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

“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


Scottish Cup semi-final: Rangers v Celtic Player ratings

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

Former Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere and Scotland star Pat Nevin speaks to The Football Pink

“Former Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere and Scotland star Pat Nevin speaks to Mark Godfrey of The Football Pink. He talks openly about his upbringing in Glasgow, playing for the infamous Ken Bates at Chelsea, his time on Merseyside with Everton and Tranmere, representing his country 28 times and his current life as a TV pundit and analyser. He also discusses in great length his love of music and his involvement in various political issues.” Football Pink (Video)

Marko Nikolić’s Racial Slur Damages Serbian Football

“Former Partizan Belgrade manager Marko Nikolić, who is considered as one of the most talented Serbian managers at the moment, got himself into the spotlight last week for the wrong reason, and this incident is likely to have a negative impact on his career. Nikolić, who is now plying his trade at NK Olimpija Ljubljana, called his player Blessing Eleke a “black idiot”—a racial slur that was widely reported throughout Europe.” futbolgrad

History of the Ball

“According to official FIFA regulations, a soccer ball must be spherical, made of leather or another suitable material, the circumference must be between 68 and 70cm, the weight must be between 410 and 450g, and the internal pressure must be between .6 and 1.1 atmospheres. Within these regulations, however, there can be a lot of variation. The history of the modern soccer ball began in 1862 with the invention of the rubber bladder.” Soccer Politics

Furious Everton fan confronts Roberto Martínez after Mané levels for Southampton

“A defining week in Roberto Martínez’s reign began with one disgruntled fan invading the pitch in an attempt to confront the Everton manager, one unwanted record and the latest in a long line of lame displays at Goodison Park. The dissent and deflation will not have gone unnoticed by Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s new major shareholder, who was looking down from the directors’ box.” Guardian