Friday, 23 March 2007

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The Genius Of

Football Star


One of the most important players to FC Barcelona’s success under Joan Laporta has been Ronaldo de Assis Moreira from Brazil, although many people will not recognise him under that name. More usually known as Ronaldinho, sometimes shortened to Ronnie, or otherwise as Gaucho, he is one of the top players in the world and has set the game of football in Spain alight.

Ronaldinho came to Barcelona in 2003 after spending two years with Paris Saint-Germain. The person usually credited with him coming on board is Sando Rosell, who at the time was Vice President of the club and Laporta’s right hand man. Ronaldinho quickly established himself as a firm favourite with Barcelona’s supporters with the ability to entertain with his ball control as well as score.

After several years of indifferent results Barcelona started to regain its confidence and by the end if the 2003-2004 season were back in full swing, finished in second place in the league behind Valencia, with attendances at the Nou Camp growing with each match.

Ronaldinho was born in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 1980 and honed his skills as a child playing indoor and beach football. Aged just 13 he came to the attention of the local media when he scored all the goals in a victory against a local team. When you learn that Ronaldinho’s team won 23-0 you get some idea of how impressive a feat that was.

His first team as a professional player was GrĂªmio in 1998, which his older brother, Roberto, had played for earlier - his own football career was cut short through injury and he eventually became the manager of Ronaldinho instead.

With his magic touch of the ball and a clear ability to score, Ronaldinho was snapped up by the Brazilian squad in 1999 and was clear interest from a number of big-name European clubs, Ronaldinho signed with Paris Saint-Germain in 2001.

Whether he was unhappy in Paris, or enjoying the nightlife too much as manager Luis Fernandez claimed is unclear, but for whatever reason he was unable to produce the on-pitch pyrotechnics that he is famous for and by 2003 Ronaldinho made it clear that he was looking to move on.

Both FC Barcelona and Manchester United went after him, but when Manchester and Paris Saint-Germain were unable to agree transfer terms the way was clear for FC Barcelona to get the Brazilian’s signature.

Ronaldinho’s debut was on a summer tour of the United States, when the club played an exhibition match against AC Milan in which he scored. He quickly became a favourite of the club, when time after time he was able to produce impressive displays of ball control in which was able to show off his natural talents that whether they made it to the back of the net always left him with his trademark toothy grin across his face.

In addition to the La Liga and Champions League titles that Ronaldinho helped propel Barcelona towards, he also has been awarded some of football’s top individual awards. In 2004 and 2005 he won the FIFA World Player of the Year award, the European Footballer of the Year in 2005 and worldwide professional footballers association, FIFPro’s World Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

David Leigh lives in Barcelona and has the dubious distinction of being able to see both the Nou Camp and Estadi Olimpic football stadiums from home. While not recommending the latter, he advises you to reserve Barcelona FC tickets in advance for collection or delivery in Barcelona when you arrive.

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Saturday, 17 March 2007

We are in the run in to this years Premiership

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Can Chelsea Overhaul

Manchester United

With United playing at lunch time they again extended their lead over Chelsea to nine points  smashed four past Bolton for the second time this season to triumph 4-1 at Old Trafford. Both Park Ji-Sung and Wayne Rooney scored twice as Sir Alex Ferguson's men surged to a victory which leaves them requiring only18 points from their last eight games to bring the title back home, and end a four-year title drought.

But the victory, was earned by the brilliant winger, Cristiano Ronaldo who was the star of the show. Bolton got their goal from the spot in the dying minutes.

Chelsea kept the heat on the leaders Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premiership with a comfortable blitz 3-0 on struggling Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge with goals from Andriy Shevchenko, Salomon Kalou and substitute Michael Ballack. Sheff Utd were also hit by the loss of striker Rob Hulse, who was whipped to hospital with a suspected broken leg as well as the three goals.

Now we are down to the last 8 games which Chelsea cannot afford to drop any points, still trailing those important six points with only 24 left to earn.

Now both teams have important replays on Monday evening in the F.A. Cup, keeping alive triples for both teams.

Friday, 2 March 2007

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Ji-Sung Park invades

the big league

European and South American teams have for the longest time, dominated football. The players from these countries consistently set the bar for football excellence all over the world. Teams and players from Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and England are the most prominent and have been most identified with what Pele has called "the beautiful game."

The dominance of South American and European players has been virtually unstoppable. Not even the American's athleticism has been able to make a dent in football. It remains one of the few sports where the United States has failed to either dominate or made a very significant contribution to the world stage. This dominance by these two regions can be attributed to two things. In South America, the strong love for "futbol" has meant that it continually produced world-class talent that cannot be ignored by the rest of the world. Their development remained unfettered because the love for the sport meant there were various outlets for the youth to develop their skills. On the other hand, the dominance of Europe in football can be partially attributed to the racism that was quite prevalent during the early years.

But with the positive developments in world football more and more players from other countries are getting known for their exceptional skills as players ? and Asia seems to be a goldmine for fresh new football talents.

One of the most prominent football talents to ever come from the Orient is Ji-Sung Park. The Korean native is currently proving his mettle in one of the biggest football stages on earth ? England's pro football league. And what's more he playing for a team that is undoubtedly an icon of football, Manchester United, the biggest and richest football franchise in the world.

Having signed a lucrative $7.4 million deal for Manchester United, Park now has an amazing opportunity to show what Asian football talents can accomplish and so far, he hasn't failed anyone.

Park was first noticed during the World Cup in 2002, when Korea had a tremendous (some say miraculous) run towards the semifinals. He was next seen playing for Eindhoven. Although he rarely received playing time during his first year, by 2005 he has eventually become an integral part of the team.

Park's transfer to Manchester United July 2005 has cemented his reputation for amazing skills and exceptional work ethic. Sir Alex Ferguson fully realizes what Park can contribute to the team. As a sign of his faith in Park, he has allowed him to play in various positions and has included in him in very crucial games. This goes to show how valued Park is in Manchester United roster.

Park is proving to be a great investment for Manchester United. But more than that, Ji-Sung Park is testament to the immense football talents that are just waiting to be discovered in Asia.

Author: Brian Yalung

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