Diego Simeone v Pep Guardiola: the defensive master faces the great creator

April 17, 2016

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“When Diego Simeone was appointed manager of Atlético Madrid in December 2011, he faced an awkward conversation with his son. Taking over in Madrid meant he would be spending less time with his family in Argentina. His son’s concerns, though, were rather different. ‘You’re taking on Messi and Ronaldo?’ the nine-year-old said and laughed at the implausibility of such an undertaking. Simeone has come out on top against Lionel Messi twice in his four and a half years in Madrid but he has chosen his moments well, twice leading Atlético to success over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals. Tuesday’s victory was an archetypal snuffing out, a transcendent example of how to prevent an opponent’s stars from shining. Simeone took on the Messi problem and solved it.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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Real Madrid, City and Bayern all flex their muscles

April 17, 2016

“Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern München all returned to domestic action with a bang on Saturday, scoring 11 goals between them and conceding only one.” UEFA


Scottish Cup semi-final: Rangers v Celtic Player ratings

April 17, 2016

“Rangers are through to their second cup final of the season after beating Celtic 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra time. So how did the individual players on each side fare? Former Rangers and Scotland midfielder Stuart McCall assesses the performances of the Ibrox side, while former Celtic and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Pat Bonner rates Ronny Deila’s players.” BBC


Champions League semifinals yield intriguing, tough-to-call pairings

April 17, 2016

“The Champions League semifinal draw kept apart the two teams from Madrid and also denied Pep Guardiola the opportunity to face his club for next season, Manchester City–at least until a potential final. When the names were drawn out in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday, it was Manchester City vs. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid. Both semifinals will be fascinating, but on the basis of the quarterfinals, you could argue that the two weakest teams still left face each other, as do the two strongest teams.” SI


Anfield effect can be overstated but there’s no denying it is also spectacular

April 17, 2016

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“Football supporters are tribal creatures at heart, and remarkable as it may seem there were a few who professed not to enjoy Liverpool’s stupendous comeback against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, the latest and arguably greatest drama yet in the long-running series of sublime-going-on-surreal European nights at Anfield. Messages appeared on social networks almost straight away, quite possibly from people with Manchester postcodes or Goodison Park season tickets, complaining that the way the media were (over)reacting anyone would think Liverpool had won the Champions League.” Guardian


Russia’s Leicester City: How FK Rostov are spearheading an unlikely title challenge

April 17, 2016

Rostov-on-Don, a quiet city based in the South-West part of the Russian Federation with a population of just under 1.1 million people. Not a place known by many outside of Russia and within Russia, both the city and the region are most well-known for its agricultural industry which produces one-third of Russia’s vegetable oil from sunflowers.” Outside of the Boot


Premier League Diary: Louis van Gaal would prefer to use Viagra as heart medication

April 17, 2016

“When the Diary tries to write its weekly column, it almost always reverts to using a laptop. Occasionally, if it’s feeling a little retro, it will bring out the old desktop, sit down, and pretend to be a proper writer. It isn’t just the desktop that makes it feel a little old-fashioned and nostalgic for a past that probably never was, but the accoutrements that are believed to be of that time.” Fusion