Soccer Watch

Theo Zwanziger, president of the German soccer federation, has called on gay soccer players "to have the courage to declare themselves," the Huffington Post reports. German national team captain Philipp Lahm replied in an interview with that it wasn't so easy for players to declare their homosexuality to teammates, though he acknowledged times had certainly changed in Germany. "The politicians can come out these days, for sure," said Lahm, "but they don't have to play in front of 60,000 people every week."

There's no better rivalry in the world right now than Barcelona vs. Real Madrid – great teams, great history, great personalities, and Madrid has the two guys everyone loves to hate: Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. Barca has clearly had their number recently, winning the last three Spanish league titles, plus Champions League and World titles in two of the last three years – not to mention seven wins and just one loss in the last 10 head-to-head clasicos. The two were drawn to face each other in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals this week, and Real had some momentum going in, having built a five-point lead in the league standings and hosting the game in one of the most intimidating stadiums in the world. But the Catalans spoiled Madrid's party yet again, coming back from an early goal as they had in league play in December, this time by a 2-1 score. The return leg in Barcelona should be a raucous affair; ESPN Deportes will carry it live at 3pm Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Locally, it's a quiet period as we await play starting up again soon in the rec leagues and high schools, as well as further news from the Austin Aztex (15 weeks till kickoff; can't wait).

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