Monday, October 31, 2011

A Dying Breed?

Pep Guardiola, the fantastic trainer of Barcelona, and once their midfielder was asked once a few years ago why he retired, and he felt it was because his role as a passing, deep-lying playmaker role at central midfield was simply a dying breed, and that he was no longer needed at the highest level, "The emphasis, as far as central midfielders are concerned, is all on the defensive work, " he said before adding that "players like me have become extinct." Guardiola went on to say that twenty years ago, players like him were valued, and clubs appreciated a playmaking, distributing central midfielder, but that times have changed, and teams now look for defensive, athletic midfielders that can disrupt an offense. The only player Guardiola mentions as being the exception to the rule, is Andrea Pirlo, who at that time reigned supreme at Milan. The football world is changing again, with the playmaking midfielders are being embraced again, and it is no wonder that Pirlo still reigns supreme in that role. Milan prematurely got rid of Pirlo in the summer, preferring the young, athletic, defensive minded midfielders like Kevin-Prince Boateng or Alberto Aquilani, but Milan is regretting that move already. At Juventus, Pirlo has shown that his passing range is still there, and when needed to be can still disrupt an offense without being overly aggressive, like for example his old partner Rino Gattuso. It's players like Guardiola, Pirlo, and others such as Mazzone that have kept that dream alive, of central midfielders that don't need pace or to be a tackler, and instead can be a creator, a ballplayer, and beautiful. It's so ironic that Pep Guardiola embodied the same characteristics of Andrea Pirlo when he was a player, displaying an incredible mix of vision, calmness, and passing ability, and maybe that is why he speaks so highly of him now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How Lionel Messi Compares to the World's All-Time Greatest Footballers

Lionel “Leo” Messi is everywhere you look. He’s on television promoting the latest pair of soccer cleats, where a transcendent montage shows him sprinting around hapless defenders and jumping—or flying—through tacklers, arms outstretched, his body suspended in mid-air while the camera zooms in on the shoes.

He’s all over the internet, dominating message boards, fan pages, advertisements, and websites everywhere. Messi’s Facebook page has over 28 million fans, which is more than the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, and LA Lakers combined.

Messi’s Youtube videos have millions of hits, and the endless footage of him striking wonder goals from all over the pitch provides innumerable highlights for teenage mashup artists, who will inevitably create a Messi/Eminem music montage for the billionth time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sustaining Major League Soccer's Popularity

Major League Soccer is establishing itself as a viable sporting entity in the United States, but there are still many soccer (and non-soccer) fans who see it as a “minor league,” a place where the not-good-enough's play, a feeder system for the European leagues, and a retirement home where aging superstars end their careers.

But the MLS is growing, and the teams are getting more competitive, but there are still some things that can be done to boost its popularity.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review Of Soccer Jersey - Umbro Peru 2011-13 Home Jersey

Recently new special football jerseys have been launched for many national teams to be worn for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualification rounds. One of those teams is Peru which launched their new jerseys a few weeks ago. Officially, the Peru Umbro 2011/2012 home jersey will be used during the first part of the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualification campaign. There are some similarities with the old jerseys and the new jerseys, as well as some differences. For example, the new style will incorporate the traditional white shirt of Peru with a red sash on the shirt depicting the Incan empire of Tawantinsuyo and its flag, and the Unancha on its collar and neckline. The 2011-2012 Peru home jersey made its on field debut on October 7th when Peru met Paraguay in Lima for the first match of their 2014 World Cup qualifying run. These soccer jerseys soon be available at Soccer Plus and other major retailers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mario Balotelli Set to Light Premier League Aflame

The young man knows how to set fires, as evidenced by his recent escapade involving fireworks and his home bathroom. Mario Balotelli also knows how to light up the scoreboard on the pitch. In Manchester City's grand 6-1 thrashing of crosstown rivals United, the Italian netted two goals and also drew a foul that resulted in Jonny Evans' sending off. Clearly he was the man of the match. Please bear in mind that this was probably one of the single greatest matches for any Manchester City fan in their whole history.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Road for South America in World Cup 2014!

World Cup qualification is competitive all over the world, perhaps none greater than South America. So far, two rounds have gone, and of the nine teams in contention, only two have yet to win a game. The other seven teams have a win to their name, but nobody has two wins, showing once again how tough it is to qualify in South America. Even taking facts aside, anyone who has watched the recent qualifiers in South America has mentioned of how competitive and even the teams appear to be. Obviously, Brazil is not in the field this time, qualifying automatically as the 2014 host, but even without Brazil, teams will probably win a trip to the world cup at the end of a long and bumpy road, full of pitfalls, particularly away from home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wayne Rooney Does it Again In Englands Final Qualifying Soccer Game

Wayne Rooney known for volatile and explosive temper did it again when he was sent off in England's final qualifying game, a 2-2 draw at Montenegro. In the process, FIFA ruled that Rooney will have to sit out the first three game of the 2012 Euro tournament. England's coach Fabio Capello now faces the decision of leaving Rooney out of the squad, given that he could only take part in the quartefinals onward, if England even gets that far. It seems that Rooney has not gotten over his demons yet, considering the fact that he's been down this road before, most notably during the 2006 soccer world cup when he red-carded during the 62nd minute of a quartefinals match against Portugal by stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. That incident, along with many others have hurt Wayne Rooney's reputation among experts, past greats, and even fans when comparing current top players. They often point to Rooney's inability to control his temper as a citing factor in why he cannot be considered among the upper echelon of players. Unfortunately, for Wayne Rooney this incident will likely hurt his national team even more, as England will have to play without its best player for the first three games of the 2012 EURO championship.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Arsene Wenger A Soccer Legacy vs. A Football Reality

With each new loss, Arsene Wenger faces the humiliating task of denying the weekly rumors of his impending doom. Obviously, with one of Arsenal’s worst starts in ages, Wenger is under an enormous amount of stress and pressure, and his gray hair, furrowed brows, and unchanging tight frown make him appear much older than his actual age of 61. Despite his lanky figure and grandfatherly image, the name Arsene Wenger is synonymous with youth and quickness. This is Wenger’s legacy: developing undiscovered young talent and transforming kids into superstars, implementing them into the Arsenal system that he created, one that features quick passing, fluid movement, and possession control.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is This Barcelona Soccer Team the Best Football Squad Ever?

I think it would take either a fool or a die hard fan to argue against the fact that the current Barcelona squad is the best soccer team in the world at the moment. They have won the Spanish league three times in a row and have won the Champions League twice in the past three years. Great victories combined with beautiful play have put this side into the history books as one of the legends of the game. But are we witnessing the best team ever? There are at least four other great teams that come to my mind in the discussion, and each can make a strong case for top honors:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Is USA Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann in Trouble?

Jurgen Klinsmann, the enigmatic USA coach has the United States soccer public confused lately as to how good he was advertised. Although, Klinsmann was not brought over here to save U.S soccer, seriously who could, but he was advertised as something of a minor savior, having been a former great player of Germany, and later as the coach that implemented that ferocious attack of team Germany during the 2006 World Cup. However, since taking over there have been three lackluster performances, with one draw and two defeats in three matches, and patience is starting to wear thin. Klinsmann will continue to have an easier ride than someone like Bob Bradley, because there is this feeling among Americans, that Klinsmann, a foreigner understands the sport far better than an American coach would. Klinsmann favors an attacking offensive style, and the plan is to prepare the team that can compete in the 2014 World Cup, and that can manage better than the one Bradley managed in 2010. However, with 3 lackluster performances so far that featured a dismal offensive attack, Klinsmann has started to think. The feeling is Klinsmann is thinking long-term, while thinking of ways how to utilize this soccer team offensively and defensively in better ways than Bradley did, therefore we should not expect short-term results. However, what we do know is that coaches are always the first ones to go when things don't go right, unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eight Great Matches for Euro 2012 Soccer Qualifying Matches

As the qualifying rounds come to a close in preperation for the Euro 2012 International tournament next summer, prepare for heavy drama to ensue. Most of the big boys are already good to go, including the nations of Spain, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. However, there are a few omissions from powerful nations like France and England, whose troubling campaigns now require perfection in the upcoming week. Most likely, both countries will qualify without too much difficulty, but the battle for the remaining eight nations (Poland and the Ukraine qualified automatically as hosts) will be to the death, and these eight matches will be the most exciting of the upcoming week. National pride and summer trips are all on the line:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hristo the Great! The Most Underrated Football Scorer of His Time

Of all the great scorers of the past 20 years in soccer, perhaps the most dominating was Hristo Stoichkov. In this single aspect of scoring the ball, Stoichkov was one, if not the most feared player of all time. Combined with his explosive acceleration and speed dribbling, as well as his relentless attitude and unpredictable shots at goal he became one of the greatest football players of all time. For some reason, he is not in the discussion of the top players of last 20 years or so, maybe because comes from a relatively small country, Bulgaria, or for his fiery attitude, but Hristo is not as remembered as people might think he was. Let's face it, during the 1994 World Cup he single handedly led Bulgaria to the brink of the championship match, barely losing to Italy 1-2.