Through Ryu’s Lens: José does it again

Parisian fans have swooped past frustration and sit in their city with nothing but existential angiush. Oh, what could have been. This was their year, and it was led by the mighty Zlatan. That is, until he was reminded of his humanity and sidelined with an injury.

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Milan in Freefall - AFR Voice Ep.32

‘Crisis’ has been the buzzword this season for the pod, with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and even Barcelona getting blasted with the dreaded ‘c’ word. But finally we have turned our audio attentions to a club that deserves it more than most – AC Milan.

The Rossoneri are a shocking 40 points adrift from league leaders Juve and we discuss where it all went wrong. Is rookie manager Clarence Seedorf ripe for the sacking in the summer, and will the struggle for power in the boardroom be resolved anytime soon?

Elsewhere, we look at Europe in more positive tones, heralding Bayern’s 50-game unbeaten run, ruffling the hair of little Lionel Messi for eclipsing recent AFR profilee Paulino Alcántara as Barça’s all-time record scorer, and bow down to the mighty Zlatan for making his own little bit of Parisian history.

All that plus a quick fire witness report from Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Galatasaray, a report on Jermain Defoe’s perfect MLS debut and an evaluation of Rivaldo’s career which came to an end this week. He was arguably one of football’s all-time greats, but why won’t he be remembered as such?

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Blues in Black

It was a bright and sunny day in London. A rarity for Chelsea faithful. Matchday was made even better when Mourinho’s men stole 3 points in the dying minutes of the match against Everton. Nevertheless, Ryu brought out his camera and turned the lights down low at Stamford Bridge.

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Zero to Hero: The rise of Nemanja Matic

By Dominic Vieira

Finding the complete centre midfielder, the sort of player demanded by most manages these days, is a blistering headache; just ask David Moyes how successful his search has gone. As several clubs looked to improve their quality in the centre of the park, in particular those sitting at the top of the Premier League, Nemanja Matic was a highly wanted man this winter.

Like with most of Benfica’s signings - Matic, who joined from Chelsea as part of the David Luiz deal and was originally valued at £4m - arrived to the Portuguese capital as an outsider, a player no one had really heard of and someone who the club did not expect to sell for millions. This too was shown by the player being rejected by the club’s ‘Stars Funds,’ a fund through which investors can buy a percentage of a Benfica player’s rights.

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Minimalist Club Crests by Daniel Nyari

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This is not José Mourinho

By Nicol Hay

Picture José Mourinho. Now let me guess what’s in your head. 

I think the José in your mind is raising his fists, celebrating another crushing of a weaker opponent. He is wearing a luxurious winter coat over a suit so finely tailored it would be impossible for any other man to wear it. Yes, his ego shines through – but it is backed up by the imperious display of towering athletes so devoted to his guidance that they perform unbelievable feats in roles they would otherwise consider beneath their skill. You love him, you hate him, he is indifferent. The José in your mind is in total control of a team and a club that expresses his personality completely.

Now look at the Stamford Bridge touchline. You see that man in the crumpled sportswear, peripheral to the game in front of him? The man with all of the rage, but none of the fire?

This is not José Mourinho.

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#1MatchADay by Dan Leydon

From Celebrating Solskjaer’s 1999 historic winner to Iniesta’s unforgettable last minute strike at Stamford Bridge.

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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 You can also find us on iTunes here.

The Long Road to Premier League Relapse

By John Ray

Have you ever taken a break with your girlfriend only to get back together? The process begins with a conversation, generally in a neutral location; let’s say a coffee shop, maybe Kayak’s Coffeeshop in Saint Louis, MO. You discuss all the things wrong with your relationship and why you should see other people. One party pleads, begs, and cries to let it go on a little longer, “one more week…this can work,” but there’s no hope. You’re both released back into the sea from whence you came like baby sea turtles: to return home if fate commands it.

Now you’re back on the open market dating Brazilians and Russians, hitting on 19 and 21 year olds, and having some “friendly” hook-ups. These encounters are alright, but something feels a bit off. The chemistry isn’t there, there’s no attachment, and the thrill is gone. A rebound sounded nice, but it just made you realize how much you missed your girlfriend and the familiarity that comes with knowledge of the intricacies of each other’s lives.

Right, that’s kind of what my summer was like. And how I missed you Premier League. It’s like old times again: Wayne Rooney wants out, Real Madrid are tapping someone up, and Arsenal have been linked to big name players that they are almost certainly not going to sign (David Moyes, feeling jealous, is doing his best impersonation). But not everything is the same. There’s some new furniture your apartment, your wine cellars been emptied, and everything seems a bit more Welsh.

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