Tag Archive: Lionel Messi


The most expensive man in football - but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

The most expensive man in football – but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

It has to be said – we are all relieved that the football season is now back in action. A lot of transfers have occurred this summer with a lot of teams willing to spend immense sums, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona (on Gareth Bale and Neymar respectively), and others choosing not to break the bank such as Manchester United.

The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the big 3 in Europe and offer predictions of who will be league champions in their respective countries.

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Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller were instrumental in Bayern Munich's astounding triumph tonight (Image | EPA)

Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller were instrumental in Bayern Munich’s astounding triumph tonight (Image | EPA)

As I sat, as open-mouthed as the rest of Europe’s football fans, watching Bayern Munich ambush Barcelona in the Allianz Arena tonight, one question flickered through my mind: could this result happen next season?

It may seem a little early for pondering the future, but this article wouldn’t have been penned tonight had it not been for Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, with his second of the night, putting the tie almost undeniably beyond the reach of Tito Vilanova’s crestfallen men.

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LeBron James' ability to improve on his near perfect stats every season continues to confound NBA fans and pundits alike (Image | Getty)

LeBron James’ ability to improve on his near perfect stats every season continues to confound NBA fans and pundits alike (Image | Getty)

“King James” is somewhat of a fitting name for Miami Heat All-Star LeBron James given his recent string of performances. He is blowing the NBA apart, revolutionising what the people conceive possible on the basketball court.

He has always been the prodigy of the NBA – the one – in the Neo sense, but since he finally won his first title last year he has been metaphorically stopping bullets. After cruising through the opening months of the season, James has begun to turn up the heat.

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The Barcelona team of the past few years have established a reputation for themselves as of one of history’s greatest ever sides. However, in the wake of the Catalan outfit’s recent defeat by Celtic in the UEFA Champions League (plus losses to Inter Milan and Chelsea in the past few years), the most common criticism faced by Los Culés has returned.

Swashbuckling | Lionel Messi scores his second goal against Real Zaragoza last weekend in a 3-1 win, which reflects Barcelona’s typically successful strategy, (Image | Independent)

They have been chastised for lacking a “plan B” and being unable to unlock deep defences. Barcelona operate a distinctly possession-based style that the club rigorously keeps faith with, but is there any value in the above complaint?

After all, any team will lose a game from time to time. That is one of the great merits of football: because it is a low-scoring sport, it becomes easier for the underdog to claim victory, even if they are inferior in technical ability.

Therefore, should we really blame Barcelona’s failings on the lack of a “plan B”, particularly when “plan A” is so clearly effective?

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Obsession | Football is as much a part of the British national psyche as queuing, drinking tea and spending hours in the pub. (Image | The Sun)

It is probably fair to say that if the next national census asked whether people considered themselves to be a fan of sport, and then asked them to specify their favourite, the most popular answer would be football. By popular consensus, football is the national sport.

It is a constant talking point in the media and a regular source of conversation in workplaces and public houses. With this in mind: why do such a large number of people seem to know so little about the game?

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The phenomenon of the sporting egotist

Ego | Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the most arrogant professional sportsman. (Image | Cristiano Ronaldo.org)

As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage“. Many of the most fascinating stories in sport come from the athletes who view their profession as exactly that – a stage for them to display their talents.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the maxim that says sport is entertainment, especially when justifying its more oleaginous aspects.

I have always viewed it as an athletic contest between either individuals or a group of people to determine which is superior. The fact that this happens to be something that is engrossing is a happy coincidence, nothing else.

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On the crest of a wave | Could a playoff system work in the Premier League? (Image | TalkSPORT)

The Premier League (EPL) is the most watched sports league in the world with over 4.7bn viewers per year. It is by far the most popular league in Europe – but why is this?

Some argue that it is the quality of the players, others the notoriety of the brand and still more the style of play.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason, but what is for certain is that the Premier League, since its birth in 1992, has been able to market itself better globally than any of its European rivals.

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Mourinho’s master plan comes together in style

The script was written for Fernando Torres to achieve the ultimate redemption and put Chelsea through to the final of the Champions League.

It is hard to ignore the possibility that Jose Mourinho may well be in charge of European football at this very moment. From his grand mansion in Madrid, the former Chelsea manager was probably grinning from ear-to-ear as Barcelona, the “greatest” team in Europe, succumbed to a display of defensive solidity unparalleled all season from Chelsea, and with ten men to boot. After John Terry’s brainless sending off for an “accidental” foul on Alexis Sanchez, and Gary Cahill’s injury, which split up the visitors’ defence, they held firm against the home side’s onslaught, and emerged from the Nou Camp with a 2-2 draw. It all worked out perfectly for Mourinho. As the undisputed king of Stamford Bridge, one can only presume Chelsea fans still maintain shrines to the “Special One” in their living rooms. To approach the final in Munich against the man who made the club what it is today will either inspire the Blues or scare the life out of them.

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