Originally written on Finishers Forum  |  Last updated 2/14/13
Bow to him… or at least double over in pain. Cristiano Ronaldo and David De Gea define a beautiful game - In broad strokes, there’s the contrast between the floating, fragile brilliance of a Mesut Ozil or, later, a Luka Modric or the thrusting muscular forcefulness of Wayne Rooney,Sami Khedira. There’s the philistine and all-but-intolerable, though this time barely-glimpsed, ugliness of Pepe and the adroit deftness of the rapier-like Robin van Persie. This is a sport where a bruiser and a ballerina can compete on equal terms in a single symphony… (SB Nation) United Building from the Back - Despite an enthralling tie that reflected teams of the highest quality and remains enticingly on edge, Jose Mourinho was markedly unmoved. “Nothing new, not a surprise,” was his post-match reaction. Given the Portuguese’s notorious penchant for “mind games” – which Alex Ferguson himself flagged before this match – it’s genuinely difficult to detach what the Real Madrid manager actually felt… (ESPN) Gareth Bale is comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo, says André Villas-Boas - André Villas-Boas hailed Gareth Bale as “incredible” after a stunning performance for Tottenham against Lyon in which two superb free-kicks earned his side a 2-1 lead going into the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie… (The Guardian)  Phil Jones and the Art of Man Marking - Marouane Fellaini caused havoc in the United defence in their last two games against the Toffees, scoring the winner at Goodison Park in August, and helping his side make an unlikely late comeback at Old Trafford in a crucial match at the end of last season. On Sunday, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson told Phil Jones to man-mark the giant Belgian and follow him everywhere… (BBC Sport) (Podcast) Football Weekly Extra: Advantage Manchester United in CL - The podders look back on Real Madrid’s draw with Manchester United and the rest of the week’s Champions League action. Plus, moderate enthusiasm for the fifth round of the FA Cup… (The Guardian) Cristian Cuevas feeling the Blues - The Premier League appears to be bracing itself for a new South American arrival in the coming months, with reports carried in the English media on Monday suggesting that Chile Under-20 midfielder Cristian Cuevas is close to sealing a move to join Chelsea. Quotes, sourced from the player’s agent, suggested that progress was finally being made regarding a much anticipated move… (The Scout’s Notebook – ESPN) Alex Ferguson talks Man City, Van Persie and Ronaldo - In a candid interview with Football Focus, Sir Alex Ferguson talks about Manchester United’s £25m capture of Robin van Persie, the threat posed by Manchester City, and Wednesday’s Champions League clash against a Real Madrid side inspired by former Old Trafford favorite Cristiano Ronaldo… (BBC Sport) Bale and farewell, Gareth? - I admit it. I looked out of my New York City window on Saturday morning, saw what looked like Nemo-geddon, hit the snooze button, knocked over my half-drunk glass of Stella, and went back to dreaming of an English team winning the Champions League… (Kicking and Screaming – ESPN) Bernabeu hero De Gea winning numbers game - Edwin van der Sar aside, the Manchester United No.1 jersey has been a problem to fill adequately since Peter Schmeichel departed. The likes of Massimo Taibi, Riccardo and Roy Carroll have come and gone in the Red Devil’s goal with little success, and while the money splashed on Fabian Barthez paid some dividends, it was not until recently that manager Sir Alex Ferguson went all out and recruited David De Gea, a player he obviously sees as United’s long-term goalkeeper… (Tactics & Analysis – ESPN) Hipster sides fit to be tied - Perhaps it was for the best that the Champions League tie between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund ended in deadlock. The Hipster Derby was never supposed to be about winning. Hipsters know that winning is only a small part of football. Looking good is what really counts. To be a football hipster, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the trend… (The Boot Room – ESPN) Holden in line to make Bolton’s game-day squad vs. Nottingham Forest - Stuart Holden has been making steady progress on the field since returning to full health, but he has yet to be named to a game-day roster for Bolton Wanderers in league play. That might change this weekend… (Soccer by Ives) Wasted Footballers – good players whose talents were wasted by their clubs - We have many instances of good talent being wasted, players failing to reach their potential and club making bad purchases. But when a club fails to harness the talent of any highly experienced player, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. 1. Flourent Malouda… (SoccerLens) Drink again? - Football fans could be allowed to drink alcohol in their seats for the first time in almost 30 years if a campaign led by Ipswich Town gets the go-ahead. A number of Premier League clubs have privately backed the campaign along with the majority of Championship clubs… (Mirror) Is Michael Laudrup the perfect match for Chelsea? - Rafael Benítez’s ‘interim’ tag at Chelsea is looking pretty permanent. Well, until he hands in his name badge upon his exit from Stamford Bridge. Any other outcome seems implausible, except, perhaps, an even earlier exit… (Life’s a Pitch)
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