Defending the Magnificence of Lionel Messi


“Vintage Messi” How many angels Can dance on the head of a pin? How magnificent Is Messi? There is no answer It’s like counting the bubbles In a bottle of Champagne “An explosion of the exceptional!” shouted Peter Drury into his microphone as Lionel Messi ghosted between 3 Bosnian defenders and caressed the ball past…

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Remembering Freddie Ljungberg


When you mention the name Freddie Ljungberg to Arsenal supporters, the conversation inevitably turns to that wonderful curling effort at Wembley against Chelsea in the FA Cup final or to the delightful lob against Juventus which is remembered more for Bergkamp’s merry dance with the ball around the Juventus defence.Even though Arsenal had scouted Ljungberg…

Thank You for the Memories, Robert Pirès


'To me, before his knee injury, Pirès was the best left attacking midfielder in the world. With us he was just flying.' -  Arsène Wenger shortly after Robert Pirès moved to Aston Villa. No arguments there, Monsieur. When he was still a kid harboring dreams of making it as a professional, Pirès could always be…

Marat Safin – The Misunderstood Genius


The first image that comes to mind when someone speaks of Marat Safin is that famous fiery temper, racquet smashing antics and out-of-the-blue emotional outbursts on the court when things went awry. It is not surprising given that he broke 87 racquets in a year, a record that still stands (a grand total of 1155…

Time to Give Bundesliga it’s Due


There is a tendency in today's football world to think of the top leagues in Europe as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and everyone else (whoever that may be). There is no mention of Bundesliga when one thinks of top teams (Bayern Munich may be the exception) - simply a mention of it…

Remembering Garrincha


Perhaps “remembering” Garrincha is a step too small, even though he remains one of the greatest players to have graced the game. Perhaps the phrase “beautiful game” was coined just looking at this magician’s prodigious talent. This is a player who should be celebrated and not forgotten and written off as yet another tale of…

The Rise & Demise of the ‘Libero’


Football has seen it's fair share of tactical changes in different eras but the word 'libero' has all but vanished from its vocabulary. In this piece, I will examine the rise of the libero, it's use in the infamous Catenaccio system and it's eventual demise. Libero is an Italian term meaning "free" but the concept…