Good morning all. We head into a busy week in the soccer world, from the Champions League quarterfinals to
tonight’s tomorrow’s CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals and Thursday’s UEFA Cup quarterfinals. There is also the increase in transfer talk as we head toward the summer.
There is plenty to discuss today. For now, here are some news nuggets to get your day started:
Barcelona open to Henry offers
Thierry Henry’s long-awaited move to Barcelona might wind up lasting just one season. The Spanish club has let it be known that it will entertain offers for the French striker this summer. Okay, in all fairness, the original report came from the UK’s Daily Star, which isn’t exactly known for being a respectable publication. Don’t believe me? Here’s their website, which isn’t bad to scan if you’re into the National Enquirer or scantily clad ladies (okay, I know, who isn’t?).
The linked story above also has Ronaldinho’s brother/agent downplaying reports of a transfer move away from Barcelona. Apparently he just happened to be visiting Manchester City on non-Ronaldinho related business.
Hicks to skip decisive second-leg
Liverpool owner Tom Hicks will miss Liverpool’s decisive second-leg Champions League quarterfinal showdown with Arsenal tonight to attend a Texas Rangers game. I wish I had just made that up, but it is true. In fairness, Hick was at last week’s first-leg in London, and at the league game this weekend, but considering A) the Texas Rangers are terrible and B) tonight’s Texas match is one of 162 matches, I can’t see how Liverpool fans won’t take this as anything but a snub.
Referee Merk to retire
German referee Markus Merk is set to retire at the end of the current Bundesliga campaign. Why should you care? Well, if you’re a U.S. national team fan you probably wish he had retired two years earlier so he couldn’t make the phantom penalty call on Oguchi Onyewu against Ghana. That sound you hear is Bruce Arena applauding Merk for realizing his time has passed.
And for those of you wondering, Scottish referee Hugh Dallas retired after the 2004-2005 Scottish season, almost three years too late for Gregg Berhalter.
Donadoni wants extended Italy stay
Former MetroStar and AC Milan star Roberto Donadoni wants to stay on as manager of Italy beyond Euro 2008. No, not exactly news, but any time you can mention a former MLS player in the international soccer scene it’s a good thing.