Chelsea Set to Dominate European Football

There is a new heavyweight force in European football, they are being bankrolled seemingly by the Russian economy, they mean business, and their name is Chelsea F.C. Chelsea Football Club have always been a decent club in the second strata of English clubs. In London alone Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have invariably been ahead of the Chelsea Blues, even West Ham have often put Chelsea in the shade. But no longer, for in the season 2004-2005, Chelsea won the English Premier League title for the first time in fifty years, their only previous winning season.

But they haven’t stopped there, in the new season 2005-2006 they are already well clear in the title race leaving all their rivals gasping, and now they have set their sights on the pinnacle of all the club trophys, the European Champions League. Chelsea have never won the Champions League, indeed no London club ever has. And it is clear that their charismatic manager Jose Mourinho is intent on winning the Champions League again, he did so with his previous club Porto, of Portugal.

So what of the traditional English giants? Manchester United, often described as the world’s richest football club, have fallen into the hands of the Glazer family of Tampa Bay fame, but they reportedly needed to borrow half a billion pounds to buy United, a debt the club now shoulders. Spending on new players has so far been thin on the ground and United’s brusque Glaswegian manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has admitted that United, for so long England’s most successful club, cannot compete with Chelsea when it comes to buying players. The hordes of United fans are not amused, the natives are growing restless.

Arsenal, London’s biggest and most successful club, lost their skipper and driving force Patrick Vieira last summer, he moved to Juventus in Italy for £12 million pounds and with their star striker Thierry Henry suffering fitness problems, they picked up some uncharacteristic defeats at unfashionable clubs like West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough. This is their last season at their famous old Highbury Stadium before they move to their new purpose built Emirates stadium almost next door. The increased capacity of 60,000 will undoubtedly give their French manager Arsene Wenger more money to spend next year, but of course they have to pay for that new ground too. Far from challenging Chelsea again, it would seem that Arsenal are more likely to fall further behind.

That leaves Liverpool and Newcastle. News comes through just today that the American Kraft Company and family are interested in investing in Liverpool F.C., perhaps even buying the club outright just like Manchester United fifty miles up the road, but that is some way down the line. And they too are seeking to build a brand new stadium on Stanley Park and of course that all costs big money. Despite last year’s freakish win in the Champion’s League, Liverpool’s league form this season has again been patchy, and that included a 4-1 walloping by Chelsea on their own Anfield pitch. The idea that Liverpool might challenge Chelsea for the title remains a far-fetched one. Newcastle, England’s second best supported club are gradually improving, and they have signed England’s centre forward Michael Owen, but they still remain unconvincing at the top level. They haven’t won the title since Noah was seen building his ark, or so it seems, and they aren’t going to do so this season either.

So though it is very popular for foreign investors to snap up the leading English (and Scottish) football clubs, it appears that only Roman Abramovich at Chelsea has the financial muscle to buy the best players around. He is the only one to put unlimited funds on the table. Top class players now command a transfer fee of £40 million each and whereas Manchester United might afford one of them a season, Chelsea’s purse seems bottomless. They have already spent £220+ million and are still in the market to buy again when the transfer window re-opens in January.

They have already achieved success by winning at home, now the European Champion’s League is the Holy Grail for them, a trophy they are now the outright favourites to win with the odds layers. And astonishingly they have achieved their success to date with an array of strikers who haven’t really cut the mustard. Mutu the Romanian, was promptly sacked for drug taking, Crespo the Argentinian, was sent out to Milan on loan last season, and though he is back now he is hardly setting the world afire,or even playing that often, Gudjohnson an Icelander, plays more often than not, the muscular Drogba from the Ivory Coast, seems to have finally claimed the number nine shirt as his own, yet many blues followers still remain unconvinced about him, so it would seem likely that Chelsea may yet be looking for another proven goal scorer come January, especially after a recent rare defeat at Manchester United.

It would take a brave man to back against Chelsea in any competition at the moment. But if you’d like to, you can still have a free $30 dollar bet at by entering the code 6CHE3VPWJ when prompted. But one thing is for sure; no one would be surprised if this time next year the Premier League trophy AND the Champions League trophy were both on display in the Chelsea boardroom. It seems that only the Italian giants Milan and Juventus, and the Spanish top two, Real Madrid, and most especially Barcelona with their Brazilian superstar, surely soon to be the world player of the year, Ronaldinho, might stop the London blues. It really does seem as if we have entered a new era in European and world football, or if you prefer the ridiculous name that no one ever uses, Soccer. Chelsea fans have never had it so good while everyone else is left gasping in their wake, for it is a fact that Chelsea Football Club have raised the bar for everyone else to follow. Time will tell if anyone can.

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Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Juan Roman Riquelme

His full name is Juan Román Riquelme. He was born June 24, 1978 in San Fernando, Buenos Aires, an impoverished providence of Buenos Aires Argentina to a family of ten. He is an Argentine soccer player who now plays for Boca Juniors of the Argentine Primera División, and his position on the field is as an attacking midfielder.

In 1995 Riquelme began playing professional football with the Boca Juniors and seven seasons enjoyed with the club prior to being traded to Barcelona. Following a short and not successful stay with them, he moved to Villarreal, and became superstar there, winning a lot of honors. Presently Riquelme continues to play at both the national and international level, and lately won the MVP award at the Copa Libertados.

A longtime Argentine international, Riquelme is best acknowledged for his spells with Boca Juniors and Villarreal. A playmaker, his major assets are his passing and setting the tempo of play.

It was Boca Juniors the club that had it as foremost character, in those that reached three times the Argentinean championship, to be champion of the Cup Libertadores of America in two opportunities, and champion of the Intercontinental Cup of soccer, in the year 2000.

Juan Román Riquelme is considered as a talented player with outstanding field vision. As of 2005, Riquelme is frequently noted as the key factor in Villareal’s explosive 2005 campaign.

Some of honours he received as log as his career are:

2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup (Villarreal CF)

2001 Copa Libertadores (Boca J.)

2000 Argentine Apertura Championship (Boca J.)

2000 Intercontinental Cup (Boca J.)

2000 Copa Libertadores (Boca J.)

1999 Argentine Clausura Championship (Boca J.)

1998 Argentine Apertura Championship (Boca J.)

1997 FIFA’s Football World Youth Championship (under-20)

As concerned as some of his individual honors are Player of the Year of Argentina (2000, 2001, 2008) and Copa Libertadore’s Most Valuable Player in 2007.

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Spanish Famous Soccer Players

Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. The Spain soccer team is a superior team and has produced the famous Spanish soccer players for years. As a national team, Spain was not able to achieve any success in FIFA world cup except the 1998 world cup. The team reached the quarterfinal stage by winning eight matches. This was only the best impressive performance in FIFA games where they lost to France. Spain participated in eleven world cups and it was ranked number four in 1950.

Though superior, the world cup squad never gave good results. The famous Spanish soccer players are Luis Suarez, Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Kubala, Alfredo Di Stefano, and the goalkeeper Zamora. Also, Michel, Santillana, and Butragueno are the rising stars of Spanish national team. Most interestingly, the world famous Spanish clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have provided Spanish soccer with best world famous players. The Spanish clubs are more popular around the world and let us have a look at few big names.

Raul Gonzalez Blanco was born in Madrid, Spain on June 27, 1977. On the club level, Raul as a member of Real Madrid is the most impressive soccer player who was responsible for the victory in Champions League in 1998. Again, in 2002, he was the leading player who allowed Real Madrid to win the Champions league. He was a real hero in the whole tournament and scored the famous two goals that turned the whole situation of the game.

The famous Spanish soccer players include names of world famous goalkeepers. Ricardo Zamora was named as the best goalkeeper in 1958. The place of Zamora has remained unchallenged and not a single goalkeeper in Spain is able to reach his height. He is the greatest goalkeeper produced by Spain and played with the national team for more than 46 occasions. Also, he played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Spain has managed to provide steady goalkeepers like Luis Arconada and Andoni Zubizarreta. Edson Arantes Do Nascimento also nicked as Pele, is regarded as one of the famous Spanish soccer players of all time.

Most of the star players from around the world are involved in the famous Spanish soccer players list. The players signed by Real Madrid include big names such as Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Robinho, and so on. To add on the world famous Barcelona soccer club granted Spanish nationality to Brazilian world famous player Ronaldinho and Mexican player Giovani.

The world cup winning captain of Argentina, Diego Maradona is related to world famous Spanish club Barcelona. The other famous players related to Barcelona club are Marcelo Trobbiani, Alberto Acosta, Marcelo Saralegui, Nicolas Hernandez, etc. Barcelona club from Spain is considered to be one of the top 10 clubs in the world.

Though the Spain soccer national team is not successful on international level, the Spanish soccer has got great respect on world sports platform. The Spanish soccer has great future and the list of famous Spanish soccer players is definitely going to rise in coming years.

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Barcelonas Foremost Modernist Architect

Barcelona’s best know modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi, was born Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet on 25th June, 1852 in Tarragona, a province of southern Catalonia. There is some controversy as to his birthplace, which has been stated as Reus on his birth certificate, but many claim it to have been Riudoms, which is a small village close by.  Irrespective of this, he was certainly baptized in Reus on the day after his birth.  The families of both his mother and father were coppersmiths.

He was a weak child, said to be suffering from rheumatic fever, and was consequently isolated from other children for long periods.  It has been suggested that this could be the reason for his eccentricity and that the long periods that he spent alone with nature was why he was so interested in the natural themes and shapes that appeared in his architecture.

He studied architecture at the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura, Barcelona’s famous architectural school, and his unconventional designs promoted his professor to comment “Who knows if we have given this diploma to a crazy person or a genius. Only time will tell”, as he signed his diploma qualifying Gaudi as an architect.  He started up his own architectural business, and his first commission was to design the lampposts for a square in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona known as the Plaça Reial, where they stand to this day.

His peers would have nothing to with him at the beginning, failing to understand his creativity and believing that his style was too unconventional. His sole supporter at that time was Eusebi Güell, a wealthy industrialist who through time became his patron and friend. He commissioned a number of works from Gaudi, including Park Güel and Palau Güell that enabled him to make his name. Although Gaudi’s architectural style has been associated with surrealism, art nouveau and Gothicism, he is known as the foremost Spanish modernist architect of his day.

Other major architectural commissions undertaken by Gaudi included Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Casa Calvet and Casa Vicens.  The last mentioned was built for a tile and brick manufacturer, Manuel Vicens, and was appropriately fashioned from stone, red brick and colorful tiles. This was built between 1883 and 1889, and one of his more conventional designs, built later between 1899 and 1904, was Casa Calvet that was designed for a textile manufacturer of the same name.

The first two of the above works are visited more than most other Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, and the Casa Milà is also known as La Pedrera (Catalan for ‘the Quarry’). It was built between 1906 and 1910, and both are situated in the Eixample district of Barcelona, in the Passeig de Gràcia.

However, most of his time was spent on one individual building: a catholic church built from private funds known as the Sagrada Família. The original architect of this church had resigned, and Gaudi took it over in 1883. He spent a lot of time on it, and in 1911 finally abandoned all his other projects to work exclusively on the Sagrada Família. He was a devout Roman catholic, which likely influenced him greatly.

The Sagrada Família was the last project of his life, and while he working on it he experienced two great tragedies.  First, his devoted niece whom he loved (in a family sense), Rosa Egea, died in 1912, and then his patron, Eusebi Güell, died four years later.  Gaudi’s final years were spent as a recluse, and in his last year he lived in the crypt of the Sagrada Família.  He died in 1926, five days after being run over by a tram in Barcelona.

He looked so disheveled after his accident that taxi drivers refused to take him to hospital because they thought him to be a beggar.  It was only when he was visited by his friends the following day that his identity became known,  but he refused to leave the beggars hospital saying that he belonged ‘among the poor’.  He was 73 years old when he died, and his body was interred in the crypt of his beloved Sagrada Família.

Many of Gaudi’s architectural works have received awards, but as is often the case, mostly after his death. Although the Casa Calvet had been given the 1900 Building of the Year Award by Barcelona, it was not till 1969 that a number of his buildings were given recognition as Historic-Artist Monuments of National Interest.  Three of his works were named World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1984, namely, Parque Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Milà.  

The influence of Antoni Gaudi on architecture around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries cannot be overestimated, and he is widely looked upon as one of the most influential architects ever.  As often happens, his talent was not universally acknowledged until well after his death, and even the authorities of his own city of Barcelona attempted to manacle him under the pretext that he failed to observe proper codes and regulations.  His beautiful way of bucking the trend can be seen throughout the city of Barcelona, and he needs no monuments because as he said himself: “Artists do not need monuments erected for them because their works are their monuments”.

One last word: if you intend visiting Barcelona to be thrilled by the works of this great architect, you will need somewhere to stay.  There are many Barcelona holiday apartments available in the area where most of Gaudi’s works can be seen and visited.  However, make sure that you book yours well in advance because the Barcelona holiday apartments in this area are very popular.

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