How Barcelona spawned Mourinho as its nemesis

April 24, 2010

Pep Guardiola
“In 1996, José Mourinho suddenly became a powerful man. Aged only 33, the unknown Portuguese had come to Barcelona chiefly to translate for the English manager Bobby Robson. However, he fast turned into more than a translator. Mourinho took a duplex in the beach town of Sitges, near Robson’s house, and often talked football with him over dinner, recounts Mourinho’s biographer Patrick Barclay. He wrote dazzling scouting reports, and had one great advantage over his boss: he spoke Spanish. When Robson talked to players or the press, Mourinho interpreted. Many felt he added thoughts of his own.” (FI – Simon Kuper)

World Cup scouting: Jesús Navas (Spain)

April 24, 2010

“If recent World Cup history teaches us anything, it’s that pre-tournament form is a fickle indicator of how sides will fare at the sport’s showpiece event. Favourites typically stumble at early hurdles (France and Argentina in 2002, Brazil in 2006) and the teams that make it to the final – as Italy and France demonstrated in 2006 – are often simply those that come into form at the right time.” (Football Further)

The Game Has Evolved

April 24, 2010

“According to my friend Dennis, Argentina versus Brazil is the biggest rivalry in sports. Rangers versus Celtic? Doesn’t want to hear it. Barcelona versus Real Madrid? Doesn’t want to hear it. Yankees versus Red Sox?” (Run of Play)

Are Academies the Cure for Scottish Football?

April 24, 2010

“Former Scottish Labour politician and ex-East Fife player Henry McLeish’s 74-page Scottish Football Review was finally released to the public yesterday, recommending, among other things, the establishment of 20 football academies to save Scottish football from what McLeish calls ‘chronic underachievement’ at both the club and national level.” (Pitch Invasion)

How much would Ghana miss Essien?

April 24, 2010

“At their first World Cup four years ago, Ghana’s campaign came off the wheels when Chelsea star and midfielder Michael Essien missed the second round clash against Brazil. Even with him the Black Stars’ hopes were slim but without a man whose group displays were heroic, those hopes were wafer-thin – as shown when Brazil won 3-0. Now Ghana’s World Cup dreams are being revised again with the news the midfielder may not just miss the last five months of Chelsea’s season but June’s finals as well, because of a nagging knee problem.” (BBC)


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