Portugal vs Argentina
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo --- the view from Argentina and Portugal
How are Messi and Ronaldo viewed in their home countries by fans of the national teams?
Nicolas Baier: Messi is regarded as the best player in the world and the biggest star of the team. In time, he has finally received the recognition he deserves. However, Barcelona's No. 10 hasn't been able to escape the Argentine tendency toward dichotomy, so he's still carrying the load of being compared with Diego Maradona.
Andy Brassell: Extremely positively. Ronaldo's brilliance is obviously in no doubt, and Portugal fans revel in knowing that arguably the world's greatest player is one of their own. His importance to the national team has clearly augmented in recent years, but there is also the very clear feeling that he is extremely proud to represent his nation. Especially as captain, he is a figure whom players and public alike look up to.
Is there any resentment that they do not play club football in their home country?
NB: The fact that Messi hasn't played in the Argentine league doesn't cause anger or resentment, because it is understood that Barcelona was the best environment for him to develop and reach the level he is at today. Besides, the Argentine clubs could not afford the growth treatment he needed at the time he left. However, the distance likely has increased the suspicion with which some of his critics scrutinize him.
Lionel Messi, seen here after scoring vs. Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup, grew up in Rosario but left Argentina to join Barcelona in 2000.
AB: No. It's simply a fact of life in Portuguese football. The Liga's economy is very hand-to-mouth, and even the country's biggest clubs, including Sporting, have to sell to survive. It's completely unrealistic on either a sporting or financial level for Ronaldo to play football in Portugal, and with his agent Jorge Mendes' recent comments that he'll see out his playing days at Real Madrid, even a swan song at the Alvalade seems unlikely. It's a shame that he couldn't have spent longer at Sporting when he was a youngster, but his talent was always going to take him away.read more here
Scotland vs England
Scotland's optimism up before England visit Celtic Park
Beyond shrewd organisation and growing purpose on the ball, Gordon Strachan's gift to the Scotland set-up has been a sense of optimism.
That was the quality most vividly present as the supporters filed away from Celtic Park on Friday night, enthused and relieved by the vital 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.
One supporter, emboldened as much by the quantity of drink he had consumed as the joy of the result, burst into the media room afterwards and, arms outstretched, bellowed: "Scotland! Scotland!"
There was an unashamed grandstanding to the moment, but few in the Scotland support feel the need to be timid.
Anxiety might normally have gripped some inside the stadium as long as the game remained at 0-0, but even in the midst of what became a grimly fought encounter, there was a resilient belief to the players and the crowd. That trait will be tested again when England come to Celtic Park on Tuesday, and old enmities are stirred, but there will be no intimidation amongst the home players or fans.more here
Gordon Strachan: All my Scotland players want to play against England, this is no friendly... it's the highlight of my calendar
Possible match up
When Roy Hodgson was asked if a contest between England and Scotland could ever be called a friendly, he replied: ‘Why not?’ He has been at pains to stress his fondness for the Scots in the last few days, summoning his father’s Newcastle roots to somehow support his case.
With Gordon Strachan, it is not quite the same. Strachan, after all, was on the pitch as a fan when the Tartan Army invaded Wembley in 1977 and on the pitch as a player when Richard Gough headed the winner in the rain at Hampden Park eight years later.
Hodgson recalls the painful memory of Jim Baxter in 1967, but Strachan is connected to this fixture. When the nations met in the Euro 2000 play-offs, the last time England were in Glasgow, he was the manager of Coventry and stirring mischief, by saying: ‘The English stole our land... The English robbed us of all our oil... The English perpetrated the Highland clearances... And now, the English have pinched Billy Connolly.’ all right now
Germany vs Spain
Spain prepares for tough friendly against Germany
MADRID (AP) — In an effort to rebuild Spain's national soccer team, coach Vicente del Bosque is looking for something new.
And on Tuesday, he'll be searching for something to challenge World Cup champion Germany in a friendly.
The Spanish won the 2008 European Championship, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 in a four-year span. But the good times turned sour at this year's World Cup in Brazil, when the defending champions were eliminated in the first round.
"It is difficult for the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and Fernando Torres to be repeated, but those coming through now are good players," Del Bosque said.
And, possibly, a new system to replace the tiki-taka passing game.
"We want to be more rapid and direct," the coach said.
Here are some things to know about Tuesday's friendly:more here
Articles of Interest
Spanish FA to Enforce FIFA Protocols on Call-Ups
Hmm, I wonder why
As a result of the case surrounding Diego Costa, the Spanish Football Federation has decided to strictly enforce FIFA protocals. They will get rid of medical reports over the telephone. Players who are called up by Del Bosque should travel to meet up with the squad and meet with the medical officer of the club, with a report to be compared by the chief medical officer of the Federation, Dr. Celada. If the reports do not match, the matter shall be taken up by FIFA.
FIFA and UEFA guarantee the right for a national team to select a player. "Every player registered with a club is obliged to respond affirmatively to the call to join the national team," states Section 3 of Schedule 1 to the Statute. It also says that "any agreement between a player and a club is forbidden to ignore this obligation".
The Player's Statute also says that "violations of any of the provisions are punishable by disciplinary measures." Punishment ranges from a minimum of three and a maximum of eight-game suspension for the player in European competition for his club. The penalty is higher if the coach of a club discourages a player not to attend when called-up by their national team.Mourinho, you troll. They have your number
Manuel Neuer says he won't win Ballon d'Or because he is 'not some guy who poses in his underpants' like Cristiano Ronaldo
He's just a man who does his job, see?
Manuel Neuer has hit out at Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming that the Real Madrid star will win the Ballon d'Or as much for his image as his skills.
The Germany goalkeeper is considered one of the front-runners for this year's award, but some way behind the favourite Ronaldo.
Neuer seemed to suggest his chances are hampered because, unlike Ronaldo, he doesn't go in for the 'red carpet' lifestyle, or have underwear modelling deals. you in danger, boy
U.S. Considering Outside Help to Close Development Gap
The issue of which path is better for young American players has become a lightning rod, particularly since Klinsmann has often stated a preference for having his senior athletes play in Europe. He has also been critical of M.L.S. on occasion, prompting the ire of M.L.S. advocates, including Garber, who lashed out at Klinsmann in response.
Klinsmann has said his perspectives on the ideal player path have been misinterpreted, though the discussion seems to arise each time he selects a roster. This past week, when the United States played Colombia in an exhibition game in London (the Americans will face Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday), critics hammered Klinsmann for selecting a group of players that included Bobby Wood and Alfredo Morales, who play in the German second division, as opposed to young M.L.S. talents like Tesho Akindele or Wil Trapp.might be of interest to Americans on this site. A reader compared European academies to human trafficking
Chatter from the sidelines
- Dries Mertens gives a thumbs uphere
- Mordic is out all 2014 according to Real Madrid
- Lile interested in Jozy Altidore time to say adieu?
- Growing up at Fulham: Life as an American youth in a foreign academyinteresting article about American children in an English academy
- Napoli boss Rafael Benitez hints at Liverpool return to rejoin family Oh wow
- Blind's injury not as bad as feared oh, good
- Neymar, Silva and Dunga a round up
- FIFA virus wrecking havoc in Spain Ramos, de Bosque, Costa
- Del Bosque: Isco is important to Spain del Bosque walking back his comments
- Shaqiri to leave Bayern Munich in January? Please DON'T come to Liverpool who is coming to Bayern Munich in January, I wonder?
Neymar and Thiago kissed and made up sometime yesterday. Good for them. Seriously
Gotze in the rest of the pictures. Can't use those. Sorry, not sorry
Löw and a player
Spain NT open training session
Spain NT open training session
Spain NT. Moving on
English NT! Yo, where's the Scots and their IG accounts at
English NT arriving in Glasgow