Xavi gets tough: Basic hotels, communal meals and early arrivals demanded by Barcelona’s new head coach

December 6, 2021


“Three weeks back at Barcelona, after six years away in Qatar, Xavi has already begun to set in place the deep structural changes he has long planned to make on and off the pitch at the Nou Camp. The most visible immediate changes have been with the team — in Xavi’s first three games in charge Barcelona have been playing with more confidence and intensity, pressing higher and harder, taking more risks, breaking forward with more players. The doom and gloom that surrounded the Catalan club through the final stages of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s disastrous presidency has also been replaced by a wave of positivity and optimism — a feeling that despite the club’s huge debts and unbalanced squad they have turned a corner. That feeling is also shared by Xavi. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Xavi is the epitome of Barcelona brilliance but times have changed


Midfielder

December 6, 2021


Kevin De Bruyne
“A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team’s defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a strictly-defined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team’s formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield. Most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing team’s attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match. Midfielders arguably have the most possession during a game, and thus they are among the fittest players on the pitch. …”
Wikipedia
TOP 10 CENTRAL ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS IN FOOTBALL RIGHT NOW
The 10 best midfielders in world soccer right now


Three forgotten men and the birth of Iraq’s national football team

December 6, 2021


“In 2001, exactly 50 years after the Iraqi national team was formed, I made a discovery. I was reading a comment on the old sports forum about a player named Saeed Easho. It was the start to unearthing the story of Iraq’s first national team. Many years later I contacted the ex-footballer, and through him it seemed as if everything fell into place. He had spent the best part of 60 years living outside Iraq so no one knew what had happened to the centre-half of Iraq’s first national side. …”
Guardian
amazon: Birth of the Lions of Mesopotamia: The early years of football in Iraq