Sports / May 19, 2010

Euro soccer leagues finish up respective seasons

Ah, yes, the European Soccer season comes to an end. As always, there are some on top and some on bottom. Chelsea is among those on top: after winning the Premier League title over Manchester United, they went on to win the FA cup against Portsmouth.

I think most journalists would have loved to watch Portsmouth clench the victory though. It would have been a historic one too. Portsmouth has had a record-breaking bad season, and ended up last place in the Premier League. To make matters worse, the chairman announced just days before the final that most of their star players will not be renewed next year, and that the final will be their last match. It was a miracle they even got there in the first place; imagine how insane it would have been for them to beat Chelsea in the final.

Over in Spain, Barcelona managed to salvage what could’ve been a somewhat disappointing season. After claiming it all last season (six trophies in all), hopes were very high for the Catalan club. They started out the season well-claiming the UEFA super-cup, the FIFA World Cup of Clubs (not to be confused with the regular World Cup) and the Supercopa de España-but then they lost out on two of the three big trophies they were presented with.

Well, on Sunday they redeemed themselves in two ways-one by winning the Spanish Liga, and giving Real Madrid (most expensive club in the world) a trophy-less season, but with that win Leonel Messi became the top goal scorer in Europe-a prestigious title for the player and the club he belongs to.

Inter Milan are hoping to be this year’s Barcelona, despite not playing as well. They defeated Barca in the Champions League to get to the final, but lost to them a total of three times this year, and won only once.

Despite that, they have continued dominating in Italy—claiming the Cup and League, and have set their sights on the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Then and only then can we start making comparisons.

Athletico Madrid, unlike Barcelona, started out the season terribly, but now they’re looking at ending the season with two trophies. After conquering the UEFA Cup (an international cup which is a step down from the Champions League), against Fulham last week, they have high hoped for their Spanish Copa del Rey final against Sevilla this week.

Also in the news, Onyewu asks to play one year for free at AC Milan.

For those of you who don’t know, Onyewu is another one of those American success stories turned disappointment. After a strong performance in the Confederations cup, he became the first ever American to sign for AC Milan.

However, after playing just a few friendly games and one Champions League qualifier, he ruptured his patellar tendon and has been out all season. He knows that with his club looking to make cuts, he’ll be one of the first to go. So he did a really smart thing-he offered to play a year for free with the club. This way, Milan has no reason to let him go, and he will probably get more playing time with a thinned out squad. If you’re an American soccer fan, you’ve gotta love Onyewu at the moment.

He’s had a disappointing season, but he is doing his damndest to not let this opportunity slip away, and my guess is that he’ll succeed.

If he does, it will give the American national squad a good moral boost before the World Cup-which is something we sorely need.

Gordon Barratt

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