Posts Tagged ‘ac milan’

Master Tactician Alex Ferguson comes out of the Mestalla with a 1-0 win.

I grew up in an era of attacking football. Being a Real Madrid and La Liga supporter, I had the privilege of seeing Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul, and Ronaldo playing together and picking teams apart with no mercy; while their relinquished defence saw the ball go into their net on a few occasions. They never seemed bothered when they let in goals. Their philosophy was one that read ‘We’ll just score more goals than you’.

That same era we witnessed the ‘Super Depor’ team which had Juan Carlos Valeron, Djalminha, Mauro Silva, and Diego Tristan. It was a team that beat Milan 4-0 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League to play another entertaining La Liga team at the time, Valencia. That era was the most dominant that La Liga has ever been in Europe and one that was pleasing to the eye. It seemed like ‘Joga Bonito’ had stamped out ‘negative football’ for good.

Football goes through phases. The era of flair and gung-ho offence is dormant for the time being. In the past year, we’ve seen defensive football emerge from it’s slumber (it was actually always there, but not everyone used it, and it wasn’t always successful).

Last season we thought Barca was unstoppable. And then we realized that the only way to beat them was to pressure them high and keep the defensive shell compact. That’s exactly what happened the two times they were conquered last season. Rubin Kazan did it in the Camp Nou in the group stages of the Champions League (ironically, they held Barca to a 1-1 draw today in similar fashion), and then Jose Mourinho came to the Camp ‘Mou’ and played some of the most unattractive yet efficient games of football I have seen to knock Barca out of the Champions League.

One month later, Vicente Del Bosque and Spain started their quest for their 1st ever World Cup trophy. La Seleccion this year is virtually Barca 2.0. It’s literally FC Barcelona plus Casillas, Ramos, Alonso, and Capdevila. The amazing thing is that Del Bosque took this team and totally changed it from the style of play that Pep Guardiola has Barca playing. He dropped Torres, and inserted a second DM -Xabi Alonso- to accompany Sergio Busquets. A simple switch that completely changes the system. Spain went from being an attacking team, to one that builds and solidifies at the back while trying to snatch a goal somewhere and then killing the game off with their possession.

Needless to say, La Roja went on to win the World Cup with a team that focused more on defensive stability than attack. This was evident as they won their last 4 games of the tournament by 1-0.

Mourinho - Impressive at the back

Jose Mourinho has Real Madrid playing more defense than they’re used to, but it seems to be working. Last night Mourinho decided to play with three defensive midfielders – Lass, Alonso, Khedira – against 17th placed Ligue 1 side Auxerre. A formation that is unheard of in Real Madrid. Mourinho’s philosophy is one that emphasizes defensive organization. To his defence -no pun intended-, Real Madrid has been playing the best defence I have ever seen them play, and although they aren’t scoring as much, I’m sure the goals will come eventually. They have to. Especially when you have Higuain, Benzema, Cristiano, Ozil, Di Maria, Pedro Leon, and Canales in attack.

My only criticism of Mourinho thus far is his obsession with playing Karim Benzema at the right wing position. It’s a position that destines Benzema to failure. He’s most lethal when he’s closest to goal, and at that position he occupies valuable space that Di Maria and Ozil could be filling. I’m sure Eto’o understands Benzema’s frustration with his comment today after his hat-trick and Inter’s 4-0 win over Werder Bremen:

“I’m happy to win as a striker after winning as a defender last season,”

And finally, a surprising ending happened at the Mestalla today as Manchester United grabbed a 1-0 win over Valencia. After literally attacking Manu for 80 minutes and coming close to scoring on several occasions, they found themselves losing the match after Manchester finally broke out of their defensive shell late to score the only goal of the game. If there ever was a ‘perfect game’, Sir Alex came pretty close today. He had United lined up fantastic defensively and Valencia found it hard to penetrate the great partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic. The more Valencia pushed, the more Manchester absorbed, and just when it looked like Valencia might score, Ferguson came up with two genius substitutions bringing on youngsters Javier Fernandez and Federico Macheda. The later was the architect who set-up Fernandez for the winning goal. It was a lovely move that can be seen here.

So what is the answer? Is a defensive approach more efficacious than an attacking approach? There is no clear answer. What’s evident is that football goes through phases and different coaches are successful with different tactics. That’s the beautiful thing about football, every team plays differently and some of the most beautiful matches can come from two teams who have completely contrasting styles of play.

Defensive football = Attacking football.

Zizou, El Buitre, Figo

It was nice seeing Zidane and Figo doing 1-2 combos like the good old days. It was a charity game between the Real Madrid legends and the AC Milan legends which consisted of Paolo Maldini, Zidane, Figo, Rui Costa, Mcmanaman, Baresi and Butragueno among others.

A whopping 70, 000 fans showed up at the Bernabeu for a friendly game that aimed to help research focused on sudden death syndrome.

Match Report and Highlights:

MATCH REPORT:
4 – Real Madrid Veterans: Buyo, Chendo, Fernando Sanz, Sanchis, Garcia Cortes, Gallego, Karembeau, Zidane, Figo, Butragueño, Santillana -starting eleven-, Contreras, Jaro, Rojas, Ramis, Rubio, Sabido, Julio Llorente, Ivan Perez, McManaman, Amavisca, Velasco, Victor.
3 – Milan Glorie: Rossi, Cafu, Costacurta, Baresi, Maldini, Evani, Boban, Serginho, Simone, Rui Costa, Massaro -starting eleven-, Nava, Contra, Weah, Papin, Braglia, Fuser, Galli, Panucci, Lentini, Carbone, Eranio.

Goals:
0-1
(4′): Simone
0-2 (6′): Rui Costa
1-2 (11′): Butragueño
2-2 (37′): Amavisca
3-2 (52′): Alfonso
3-3 (57′): Rui Costa
4-3 (85′): Alfonso

– Realmadrid.com

Never gets old. In my opinion, the smoothest player since Zinedine Zidane.

ROME — Marco Materazzi plans to be touring the United States in a motor home with family and friends during this year’s World Cup.

 

The Italian defender says he’s still so angry over Zinedine Zidane’s head butt during the 2006 final that he won’t even watch this year’s tournament in South Africa. Materazzi told La Repubblica on Monday he’s still waiting for Zidane to apologize.

Zidane said he head-butted Materazzi during overtime after the Italian insulted his sister. Zidane was ejected, and Italy went on to win the title on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie.

Materazzi told the newspaper the head butt, as well as Thierry Henry’s hand ball against Ireland that sent France to a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance at Ireland’s expense, showed the “disgusting” side of soccer.

He said he was particularly incensed that while he was disciplined for alleged unsporting behavior in 2006, Henry hasn’t been sanctioned in any way.

“I was treated like a delinquent: After Berlin they wouldn’t even let me go on vacation for two days so they could question me,” he was quoted as saying.

Materazzi stressed that he idolized Henry and that the hand ball in November was an instinctive mistake. But he added: “If you’re talking fair play, there’s a precedent — mine — and so they should have taken measures against Henry. But instead, I see they didn’t even bring him in to question him.”

Earlier this year, Materazzi extended his contract with Inter Milan until 2012.

Well, as much as Materazzi bleeds with hypocrisy on a consistent basis; we have to be fair here. The man has a point. We see so much cheating in the game today. From handballs, to dives. Henry’s last handball knocked Ireland out of the World Cup and nothing was done to sanction him. Although Materazzi is a filthy player, admittedly his un-sportsmanlike conduct overshadows everyone else’s cheating unfairly.

Just in case you live under a rock and don’t know Materazzi’s game:

A few upsets today in general, but none as massive as the game I watched today in Barcelona. I sat down on the couch with my plate of spaghetti and meatballs, expecting to flip through between the Liverpool-Lyon and Barca-Rubin Kazan games.

Just like any other person, I was expecting Barca to absolutely slaughter Kazan. The game started very interesting, Kazan scored a golazo in the 2nd minute and I was glued to the game after that. It wasn’t particularly entertaining, but I was amazed that Rubin Kazan played such a perfect game against the European Champions. They had cut off all the defensive angles perfectly. They made defending look like an art, as opposed to other teams who simply put 11 men behind the ball without a plan and then hoof the ball away. Kazan actually passed their way up the field out of the back; they played a very commendable game and eventually went on to win the game 2-1:

In the other game in the group, Inter were held to a draw at home against Dynamo Kiev (2-2). Inter now only have 3 points from 3 games, this group has absolutely turned inside out and upside down due to Inter underperforming and Rubin Kazan over-performing.

Group F Pld Pts
Barcelona 3 4
Dynamo 3 4
Rubin 3 4
Internazionale 3 3

Results of other CL games today

The big one is tomorrow:

The Champions League has finally arrived. It was a long summer without meaningful football but that wait is over now. All 32 teams have finished playing their first match, and what an interesting matchday it was. Let’s get started.

Everyone knows Manchester Unitedare severely weakened since Ronaldo’s departure, but they did manage to hold off Besiktas in Turkey last night for a 0-1 win. Turkish fans are known to be some of the craziest in the world; and instead of highlights, I would rather post this clip of a high quality amateur video of the Besiktas fans during kick-off:

Ac Milan proved that they should always be a contender for the Champions League, no matter how much of a crisis they’re in. After all, they are the second best team of all team after Real Madrid. Milan put together an impressive display in Marseille and pulled off a 1-2. This is not AC’s best year by any means. First they lost Kaka, then got hammered by Inter in the derby 4-0. They also have a completely washed up Ronaldinho who doesn’t even start anymore, and an ageing team of Nesta, Gattusso, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Seedorf and co. It’s no secret that they will be fighting with Marseille for second place in this group, and they most definitely took a big leap towards that goal with their win last night. Inzaghi adding to his European tally with 2 goals while ex-Real Madrid defender Heinze got Marseille’s lone goal. Great atmosphere:

Real Madrid make it look easy. Well, they had a 5 minute scare against FC Zurich, but other than that, they just put it on cruise control and ate the Swiss team apart. The game was in Zurich, but it seemed like quite a few Madridista’s were in the stadium, and they overshadowed the Zurich fans for large parts of the game. 3-0 at half-time, and 5-2 the final score. Watch these highlights in full; because this Real Madrid team is unbelievably fun to watch. Oh, and look for the sexy black jerseys with no sponsors:

Atletico Madrid continue to struggle. Their trend as of late has been much of the same: lots of clear cut chances but no win to show for. Their lack of finishing has really been hurting them. A shocking 0-0 draw at home today to tiny Apoel. Check out all of the chances they had. It’s unbelievable:

Undoubtedly the most intriguing game of matchday 1 was Inter – Barcatonight. Zlatan returned to Milan while Eto’o went up against his old team mates in this clash of two giants of European football. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a snooze fest for the neutral eye as the game ended 0-0. Barca had the ball all day passing it around with plenty of possession, while Inter were forced to sit back. But at least they defended well, and Samuel and Lucio were phenomenal at the back.

Arsenal left it late tonight after a shocking start against Standard Liege:

The other scores from matchday1:

Group A
Juventus 1-1 Gir. Bordeaux
(Iaquinta 63′; Plasil 75′)
Maccabi Haifa 0-3 Bayern Munich
(Van Buyten 64′, Mueller 85′, 88′)

Group B
Besiktas 0-1 Manchester United
(Scholes 77′)
Wolfsburg 3-1 CSKA Moscow
(Grafite 36′, 41′ pen., 87′; Dzagoev 77′)

Group C
Ol. Marseille 1-2 AC Milan
(Heinze 49′; Inzaghi 28′, 75′)
FC Zürich 2-5 Real Madrid
(Margairaz 64′ pen., Aegerter 65′; C. Ronaldo 27′, 89′, Raúl 34′, Higuain 45′, Guti 90′)

Group D
Atlético Madrid 0-0 APOEL Nicosia
Chelsea 1-0 FC Porto

(Anelka 48′)

Group E
Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen
(Kuyt 45′)
Ol. Lyon 1-0 Fiorentina
(Pjanic 76′)

Group F
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 Rubin Kazan
(Yussuf 71′, Magrão 80′, Gusev 86′; Dominguez 26′)
Inter Milan 0-0 FC Barcelona

Group G
Sevilla 2-0 Unirea Urziceni
(Luís Fabiano 45′, Renato 70′)
Stuttgart 1-1 Glasgow Rangers
(Pogrebnyak 18′; Bougherra 77′)

Group H
Olympiacos 1-0 AZ Alkmaar
(Torosidis 79′)
Standard Liège 2-3 Arsenal
(Mangala 2′, Jovanovic 5′ pen.; Bendtner 45′, Vermaelen 77′, Eduardo 81′)

David Silva

First of all, I am going to apologize to all my fans for not being around in the past couple of weeks. Believe it or not I have somewhat of a busy life. However, summer is over – which means school is starting – which means you will see more blog entries from me – which means I have excellent priorities.

Right on.

World Cup Qualifying

The World Cup and the finalists are finally taking shape. This week was host to some outrageous events. Starting in Tbilisi, Georgia hosted Italy looking for their first win. Pretty tough task when you have to play against the defending World Champions (admittedly though it’s a much weaker Italian side than before, but their consistent luck makes them a threat against anyone). Now we’ve all have heard about the calciopoli scandal, but is it too much to say that Kahka Kaladze was offered some kind of expensive automobile to purposely lose the game? Italy won the match 2-0 from two outrageous own goals by Kaladze:

Portugal – All but out.

For a team that was a favorite to win the World Cup, failure to qualify didn’t even cross anyone’s mind. That dream of even being considered a favorite is all but shattered now. Portugal now lies fourth place in their group behind Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden. Carlos Quieroz seems to have completely lost the plot. Portugal’s starting line-up against Denmark consisted of: Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Deco, Simao, and Cristiano Ronaldo. I know Portugal has lacked a good striker for years, but this team doesn’t even have one in the line-up! Add to the fact that Pepe most certainly should not be played as DM (as great as he is).

KAKA

I’ve always been one of his biggest fans even when he was in Milan; and now that he’s a Madridista I think I might just be in love him. For me, this guy is easily the smoothest and most elegant player in the World right now (I still believe Messi is the best player in the World.. But Kaka is just a joy to watch). Kaka has always been awesome for Brazil and fantastic against Argentina. The World Cup Qualifyer against Argentina this week showed that he hasn’t slowed down one bit, he was running past players and setting people up and completely overshadowed Mascherano and Messi. Maradona needs to get Argentina sorted out – and quick. Argentinians don’t like to lose 3-1 at home against their biggest rivals. Highlights (and check out Kaka’s incredible pass for Brazil’s last goal):

David Silva y La Furia Roja

David Silva is on fire right now and definitely one of the most in-form players in the World. The guy is so underrated it’s not even remotely funny. Silva and David Villa made up for 4 of Spain’s 5 goals against Belgium. I still can’t believe how much Valencia have struggled having those two in their team. Spain is a machine right now, they look absolutely unstoppable. The scary thing is that Iniesta and Ramos are still injured and did not play this game. Just sit back and enjoy the kings of Europe doin’ their thang:

The three best player compilations I have seen. Awesome soundtracks, visuals and editing:

Kaka

Ronaldinho

Zidane

 

Kiyan: Where do we go next Florentino?

Florentino Perez: To the Southeast.

Overwhelming.

Posted: June 10, 2009 in soccer, Sports
Tags: , , ,

Beckham had classy words about Real Madrid for Kaka.

A day after Kaka has been officially announced, it’s starting to sink in now that one of the best players in the World has signed for the most prestigous and glorious sports franchise on Earth. What a great week. Who will follow suit to wear the white uniform? Who knows. I just want to enjoy this crack for now.

Kaka press conference:

What do you say to the Milan fans after your signing with Real Madrid?

I have much to be thankful for to Milan for all these years I have played there. I could project myself at an international level and I achieved many triumphs with the rossonero shirt. From here I want to send my deepest thanks to the Milan organization. I have been very happy there and I never would have accepted another offer that wasn’t this one. Only Real Madrid, with the consent of Milan, has made this signing possible.

Then why are you leaving the Milan organization?

The whole world knows about the financial crisis that is devastating us and Milan is passing through a bad period. Many businesses are passing through bad periods and Milan is one of them. The best way to help them was to accept this offer from Madrid.

What can you say about your new team, Real Madrid?

They are one of the best teams that there is in the world and they are building a solid project that will allow me to play with the best players of the planet. That was one of the reasons that I opted for this great club. In addition, they are creating a team to once again be champions in Spain and Europe. Real Madrid is a new motivation for me. I want to achieve new triumphs and win many titles with the white shirt.

What do you know about Real Madrid from your Brazilian compatriots?

All of them have said good things about Madrid and have advised me to sign for them. But I knew enough about the team, because they have exceptional players like Raúl and Casillas. David Beckham also advised me to sign for Florentino.

What made you sign for Madrid now and not during previous occasions?

Now it is a different situation. It is certain that I had to opportunities to sign in previous seasons, but Ancelotti, my coach at Milan, bet on me and on my game. To come to Madrid now is a gratifying experience.

What opinion do you have on Florentino Perez, your new President?

He has the idea to make an interesting sporting project and he is trying to buy other great world class players. I believe that he will be able to make a very offensive squad and for this I opted for this club.

Are you going to compete with Messi to be the best player in the world?

Messi has played very well this season and deserves the prize of the best player in the world because he has won three very important titles with Barcelona. He was an important figure in his team. In any case I hope the Barcelona hegemony ends and that Real Madrid wins new titles.

What do you hope for Milan after your departure?

They will surely have choices to win the league with Leonardo, who is a great coach. I am sure that great players will arrive and I am sure that they will continue going forward without me.

Will Pato be your replacement

I hope so. He has shown himself to be a great player. He only lacks a few years to mature to reach the top. He is a fantastic player.

Do you arrive to Madrid to finish your career here, like Zidane did earlier?

I have signed a long contract, for six years. I hope to make history in Madrid and to win many titles. This is my intention.

What number will you wear? Have you decided? It is rumored that you will wear the 5 of Zidane…

I am thankful that I have been offered the number 5, but Zidane is Zidane. He is a player with an acclaimed history with Madrid and with the French national team and I have much respect for him. I don’t know what number I’ll wear, I still haven’t decided.

You maintained a position of absolute silence and said that you were happy in Milan. What do you owe this to?

Because my idea was not to leave Milan, but economic circumstances made it like this. What is certain is that it was an offer that couldn’t be refused.