The case for Lionel Messi for SI’s 2015 Sportsman of the Year

November 21, 2015


“To understand just how good Lionel Messi was this year, you have to go back to his lowest point. It was January 4, Messi started on substitutes’ bench and Barcelona lost 1-0 at lowly Real Sociedad. The following day, Messi missed training with ‘a stomach bug,’ which is a euphemism in Spain for playing hooky. Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona’s sporting director, was sacked. Luis Enrique, the coach, was said to have offered to resign. Sandro Rosell, the president, resigned soon after over transfer irregularities. English clubs were readying bids for Messi. In short, Barcelona was in crisis.” SI


Tactical Analysis: Argentina 1-1 Brazil | Argentina improve but to no avail

November 21, 2015

“Last Friday, the South American derby between Argentina and Brazil was played. The game should have been played on Thursday but had to be suspended due to heavy rain that fell on Buenos Aires. The match found an Argentine team without two of their stars, with Messi and Agüero both out injured and this only added to the absence of Carlos Tevez. Martino’s team started with a 4-3-3 system, while Dunga used a 4-2-3-1 system, trying to stop the Argentine midfield, and cut the creative circuit.” Outside of the Boot


Pass Me The Ball! Serie A Striker Involvement 2015-16

November 21, 2015

“It’s a fact: Mauro Icardi, the joint top goal-scorer of the 2014/2015 edition of Serie A (together with Luca Toni), is struggling to find the net this season. Last season he recorded 0.56 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes, but for the early stages of 2015/2016 his scoring rate has dropped to 0.35 non-penalty goals per 90. His non-blocked conversion rate of 20% has stayed essentially unvaried compared to the 19% observed last season, but his shots numbers have literally nosedived in the 10 games he has played so far. A rate of 3.8 shots per 90 had decreased by 54% this season, to just 1.7 shots p90. Why has this happened? Apparently, the Argentinian himself knows the answer.” Stats Bomb


The Academy Series | 10 best Boca Juniors products: Tevez, Gago, and Banega feature

November 21, 2015

“Recently crowned Argentinian Primera champions Boca Juniors are undisputedly one of the biggest and most successful clubs in South America and over their celebrated history have brought through countless players who have gone on to make a huge impact in the game. Since their foundation in 1905, their academy has produced international stars such as infamous Antonio Rattin and world cup winners Oscar Ruggeri and Alberto Tarrantini.” Outside of the Boot


The Ten Oldest Stadiums in Spain

November 21, 2015

“Before I start, I have to admit that there is a flaw in a club claiming to have the oldest stadium. It’s a bit like Trigger’s Broom (or Theseus’ Paradox if you’re that way inclined). Can something which has had all of its component parts replaced over the course of time, remain fundamentally the same? Well for the sake of this article, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. Quite simply here are the 10 oldest stadiums in Spain. Just a couple of criteria apply; The current stadium has to be on the site of the original ground and it must have hosted a match in any of Spain’s top three tiers. So in reverse order, in at number 10 is… ” Inside Spanish Football


Football Cities: Exeter

November 21, 2015

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“When football writers talk about provincial footballing sides and cities a few familiar names crop up, such as Nottingham and Derby. These definitely fall into the category of ‘not London’ and smaller than the UK’s other major conurbations, but are still relatively large in size and success. When you start heading out to the geographical margins, however, life as a football club is a little less illustrious and more of a battle for interest and survival. As a modestly-sized city with a team that has only occasionally threatened the third tier of English football, Exeter is firmly in the latter camp. Where a football club takes root and grows can be due a number of factors.” thetwounfortunates, W – Exeter City F.C.


The Beauty (and Boredom) of Bayern’s Brain

November 21, 2015

“Pep Guardiola continues to redefine what we expect from the world’s best managers. His Bayern Munich side are undefeated in the Bundesliga this season, with 11 wins out of 12, and have already established a staggering goal differential of +33. They won the league title and appeared in back-to-back Champions League semi-finals during his first two seasons in charge. Under his reign, they average a staggering 72% possession per game.” 8by8


Hulk now proving his worth to Dunga and the Selecao

November 21, 2015

“I’ll get the cliche out the way early: Hulk really has been incredible this season. When Stan Lee created the Marvel character he certainly wouldn’t have expected the slogan ‘The Incredible Hulk’ to be applied to a Brazilian footballer, however, it epitomizes Hulk’s form this term and a Selecao career that had seemingly run its course is now back in full swing.” Outside of the Boot


1985/86 Week: After The Apocalypse – A Video Introduction

November 21, 2015

“The sense of decay had been growing around English football for a long time, in the run-up to the start of the 1985/86 season. Attendances had been falling year on year, hooliganism had become an increasingly visible problem, and a number of different clubs had found balancing their books a greater and greater challenge. During the first five months of 1985, however, the feeling had grown that this was more than just a malaise that would be put right. Crowd violence at matches had become increasingly visible as more and more matches were televised, with such incidents as full blown riots during matches between Luton Town and Millwall in the FA Cup and between Chelsea and Sunderland in the League Cup showing levels of violence that hadn’t been seen before in English grounds.” twohundredpercent (Video)