Links for 19/02/11


Only one place to start this week…

The Superstar at Play by Brian Phillips at Slate – Probably the best tribute written after the retirement of one of the world’s greats Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima

Man to Man Marxing by Andrew Thomas at In Bed With Maradona – Karl Marx. Religion. Football. Simples.

In the Shadow of Greatness by Adam Digby at In Bed With Maradona – Italy’s forgotten generation of defenders, marginalised by the ubiquitousness of Nesta and Cannavaro

It’s Time for Someone to Depose Sepp Blatter as FIFA’s Leader by Grant Wahl at Sports Illustrated – A campaign message from the people’s choice to succeed Blatter

Zesh Rehman Foundation by Martyn Landi at Footy Matters – Brilliant insight into the great work being done by the ex-Fulham defender

Don’t Call Me Paulinho by me at Footy Matters – A look at the career trajectory of former Arsenal prospect Paulo Nagamura


Links for 09/01/11

With other distractions consuming my attention over the Christmas and New Year period, it has been a while since the last Pele Confidential reading list. As a result, I will bring you an extended selection of articles, from the holiday period as well as the last week.

David Beckham signing for LA Galaxy in 2007 (photo: Jeremy Ryan)

LA Galaxy deserve better than Beckham by me at Footy Matters – Would fans of English clubs stand for the way the former Manchester United man has treated his MLS club?

Why Aston Villa would be the perfect fit for Omar Cummings by me at Footy Matters – A look at how the Jamaican forward would fit into the set-up of the club where he is currently on trial

Major League Soccer should welcome Guille Franco with open arms by me at Footy Matters – An examination of what the Mexican has to offer to the league

Chris Wondolowski: The Carlos Tevez of the MLS? by me at Footy Matters – An assessment of whether the deep-lying forward could replicate his club form to provide the United States with a new avenue of attack

Teal Bunbury will gain a lot from Stoke City rejection by me at Footy Matters – A look at how young talents pften have more to gain from not getting a big move before they are ready

Togo's national team at the 2006 World Cup (photo: the weaver)

In Togolese memoriam by Gary Al-Smith at In Bed With Maradona – an emotional look at the Africa Cup of Nations one year after the tragic attack on the Togo team bus in Cabinda


Sir Alex, El Tel and Barca: What If? by Alex Dimond at In Bed With Maradona – a thought-provoking assessment of one managerial decision on the whole spectrum of European football over the last 23 years.

Has transsexuality in football turned a corner? by Chris Ledger at In Bed With Maradona – a revealing analysis of an issue which perhaps has been given insufficient coverage in the past

The revolution must be televised by Juliet Jacques at In Bed With Maradona – an rallying call for the English broadcast media

The saddest thing in football by Domm Norris at In Bed With Maradona – a sensitive approach to the agony felt by fans of Russian club FC Saturn Moscow Oblast

Former Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved (photo: Mike Brown)

Juventus – Team of the Decade by Liam Apicella at Footy Matters – The best eleven players to have graced the Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin

Why David Beckham to Spurs makes sense by Andrew Fitchett at Footy Matters – What the North London club would have to gain from the introduction of the former England captain

Stevenage have come a long way since they last met Newcastle by Joe Tyler at Footy Matters – An assessment of the progress made by the League 2 club in the decade-or-so since they took yesterday’s Premier League opponents to a famous FA Cup replay

Break-ups to make-ups: On Rooney, Tevez, and letting go by Greg Theoharis at Just Football – The impact on fans of their favourite players moving to pastures new

Why write about football? by Dominic Pollard at Polly’s Pause for Sport – the title says it all, really. A must-read for any budding football writer.



Links for 03/12/2010

PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 07: Coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid during the pre-season friendly soccer match agianst Los Angeles Galaxy on August 7, 2010 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Real Madrid will travel back to Spain after the soccer match completing their pre-season USA tour. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Could Seattle’s Steve Zakuani Cut it in the Premier League? by me at Footy Matters – an examination of the talents of the exciting winger on trial at Everton

Barcelona vs Real Madrid – El Clasico Preview by me at Caught Offside – a look ahead to what turned out to be one of the best games of the season so far

El Clasico: Barca Batter Madrid by Sam Parker at Footy Matters – an analysis of the same game

MLS Season Review 2010: Winners and Losers by me at Footy Matters – a look back on a thrilling campaign for America’s top flight

Poland and the War by Juliet Jacques at In Bed With Maradona – an intriguing examination of the impact of the Second World War on Poland’s footballing heritage

Extraordinary – Justin Fashanu at Torquay by Juliet Jacques at In Bed With Maradona – an insight into the later years of Fashanu’s career

World Football’s Overrated XI: I’m Just Not That Into You by Bobby Hare at This is Futbol – a controversial selection of players perhaps being given more credit than they are due

Links for 26/11/10

July 27, 2010 - Palma De Mallorca, BALEARIC ISLANDS, SPAIN - PALMA DE MALLORCA, 27/07/2010.- Canadian born Dutch midfielder Jonathan Alexander de Guzman poses with his new jersey during the press conference of his presentation as new player of Real Mallorca team for the next three seasons, held in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, 27 July 2010.

As promised, the end of the week means a summary of the week’s best football stories on Pele Confidential. Here are a few for you to feast your eyes on:

Canadian Brothers in Arms by me at Just Football – A look at the diverging paths of brothers Julian and Jonathan de Guzman

MLS Cup Final: Agony For Dallas as Rapids Snatch Extra-Time Victory by me at Footy Matters – a report on the season-ending MLS Cup Final, won by Colorado Rapids thanks to an extra-time own goal

MLS Expansion Draft – New Boys Set Out Their Stalls For the New Season by me at Footy Matters – a round-up of the signings made by MLS newcomers Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps, and their prospects for their debut season at the highest level

Diary of a Pro Footballer: The Truth About Footballers and Money by Rohan Ricketts at Sabotage Times – a brilliant insight into professional football from a player’s perspective, as close as any article will come to eliciting total sympathy for the highly-paid professionals

Feyenoord Falling Fast by Stephen Farrell at Just Football – a look at the sad decline of a once-proud football club

We’re Not Singing Anymore – Who Silenced English Football Fans? by James Appell at Who Ate All the Pies – the title says it all: how support at English football grounds is not what it once was

The best things in life are free

So, the transfer window has closed and the 20 Premier League teams are stuck with the players they have. Or are they?

There are plenty of players yet to find a club after being released in the summer, and they are all free to sign for any club who will take them.

In the past there have been plenty of Premier League managers willing to take a punt on cast-offs from across Europe, with some experiencing more success than others. For every Peter Lovenkrands there is a Mario Jardel, and for every Stephen Carr there is a Mineiro.

To show the wealth of talent available on a free, I have constructed a team of players still on the market. I would not be surprised to see certain top-flight managers take a punt on one or two of the following eleven.

Goalkeeper – Dida

For all his propensity to drop a clanger, Dida remains capable of doing a job in the top flight. After all, you don’t win 91 caps for Brazil without having some talent.

Behind the occasional (and often comical) mistake lies a ‘keeper with phenomenal shot-stopping ability. While his reflexes may not be quite what they used to be, the 36-year old could provide useful cover at a number of different clubs.

Right-back – Ricardo Rocha

There is little doubt that Portsmouth would have kept hold of Rocha if they could afford his wages, and it is something of a surprise that no club has snapped him up so far.

Impressive during Pompey’s run to the FA Cup final last season, the versatile Portuguese defender put a disappointing spell at Tottenham behind him to prove he has what it takes to succeed in England. I would not be surprised to see former Portsmouth boss Avram Grant bring him to West Ham in the near future.

Left-back – Max Tonetto

Italian international Tonetto has played European football for two clubs, and might be best remembered by English fans for missing the decisive penalty as Roma were knocked out of the 2008/09 Champions League by Arsenal.

The versatile 35-year-old is as comfortable on the wing as he is at left-back, and he could prove a valuable asset to a number of sides.

Centre-back – Danny Shittu

Shittu might not have played any club football for over a year, but any doubts about his fitness were extinguished when he played all 270 minutes of Nigeria’s World Cup campaign.

The former Bolton man has bags of Premier League experience, and may feel he is still capable of playing at the highest level. However at the very least he could do a job for any Championship club, and it is a little baffling that no club has come in for him as of yet.

Centre-back – Jay DeMerit

Another World Cup regular, Demerit will want to sort out his future quickly to ensure he remains in USA coach Bob Bradley’s plans.

While offers from the MLS and England’s Championship are likely to be forthcoming, the 30-year-old may want one last hurrah in one of Europe’s top leagues before he hangs up his boots.

Right midfield – Yildiray Basturk

Turkish midfielder Basturk hardly set the world alight in his short spell with Blackburn Rovers, but on his day he is practically unplayable.

The versatile playmaker, while not the hardest worker, has impeccable close control and bags of skill, as evidenced by his contribution to the great Leverkusen team alongside such illustrious names as Ballack and Ze Roberto.

Left midfield – Jacek Krzynowek

Plenty of clubs could do with owning a player of Krzynowek’s ability, even if he is the wrong side of 30.

The Polish winger is skilful and has a powerful shot, which he demonstrated against Real Madrid in a Champions League tie a few years ago. While he may have lost a bit of pace, Krzynowek is still capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat from time to time.

Central midfield – Arnold Bruggink

After beginning his career as a striker, Bruggink has found a new niche for himself in an attacking midfield role.

The former Dutch international has carved a successful career for himself, first in his homeland, then in Mallorca, and most recently in the Bundesliga with Hannover. With an eye for a pass and an even greater eye for a goal, the former FC Twente prodigy may wish to extend his career in a fourth country.

Central midfield – Ruben Baraja

Plenty of clubs are in need of a midfield enforcer, and there are few available who do that job better than Baraja.

After captaining Valencia for much of his 10-year spell, the Spaniard opted to leave the Mestalla this summer. Injury problems have limited his involvement in recent years, but Baraja has never been one to rely on pace, and he could well have another year or two at the top.

Forward – Julio Cruz

A regular goalscorer in Argentina, Holland and Italy, the former Inter striker is without a club after being released by Lazio at the end of last season.

The powerful Argentine frontman has 22 caps for the Albiceleste, the last coming in 2008, and he played twice for Jose Pekerman’s side in the 2006 World Cup.

Forward – Guille Franco

Despite an impressive 2009/10 campaign with West Ham, Mexico international Franco once again finds himself without a club after being released as part of the Irons’ cost-cutting operation.

The Argentine-born frontman endeared himself to the Upton Park faithful with his tireless efforts, and has a knack for scoring vital goals. Any young striker could benefit from watching Franco go about his game.

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Remembering Dani Jarque – One Year On

On August 8, 2009, the  footballing world was in shock after the death of Espanyol captain Dani Jarque.

Dani Jarque: Gone but not forgotten

The 26-year-old had been given the captaincy of his hometown club – with whom he had spent his entire career – just one month before suffering a heart attack while in Italy on Espanyol’s pre-season tour.

The news came with the death of Spanish international left-back Antonio Puerta still fresh in the mind of the nation’s football community, the Sevilla defender having died in hospital on August 2007, days after collapsing during a Primera Liga match against Getafe.

And Ruben de la Red, who like Jarque and Puerta before him has represented Inaki Saez’s under-21 squad, suffered a heart scare in October 2008. The Real Madrid midfielder has been out of the game since, with no date scheduled for his return.

Antonio Puerta: Sorely missed

It is good to know that neither Jarque nor Puerta has been forgotten, and fitting tributes have been paid to the former on the pitch. Last season Cesc Fabregas marked a goal for Arsenal against Everton by holding aloft an shirt bearing the name Jarque and the number 21, while Andres Iniesta celebrated his World Cup winning goal by removing his shirt to reveal the message “Dani Jarque:  Siempre con Nosotros” (“Dani Jarque: Always with Us”). It is worth also noting that Puerta’s former Sevilla team-mates Jesus Navas and Sergio Ramos were prepared to display similar messages in memory of the former Spanish international.

Considering the overriding hostility of the World Cup final, it seems almost insulting for the rules to have demanded Howard Webb show Iniesta a yellow card for his actions. There was a former fierce opponent at club level (Iniesta of course plays for Espanyol’s local rivals Barcelona) demonstrating that some things are more important than football.

Last week I asked you to take a minute to remember Adam Stansfield, the Exeter City striker who lost his battle with cancer. This week I want to emphasise that a year or more after their death, football players are still remembered for their contribution to the game.

I leave you with this moving tribute, recalling the impact Jarque had not just on Espanyol, but on football as a whole.