Cultured Football #115
Liga XI. Sergio Busquets. Bundesliga Breakout Stars. Play-Outs. Monumental Rise.
Welcome to Cultured Football where the best football writing of the past seven days is carefully selected, just for you.
Final 2022/23 LaLiga Team of the Season: Barcelona dominate, only one Real Madrid star, Espanyol represented
By Joe Soriano for the Trivela Effect
Barcelona won the Spanish League title and, rather understandably, they dominate this team of the year entry. Still, there are a couple of surprises like the Tottenham flop who has rebuilt his career and a former Manchester City globetrotter finally finding a permanent base.
By Sid Lowe for The Guardian
Reflecting on the past, it is difficult to find a player comparable to Sergio Busquets, a footballer who revolutionized the perception of the midfield position, approached the game uniquely compared to others, and ultimately became the epitome of it. His departure from Barcelona is a momentous one for the club but at least he got to leave as a champion.
By Matthew Burt for Bundesliga Fanatic
The German league that just came to a close was perhaps the most dramatic of all the big leagues this season. However, apart from the fight over who would win the title, the Bundesliga also brought to light a host of new talent. If you watched the final of the World Cup you will certainly know one of these. But what of the remaining nine?
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Remaining in the Bundesliga, there’s much to love about German football. How they determine if a third team will go down / third team will go up is not one of them. Whilst bottom two in the Bundesliga automatically go down, the third team has a reprieve in the form of a play-out in the team in third place in the 2 Bundesliga. This year, as often happens, Stuttgart of the former easily overcame Hamburg of the latter 6-1 over two legs to stay up. It wasn’t even a contest.
By David Kirichenko for Backpage Football
Sadly, Ukraine is often in the news these days for tragic reasons. So it is a pleasure to spotlight a story of hope; that of a side which has finally made it to the top flight of Ukranian football and who are hoping to be a challenger in coming years.
Something Else We Loved This Week
Issue 6 of Turnstiles magazine has just landed and as always it provides 72 pages of captivating football content. It includes a fascinating interview with music icon Stephen Street, a comprehensive tribute to the late Pelé, features on Uruguayan club Penarol and USA 94, discussions on managers fitting perfectly at specific clubs, explorations of lost football grounds and the English Schools Trophy, stories of a serial non-league club hopper and fans avoiding scores, coverage of the defunct Anglo Italian Cup and an obituary for Gianluca Vialli. On top of all that, readers will receive two pull-out posters and old-school stickers.
Last Week’s Most Read: Are Man City 'gaming the system'?
By Nick Harris for Mail on Sunday
Few have been as dogged in their pursuit of financial doping in English football as Nick Harris. His dissection of the City Group's machinations in moving players around their thirteen clubs is both detailed and damning. Yet, in this case, they aren't doing anything wrong. Which is different from saying that what they're doing is good for the players themselves or the leagues in which their clubs play.