R9 – Real Ronaldo retires today. Thank you

It will be decades before we find ourselves another player like Ronaldo. None better at carving through defenses for the sole purpose of scoring goals. Joga Bonito started with this man and today it has grown to another level because of him.

Thank you, with a smile on our faces –

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Inter take Club World Cup, defeat bouncing bottoms of TP Mazembe

In a result that may keep beleaguered manager Rafa Benitez in a job for another week, Inter Milan smacked Congolese club TP Mazembe three goals to nil today to win the FIFA Club World Cup Final. Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto’o netted early in the first half, and 22 year old French striker Jonathan Biabiany put the game outside of Mazembe’s reach by rounding the keeper and firing home in the 70th minute. While the African club may have finished second in the competition, their appearance in the final was the first by a club from neither Europe or South America.

Setting history aside, Mazembe found a place in my heart thanks for the amazing goal celebrations by their keeper Muteba Kidiaba. Unlike Victor Valdes’ boring fingers pointed toward the heavens, or Lukasz Fabianski’s dropped waterbottle and probable injury, Kidiaba scoots around on the ground, using only the power of his derrière .

Seriously. Take a look.

Wonderful.

Tiki Taka vs Route One Football

One nil down in the 75th minute. Do you ask your forwards to shuffle along their backline and wait for your center backs to spray long balls or do you continue to ask your midfield to connect between the two? With Zigic up front, the question is easily answered, but most don’t have the luxury.

Barcelona have perfected the possession style, Arsenal have created their own version, and we all know the Brazilians love it. The problem with route one football is the counter attack. Pushing forward five or six players leaves you with only your backline behind the ball and a recipe for disaster. Teams with the ability to exploit gaps on the counter will do so quickly:

Teams that play the tiki taka possession game are always labeled as more skilled, but can you honestly say that Clichy and Diaby have more skill than the majority of England’s top flight? The style works well for Arsenal and if it helps, looks far better than scramble inside the 18 or a long throw-in from Delap. For 90 minutes, you can’t really rely on Tom Huddlestone to blast long balls and expect the half chances to go in. Just look at the Spurs consistency in the Premier League. There isn’t any.

If I put a label on route one football teams people will just get angry. It’s more likely to get countered than score a goal and it just seems so desperate and painful to watch. Nonetheless, it is exciting with 5 minutes remaining or if you have Xabi Alonso on your side:

I guess route one football is effective when you have the names David Beckham or Xabi Alonso on your roster. The only positives to route one is a quick change of pace in the game or having the opposing team’s backline running towards their own net. An average long ball is easy to defend and gets ridiculously boring after a while, not to mention tires out the front players. Even Barcelona have done it from time to time, but at least they do it with style and spray textured balls in from the flanks with Dani Alves. Chelsea on the other hand just plays the typical English route one. Lucky for them Essien loves his wonder strikes:

I don’t think I really need to explain tiki taka football. The majority of the movements are off the ball and is sometimes slow, but patient in looking for the breakdown of a defense. Only few Premiership teams are patient in the final third, but none are better at possessing in all quadrants of the field like Arsenal. Wengerball is easily the next best form of football behind the style perfected by FCB. No better example than this:

Proof is in the video.

A Look Ahead at EL CLASICO

Anyone that says La Liga is too slow is an idiot. Somehow long ball after long ball qualifies as a fast game. Maybe a bulldog running as fast as he can is considered high pressure and I guess if you give him the ball you can consider it nice possession. Can’t do much when someone sprays you a long ball and you have to chase it straight out of bounds. No wonder Fabio Capello is struggling, he has a back line that can’t pass shorter than 30 yards.

Just put your hands above your head and clap at these guys.

There isn’t a derby in the world that is in comparison to El Clasico. You want your stupid knee high tackles, they are here. You want blazing fast pace, it’s here too. The only thing that is different between this derby and the next is that unbelievable talent and skill of every players on the pitch. Find me a match where the ball and the players move this fast and we might have an argument. I hate hearing that the Tiki Taka style is useless. Nine-tenths of the law says it’s not.

Anyways, Barcelona signed one of the best strikers in the world even though they already had one of the most skilled. David Villa is the exact type of player they needed to run up front. He knows how to move off the ball, understands his teammates movements having played together on the national team, and is a more consistent finisher than Ibra. I expect Zlatan and The Sheikh Mansour to be talking sometime soon.

Not much else happened in the Catalan club, however the Bernabeu picked up the most hated, or loved (whoever you support), manager in the world right now. Regardless of your care for the guy, he is currently the most revered man to be confined by a small white box. Jose Mourinho is a genius and all I can guarantee is that you won’t see another 2-6 loss. Mourinho already has the most creative startingXI in the world and the addition of Ozil, Di Maria, Khedira, and even Carvalho will make the bench more dangerous.

On a separate note, I can’t believe Real just let Raul and Guti go so easily. The greatest goal scorer to wear the all white kit and arguably the best through ball passer to come through The Santiago Bernabeu. Two one-club players couldn’t even be given a chance to retire at their home soil. Perez is immorally desperate. Idiot.

Guardiola is a managerial prodigy, having won every possible trophy in his first year as the boss of the first team. The youngest manager to ever win the CL was exposed last season in the semifinal when he faced Mourinho and Inter. Outsmarted at both the Camp Nou and the San Siro, I expect Pep to be prepared this time around when they meet on Nov. 28th and April 17th.

If you value quality, get yourself in front of a television when the two teams meet. Don’t be an imbecile, you have nothing better to do on those Sundays anyways.

FIFA11 – update and details

This coming fall, EA Sports will be releasing the very anticipated FIFA11 video game. All soccer players have played FIFA video games at least once in their lives and most play enough to frustrate themselves. The detail put into FIFA10 was very intricate down to motivation, individual and team possession, specific ball skills, etc. The new FIFA11 takes all that and adds in a completely knew attribute: personality.

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to take losses in FIFA to heart and sometimes thinking my joystick abilities directly relate to my true soccer skills and knowledge. If you are like that, you are like me and always play FIFA to win.

For Club or Country

Step into the shoes of a Manchester United midfielder and try to think about your career. If you were English, would you rather wear the Red Devils crest or the Three Lions crest? Michael Carrick seems to prefer listening to Sir Alex over the accented Fabio Capello:

Within these last few days, four English National Team candidates seem to show that they are no longer interested in representing their country. Paul Robinson – Blackburn’s #1 and Wes Brown – one of Man Utd’s center backs, have both retired from national team duties. Daniel Sturridge – one of Chelsea’s rising young stars and Michael Carrick – Man Utd’s CDM, have both played hurt to avoid national team training. Both Carrick and Sturridge saw minutes in the FA Community Shield over the weekend.

I won’t lie, I would rather wear Nike over Umbro any day of the week.