Archive for December, 2007

José Mourinho “is on Setanta Sports” – The Return of ‘The Special One’

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

 José Mourinho: “I’m on Setanta Sports”

For those who, during these times of holiday cheer, are hoping for the quick return of their favorite Portuguese manager (hidden perhaps, in the gift bag of Santa Claus… not much of a stretch from laundry baskets), rejoice! The ‘Special One’ is back!

From Chelsea FC to Sports TV, the ex-Chelsea coach will be hosting a one-man show programme every Saturday evening called…I’m on Setanta Sports.

JOSÉ MOURINHO is back in business — but the Special One has made a surprising career choice.

After turning down the opportunity to coach England, Mourinho decided there was only one role he could possibly accept. Instead of kicking his heels over Christmas the ex-Chelsea boss has signed up with … wait for it, Setanta (the international sports broadcasting TV channel)!

Yes, Mourinho has joined Des Lynam and Co to help promote Sultana’s football coverage.

Contain your enthusiasm (or disappointment) folks, the protagonist of the TV show will be, yes, José Mourinho… but in puppet version!

Much like the Spanish newspaper Marca was doing with Fabio Capello in its “Marcatoons” section, the Mourinho-puppet will have the essential body features of the Portugeezer in action, including his ‘Special’ hair and heavy latin accent.

Speaking of Capello, for Mourinho’s first episode (available on The Sun‘s homepage, or alternatively directly on YouTube), one of the topics of conversation was precisely the ex-Real Madrid manager. The ‘Special One’ asked his viewers to express their opinion on appointment of the Italian (dubbed as “Cabbage-man Capello” for the occasion) at the helm of the Three Lions, by texting “HAPPY” or “NOT HAPPY” to the TV station (obviously to a number with a ‘Special’ £10 (!!) rate). These were the results:

Are you happy with the new England coach?
Happy with cabbage 7%
Not happy with cabbage 40%
No cabbage. Bring back Special One 53%

How surprising. :mrgreen:

The rest of the show is organized like a news TV journal of sorts, starting with the main topics of the day (reviewed and corrected “Portugal-style”). Viewers call the TV station live, in order to ask José his opinion on a variety of football-related matters. Especially interesting were the calls of Frank (Lampard) and Claude (Makelele) from London, telling Mourinho they “miss him” and that the “magic is gone“. :mrgreen: As for Didier (Drogba), he was almost in tears when he begged José to “please come back, please come back“. Brilliant.

At some point, Mourinho even receives the call of Roman Abramovich, asking “Why you defy me? I told you, no more job in England!“. José pretends not to recognize his former employer at first, but as soon as Abramovich mentions buying Setanta in order to fire José again, the Portuguese coach signals his TV directors to cut the line off.

The episode ends on some ‘Special’ holiday wishes:

Merry Christmas from the Special OneIt is the season of Christmas, the season of the Lord. But not only season of the Lord, it also favorite season of José, that is why if you put word “José” into predictive text of your mobile phone now, you will see that this is a very special Christmas. Do it. You see? It’s fantastic!

Be champions!

For some riots of laughter, check out José’s “I’m on Setanta Sports” programme every Saturday at 17:15 UK.

For your viewing pleasure, a preview of the show before it went live, the first 2 episodes, the Christmas ‘Special’, and a ‘Shaddup your face’ audio parody (by José, featuring Roman) are available below.

Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Merry Christmas from All Around the World

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007


On behalf of the entire team (that is, me, myself, and I :razz: ), Best Wishes for a very MERRY CHRISTMAS from all around the world!! :mrgreen: :wink:

The 24 Images from all around the world below are courtesy of La Gazzetta dello Sport (and news agencies Reuters, Ap [Associated Press], Afp [Agence France-Presse] and Ansa [Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata])

1. Baghdad (Iraq) [Reuters]
Baghdad (Iraq) [Reuters]

2. Washington (USA) [Afp]
2.Washington (USA) [Afp]

3. Washington (USA) [Afp]
3. Washington (USA) [Afp]


Serie A Matchday 17 – Week-end Review + GOALS of the Week

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Week-End Reviews

Here are the results and summaries for matchday 17. Full Video Highlights here. week 17 review

Italian Calcio Blog week 17 review

Italian Calcio Blog



This week, just like 2 weeks ago, we have a boatload of eligible candidates. So since it’s Christmas time I’m feeling generous, here’s all of them: :mrgreen:

The absolute winner this week however, is an INDIVIDUAL EFFORT by Fiorentina’s offensive midfielder Mario Alberto Santana.

Mario Alberto Santana, age 25


Results Summary


Serie A – day 17
Genoa – Parma
1 - 0
Roma – Sampdoria
2 – 0
Fiorentina – Cagliari
5 - 1
Inter Milan – AC Milan
2 - 1
Juventus – Siena
2 - 0
Livorno – Atalanta
1 - 1
Napoli – Torino
1 – 1
Palermo – Lazio
2 - 2
Reggina – Catania
3 - 1
Udinese – Empoli
2 – 2

Serie A Matchday 17 – Inter Milan Too Strong for AC Milan, the ‘Derby della Madonnina’ Goes to the Nerazzurri

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Inter Milan vs. AC Milan 2007-08 - The ‘Derby della Madonnina’ is Upon Us

Serie AJingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Inter all the way“… As the AC Milan boat sinks yet again, the Inter frigate sails towards another Scudetto title. Personally (and I’ll bet the millions of other Serie A fans out there are with me on this) I’m still wondering what it’s going to take to stop this Nerazzurri team: Roberto Mancini’s men haven’t lost a game since November, and are still undefeated in the Serie A. Today, they went one goal down (a trademark free-kick execution by who other than Andrea Pirlo), but came back in style through their Argentine connection: Julio Cruz and Esteban Cambiasso. And they say that if there’s a team that “never gives up” it’s Juventus, but Internazionale are building quite the reputation lately…

Serie A Matchday 17 - Inter 2-1 AC Milan

It was months since the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza “San Siro” recorded an attendance like this into its stands: about 85,000 supporters were present for the match today (tickets sold out), which as you can imagine created quite an unique atmosphere in the temple of Milanese soccer. Despite that fact, these were special circumstances for a derby, for many different reasons.

The Inter players applaud their AC Milan rivals, as they enter the San Siro stadiumFirstly, there weren’t any particular choreographies planned by the ultras groups, still shaken by the events tied to Gabriele Sandri’s death back in November. Also, the timing of the match was such that it took place right after the Rossoneri triumph in Yokohama (the Nerazzurri players waited for their opponents outside the tunnel, hands up in applause to that effect), and during probably the period of the best soccer exhibited by Inter in the past decade. Finally, it was almost Christmas time, meaning that both teams were perhaps wondering whom Santa Claus would be giving the biggest present today…

Tactically, Carlo Ancelotti had a few doubts on the match’s eve regarding his starting formation, but in the end his final choices left little in the way of surprises: Oddo and Maldini were given full confidence as wing-backs, assisting Nesta and Kaladze in the Rossoneri backline. Everything else with AC Milan was “as usual” (Gattuso getting the start despite his minor injury problems) and Pippo Inzaghi being selected as the lone striker up front. On the other end Roberto Mancini had a few problems in midfield to deal with, which forced him once again to field Cristian Chivu at the back of the diamond, partnering Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso. Chilean playmaker Luis Jimenez was operating behind the two strikers Julio Cruz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Marco Materazzi, still used sparingly by Mancini after his return from injury, started off on the bench.

It only took 2 minutes for this match to set the pace for the ensuing 88, all the way up to the final whistle. This was a heartfelt derby for both sides, and referee Emidio Morganti had to summon his best match-control skills to keep the players’ determination under control. Gennaro Gattuso’s (how surprising) in particular in minute 3, when the Milan player came into a challenge on Jiménez with a little too much momentum (no card for the player, only a warning).

This wasn’t a dirty match however, far from it, and there was plenty of space for technical displays. Such as (in no particular order) the rotating volley of Ibrahimovic on Maicon’s cross, the crossbar hit by Jiménez after Dida’s clearance, or the funambulic run of Kakà that sent Samuel spinning, and cost the Argentine defender a knee injury (boy that Brazilian trickster can make you dizzy, huh?).

Eventually, after even chances for either side, the Rossoneri were the first to get on the scoreboard through their set piece specialist, who else but Andrea Pirlo. Ivan Córdoba fouled Inzaghi on the edge of the box, Pirlo stepped up and left Julio Cesar no chance as he curled the ball into the top left corner of the goal. 1-0 AC Milan.

A minute later, some shaky defending by Kaladze led to a Cruz percussion in the box, which ensued into Jiménez’s aforementioned crossbar hit, but it would only be about 20 minutes later that Inter would come back to tie the game, stemming once again from some great footwork by Ibrahimovic. Out on Inter’s left wing, close to the goal-line, the Swedish striker (surrounded by 3 AC Milan players) managed to turn and serve a perfect backpass for Cambiasso, who immediately executed a low cross for Julio Cruz in the center. The Argentine’s touch was a little long, but he caught up with the ball, dribbled Nesta, and slammed the ball between Kaladze’s legs to fool Dida on the first post. Goal nº9 for as many games as a starter for Cruz, and 1-1.

The half thus ended on a tied scoreline (shortly after a ripping 22m shot by Javier Zanetti, narrowly wide), amidst a very intense game full of technical, but also physical battles (6 yellow cards handed out in the 1st half). At the restart, The Rossoneri came back onto the field with two new players: Emerson (on for Gattuso, injured) and Gilardino (on for Inzaghi), followed later by Serginho (on for Seedorf). The newcomers almost had an immediate impact, with Gilardino heading wide a Maldini cross from the left, and the Brazilian winger creating some dangerous situations for AC Milan, with his speedy accelerations on the left wing.

Nevertheless, while the Rossoneri came close only to “huffing and puffing”, the Nerazzurri’s guff of wind turned into a real twister in minute 62. A Julio Cruz cross from the left wing was headed by Maldini back to the center, but it was a big mistake because Esteban Cambiasso anticipated Serginho, took one step closer to the box line and slammed a curling shot with the outside of his left. The ball’s trajectory surprised Dida (not entirely without fault however) who allowed the shot to enter the net centrally. 2-1 Inter.

AC Milan were now one goal down because of a dual Maldini-Dida defensive mistake, but Ancelotti’s men (probably still-jetlagged and tired from their Club World Cup duties) certainly didn’t give up on the scoreline. In fact, the remaining 60 minutes of play were in large part played inside the Inter half, and the Rossoneri came a few times quite close to the equalizer (a left-footed volley by Kakà, saved by Julio Cesar in minute 82, and close-range shot by Nesta, parried by Materazzi’s leg in minute 84). Massimo Ambrosini had the golden chance to tie the game 2 minutes from the end, but he missed the winning tap-in on Serginho’s cross, 4 meters away from goal.

At the end of the 90 minutes, the only ones singing “Ho Ho Ho” would be Roberto Mancini and his players. Do you think they’re still on time to call Adriano back from Brazil, to “shake his (fat) belly like a bowl full of jelly”?


F.C. Internazionale Milano
[Match Highlights]
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 18’ Pirlo (M), 36’ Cruz (I), 62’ Cambiasso (I).
INTER (4-3-1-2): J.Cesar – Maicon, Córdoba, Samuel (38’ Materazzi), Maxwell – J.Zanetti, Cambiasso, Chivu – Jiménez (79’ Pelé) – Cruz (85’ Suazo), Ibrahimovic. (bench: Orlandoni, Burdisso, Cesar, Crespo). Coach: R.Mancini.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Dida – Oddo, Nesta, Kaladze, Maldini – Gattuso (46’ Emerson), Pirlo, Ambrosini – Kaká, Seedorf (57’ Serginho) – Inzaghi (46’ Gilardino). (bench: Kalac, Cafu, Bonera, Brocchi). Coach: Ancelotti.


Inter Milan vs. AC Milan Preview – The Managers’ Perspective

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Inter Milan vs. AC Milan 2007-08 - The ‘Derby della Madonnina’ is Upon Us


As adequately put by La Gazzetta dello Sport, “if the 2007-08 season were a steeplechase, Inter would be damn well near a perfect run at this point“. The Nerazzurri’s ride to full-points had a few bumps down the road (the SuperCoppa Italiana defeat to Roma, and the Champions League away loss to Fenerbahce). But other than that, the Internazionale train has been running full steam ahead and is looking for one more victory to cap the year off. What perfect opportunity than the Derby della Madonnina (which effectively, given the holiday season, is more like a Derby di Natale a.k.a Xmas derby) against rival cousins AC Milan. On the one hand we have AC Milan, recently-crowned World Champions in Tokyo, and on the other the Campioni d’Italia and 1st-ranked team in Serie A. So for Inter coach Roberto Mancini, those that have the most at stake on Sunday will be Inter.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini with his assistant manager, Sinisa Mihaijlovic

It’s a derby” said Mancio to Gazzetta. “As such, it will be a very particular match. (…) A derby in of itself is already an important game, but that fact this one takes place on December 23rd makes it even more special. (..) It’s a game between two greats of the Serie A, there will be plenty of room for show on the field. Both Inter and Milan have the right players to make a difference”.

The Inter coach talked about his way to approach the match. “Tension? It’s there, but I’m keeping it hidden in the name of fairplay. I have much respect for Carlo [Ancelotti], but it’s normal that there be a rivalry between the two teams. Personally though, I don’t feel the rivarly with AC Milan. The only rivalry I’ve ever felt heartily about was that with Genoa, when I was still playing [with Sampdoria]. So in that sense there’s not much that can bother me.”

According to Mancini, the key players of the match will be the award-winning stars of the season so far: the best Swedish player of the year and the multi-award Ballon d’Or, FIFPro etc. etc. winning Brazilian star, respectively Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kaká. “They’re definitely the ones to keep an eye on tomorrow“.


To take this match like a cup final“. That is the mental approach to the Inter-Milan derby for Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti, who instead of heavy technical or tactical preparations, could perhaps use a session in psychological readiness. Indeed, in the last 6 months of the year AC Milan became successively European Champions then World Champions, yet their 22-point difference from their rival cousins Inter could give the Rossoneri some sort of “inferiority complex”. Their coach Carletto Ancelotti talks about it.

AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti

To beat Inter, we will need to play a perfect game. It’s not a final, but a very important match for Milan’s season: we have a duty to get closer to the top-ranking positions. (…) Our victory in the FIFA Club World Cup was important, and allowed us to prepare this match with a serene mind. we just had enough time to recover physically, so the derby comes at the right time for us. When they published the Serie A calendars we weren’t very happy with it, but the fact that we won the World Cup is a good momentum-builder for the derby“.

In other words, the Rossoneri coach is far from panicking, or from beind scared by the Black & Blue armada. “Inter have a few problems in midfield, yet they manage to overcome those with a formidable defense and offense. Do they have any weak spots? Maybe they do, but they’re pretty good at hiding them“. For Ancelotti, Inter’s approach to the game from a rankings point-of-view will be very different that the Rossoneri’s “They need the 3 points of this match to maintain their lead over the other teams, while we need them to reduce the distance between us and the 4th [Champions League-qualifying] spot“.

Regarding the starting line-up, the Italian coach still has a few details to iron out. “I have still some doubts regarding the wings, namely whether I should pick Oddo or Bonera on the right and Jankulovski or Maldini on the left. I also have to decide who to pick between Brocchi and Gattuso, who hasn’t practiced all week [due to an injury problem]” (…) Inter have had great consistency so far, and have been a formidable striking force. Personally I think that in the direct match-up there isn’t such a big points difference between us, so I hope it will be the same on the field, that it will be a balanced battle“.

It’s no surprise the Milan coach also considers Ibrahimovic and Kaká the key players for the match, the Swedish striker in particular as one of the number 1 threats to neutralize. “Nesta and Kaladze give great reliability to our central defense, but we must give our defensive line a little more help, by reducing their distance from our midfielders. We can’t give Ibrahimovic one-on-one situations. Both he and Kaká are in large part the determining factors for either team“.

Finally, Ancelotti commented on the tactical set-ups (Milan’s should, with very little surprise, be once again the 4-3-2-1 Xmas tree formation… how appropriate for this month). “They could play with 3 strikers up front, you say? If you have 3 strikers and play an offensive match, that’s an advantage. If you’re forced to defend yourself, it’s a disadvantage. It will all depend on what kind of game AC Milan will play, but in any case we always play with 3 strikers (note: one lone striker and Kaká-Seedorf to support)”.

Kick-off at 15:00CET (9:00 ET) Sunday. Tune in your TVs/Streaming Channels! :mrgreen: