Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is Argentine football falling apart?

Every football addict in Europe owes something to South America. The number of talented players who cross the Atlantic Ocean to shine in the old continent is huge.

But Argentina's football is going through a difficult moment. The beginning of the second part of the Argentine Primera Division has been postponed amid players' strike. The other three professional league have suffered the same delay.

Several clubs are facing financial problems and they have not been able to pay their players. The government has made a promise to the players and the fans: football will be back in Argentina and the players will be paid soon.

Mauricio Macri's government made a $22m payment to the AFA. But it seemed to be not enough.

The government owes much more money to the AFA. Because of the cancellation of the contract regarding the sports broadcasting rights, the AFA must receive $33m from the government.

Argentina professional football is supposed to start next weekend. If the two parts find an agreement.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Football is for tough guys - Throwback to...

It was the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands in 2010. Nigel De Jong, notoriously a tough player, challenged Xabi Alonso a little bit roughly.

He got away with a yellow card! Unbelievable...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Football is for tough guys - Carles Puyol

If you think about tough players in football, you cannot forget to mention Carles Puyol. The former Barcelona defender was a real icon of hardness.

The image that sums up how Puyol behaved on the pitch is this.

During a League Cup game at Santiago Bernabeu in 2013, Barcelona were leading Real Madrid 1-0. To show that they weren't enjoying the game, the home fans had the clever idea to throw a lighter to the Catalan defender Piqué, who immediately showed it to the referee.

But the captain Puyol had different plans. He forcibly grabbed the lighter and threw it off the pitch. A tough guy doesn't want to fuel useless debates.

That wasn't the only time that the former Barcelona's captain showed how tough he was. During another game he told off two of his teammates for disrespecting the opposition.

After scoring the fifth goal at Vallecas, Thiago Alcantara and Daniel Alves celebrated in questionable way. But for Puyol that was disrespecting to the home fans who were watching their team being torn apart. And he stopped them.

Carles Puyol is a great man before a player. And he's really tough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Football is for tough guys - Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins is the first tough guy of this new series. The reason he has the honour to be first in this list is the way he made Alexis Sanchez understand that there's no room for softness in football.

During the second half of yesterday night's FA Cup game between Sutton United and Arsenal, Collins didn't seem to enjoy the way Sanchez let himself fall as soon as an opponent brushed against him. So, he pushed him gently to the ground.

Jamie Collins, 32, defender and captain of National League side Sutton United, started his professional career at Watford, but soon moved to Havant & Waterlooville, where he impressed for his tenaciousness.

He then played for several other teams, before settling down at Sutton United in 2015. Since then, he managed to win the National League South.

Collins is a semi-professional footballer. When he's not on the pitch he works in building sites as a builder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Is Guardiola an overrated manager?

Is Pep Guardiola really that good? Has he been a good investment so far for Bayern? His career as a manager has been successful, but will he be ever able to repeat what he has done at Barcelona?

First of all, let's put it this way. According to Forbes, the Catalan manager earns £14.8m a year at Bayern. His side are currently sitting 1st in Bundesliga and very likely to win the title.

Mauricio Pochettino earns £2m at Tottenham. The North London team are showing the best football since years and the Argentinian is considered the best Premier League manager by the likes of Alex Ferguson.

Maurizio Sarri, Napoli's coach, earns €0.8m. His side are currently 2nd and they have good chances of winning a title that supporters have been waiting for 26 years.

Comparing them just from the economic point of view, does Guardiola really worth seven times Pochettino and twenty times Sarri as a manager?

To be honest, it is unfair to think that managing Bayern or Spurs is the same job. For the Bavarian a season without successes is a failure, for Tottenham winning a domestic cup would be a great success. The pressure is different.

The salary, though, is too different. And, if we consider certain tactical choices made by Guardiola at Bayern, we could think he is not the best manager in the world at all.

The idea of making Bayern play like Barcelona has always been a feature of Guardiola's German spell. But Bayern have different players, nobody can replace Messi, for instance.

The Manchester City's manager-to-be has tried to find a player who could do what Busquets does at Barcelona. During the last season he played Lahm in that position. The result was something that made Massimo Marianella, an Italian journalist for Sky, say: "Bayern are still among the best in Europe despite Guardiola."

During this season he surprised again, for instance when Bernat, a left-back, played incredibly close to the strikers during the Champions League game against Juventus.

Guardiola seems too confident in his managerial abilities and perhaps he thinks he can develop his football philosophy without any limits, after his great achievements at Barcelona. Sometimes, though, his tactical choices seem to be less effective than the Catalan might think.

Friday, February 12, 2016

FC Barcelona and some bad jokes

What is the difference between a funny joke and taunting your opposition? Probably this difference is something unknown to the journalists of the Catalan media who published this image ahead of the Champions League clash.

Some members of the Catalan media are not new to this kind of "irony", used more in the domestic league, especially before and after the games between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Thanks to probably the best squad in the club's history, Barcelona supporters feel confident about UCL last 16 game against English side Arsenal.

Their last years' successes, both in La Liga and in the European competitions, though, do not help some supporters become more classy. 

We hope that Arsenal respond on the pitch and we will watch a great match.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Real Madrid struggles

Real Madrid celebrated Modric winner against Granada, but they are not doing well enough. Simple as that.

Have the team sensibly improved since Benitez sacking? Probably not. At least away from home they play a slow and sometimes boring football.

They do not play as a team, they often win only because of the talent of some players.

Zidane needs to turn this season around from the tactical point of view. They will certainly not win the title playing like they did in the last away games.