Yellow Dog: Croatia’s First Superstar

September 29, 2013

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“These are the words of Bernard ‘Bajdo’ Vukas – which can be seen engraved upon his tombstone – whose name is equally revered by those who never saw him play just as much as by those that did. Born on May 1st 1927 in the Trešnjevci district of Zagreb, in what was then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Vukas’ early life saw him eventually grow up to be a Dinamo Zagreb supporter. This was in no small part down to the intervention of his father, Vinko, who it is said, took his belt to his 10-year-old ‘fakin’ or ‘urchin’ son for daring to follow Partizan Belgrade instead.” In Bed With Maradona (Video)

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Ronaldinho’s thigh injury blow to comeback hopes

September 29, 2013

“The torn thigh muscle he sustained in training last week is, amazingly enough, the most serious injury Ronaldinho has had in his long career — and its timing is most unfortunate. There were occasions over the past five years when it would hardly have mattered, times when a once-great player seemed barely interested in his extraordinary gift for the game. But however naturally talented, it is almost unthinkable that someone can become as good at anything as Ronaldinho was at his height without being truly in love with the activity. Skills take countless hours of honing.” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Chelsea: Tactical Analysis

September 29, 2013

“Tottenham hosted Chelsea on a sunny Saturday afternoon for their second London derby of the season. The big draw however, was the battle between the two managers, AVB and Mourinho, who had worked together in the past. Of course, the other big motivation was AVB going up against his former club. In truth, a lot more was also at stake, with 3 key points being the biggest prize for the winner. Spurs started the game strongly, with a back-line of Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson and Naughton. In midfield, Dembele and Paulinho were the pivot, with Eriksen ahead of them. Townsend started on the right, and Sigurdsson on the left, Soldado was the one up front.” Outside of the Boot


Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Tactical Analysis

September 29, 2013

“The tides are changing in Spanish football, or so it seems, with the ‘other’ club from the capital city progressing last campaign and impressing in this one. After an explosive start to the campaign, Atletico Madrid were looking to make it 7 wins out of 7, hours after Barcelona beat their own record to get maximum points after 7 games. For Real Madrid it was a case of avenging the Copa del Rey defeat from last season. Going into the game, Real were already 5 points behind Barcelona and risked going behind Atletico by the same gap, a win however would take them over their now ‘noisy neighbours’.” Outside of the Boot


Jose Mourinho & Andre Villas-Boas must focus on rebuilding jobs

September 29, 2013

“The debate and sub-plots surrounding the failed friendship of Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho, the man who shaped the Tottenham manager’s early coaching career at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, dominated the background to their first meeting in direct opposition.” BBC


Lionel Messi injured in Barcelona’s win; Atletico beats Real Madrid

September 29, 2013

David Villa, Eric Abidal, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta
“Atletico Madrid’s record-setting 1-0 win over Real Madrid brought an emphatic end to its crosstown rival’s 14-year unbeaten league run in their Spanish capital derby on Saturday. On-form Diego Costa struck in the 11th minute and not even Gareth Bale in his home debut for Madrid could help it rally. Atletico’s big win came after Lionel Messi scored before being substituted due to injury to help Barcelona win 2-0 at Almeria. Barcelona and Atletico set club records by staying perfect through seven rounds to start the season, opening up a five-point gap over Madrid.” SI


Rodgers and Liverpool have the cyclic nature of football on their side

September 29, 2013

“Great sides come and go. Clubs rise to greatness and fall back into the pack like the monthly tides, with the exceptions able to be counted on one hand. Teams like Ajax come to mind, who in the mid-seventies rose to the forefront of Europe under the brilliance of Johan Cruyff only to fade from glory on the European stage for some twenty years after. For manager Brenden Rodgers and Liverpool Football Club, however, the time has never been riper to wrestle back control of the Premier League from their rivals at Manchester United.” Soccer Politics