Posts Tagged Raul

Ahead of the Champions League Draw


So who do you reckon will face whoever in the UEFA Champions League group stage, with the hour for the draws drawing ever so close now.

Pot One has last year’s finalists Inter Milan and Bayern Munich along with English trio Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, Spanish champions Barcelona, AC Milan and Olympique Lyon that I feel will make quite an impact again this coming season following their capture of talented midfielder Yoann Gourcuff from Bordeaux.

Pot Two is highlighted by Real Madrid; no thanks to losing out in the first knock round to Lyon last season, the sixth straight time los Merengues have bade bye to the competition so early, AS Roma, Werder Bremen and Olympique Marseille. A lot of eyes will be on Tottenham Hotspur in Pot Three that also has Scottish champions Rangers and Ajax Amsterdam while Pot Four has got among others, FC Copenhagen, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Auxerre, Spartak Moscow and MSK Zilina (no offence, who?).

Also watch out for the likes of Portugal’s Sporting Braga in Pot Three after knocking out Sevilla in the final qualifying round as well as a certain Bursaspor from Turkey…whatever happened to Fernabahçe and the likes?

My guts tell me Real Madrid would probably get their nemesis Lyon and I’m counting on Raul making a return to the Bernabeu as well in Schalke colours. The Red Devils could also draw Rangers, just to play up the Scot link with Sir Alex and Tottenham should get ready for one of Barcelona, Inter Milan or AC Milan, I’d prefer Barça!

But hey, it’s just my guts! The real draw will be known from 17:00 BST and the group stage will kick off from September 14 and 15…now the season’s completely started!

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Top 10 Players of 2008/09 Part Two


This week, the task of picking the five that complete this list is quite a headache and therefore, the five should be worthy footballers for making this.

Nemanja Vidic
The Serbian’s impact on the Premier League generally and the Manchester United defense especially is so immense, I would actually root for him in the Player of the Season awards instead of being overly emotional ala PFA Player winner Ryan Giggs.

With Vidic, Rio Ferdinand is a better player and in his absence we all know how vulnerable the Red Devils’ defense line can be. Vidic is such the defender, Sir Alex said “he is never happy unless he leaves the pitch with a bruise”, now that’s the mark of greatness.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney does have a passion for the Three Lions

Rooney does have a passion for the Three Lions

This boxer-supposed-to-be is my Manchester United player of the year along with Vidic and a certain Carlos Tevez (who just misses this list thanks to SAF’s refusal to start him on the regular) and this is because he has played most of the season from the wings and played very well actually.

I wonder how Rooney became such a team player; Rooney that was quite the selfish one, but people change right? You just pity the fact though that he is English because I just don’t see England winning any major trophy anytime soon.

Diego
Werder Bremen’s Brazilian midfielder is almost an example of one tree making a forest as he unmistakably is the force behind Bremen’s run to the last UEFA Cup final to be played later this month.

Brazil international Diego

Brazil international Diego

He is a good controller of the ball, is the chief assist man in the German club and most importantly scores crucial goals, qualities which makes his stay at Bremen a knife edged privilege for the club.

Michael Essien
His absence from the Chelsea midfield was actually well managed by Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi but when he returned, we all saw why Essien is a better player than Mikel.

Michael Essien absence in mid-season probably cost Chelsea more than it could afford.

Michael Essien absence in mid-season probably cost Chelsea more than it could afford.

Yes Mikel has a better pass completion rate as well as good mental reading of games but Essien more importantly is not far behind on those aspects and as a bonus, scores goals!

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This I’ll leave to you to choose though I can say some of the players I have in mind for this final spot. Diego Forlan is one of them with his goals for Atletico Madrid, most of which are not tap-ins like say a Samuel Eto’o.

There also is Robin van Persie who I feel has been Arsenal’s best performer this season; Arshavin’s assessing is for next season. Alessandro del Piero, Franck Ribery, Gonzalo Higuian, Raul, David Villa and Ajax striker Suarez have also performed excellently this season.

However and expectedly, names such as Didier Drogba, John Terry, maybe Cesc Fabregas, Ryan Giggs (???) and the likes would make the real lists.

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