Bust and boom, Russian football style

January 25, 2016

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“This morning I grabbed a coffee with a friend who works with a national championship club here in Russia. In the luxurious surrounds of the McCafe near Kievskaya Station we discussed the impending doom in his club. We’d soldiered together in 2010/11 and, then, at just 25, he was ready for greater things. I recommended him to a position with a Moscow-based club and after only four months he was brought away to a National Championship club to work his magic there. As we drank our cappuccinos he began to tell about a coming bust.” backpagefootball

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Tactical Analysis – Norwich City 4 Liverpool 5

January 25, 2016

“In what proved to be the craziest game of the season up to now, Norwich’s selection contributed with high level of peculiarity. Neil made four changes from the team that started their last game against Bournemouth, which looked nothing major, especially ast two of the players who started here were regulars (Dorrans and Redmond). Naismith starting this game also wasn’t a surprise given he’s already well accustomed to the demands of the league following his period at Everton. It was only the inclusion of new right-back Pinto that raised eyebrows, more so given Neil’s pre-game comments that he wouldn’t rush to play his overseas signings so soon after joining the club.” Tomkins Times


Italy’s Latast Golden Boy

January 25, 2016

“The province of Varese is far to the north of Italy, almost a part of Switzerland, a narrow corridor of land sandwiched between Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. In the small town of Leggiuno on November 7, 1944, there was born in this district Italy’s current footballing idol, Luigi Riva. You don’t get close to appreciating Riva’s personality unless you see it in this context – the context of a country boy, one orphaned at an early age, who still prefers to spend a part of each summer close-season in the province of Varese indulging in a spot of quiet fishing, and visiting friends made in his youthful years on a thoroughly informal basis.” In Bed With Maradona


Top South American clubs launch Liga Sudamericana to challenge disgraced CONMEBOL

January 25, 2016

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“Last week, 15 of South America’s top soccer clubs got together in Montevideo, Uruguay, and decided to create an organization named Liga Sudamericana, or the ‘South American League’ (as in ‘League of Nations,’ not ‘Premier League’). And even though the organization has no clear leadership yet, it does have a clear purpose: to shift the power balance from CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, to clubs looking to depend less and less on the discredited continental confederation for their earnings.” Fusion


Ciao! Italia 90

January 25, 2016

“The coordinated effort to develop of a coherent visual identity for the Italian World Cup. ‘A three-dimensionally accessible idea, future technological games, televised images, consumerism’. These are the words of Lucio Boscardin – author of the lanky Ciao! mascot – which appear on the pages of Epoca in November 1986, the day following the unveiling of the visual identity of the Italia 90 football World Cup, crystallising the visionary spirit of his project. After all, concepts such as ‘future’ and ‘technology’ would become recurring themes in the artistic project behind a tournament which aimed to renovate Italy’s image, distancing the ‘bel paese’ from its inalienable provincialisms and stereotypes.” Copa90


Around Europe: Mourinho looms over Man United; Argentine attackers star

January 25, 2016

“As the transfer window gets set to shut and teams in Europe’s top leagues take stock of where they stand, significant developments continued to unfold around the continent. Arsenal, down to 10 men, lost ground in the title race after a London derby defeat, while Manchester United also slipped again at home in the Premier League. Real Madrid dropped its first points under Zinedine Zidane, while Pep Guardiola is facing another injury-induced challenge at Bayern Munich. Two Argentine strikers are fighting it out for top honors in Italy, while in France, the title race is over already. Here is what caught our eye Around Europe this week.” SI


Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Alli, Firmino, Payet

January 25, 2016

“Behind them, heavyweights Manchester City and Arsenal both slipped up in their pursuit, with Tottenham gaining ground on the duo with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. Manchester United are now five points shy of fourth spot following their home defeat by Southampton. But who were the outstanding performers? Here are my selections…” BBC