed or near completion, and many more are set to come over the coming days and weeks.

Spain

Real Make 65m Kaka Bid

Real Madrid have made a 65m bid for AC Milan star Kaka.

Two Toon tales as both teams in Newcastle face a bleak future

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As of 6pm on Sunday, the moratorium around Newcastle United FC started. Over the coming days expect to see the words "big club" and much discussion of whether Alan Shearer will stay on in the dugout fill the column inches, as Newcastle become the highest profile club to be relegated from the Premier League in many years.

Should Arsenal cash in on Adebayor?

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Earlier on this season I wrote a column highlighting why I thought Emmanuel Adebayor was pivotal to Arsenal's success and that the doubters had to see sense and appreciate the importance he has to Arsene Wenger's side.

I admit it. I've changed my mind.

I still stand by my opinion that Adebayor has great ability and that his natural style benefits the way the Gunners play but the truth is, to be successful in sport you have to have great desire.

England squad for Kazakhstan and Andorra - June 2009

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England take on Kazakhstan (away) on Saturday, June 6 2009 before playing host to at Wembley on Wednesday, June 10 2009.

England currently have 5 wins out of 5 in World Cup qualifying, and despite this being the end of the season Capello's team should have enough in the tank to take 6 points from these two fixtures and almost guarantee qualification for South Africa 2010.

Shoud Barcelona Let Eto’o Go’o?

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Samuel Eto'o was in the shop window last summer. He was on then new manager Pep Guardiola's 'clear-out' list from day one. There was talk of a move to AC Milan. They plumped for Ronaldinho. There was also speculation that crosstown rivals Internazionale, with new manager Jose Mourinho, were very interested.

Barcelona fans talk about Guardiola, Manchester United and the Champions League final

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With a record-breaking season coming to an end for Barcelona and their young manager, what do Barca fans think of Guardiola, Barcelona's chances in the Champions League, Manchester United and Barcelona's future?

Futbol Loco Guardiola from Futbol Loco on Vimeo.

< "Barcelona fans talk about Guardiola, Manchester United and the Champions League final" was originally published at Soccerlens.

Barcelona v. Manchester United - Live Blog - UEFA Champions League Finals - 27 May 2009

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Watch Manchester United v Barcelona live online here.

Manchester United v Barcelona
Stadium: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Competition: UEFA Champions League Final
Date: 27 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45, EST

It's the big one!

Messi to Moutinho, Iniesta to Iaquinta: Top ten Champions League goals of the season

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After months of scintillating football, tremendous goals and a fair bit of controversy too, the Champions League reaches its climax in Rome on Wednesday but who could possibly take the crown of goal of the tournament?

The ball has hit the net a total of 327 times in Europe's premier club competition this season so there's certainly a fair few to choose from.

il Grande Capitano, Paolo Maldini, Says Farewell to the San Siro

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Next week in Florence, Paolo Maldini will end his incredible journey that began at the age of 16 in January 1985 with AC Milan. On Sunday, he will play in his last home game at the San Siro against AS Roma.

Twenty five years at the same club. Numerous honors and accolades.

Transfer Rumors (23 May 09): Liverpool target Barry to cost at least £10m, Manchester City target Aston Villa’s Carew, Chelsea’s Carvalho draws Inter Milan

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It's a relatively light day in transfer news and rumors, but there are still rumors from England, Spain, Italy, and France to report on as we get ready for what should be a wild final day in the English Premier League.

England

O'Neill Puts £10m Price Tag on Barry

If Liverpool or anyone else want to land Aston Villa's Gareth Barry, they'll have to fork out at least £10m for the midfielder.

Are we set for a new set of ‘Galacticos’ at Real Madrid?

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It's that time again in the Spanish capital, the Real Madrid presidential elections. The current favourite is Florentino Perez and it looks an almost certainty he will be the man in the Madrid hotseat next season.

If anyone out there is unaware of who Perez is he has had a spell as president at the Santiago Bernabeu before from 2000 to 2006 – the Galacticos period.

Russian Football: The South Will Rise Again

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According to a Russian proverb, the future belongs to those who know how to wait. And for some of those far beyond the long afternoon shadows of the Luzhniki, the waiting is over.

Late last year, gold was wrenched eastwards to Tatarstan, from whence the Golden Horde once poured west.

Soccerlens Podcast - Survival Sunday, Manchester United’s banner season, Wenger’s future at Arsenal and more

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On episode twelve of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by the founder of EPL Talk, Chris Harris to discuss the final day of the Premier League and of course that intriguing relegation scrap.

The show will be looking specifically at Manchester United and their unprecedented success, Newcastle's woeful season, the future for Wenger and Arsenal, the remarkable work of Roy Hodgson at Fulham and Chris also offers his tips for the drop.

Kansas City Wizards v Chivas USA - Live Blog - MLS

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KANSAS CITY WIZARDS vs CHIVAS USA
COMMUNITYAMERICA BALLPARK, Kansas City, Kan.
May 23, 2009 (WEEK 10) / MLS Game #71
7:30 p.m. CT (FSC/FSE)

Western Conference leaders Chivas USA travel east to take on the Kansas City Wizards Saturday in Major League Soccer. Chivas remains the top team in MLS with 23 points and a 7-1-2 record.

Top of the flops: The five worst Premier League signings of the season!

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There's nothing quite like the buzz and thrill of expectancy when your club announces a new signing. Let's face it, it doesn't matter if you follow a team in the lowest echelons of the Conference South or one of the European superpowers at completely the other end of the spectrum, you just can't beat that feel-good feeling of a new recruit.

Transfer Rumors (21 May 09): Liverpool in 15m bid for Portsmouth defender Johnson, Celtic target Everton’s Moyes as next manager, Bayern Munich lead race for

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We've got a laundry list of transfer news and rumors in today's roundup, from England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France. Who's being linked with big (and small) moves for names from here and there? It's worth noting that Steve McClaren might not be too happy of a man if he read today's roundup.

Liverpool’s Big Step Four-ward

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18, 30, 37, 9, 21, 11. No, these aren't the winning numbers for tonight's National Lottery, they're actually the gap between Liverpool and the winner of the league dating back to the 2002-03 campaign. It's sobering the realise that whilst Liverpool are a world class club, their inability to contend in the Premier League has become comical.

Newcastle’s Best Hope Is In Weakened United Team

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Sunday will see a truly bizarre sight. If tradition is followed, Hull will come out onto the field and form a guard of honour for Manchester United.

Milking the applause, in amongst, will be Zoran Tosic, Corry Evans and Lee Martin.

However, I'm frankly amazed at the backlash Fergie is getting this week for suggesting he'd field a "squad" team against Hull.

In a (Premier) League of their own: The top five signings of the season!

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A top five list comprising of the signings of the season that includes just one player from the big four? I must be barmy right? But in all honesty there hasn't been that many truly remarkable signings across the board during a Premier League campaign that has certainly been one of the best ever.

English Premier League Final Day - Live Blog - 24 May 2009

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English Premier League - Final Day Live Blog
Date: 24 May 2009
Kickoff: 15:00 GMT, 11:00 EST

It's the last day of the English Premier League season and there's still plenty of suspense! Who will join West Brom in the Championship? Can Tottenham do the double over Liverpool?

Transfer Rumors (20 May 09): No Manchester City approach for Barcelona’s Messi, Tottenham interested in Aston Villa’s Barry,

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Who's being linked with moves in today's transfer gossip pages? In today's transfer news and rumors roundup, we've got a little something from several top European leagues to get you over the Wednesday hump.

England

Manchester City Deny Messi Move

Manchester City are denying that they've made an approach for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, after reports that City had offered 150m to buy out the remainder of Messi's contract.

Transfer Rumors (19 May 09): Ribery, Ronaldo, or Valencia for Real Madrid?, Tottenham chase Lazio’s Pandev and Wolfsburg’s Dzeko, Inter set to snap up Genoa

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Another week, another rumor linking Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid. Will it ever end? Not until he actually moves to Madrid, which can't happen soon enough for some. But, until he moves, he'll still be popping up in our transfer news and rumors column, along with several other tidbits from around England and Europe.

Torquay end their two year exile

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As Paul Buckle beckoned his staff and squad pitchside in the dying few seconds of the Conference playoff final, you could forgive the Torquay United manager for wanting to make the most of the day. This was the third time in as many years Buckle had stood on the touchline at Wembley but until this year he'd never tasted victory at the home of English football.

Walker to Wilkins, Beckham to Baker - Five of the best and worst Englishmen in Italy

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It's somewhat rare these days to see an Englishman trying his luck in Europe's top leagues, especially in the tactical cauldron that is Serie A. In fairness, for many, life seemingly begins and ends with the Premier League where visions of a move abroad are often distorted by what many perceive as the ‘greatest league in the world'.

Shakhtar Donetsk v. Werder Bremen - Live Blog - UEFA Cup Final - 20 May 2009

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Shakhtar Donetsk v. Werder Bremen
Stadium: Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey
Competition: UEFA Cup Final
Date: 20 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen will fight for the right to lift the UEFA Cup! Soccerlens will be bringing you the action live!

Transfer Rumors (18 May 09): Chelsea to make Tevez move, Liverpool and Manchester City after French star Gourcuff, Arsenal to rival Aston Villa for Ajax defende

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Seasons are coming to a close around Europe, and while many big names will make moves in the upcoming summer transfer window, we're also going to see a few notable managers change clubs in the near future. With that in mind, today's transfer news and rumors roundup has a little managerial news from around Europe mixed in with the regular player transfer gossip.

Inaugural Wembley Cup set to host Barca, Celtic, Tottenham and Al-Ahly

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Tournaments like Arsenal's 'Emirates Cup' and AJAX's 'Amsterdam Tournament' have become big draws for football fans looking for some quality football in the summer season. With high quality clubs and big venues, you almost get the same experience of an early season Champions League group stage match in what is the slowest time of the year for the sport.

Claudio Ranieri sacked by Juventus

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It's been a while since Juventus fans have seen three points. You have to go back to a 24 March, 4-1 victory over AS Roma to find a match where the club walked away the better side. Since that match the club have spiraled out of control, losing a match to Genoa and drawing the other six matches in the process.

Newcastle deserved a point, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United deserved an extra goal

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The penultimate weekend of the season provoked plenty of Right Result activity at the top and bottom of the table.

Manchester United's day just about went to plan as they secured their 11th Premier League title with a nil-nil draw against Arsenal. It wasn't without a few jitters before the end of the game at Old Trafford, but such concerns should have been avoided.

WBA Are The Latest Victims Of Football Fantasy

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West Brom are now mathematically relegated. Well, what did they accomplish? Did they enjoy their stay? And despite all the nice touches their midfielders have had, will we really miss them?

Every season one of the promoted clubs takes on their mantle; they will be the promoted side that will play "The Football.

Samuel Eto’o’s form leaves Guardiola with some big decisions

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Two goals in the last 9 games. That is the total tally for Samuel Eto'o. Here is an overview over the games:

  1. FCÂ Barcelona vs. Recreativo Huelva 2-0 (Eto'o didn't participate)
  2. Bayern Munich vs. FCÂ Barcelona 1-1
  3. Getafe vs. FCÂ Barcelona 0-1
  4. FCÂ Barcelona vs.

Learning from history: How Benitez must avoid the mistakes made by Houllier

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My Grandad always used to say "The Runners Up in anything are just the first losers". It is a notion that is unlikely to endear himself to the man who he refers to consistently as "Bennertez", as Rafa Benitez wakes up today contemplating being the "first loser" of this season's Premier League.

Italian invasion: Five of the best and worst Italians to ever play in England

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There haven't been too many Italians that have made that considerably bold step leap of moving from the proverbial comfort zone of Serie A to the Premier League. Although if young Federico Macheda needs any advice on how he may be able to forge a long and fruitful career at Old Trafford then he may be best served having a quick glance at my run down of five of the best (and worst) Italians to have plied their trade in England's top flight.

Football Ringtones: Having a Football Stadium on your Mobile

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Ringtones are standard features on any mobile phone nowadays. They can be set to any jingle, melody or song. Some mobile phones allow users to assign different ringtones to their contacts. This feature allows them to recognise who is calling without even looking at the phone. Football ringtones are some of the most frequently used by mobile-phone users due to their fantastic tunes.

When To Watch Football: Find Football TV Schedules Online

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A soccer match between two top teams can be the most anticipated sports spectacle on any given day, hands down. Many TV viewers worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom, would rather watch a soccer game than any other sports event, be it baseball, basketball or boxing. Nothing beats the thrill of an exhilarating goal or the adrenaline rush of live soccer action.

Interview with Heather Mitts, USWNT, Olympic Gold Medalist, Boston Breakers Defender and ESPN’s “Sexiest Female Athlete”

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Heather Mitts is a left back starting for the Boston Breakers in the new WPS league. Mitts has earned 100 caps with the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT), a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, and featured colorfully in several magazines.

From running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, to her views on collegiate soccer, a possible future in broadcast journalism, and being ESPN's "Sexiest Female Athlete," Mitts runs the gamut in an interview prior to her May 17th home match with the Washington Freedom at Harvard Stadium.

Soccer Mania on the Telly and Online

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A soccer match between two top teams can be the most anticipated sports spectacle on any given day, hands down. Many TV viewers worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom, would rather watch a soccer game than any other sports event, be it baseball, basketball or boxing. Nothing beats the thrill of an exhilarating goal or the adrenaline rush of live soccer action.

It’s time to get out there and vote for five EPL Awards!

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It's that time of the year again, the time where we ask you to get your mum, your dad and all of your friends together for our favourite season. Yes, that's right, it's voting season!

Were were recently informed by our friends over at EPL Talk that Soccerlens is up for FIVE 2008/09 Premier League awards!

Xabi Alonso wonders if anyone has what it takes to be Liverpool’s 12th man

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Do you know what year Shankly started managing at Liverpool? How about the year Liverpool first raised the European Cup? If you know the answers to these questions and more, then you may have a chance to be Liverpool's 12th man.

Adidas and Liverpool want to see just how knowledgeable you really are.

Three Rounds remain in a crazy La Liga season

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It's been a busy week in the world of La Liga. Javier Saviola finally realised that he wasn't a required player at Real Madrid, and if he actually wanted to be able to write the word ‘footballer' as his occupation on his arrival card whenever he nicked back to Buenos Aires for a holiday, he would have to go in search of new employers.

Fulham’s Bobby Zamora sits down for a chat with Soccerlens

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The Fulham striker tells Gary Andrews how Roy Hodgson's organisation has the Cottagers flying high, and why he's unconcerned by his lack of goals.

When Fulham head to Newcastle this weekend, casual observers could be forgiven for expressing surprise that the two clubs' respective positions aren't reversed.

Xabi Alonso wonders if anyone has what it takes to be Liverpool’s 12th man

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Do you know what year Shankly started managing at Liverpool? How about the year Liverpool first raised the European Cup? If you know the answers to these questions and more, then you may have a chance to be Liverpool's 12th man.

Adidas and Liverpool want to see just how knowledgeable you really are.

Gerrard benefits from Benitez’s tactical eye

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Steven Gerrard rarely likes watching games from the sidelines, but he was all smiles last night as he watched a Liverpool legends side featuring some of his boyhood heroes Kenny Dalglish included defeat an all-stars team managed by the unlikely duo of Ricky Tomlinson and Jamie Carragher, in the Hillsborough/Marina Dalglish Memorial Match at Anfield.

Soccerlens Podcast - Cheerleaders, takeovers and getting to grips with MLS

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On the eleventh episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by US soccer enthusiasts Mark Fishkin and Lisa Eisenmenger to discuss MLS.

The show will be looking specifically at the structure of MLS and how the league can be improved, MLS and it's connections with the English Premier League and there's even a chat about the merits of cheerleaders!

The Guardian’s view on the seven deadly sins of football

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For most of us the Premier League is a golden idol that we come to worship every weekend. It doesn't matter where we are, we find a way to make the trip home to sit in front of our telly and bask in the warm glow of the greatest league in the world.

Many of us also worship our club and the players that step on the pitch each week wearing the shirt we love.

Manchester United v. Arsenal - Live Blog - English Premier League - 16 May 2009

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Manchester United v. Arsenal
Stadium: Old Trafford, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 16 May 2009
Kickoff: 11:45 GMT, 7:45 EST

Manchester United will try and clinch their third-consecutive Premiership crown when they take on Arsenal at Old Trafford!

Transfer Rumors (14 May 09): Chelsea after Arsenal’s Adebayor and Villa’s Young, Tottenham want Santa Cruz, Barcelona to land Inter’s Ibrahimovic, and mor

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Is it safe to say that striker receives more time in the transfer gossip pages from January to December than any other position? Several well-known strikers are in today's transfer news and rumors, but the goal-getters aren't the only men in the summer shop window. In today's roundup, we've got tidbits from several of Europe's top leagues, with several big names being linked with big clubs.

Perez dreams of Galácticos return to the Bernabéu

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Former Real Madrid player Steve McManaman called it the "Disneyfication of Real Madrid"; others scoffed at the idea as a bad science experiment gone wrong. If there was ever a time where football was a peak of absurdity, this was most definitely the time.

Los Galacticos. The mere mention of the two words together conjure up memories of watching some of the world's great names in the sport Beckham, Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Owen stepping onto the same pitch wearing the same kit and playing together in a match that wasn't a friendly for charity.

Transfer Rumors (13 May 09): Liverpool bid for Valencia’s Silva, Manchester United land another young Brazilian defender, Blackburn bid for Barcelona’s Boja

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Several of England and Europe's top clubs already being proactive with their summer transfer plans. Who's making bids and trying to seal a few deals before the window officially opens?

Liverpool Make £15m Bid for Valencia's Silva

Liverpool have made a take-it-or-leave-it offer of £15m to Valencia for winger David Silva.

Manchester United on the brink after Tevez adds to his CV

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For an hour the dreamers had begun to dream. Households across Merseyside & Greater Manchester had seen its occupants edge ever closer to the television, whilst inside the JJB the travelling contingent of Manchester United supporters waited. And waited.

They knew it would come, it always does.

End of an era for Reading but Coppell walks away with his pride intact

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Steve Coppell's face, notable for giving little away, told it all. His Reading side had spent the best part of an hour of this Play-Off semi final bossing an inferior Burnley outfit as they searched for the all-important, tie-levelling, goal, And then conceded two sucker punches. That those sucker punches were of the most stunning quality mattered little to the 53 year-old from Norris Green.

Why Athletic Bilbao Can Win the Copa Del Rey

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"We are going to surprise Barcelona and we are going to win this final." This confident statement wasn't from the mouth of a drunk Basque fisherman in a Bilbao bar. Or one of the 20,000 fans who watched their teams final training session at San Mames. It was spouted by in form Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente.

Transfer Rumors (12 May 09): Valencia to replace Real-bound Ronaldo at Manchester United, Bolton’s Cahill to cost Arsenal £20m, Liverpool to bid for Middlesb

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You know too many days can't pass without Cristiano Ronaldo being mentioned with Real Madrid, even if he's already said he's going to stay at Manchester United.

The in-form winger is in the transfer gossip pages today, but there are several more big names and big clubs to discuss in today's transfer news and rumors roundup.

Ronaldo Seleção! O Fenômeno primed for Brazil return

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Since bouncing back from yet ANOTHER knee injury, the cuddly forward that is Ronaldo has been creating yet more headlines, without a transvestite in sight.

Having signed for Corinthians who have just been promoted, Ronaldo took on his umpteenth battle to get fit and prove once again that he is not just a walking talking teddy bear.

Big men step up to the plate as Newcastle wrestle free

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St James' Park didn't know what to think. Michael Owen did, but he knew he better not say. The captain's armband had already passed to Nicky Butt by the time the fourth official's board went up. Newcastle's skipper's number was on it. Their former skipper's, and current manager's, number was the one to replace him.

Surviving the summer in the football league

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Calculators and collection buckets look to be the order of the day this summer as at least three football league clubs - Southampton, Stockport and Darlington - fight for their very existence. If rumours are to be believed, these aren't the only clubs from Championship downwards who are sailing close to administration.

Arsenal’s youth movement is still missing one critical piece

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The Emirates Stadium had a very cavernous feel to on Tuesday night as Arsenal trudged off the pitch and it had nothing to do with the sheer size of Gunners' behemoth playhouse. The cavernous feel had more to do with the result against Manchester United that left Arsenal players and fans wondering where the team was headed.

Transfer Rumors (11 May 09): Spurs enter race for Manchester United’s Tevez, Arsenal want Russian striker Pogrebnyak, Valencia’s Silva in Juventus negotiati

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It's a new week, and we've got a fresh batch of transfer news and rumors from around Europe. We've got tidbits from England, Italy, and Germany in today's roundup, with names big, medium, and small all being linked with moves from here to there.

England

Tottenham Enter Race for Tevez

Tottenham have joined the queue of teams looking to sign Carlos Tevez, as Spurs are being linked with a 25m offer for the Argentine hit-man.

Transfer Rumors (10 May 09) - Liverpool to sign Eredivisie star Pranjic, Celtic target Newcastle’s Owen, Barcelona star Xavi staying put, and more

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Another day, another several notable names linked with moves as the start of the summer transfer window edges closer by the day. Which rumors are worth buying, and which would should you throw out with the weekend trash?

England

Liverpool's Alonso a Manchester City Target?

Manchester City are set to make a bid for Liverpool's Xabi Alonso, which could be in the range of 18m.

Are Chelsea Fans Just Bitter?

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Chelsea are not popular in Europe there is little respect of a team that the snobbish upper echelons of football in both England and Europe do not believe deserves to be rubbing shoulders with them.

The evolution from 1994 - 2003 in which Chelsea came from mid-table mediocrity to Champions League contenders playing attractive but inconsistent football respected by all has been forgotten and replaced by the Abramovich era of disdain.

West Ham v Liverpool - Live Blog - English Premier League

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Liverpool prepare to take on West Ham in a pivotal clash for both clubs. On the line for Rafa's reds is a chance to stay on the title challenge merry-go-round; for West Ham, they'll be playing for the opportunity to play in the Europa Cup next season.

Will Liverpool revenge their shock loss to West Ham last season at Upton Park, or will the Hammers find a way to end Liverpool's title dream?

Blades blunt North End’s ambitions at Deepdale

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Like Marmite, the Football League Play-Offs have always divided public opinion. There are those who revel in the unmatched drama and tension that the three-game, post-season soirée, whilst its detractors point to an injustice that a side that missed out on automatic promotion by a single victory (Sheffield United) should be forced into a two-legged fixture with one who scraped into the top six thanks to a missed penalty (Preston North End).

Transfer Rumors (08 May 09): Manchester City not interested in Real’s Raul, Bayern’s Ribery prefers Real over Manchester United, Carew wants Norway teammate

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In today's transfer news and rumors roundup, we've got rumors from England, Spain, Italy, and France to grab your attention. Some big names could be on the move, and a few

England

Raul Not on Manchester City's Radar

Manchester City are likely going to be gunning for a big-name striker in the summer, but according to Mark Hughes, it won't be Real Madrid legend Raul, who has been linked with the club.

Premier League Predictions: Arsenal, Chelsea, United and City to draw, Everton to beat Tottenham, Newcastle to beat Middlesbrough and more

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We've come to that point in the Premier League campaign where teams go one of two ways: they either learn to rise above the the rest and make an indelible mark at the end of the season, or they end up falling into a pit of despair and never coming back.

Which road will your team take this weekend?

Soccerlens Podcast - The French Kiss, The Italian Job and the best (and worst) of Spain and England

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On the tenth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by Radio Five Live's Andy Brassell and also Football FanCast's David Schiavone to talk about Italian football, Ligue 1 and those fascinating Champions League semi-finals.

The show will be looking specifically at Lyon's demise in France, the horrible reality of racism in Serie A, incompetent referees and the futures of three young stars of European football amongst many other interesting topics.

Webb and Ovrebo add more fuel to the ref fire

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Graham Poll was quick to speak about Howard Webb's decision to award a penalty to Manchester United when the club was 2-0 down against Tottenham Hotspur.

Of course Manchester United were fortunate to be awarded a penalty by Howard Webb - even at full speed it appeared clear that Heurelho Gomes played the ball away from Michael Carrick's feet.

Transfer Rumors (07 May 09): Major English interest in Juventus striker Trezeguet, Arsenal interested in Tottenham defender, Everton and Tottenham after Lyon’

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After a pretty active start to the week, the transfer news and rumors have subsided quite a bit over the last couple of days.

However, we've got a solid compilation of transfer news and rumors from England and Italy to tide you over until tomorrow.

England

Trezeguet Garnering English Interest

David Trezeguet could be set to leave Juventus this summer, and according to his father/agent, is receiving interest from ‘everyone' in England, along with Lyon and Barcelona.

Chelsea vs Barcelona: The Best Argument for Video Replay This Side of Vicarage Road

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"Football defeated anti-football," raved the Catalan press on Wednesday night. "Pain and recrimination," cried the English. In one of the most bizarre Champions League matches in recent memory, Barcelona managed to draw 1-1 with Chelsea and advance to the final in Rome on the away goals rule.

Il Grande Torino: The Superga Tragedy 60 Years On

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May 4th 2009 witnessed the 60th anniversary of the Superga air disaster. It is a day remembered throughout Italy, with a sense of tragedy and mysticism, but ultimately fondness. Il Grande Torino as the side were affectionately known, were undoubtedly the best side in Italy, in Europe and arguably the World.

Is Ibrahimovic the Man for Real Madrid?

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If you believe the Spanish press or Roysten Drenthe (I know, that's foolish at the best of times, but humor me), then Zlatan Ibrahimovic's rumored move from Internazionale to Real Madrid this summer is pretty much a done deal. The player himself has also intimated that his future may lie away from the San Siro, preferably in La Liga.

The case for separate East and West MLS All-Star matches v foreign powers in 2010

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MLS is ready to double the ante for its annual All-Star competition in 2010 by creating two separate teams for the Eastern and Western Conferences to compete against two international powers.

This July 29, EPL Everton and keeper Tim Howard compete against the MLS All-Stars at Utah's Rio Tinto Stadium, the seventh and newest soccer specific stadium in the country.

Chelsea v Barcelona - Goals and Videos

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A freak goal from Essien's left foot that even had the neutrals out of their seats, 80 minutes of drudgery, 3 contentious calls that could have gone for Chelsea, one incorrect red card against Barcelona, incessant diving from Drogba and Anelka, and then a beauty off Iniesta's foot.

People will remember the end of the game - the drama, the joy, the despair, the anger at the referee - but most of this game was about Barcelona failing to adapt to Chelsea's tactical advantage and only a moment of brilliance by Iniesta (coupled with jangled nerves from Chelsea) gave Barcelona an advantage on away goals and nudged them through to a final against Manchester United.

Barton Should Learn From Fletcher Example

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The past few days have seen the headlines, perhaps not dominated, but certainly bothered by two tackles. Both resulted in straight reds, both came when the game was already dead and buried, but neither bore any resemblance whatsoever to the other.

It is difficult to envisage two players with less in common than Joey Barton and Darren Fletcher.

Transfer Rumors (05 May 09): Real promised Prem stars, Manchester United want Ribery, Tottenham want Chamakh and more

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There are a lot of big names in today's transfer news and rumors, so keep on reading for tidbits from England, Spain, and Italy.

Spain

Real Madrid Presidential Hopefuls Outline Targets

You know the Real Madrid presidential campaigns are on in earnest when the promises are flying around like gangbusters.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United - Goals

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The build-up to the game was dominated by Wenger confidently boasting that Arsenal were capable of beating Manchester United at the Emirates and that it would be the Gunners heading to Rome.

The United camp were relatively quieter, with the biggest news regarding United being a statement by Ronaldo about the death of the Real Madrid dream and news out of Germany that United had lodged an offer for Franck Ribery.

Joey Barton - How do you defend the indefensible?

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This must be a first. A story comes out of Newcastle United that ISN'T a shock. Joey Barton suspended by the club "until further notice", in addition to his three game FA ban, and unlikely to play for the club again regardless of whether Alan Shearer runs back into the arms of Gary Lineker at the end of the current season.

Transfer Rumors (05 May 09): Real presidential hopefuls promise Prem stars, Manchester United’s Vidic offered to Barcelona, Manchester United to bid for trio,

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There are a lot of big names in today's transfer news and rumors, so keep on reading for tidbits from England, Spain, and Italy.

Spain

Real Madrid Presidential Hopefuls Outline Targets

You know the Real Madrid presidential campaigns are on in earnest when the promises are flying around like gangbusters.

Can Super Depor Rejoin Europe’s Big Guns?

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In response to Deportivo la Coruna's game against Valladolid on the weekend, the Spanish press were unanimous - average. "Depor accelerated toward Europe with the handbrake on" read La Voz de Galicia. "It's worst performance of the season at the Riazor," wrote Eugenio Cobas in La Opinion A Coruna.

Arsenal beat Sunderland in Ladies FA Cup Final

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Yesterday was the women's FA Cup Final and as it was in my current hometown I decided to take a look out of curiosity as I must admit I know little about the women's version of the game.

The FA Cup final remains the highlight of the women's football calendar in the UK, with live BBC coverage it is the one day of the year in which the women's game comes to the attention of a mainly ambivalent general public.

Shrewd Sami: Liverpool’s Hyypia was the club’s best signing in the last 10 years

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£2.5million. That's all it took to get Dutch outfit Willem II to part with Finnish centre back Sami Hyypia back in May 1999. Looking back on all of Hyypia's accomplishments over the past 10 years you've got to believe Williem II are kicking themselves for letting the player get away for such a low cost.

What is happening to Real Madrid?

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Real Madrid are historically the most successful club in Spain, Europe and probably the world, as well as one of the richest if not the richest club in the world. Over the years they've had some fantastic players and played some mouth-watering football but things have changed at the Santiago Bernabeu and as an outsider I have to wonder what exactly is going on at Real Madrid.

Transfer Rumors (04 May 09): Ronaldo to stay at Manchester United, two in, one out at Liverpool, Real Madrid after Evra, and more

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It's a new week, and to kickstart the new week, we've got plenty of transfer news and rumors involving some of the game's top names to get your brain stirring again

Below, we have transfer rumors from England, Italy, and Spain, so if you're a fan of the Premier League, La Liga, or Serie A, you should get your fill of transfer tidbits today.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United - Live Blog - UEFA Champions League - 5 May 2009

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Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United - Manchester United win 4-1 on aggregate
Stadium: Emirates Stadium, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Semifinals, Leg #2
Date: 5 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Arsenal were blown out of the game inside 11 minutes as Manchester United - aided by poor Arsenal defending - raced to a 2-goal lead thanks to goals from Park Ji Sung and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona - Live Blog - UEFA Champions League - 6 May 2009

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Watch Chelsea v Barcelona Live!

Chelsea (Essien 9′) 1-1 Barcelona (Iniesta 90′ + 3) (Barcelona win 1-1 on Aggregate on Away Goals Rule)
Stadium: Stamford Bridge, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Semifinals, Leg #2
Date: 6 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Barcelona pulled off a great escape and eliminated Chelsea to advance to the Champions League Final!

Devon-sent promotion for Exeter to League One

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Writing about Exeter City gaining promotion is starting to become an annual occurrence. This, perhaps, isn't a sentence that I expected to write for Soccerlens. Not that you'll get many complaints from this end.

After finally making it back into the league last season after five long years in the Conference, the Grecians have now won back-to-back promotions for the first time in their history.

An Ode to Barcelona

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If Barcelona lose to Chelsea on Wednesday, it will be a monumental injustice. This game, for once, is as important as the pundits make it out to be: it is the battle between everything that is wrong with football (Chelsea) and the few remaining glimmers of hope for the sport (Barcelona).

Chelsea, as we all know, are the archetypical villains of the modern football world.

Teamstats.net Review

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Picture this: You and a bunch of your mates are sitting around your flat on a Saturday night talking about your most recent team loss earlier that morning to a rival club up the road. Somebody then blurts out, "it feels like we've been on 12 points for the last month! When was the last time we secured a point in our Saturday league?

Football Manager 2010 - Top 10 Wish List

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Football Manager. Just saying those two words amongst a group of football-mad mates will almost surely send everyone into a state of euphoria. For many the game is a way to relax on a Saturday afternoon; for others, the game is life an addiction, if you will.

Whatever side of the fence you sit on there's one thing all groups can agree on, and that's the need to consistently critique the game from the day we get it in our hands.

Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona - Goals

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Tonight's El Clasico saw 4 goals in each half, the near confirmation of the title heading to Nou Camp and a sobering, tragic and glorious pounding of Real Madrid (depending on which side you're on).

Real Madrid scored first in both halves but each time Barcelona mounted a spirited come back with Henry leading the charge.

Who Will Survive the La Liga Relegation Dogfight?

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Last season it was Real Zaragoza, Murcia and Levante. The season before that it was Celta de Vigo, Real Sociedad and Gimnastic de Tarragona. Who will it be this season? Who will suffer the heartbreak of relegation to the Segunda division?

Here's the ladder as it stands before the kick-off of round 34:

11 Almería 33  -12  40 12 Athletic 33  -10  40 13 Racing 33   2 39 14 Betis 33 -6 37 15 Osasuna 33  -4 36 16 Espanyol 33 -12  35 17 Getafe 33  -9  34 18 Sporting 33 -33  33 19  Recreativo  33  -20  30 20  Numancia 33  -31  28

Racing Santander is six points clear of the drop zone on 39, whilst Almeria and Athletic Bilbao are both on 40.

Taking a punt: 5 winning Premier League betting tips

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You have to feel for Alan Shearer going into this weekend's match. After coming in on a white horse with every intention of saving Newcastle's Premier League lives, the former legend has done nothing to quell the fears of the Toon Army over the last couple of weeks. It's now or never for one of the most storied clubs in English football.

A life with Robinho for Chelsea

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Oh god, do you remember the terribly over drawn Robinho transfer saga and his final day move to Man City off the back of their mega money takeover?

Have you ever wondered what life would be like with Robinho amongst our ranks? I have... and this is what I have come up with.

Just say on August 30 we sign him, beating Manchester City to the deal - they are still mega rich, they just didn't poach him.

Transfer Rumors (01 May 09): Tevez likely to leave Manchester United, Adebayor out, Santa Cruz at Arsenal, Liverpool to replace Alonso with Marseille’s Cana,

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The summer transfer window doesn't actually open for another two months, but with seasons coming to a close in Europe's major leagues, the transfer rumors are already flying in full force.

Here's a look at the latest transfer rumours and gossip from England to Holland to Italy to Spain in the return of our daily transfer roundup column.

Four to watch: A look at Europe’s top young talent

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In today's footballing world the term, "wonderkid," seems to be throw around as often as a Crisitano Ronaldo step over. Most of these so-called 16-year-old phenoms come along and shock the world for a couple of months before going into relative obscurity for the rest of their life.

But for a small group of "wonderkids" and the list is small the title sticks and said player becomes something special.

Soccerlens Podcast - El Casico, Chelsea’s anti-football and all about La Liga

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On episode nine of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by FourFourTwo's man in Madrid, Tim Stannard, to talk about Spanish football and La Liga.

The show will be looking specifically at Valencia and their financial woes, Tim rips into Chelsea and their negative tactics at the Nou Camp and of course there's just the small matter of El Clasico to deal with too.

El Clasico - Real Madrid v. Barcelona - Live Blog - La Liga - 2 May 2009

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Real Madrid v. Barcelona
Stadium: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Spain
Competition: La Liga
Date: 2 May 2009
Kickoff: 18:00 GMT, 14:00 EST

The title is on the line as Barcelona will pay a visit to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the latest installment of El Clasico!