Tuesday, May 22, 2007

World Soccer News 05/22/2007

Soccer news.
World Football News 05/22/2007

Romário's suspect record

Romário da Sousa Faria has finally accomplished his lifetime goal. In the Brazilian championship match against Sport Club, the veteran scored a penalty for Vasco becoming the second Brazilian after Pelé with a 1000 goals.
"I thank God on heaven," said an elated Romário when the game was interrupted so that he could be honoured.
As the jubilant striker was running the lap of honour around the field of Sao Januário stadium, his mother Dona Lita put on the shirt with 1000 printed on the front, and the ball with which the legendary goal was scored ended in the hands of Romarito, one of his sons.
As far as his retirement is concerned, Romário still keeps people guessing. "I'll quit when no-one will expect it."
Still, Romário's 1000 goals is not a real figure since it includes exhibition games both for clubs and country, which FIFA does not recognize. The true figure, achieved in official competitive and friendly games is 886, as follows.

Team Goals

Vasco da Gama 324
PSV Eindhoven 165
Barcelona 53
Flamengo 204
Valencia 14
Fluminense 48
Miami 22
Adelaide 1
Brazil 55

Unofficial club games 98
Unofficial Brazil games 16

Real Madrid: blind faith in victory

Barcelona's 6-0 win at Atlético Madrid on the 35th matchday sounds fantastic, but the real story in Spain is yet another Real Madrid late win.
Fabio Capello's team collected three points for the fifth time in the past seven weeks at Recreativo Huelva, which has enabled them to hold on to the top spot ahead of Barcelona thanks to a superior head-to-head record (Barcelona have a far better goals difference and would be leaders in England, France or Germany).
Real have also achieved their eleventh away win this season, which constitutes a new team record. They will have to improve the record and score another, at Zaragoza, to clinch the championship.

Real's late wins

* Celta 1-2 Real: Robinho's winner came in the 83rd minute
* Real 2-1 Valencia. Sergio Ramos decider in the 73rd minute
* Real 3-2 Sevilla. Real was losing 0-1 until the 61th minute.
* Real 4-3 Espanyol. The visitors were 2-0 and 3-1 up. Huguain scored with a minute to go.
* Recreativo 2-3 Real. Roberto Carlos did it again in the 91st minute.

Stuttgart champs, Schalke just can't do it

Bayer Leverkusen used to be called Neverkusen after finishing runners-up four times in six Bundesliga seasons between 1997 and 2002. The new perennial losers are Schalke, three time runners-up since 2001 (to be fair, unlike Bayer they have at least won a couple of Cups).
This time around, the Miners dropped a seven point advantage in the last eight Bundesliga rounds and saw Stuttgart overtake them with one game to go on the way to their fifth German championship.
Schalke's 2-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund proved crucial as Stuttgart won both of their last games against Bochum and Energie after coming from behind.
Werder will acompany the top two into the Champions' League, while Bayern have been "relegated" to the UEFA Cup for the first time since 1996/97.

Most people happy as spoils shared in England

Manchester United may be the champs, but Chelsea have just made it a League and FA Cup double. Didier Drogba's late goal which culminated a delicate one-two with Frank Lampard enabled the Blues to end the season on a high note after Premiership and Champions' League frustrations. Liverpool, on the other hand, started the season with a win in the Community Shield and finished it as the best placed English team in Europe. How exactly their attempt at the sixth European Cup will turn out will be known in a matter of hours, but the Reds' season may already be qualified as a success.

Pelé calls for a war on corruption

The Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has stepped up and claimed his country does not see the best soccer in the world.
"Whenever I have insomnia, I search for foreign soccer on the satellite. Do you know what I like best? European soccer, because it is better than Brazilian. We may produce the most stars, but they leave and give their best elsewhere."
Pelé, the "soccer king", has concurred with his president, but has also offered an explanation and a solution.
"We still have a strong league and the status of Brazilian soccer is good. Still, it is true that our best players live abroad and our fans can only see them on television. The biggest problem is the corruption which exists in the clubs. Let the president try to defeat it, as I tried when I was the minister of sports."

Giuly lost the World Cup over SMS to coach's wife

Barcelona's right winger Ludovic Giuly has played in a great shape for years, but he was not called up by Raymond Domenech for last year's World Cup in Germany to many people's surprise.
Now we know why: the little Frenchman sent a text message to Domenech's wife Estelle Denis, and the husband found it.
"I spoke to the coach explaining him that nothing happened and that I did not even know they were married," explained the player in his recently published biography. It did not help. Domenech called up Franck Ribery and left Giuly at home.

Platini renounces Champions' League reform

Michel Platini now knows better. There will be no comprehensive Champions' League remodelling, not in favour of the smaller clubs anyway. The UEFA chairman won many East European votes on the basis of his promise to give more chances to the clubs of less affluent countries, but a couple of months later this is no longer an option.
"I spent five years considering the modifications of the formula. I spoke, I listened, I understood many things and finally gave up," said Platini to France Football.

Doubtlessly, the big clubs and their Federations raised an obstacle too high for Platini, who is now contemplating minor changes.
"Next month I'll present to the Executive Committee a project to balance the competitions, which would be implemented some time between 2009 and 2012."
The most likely changes concern the UEFA Cup and its group phase, which will probably be expanded from eight groups with five clubs each to twelve groups with four clubs each to play six games instead of only four.

Rivaldo's goodbye to Piraeus

The Brazilian Vítor Borba Rivaldo bid a farewell to Olympiacos after failing to agree to a contract extension. In his last game with the red-and-whites, the 35-year old scored two goals against Ionikos in Olympiacos' 5-3 win.
The 1999 FIFA player of the year came to Piraeus in 2004 and went on to win three League titles while scoring 36 goals in the Greek championship. Sadly, his final months have been spoiled by the fact that the Greeks owe him 350,000 euros and by their proposal of a 50% cut for next season, something the 2002 World Cup winner could not swallow.

Season of records for Inter

Thanks to Hernán Crespo's three goals, Inter defeated Lazio 4-3 and established a new record for the number of Serie A points with 93, overcoming Juventus' total of 91 set last year.
At the same time, the nerazurri recorded their 29th win, levelling Torino's exploit from the 1947/48 season.
If they can win at least a point in their last game, Roberto Mancini's team will set a new record for the percentage of points in one season, beating their own 82.36% achievemet from the 1988/89 season.
Still, there will be no double for Inter, as Roma finally managed to win a piece of silverware. In the third consecutive final between the same two teams, Roma won 7-4 on aggregate, collecting their first trophy since 2001 and the team's first Coppa Italia since 1991.

Marseille's "Munich curse"

By losing in the French cup finals on penalties to Sochaux, Olympique Marseille missed another chance of winning a trophy since their Champions' League triumph in the infamous 1992/93 season. On that occasion, they won the coveted European title by beating Milan 1-0 in Munich, but had their domestic title revoked because of having bribed Valenciennes' players to secure a fifth consecutive French championship.
The police investigation into the club's operations uncovered numerous financial irregularities which led the FA to kick OM out into the second division for two seasons. After returning to the top flight in 1996, OM had several opportunities of winning another trophy, but they always stayed second best.
The "Munich curse" started with the run-in to the 1998/99 championship race, which Marseille lost as Bordeaux beat Paris SG in injury time on the last day. Then followed four defeats in various cup finals, the last one to Sochaux.

Marseille's failures

1999 Lost League title in the last minute
1999 Marseille 0-3 Parma (UEFA Cup finals)
2004 Marseille 0-2 Valencia (UEFA Cup finals)
2006 Marseille 1-2 Paris SG (French Cup finals)
2007 Marseille 6-7 Sochaux (French Cup finals)

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