January 1, 2000
A fictitious website, of course, but with the Euro Champions League now progressing to the semi final stage all eyes are on the show case final to be played at Wembley in May.
No doubt the Football Association and probably most, if not all, football fans in this country would like to see a British club make it through to the final.
The quarter final ties meant that only one, from Manchester United or Chelsea could make it through to the semis, with Tottenham Hotspur being the only other hope. Scottish clubs went out in the early group stages and it is difficult to see them doing better in future given the strength of the major European Leagues. I well remember the Glasgow Celtic team made up of boys who came up through Scottish schoolboy football to be crowned Kings of Europe but, alas, such an event is confined to the football history books in my view.
<span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”>Hopes now rest with the big spenders of English football and it’s sadly true to say you can count on one hand the number of clubs who have the resources to go all the way in these days of big money backers from across the globe.
FIFA’s main spotlight fell on Manchester United and Javier Hernandez. FIFA’s official web report manager Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed Javier Hernandez’s “startling” introduction to English football has condemned Dimitar Berbatov to life on the substitutes’ bench. This is a bizarre situation for the man seemingly destined to end up as this season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner to find himself in.
The reason, according to Ferguson, is the form of Hernandez. Signed from Guadalajara as a virtual unknown prior to the FIFA World Cup, the 22 year old scored his 18th goal of the season in the UEFA Champions League second leg triumph over Chelsea, and has earned comparisons from his manager, not only with United hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but England striking legend Gary Lineker.
“I really didn’t expect Hernandez to have this impact,” said Ferguson. “As we said to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, we thought his first season would be about integration.” So there you go, love him or hate him the United manager has perhaps unearthed another in a long line of world class strikers at Old Trafford.
Looking at the Chelsea page on the BBC Sport web, there would appear to be conflicting reports on what is going on in the mind of manager Carlo Ancelotti. After the quarter final exit we have Ancelotti ‘Unsure of Blues future’ following, just three posts earlier, ‘Anceloti confident over future.’ Of course confident over future could mean confident I won’t be here next season with the Chelsea fans screaming out for the return of you know who.
Drilling deeper BBC Sport goes on:Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti would not have a ‘problem‘ if the club sacked him at the end of the season. The Italian led the Blues to a Premier League and FA Cup Double last season, but his side face ending this campaign without a trophy.
“I don’t know what my future is,” he said. “At the end of the season, the club can decide if they want me to continue, or if they want to change. “If they’re not happy, they can change. This is not a problem for me.”
Chelsea were, of course, knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter final stage following a 2-1 defeat by Manchester United as they went out 3-1 on aggregate to their top flight rivals.
Days before we have we had Carlo Ancelotti denying that his job was dependent on the outcome of the Champions League quarter final with Manchester United. Ancelotti hinted he has received assurances from owner Roman Abramovich that his contract, which, runs until 2012, will be honoured.
“My future is already decided,” he said. “It is not important that I speak with Roman. I have a contract.”
Funny old game alright, on the field and behind the scenes it would appear. Over to the other side of the capital and, dear me, what a howler. Spurs were on a hiding to nothing after the first leg, with only their pride to play for and did ok on the night. For many observers, there will be only one lasting memory to take from the game.
Here we have it: Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has said he needs to “show character” after gifting Real Madrid victory in their Champions League quarter final. He fumbled a 25 yard Cristiano Ronaldo shot and could not stop the ball trickling into his net as Spurs suffered a 5-0 defeat on aggregate. Gomes has made a number of high profile errors since joining Spurs in 2008.
“This was not my first mistake, and I know it will not be the last one in my career,” Brazilian Gomes, 30, admitted.
“But I need to show character like I did before.”
Something like that, Heurelho, but to stop making howlers in the first place would be good!
Real Madrid and Barcelona are now set to face each other no less than four times over the next three weeks or so. What this space as the competition to be crowned Champions of Europe reaches its climax.