Between The Lines

Between the Lines

Posts tagged casillas

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What are the motivations of top level footballers?

Amid Robin van Persie’s transfer from Arsenal to Man Utd and Luka Modric’s imminent move away from Spurs to Real Madrid, questions are again to be raised over what exactly motivates footballers and the choices they make. The life of a top level footballer seems pretty surreal – taken out of school early to end up being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to play a game two times a week in front of thousands of spectators with their lives lived in the glare of the paparazzi, it’s hardly your average life. More intriguing still is how people, the fans, react to each of their decisions when it comes to their footballing career. Looking at Arsenal you can see varying responses to their players’ fleeing – fans respected and supported Cesc Fabregas in his long dreamed of move to Barcelona but castigated Samir Nasri for a perceived mercenary’s lack of loyalty to the Gooner cause. With van Persie’s departure comes a genuine despondency and slight anger – the man who admirably lead the Arsenal from the doldrums of despair at the start of last season to the relative success of third place this season all of a sudden reveals his ambitions do not match those of the club, the club who spent only around £40 million to buy three international attackers. Arsenal fans seem more perplexed by van Persie’s now infamous statement than understanding or aggrieved. So what actually was it that motivated van Persie to leave? What is that motivates players in any of their decisions these days? It surely can’t be as simple as money can it? Don’t they earn enough?

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Filed under football van persie arsenal man utd modric tottenham real madrid samir nasri man city cesc fabregas barcelona xavi cassillas casillas ryan giggs paul scholes matt le tissier benoit assou ekkoto carlos tevez luckasz podlski cologne

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The Era of Tiki-Taka Ticker Tape

Even had they lost last night, I don’t think anyone would have denied that the last 5 years have been dominated by the Spanish. Even if they completely fluffed their lines in Poland and Ukraine, Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup coupled with Barcelona’s three Champions League victories in six years (quite a monumental achievement when you consider how difficult it is to win that trophy) would have been enough to allow such an acclamation. There’s no doubt now after Spain won their third international tournament on the spin – an unprecedented achievement, which could be replicated in our lifetimes, but is a rare and impressive feat nonetheless. Considering how many teams could have been worthy winners of each of the last three tournaments, the fact that Spain have somehow kept their heads and their shoulders above the rest (they’re practically looking down at the rest of us on the ground from atop the heights of the famous Sagrada Familia) is undeniably brilliant. Are they as good as the famed 1970s Brazil team? Such talk is often ridiculous mostly for the fact that most people who make such claims were probably too young to remember, or not even born at the time. Furthermore there are other great teams that have been forgotten in the vagaries of time – the ‘Golden Team’ of Hungary in the 1950s were also said to be legendarily brilliant. Certainly the game is more competitive now – the art of defending in particular has improved across all countries while the competitiveness of non-European/South American teams is monumentality greater now than back in 1970. Plus, the athleticism that came with the tricks and possession of that Brazil team which gave them an advantage back then is now a common feature to all teams at the highest level now. So it’s impossible to compare between the 1970s Brazil team and the 2008-2012 Spain team.

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Filed under tiki taka spain football Italy euro 2012 Spain vs Italy xavi possession greatness legendary fabgegas fabregas alba iniesta alonso pique ramos casillas total football cruyff holland barcelona la masia golden team hungary puskas mata alcantara villa torres

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The Possession of Greatness

Spain 0 - 0 Portugal (Spain win 4-2 on penalties)

Three major tournament finals in a row with the first two already won. Spain are undoubtedly one of the great international teams, and should they win on Sunday, the extraordinary triple would suggest they are the greatest. Of course the 1970 Brazil team are always touted as the great World Cup team, but for sheer consistency and know-how Spain would surely have done enough. Couple this with the multiple Champions League wins of Barcelona and the aura that shrouds their famous (or perhaps now infamous) tiki-taka style and you would have to say that this current era has been a Spanish one.

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Filed under Spain Portugal Euro 2012 tiki taka fabregas xavi iniesta casillas torres navas silva ronaldo football pepe ramos arbeloa coentrao alves pique alba perreira penalties germany italy