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.
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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.
Reasons to be cheerful have been few and far between for Scotland supporters in recent years especially during Craig Levein’s fateful reign in charge but his replacement Gordon Strachan is doing his best to restore the faith in the national side when it is at an all time low. His first win as Scotland manager came in the largely uneventful friendly against Estonia earlier this year, but it’s his first competitive win away to Croatia in a World Cup qualifying campaign that was already over when he replaced Levein that suggests there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s a rarity to be posting twice on one day but thought it was worthy to round-up what Manchester United players that have played under Ferguson managed to squeeze into 140 characters what they made of the United manager stepping down and the impact the Scot had on their careers. There’s some great pictures in there as well.
Twitter timeline, Facebook news feed, radio phone-ins, Sky Sports yellow ticker, front and back page of the Standard. For Manchester United supporters Wednesday May 8th 2013 will be remembered as the day one of the greatest football managers to have graced the game decided that it was time to call it a day.
Just as the world debated over whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acrobatic strike was better than Maradona’s jinking run in ‘86 or Zidane’s volley against Bayern Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final, Milan’s French centre back Phillipe Mexes scored an overhead kick to rival the Swede’s finish and give the Rossoneri faithful something to smile about this season.
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.
I’m sure even Patrice Evra would admit that he has endured one of his toughest seasons in a United shirt. Captaining a side who were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages, outclassed in the Europa League by Athletic Bilbao and cruelly missing out on the Premier League title on the last day on goal difference. On a personal level there was the Luis Suarez affair, the sudden loss of his brother and the ongoing conflict within the French squad.
Assertions that Evra’s best years are now behind him seem hasty judging by these stats on the Frenchman’s performances over recent seasons, but having been the only viable left back option at the club for so long, the lack of competition has perhaps seen some complacency creep into certain aspects of his game.
To put it bluntly, it must suck right now to be a Malaga CF supporter. If ever there was a club that represented all that is good and bad about embracing foreign ownership in just a single season, the Andalusian club has gone through it all. The exuberant spending spree in the summer transfer window to reported financial turmoil with an excellent league campaign that secured Champions League football sandwiched in between the two polar opposites, the club now appears to be selling off its prized assets.
Gary Neville’s orgasmic reaction as Torres rounded Victor Valdes was swiftly the talk of Twitter, but the Geoff Shreeves masterclass on how not to break bad news was not far behind one of the biggest talking points besides events on the pitch at the Camp Nou.
Branislav Ivanovic as well as Ramires and Raul Meireles will be aware of their Champions League final absences as will the young Bayern trio of David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo. Those players who will take to the pitch at the Allianz Arena on May 19th will be even more determined to make sure those players who have been integral to their progression to the final will not go to waste.