Hey guys. We're going to start off the week with a quick round-the-world bit of football news, although I haven't quite decided how I want this to go, so let me know what you want from it -- or if you want it at all. For now, I'll just give a quick run-down of major leagues and wrap it up with some random stories from around the world of football.
(Also, right now this is really Europe-focused. Please, feel free to send me links via Twitter or comments about interesting stories you've seen. Or let me know leagues you'd like updates on).
But wait, before we move on -- Small Heath have played three matches, have no points and a -3 goal difference. We're still the best team in Birmingham!
Borussia Dortmund kicked off the Bundesliga season with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, but Bayern Munich are currently top after dismantling newcomers Greuther Fürth. Frankfurt, also freshly promoted, started off their season with a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The La Liga title has already been decided. Barcelona -- or more accurately, Lionel Messi -- came back and won late in their match against Osasuna, but Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Getafe. That gives Barca a five-point lead on Madrid already.
Serie A kicked off this weekend, and brought no real surprises to those who'd been paying attention this summer. But AC Milan did manage to lose at home to Sampdoria, who just came back from Serie B. Inter Milan and Napoli share the top with 3-0 wins.
And a note to the Fiorentina fans that read this blog: they're back and they're fun!
Guess what guys? Money can't buy you everything. Millions upon millions spent, and yet Paris Saint-Germain has only managed three draws from three games. It's Marseille that are on top, having captured all nine points thus far.
Some interesting things that happened in the world of football this week:
Speaking of money not being able to buy everything, Manchester City weren't able to tempt Daniele De Rossi away from AS Roma. The Italian decided to stick with a lower salary to stay at the club he's been with since 2001. I don't have any particular affection for DDR, but it's nice to see a demonstration of loyalty in a world filled with tempting oil barons and sheiks waving around pots of gold. (Or maybe De Rossi simply thought, "Rome or Manchester?" and the decision was simple).
On the other side of the loyalty vs. money/prestige debate lies Clint Dempsey. The American is currently refusing to play for Fulham as he tries to push through a transfer, preferably to Liverpool. The joke was on Clint for Fulham's first match, as they trounced Norwich 5-0 and Mladen Petric stole the show. They may have lost to Manchester United this week, but the Cottagers still hung in there, making Dempsey's self-benching a bit of an empty threat. The best part, though, is his quote from three months ago:
"If [a transfer] is meant to be, it will be. What I do is focus on the teams that I play for and I give my heart to them, work as hard as I can to make the most of my time and make the most of the career I have left."
There's a secret team in Moldova, and they're really pretty good. They're called F.C. Sheriff Tiraspol, which seems like a good name for a club started by a former KGB agent. They play in a place called Transnistria, which is a breakaway region in Moldova, and what they really want is to be part of Russia. Sheriff have won 11 of the last 12 Moldovan titles, but there's really no way of finding information about the club -- almost everything they do occurs in secret, and they refuse to talk to press or to promote the club. But they are in Europa, where they just narrowly lost the first leg of the playoffs to Marseille. For more about this story, check out the New York Times article on Sheriff.
Our mortal enemies Rapid Vienna got into a flare fight with PAOK at a Europa League match. Vienna says it's because PAOK supporters harassed their fans even before the match started. I still say that any supporters who throw trash on an injured player -- particularly when he's Austrian, for goodness sake -- deserve to have flames of fire hurled in their direction. But that's a grudge I'm never going to let go. (h/t Dirty Tackle)