Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Claudio Ranieri: Anyone Else Feel Bad For This Guy

After reading a headline we all knew was coming - Ranieri sacked by Inter Milan - a range of thoughts registered in my mind.

Mother always said there'd be days like these...

Oh Ranieri, sacked again was my first thought. This scenario has happened time and again to the unlucky Italian. I know all coaches at top clubs get put under the ol' Bunsen burner, but it seems like Ranieri is constantly roasted at any club he arrives at and ultimately sacked or forced to resign.

He totally deserved it was my second thought. Based on his history of being the "nearly man," I figured this was bound to happen to Ranieri at Inter. He nearly led (X) to the pinnacle (X = Valencia, Chelsea, Juventus, Roma etc...) year after year after year. Will this man ever finish first? It was only a question of when for poor Claudio. It came sooner than I thought, but Ranieri fully deserved to be fired... Right?

Wrong. Ranieri was set up for failiure is my final thought. Even though he often falls victim to the axe and in the past had deserved it for being the guy that almost won it for the team, at Inter Milan, a post-golden age Nerazzurri, Ranieri and any other coach (see Rafa Benitez and Gian Piero Gasperini) did not stand a chance. People will claim Jose Mourinho's massive shadow of success has led to the club's meltdown, but as far as I'm concerned, President Massimo Moratti failed Inter, not Mourinho's mirage and most definitely not Claudio Ranieri. 
Inter President Massimo Moratti
Consistent missteps by the flamboyant club president have resulted in Inter's troubles. He has made a myriad trivial moves over the past two seasons, which have led to the downfall. He sold Samuel Eto'o to Russia, albeit for big money, when Eto'o was the club's main force upfront. Older players like Dejan Stankovic, Esteban Cambiasso, Christian Chivu, Lucio, etc... have not been sold, yet still relied upon as an integral part of the team. Younger players like Andrea Ranocchia and Coutinho have been heavily relied upon, only to perform below-par. Wesley Sneijder has been run-ragged trying to keep this team together, which has ultimately crushed his world class form of a few years back. And the list goes on.

Ironically, Moratti blames the coaches - ones that he chose to hire - for poor performances. Hey Massi: when this keeps happening, it might not be the coaches. 

Does anyone else feel bad for Ranieri? This time, it wasn't the Tinkerman's fault.

Photo Credits:
Ahram Online

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thierry Henry: Still Clinical

At age 34, New York Red Bull captain Thierry Henry is still as clinical of a finisher as he was ten years prior. We saw a rejuvenated Henry score a few big goals for Arsenal during a loan spell this winter, but I for one was not sure which Henry would turn up at the beginning of the MLS season: the hands in the air frustrated Henry or the barn-storming goal-scoring French man-machine. Here's what we got in NY's home opener:

Bald head slick is back and ready to rock in New York!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Remembering Italy's 2006 WC Run

Earlier this morning, I re-watched a few inspirational videos of Italy's monumental World Cup championship run in 2006. Some of you might not care so much about their triumph, but those moments had great personal significance for me, as I was beginning my own journey in Italy at the time.

I found the Azzurri's run to the top of world football intriguing in that several factors within the squad clicked into place, which allowed the team to persevere through tough times on the home front (Calciopoli Scandals) and win the tournament for a fourth time:

Andrea Pirlo hit form in spectacular fashion. His vision and distribution were fantastic throughout the tournament. If Pirlo had not been in the side, I do not believe Italy would have won the World Cup.

Fabio Grosso reached the peak of his career during the month of the tournament. Relatively unheard of, Grosso made history for his country by scampering down the left flank and scoring some huge goals.

Fabio Cannavaro lead a backline that was as solid as granite. His defense in Germany was flawless. Moreover, through his tough-as-nails actions on the field, he united the team he captained.

Gianluigi Buffon was considered the world's best keeper at the time and lived up to it. His stunning saves throughout the summer backed up the Azzurri's stellar defensive unit. Particularly, his save on Zidane's bullet header in extra-time of the final was monumental.

Francesco Totti overcame a leg-break in just three months to join the squad in Germany. He played an integral role in linking up the attack and assisted on a fair share of goals. His clinically struck penalty deep into injury-time versus Australia is a career highlight for the Roman, as it kept Italy alive in the tournament.

Marco Materazzi is a jerk, but he also peaked in the summer of 2006. His defense was gritty and his towering header in the final was epic.

Gianluca Zambrotta was a catalyst for Italia's attack on the right flank. Some daring runs down the line, mixed with a few cracking goals proved vital to the team's offense.

These factors, along with others, came together and created a winning formula for the Italians. I feel that if either of these players were not in the squad for one reason or another, Italy most likely would not have won their fourth World Cup.

Re-live the joy with me and check out these three videos of Italy's journey in 2006:

Totti's penalty vs. Australia

Grosso & Del Piero's last gasp semifinal goals vs. Germany

The final

Photo Credit:

Video Credits:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vincenzo Montella: Quietly Becoming a Top Manager

Since trading in his pilot wings for a seat in the control tower, Vincenzo Montella has continued his successful career in football, this time on the sidelines.

In his first real coaching gig, Montella has led Serie A club Catania to the brink of Europe. Currently in 8th place - the highest position the club has ever achieved in the league - the Sicilian club is poised to make a serious run at a Europa League spot.

L'Aeroplanino did not simply land in this position, but rather gained prior management experience with AS Roma, the club he scored so many precious goals for. After a successful stint as the head of the organization's youth club, he was promoted to first-team manager midway through the 2010-11 campaign, following the resignation of Claudio Ranieri. Charged with the task of avoiding further Ranieri-level destruction, Montella gradually instilled confidence back in the side, guiding them to a Europa League berth. Unfortunately for the Little Airplaner, a sweeping American takeover of the club essentially shut the door on his coaching career in Rome. More frustrating for Montella were the credentials of his replacement, Luis Enrique; a coach just as untested as himself.

After being dropped by the Capital Club, Montella quietly landed in Sicily with Catania. As the year has progressed, the Rossazzurri have grown to a new level. No longer are they part of the lower-tier contingent of the Serie A, but a formidable opponent for even top sides - just ask Inter, Roma and Lazio. Montella's brave tactics - often incorporating a 3-5-2 - and gutsy player selections - sitting Maxi Lopez (who ultimately left the club) in favor workhorse Gonzalo Bergessio - has gained wild praise amongst Serie A pundits because of the team's success. Corriere dello Sport recently claimed Catania to be the most in-form side in Serie A, unbeaten in their last six matches, with only one loss in nine. Catania Director Pietro Lo Monaco even went so far to say Montella has the DNA of a great coach.

With a semi-difficult schedule in the last quarter of the year, the Rossazzurri have their work cut out for them, but with gritty Top Gun performances inspired by their young coach, the club has reason to be excited.

I'll leave you with the most legendary night in any footballers career:

That's the most goals scored by a single player in any derby ever. It had to be you Montella! Hats off to a great former goal scorer on his was to becoming a top manager.

Photo Credit:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ibrahimovic: I'm Sick Of You

At first, the hard man attitude of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was alluring. A tough guy backing up his tough talk through gritty performances usually is. His prolific scoring record and affinity to win titles - currently nine in a row - speaks volumes about his talents as a footballer, regardless of an inflated ego. However, I'm getting sick of his over-the-top arrogance. As Ibra has gotten old, so has his antics on and off the field. Lets review some history:

Incredible efforts at Ajax garnered the attention of many leading clubs around Europe. Hilarious interviews after matches endeared fans to the tall Swede's tough, yet playful style:

The cool-talking Ibrahimovic was a delight at this point of his career. Seeing a player sensibly spar with a prying journalist is always enthralling.

At Juventus, Ibra rose to stardom. His flicks, tricks and flashy goals drew the attention of the world audience. Moreover, he arrived in a top league and immediately made an impact, scoring 16 goals while leading the Old Lady yet another title. Check out the scope of his dope skills during one of Nike's Joga Bonito clips prior to World Cup 2006:

That had to be Dubble Bubble! Ibra's tenure at Juve was cut short due to the Calciopoli scandals, which lead to his move to Inter.

In the Serie A post-Juve fallout, Inter was evil. They were essentially the Yankees of Calcio, scooping up every serious star in the wake of the scandals, one being Ibra. His dominance continued at Inter, winning three titles and securing Capocannoniere honors - top scorer in Serie A - in his final year.
Ibra silences San Siro boo boys and lets them know to shut up
Towards the end of his tenure at Inter, tempers began to flare. Though goals like these brought fans to their feet, but Ibra's inability to make an impact in games of importance angered fans. On this unsteady ground, Zlatan's hard man from Malmo act made matters much worse. As seen in the picture above, there were several instances where Zlatan threw dissent right back in their faces. No love was lost when the striker flew the coop for Barcelona in exchange for Eto'o.

Barcelona probably could have done without the services of Ibrahimovic. Even after a strong start, it was evident the striker did not fit into Pep Guardiola's system. After the fact, we have learned (through Ibra's biography) about severe problems Ibra had in the locker room. He seemed like the bad kid in school who always acted up in class. To him, Guardiola was not in control, while no one questioned Messi or Xavi. To Barca, he was polluting a good ecosystem. For a person with this sort of ego, I am sure authoritarian problems hit hard. The result: a summer move back to Italy with city rivals AC Milan.

Fortifying his complete lack of care for Inter, Ibra traded over to city rivals AC Milan a year after departing the Nerazzurri. In Italy, this is a serious dis to fans. This move dovetailed into the Swede's current over-the-top arrogance. He was always kind of a jerk, but while in Rossoneri, he has never failed to anger me. His track record:

Constant red cards jeopardized Milan's title winning efforts towards the end of last year.

Fighting to the death with American man-machine Oguchi Onyewu.

An infamous kick on a teammate during training:

Another kick, this time on Antonio Cassano, after winning the Scudetto:

well placed slap against a Napoli player last month put him in the doghouse.

A temper-tantrum post Champions League progression vs. Arsenal.

And most recently, a spat with a reporter resulted in Ibra asking her "What the F*ck are you looking at??" followed by a headband throw:

What is wrong with this guy? Have years of success made his ego boil over? Maybe it's because he looks like Zorro right now? I used to admire the hard man attitude, but as of late, it just seems excessive.

To conclude this rant, I offer you a hilarious video dissecting Ibrahimovic's attitude via the Barcelona tensions with Pep Guardiola:

Photo/Video Credits:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stuart Holden: Inspiring

Stu Holden is a fighter. In the face of an agonizing uphill battle towards recovery from serious injury, the Bolton and USMNT midfielder has maintained a brave and jovial attitude. This mentality despite adversity has been an inspiration to anyone facing hard obstacles.

He'll be back, Wanderer faithful

Injured in a horrific tackle by the studs of Manchester United's Johnny Evans near the end of last season, Holden has been on the long road to recovery ever since. A failed comeback this past September put the young midfielder on the sidelines for the rest of this season, but still, Holden remains upbeat.

After watching his first few "No Holden Back" videos, which detail his journey of recovery, I have gained an even greater respect for my fellow countryman. Oh, and the dude can cook! Check out ESPN's detailed account of Holden's trials and tribulations so far to see what I mean. And do see his videos below to gain some insight on how a top athlete deals with this sort of situation brilliantly:

No Holden Back: Episode 1

No Holden Back: Episode 2

No Holden Back: Episode 3

Here's to a fast recovery for this talented player! Hope to see you kickin' it on the pitch soon Stu! Stay positive and get well. 

Photo Credit:

Video Credit:
Youtube: kick

LA Loses, Makes My Morning Again

For the second day in a row, my morning has been made by a team being knocked out of a tournament!

The LA Galaxy dropped the 2nd leg of their CONCACAF Champions League knockout tie with Toronto FC last night, losing 2-1 (4-3 on aggregate), and ultimately making my morning better. Thanks, losers! I strongly dislike the Galaxy, a team of cry babies, so this was a fitting start to the day.
Un-exaggerated, yet relevant headline
Kudos to Toronto, who surely topped their previous best moment in the MLS with this win. It only took one week, but the Red Stormers from up north made team history again. Unfortunately, mlssoccer.com did not provide a highly exaggerated headline this time around, but we commend them for their review.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Inter Win With Last Kick of Match: Still Lose

This just made my morning:

I was unfortunate to have missed the Champions League action yesterday evening, but seeing Inter bow out of the competition in hilarious fashion made me feel better. How often do you see a team win with the last kick of the match yet still lose? Oh, Inter! When will you learn?

Video Credit:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clint Dempsey: Let Me Show You Roma

About a year ago, I created a post urging Landon Donovan to join AS Roma. I gave him 100 reasons why Roma, the team and city, is great, in response to speculation linking the American to the Giallorossi. Unfortunately, my plea fell upon deaf ears. Your loss Landon!

Fast forward to the present day, where Football Italia asserts Roma are ready to bid for Clint Dempsey. So Clint, this post is now for you! Along with Landon, I think the world of you and you're abilities as a footballer. As a Roma fan, I want you on our side. Check out 100 reasons why you should consider this move.
So, as a guide, I would like to give you 100 reasons why you should join Roma (give or take a few). These reasons come from three years of living in the Eternal City as a young American abroad and numerous years following the club:

The Club 

Francesco Totti - Il Capitano, Er Purpone, The King of Rome...the list of nicknames goes on. This living legend could be your teammate! I know you've got Becks at the moment, but you've had him as a mate for awhile now. Totti is unheralded: a club man for his whole career, a World Cup winner, and one of the most revered/hated figures in Italy. Most importantly he will do anything for the team he loves and the place he calls home.
New Owners - Roma have new American owners. That's right: American! For the first time in Italian league history a foreign owner owns a club in the Serie A! This is an exciting achievement for the league! The owners are part of the consortium that own the Red Sox. Since they are linked to the MLB, I'd imagine they are familiar with throwing money EVERYWHERE to acquire awesome players like yourself. This could be beneficial...

Squad Upgrade: The team was a stunning save away from winning the Serie A last year with a squad similar to what they have this year. Unfortunately, they did not play up to snuff this season. Next year, we will see numerous upgrades to the squad in hopes of building a championship winning team. Roma is ready to be pushed over the hill and win. I'm not talking Manchester City money, but money that could tip the scales and turn Roma into a powerhouse. And since it's not like City money, you wouldn't be riding the bench.
Addendum: The squad looks dope! Though they've had a rough run of results this year, times when the team shines are an indication of what's to come. This team is young and they are gelling. Potentially, upon your arrival, they will be a machine.

Daniele De Rossi - I know he elbowed Mcbride in the 2006 WC, but let bygones be bygones. De Rossi is an honest player who is fiery with passion. He is a hard worker, a tremendous leader, and rare midfield talent. I see him as a Michael Bradley 2.0 and similar to Bradley, you would have the honor of linking up with him often during the run of play.

Stadio Olimpico - The Stadio Olimpico is great! Home to Roma and Lazio, it holds around 60,000. It's fairly easy to get to (right near the only river that runs through Rome) and is always well maintained.

Curva Sud - This is the end where the diehard fans sit. Sud is full of song and jeer all match long. Quite honestly, it is frightening to sit there, but it is one of the best fan ends in the world.

Hating Lazio - This should prove easy. Hating Liverpool was one thing. Chivas, another. But Lazio?? Good lord. Just watching a match featuring the baby blue side is enough to boil the nerves. They are horrible and you will see why - which brings me to my next point...
Addendum: Think hating Chelsea and/or QPR.

Derby della Capitale - This is one of the most heated rivalries in the world. Roma versus Lazio is INSANE. Fans have died at these games (which is a shame). The passion on the field is electrifying and the atmosphere in the stands is enough to make your hair stand up. This derby is the real deal.
Derby day
American - Along with my earlier point, you would in fact be the first American to sign for Roma. That's pretty damn cool. Plus your new club owners would feel a kinship towards you (not like that matters, but still).

John Arne Riise - Though he comes from your rival Liverpool, John Arne Riise speaks good English and is the whitest man you'll ever see. This will constantly make you feel good about your tan and you can tell him about it in English.
Addendum: As you know, Riise is no longer with Roma, but on your current team! Talk to him about Roma. If a man with such fair skin could happily live and play in Rome, it must have been worth it!

New Coach - Presumably. Since about six big transfers are slated for the summer, a new coach with more experience is in order. Who might it be you ask? It could be the Champions League/Premier League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti, amongst other candidates. You could be coached by a living legend, Demps. And become a legend.
Addendum: Luis Enrique is the new coach. His style is quick and upbeat, a lot of passing and moving. I think you would love it!

Europe League - Roma will be in Europe next season. Hey, it's not the Champions League, but who are you to complain, you've never played in Europe before anyway? That said, one of the team's highest priorities will be to win this competition and it could be a good journey.
Addendum: We're all still hoping Roma will be in Europe next season. But rest assure, Roma will be competing for European glory in the next five years.

A Wing Player - Roma need a man who can patrol the wings like you can! The role you played at Everton is exactly what is needed in the Capital.

Consistency - Roma need a consistent player. I would rate you as one of the more consistent players out there.

Trigoria - Roma's famed training ground. Though it's not Milanello (ask Gooch about that), Trigoria is still as beautiful as any country club I've ever seen. They even have pool parties.

Vucinic's unorthodox celebration
Mirko Vucinic - The very talented Montenegrin is surely someone who will provide the movement and up-tempo play you enjoy. Plus that guy is hilarious (see picture, inset)!
Addendum: He's not on the team anymore. As seen by this picture, that is probably a good thing.

Wild Man Nicolas Burdisso - Nicolas Burdisso is a wild man! He is also a rock at the back who can be relied upon heavily. You might remember him when squaring off against Argentina not long ago.

Romanisti - There is rarely a better fan base than the Romanisti. They are severely passionate and are ready to jump for joy or revolt. I coin their attitude like that of a New York fans attitude: they love you if you do good, hate you if you do bad. It's like any big city.

Giallorossi - The team colors: red and yellow. You'd look good in them, I am sure. In addition, the "Giallorossi" is also the nickname for the team. Every squad in Italy does that. Kit colors = nickname.

Serie A - Your skills would tear the Serie A in two! Your pace on the ball will put you in some good positions in this slower moving, tactical league.

The City

History - Rome is unlike any city in the world. As you walk around the streets you see layer upon layer upon layer of history. Many time periods are represented in the vast array of ruins strewn about the city. Even if you stayed for 5 years, you probably will not have seen it all.

Prati - This district of Rome is a quiet upper-class living quarter in the city that is fairly close to Stadio Olimpico.

Monteverde - LA has Hollywood, Rome has Monteverde. It is the "Green Mountain" that overlooks beautiful Roma. This section is (or was in my time) home to players like Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta (you know...the World Cup winners?).

Sunshine - Happy days and rainbows...I would say out of the three years I spent in Rome, 90% of the days were sunny and beautiful. It's pretty much LA climate out there. 

Not Rain - I am sure your time with Everton was full of rainy days, muddy boots, and depressing off days. Not in Rome. Off days are like summer vacation!

The Beach - I know from all your years in California, you must enjoy a fine trip to the beach - unless you are weird or something. The good news is, if you come to Roma, you can enjoy a quick and convenient ride to the beach. You will also acquire a rocking tan since the sun seems to be way hotter in this part of the world (I know this because every time I went to the beach I got incredibly burnt even though I have darker skin). The Mediterranean Sea is calling you, Clint.

Driving - Do you like to drive fast? Recklessly? Well, Rome is the right city for you, #10. You can drive fast AND recklessly without getting in an accident! These crazy Italians are so akin to driving all over the place you don't even have to worry about bending fenders. Lines?? What lines?!
Why not get a moto? I heard Montella has one...
Good Place To Visit - Family and friends will love visiting and staying with you in Rome. There are so many things to do and see. They'd have to be the most boring people on the face of the planet to not have a good time in this city.

Cobblestone Streets - I don't know about you, but when I walk on cobblestone, I immediately think I am in a cooler place than I normally am. Since Roma is probably 30% cobblestone, you have a high chance of being somewhere awesome in the city. Oh did I mention these stones were laid in the 16th and 17th century?

Piazzas - Or "squares" in English, are really nice. They are essentially spots to hang out and relax in the city. Often times restaurants and bars line piazzas, as well as beautiful cathedrals. Favorites: Santa Maria in Trastevere, San Cosimato, Risorgimento, Venezia, San Pietro, Navona, and Trilussa, to name a few.

The People

Italians - Are incredible. They are personal, emotional, and loyal. Sounds like the opposite of many people in LA (and NYC for that matter). You will make friends for life with everyone on your block the second you arrive. You will kiss men on the cheeks. Yes, I know that's weird at first - after all, we're American and weren't raised that way - but it's a beautiful thing knowing someone likes you that much as a friend. What I'm saying is it's a really accepting environment.

Passion For Soccer - The passion surrounding Italian soccer is insane. It is almost frightening at times, but overall, it can be very profound and heartfelt. I have seen tears of joy and happiness in the stands and at bars. I guess it's a good way to take these people away from stark realities.

Passion For Life - Along with soccer, Italians have a great passion for living life. Culture is highly valued in this society and generally people work to live, not live to work. The atmosphere in the city is in turn looser and more down to earth, in my opinion.

Women - Italian women are delightful and friendly to Americans... End of story.

Ex Pats - I went to college in Rome for three years and found many English speaking ex pats in the city. There are plenty of people to relate to if you do not speak Italian.

The Pope - I'm not very religious but I'll have to admit it was interesting to see the Pope's influence on the people and city. Also, seeing him emerge at his window one Sunday's was fairly awe inspiring.

Italian Pronunciations - Your first and last name both end in "N," meaning you have stumped 75% of Italian people as to how to pronounce your name. It will be hilarious. Announcers will stumble and just call you the American. I imagine it will sound something like "Cleeeeent Dempsay." But after all the laughter, they will be wowed by your work ethic and contribution to the side.


Pizza - The pizza in Rome is tremendous. Some people will say the Napolitani make it better, but those people are wrong. Try a potato slice with cheese and tell me you don't love Rome...

Suppli - Better known as rice balls in the USA, Suppli are an incredible delicious snack that you won't be able to resist after your first bite. Check out I Suppli in Trastevere by Piazza San Cosimato for the best results. My mouth is watering as we blog.

Pasta - Do I need to explain? Two words, CD: Amatriciana and Carbonara. Eat them. Experience them. Live them.

Gelato - Ice cream?? F*ck ice cream! Gelato is the real deal. Once you taste gelato, ice cream won't be the same for you ever again.

Nutella - Have you ever had Nutella, Demps? The delicious chocolate/hazelnut spread is incredible and can be found in stores, in abundance, anywhere in the country. Boom.

Humanitarian Organizations - Rome is rife with organizations which aim to better society. A nice addition to the caring nature of the city. In turn, a lot of English speaking ex pats work there.

Drinkin' in the Streets - Strictly an off-season activity. It's pretty cool to have the freedom to walk down the street with a cold one in your hand and not risk an arbitrary slap on the wrist. You're not doing anything wrong!

The Vatican - The Vatican can be liked for either of two reasons, or both reasons themselves: 1) It is the center of the Catholic world (if you are religious) 2) It is literally a different country (if you are not religious and want to grasp something cool about it).

Paninis - Are sandwiches, basically - but better, since they are in Rome.

Prosciutto - Finely cured ham that goes in paninis deliciously.

Pancetta - Italian bacon, which many consider better than our bacon. Seriously, try it out.

Coffee - You might not be used to this brand of coffee Deuce, but it is a pleasure to enjoy. Sip either a caffe (pretty much a shot of coffee), an espresso, or my favorite, a cappuccino to start your day off right. You'll certainly be moving after one of these, because those Italians make coffee right. Also, cappuccino comes in cool designs.

Fruit - The fruit in California must be good, but I would venture to say the fruit in Rome is better. There is something about the soil and Mediterranean atmosphere that makes every piece of delicious fresh fruit taste wonderful. Also, you may purchase fruit in essentially any piazza around the city. Campo di Fiori is the best though.

I know there are more awesome reasons why you should come to Roma, Signore Dempsey, but I'm tired and can not think anymore. Plus I'm not entirely convinced you'll read this. But if you do, and have more questions, feel free to contact me (offering me free tickets or signed gear is not mandatory).

Some final thoughts on a potential move to Roma...There is really no better atmosphere to live and play. The city is cultural and full of vibrant, down to earth life, and the club is storied and very much on the cusp of growing to new heights. It's a no brainer if the price is right!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Best MLS Headline Ever Created

Last night, Toronto FC tied the LA Galaxy in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League knockout round, securing their finest moment in history, according to mlssoccer.com. Exaggerate much?

A few things: you know you're a lower tier team when your best moment is tying the LA Galaxy. They are not Barcelona, after all. Also, you know you're a lower tier team when your previous best moment was signing Torsten Frings.
Come at me bro
Joking aside, it was great to hear a whopping 48,000 fans attended the match, which was held in Toronto. Sounds like an incredible fan base. Furthermore, I think the MLS news source grossly exaggerated this headline. That said, read arguably the best story ever reported here.

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Big Club Coaches Get Sacked For Doing Bad...

...they automatically draw speculation on which big club they will arrive at next? Sounds like a strange thesis, wouldn't you say? Interestingly enough, this seems to be the odd trend.

AVB's signature Chelsea look of disbelief
Over the past few days, Andre Villas-Boas (pictured above), freshly sacked by Chelsea, has went from the career low of being dismissed by his first big club, to somewhat of a revival in the news with all the speculation involving which big club he will land at next. The Portuguese tactician is already linked with Serie A money spenders Roma and Inter, and I would imagine as the season dwindles down, clubs like Barcelona, Madrid, et. al will be thrown into the mix. How does this make any sense? In football, it just does.

You could argue AVB was a good coach in a bad situation, similar to Carlo Ancelotti last year; or that his ideals simply did not match those of the team, causing the negative results. Still, it is peculiar when someone recently fired for not doing the job correctly is desired by other firms days later. Would this make sense in your field of work? Nevertheless, in football, it just does.

Lets look at some more of these conundrums and how they turned out:

Who Rafa Benitez When June 2010 Verdict FAIL
Rafa Benitez with his own signature look of failure
All throughout the 2009-10 season, Rafa Benitez had the weight of Liverpool on his shoulders. Ultimately, the Spaniard lead the team to an undesired finish and was dismissed. For some reason...I blame Alberto Aquilani? Anyway, seven days later, Inter scooped up the goatee sporting gaffer to replace Jose Mourinho, the man who won Inter a treble weeks prior. After running Liverpool off the rails and arriving in the shadow of Mourinho, the "destined for failure" motto floated about Milano.

As it turns out, it was an epic fail. In spectacular fashion, Benitez was dismissed after Inter's Club World Cup win. Following the triumph, Benitez stated in the media reinforcements were needed in January...to a team that just won a treble and the Club World Cup. Puzzling comments and a dismal start to the season resulted in the sack for Rafa. Inter might have hoped for better in the situation, but really got what they deserved by hiring a recent failure.

Who Claudio Ranieri When Anytime Verdict FAIL
Claudio Ranieri's "not again" look of despair
The nervous looking Claudio Ranieri is the AVB scenario on repeat. His career is like a broken record that repeats 5 steps: 1) do well for a season 2) dismal results begin 3) pressure mounts because of dismal results 4) pressure boils over and equals firing 5) miraculously hired again. This has happened to Ranieri everywhere. Where is he now, you ask? At Inter. Doing what? Well, he skipped step 1), went straight to steps 2) and 3) and is nearing step 4). We'll probably be reading about his step 5) return to Chelsea in June.

Who Luciano Spalletti When Nov./Dec. 2009 Verdict WIN
Luciano Spalletti's "I have the balls to be bald in Russia" look
Just to prove the anomaly of hiring a freshly sacked manager is not as outrageous as it sounds, behold former AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. Spalletti saw a few bad results at the beginning of the 2009-10 season and was forced out of the Capital. But, being the ever-so-awesome bald man that he is, was scooped up be Zenit St. Petersburg in a month and ultimately lead them to the title in his first year at the helm, something they had not won in 10 years. In this case, Zenit's gamble of hiring a coach who recently faltered paid off.

What do these instances mean? The football world is unpredictable. Keep your eyes on the Villas-Boas saga that will surely unfold over the next few months!

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