Daily Archives: February 15, 2011


“As you have probably heard, unless you frequent one of the 40% of all newspaper websites that buried the story under an ongoing Gary Neville live blog, Ronaldo retired yesterday. I wrote a small tribute for Slate, which started as a Run of Play post and which I hope you’ll read. It’s about, I guess, how he fits in with the other great players of his generation (in terms of meaning, not in terms of top 10 lists) and how the accepted narrative of his career misses the point (because it’s told in terms of top 10 lists). But mainly it’s about this.” Run of Play

The Superstar at Play
“When you look back on it, 1994 was a transformative year for soccer, one of those moments when the game’s history briefly shows its seams. It was the year Maradona was sent home from the World Cup, fuming and wretched after a positive doping test, and began his long slide into freakish post-relevance. David Beckham played his first important match for Manchester United, giving the world a hint of the paparazzi hurricanes to come. Zinedine Zidane, in his first match for France, scored twice off the bench and glowered like something out of Michelangelo. And in the Netherlands, PSV welcomed a 17-year-old Brazilian striker named Ronaldo, who’d played all of 14 matches the previous year for Cruzeiro—he scored 12 goals—and who had spent the entirety of the just-completed World Cup sitting on the seleção bench.” Slate

Farewell to a Phenomenon
“‘The farewell of a great,’ the headline read. Above it, a photograph of Ronaldo – the original, Brazilian one – shedding a tear. It’s a reaction one would expect of the press in Brazil, given all that O Fenômeno has done for the country’s national team and the joy he’s given to fans there and across Europe. It’s a sign of the magnitude of greatness under consideration, though, that this headline isn’t taken from a Brazilian website. Nor from a site in one of the three European countries whose leagues he graced – the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. It was the main headline on the website of Argentina’s Olé on Monday morning.” ESPN

Milan v Tottenham: tactical preview

“In theory, Tottenham have the perfect footballing style to cause Milan problems. Max Allegri’s side have been vulnerable to the same two things this season. First, pace on the counter-attack. Milan are an old side, and often can’t compete with raw speed from younger legs. Second, width. Whether playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-1-2, Milan’s front three leave the defending to the seven players behind them. The full-backs often become exposed to tricky wingers, and allow too many crosses into the box. Cesena showed the way to beat Milan earlier this season – sit back, and break down the flanks.” Zonal Marking

Chelsea’s Financial Fair Play Challenge

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was – Talking Heads. Financial analysts could be forgiven for thinking that it was the same old story at Chelsea, as the club once again reported a thumping great annual loss of £71 million, but attempted to put the usual positive spin on the results. In an attempt to prove that he was the right man to replace former chief executive Peter Kenyon, who frequently spoke of the club’s determination to break-even, the new man at the top, Ron Gourlay, claimed, ‘The reduction in operating losses and increased sales in 2009/10 shows that we are moving in the right direction.'” The Swiss Ramble

How do you stop Lionel Messi?

“Even the most extensive database on earth can find no solution. Try typing into Google, “How to stop Messi” and while it produces 2,660,000 search results, none come anywhere close to answering the million pound question. When Arsenal faced Barcelona in the Champions League last season, they resisted the calls to treat Lionel Messi with special dispensation but instead, they considered him the same as everyone else and the results were disastrous. Messi was instrumental in the first leg as Arsène Wenger’s side survived an onslaught in the first twenty minutes but in the second leg at Camp Nou, delivered what he so promised at the Emirates as he ran amok to complete a devastating twenty-one minute hat-trick.” Arsenal Column

UEFA Champions League Power Rankings: Pre-Knockout Stage (Round of 16)

“Below are the power rankings for the UEFA Champions League heading into the knockout stage (round of 16). We will release a new rankings list after each round of the competition (until it reaches the semifinals).” The 90th Minute

1940s Month: Football and the Norwegian resistance

“The late 1930s and early 1940s had seen the political landscape of Europe dramatically altered. Having swept to power in Germany, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party had undertaken an aggressive military campaign which had precipitated the invasion and annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France, Romania, Denmark and the Baltic States by the summer of 1940.” The Equaliser

GOALS – “My Favourite Goal”

“Giggs – Man Utd vs Arsenal – 1999. ‘Instinct is action taken in pursuance of a purpose, but without conscious perception of what the purpose is’. Instinct can sometimes be a wonderful thing. In the professional era, sportsmen and women spend years finely tuning their skills and meticulously practicing for different scenarios. But sport, like life itself, never quite goes by the script.” Ghost Goal

World Football

“We’ll hear what impact the political upheaval in Egypt is having on Football. Khaled Mortagey from Al Alhy explains that the teams are in limbo and the players haven’t trained in over 2 weeks after the domestic leagues suspension. Journalist Mohamed Sabe feels there is no real appetite for football during the current climate in Egypt.” BBC