23
May

Diego Costa looks like he may start in the Champions League final after all

After pulling out of Atletico Madrid’s final La Liga match last weekend with a knee injury, it wasn’t looking good for Diego Costa heading into the Champions League final. 

Apparently, his health has taken a sharp turn in the right direction over the last six days.

His hamstring doesn’t look like it’s troubling him at all, does it?

Even more video emerged from Costa training with Atletico on Friday, and it now seems entirely possible that he could start against Real on Saturday (live on FOX at 2 p.m. ET).

That magical horse placenta is quite the miracle worker, huh?

(H/T r/soccer)

21
May

Trecker’s Travels: Lisbon, Day 2

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LISBON — The red and white scarves have been stowed for the season, the plaza at City Hall last night was being swept up of the cups and flags. Over at Restauradores, the only rally was for graduating university students – something to do with big wooden spoons and lots of beer, by the looks of it. A Bola is still gleefully printing pictures of Benfica players holding up three fingers but the rest of the city has moved on towards the big game on Saturday. The headline in Record read: “The world is watching.”

But until then, there’s not much to do, soccer-wise. The teams are training in Spain, the fans have yet to trickle in, and Lisbon, the oldest city in Western Europe is glorious. So, why not see it?

Now, I have a weakness for trains. I believe they are the only civilized way to travel, and I have been known to walk miles between train stops rather than take a bus. I once refused a plane trip from Berlin to Warsaw on the grounds that I could take a sleeper car there overnight. The fact that it turned out to be a Soviet-style bed car, complete with hissing steam, did not teach me any lesson whatsoever. On the contrary, I am of the belief that it made me stronger, much as the journeys from Leuchars to Dundee on the sublimely discomfiting Fife Rail trains of the early 1970s, all plaid and burr.

Much to my glee (and my partner’s despair) Lisbon has had an urban train system for nearly 130 years. Yesterday, I decided to ride all of them, going from the ancient basilica on the west side of the city out to the giant flea market that occupies Alfama just west of the castle. The points are connected by an ancient tram line, the “28,” which runs through the winding roads along the harbor line. The “28” started out as a horse carriage line (I pity the poor beasts on these hills and cobblestones) but switched to overhead electric in 1901.

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30
Apr

Diego Simeone thanks moms for giving his players big balls

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What universal qualities must a team have to make a Champions League final?

Good coaching, a dependable goalkeeper, star power on offense, and a little bit of luck are probably the minimum requirements. But most importantly, the team needs to have balls. Preferably big balls.

At least, that’s what Atletico manager Diego Simeone would reason.

After his side reached its first Champions League/European Cup final in 40 years with a 3-1 win at Chelsea on Wednesday, Simeone thanked his players’ mothers for equipping them with large “cojones.”

Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture of Simeone gesticulating at his press conference, but we imagine it looked something like this:

imageImage via RedCafe

H/T SBNation

29
Apr

Cristiano Ronaldo sets new Champions League record

imageImage: Reuters

Sergio Ramos had already given Real Madrid an early 2-0 lead over Bayern Munich in the second leg of their semifinal tie, but Real’s crowning moment of the first half set a new Champions League record at the same time.

Obviously, Cristiano Ronaldo was involved.

The goal was Ronaldo’s 15th of the current Champions League campaign, setting a new all-time record. Lionel Messi previously held the record with 14 goals in the 2011/12 season, before Ronaldo equaled that mark with a goal in the quarterfinals against Dortmund.

Naturally, Ronaldo was ecstatic. And just so that everyone watching at home was aware of his new record, Ronaldo and friends spelled it out for the TV cameras:

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Just look at how happy he is:

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And before all was said and done, Ronaldo added one more to his tally, bringing his total this season in the Champions League to 16.

He’ll have one more match — the final — to increase his own record. Odds are he does.

11
Apr

Manchester United fans experience every emotion possible in just 22 seconds

This season hasn’t been kind to Manchester United fans. After more than two decades of success under Sir Alex Ferguson, the sudden dip in form (and position on the table) has left Red Devils’ fans in a pit of despair.

When the once-fearsome club took on mighty Bayern Munich on Wednesday, no one expected Patrice Evra to score a stunner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Euphoria. Tears of joy. Cloud nine. Hope.

But just 22 short seconds later, United fans came crashing back to Earth. Mario Mandzukic shut down the party before it even had a chance to really get started.

It was hard enough for United fans watching from afar to digest what unfolded on their televisions; for the supporters at the Allianz Arena, the pain was tenfold.

It’s the hope that kills you.

(H/T SB Nation)