March 18th, 2010

a pair of fine eyes

Messi praises Rooney (rightly so), and offers wise words.

Genius has generally bestowed upon a chose few whose deep flaws tend to undermine their gift down the years, yet Messi seems to buck that trend as he is always willing to offer praise to a rival with good grace.
So when the question of Rooney's rising stock is thrown his way, Messi offers an enthusiastic response that is bound to bring a smile to the rugged face of the England hero.
"Manchester United have a player who can now be considered as world class as Rooney has been fantastic this season," says the Argentina superstar. "He has become the striker who can do it all. He leads the line, he moves wide, comes deep, his heading ability seems to have improved so much and he is so strong when he plays with his back to goal. Rooney's energy is amazing also and I give him all the credit for becoming a world class player."

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Chelsea target Fernando Torres as they plan squad rebuild

• Torres and Franck Ribéry lead list of transfer targets
• Squad pleads for final Champions League chance

Chelsea are drawing up plans to reshape their squad after being knocked out of the Champions League and despite the current squad pleading for one more chance to win Europe's top prize.

The 1–0 defeat by José Mourinho's Internazionale on Tuesday exposed weaknesses in Carlo Ancelotti's squad. The club will aim to retain the spine of the team but a number of fringe players are expected to be moved on in the summer.

Chelsea's transfer policy in recent seasons has been one of relative prudence, as successive chief executives have aimed for self-sufficiency instead of continued reliance upon Roman Abramovich's benevolence. However, the club's Russian owner has made it clear that should the right players become available at competitive prices, he will fund the occasional big signing.

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Dirk Luis

TEAM RAFA. He has fans you know.

Hamann hits out at Riera

Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has launched a withering attack on Reds winger Albert Riera after he went public with his frustration at not getting a game under manager Rafael Benitez.

The Spain international said Benitez did not speak to him and claimed he bore a personal grudge. However, Hamann, who made 283 appearances for the Merseysiders and memorably came on for the second half in their Champions League final comeback against AC Milan in 2005, said Riera should look at himself.

"I didn't read too much into the comments because he's a player who has not played too much football over the last six to eight months," said the former Germany international.

Hamann continued: "He is clearly frustrated but you have to say since he signed for Liverpool (in September 2008) he has not done enough to really have an opinion on the manager.

"If Riera is not in the team it is probably because he is not doing enough in training or in games. You have players these days who complain about managers and I think these players should look at themselves.

"The first question you have to ask when you are not playing is have you done enough to be in the team.

"These days it happens too often with players who can't get in the team and the first thing they do is blame the manager.

"I can honestly say I have never had a problem with a manager in 15 years of my career and I would never blame a manager for not playing."

In his interview, Riera told Radio Marca: "When the coach says nothing to you and you are well, with no physical problems and training well, you cannot help but think it must be something personal."

Love you Didi, spot on. Bye bye Albert. Great timing btw. I actually really liked him before this.
  • teenny


Clint Dempsey played hero today. The goal was beautiful and it was so hard not to scream when I was work watching it on the sly.

U.S. U17 Girls bring gifts for the Haiti team

After the match against Costa Rica, the U.S. players met up with their Haitian counterparts outside the locker rooms before they boarded the bus to give each player a backpack stuffed with soccer gear, clothes, toiletries and other items. The Haitians had stayed to watch the U.S. match after losing out to the Cayman Islands 1-0 earlier in the evening.

In contrast with their first meeting after the U.S. victory in the opening match of the tournament, this exchange was marked more by smiles than tears. U.S. defender Olivia Brannon read aloud a letter, which was translated into Creole by a translator, and the players mingled, chatted and hugged despite the language barrier. Each U.S. player also gave two pairs of cleats to each of the Haitian players which were generously donated by the U.S. Women's National Team and Nike.  from USYNTblog

The girls were featured on NPR's All things Considered

Soccer blowouts are usually a cause for celebration, but when the American under-17 women's soccer team beat their Haitian counterparts 9-0 in a regional soccer tournament in Costa Rica, the victory was bittersweet.

U.S. goalie Bryane Heaberlin tells NPR's Melissa Block that when the final whistle blew after the March 10 game and the two teams shook hands, she noticed Haitian goalkeeper Alexandra Coby was still on the ground. Heaberlin says she and the rest of the team walked toward Coby.
(click on link for audio and full story)

The girls also beat Cayman Islands 13-0 and Costa Rica 10-0. They are playing Canada right now on FSC.

Today the boys of the U.S.A  national team gave each other twitterjobs. 

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Rafael Benitez hailed the return to fitness of Fernando Torres after the Spaniard netted his second double of the week to fire Liverpool into the last eight of the Europa League at the expense of Lille.

The Reds no. 9 struck his 16th and 17th of the season to clinch a 3-1 aggregate success over the French outfit and the boss was quick to pay tribute to the Spain international as he continues to improve his match fitness.

"Torres was working very hard with the physios and the fitness coach. I'm really pleased because you can see he is fit, but I still believe he can improve," he told his post-match press conference.

"You can see there is a big difference when he plays well and it is the same with Gerrard too. It helps the rest of the team to play better.

"I would like to say he is 50%, fit, but, he is close. Match fitness is about playing games and if he can rest it will be good. He is very close now."

Steven Gerrard's ninth minute penalty got Liverpool off to the perfect start as they looked to overturn a first-leg deficit, and although Torres grabbed a second just after the interval, Benitez admitted he did not feel comfortable until the Reds added a third late on.

"Clearly, they are a good team," he said. "They have quality and pace. They are really dangerous. We needed to score the third goal and after that we could relax.

"You could see the players working hard, the fans were pushing and supporting the team, so it was a good night to enjoy.

"The players are working very hard and stuck together. There is a big difference when they have confidence. They can play better and it's easier for me. It's easier for them too because they can enjoy the day after.
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