Alright, no one gave much feedback on if you want more soccer stuff or not so we are going to do it anyway. You are welcome.
Ronaldinho not on Brazil’s 23 man World Cup Roster
Frankly, I agree with Brazil Manager Dunga on this one, but he has still come under fire from World Cup Head Organizer Danny Jordaan. Jordaan feels that a player of Ronaldinho’s ability should be on the roster (and the article from which I am quoting can be found here). However, I completely agree with Dunga in leaving Ronaldinho off. For those of you who do not know a ton about soccer, think of him as being like Randy Moss. He has greatness in him, and shows it on the field. When he wants to. Back in his Barcelona hey-day, Ronaldinho was a god. No one could check him, defenders feared him, and he did astonishing things with the ball (Moss with the Vikings). However, greatness went to his head. His work ethic became worse and worse, he got out of shape, and did not seem to appreciate the immense ability he was blessed with.
Is he talented enough to make the roster? Probably, but Dunga instead decided to reward players who will absolutely care for their profession, play great team football, and work their butts off to come home with the hardware. Dunga’s decision shows an understanding about how the game is played. It is not about having the most talented team, it is about having the best team. The best team has to do with how a team plays together, the fact that every guy knows the other 10 are working hard, and is willing to put their life on the line for the others. Ronaldinho does not fit that description anymore. He is disinterested, and, I feel, would not be the kind of addition that would help Brazil win. Prima donnas are rarely worth the cost, and Ronaldinho is prima donna #1 (or close to it).
I do not blame World Cup organizer Jordaan for wanting a potentially exciting player on the pitch, but from a football/soccer sense, it makes all the sense in the world to leave him off.
Oh, and just in case you forgot, here are some clips of what motivated Ronaldinho can do. Note that none of it has happened in the last few years since his work ethic dropped off.
Maybe not the music I would have picked, but can’t argue with 10 million views.
Also, we should point out that it isn’t like Brazil needs striking help. Their current options up top are Grafite (Wolfsburg), Nilmar (Villarreal), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), and Robinho (Manchester City). Oh yeah, and they have Kaka just behind them in attacking midfield. They will be fine and do not need a prima donna.
Champions League Preview
If Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, or Real Madrid were in the final, I would make this its own article. Instead we have Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, both of whom are clearly top notch teams who won their leagues, but it just does not have the glitz some of us were expecting. Inter definitely has the swagger and glitz we would expect, but there is something about Bayern that just does not glue you to your seat. Frankly, that could be said of most German teams, but without Ribery, it could be hard for Bayern to break loose. However, we all know that Germany just wins, and with all the personalities and the glamour around Inter Milan, anything is possible. Let’s take a look at each team.
No one can say Inter did not take the tough road to the finals. They had to face Chelsea in the Quarterfinals and Mourinho was able to best his old side and move on, if only barely. Next up was defending champion Barcelona. The first match was a brilliant victory by Inter Milan, and while Barcelona supporters can point to the fact that Barca had to take a train to Italy (due to the volcanic ash), they cannot deny that after 180 minutes of football, they were not in the lead. Inter moved on. This all brings us to the upcoming final. It is unknown exactly who Jose Mourinho will pick for his side, but that is why we are here.
Inter Milan Projected lineup: Julio Cesar
Javier Zanetti Marco Materazzi Walter Samuel Christian Chivu
——-Thiago Motta Maicon Esteban Cambiasso
———————Samuel Eto’o Diego Milito
First, a few points of clarification. Formatting that was tough, so Maicon appears to be a center mid. I really had him as being a sort of defensive midfielder charged with making sure no one gets into runs in the middle. Lucio has not played lately due to injury, but if he is fit for the final, he will start in place of Materazzi/Samuel and really bolster the defense. Stankovic is alost a possibility over Motta, but I am not sure if Mourinho will go that attacking.
Mourinho uses many lineups, so this is by no means an absolute, but I think this is close to what he will go with against Bayern. Mario Balotelli is not ready for a stage like this, and will accordingly be Stankovic’s sub if Mourinho wants to turn up the attacking power a bit. However, he should not have a problem attacking with the team above. Zanetti is more a wing back than a true defender, Sneijder and Eto’o are established world-class strikers, and Milito, if not for some injuries, could easily be in that class. Without Ribery on the field, Maicon will be free to play more in the middle and allow Motta to shift more into the middle when Zanetti makes his runs down the sideline. He is no Dani Avles, but he will give Bayern something to think about when they start pushing forward. I think there is little fear or Inter not scoring in this match with all that firepower, it is just a matter of if they can defend hard enough and long enough to let fewer in than they can bang in. I like Inter’s team on paper a lot more, but it is hard to tell if they are going to have the concentration to deal with what is sure to be a very solid Bayern side.
After the Ribery red card, Bayern will be without perhaps its best playmaker, but they will have to find a way if they want to be champions. They are not as flashy as Inter, or as entertaining to watch (few are), but you cannot argue with their results. They handled Manchester United in the Quarterfinals and cruised against Lyon in the Semis to book their date with Inter. If the game was played on paper, Inter would likely kill Bayern, but like most German teams, Bayern’s stereotypic efficiency and timely scoring is enough to scare most teams even if they do not appear scary. I do not pretend to know a ton about German football, but from watching the national team and a few games of Bayern’s it is clear that they have what it takes to be champions of Europe.
Bayern Munich Projected Lineup: Hans Jorg Butt
Philip Lahm Daniel Van Buyten Martin Demichelis Diego Contento
———————–Bastian Schweinsteiger Martin Van Bommel
Daniel Pranjic Arjen Robben
—————————–Thomas Muller Ivica Olic
Normall,y Ribery on the wing would be a fright for teams, but with Pranjic, though he is a good player, the same threat and attention is not necessarily felt by Inter. This is still a very quality side, but all the opportunity-creating is going to be left to Robben on the left, where Inter will be able to focus instead of having to focus on both wings. The advantage is clearly with Inter for the match, but expect Bayern to be steady as usual and make a game of it. This is not going to be a blowout because Bayern will not allow it to be anyhting but close. You just do not blow out top-notch German teams.
I think Inter just has too much firepower for Bayern to handle. Bayern have yet to face an attack quite like Inter’s this campaign, and this is not a good time to find out if they are up to the task. It will not be as easy a win as maany think for Inter, but with Ribery out, Bayern is just not going to be able to create the chances it will need to pressure Inter into mistakes. Bayern 1-2 Inter Milan.