The persistence of legends

By Anthony Lopopolo

This time, Franco Baresi would play.

He was there with the Italians and the Portuguese, all legends from their country, descending on a pitch in Toronto.

For all of them — Roberto Baggio, Paolo Di Canio, Pauleta, Maniche — the chase of the game is gone, the roars faded, the final whistle blown. But on this Monday night the cheers were loud, and the fans cared and the goals mattered. It was only an 80-minute game, and you could forgive them. This was an aberration of so many kinds, and they all embraced and smiled at the end. It was a taste of the life they once had.

Baresi was here just a month ago with Milan Glorie, the globetrotting icons of the famous seven-time European champion. Then he did not play. He didn’t look like he could.

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A Dispatch From The Milan Derby

Il Derby della Madonnina is not what it once was. It is still about the pride of Milan, but it is no longer the hottest city in world football. 

Still, AC Milan and Inter share a lot of history, and the rivalry never dies. They have played each other almost 300 times over the past 100 years. The latest match wasn’t a classic, a Nigel de Jong header winning the game for the Rossoneri, but you could still see the passion in the stands. [Photos and Words by Anthony Lopopolo, sent our way while sipping on an espresso]

The Brasil 2014 Collection by Wong Wong x Aloye

Only 8 countries have ever won the World Cup, a tournament that is about to turn 85 years old. Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Uruguay. 

To celebrate the champions, Aloye and Wong Wong have teamed up to create a series of kits for this summer’s upcoming World Cup. In addition to the 8 champions, homes of Aloye (Japan) and Wong Wong (United States) are represented in the lineup. If a nation has hoisted the cup, their shirt features chest pockets with stars embroidered above them, signifying the number of titles each respective country has won. Check out the full collection here.

The Fight Against Racism Rises in Japan

Let’s not parse words: when headlines related to racism in football make the rounds, it’s understandable to assume the story must be related to one of the countries that’s been associated with racism in the past. Russia, Italy, Poland, maybe even the Ukraine… but Japan? Really?

Earlier this month, fans of prominent J-League club, Urawa Red Diamonds, unfurled a banner that read Japanese Only near the entrance to a dedicated fan section. Targeting foreigners, the banner is the latest in a string of incidents related to the club, coming on the back of discriminatory chants towards South Korean and Brazilian players, and most recently towards their own Tadanari Lee, a South Korean-born forward who plays for the Japanese National Team. Still worse is the fact that team management were made aware of the banner during the match, but neglected to force its removal, concluding that there was no racist intent in the banner’s message. 

Rather than wait the storm brought about by global media coverage, the J-League responded with a substantial punishment: a one-game supporter ban for the Red Diamonds, effectively forcing them to play in front of an empty stadium during a recent fixture.

In a nation where right-wing nationalism is being pushed by hard-line Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, a man who has done everything but officially deny the Nanjing Massacre, this is certainly a strong message. That said, while some might suggest that recent headlines coming out of Japan involving anti-South Korean graffiti and government-sanctioned revisions of Japan’s history suggest a widespread trend, the reality is that those on the fringe are often the loudest. 

Here’s to the J-League for making their voice heard, and taking a heavy stance against racism. [Posted by Maxi

HOLY GOAL, by Ciro Meggiolaro

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Looking back to look forward: EURO 2012

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Gigi Buffon, by Bartosz Kosowski

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No challenge too big for Clarence Seedorf

By Anthony Lopopolo

In the gym was Clarence Seedorf, arms still bulging, abs still firm, and yet old enough to be the father of the kids around him. Just off Rio de Janeiro, his favourite city, the 37-year-old would teach the things he learned over the course of his 22-year career. He’d ask them questions. He encouraged them to think for themselves. It was a two-way conversation off the field; orders and lectures saved for the field. They’d talk about positioning, footwork, little details, shaping the body to receive the ball, opening up, preparing for it, moving this way instead of that. 

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"Great Moments in Football History" by Oz

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