Photo by ISI Photos
Good morning everybody. Here are some news and notes from the soccer world that you may or may not have heard about.
Liverpool makes Barry bid
The race to sign Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry has begun and Liverpool is the first team to step up, making a $19.7 million bid for Barry. A Barry-Steven Gerrard tandem would be an imposing one for Liverpool, to be sure. One report had Liverpool offering a package including forward Peter Crouch and cash for Barry.
UEFA Cup finalists set
Zenit St. Petersburg stunned Bayern Munich with a 4-0 drubbing on Wednesday to secure a place in the UEFA Cup Final. The Russian dominated play from the start to eliminate the tournament favorites from Germany, which looked vulnerable after drawing with Zenit in the first leg.
Zenit will face Rangers, which downed Fiorentina on penalty kicks. The sides played a pair of scoreless draws before consecutive penalty misses by Fabio Liverani and Christian Vieri doomed the Italian squad.
The UEFA Cup final is set for May 14 in Manchester, England.
Pachuca wins Champions Cup again
Mexican side Pachuca defeated Costa Rican champions Deportivo Saprissa, 2-1, on Wednesday to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup title for a second straight season. After tying Saprissa, 1-1, in the first leg in Costa Rica, Pachuca road goals from Christian Gimenez and Luis Gabriel Rey to win the match and the title.
Flamini to sign with AC Milan?
Arsenal was fully aware of the possibility that French midfielder Mathieu Flamini could leave the club this summer because his contract is up. That possibility appears to have become a reality, with reports emerging on Friday morning stating that Flamini is set to join AC Milan. A bulldog of a player with skill and bite, Flamini surely impressed Milan with his performance against them in the Champions League, where he did an excellent job of shutting down Kaka. He looks to be a ready-made replacement for Gennaro Gattuso, who showed signs of slowing down this season. If Arsenal has, in fact, lost Flamini then Arsene Wenger will make replacing him a top priority in order to give star playmaker Cesc Fabregas the support he needs in central midfield.
Ajax defeated Michael Bradley’s Heerenveen, 2-1, in the first leg of their Dutch League playoffs for a place in next season’s Champions League. The second leg is set for Monday in Amsterdam. …