Through Ryu’s Lens: Madrid rises in Manchester

Hours after the man who led Chelsea to hoisting the Champions League was tossed out onto the streets in London, Roberto Mancini had the small task of saving Manchester City from crashing out of the Champions League trophy with a win against Real Madrid. The win never came, nor did it deserve to. Casillas may have conceded on a questionable penalty, but beyond that San Iker’s doors were slammed shut. And Ryu was pitchside with camera in hand, watching the drama all unravel.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

On Balotelli action and Pepe inaction

By Darshan Joshi

One week, two alleged stamps. Both assailants bad-boys of their clubs’ cities, further apart in distance than footballing heritage and seemingly now closer yet in terms of notoriety. One incident exponentially more temerarious than the other, and thus rightly so – relatively speaking –, one man went unpunished, and the other supplied with a four-match decapitation. Only, if just one of the two crime scenes were to be punished retrospectively, it was the wrong one left exonerated.

Mario Balotelli may cast more than an envious gaze at the Spanish footballing authorities, much as the English do those shores with an understandable predilection for sunnier days on a golden beach. The decision to deplete Pepe of a suspension for an ostentatious trampling on the hand of Lionel Messi was absurd. Perhaps the powers-that-be took into account, unfairly, Messi’s status as The Second Coming of Diego Maradona – karmic law suggests an equal and opposite reaction to every action – and Pepe was thus the purveyor of retrospective punishment too, of a sort. Only, Messi isn’t Maradona, and so his Hand isn’t exactly His Hand.

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Clási-conned into a waste of our lives

By Darshan Joshi, writing from Kuala Lumpur

Editor’s note: Remember that this piece is Darshan’s opinion and does not necessarily represent AFR’s.

It must be the case that, after tonight, the Clásico shouldn’t exist on the European stage. Keep it in Spain. Outside the Iberian peninsula, this is just another match. Rather than being part three of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s ‘world series’, this was the first-leg of a Champions League semi-final. The verdict? Quite possibly the most boring match your mind might muster. It wasn’t fantasy, when fantasy was what this tie was purported to exude. Flicking channels, one would have witnessed a largely meaningless Premier League match between Fulham and Bolton Wanderers. Both teams are assured of safety and have no chance of qualifying for European competition next season. Pride was at stake, another chance to entertain their fans. The pace of play at Craven Cottage was markedly quicker than at the Santiago Bernabéu. Football was actually being played in London. If there was a place for you to be…

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Who’s Anthem Are You Singing?

By Dominic Vieira, writing from Portugal

Playing at a World Cup is the pinnacle of any footballer’s career and they’re all desperate to play in them. Many footballers possess dual nationality which is granted through their parents or the country they are born in. This enables them to represent another country; this is very common amongst French footballers. The other way players can acquire another passport is by spending more then 6 years in one country, this is the case with several Brazilian players. Key note: players can represent one country at youth level and still play for another at top level.

At the World Cup there is a group of players who were not born in the country they’re represent, some don’t even have parents from that country. Is this right? Are they making the right decision? And most importantly, who’s anthem will they sing?

I managed to put together the strongest XI players who were not born in the country they represent.

Steve Mandanda (France) - Born in Kinshasa, DR Congo. The Mandanda family moved to France at an early age. He represented France at under 21 level and went on to making his debut for them. Despite being offered the chance to play for DR Congo where his younger brother plays, Steve Mandanda wanted to defend the French goal.

Guy Demel (Ivory Coast) - Born in Orsay, France; Demel has spent the majority of his career playing in Germany. In 2004 he opted to represent Ivory Coast and soon made his first appearance for the country. He will be playing at his second World Cup and will be singing the anthem.

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