Morata Takes Juve Back To Where It Deserves To Be

Juve is now where it deserves to be.

~ Alvaro Morata

The kid from Madrid puts a dagger into the heart of his former club and sends Juventus back to the Champions League final. Real played well but wasted too many chances. The fans are blaming Gareth Bale, who had the best chances but couldn’t put them away. This year’s Real Madrid never quite seemed to have enough to beat the best teams. They were never fully fit and never quite ready. Watching a player from their Youth Academy end their dream of the 11th Champions League title was difficult for a club with such high expectations. Now, the manager who brought their team the long awaited 10th title may have to fall on his sword and leave the club.

Juventus on the other hand feel that they are a team of destiny. “It seemed like destiny, but it really did go the way we hoped,” said Gianluigi Buffon.  The team played with a sense of destiny. It’s a group of veterans, also-rans, and rejects who were are not quite done winning. The starting 11 average age is

Buffon (37) ; Lichtsteiner (31), Bonucci (28), Chiellini (30), Evra (33); Pirlo (35); Marchisio (29), Pogba (22); Vidal (27); Tevez (31), Morata (22).

Average age is 30 years old, which is like 50 in soccer years. So the old men from the Old Lady take down the Galacticos.

Pep and Bayern Play Barca’s Way and Lose Their Way

You can only beat Barcelona when you take the ball away from them. When they have the ball they are too strong.

~ Pep Guardiola, 12 May 2015

Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola is vastly different from the Jupp Heynckes team that won the Champions League Final in 2013. Just two years ago, Bayern was thrashing Barcelona. It was a different Barcelona that lacked the strength provided by Luis Suarez. It was the aging, creaky Barcelona that Xavi and Iniesta still led. Pep was already gone. Now, Barcelona looks unstoppable. They are as good as the best team Pep assembled. So the question is whether or not Pep should try to re-create a German version of his greatest Barcelona teams or create something different, that’s maybe better.

This particular Bayern showed a lot of courage and heart in the return leg. They were dynamic, pressing, and creative, but still were exposed defensively by arguably the best front three ever assembled. Pep’s Bayern pressed and did an admirable job of keeping possession, and, despite winning the match, lost the tie and are now out of the Champions League.

After last night, if Bayern Munich is going to try to become Bavarian Barcelona, it’s time to rebuild. Personally, I think they should look to build on the strength they already have. Pep’s going to get it right. It will be interesting to see where he and Bayern land.

Andres Iniesta Quote: The will to succeed

If there’s one characteristic all players have it’s precisely that. They all have that gene, that competitiveness, the ability to overcome obstacles, to fight, a willingness to sacrifice. It might look easy to reach the top and stay there, to play for your country and win things, but it isn’t. All players that have achieved those things have that: the big ones, the small ones, the good-looking ones, the ugly ones, the nice ones, the not so nice ones … they all have that will to succeed.

~ Andres Iniesta, 9 Nov 2012

From an interview with Sid Lowe in the Guardian.

Pique on Messi: Don’t worry. We can’t catch him.

“We thought he was mute,” said Gerard Piqué, the lanky Barcelona center back who played with Messi in the club’s youth academy. “He was in the dressing room, on the bench, just sitting. He said nothing to us for the first month. We traveled to Switzerland to play a tournament, and he started to talk and have fun. We thought it was another person. He was really good, but he was really small and thin. His legs were like fingers. One coach said, ‘Don’t try to tackle him strong, because maybe you will break him.’

And we said, ‘O.K., but don’t worry because we cannot catch him.’ ”

From the NYTimes.

Xavi Quote on Celtic’s Anti-Football Style


People rightly consider that Celtic use an anti-football system, but Chelsea have done the same and they are now champions of Europe.

~ Xavi, 4 November 2012

Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi prepare for a trip to the Anti-Football Paradise of Glasgow

Celtic pulled out a historic victory of Barcelona, reminding everyone that an organized defense is a good idea. I really like that later in the same interview Xavi attempted to throw Celtic a compliment by saying, “And we know what the atmosphere will be like because Glasgow is a paradise for football but we are all experienced players and it will not worry us.” You mean, a paradise for anti-football, right?



Dirty Tackle