Marek Hamsik’s creativity ideal for Rafa Benitez’s Napoli revolution

August 25, 2013

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Marek Hamsik
“It has been an exciting summer of coaching changes across Europe: The top seven favourites for the Champions League, the top three in England, the top two in Spain, plus the champions of France, Germany and Portugal all started 2013-14 with a new manager. In Italy, somewhat surprisingly, it’s been quieter. Of last season’s top four, Juventus’ Antonio Conte, Milan’s Max Allegri and Fiorentina’s Vincenzo Montella remain in their positions having performed extremely impressively, albeit in different ways, last season.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

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Coping with Caspian winds of change: How are Anzhi Makhachkala evolving this season?

August 25, 2013

“When Suleyman Kerimov took over Anzhi in January 2011, there was little immediate interest from the wider footballing world. When Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos made his way to the Makhachkala club just a month later, the deal made the sports pages in a number of nations, but largely for the same reasons – Carlos was long past his best, looking for one last pay-day, and abuse received at Corinthians was the perfect excuse for him to move to Russia for comfortable semi-retirement.” Think Football


A Sardinian Summer: The Forgotten Story Of the Chicago Mustangs

August 25, 2013

“Cagliari Calcio are an altogether unremarkable football club. For much of their existence they have been a yo-yo team, alternating between promotion and relegation and oftentimes languishing in the rustic depths of the Serie C, the third tier of Italian football. In their 93 years of existence they have conquered just one piece of silverware, a lone Scudetto won in 1970. In those brief glory years they were led by the inspirational Gigi Riva, the all-time leading goalscorer of the Italian National team. Since their latest promotion to the top flight in 2004 they have managed to stave off relegation but have been in a perpetual state of purgatory; too far off the top to the table to harbor realistic European ambitions, yet too far from the bottom to risk a return to Serie B. Their record is, for the most part, unexceptional. Yet in a curious episode long forgotten in the annals of football history, for a brief period of time they were known as the Chicago Mustangs. For one fleeting summer, Cagliari Calcio, the team from the picturesque Mediterranean island of Sardinia, used Comiskey Park on the South Side of Chicago as their home ground. This is their story.” In Bed With Maradona


Trautmann and Germany

August 25, 2013

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City’s Bert Trautmann is knocked out during their FA Cup final in 1956
“After the passing of Bernhard ‘Bert’ Trautmann mid-July the obituaries appeared to reduce his life to 2 facts: the re-education of a former Nazi simply by the kindness and humility of the British people and the 1956 FA Cup Final. For Trautmann himself, this was not very particularly pleasing as he stated repeatedly.” Do not mention the war


The pratfalls of moving abroad

August 25, 2013

“In a couple of weeks, when Australia travels to meet Brazil, Mile Jedinak may well be locked in midfield battle with Paulinho – just as the two were last Sunday at Selhurst Park. I was in the crowd for the opening weekend of the season clash between newly promoted Crystal Palace and a Tottenham team rebuilt in a bid to make into next year’s Champions League. On his competitive debut Paulinho had a solid enough game as Tottenham won by the only goal. But in an outgunned side, Jedinak was a candidate for man of the match. The Socceroos’ central midfielder had an excellent game shielding the Palace centre backs. He was so quick to spot any danger to his side, allowing him to snuff out any number of Tottenham attacks. In possession he did his best to knit the side together with safe, crisp distribution.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Bundesliga turns 50: Konietzka will never be forgotten

August 25, 2013

“Lothar Emmerich throws his hands in the air. SV Werder Bremen ‘keeper Klaus Lambertz, his head towards the goal-line, has been beaten by Friedhelm ‘Timo’ Konietzka, who turns away celebrating. A Bremen player is down on the ground, shocked. The old stadium clock at Bremen’s Weserstadion still shows 5pm. It is August 24, 1963. Konietzka, born on August 2, 1938, in Lunen, a small town north of Dortmund, has scored the first ever Bundesliga goal.” ESPN (Video)