BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Stevenson

Archives for October 2010

Pele or Maradona, who is the greatest?

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Jonathan Stevenson | 07:12 UK time, Friday, 22 October 2010

They are, quite simply, the two greatest footballers of all time. So it only seems right to wish them both a happy birthday.

On Saturday, Pele celebrates his 70th and exactly a week later Diego Maradona turns 50. Between them they have won four of the last 14 World Cups and taken part in another four, and in the process they have not only helped to redefine the boundaries of their sport, but they have become a part of all of our lives.

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Schalke set the stage for Raul's fitting finale

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Jonathan Stevenson | 09:16 UK time, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A day after Real Madrid and AC Milan meet in the salubrious surrounds of the Santiago Bernabeu, one of the Spanish giants' favourite sons will don his Champions League boots for the 133rd time. But rather than turning out in the brilliant white of Real, this time he will be wearing another team's colours.

When Germans Schalke play host to Hapoel Tel-Aviv on Wednesday, they will be relying on the legendary figure of Raul Gonzalez Blanco, the tournament's record appearance-maker and goalscorer (66) to kick-start their so far sluggish season.

For Raul, playing in a struggling side is not something he is accustomed to; this, after all, is a man who can lay claim to one of the most glittering CVs in club football. Since winning La Liga in his first season in the Real team in 1994-95, he has added six more league titles, three Champions Leagues, two Intercontinental Cups, one European Super Cup and two Pichichi awards for top scorer in La Liga.

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Montenegro make haste to major tournament

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Jonathan Stevenson | 15:38 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010

When Fabio Capello and his team walk out at Wembley on Tuesday for their latest Euro 2012 qualifying tie against Montenegro, they will come up against a name only too familiar to those associated with English football.

Taking his place in the opposition's dugout will be Zlatko Kranjcar, father of Tottenham midfielder Niko and manager of Montenegro - arguably the greatest threat to England's chances of reaching the finals in Poland and the Ukraine.

Under the shrewd leadership of the much-travelled Kranjcar, who took over in February, Montenegro have made a perfect start to their campaign to qualify for a first tournament as an independent nation since splitting from Serbia in 2006, winning all three games against Wales, Bulgaria and Switzerland 1-0 to top Group G.

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