SHORT CORNERS: Soccer News and Notes From Around the World



Inter Milan won the 2010 Champions League Final in Madrid on Saturday calmly and confidently, emulating their manager Jose Mourinho, by beating Bayern Munich 2-0 and thus claiming their first European title in 45 years.

The win over Munich was powered by Diego Milito who scored both goals for Inter in the 35th and 70th minute. “Il Principe” Milito’s composure, confidence and skill personified Inter’s play and he walked away with a deserved Man of the Match award.

Though Bayern had chances, they never looked like challenging after Milito’s first strike and Inter Milan were happy to pack the back and keep ten men behind the ball at all times.

One wonders if suspended Frank Ribery would have been able to make a difference in attempting to solve Inter calm defense.

The victory, coupled with the Italian Scudetto and the Coppa Italia titles, gave Inter a rare place in the annals of European Football.

Only five teams have ever accomplished the feat: Glasgow Celtic in 1967, Dutch power Ajax in 1972, PSV Eindhoven in 1988, Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in 1999 and last season’s incomparable Barcelona side.

The match will be the last for Jose Mourinho, who lifted his second Champions League trophy on Saturday, after winning with FC Porto in 2004. The self-styled ‘Special One’ is likely to take on the task of managing Real Madrid, as if he needed to prove anything else.

Incredibly, 50,000 fans flocked to the San Siro in Milan after seeing the Nerazzurri’s 2-0 win. At 2am the stadium gates were opened and four hours later, the players arrived to celebrate with the fans.


Red Bull New York may have to delay the printing of all those Thierry Henry jersey’s they have planned, as Premier League side West Ham United have put in a huge bid for the French International.

“I’ve made an offer which would make him the highest-paid player in the club’s history. And it’s a serious offer because Henry could walk into almost any Premier League side.” Hammers joint chairman David Sullivan told English paper the Sun. “We’re trying to assemble a more prolific strike-force at West Ham and I’d love to have Henry here,”

The sheer magnitude of the offer from cash strapped West Ham, estimated to earn Henry over $100,000 a week, did not seem to phase Sullivan.

“Our club is in debt but a striker of his quality and standing would make it a great deal.”

Henry is reported to have signed a Pre-Contract with Major League Soccer.


Ending months of speculation regarding his future, Frank Ribery extended his contract with Champions League Finalists Bayern Munich.

“We’re delighted we’ve reached agreement on a contract extension with one of the world’s best players,” Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on the club’s official website. “That is a sign of the big goals the team has set for the coming years.”

The 27-year-old Ribery was linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United in the lead-up to Bayern’s 2-0 in Inter Milan in Saturday’s Champions League, but the French International who was at the end of a four-year deal, decided to stay in Munich.

“My family and I are delighted that we’re staying in Munich. The club has become a big family for me,” Ribery said. “I am very happy that I opted to continue working together with Bayern.”

Ribery was suspended from Saturday’s Final as he was sent off in the Semifinal 1st Leg against Olympique Lyon.


Barcelona out bid all other competitors to snatch up one of Europe’s most sought after players.

David Villa, Spain’s second all-time leading scorer, joins the Catalan Superclub from Spanish rivals Valencia for a $49 million.

“In my career I haven’t won many titles,” said Villa at his Camp Nou unveiling. “I’m not complaining and I feel proud (of what I’ve won), but I come here with a lot of desire to win more titles, especially the Champions League.”

If Villa’s prerequisite was to win titles, he has made a very sensible move.  Barcelona certainly win titles, the club has won seven major trophies in the last year alone, including two La Liga titles, the 2009 Champions League title and the 2009 Club World Cup.


Blackpool, in the lowest tier of English soccer as recently as 2001, has secured a place in the English Premier League for the 2010-11 season.

Brett Ormerod scored in the 45th minute to break a 2-2 score line against Cardiff City and thus end a 39-year absence from the top-flight football.

“Over the season, I think we deserved it,” Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam said. “To go to the places we’re going to go, it’s unbelievable. Going to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, you can’t ask for anything else.”

More than just pride and a place next to some of the World’s most renowned and successful clubs, the promotion from the Championship will earn the estimated $129 million in broadcast revenue and other income.


Bob Bradley isn’t the only one impressed with Herculez Gomez’s Mexican League scoring record. The Mexican Primera División scoring champion has signed with league powerhouse CF Pachuca.

Pachuca announced on their website on Friday night that they have signed the 28-year-old forward, who is training with the 30-man US National team squad ahead of next month’s World Cup. Pachuca, who already have US International José Francisco Torres on their books, will announce the signing Thursday at the Mexican League Draft. Gomez who was out of contract at Puebla.

Gomez  became the first American to win a ‘Golden Boot’ in a foreign league. His 10 goals in the 2010 Bicentenario 2010 tied him with impressive names such as Chivas de Guadalajara thriller, and new Manchester United signee, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Atlante’s Johan Fano. Gomez took the scoring title based on fewer minutes played then the two bigger names.

The Las Vegas born Gomez’s stock rose in the Mexican campaign and his form and National Team injury concerns, put him on US National Team boss Bob Bradley’s radar, and he was called into the 30-man squad now assembled in Princeton.

Expect Gomez’s profile to rise even higher at Pachuca, who have become the most succesful side in CONCACAF over the past decade.

Pachuca won 5 Mexican League titles in the past 10 years. More than their success at the domestic level, Pachuca have won the CONCACAF Champions Cup/League 4 times in 8 years. This December the club will join Egypt’s Al Ahly as the only clubs to have participated in the FIFA Club World Cup 3 times.


Mexico will continue their World Cup build-up on Monday Night, when they look to conquer England at Wembley Stadium.

El Tri will head across the Atlantic after a string of sold-out performances in the United States, for a match between two sides that have nothing in common apart from having both been managed by Sven Goran Eriksson in the past.

The Mexican side will play an important role for England Coach Fabio Capello, who faces Mexico’s arch-rival and co-continental power the United States in their first Group match in the World Cup on June 12.

Mexico will likely start new Manchester United signing Javier Hernandez up front alongside Cuauhtémoc Blanco.

The Wembly pitch, cause of much consternation in England, may preclude Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand from getting 90 minutes, but Capello isn’t going to field a weakened side.

“I prefer to win. Always,” Capello told reporters. “For that reason the 11 who play will be maybe not the first 11, but really good.”

England will be flying into London from their training site in the Austrian Alps, and the players may relish the chance to escape from the camp, which may be closer to Boot Camp then they have been used to in the past.

Under Fabio Capello, phones have been banned, work-out time has been increased, there is a dress code and the wives and girlfriend visits have been cut to one day a week.


The United States Women’s National Team thrashed Germany 4-0 in front of 10,000 plus fans at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland Ohio Saturday.

Abby Wambach scored twice Saturday to become 4th on the all-time career-scoring list for the US. Kristine Lilly, currently 2nd on the all-time list, added one as well against a Germany side that is ranked 2nd in the World.

Wambach had nothing but praise for Lilly, who is playing just her fifth game with the National Team since giving birth to her daughter in July of 2008.

“She’s 38 years old and she scores a goal against Germany,” said Wambach.”I mean, come on. It’s ridiculous.”

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