BBC BLOGS - Phil Minshull

Archives for December 2010

Who's in your Uefa Team of the Year?

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Phil Minshull | 12:22 UK time, Thursday, 30 December 2010


When I blogged about the candidates for the Ballon D'Or in October, a lot of you suggested Fifa had gone for overkill by drawing up a ridiculously large list of 50 players in contention for the award, which has since been whittled down to the Barcelona trio of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

Well, Uefa, never one to let the grass grow beneath its feet when it comes to emulating its global counterparts in Zurich, has put forward 55 players - five for each position - for the 10th edition of the Team of the Year, plus the five nominations for the coach of this hypothetical team.

However, unlike the Ballon D'Or recipient who is voted for by a closed constituency of national coaches, captain and journalists, at least the public get the chance to say who they think are the best players on the continent over the last 12 months.

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Europe's best and worst - The Phil Awards

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Phil Minshull | 16:52 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010


It's that time of the year again when the unofficial "Phil Awards" get handed out for club successes and failures.

Last year I concentrated just on Spain but this time around I've widened the scope to the whole of continental Europe.

You might be wondering, or maybe not, why I am concentrating just on clubs and not individual players.

Well, next week I'm going to turn my attention to the Uefa Team of the Year 2010 and put forward some thoughts of my own.

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Villas-Boas makes Porto the toast of Portugal again

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Phil Minshull | 16:23 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010


Porto suffered a blow, both to their self-esteem and coffers, when their four-year reign as Portuguese champions was ended by a resurgent Benfica last season.

Not only did they give up their title, they missed out on Champions League football for the first time since the 2002/03 campaign, confined instead to the relative backwaters of the Europa League.

Failing to make Europe's premier club competition cost Porto at least £8.5m (10m euros) - Braga have pocketed £11.6m (13.6m euros), Benfica £9.5m (11.1m euros) while the Europa League has only added £1.3m (1.6m euros) to the Porto bank account - and probably two key players as both Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles have both departed after advertising the fact that they were far from from happy at the club.

However, under new coach Andre Villas-Boas, the 2004 champions of Europe are grabbing the headlines again for all the right reasons, having gone unbeaten in 25 games in all competitions this season.

The 33-year-old Villas-Boas, currently the Portuguese first division's youngest coach, appears to be on a similar trajectory to mentor and former Porto boss Jose Mourinho.

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Lucescu transcends Subbuteo at Shakhtar

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Phil Minshull | 22:13 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Shakhtar Donetsk are on the verge of making their own little bit of history and, into the bargain, making life probably a little more uncomfortable for Premier League leaders Arsenal.

A point at home to Portuguese side Braga on Wednesday will ensure that the Ukrainian team finish top of their group and qualify for the Champions League last 16 for the first time.

The Gunners, assuming Arsene Wenger's men fulfil expectations and get three points at home to a struggling Partizan Belgrade outfit that have not won in the Champions League so far and only scored one goal, will then have to settle for second place.

Arsenal then face the possibility of facing a team such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or even reigning champions Inter Milan in the knockout stages.

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