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The Lead

Managerial and coaching appointments are high-stakes ventures, partly because the wake of managerial disasters can last in some cases for years (see Wolves, Toronto FC). Despite the cautious goodwill among the more level-headed pundits in the English press over his appointment to the England job, the mismatch between current England manager Roy Hodgson and Liverpool FC is still costing the club more than a year after the fact. Liverpool’s reported loss of £49.4 million included a contract cancellation payoff to the tune of £8.4 million.

Sometimes the pressure of the job can be simply too much to bear, as with the case of now former-Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi who was sacked yesterday by the club after he punched player Adem Ljajic for giving him an insubordinate and sarcastic thumbs up after taking him off the pitch.

So why does the cult of the manager still persist in Europe? Witness the incredible outlier that is Jose Mourinho. You’ll recall how many Madristas called for his head following Real Madrid’s loss to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey this past January. No matter that Real Madrid had an incredible point total, Barcelona were still clearly better. Mourinho had failed.

Now Pep Guardiola is gone, there are major doubts over Barca’s future as the preeminent force in European football, and Jose Mourinho has won his seventh domestic title in his fourth country. He has also consistently denied rumours he’ll be moving on at the end of this season, so Real’s dominance in Spain may have a longer shelf life. As managerial reputations and club empires crumble around him, Mourinho continues to win. Unfortunately, his success still beguiles club board members and chairmen into believing they’re only one good manager or coach away from unparalleled glory.

Canada

Toronto FC draws the Montreal Impact, the Vancouver Whitecaps beat FC Edmonton in the Voyageurs Cup.

TFC bunkered against an expansion team.

Steven Brunt with a must-read article on the CSA elections.

An open letter to Simon Borg.

England

Marina Hyde on why Hodgson’s a man of the times.

Hodgson to explore a Ferdinand/Terry centreback partnership, wowowowowow.

Di Matteo: Chelsea now have to beat Bayern, basically.

Redknapp’s still counting on third place for Spurs.

Cisse says his second goal against Chelsea was his best ever, duh.

Redknapp goes the Euros! As a BBC talking head.

Jan Vertonghen advised to skip England and go to Barca instead.

Ferguson says City will have a tough job against Newcastle, while Swansea looks on with a bit of a smirk.

Italy

AC Milan’s Sulley Muntari has taken to prayer to overcome Juventus for the title.

Vidic not on his way to Juventus.

Spain

Lionel Messi breaks Gerd Mueller’s domestic scoring record.

Germany

They’re flocking to the Eee Pee El!

Bits and bobs

After Ajax secure the Eredivisie title, here’s a day in the life of their fans.

Freddy Montero with one of the goals of the year, surely.

Javi Martinez puts a celebrating Cristiano Ronaldo in his place.

Bill Miller the preferred bidder for Rangers.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…