Juve on Top! New Champion of Serie A

Juventus is new champion of Serie A The team beat Cagliari away 2-0 and beat Inter Milan 4-2 in the derby and it was enough for the boys of Antonio Conte to triumph.

So "Bianconeri" have added a 28 Serie A title to her window. They were champions in 2003. This is the first gold for them Kalchopoli since the scandal that deprived the team of two titles and sent it to the Series "B".

But now – round before the end, nothing can stop the "Old Lady". Team unbeaten in the league, although the final of the competition is only one round.

Cagliari against Juve won 2-0, but goals were made by Vucinic in the sixth minute and the sheath that you scored an own goal in the 74th minute.

At the same time on "San Siro" stadio was played real action. Inter hit the big rivals AC Milan 4-2 and also helped the Turin giants to become champion.

The character of "Inter" has become Diego Milito, who scored a hat-trick. He was accurate in 14 minutes and in 52 th and 79 th minute shootout. Maicon dovashi eternal rival, with a goal three minutes before the end, but Milan had previously Ibrahimovic scored in the 44th minute from a penalty in the 46th minute.

The match, which became the Crossbar show was seen by 75,000 spectators at the "San Siro".

More news about Serie A:

"Two goals of Totti didn't get the victory of Roma" Roma and Catania match ended 2-2 in its 37th round of Serie A. Both hits for "wolves" were 35-year-old captain Francesco Totti, but not enough to win …

"Juve and Milan with easy victories on Serie A" Juventus and AC Milan defeated achieved victories in the 35th round of Serie A and three rounds before the end of "Old Lady" is still on top with three points more than the "Milan". ..

"Juve on the top after error of Milan" Juventus win with 2-0 away at Palermo in Sicily of the day round of Serie A. "Bianconeri" benefited from the error of Milan, who fell from Fiorentina and it shifted from first place in the standings. Juve on top with 65 points, while Milan is …

"Inter wins in a thriller with 9 goals" Inter record 5-4 victory against Genoa in the debut of new head coach Andrea Stramachoni team. The character of "Inter" has become Diego Milito, who shone with a hat-trick …

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FC Barcelona – The Rivalry With Real Madrid

As long as there have been sport teams, there have been rivalries. Whether it’s the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox or the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, the two rival teams inevitably end up meeting again and again, forming an ongoing heated rivalry that delights fans of the sport. One such rivalry is between Spanish football teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona (also known as Barça by its fans) and Real Madrid are two of the earliest Spanish football teams, both forming in the 1890s. From the start, the two teams were seen as representatives of two rival regions of Spain, the ancient kingdoms of Castile and Catalonia. Both teams were part of La Liga, a Spanish football league and a rivalry that went far beyond football quickly took root.

It was during and after the Spanish Civil War that the rivalry took on more political overtones. Dictator Francisco Franco banned all peripheral languages, such as Catalan, the language of Barcelona. Catalonia had long been associated with more progressive fashions and political ideas, such as democracy-which was the diametric opposite of Franco’s dictatorial regime. FC Barcelona suffered as a result of being a part of the Catalonian culture. Real Madrid, on the other hand, was seen by many Spaniards (and Catalonians in particular) as the «establishment» club. Though Franco seemed to favor Real Madrid, members of both teams suffered under his regime.

The fierce rivalry continued into the 1950s when both clubs sought to sign Alfredo Di Stefano to play for them. Real Madrid eventually won out and Alfredo Di Stefano went on to lead them to many wins. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid went head-to-head twice at the European Cup in the 1960s, with Real Madrid winning one and FC Barcelona winning the other. The two teams clashed once again over a player in 2000 when Luis Figo left FC Barcelona and signed with Real Madrid. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid competed against each other again in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2002, with Real Madrid getting the win. The Spanish media dubbed the match «The Match of the Century».

In the mid-2000s, the rivalry ascended to further heights when it acquired its own name, El Clasico. The term El Clasico was traditionally assigned to any South American football rivalry, but the growth of football in the Americas coupled with these two great teams’ rivalry led to the coining of the term as applied to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. This was mostly a marketing scheme communicated via GolTV, an all-football satellite channel, but the term has been embraced by fans worldwide.

El Clasico shows no signs of slowing. To this very day, the two teams inevitably seek each other out on the field to find out who is the best team in Spain. Sometimes FC Barcelona wins and sometimes Real Madrid wins, but ultimately football fans worldwide are the ones who win whenever these two giants meet on the field.

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Dog Photos Free and For Sale For Lovers of Dogs

The web is full of dogs – in pictures as dog photos, dog paintings, dog cartoons and descriptions of encounters with dogs. So pictures of man’s best friend are really popular. Unfortunately many dog pictures, especially many dog photos, are of bad quality, because they are produced by dog lovers and not by experienced dog photographers. This is especially the case with dog photos free for use by everybody. Read on to better your dog photos.

In reality dog photos of really good quality are in high demand. It might be after cute puppy photos, dog breed photos or of photos of all the different situations a dog is experiencing through its life.

Likewise photos of dogs together with their people and owners are needed for many occasions. Here the demand of quality concerning the picture does also include the person or persons together with the dog. This is really a challenge for the dog photographer as well as for the amateur dog photographer with a background of being a dog lover.

Dog photos for sale should really be up to the standard of being a kind of professional quality – and that will normally be the case.

There are a few tips to bring forward from the professional dog photographer to the dog lover who want to take much better dog photos.

Tips for better dog photos for lovers of dogs

1. Strange enough the background of the dog to photograph is extremely important and an element that is often neglected by the less experienced dog-photographer. Indoor avoid furniture in the background unless it is a part of the idea. Outdoor go for a rather plain uniform background. A simple background will help the dog to stand out as the main object to enjoy in the picture. A blurred background will often be best.

2. Make sure the eyes of the dog will be sharp and brilliant in the photo. As human beings we will always take contact to another individual by looking at the eyes, even we shouldn’t be starring in the eyes of a dog.

The view of the dog will be much enhanced if there is ‘eye shine’ – that is a reflection of the sun or light (flash) in the eyes of the dog.

3. To see the tongue of the dog in the picture will add two positive things to the dog photo: The view of the tongue will add some warm red colour to an otherwise rather dull colour of the dog (in most cases) and the tongue will add some feeling of action and life to the total picture.

By adapting these three tips for better dog photography any dog lover should be able to get much better pictures of dogs, whatever it is your own dog or it is dogs around you.

Get access to many good dog pictures by following the link below.

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Kensington and Chelsea on a Budget

Those not that familiar with London are still aware that Kensington and Chelsea are two of the more expensive and glamorous areas of the big city. So, when you are looking for something different and you’re on a fairly tight budget, where do you start?

Of course when staying in the West End, visiting one of the many museums are excellent options for an enjoyable day out. The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum are all located here and you can visit them for free almost any day of the year.

Head a little further out of the city to Chelsea and you will come across the oldest botanical garden in London – the Chelsea Physic Garden. At only £9 for adults and £6 for students and children it offers a little tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Golborne Road market, although connected to Portobello Road offers something a bit different, with a mix of stalls offering a variety of international foods and goods. The area is often referred to as Little Morocco due to the many Moroccan restaurants and shops, so there is definitely a bit of an international feel to the area. Markets are held here every day except Sunday.

Kensington Gardens and Palace are an excellent way to spend some time exploring. The Palace is now home to Wills, Kate and little Prince George so you’ll feel a sense of royalty wandering around, and perhaps you’ll even catch a glimpse of the Royal family. The area is beautiful, any time of year, go and soak up some horticulture!

Another area to enjoy the outdoors is Brompton Cemetery. It might sound a little odd to spend time in graveyard, but this is one of the finest and oldest Victorian graveyards in all of Britain. There are over 200,000 stones and it is considered to be one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries.

Lastly, the London Olympia Exhibition Centre is home to a variety of music shows, food fairs, business events and so much more. Every week there is something different to visit and a lot of the events are free or very cheap.

So, if you are looking for a bit of class on your London city break, but can’t quite afford to dine on the Kensington Roof Gardens, there is still plenty to see and do without burning a hole or three in your pocket.

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Adult Acne Cases Treatments

Adult acne and teenage acne are similar in many ways, but they are different in significant ways as well. Mild teenage acne can usually be treated successfully with over-the-counter acne-fighting topical medications. They work well, but most of them have a drying effect. This drying effect isn’t a problem for teenage skin but for adult skin, it IS a problem.

If adult acne strikes, it is the best policy to see a dermatologist rather than treating it yourself. Dermatologists have a whole arsenal of adult acne-fighting tools at their disposal. They have topic medications that they can prescribe that will clear the acne but not dry the skin. They also have oral medications that can help to clear adult acne. It’s important to note that the medications needed to clear up adult acne are usually much stronger than the products that are effective for fighting teenage acne.

Usually a «twentysomething» will be shocked to see acne on their faces. After all, they survived the teenage years without suffering from acne, unlike most of their friends. They really shouldn’t be all that surprised, though. Acne will affect about 95% of the population who are between the ages of 12 and 25. The prime age for getting acne isn’t over until you are on the shady side of your 20s – and even then, it can crop up from time to time.

One of the main culprits of acne is hormonal imbalance. During problematic menstrual cycles, hormones are in disarray and acne is certainly a good possibility. Likewise, hormones are unstable during pregnancy and when starting or stopping birth control pills. During any of these situations, acne is likely to develop. The good news is that once the hormones are again in balance, the acne will simply disappear.

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The Cardinal Sins of Australian Football

As with all sport, there are cardinal sins made by players that give their opponents in the game a chance to score. Australian football is no different. Today, in modern football, they are called «clangers» and appear in the statistics compiled during the game. These often result in what is called a «turnover», more often than not in senior football, it results in a goal. This happens because the attacking team is rushing forward to give the player with the ball many options for continuing the attack on the goals, leaving their opponents free and in space. When the clanger occurs, the opposition player getting the ball has many of his team free between him and the goal making scoring easier than normal.

Below is my version of the cardinal sins of Australian Football for a coach who works with school and junior club teams. I’m sure these could be ones that apply to all footballers to some or all extent. In some cases, I offer further explanations.

1. Kicking into the man on the mark.

This is perhaps the biggest clanger of all for a junior player. Often, the player is too close to the mark when he kicks allowing the man on the mark to smoother the kick. He is embarrassed and loses concentration allowing the opposition to swoop on the ball and take it away.

2. No talking.

Australian Football is a 360 degree game. The player with the ball can be tackled from behind if his teammate is not telling him of the danger lurking behind him.

3. Not backing up to protect your mate after a hand ball.

In junior football particularly, the skill of the players are not always developed to a fine degree. So skill errors are made. So it is important the player delivering the ball follows it to assist and protect his mate while retrieving the ball. By backing up, the player is providing another attacking option.

4. Not looking up before you kick the ball.

If the player doesn’t look up, he will not spot the best option let alone any option. Not looking up often results in a turnover.

5. Being goal hungry; Not centring the ball to the goal square but kicking for goal from the boundary.

It is difficult to score goals from the boundary. The best option is to kick the ball to the front of the goal square where a kick for goal will almost always result in a major score. Players other than forwards or midfielders, wanting to kick a goal, simply clog up the forward line and leave their opponent unmarked and therefore an attacking option for the opposition.

6. Stepping over the kick out line at fullback when kicking out after a behind is scored.

This creates a ball up on the front edge of the goal square giving the opposition a great chance to score. This «clanger» often occurs because the fullback has been given no leading options by his team and is forced to kick out under pressure.

7. Not marking your opponent when the opposition has the ball.

By not marking your opponent when they have the ball you are creating the «man over» situation for the opposition. This is what every team wants. It is the secret to success in Australian Football.

8. Playing from behind.

The man in front has the first opportunity to get the ball. Thus, he has control of the situation. Most free kicks are given against the man playing from behind.

9. Failing to spoil in a marking contest when you are behind.

The result of this is obvious. You Opponent marks the ball and continues his team’s attack.

10. Not following the team plan.

It is a team sport. If players don’t follow the team plan, confusion reigns, players lose confidence and begin to play for themselves.

11. Disputing the umpire’s decisions.

This gets the umpire offside. Remember he is human, too and can make mistakes. It breaks the players’ concentration and leads to the team thinking about umpire’s decisions rather than the game.

12. Giving away a 50 metre penalty.

This is caused by going over the mark before the umpire calls «play on» or by violently disputing umpire’s decisions. This often results in an opposition score.

13. Getting reported.

You are a loss to the team, particularly if you are an important, skilful member of the team.

Most, if not all these issues are caused by lack of self-discipline often by good players. It is important that the coach step in and discipline players who display a lack of self-discipline. Talent and skill are of no consequence if the player allows a lack of self-discipline affect his ability to add to the team’s performance.

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Ronaldo – Slave or Hero?

Apparently Ronaldo is being treated like ‘a modern day slave’ according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Manchester United’s refusal to allow Ronaldo to leave for Real Madrid is tantamount to slavery.

And he believes Manchester United and Real Madrid should» sit together» if Ronaldo wants a move to the Spanish club.

«If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found,» commented Blatter.

«Because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s no good for the player and for the club.

«I’m always in favour to protect the player and if the player wants to leave, let him leave.»

Whilst Blatter has a point in that it is pointless trying to keep a player tied to a club if he wants to leave, comparing such players to ‘modern day slaves’ is an insult to those people who really are ‘modern day slaves’. Ronaldo ,football genius he is, earns more in a week than children in Asia will earn in a lifetime, he lives in mansions, wears the best clothes, drives the best cars, holidays in the best hotels. Real ‘modern day slaves’ do not have enough to eat, live in houses without sanitation or water or electricity – in my view Blatter pampered and spoiled bureaucrat that he is should think about what he is saying and try to be a little more thoughtful in his responses.

And anyway what about loyalty- should Ronaldo not have some measure of loyalty to the club that has helped bring him universal acclaim? Is there no loyalty in football any more or merely a wish for more and more money and prizes? So will Ronaldo stop playing if he is forced to stay at Manchester United or will he display a new maturity and still play at his peak?

On the subject of slaves are not 90% of the population who work in normal jobs, who are not fortunate enough to possess genius or the adulation of millions slaves also?

What do you think?

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Which World Football League Is The Best Of The Best

Serie A, La Liga and the Premiership all voice strong claims to be the finest football league in the world today. However, which of these has the most genuine claim. The recognition of being the best is an honor that dictates not just bragging rights, but also the ability to draw the finest players and sponsorship contracts to secure the mantle yet further. There are countless factors to consider; the players the leagues have now, the trophies won by their clubs, the quality of football played and the stature of their various sides. Does that tactical catenaccio of the Italians outweigh the physical pressure of the Premiership? Would the top-heavy flair of La Liga continually overcome the strength of an English midfield? How do the Mediterranean cousins compare?

In comparing these various brands of ‘the beautiful game’ we must consider the many factors that make them great individually. The history, the present and the future are all crucial in contrasting these various brands of and eventually building a perception of whether one does stand above the others.

Players

The first and often the most favored way of fans comparing championships, who has the best players? The natural assumption following this is that Spain hold the upper hand in this argument; especially given that both World (Ronaldinho) and European (Fabio Cannavaro) Players of Year play in La Liga. Also Spain can boast many other great talents; Madrid have van Nistelrooy, Raul, Robinho and Beckham, Barca can boast Ronaldinho, Deco, Messi, Eto’o and Zambrotta. Other clubs have similarly immense performers, David Villa and Joaquin Sanchez at Valencia, Riquelme at Villarreal to name but a few.

Italy can boast a similarly impressive list of galacticos, however, possibly due to the more pedestrian nature of Serie A the players have a tendency to be of a slightly more advanced age. Internazionale (or Inter) boast the most impressive roster; Crespo, Ibrahimovic, Veron, Stankovic, Figo and Samuel all ply there trade for the Nerazzurri. Their city rivals Milan also have a cornucopia of stars; despite losing their talisman Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea in the summer, they have one world beater in Riccy Kaka’. Also players as renowned as Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Nesta and Alberto Gilardino front a cast that contains talent enough to challenge for any trophy. Also worth mentioning is that the Milan rear-guard still contains the legendary Paulo Maldini as captain. With the shadow of Calciopoli hanging over the Italian top flight, what should be mentioned is the exodus from Serie A that occurred over the summer saw many of their finest individuals leave the division.

Zambrotta and Thuram left Juventus for Barcelona, likewise Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson joined their Bianconieri coach Fabio Capello in Madrid, and former Serie A favourites like Alessandro del Piero, Gigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved and David Trezeguet have all decided to stay loyal to the old lady and ply their trade in Serie B for a season. As mentioned, Shevchenko also left the Rossoneri for Chelsea.

Whilst discussing Chelsea we must clearly outline that they are the major player in European football today. The premise that currently exists in football is that, when it comes to the transfer market, the Premiership champions are the team that all others must follow. Due to the seemingly unlimited funds stumped up by their Russian oligarch owner, Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have amassed a team of stars to match any other club in the world. With Terry and Lampard already present prior to the Russian benefactor’s input, players like Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Joe Cole and, as discussed, Shevchenko. The Premiership can also boast some of the world’s finest players in Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal; Rooney, Rio and Ronaldo at Manchester United and Liverpool’s talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard.

The important thing to outline when comparing the undoubtedly huge talents on show in these various leagues is that although we are examining them from the perspective of now, the future is also a vital factor. As we discussed Serie A does tend to boast more seasoned galacticos whereas the Premiership can argue that, in Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas, they have some of the most promising talent. Spanish football could also argue that their spread is encompasses youth, with youngsters such as Sergio Aguero and Fernando ‘el Nino’ Torres at Atletico, Lionel Messi at Barca and one name to watch in Matias Fernandez, a Chilean playmaker due to join Villarreal in January.

Marketing

Football in the Twenty First Century is far more than the game it was in previous decades. It is now a business, and one of the world’s biggest at that. Transfer prices are now such that it appears any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ is worth £15 million. Player’s wages have also experienced astronomical rises. This is to the extent that £3 million per year is not considered to be a completely outrageous wage for a top international player. With the costs to clubs continually rising, somebody is required to fulfill these extravagant fiscal demands.

Sponsorship, television rights and marketing revenue are now utilized by top clubs that are now selling a ‘brand’ rather than a sport. From product association to shirts emblazoned with trade names, the marketing aspect of major clubs and leagues is paramount to the strength therein.

Annually an accountancy firm called Deloitte release details of top European club’s financial incomes over the previous season. Essentially a ‘rich-list’ of sides, comparing their viability and market strength in today’s football world. The most recent edition of this list is from the 2005 season and the zenith of the list is almost totally dominated by our ‘big three leagues’.

The 2005 rankings dictate that the world’s market leader in football terms is now Real Madrid. The previous years had been dominated by the Manchester United marketing machine; however the Castilian club took the mantle from their English rivals. Much of this change in fortunes has been put down to the ‘David Beckham factor’.

Former England skipper David Beckham is as famous for his private life as he is for his football. Married to a ‘Spice-Girl’, the midfielder looks more like a pop star than a footballer, sporting numerous tattoos, continually outrageous hair styles and a multiplicity of product endorsement contracts. Described as being the ‘most photographed sportsman ever’, Beckham is worth his weight in Euros to his club side. The fact that Manchester United, who previously topped the rich-list, were dethroned by Beckham’s new club Real Madrid is regarded as proof of the man’s value from a marketing perspective. However, it is worth mentioning that Madrid’s on-field performances have declined while their finances improved, and a more recent list may also hint at Beckham’s own on-pitch decline as a force in world football.

The top ten teams in the list are, with the exception of Bavarian giants Bayern Munich, all from Spain, Italy or England. The majority is dominated by the Premiership as we see Manchester United (2nd), Chelsea (5th), Liverpool (8th) and Arsenal (10th), this is followed by three Serie A clubs in Milan (3rd), Juventus (4th) and Inter (9th) and Spain’s La Liga only has two top ten entries, despite Real topping the list being followed by rivals Barcelona in 6th. In viewing these figures, we must firstly emphasise that they are not as up to date as we would like, also should a more recent list be compiled we would surely see the effect of Calciopoli on the Italian sides.

Style

The extent to which a league entertains depends vastly upon how you like your football. The three brands all vary in their traits greatly and taste is a vital factor within this, after all, one man’s pineapple is another man’s poison. Main differences in these leagues are inherent of the style of football played in each respective country. Although on the surface this may seem obvious, but when we consider the extent to which domestic football has become incredibly multicultural, it is positive that these leagues maintain their own identity despite this.

The brand of football played in the leagues differs greatly. As mentioned earlier, the Italian game is one based around technique, control of possession and patience. The cattenaccio of today’s Italian game is not as negative as that of sides during the mid-twentieth century, wherein five defenders would be used to enforce a stringent man marking system with a ‘libero’ slotting in behind as a ball-playing sweeper. Unfortunately the system in its original state is now outdated, given that both the zonal marking system has almost uniformly become the status quo of the modern game and that sweepers are now very scarcely employed. However, the football played in Serie A today is one that echoes this system.

Calcio is often regarded by those in Northern Europe as being dull, but those closer to the Mediterranean as being a purists game that encapsulates a higher standard of football than any other. Football in Italy has been likened to a game of chess, with a more systematic approach than that of other countries. Defenders are often as gifted in possession as any other position, a trait not found elsewhere in football. The style football played uses lots of short passes designed to open pockets of space, rather than longer balls targeting taller forwards. The game requires a very high level of technical ability, with the art of controlling and passing paramount.

Detractors of the Italian game often point its lack of pace and time-consuming attacking play as its flaws. Goals are notoriously hard to come by, a fact further embellished by examining Luca Toni’s impressive thirty-one goal season last year, the first player to score over thirty goals in Serie A for forty eight years. As such many prefer the hustle and bustle of leagues like the Premiership.

The Premiership is a very fast and furious division; emphasis on strength, pace and drive. This is not withstanding the fact that a very high standard of football can be seen in England’s top flight, however by and large the game is dictated in a very physically demanding manner. English football was much maligned in the eighties and nineties for a predominance of ‘long ball’ football. The theory being that long, direct passes into forward areas would create chances for purposefully employed big, physical strikers. This style was often considered to not be graceful and was lambasted by critics. Despite the fact that the English league has developed since, similarly to the catenaccio roots of Serie A, this style still exists to some extent today; even league champions Chelsea have been criticised for employing such a style. Despite not being as higher level of technical level, the Premiership is often billed as being ‘the most exciting league in the world’ due to its non-stop action-packed intensity.

In contrast La Liga has a style of its own entirely. Borrowing much from a South American ethic of flair football, the Spanish league is famed for its fast, flowing attacking brand of play. Spain’s Primera Division has won many admirers over recent years, firstly thanks to the Zidane inspired galacticos of Madrid and more recently the exploits of Ronaldinho Gaucho for Barcelona. The emphasis in Spain, more than any other in Europe, is on attacking play. Formations are based around ball playing midfielders and skilful wingers. This does produce a very open brand of football; however this does often expose defensive frailties. With the occasional exception (Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol) Spanish defenders are not generally as strong as their counterparts in farther reaches of the game. This combined with the ability of attackers does make La Liga very enticing from a spectator point of view.

Not withstanding the stereotypes that we have examined, there are clear exceptions to every rule, and this instance no different. Despite being usually solid and defence-orientated, Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan have been praised for their attacking football in Serie A. Also, and potentially the finest example of this, there is Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s men continually produce some of the most free flowing football in world football today. However, for obvious reasons, the North London outfit could be reasoned to be the exception to the rule as they have a side almost totally dominated by foreign players. To the extent that, since the departures of Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, it is unlikely that an Englishman will, should the Gunners be at full strength, feature at all.

Competitiveness

What makes a league exciting is often based around not only the vastness of the occasion or the protagonists involved, but the closeness of the competitors. In all leagues, as with walks of life, there are historically bigger sides with larger financial acumen, but where there is no competition, there is no spectacle.

The Premiership has been dominated by the wealth of Chelsea over the past two seasons, not withstanding the fact that it takes more than just money to dominate a league (although it helps) and it is a credit to both players and coaching staff that they have taken the past two successive titles with consummate ease. This season, however is painting a different picture. The wily old Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is now producing the results that his talented array of stars are capable of, and at this point in time stand a commendable eight points clear of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

Beyond the top two, we see something that has been apparent for some time in the Premiership. The gap between the top teams and the chasing pack could be justifiably described as chasm-like. Previously there was a top four that added Liverpool and Arsenal to the current table-topping rivals, but unfortunately for the neutral this gap has extended to these clubs as well. However, this does create what can be seen as almost a ‘second league’ in which clubs behind Manchester United and Chelsea vie for the remaining to places in Europe’s prestigious Champions League.

This chasing pack includes both Liverpool and Arsenal, followed in strength of squad by Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur but effectively any other side that can put together a good run of results can infiltrate the group, as was the case with last season’s surprise package of Wigan Athletic, who almost secured a UEFA Cup berth despite being touted as relegation favorites before the season began.

Spain can also look to the domination of one club over the past two seasons as being the main debating topic. Barcelona’s back-to-back titles have not, however, received anything like the treatment that Chelsea’s similar achievements have. Whilst the ‘boo-boys’ have been out in force ‘pooh-poohing’ the wealth, attitude and style (or lack thereof) the Premiership’s title holders, Barcelona’s success has been lauded as a ‘victory for style over adversity’. From many purists’ perspectives, the brand of flowing football that Barca exhibit is very pleasing on the eye and the fact that Los Cules are considered footballing royalty, rather than the nouveau riche of Mourinho’s men, could be a factor.

The Primera Liga at present still see’s the Catalonian giants on top, a mini-renaissance from their bitter rivals Real Madrid has been temporarily halted as the surprise package of Sevilla look to ‘upset the apple cart’. Traditional bridesmaids Valencia appear to have moved back to a position more akin to an usher as Atletico Madrid and Zaragoza enjoy good form. Unlike the Premiership, La Liga does not usually purvey the gulf between the top sides and their competitors. Such is the nature of Spanish football, that although unexpected, the top teams are more often beaten by their less illustrious competitors.

In the Italian top flight, again the competitiveness is affected by the match fixing scandal. From the season’s opening, it seemed that it would be a two horse race. In previous seasons this has been the case, with Juventus battling Milan for lo scudetto. However, with Milan docked points and Juventus having to cope with life in Serie B, it has left Roma and Inter to battle for the title. Inter, the perennial underachievers of calico, have amassed one of the world’s strongest squads and as such currently stand a clear distance ahead of their rivals. Nine consecutive wins for the nerazzurri (an Italian record) sees Mancini’s men looking down the barrel of their first actual title (they were handed the 2006 title by default of being the highest placed side guilty of no wrongdoing in the Calciopoli scandal) in over ten years.

In Conclusion

Upon first attempting to tackle this question, I can honestly state that I did not conceive quite what I was undertaking. All three leagues are packed with all things that make football the worlds biggest, and in my opinion best, sport. Rather than scrutinized with a cynical eye, we should really be embracing these bastions of passion, flair and ability, rejoicing in the pleasure that millions of fans get from these three small collections of twenty teams. However, I set out on a journey, a journey that took longer than anticipated, but a journey all the same to root out which I believed to be the best.

If that assessment leaves all of the leagues attributes equal then the next separates. Money and marketing are bigger in the Premier League than in any other non-American sport and the financial credence there eclipses anything that Spain or Italy can boast. However, the argument in this instance must remain, how important (bragging rights aside) is the money? Which leads us to question, is money not potentially the ultimate undoing of these leagues? Using Italy as a prime example, the great football broadcaster James Richardson cites this as the reason for Serie A’s downturn in fortunes; he believes that money that was spent around the turn of the century was effectively ‘promised’ funds for projected future television rights that sadly never materialized. However, in the Premiership, the money just keeps rolling in.

Finally we draw to the final issue of competitiveness and with Calciopoli forcing Serie A to dismount its jockey leaving a two horse race. In this issue I am setting my stall out early and backing the Premiership. With no disrespect to Real Madrid, but I cannot see Barcelona being usurped this season. From watching football for many years now, you learn to know when a resurgence is threatening, and Madrid’s is not that. Manchester United however is the English top flight, for the first time in a while, looks as though it will draw to a truly nail-biting conclusion.

Overall, as I have mentioned throughout, it is with regret that I concede that Italy, given all of their difficulties, cannot compete. This upsets me, as it was Serie A where I gained much of my development as a football supporter, spending years enjoying the delights of the Mediterranean game, watching exotically monikered players with equally glamorous abilities. It is true that the average Italian top flight footballer is of higher fundamental ability than his English counterpart, but the stigma of scandal is too apparent in the current Serie A climate for them to be considered. It is my hope that we see a renaissance in Italian football and that over the coming decade we see a nation rejuvenated and again rivaling their Spanish and English counterparts.

So it comes to the final two, and in truth it could not be tighter. However, it is the Premiership which I believe to be the best. It is by the width of a flee’s reproductive organs, but the Premiership has the lot. It has, in my opinion, the most exciting crop of young players, the most competitive title chase and the best supporters. It has the biggest worldwide audiences and is (marginally) the strongest nation in the worldwide transfer market. This is not to detract from La Liga, a league of endless attacking improvisation, flair and adventure, a league that has history, has impossibly gifted players, has Ronaldinho, but its flaws are too clear. The hapless defending is one such example of this and too bigger issue to be ignored.

For me, the Premiership has only recently secured the mantle it has sought since its creation. For the Baggios, van Bastens, Papins, Maldinis, Batistutas and friends in Nineties Serie A to the Zizous, Figos, Rivaldos, Ronaldos, Rauls et al of Noughties La Liga, there has always been something to separate English Football from the top of the tree, however now it is clear that the FA Premier League is THE major force in world football today and given the money and following dedicated to retaining that mantle, I foresee that this will be the case for years to come.

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