This is a new one for us. A few nights ago, a leader of Benfica's ultras dropped us an email. The Benfica Ultras arethese guys, as a reminder.Benfica's road to Amsterdam, the home of this year's Europa League Final, continues in Turkey tonight againstFenerbahce, home of sone of the most passionate and devoted fans in the world.
After the revelation that led to Cristiano Ronaldo's admission of misery
yesterday, the Spanish media pack spent their afternoon gathering opinions from former Madridistas
(i.e. Roberto Carlos, who suggested he may have been annoyed about losing the UEFA
trophy to Iniesta) for their opinions on the matter.
And in one day Portugal loses two of its greatest talents. We're left speechless. Zenit Saint
Petersburg's millions are venom, seductive and simply unbeatable. FC Porto has lost their warrior,
the equivalent of Riquelme's influence at Boca Juniors or what Thierry Henry once meant to
Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to spent a few extra hours in Ukraine after missing Portugal's
flight home. The team's captain and leading scorer, who earlier missed the chance to take a penalty
in Portugal's Euro 2012 semifinal shootout loss when Spain won before his turn in the order, was
left shaking his head and pulling up the legs of his shorts as he watched the plane fly off without
Football is best described as a game of emotions and we've definitely seen some of them on show at
the Euro 2012. From tears in Germany to euphoria in Madrid, exasperation in Lisbon to anticipation
in Milan (they made it!), here's our pick of some of the most unforgettable moments from the
semi-finals this week.
Less than 24 hours away from tomorrows first EURO 2012 semi-final between PORTUGAL - SPAIN. Plenty
of respect between both sides & many weary of the "big" players - Cristiano Ronaldo, Iniesta, Nani,
Silva etc - & how to counter-balance their possible dangers.¬ Portugal won Spain 4 - 0 in Lisbon
last time they met in an International friendly match, so the memory is still fresh.
The Portuguese team set off on a bizarre "parade" all around Lisbon yesterday to mark their
final training session before official preparations for the tournament begin. However, in the
spotlight again is on our old friend, Cristiano Ronaldo, who apparently snubbed a
group of waiting fans outside a restaurant after dinner on Wednesday.
It's the post-Easter bank holiday in England, so there is a full slate of Premier League games.
¬ But we choose just the late game in London, and from further south another derby from another
great footballing European capital:
Fulham vs Chelsea¬ (3pmET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.
I have to say I thought something was up when JT was taken off early in the second half against
Benfica. As he was walking off the pitch, I was thinking surely he can't be being rested and
yesterday we had confirmation that he has broken two of his ribs.
In Group B more than any other, losing your first game would be very bad news... which is a bit
of a blow for Portugal, who kick off in Lviv against a German side who've forgotten what defeat
Actually, that's not really true. At the end of May, Jogi Low's boys conceded five in a friendly
Once a nobody, once¬ irreplaceable¬ and now an uncertainty. At the age of 24, the forward
from Tenerife has played over 160 matches, kissed all the trophies and set a record which Messi
didn't, becoming the first player in history to score in 6 different competitions in one
Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur¬ (7:45amET): Fourth-place¬ Spurs visit the Stadium
of Light. The pressure is on Spurs to hang on to 4th, but¬ Sunderland have been impressive since
Martin O'Neill took over in place of the sacked Steve Bruce in December.
Benfica through their president Luis Felipe Vieira have termed the Champions League exist as a
'outrage' and they have vowed to protest to the Portuguese Football Federation.
Many might be wondering why Vieira is not going through UEFA and the truth is am just as
shocked¬ as you are, however, having watched the match, i do believe Benfica have a reason to feel
Now I need to write this tonight based on what I am feeling right now and being honest it's mixed
emotions as you can tell by the subject of this post.
I haven't read any match reports, any articles in the press and the media and other Chelsea Blog
sites and not even Roberto Di Matteo's reaction after the game because it's important that I put
down in black and white what I feel.
Chelsea have a great chance of progressing into yet another Champions League Semi Final and yet
another two legged affair against Barcelona but it's important to remember that this game is far
from won. We cannot and should not, think of the next round and concentrate our focus on this one
game for the time being.
Benfica are talking a lot of nonsense. Chelsea lie in wait, uncharacteristically quiet. What
promises to be an edgy affair tomorrow will be tempered by the result of today's Barcelona Milan
encounter. Before we can look ahead, however, we still have plenty of work ahead. It will be
physical, and ultimately, it will come down to goals scored.
News today from Alan¬ Pardew¬ that the pre-season is all sorted out for¬ Newcastle. Graeme¬ Lowdon
- Marussia¬ CEO and¬ Newcastle¬ supporter So we would¬ expect¬ to have an¬ announcement from the
club that the¬ lads¬ will take¬ part¬ in the ¬ ¬ Vodacom Challenge tournament¬ in¬ ¬ South
Africa, and that¬ friendlies¬ have already been arranged at¬ Sporting¬ Club of¬ Lisbon¬ and at
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has joined club president Luis Felipe Vieira in questioning the
performance of referee Damir Skomina during the Portuguese outfit's 2-1 second leg defeat away to
Chelsea and believes the Blues will not offer any resistance to holders Barcelona in the
A Javi Garcia header, with five minutes to go, brought Benfica within a goal of progress despite
playing with 10 men for the entire second half at Stamford Bridge following the 40th minute
dismissal of winger Maxi Pereira.
It was not a vintage Chelsea performance, but their players and fans will not matter as they
beat Benfica 2-1 on the night (3-1 on aggregate) and are through to the Champions League
semi-finals where they will meet holders Barcelona. A tie that immediately brings up memories of
classic previous ties including the disputed semi-final draw at Stamford Bridge in 2009.
He's sharp, lighting fast and killer inside the box; those words could have easily been
used to describe Fernando Torres throughout his Atletico Madrid days, under
Benitez at Anfield, or whilst representing Spain at Euro 2008.
It is being reported in Portugal today that Arsenal have had a bid of 10 Million Euros rejected for Sporting Lisbon Keeper Rui Patricio. The bid is worth around 8 Million Pounds and was rejected immediately but Sporting have told Arsenal the player will be available if the price is right, apparently.
We continue our series of archived matches of the clubs of the Football League Championship this
morning with six matches from the history of a club that has been generating a large number of
headlines over the last few weeks, Cardiff City. Cardiffs position in the Football world as a Welsh
club playing in the English league system is not unique but for many years it did allow them a
route into European football through the Welsh Cup and our first two matches come from that
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has admitted both Kaka and Nuri Sahin could be on their way out
of the club in the coming weeks.
The 30-year-old Brazilian has found it difficult to nail down a first team spot in Real Madrid
since his move in 2009 after a series of injuries.
Kaka was on the sidelines as Real Madrid beat Real Oviedo 5-1 in a pre-season friendly on
Tuesday and the fact that he also failed to make the squad for a tour of the United States has
fuelled speculation over his future in the Spanish capital.
UPDATE: Two more adorable holiday photos of CR SR and CR JR that's making the butterflies in our
tummies do flips. Not sure if anyone has been keeping track of the movements of little CR JR, but
he's quite the globe trotter. Earlier this week he was running errands with Grandma Dolores in
Lisbon, and [.
Arsenal's Wojciech Szcesny kept Ronaldo and Nani at bay in the co-hosts 0-0 draw at the end of
February in the first game played at the new National Stadium in Warsaw. Poland have only competed
in one previous barren European Championship and will be looking to break their duck when they
entertain Greece in Warsaw tonight.