Valencia's unexpected run to last season's Champions League Final proved that even two group stages will not always filter out the troublesome upstart.
Some twelve cities across Germany will welcome fans to the 2006 World Cup finals - from Hamburg in the north to Munich in the south, from Leipzig in the east to Cologne in the west.
Kevin Keegan was a remarkable footballer whose dedication, enthusiasm and spirit drove him to achievements way beyond those of perhaps more gifted but less committed stars.
On a recent Monday afternoon, Roma and Italy playmaker Francesco Totti was out about town, enjoying his day off with his girlfriend, Maria Mazza.
At 11.20 on the night of Wednesday, May 9, Milan president Giuseppe Farina called for champagne and ended one of the most extraordinary transfer sagas of Manchester United's eventful history.
Brescia is not quite what Pep Guardiola had in mind when he decided, last June, to wait for the right club in the right city before picking up the threads of a career cast off in Barcelona.
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same...
Over the years many, many people have tried to put an adequate label to the game of football.
To Argentinians, I'inchas who follow their favourite club week after week, football is an art.
Early in August, Bela Guttmann returned to Lisbon to be greeted at the airport by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of players, directors and fans all hysterically delighted to welcome him home.
Last year, Alfredo Di Stefano, Spanish footballs famed 'Blond Arrow', starred in a film whose plot hinged on his being kidnapped on the eve of a big match.
Only those who have to take off their shoes when they want to count to twenty will ever believe Scotland will one day win the World Cup.
Bobby Robson's wipes the sweat from his brow after pushing himself through a tough training session with his players, surveys his new working conditions, and admits: "I love it here!"
Dynamo Dresden, banned from Europe for two years, may never be seen again on the international scene.
The apotheosis of Paul Gascoigne, when he bestrode the field, set up three goals, and scored a magnificent fourth against the Czechs, was one more episode on the long, depressing history of England teams and brilliant individuals.
The rise and rise of Brondby is a fairytale in the best traditions of one of Denmark's most famous sons, Hans Christian Andersen. The irresistible parallel is to the story of the ugly duckling.
At last - after 30 months, a fit Ruud Gullit is back in football.
Kevin Allen's Italia'90 World Cup video diary