Everyone’s Second Team: Why Atletico Madrid Deserve Our Support

By Caleb Cousens

This year we have been lucky enough to witness a season of special moments thanks to the exploits of Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC. Neither team were taken seriously at the start of the season, yet both have rocketed to the top of their respective domestic leagues playing their own unique brands of football. I will let someone else wax eloquent about Brendan Rogers and the Anfield faithful, for now let’s head to the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

This is the year of the underdog, and as such, it’s not a bad time to get behind Diego Simeone’s swashbuckling side that has been kicking ass and taking names. Atleti have shattered the illusion of La Liga’s duopoly, beginning with a Copa del Rey at the end of last season that set the tone for what would come. It was the first time that the lesser known Madrid side had beaten the big white machine in 25 matches spanning 14 years. They started this season as they finished, by beating Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, and have proceeded to remain undefeated against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in La Liga this entire year.

In the Champions League their success seems even less likely. Atletico Madrid have one of the smallest squads in Europe, but have managed to thrive both domestically and in Europe, beating the crème of the crop from Russia, Portugal, Italy and Spain on their way to the Semi-Finals.

That said, why should you support Atletico Madrid?

Read More

Scythe Matters - AFR Voice Ep.37

Well, it’s been an interesting Easter weekend for David Moyes. First he was stared down by the Grim Reaper at Goodison Park, and now his sacking is confirmed. We’ll be taking a look at what’s gone wrong for the Scotsman, and who the Red Devils can turn to next.

Elsewhere in England, it’s been a big weekend for the Liverpool winning machine which took another big step towards the title, beating Norwich as Chelsea lost a home league game under Jose Mourinho for the first time in 77 games. But what will the ramifications of that result be at both the top and bottom of the table?

Then it’s off to the Continent where Chelsea will have to forget about the weekend very quickly, as they take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. We’ll be previewing this game, as well as another huge one across town when Real Madrid take on Bayern Munich in the other last four tie a day later. Strap yourselves in: it’s definitely business time.

Read More

Rosell Resigns - AFR Voice Ep.25

In this week’s pod we’ll be taking a look at the rather strange goings on in Barcelona - they may now have one of the world’s brightest young players on their books, but their President has paid for it with his job. Listen to us squirm as we get lost in a pool of hidden payments, sign-on fees and third party ownership deals that we still think nobody (including Neymar himself) really understands.

Away from the mess of Catalan invoices and contract law, it’s nearly the end of January which can only mean one thing – the transfer window is about to SLAM SHUT. We’ll be taking a look at the big transfer news in Europe, Diego Forlan’s rather unexpected move from Brazil to the Far East, as well as indulging in some transfer window cliché bingo.

With Europe’s top leagues now back in full swing after the winter break we’ll also be discussing Dortmund’s latest woes as Bayern pick up where they left off in the Bundesliga, and take a peek at the top of Ligue 1 where a team actually bought a French player from Newcastle (which makes a nice change).

Read More

Boxing Day Bonanza - AFR Voice Ep. 20

In England, the day after Christmas means only two things – one, gulping down the remainder of the Christmas turkey and two, watching a phenomenal amount of football.

Each side in the top tier played on the 26th December, and we’ve picked out the major points for debate – including the continuation of Newcastle’s astonishing hot-streak, a potentially season-defining win for Manchester City and the welcome return of Darren Fletcher at Manchester United.

After we made our way out of that dizzying coma of food and goals, we took a far more global approach – analysing The Guardian’s list of the top 100 players in the world and doffing our caps to Bayern Munich who won the Club World Cup in Morocco. But what about the tournament itself – is it simply a vacuous money-spinner for FIFA, or is it a credible title that deserves more respect?

Read More

Santa’s Sack - AFR Voice Ep. 19

This week’s show sees us a man down - and before you ask, no we haven’t sacked Ben for overseeing a series of poor pod performances (he’ll be back next week), but we will be discussing the goings on of a weekend of boardroom-based carnage in the Premier League. Where did it all go wrong for Andre Villas-Boas and Steve Clarke? Will they be stuck on the managerial merry-go-round for long? And with the January transfer window fast approaching, who’s next to join them?

Then it’s off to Europe’s top table, where we’ll be taking a look at the Champions League draw – the tasty looking match against Man City that Barcelona didn’t want, the prospect of two home games for Didier Drogba, and an Arsenal team looking to make sure we don’t get a sixth straight final that includes either Pep Guardiola or Bayern Munich.

We’re also stopping off in La Liga, where Atletico Madrid are doing everything they can to disrupt the established balance of power, Barcelona have broken yet another record, and Cristiano Ronaldo has now got something that not many players in world football can boast – his own museum.

This week’s feature interview sees us chat to journalist, broadcaster and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague about his new book, simply titled “Messi”. We’ll be talking about how he went about writing a book on the world’s best player, how he managed to speak to Messi’s friends, family and coaches to build a true picture of the man, and what makes the Argentine arguably the greatest player of all time.

Read More

"Teams, Not Players" by Mark Yesilevskiy

Read More

AFR Voice ep.4 - Mesut’s Manic Monday

As the fax machines power down, the covers get put back on the helipads, and the transfer window slams shut (for another 119 days at least), this week’s AFR Voice is here to sift through all of the contracts, loan deals and botched bids, and somehow try to make sense of what is becoming quite possibly one of the strangest days in the modern game. Just be sure to watch out for any deal-scuppering imposters in the Manchester area.

This week we’ll also be talking to journalist and Bundesliga expert Archie Rhind-Tutt about Mesut Özil’s big money move to Arsenal, what fans at The Emirates can expect to see from their record signing, and how the first few weeks of the Bundesliga have panned out.

Then we’ll be taking a look at a surprisingly competitive European Super Cup, as the Pep vs. Jose saga begins a new chapter, as well as discussing why the future looks bright for Phillip Cocu’s PSV side, and maybe not so bright for Man City’s expansion projects down under.

Top effort from @nikhak who took our favourite #whereisfootball photo of the week at Columbus Crew Stadium, meaning it now adorns the pod’s cover art for the next seven days.

Don’t forget to get in touch – tweet us at @AFRvoice or fire some electronic mail our way at afrvoice@gmail.com. You can also find us on iTunes here.

Through Ryu’s Lens: Pep.

Ryu Voelkel hopped on a train for 8 hours. The destination: Freiburg. Why? Because it’s a beautiful little city known for exemplary sustainable urbanism, but more importantly Bayern Munich were in town. While Bayern are a force, Germany’s biggest and most stylish arrival has been Pep Guardiola. And Pep was the man (usually) in focus for Ryu throughout the match. It ended 1-1, but we’re obviously the real winners here. Warning: photos may inspire you to spend your savings on a 10,000 euro suit.

[You can interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and find more on his FlickrPosted by Eric]

Bayern closes a red curtain on the Champions League

The two most deserving, entertaining teams in Europe made it to the Champions League final, so a classic was always going to be on the cards. Dortmund and Bayern tossed aside European giants left and right, and in the end we were left with a final at Wembley decided by Arjen Robben’s left foot. We close the red curtain on the Champions League, but remember just how spectacular it was. Even in defeat, Dortmund and Mr. Jürgen Klopp amassed thousands of fans, and we cannot wait to see the Yellow Wall come back with a bang next season. A hearty congratulations to Bayern, who have had a truly unbelievable season. [Posted by Eric. GIFs by Dale con Comba]

A Football Report © 2009-2013