The European Dilemma

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The European Dilemma - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

The continental football is back again. It's a treat for football lovers all over.

UEFA Champions League, the well to do sibling, attracts huge crowds, revenue and massive European clubs, while the Europa League has been unfairly treated by the governing authority as well as many clubs from the influential leagues.

Michael Owen: Liverpool fans don’t love you, they really don’t

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A few weeks ago, Daryl asked how you feel about Michael Owen returning to Anfield to play in Jamie Carragher's testimonial match...in a Liverpool jersey. Well, this weekend, Liverpool fans got the chance to express their feelings about Michael Owen-who left the club for Real Madrid before returning back to the Premiere League in a Newcastle jersey and finally ending up at Manchester United.

Is the EPL ready for the return of Gerard Houllier? Is Aston Villa ready?

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Though no official announcement has been made, the English media has been buzzing for the past 48 hours (or maybe 72) about the possible return of Gerrard Houllier to the EPL. Houllier, who was touted as a possible successor to Martin O'Neil at Aston Villa, is rumored to be part of a three-person team Aston Villa is recruiting to oversee and replace O'Neil and his team.

Ligue 1, Matchday 4: Toulouse remain on top while Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille Continue to Struggle

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Yoann Gourcuff, who registered the largest transfer between two French clubs this week, made his debut this weekend against a Lorient side coached by his father, Christian Gourcuff.

Toulouse made it 12 for 12 today as they scooped up all 3 points for the 4th consecutive week in Ligue 1.

Ibrahimovic: Moves to Milan, Blames Guardiola for “broken” Barcelona dream

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All dreams come to an end at some point...

Last night, AC Milan confirmed a loan with Barcelona that will see Ibrahimovic return to Italy a year after transferring to Spain from AC Milan's city rival, Inter.

Juventus release Trezeguet for free

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Trezeguet:Â Juventus legend 2000-2010

After months of speculation (some might even say years)- Juventus announced that, by mutual consent, they have released David Trezeguet from his contract.  This marks the end of a 10-year relationship between the player and the club- who purchased him from Monaco in 2000.

Benzema Arrives at La Liga…A Year Later

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The man that played in the #11 jersey for Real Madrid occasionally last year was not Karim Benzema. Well, maybe the Karim Benzema who plays for France. But it was certainly not the Benzema that I saw playing for years in Ligue 1. The man I saw last year looked timid, unsure and unhappy.

Ligue 1: Shocks, Transfers and Comebacks

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It took Ligue 1 "giants" Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux until matchday 3 to finally register wins in their domestic campaigns as they beat Lorient, Brest and PSG. Â Toulouse continued their dominant form despite losing their star striker, Andre-Pierre Gignac, to Marseille earlier this week and remain on top of the table.

Its Official: Mario Balotelli is a Manchester City Player

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Inter fans:Â Savor this shot, rumor has it you won't be seeing it anymore...

How many football fans does it take to crash their server? The answer to that question remains unknown- the number of football players, however, seems to be only one. Manchester City is rumored to have confirmed their successful signing of Mario Balotelli on their website.

Ligue 1: Matchday 1 Fixtures & TV Stations (US)

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That's right, Ligue 1 kick-off is scheduled to start in just a short amount of time. Â And for American fans who thought they would be relegated to watching feeds online all season, there is some good news. Â Two channels will be showing Ligue 1 this year, allowing fans to see (up to) four games a weekend.

Five Players to Watch in Ligue 1 this Season

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Is the next Gourcuff lurking in here? Â Some Ligue 1 bloggers think so...

Ligue 1 is often thought of as a hunting ground for the EPL, La Liga and Serie A to find young talent to recruit (poach!). And Ligue 1 fans often get a kick out of EPL, La Liga and Serie A teams and fans claiming to have discovered these players once they move away from France- mostly because we have been watching these players perform amazing feats for a few seasons.

Is loyalty no longer a requirement for captains?

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Over the summer, we have seen a tremendous number of captains publicly declare that they no longer wish to wear the jersey of the team they lead. Â And I'm not talking about Raul here (I'm certain he would have worn the Real Madrid jersey his whole career if they wanted him).

Benzema: It will be my year with Real Madrid

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hmm- what does Cristiano Ronaldo have to say about this?

Karim Benzema has just drawn a line in the sand. Â Okay, nothing really that dramatic. Â But, he did make a pretty lofty prediction- and I'm sure Real Madrid and the club's fans who aren't exactly known for their patience.

Cash-Happy Fans: Would you care if Saddam owned your club?

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"Football fans don't care. The players don't care. Saddam Hussein could own your football club and, if he's putting millions into it, they'll be quite happy. They'll be singing: 'There's only one Saddam'".

- Harry Redknapp when asked about Manchester City

Let's just address the elephant(s) in the room.

T-1 day until Ronaldinho D-Day

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Once the greatest player in the world, it's obvious that Ronaldinho's best days are behind him. Of course, you never lose talent, only fitness, and when he's in the mood to play he's still one of the best players in the world. Sure, he spends most of his time in Milan checking out the nightclubs and hanging out on the left wing of the pitch waiting for the ball to be fed to him, but the guy still has some gas left in him.

Mario Balotelli: Italy’s Summer 2010 Transfer Saga

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It's not a summer without at least one transfer saga. And in Italy this summer, the transfer market is full of news about Mario Balotelli. Two years ago, Roberto Mancini (now at Manchester City) unleashed a then 17 year old Balotelli onto the scene scoring two goals vs. Juventus in a Coppa Italia game, although I had already read about him months before that as he was dominating Italy's Primavera league (like the reserves in England, but only U-20 players are allowed to play) at his young age.

Is Lyon’s refusal to sell Lloris and Toulalan the end of the Open Hunting Season on Ligue 1 talent?

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Lyon President & Owner Jean-Michel Aulas Though fans of Ligue 1 and Les Bleus have known about these two talents Hugo Lloris and Jeremy Toulalan- for a while, they've only recently gained recognition on the larger international stage thanks to Lyon's appearance in the Champions League semi-finals. Â With all the attention these two garnered over [.

Italy’s two national team outcasts face off tomorrow

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If you ask most Italian fans who they would like to see on Italy's World Cup squad, most will immediately tell you two names: Antonio Cassano and Fabrizio Miccoli. When in form, Cassano is the probably Italy's most talented player and Miccoli is no slouch either, which is why he is aptly nicknamed "The Romario [.

Steve McClaren’s Enschede Win First Eredivisie Title

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FC Twente protected their one point lead at the top of the table and held off the challenge from an Ajax side on a 14 match win streak, to clinch their first ever Dutch Eredivisie title with a 2-0 win over NAC Breda today. It was only the sixth time that a club outside of [...]

Champions League

Grupos Champions League 2012/2013

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Estos son los grupos acttualizados a la Fecha 1 de la Champions Leagues 2012/2013

Champions League 12-13 Ps Equipo JJ JG JE JP GF GC DF PT Grupo :: A 1 PSG 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 3 2 Porto 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3 3 Dinamo Zagreb 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0 4 Dynamo.Kyiv 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0 Grupo :: B 1 Arsenal 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3 2 Schalke 04 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3 3 Olympiacos 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0 4 Montpellier 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0 Grupo :: C 1 Malaga 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3 2 RSC Anderlecht 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 Milan 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 Zenit 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0 Grupo :: D 1 Real Madrid 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3 2 B.

Serie A Week 34 Preview

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Saturday 21st April Udinese v Chievo Since their departure from the Europa League in early March, Francesco Guidolin's side have experienced a dip in form that has seen them lose their grip on the last Champions League spot. Only three points will do this weekend in Verona, but they will have to work hard for it.

Nowhere To Hide For Ibra As History Beckons…

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As AC Milan host Tottenham Hotspurs in the round of 16 first leg, Qasá Alom highlights why all eyes will be on Ibra... Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an enviable domestic record that's seen him win league titles seven years consecutively*, for four different teams and in the process scoring 112 goals in 211 appearances.

Reflecting on the Champions League draw

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Well, well, well; once again the draw for the first knockout round of the Champions league has thrown out some cracking ties right across the board and once again 4 English sides are involved. The fixture that leaps off the page is a mouth watering tie between Arsenal and Barcelona. Arsenal were always likely to [.

IFFHS Club World Rankings (July 2010 Edition)

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The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) released their current club world ranking a few days ago.

A ranking unfazed by the subjective and the imprecise and all the more impressed by the hard truth of numbers.

The IFFHS explains the exact method used to compile the rankings on their website.

Serie A

Serie A Week 35 Preview

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Saturday 28th April Roma v Napoli The game of the weekend is between two teams of contrasting fortunes. Roma have lost their last two games, a heavy 4-0 loss to Juventus in Turin and a 2-1 home reverse to Fiorentina. Napoli on the other hand, have beaten strugglers Lecce and Novara to move up to fourth.

Juventus created enough chances to win, says Barzagli

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Andrea Barzagli believes Juventus were unlucky not to claim all three points against Cagliari on Sunday. Mirko Vucinic's opener was cancelled out by Andrea Cossu's strike early in the second half, but, after peppering the Cagliari goal, Juve could not find a winner. "It's a shame not to have won. We created many opportunities without being able to make the most of them," said the central.

Soundoff: Who is less popular in the board room – Roy Hodgson (Liverpool) or Claudio Ranieri (Roma)?

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If there was a popularity between Roy Hodgson and Claudio Ranieri today who would lose? Both managers leading teams with talented players, yet struggling to lift them out of relegation zones.Â

Liverpool sit 18th with 6 points. Roma occupy the bottom slot in Serie A with 3 points.

World Football

Ligue 1: 2010-2011 Season Preview

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Whoever said that you should save the best for last was clearly not a fan of good football.  Ligue 1 officially starts the first of the "big 5″ European leagues kicks off tomorrow (France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain).  Though the French league has been historically underrated - I can assure you that you are just as (if not more) likely to find amazing players, exciting title races and a fair share of entertaining characters playing in France this year.

Jens Lehmann Says Auf Wiedersehen

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Football blogs will be an emptier and less joyful place without him. At the age of 40 and after a career spanning 22 years, "Mad" Jens Lehmann hung up his goalkeeping gloves and flew his helicopter into the sun set preferably while listening to the song from the video. That about feels right. During his [.

The Rest

Sit Tight, Pies Are Going To Try And Explain The UEFA Nations League Format To You…

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Embed from Getty Images

Honestly, Pies had completely forgotten about the imminent implementation of the UEFA Nations League, which is basically UEFA's attempt to address the dwindling appetite for the surfeit of meaningless friendlies that currently clog up the international calendar.

Initially announced several months ago, UEFA have confirmed that the inaugural Nations League will take place in 2018, with the official seedings revealed today and the draw scheduled for January (because you can never have too many draw ceremonies).

North American Soccer League Coaches Name Best XI for 2012

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The NASL announced the leagues Best XI on Tuesday. The selections were made by the 8 coaches of the leagues teams withSan Antonio's Pablo Campos, Fort Lauderdale's Walter Restrepo and Carolina's Nick Zimmerman being unanimous choices. The top two teams in the league standings at the end of the season were rewarded by the highest [.

Liverpool play out dull draw

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Liverpool secured a 0-0 draw against Spartak Moscow last night as they look to secure progress into the last 16 of the Europa Cup. Defending resolutely throughout, Kenny Dalglish's first foray into European football as manager of Liverpool wouldn't have been as he had pictured it, but a clean sheet will give his side enough [.

Debt Is Not Bad

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At least we can't be sure that it is. We can't even be sure what it is.

It's tough being football fan nowadays. It has become more and more demanding. Not just do we need to watch and then read a football match, to decide whether the result was fair, deserved, lucky or the death of football as we know it, we also have to complete a long list of extra tasks.

UEFA Kicks Mallorca Out of the Europa League

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Real Mallorca had been La Liga's surprise team last season positive surprise that is. The club's incompetent management had already produced several negative surprises in previous seasons. Negative surprises that put the club in severe financial difficulty. The best player's left the club, while presidents and owners said their hellos and goodbyes on a weekly basis.

The World Cup Comes to Facebook with EA Sports FIFA Superstars

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First Game From EA/Playfish Partnership Brings World's Most Popular Soccer Videogame Franchise to Hundreds of Millions of Fans.

Follow-up to the Reporter Article

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The youth reporter program that I wrote about earlier and implemented with my son's U12 team has been a big success. I share with you some tips I learned along the way and proudly present the reports that have been written to date.

Promoted St. Pauli Take On the Bundesliga Allstars and David Hasselhoff

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Fun times left the Bundesliga. Fun times are heading the Bundesliga's way again next season. German second division side FC St. Pauli won promotion to the Bundesliga with a 1-2 loss to Paderborn today. It was merely a formality, as their nearest rival Augsburg would have needed to overturn a 14 goal deficit.