Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Good Could Romario Of Brazil Have Been?

Although Brazilian soccer legend Romario is often described as one of the greatest players ever, rarely is his name mentioned in the top 5 or even in the top 10 players of all time. However, in his prime Romario was probably a top 5 player of all time. Such was his ability, that the great Johan Cruyff described him as "a genius of the goal area." Romario is probably the best finisher in the goal area of his generation, and that is saying a lot, because players like Roberto Baggio, Hristo Stoichkov, and Rivaldo all played around the same time, but as a pure goal scorer, Romario is probably the best. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Andre Villa-Boas to Retain Job, For This Week

Chelsea’s rogue owner, Roman Abramovich, has historically shown no mercy to his managers when results don’t meet his satisfaction. Names like Avram Grant, Luis Felipe Scolari and even the self proclaimed special one, Jose Mourinho have all fell prey to the wrath of the ambitious owner. With hard losses to Arsenal, Liverpool, and Bayern Leverkusen, current manager Andre Villa-Boas seemed only destined to be next.
With their Premier League title hopes fading fast and an all or nothing match against Valencia to decide their Champions League fate, Chelsea finally put their right foot forward. The 3-0 victory has restored some sense of order in the West London club, and Villa-Boas has now taken it upon himself to accuse the media of “persecution”.
In some ways he is correct, as his job has been declared by some to be practically over already. The poor recent run of form is unacceptable for a club of such powerful standing, but soccer is a sport of maintaining form, and even the best teams go through struggles during the brutal 60 match season. But if Villa-Boas thinks that this win alone justifies lambasting the media, he is dead wrong.
In our modern world, a victory is only celebrated until the next match. And after that, work begins anew. Chelsea have dug themselves a ten point hole in the EPL table, and will need to quickly remedy their team for the hectic winter fixtures. These fixtures include an all important match against league leaders, Manchester City, and a trip across town to Tottenham. Both teams are ahead in the table, and if Chelsea loses more ground in the race, barely progressing to the knockout phase of the Champions League may not be enough.
Players like Fernando Torres and captain John Terry need to quickly step up their game. They are missing chances left and tackles and right. The players have looked old and lazy, only a shell of the former ruthless powerhouse they once were. Mistakes at the back are costing them points, and could still easily cost Villa-Boas his job.
As we enter the holiday fixture madness, the Chelsea manager can sleep easy for tonight. But if this victory does not lead to a great run of form and a re-introduction into the Premier League title race, his job will be lost before the New Year. I like the man, and think he can be successful at Chelsea, but his team needs to prove it now, or he may never get another shot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who Will Win FIFA Player Of The Year Award?

For this year's Fifa world player of the year award Lionel Messi will be up against his Barcelona teammate Xavi Fernandez and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has won the award the past two years; Messi and Ronaldo have each scored 17 league goals this season and it appears the award has come down to these two men. There are many experts and pundits who are picking Ronaldo to win it this year, because for all of Messi's accomplishments at Barcelona this year, he has far greater help than Ronaldo does. Perhaps, the player of the year trophy will come down to this Saturday when Messi's Barcelona faces Ronaldo's Real Madrid. Maybe, it is time to give Ronaldo the trophy, or maybe Xavi could steal, all we could do is wait and see.

Carlos Tevez: Player/Coach Relationships

A year ago, Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez was considered one of the greatest soccer players in the world. Along with Dimitar Berbatov, Tevez led the English Premier League with 20 goals, and was made captain of a club that had innumerable wealth and was positioning itself to be the next world superpower.

Then, just as Manchester City seemed to have everything going for them, Tevez’s life started to unravel, and instead of going down quietly, he decided to take the team with him. Eventually, during a pivotal Champions League match against Bayern Munich, Tevez reportedly refused to come off the bench and play when asked by coach Roberto Mancini, and Tevez hit rock bottom.

The story of Tevez should serve as a warning to players, coaches, and team organizations around the world that sometimes even the best talent must be sacrificed for the benefit of the team. Tevez is the perfect example of why professional teams bypass the “Can’t-miss Superstar” during the first round of drafts because the risks outweigh the rewards.

Is Tevez’s career over? I doubt it, but his stock has plummeted, and due to the way he’s interacted with his coach, fellow players, and media, his worth has taken a large hit.

Athletes who are watching this spectacle as it continues to unfold should take note of a valuable lesson that could ultimately help safeguard their sporting careers: respect authority.

History’s best athletes were extremely confident and sometimes egotistic, but they all succeeded to manage their emotions and control themselves enough to follow their coach’s instructions. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant learned the value of trusting Phil Jackson to construct a winning game-plan. Derek Jeter adhered to the signs being given from Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, and Tom Brady in now the NFL’s best quarterback simply because he follows the genius of Bill Bilichick.

Sure, not every coach is perfect, and we all remember the times when our youth basketball coach drew up the game’s final play in order to ensure that his son took the final shot even though he was the worst kid on the team. And we’ve all felt bitter about the third-base coach who frantically waved us home only for us to be thrown out by a mile.

Yes, sometimes athletes do know better than the coach, but overstepping authority is a dangerous game to play. Remember Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees? Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez had a 5-2 lead in the eighth, but he was obviously tired and had already thrown over 120 pitches, so like any good coach, manager Grady Little jogged out of the dugout with the intent of handing the game over to his bullpen. But then the television cameras caught an emotional Martinez passionately arguing with Little, convincing the coach he could still play. Ok, fine, Little concedes, and the Yankees scorch Martinez and end up making a miraculous comeback to win the series.

Sure, Little could have gotten into a heated argument in front of millions of viewers and basically tackled Martinez to the ground and dragged him out of the game, but it was a classic moment of an athlete not trusting his coach, and in the end they both paid the price.

When it comes down to it, most professional athletes will always believe they’re better than somebody else for any given game situation, but in the end, the coach gets paid to make those decisions. Don’t let coaching decisions and game mismanagement unravel you. People can spot talent whether a team is winning or losing, and despite horrible coaching. What people hate to see is someone being disrespectful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

LA Galaxy's David Beckham Is Still A Marketing Bonanza!

While it is obvious that David Beckham is no longer a top player, he still remains a marketing bonanza, with teams like Paris Saint-Germain's reported offer of 17.9 million to prove it. However, many fans are are left wondering, how does someone who is not even a top 50 payer in the world still remain such a box office draw. The answer is pretty simple, really with a celebrity status that is up there with the Beatles, along with his famous good looks, and along with his wife Victoria Beckham make up one of the most famous couples in the world; The guy is practically a king in England. However, the question remains, with his soccer abilities declining, evidenced by his recent games as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy, for how long can teams keep throwing money at Becks, until he's 40? What is the goal of bringing in a guy that has shown that although he remains a marketing bonanza, has yet to sell his sport to the world like Pele, or even Maradona once did. However, like the Galaxy did before, I'm sure someone will take a huge gamble on Beckham again.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Argentina Trying To Match The Past!

Although the Argentinian national team of today is considered a great, perhaps even one of the contenders for the 2014 World Cup if everything falls into place, however they will always have to compete with the teams of the past, and that is a heavy burden to carry. This Argentinian team relies on Messi's talents, and technical ability along with great teamwork, and precise passing orchestrated by coach Alejandro Sabella. But Argentina has not shown enough football lately to please all the purists, particularly the characters of the past. Cesar Luis Menotti is one of the most recognized voices in Argentinian football, and he has gone on record recently chastising their play, saying how their play is not as aesthetically pleasing as the teams of the past. It is the perfect illustration of how tradition can weigh down like a burden. Comparing this Argentinian team to the ones of the past that featured Diego Maradona is simply unfair, because of eras, styles, and simply that this team can gain an identity of its own. Let's just all give Messi and Argentina a break.