August 25th, 2011

Champions League Draw: A Glance At The Group Stages

We’ll take Apoel in Group G, please. No, not to win. To take home with us.

Just before you start firing off missives to us about how we promised not to ever cover this proper football news stuff, please note the following: the terms of our geek adoption scheme requires us to release the two crazies occupying the Mayhem & Fruit Beverages Suite for exercise at unannounced times.

Cast an eye over the deets of today’s draw and be grateful that your boys didnt get Barcelona (or sniffle away if they did). We’d also like to know how ‘invaluable’ you found Luis Figo’s assistance to be today.

Group A

Bayern Munich

Villareal CF

Manchester City

SSC Napoli

-

Group B

Inter Milan

Cska Moscow

Lille

Trabzonspor AS

 

-

Group C

Manchester United

SL Benefica

FC Basel

FC Otelul Galati

-

Group D

Real Madrid

Olympique Lyonnais

AFC Ajax

Dinamo Zagreb

-

Group E

Chelsea

Valencia

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

KRC Genk (at left)

-

Group F

Arsenal

Olypique de Marseille

Olympiacos FC

Borussia Dortmund

-

Group G

FC Porto

Shakhtar Donetsk

Zenit St. Petersburg

Apoel FC

-

Group H

Barcelona

AC Milan

FC Bate Borisov

FC Victoria Plzen

-

Have you booked a hotel room in Munich yet?

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110 Responses to “Champions League Draw: A Glance At The Group Stages”

  1. xLarissaManuela says:

    I'm going to buy tickets for the matches; Ajax-Real Madrid and Ajax-Lyon!!=D also for the other match, but those 2 are the most important teams!(aa)

  2. k2k2milan says:

    I''m pretty exicted to see Group A (and E and F) because it seems pretty even, and I feel like any of the teams have a shot of making it through which will make for some good matches.
    Also, I just love German football and it always feels like the Bundesliga is underated. Personally, it's one of my favourites to watch. There's always a lot of goals, and a lot of the teams are at around the same level talent wise.
    Also, there are tons of young German players but they never seem to be given enough credit or get picked up bigger clubs until maybe the World Cup when everyone is suddenly like "OH. Who is THIS guy? He's great." (Or that's atleast the way it feels to me). The craze around Ozil had me both jumping up and down in excitement and just angry at some commentators during the World Cup because I've watched him for a long while before the World Cup and just love him. It felt like people were taking my baby away from me when they didn't actually appreciate/deserve him. Lol.

    That's my totally off topic rant. Sorry, just had to get this out there.

  3. k2k2milan says:

    As a Milan fan, I just have to say VNDBWJVYUWCYBCIVAGKNCOLLBCO?!?!?!??!!??!?!!!
    I was too busy being happy that we weren't gonna be with Madrid or ManU to worry about Barca. I don't know how that happened, but it did. And then we of course got Group H.

    It's safe to say that's one match up that people are just waiting to see. I just hope my Milan can pull through.
    On the other hand, we got off pretty lucky in terms of the other two teams in our group, so it's a pretty safe bet to say that Barca and Milan will go through (and then Milan won't have to worry about facing Barca in round of 16).
    I just felt SO bad for FC Bate Borisov when they were put into Group H though. It's like I could feel all their hopes and dreams just vanishing. Aw.

    Ahahaha. I read a tweet, and it was something along the lines of "Can't wait for the Champions League Final between FC Bate Borisov and FC Victoria Plzen!" and it just made me laugh. Poor guys. Especially the young ones.

  4. Sofia_x says:

    Yess, my KRC Genk in the champions league! :) I know they don't stand a chance against Chelsea and Valencia in group E, but I'm from Belgium and I support my Belgian team!! :p
    And the striker Jelle Vossen is so cute! http://scoutingarea.blogspot.com/2010/09/jelle-vo…
    (+they give good manpile! ;D )

  5. sahil says:

    i think city will get themselves kicked out by the other 3 teams..

  6. nika says:

    My first thought on our group D was> Wow, Lashes will be again in Madrid, like last season! It is great that we will play against them in the second half of October, so Yoann will have time to recover himself untill the match!
    And I can bet with everyone that Real will easily pass the group, of course, from the first place and the second one will be Lyon!
    One more thing, I dont think that Yoann is happy for the draw because he must play again against the team of his ex girlfriend!!! That will be interesting!

  7. cescicaZG says:

    I prayed for Dinamo in group with Real and I got it!! Now let's just hope they come in Zagreb with their first team. I'm really looking forward to see Iker and the rest :) Real was the team which made me love football so much since I was little.. Still, it's a shame that Jose won't sit on bench because of his penalty.
    See you in Zagreb guys! That's really gonna be a good night! :D

  8. Arctic says:

    As a neutral, I'm going to love watching group F. Arsenal, Dortmund, and Marseille are play great attacking football and more importantly have some superhot young ballers. Olympiakos has some sexy older men too. I've always had a thing for Olof Mellberg, David Fuster is cute, and I love Francois Modesto. I actually got to talk to him when I was on holiday in Monaco a few years back. He's so handsome.

    • k2k2milan says:

      "And more importantly have some superhot young ballers." AAHAH. Yep, I think Group A and F will both be really interesting because really the difference between the level of the teams is not as major as in other groups, so in many ways any of the 4 teams could make it through. Plus, I just LOVE German football. Bundgesliga doesn't get nearly as much credit as it should, I feel.

  9. Pam says:

    All 3, Messi, Xavi, and Ronaldo, deserved to win the award. IMO, if they were each nominated at different times without having to face the other two, they would have won the award hands down due to their wonderful accomplishments during the last season. Messi has been a notch higher playing for Barca and he's done that consistently. But you have to feel for Xavi and Ronaldo to not have won it in spite of being so good!

    That said, we fans are lucky, that we get to watch them put on a wonderful display week in and week out!

  10. gillianrosh says:

    Arsenal vs. Dortmund is making my mouth water.

  11. camille says:

    ugh idk enough about the other clubs in group E to see how Chelsea will do.
    BLUES 4 LIFE

  12. LolaBBB says:

    Omg, real madrid in zagreb!! i hope dinamo is going to beat real, impossible, i know, but i hope we will be at least second or third, lyon and ajax arent that strong like they were in the past… dinamo —> <3
    I watched the draw and isnt that a shame that big countries like spain, argentina, italy (dont know for france) dont learn their children global language like english, I learn english since I was in kindergarden and even my grandma has learned english and german in the school. In croatia it is normal to learn english and german, and in high school italian or spanish, its a shame that in little country like mine we learn 3 or 4 languages and in spain 1 or 2.
    Why doesnt anybody like Nani, I think he is so hottt! :)

  13. mbgurl says:

    wuhuuuu nk maribor just qualified into europa league!!! kickette pleeeease write an article or two about our guys!! <3

  14. xbabyshakesx says:

    WHOOOOOO! i''m soooo proud of Villarreal! they just always seem like underdogs to me! GO AND WIN IT!!!!! =]

  15. littlegreenpea says:

    by the looks of group c, i think it's a safe bet to say that manchester united will be on the top of their group.

  16. AC_USA says:

    Great. My team is in group of death :( But I believe in my blue boys and hopefully they can kick but! Go Cityyyyy…oh BTW Barca-Milan games-I have to watch those!! :) )) lol…May Zlatan and Pique show their "love" again….hahhahaha

    • Gladys says:

      I just hope Ibra doesn't try a judo kick on Pep. He may have to be caged on the sideline for his own protection!

  17. Miss Lampard says:

    Group for Group:
    A- I think that this would be the most charming and intensive. It would be breathless till the end. Also can't wait to see Nanas even if he plays in MCFC, which I call "the other squad of Manchester", 'cause I can't stand it, I hope the won't pass…I adore Nanas but c'est la vie.
    B- Too easy and boring for Inter passing at the round of eight
    C- This will be the autumn-winter training of MUFC, easy, despite of Benfica
    D- Also Real will no have problem to pass the turn
    E- Can't wait to see my boys playing…It will be a flash-back for Mata who will face his ex-team Valencia, it will be a chance for Nando to prove his value and show himself, and a challenge for our hot-beloved manger Andre Villas-Boas to finally show his style.
    F- A lucky Arsenal will pass the turn without problems 'cause OM is not a serious problems, the others doesn't count so much, but remembering the last year, there may will be some surprises.
    G- Ridiculous, the usual and expect f*****g-boring group
    H- Will be very exciting and fantastic see a match that could be surely a final..I'm interested and curious to see the Champions of the History (Milan) against the Champions of recent History (Barça).

    One note: Has someone noticed that Lionel Messi was wearing a ring on his left finger, but he is truly married, isn't him?

    • AC_USA says:

      The only thing with group D is that That same Lyon(to be exact their player Miralem Pjanic) kicked out Real Madrid out of Champions League! So we'll see :)

      • Tee says:

        What is it with Real and Lyon in champs league?! EVERY YEAR. worst of all, i support both teams :(
        Really feeling it for my gunners… we couldn't have gotten it worse – after group A, I'm pretty sure we have the group of death. just had to get dortmund, didn't we?

    • camille says:

      thats the first thing i noticed!!!!!!!!! i almost had a heart attack

  18. karen says:

    Group A seems like it’s going to be the toughest group! Intensity=hot

  19. Hot4Spurs says:

    Group A scares me!

    • xoWinnie says:

      HOW intense!?!? i can't wait to see Joe Hart show his stuff!

      • littlegreenpea says:

        his 'stuff?' i'm hoping that you mean his abs :)

        • xoWinnie says:

          lwell i wouldn't mind that at all! ;)
          but he is extremely underrated as a goalie,
          he did a lot for City last season,
          so i'm hoping another club will take an interest in him
          so i don't have to feel guilty about being in love with him lol

          • littlegreenpea says:

            lol you're not the only one who loves him!
            he's definitely not underrated by his large fan following!

  20. Kat22 says:

    Trust United to get the easy group!

  21. Sarah, Madrid says:

    ;) ;);) and Group G is a Europe League group being misplaced

  22. Titi says:

    Oops, Zlatan against Barca. Oh dear!

    And I agree with Lotte, I hope Olympique Lyonnais beats the "Special one". Even if it means that the lovely boys of RM gets knocked out in the process.

    Group A looks tough.

    For the rest: Forza gunners! You can do it!

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      What's with the hate! Ouch!

      • LilyM says:

        I think we showed what we can do against Lyon last year… as I have said and will say all season RMadrid has changed and things are going to be different this year.

        Let the games solve the questions good luck to all the teams!

      • DebS says:

        I know, right?

  23. xoWinnie says:

    Group D is pretty much a wrap ;)

  24. Dutchgooner89 says:

    We should see some cracking games in most of the groups…Arsenal and Marseille will be like a showdown of 2 jilted ex-girlfriends who have a mutual respect of how Na$ri left our clubs lool…

    Ronaldo's english was so good like even better than i remembered, yet Xavi and co dont speak a lick of English, havent they been taught English in school?

    • xoWinnie says:

      thank god! he doesn't need to be talking sh1t in another language!
      but honestly, i've noticed that not many Spanish players care enough to learn it
      unless of course, they eventually go play in England

      • Gladys says:

        I adore Xavi but your first comment totally made me laugh. He does have a great voice, though– so I'm dying to hear it in English. Maybe if he could just say "Ok" all the time (like in that fake Adidas bit), it will be enough.

      • DebS says:

        ftw!

    • Gladys says:

      I'm going to assume from your name that you live in the Netherlands, where American and British TV programs and movies are subtitled. I know that's one of the reasons so many Dutch, Belgians, and Scandinavians know English. However, in those countries where TV and movies are dubbed (Spain, France, Italy, Germany), people don't speak English unless they study it in school. And I'm pretty sure these guys are not taught English in school. Neither Leo nor Xavi have played in the UK, so they don't speak English.

      • Dutchgooner89 says:

        @Gladys we get taught English in school it was compulsory simply because English is such a universal language, so i just find it odd that they dont even know like basic english, am just suprised, am not bashing them, i mean my English is far from perfect. :)

        • Gladys says:

          My apologies. I didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing you. I think I just regret, being a Californian, that I wasn't automatically taught Spanish in school and that Spanish TV programs, especially for kids, were not subtitled (I realize that wasn't the point of them, but it would have been great to learn it that way). I know a little from all the subway posters and from watching games on Telemundo, but I'm ashamed I don't know more. I'm so impressed how good the English is of so many people in the countries I mentioned. I know it helps to learn it in school, but I also think seeing it simultaneously translated into your own language when you're watching programs of interest really helps.

          • Gladys says:

            I'll humbly add that my command of any of the four languages I have studied is absolutely horrible. So believe me, I personally have no right to call anyone out on their language skills.

          • DebS says:

            Gladys, unfortunately there are too many haters in the US who are offended that phone prompts, etc. even have an option for Spanish. So I doubt we will have it taught automatically in the near future. In such a global economy it's a shame that they don't see the benefits of being able to speak another language, particularly Spanish due to the sheer number of Spanish speaking people in our country. Too many small-minded people here, imo.

            I will say that beginning in 8th grade my daughter was required to take one semester of French and one of Spanish. Then in 9th grade they had to take a foreign language but they could choose either one..and also Italian was offered. My ex grew up in the Chicago area and learned the language from his friends and people in the area.

            As for me, I learned what little I know of it from watching soccer on the Spanish speaking channels and armed with my Spanish dictionary. lol

            But yes, we are far behind other countries who require kids to learn English starting as early as kindergarten in some countries.

            • April says:

              I took four years of Spanish and can barely remember a lick of it. I took one year of French later on, and managed to co-mingle the two languages into what I like to pretend is Portuguese. Spench maybe? It's tough as well when we learn in the States because we often use the variations nearest us. For instance, I had three different French professors for one year; one learned in Lyon, another in Paris, and another in Quebec… and Quebecois tends to win out here. Spanish is usually taught in a Puerto Rican or Mexican flavor, with really harsh y's/ll's and strange j's and soft s's.

              Curious if when other European's learn English if they learn British English or American English.. I imagine the former, due to proximity, but have no idea…??

              I have an odd mission to learn languages that have no value beyond the region they are spoken in. Went to Haiti and Iceland this year and started learning Kreyol and Islenska… hope to learn Low German for heritage's sake. Go rare world languages!

            • Leya_S says:

              I went to private school from ages 4-7 and Spanish was mandatory, right along with Math, Reading, and Mass. The school was in an area where a sizeable number of people spoke Spanish, but by no means were any other schools teaching Spanish as a mandatory subject. Then nuns just thought it was a good idea. And it was. 16 years later, and my Spanish only lacks from practice and appropriate vocab (for example. sometimes footy is hard to follow in Spanish because they speak really fast, and I never learned sports terminology in any of my classes, lol)

              I think that making it mandatory for all Americans to learn English and Spanish would not be so ridiculous. Most of our neighboring countries speak Spanish, so its useful. I agree that, unfortunately, there are too many haters in the uS to allow that to happen.

              Ironically, they don't even really teach ENGLISH in the States anymore. We do lots of reading and literature, but they don't teach grammar. I got in an argument with 7th graders bc they told me "had ran" was correct past tense (its not) and that "brung" is a word (it isn't). smh

    • PepaCandela says:

      Xavi just gave an interview last week where he said he was in the process of learning English with a tutor bc he noticed how Spanish athletes in other sports all spoke it and thought it was a shame that most of the Spanish football players did not. So be patience, help is going on.

      During the US tour he also answered (in Spanish) questions that had been asked in English and explained that he understands it, but cannot speak fluently.

      • blitzenTO says:

        Yes, I meant to comment on that as well. Plenty of the Spanish players understand English quite well but don't feel comfortable speaking it, especially in a public situation like that. I know that several of the Barcelona players have been taking English lessons, including Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro & Busquets.

        • PepaCandela says:

          DE BOL TO MI!!!

        • DebS says:

          Iniesta seems to be doing quite well in his studies. He often posts on FB in English and he does a good job of it. :)

          • Sarah, Madrid says:

            If Iker for example learned English, it means no more adorable google tranlsated status, Ramos is learning, he used to tweet some stuff in English, but stopped now!
            Anyway, I would love If more players learn it,The accent is just amazing you know! + I am so proud of our xabi in training ( Granero ), his english is improving too!

            • April says:

              His Google Translate updates are hilarious… they make it impossible for me to understand what he was trying to say. Xabi does pretty well… Nando is almost worse in that he speaks it so much faster now, so it is a Spanglish sound more than anything. Juan Mata's little bit for ChelseaTV was cute and pretty well enunciated. Cesc spent a number of years in England and his was alright… Iker's is also really cute in that video with Pepe Reina.

              It almost seems they always hit a plateau after so many years and then stay sort of consistent. Which is fine, because I am sure that native-English speakers sound just as unsure or obvious to them as they do us!

              • Tee says:

                Cesc's english is pretty good, i love the way he says "talk" and he pronounces the l, though i think most Spaniards do that. and the way he says "focus" (foe-kuuuuuuusss) – i've actually integrated that pronunciation into my vernacular and my friends are all like "WTF?"

            • Gladys says:

              Aw, you uttered the magic word…GRANERO! Any rivalry goes out the door when I think of that man. He is truly perfect. I don't even care that he plays football. If he worked at my local coffee place, I'd be completely crushed out and have to visit three times a day.

              • Sarah, Madrid says:

                http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl…

                I dont know if you saw this, but here is estaben looking soooo adorable whike speaking in english:)

                • Gladys says:

                  Thanks!!! (I'm assuming the link went to the "RealGranero" interview…I had to Google it because of problems). I love the part where he politely and diplomatically complains about Marcelo and Ramos' musical dominance in the dressing room. Hilarious. What a total dreamboat.

                  • Sarah, Madrid says:

                    You welcome!! I know, obviously they are or used to (I think by now, rock is taking over) in control of the locker room music for example Marcelo likes hip hop, I can't picture Alonso or iker or garnero listening to something like mims, this is what Marcelo plays lol!

                  • Tee says:

                    I love Granero, example of an awesome footballer who actually wants to be educated. doesn't need to know english, but he does (and really well). doesn't need to study… was it psychology? ….. but he does. doesn't need to be hot, but he is :)

            • xoWinnie says:

              omg…Ramos accent.
              i honestly drool when i watch videos him (trying to) speak it
              the way his lips move…mesmerizing.

      • JulieFromParis says:

        Haha "be patience" Nice reference to The Ramos' English skills. So cute :)

      • DebS says:

        "So be patience, help is going on. "

        hahahaha…The Ramos…gotta love the guy!

  25. JA7 says:

    I was praying that we don't get dortmund..and who do we get? DORTMIUND. Ahh well, gotta keep the faith for my gunners. Though..Bate might as well leave group H..that group is gona have some interesting matches. BARCA vs. MILAN? Awhh yeah!

  26. Lotte says:

    I don't look forward to seeing Milan and Barca clash. I'm sorry, but I don't think Milan will pull through and my Swedish heart feel for Zlatan, even though Barca is my team.

    The same Swedish heart wants Lyon to beat RM (ooh I'm gonna get thumbed-down). It would be great to see Kim Källström, and Lyon, go further this time.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      lol! That's fine, I personally wont thumb you down, they can beat us, but it is group stages, we still both can go through.,

      As for Milan and Barc group, no worries they are both qualifying.

    • xoWinnie says:

      lol you WOULD Lotte! haha!

    • Mrs. Q.Borri says:

      Im so not giving you thumbs down… im giving you the ups!! Im sorry but Barca is my team and as far as im concerned Madrid can lose all of their games….
      Milan vs Barca they are both teams that i really like but im still voting for Barca but i know they will both pass, their group is not difficult at all (from what they seem)*
      Fuerza Cule* (:

  27. Sarah, Madrid says:

    Seriously?! WTH Puyol was wearing + how hot did FIGO looked in his suit!.
    Cris has such amazing presence on stage and charisma, get admit it, I giggled a bit when he was speaking english with the hosts and Xavi, Messi looked so clueless, it was funny! No offence to anyone of course.

    Now football, group A is obviously the hardest and the most interesting to watch! My group, it may not look hard on paper, but we have a dark history with Lyon and we just faced Ajax last season! It will be tough!
    Mata is already facing his old team! WOW!

    • Gladys says:

      LOL. Poor Puyi. Even Cesc and Pique were teasing him on Twitter about his outfit. His response: "I've been watching all the suits I have.. and I feel best wearing the one with the Barça crest close to my heart." Ahh bless.

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        Everyone was pretty surprised when he walked out, it was THE moment of the draw! LOL

        • Gladys says:

          I do have to hand it to Puyi. He definitely "marches to the beat of his own drum" as the saying goes. Anyone who can keep that hairstyle for this many years, no matter how many people (including his own parents) beg him to cut it, just doesn't care what he wears. (Though I'd like to think that maybe no one warned him he might have to go to the ceremony. He may have just shown up in Monaco with only his training and travel gear. Still it was funny.)

      • blitzenTO says:

        Apparently Puyi forgot his suit. Probably on purpose, he hates wearing them! I wouldn't care, because he looks hot in everything, but the hipster shorts Nike chose for the training outfit this year are fugly.

        • Gladys says:

          I sort of like the plaid shorts just cause they're a little 60's to me, but they tend to look cuter on the short, thin guys like Thiago and Iniesta.

          • Sarah, Madrid says:

            I assumed that he was asked to come straight from training since the supercopa is played tomorrow! Because he could have worn something else other THAN plaid shorts!, still thank you for the laugh Captain Puyi!

      • k2k2milan says:

        Ahaha. Yes. Pique had on his twitter: "Quina elegancia el @Carles5puyol a la gala del sorteig de la Champions!" Teasing him about his elegant attire and then posting a picture.

        I laughed so hard when I saw him at the sorting in his bright yellow shirt. Gotta love Puyol.
        …Just not for the next little while. Milan JUST HAD TO GET BARCA didn't they!? OF COURSE.

    • PepaCandela says:

      the announcer said something like "we already know what happened with your outfit" so I apparently his suit did not make it to Monaco (intentionally or not?).

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        I thought he was joking! The presenter lol!!

        • PepaCandela says:

          He clarified today that they didn't know he had to be at the presentation until a couple of hours before so he hadn't brought a suit. Still, I'd think that there had to be *something* he could wear other than the hilariously glaring travel outfit! Or he could have just been trolling (likely).

  28. Leya_S says:

    Here's hoping ManCity get knocked out by Bayern Munich and Villarreal. Take that, Samir…
    …no I'm not bitter or anything…

  29. susanna says:

    a short comment on the short interviews during the ceremony: I love it how every Spanish player needs to have a translation into Spanish. NO English skills whatsoever. Embarrassing. In my next life I'll become an English teacher to Spanish players, I'll be rich!

    • Caroline_ManchesterU says:

      bwwaaahhhaaaaa! That was mean but kind of true. Neither Hernandez nor Puyol no anything about the English language, so it SEEMS.
      On a different note, do we really need another meaningless fantasy award for supposedly the best European/ World/ player? The awards craze is a joke anyway, since lobbyists often make sure only certain players win and not actually the best. Now, having said that, congratulations to Leo Messi, great on Club level, but sucks on the International level… thanks to Germany among others…

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        I kind agree, it was not such very stupid award, ok there is an award, at least give it to xavi this time, this guy is nominated every time, never won, give it to him!

      • Titi says:

        Sure, it's lobbyists that makes Leo the best in the world.

        • Caroline_ManchesterU says:

          no no no, that's not what I meant. Leo is doubtless a great player (on club level, let's not forget he has difficulties performing in the national team) and deserves his awards. However, I was thinking about the past choices in players. Season 2003/04 Thierry Henry was next to untouchable and??? No win for him, same with Eto'o. So, no reason to become snooty. Read my comments first.

      • Gladys says:

        Actually Xavi recently made the exact same comment about Spanish football players not knowing English and said he's now taking English lessons. But it's hard to learn a language if you never need to use it. Often you just forget everything you learn. (I feel like Leo will learn it eventually because of his charity work around the world– but it's difficult when you're shy and the media jumps on every word you say. You have to be open to saying the wrong thing to learn.) However, what Barca really needs is one of you to head over to Camp Nou and teach Ibi Afellay Spanish. You have my blessing how you choose to do it, just get the job done. ;)

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          Like Brazilian Ronaldo, he suddenly learned english and sound pretty good at it too!

      • JJJ. says:

        Well, up until last year there was the Ballon D'or and the FIFA World Player of the Year. Last year the Ballon D'or and the World Player of the Year were merged to create the FIFA Ballon D'or, using the voting system of the FIFA World Player of the Year. This new award is essentially a bit of a replacement for the Ballon D'or as it is voted for by journalists from all over Europe, like the way the Ballon D'or used to be voted for. So there's not any more awards than there used to be, there's two as there always was. As I said, voted for by journalists so I don't know what you're on about when referring to 'lobbyists'. Rooney, Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo… Just some of the other players who don't perform as well for their countries as they do for their clubs. What does it matter? International football is no longer the pinnacle of footballing excellence. Club football passed it out quite a while ago.

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          Based on that Cannavarro shouldn't have won in 2006. As much as messi is doing great with barc, he is doing nothing with his NT, BUT Xavi is doing great with both internationally and on club level.
          That's said, messi is still the best individual talent out there, that's why journalists voted for him. So, he is winning every year, regardless of how his club or team perform anyway.

          • JJJ. says:

            I never said anything about ignoring international form. Of course, I don't disagree with Cannavaro winning in '06. I'm just saying that a players international form should not be used as a stick to beat them with. To say that Messi is 'nothing' with his national team is a huge exaggeration. He generally plays quite well with his team, but not as well as with Barca (not yet). He played quite well in the group stages of the World Cup, assisting several goals. I agree about Xavi, I would have liked to have seen him win the FIFA Ballon D'Or last year but Messi certainly deserved this award.

        • sashaRoma says:

          you are sweet. Do you really think journalists are objective? I'd like to live in your world, probably all about picking flowers and stroking kittens.

          • JJJ. says:

            @sashaRoma. Where did I say that journalists are objective? I just said that it was voted for by journalists and that I doubt that they are being lobbied. What's with people willfully misinterpreting comments?

        • sienna says:

          I hope you don't change your blog name, JJJ. I remind you at the next European Championships or the next World Cup of this, your sentence:
          "What does it matter? International football is no longer the pinnacle of footballing excellence. Club football passed it out quite a while ago."
          I bet if you asked the players the majority of them would give an arm, a leg and three championship titles to win a WC with their country. To imply that the CL is the pinnacle of football excellence is a bit far fetched. There were sooooo many bad games and finals you wouldn't be able to count them on one hand. Say, you don't watch much football, do you?

          • JJJ. says:

            So you are telling me that the quality of football in the World Cup is better than in the Champions League? Nonsense. I never said that the World Cup doesn't matter. Where did I say that? The World Cup is a huge deal. What I said is that what does it matter if a player doesn't play that well for its country when they play so well for their club (Ronaldo, Messi, Rooney etc.) I never said that the World Cup doesn't matter. I said that I don't think that a players form for his country is as important as important as his form for his club when deciding who is the best in the world. Would you like to misinterpret any other statements of mine? Nice cheap jibe at the end btw. Classy.

          • JJJ. says:

            'There were sooooo many bad games and finals you wouldn't be able to count them on one hand.' – Yeah, and that last World Cup was great, right? It was the worst World Cup in about 60 years, even worse than Italia '90. Spain are a great team and deserved winners but the tournament was dissapointing to say the least.

          • JJJ. says:

            Sorry, one more post…

            '"It's a natural thing. You won't get the same crowd or attention or drama if you see Arsenal against a lower team rather than against Manchester United in the Premier League. But this is the best tournament for me, a fantastic tournament, and it is better than the World Cup in my opinion. Have you seen the last six World Cups? It's like going to the dentist. In the Champions League, you get some unbelievable games. The group stage is just something you have to get through before it becomes more exciting." – Alex Ferguson.

            Here's the link – http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/footba…

            Again, I'm not saying that the World Cup isn't important. It is massive and I love it. The quality of football is, however, much higher in the Champions League.