El Clasico delivered once again, and this one had just about everything... except an eventual winner, as the game ended 2-2. Still, there was so much that happened in the game, goals by both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, a red card for a punch, a rare hard challenge and yellow card by Lionel Messi, a much less rare confrontation between Sergio Ramos and Luis Suarez, and through it all, Barcelona maintain their unbeaten season. For good measure, Ramos also accused Messi of trying to influence the referee during halftime. Some of the tension had started before the game, as Real Madrid expressed their refusal to offer a guard of honor for Barcelona having already clinched the title. Zinedine Zidane said Barça broke the tradition earlier, when they didn’t offer a guard of honor for when Real Madrid won the Club World Cup. Barcelona players and officials did not seem pleased by this decision and explanation. It’s a shame these two teams won’t play again until next year. Still, it’s possible even more ire and pettiness can be built up by then, especially if Barcelona finishes their unbeaten La Liga season, and if Real Madrid win their 3rd straight Champions League title.
Arsene Wenger went out in style on Sunday, his team running away to a 5-0 victory on the pitch, and then after the game Wenger addressed the Arsenal fans. It was a nice speech, Wenger saying above all with he is an Arsenal fan as well, and leaving the fans with his last words being a simple but touching “I will miss you.” Though the last few years had their rough points, Arsene Wenger is probably the greatest manager in Arsenal’s history, and is beloved by many fans, some of whom are not necessarily Arsenal fans. By making the announcement he was leaving a few weeks ago, Wenger was able to get the send off he deserved, and it was a great moment for him, the fans and the club.
Sad news over the weekend, as legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson had to undergo emergency brain surgery on Saturday after a hemmorhage was discovered. Manchester United announced that the surgery went “very well,” but Ferguson will have to remain in intensive care for some time while he is recovering. I think all of us in the soccer world are wishing Sir Alex a speedy recovery.
In the NWSL version of the Cascadia rivalry, the Seattle Reign got a hard fought win 3-2 over the Portland Thorns in Portland. Allie Long was playing her first game back in Portland since leaving the Thorns, but the star of the show was arguably another ex-Thorn, Michelle Betos, who made a number of good saves to secure the victory for Seattle. The game was back and forth action. Beverly Yanez opened the scoring for Seattle heading in a corner kick in the first half. The game then hit a wild period in the second half, where the teams scored 4 goals in 14 mins. The game was tied 2-2 in the 71st minute when Rumi Utsugi hit a great shot from outside the box, a goal worthy of winning any game, especially this one. The Thorns are tough to beat at Providence Park, and the fact that they were not only beaten there, but by their rivals, has to sting all the more.
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