The Bayern Supremacy: The most attractive club in the World

“The abundance of football talent that’s on display for the entire world to see week-in week-out is unreal. What’s even more intriguing is the fact that so many players sustain the same level of performance over the span of the entire season. The quality of players in a club in a given season predominantly defines its chances of winning silverware in that season. However, in my opinion, success isn’t measured merely by the number of trophies a club has in its cabinet. There are other facets – such as a good reputation, loyal fans, consistent performances, etc., which can be built only in the long run. Therefore, a club that produces generations of quality players that consistently win trophies, creating history at every possible turn, is a lot more respectable and likable than clubs that achieve success overnight.” Outside of the Boot


Why can’t Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho just get along?

“It would have been an enormous shock for Juan Mata last summer, when he realised he had been deemed unsuitable for the strategy of the incoming Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho. Not only had Mata been consistently exceptional throughout his first two seasons in English football, he’d also thrived under three different managers — and, arguably, in four very different systems. The first system was under Andre Villas-Boas, an ideologue who refused to compromise his major beliefs during his period at Chelsea. This involved a high defensive line, and transferring the ball quickly into attack. Mata had a huge responsibility — he arrived as the main playmaker for a club who’d been without a player of his creative potential for years, arguably since Gianfranco Zola in the pre-Abramovich days.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

Atletico Madrid proving tackling can be a quality

“This weekend, Atletico Madrid host Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium in the biggest game of the European season so far. The two sides are level on points, and therefore it is literally a top of the table clash – La Liga’s rules mean teams are separated by head-to-head results rather than goal difference, and therefore having not played each other this season, the sides can’t be separated. Halfway through the season, La Liga’s best two clubs are neck-and-neck, joint first.” Zonal Marking

Lionel Messi: Are Barcelona a better team without him?

“Barcelona manager Tata Martino faces a major selection dilemma as he prepares for Saturday’s table-topping La Liga meeting with Atletico Madrid. Don’t feel too sorry for the Argentine boss, though, because Martino is contemplating the ultimate ‘nice problem to have’ as he wrestles with the conundrum of how to accommodate fit-again compatriot Lionel Messi in his team. Messi is just back from a hamstring injury, having made his return in spectacular fashion with a two-goal substitute’s outing in Wednesday’s 4-0 thrashing of Getafe in the Copa del Rey.” BBC

Putting the big bucks to better use

“There are some interesting firsts in Irish media history, one of them is the first live field sports broadcast in Europe on the national radio station, 2RN as it was then, which covered a hurling match between Galway and Kilkenny. This was not without controversy though; the GAA worried that live broadcast of the game could affect attendance and insisted that the coverage of the game start only after a post kick-off delay. This was not unique to the GAA; in Britain such was the concern that radio or TV coverage could affect the all-important revenue generating gate receipts that for decades conservative forces in the FA and club ownership fought against the regular live broadcast of matches or even of extended highlight packages.” Backpage Football

Whatever Is God’s Will: Juary

“Back in the early eighties Italy was the centre of the world of football and would remain such for the best part of a decade. The richest clubs in the world played in the Serie A and, in turn, these attracted the best players. Juventus had Platini and Boniek, Napoli played to the tune set by Maradona whilst AC Milan had the trio of Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard. Even a small club like Udinese could attract a player like Zico. If the Serie A was the cream of world football, then Avellino was the curd. Promoted to the Serie A for the first time in 1978, they had defied expectation by staying there year after year despite being billed as relegation favourites at the start of each season.” In Bed With Maradona