Tag Archive: Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it is a subject that has been on my mind since Mo Farah became one of Britain’s most beloved sporting stars.

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the 'good immigration' bracket. (Image | NME)

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the ‘good immigration’ bracket. (Image | NME)

Few in this country will forget the sight of Farah winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games: yet after the latter victory, Somali-born Farah had to deal with a journalist asking if he would have preferred to have run for Somalia, rather than Britain.

The 30-year-old gave the question short shrift, and has since developed into a sporting superstar, building on last year’s gold medals with two more at the World Athletics Championships last month.

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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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It would be logical to review football on a season by season basis, but 2012 was just a bit special. As well as the European Championships, Africa Cup of Nations and Olympic Games, all the usual competitions provided thrilling moments.

Euphoria | Spain midfielder Juan Mata and striker Fernando Torres celebrate their annihilation of Italy. (Image | Betting Expert)

Euphoria | Spain midfielder Juan Mata and striker Fernando Torres revel in their annihilation of Italy. (Image | Betting Expert)

Rather than document everything that took place, I have attempted to break down the last 12 months into a series of awards.

However, I will not focus on the more obvious categories, such as “most goals scored” (Lionel Messi, with 91) and “most prolific tweeter” (Joey Barton).

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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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Spot the difference: Inter’s “Rambo” netted a hat trick against city rivals AC Milan, and has a goal scoring ratio of more than a goal per two games for Stramaccioni’s side.

A derby day hat-trick from Diego Milito downed Inter’s city neighbours Milan during the Derby della Madonnina, handing the title to Juventus in the process. Their record-setting 28th Scudetto win was confirmed as they roamed to a comfortable 2-0 victory against Cagliari, sending them four points ahead at the top of Serie A with just the one game remaining. The “Rambo” lookalike made the all-important difference in what was a pulsating game at the San Siro, netting two from the penalty spot after opening the scoring with a close range finish.

The 4-2 victory ended any hopes Milan had of retaining their league title, while Inter knew anything less than three points would run them out of contention for the final Champions League qualification spot. As it is, their chances are incredibly slim: they must beat Lazio next week and hope both Napoli and Udinese fail to pick up any points in their respective games.

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