First Whistle – May, 2012

This time last year Roberto Di Matteo was being touted as the potential manager of lowly Brentford after being sacked by West Brom. He was also interviewed for the job at newly-relegated Birmingham City – only to be rejected. And the 41-year old has now won the UEFA Champions League title long craved by the obsessive chairman of his beloved Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, after leading the club to the most unlikely of victories over FC Barcelona in the semi-final and the host Bayern Munich in the final. In between these two, Chelsea won the FA Cup, too.

Life’s all about dealing with dramatic highs and abysmal lows like these that have turned the Italian into the cool, phlegmatic character who might yet stop Jose Mourinho returning to west London. Roberto Mancini, another Italian in England, stopped Sir Alex Ferguson to ensure that Manchester City wins the league after 44 years. Goalden Times congratulates both the clubs and their managers.

We also take the opportunity to congratulate Real Madrid, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax Amsterdam, Montpellier, Celtic, Galatasaray, Dempo and others domestic league champions for their triumph. Armando Colaco, the manager of Dempo SC has now won the I-league (Indian Football League) for the fifth time with the same team, incredible feat by any standard. Napoli ended the unbeaten run of Juventus in the last match of the season by winning the Copa Italia after 15 years and the first time since Diego Maradona left the club. The Copa del Rey final will be the last match for the Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola in his current role and the last opportunity for Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao to win a trophy in a season in which they have played some of the most exciting football. In the final of UEFA Europa League though,  they were clearly outplayed by Bielsa’s fellow Argentine Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Eric Abidal has announced his retirement from football after his liver transplant earlier this month. We express our sincere regret and extend our best wishes to Eric. You will always symbolize courage and character.

The European national teams are now getting ready for the Euro 2012 to be played in Poland and Ukraine between June 8th and July 1st. The final squads will be announced on or before the UEFA deadline of May 29th. Goalden Times will bring you the preview of the key teams, analysis of all the groups, likely stars and more stories to keep you abreast. We will also provide live updates as the tournament starts through our Facebookpage and Twitter. Follow Euro 2012 with us.

In our spirit of celebrating the beautiful game, we are presenting ‘Brain Kick’ an exciting Football quiz in Kolkata, the football and quizzing capital of India. Spend the Sunday afternoon of June 3rd with fellow football lovers if you happen to be in the city of joy. Follow our pages for more details as the day gets closer and the event unfolds. Let football help us create a stronger bond.

For the love of the game … …

Goalden Times Editorial Team

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