El clasico final in Berlin?… to be or not to be?…

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How are the chances of having “El Clasico” in the biggest scenario of football clubs, the UEFA Champions league?

We are about to find out, this week we will know which teams will meet in Berlin for the final. The last time I posted about El Clasico, it was the one Barcelona and Real Madrid played in La Liga, it finished with a victory from Barcelona. Although a mix feelings from Real Madrid’s fans, for some the team played with heart, for others a lost is a lost.

The Champions League sometimes can be predictable and sometimes it can surprise us, at this stage the four teams playing the semifinals are European football powerhouses, all have won the title before, some are more favorites than others but any of the four could reach the final.

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For the past few CL seasons the idea of a Real Madrid- Barcelona final had been in the air, both teams reached semifinals in the last few season teasing all fans with a possible El Clasico final, but it did not happen, either both were eliminated, or only one of them advanced to the final like what happened with Real Madrid last season.

As soon as both were placed in different sides and facing different rivals this season some fans and the media started to dream with a final between these two arch rivals, let’s be honest that has a possibility of being one of those great and historic finals, but one thing is to dream about it and another one is the reality of both clubs.

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So far Barcelona has half of the ticket to Berlin and most probably is about to get the other half in the next two hours, if Bayern can not pull out a comeback. RealMadrid has a complicated second leg on Wednesday after their 1-2 result in Italy vs Juventus. It’s interesting how many people thought that Real Madrid probably had better chances because Juventus were considered among the four semifinalist the one with fewer options, but at the end football can change from one game to another.

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Just look at how things have shifted for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, the first one started the season with many doubts and in the middle of a weird relationship between Luis Enrique and Messi, but apparently all that is water under the bridge now, and they are having an incredible end of the season, the players form and their game have set them a part from the rest, they are probably the favorite, the MSN (Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar) are having the best end of the season. That is what could be called, good timing.

Barcelona- Bayern Munich in the papers was probably the match that everyone expected to be very  close and difficult, and it was for most part of the game during the first leg, but in three minutes Messi changed it all, now Bayern needs maybe not a miracle but close to that.

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On the contrary Real Madrid went from the best team at the beginning of the season to be in the edge of a non title season. Iker Casillas is getting some heat from some fans, as well as the BBC (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano) not much love for them, specially for Bale and a little bit for Ronaldo, and since Benzema is injured, he is kind of on the safe. At this point, it all depends of what happens this Wednesday, it seems that they have said goodbye to La Liga after Saturday’s result, and now their only option is the Champions League, but Juventus is a tough rival, specially now that they have the result on their favor, they can defend pretty well that’s the Italian style.

Real Madrid seems to be under trouble waters, facing critics after the latest results, their timing couldn’t be worst, important players injured and others criticized by their fans.

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Ancelotti needs to come up with a lineup that would cover the injury problems and the players need to have a good game, one of those magical Champions League nights at the Bernabeu, otherwise the dream of the eleventh (Undecima) will banish pretty fast and tougher times will come. Real Madrid is a club where fans expect victory all the time, that is the way it is. They either make it happen in the Champions League or they are heading to a very long and uncomfortable summer.

What is for sure is that we will be watching, many are praying to the Football gods to have that dream “El Clasico” final but for now let’s enjoy the excitement, nerves and nail biting that are Champions League Semifinals!!

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Thank you for reading and let me know if you would like to see a Real Madrid – Barcelona final, or would you prefer other option?

Feel free to leave a comment here or on my twitter; @MonikJHerrera.

Pictures thanks to UEFA.com, noticiasaudio.com, ibetimes.com, bleachreport.net, sport.net, Real Madrid official Facebook. 

Ballon d’Or!… The award season is ON… prepare the campaigns?…

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We are at the end of the year, the award season is approaching. FIFA just announced their nominations for the prestigious, controversial  at times and very famous Ballon d’Or award.

We all thought this year everything was going to go smoothly with the nominees, well not so fast, things just got a lot interesting to put it in a way and a lot more controversial-ish.

The Nominees for the Best Player of the year are;

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As of a few weeks ago, no one would have doubted that Cristiano Ronaldo was the favorite to win his second Ballon d’or, players and media were talking about his incredible year,  that despite his awful World Cup, he won titles with Real Madrid and broke some records in the process.

Everyone has talked about it, but some opinions have generated more headlines than others;

First Xabi Alonso and his comments about Manuel Neuer and later the reports of his apology for any offense that Ronaldo might have taken over his comments.

Most recently Michel Platini, president of the UEFA, who said that the winner should be “a world champion” and not Ronaldo. Words that not only stir the pot but also generated a response from Real Madrid, the team issued a statement in which they outline his impartiality and reminded him that “the Ballon d’Or  is an individual rather than collective prize.”  – Award drama…

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Now everyone is talking, from ex- players like Thomas Muller, Lotthar Matthaus to current players like Buffon, Pique, Ramos and the list goes on and on and the opinions varies; who deserve it?, if the World Cup should matter more than club achievements, goals records vs season performances, even their marketing powers or sponsorship influences are part of the conversation.

We haven’t mention Messi, who broke two historic records in less than two weeks and suddenly he is back in the race, he was a world cup finalist with Argentina, but aside from that his year hasn’t been that impressive, at least not for some of the media and football fans, and at times he wasn’t even consider as a possible winner, now he is in the race talk, although the voting process was closed before he broke the records, this just has added more to the drama!

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Coach of the Year is another big award that have also created controversy in the past, this year at least most agree with the final three nominees. All have made enough the past year and deserve the award but only one will get it, who?… is yet to be seen, for many the race is between Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti.

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The Puska award should be a fun one, James goal was incredible but Van Persie’s was very impressive too, let’s not forget all the fun we had with the memes and it also created a new verb; Vanpersing!!

What is for sure is that we will have to wait to see how the Ballon d’Or drama will unfold, people will keep talking, speculating and most will keep campaigning for their players, for some this should be avoided but that also has become part of the award itself.

The voting process for the 2014 Ballon d’Or ended on Nov. 21st, 2014, with coaches and captains from all FIFA member associations, as well as some media representatives, choosing their three favorites.

Thanks for reading and stopping by!!! Who do you think should win the Ballon d’Or for player of the year?… Which goal was the best one?…. Feel free to share your opinion, you can leave a comment here or on  my twitter @MonikJHerrera.

I leave you with a few but fun vanpersing pictures.

Pictures via FIFA.com, Gifs via Huffingtonpost.com, Vanpersing pictures via google.com

Keep the ball rolling!!

Hello all!!

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Well the ball started to roll and we are already talking about the surprises! It’s serious business now, it’s early but even the first game can determinate the end of a season if you don’t believe me ask Real Madrid, their last season opening night was awful, and their first games didn’t got any better at the end they were out of the Championship run way before everyone expected, so this is serious business!!

The first game it’s kind of difficult for some clubs, it’s like breaking the awkwardness in a meeting or like going to a blind date, you really don’t know what will happen, if the other person  will like you and you don’t want to recover from a bad date you want to move forward after a nice first date… I am so into this dating analogies lol… Don’t know why??? **Worried** My unconscious might be sending me a message!! :/

Anyways this weekend was interesting, La Liga officially  kicked off their season and the two most famous and most possible contenders for the title played on Sunday with different results and evaluations, but one surprise in common, their benches gave to the media more to talk than some actions on the pitch!

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Let’s Start with Real Madrid, everyone was speculating if their legendary Captain Iker Casillas was going to be back to the starting lineup,  at first  everyone reports were that he was going to start and everyone thought that it was going to be Business as usual, but Carlo Ancelotti had a different plant and surprise everyone by leaving him on the bench, is still uncertain if is going to be like this and Diego Lopez will be the starting goalkeeper or if it is just some games situation, Lopez started training with the team from the beginning of the preseason, Iker joined their teammates almost 10 days later after playing the Confederation Cup with Spain, also last week he played with Spain against Ecuador, so someone can say he might have been tired or Ancelotti might have consider that the one more prepare was Diego Lopez, he didn’t clear that up, after being ask like three times by the media at the press conference after the game.

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Iker has been consider one of the symbols of Real Madrid, it has been his only club, and he kind of represent the dream of every little Spanish kid or any kid. He made it to the first team and became a star for his club and later for his country, but many agreed that he hasn’t had any competition lately, no one who could really challenge his position and sometimes that can lead to over-confidence not in his skills but on knowing that he was going to play all the time, all that change last season when Mourinho send benched him, we can made a whole new post about the rumors of why he did that, in my opinion was unfair, and out-of-place, but he was the coach and he could do it. What is true is that with the arrival of Diego Lopez to Real Madrid and his excellent performance  by the end of the last season, he definitely can challenge Iker to be at his best if he want to be the starter again, now they both have to compete for a spot in the starting eleven and they have to be at their best in every training and in every game… what is not clear yet is what Ancelotti will do… at some point he has to choose one of them to be the starter!

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In regards of the game, for Los Blancos it was a bittersweet opening day, the first half was tough, Real Betis played with no fear and they got themselves an early goal surprising everyone, Real Madrid struggle a lot in defense, Betis was even closer to increase the result but Real Madrid was lucky at some times, Benzema tied the game before half time. Again those 15 minutes can make a lot of difference, the second half was a different story, Los Blancos were more aggressive and moving better the ball, Marcelo played really good most of the time and at the last-minute he send a great pass to Isco who scored the wining goal,  the final result was 2-1 for Real Madrid, but many things to fix and reorganize for Ancelotti and Co.

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Barcelona on the other side had a dance party with poor Levante U.D, (Club), which I think had Stage fright or performance anxiety, because they were completely lost there, no options, no ways to react to the pouring of goals they were getting, the final result was 7-0, yes I feel bad for them but they play a bad game, not the best way to start, but at least they will have all season to recover hehe….  It took Barcelona less than three minutes to open the score board, and with a great Cesc Fabregas they were a demolition machine, they made beautiful passes and play great football, it was a real opening show, what a way to start the competition for their new coach Tata Martino.

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The surprise was Neymar who started the game in the bench,  it is a surprise consider he is the most expensive investment the club made for this season, and I guess everyone was expecting to see the dynamic duo Naymar/Messi playing together, apparently he wasn’t in the starting lineup due to his latest health problem, although he was ok to play with Brazil before this game, I guess he is still in the adaptation process, he didn’t look happy with the decision we can assume base on his face expression (apparently I and some of the media can interpreter face expressions now lol ). When he  finally made his official debuted in La Liga in the 64th min, he looked so eager to show all his skills, we didn’t have the chance to see the dynamic duo for too long, Tata Martino decided to rest Messi just minutes after Neymar debuted…

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But overall was an interesting Opening day!! I enjoyed it, I guess all Real Madrid fans suffered more than they would have expected it, in some ways was a reminiscent of how the season ended, early goal conceded, a come back and a last-minute goal to get the three points, I hope it will get better for the well-being of their fans lol…  For Barcelona fans was all joy and great expectations!

Some other notes!

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  • Isco had a great debut with Real Madrid, scoring the wining goal that put him as the savior of the team and the day! The stadium was chanting his name, a good sign!

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  • Cesc Fabregas made it clear that he wants to stay in Camp Barca, he played great and was one of the best in his team.

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  • Sergio Ramos is no longer a platinum Blonde!!…. I don’t know what happened there, either he was having too much fun as a blonde and decided to get back to business or the blondes don’t have that much fan after all…. lol

 I didn’t watch the rest of the games, but I don’t see any major surprises. It’s just the first game so we’ll see!

Let’s move to the EPL

I feel like I don’t need to say much about this, if you live in the USA I think the coverage of NBC was extensive and well done, I was happy to be able to see the game live on my phone lol!!

But we did have some surprises too…

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Arsenal opening game was not the best they lost 0-3 vs Aston Villa and the feeling they left to the fans was not promising, so they have to work to do specially in their defense and they face another problem as many pointed out, Arsène Wenger hasn’t been able to strengthen the team with good additions, I think their fans are wondering if they will buy someone in this window market! This was kind of the big surprise of the weekend.

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Manchester United had a very special game, the first one after the Sir Alex Ferguson era, which was a very successful, he is truly a legend in the football world, so some were a bit nervous and uncertain about the future, all that have put some pressure on the team, and if you add the Wayne Rooney situation, that create a lot of expectations, but base on what we saw yesterday well I think so far is all under control, Robin van Persie is sensational, he is again a contender to end the season at the top in the goal department, the team needs some improvement but a victory 4-1 over Swansea City, can be called a good start.

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Another game to watch was Chelsea vs  Hull City which marked the return of Jose Mourinho to the EPL, he received a lot of love from the fans and his team beat Hull 2-0 , it seems that everything went according to the plan!

So many news about the transfer market, but also about the reactions to this first games!!

**Eye Candy alert**

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I really enjoy the games, but I have to say it, I think Zidane looks so good in that black suit!! C’mon that is pure handsomeness and he is not that young anymore, see boys we don’t need much just a nice suit or a nice tan lol… he is definitely like a good wine let’s just leave it there… lol!! Oook, he is  cute though…

Thanks for reading, I hope you did enjoy opening day, it was a weekend full of emotions, reunion ns andsurprises!! Let me know what you think, what surprised you the most and what team are you supporting this season!!

Take care! This just started and we couldn’t be happier!! hahaha

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Besitos!

Pictures thanks to Real Madrid official Facebook, BarcelonaFC.com, telegraph.co.uk, Mirror.co.uk, and Google.com