José Mourinho & Manchester United FC – A match made in Heaven or Hell?

Louis van Gaal has been sacked as the manager of Manchester United FC.

David Moyes, “The Chosen One”, didn’t last one entire season with the Red Devils.

Now, the club has agreed to hire the self-proclaimed “Special One”, José Mourinho, as their new man in charge. The decorated manager, who was eyeing this position for a long time, gets his wish. What to think about this move, this career choice?

First, United fans will have to come to terms with a reality. Managers do not or very rarely stay 26 years with the same club anymore and with the success that Mr. Alex Ferguson has enjoyed, despite a difficult start to his career.

Second, he competition will be as fierce as ever before. Manchester City FC with Pep Guardiola, probably the best and most successful manager in football currently (along with “El Cholo” Diego Pablo Simeone, in my opinion). Chelsea FC with Italian manager Antonio Conte will come back and would want to regain the title as soon as possible and put the Mourinho’s era behind them. Arsenal FC have just added Swiss international, Granit Xhaka, to their lineup and would want to improve on their second place finish from last season.

And clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur FC under Mauricio Pocchetino, Liverpool FC with Jurgen Klopp, West Ham FC led by Slaven Bilic and a new stadium, the Olympic Stadium, and why not, Leicester City FC guided by Claudio Ranieri, the defending champions, will be a difficult opponent to play against, although few believe that they can actually repeat.

Manchester United FC will not feature in the UEFA Champions League this season. Instead, they will have to settle for the UEFA Europa League. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Mourinho manages his squad for this competition.

And finally, will the “Special One” finally settle in a club for more than three years and half or less? Will the native of Setúbal display more calm, cool and collected behavior as he has promised to do during his second press conference unveiling him as the Chelsea FC manager? Or will it be the same old song, played especially in London and Madrid, repeated all over again?

We shall see, as Mr. van Gaal, used to stay.

Say tuned…

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Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 22

This is it. The end of the season has arrived with the Champions League final at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza behind us. Real Madrid CF won their record 11th European Cup title thanks to a penalty shootout versus local and arch-rivals, Club Atlético de Madrid (1-1. 5-3 after extra time). Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning penalty kick, but was invisible for most of the game and was kept off the scoresheet on that one. He adds another Champions League winning medal, his third (one with Manchester United FC and two with Real Madrid CF).

As for Lionel Messi, the Argentine captain and his teammates prepare themselves for la Copa America Centenario due to begin one June 03rd. La Albiceleste played and won a friendly match against Honduras, 1-0, with a superb goal from SSC Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain. Messi was kept off the scoresheet and left the game with what appeared to be a lower-back injury.

Here are the stats from January 01st to May 30th, 2016 between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

L. Messi 34 games 29 goals 18 assists 2 trophies won
C. Ronaldo 27 games 27 goals 8 assists 1 trophy won
Total Messi 7 games Messi 2 goals Messi 10 assists Messi 1 trophy

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 21

With the end of the season behind us, Lionel Messi was the only player busy this week with the Spanish King’ Cup final (la Copa del Rey). FC Barcelona played Sevilla FC, who were just recently crowned Europa League champions for the third year in a row. Despite that, the Catalans giants made sure that they were the only Spanish team to win two trophies this year with a 2-0 victory over their rival from Andalusia. Lionel Messi was on target with two assists.The Argentine international wins his second title in 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his team were off this week and will play the last game of this season against Atlético Madrid for the UEFA Champions League trophy, this Saturday, at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) in Milan, Italy.

The statistics so far from January 01st to May 22th, 2016 are the following between the two biggest stars of football:

L. Messi 33 games 29 goals 18 assists 0trophy available
C. Ronaldo 26 games 27 goals 8 assists 1 trophy available
Total Messi 7 games Messi 2 goals Messi 10 assists Messi 2 trophies won

Stay tuned…

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 20

This is it.

La Liga BBVA was decided on the final day of the season and it is FC Barcelona, as usual in recent years, who were crowned Spanish champions thanks to a 3-0 win at Granada, with “El Pistolero” Luis Suarez on target with a hat-trick. The Uruguayan international has, by the same toaken, won the “pichichi”, La Liga’s top scorer award for the season 2015-16, and also the European Golden Boot. A fantastic season for the former Ajax and Liverpool hitman.

Lionel Messi was kept off the scoresheet during this match, but wins another medal to his already large collection.

Real Madrid CF, who will play their local rivals in the Champions League final on May 28th, for the second time in three years, has given Los Blaugranas a run for their money up until the end but it was not going to be, despite a 2-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna thanks to a brace by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here are the statistics for both players from January 01st to May 16th, 2016:

L. Messi 32 games 29 goals 16 assists 1 trophy available
C. Ronaldo 26 games 27 goals 8 assists 1 trophy available
Total Messi 6 games Messi 2 goals Messi 8 assists Messi 1 trophy won

Lionel Messi has one more game to play this season for his club and it is the Spanish Cup final versus Sevilla FC at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, Atlético Madrid’s home, while Cristiano Ronaldo will have a chance to collect a third Champions League medal the following week.

Stay tuned.

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 19

This week was the penultimate game of the season in La Liga BBVA and the title is still up for grab. One team, Atlético Madrid, has been eliminated of the race because of a 2-1 last-minute loss to relegated team Levante.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid CF held on to a 3-2 win at home against a tedious Valencia CF side and kept their hopes of being champions alive.

FC Barcelona trashed their local rivals, Espanyol, 5-0 and avoided the same fate that occurred during the 2006-07 season when, at the same period of the season, Los Blaugranas settled for a tie against the same opponent and handed the title to their arch-rival.

Champions League football was also on the agenda, earlier last week, with Real Madrid winning 1-0 at home against a lacklustre Manchester City FC in the 2nd leg of the semifinal. Cristiano Ronaldo was not involved on the scoresheet.

In La Liga BBVA, Lionel Messi scored 1 goal and 1 assist. Ronaldo added 2 goals to his tally.

For this week, the statistics are the following between the Argentine and the Portuguese international for 2016:

L. Messi 31 games 29 goals 16 assists 2 trophies available
C. Ronaldo 25 games 25 goals 8 assists 2 trophies available
Total Messi 6 games Messi 4 goals Messi 8 assists Tie

Stay tuned…

UEFA Champions League Final – Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid CF

We have had Lisbon 2014, now football fans will get Milan 2016. The two top teams in the city of Madrid will go toe-to-toe for a second time in three years in the Champions League Final. The first time, Diego Simeone’s club was seconds away from tasting their first success in this competition before defender Sergio Ramos broke Los Colchoneros’ hearts with a last minute goal and later on, the work of Angel Di Maria and Gareth Bale insured that Los Blancos would finally win their 10th European Cup/Champions League crown, “La Decima”, as they nicknamed it.

Despite this defeat, Atlético Madrid has been very competitive against their fierce rival over the years. A look at their last encounters, since Diego “El Cholo” Simeone took over as manager of the club in 2012 will show the competitiveness between the two clubs in which, for many, many years were three “automatic” points for Real Madrid. Not anymore…

27/02/2016 – Real Madrid CF 0 – 1  Atlético Madrid (La Liga BBVA).

04/10/2015 – Atlético Madrid 1 – 1 Real Madrid CF (La Liga BBVA).

22/04/2015 – Real Madrid CF 1 – 0 Atlético Madrid (Champions League).

14/04/2015 – Atlético Madrid 0 – 0 Real Madrid CF (Champions League).

07/02/2015 – Atlético Madrid 4 – 0 Real Madrid CF (La Liga BBVA).

15/01/2015 – Real Madrid CF 2 – 2 Atlético Madrid (Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey 2nd leg).

07/01/2015 – Atlético Madrid 2 – 0 Real Madrid CF (Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey 1st leg).

13/09/2014 – Real Madrid CF 1 – 2 Atlético Madrid (La Liga BBVA).

22/08/2014 – Atlético Madrid 1 – 0 Real Madrid CF (Spanish SuperCup 2nd leg).

19/08/2014 – Real Madrid CF 1 – 1 Atlético Madrid (Spanish SuperCup 1st leg).

24/05/2014 – Real Madrid CF 4 – 1 Atlético Madrid (Champions League Final).

02/03/2014 – Atlético Madrid 2 – 2 Real Madrid CF (La Liga BBVA).

11/02/2014 – Atlético Madrid 0 -2 Real Madrid CF (Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey 2nd leg).

05/02/2014 – Real Madrid CF 3 – 0 Atlético Madrid (Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey 1st leg).

28/09/2013 – Real Madrid CF 0 – 1 Atlético Madrid (La Liga BBVA).

17/05/2013 – Real Madrid CF 1 – 2 Atlético Madrid (Spanish Cup/Copa del Rey Final).

27/04/2013 – Atlético Madrid 1 – 2 Real Madrid CF (La Liga BBVA).

01/12/2012 – Real Madrid CF 1 – 0 Atlético Madrid (La Liga BBVA).

11/04/2012 – Atlético Madrid 1 – 4 Real Madrid CF (La Liga BBVA).

The results have vastly improved for Atlético Madrid in the past three seasons. They have been sort of the “bête noire”of Real Madrid CF during that span.

Games: 19.

Atlético wins – 7.

Real Madrid – 7.

Ties – 5.

My prediction for the final? Atlético wins its first Champions League title.

Atlético Madrid