Allah’s Back Heel

March 17, 2013

algeria
“The tendency to categorise and rate the footballing talents Africa has produced is something of a modern phenomenon. This is due in part to the perception that African players have been somewhat late to the party in terms of making an impact on a global stage. As such the majority of the ‘greatest African footballers’ lists are weighted greatly towards players of the mid- 90s onwards, give or take a dancing Cameroonian. One player who is consistently overlooked is Mustapha Rabah Madjer. A player of unheralded finesse and technical ability on the pitch, only matched by his combative nature off it. His footballing attributes led to him becoming not only Algeria’s greatest footballing export but also a symbol for a nation to latch onto as it searched for its identity. Madjer was born in the costal city of Algiers in 1958. The city was at the epicentre of the Algerian independence movement, which sought to throw off the shackles of French colonialism. A bloody and vicious war was fought between the various factions and the French troops sent to maintain order – a war that resulted in Algerian independence and the fall of the 4th French republic.” In Bed With Maradona


Reunions, stars clashing lead Champions League quarterfinal draw

March 17, 2013

“The Champions League quarterfinal draw took place Friday morning in Nyon, Switzerland, with the competition harder than ever to call. If Bayern Munich was the dominant side after its round of 16 first-leg win at Arsenal, the performances of Barcelona and Real Madrid in their second legs reminded everyone of the talent of the La Liga sides. Here is the rundown of the draw for the last eight …” SI


Bring Out Your Faithful

March 17, 2013

“Sad Landon, Existential Donovan, Forlorn Landycakes – call him whatever you like, there’s a lot of talk about Landon Donovan these days, and rightfully so. Start with tepid National Team performances under Jurgen Klinsmann, add in a less star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy, and dabble in concerns about the marketing prospects of MLS, and you’ve got a concoction that’s led us all to agree that the world is coming to an end, and that Donovan-mania – can we use the term Landonicism? – is our only refuge from the impending catastrophe.” futbol intellect


Match Fixing a Greater Threat to Football than any Super League Plan

March 17, 2013

“While the world and its blogger were getting hot under the collar this week about satirical articles on French football websites, men in Qatar with ties who don’t know anything and a man who probably only lives in Sheffield, a statement on the FA’s website points to the story which ought really to be ringing alarm bells for English football. It’s easy to focus on the big money story, the primal fears of wealthy Arab oil men buying ‘our’ game, but the likelihood is that the prerogative of short-term politics will win the day. There is no Dream league, the major European clubs appear to have dialled back on the breakaway rhetoric which they were employing after the FIFA corruption scandal first burst into life, and the likelihood of Qatar fomenting a revolution against football’s authorities is small. After all, why would they need a revolution when they can just buy themselves a World Cup?” 2nd Yellow


City’s back three come unstuck against Toffees

March 17, 2013

“EVERTON 2-0 MANCHESTER CITY: At a time when the back three is out of fashion in much of the world, Italy has a style of its own. Last week, the majority of managers in Serie A ignored the footballing orthodoxy that four players start in defence. This week, the Premier League’s most famous exiled Italian did likewise.” ESPN


The Saints get their Pope

March 17, 2013

“Crowds thronging Saint Peter’s Square on Wednesday to welcome the new Pope knew that, quite apart from the fact his predecessor is still alive, they were witnessing an historic event. Francisco I (as he’s known on his home continent) is the first Latin American to become leader of the world’s Catholics, and also the first Jesuit. Of course, everyone who had their Papal fact-checking priorities right had only one question on their minds; which football team does this Argentine Pope support?” ESPN