Are Barça Broken? - AFR Voice Ep. 31

Barça suffered a domestic shock to the system at the weekend — coming up short against lowly Valladolid. With the La Liga title looking increasingly out of their reach, and their performances levels stalling, we question whether their footballing empire is crumbling. 

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Adriano Returns - AFR Voice Ep. 28

After two years in the footballing wilderness, hulking Brazilian centre-forward Adriano is back playing football again, representing Atletico Paranaense in the Copa Libertadores. As we tentatively welcome his return to the game, and hope that issues of alcoholism and ‘poor nutrition’ are behind him, we look back on the rise and fall of ‘The Emperor,’ and express regret that he’s not leading the line in the forthcoming World Cup.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Barça storm Manchester

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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.

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City in the City

At some point this summer, Vincent Kompany was in Harlem doing his best streetball impression at Rucker Park. Celebrating the creation of New York City FC, the Man City squad hit the subway, showing up everywhere from Brooklyn to the Bronx.

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AFR Voice Ep3 - Exploring Israel’s Lower Leagues 

The AFR Voice team have trekked all over the globe once more this week - making sense of Jose Mourinho’s cautious tactics at Old Trafford, questioning the ethics of Manchester City trying to buy a club in the A-League and hailing the phenomenal attendance at the Seattle-Portland Cascadian derby. The latter was the scene of this week’s #whereisfootball winner and proudly adorns our cover art for the next seven days.

All that audio travelling pales into insignificance compared to photographers Gad Salner and Vadim Tarasov, who have clocked up hundreds of actual miles to explore the lower-leagues of Israeli football.

In an interview with Gad, we hear how the pair went about compiling a set of photos that powerfully depict the grit and spirit at the bottom of the footballing pyramid, and its ability to carve through political and social tensions. There’s a film in the works too.

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Preparing for a new, better Baloitalia

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By Anthony Lopopolo

No matter what, they always returned to one another. The quarrels, the disbelief, the losses in composure never once compromised this enduring relationship, ruined it beyond repair. Roberto Mancini, the coach of Manchester City, couldn’t stop loving Mario Balotelli. And even though the two will part again, for the second time in five years, they do so only in person, not in spirit, not forever.

Mancini, before watching his side draw with lowly Queens Park Rangers, met with his 22-year-old pupil in a London hotel and most likely cried with him. “It was emotional,” Mancini later said. Like a parent, Mancini did what was best for Mario: he let him go. You could hear in the manager’s voice and in his words, as he tried to rationalize the player’s move to AC Milan with reporters after the match on Tuesday, a sense of regret, perhaps even a little disappointment in himself that he couldn’t raise his student any more.

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Lawyers chase ambulances, José Mourinho chases Roberto Mancini

By Mark Griffiths

Well, it’s a living.

Or rather, it could turn out to be a profitable living. Mourinho has carefully crafted his career, step-by-step, taking over clubs which are in the perfect state to be taken on to a higher level; Mancini has a track record of taking clubs so far, but then hitting the wall. Having already succeeded him at Inter, Mourinho might realise after his visit to the Etihad this week that Mancini is an expert at creating the sort of conditions he loves to inherit.

Mourinho knows what he’s looking for when he moves on. Chelsea were flush with cash and had gone through the awkward settling-in period which such a dramatic change of financial circumstances inevitably brings. Just ask Claudio Ranieri, Mark Hughes and Antoine Kombouaré about it for confirmation. Inter had got themselves stuck at a level of domestic domination but continental stagnation. Real Madrid needed someone to slay the Catalan dragon.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Madrid rises in Manchester

Hours after the man who led Chelsea to hoisting the Champions League was tossed out onto the streets in London, Roberto Mancini had the small task of saving Manchester City from crashing out of the Champions League trophy with a win against Real Madrid. The win never came, nor did it deserve to. Casillas may have conceded on a questionable penalty, but beyond that San Iker’s doors were slammed shut. And Ryu was pitchside with camera in hand, watching the drama all unravel.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

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