Liverpool FC Player Profile – Jose ‘Pepe’ Reina

Jose Reina is Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper and rated by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world of football. Born in Madrid in 1982, Reina is the son of former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina, who also represented his country Spain.

Jose, nick named Pepe, Reina began his football career with the youth academy at FC Barcelona after initially playing in Barcelona’s reserve team he made thirty appearances for the first team in the 2000-2001 season, incidentally making two appearances against Liverpool in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup. The following season he was dropped from the Barcelona first team and secured a loan move to Villarreal in 2002 making his move permanent in 2004, he made over 100 appearances for the club. Reina signed for Liverpool in 2005 by then manager Rafael Benitez, who described him as the best goalkeeper in Spain.

Reina was immediately installed as the first choice goalkeeper at Anfield, making his debut against Welsh side Total Network Solutions in a Champions League qualifying game in July of 2005 and a month later he won his first cap for his national team Spain.

The Spaniard became an immediate favourite with the fans at Liverpool, famed for his accurate distribution of the ball and his fantastic penalty saves, he had saved seven of the nine penalties he faced in his previous season with Villarreal. During his first season at Liverpool he was part of the team that set a club record for eleven consecutive games without conceding a goal.

At the end of his first season with Liverpool, Reina played in the FA Cup Final against West Ham United. An amazing game saw the scores level at 3-3 after extra time and the match was then decided on penalty kicks, the amazing shot stopper then obliged by saving three of West Ham’s penalty kicks to secure a 3-1 shoot out victory for the Reds.

After his first fifty games for the Reds, Reina had not conceded a goal in twenty eight of those matches, setting a new club record which had been previously held by the legendary Ray Clemence. Later that season he was on hand again as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League semi-final, he followed in his father’s footsteps by appearing in the European Cup Final, unfortunately the Reds lost 2-1 to AC Milan in the final.

Having made over 300 appearances for the first team, Reina signed a new six year contract with Liverpool in 2010 and although he has still to become the first choice as goalkeeper for his national side he has already become a Liverpool legend.

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The Good Life – On Sale

While the cost of living in many major world cities is making it increasingly difficult for locals and expatriates alike to maintain their standard of living, there are a handful of outstanding cities that combine world class quality of life and a cost of living relatively lower than other leading centers of culture and commerce.

Popular lifestyle magazine Monocle has recently come out with their eighth annual quality of life survey. Among the top 25 cities to live there were several that ranked surprisingly low on another list. A comparison with the cost of living list of the world’s most expensive cities uncovered some world class bargains. While they may not be what everybody would consider cheap, in comparison to cities like Hong Kong, Zurich, Shanghai and even Sydney these four cities offer a world class lifestyle for less.

Vancouver, Canada

Canada’s third largest metropolitan area is home to more than 2.4 million people. It has a reputation for cultural diversity with more than half of the population having a first language other than English and it is Monocle’s top ranking city in North America in 2014. The city boasts a compact and vibrant downtown core surrounded by abundant green spaces in a stunning natural setting. It also has a booming economy in part because of its close ties to Asia. On the latest COL list of the world’s most expensive city, Vancouver dropped 16 places to 97th.

Portland, USA

A little over an hour south of Vancouver by plane, the other North American quality of life standout, Portland came in at 23rd on the list, one spot ahead of Oslo, Norway. While Oslo has the dubious honor as the most expensive city in Europe and 3rd most expensive city in the world, Portland ranks 436th putting its cost of living on par with Ethiopia. Unlike Ethiopia, Portland enjoys a rich diversity of outdoor and indoor recreational opportunities, abundant direct air links to places as diverse as Tokyo and Amsterdam. Portland also enjoys an innovative and creative population driving everything from live theater and art to wine making and design.

Lisbon, Portugal

Despite its economic troubles, the capital city of Portugal still maintains its position among the world’s top 25 most livable cities. Predating cities like London and Paris by hundreds of years, Lisbon has a rich history and old world charm. Everyone it seems can find something to love about Lisbon. There is an array of wonderful architecture, world class shopping, museums and cafes, innumerable restaurants for every taste and opportunities for every kind of sports enthusiast or fan. For lifestyle bargain hunters Lisbon is a steal. At 291st spot on the latest COL rankings, it is the least expensive Western European capital.

Madrid and Barcelona, Spain

It only seems appropriate that the fourth and final world class lifestyle bargain should be a battle between these Spanish rivals. Madrid ranked four spots higher than Barcelona on the quality of life survey but also ranked 22 cities higher for cost of living. Among the top 25 most livable cities, Madrid ranked one spot behind Singapore, the 5th most expensive city in the world and one ahead of Paris, putting it in some pretty impressive company. Not to be outdone, Barcelona has established a rich sporting pedigree as home to the largest stadium in Europe, home of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix and the host to almost every major sporting championship in the world including the 1992 Olympics. You may not need to bother with deciding between the two cities thanks to the high speed rail link that has cut the time to travel between them to a little over two and a half hours. Barcelona ranks 262nd on the list of the world’s most expensive cities, meaning that you’ll pay about the same for a restaurant meal with wine for two in Barcelona as you would for a couple of lattes and croissants in Paris.

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