AT the age of 33, and after a career at Real Madrid laden with glittering prizes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus may seem like a surprising decision. But it could be a very lucrative business transaction for both sides that enhances the reputation of the player and helps shift his employer up a gear or two. From Ronaldo’s perspective, the timing of the announcement was … Continue reading CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense
NEXT season, the British football landscape is going to have to find a new narrative. “Wenger out” has become “Wenger gone”, and therefore a considerable chunk of pundit and supporter dialogue has disappeared. With VAR likely to remove another slice of conversation – refereeing errors – you have to wonder what “your Linekers and Ferdinands” are going to talk about in a few years. As … Continue reading 2017-18: A new script is needed
THE SUPERGA air crash is embedded in the psyche of Italian football in much the same way that the Munich air disaster is in the history of the English game. There are great similarities in the two tragedies: Torino were the dominant force in Italy during and after world war two, Manchester United were standing astride the Football League in the late 1950s. Premature … Continue reading Great Reputations: Torino 1940s – just how good were they?
AS IF we didn’t know it, Juventus have shown over the past fortnight just how durable and persistent they are. After drawing 2-2 in Turin with Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League, many people wrote them off, but after their 1-0 win at Lazio, a classic European triumph at Wembley and a 2-0 victory against Udinese, Juventus are in the driving seat once more in … Continue reading Did Napoli blink first?
WITHIN 10 minutes of arriving in Turin, the first signs of the importance of football in the city became very evident: our taxi driver, in his obligatory Fiat, asked if we were in town to see Juve. He was clearly a fan, his small pennant hanging from his mirror betraying his allegiance. He smiled and nodded as we told him we were going to the … Continue reading Soccer City: Calcio at the foot of the Alps
TODAY’S European football landscape is dominated by the so-called “big-five” leagues: England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. Look at any of the rankings that are produced that list the richest football institutions and clubs from these countries dominate. If you had compiled a similar list 30 or 40 years ago, it would have looked somewhat different. The 2017-18 season is the 50th anniversary of Manchester … Continue reading Big faded giants or merely marginalised?
THE WAY the so-called “big five” leagues in Europe are progressing this season, we could see more than one team hit the 100 point mark in 2017-18, underlining the progressive dominance of a handful of clubs in the major competitions. If the leaders of the Premier, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 all continue at their current rate of points accumulation, they will all … Continue reading The gulf continues to widen in Europe
CARLO ANCELOTTI was sacked by Bayern Munich after half a dozen games and a disastrous UEFA Champions League result in Paris. For a few weeks, people had been suggesting this might be the year in which Bayern’s five-year run of titles came to an end, largely because Bayern had lost a few players and Borussia Dortmund have started the season on fire. Bayern rarely seem … Continue reading Why monopolies won’t be broken in Europe
FOOTBALL is big business – a massive global concern dominated by a handful of major clubs that resemble multinational corporations in their business behaviour and their ability to sweep-up cash. There’s no doubt that, at the top of the ladder, the product offers good entertainment and excitement, but the polarisation of European football has created huge imbalances that have pushed many countries into the shadows. … Continue reading How European football marginalised itself
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have made a perfect start to the Premier League season, but as any cliché-spouting football manager will tell you, the competition is a marathon not a sprint. First-time success in the top flight in England – or any other major league – is hard to achieve and the likelihood is the Terriers will be thankful to have survived come the end of the … Continue reading The perils of being promoted
JUVENTUS will probably win their sixth consecutive Serie A title in 2016-17, which will be the first time that any Italian club has won half a dozen scudetti in succession. Whether this latest title is won more easily than in the past five years or not, and the signs are that Juve may not be quite as invincible as they have been, the real competition … Continue reading Where’s the biggest challenge for Juve?
IF YOU needed any proof, it has been delivered by CIES Football Observatory in its latest weekly report. English players simply don’t get a look in. In its study of the top leagues and the number of domestically-born players appearing for the top division clubs, English clubs fare badly with an overall percentage of 35.7%. The CIES tables are based on the number of minutes … Continue reading A scarce commodity – English players at the top