An old glory of Belgian soccer, Standard Liege, have finally managed to win the domestic championship, their first in a quarter of the century and indeed the first piece of silverware after 15 years.
It has taken a truly remarkable display throughout the season for Standard to emerge on top: a 31-game unbeaten run, which has culminated with a 2-0 win over archrivals Anderlecht in the decisive match.
This is the ninth League title for Qiu Qiu Standard, who also won five Belgian cups and played in the 1982 Cup Winners’ Cup against Barcelona at Camp Nou back then in the times of Arie Haan, Benny Wendt and Simon Tahamata.
PSV make it four in a row
In neighbouring Netherlands, PSV have not had a shortage of trophies over the past decades. The Eindhoven team have snatched their fourth consecutive title, the 21st in their history, by winning 1-0 at Vitesse. PSV needed just a draw in their last game to stay ahead of Ajax, who demolished Heracles by 5-1 in hope their rivals would trip up in Arnhem.
The provincials have dominated the Dutch scene in the past nine seasons, winning seven titles and leaving just two to Ajax. Their successes include eight Dutch cups, seven Supercups, one Champions Cup and one UEFA Cup.
Olympiacos continue to frustrate rivals
Even more prominent than PSV’s dominance in the Netherlands is Olympiacos’ rule in Greece, as the red and whites have just added a 36th league title to their trophy room at the end of an emotional season that saw them shrug off a serious challenge from AEK Athens.
The crucial win for the Children of Piraeus came on the last day at home against Iraklis, well beaten by 3-1, only two weeks after Olympiacos got
thrashed by AEK 4-0 in the southern derby.
This has also been the fourth consecutive championship for Olympiacos, the three previous ones having come with the help of Rivaldo. The famous Brazilian played at AEK this season, but his magic has not been quite enough to turn the balance in favour of the Athens side.
How frustrating it must be for the rivals to know that Olympiacos, nicknamed Legend by their fans, have won eleven out of twelve championships since 1997/98.
Luca Toni makes good of Kahn’s words
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said on the eve of the German DFB Cup finals that Luca Toni must be one of the greatest strikers in the history of the club. Toni has been the major force in this marvellous season for the Bavarians who may still wrap up all four available trophies.
After picking up the League Cup early in the season, Bayern made it a cup double against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and guess who scored both goals for the winners: Luca Toni. The only goal for the losers was scored by the Croatian Mladen Petric, the man responsible for England’s failure to qualify for this year’s European Championships.
“He is one of the best I have ever seen playing here at Bayern in terms of striking qualities,” said Kahn enthusiastically, days after the 193 cm tall Italian had achieved another double to put his team through to the UEFA Cup semifinals in the epic clash against Getafe.
“He is a predator and there are very few of those around. He is at home in the penalty area and he is always in the right place, so he doesn’t need many chances to score.”
Of course, Toni also racked up 20 goals in the Bundesliga, a tally destined to grow in the remaining five matches in which Bayern is expected to clinch the third season’s trophy.
Eduardo da Silva continues rehabilitation in Rio
Arsenal’s Eduardo da Silva, currently recovering from the terrible fibula fracture sustained in February, has arrived in his native Rio de Janeiro where he is expected to stay for about three months.
According to the doctors, the Gunner’s condition is satisfactory and
his career is not in question. When exactly the naturalized Croat will be back in action is still early to say as only two months have passed since Martin Taylor’s fateful tackle.
“I would like to stay in Brazil, with my family, until the end of my rehabilitaton, but I am not sure whether Arsenal will allow me or if they will ask me to return to England in July,” said Eduardo, whose injury signalled the beginning of a dreadful spell for his team. Five points clear of Manchester United before the incident quickly melted away as the Gunners managed to win just two Premier League games in two months.
Croatia’s coach Slaven Bilic and the fans fear that the national team might miss Eduardo just as badly as the final stage in Austria and Switzerland is due to start in six weeks.
Nereida Gallardo is new Cristiano’s sweetheart
Her identity could not stay unknown for long. Cristiano Ronaldo’s new girlfriend is Nereida Gallardo Álvarez and she is a Mallorca-born model.
The reporters spent a long time searching for her identity and they received some help from other Manchester United players. When the 23-year old Portuguese scored against Middlesbrough, he waved to someone in the box of honour. Seated there was Ronaldo’s cousin Nuno and a glamorous beauty who the others had thought was Nuno’s fiancé.
However, Ronaldo’s mates indicated to the reporters that the girl in question is in fact their number seven’s girlfriend.
She is a 25-year old brunette whose proportions read 94-62-94. It can hardly get any better and this may be the reason so many boys all over the world strive to become professional soccer players.
Previous Ronaldo conquests included tv-reporters Merche Romero and Carolina Patrocinio plus the British model Gemma Atkinson and the
Colombian actress Mirella Grisales – a highly exciting quartet but maybe, just maybe, our man prefers a scrubber in the pool!