100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Defenders 10 – 1

December 21, 2014

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Marquinhos
“Following the huge success of our 2014 list, we have compiled a list of the 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 under our Talent Radar feature after careful evaluation and consultation. For more details on how we went about this and any other questions you may have, read these FAQs.” Outside of the Boot


Real Madrid’s tactical flexibility allows for success in multiple ways

December 21, 2014

“Real Madrid’s recent dominance culminates in the club’s first chance to win the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday. In brushing off Cruz Azul, 4-0, in the semifinals, Real again showed its versatility as likely the most complete team in the world. Club president Florentino Pérez and his philosophy of buying the best talent available fits with manager Carlo Ancelotti’s tactical flexibility. Ancelotti has a swath of individual talent at his disposal that ensures minimal need for overarching structure in attack. Of course, as a disciple of famous AC Milan tactician Arrigo Sacchi, Ancelotti would never be able to eschew defensive discipline. A staunch 4-4-2 in defense gives way to a 4-3-3 hybrid in possession that allows free rein for devastating combinations and individual play in the final third.” SI


FIFA Agrees to Release Redacted Ethics Report

December 21, 2014

“FIFA said on Friday that it would release a redacted version of the 430-page report compiled by Michael J. Garcia, the former chief investigator for the governing body of soccer’s ethics committee, who spent more than a year digging into allegations of corruption in the World Cup bidding process. Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, announced the decision at a news conference in Morocco, at which he also said that the 2018 World Cup would take place in Russia as planned and that the 2022 event would remain in Qatar because there were no legal grounds for a revote.” NY Times


Martin Odegaard tries Bayern Munich but is it a case of too much, too young?

December 21, 2014

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“In November 2003, Lionel Messi made his debut for Barcelona in a friendly to inaugurate Porto’s new stadium. He was 16 years and 145 days old, and the third youngest player to play for the club. The youngest had been Paulino Alcántara in 1912, the second-youngest Haruna Babangida in 1998. The contrasting fortunes of the three say much about the difficulties of predicting which players will make it. Messi has gone on to be one of the greatest payers in the history of the game. Alcántara was – until Messi came along – Barcelona’s record goalscorer (and he gave up the game at 31 to become a doctor). Babangida never played a competitive game for Barcelona, won only one cap for Nigeria and ended up drifting through Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiakos, Apollon Limassol, Kuban Krasnodar, Mainz, Vitesse and the Austrian second-tier side Kapfenberger before retiring in 2012.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Multi-club Ownerships: The Future of Football?

December 21, 2014

“With a new wave of businessmen looking to exploit football, the young talent in involved and the monetary benefit all within the rules of the game, we are witness to rising multi-club ownerships. Stuart Reid throws light in this comprehensive article on what he believes is the future of football. A multi-club ownership (or MCO for short) is when an individual, or a group of individuals working as a collaboration, own more than one club. The reasons behind owning more than one club vary chairman to chairman, but it ultimately all boils down to one thing – money.” Outside of the Boot


Who’s Going to Win the Club World Cup? Related: Who Cares?

December 21, 2014

“FIFA maintains a common design across all of its trophies: A globe in the style of a soccer ball is the dominant centerpiece. Its depiction illustrates — however ham-handedly — the universal resonance of soccer, and perhaps only the iconic World Cup trophy is as impressive as the prize handed to the winners of the Club World Cup. But despite all of that shimmering symbolism, club soccer’s world championship can’t escape irrelevance.” Grantland


Liverpool signings by Brendan Rodgers – hits or misses?

December 21, 2014

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
“I am a fan of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and rate him highly as a coach, but he has spent £206.5m since taking over at Anfield and does not have much to show for it. Rodgers signs a lot of young players and keeps talking about improving them for the future. He has done that since he took charge in 2012 and he deserves credit for having that approach. Unfortunately for him, with Liverpool struggling for form, the bottom line is that he needs players for today, not tomorrow.” BBC


Why are the once invincible Arsenal now big-game chokers?

December 21, 2014

“Sometimes it truly is difficult to understand why those in charge are the ones that are standing on the bridge of the ship when it goes down under the same circumstances time and time again. It will never be up for debate if Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest managers in the history of English football, and despite the last eight or nine years of him masochistically shooting himself in his own foot, his place in the annals of the English game are all but assured. The question that so many continue to debate, right up to the current season no less, is why Arsenal are incapable of getting one over on their title rivals.” Outside of the Boot


Analysis: Emiliano Velazquez’s Exceptional Start to life in La Liga with Getafe

December 21, 2014

“Emiliano Velazquez continued his impressive form in La Liga this term by putting in another solid defensive showing against the inordinate talents of Barcelona’s frontline. In the driving rain, Velazquez and his side did an outstanding job keeping the score to 0-0. After the match, Velazquez spoke of his side’s terrific effort and how it was great to keep his compatriot Luis Suarez goalless.” Licence to Roam