Until Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona teams recently won two European titles, the teams Dutch legend Johan Cruyff assembled in the late 1980s and early 1990s were held alone at Barça’s standard for greatness. According to Cruyff, speaking today at Carles Puyol’s retirement, the defensive linchpin for Barça’s recent standard bearers would have easily fit with his own European Cup winner.
Cruyff’s teams were the first to leverage the production of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, producing talents like Guardiola, José Mari Bakero and Txiki Begiristain to combine with the likes of Romário. Hristo Stoichkov, and Michael Laudrup. The club won four consecutive league titles starting in 1991 and also claimed the 1992 European Cup.
According to the team’s coach, Puyol — a six-time league-winner and three-time European champion — would have had no problem having an impact in another of Barcelona’s legendary squads.
“I’m sure Puyol could have played for the Dream Team,” Cruyff said on Thursday, according to AS.com.
Had he played in Barcelona’s 1992 team, Puyol would have likely started next to former Cruyff teammate Ronald Koeman, whose extra time free kick at Wembley delivered the 1992 European Cup to Barcelona. He would have also been next to a young Albert Ferrer, who went on to make over 200 league appearances for the club.
At 35, however, Puyol was a teenager when the Dream Team was collecting trophies – an age that leaves him only 35 at retirement. According to Cruyff, the World Cup-winner still has a lot to give the game.
“[Puyol’s] life isn’t going to stop, he’s 35 – he’s got many years ahead of him and he has so much knowledge to share.”
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%