Sports / February 4, 2010

This week in soccer

The biggest event of last week was the closing of the Winter transfer window and we’ve seen a few pretty impressive moves get completed: Ireland captain Robbie Keane’s move to the Scottish Premier League for the first time in his career with a loan to Celtic, Benjani Mwaruwari’s transfer from Manchester City to Sunderland and Stefan Okaka’s loan to Fulham from Roma.

But the move that really caught my eye was not done on the deadline day, but two days before — with out-of-shape, out-of-favor, former Brazilian star Robinho taking a loan move back to his boyhood club of Santos.

I mentioned Robinho in my last article, quoting ESPN analyst Richard Jolly, who remarked after Robinho was both subbed in and out in City’s loss to Everton: “The most expensive player in the history of English football was deemed unsuitable either to start or finish the game.” This year has been such for the man once considered by many to be “the next Pelé.” After just six Premier League starts and no goals, he decided to try out a move that worked for Brazil Team Adriano last year — a move back home.

In 2008, Adriano, a 26-year-old former prodigy that had been seeing a serious slump due to alcoholism, talked about considering retirement. He had lost the joy of the game, he said. A move back home to Brazil saw Adriano pick up form considerably. He stopped drinking, began scoring again, and eventually was reconsidered by Brazilian coach Dunga and returned to the team. Robinho hopes to make that same kind of move, and I think it should work. He excelled in Santos as a teenager, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t fit back in. On top of that, he will be considered a star again. Let’s not forget that Pelé played his entire professional career at Santos before retiring to play in the USA.

Speaking of Manchester City, they just suffered their biggest disappointment since Roberto Mancini was appointed as manager. Despite a 2-1 victory at home, Manchester City lost 3-1 to Manchester United in Old Trafford Stadium (Man U’s home). Calos Tevez scored his third goal against his former club (United), this year in the 76th minute of the game, but a 91st minute header by Wayne Rooney sent United through to the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa. Villa, for their part, won a 6-4 fist-clencher of a game against Blackburn Rovers to get there.

In Italy, another rivalry game has also fallen to the side considered by most to be the favorite: Inter Milan beat AC Milan 2-0. Milan Derbys are always interesting, and this one did not disappoint. After a few minutes loaded with chances, Diego Milito netted first in minute nine. It wasn’t until the 54th minute that new signing Goran Pandev scored his first goal for Inter Milan after a free kick. The most exciting minute, however, came when the referee called a 90th minute penalty for AC Milan. But an exceptional block by goalkeeper Julio Cesar kept the score 2-0 for the half, which puts AC Milan eight points behind Inter. It looks like the four-time reigning Italian champions are on their way to being five-time Italian champions.

Well, that’s all for this week. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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Gordon Barratt

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