Balance of Power Swings Spain’s Way

September 16, 2009

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“Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid is a landmark transfer in many ways. Financially speaking, at a credit crunch-busting £80 million it is the most expensive transfer in world football history. In terms of precedent it is huge. As one of the biggest clubs in football it is almost unheard for a player at the top of his game to want to leave Old Trafford, let alone for Sir Alex Ferguson to allow it. But Ronaldo’s move to the Bernabeu is also ground-breaking in another sense. It is hugely important in terms of what it represents for world football because it symbolises a new era, a seismic shift. In terms of worldwide glamour and appeal it represents the passing of the baton from England to Spain.” (albion road)


Playing the long game pays off for FC Barcelona

September 16, 2009

“I caught Joan Oliver one recent Saturday lunchtime, when he had found a rare bit of peace in his empty office in Barcelona, away from the madness of football’s transfer market. FC Barcelona’s chief executive is presiding over an off-the-field achievement as remarkable as the club’s European and Spanish titles on it. Barça is poised to become the club with the highest revenues – about €400m. Better yet, in an industry that burns money, they have made profits for six consecutive years. The team that starts its defence of the Champions League on Wednesday is also a proper business.” (FT – Simon Kuper)


Morbo, ‘El Mega Duelo’ and Mourinho

September 16, 2009

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“The undoubted eye-catcher of the opening round of the Champions League group stages is Barcelona’s visit to Inter Milan. With a cast of stars of the world game and characters like Jose Mourinho basking in the limelight, it’s a game that has, as the Spanish would say, plenty of morbo about it. As Phil Ball said in his excellent book with the same title that came out a few years ago, it’s a word that entails a lot of slippery little notions that just won’t rub shoulders with a convenient English synonym.” (BBC)


Cider with noises

September 16, 2009

“I’m writing this from Oviedo, in the region of Asturias in the north of Spain. It took me seven hours to get here by bus on Sunday, and when I arrived my host unfortunately (but very kindly) took me on a tour of the city which was actually en fiestas – specifically the Fiestas de San Mateo in which people were making the habitual amount of noise, and eating and drinking as if the word ‘recession’ were some kind of myth associated only with the rest of Europe.” (ESPN)


UEFA Champions League 2009-10, Group Stage, with clubs’ average attendances from their domestic leagues

September 16, 2009

“2009-10 UEFA Champions League Group stage begins 15th and 16th September. The headline-grabbing match on Tuesday the 15th is Olympique Marseille (France) v. AC Milan (Italy). The marquee matchup on Wednesday the 16th is Internazionale (Italy) v. FC Barcelona (Spain). The matches involving the 5 clubs from Great Britain…15th Sept., Besiktas JK (Turkey) v. Manchester United (England); Chelsea (England) v. FC Porto (Portugal). 16th Sept., Liverpool (England) v. Debrecen (Hungary); Standard Liège (Belgium) v. Arsenal (England); VfB Stuttgart (Germany) v. Rangers (Scotland).” (bill sports maps)