By Sean Connolly
In one of the most drawn out signings in recent memory, Ronaldinho has officially signed with AC Milan. It seems like such a long time ago when it was first said that Ronaldinho would be a part of AC Milan, and after several months and several teams getting involved it’s finally over with.
Many things have happened but in the end I have become a Rossonero player. I am happy to find so many Brazilians but also all the champions that wear the Rossoneri colors. I am really happy. After many years I am here. I am delighted to have arrived to AC Milan and I hope to be able to give a lot of joy to everyone.
Ronaldinho on Finally Signing With AC Milan
AC Milan’s new product will be shown off on Thursday as Ronaldinho will be welcomed with welcomed arms at the San Siro Stadium at 9:30 P.M. This tedious transfer hasn’t taken its toll though. Both Inter Milan, and Manchester City were very well involved in looking to pick up the once world’s greatest player. It has also affected other players who have been unsure where to go, with a portion of their decision in the hands of Ronaldinho. Emmanuel Adebayor seemed the likely choice for Milan but suddenly chose Ronaldinho over the Arsenal star. There has also been rumors that Frank Lampard and Ronaldinho wanted to join forces and that a trade could put those two together.
This transfer should open the flood gates for a lot of moves in the next week or two. It seemed like this and the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer seemed to be blocking the door for a lot of teams. Barcelona haven’t looked back on Ronaldinho as they themselves have signed Alexander Hleb to a 4 year deal from Arsenal.
Who are the losers in this move though? It has to be Manchester City. At one point it seemed imminent that Manchester City would in fact steal Ronaldinho from AC Milan and sign the star but even after offering more than the 21 million Euros that AC Milan will pay Ronaldinho, his heart is in Milan. Signing Ronaldinho looked like such a smart and promising move for Manchester City that would have garnered them much attraction and could possibly allow them to compete with Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United. Now, even after signing Brazilian Jo, things look bleak for Manchester City as they may need to pull out another blockbuster to bring them up the table.
What does moving to Serie A mean for Ronaldinho? Personally I think this is where it ends for the star. The league is way too strong defensively for Ronaldinho to pull out his magic and he will soon become an average player whose impact won’t reflect his paycheck. I think it’s time to bid Ronaldinho farewell as he will become lost in Italy.
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By Sean Connolly
Depending on the health of David Villa, Spain will have the three most effective strikers in the game this Sunday in the UEFA Euro Final against Germany. They were also good enough to get past the bad luck of the yellow jerseys.
Germany’s defense has squandered silly goals throughout these Euro Finals, and behind that defense is, how should I put this, inept keeper in Jens Lehmann. He made two crucial errors that resulted in goals in the game against Turkey, so don’t be surprised if Fernando Torres, David Villa, and Cesc Fabregas make him look just as awful.
If you’re a Germany fan, you have to admit that the Germans haven’t been convincing. If not for the foot of Lucas Podolski, Germany wouldn’t have even made it out of the group stage. Other than his header against Turkey yesterday (which thanks to a lightning strike that ruined the video feed for ESPN, I did not get to see live on television), Miroslav Klose has yet to be as effective as he was in the 2006 World Cup. Michael Ballack has looked sluggish at times and Podolski seems unable to play 100% for 90 minutes. Germany is limping into this final and they will need much more to win over Spain who comes into the final in stride.
For the second time in the tournament today Spain picked apart Gus Hiddink’s Russia. They looked unstoppable on offense, and their one minor weakness in their defense played brilliantly. Puyol and company shut down Russia giving them little to no chance of putting the ball passed Iker Casillas. The most impressive part of Spain’s dismantle of Russia, was on their third and final goal. After a turnover by Russia, Spain played keep away from Russia’s Andrei Arshavin (who, with his tremendous performance throughout these Euro Finals, may find himself in the English Premiership, more specifically Chelsea, with a lot of money), forming a perfect triangle and passing around him. In what looked like a set drill in a practice session in which you have to pass the ball a certain amount of times before you moved forward, the ball was dumped forward to a wide open Cesc Fabregas who had room to roam. He broke away down the pitch with David Silva trailing down the middle and Fabregas placed it perfectly on Silva’s foot and he buried the ball past Igor Akinfeev and ended any chances of Russia coming back.
Fabregas’ performance off the bench was by far the most impressive in Euro this year. He came on for the leading scorer in these Euro Finals and put on a scintillating performance. As soon as he graced the field he brought enthusiasm, excitement, and ultimately goals to the Spanish side. Fabregas ended up with two remarkable assists. With Torres creating chances but not finishing them, expect Fabregas to start in the final against Germany.
Throughout this tournament Spain has been the most convincing team. Of the four powerhouse teams, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Spain has been the only team play to their potential. They come into this game at their best with Cesc Fabregas at the start of becoming the most successful Spanish player in the past 25 years. Sunday’s match will have little competition, my prediction…3-1 Spain. Their first Euro title since 1964.
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By Sean Connolly
Soccer in America is rising, but it will never be where England is and yesterday’s game proved it. In a friendly match at Wembley Stadium in England, the U.S. soccer team came out flat and got straight up beat by a much better squad 2-0. Personally, I have been looking forward to this game thinking that the U.S. could pull out an upset. Unforunately that wasn’t the case.
This game was so frustrating for so many reasons if you’re a fan of American soccer. First off the game wasn’t even slightly competitive. England ran circles around the U.S. and not at one point were they ever in danger of falling behind. Without Landon Donavon in the lineup, pulled groin, the American side had no offense and couldn’t threaten at all. Being a fan of English soccer and American soccer, I have always dreamed of a true competitive rivalry between the two sides. Instead, England just proves that Americans can’t play soccer and will never be up to their level.
It seems whenever the U.S. is building up a solid team and garnering some respect in the soccer community, they are given a great challenge and they fail. In the 2006 World Cup against Germany U.S. again failed to make a significant impact on the biggest soccer stage.
In the game, John Terry made up for his missed penalty shot for Chelsea in last weeks championship final. He headed in a goal from a free kick from, ironically, the possible savior of U.S. soccer, David Beckham. Steven Gerard scored also as a simple triangle pass picked the U.S. defense apart and gave Gerard an easy break away.
Some good news came from this game though as Brian McBride, one of America’s greatest players, announced that he will be leaving Fulham F.C. in the English Premiership to come to the MLS. I guess he liked where the MLS was headed, and it would be great to see him on a team like the New York Red Bulls.
With the World Cup qualifiers coming up soon, the U.S. soccer team better get their act together and realize that the time is now to show the world that American soccer is for real. Beckham, the world’s biggest soccer star, is playing in the United States and all eyes are on the national team to perform. If they keep playing like this they will be lucky to make it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
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