Soccer readers found plenty to get excited about over the past month with the European seasons drawing to a close, the managerial merry-go-round cranking into action and Major League Soccer getting into full flow.
Our English Premiership team of the season drew the most heated response along with the latest Yahoo! Sports 20 – our list of the best players in MLS. Also, Jose Mourinho generated much feedback, with most supporters agreeing that the former Chelsea boss is sorely needed at the top level of the sport.
With news on Mourinho's employment plans emerging over the weekend, let's kick off the latest mailbag with the Special One. My comments appear in italics.
MISSING MOURINHO ("A special request for the Special One, May 2")
Only you press guys really care what managers say at the press conferences. The rest of us just want to see results on the field. So Jose Mourinho coming back for a sideshow meant to amuse you guys doesn't matter to the fans.
I beg to differ, Andre. The press conferences and therefore the press themselves are a manager's conduit to the fans and allows the public to see his personality. Love him or hate him, I think most fans enjoyed seeing Mourinho's personality shine through – fans like Mike below.
Just read your piece on the Special One, and I could not agree more. I miss him, too. I hope he returns to England, only because I want to be able to understand him during the inevitable sound bites that will follow. I really miss the sparring with Arsene Wenger. Priceless.
Mourinho's hilarious rantings were a joy to watch. My personal favorite is when he claimed he was more frightened of contracting bird flu than of losing his next game.
As a Chelsea supporter, I still have to say that the team Avram Grant is managing is still Mourinho's team. With that said, if Mourinho was still there we would have gone to the Champions League final regardless.
This is why Grant is in a no-win situation. If he takes Chelsea to the Champions League title, critics will claim he is doing it with Mourinho's team. Whatever he achieves at Stamford Bridge he will never be loved by the club's fans in the way Mourinho was.
Thank you for putting into words exactly what I feel. When Mourinho left Chelsea, I said "I am no longer a Chelsea fan." Maybe I never was. I was a Mourinho fan. What I wish now is that Mourinho shows up again in the EPL and teaches the people who got him out of Chelsea a lesson.
Muhammad Zubair Tahir
I have been surprised by the number of responses from readers stating that they stopped supporting Chelsea once Mourinho left. No man is bigger than the game, but his personality did transcend the club.
If Jose Mourinho can't find another job in the EPL or another European club, let's get him to MLS. He can bring that European style to our clubs, elevating their game to the next level.
Pete Falcone, Hoboken, N.J.
It would be incredible to have Mourinho in the United States – and it may happen one day – but he has bigger fish to fry right now. It's not that Mourinho can't find another job; he is just waiting for the right one to come along. And he won't have to wait too long.
ALL-EPL TEAM ("The premier performers in England, May 10")
Pretty solid team, though I'd contend there are a couple of other deserving players. Michael Carrick was the most effective defensive midfielder in the league but gets no glory for his efforts. Emmanuel Adebayor had a sensational first half to his season, but how many potentially game-deciding easy goals did he miss down the stretch?
Carrick did well but I couldn't make a case to put him ahead of Cesc Fabregas or Steven Gerrard. Adebayor did miss some late chances, but his numbers simply stacked up too high to leave him out.
The best player in the world is Lionel Messi, who is only 20 years of age. Injuries have been an issue with Messi, but he is hands down, pound for pound, the best player on the planet. For you to say that Ronaldo "has produced one of the most incredible individual seasons in soccer history" is such a silly, stupid overstatement that I could almost puke.
Puke away, Bruno. With one hand I will hold a bowl for you and with the other hand point towards the 31 goals that Ronaldo scored from midfield. If that is not an incredible season, I don't know what is. Messi is magnificent, but there is no more effective player on the planet than Ronaldo.
Your insight regarding Cristiano Ronaldo pleased me. I have never doubted his potential since I saw him with Man United at age 18. Your perception of him was not to flatter those such as me, but rather you judge the young man according to his ability and accomplishments.
Ronaldo had great potential at 18, but back then, even Sir Alex Ferguson could barely have dreamed of the sort of player he has developed into.
Now how did you come up with that "All English Team?" Saying only Michael Essien is the only Chelsea player that could have made it? Didier Drogba is arguably one of the finest strikers in England and Frank Lampard the best midfielder. You need to check the list again.
Drogba and Lampard were both on the short list, but this is a Premiership team based on Premiership performances. Both men are brilliant players, but their seasons were not the best at their positions.
Joleon Lescott should be on this list! He scored eight goals from defense this season and helped Everton secure a European berth!
I thought long and hard about Lescott, who has emerged as a superb defender. However, it was impossible to look beyond Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Martin, your All-Premier League selection of goalkeeper and defensive players left me perplexed. Chelsea so far has given up a total of 26 goals and Portsmouth 40.
Morgan Hill, Calif.
True, but how much more heat did David James have to deal with than Petr Cech or Carlo Cudicini? James is a worthy starter in the Premiership Team of the Season.
BEST IN MLS ("Ranking MLS's top 20 players, May 7")
Until Landon Donovan can go back to any European league, hold a regular starting spot with a team and not cry his way back home because life isn't as he feels it should be, he won't really be deserving of any spot in any rankings.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
I don't feel as though Landon Donavon should be No. 1. He's too scared to go across to Europe like the some of the other national team players. Why is he so scared to make that jump? It's because he's not as good as he appears.
It is my opinion that part of the criteria for choosing a top sportsperson ought to be sportsmanship, or a basic commodity called humility. Donovan clearly lacks any semblance of either.
Donovan is the second or third best player. Without Beckham, Donovan would once again be posting average numbers. Not because of the lack of service but because he cannot step it up without having someone better showing him how, right there next to him. Beckham is setting the
standard on the Galaxy, everyone else is just following in his wake.
San Jose, Calif.
I agree with you on Donovan's previous ranking of 11. He may be top five but he's not No. 1.
Martin, ranking L.D. in the MLS top 20 is justified. Let's see if he stays in the top five for the rest of the season. But I anticipate a drop below the top-five level sometime soon. He is a gifted underachiever.
West Mifflin, Pa.
A predictable batch of negative sentiment towards Landon Donovan, whose brilliant performances this season have not been enough to silence his doubters. It will take an entire season of top form to get close to winning the public over.
How come Jon Busch isn't in your top 20? He's the best keeper in the league right now.
Busch and the Chicago Fire have done very well so far in 2008. He got very close to the top 20, but I need a little more evidence before I categorize him as one of the league's elite players.
I agree on the updated list and its top-ranked players. One small disagreement and that would be Jozy Altidore's ranking. The guy has potential yet to be realized and he's quite the footballer
already, but if you were to ask me, I'd place him a tad lower.
Altidore was very disappointing against the Galaxy last week, but he continues to develop into a fine young player. Let's hope his progress continues and he becomes a major contributor for the U.S. national team.
MONEY TALKS ("The MLS's all-overpaid/underpaid team, April 30")
In two or three years, if Joe Cannon stays with San Jose, you'll see how important he is to that
team. And that is not taking into account his leadership.
I don't feel Cannon is overpaid. It's just the weak economics of the league salary structure that makes his salary appear high.
I did feel a bit bad including Cannon as an overpaid player, but I feel there are so many solid goalkeepers in the U.S. that paying more than $200,000 for one does not offer great value. However, I accept that Joe Cannon does bring extra factors such as leadership and experience.
Kenny Deuchar is definitely not underpaid. If anything, he is very overpaid. I've been to most of this season's Real Salt Lake games and out of all the forwards he is the worst one out there.
Salt Lake City
I think it won't be long before Deuchar proves himself to be a bargain. He is a proven finisher and, at just over $100,000 a season, represents great value.
Great article on the MLS salaries. Just to add a few extra players here in K.C., you have players starting (Tyson Wahl, Kurt Morsink, Scott Sealy) that make under $35,000 a year. It is just pathetic to see minimum wage for baseball players about $400,000 and some developmental players making less than $20,000.
Kansas City, Mo.
Those low salaries at the bottom end really are an embarrassment. Hopefully, MLS can get itself into a financial position over the next few years to raise these figures to a more acceptable level.