The Dance to Goal, presented by Edinson Cavani
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).
In the midst of PSG’s superstar names is an emerging starlet: Adrien Rabiot
Paris Saint-Germain is one of Europe’s most enticing clubs at the moment. The vast array of talent that has arrived at the club over the past-18 months especially has been nothing short of startling for those affiliated with football in France. It is something that they have never witnessed before. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva being the new darlings for the Parisien faithful would have been nothing but a pipe dream three years ago, yet here they are. Even the emergence of the club from Monte Carlo wooing Radamel Falcao to Ligue 1 may be perceived as money motivated but in terms of luring a player of that calibre to the league, it has only enhanced it.
But in the midst of PSG’s spending and the continuation of a project that is rolling at the speed of a runaway train, there are one or two little gems that have come through the academy. No more so than young central midfielder Adrien Rabiot.
Paris Saint-Germain Profiting from the Stewardship of Laurent Blanc
Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari project is coming up to three years this June and in that space of time there have been three head coaches in total. Antoine Kombouare’s tenure under the new regime was a brief one before the world renown Carlo Ancelotti preceded him which was seen as a coup not just for the football club but Ligue 1 as a whole.
Now Laurent Blanc is continuing the sterling work Ancelotti and his backroom staff did during their 18-month tenure. But, is Blanc taking the club to new prosperous heights and even bettering his predecessor? At the moment he certainly is.
Taxing Times in Ligue 1
By Will Giles
When François Hollande won the French presidential election in May 2012, it marked the first time in 20 years that the increasingly right-leaning country had voted for a left-wing leader. However, for a president seeking to reduce the gap between the wealthy and the not-so wealthy, Hollande’s plans are certainly threatening to compound the economic inequality in France’s premier domestic league.
One of the key policies in the socialist’s manifesto was a 75% tax on annual earnings above one million euros (£850,000), and it was one that struck a chord with a public frustrated by Nicolas Sarkozy and his tax breaks for the rich.
Seven months after Hollande’s election, however, his flagship ‘supertax’ was deemed unconstitutional in court. Having championed it so fervently during campaigning, it came as no surprise that Hollande opted to revive the tax, reworking it as opposed to discarding it.
The restructured legislation will, if passed, take responsibility away from the individual and place it with the employer, making companies pay the 75% tax rate on their employees’ earnings. Despite retaining its popularity in public opinion polls, Hollande’s amended supertax has unsurprisingly drawn criticism from the larger corporations, with some of the strongest displeasure coming from France’s leading football clubs.
AFR Voice - Ep7, The Sack Race
On this week’s edition we delve into the two big managerial talking points raging in the English Premier League: does Manchester United’s 4-1 derby day defeat at the Etihad spell early trouble for David Moyes, and does the sacking of Paolo Di Canio highlight the managerial short-termism that riddles the English leagues?
Away from Manchester we track some equally enormous clashes from the weekend — including the Boateng brothers going toe to toe in the Bundesliga, Lazio and Roma locking horns once more in Serie A and the battle of the billionaire clubs, PSG and AS Monaco.
We toasted another podcast in the bag by propping our arm on the post, looking to the floor and crossing our legs — otherwise known as ‘Henrying’. AFR supremo Eric Beard spoke to us to explain how the original pose from the Red Bulls striker, and it’s many superb parodies, went viral across social media this week.
Our Instagram #whereisfootball winner this week is Angelica Tanneryd in Stockhom, Sweden. Her image will be proudly draped over our Soundcloud, iTunes and Twitter coverart for the next 7 days.
As always, feel free to get in touch with us - tweet @AFRvoice or email email@example.com. You can also find us on iTunes - now get out of here before we fire you.
Laurent Blanc: Taming egos at PSG
By Nicol Hay
It had been 72 very Paris Saint German minutes.
The French Super Cup was in full swing in Libreville, Gabon – and the Parisians were doing their best impression of the worst of themselves: diffident, lazy, and unwilling to match the effort of an opponent whose collective wage would struggle to buy Edinson Cavani’s soul patch. Any energy expended by PSG in that opening period was focused solely on glowering at each other as every player decided that winning this game was someone else’s job.
Laurent Blanc doesn’t like lazy though. Or diffident (his opinion on soul patches remains unrecorded). The man who was charged with purging the prima donnas from Les Bleus finds himself charged with the same task in Paris – like a Red Adair of French football, on constant standby to wade in and rescue a failing dressing room. So with the match disappearing down the vortex of ego and shrugs that have characterized the Qatar-era at PSG, Blanc rolled up his sleeves and made a statement. A statement in two parts.
Part One: he made a triple-substitution. Normally the last act of desperate man, a rarely seen hail-Mary toss from the dugout, the triple-substitution is a clear way of saying “Sorry, Plan A was bobbins.” It’s a rash move on a number of levels, not least because it leaves the manager no recourse to change again if Plan B turns out to be less than inspired. Furthermore, going maximum sub means that a third of your outfield is now trying to catch themselves up to the pace of game against a fully-functional opponent who has just been buoyed by watching you perform the footballing equivalent of kicking over the drawing board and setting fire to the pencils.
Part Two: Blanc used two-thirds of his nuclear-option substitution to remove €70m-worth of Argentine internationals and replace them with two teenagers who had previously played six minutes of competitive first-team football between them.
And it worked.
One final farewell to Beckham
From the sponsorships to the movie star lifestyle, David Beckham always seemed on the cusp of his career as a professional athlete being less important than his life on talk shows or in photoshoots. But looking back on his career that spans over two decades, the man had it (mostly) figured out. There were certainly highs and lows, but ultimately no one conquered football, and the world of sports at large, quite like David. As he walked off the pitch one last time, it’s clear how much he loved the game. [GIFs by Dale con Comba]