Palestine on the Pitch

December 5, 2012

“‘It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football.’ So declares a statement by 62 professional footballers protesting the recent Israeli actions in Gaza. Posted on the website of Frédéric Kanouté, it includes some of the best known names in global football, notably Didier Drogba and Eden Hazard. It is a striking gesture, one with few precedents. It highlights how powerfully football and politics are increasingly intertwined in Israel and Palestine.” Soccer Politics


Spartak Moscow’s season of self-destruction could suit Celtic

December 5, 2012

“The Russian newspaper Sovetsky Sport on Monday ran a column that spoke of Chelsea, the St Petersburg ice-hockey team SKA and Spartak Moscow as ‘three broken toys’. All of them, it pointed out, are owned by oligarchs, all have had recent success and all have been undermined by meddling from the top that, to those on the outside, seemed baffling. It compared Roman Abramovich to a boy who loved something so much he hugged it until it suffocated.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

The Guardiola System 2008-2012

December 5, 2012

“Josep Guardiola i Sala was born in Santpedor on 18 January 1971. After a highly successful career as a Barça player and then gaining promotion as manager of Barça Atlètic, he won fourteen out of a possible nineteen major titles during his four years in charge of the first team. That record was based on an unyielding commitment to the Club’s youth products and to a spectacular style of play built on possession football, passing and pace, which some have described as a re-invention of the game of football. He was, without a doubt, Barça’s best ever coach.” FC Barcelona

YouTube: The Guardiola System 2008-2012 (Video)

Brazil’s goal: a clean sheet

December 5, 2012

“Brasília – the Brazilian capital carved from the savannah 50 years ago – is a hard city to love. I hate to say this while its architect, 104-year-old Oscar Niemeyer, lies ill in a Rio hospital, but Brasília was built for cars and architecture critics, not for people. It’s a place for bureaucrats to have a quiet life, a Bonn in the tropics. Traffic jams are rare, even at 5pm when the ministries empty and everyone sails home along the huge central axis. This is a middle-class town.” FT – Simon Kuper

Corona, Tijuana climb atop Mexican top flight, more Americans Abroad

December 5, 2012

“Joe Corona’s list of accomplishments with Club Tijuana keeps growing. It was Corona who scored in the club’s promotion-battle win over Irapuato in May 2011, as the then-relative unknown attacker helped lead his relatively unknown club to the Mexican top flight. Upon arrival, the U.S. national team midfielder scored Tijuana’s first goal as a top-tier side and turned in a productive year that helped Los Xolos remain in the first division. It’s no surprise, then, that with Tijuana remarkably climbing the league mountain in little time that Corona was a vital participant as Los Xolos were crowned Mexican champions.” SI

Is the divisive Luis Suarez on course to become an Anfield legend?

December 5, 2012

“They say every genius comes with a dash of madness. Talent at its utmost is counteracted by temperament at its worst. Universal acknowledgement is offset by the infuriating capacity to persistently divide opinion. A gifted individual is often the most troubled. And in the enigmatic Luis Suarez, we have the perfect example. Everything a footballer could ever want to be and more, Suarez has, at the same time, everything one could loathe to come with it.” Think Football