Archive for March, 2007

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United 4 Blackburn 1

March 31, 2007

In an end to end affair, second-half goals from Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Ji-sung Park and substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cancelled out Blackburn’s 29th minute opener to maintain United’s lead at the top of the Premiership.

Watched by a record Premiership crowd of 76,089, the final score flattered United somewhat after a frustrating first-half display that saw the Reds lose Nemanja Vidic with a broken collarbone and go into the change-rooms a goal down.

Sir Alex made three changes to the United team that beat Middlesbrough in the FA Cup 13 days ago. Kieran Richardson made way for Ji-sung Park, while Paul Scholes returned from a three-match suspension to partner Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield.

In goal, Edwin van der Sar started his first match since picking up a calf injury three weeks ago. He needed to be alert early on as David Dunn flashed a shot narrowly over the bar.

The Reds soon settled but found it difficult to create many clear chances against a Blackburn defence well marshalled by captain Ryan Nelson. Ronaldo shot just wide of Brad Friedel’s right hand post inside 10 minutes before Wes Brown and Michael Carrick combined to mop up in the Reds’ area.

The first real chance of the match fell to Wayne Rooney on 15 minutes after Ronaldo’s long-range shot proved too hot for Friedel to handle. But the big American stopper recovered well to tip the England striker’s follow-up around the post.

Rooney had another, arguably better, chance to open the scoring eight minutes later when Ryan Giggs’ cross found the no.8 unmarked at the far post. But Rooney fluffed his volley and then saw his second attempt well saved by Friedel’s legs.

ooney had another, arguably better, chance to open the scoring eight minutes later when Ryan Giggs’ cross found the no.8 unmarked at the far post. But Rooney fluffed his volley and then saw his second attempt well saved by Friedel’s legs.

Vidic was forced off after challenging bravely for a header before United were made to pay the ultimate price for their poor finishing when Matt Derbyshire gave the visitors a shock lead on 29 minutes.

Michael Carrick slid in to intercept a low Morten Gamst Pedersen cross but could only manage to deflect the ball goalwards. Edwin van der Sar did well to save smartly at the near post but the rebound fell to Derbyshire, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from two yards.

It was the first time the Reds had gone behind at Old Trafford in the Premiership since Arsenal stole all three points in September. Buoyed by vocal home support, United surged forward in search of an equaliser. Ronaldo, Gabriel Heinze and Ryan Giggs all had chances to find the net, but failed to hit the target on each occasion.

The rest of the first half was a niggly affair as the Reds’ frustration grew and Blackburn were content to run the clock down at any opportunity.

Little changed as the second half began, with Gabriel Heinze entering referee Chris Foy’s  book for what seemed like a fair challenge. He was the second player, after Blackburn’s David Dunn,

to be shown the yellow card.

United continued to press and again the chances fell to Wayne Rooney. He saw a back post header bounce wide on 50 minutes before Friedel denied him again minutes later. It was a frustrating afternoon for Rooney and one in stark contrast to last weekend’s match in which he scored twice in the Reds’ 4-1 win over Bolton. But today, Rooney’s first touch was often heavy and his passes mislaid.

Instead, it was Paul Scholes who took charge and forced United’s equaliser on 61 minutes. The 32-year-old, who had suffered a heavy knock just minutes earlier, dispossessed Christopher Samba on the edge of the area before jinking past two Rovers defenders and firing across goal and into the bottom corner. It was the kind of individual brilliance United sorely needed on an afternoon when it looked as if Friedel may never be beaten.

Indeed, the Blackburn goal appeared to be leading a charmed existence in the minutes after United drew level, with Friedel pulling off a string of fine saves to deny the Reds a second. He was beaten on 68 minutes, but Ryan Giggs, with the goal at his mercy, thumped his shot against the crossbar when it looked so much easier to score.

Few teams manage to soak up such sustained pressure at Old Trafford and Blackburn inevitably succumbed on 72 minutes. Ronaldo made his way to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Michael Carrick, who calmly side-footed the ball through a crowd of players to send United 2-1 up and Reds fans into rapture.

source: Manu homepage

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Serbia – Portugal 1 – 1 – Uefa Euro 2008

March 30, 2007

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Real Targets super stars

March 30, 2007


MADRID, March 27 (Reuters) – Real Madrid will try to sign Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan midfielder Kaka for next season, club president Ramon Calderon said on Tuesday.

“We really like him (Cristiano Ronaldo) but he belongs to Manchester United and they have to decide to sell him first,” Calderon told Spanish television station Antena 3 in an interview.

“If that is the case then we’ll be first in the queue, although we won’t be paying 80 million euros ($106.2 million) for him.

“I don’t think any player, even someone with Cristiano Ronaldo’s quality, is worth that money, but we are definitely interested if Manchester United want to sell him.”

Ronaldo is in the midst of contract renewal talks with United, but Spanish media have reported that Real hope the Portugal international will reject a new deal and push for a move to Spain.

Source: reuters, By Simon Baskett

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Super Ronaldo

March 30, 2007

 

As the hype that was once synonymous with three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldo subsides, a player of the new generation with his namesake is taking up the mantle once bestowed upon the Brazilian legend.

Labelled the best player in the world at a similar age and nicknamed ‘The Phenomenon’, the former Real Madrid galactico is being succeeded by a player who is more than a bit special himself.

When he arrived in the Premiership from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 he was a show-pony, he tried too many tricks and with too little end product. We said he had great potential but he doesn’t deliver.

His debut at Bolton wooed Manchester United fans as the young and flamboyant winger with gold streaks in his hair and white ankle socks bamboozled the Trotters’ defence. But too often his trickery led to nothing more than a couple of ooh’s and ah’s from flair enthusiasts.

Nearly four years on, fans of the Premiership are privileged enough to be able to watch one of the greatest players in the world on British soil every week in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The “best player in the world” is what Sir Alex Ferguson believes and “one of the greatest players he has ever worked with”. High praise from arguably the most experienced and successful manager in Europe, who has supervised his £12m-signing’s natural development expertly.

Every few years we look out for players who stand out from the rest. Football fans are always looking for that player who dares to dream and takes his destiny into his own hands. There are many talented professionals out there, but few have what it takes to reach the heights of greatness.

Reaching the heights of greatness in world football means having a name and reputation so valuable that any team in the world would be better for signing him, but more importantly it means neutral and opposition fans alike identify him as one of the best players in the world.

So often we judge the ‘greatness’ of players based on what they have won but those who know the game know better. The greatest recognition a player can receive is acknowledgment from his fellow professionals as they understand more than any observer what it means to be great.

Ronaldo is yet to receive this kind of honour, more formally in the way of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award, an accolade Thierry Henry for example has received on back-to-back occasions in 2003 and 2004. But this season it seems it will be a toss up between the Portuguese winger and Didier Drogba.

Ironically, the two players who are favourites for these awards this season are also players who have a big down side to their game – diving. For all their undoubted ability, reputations for diving blemish their CV’s.

Ronaldo more so than Chelsea’s leading man, who is more of a play-actor. The man who was castigated for his involvement in Wayne Rooney’s sending off in the World Cup has been at the centre of strong criticism after going down too easily to win crucial penalties for Manchester United during this campaign.

But while admitting that simulation and play-acting is ruining high-stakes football, this writer would like to take the chance to defend Ronaldo.

One never sees average players accused of being divers for two reasons. Number one is not that they don’t dive (although they probably don’t); it is that they can’t dive. Say what you want about the ethics of it all, simulation is unsporting but is also an art.

A player must have the ability to get into dangerous positions, to draw defenders in and then to capitalise on a mistimed tackle. I have seen Paul Scholes get booked for a ridiculous attempt at a dive because he lacks the technique to do it with the proper grace. Yes, the ‘Ginger Ninja’ has indeed been caught in the act while even honourable Steven Gerrard dived in the Champions League final against AC Milan in 2005 but successfully conned the referee.

I would prefer to believe that players such as Ronaldo and Arjen Robben do not think about diving as premeditation but rather as improvisation. Quick, skilful players are factually the most fouled in football and sometimes have to protect themselves. Lifting their feet off the ground in anticipation of heavy contact is a way of doing just that. The injuries sufferable as a result of rough tackles are reduced if their weight is taken off the ground.

This is not my justification for blatant diving, because gross unsporting behaviour such as this obviously occurs – and far too often these days. But it is a legitimate explanation as to why players such as Ronaldo appear to be ‘soft’ or are deemed divers. The bottom line is that it is their ability to create dangerous situations that lead to the ‘opportunities’ to draw fouls.

Diving aside, Ronaldo’s supreme capabilities as a footballer are unparalleled in the Premiership at the moment. The boy can just about do it all and could probably put in a half-decent tackle if he really wanted.

At 6ft tall and with the build to match, Ronaldo has the height, speed and presence required to dominate. It is rare that a winger poses as much of an aerial threat as he does, which he has proved with several headed goals. He is also bringing important attributes to his game that were lacking when he started such as increased awareness of the game, improved overall vision and an added unpredictability – not to mention a wicked, swerving free-kick technique.

And according to Manchester United’s skills development coach Rene Meulensteen, Ronaldo is on track to surpass Ronaldinho as the best player in the world. The Dutch coaching expert claims his courage to try new things on the pitch and willingness to learn will see the Portuguese winger overtake the Brazilian.

“He’s got the same attributes as Ronaldinho, a complete range of skills, and he’s heading very swiftly to becoming the best player in the world,” he said in his column on the Red Devils’ official website.

“At the end of Cristiano’s first season with United, I said he was the most talented, technically-gifted player at United in terms of tricks. All he needed was to become effective with his skills, and that’s the transition he’s made this season.

“Top attacking players at the highest level possess an element of unpredictability. That’s what I’ve talked to Cristiano about. If he gets the ball and always starts to run with it then the defender gets wise to it. It’s the same if he always passes it.

“He’s made tremendous strides forward. He knows now that every time he steps on a pitch he’s going to make an impact. Because of what he’s created already, defenders stand off him. That means he’s already created the time and space to run.”

Ronaldo’s mental attitude is another fundamental attribute that is common in the world’s best sportsmen and Meulensteen believes it will help the 22-year-old achieve his ambitions.

“It’s his attitude that I like about him,” he continued. “He has got

the mentality that he can always add to his game. He never gets complacent. He’s a quick boy, a very intelligent learner. He’s always trying new things.

“He’s also learning the power of standing still, which is very under-rated. At the top level, defenders don’t dive in. If they do, then one pass and you’re gone. It’s very functional, because you’re standing still and then it’s explosive when you move.”

So now we’ve read the words of an expert to confirm what we already knew. We’ve all seen the skills and tricks he can produce; we’ve seen them in effect time and again this season. And it seems he is only getting better.

Cristiano Ronaldo is well on his way to entering the pantheon of football legends.

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Martin.G My own Profile

March 27, 2007

 

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 ——–
Well Let me tell yuo something about myself and why i do this blog for people to find the newest news 😀

Name: Martin
Age: 18
Nationality: Finland
hobbies: soccer, my team LPS

I live in Helsinki, Finland and i am still a student for 2 months 😀

My interest is in Football & Fashion, especially in Cristiano Ronald, I like the way he plays, im not a great fan of manchester united but only in CR7. the way he moves and shows the skill on the field imresses me alot!!

 I’ve been playing soccer for 12 years, i better not tell the teams cuz nobody know them, so i just put the link to my current team.
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martin.gembege@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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PORTUGAL 4-0 BELGium

March 25, 2007

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Portugal – Belgium

March 25, 2007

The 22-year-old winger, who has scored 22 goals this season, said: “We created lots of opportunities in the first half but in the second we showed more guts.

“We began the second half with greater drive. We have a very strong side.”

Ronaldo is tipped to be in the running for the end-of-season domestic awards because of his rich vein of form.

His Portugal team-mate Nuno Gomes broke the deadlock against Belgium in the 52nd minute, with Ronaldo scoring from a header two minutes later.

Ricardo Quaresma added a third on 68 minutes before Ronaldo completed his double.

Portugal are three points behind Group A leaders Poland, who have played a game more than the Portuguese.

Poland, who trounced Azerbaijan 5-0, are on 13 points, while Roy Hodgson’s Finland are second on 11 points.

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Winger Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal crushed Belgium 4-0 in their Euro 2008 qualifier in Group A on Saturday.

Two goals in the space of two minutes paved the way for Portugal’s victory, with Nuno Gomes breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute and Ronaldo getting his first of the night almost immediately afterwards with a header.

Ricardo Quaresma added the third in the 68th minute before Ronaldo completed a rout which left the Euro 2004 hosts in a promising position in their group.

Poland are top on 13 points, having played a game more, after trouncing Azerbaijan 5-0. Finland are second on 11 points, while Portugal moved up to third on 10.

Serbia, who also have 10 points, lost 2-1 to Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Portugal coach Luis Felipe Scolari, whose side had fired blanks in the first half, said: “We did the same thing in the second half. What was missing was greater precision.”

Ronaldo said Portugal “started the second half with greater drive,” adding: “We have a very strong side.”

PORTUGAL (4-3-3): Ricardo; Miguel, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira; Petit, Tiago and Moutinho (Hugo Viana); Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes (Hugo Almeida) and Quaresma.

BELGIUM (4-4-2): Stijnen, Vermaelen, Kompany, Van Buyten, Hoefkens, Léonard, Vanden Borre, Mudingayi, Geraerts, Mpenza, Vandenbergh