Swans Glide into Europe - AFR Voice Ep.13
Was the Capital One League Cup Final the biggest fairy-tale final of all time? With Swansea’s remarkable resurgence since flirting with relegation to non-league football in 2003 and Bradford’s relentless giant-slaying cup run, it was a game where any result could be cherished – and cherish it we do, with a full match analysis and examination of each club’s heart-warming stories.
After that resplendent walk in a field of football calm, we scamper through the weekend’s high-octane Premier League games and it’s Tottenham Hotspur who are getting all of our attention – great coach, world class talisman, likeable players - we’ve got a stranger feeling in our stomachs… we think we’ve fallen in love with Spurs.
Talking of the North London side, we’ll be talking to Tottenham and Liverpool legend Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock. Larger than life, choc-full of anecdotes and hearty belly-laughs – he tells us all about his famous dust-up with Eric Cantona, Liverpool’s current prospects and his old ties with Paolo Di Canio, which seamlessly enough draws us into a look at the bizarre goings on at the League One club.
In our final leg, we receive a preview of the new MLS season courtesy of a severely jet-lagged Alex and we merrily skip around the European Leagues. Whilst the championships may be pretty much over in Bundesliga, La Liga and Seria A, we turn to the red-hot chases for Champions League places instead, including a hard-fought Milan derby. Although, there really is only one news story in town; Diego Maradona (and his lawyers) return to Italian soil for the first time in 8 years!
All that, plus news of plans to erect slides at St James’s Park (we kid you not), and considerable salivation over some truly special goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Papiss Cisse and Rafael.
You can get in touch with the team by tweeting @AFRvoice or emailing email@example.com. You can also subscribe to AFR Voice on iTunes and find us on Soundcloud. Do it.
Nike and ‘O Canarinho’: 17 years of tears and cheers
‘Amarelinha’ - A jersey belonging to a roaring, dancing, football fevered nation. A yellow shirt worn by many of football’s greatest performers, who never fail to entertain and earned 5 engraved stars: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002.
As Neymar puts it: “To wear it [the shirt] is the greatest honor for me and my teammates.”
The Brazilian national team is a rich global reference to both modern and historic football, 11 men always playing with a smile - a team which will always viewed as a one of the best, who every year promote a selection of the world’s finest talents to ‘A Seleção’, where they wear the iconic yellow shirt on top of their chests.
Since Nike took over as shirt sponsor for Brazil in 1996, they’ve produced 11 shirts, featuring in 264 official games. Plenty of past and current players have entertained millions in the ‘Amarelinha’ and written history, from crashing out in the 1998 World Cup final and bouncing back 4 years later under the dazzling displays of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and co. The talent never runs out and it probably never will.
That yellow kit has created a unique image for Brazil, one which represents their passion for their very own ‘Joga Bonito’ style, which is now seen across the globe. And let’s not forget those adverts, ranging from waiting in an airport lounge to the ‘Ole!’ match versus Portugal and free-styling in a changing room.
Their latest jersey, which was revealed on Rio’s infamous Copacabana beach during a youth football tournament by Neymar, is a shirt reminiscing a classic look, once again carrying a
The latest ‘Amarelinha’ makes it debut on Wednesday night, where we see the return of Ronaldinho. AFR will be at Wembley to watch ‘O Canarinho’ do what they do best - jogar futebol. See you there…
[Posted by Dom]
AFR x adidas x You. Designing Lionel Messi.
Leo Messi needs you (or your more artistic friend) to design his next pair of adidas football boots, which he’ll wear during a match in December. WAIT. Read that last sentence again to make sure we’re on the same page. You can create a unique pair of adidas adizero f50s (just like ours, above) for Messi by visiting the new “miadidas configurator” here and submitting a design with various colour schemes and personal touches.
But you don’t really want to hear us go on and on about this, do you? Alright, we’ll turn this over to our favourite #10. Messi said: “In football, you express yourself with your feet, which is why I like to feel like I have a connection to my adizero f50s. Knowing that your boots are unique makes you feel special and makes you play with more confidence. I’m excited to see the designs that my fans create for me on the miadidas configurator and I look forward to playing in them.”
Want more info? Head to facebook.com/adidasfootball or @adidasfootball (use the #miadidas hashtag to join the conversation), or even ask us @afootballreport. These boots make their debut this weekend, and the likes of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and AC Milan’s Riccardo Montolivo will be hitting the pitch with their own customised boots. [posted by Dominic and Eric]
Was Bolt’s dream was to run or play the beautiful game?
2012 has been Usain Bolt’s year once again, and he’s already comfortably defending his crown as the world’s fastest man. However, the Jamaican athlete has incessantly expressed his love for Manchester United and in a recent interview with the BBC, Bolt spoke about completing a trial at the club:
“People think I am joking. But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said: ‘OKAY let’s do this, come and have a trial,’ it would be impossible for me to say no. I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference.”
Following this interview, Twitter addict and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand sent the fastest man in the world a tweet offering his help to realise Bolt’s dream.
Although the footage from a preview of his recent upcoming documentary does not promise high expectation, there’s more legitimate footage to be found here. The basic skillset is clearly there, and we’ve been arguing about this amongst ourselves: Could Bolt really be a Premier League footballer?
By Dominic Vieira, writing from London
Manchester United aren’t just a successful football club. From a wider perspective, they’ve sculpted themselves into a global brand since the 90s, equipped with an enviable, astronomically large fan base. According to Forbes, they’re listed as one of the most valuable sports clubs in the world… they’re HUGE. And this is a position they are masterfully exploiting without the merchandising power of Beckham, Messi, Ronaldo, or Neymar, who are probably the most influential footballers in the game at the moment, in terms of marketing.
But this can all change. As expected, Alex Ferguson reinforced his attacking line by signing the highly rated, versatile Shinji Kagawa in a deal worth around £17m. He’s a talent who very few seem to know much about on this island, but in Japan and Germany he’s become an omnipresent figure.
One of the most entertaing matches of La Liga will shortly be kicking off, Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou!
Although this encounter does not embrace the same conflict, emotion and hype which revolves around an El Clásico, the quality of the 90 minutes will certainly be played at an equal standard, if not higher. Tonight two coaching masterminds go head to head, Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine who has been producing wonders for Bilbao, is an avid admirer of the Barcelona manager and is constantly speculated to inherit his throne in the future. Victory tonight won’t only prove that point, but will dramatically dent Barcelona’s title hopes where Guardiola aims to equal Cruyff’s record of winning the La Liga for 4 consecutive seasons.
The two visionaries are enjoying successful campaigns where both sides are favourites to win in Europe and will be clashing at the Copa del Rey final. As always they will be fielding players of boundless talent; we’re overly familiar the names on the back of the Blaugrana jerseys, but what about the red and white striped shirts? Bielsa’s Bilbao is receiving the grand praise it rightfully has displayed on the field where players such as Llorente, Martinez, Muniain, Susaeta and De Marcos have been consistent pillars and stars. Interestingly, ALL the players carry Basque roots and the majority are academy products where they’ve been menacing in the Europa League, a trophy which they have all the potential to lift in Bucharest.
Tonight is about this match, where teamwork, “tiki-taka”, flair, skill, and intelligence will be combined into 90 minutes of magic (and Messi magic). But what should this encounter be called? “La batalla de la autonomía”, ”el clásico de las canteras” or “súper total fútbol”.
Or what about… “El Cante-Clásico”? [posted by Dominic Vieira]
Nadal vs Ronaldo!
Two of the world’s top athletes go head to head in an energetic battle of explosive speed and precision.
Nike are notorious advertisers and their latest campaign promoting the ‘Mercurial’ boots involving Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo certainly entertains fans with a vivacious tennis/football encounter. [posted by Dominic Vieira]
China, Why Costa Rica? - Costa Rica have recently unveiled the state-of-the-art Estadio Nacional. But why was it funded exclusively by the Chinese government?
On Saturday, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid kick off at the Camp Nou and the Mestalla, respectively. Between the two clubs, thirteen players return from international duty with Spain. With Euro 2012 qualifying over, these players earned quite a few frequent flyer miles courtesy of a trip to Costa Rica, which was more or less 30 hours of flying at 30,000 feet from Heathrow and back to Spain.
It’s no mystery as to why Spain traveled all the way down to San José. Money was waiting to be collected. Lots and lots of money. And at the moment FEDEFUTBOL, Costa Rica’s football federation, is sitting on a massive pile of cash.
Relative to Costa Rica’s socio-economic conditions, this money is an absolute anomaly. Though wealthier than surrounding nations such as Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s estimated income per capita is only just over $11,000 USD. But in the world of football, Costa Rica opened a 35,100 seat, $105 million Estadio Nacional in March, with money left over for high profile friendlies against Argentina, Brazil, Spain. There was even room to accommodate concerts from Shakira and Pearl Jam. The state-of-the-art stadium also has a running track, so a bid for the Pan American Games seems imminent.
If you’re a fan of ‘Los Ticos’, life seems pretty, pretty good. However, if you’re an average citizen, you’d be right to raise an eyebrow. This lavishness was funded entirely by the Chinese government.