European Soccer Update: Napoli Storms to the Top, Ronaldo Snubs Orders, Liverpool Injuries



Soccer Football – Champions League – Group A – Napoli v Liverpool – Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, Italy – September 7, 2022 Napoli’s Giovanni Simeone celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Vince Kim

The start of November has seen chaos, struggles, and dominance in different soccer teams across Europe before players switch uniforms for the 2022 Qatar WC. From snubbing manager’s orders to nailing performances in an immaculate fashion, here are the latest European soccer updates.

Man United’s Cristiano Ronaldo recently faced deep criticism for displaying an unprofessional attitude by leaving Old Trafford before the final whistle. Around the 88th minute of the Tottenham Hotspur-Manchester United matchup in October, manager Ten Hag prepared a few substitutes to kill the clock and seal a 2-0 victory. But Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on as a late substitute — Ten Hag removed the forward from his starting XI before the match.  Ronaldo was then seen heading into the tunnel, leaving Old Trafford before the referee blew the final whistle. An infuriated Ten Hag left out the 38-year-old Portuguese forward in his 1-1 draw against Chelsea the following week, before giving back Ronaldo’s starting spot in the next PL matchup against West Ham. 

A few miles away from Manchester, Liverpool and their season continues to fall into deeper uncertainty after losing against Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, falling to 9th place in the PL table. While the team’s decline may be contributed by overall lackluster performances coupled with Uruguayan forward Darwin Núñez’s struggles to replace Sadio Mané’s spot, manager Jürgen Klopp offered a different take on the issue by saying they have dealt with serious injury problems from the start. Klopp stated it’s “not 100% fair” to judge Liverpool as a team in decline when they are missing the likes of Luis Díaz, Diogo Jota, and Joël Matip, and therefore cannot be in its top form. Liverpool strengthened Klopp’s statement by securing a decisive 2-0 victory over Napoli in the final matchday of the UCL group stages, advancing to the UCL knockout stages set to begin in February.

Despite the struggles experienced by both Liverpool and Manchester United for most of October, one Italian club has set an unprecedented run in Serie A while dominating most of the UCL group stages: Napoli. The club was able to overcome the transfers of defender Kalidou Koulibaly and forward Lorenzo Insigne by playing to their full potential with only a few star names. Their main weapon on the pitch has unanimously been Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who is crushing Serie A at Napoli and considered to be the best signing since Juventus’ signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. While Kvara is currently valued at €80M($78M-$79M), by picking up 8 goals and 8 assists in 16 matches, the future of Napoli is now gradually entering his hands, much like the leadership of former Napoli and Argentine legend Diego Maradona in the ‘80s. With a veteran boss like Luciano Spinatelli who implements his free-flowing soccer tactics in each match and a powerful defender like Kim Min Jae who lies at the heart of its defense, Napoli continues to strengthen its case as a force to be reckoned with.

The start of November also saw the end of the UCL group stages, here is the round of 16 knockout stages:

Leipzig(GER) v. Manchester City(ENG)

Club Brugge KV(BEL) v. Benfica(POR)

Liverpool(ENG) v. Real Madrid(ESP)

AC Milan(ITA) v. Tottenham(ENG)

Frankfurt(GER) v. Napoli(ITA)

Dortmund(GER) v. Chelsea(ENG)

Inter Milan(ITA) v. FC Porto(POR)

PSG(FRA) v. Bayern Munich(GER)

Champions League round of 16: Meet the teams | UEFA Champions League | UEFA .com