The self-proclaimed “special one”, Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (or Jose Moaninho as he’s known to British football fans) was not feeling quite so special last night as Barcelona over-powered his dull Chelsea side in every department. Despite running away with the Premier League this year and last year, Chelsea have faultered in the Champions League, even with the benefit of not-so-squeeky-clean Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich pouring money into the team (440 million pounds — $765.3 million — in total since he bought the club in 2003, half of that going to buy new players).
Apart from having the world’s best player in their team, the difference is that Barcelona have a squad of ball-playing geniuses, whereas Chelsea have a team of “stars” who have not yet reached heights of individual genius. The agreed-upon hypothesis was that in the first leg, in which Barcelona won 2-1 at Chelsea, the Stamford bridge ground had been intentionally uncared for, in order to hinder Barca’s style. However a British quagmire is hardly likely to trouble Barcelona’s Brazilian bunch, who have grown up playing football on any surface available bar possibly a mine-field. No matter what Moaninho says, the better team won, and Chelsea have no one to even think about matching Ronaldinho.
Maybe the Brazilian who was “too ugly” (said their ex-Chairmen Perez — although he lived to regret it) for Real Madrid will inspire Shanghai Shenhua and Dalian Shide, who begin the Asian Champions League today. Two teams from Thailand and two from Indonesia failed to register for the tournament, so Shenhua only need to beat Vietnamese team Dong Tam to make it into the last eight. As we write, they are beating Dong Tam 2-0 at home at half time, and the return leg is on the 3rd of May.
The China Super League may soon have a new name and a new sponsor. An American company is said to be on the verge of signing a USD 10 million deal — however the exact name of the company remains under-wraps until the deal has been done and dusted.
Picture from Shanghai Media Group — where you can also find regular TV sports listings.