Showing 13 posts tagged imani

Ah yes, to play football in Germany

 

Speak German? This is for you. Translations gladly welcome in our Ask

Each year Bayern Munich celebrate Oktoberfest by lacing up their lederhosen for Paulaner the traditional German brewer founded in the the 1600s

Barcelona spank Osasuna: Fabregas now worth more than £70 million

Contributed by Imani

Despite three goals from Messi & two from David Villa - the star man in Saturday’s match at the Camp Nou was homecoming king Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas scored the second goal on the night and made three assists contributing to 4 of the 8 goals scored by Barcelona this night. 

Fabregas was everywhere, and with the international media touting Real Madrid to reassert themselves at the top of spanish football: Barcelona remind us that they are still getting stronger. Hey, if you score 8 goals, why need a defense? It’s not like the other team will ever have the ball anyway.

(photo: barcelonina)

Fabregas shows the same ability and composure that made him one of the world’s best players with Arsenal FC, but now his blaugrana flare has returned. Within a couple months he has fit seamlessly into Barcelona’s attack. Most intriguing of all Cesc can do something Iniesta can’t: defend.

With Pique and Puyol still to return from injury, Barca have been playing with a makeshift back four that has included Javier Mascherano being inserted into the Central Defense & Right Back roles. One thing Cesc learned how to do in England was defend, not only with control of space but with well timed tackles. Just like best friend Gerard Pique learned while with Manchester United training beside Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand each day.

This experience will help Barca in the coming weeks, especially in the Champions League where they will be forced to take a defensive position more often than in La Liga. Cesc has the ability to play a dynamic central midfield role that can see him spread the attack without conceding in defense. It brings more versatility to his game and helps Barca in far more ways than even they had expected upon receiving his signature.

Exciting times in Spanish football. It’s impossible who which team will go further contending for major titles this season, but for me Barcalona still has the edge.

They just have too many weapons & know each other too well. Madrid have to deal with so many egos including that of their coach, s7ar player & others who think they are stars. With Barcelona it’s like having 11 Xabi Alonso’s running around out there: calm, unselfish, and always looking up.

Barcelona have spoken, Real Madrid play tomorrow. We’ll see what they have to say. Who knows, there could be a shoot out week in week out on both sides of the English Channel, with Manchester United & Manchester City gunning it out whether they’re playing against each other or not.

Fantastic team performance by Barcelona and what a privilege as a player to be able to enjoy a two goal lead 15 minutes into a match but never once think to take your foot off the gas.

Mes Que Un Club. Mes Que Jugadors. An exciting lesson of tactics, skills & teamwork. Watch the full 90 minutes of this match on ESPN3.com.

"It Smells Better on my Leg" - David Beckham Impersonates a Target Employee

In probably the greatest video you have ever seen. David Beckham dresses up as a Target employee and harasses innocent shoppers with his signature scent

Ellen does it again. In this switcheroo David says everything that escapes the show hosts lips trying to coerce customers into buying (or stealing) his cologne. The best part about this video is oh so fashionable david clad in a polo shirt, white sneakers and khaki’s waist high. I think he’s having a bit of fun with this one, considering he rarely gets to go out in public and talk to people. 

Best bits:

"IF YOU STINK, COME AND BUY COLOGNE. IF YOU STINK COME AND BUY COLOGNE"

"It smells better on my leg"

"I’m from Austrailia but I can sound like I’m from Texas too partner"

"Hello. Hello? HELLO?"

"LAAAAADY IN REEEEEED"

Know Your Legends: Alessandro Nesta vs Barcelona - Age is Nothing Over Class

Milan managed to keep Lionel Messi off the score sheet Tuesday night, something no other team could boast last season as the Argentine scored in every Champions League game. The Rossoneri can thank this man especially for his performance in the Champions League for disrupting Barcelona’s fluid attack.

The organization and calm presence of the Milan defense made this draw a little sweet for the Italians at the Camp Nou. Overall, it was a wonderful performance. This is the sort of win that will give the players confidence at the start of a campaign where they defend their Scudetto title and looking to get some swagger back after disappointing seasons the last three years.

  

Nesta is another living legend to the Milan faithful and has on two champions leagues titles with the club in 2003, and 2007. He has also lifted the Serie A trophy with Milan in 2004 & 2011. He has well as many other accolades as well, including recognition for Serie A’s best defender from 2000-2003 & UEFA Club Football Awards: Best Defender 2003. He has also won the UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup, The Coppa Italia, and the Supercopa Italiana with AC Milan.

It’s great to see a veteran like Sandro get in against a dangerous Barcelona team. As a player, these are the games you live for, going up against a talented opponent in their stadium and giving their fans nothing to cheer about. Again, age prooves nothing over class, one of the sweetest sights in football is a veteran putting in a shift like this to silence all the critics and win over lovers of the game even if they’re wearing to colors of a different team. Congratulations to Sandro for coming back from serious injuries and producing vintage performances like this. It is clear that Milan has missed you in your absence and it’s good to see with the Rossoneri again.

Chelsea Agree Fee for Juan Mata - Secure International Signing of the Summer

Chelsea have completed their poaching of highly rated Valencia midfielder Juan Mata, something that will delight the Chelsea faithful after an unusually quiet summer at Stamford Bridge. Most saw this coming, after rumors swirled that Mata was being shown around Chelsea’s facilities earlier this week. I have to say, that besides Aguero, Chelsea may have snapped up the international signing of the summer & Arsenal will be rueing their missed chances to sign the Spanish winger.

As someone who has watched Mata for years, he thoroughly deserves his reputation at the young age of 23. Mata has been a key talisman for club Valencia over the last 3 seasons. He lifted the World Cup trophy with Spain in 2010, and added an Under-21 World Cup title with Spain this summer. Mata shows everything you want in a footballer, fluidity, vision, control, & maturity. He also is looking for a challenge and a way to distinguish himself from many other Spanish footballers vying for a place of the national team. A move to England would really suit him, especially to Chelsea where he will breath life into their sometime stagnant midfield.

Mata’s experience playing with other supremely talented will make him an invaluable addition. He is already used to learning from those around him, and growing from their experiences to help form his own. He is the type of player that is always two, three, or four passes ahead and those players always end up being the best footballers. Players with a similar quality include, Xavi, Iniesta, & Xabi Alonso, who can not only see the pass, but can actually pull it off, on the pitch, in a match, against tough opposition - something most players can’t do outside the training ground.

Whether Chelsea will win something this year is still up for grabs. They have an aging midfield & strike force, but they also have a new firey coach and players who have commanded respect internationally for the best part of a decade. The only thing holding Chelsea back this season will be their competition, with Man City strengthening their squad exponentially, as well as Liverpool adding depth as well. Depth that, for 6 or so years has exclusively belonged to the Blues & United. I’m sure young Mata will enjoy playing with his Spanish international teammate Fernando Torres, the familiarity with Mata may aid Torres’ game as well. We will see, it’s not even the end of August and it’s been one of the most exciting starts to the league yet.

Mata had long been linked with a move to Arsenal, but with the expiration of a clause that allowed him to leave the club for €20 million last month, Chelsea swooped and have captured the Spanish international for a fee believed to be around €30 million. It has to be said that the death knell of Arsenal’s season may have already sounded with missing out on Mata when they had him in their hands, with inflated transfer fees as the are, Arsene Wenger may be looking for a bargain that doesn’t exist. Kudos to Chelsea for recognizing their chance & taking it, I’m sure Mata will pay dividends soon.

Man Misunderstood: Are concusions the reason for Balotelli’s personal woes?

Here’s a serious question about Mario Ballotelli: has he had too many concusions? and is that the reason he seems a bit… off? Has he lost some ability for normal cognitive function? Is Balotelli the affects of numerous concusions in football?

It seems he gets crazier every week, but just check out how he heads the ball. Concusions aren’t so far fetched…

Check out his headed goal against former club Inter Milan from a few weeks ago. I’ve never seen a player get so much power from a header when falling backward. Hmmm wonder if City has ever looked into this

SCOUTING REPORT: Ross Barkley - Everton/ England

Everton began their premier league campaign this week against QPR due to their postponed fixture with Tottenham last week. It didn’t turn out all that well for the toffees who lost 1 - 0 at home against newly promoted side QPR, which marked the London club’s first away victory in the premier league since 1996.

Everton have had almost no investment this summer, a fact that everyone at the club knew at the start of the transfer window. In his 10th year as Everton manager, David Moyes has to work with what he’s got. What he’s got is Ross Barkley.

Fortunately for Everton, they’ve got one of the best youth systems in England, not to mention a strong heart of the team including Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Mikel Arteta, Johnny Heitenga, Phil Neville & another talented young player in Jack Rodwell. Ross Barkley is also a product of their youth system, who at 17 has been a part of the academy since he arrived in 2005 at the age of 11

What struck me about Barkley is his presence on the ball, a term so loosely thrown around these days a lot of people have seemed to forget what it really means. Barkley never seemed phased by having the ball at his feet, in fact he was always putting himself in good positions to receive the ball which, for me is always the mark of a good young player rather than the typical standing still and waving their arms about. Barkley also showed a natural poise, and patience that is something that can be rarely taught to players, especially so young. He isn’t afraid to wait, look at his options before choosing the right pass. His head moves as fast as his feet, which is always the mark of a good player. He looks focused. Completely, unaware of the occassion, Barkley looked like he belonged out there.  He picked his passes and barely put a step out of line. In some ways, I was reminded of Wayne Rooney, the only similarity was that of a player playing well beyond his years on a big stage, completely oblivious of the occassion which allowed his talent to seep through.

With Blackburn, Aston Villa, & Wigan on the schedule in coming weeks, Barkley will likely get the chance he needs to become a regular in the toffees squad, especially with depth such an issue at Goodison Park this season. It’s looking good for the young midfielder who is only 17 and already 6’2” (178cm). One thing is for sure, if he keeps playing like this, he wont be at Everton for long. Too bad he’ll never play for Liverpool, another loss to be rued by the Anfield outlet, another one of potential praise by Manchester United. Afterall, if you’re for Everton & you hate Liverpool enough, it’s only natural to go to United. Here’s to hoping he wont, and he loves Everton enough to see them through tough times. I know I’m excited to see what game Ross Barkley has to bring in the coming weeks and months, and to see how often he can make the Goodison faithful sing.

Know Your Freestyle: An Iya Traore Tribute

Iya Traore is a freestyle footballer practicing his craft on the streets of Paris as well as other venues. He came to France from Guinea more than a decade ago after his father allowed him to come along with him back to Europe so that he could follow his dream at becoming a professional footballer.

Although Iya had stints at Paris FC and Paris Saint Germaine, his commitment to his studies and to helping his father with his business did not allow him to train seriously and his time with PSG came to an end. Iya continues pursuing football in his own original way. He expresses his positive attitude & passion in front of amazed viewers all over the city and now throughout the world

  

He practices everywhere, in the subway, in the streets when he goes shopping, in well known locations around the city, and even at school! He is never without his ball and the people who see him work encourage him. He has become the most unique among freestylers, perfecting his own tricks. His prowess has seen him invited on television shows, he is invited to participate in promotional operations for big sportswear companies, not to mention he often gets invited by players to participate in exhibition matches who congratulate him on his unique way express his game

  

Iya returned to his home country of Guinea to create FC Iya, a safe place for children and young people to go to learn and practice their football skills. As you can see, the entire community and country is grateful for his return.

Iya proves to everyone just how far freestyle football can go, and the positive impact it has in the world. I love Iya’s story because it’s a human story. A story of determination, passion, commitment, and unwavering hope for a better tomorrow & belief in one’s self. From the most humble of roots in Guinea, to the streets of Paris, PSG, the Europa League and more. Iya is an inspiration to many and I hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve showed you about him today: a man with an incredible spirit who never misses an opportunity to perform.

SUPERCOPA: Why Real Madrid Dominated Barcelona - A Display of Jose

From the days on leading from the start, I knew that this was a big match for Madrid for more reasons than just being the clasico. Over the last three seasons Los Merengues have been absolutely dominated by their rivals Barcelona, especially at their home ground of the Bernabeu with multiple 5+ goal defeats. Knowing Mourinho from his days at Chelsea, I knew that he was going to change the mentality for this match, because he knows Barcelona’s only collective strength is also their only collective weakness

If you pressure Barcelona by man marking, they will have no room to pass or receive the ball. It worked the whole match. The whole match. But Barcelona are especially lucky because they happen to have two of the indisputable best strikers in the world David Villa & Leo Messi, what other players can pull out what they did out of nothing. With that said:

I’ve never seen Pep Guardiola look so worried. 

Barcelona were getting bossed by Madrid, it seemed that order had been restored in the Capital. They had done everything right. But… Messi… and Villa… Mourinho was frustrated too. They had the perfect game plan that was being executed perfectly. They went up a goal, they saw majestic performances from each & every one of their players including Ozil, Marcelo, young Fabio Coentrao & Jose Callejon, Benzema, Higauin, Ronaldo. His forwards were tracking back to defend, his midfielders never stopped moving their feet (when Xabi Alonso scores - everything is working for you.) For the first time in a long time los merengues moved as one on the pitch, pressuring, getting physical, looking English? But still there was Messi & Villa.

I don’t think Mourinho could have been more frustrated either, he did everything right, he saw his players perform the best they have in years, not only with him, but still they did not win. I know Jose must not have slept much that night. His 26 training sessions, & multitude of preseason matches were training his squad to be victorious in this symbolic moment. And they were in every way but on the scoreline and that just isn’t good enough. It was clear this match meant a lot more to Real, than Barca, but then again, a loss would have meant more to them too. Although the losers of the Supercopa with always say it doesn’t really matter, for the victors it is vitally important for the mentality of the team going into the new campaign. The mentality that Mourinho is having sleepless nights trying to alter & change.

This was a start, a masked & silent victory. I think now he knows, it can be done & they will do it again. After all, Barcelona play like Barcelona, they have no plan B. It’s a fact to be exploited if only someone knew how, it’s a race to be the one who does it first on the biggest stage. Expect more of the same on Wednesday, and a bit more tweaks by an adventurous & determined Jose.

special thanks to umakoo for backing up my useless twitter posts with video evidence online - thank you

It’s Time to Get Back to Football

But I don’t want to forget that there are more important things in the world & for those of your out there who support English clubs or international players that are playing in the Premier League, the riots throughout the UK will have a profound affect on the culture there.

As someone who writes about football & spends a fair bit of time posting about the Premier League, for all of you & people who go to my local pub to watch matches, I thought it was vitally important for me to spread the word about what was really happening in England beyond the standard Associated Press, because even they can be bias in these times.

I just want to thank everyone who’s sent kind words & we will keep all on England in our prayers through these rough times. Hopefully soon enough all of this will be on control, most of the questions will be answered, and all the people of the country will be safe. I wish the best for you all.

Thanks

Know Your Community: Riots in Tottenham do not reflect the majority of the people who live there, despite media

The riots last night in Tottenham apparently broke out after the peaceful protest turned to mahem after the peaceful protest of the murder of Mark Duggan, 29, father of four, by police in the neighborhood of London on Friday. No one really knows the details of the situation other than the protest seemed to be about Duggan being killed by police. It could be that the police report & the article about the shooting may have been tainted, but this has not been varified. However, it’s hard to say what happened that would make people protest this incident if it wasn’t the fact that the police report may have been wrong. The UK has a history of terrible journalism in the wake of tradegies like this, and it continues with the Mark Duggan story & the coverage of the Riots in his wake.

With the mainstream media painting the people of Tottenham as the gritty troublemakers, it’s important to remember that only 300 people were responsible for all this damage. If 300 were responsible, one has to ask, where were the police protecting the public? Where were the police protecting the community? Did the people causing the riots really care about Mark Duggan? or where they anarachists taking advantage of a vulnerable situation which to them came just at the right time? This is a football blog, but the biggest part of football is the community they represent. Tottenham Hotspur had a really exciting season last year, playing champions league football, and an uplifting one the season before. It seems that all is going right at White Hart Lane. I think if you’re supporting a team from afar, it’s important to know what’s going on in the community itself, whether it’s good or bad.

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In a time when the international is painting Tottenham as a run down neighborhood in the mean streets of North London, it’s important that people stick up for Tottenham & the people who live their keep the community’s integrity intact. Most of the reports seem to be direct copy & pastes from wikipedia claiming siting Tottenham as an area with a large afro-carribean population. Why the international media is citing this: I’m not sure. It very well be the case that most people outside the UK who don’t watch football, may be hearing about Tottenham for the first time in the coming days as a place of rioting, anarchy, & useless violence in the streets.

Even if Tottenham is a rough neighborhood, it’s people don’t deserved to be labeled by outsiders as uncouthed ruffians by people who have never even been there, or set foot in London, or England itself for that matter. It’s the same with every tough neighborhood around the globe: not all people who live there are bad. It’s the few that sour the reputation of many.

And while the facts are only myths at this point, it’s important to not listen to everything you read.

Personal Note: I’m not from Tottenham, or England, but in the media in this country they’re painting Tottenham as an absolutely horrible place to live with horrible people except the ones giving quotes about being ‘shocked’ of the behavior of others. As someone who has been exposed to Tottenham in a different way than the others around me, I have to take these media reports with a grain of salt. The integrity of the English media always has to be questioned when things happen like this as they have a history of printing things that are untrue. I know this is a football blog, I never get political, but if you support football, if you support Spurs or just communities in general, than it’s important that you seperate fact from fiction. New Haven, Connecticut is the 4th most dangerous city in the United States per capita. Most people who live here are shocked by that. New Haven is also home to Yale University, one of the most prestigious universities to the United States. I love New Haven, 95% of my experiences here have been good, so to the statistic that says we have a worse crime rate than New York City, I say fuck off. Because that’s what these sort of statistics are good for: unjust stigmas about people & places. So people of Tottenham, we’re with you, and for all of you that haven’t made up your minds about Tottenahm, go with this:

Jurgen Klinsmann will usher in a new era for U.S. Soccer

Jurgen Klinsmann has been appointed the new manager of the United States.

Klinsmann had a distinguished playing career, highlighted by winning the World Cup in 1990 and European championship in 1996 with Germany, but has had only fleeting spells in management, first with Germany and later Bayern.

He has also lived primarily in the United States since retiring from playing, and has frequently been linked with the national team job and vacancies in Major League Soccer.

I am proud and honoured to be named the head coach of the US Men’s National Team,” said Klinsmann, who will take charge of his first match on August 10 against rivals Mexico.

"I would like to thank the US Soccer Federation for the opportunity, and I’m excited about the challenge ahead.

I am looking forward to bringing the team together for our upcoming match against Mexico and starting on the road toward qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Klinsmann enjoyed an outstanding playing career that lasted 17 years and included spells with Stuttgart, Inter Milan, Monaco, Tottenham and Bayern Munich.

He scored 47 goals in 108 appearances for Germany and West Germany, and retired from playing in 1998, and took his first management job with Germany in 2004.

He led them to third place in the 2006 World Cup on home soil, but stepped down from the role after the tournament. Two years later, he took charge of Bayern, reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but left after one season.

Klinsmann will be introduced at a press conference in New York on Monday.

I can’t wait to see a lot more of this in the coming years. This is an exciting time for U.S. soccer. The kind of influence Klinsmann will bring is greatly needed in the game today, if the United States wants to ‘play with the big boys’ then we’re going to have to grow up a little. There needs to be more US MNT players starting for bigger European clubs in bigger European leagues, because the talent pool is getting stronger all over the globe, not just in the United States. Teenaged talent the likes of Messi, Fabregas, Aguero, Neymar, Pique, Chicharito, Marin, and others are becoming world class quality by the age of 23 is quickly becoming the norm.

This is a good step of trying to keep up, especially with COMMEBOL contemplating a CONCACAF merge which would make it very difficult for the US to qualify for FIFA events. I think Jurgen Klinsmann is exactly the sort of manager players will aspire to play for & please. I think he gives hope to other players who were on the fringe with Bob Bradley including Benny Feilhaber who I thought was the best 3 players for the U.S. during the world cup, despite because relegated to the position of a substitute. It’s a new dawn in the USA, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  • ESPN

Fenway is also trying to increase American fans’ awareness of Liverpool. A 2012 offseason tour in the U.S. is being discussed although details can’t be completed until next season’s baseball schedule is known, Hogan said.

The team may consider selling naming rights to its proposed new stadium, Hogan said. The club is in talks with brands even though it may yet remain at Anfield, a stadium the team has played in since 1892.

“We see Liverpool as a truly global proposition from a marketing standpoint and a naming rights partnership with Liverpool Football Club is really unlike any other thing there is out there,” Hogan said. “It’s something we’ve seen some interest in and we’ll continue to have those conversations.”

The final decision will “rest on which opportunity allows us to keep generating revenue to compete with the rest of our competition in the Premier League.”

Bloomberg (via whenyouwalkthroughthestorm)