words // Nick Engvall
The UEFA Champions League Final was set this week. As stated earlier in the week, Barcelona defeated Real Madrid on Tuesday, then Manchester United moved passed Schalke later in the week with a 4-1 victory (6-1 aggregate). The two teams will meet at the end of the month at Wembley Stadium to determine this year’s champion.
The two teams met for the final just a couple years ago in 2009, where Barcelona came out on top. The only other time they have met in the Champions League Final was in 1991, in which Manchester United came out victorious. The May 28th match will be one not to miss, and a deciding game in this storied rivalry. However, the news that Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Pinto will be suspended from play due to an altercation on the sidelines during the Real Madrid match may give Man U an advantage Barcelona cannot overcome.
Check out the Soccer Watch coverage from this week’s matches below thanks to Yahoo.
Anderson of Manchester United scores a goal wearing the adidas Predator X.
Nani of Machester United in the adidas F50 adiZero.
Jose Manuel Jurado of Schalke scores a goal wearing the Lightning colorway of the F50 adiZero.
Rafael of Man U wearing the Nike T90 Laser tackles Jose Manuel Jurado.
Raul Gonzalez in the adidas Predator, defended by Paul Scholes in the Nike Total 90 Laser.
Lionel Messi in the adidas F50 adiZero.
Cristiano Ronaldo dodges Jimmy Jump’s attempt to put a red hat on him wearing the Nike Superfly II.
Iker Casillas of Real Madrid wearing Reebok boots.
Angel Di Maria in the Intense Green colorway of the adidas Predator X.
words // Nick Engvall
Today’s match may have ended in a 1-1 draw, but after last week’s 2-0 victory, FC Barcelona moved on to the UEFA Champions League Final. In one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, Real Madrid would have needed two goals to overcome last Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to bring the series even. For the first half, it looked as if goalkeeper Iker Casillas was going to single-handedly make it happen. Casillas racked up the saves after multiple shots on goal from Barcelona, including one from David Villa and one from Lionel Messi. Despite promising attacking from Cristiano Ronaldo, the two teams were locked in a scoreless battle at half time.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, Pedro of Barcelona put in the first goal of the game on a assist from Iniesta. Down three aggregate goals, you might think that Real Madrid would roll over but they responded ten minutes later when Angel Di Maria set up Marcelo for a goal in the 64th minute. From that point on the Catalans of Barcelona seemed to stifle any offensive that Real Madrid could muster and maintained control for the remainder of the match.
The crowd did however find excitement with the substitution of Eric Abidal. Abidal had a cancerous tumor removed from his liver in March and returned to action for the first time since stepping away from the game in mid march after a routine check up revealed the tumor.
Barcelona will await the winner of the Manchester United versus Schalke series. Manchester United is up 2-0 in aggregate goals and the teams will meet today in England to decide the series winner.
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Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Semi-finals.
words // Nick Engvall
Two semi-final matchups in the UEFA Champions League took place this week and Lionel Messi stole the show. Messi scored two goals to lead FC Barcelona past Real Madrid in their first match in the semis. They will face each other again on Tuesday in the second match to see who will move on to the finals.
In the second match, Schalke was defeated by Manchester United. Scoring for Manchester United was Ryan Giggs, followed shortly thereafter by Wayne Rooney. Man U will look to eliminate Schalke on Tuesday and move into their third final in the last four years.
Check out the latest Soccer Watch coverage below courtesy of Yahoo.
Lionel Messi in the adidas F50 adiZero in Warning/Black/White.
David Villa wearing the adidas F50 adiZero in Lightning White/Fresh Pink/Cyan.
Cristiano Ronaldo in the Nike Mercurial Superfly II.
Lassana Diarra in the adidas Predator X.
Emmanuel Adebayor in the adidas F50 adiZero.
Wayne Rooney in the Nike Total 90 Laser.
Patrice Evra in the red colorway of the Nike Total 90 Laser.
Joel Matip of Schalke in the adidas Predator X.
Apparently before Wayne Rooney unloaded some un-pleasantries into the camera, he was practicing his balancing act in the Nike Total 90 Laser.
words // Nick Engvall
After last week’s “international friendlies,” we get back into the more serious (really, who doesn’t take friendly matches seriously, though?) action, specifically the first leg of the Quarter Finals action in the UEFA Champions League. Although it was hard to avoid Wayne Rooney’s screaming cuss words directly into the camera during the Manchester United match against Chelsea, it seems another photographer was able to catch an even more interesting view of Rooney.
Man U got the best of Chelsea with a 1-0 victory, but the two clubs will face each other once again next week. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Schalke also had victories in the first leg of the Quarter Final matchups.
Check out some of the boots worn in this week’s Soccer Watch coverage below with photos courtesy of Yahoo.
Lionel Messi of Barcelona in the adidas adiZero F50.Andres Iniesta of Barcelona in the Nike CTR 360.
Daniel Alves in the Lightning White colorway of the adiZero F50.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned from injury wearing the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III.
Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid in the adidas Predator X.
Marcelo of Real Madrid gets tripped up wearing the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II.
Samuel Eto’o of Inter Milan wearing the PUMA V1.10.
Andrea Ranocchia of Inter Milan wearing the Lotto Fuerzapura cleats.
Didier Drogba of Chelsea in the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III.
Raul of Schalke in the adidas Predator X.
As if the UEFA Champions League final didn’t already have the focus of the entire football (soccer) community, Saturday’s final in Madrid has even more riding on the game behind the scenes.
Not only will the on field competition be fierce, but on the sidelines, the club managers will be immersed in a mentor versus pupil strategic battle as well. On top of that, the fate of both Italian football and German football will also lie in the hands of the players on the field, as the game will determine the number of teams for each country for the 2011-2012 season.
For Bayern, their rebuilding process has finally brought them back to the top, nine years after their last Champions League title in 2001. While their opponents from Italy, Inter Milan, return to the finals for the first time since 1972. Milan looks to win their first Champions League title since they last won in 1965.
For the German squad, their manager Louis van Gaal will look to defeat his protege, Jose Mourinho who manages the Italian team. Mourhino worked as an assistant under van Gaal while the two were at FC Barcelona some ten years ago.
As for this game’s influence on the future of these two countries competing in Champions League action, the fate of both is teetering on Saturday’s results.
As of now, Italy currently has four teams in the UEFA Champions League. Germany has three. However if Germany wins, or loses on penalties, then Germany will receive a fourth entry, while Italy will be reduced to three entries.
With the mentor versus pupil battle, the future of Italy and Germany football riding on the on the match, and the beautiful Europeans Champions Clubs’ Cup on the line, you can be sure that this year’s final will be one that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
You can catch the action between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan on Saturday at 2:30pm ET on FOX HD.