Champions League Roundup

The Champions League final this year pitted two of the giants of European football, Liverpool vs. AC Milan. Liverpool had staged the greatest comeback in Champions League final history just two years ago and erased a 3-0 deficit to come back to force penalty kicks where they would win 3-2. This rematch was a chance for the Rossoneri to enact some revenge and make amends for their crushing defeat in Istanbul two years ago.

The game featured the front runner for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the Brazilian, Kaka and he was solid. He wasn’t great but he was involved in the two biggest plays of the game and in my opinion cinched the award. After leading this years Champions league in goals with 10, including three in the two game affair with Manchester United against his World Player of the Year rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Kaka drew a free kick just outside the box that led to the first goal and made a nifty pass to Filippo Inzaghi who delivered his second goal of the night to stake Milan to a 2-0 lead. Dirk Kuyt would add a late header for the Merseysiders but it was Milan’s night. Liverpool had their chances in the first half but were unable to find the net. Steven Gerrard had several chances but was unable to mount a good charge and Dida, the Brazilian National team goalie was flawless in goal for the Rossoneri.

The game itself was not as exciting as the last few finals but it was intriguing and showed a vast contrast in playing styles. I am not sure why Rafael Benitez waited until 10 minutes left to bring in Peter Crouch as he is probably their best goal scorer along with Kuyt. But it was Milan’s night all along. It was a coronation after a much maligned year for AC Milan. Many feel they shouldn’t even be in the Champions League this year after their role in the infamous Italian match fixing scandal. They were deducted several points and allowed to play in the Champions league and even if they didn’t win the final they already qualified in this years Serie A anyway. Again, most feel they should have been demoted to Serie B as their rivals Juventus.

No matter though, the Rossoneri showed why Italian football reigns supreme at the moment, a World Cup victory and the title as the best team in Europe. Just think, the great Ronaldo wasn’t even eligible to play because of his late transfer from Real Madrid. Who would be surprised to see them back in the final next year.

Most Americans could care less about the Champions League. However, it is a passion for me and the biggest annual sports event in the world watched by most of the world. To put that into perspective, the Superbowl is watched by about 5% of the planet whereas the Champions League final, like the World Cup final may be watched by some 25% of humanity. It is truly a global phenomenon.

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  1. Owen is back says

    Brilliant knowledge of football. Watch out for the Magpies next season.

  2. Newcastle was almost relegated this year-at least for half of the season…hopefully Owen will stay with them and not split. I see he is getting a start with the England B team vs. Albania, should be interesting. I have always been a big Owen fan since the 98 World Cup but he has been a journeyman of sorts since he left Liverpool, he never should’ve left. Real Madrid was a joke for him and the injury really hurt.

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