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Tonight boys, we’re feasting on Sergio Ramos’ salty tears…
Lee (as close as you can get to karmic justice), LFC
I can not be the only one who thinks it is hilarious that the c*** Ramos thought it was safe for him to get a second booking, as this tie was already over.
Whether he was arrogant about it or just plain stupid, he got exactly what he deserved.
Let’s hope they now fail to qualify for next season’s competition.
Andreas (Good luck Mourinho) Brussels
Ha ha, ha ha ha!!!
Mike Woolrich, LFC and millions of egyptians
I hope you get some mails on the Real Madrid v Ajax game because I have just witnessed one of the most extraordinary European performances of the Champions League era.
I will admit that I, like most, wrote the game off as a comfortable home win and I only started watching after twenty minutes when it seemed like we had a game on. And boy did we have a game!
So many excellent performances: Neres, Ziyech, Tagliafico, Blind (!), Schöne for the goal but the standout was Dusan Tadic. Utterly, utterly brilliant and I had to keep checking it was the same guy that was at Southampton. The roulette assist is already an all-time great. With all the individual performances, I was most impressed with how they continued to attack in numbers, not only after they had gone in front, but also in the second half when Madrid briefly threatened a comeback.
A brief final mention to Frenkie de Jong. I’d heard the name but that was the first time I’d watched him play and what a player he is. So calm and technically brilliant, it’s hard to believe he’s only 21. If Mbappe is to be the star of the next generation then de Jong won’t be far behind.
John (sad to think they’ll all be sold in the summer) Porter
What a performance from a young Ajax team to knock Madrid out of the champions league! I’ve watched them a few times this season and they play some scintillating free flowing football with a fluid front three. The whole team was excellent especially their front three of Tadic, Ziyech and Neres. Tadic was outstanding with his ball control, vision and passing and his run and pass for the second goal was outstanding (best moment of a great match). Frenkie De Jong was superb in distribution and keeping Modric at bay. He should fit in to the Busquets role at Barca seamlessly. A mention for the excellent Blind too as it is nice to see the former United man having a great season. Erik Ten Haag has this team playing some good stuff and I hope the team is not ripped apart completely after the season.
Ajax played very well at Bayern too and were unlucky not to win that one. I wish them the best in the quarters but think they will get City, Barca or PSG which will be a bridge too far.
Today was a day to celebrate the underdog. I’m not an Ajax fan but found myself screaming and clapping for the third and fourth goals. Football can do that to you. This match brought back memories of that Letchkov header vs Germany in USA 94. I’m going to sleep a happy man.
Antony (Indian in Netherlands)
Watching the game last night and Ajax wonderful youthful exuberance was a real shot in the arm for football, tearing Madrid apart with some quite breathtaking attacking play as well as some quite mental defending, not sure who it was who decided at 3-1 he was just going to fart around at the back and try and nutmeg 2 Madrid players almost leading to a Madrid goal, but the confidence of the Ajax players they would of backed themselves to go straight up the pitch and score another one.
The scoreline did not flatter Ajax at all in fact it could of been worse if not for a horrendous miss from 3 yards out.
Courtois had an absolute mare with the 4th being beaten from there does not a top keeper make.
Madrid on the other hand were quite woeful and the purposeful yellow card taken by Ramos in context now is quite hilarious with Liverpool fans and even the official site giving him both barrels (they haven’t got over the Salah thing yet).
In summary last night was the best thing to happen to European football in years, lets hope United’s kids can perform miracles in Paris tonight.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
I know I said I wanted Atletico to win the Champions League but after last night – please let it be Ajax – if only because Dennis will be happy. And who doesn’t want Dennis Bergkamp to be happy?!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Genuine question to all Southampton fans, why wasn’t Tadic that good for you?
All about Man United
The current CEO at Ajax is Edwin Van Der Sar, and I understand that he’s already in the frame for the soon to be created director of football post at United. I reckon he may have just shot to the top of the shortlist after last night’s utter destruction of Los Merengues.
Rather more by accident or design, Ed Woodward seems to have stumbled upon the simple truth that a prior connection to the supporters and an innate understanding of the history of a football club is actually beneficial to the fostering of a successful managerial structure.
Both men are icons of Manchester United, who by glove and by boot have each personally delivered the club a Champions League trophy. As a United fan who long admired each player for how they conduct themselves on and off the field, I cannot deny that the idea of a Solskjaer/VDS partnership appeals to the heart as well as the head.
Not watching the games tonight, but checked the scores just now to see Ajax about to dump Real Madrid out of the Champions League. The level of joy this aroused took me by surprise which led me to realise I dislike them more than any other club in the world, including Chelsea. Maybe it’s that they suckled off the teat of Franco and have never been in the least bit ashamed, maybe it’s the delusional, arrogant self entitlement of their fans booing players because a newspaper tells them to, maybe it’s just that they love total massive cockwombles like Ramos. However their arrogance led them to sell CR7 which has precipitated their downfall. So a happy ending 🙂
And well done to the Spuds.
I’m sure you’re going to be inundated with emails from people who write “CR7” without a trace of irony, bemoaning the state of Real, and claiming that a certain Portuguese pompinjay would have saved them. For now, all I want to say is:
But in all seriousness – 8 of that Ajax team was under 26?! What a fabulous job that backroom team are doing. Wonderful to see.
Aidan, EFC, London
Get that on ITV
I’m sure the point has been made before on F365 (I seem to recall an article about one of Man City’s CL matches) but what a shame that only a small number of people in the UK will have seen this match tonight. Absolutely stunning scoreline as I write this, 76 minutes in.
Been following Johnny Nic’s series on PL football on TV with interest, something has to give soon.
Some conclusions on the Real Madrid-Ajax spectacle
A massive round of applause for Dusan Tadic, from battling relegation with Southampton to producing a performance that will rank in the all time great individual displays in the Champions League’s illustrious history. His impudent arrogance (more on this word later) and sheer audacity on display throughout the game was shocking to see at this stage, and the overall quality of his play was nothing short of World Class. A pirouette around Casemiro, one of the worlds best defensive midfielders, followed by a wonderfully slid assist at the Bernabeu against the 3 time reigning champions…Epic stuff, and no need to even praise his goal.
Incredible achievement by Ajax, to be the first team to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League since Juventus drew at the Bernabeu in the semi final second leg in May 2015. Crazy stat that one.
Some of Ajax’s play was sublime and exploding with confidence. Unfortunately though, as was with Monaco a couple of years ago, and Dortmund in 2013, teams outside of the elite circle who overperform in the Champions League often only get that fleeting moment to enjoy, since it is inevitable that they will now be picked apart by the larger predators for many of their players. So this Ajax team should push as hard as they can to progress in the CL this season, because the reality is that it will not get better than this for a very long time.
Now for the arrogance part. Real Madrid I believe are guilty of arrogance over these two legs. It started with Ramos getting a yellow card in the first leg, meaning he would miss this one, in anticipation of being available for the quarter finals. This, when the score is just 2-1 in favour of Madrid, reeks of a superiority complex, and understandable as well considering they must have forgotten what it feels like to be eliminated from this competition. The arrogance was then compounded by the absolutely wide open spaces Real Madrid left unattended in this second leg. To me at least, it looked like a total lack of respect from Real to Ajax in the sense that they did not anticipate how badly Ajax would be able to hurt them. Even when chasing a goal, there has to be some balance in the style of play so as not to lose the opportunity completely by conceding again. However, the absurd number of times Ajax found themselves bearing down on Courtuois showed to me that Real were not massively concerned with what Ajax could do at the other end. Ultimately, respect to Ajax for teaching Real a stark lesson in humility, and punishing them ruthlessly for their overconfidence.
I’ll be honest, I am a massive Messi fan, but I am not oblivious or blind to the qualities of Ronaldo. I just can see with my own two eyes that Messi’s influence over a game is total and complete from the build up all the way to the finishing, while Ronaldo is purely at the finishing end. Messi is without doubt the better footballer and is superior to Ronaldo in every aspect of the game except for headers(duh) and strength. Not just the physical strength though, the mental as well. Ronaldo is imo probably the mentally strongest player I ever recall seeing, I don’t buy arguments that Real Madrid miss him in the league, because even during Ronaldo’s 9 years there, Real only won 2 La Ligas, a poor return from a squad of that quality. So their position in the league is not of much surprise. It is, however, games like this second leg today, that Ronaldo would live for. His determination to win in these one off and 2 legged games was where his best game would come out, and in this sense, he was truly missed today. The number of times over the last 3 years he made himself count for Real Madrid in the Champions League was astonishing, and Bale and Benzema looked almost pathetic in their attempts to replicate that influence.
Summer 2019 promises to be very similar to Summer 2009, i.e, Real Madrid going ape shit in the transfer market and going all out for the very best players in the world. Expect lots of news and gossip to circulate over the next few months regarding Real making mega signings this summer.
JonnyWicky, Toronto, Liverpool fan(9 games still to go, before either unfamiliar spectacular joy or familiar gloomy emptiness)
Bale never understood
The demise of Gareth Bale at Madrid had this sense of impending doom to it that it comes about as no surprise. Sadly, for me, as a fan of the welshman & Madrid sympathizer it speaks of his faults as a man more than any particularly toxic atmosphere at the club which is, well, par for course. It seems to me that Bale had simply too much of the problems of the rich, succesful & famous who yearn for something they simply can’t have; to feel loved. He genuinely thought scoring in multiple finals & winning more champions leagues in 5 years than United has in its entire history would make him a legend. Well, no…. this is RM.
Perhaps he thought he had to be above reproach forgetting CR7 had been booed by the bernabéu in the past. Lately his body language & demeanour have been a disgrace. Refusing to celebrate a penalty kick goal w/ team-mates two weeks ago, his horrible cameo against Barça showed a listless individual, w/no commitment, no desire, no fire. Gareth, at least pretend to care whilst making over 20 million euros a year for f**** sake. And now another clobbering against Ajax in which at least… he tried.
It has come to this in part because of his own flaws. He refused to integrate fully. Doesn’t speak to press, naturally cannot command his teammates never learning spanish in over 5 years which is unacceptable for a man at the highest level. Especially for a western european. Marcelo recently said in an interview that he has Bale next to him in the dressing room & they can’t get past chit-chat about good wine because from then on it’s sign-language… It takes character & being a character to be embraced.
Gareth Bale came, saw & won. But never conquered. Because he simply is a great wingman but cannot be bothered to even try to become a leader.
Raúl H. García (how good was that swipe at man utd?) LFC YNWA-1892
Right, well, yes. The Champions League it IS then.
Jon (still not sold on Aurier though), Lincoln
Moussa: Tottenham’s Eddie the Eagle
After that stoic Tottenham display last night, wanted to write a few words in ode of a certain Moussa Sissoko. Not sure if you’re aware as no one mentions it much, but us Spurs fans don’t have the luxury of having won silverware recently. So for us, we must find our joys from some of the less obvious narratives. Which brings me to Sissoko. If anyone has ever felt the warm inner glow of witnessing a true redemption story, they’ll understand how many of us now feel about this fella. When we first signed him 3 years ago, Newcastle fans could barely stifle their giggles. For 30mill, the story was Levy had been truly Levy’d. For the next 2 seasons, watching Sissoko play was akin to dragging your scrotum across an angry porcupine. Painfully awkward masochism that nobody wanted to see.
Flash forward to Signal Iduna park, Dortmund. Sissoko spends most of the first half interchanging between lung busting runs to cover behind his mate Aurier (robbing the ball off a charging Reus in one particularly satisfying moment), and driving the ball forward with authority. A performance which has been a culmination of half a season of imposing consistency. A complete re-invention in less than 6 months. Which had forced a lot of head scratching and soul searching from us fans as we were forced to seriously re-assess our position on a player who’d previously looked about as comfortable on a football pitch as a giraffe on roller skates.
Second half begins. The crowd is barely back in their seats when the ball falls to Sissoko, a player who would have struggled to trap a bag of cement less than a year ago. This is not the same player though. This time, without breaking the rhythm of the move, he looks up and plays the perfectly weighted pass to kane, intersecting the gap that had momentarily appeared in an otherwise solid Dortmund defence. A few seconds later, Kane does his thing, and the tie is over.
With Dembele being sold, Dier flirting between injury and mediocrity, Winks bringing guile but questionable physical presence, and Wanyama’s body made out of soggy biscuits, Sissoko has risen in central midfield like a Lidl own brand Patrick Vieira from the ashes of Spurs’ central midfield. Given we all believed we’d signed the French Carlton Palmer who’d be at Hull City by the winter, Lidl own brand Vieira is an absolute gift that not a single person saw coming.
So here’s to Moussa Sissoko. Another Pochettino coaching miracle. Or maybe he’s just fed on the soul of once World Cup star Kieran Trippier. Either way, he’s Tottenham’s Eddie The Eagle.
George, Planet Earth (Aufweidersehnnnn)
Lessons to learn
Great result for Spurs last night. Over the two legs, Vertonghen was immense but last night was a real team performance.
Just want to commend the Borussia Dortmund fans for being excellent. They are a credit to their club. The fan wall before the match and all of the flags were a great sight. However, the main compliment I can pay them is to applaud the fact that most of the fans remained in the stadium until the very end of the game to pay respect to their team and the opposition on a big European night – when quite frankly, they all could have left after 48 minutes.
Spurs fans need to learn something from these Dortmund fans. I was embarrassed in October in the Spurs v Barcelona match when Wembley was about three quarters empty with five minutes left in the game. The Spurs team had fought their hearts out that night and were still in it until the fourth goal around 85 minutes. Messi put on one of his majestic game controlling performances and the fans did not have the decency to stay an extra few minutes to show their respect to the Spurs players or Messi/Barcelona. I will always remember when the United fans applauded Ronaldo (the Brazilian original) in Old Trafford when he ruined their Champions League dreams. European nights are a bit different and should be savoured.
The Dortmund fans showed last night that going to a football match is not just about seeing your team win (or getting on the tube before the rush) – it is about much more than that.
Aaron (that’s my best Johnny Nic profund thinking impression) O’Neill
This is a rant, I warn you in advance, although ostensibly a timely one, given that the club in question is playing tonight. The inspiration for it, the last thing I did before it, was watch a video on BBC called PSG – Football club or fashion brand? One of those titles that, having fixed eyes on it, you reflexively do one of those heavy-bile half-vomits into your throat, before, if you’re stupid, actually watching the thing.
Number one, before even getting into the heart of it – how pathetic it is to see young men, and in this instance they were both men, supposedly journalists, extolling in those dead-eyed-but-knowing tones familiar in anyone having to do the 21st century totally down for this modern stuff, whilst lying through their teeth, throwing around phrases like ‘almost have people forget you’re a football club. It’s a marketing strategy, and it works pretty well.’ Thanks for that dude. You should be working the servery-window in the Walsall McDonalds drive-thru, yet here you are.
So here’s to the heart of it – I find PSG repellent. If football means anything – and this the only way it means anything, to your blood and bones, rather than to just your entertain-me eyeballs – it means being a team. Teams are built on sacrifice and a humility of collective aims, nothing but. Ask Simeone, Pochettino, ask the Ajax guy, they’ll tell you. Destroying that, and then embracing that you have, celebrating it, finding some pictures of a Kardashian sister taking pictures of herself in the crowd of a PSG game, is the most moronic example of lambs saying ‘oooh look, a slaughterhouse’ you can imagine.
Life is beautiful. This isn’t actually a rant, because, it doesn’t actually work. As Mr Not-At-McDonalds admitted himself, adopting the phraseology of some dweeby accountant, regarding the Qatari desire to have a Champions League trophy to use as a vase in one of their bathrooms, ‘They set themselves a timeframe in which to do it . . that’s now elapsed.’
Has it? I hadn’t noticed. Talking about them flaking out on the unassailable lead vs Barca? Or, just getting conventionally battered by Barca, or beaten by Man City (yeah, I know) or done over, home and away, by Madrid, or . . it’s beyond the scope of this not-rant to go fully into, but – and this is pretty funny when you think how much it will annoy them – PSG will never win the Champions League, not once, not forever, because, to put it as simplistically as this final line will allow, if you staff your team with players who must sit through a lot of discussions about brand-ambition and very little about the softening effect packing a team with money-hungry status-hungry individuals and then sending them out to play Troyes and Angiers each week has, don’t be surprised if when the heat turns up, most of them turn into flaky puddings. They beat Man Utd because, surprise, they play better when Neymar isn’t having to decide if it will harm his personal brand if he squares it to Mbappe to score.
I’d pay a week’s salary to have them drawn with Atleti in the next round. It’s the tie I’ve been waiting for, for ages.
Sancho to United makes perfect sense? Yeah if the player wants to take a chance on his career taking a nose dive. Leave him at Dortmund to develop a few years longer and we could see the creative world class talent that England really need emerge. Happy to see him back in the premiership in a couple of years, but not sure Ole’s be positive message will develop him much beyond being the next Walcott.
All that and the best reason still would be:
We got Sancho, Paul Pogba and Fred
R Interim Sunny
Liverpool’s last chance for a while
I’ve noticed something of a shift in the Liverpool supporter’s ‘narrative’ recently (Not having a dig, just not sure what else to call it). Instead of “Now you’re gonna believe us” type posts, there seem to be far more along the lines of “Well, if you’d said at the start of the season that we’d be one point behind City on March 3rd I’d take it” or that they would be beaten just once in the PL by March etc. Both latter examples are true. Liverpool are second, on 5th March and by a single point, for a reason and because of the football they’ve played. You simply can’t odds that.
Now, I have no idea how this season is going to end but I think the difference in what we call ‘pressure’ on both teams are markedly different with the Liverpool players and manager definitely carrying the heavier burden. If City blow it and fail to retain the Prem by either 1 point or 6 it certainly won’t be a good thing but, equally, it won’t really matter in terms of whether they will be in the title challenge next season because clearly, they will. Or in terms of silverware already won this season. In addition, City don’t have 29 years’ worth of title baggage to bear with all the extra demands that brings which only, uniquely it would seem, ‘Pool supporters can focus on their own team.
Today, it is possible that Liverpool could win both the PL and CL or that City could win the quad. Personally, I don’t think either will happen. But I do think that Liverpool NEED to win the Prem this year because I’m not sure they’ll ever get this close again. This is why. It doesn’t matter how new or innovative the latest sexy football system is. Sooner, rather than later, all the other PL teams will suss you out. Most will park the bus, whilst others will go on the offensive. Either way, they will do what they think is necessary to nullify, in this case, Guardiola’s City team of last year.
Pep’s first season he inherits the oldest PL team some of whom simply can’t do what he wants them to, either physically or mentally or both. Couple of transfer windows later and he/they smash it. Centurions, multiple records broken, blah blah. Of particular note, I think, is that City finished 25 points ahead of a crap (because of Moaninho) team. Third season, two teams, ‘Pool and Spurs seriously push City up until March. Now it’s just Liverpool who, of course, may end up winning it.
But next season, (Warning: There’s quite a few ‘Ifs’’ coming up here) I think it’s realistic to expect both United and Arsenal will be stronger and that one, if not both, will also be title challengers. Yes, I’m making two assumptions. First, that United will be as savvy in the transfer market as they appear to have been in their choice of interim manager. And secondly, that Unai emery will be given enough funds/support to bring in the players he wants as Guardiola was in his first season. I suspect only God (whichever one you believe in) knows what Spurs or Chelsea will do, either with their respective managers or transfer business in the summer, but you surely can’t rule either out as well?
And yes, I know that if Liverpool, as an established ‘top 6’ team fail yet again to win the League that they will also look to strengthen. My laboured point is that, as the seasons go on, the PL will regain its’ balance in that no single team will dominate, uninterrupted, for more than two seasons at best. Which also means that Liverpool won’t just be contending with one team either. Win it in the next two months ‘La’ ‘coz if you don’t, you won’t be doing so again in the foreseeable.
Mark (If you’d told me we’d overtaken a 7 point Xmas deficit to be 1 point ahead of the League leaders by 3rd March I would’ve taken it) MCFC.
It’s coming home
Enormous well done to England for winning the Shebelieves cup. With the World Cup kicking off this summer and impressive results against some of the world’s best, this bodes so, so well.
Dare I say it; it’s coming home!
Also – and I don’t know if this is going to come across in the way that it’s intended or sound a bit tabloid – but THAT assist from Walsh for England’s third goal…. Phwoarrrrr!
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames
I’ll admit I was one of those people who turned their nose up at the WFA appointing Phil Neville for the England Women’s team, but he has been quietly doing an excellent job. He’s picked players on form rather than reputation, coped well with regular injuries to key players, and shown remarkable tactical flexibility. It’s culminated in an impressive set of performances in the Shebelieves cup, which England secured with a comfortable 3-0 over Japan last night.
It’s more encouragement ahead of this year’s world cup. I can’t wait to see how far the Lionesses can go. Fingers crossed for one step further than last time and see an England team in another world final!