Jul 18, 2009

Gold Cup: Honduras advances to semifinals

As we anticipated in a previous post, Honduras defeated Canada in the 1st match of the quarterfinals in Concacaf Gold Cup. The result was 1-0, so we not only anticipated that Honduras would win, but we also anticipated that the result was going to be 1-0.

Well, sometimes I think I'm able to see the future, but that's not necessarily the case on this result.

I figured that Honduras was the favorite team to win this game, and a result 1-0 was a very probable result for a game like this, it was not too hard to guess.

The game was very complicated for both teams, Honduras scored in the 1st half with a penalty kick, which I´m not sure it was really a foul in the play that generated that penalty kick. The play was very confusing.

Canada pushed a lot in the 2nd half to score, but they couldn´t be able to score. The last 5 minutes were very dramatic, Canada was very close to score but Honduras was able to keep the victory.

With this victory, Honduras advanced to the semifinals next week, and they will be playing against the winner of the other game later today between USA and Panama.

Chances are that Honduras will play against USA, I think USA will beat Panama in this other game. USA is the strongest team in the competition, and is the local team as well.

In soccer anything can happen. If Panama gets the victory against USA, it would be a big surprise, but it´s always a possibility. I don´t think Panama will win, but let´s wait to see what happens.

Good for Honduras, they will play the semifinal in Chicago's Soldier Field next week, on Thursday July 23rd. The most probable rival of Honduras will be USA.

Jul 17, 2009

Gold Cup: What time is the game USA vs Panama?

We all know that tomorrow, saturday July 18th, we will have two games of the quarterfinals round in the Concacaf Soccer Gold Cup. And the other 2 games will be played on Sunday, July 19th.

The schedule for these quarterfinal matches is the following:

Saturday July 18th: two games in Philadelphia
(Lincoln Financial Field)

Honduras vs Canada
5pm, EDT

USA vs Panama
8pm, EDT

Sunday July 19th: two games in Dallas
(New Cowboys Stadium)

Guadeloupe vs Costa Rica
4pm, EDT

Mexico vs Haiti
7pm, EDT

We're ready then, let´s watch these games and enjoy Concacaf soccer, let the best teams win.

Gold Cup: ready for the quarterfinals

We are ready for the start of the quarterfinal matches in the Concacaf Soccer Gold Cup. Tomorrow in Philadelphia we will have two very interesting games at Lincoln Financial Field.

The first game is Honduras vs Canada, the 2nd game is USA vs Panama.

Honduras and Canada are going to play the first game of this 2nd round in the Gold Cup. Canada won Group A with 7 points, and Honduras had the 2nd place in Group B with 6 points.

Both teams are very strong teams, this game will be very complicated. I don´t think we will have many goals, it could be a 1-0 game for all we know. We are not anticipating a lot of goals, but we also know that in a soccer game anything could happen.

There is not a clear favorite on this match, I guess we will have to wait until tomorrow for the game in order to know what will happen. Anyway, my forecast is Honduras will win, it´s just a hunch that I have.

In the other game, USA vs Panama, I think we all have a clear winner, and I guess most people think USA will beat Panama. I guess most people are right, USA will probably beat Panama.

But let´s not wait an easy rival on Panama, it´s going to be very complicated for USA, it won´t be that easy.

Panama is a very strong team, they have a pretty good defense, and USA will have to give their best effort in order to advance to the semifinals.

For the soccer fans in Philadelphia, it will be a very interesting day. It´s not every day that US team plays in that city, so this will be a very good opportunity for the fans to go and witness live this game.

Ibrahimovic is leaving Inter Milan?

The international swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is probably on his way out of Inter Milan. There are some negotiations between Inter Milan and Barcelona FC in order to move Ibrahimovic to Spain.

This transfer is related also to a possible exchange of Samuel Eto'o, rumors say that Eto's would move from Barcelona to Inter Milan replacing Ibrahimovic.

We all know that Samuel Eto'o is looking for a new team from several months ago, it seems he is not happy anymore with Barcelona FC. He has one more year on his current contract with Barcelona, but he is willing to leave as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Ibrahimovic also has said a few times that he would like to move someday either to England or Spain. However, he also has said that he is happy with his current situation in Italy.

The amount for the transfer of Ibrahimovic to Barcelona would be about 40 million Euros.

I guess Barcelona is trying to get a few additional players to his team in order to face Real Madrid with enough strength. We all know Real Madrid has invested giant amounts of money in the last few weeks with the contracts of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, and Barcelona is trying to do something similar.

Let´s wait the next few days to see what happens with this Ibrahimovic move to Barcelona, it would be very interesting.

Jul 16, 2009

Welcome again to this blog

Well, it has been a long time that I have not written any posts on this blog. A lot of things happened during the last three years with soccer all over the world, and especially a lot of things have ocurred with Ronaldinho.

About 3-4 years ago, Ronaldinho used to be the best soccer player in the world, that was accepted by almost every soccer fan in the world back then.

But now, things have changed dramatically. Ronaldinho is not the best player in the world anymore. He is not playing with Barcelona FC anymore, he is now playing in Italy with AC Milan, and he is still to show his category.

He's had some good times and some good games with AC Milan, but not what everybody expected when he joined the team.

I´m not sure Ronaldinho will get to be the best soccer player ever again, perhaps his time has gone by to a point of no return. He´s still a good player, but nothing compared to the level he used to have.

I guess there is not much to tell about Ronaldinho these days. However, this blog is also about soccer in general, I guess I will have to write my new posts with topics related to soccer in general rather than posts related to Ronaldinho.

If I know something new about Ronaldinho, I will comment about it for sure. But there is not much to say right now, so let´s focus in soccer, where we have a lot of stuff to talk about.

Aug 10, 2006

Video Ronaldinho presents great moments against Real Madrid

In the section Video Ronaldinho I launched in my blog a few days ago, as I explained the purpose of this section is sharing with you some of the best plays of Ronaldinho, so you can witness for yourself his magic with the soccer ball, dribbles and tricks.

This time I will share with you one of the greatest moments I think Ronaldinho has ever had in his career, he has had many great moments, but this one in particular is sort of an icon, at least that's my point of view. The ocasion was very special, it was a very important game, FC Barcelona was playing against Real Madrid in Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. That day I can say that most soccer fans in the world were expecting this particular game, I don't know how many people watched on TV that game, but it must have been millions all over the world. I was one of them, and I was thinking about what a great season FC Barcelona was having, and what a great season for Ronaldinho as well. I was like expecting a great game from Ronaldinho that day, but I never could imagine how big performance he was going to have.

FC Barcelona won that game 3-0, the 1st goal was made by Eto'o in the first half. The 2nd and 3rd goals do you know or do you remember who scored them?. I'm sure you already know the answer..........Ronaldinho of course!. But these were no usual or simple goals, they really were spectacular.

After the last goal from Ronaldinho, he received and oustanding ovation and applauses from Real Madrid fans. Well, if you want to take a look at these great moments that day in Madrid, you are invited to watch this video, just press the play button, it's the one with the little triangle. I hope you enjoy......

Aug 7, 2006

Ronaldinho professional career

I've been doing some research about Ronaldinho's professional career in soccer, since his early beginnings in Brazil, up until now with FC Barcelona. I would like to share with you his chronological history, with his participations in the soccer teams where he has made a terrific history. This is a briefing, mainly just for a quick review.

The Gremio years

Ronaldinho's career began in the youth team Gremio from Porto Alegre. Do you know who was his coach in Gremio?. Well, his coach was Luiz Felipe Scolari, who would some years later coach the Brazilian national team to win in the 2002 World Cup. His first senior appearance was in the 1998 Libertadores Cup, and his ability for goalscoring was quickly displayed, his career soon generating interest due to his phenomenal ball control and ability to score. This was followed by his introduction into the Brazilian national team in 1999.

Towards the end of his career at Gremio, in 2001, many clubs from all over the world, particularly teams from the Premier Soccer League in England, were eager to sign him as an attempt to attain a player who was both a "big name" and was also performing well. Despite several generous bids from Premiership teams (who would not have been able to sign him due to work permit restrictions) and several requests from Gremio, Ronaldinho signed a five-year contract with PSG, a popular French soccer team, to which he moved at the beginning of the following season.

In 2001 Ronaldinho left Gremio to play European soccer. Despite bids from much larger clubs, he opted to play for PSG. During his time at PSG, the manager, Luis Fernandez, claimed that Ronaldinho was too focused on the Parisian nightlife rather than on his soccer, and complained that his holidays in Brazil would always drag on and never end at the scheduled times.

After the 2002 World Cup, having shown his worth on the international scene, there was no shortage of interest from bigger clubs. In 2003, Ronaldinho made it clear he wanted to leave PSG after they failed to qualify for any European competitions. Ronaldinho's desire to leave set off a bidding war among the top European clubs (Manchester United and FC Barcelona the notable examples) for his services. The club that ended up winning the battle for his services was FC Barcelona.

The Barcelona years

Ronaldinho in 2004.
On July 19, 2003, FC Barcelona acquired Ronaldinho for about 30 million US$. Originally, Barcelona was trying to bring David Beckham to the club, but following his transfer to Real Madrid, Barcelona entered the running for Ronaldinho and beat Manchester United to his signature. It was thought that a failure on the part of the English and French clubs to agree on a fee was the reason Manchester United's deal fell through. Ronaldinho is also said to have signed with Barcelona instead of Manchester United because of his friendship with former Nike executive in Brazil and Barcelona's then vice-president in charge of sports, someone by the name of Sandro Rosell. Ronaldinho's signing with Barcelona follows in the footsteps of a number of other famous brazilian soccer players with the club, including Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

Barcelona quickly showcased the talents of their new striker in an exhibition match against AC Milan. The match took place in front of a crowd of 45,000 in Washington, D.C. Barcelona had a 1-0 lead through most of the first half, and they increased their lead to 2-0 when Ronaldinho scored in the 51st minute. Having received a short pass from Xavi, Ronaldinho fired a shot that spun around Fernando Redondo and into the net, landing him his first goal for the club.

After returning from injury in the first half of the campaign, Ronaldinho continued to justify his price tag by leading Barcelona to a second-place finish in Spanish soccer championship La Liga during the 2003/04 season. Along with several other great players like Samuel Eto'o, Deco, Xavi, Ludovic Giuly and Henrik Larsson, Ronaldinho comprises part of a strike force which helped bring the 2004/05 La Liga title for FC Barcelona. On December 20, 2004, Ronaldinho was named FIFA World Player of the Year ahead of Arsenal's Thierry Henry and AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko. It was then that Barcelona rejected a US$ 114 million bid made for him by Chelsea F.C., according to Sandro Rosell.

In March 2005, Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea in the first knockout round. Ronaldinho scored a penalty kick and an impressive solo goal in the 4-2 loss at Stamford Bridge.

In June 2005, Rosell resigned from the Barcelona administration following a bust-up with Joan Laporta, and it was feared that his resignation would spell the end for Ronaldinho and Barcelona's association as well. With Ronaldinho's contract running only into 2008, he was offered a contract until 2014 that would net him US$ 160 million over those 9 years, which he rejected. Later that year in September, he signed a two-year extension of his original contract on with FC Barcelona. The new contract contains a minimum fee release clause that allows him to leave should a club make an offer to Barcelona of at least US$ 160 million for him.

On November 19, 2005, he scored two solo goals to help FC Barcelona to a 3–0 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. After he scored his second goal of the night, his team's third, a large part of the Madrid faithful gave him a standing ovation, a rare feat which had not occurred since Diego Maradona played for Barcelona in 1985. By the way, I remember very well this particular game against Real Madrid, I think it has been one of the best games and performances Ronaldinho has ever had in his career. All the soccer world was watching that game, all eyes were in Ronaldinho, and what a performance he made!

In September 2005, Ronaldinho was crowned FifPro Player of the year, an award voted for by his fellow professionals. He was also named in the FifPro team of the year alongside the likes of Zidane and Maldini. In November 2005 Ronaldinho was named as both the European Footballer of the Year and the best striker in the 2004-05 Champions League. In 2005, Ronaldinho became the third Brazilian to win the Ballon d'Or. On December 19, 2005, he was again named FIFA World Player of the Year with 956 points, more than three times the 306 points of Chelsea's Frank Lampard, who finished second in the poll, and the 190 points of Barcelona teammate Samuel Eto'o who finished third. He was chosen for the UEFA team of 2005 for the third time running in January 2006.

Ronaldinho celebrating the victory in 2005/2006 La Liga

On March 7, 2006, in the 2nd leg of the Champions League first knockout round at Nou Camp, Ronaldinho avenged Barcelona's defeat to Chelsea in the same competition the previous year, running past the Chelsea defence to score. Although the game ended 1-1, Barcelona progressed to the Champions League quarterfinal, in which they beat SL Benfica 2-0 at Nou Camp (Ronaldinho having scored the first goal by a penalty kick) after a 0-0 draw at the Estádio da Luz in Lisboa. In the first semi-final leg, against AC Milan in San Siro stadium, Ronaldinho once again proved his worth with a superb pass for the goal volleyed in by Ludovic Giuly, which brought Barcelona a 1-0 victory. The second leg game ended in a goalless draw despite a disallowed goal from Andriy Shevchenko in the 70th minute. The 0-0 result with AC Milan brought Barcelona to the 2006 Champions League Final in Paris against Arsenal F.C., who had not conceded a goal in ten Champions League matches, a competition record.

On May 3, 2006, Barcelona were crowned 2005/2006 La Liga champions after they beat Celta Vigo 1-0.

On May 17, 2006, Barcelona became European champions after defeating Arsenal 2-1 in the Champions League final. In this match Ronaldinho was kept relatively subdued and the goals came from Samuel Eto'o and Juliano Belletti, who were both assisted by Henrik Larsson. Ronaldinho finished the season with 25 goals in all competitions, his best goalscoring tally ever. It was rumoured on the 3rd of August, just a few days ago, that Ronaldinho might move to AC Milan, but Ronaldinho denied it.

It seems we will watch Ronaldinho playing with FC Barcelona over the next few years. However, you never know what could happen, everything is possible in this soccer world.

Well, I hope you could enjoy this quick overview of Ronaldinho's career, at least so far. I'm sure we will have to update this history in the next few years with more championships and great moments.