Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Year Of Ronaldinho Continues

2006 continues to shape up as the year of Ronaldinho, who, though already arguably the biggest athlete in the world at the moment, may truly cement his legacy of greatness in the coming months.

It's highly possible that the Brazilian genius may just lift both the Champions League trophy with Barcelona and the World Cup trophy with Brazil by early July. He moved one step closer to this double yesterday when Barcelona waltzed into Italy and beat AC Milan 1-0 at the San Siro in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. Ronaldinho assisted on the only goal of the game, scored by Ludovic Giuly in the 57th minute. And then he smiled, and nobody has a bigger smile than Ronaldinho. Nor a consistently present one. I guess it's easy to smile when you're the best in the world at what you do.

Although AC Milan finds ways to advance as well as anyone, as seen in their miraculous win over Lyon in the quarters, it's going to be damn tough to go into the Nou Camp, where Barcelona is unbeaten in its last nine European matches, and win...especially with Ronaldinho at the peak of his powers. I just don't see Barcelona not reaching the final at this point.

Arsenal will host Villareal in the first leg of their semifinal later today. It will be the last ever European match played at the legendary Highbury stadium. After today, Arsenal only has a couple of Premiership games in the hallowed ground before moving into a state of the art stadium next year. Sad. I always hate to see places as beautiful as Highbury reduced to the past...


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