Posts Tagged ‘la liga’

Triple Fail

Posted: September 13, 2011 in soccer, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

Taken from our discussion at Perpetual Post.

By Mike Cummings and Kiyan Sobhani

MIKE CUMMINGS: So Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-0 on Monday, and footie commentators around the world over are falling over themselves to anoint Barca The Best of All Time. The Spoiler went for the phrase “looked like one of the truly great football teams,” and included a couple of current players in the club’s all-time best squad. Meanwhile Tom Adams claimed Barca currently has three all-time greats on its squad (though that includes only one of the two The Spoiler plumped for), and the Spanish press hailed a historic win for the “Azulgrana.” Me? For once I’ll side with Jose Mourinho: We will let time judge what this team has done.

Here’s what Barcelona has done so far this season: Taken 34 out of 39 possible points in La Liga, topping the table after 13 matches; beaten its biggest rival 5-0; and advanced out of a weak Champions League Group D. On current form, this team is more than capable of winning every competition it’s currently in. In fact, they’re probably the favorites to win every competition they’re currently in. But long seasons have a way of spoiling even the great teams’ best-laid plans.

For perspective, let’s look to American college football. Back in early October, the University of Alabama routed Florida 31-6 in a showdown between the last two national champions. Here’s what ESPN.com’s Pat Forde wrote about the game afterwards.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the past 25 months, the prevailing theme in the Southeastern Conference has been Alabama and Florida on one level and everyone else down below.

After the Beatdown in T-Town, the upper echelon has been cut in half. It’s Alabama alone and everyone else down below.

This is a one-team league at the top.

In fact, this is a one-team nation.

With their 31-6 thumping of Florida, the Crimson Tide sent the following message around the South and around the country: When we’re on our game, nobody can hang with us.

Not yet two months later, Florida is 7-5, Alabama is 9-3, and the Crimson Tide’s biggest rival, Auburn, is one win away from playing in this year’s national championship. And to get into that position, Auburn had to beat Alabama when Alabama was on its game — at least for one half.

Here’s the point: After Monday night, Barcelona looks like it could be the best team in Europe and maybe even among the best teams of all time. But back in October, Alabama looked like the best college football team in America. Between now and the end of the club soccer season, Barcelona could either turn out to be the best of all time, a big-time flop, or anything in between.

The Champions League runs until May, La Liga runs until June, and history runs forever. For now, Barcelona is the best team in Spain. But let’s hold off on calling them the best of all time.

KIYAN SOBHANI: As a Madridista, you can imagine how I felt in the bar on Monday – I could only sit there while Barca fans all around me enjoyed one of the most memorable nights in their club’s history.

Thanks to my father, I’ve been a Madridista since I was born. Losing to your biggest rivals is never a joyous occasion, but this 5-0 battering will have a lasting effect on myself, and millions of other Madrid fans all around the World. What we can only hope though, is that the players won’t suffer this same kind of psychological blow. Madrid still have to play Valencia – without Ramos and Carvalho who are suspended – and Sevilla, so it’s a horrible time to have low morale. What’s more worrying, is that they’ll have to do this after learning the horrible news that Gonzalo Higuain will be out for at least 2 months. Thankfully, Mourinho is a psychologist. So as much as I didn’t agree with his tactics (I thought Pellegrini’s tactics in Camp Nou last year of pressuring  Barca high and not letting them pass the ball around was exemplary), I loved his post-game comments:

“I hope this game does not affect us psychologically. I have spoken to the players and told them the title is not gone. We can’t leave here crying. I left here defeated at the start of last season with Inter Milan and then at the end of the season we were playing in the Champions League final [having knocked out Barcelona], while they had to watch it on television.”

So although Mike makes great points about it being far from over, he forgot another important statistic: Inter lost last year to Barca in the Camp Nou in similar fashion. They didn’t let in 5 goals, but they did however touch the ball only a few times and really got dismantled. But we all know who knocked out Barca and went on to lift the Champions League trophy at the Bernabeu. At that point, no one remembered that earlier loss in the Camp Nou.

From a philosophical perspective, there are so many ways to look at this result. This Madrid team is quite new. They literally start from scratch every year with a new coach; while this Barca team has been playing together for years, and with a system that’s been implemented equally as long. Also, the Real Madrid players were just rattled. Gone are the days of Hierro, Roberto Carlos, and Raul – experienced players who know what it takes to play in the most imporant fixture in football. The new era of players from abroad such as Ozil, Di Maria, and Khedira were thrown into the hostile Camp Nou for the first time – and it showed.

Regarding the argument of whether Barca’s team is the best ever or not really depends on the outcome of the season. The way they ravaged Madrid really magnifies this argument as Madrid were enjoying a record-breaking season. So this wasn’t just ‘any’ team that Barca dismantled.

But the fact of the matter is that we’re not even half-way through the season and Madrid is still 2nd place in La Liga, and fighting strong in all competitions. There is a more than good chance that these two teams will end up facing each other in the knockout rounds of the CL. There is also a more than good chance that Mourinho and co. have learned from their mistakes in the 1st Clasico.

However way you want to look at it, I just do no not see a way that this will happen again to a team managed by Mourinho that has an abundant amount of talent and pride.

Time to say good-bye to a Real Madrid legend

It’s been an emotional week for Madridista’s all around the World. We’ve found out that our two most iconic and loyal servants – who are also our two captains – will be leaving Real Madrid (More on Raul later).

Guti joined the youth teams at the age of 9 and has been a Real Madrid footballer up until now – a span which has lasted an imperial 24 years. We’re used to seeing Guti rip the soul of opposing defenders since 1995 when he made his debut. We’ve seen so many different sides of Guti – sides that we don’t need to list – and never knew what to expect from him at any given time. But without a doubt, when people look back on Guti’s career, he won’t be remembered for his inconsistency, he’ll be remembered simply as a ‘Maestro’.

Without hesitation I can say that Guti was an incredibly rare and singular footballer. The things I have seen Guti do, are things I haven’t even seen players like Zidane, Ronaldinho, and Messi do. A left foot that was made of pure magic, and vision that didn’t even make any sense. When we talk about Guti’s vision, we don’t talk about anyone else’s vision in the same sentence. That’s how good it was. I’m talking about the kind of vision that would make an Eagle seem blind.

It’s time to be thankful now. We breathed in a generation of exalted footballers, and witnessed some of the most awe-inspiring passes in the history of football. Gracias Guti.

Honours
• 5 Spanish league titles (1996/97, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08)
• 4 Spanish Super Cups (1997, 2001, 2003, 2008)
• 3 Champions League titles (1997/98, 1999/00, 2001/02)
• 1 UEFA Super Cup (2002)
• 2 Intercontinental Cups (1998, 2002)
• 1 Under-21 European Championship with Spain (1998)
• 1 Under-18 European Championship with Spain (1995)

If saying good-bye to Guti gave my tears today, I will be crying profusely during Raul’s good-bye press conference. His tribute will soon follow.

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

Ramos and co. didn't really try. But it was enough.

 

There are some worries in the Spanish National camp as the reigning European champions don’t look as focused as they did last summer. ‘La Furia Roja’ struggled to beat non-World Cup dwellers Saudi Arabia 3-2 in Innsbruck, Austria  on Saturday.

The Saudi’s surprisingly went up 1-0 in the 16th minute as Osama Hawsawi headed in a corner that Spanish keeper Iker Casillas failed to punch clear. 14 minutes later, Barcelona striker David Villa scored to level the match. At the half, the Saudi’s looked more impressive than the Spanish.

After the half-time break, Spain came out with more sloppy play; and although Xabi Alonso gave Spain the lead in the 57th minute with a precise shot from outside the box, Saudi Arabia leveled the match in the 73rd minute with a freak goal which deflected off of Al Namare and past the helpless Casillas. The game ended with substitute Llorente heading in a Xabi Alonso corner in virtually the last kick of the game to give Spain the 3-2 win.

It’s clear that Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque needs to have his team more focused when the World Cup comes around. Although this Spanish team is much deeper and better on paper than the one that won the Euro (inclusions of Pique, Valdes, Pedro, Llorente and Navas are fantastic) they do not look as sharp. Former Euro winning coach Luis Aragones formed an organized cohesive unit which we haven’t really seen under 2-time Champions League winner Del Bosque. The ‘moustache’ as they call him, is still awaiting the return of 2 of his key players in Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres from injury.

International Friendly results and highlights organized for viewing for your pleasure:

Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia

Ireland 3-0 Algeria

Slovakia 1-1 Cameroon

Serbia 0-1 New Zealand

Sweden 4-2 Bosnia Herzegovina

Ukraine 3-2 Romania

Hungary 0-3 Germany

USA 2-1 Turkey

England 2-1 Japan

Belarus 1-0 Korea Republic

Paraguay 2-2 Ivory Coast

Gambia 1-5 Mexico

Nigeria 1-1 Colombia

Tunisia 1-1 France

Chile 1-0 Northern Ireland

Other Results:

Norway 2-1 Montenegro

Moldova 2-3 UAE

Poland 0-0 Finland

Iceland 4-0 Andorra

Azerbaijan 1-3 Rep. of Macedonia

Venezuela 1-1 Canada

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

I’m not in much of a mood to comment on the Sevilla – Real Madrid game today (mind you, I have lots to say). I just wanted to share with you why Iker Casillas is the best keeper in the World; and one of (if not) the best ever.

Unbelievable saves against Sevilla today:

… Just how I would describe one of my favorite footballers ever.

Luis Figo has called it quits. Today; Sunday, May 31st, 2009, Figo played his last game for Inter Milan:

Truly a tear shedding moment. Luis Figo was a gem. He was the first in line of a series of great Portuguese wingers who came after him; but none able to dethrone king Figo as the best winger of his generation. He was easily the best winger I have ever seen. But to be fair to the great George Best, I will accept the views of others that he may not be head and shoulders the best ever.

No matter what the verdict, and where anyone will rank him among the greats, no one can deny his legendary status. Luis Figo was of a rare breed of footballers. When he had the ball at his feet, you knew that he was going to be 1-3 players at will, and the set someone up for a goal scoring chance. He was the best player in the World in 2001 when he won the FIFA player of the year award. The following year, he was teamed up with the one and only Zinedine Zidane (which formed on of the best 1-2 attacking punches ever seen) to win the Champions League.

This is a very unorganized entry, but I just want to pay my respects to this wizard of football. He graced us with his talent for 20 years on the professional level, and now he’s gone.

Adios y gracias Luis Figo!

The biggest rivalry in all of sports history is here for the second and final time this season. This is easily the biggest Clasico in years. There is so much at stake and so much pressure on both teams. This Saturday is going to be a war, and will decide the championship. Barcelona is playing its best football in years, but make no mistake; Real Madrid is in top form and will have almost their whole team available unlike the first Clasico in Camp Nou which ended 2-0 to the Catalan side.

Squad lists:

REAL MADRID C.F.

GK:Iker Casillas, Jerzy Dudek
DF:Sergio Ramos, Miguel Torres, Fabio Cannavaro, Christoph Metzelder, Gabriel Heinze, Marcelo
MF:Arjen Robben, Dani Parejo, Fernando Gago, Lassana Diarra, Javi Garcia, Rafael Van der Vaart, Julien Faubert, Royston Drenthe
FW:Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Gonzalo Higuain

Not Called:

Injured:Ruud, Mahamadou, Guti, Sneijder, De la Red
Technical decision:Salgado, Saviola, Codina
Suspended: Pepe

F.C. BARCELONA

Valdes, Jorquera, Henry, Xavi, Piqué, Iniesta, Puyol, Cáceres, Sylvinho, Bojan, Eto’o, Messi, Hleb, Alves, Abidal, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Touré and Sergio Busquets.

Not Called:

Injured: Marquez, Milito

Technical Decisions: Pinto, Pedro, Victor Sanchez.

Pepe will not be there to to keep Messi and co. in check.

 Probable line-ups:

REAL MADRID C.F. (4-4-2)

_____________Casillas

S. Ramos_Cannavaro_Metzelder_Heinze

___________Gago___Lass

Robben___________________Marcelo

________Higuain_____Raul

F.C BARCELONA (4-3-3)

________Valdes

Alves_Puyol_Pique_Abidal

__Xavi___Yaya__Keita

__Messi__Etoo_Iniesta

The Cules will want revenge from last year’s pasillo

 Madrid will be hoping that the draw against Chelsea midweek will have somewhat slowed Barca down. If we are to win this game, we have to make sure we don’t let Barca settle down into their passing game (easier said then done). I’m sure this Madrid team with the Bernabeu behind them is capable of stopping this record breaking Barcelona team. Oh how sweet it would be to beat Barca now and go on to win the league.. How sweet indeed.

Video preview:
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!

 

 

 

 

Pipita - FTW!
Pipita – FTW!

 You can’t say enough about Gonzalo Higuain. His passion and determination has won the hearts of Madridista’s all around the World. Once again, in the midst of a horrible Real Madrid performance today, he took the team into his own hands and scored two goals (one of them in injury time to win the game).

It’s very strange being a Real Madrid fan; week in and week out I experience an emotional rollercoaster. This is easily an era of one of the worst Real Madrid teams I have ever seen. Yet, we are still back to back champions and sit second behind a record breaking Barcelona team. Despite how bad Real Madrid have been, they’ve been winning non stop. Today’s game summed up the season pretty well: Bad performance, heroics from Casillas, individual brilliance, game won. I must say, this was easily the most exciting game of the season that Real Madrid has played in. The game was pretty much lost when Albin put Getafe 2-1 up (horrible defending) with 6 minutes to go. Guti’s brilliant free-kick in the 86th minute tied the game, but the celebrations were short lived when Pepe was given a straight red card for fouling a player in the box and kicking him while he was down. However, Casillas saved the penalty (awful panenka attempt from Casquero) which brought a massive roar around the Bernabeu. Higuain’s second goal in injury time was the icing on the cake to bury Getafe (and pr0bably alot of Barca hearts).

This pic pretty much sums up the game; Pepe running out of the locker room after being red carded to celebrate, Casillas running from his net to celebrate and Cannavaro off the bench. You can see how much this game meant to them:

Some more pics from the game:

Match Highlights (You won’t want to miss it):