Vamonos… Andiamo… The Treble? in Berlin!!

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We didn’t get “El Clasico” final in the UEFA Champions League, but we got two Classic teams in the final; Juventus – Barcelona. La Vecchia Signora, Juventus FC is back in a Champions League (CL) final after 12 years, hoping to win their third CL title, for many a difficult task taking into consideration that they are about to face probably the best team at this moment, FC Barcelona.

Barcelona,a team that went from creating doubts at the beginning of  the season to now create magic, consider by almost everyone the favorites to lift their fifth Champions League title. What is not in doubt, is that they have the most lethal trident at this moments, Messi, Suarez, and Neymar, the “MSN”. The team is in an incredible form  despite the fact that is the end of the season and when most teams are feeling the toughness of all competitions. Barcelona already won two important titles, La Liga and La Copa Del Rey, a boost of confident and definitely an additional motivation to  win the CL and the desire and difficult “Treble”. – (Treble is used in association football to refer to a team winning three trophies in a single season.- via Wikipedia)

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What were the odd that both finalist would be in position to win the Treble?… Juventus also won their local league; Seria A, as well as Coppa Italia which means that they also have the additional motivation to chase the Treble.

Although we can mark some specific differences between both teams, for many, Italian Football (Calcio) has lost a bit of competitiveness which means Juventus reaching the CL final is a slightly bigger accomplishment, despite dominating their league for the past few years they haven’t been able to reach this same stage in previous years, and many Italian teams have struggle in CL waters. Although we can not measure them by those results because we would have to ask what happened with the English Premiere League?, for many maybe the best European league and the most entertaining, but again non Premiere League team reached the semifinals, so everything is up for debate.

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What is not for debate is Barcelona’s great form, not only physically but mentally, La Liga was a tough fight during some months and at the end Real Madrid couldn’t keep the pace in the competition, but despite the tiredness that almost all teams face toward the end of the season, they seem to be in better form than the rest, and it doesn’t hurt to have the best version of Messi, the one that can create magic in the field wowing everyone that watch him make the impossible, possible.

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Yes two tales but one goal, wining La Orejona, it’s all set up for June 6th, when the best attack will face the classic and most expert defense. The italian defense style is known as a padlock. The question is, if Barcelona will be able to open that padlock, on the other hand it is a 90 minutes match and in football sometimes everything and anything can happen, which  makes it more exciting!!

Let’s hope for an entertaining and fun final, with a  bit of emotion and drama why not!

Who do you think will win the Champions League, Barcelona or Juventus,?… Let me know in the comments or on twitter @MonikJHerrera.

Most probably I’ll be kind of live tweeting on Saturday, twitter is fun during games, if you are on it feel free to say hi!

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On another note; It is incredible and a bit nostalgic that this match is going to be the last one in a European League for this two Football Legends, Xavi Hernandez and Andrea Pirlo. A win for New York though, apparently Pirlo has already signed with the NYCFC and Xavi is heading to Qatar after the final.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the match and may your favorite team win!

Pictures, 1, 2,3 and 4th from UEFA.com and last one from Marca.com

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Football Sunday!! #ElClasico … y nada mas!!

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In a few hours the match of matches will kick-off, “El Clasico” is for many the biggest football soccer match around the world – taking out World Cup matches – and is consider the biggest for many reason, the rivalry that goes way back in history including some political issues, the money each team invest in their players, the titles both have won and aspire to win, among other things, but that is not what this match is all about today, is about two of the biggest clubs in Spain with fan all over the world. Even in the most remote places football fans know about “El Clasico” and people wait for this match with excitement.

This year is a tale of one league with two different halves, is interesting to see how things change in a couple of months. The first half of La Liga, Real Madrid was almost unstoppable, they closed 2014 with incredible numbers and on a wining streak, Ronaldo was probably at his best form he was scoring many goals, everything was kind of perfect for them, but the second half of the season is not going according to their script, they are probably in the middle of a crisis stage, a few loses that were not only unexpected but somehow humiliating, including that shocking  second leg match in Champions League vs Schalke 04, were they were close to be eliminated.

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On the contrary Barcelona went from being a club in crisis during the first half of this season to be a club with a chance to win it all. If we take into consideration the whole Messi vs Luis Enrique drama; do they love each other or not?, that was the question and probably still is sometimes, things didn’t look so favorable for Barça. The turned around came, after  Messi missed a training session that generated many comments but was the key point in the team relationship, a conversation and a commitment to work for the team from all parts, and Messi has responded in the pitch, he is having an incredible second half scoring goals but also influencing Barcelona’s game, he has not only surpass Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal scoring race -30 for CR7 and 32 for Messi- but also he has assist many times his teammates, changing the face of Barcelona. One of the best news for their fans is that in some of the latest matches they have been able to see a glance of that style of game that was so characteristic of their team and was so loved and admired by others.

All build up aside history has told us that no matter how Barcelona or Real Madrid conditions are previous to a Clasico, this matches are a different story, we have seen how sometimes the one that get to this match stronger had ended up looking not so good to put it in a way. The only thing that we know for sure is that this match is not a normal regular La Liga match, is “El Clasico” and just by that, everything or anything can happen. What we all want is a fun and entertaining match, yes history also has taught us that sometimes the expectation is higher than what we see on the pitch, but we can only hope that today is going to be a Clasico to remember.

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This might be the match that defines the title race and it could be, there is just one point of difference between both teams and 10 matches to go, but we have also learned that football sometimes gives you many surprises. Do I think one of them will win La Liga, yes I do, I find it hard for the ones coming behind to catch them at the top, but I have seen many end of the season throughout the years so whoever or whichever wins today probably will gain confident to face the end of the season, but we’ll see…

Let’s enjoy and hope that it would be a fun match to watch! Let me know who do you think will win this Clasico, Real Madrid or Barcelona? you can leave a comment here or on my twitter @MonikJHerrera. Probably I will be tweeting during the game, one of my favorite things to do. Ha!

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I’m not sharing here stats because you probably have seen them all this week, but I can share two of the moments people remember the most, one was Raul silencing the Camp Nou after scoring goal that tied the match 2-2, that was one of those draw that felt like a victory. The other one is Barcelona wining 5-0, that was painful for all Madridistas but this are two of the many iconic moments El Clasico always leave us.

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Thank for reading and let’s see which trident will make the difference, the BBC: Bale, Benzema and Cristiano. Or the MSN: Messi, Suarez and Neymar?

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Pictures thanks to @RealMadriden twitter account, worldsoccertalk.com, bleacherreport.com and  spaghettibcn.com

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

Expectations, Curiosities, Handshakes, Dj’s and Blankets… It’s all about Football!

Hello !

The weekend is here, I was waiting for it so bad!…  It’s going to be a busy weekend, most European leagues are back after the International break, so the local battles are back too, lots of games and points to fight or defend and for some records to break. It should be interesting and hopefully fun!

Before submerge into the deep waters of the European league – ohh the ocean, with this cold weather I really miss you- but that’s not the point, back to submerge into the deep waters of every league lets look at some curious, funny and sometimes weird images and moments that this International break left us;

The Messi- Ronaldo show…

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Let’s start with the highly anticipated friendly between Argentina and Portugal  at Old Trafford, which for everyone it was a Messi vs Crisstiano Ronaldo match, everyone expected them to play at their best, to challenge each other and to try to prove who is the best of the World… They only played one half and for many they weren’t  that impressive, it was one of those “expectations were higher than reality” kind of moment.

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Anyhow what was interesting and funny was to see the incredible attention to every detail, move  or interaction both player had before, during and after the match :0, pictures, photos or analysis of how they look at each others, how strong was the handshake, who smile more, and many more things of that nature, it was just crazy but so enjoyable!!

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And this story is to be continued…. 😉

The name game, Casillas or Casilla??

I know this is silly but it’s funny too, if for some reason during the match between Spain and Germany you missed the moment when Iker Casillas was substituted by Kiko Casilla you probably would have thought at some point, wait, what happened?, did the commentators are missing the “s” in Iker’s last name, but then you would have look at the TV and at Spain’s goalkeeper and think he doesn’t look like Casillas at all, unless you are familiar with La Liga which most of you probably are, but for the ones that are not, know that there is an Iker Casillas and a Kiko Casilla (no “s” at the end) and both are goalkeepers. Haa!! It can be confusing at times… Or maybe just anecdotic!

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The weird note…

Goes to Xabi Alonso and his comments about Neuer being the best goalkeeper by far that he has ever played with,  emphasis in the “by far”, and how he deserves the Ballon d’or because he won the World Cup with Germany and the whole he is the best goalkeeper, comments that have created a big fuss because he just left Real Madrid and the comments are considered for some a direct attack o lack of support for Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course you can support your new teammate but for many these comments are a little bit out of time or place, but hey he is free to express his opinion I guess, but oh boy he really stir the waters up!

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The sad news;

There are many player that get injure during the International break when playing with their national team, so we wish them all a speedy recovery, specially to Luka Modric, he will be out around three-months according to the latest report. Get well soon Luka!

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The introduction;

Let me introduce you to the Euro 2016 “Mascot”

Let’s conclude in our side of the pond;

Hard to understand if Mexico players  were getting ready to play or to have a pajama party! haha… They were trying to stay warm in this cold weathers! I like that they are kind of coordinated, and so into plaid! Fashion alert!!

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The USA probably needed some blankets after their lost 1-4 vs Ireland, and most probably in need of a serious pajama party after picking the ball up from their goal fourth times! 😦 Ouch!

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Let’s closed it with a famous DJ!! David Guetta wearing the Colombia national team jersey, a gift from James with an Instagram messages included!

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I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away…

I bet you started to sing… I did! 🙂

By the way if you are planning to watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the Formula 1 season and the battle for the championship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg enjoy and I’ll probably be tweeting  during the race, I’ve been following F1 for some years now, but this season I’ve been so involved, that I am nervous  to know who will be the champion :O and I love it!!

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Thank you for reading and stopping by, feel free to leave any comment. What do you think about the whole Xabi Alonso comments situation? or Who is the best Messi or CR7? Ha… Also we can talk on twitter, you can fin me @MonikJHerrera

Have a great weekend!!

Besitos !

Pictures thanks to As.com, Marca.com. Deportestelemundo.com, Univisiondeportes.com, goal.com and BBCSport.com

Summer nights, transfers, dramas and Pre-season fun!

What’s up? Hello hello!!

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Ahh what a nice summer night… I feel like summer is about to be over and I still haven’t gone to the beach… breaking my record, and that’s not a good one!

Anyhow, at least I am checking up what is happening! Things are moving fast this days!

Let’s talk about Football!!!

Well since things in our side of the globe are actually slowing down, national teams will be back until September for more World Cup Qualifications, let’s catch up with the clubs in the other side of the world, which ironically most of them are jumping to this side of the pond!!

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Real Madrid started their pre-season or Summer Tour a couple of weeks ago, they played Bournemout, then they had a real test with O. Lyon and ohh boy, that was not pretty forget their previous result 6-0, this time it was a more competitive team, O.Lyon was already ahead of the whites in their pre-season preparation, so it was a tough game for Real Madrid, they were never comfortable, Ancelotti tried to stablished his strategies, but it seems that the team hasn’t been able to read them or understand them just yet!

They were able to tied the game in the second half after being down 2-0, the final result was 2-2, and a lot of notes for Ancelotti and his coaching team if they want to be as ready as possible.

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The next game was vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), I missed that game so I can’t say much about it, I know it was Ancelotti’s old team so it was interesting for sure, the result was a 1-0 a win for Real Madrid, base on what the media reported it was somehow a more leveled match, the Whites showed some talent, made some great passes and showed some  ball movement, but PSG also gave them good things to work on… but since I didn’t watch it, I can’t give you my thoughts so let’s move on…

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That was the last game they played in Europe before starting their American Tour, the International players, the ones that got extra vacations due to their participation in the Confederation Cup joined the team. Los Blancos started their traditional pre-season tour in the U.S for the four consecutive year, they chose UCLA training facilities as their house for the next couple of weeks, now Ancelotti has all his players together to start their full training…

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Well he is waiting for one more… and we are all waiting to know how much money he will cost…. Some transfers are real dramas, the Gareth Bale case it’s a clear example… dramaaaa….  it has gotten to a kind of ridiculous point, according to reports, Tottenham president didn’t want to let him go, even with the player decision and desire to leave the club, so he increased his  price. Latest news were that Real Madrid was willing to pay €85 millions (:0:0:0)  like seriously that is a lot of euros!! A lot of money, but Tottenham president later said that if Real Madrid want him, they will  have to pay €140 million of Euros…. that is absolutely beyond words, they are in negotiations but the numbers are just crazy, 80, 85 or 100 millions that would be the most expensive player since like ever… I mean like holy mother!!!

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I know he is good, he can play several positions and marketing wise he is consider one of the best and most famous players in the world, he was named last season the best player of the English Premier League (EPL), so his sponsors increased as well, he has not reach Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi o Neymar marketing levels, but he is getting there, so the Club will have that to build up and recover for that incredible holy cheese investment they will do, because even with the presidents of each club still in negotiations, he will end up signing for the White House!  I just think that for that incredible amount of money he has to become a true legend in this game lol…. just saying, to justified that craziness!! Any how that drama is still going on…. we were missing that summer transfer soap opera, as always, they never fail to entertain…

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Real’s first game in American soil was vs LA Galaxi, and the final result was a 3-1 victory, Isco is making some difference in his firsts games with Real Madrid, all players need to do their best, getting a starting spot is going to be a competitive thing among them. I think that will be good for the team, they have to reach a good level, not there yet even with this wins there is still a lot of work for Ancelotti, Zidane and Co.!

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Below you can see what cities they would play in their USA tour, so if you are there… ohh lucky you!! lol You can go and check what the heck is all the buzz about them!

TOUR 2013 MATCHES
      21/07 AFC Bournemouth 0-6 Real Madrid (Bournemouth,Endgland)
      24/07 Olympique de Lyon-Real Madrid (Lyon, France)
      27/07 Real Madrid-PSG (Goteborg, Sweden)
      01/08 Real Madrid-Los Ángeles Galaxy (Phoenix, USA)
      03/08 Real Madrid-Juventus or Everton (Los Ángeles, USA)
06-07/08 Real Madrid-(opponent to be confirmed) (Miami, USA)
      10/08 Real Madrid-Inter Milán (Saint Louis, USA)

 Schedule Source: realmadrid.com

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As it was already a done deal, Pipita is now in Naples with his new team Napoli, that was a very good deal for the Real Madrid, and  I think base on the welcoming el Pipa got when he arrived there, he would be fine, that was an airport full of fans and the stadium showed him a lot of love in his presentation!

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I have to bring Sexy David Beckham to the conversation hahaha…. I mean he is a symbol in this game, he might not be the best player in the world, he was great in his position and he definitely gave to this sport a new definition there was a before him and after in Football history, at least in my humble opinion, so for that he deserves a mentioned today! He went to visit his former teammates at UCLA and took pictures with old friends and with new ones. He is retired but is always good to see him!

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OK one more gossip mention :/… I know I am in so papo mode… Congrats to the future father to be, Iker and his journalist reporter Sara Carbonero, are expecting their first baby, for sure it will be cute… so that’s it papo (paparazzi) mode off. I am not even going to comment on Messi’s famous scandalous pictures… I’m being a good girl haha

What is going on in Camp Barça?

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Well they have been a bit quiet lately, they played their pre-season games vs Bayern Munich,  it was a bit to forget, not their best performance, they look a bit lost, without any direction or style, but it was just a friendly and their new coach was not with them at that time. But now Tata Martino has taken full control of the Team!

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Their second game was Neymar debut with Barcelona, and let’s put it like this, he got the chance to wear the jersey, that was pretty much the only news we got after the game, it might be early, he even said it he needs time to adapt to the team and get use to play with his new teammates, so let’s see him in next games. Tata Martino has started to work with the team so we might see a different result… Yesterday Neymar and Messi played together for the first time in the team presentation, and I guess they wanted to make it count, 8-0 vs Santos (Brazil)…

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Everything looks so promising!

What is not that promising on another note is how the crisis is affecting some clubs, specially in Spain, I talked about how good their league is, but with the recession and their economic crisis, some clubs are struggling and some are not even able to pay to their staff or players, it’s difficult, some clubs won’t have the money to reinforce their teams, and some other are selling their best players most of them to other leagues like the Premiere, Italy or France, in other to have some incomes from those sales and be able to respond to their employees, something that will definitely impact the league but at the end the saddest part is the people who is affected by this, you know what made this possible is the humans that work hard in all levels of a club…

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But I think we have to keep our hopes high, things have to get better sooner or later, at least we can hope, meanwhile we still can enjoy this beautiful game and some of its best performers!!

 Interesting notes!!

I guess blonde is the new trend!!… Do they really have more fun?? I  might consider going blonde lol…  Ramos showed up with his new hair style. What do you think, can he pull it off?

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Cristiano Ronaldo was invited to throw the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers game… I think he will stick to Football.

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 Thanks for reading!! I hope you are having  nice summer nights!!… And feel free to share your thoughts, what will you do with €85 million that’s like $100 something million of dollars… ahh what I would not do with that… lol!!

Besitos

Pictures thanks to Real Madrid official Facebook page, FCBarcelona.com and Gareth from Google images…