When I heard Ricardo Quaresma had made the cut for Paulo Bento’s provisional 2014 World Cup finals squad I thought about my most vivid memory of the winger. It was February 2007, in a friendly against Brazil at the Emirates. Another money-spinning game between two Nike sponsored teams. Quaresma along with a 22-year old Cristiano Ronaldo were simply unplayable tearing into Gilberto, Maicon, Lucio and company that night.
There’s consolation goals and then there’s ‘scant’ consolation goals like the one Klass Jan Huntelaar scored against Real Madrid. In any other circumstance, the Dutchman’s volley was worthy of winning any game if it wasn’t for the Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo blitz in the previous 89 minutes.
La Liga is officially a three horse race. Not since Javi Irrueta’s Deportivo or Los Che under Rafa Benitez have we really been able to say it without real conviction.
Gareth Bale didn’t choose the figure Real Madrid paid to take him away from Spurs, but like it or not, the world’s most expensive footballer will spend his time in Spain having to prove he was worth the money.
The invitation to take part in the Juan Gamper trophy no doubt sweetened the deal to bring the pin-up boy of Brazilian football to the Camp Nou. A deal that has been in the making since 2010 when Sandro Rosell succeeded Joan Laporta as Barcelona president. The former Nike exec finally got his man and Neymar will line up alongside Messi, Xavi and Iniesta in the famous maroon and blue jersey.
The best things in life are free but don’t forget the six-figure contract or the agent fee. Okay, so Janet and Luther didn’t quite sing it like that but when Monaco is flashing the big bucks along with PSG, Manchester City and Chelsea like spoilt rich kids, it’s left to the rest to strengthen on a budget.
If Marcelo dreamt of making his debut for Brazil, he probably envisaged a backdrop more glamorous than a dreary Tuesday evening in North London. White Hart Lane will now forever be in the memory of the Real Madrid left back as the ground where he first laced those boots up to step out for the Seleção. I was there that night in 2006 to see the Brazilian supporters out in full force and a game that Brazil were worthy of a 2-0 win.
Reasons to be cheerful have been few and far between for Scotland supporters in recent years especially during Craig Levein’s fateful reign in charge but his replacement Gordon Strachan is doing his best to restore the faith in the national side when it is at an all time low. His first win as Scotland manager came in the largely uneventful friendly against Estonia earlier this year, but it’s his first competitive win away to Croatia in a World Cup qualifying campaign that was already over when he replaced Levein that suggests there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s a rarity to be posting twice on one day but thought it was worthy to round-up what Manchester United players that have played under Ferguson managed to squeeze into 140 characters what they made of the United manager stepping down and the impact the Scot had on their careers. There’s some great pictures in there as well.
Twitter timeline, Facebook news feed, radio phone-ins, Sky Sports yellow ticker, front and back page of the Standard. For Manchester United supporters Wednesday May 8th 2013 will be remembered as the day one of the greatest football managers to have graced the game decided that it was time to call it a day.