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FC Barcelona Players: Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o, although he seems to have been playing at the top level for such a long time, was, in fact, born in March 1981 in Nkon, Cameroon. Seemingly followed by controversy, Eto’o signed for Real Madrid as a 16 year old and had, to put it mildly, a strange relationship with the club from then on.

Firstly, upon his arrival at Madrid airport, young Samuel was famously forgotten about – a young black African with no Spanish hanging around an airport; an inauspicious beginning. After uneventful loan spells at Leganés and Espanyol, the coltish-looking Eto’o found himself loaned out to Mallorca, where he really began to show off his credentials.

Scoring 54 goals, Eto’o became the islanders’ highest league goal scorer and developed a real affinity with the supporters there – and he famously scored a spectacular individual goal against Madrid in the Bernabeu! Eto’o enjoyed his relationship with Mallorca so much that, when they reached the Copa del Rey final in 2003, he paid out €30,000 on a meal for them!

At the end of his loan spell, the Real Madrid supporters were almost unanimous in their desire for Samuel to return to the capital and compete for the forward positions with Raul and Ronaldo. What followed was a summer of continuous speculation and argument and eventually, for €24 million, the player signed for Barcelona – something that still annoys many Real Madrid fans.

Since then, Eto’o has scored goals galore for the Catalan giants. In his first, championship-winning season, Eto’o scored 25 league goals, including the title-clinching strike at Levante. He reached 50 goals in just 67 matches – a club record.

In addition to wining African Footballer of the year a record three times in succession from 2003, Samuel was part of the Cameroon side that won the African Cup in 2000 and 2002 and was runner-up in 2008. Previously, he had been the youngest player, at 17 years and 3 months, in the 1998 World Cup. He was the pichichi, top goal scorer, in La Liga in 2005/06, when, of course, he scored an equalising goal in the Champions’ League final against Arsenal.

Controversy has never been far away, however. After winning the league in 2005, Eto’o made the mistake of singing an abusive song about Madrid during the on-pitch celebrations. He has also been famously outspoken in his denouncements of racial abuse chanted in grounds – even threatening to walk off during one league game at Zaragova. Furthermore, there were times during 2007/08 season when Samuel Eto’o seemed a very forlorn figure, when his relationship with some of the other players was not at its best. At the end of the season, it seemed that the club were determined to transfer Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto’o, the perceived bad influences at the club. Eto’o, though, with typical determination, was adamant that his future was still with Barcelona – and he has proved to be absolutely correct.

Samuel Eto’o is fast, two-footed, brave and a totally committed team player and arguably the best centre forward in modern football.

Top 10 Moments in Football History

10. Luis Figo, a world famous football star, who played for FC Barcelona from 1995 till 2000. He was arguably the fans’ most favorite player in FC Barcelona, until 2000. That’s when “it” happened, Barcelona’s biggest rivals, Real Madrid, decided to splash the cash and break the transfer list fees record by getting Luis to Real Madrid.

The move caused outrage among Barcelona fans, Madrid got him for a world record fee of 38 Million Pounds. And that’s when the fun begins, during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, when Luis Figo stepped up to take the corner kick, a pig’s head was thrown at him from Barcelona’s side. Another incident took place during the 2004 EURO Cup Final between Greece and Portugal. A Portuguese fan ran out on the field, managed to outrun the police, and heading towards Luis threw a Barcelona jersey at him, as the whole world was watching.

 

9. 1996 – African Challenge.

1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, The most surprising gold medals went to the hands of Nigerian football stars after they overcame Brazil in thrilling semi-finals, with a 4-3 score. The finals was between Argentina and Nigeria, well over 2 billion people were watching it, of course most of them thought that Argentina will have no problems getting the gold medal, but most of them were wrong. Argentina was in the driver’s seat after leading 1-0. The goal came on a 3rd minute, scored by Claudio Lopez, on the 28th minute Nigeria managed to equalize, as Babayaro scored a perfect finisher. So it was 1-1 on half-time. In the early second half Hernan Crespo gave Argentina the lead again and Argentina was on the way to get the gold medals, but “not so fast” said Amokachi as he scored the equalizing goal and again gave Nigeria hope. Match was almost over and everybody thought it was going to be decided by the penalty shoot out. 90th minute and Amunike gave the lead to Nigeria, it was a shock for Argentina, time was almost over, Argentina had no chance, so it ended with a final score 3-2. Nigeria won the gold medal, for the first time in Olympic Games history.

 

8. 1960, First ever UEFA European Football Championship (EURO) held in France. It was won by the USSR, beating Yugoslavia 2-1 in a tense final in Paris. It is however quite interesting to note that earlier in the competition Spain had withdrawn from its quarterfinal match against the USSR due to political reasons. As an interesting fact, USSR also scored the first goal in the EURO history, during the qualification games.

 

7. 1998/1999 English Premier League season, Manchester United got all trophies possible that season. They became the first ever team in football history to do so in one season. First they got the Premier League title, finishing first in the league table, then they took the F.A. Cup title by beating Newcastle United 2-0, and of course the most famous UEFA Champions League final, when United managed to come back from a 1-0 defeat, and score not one but two goals in an injury time beating Bayern Munich 2-1; it was considered to be one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed.

 

6. 2002 World Cup, Korea/Japan. Korean fans will never forget that historic moment, when Guus Hiddink took them all the way to the Semi-Finals of 2002 World Cup. Korean national football team became the first ever Asian national football team to reach semi-finals of World Cup. Nobody expected the underdogs to go that far, as they beat Portugal 1-0 in a group stages, then a famous 2-1 win over Italy, drawing with Spain in a quarter-finals and then beating them 5-3 on penalties. In the end however they couldn’t take on Germany in semi-finals, and they lost 1-0. In the game for the third place Korean team met Turkey, but again they lost. Eventually the Republic of Korea finished 4th in the 2002 World Cup, which was still a great success for the country’s football team.

 

5. June 2003, Chelsea FC was bought by the Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich for a record fee of 140 million pounds. Back then it was the biggest sale of an English Football club. Straight away Roman wanted to make Chelsea the best and strongest club in the world. He began buying players for a record braking transfer fees. First season with a new owner Chelsea FC finished as a runner-up. But next year, the 2004/2005 English premier league season, Chelsea became champions of England, for the first time since 1954/1955 season. 2005/2006 Season they took the premier league trophy again as they were crowned the champions of England for the second time in a row. These 2 seasons were the most successful 2 years in the club’s history.

 

4. January 11th 2007. It was confirmed that David Beckham will be leaving Real Madrid to play for the United States “soccer” club, Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham’s decision was a shock to many, as one of the world’s best football players moves to United States of America, where “soccer” is not that popular. He was the first big player to enter Major League Soccer.

 

3. 6th February 1958, the Munich air disaster. It was the darkest day in Manchester United Football Club history. On the board of the plane was Manchester United football team along with the club supporters and journalists. 23 of the 44 passengers on board died. Captain James Thain, the pilot tried to take off twice, but both attempts were aborted due to engine surging. When a third take off was attempted, the plane failed to gain adequate height and crashed into the fence surrounding the airport and then into a house. Now every year on this day Manchester United holds a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster.

 

2. 2006 World Cup Final produced one of the most famous moments in football history, when Zidane’s head-butted on Italian defender Marco Materazzi. It was Zidane’s last international appearance for the French national team and 3 billion people around the world were watching it. The next day newspapers all over the world were not writing about how Italy won their 4th World Cup title, but they were writing about how Zidane pulled the “stunt” on Marco. Definitely that was one of the biggest moments in the history of football.

 

1. Edison Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele, the world’s most famous name in football. Football is probably the most famous sport in the world, and Pele is the man who made it what it is today. Pele made 669 appearances in club football, scoring 626 goals. He also made 92 appearances for Brazilian National football side and scored 77 goals. He made his first club appearance when he was just 15 years of age. He made his first international appearance for Brazil when he was 16, and won his first World Cup when he was just 17. Pele is hailed in Brazil as a national hero. The number one moment in football history is when Pele managed to score his first international goal for Brazil, just three month before his 17th birthday.

 

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Airport Boost For Andorra

From a poor European country with no real economy, Andorra has been transformed in the past forty years to a vibrant independent State, sought after by the wealthy for her tax haven status, and skiers for her ski runs that match the best in Europe for facilities and ski holidays infrastructure.

The one drawback that Andorra has had is the distance from a major airport, two and a half hours drive to Barcelona in Spain or Toulouse in France, with some ski holidays starting with a night in one of Barcelona hotels before setting off for Andorra.

But that is set to change with agreement for an aiport to be built just fifteen minutes drive from the Spanish / Andorra border.

As well as the extra ski tourists the new airport will impact Andorra as a tax haven. Andorra and the more famous Monaco are Europe’s leading tax havens, with residents enjoying the benefit of no income tax. Property prices in Andorra are less than a third of the price of Monaco’s.

Commenting on the new airport, one Andorra estate agent who specialises in Andorra property for sale thinks that the prices of Andorra properties will rise.

‘At the moment Monaco has the advantage of being ten minutes away from an international airport by helicopter, while Andorra is over two hours. With that advantage gone we anticipate more people considering a tax haven will consider Andorra, with a resulting appreciation in property prices.’

Property in Andorra has risen an average of ten per cent a year in recent years, with three streams of buyers – the local market, buyers for ski holiday homes who are often on a Crystal Ski holiday and like Andorra enough to buy a holiday home, plus those looking for a tax haven.

The airport is to be located in Seu d’Urgell, and the first flights are anticipated to be in 2010 or 2011, with a runway of 4,500 feet – not long enough for some medium range aircraft, and it is likely that most commercial airlines using the airport will be 60 to 80 seaters, plus private jets much favoured by the wealthy who might now consider Andorra as a viable tax haven.

Crystal Ski

As well as being welcomed by the property business in Andorra, a new airport has been greeted enthusiastically by the skiing industry.

The country has upgraded facilities in recent years, and often competes as a top ski destination in Europe, with well known ski companies like Crystal Ski operating holidays for the British market.

In recent years the number of tourists for the Andorra ski holiday season has topped ten million visitors, and the ski industry is an important part of the country’s economy, with the government investing in new infrastructure to help tempt visitors back for skiing for repeat visits.

But last year was the worst season for decades as the snow, which normally falls from end October, didn’t arrive until mid March, and the first drop in the number of ski holidays in Andorra being sold by British and other European travel agents dropped from the previous ski season for some years.

The new airport cutting travelling time from the UK, one of the Andorra ski holiday’s main markets, could boost the occupancy levels of hotels in Andorra significantly.

‘When people are considering a ski holiday in Andorra’, comment one travel guide, ‘At the moment to reach Soldeu, one of Andorra top ski villages, it’s two and a half hours from Barcelona to the capital la Vella, and then another twenty minutes on top of that – nearly a three hour trip after a flight. Cutting down resort arrival time from three to one hour will be enough to influence some people’s decision on where to visit.’

Recent investment by the government has reached several million Euros designed to keep the country in line with other European winter destinations, and intended to make Andorra a natural choice for the ski and snowboard fraternity, the addition of an airport close to her border could help ensure that.

All that is needed now is a good level of snow in the years to come.

Holiday-makers Should be Cautious When Hiring a Car Abroad

With the tourist season at its peak, holiday-makers should be wary when collecting a car at their destination and only book with certified car rental companies. People planning on hiring a car abroad are advised to be careful when dealing with local car operators as it could be too much risk for a tourist expecting a relaxing vacation.

According to rumours, cheaper rates are available locally, however this will only be valid in low-season or if the local company has incorrectly calculated its inventory. In high-season it will be almost impossible to rent a car, especially in the large coastal resorts and popular destinations such as Barcelona, Alicante and Mallorca.

It’s important to be cautious of local car rental firms that offer large discounts. This could be a gamble and ruin your vacation:

- Choices of cars are limited

- Cars are often older models that may not be well maintained

- It’s unlikely that there will be a helpline if anything goes wrong

- If there is a legal problem there will be limited support or advice

- If the car breaks down or is involved in an accident then a replacement is unlikely

- Some local car rental companies have limited legal terms and require trust from both parties – only advised for the experienced

Travellers should also be aware that local dealers will often drive customers to collect the car from their personal garage. This can disorientate inexperienced tourists in a foreign country, and could be dangerous for women.

It’s recommended that all tourists book cars in advance in order to get availability and to be sure that the service is being provided by a certified company.

Andorra Real Estate 2007 Gets Tax Haven Boost

More demand for residency in the European tax haven of Andorra has increased significantly in recent years, as rival tax haven Monaco has seen her property prices rise significantly.

And while property prices in Andorra have increased significantly as well, particularly in the last three years, it started from a much lower base than Monaco, and a property in Andorra still costs less than a quarter of that of Monaco.

The lowest price property in Andorra is currently a 38m2 studio apartment at 145,000 Euros, while in Monaco a 30m2 studio with a 7m2 balcony is on the market for 720,000 Euros.

Similarly, a three bedroom two bathroom 100m2 apartment in Andorra’s prime ski village of Soldeu is being marketed at 395,000 Euros, while in Monaco 2,500,000 Euros is being asked for a slightly larger 108m2 two bedroom apartment in the Fontvieille district of the principality.

As well as lower cost property, Andorra has the added advantage over Monaco of lower closing costs – while Monaco is in double digits Andorra’s is around six per cent.

One of the reasons for Monaco’s soaring property prices has been the lack of new buildings and properties in recent years. Although some new building is currently taking place, the apartments will be for Monaco citizens rather than incoming residents, ensuring key workers can live as well as work in their home country.

A new island is planned to be built off Monte Carlo which will add housing stock for new residents, but this could be as much as ten year before it is ready.

The tax benefits of Andorra compare very well Monaco, with private banking, income and inheritance tax at zero, security and privacy achieved for high net worth individuals in both.

Buying a property in Andorra is often seen as a route to residency, which entitles people to live in Andorra and benefit from her tax haven status. Many potential buyers stay in one of the hotels in Andorra while on a property inspection trip.

To obtain residency in Andorra, applications need to be submitted in Catalan. A notarised copy of the applicants passport, birth certificate and a certificate of good conduct from the home country are submitted at the same time. According to local travel guide YourAndorra.com residency normally takes between three and six months to be approved.

Once residency is granted, residents are supposed to spend six months a year in Andorra, but this isn’t policed.

One of the drawbacks for those looking to become a resident in a tax haven when considering Andorra has been that the country has no airport of its own, and is unlikely to have ine future given that it is located in the Pyrenees. The nearest airports are Barcelona and Toulouse.

Recent improvements in the road from Barcelona to Andorra though have cut the travelling time by some thirty minutes to two hours fifteen minutes from Barcelona airport to Andorra’s capital, Andorra la Vella.

Euro Tax Haven Property Prices Climb Again For 2007

One of Europe’s best kept secrets and hardly known outside of the skiing and financial communities, the small European tax haven of Andorra has seen some startling rises in her property values in the last two years, with a repeat performance in 2007 possible.

In 2005 property inflation hit 19 per cent, and in 2006 the official property inflation reached sixteen per cent, and according to Andorra real estate specialists Tribune Properties 2007 is likely to see a further ten per cent rise.

‘There are three streams of buyers for Andorra’, say Tribune, ‘An active local market, second home buyers looking for ski apartments, and international buyers who want to gain residency in a tax haven. The international buyers add pressure on prices and often buy three or four bedroom apartments and chalets, making sure that the top end of the market is as active as the low and mid range properties.’

With a lack of snow for the first eight weeks of the Andorra ski holiday season, the second home buyers could be thinner on the ground than usual. The number of tourists is down by some fifteen per cent, and that could impact the property market as some visitors like it so much they buy a property in popular resorts such as Arinsal and Soldeu. So we feel a ten per cent rise in Andorra property values could be realistic for 2007.’

Andorra as a tax haven destination has been benefitting recently from the high cost of real estate in Monaco. Monaco recently became the most expensive country for property in Europe, and while a 32m2 studio in Monaco will cost close to a million Euros including the closing costs, Andorra offers over 100m2 three bedroom two bathroom apartments at less than half the price – with the same tax advantages as better known Monaco, bringing out a map of Andorra for many investors recently.

The different type of buyers tend to head for different areas of Andorra, with the ski apartment buyers tending to purchase in the key ski resorts of Soldeu and Arinsal.

Those looking for residency go more for the year round villages and towns which have a resident community.

Outside of the capital (la Vella) these tend to be La Massana and the upcoming village of Anyos, Ordino and Arinsal, although Arinsal’s nightlife during the ski season early December to late April tends to steer many newcomers to La Massana and Ordino.

Barcelona Hotels

In addition to attracting international buyers in increasing numbers for residency, the Andorra authorities have invested heavily in their ski infrastructure, boosting the country’s tourism potential and subsequently Andorra’s real estate market.

And for this year’s ski season Andorra has opened a new family friendly ski park in Arinsal, moving away further still from her old image of a cheap and cheerful ski holiday for 18-30 year olds to one that caters well for all.

One of the few drawbacks when taking residency in Andorra compared to Monaco has been access to a major international airport, as there is no Andorra Airport. While Monaco enjoys close proximity to Nice Airport, with a ten minute helicopter ride available, Andorra’s nearest airports have been Barcelona and Toulouse, three hours away, with no direct Andorra flights.

Recent road improvements between Barcelona and Andorra has cut this by thirty minutes, and there is a possibility of a scheduled helicopter service, Andorra weather forecast permitting, or more likely ten minutes from the Spanish Andorra border, allowing quicker access to international flights for business people considering Andorra residency.

Other improvements within Andorra include new tunnels, allowing quicker access to the ski fields, and driving around Andorra easier.

With more demand from international buyers who want to take advantage of Andorra residency, the Andorra government announced in February that it was increasing the number of residency applications from the previous 200 year a year to 500.

‘Andorra is becoming more popular among the international buyers’, comment local travel guide YourAndorra, ‘And with Monaco real estate prices sky high it comes as no surprise that the government has moved favourably by allowing more residents. But it’s not just the tax free living they come for – it’s the weather in Andorra as well for many who see the ideal opportunity to live in a tax free environment and enjoying winter sports on top.’

Getting To Torrevieja From Alicante

Alicante, Spain is one of the most popular destinations for travelers to the Costa Blanca region. It is situated along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Spain with the cities of Benidorm to its north and Torrevieja to its south. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, traveling to Alicante should not be difficult.

The best way to reach Alicante is by air and, fortunately, it has its own airport. The El Altet International Airport is only six miles from downtown Alicante. In addition to flights from various foreign countries, there are also daily flights from other cities in Spain such as Madrid and Barcelona. Once you are at the airport, there is transportation available to help you reach your final destination in the city. If you are looking for a train, though, you should know that there is no train connection at the airport. But, considering the airport is only six miles from downtown, you can use one of the many taxis outside of the airport, the bus or a car hire company. Be sure to make an advance reservation for car hire services, as they will pick you up from the airport.

If not flying directly into the Alicante airport, you may also reach Alicante city limits by train or bus. The train system known as the tram and trenet can also take you to some of the smaller surrounding towns, including as Denia, Altea and Benidorm. Motor buses service the outlying areas to connect Alicante to the smaller towns. There is also a ferry from Algeria which will bring you into the city of Alicante. You can book the ferry through Romeu to Oran or Alegeria. Though this may be an interesting experience, it is not the most reliable method of reaching Alicante due to the potential for service interruptions at any given time.

Once you are inside the city limits of Alicante, you will find that walking is a sufficient way to get around the city due to its small size. However, taxis and the bus are available as well as car hire services if you prefer. Travelers requiring an overnight stay should have no difficulty finding appropriate accommodations. There are many hotels in the business district offering views of both the mountains on the west and the sea on the east. You can also find resorts along the beach, which are also close to the city.

Best cities to visit in Europe – Part 3

PRAGUE, is without doubt the most amazing City I have ever been to.

During the last 4 years, I have been to Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Amsterdam and Athens, but Prague has that WOW factor around ever corner.

The best time to see the City is early in the morning, before the hoardes hit the streets, with their cameras. I mean early too, we went out with our cameras at 6:30.

We stayed close to Wenceslas Square, which is just a stone’s throw from the Stare Mesto, the old town. It is here that you will find the wonderful astrological clock, the old town square with it’s bar’s and restaurant’s. As I said go early if you don’t want photograph’s of other people’s head’s.

Cross the river on Charles Bridge, leading you into the area known as Mala Strana, which translates into ‘lesser quarter’. Then climb up the hill to Hradcany. It is here where you will be swept off your feet with buildings around the castle and St Vitis cathedral. The parliament buildings and embassies are on a scale of grandeur second to none that I ever seen.

Prague has a growing reputation for stag and hen parties,(bachelor parties) but we didn’t see too much of that. The reason for this is the cheap price of beer and food. The first bar we wandered into was out of the way, but, with a pint of ‘Svelte Bernerd’ at 22 crowns, about 55 english pence, it was a great place to start.

If you go you must try the bread dumplings and potato dumplings, mmmmm!

Because of the stag and hen parties, you will not struggle to find people who speak English. We found the locals pleasant, even the local hookers offered us breakfast with their usual offers. Of course we declined their offers of both. Or at least that’s what the wife thinks.

Again, if you choose to go, don’t do what we did and decide to go and visit the Jewish quarter on a Saturday. Not the best day of the week.

The price of flights to the Czech Republic from the UK is getting cheaper each year so please give this beautiful City a visit, you will not regret it and you will have memories and photographs to treasure for ever.

A Iga Arcelona Beats Eal Adrid 2 0 In Lasico

The current leader of the standings Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 2-0 with late goals this Saturday in El Clsico, the biggest rivalry in Spain, having been played 157 times, with Real Madrid leading with 68 victories against 59 from Barcelona and 30 draws. Last Saturday Barcelona was looking for revenge since Real Madrid had won the last two Clsicos at home and away, so this game was really important for Bara, mostly with the great moment they are having.

The game was a constant battle between the two teams. Real Madrid had a great tactical game especially in their defense, but even with their big effort to stop Barcelona in the offense; two mistakes at the end of the game gave Bara the victory.

On the other hand, Barcelona had their difficulties in the game, but their consistency and determination of looking for the victory gave them the positive result. With this triumph Barcelona added a total of 38 points in the top position, 8 points ahead of the second place Valencia and 12 points ahead from Real Madrid. Also this is Barcelonas 12th victory in La Liga and one of the most important wins of this first part of the season for them.

At the beginning of the game, the Cules had several opportunities to open the score, but the great defense of Carnavaro, Metzelder and the excellent contribution of Iker Casillas, gave balance to Real Madrids defense. Real Madrid for its part had a clear option of goal with Wesley Sneijder but his shot was saved by the Baras goalkeeper Victor Valds. Later, Royston Drenthe had a very good chance but he failed to open the score for the Meringues because Valds made another great save.

Moreover, even though Barcelona was struggling in the first half, the team didnt lost their fighting mentality and at only 20 minutes to go, Busquets was fouled in the area by Salgado, which gave a penalty to Barcelona. Etoo executed the penalty but Casillas saved it in great way. Nevertheless, just 13 minutes later, Etoo took revenge and scored for Barcelona to put things 1-0. Real Madrid, desperate looking for a goal to tie the game, gave an option to Barcelona at minute 90 with a play between Henry and Messi, who scored the second and final goal for Barcelona.

Despite Real Madrids loss, the new coach of the Meringues Juande Ramos, was pleased with his teams effort and expressed he couldnt demand anything more from his players. On the other hand, the Barcelonas youngest coach Pep Guardiola, alleged that even with his team struggling during different parts of the game, his players never lost their objective of getting the victory and kept fighting until the end. Guardiola also expressed that even with this important triumph there is a long way to go to achieve the title but his team is working hard by focusing in every game and every opponent.

“Only 15 games have been played and there are a lot of other (teams) around us to play, like Villarreal and Valencia, among others. In January, we return to play in three competitions and that will take a lot out of the side,” said the young coach of Barcelona.

The next game of Barcelona will be against Villareal, who is in the fourth place with 29 points and is coming from a loss against Sevilla 1-0. With this past result, Villareal is expecting to get the victory against the undefeated Barcelona to add more points and climb in the table. Barcelona, on the other hand, will try to keep its winning pace and extend its advantage in the top spot. The game will be held at Villareal on December 21st.

For its part, Real Madrid will play against Valencia, which will be a tough game for them since Valencia is in second place and is expecting to add more points to get closer to Barcelona in the standings. We hope the best for these teams during this La Liga weekend.

Monaco Overpriced Claim Disputed

A well respected US magazine recently claimed Monaco has the most overpriced real estate in the world, claiming the rental returns as part of their figures meant the tax haven’s property costs were unduly high.

In response a Monaco internet site says the American magazine are wrong, and have forgotten why Monaco’s property prices are high in the first place.

‘The error they made was comparing Monaco with places like Rome, Warsaw, Los Angeles and Vancouver, and they also overestimated closing costs. While admittedly high in Monaco at around 11 per cent, it’s not common to be 20 per cent that their research was based on.’

The comparison of 50 financial centres assumed the property was not a main residence and looked at rental returns – another error when calculating Monaco’s property prices according to the Monaco internet guide.

‘By law in Monaco rentals are a minimum of one year, so it’s obvious that rental returns are going to be less than places where weekly and six monthly rentals are possible. To gain residency in Monaco via renting the residency office needs evidence of a twelve month contract, so Monaco is in a unique position when compared to other leading financial centres.’

‘There is a shortage of available property in Monaco and high demand that shows no sign of slowing down – given all these factors we just think the US magazine’s analysis of the Monaco real estate scene has been done without taking local factors into consideration.’

Typical property prices in Monaco at the moment include a second floor studio apartment at 1,100,000 Euros, a one bedroom apartment in Monte Carlo at 2,150,000 Euros, and a three bedroom two bathroom apartment at 5,500,000 Euros.

As well as buying a property, to gain residency in Monaco a bank account needs to be opened in the Principality, with account opening deposits varying between 100,000 and 500,000 Euros.

One thing that could put the brake on the number of Brits looking to move to Monaco was announced after the magazine’s claims about Monaco real estate prices were published.

The amount of time British tax exiles can spend in their home country is being limited by the British government, and it could impact the British economy, claim a company who specialise in tax haven property and residency.

Up until now a British taxpayer could avoid paying income tax by taking residency in a tax haven such as Andorra or Monaco, and be allowed to spend 90 days a year in Britain before falling foul of the Iland Revenue. Importantly both the day of arrival and departure into the UK didn’t count as a day.

So technically, a tax exile living in Andorra could drive to Barcelona airport for a 7am flight to London, and given the hour’s time difference between Spain and the UK, be comfortably in an office working by lunchtime.

Equally, the same tax exile could leave the London office at 6pm Friday for Barcelona en route to Andorra – and importantly those five days in the UK would count only as three of their ninety day allowance as the day travelling to and from the UK aren’t counted. Which allowed business men and women to commute from the tax havens of Andorra and Monaco thirty weeks a year. Some would do Monday to Thursday and could do that virtually all year and still stay on the right side of the British tax man.