Man City’s Empire Expands - AFR Voice Ep. 26
With Patrick from AFR Voice currently travelling through Australia, it was only right we paid an in-depth visit to football down under. Featuring an interview with Football Central AU’s Ahmed Yussuf, we discuss Manchester City’s purchase of Melbourne Heart and look at the eye-wateringly difficult group the national side have to navigate in Brazil – Spain, Holland and Chile. Gulp.
The Spanish national team itself also gets covered as we reflect on the passing of Luis Aragones – the founder of ‘tiki-taka’ football and former Spain coach who turned a group of under-achievers into a beautifully ruthless winning machine. Whilst in the Iberian Peninsula we greet the unusual site of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and cast our eye over revamp design for the Bernabeu – a futuristic world class facility or a big silver Tupperware depending on how you look at it.
All that plus we herald Libya’s fairytale victory in the African Nations Championships and look on at Leeds United with a mixture of bemusement, fear and intrigue as they get set to be purchased by one of the most unpredictable, impatient and eccentric owners in world football.
AFR Voice Ep. 8 - Hungry Like The Wolf
It may still be a month until Halloween, but there are already plenty of strange things going on in Europe’s top leagues at the moment. We’ll be looking at Atletico Madrid taking 3 points off their cross-town rivals as they gave Gareth Bale a home debut to forget, Man United slumping to defeat at the hands of West Brom, and we’ll discuss how Liverpool’s women’s team, who have managed to string together two wins in the last two seasons, have somehow turned things around and broken Arsenal’s dominance in the English Women’s Super League.
And the theme of early season surprises doesn’t stop there, as this week’s interview sees us chat to senior AFR writer John Ray about Roma, who a few weeks ago didn’t even have the confidence of their own fans, but are now enjoying their best start to a Serie A campaign ever. And we’ll be answering the big question on everybody’s lips – just what did Francesco Totti’s birthday cake look like?
This week’s pod cover art is courtesy of @robdavis, whose photo of the FA Cup third qualifying round tie between Margate and Dulwich Hamlet was our top #whereisfootball photo this week. Keep uploading them to Instagram – next week it could be you.
Prized, lethal and ruthless are three adjectives which spring to mind when asked to describe Falcao. Is he world-class? Absolutely, definitely, positively, ridiculously. Take a look at this stat for this season: he scores with roughly every third shot. Falcao provides so much for Atletico Madrid that Gerard Pique recently described the side as ‘Falcao’s team.’
However, whilst the strength which the Colombian provides his side with cannot be undervalued, it would be unfair - and arguably stupid - to flippantly disregard the talent which resides within the bowels of the Vicente Calderon stadium as nothing more than servants hurrying to meet their striker’s needs.
Transfer Deadline Day, according to Falcao*
As clubs around Europe neurotically began a 24 hour spurt of panic-buying, Falcao led Atlético Madrid to a 4-1 rout against Chelsea and could only shake his head and laugh at the millions of pounds and euros being thrown around. He also laughed at David Luiz, because David Luiz is hilarious and spent the night doing Macaulay Culkin impressions instead of defending. Then he laughed at Branislav Ivanovic, because despite Branislav’s admirable career he would likely never spend a night with a Colombian woman. Finally, his eyes met Roman Abramovich’s after El Tigre completed his hat-trick in the European Super Cup, piercing any remnants of the oil oligarch’s soul. Roman grew unsettled in his luxury box in Monaco.
It might not be the way to move to a team that actually plays in the Champions League, but it is how to earn a VIP invitation on to the ritziest yacht owned by a Russian on the Mediterranean. Of course, Falcao disappoints Neymar (and Neymar’s yacht dreams), and he declines Roman’s invitation in the form of a silent, blink-less two-minute stare, only to be followed by a bite directly through a medal made of metal.
Don’t let anyone persuade you to think otherwise, casually scoring hat-tricks against the European Champions and smashing the hopes and dreams of oligarchs is the only way to live on transfer deadline day. [*presumably. Imagined by EB. GIFs via Josh.]
Sell Kun, buy Falcao, and win another Europa League!
Atletico Madrid 3- 0 Athletic Bilbao - A final astutely dominated by the more clinical side. Diego was the maestro, powered by creativity and inspiration, while Radamel Falcao displayed yet another performance we have come to expect from him. Once again, the Colombian justified his €40m price tag and manifested the fact that Kun Aguero is not missed in Madrid.
'Los Colchorenos' did it again! Two years ago they conquered the Europa League in Hamburg where Forlan and Kun Aguero were the stars. Two seasons later in Bucharest, under Diego Simeone’s completely renovated team, Atletico Madrid beat one of the most exciting teams out there, Bielsa’s flamboyant Athletic Bilbao, who admirably never gave up. On this occasion, two former FC Porto players, Falcao and Diego, made the difference.
In February, Pep Guardiola described Falcao as a “sensational player” and added “he’s the best striker inside the box”. Tonight that was clearly evident as the Colombian scored two sensational strikes. Since joining the club last August for a record fee, the monumental task was to replace both Kun Aguero and Diego Forlan; a deadly striking force. Falcao responded magnificently to both the pressure and challenge netting 35 strikes from 47 appearances.
The 26 year old certainly loves the Europa League, which has now been dubbed the ‘Falcao League’ in Madrid. His 12 competition goals and a man of the match performance in the final (again) were decisive to claim his crown once more.
I think Guardiola is right, Falcao is incredible inside the box, and he still has dozens of goals to deliver, regardless of where he will be next year. ¡Felicitaciones Atleti! [posted by DV]
Europa League champions Atletico Madrid announced the capture of Corinthians star Elias for a reported €7m. The 25 year old has agreed a 4 and a half year contract and should be presented to fans tomorrow after completing a medical. Elias is regarded as one of Brazil’s brightest futures and prior to the transfer, a move to Portuguese champions Benfica was imminent.
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Eric Beard (Emory University), Ulysse Pasquier (McGill University), and Dominic Vieira (Lancaster University) of the AFR team preview a wonderful weekend for football.
From the Liverpool vs. Chelsea fixture to the best matches across Europe to the MLS Playoffs, here’s your guide on what to watch and what to expect as the matches get underway.
Enjoy the weekend! Anything you’re looking forward to in particular?