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SHARES
29 July 2008
One of the chirpiest clubs to be found in La Liga these days is Espanyol.
SHARES
29 July 2008
Italy may be gearing up for its annual August shutdown when the whole country takes off on a collective holiday but at least it’s business as usual in the football world with the release of the new Serie A fixture list.For many, the 2008/09 campaign will propel the Italian league back to the forefront of European football and reclaim its title of the “most beautiful championship in the world.”
SHARES
28 July 2008
The island-dwelling people of the Balearics are already accustomed to lobster-skinned, barfing, brawling British types ruling their roost for much of the year, thanks to Easyjet and co. But it appears that fans of Mallorca are going to have to get used to a 'guiri' - as the Brits are charmingly called in Spain - doing more than laying siege to their bars, beaches and babes. One of them might actually end up running their football club.The long predicted construction crash in Spain has hit home with a similar seismic shock as Maniche collapsing into a bean bag and this crane-inspired calamity has left the owner of the island club, Vicente Grande, needing to sell up.
SHARES
26 July 2008
It’s a bit early to label Pedro Morales the Chilean Beckham but if the 23-year-old keeps scoring goals like this against the Ivory Coast, the label will start to stick.Morales has just signed for Dinamo Zagreb, one of the most productive finishing schools in European football right now. Some stars, like Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic, and defender Vedran Corluka, are home grown and sold on. Others, like Eduardo, are imported from South America. polished and then sold on. The academy – named after two club legends Ico Jitrec and Tatko Kacijan – is now run by Romeo Jozak, who was assistant coach at Osijek.
SHARES
25 July 2008
The last time La Liga Loca sticky-beaked its way into Valencia's odious affairs, a good 10 days ago, a period of stability and sanity was being promised by all those resident in the Mestalla madhouse.But, as is tradition in this most peculiar of places, it was a golden era that lasted about as long as a promise from Ramón Calderón.On July 10, the walrus-like Daddy's boy majority shareholder, Juan Bautista Soler, proudly announced that former Telefonica bigwig, Juan Villalonga would be taking over in some kind of chairman/manager type role. As is traditional with the goings on in Mestalla, much of the murky business, including the all important financial side, was surrounded in a fuggy fog of mystery.
SHARES
25 July 2008
After the clash against Palmeiras, São Paulo defender André Dias hit out against opponent Kléber, back in Brazil after three years playing for Dinamo Kiev.
SHARES
23 July 2008
If Sopranos creator David Chase is on the look out for a new take on the Mafia story then he could do no worse than ponder a series around the colourful life of Giorgio Chinaglia.Tony Soprano actor, James Gandolfini, is already a dead-ringer for the larger-than-life Chinaglia who by even Italian standards is at the centre of an incredible story concerning a plot by the Napoli branch of Italy’s crime family to buy Lazio.All the elements are there for another hit show: characteristic lead character, shady underworld, intimidation, flight from the law, all set against the irresistible backdrop of Rome, with Naples and New York, and Hungary, thrown in for good measure.
SHARES
23 July 2008
I’d spent a pleasant day interviewing people in Durban, checking the progress of the new World Cup stadium and watching Manchester United train ahead of a friendly match against the Orlando Pirates.
SHARES
22 July 2008
Well, that’s it, the paparazzi can abandon the beaches now. Christian Vieri is finally back in pre-season training so no more pics of the cankerous frontman cavorting in the sea with his svelte, young girlfriend.In fact, big Bobo’s new club Atalanta and AS Roma were the final two Serie A sides to drag their bronzed bodies back to training, leaving the rest of Italy’s hard-working souls to reclaim the sun loungers.The Giallorossi had been away from their Trigoria training ground for three days shy of two months, putting them on-par with teachers in terms of summer hols.Francesco Totti, of course, had already been on the treadmill a good 10 days before his team-mates and the captain seems to be wondering if all the toil to overcome his ligament injury is worth it.When it comes to new signings, well, you can see his point. The biggest name to arrive in the Capital so far is, erm, John Arne Riise.
SHARES
22 July 2008
A divided island, Cyprus is united in one thing: its passion for football. Especially English football. Last week, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, at a café beside St Heraklion Castle, allegedly the inspiration for the Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs castle, a lanky teenager wearing a Steven Gerrard shirt sold me a beer. Two days later on the other side of the UN-patrolled green line, which has divided the island since 1974, in Agios Giorgios a dusty, timeless village in the Troodos mountains, one boy braved the stifling heat – it was around 31C in the shade – to kick a ball around in his Chelsea shirt.On the motorway, I spotted a car sticker that read: “Everton The People’s Club.” The car had local plates. I assume the driver was a British expat. Around 75,000 Britons – out of a total population of nearly 800,000 – spend much of or all the year in Cyprus. As most Cypriots have an English second team, it’s just possible the Moyesiah is winning new converts for the Toffeemen.In an empty taverna in Agros, a mountain village famed for its breeziness where I sought haven as the temperature reached 45C, I watched the highlights of Anothorsis Famagusta’s UEFA Champions League qualifier against Armenian champs Pyunik Yerevan.

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