Scanning for an insider look at how things operate past the velvet ropes of a U.S. national team camp? Specifically, how they are operating around Jurgen Klinsmann’s ongoing January camp?
Here ‘tis. It’s a thoughtful, personal account of the team’s camp from Real Salt Lake outside back Tony Beltran, from USSoccer.com.
It is absolutely jam-packed with fantastic detail. For instance, Beltran talks about the tricky psychology of the fitness testing, particularly the VO2 max test, a real talker among the group of Americans at the Home Depot Center training site. Consensus: players who can block out the “suffocating feeling of wearing a mask” were way ahead of the game.
Throughout the long, well-considered piece, you’ll see the word “business” a lot. I know some people refer to the January process as “Camp Cupcake,” and probably don’t mean it as disparaging as it sounds. But clearly, players understand what’s at stake personally, sensing the tug of opportunity right where it counteracts the weight of what it means to their careers.
There’s something else to be gleaned by Beltran’s account, too. Here’s a guy who is “getting it” – and he is new to the international-level, a first-timer to the national team environment. Still, he sees exactly what Klinsmann is getting at here, attempting to guide this mostly young assemble through a comprehensive approach to professional betterment.
At the same time, Beltran understands that it all points to the same place:
While performance on the field is how we are ultimately judged as soccer players, what is done in between trainings and games is highly contributive to performance. In our first week of camp most of our time would be spent in the gym with our fitness coach and in daily core workouts with a Pilates instructor. Players are kept busy with multiple workouts a day, but the necessary tools to take care of ourselves as athletes are always available and first-class. The environment is extremely professional and goal-oriented.”
Spain’s football federation has fined Valencia about $1600 for the water bottle tossed at celebrating Barcelona players on Saturday.
It’s also criticized Barca’s reaction to Neymar being hit with the water bottle.
[ MORE: Watch the incident here ]
Lionel Messi in particular flipped out at fans, who were furious after Barca scored a match-winning penalty and celebrated near the touch line.
From the BBC:
Spain’s football federation criticised the Barca players for their “exaggerated reaction” and for celebrating in front of home fans, but added “nothing justified” the reaction of the Valencia supporters.
There’s an easy joke to make about playacting/diving here, as Luis Suarez hits the deck despite not appearing to be hit.
But it’s critical to remember that these players at the moment don’t have any idea what’s happened, only that they’ve been hit. And Suarez is covering head, perhaps wondering what’s coming next. Neymar laying on the pitch for a while seems a bit overboard, but I don’t blame Messi nor his teammates for being furious with the supporters.
What do you make of it?
Don’t be misled by the headlines screaming out “disaster”; If this is the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, it has nothing to do with his speaking of his time in Manchester.
If you haven’t seen the headlines yet, you will. Mourinho says that life at United has been challenging and, yes, he uses the word disaster.
[ MORE: Chalobah’s double nutmeg ]
But he’s talking about being under the personal microscope, paparazzi and the like. And he’s talking about missing his family. Because, believe it or not, the man is a human being (at least we’re pretty sure).
“I just want to cross the bridge and go to a restaurant. I can’t, so it’s really bad,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“For me it’s a bit of a disaster because I want sometimes to walk a little bit and I can’t.”
That last line isn’t talking about tactics, title ambitions, or even the 4-0 loss to Chelsea. True story.
Mourinho’s comments regarding his life at Manchester are interesting and newsworthy, but allow us to go behind the curtain here. The media world is driven by monetization in the form of clicks and time spent on site.
Trumpeting the term “disaster” is tricky. Yes, there are seeds of discontent in Mourinho’s Manchester concerns — and credit to you for clicking through and reading what them in full — but let this thing play out, no? There’s a derby in town today.
For the first time since the 2011-12 season, Nathaniel Chalobah is not on loan and getting the chance to show what he can do for Chelsea.
At the very least, the 21-year-old midfielder has given the club a viral video.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby “a final” ]
Chelsea uploaded a video of Chalobah going double nutmeg on Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera.
Given the opposition, it’s gone quite well to the tune of several hundred thousand views inside of four hours.
Watch the ex-Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading, and Napoli man go.
Less than five months have passed since Real Madrid won the Champions League final, yet in Florentino Perez’s mind that’s a lifetime. ()
Real’s president is anything but patient with managers, the latest example being Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian was fired a year after winning the club’s long-desired Decima and losing a whopping 19 of 119 matches in charge.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby “a final” ]
So even though Real Madrid leads La Liga under Zinedine Zidane and won the UCL last season, people are always imagining the future.
Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel’s style of play has captured the imaginations of so many supporters. And with BVB president Hans-Joachim Watzke claiming that Real is tracking the German, the questions are heading for Tuchel.
“It’s dangerous if you are flattered as a coach.You lose focus on the important things. I read it as a rumour before our game in Ingolstadt and so I already said back then that it’s dangerous to admit it and to think about it because it takes on too much importance.”
There’s no reason for Tuchel to have to ask those questions. Perez has called Zidane’s appointment one of his proudest moments, and that was just three days ago. Even in Perez’s world, that’s only a solid month, maybe two. %tags%