Barcelona and Atléti hope to continue Spanish dominance of Champions League


Ahead of the weekend, Barcelona had won eleven consecutive games in all competitions, and Luis Enrique was on the verge of breaking Pep Guardiola’s best winning streak in his time at the club. Meanwhile, Premier League champions Manchester City had won just once in their last six games, including two comprehensive losses on the way.

However by the time weekend was over, the landscape for their Champions League meeting had taken a rather surprising turn. The Catalans were beaten 1-0 at home by Málaga on Saturday, in what was one of the Blaugrana’s worst performances of the season. Over in Manchester just an hour or so later, Manuel Pellegrini’s team obliterated Newcastle United by five goals, while it could easily have been more.


Manchester City v Barcelona Betting Odds:

Manchester City win 9/4

Barcelona win 11/10

Draw 9/5

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


These two teams faced each other in the same round last year, meaning their impending reunion has been met with considerably less enthusiasm than last time. Barcelona won 4-1 on aggregate on that occasion, which came as a surprise to few. And considering the form of both sides coming into the weekend, a similar outcome wouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone.

Luis Enrique’s time in the Barça dugout has been interesting to say the least so far. At times, the magnitude of the job has looked daunting for him. On occasions, almost as if the role was feeling like a chore. But from faltering against the likes of Getafe and Real Sociedad over the turn of the year, Barça had begun to carve the figure of a team capable of winning honours through January and February. The Camp Nou had even begun to sing Luis Enrique’s name on match days – an often-clear sign that things are certainly going well.

The Málaga defeat has drawn flashbacks to a duller time in his tenure, however – a time when the machine was not working as it should. Knowing the furor that can quickly envelope a team with such a spotlight, one loss can rapidly turn into much more. “The losses hurt and it takes effort to get over them. We have a spectacular challenge ahead of us in three days,” said Enrique on Saturday evening.

A flicker of doubt has begun to ember again, and it’s Barça’s job to ensure it doesn’t become a fire. They have more than enough to do so. Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez may very well be the best front three in world football, and not just on paper.

But for Manchester City, it’s their job to add fuel to that Barça ember tomorrow night. If the Catalans’ reaction is half-hearted, Manuel Pellegrini’s side may have enough to ignite it on home soil.


2010 was the last time, and only time, Atlético Madrid (3/2 to win the first leg with and Bayer Leverkusen (37/20) have met in their history. They faced each other twice in the Europa League group stages that year, playing out 1-1 draws on both occasions. The Germans topped Group B in the competition, while the team from the Spanish capital missed out on qualification behind Greek side Aris Saloniki. Atlético compounded a Europa League exit with a 7th place league finish in the 2010/11 campaign. Over in the Bundesliga, Leverkusen finished 2nd above Bayern Munich.

Cut to present day and the Diego Simeone-led Atlético are a different beast entirely. Only Real Madrid could halt them in Europe last season, and even then, they were less than a minute away from Champions League glory. At this stage last year, they swept past AC Milan by five goals to one on their route to the quarter-final. Leverkusen were hammered 6-1 by Paris St-Germain.

The Germans have quite arguably been handed the most daunting draw of all. Not the most dangerous, but quite certainly the toughest. Getting a result at the BayArena is near imperative for Leverkusen, considering Atlético haven’t lost a Champions League game at home since Simeone arrived. And unfortunately for Schmidt’s side, November was the last time they won at home in any competition.

Many had seen the losses of Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luis and Diego Costa as the beginning of Atlético’s downfall: the end of their flutter at the helm of European football. But Diego Simeone and co have kept the show rolling at the Calderón, with new stars being impressively embedded. The strike duo of Mario Mandžukić and Antoine Griezmann has been a resounding success so far – with the latter bringing immeasurable ability to the capital, as well as a new-found hunger and work rate. 14 goals in his last 14 games means the diminutive Frenchman is indeed the man to watch in this tie.

“The Champions League is always special. Now we begin the challenging part – it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a game we’ve been waiting for for weeks,” said Atlético goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyá over the weekend. Last year’s finalists are back to accomplish what they couldn’t last year, and Leverkusen are in their way.


Betting Instinct tip – Atlético Madrid to take a 1-0 lead back to the Spanish capital is 6/1 with

jamie k avatar JAMIE KEMP is a Freelance Football Writer and the Senior Editor at Inside La Liga. Follow Jamie on Twitter.


Will Atletico Madrid be the new Bayer Leverkusen?

Will Atletico Madrid get the draw they need at Camp Nou?

Can Atletico Madrid get the draw they need at Camp Nou?

Liverpool v Arsenal. Lewis Hamilton v Felipe Massa. Scott Pilgrim v Gideon. There’s nothing like a great winner-takes-all battle.


This weekend Atlético Madrid travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona, knowing that their destiny is in their hands over the coming weeks. Less than 10-days from now they could be La Liga and European champions against all the odds. Alternatively they could be trophiless and poised to lose their most prized asset Diego Costa.

As Diego Simeone’s Rojiblancos prepare for the double-header against Barça and Real Madrid, parallels can be drawn with Klaus Toppmöller’s famous Bayer Leverkusen side of the 2001-02 season. At this stage in the campaign they were still on course for a potential treble – top of the Bundesliga and with domestic and European finals around the corner – but they lost it all.


Barcelona v Atlético Madrid Betting Odds:

Barcelona win – 1.79

Atlético win – 4.10

Draw – 3.50

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


The last decade and a half in German football has not quite been dominated by Bayern Munich, but when the Bavarian club have been at there best it has been tough for anyone to stop them. The likes of Stuttgart and Werder Bremen saw off an under-par Bayern during the 2000s, but only two sides have come close to stopping the 24-time champions: Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and Toppmöller’s Leverkusen.

Captained by Germany international Carsten Ramelow, Leverkusen would have five players in the Nationalmannschaft the World Cup and a further six (Yıldıray Baştürk, Frankie Hejduk, Lúcio, Diego Placente, Jurica Vranješ and Boris Živković) also involved in Japan and South Korea over the summer. Atlético are likely to have just one fewer going to Brazil this year, if you include on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.


With four games remaining the title looked sewn up – a penalty from goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt set up a 2-0 win over local rivals 1. FC Köln, leaving them four points clear of second-placed Dortmund, and the following week the gap would extend to five. Two years prior an own goal from midfielder Michael Ballack in the final game had cost Leverkusen the title, but surely it couldn’t slip again, especially with Bayern out of the picture.

However a dramatic collapse, highlighted by defeats at home to Werder Bremen and away in Nürnberg, meant Dortmund could even afford to lose a game en route to stealing the title from Toppmöller’s men via a nervy final-day win. However all was not lost for the runners-up – they still had finals coming up in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

First came the domestic cup and a 4-2 defeat to Schalke, with a first-half goal from young striker Dimitar Berbatov being cancelled out by Jorg Böhme on the stroke of half-time before three second-half strikes ended the contest. However if Leverkusen were partly responsible for their own domestic failings, defeat on the European stage was hardly their fault. A majestic volley from Zinedine Zidane clinched a 2-1 victory for Real, handing the Spanish side their ninth European Cup, and they will continue to chase that elusive Decima this month against Atlético.



Like Leverkusen in 2002, if Simeone’s side are unable to clinch the title they will only have themselves to blame. They have been top since late March but have recently begun to slip with defeat to Levante and a draw at home to Málaga. A point will be enough to help them stumble over the line, but failure to do so may well impact upon the following weekend’s encounter with Real Madrid in Lisbon.

As with Leverkusen, there is danger of this Atlético side being dismantled after the season ends. They had already lost Falcao last summer but Diego Costa and David Villa have proved more than capable of filling the Colombian’s shoes. Whether they will be able to start again if Costa completes a mooted move to Chelsea this summer is the question on everyone’s lips.

Both Ballack and Zé Roberto moved to Bayern after the 2002 World Cup, while the next couple of years also saw talismanic striker Ulf Kirsten hang up his boots and Lúcio and Živković also depart. Similarly, Atléti may well lose out-of-contract midfielders Diego and Tiago this summer in addition to Costa.


While this is unlikely to be the end of the road for the individual members of the squad, 2014 could be Atlético Madrid’s last chance to break up the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have the ability, but can they pull out the performances when it really matters?


Betting Instinct tip – Diego Costa to sign off with the first goal in what could be his last La Liga appearance is 5.00 with will refund selected losing pre-match bets in La Liga if the game in question ends goalless. Full terms and conditions can be found at


tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Can Leverkusen bring an advantage to Paris by beating PSG tonight?

Leverkusen may be outsiders in this match tonight, but will they be celebrating at full time?

Leverkusen may be outsiders in this match tonight, but will they be celebrating at full time?

While the Manchester City v Barcelona match at the Etihad Stadium is getting much of the press as the bigger of this evening’s two matches in the Champions League, I’m focusing my attention of the unloved game. The Leverkusen v PSG match at the BayArena in Leverkusen promises just as much excitement and action as the more popular game in Manchester as the sides sitting (a distant) second in the Bundesliga and the top of the French Ligue 1 meet looking to take the advantage into the second leg at the Parc des Princes in Paris in two weeks time.

Online bookmaker are favouring victory for the away side in Germany this evening after securing four wins and one draw in their six group stage matches. Their only defeat in this competition came after they had already secured their place in the last 16 stage and they faced a Benfica side who needed to win to stand a chance at progressing.’s odds for this match are as follows.

Leverkusen v PSG Odds:

Bayer Leverkusen – 3.25

Draw – 3.15

Paris Saint-Germain – 2.16

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change).

While Leverkusen had a fine start to the season with eight wins and one draw in their opening nine fixtures in front of their own fans, but the wheels have fallen of their home match wagon lately. It started with a 5-0 hammering at the BayArena by Manchester United at the end of November and since, including that match, they have won just three of seven on home soil. Eintracht Frankfurt won here almost three weeks after United claimed victory in their final home match of 2013. They have now lost both of their last two games at home in 2014 to Bundesliga 2 side Kaiserslautern and Schalke, who sit fourth in the Bundesliga, and if they can’t beat these sides with home advantage how will they manage against one of the richest sides in Europe?

In comparison to Leverkusen’s poor home form of late, PSG bring a seven game unbeaten run on the road to Germany this evening having not been defeated as the away side since their final game in the Champions League group stage against Benfica. They have won five and drawn two of these seven matches scoring 17 goals and their three away games in this competition so far this season have seen them find the net on ten occasions, as they defeated Olympiakos 4-1 and Anderlecht 5-0 before the loss in Portugal. They are missing one of their key players in Edison Cavani through injury, but they have ample in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted eight times in the group stages, and Ezequiel Lavezzi up front and I am confident that their recent form will see them through this first leg tie.

Although I agree with the odds for this Leverkusen v PSG game that makes the visitors to the BayArena the favourites, former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypiä’s men will certainly be a challenge to former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc’s charges. The game should be a close one, but I predict that it will be PSG that hold the advantage come kick off at Parc des Princes in two weeks time.

Back PSG to beat Bayer Leverkusen this evening at the BayArena @ 2.16 with

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at

Barcelona and Bayern Munich face stern Champions League tests

Manchester City's last win against Barcelona saw the home side start with Richard Dunne in defence

Manchester City’s last win against Barcelona saw the home side start with Richard Dunne in defence


Thankfully, Cupid and the Football Gods have conspired to avoid a calendar clash this year. No (or at least few) ‘#valentinesday #LAD’ tweets, complete with pictures of poorly-poured Heineken, feet up on sofa and Champions League game on TV. Thankfully, oh, so thankfully, we’ve been spared. And so we can welcome back one of the season’s most exciting nights of football without so much shame, the return of the Champions League after a winter of dreary Hulls v Sunderlands and Crystal Palaces v Stokes a true cause for celebration. Here’s what to expect.

Manchester City v Barcelona Betting Odds

Manchester City win – 2.90

Draw – 3.30

Barcelona win – 2.28

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)

A little over 10 years ago, Manchester City faced Barcelona to mark the opening of the City of Manchester stadium. Then, the idea of City v Barça as a competitive tie seemed faintly ridiculous. Though City defeated the Catalans 2-1 (Trevor Sinclair scored the winner from a Sun Jihai cross, while Ali Benarbia and Shaun Goater played their final games for the club), it was but a glorified friendly. That tomorrow the two will face off in the pick of the Champions League’s last 16 ties—with City well fancied to progress—is testament to how far they’ve come.

In that 2003 match, one line from the BBC match report stands out: ‘Soon after Paulo Wanchope hit the post… Andres Iniesta’s shot was cleared off the line by Richard Dunne.’ As absurd as Iniesta v Dunne might seem, however, the reality is that City still have their defensive troubles ahead of tomorrow’s game. Though Vincent Kompany cuts a somewhat classier figure at the back than David Sommeil, his partner, Martin Demichelis, is a clear weak link. Sergio Agüero’s absence is another blow for City, though, as backups go, Negredo, Džeko and Jovetić aren’t half bad. One positive is the potential return of Fernandinho, sublime alongside Yaya Touré (in line to face his former club) since his summer switch from Shakhtar Donetsk.

For Barcelona, Lionel Messi is again starting to look his frankly unfair best after returning from injury; he scored twice in a 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, overtaking Alfredo di Stefano in the all-time La Liga goalscoring charts and sending the club back to the top of the table. The game also provides English fans with a welcome opportunity to muse on just how ‘overrated’ Neymar is: ‘all flicks and tricks, no end product.’ Perhaps City should bring back Dunne after all. ‘These foreigners don’t like it up ’em.’

Key matchups

Demichelis v Messi, Gaël Clichy v Pedro, Manuel Pellegrini v Tata Martino

Betting Instinct Tip – Manchester City to win the first leg and both teams to score is 4.40 with

Arsenal v Bayern Munich Betting Odds:

Arsenal to win – 4.75

Draw – 3.80

Bayern to win – 1.70

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)

With Bayern not having lost for a record 4,737 games (close enough – ed.), and with this being played in Arsenal’s traditional meltdown month of February, one mightn’t fancy the Gunners to progress in this repeat of last season’s last 16 matchup. At least they’ll be rested, Arsene Wenger opting to field a weakened team in Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool. And they’ll be facing a Bayern team without both Xherdan Shaqiri, who injured his thigh after scoring in another 4-0 romp v Freiburg, and Franck Ribéry, who burst a blood vessel in his backside and is recovering from the subsequent surgery (yes, really).

Having said that, Arsenal have started to look a tad shaky of late, while Bayern remain imperious. The Liverpool win was impressive, but the result could have been very different had racist footballer (a necessary prefix) Luis Suárez been awarded the penalty his club deserved. Before that came a dull 0-0 draw with Manchester United, and before that an embarrassing 1-5 league loss at Anfield. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have at times looked shadows of their former selves, Mesut Özil’s form has quietly dropped, and Olivier Giroud, forced to apologise this week after an adulterous tabloid SCANDAL (yawn), remains their only Champions League pedigree striker.

Wenger will hope that his team can channel the sort of spirit that saw them nearly topple the holders this time last year. But Guardiola’s Bayern should prove too strong; not because their manager ‘specialises in failure’, nor because his players lack the sufficient mental strength to compete at this level, but simply because whereas Arsenal are Good, Bayern are Very, Very Good.

Key matchups

Özil v Philipp Lahm, Giroud v Mrs Giroud, Wenger v the crippling self-doubt brought on by Mourinho mind games

Betting Instinct Tip – After a comfortable first-leg victory this time last year, Bayern -1 is 2.70 with

There are two other games, of course, as Bayer Leverkusen take on Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday and Milan face Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. PSG will be favourites for the first. Leverkusen, remember, are a team that lost 0-5 to a David Moyes Manchester United side. They’ve also lost five in seven domestically, including an embarrassing cup exit at the hands of second division Kaiserslautern, and in the battle of the charismatic strikers, Stefan Kiessling—author of cookery book ‘Recipes for Success: How to Score With Your Cookery Skills’—is comprehensively beaten by Zlatan Ibrahimović. Milan, meanwhile, could hand Adel Taarabt a first Champions League start against Atlético, which is ludicrous to the point of rendering all analysis pointless.

So, there we have it, the return of Champions League football. One word of advice, though: enjoy it while you can, for next year, with BT Sport’s acquisition of television rights, Andy Gray might well be back on our screens and in our ears. Football and Misogyny, together again for Valentine’s Day, AND IT’S LIVE.

Kieran avatarKIERAN DODDS is a history student and writer. He has written about sport, politics and current affairs for the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Africa is a Country, When Saturday Comes, IBWM and others.

Little doubt that the Bundesliga title race is already all but over

German soccer fan

Bayern Munich travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday

The last of Europe’s major soccer leagues, the German Bundesliga, returns to action this weekend when defending champions and current table-toppers Bayern Munich travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday. A fantastic first-half to the season saw Bayern enter the month-long winter break unbeaten after 16 games (14 wins, two draws) with an extremely comfortable 7-point cushion over nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen. There is little doubt amongst fans and pundits alike that the Bundesliga title race is already all but over, but that won’t stop Germany’s biggest club looking to continue to set new standards.

New coach Pep Guardiola, who had the unenviable task of succeeding triple-winner Jupp Heynckes in the summer, has made a huge impact at the club and won many friends throughout the country. His team play attractive attacking football, but also have a defensive record that is second to none in Europe after conceding just 8 goals in 16 games so far. A surprising 3-0 friendly game defeat at Salzburg on Saturday may have caused some negative headlines during the week, but there is no doubt that Guardiola will have his team focussed on the difficult job at hand against Gladbach.

The “Foals” will be motivated to the hilt after a superb first half of the season that saw them enjoy Christmas in third place in the Bundesliga table. Coach Lucien Favre has done a fantastic job installing both discipline and flair into his team and has made them almost unbeatable at home. With a record of 8 wins and one draw in 9 games in front of their own fans, they certainly won’t be fearful of a visit from the champions and with the national spotlight on the Bundesliga opener for 2014, they could well spring a surprise!

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich Odds

Mönchengladbach 7.5
Draw 4.75

Bayern Munich 1.36

(Odds supplied by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Battle for second in the Bundesliga

Matchday 15 of the German Bundesliga season sees league leader Bayern Munich confident of stretching its amazing 36-game unbeaten streak at struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday. The hosts have one of the weakest defensive lines in the league and are unlikely to stop Bayern’s amazing forward firepower. Over 3.5 goals in this one (1.95 at Intertops) could be a distinct possibility.

The top Bundesliga game this weekend features the battle for second place in the table when Borussia Dortmund entertains Bayer Leverkusen at the Signal Iduna Park stadium. Both teams picked up away wins in the DFB Cup in midweek and go into the encounter full of confidence. A full house of 80,000 will guarantee an amazing atmosphere, but home coach Jurgen Klopp has to overcome the injury-forced absence of several top players to gain a three-point haul and retake second place from Bayer. Three of the Bundesliga’s most prolific goalscorers will also be on show with Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski (11 goals) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8) looking to outshine Leverkusen’s Stefan Kießling (9).

After six wins in seven home games (the only loss coming against Bayern), Dortmund is the bookies’ favourite to triumph, but Leverkusen has won four of six on the road this season and could pull off a surprise.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen Betting Odds

Borussia Dortmund         1.53

Draw     4.10

Bayer Leverkusen            5.50

(Odds obtained from, subject to change.)




chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.


Tottenham aren’t in a lull, Manchester United haven’t turned the corner

Nani scored the pick of the goals in Manchester United's midweek win

Nani scored the pick of the goals in Manchester United’s emphatic midweek win

One match is seemingly a long time in football. Whereas teams used to be allowed weeks to get up a head of steam, players were allowed months to return from injury and everyone tried to avoid too many kneejerk reactions; that is no longer the case.

Tottenham Hotspur are a club in apparent turmoil after their 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday. The fact that Spurs had conceded only six goals in their previous 11 league games or that they went into the match ahead of Manchester City in the table after a steady start has been forgotten.

On the flip side, Manchester United – just two places and one point ahead of Tottenham – are a club that have finally “turned the corner” under their new manager David Moyes after their 5-0 win over a disappointing Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

(It’s at this point that we would like to clarify that the Europa League doesn’t count. We don’t know why; but it just doesn’t.)

Both reactions to recent results are kneejerk; plain and simple. Manchester United are not back to the “team of old” nor are Tottenham Hotspur a club in disarray with a buffoon for a manager. They are two teams with Champions League ambition and as such, victories over each other are necessary.

Despite a comprehensive win on the opening day, David Moyes’ Manchester United have failed to sparkle so far. After many years under the control of Sir Alex Ferguson, the change to a new boss was always going to take time. The players are still getting used to the change in system and the change in management style. Wednesday was the first sign of a “United team” still remaining at the club.

The selection was under-strength but they went out and got the result they needed. Leverkusen failed to show up and United profited with swift, attacking moves. It marked the first occasion since the beginning of last season that the Red Devils scored more than four in the Premier League or Champions League without needing Robin van Persie on the pitch. Fixed? No; but showing signs that Moyes has what it to takes the keep the players performing.

The same problems are affecting Spurs; and only a string of confidence boosting performances will help matters. After spending the summer improving the overall quality of the squad, Andre Villas-Boas is having a tough time integrating the new bodies into his system. It doesn’t help that he can no longer call on Gareth Bale to haul the club through a tricky situation.

Instead, he has to continue to work with the attacking players at his disposal and hope they can finally piece together their abilities. Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli are far too good to be part of a squad that has contributed just nine goals in 12 league matches. However, it may simply be that Tottenham aren’t quite playing to their individual strengths.

Soldado doesn’t come alive until inside the penalty area. He doesn’t make runs beyond the defenders or into the channels. As such, Eriksen’s vision and ability to thread a pass is rarely seen by the Tottenham faithful. Instead, the former Valencia comes alive when presented with wide deliveries that he can put himself on the end of. Sadly, the only “out-and-out winger” that Tottenham possess is Aaron Lennon and he’s only played 500 minutes of Tottenham’s season so far.

The rest prefer to cut inside and look for the movement ahead. For now, that isn’t Soldado’s game. His scoring figures are only able to remain relatively impressive thanks to the three penalties that he has dispatched.

As for Sunday, it’s unlikely both teams will continue to fulfil the apparent narrative based on their last result.

We’d expect goals. Manchester United have kept three clean sheets in their last four games (all competitions); but two of those results were in the Champions League. Seven of their last eight league games have seen both teams find the back of the net.

At home, Tottenham aren’t going to concede six goals as they did last week but they’ll be feeling the pressure to respond with a strong performance for their fans. That’ll mean scoring goals against Manchester United, which hasn’t proved tricky to do so far this season for other teams.

Betting Instinct tip: Both teams to score is 1.71 with, while over 3.5 goals is 3.30

Ryan avatarRyan Keaney is a huge sports fan who spends most of his week toying around with sports data. He is the editor of and a co-editor for In Bed with Maradona.