A well known scene: a tearful Ronaldo is being stretchered off with yet another injury. The partial tendon rupture of the right knee sustained in the league game against Livorno is threatening the Brazilian with another lengthy break. The Qiu Qiu Online Italian web site Datasport inquires openly: “Is this the end for Ronie?”
Milan’s ace suffered the injury just two minutes after he came on as a substitute. The unlucky 31-year-old striker was transported to an orthopaedic clinic in Milan where he was subjected to magnetic resonance and other examinations. After the surgery urgently scheduled in Paris he is in for another frustrating rehabilitation.
Hopefully not as long as the one between autumn of 1999 and summer of 2001, during which time he played just one game, indeed only a few minutes of it.
English soccer going non-English, fumes Platini
UEFA’s president Michel Platini is not amused by the Premier League’s plans to play several games per season overseas to boost income from foreign fans.
One of the all-time soccer giants, Platini called the idea “strange and comical.”
“It will never be approved by FIFA, the fans and the national FAs. It’s ironic. You already have no English coaches and English players. Soon the English clubs will have no English owners and perhaps your clubs will be playing outside of England. It’s a joke.”
It may look funny to Platini, but the increasingly non-English team owners look set to make some perfectly serious money by delving deeper into the pockets of the legions of their overseas fans as of 2011.
At least a couple of Englishmen are bound to profit from the idea, notably its creator, the English Premier League (EPL) Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore. Although the home-based fans and the media have been less than friendly towards Scudamore’s scheme, the man claims to have garnered support from the current 20 clubs in the Premier League.
“We’re confident that we had the support of the 20 clubs and we still have the support of the 20 clubs,” says Scudamore. What isn’t entirely clear is whether the support will be there after the clubs have listened to what the fans have to say on the matter.
Explosion of attendances in Bundesliga
Soccer is nowhere as popular as in Germany. The Premier League may be the strongest playerwise, but the average attendance in the Bundesliga has grown yet again from last season’s 38,191 to 38,529 in the first half of the current season. The 306 games of the first part were attended by 5,894,000 spectators, which is a 3.75% increase on the previous season.
The 2nd Bundesliga is growing at an even higher rate: each game is watched by 17,693 fans, 10.83% more than last season.
The reasons may include new and comfortable stadia, an exciting and uncertain competition and the high population figures: Germany has over 80 million inhabitants. By the way, the average ticket price is an acceptable 21 euros, 35% of what a ticket costs in the Premier League!
Italy has also registered a growth. After last season’s dismal average of 19,181, the return of Juventus, Napoli and Genoa has prompted the attendance to rise to an average of 22,504.
Top five leagues
1. Germany 38,529
2. England 34,400
3. Spain 28,700
4. Italy 22,504
5. France 21,800
Pelé suggests free kicks without the wall
The greatest player of all time, the Brazilian Pelé, plans to revolutionize the game of soccer by suggesting to FIFA an essential rule change: no wall for the free kicks! Pelé conveyed the idea to FIFA on the occasion of the last Executive Committee meeting in Zurich. There are two versions of the modification: removal of the wall for all free kicks or only if the foul was committed by the last defender outside of the penalty area.
“The new rule would enable a harsher punishment for the offender. If there is a wall in place, the attacking side practically loses the advantage. Should FIFA accept my proposal, the number of fouls will drop and the most talented players will find it easier to score,” says The King.
Perhaps the real thing would be to enable the shooter to choose whether the rivals should place the wall or not, since some players are specialized for hitting the ball just right so that it bypasses or crosses the wall on the way to the net.
Real Madrid’s lucky 13th
Although Real Madrid’s eight point advantage over Barcelona gained last weekend is what really matters, Real’s fans celebrated the spectacular 7-0 win over Valladolid.
That was the 13th 7-0 win for the Madrid team in the Spanish championship, exactly six years after a similar win over Las Palmas when Fernando Morientes scored five goals. But, that season the title went to Valencia, not Madrid.
Valladolid conceded seven goals to Real Madrid in the autumn of 2003, with three goals by Raúl, who is particularly inspired against Madrid’s Castillian neighbours. With his two goals last Sunday, Raúl’s tally against this team has risen to 14. Incidentally, the scoreline equalled Valladolid’s worst defeat ever, suffered 50 years ago against Atlético.
Johan Cruyff advises Barca against Mourinho
A faction within Barcelona’s board advocates hiring José Mourinho as early as next July. The current coach Frank Rijkaard is not immediately threatened by dismissal since his team is still present on all three fronts, but he is aware that the vice-chairman Ferrán Soriano is lobbying in favour of Mourinho. Soriano appreciates his coaching methods, leadership and familiarity with Barcelona from the time when he worked as Bobby Robson’s and Louis van Gaal’s assistant.
However, Barca’s former player and coach Johan Cruyff is said to be putting the brakes on Mourinho’s arrival. According to the Spanish press, the influential Dutchman has advised the chairman Joan Laporta not to sign Mourinho on grounds that his coaching style is not compatible with Barca’s cheerful and offensive play. Another reason could be the desire to protect fellow countryman Rijkaard.
Mourinho (44) has been a free agent since he parted ways with Chelsea last September.