The best things in life are free but don’t forget the six-figure contract or the agent fee. Okay, so Janet and Luther didn’t quite sing it like that but when Monaco is flashing the big bucks along with PSG, Manchester City and Chelsea like spoilt rich kids, it’s left to the rest to strengthen on a budget.
Category Archives: Spain
If Marcelo dreamt of making his debut for Brazil, he probably envisaged a backdrop more glamorous than a dreary Tuesday evening in North London. White Hart Lane will now forever be in the memory of the Real Madrid left back as the ground where he first laced those boots up to step out for the Seleção. I was there that night in 2006 to see the Brazilian supporters out in full force and a game that Brazil were worthy of a 2-0 win.
When Brendan Rodgers made the decision to swap the Liberty Stadium for Anfield the fear for chairman Huw Jenkins must have been that the football philosophy which had served the club so admirably under Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa and then Rodgers could lose momentum at the most crucial time. There will have also been concern that key players would follow the lead of the manager and head for the exit.
When you’ve got the money in the bank you can invest in a squad that can deliver almost immediate success. That extra financial clout also means being able to cherry pick the prodigious young talents that can will form the foundations of a dominant side for years to come.
Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pique, Fabregas and new boy Jordi Alba all played their part in creating history this summer, and will once again pull on the famous scarlet and blue shirt of Barcelona to prove that despite missing out on La Liga and Champions League titles, the ‘Barca way’ is still the way to play.
Six of the eleven players who started that EURO 2012 final in Kyiv have all had varying journeys to the Barcelona first team, but there is one thing that they all share in that pursuit to walk out in front of the Camp Nou and that is the building where tiki-taka is the footballing mantra.
Vilanova, Zubizarreta and the rest of the Barcelona hierarchy must be hating EURO 2012 right now. Partly because the heart of the team that will be going toe-to-toe with Real Madrid next year will return to pre-season training exhausted by another intense month of football, but mostly because their number one transfer target is currently one of the shining lights in Poland and Ukraine, with his valuation getting nudged up a million or two after each solid shift the fleet-footed full back-cum-winger puts in for La Roja.
The very nature of playing out of position usually comes about out of necessity. Whether it’s to cover an injury crisis or an untimely suspension. While in most circumstances it often back-fires, there are those rare performances where the managers who made the decision to take a player out of his comfort zone can be the difference between walking off the pitch with three points, and cowering away in the office lamenting your ambitious tactics.