Five reasons Barcelona won La Liga

May 24, 2015

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“Xavi Hernandez lifted the domestic league trophy in front of the adoring Camp Nou on Saturday in what was an emotional farewell to the most influential midfielder in the Catalans’ history. Although Cules are obviously delighted to be celebrating their 23rd Liga title, their team has been forced to overcome plenty of adversity to reach their objective. Here are five reasons Barcelona won La Liga.” ESPN


A Copa Libertadores stoush that’s worth watching

May 24, 2015

“They get to see the best players from the four corners of the globe, in the arena where it really matters – where they want to prove their class to themselves and their peers. All of this takes place in magnificent stadiums in an atmosphere that respects and gives value to the spectacle. The Copa Libertadores can hardly compete. Recent versions of the FIFA Club World Cup have served to confirm the view that the distance between top level club football in Europe and South America has never been wider. True, my adopted continent remains a magnificent producer of raw talent – indeed, it can be argued that the national team game in South America has never been stronger. That, of course, is when all the star names come back from Europe briefly to represent their countries. It is wonderful – a magnificent pleasure and an enormous privilege – to catch some of these players on the way up.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


The season that was in Ligue 1

May 24, 2015

“At the beginning of every season in Ligue 1 ever since the takeover of Qatari ownership of Paris Saint Germain, the running gag in France isn’t who will win the Ligue 1 title, but when will PSG clinch it and how many points will they win it by. It’s a blessing and a curse to have a club who talent wise are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Sadly one of the curses is that the domestic races involving PSG have involved the Parisian club finishing on average 10.5 points ahead of second place over the past two seasons.” backpagefootball


Searching the Stats

May 24, 2015

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“He’s made a name for himself as a Football Manager fiction writer, but here on PNIG, Chris Darwen turns his hand to how stats can be used in the game. Friday, 8 May 2015. 20:28. This is what happens when a story-teller starts to try and understand the game a little more. This is what happens when I start to read a book and try and apply it to the real world of FM. This is what happens when all the little things that I have thought about for the last 20 years of football management gaming all falls into place.” Put Niels In Goal


Construction Time Again

May 24, 2015

“As half-time fare it seemed a little unusual. Boris Yuzefpolsky returned to his seat in the press box of the Central Stadium in Russia’s far-eastern city of Yekaterinburg and eyed the lightly frosted savoury lump handed to him by a stadium official. The words FC URAL were carefully baked into its top. A freezing 45 minutes later Yuzefpolsky tapped out the headline for his match report. ‘Gingerbread cookies don’t help as Ural go down 3-1 in their final match at the Central Stadium.’ After this, attention turns to the 2018 World Cup and a major remodelling programme for the arena. There are more numbers in Yuzefpolsky’s report. In three and a half years at the stadium FC Ural Sverdlovskaya Oblast have taken in 54 Russian Premier League matches, attended by 467,000 fans who have cheered 14 victories and 128 goals.” In Bed With Maradona


Ancelotti decision will be the first move of Real Madrid’s active summer

May 24, 2015

“Carlo Ancelotti is in no rush to take off his shoes, roll up his trousers and go paddling in the Mediterranean Sea. ‘I am not in a hurry to go on holiday,’ he said on Friday as he pondered a meeting with Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez next week. ‘Madrid is a holiday city, I can stay here.’ Many expect those talks with El Real’s president to end with Ancelotti being asked to clear out his office at Valdebebas. Thanks for the Champions League last season, Carlo, but it’s probably best if you go and get a job somewhere else now.” Fusion