FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi, and La Masia featured on “60 Minutes”

January 7, 2013

“FC Barcelona were featured in a story in tonight’s episode of the the news magazine television show 60 Minutes. The piece talked about Barcelona’s La Masia (youth training/academy system) and how the club has developed the majority of its first team. It’s a bit unusual for large clubs as most have to rely on buying players from other teams in addition to developing them through an academy. The feature also focused on Lionel Messi with several highlights of goals scored and stating he’s currently the best player in the world. Two of the other players featured in the piece are Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique.” The 90th Minute Soccer Blog (Video)

Congrats to Messi, but Ballon d’Or isn’t sound for soccer
“On Monday, at what convention dictates we describe as a glitzy ceremony in Zurich, Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth year in a row. Which was the right decision. Or the wrong decision. Or just a decision, based on the votes of international coaches, international captains and journalists from around the world, that really doesn’t matter at all, that sums up football’s silly obsession with celebrity. Actually, scrap that last line: that makes it sound as though the award has no significance. It does: it’s a deeply insidious phenomenon that is antithetical both to good football and to the sound running of the game.” <a href=”http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20130107/lionel-messi-ballon-dor/#ixzz2HJzaBkyx

Freiburg’s Spinning Top and the Brain Behind It

January 7, 2013

“A year ago this month Freiburg were staring relegation right in the face. They were bottom of the table going into the break, conceded the most goals in the league, lost their most important player and looked sure to go down. Then came Christian Streich, who against the odds turned it all around. Only five teams had a better second half of the season than Freiburg last year as they clawed their way back up the table to finish 12th. This year the man who has coached at Freiburg for almost 20 years built on his great work and in a complete 180 has his team sitting in a European spot at the end of the Hinrunde.” Bundesliga Fanatic

What are the most annoying clichés in modern football?

January 7, 2013

“No broadcaster worth his salt would compare a beaten footballer to a sick parrot these days, but the game remains as clichéd as ever. The funny old game with players who could turn on sixpences is gone, but a new breed of football clichés is emerging. Games are no longer comprised of two halves; they now have turning points. These are particularly useful for beaten managers and presenters of TV highlights shows. The biggest turning points of all are those refereeing decisions that prevent turning points – the penalties not given and the corner kicks that should have been goal kicks. These are much sought-after luxuries for frustrated managers who want to deflect attention away from their players.” Guardian

Tactical Analysis: How is the 4-2-3-1 formation used by City and Chelsea flawed?

January 7, 2013

“The 4-2-3-1 seems to be the general formation of choice for a lot of Europe’s top sides, including several Premier League clubs, most notably Chelsea and Manchester City. Neither club has reached their potential this season with several factors behind this, but, the use of the 4-2-3-1 can be scrutinized as one such factor. The 4-2-3-1 was according to this graphic by Whoscored.com one of the most used formations last year…” Think Football

Revival of Videoton bodes well for Hungary

January 7, 2013

“Twenty-six long years have passed since Hungary last participated in a major footballing tournament. It was the World Cup of 1986 in Mexico and even though confidence was high, the Magyars crashed out in the group stage after disappointing results to France and their bitter foes, the Soviet Union.” World Soccer

After the Curtain Had Fatten
“The domestic football league of the old USSR was a vast, vibrant, and powerful competition, containing as it did clubs such as the Moscow giants Dynamo, Spartak, CSKA – and occasionally Torpedo – as well as influential teams from the republics, like the Dynamos of Kiev, Tbilisi, and Minsk. Evidently, the league would have been exceptionally strong and closely contested – it was so strong, in fact, that it rose to second place in UEFA’s league rankings.” In Bed With Maradona

The Luis Suarez Show Puts Mansfield Town In The Shade

January 7, 2013

“Life isn’t fair and cheats often prosper. How unpalatable such statements are doesn’t alter how true they are, and it may be especially galling for the supporters of Mansfield Town that the valiant efforts of their team this afternoon will be overshadowed by a predictable row over the handled goal that eventually won a tumultuous FA Cup Third Round match for Liverpool this afternoon. Having conceded an early goal to debutant Daniel Sturridge, it might have been easy for the Blue Square Bet Premier side to have buckled and folded all together, but they kept their calm and put in a performance that is worthy of greater praise than it is likely to receive. Indeed, had their goal come ten minutes earlier, there is every chance that we would be talking about a replay and asking the question of how Liverpool had managed to fail to beat a non-league side club in the FA Cup.” twohundredpercent