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The deal has finally been signed off on.  The reigning world player of the year is moving from Manchester United to Europe's most successful team in Real Madrid.  Madrid have won the UEFA Champions League a 9 Champions League titles and there is no doubt that this move is an effort to do so again.  The last European trophy for them was in the 2001-2002 season.  That means that the most successful team in Europe hasn't been at anywhere near its best in years.  This deal in huge on so many levels that I don't know where to start, but I will. 

First off, how will this impact United?  Well, United are going to bounce back quickly (if not next year, then sometime in the next 2 or 3 seasons) and likely will replace Ronaldo with another quality talent.  United have tons of money and now they can sign three or four for the same price they sold Ronaldo and improve this side even more.  

What about the Premier League?  Will this move swing the balance of power back to La Liga?  I think not, but it is a possibility.  Real Madrid, even with the likes of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, need a lot of improvement still.  Their defence has been in shambles of late and Kaka and Ronaldo aren't going to help that at all.  Remember, this is a team that has went out to Liverpool (Round of 16, 5-0 Aggregate), Roma (Round of 16, 4-2 Agg), Bayern Munich (Round of 16, 4-4 Agg.), Arsenal (Round of 16, 1-0 Agg), and Juventus (Round of 16, 2-1 Agg.) over the last 5 Champions League seasons.  Despite Barca's UCL win this past season, England is still going to be dominant for a while longer.  I don't expect Real Madrid to be Champions League winners this upcoming season because of the defence.

This move also impacts La Liga a whole ton.  Barca now have to deal with a new "galactico" era from their stern rivals Real Madrid.  This rivalry is going to spice up a ton this upcoming season in La Liga and could be a record points season for both sides.  Right now it just doesn't look like one of the two will get blown out when they meet this season.  The rest of La Liga now are probably guaranteed the number 3 spot at best.

But how does this move affect Cristiano Ronaldo?  Well, I don't really know just yet.  In a way, I want to say a move would do him well.  I mean, it really should.  Let's look at it.  He's getting the money that he thinks he deserves (no player deserves this), he's moving closer to the climate that he was raised in, he's moving to one of the world's best clubs, and the game is much less physical in Spain.  What this does is prevent a lot of injuries and also will allow him to potentially have a much longer career than he would have had in England.  But I also think that it might not be a good move after all.  Ronaldo has won everything with Manchester United, but that team had the perfect set-up for him.  They had all of the supporting cast, all the best attacking players around him, and one of the most powerful defences ever assembled that allowed him to be free of defensive responsibilities.  Ronaldo, I don't think, can get a whole lot better at Madrid.  Like I said before, he's going to be playing in a selfish midfield and in front of a bad defence that allows way too many goals against good teams.  This doesn't look great for him, but hey who knows?  This move could be one of the best moves of all-time for Madrid and it can also be one of the worst.  Only time will tell just how great he can be for Madrid.




From ESPN Soccernet, the caption reads "Cristiano Ronaldo: Turning his back on Manchester United"






World Cup Qualifiers- Seeing as how nothing can follow the above, I'll just give you some scores from yesterday and update you on the standings.  I'll leave the insight to Chaco and/or Naxself.




Sweden won 4-0 over Malta with 3 of the goals coming in a six minute stretch in the second half.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among the goalscorers.  Russia ended Finland's World Cup dream with a 3-0 win in Finland.  Alexander Kerzhakov netted a couple and Andrei Arshavin had another good match.  Ukraine won a close one at home to Kazakhstan 2-1.  England cruised to a 6-0 win over Andorra.  Serbia won 2-0 in the Faroe Islands.  Macedonia defeated Iceland 2-0.  The Netherlands defeated a good Norway team 2-0.  Arjen Robben was the driving force of the Dutch.



Ecuador defeated Argentina 2-0 at home.  Walter Ayovi scored a cracker from just outside the 18-yard box in the 71st minute of the match.  Pablo Palacios assured victory with a cheeky rake-like shot into the left-hand corner in the 83rd to take the 3 points for Ecuador in elevation.  Colombia only managed one goal against a poor Peru side on the night.  Radamel Garcia scored the lone goal in the 26th, but Colombia should have scored many more.  Hugo Rodallega came on and nearly scored a couple of times.  Venezuala scored twice in the 9th and 74th minute only to give up two goals in between to Uruguay.  The match ended 2-2.  Brazil came back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 over Paraguay at home.  Club America man Salvador Cabanas scored the opener for the visitors, but it was answered 15 minutes later with a 40th minute strike from Manchester City's Robinho.  The winner came from the foot of Internacional striker Nilmar in the 50th minute.



Honduras held on after a 14th minute strike from Carlos Pavon against rivals El Salvador to keep third place for the time being.  Mexico defeated bottom dwellers Trinidad & Tobago at Azteca by a score of 2-1.  Mexico (captained by Cuauhtemoc Blanco) scored the opener in the first minute through Guille Franco.  T&T would equalize through Hayden Pinto right before half-time.  Three minutes after the break, Mexico took the lead for good through Oscar Rojas.



Australia defeated Bahrain 2-0.  Japan drew 1-1 with Qatar thanks to an own goal.  South Korea drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia.  Iran defeated the United Arab Emirates 1-0.  


International Friendlies


Belarus drew 2-2 with lowly Moldova.  Estonia drew 0-0 with Portugal.  Albania drew 1-1 with Georgia.  The big one was a warm-up for Italy and New Zealand, two teams in the Confederations Cup later this week.  New Zealand played the big boys while Italy played the young, but capable second team.  Shane Smeltz opened for the All Whites in the 14th minute.  Alberto Gilardino equalised in the 33rd minute.  Chris Killen then gave the All Whites a half-time lead in the 42nd minute.  Three minutes after half-time, Italy equalised through Gilardino again.  Killen then put a penalty past Marco Amelia in the 57th minute.  Vicenzo Iaquinta scored two goals to take the 4-3 win for Italy.  His goals came in the 68th and 73rd minute.  







Well, I hope you liked it.  To check out my preview of the United States at the Confederations Cup, click here.  It's been Keeper and I'm out.  





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