BBC BLOGS - Football

Brazil milestone evokes memories of Pele and Moore

Tim Vickery | 09:23 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2012


“One of the biggest blasts of hot air, which I’ve been hearing ever since I was an adolescent, is the idea that top level sport is a good place to learn and develop ethical and moral values.

"It never was. Ambition, the desire to be a hero and to make lots of money are usually much stronger.”

So wrote 1970 Brazil great Tostao in Sunday’s version of his always interesting column, a twice weekly space where football is analysed by someone of great knowledge and intelligence who loves the game but is even more fascinated by the subtleties and contradictions of the human being.

“There are exceptions,” he continues, before plunging into depressing accounts of athletes doping themselves to gain an illegal advantage.

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Time for Liverpool to start winning

Phil McNulty | 08:45 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2012


At Stamford Bridge

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool must no longer look in the rear view mirror - but admits the road ahead to restoration may be a long one.

In among the cascade of optimistic messages that have epitomised Rodgers's short time at Anfield, the cold chill of Liverpool's current status came in one statement from the manager after the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

"The club finished eighth last season. If we can improve on that if would be fantastic for us. That is the reality of where Liverpool is I'm afraid," said Rodgers.

This counts as expectation management on a grand scale. It is a long time since the prospect of finishing seventh would be regarded as "fantastic" at Anfield but Rodgers clearly feels this is the context in which he is working after succeeding sacked Kenny Dalglish.

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Mancini must recognise brutal truth for Man City

Phil McNulty | 06:56 UK time, Wednesday, 7 November 2012


At Etihad Stadium

When Roberto Mancini's rage against the slow death of Manchester City's Champions League aspirations finally fizzles out, it will be replaced by the recognition of a brutal truth.

Mancini was the flesh and blood embodiment of all the frustration this competition has brought City as he stalked on to the pitch carrying bitter disappointment and a burning sense of injustice at the end of the 2-2 draw with Ajax.

The result leaves the Premier League champions needing to win their final two games at home to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid and away to Borussia Dortmund, then a few other cards to fall favourably, to avoid a second successive departure at the group phase.

This combination of an imminent exit and a contentious finale led Mancini to boil over for the second time this week as Danish referee Peter Rasmussen and a television cameraman felt the full force of the Italian's fury.

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