Cultured Football #116
Messi in MLS. Determination of Eze. Manchester City. Youthful Sunderland. Moneyball in Korea.
Welcome to Cultured Football where the best football writing of the past seven days is carefully selected, just for you.
How Messi Could Transform MLS
By // James Nalton for The Analyst
Don’t know if you heard but there was a little story recently about Leo Messi agreeing to move to the MLS. If you aren’t already completely bored by that piece of news, I’d suggest you read this quick read on the financial / business implications on MLS of the move and this deep dive on the impact he might have on his struggling new club, Inter Miami.
By Alex Howell for BBC Sport
I'm astounded over the relative lack of transfer stories linking Eberechi Eze to bigger clubs than Crystal Palace (don't hate me, Palace fans!). His mixture of technique and vision mark him out as an elite talent. Yet to be world class you also need determination, something that Eze has already shown loads of to get to where he is.
On Manchester City’s Champions League Triumph
By Matt Ford for DW // By Jonathan Wilson for Sports Illustrated // Daniel Storey for iNews
Since I’ve broken my rule once by posting two links in the same post, might as well do it twice. Manchester City won the Champions League last year, finally achieving what has been their ultimate ambition since the take-over by Abu Dhabi. City are, obviously, a wonderful footballing team but this success is undeniably a triumph for their owners’ geo-political ambition as well as a dark portent of football future where only money talks.
Beyond all that, there was the sad situation that fans had to face to get to and from the stadium itself. A year on and UEFA, for all its fake apologies, has not learned.
By Sam Ingram for Zicoball
Jude was not the only Bellingham who signed for a new club this week. His younger brother Jobe also made a move, leaving Birmingham to join fellow Championship side Sunderland. And, whilst that might seem like a sideways move, he is joining a club that is full-in on giving young players a chance: last season they made it to the play-offs with an average age of just 22!
By Zeno Jo for K League United
This is the quirky story of South Korean side Pohang Steelers who have managed to punch above their weight thanks to a series of 'Moneyball signings' over the years.
If you’ve enjoyed any of this week’s picks, help us spread the word: share Cultured Football with someone who might like it as much as you do.
Something Else We Loved This Week
In 1988, a young Claudio Ranieri took over as manager of Cagliari and over the course of two seasons took them from the Serie C (third division) to the Serie A. Last December, the now 71 year-old Ranieri took over at Cagliari once more and, after an emotional roller-coaster, took them back up to the Serie A thanks to a 94th minute goal by Luciano Pavoletti. Ranieri’s tears at the end of the game provided by far the most moving image of the weekend and reminded once more why he is one of the greatest people in the game.
Last Week’s Most Read: 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.