kimchi_chigae wrote:A few years ago, it was impossible for two teams from the same country to make the final in the Libertadores and I know that well because the team I support, Botafogo, was in the Libertadores after winning the Brazilian National Championship and we had to face Gremio in the Round of 16 because we were both from the same country. Gremio, at the time, were defending champions of the Libertadores and had a great team managed by Scolari. I was pissed. Botafogo never goes to continental tournaments and had to face arguably the strongest team of the tournament early just because of that rule.
I don't follow the Copa Libertadores much, even though I try to keep up every now and then, but I do remember that. I don't have a particular Latin American team I follow, but when it comes to Brazil, I just like Gremio because their kits are awesome.
I do like the Argentinean league though and having befriended a Racing Club fan, it's really spiked my interest. It's fascinating that virtually the entire top division is comprised of teams in Buenos Aires or in the surrounding areas.
I found a travel site that takes groups of fans to a match in Argentina and Brazil. Really sweet, as they even offered a trip that had Boca/River and Flamengo/Vasco in the same week.
kimchi_chigae wrote:With that being said, I completely agree that the strongest teams should face each other in the final, regardless of the country of origin. It just happens that England has probably the strongest league this season and the British teams have been playing very well. It still doesn't make me happy. As I said before, I had no interest in this final, but I think it's mostly because I don't follow the EPL that closely and the lack of Brazilian players on Man U and Chelsea's squad. I would much rather have seen Fenerbahce go through to the semis and have them take out Liverpool.
United have Anderson, who I'll say has really adapted well to the English game. Usually Brazilian players do better in Spain given that the game is more free-flowing there, but Anderson has built up the defensive strength to go alongside his attacking game and really could reach new heights in a few years' time.
I've always liked Fenerbahce, the club as a whole really, aside from the fact that their key players are Brazilian (i.e. Alex de Souza, Roberto Carlos) and Zico is managing them. Say what you will about Turkish fans but Fener have incredible atmosphere and fan dynamic as well.
kimchi_chigae wrote:I also don't think you can only have the champion of each country go to the champions league. France has a pretty good tradition is soccer and although they don't have the strongest of the leagues, it's still fairly good compared to other European countries. Lyon has completely dominated that league for years, but they are unable to do anything significant at the Champions League.
France has a great tradition. They were once regarded as the place to play football or at least one of them, among Italy and Spain, before the Premier League in England was established. So, there was a time where Eric Cantona being exiled from Marseille to playing in England, was considered a demotion given that England at the time was reeling from hooliganism and the play was really rough-and-tumble stuff.
Lyon are a fantastic side. When I lived in France, the biggest club I lived next to was O'L and so my ex and I would make the trip down to Lyon (from Grenoble) to the Stade Gerland. They have a good club as it stands now, with Juninho, Karim Benzema, Toulalan, Hatem ben Arfa (who I thought could've been a lot better in the quarters vs. United), and Fred, but you have to wonder how good of a run Lyon could've made in Europe had they not sold Michael Essien and Florent Malouda. I like Benzema a great deal and hope he goes to either United or Barca in the transfer season, but I think Lyon will only sell him for 40 million euros. Benzema is after all the next best thing since Thierry Henry.
I've always been partial to Marseille, as it's my favorite city in France (oddly enough since I've gone to Lyon games), and it's really been a while since they've done anything for a club with as decorated a history as any in France. Selling Franck Ribery to Bayern didn't help and it won't help matters selling Samir Nasri to Arsenal (some say he's the next Zidane).
kimchi_chigae wrote:Congrats to Man U and its fans. I don't think I hate anyone more than Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer today, maybe only Carlos Tevez, but the man can play.
I don't see Ronaldo being as lovable an icon as say, Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes, or like an Eric Cantona/Roy Keane, David Beckham even, but he'll go down as a top 10 player in United history. That is, if he stays at United during his prime before moving to Spain, which I think will eventually happen but it won't happen in the short term.
As for Tevez, he's been awesome, clutch this year, the conqueror of Brazil has been.