Cultured Football #134
Brazilian Innovator. Maradona's Goalkeeper. Not-So-Sweet 16. Bojan's Return. Copy Portugal.
By Adam Bate for Sky Sport
The final of the Libertadores Cup promises to be a fascinating one because it will feature the football Fernando Diniz, a coach whose ideas probably signal the next evolution of football tactics. Bate does a great job of explaining the fundamentals of those ideas, relying on other tacticians to break them down into something common fans like myself can comprehend.
By Richard Hough for Gentleman Ultra
Whilst there's no denying that Napoli's success in the mid-to-late eighties was fuelled by the arrival of Diego Armando Maradona, he did not go on the pitch by himself. Indeed, arguably Napoli's biggest achievement wasn't signing the Argentine but astutely building a team around him made of players that others had somewhat overlooked but who were, to a man, exceptional. Giuliano Giuliani was one such player. Despite never being called up for Italy, he was a great goalkeeper who led Napoli to a league and UEFA Cup success. Sadly, Giuliani passed away at a young age. Even sadder, he was forgotten by the rest of the footballing world by the time he died.
By Jamie Jackson for The Guardian
Perhaps it is because I grew up in a different era but I still feel that Manchester United will find a way out their current situation and all will be better by the end of the season. Even so, this look at some of their recent recruitment doesn’t make for comfortable reading.
Bonus Pick: The grim statistics that suggest Eric Ten Hag is running out of time.
Were you forwarded this mail? Like what you see? Here’s what you should do next:
By Sid Lowe for The Guardian
Bojan Krkic never asked anyone to label him as the next great star to emerge from Barcelona’s academy; the next Messi. Yet so easy did he make football look in his early days that this was inevitable. As were the snide remarks on a failed career once he didn’t manage to fulfill those unreasonable expectations. For many that was because of a problem in his character coupled with an unwillingness to work hard. Barcelona know different which is why they’ve welcomed him back to help their future generations. They know of his constant struggles with anxiety, which are courageously shared in this interview and recently released documentary that portrays him in a whole new light.
By Paul Grech* for Nutmeg Magazine (via The Guardian)
What is the biggest transfer fee received by a Portuguese club? €85.5m. Holland? €85.5m. Croatia? €36.80m. Belgium? €36.50m. For Scotland, that lies at €29.10m and even then it was inflated by the largesse of the Saudi spending spree of the past summer when Celtic sold Jota. Should that be the case? Shouldn’t a country with the facilities, history and fan culture of Scotland be doing better? And, shouldn’t Scottish clubs be looking to copy what others have done to great success?
*Full disclosure: I’m the author of this article.
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I’ve Written A Book!
If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know that I’ve recently published my latest book – Echoes of an Italian Summer: Stories from Italia 90.
As the title and front cover indicate, Echoes of an Italian Summer deals with Italia 90. However, it does not re-tell the story of that World Cup. Instead it picks at threads that are linked to that competition; stories of individuals who played in Italia 90, or related in some way to ones who did.
It talks about how it changed the face of football, giving birth to the game – and business – that we see today. And how it led to the demise of the greatest league at the time.
If you like the articles I share on Cultured Football, I’m convinced that you’ll love Echoes of an Italian Summer. However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here is what others have said:
"A well-written, interesting look back on an Italian summer." - Mark Watkins, Dare Radio
"As well as those lesser-known tales, there are still chapters on those that have become synonymous with the tournament, including leading scorer Toto Schillachi, iconic Cameroon striker Roger Milla and Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel, all laced with facts and nuggets of information that will be unknown to even the most ardent of World Cup addicts. Echoes Of An Italian Summer is a well-researched book, with subjects such as the impact of West Germany’s kit, the lost legacy of Italian football stadia and how the back pass rule changed football all well worth reading." - Karl Hornsey, On-Magazine.co.uk
Last Week’s Most Read: When Moneyball works too well: Milan, Toulouse and what happens when the nerds take over
By Ryan O'Hanlon for ESPN
With multiple club ownership on the increase, so too will challenges to UEFA’s regulations about participation in European competitions. That was already challenged this season by AC Milan and Toulouse, both of whom have been more successful than expected.