Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Camp_Nou

Photo:  Camp Nou, the famous home of Barcelona, will be the scene for an epic struggle come March 2014 [Photo courtesy of Richard Bennett]

The draw for the Final 16 of the European Champions League was made yesterday and there are some intriguing pairings.

One of the most fascinating is that between Manchester City and Barcelona.


When these sides meet in Manchester in February, it should be an encounter worth watching because of the presence of City’s Sergio Aguero and Barca’s Lionel Messi, team-mates in the Argentina national side.

Aguero, the son in law of Diego Maradona, and Messi are both injured at present, but they should be well rested and ready for action come February.

These young men are two of the world’s top players  -  some would say, the top.

There are some intriguing links between Manchester City and Barcelona.

Manchester City’s CEO is none other than Ferran Soriano, a former member of the Barcelona board of directors.

Txiki Begiristain, a former technical director at the Camp Nou, is now manager of football operations at Manchester City, alongside Brian Marwood.

Begiristain was a left-winger in the Barcelona side from 1988 until 1995.

Spanish internationals Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo are also at City, whose staff are being encouraged to take Spanish lessons in order to help these newcomers to integrate.

And then there’s City’s Chilean manager, Manuel Pellegrini, an engineer by profession, who once coached Real Madrid and was in line for the Barcelona job if City had not stepped in first.

It all goes to show the true ‘internationalisation’ of football as a world game today.

There simply are no borders.

And, by the way, I found out another interesting fact the other day  -  Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid is an English coach, Paul Clement.

 

The full draw for the February first legs is:

 

Manchester City v Barcelona 

Olympiacos v Manchester United 

AC Milan v Atletico Madrid 

Bayer Leverkusen v Paris St Germain

Galatsaray v Chelsea

Schalke 04 v Real Madrid

Zenit St Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich

 

And then there’s the World Cup in June and July.

Don’t you just love football?

Bring on 2014.

*****

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas was sacked this morning after the side lost 5-0 at home at White Hart Lane to Liverpool on Sunday.

It is the second London club to have fired the Portuguese, the previous having been Chelsea.

Former Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle has expressed an interest in the job.

Comments   

+1 #9 Anonymous 2013-12-20 03:09
I was not saying FFT should do anything. i was just asking what's going to happen. Will clubs pick those players that are going away. that was all. I was not saying FFT should stop the league for that period. I was just commenting so not sure why all the Thumbs down. Was not a negative comment
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-3 #8 Anonymous 2013-12-19 21:29
Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting Anonymous:
Hi Walter. Quick question. I have heard that there is going to be quite a few players, form V-League teams, going away to watch the World Cup. Do you know what FFT & the clubs are going to do about this. From players that have been mentioned to me,10 from different clubs but I'm sure there are more, it seems that the league may be a little weaker for a month or so. Are the V-league clubs going to select any players that are going away to the Cup going to be selected in their 20 Man Squads?
Just curious that's all


Why should FFT do anything? If players leave for to watch the World Cup that is the clubs problem to deal with!


well we do not play summer to prevent to get on way of A League. So we should not do anything to get in the way of the world cup... make sense. Another guy comment.
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0 #7 Anonymous 2013-12-19 19:52
6,755 at North Sydney last night - described as a good sized crowd. Hmmmm.
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+14 #6 Anonymous 2013-12-18 21:48
Quoting Anonymous:
Hi Walter. Quick question. I have heard that there is going to be quite a few players, form V-League teams, going away to watch the World Cup. Do you know what FFT & the clubs are going to do about this. From players that have been mentioned to me,10 from different clubs but I'm sure there are more, it seems that the league may be a little weaker for a month or so. Are the V-league clubs going to select any players that are going away to the Cup going to be selected in their 20 Man Squads?
Just curious that's all


Why should FFT do anything? If players leave for to watch the World Cup that is the clubs problem to deal with!
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-17 #5 Anonymous 2013-12-17 23:34
Hi Walter. Quick question. I have heard that there is going to be quite a few players, form V-League teams, going away to watch the World Cup. Do you know what FFT & the clubs are going to do about this. From players that have been mentioned to me,10 from different clubs but I'm sure there are more, it seems that the league may be a little weaker for a month or so. Are the V-league clubs going to select any players that are going away to the Cup going to be selected in their 20 Man Squads?
Just curious that's all
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+2 #4 Anonymous 2013-12-17 22:14
Leverkusen will Kruse past PSG!
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+1 #3 Anonymous 2013-12-17 05:56
Fancy all the away teams to get through that draw but some interesting ties there and lots to play for.

Atletico to be the dark horse with the rossoneri to be the first glamour club to be a casualty of the Simeone war.
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-3 #2 Lampard 2013-12-17 02:42
Chelsea all the way!
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+2 #1 Anonymous 2013-12-16 23:50
UEFA* Champions League
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