As Federer triumphed over Nadal in a hard fought contest and won his 18th Grand Slam, social media was flooded with tributes and posts for the Swiss Maestro. The recovery after injury to perform at his prime even at the age of 35 is something amazing. What makes Federer so special is his graceful style. There are no aggressive shots, no punches into the air, no screams. Just a calm and controlled approach with a beautiful back hand stroke that no one else can match up to. I’m not the biggest Tennis fan to know all the intricate details of the sport, but watching the game and his elegance, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to legends from sports that I follow religiously, Rahul Dravid and Andrea Pirlo.
We have barely completed a month into 2017 and English Football has already provided us with some memorable (and ridiculous moments). Arsene Wenger, of all the managers in the Premier League, gets a 4 match ban for “pushing” the 4th official. Costa seems to have pulled off a transfer U-turn although Antonio Conte insists it was just a minor back problem. For a change, Bravo wasn’t the worst keeper on the field as Lloris assisted both of City’s goals against Spurs. Manchester United’s unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat against Hull, but Jose Mourinho is still in denial, claiming that the game ended as a draw. But nothing can beat Liverpool’s dreadful form that sees them eliminated from two cup competitions and stranded 10 points behind Chelsea in the race to the Premier League title.
It took a while, but it was worth the wait for Wayne Rooney as his stunning free kick in injury time against Stoke City made him the all time top goalscorer in Manchester United history. The strike took him to 250 goals for the club, breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s record in the process. The former Everton player will definitely go down as one of the all time greats, but not many greats can claim to be as divisive a figure as the Englishman. Throughout his time at Old Trafford, there have been numerous standing ovations, and at the same time, numerous calls for his axe. The incidents in his personal life have always made him a big target for the English Media who have made him a national scapegoat, blaming him for every failure the team encounters. But, for a neutral football fan, what will Wayne Rooney’s legacy be?
Every time the FIFA World Cup is round the corner, almost all Indians ask this one question – Why can’t India, with a population of over 1.2 billion, come up with a team of XI talented players to represent the country at the major tournaments. The question seems justified considering that much smaller countries, both in size and economic development, like Haiti and Zimbabwe sit well above us in FIFA rankings. Unlike cricket, football has only recently emerged as a popular sport in the country. Recent developments like the Indian Super League has helped to increase awareness of the sport by adding more gloss and glamour to it. But has the ISL actually helped improve the quality of Indian football? Continue reading “Why Mission XI Million will improve the quality of Indian Football in a way the ISL could not.”
On Thursday, Slaven Bilic announced in a press conference that Dmitri Payet has his heart set out on a move away from West Ham, with reports suggesting that he wants to head back to Marseille after leaving the club in the summer of 2015. His strike has not gone down well with fans and Gary Neville gave a scathing assessment of the entire situation via Twitter.
“You’re better off without him. He’s a grain of sand on a beach to your club.”
Over the last few years, FIFA’s team of the season has basically been a best La Liga XI (Mainly Real Madrid and Barcelona) with a few players from Bundesliga/Ligue 1/ Serie A in order to satisfy fans from those leagues. And each time, Premier League fans will take to Social Media to express their disgust at the continual snubbing of their players. In truth, the Premier League is not the same force as it was in 2009. Their performances in Europe’s premier competition has been pretty poor despite a Chelsea win in 2012 which was largely down to luck and grit. So, it seemed justified to have such a team dominated by the La Liga giants at the beginning. But year after year, the team selection has become more biased and this year, it was utterly shambolic.
On Wednesday, the 4th of January 2017, Chelsea, my favourite football club, lost to Tottenham and their 13 game unbeaten streak came to an end. While this is bound to make any Chelsea fan sad, I found myself distracted by another huge news emerging from my own country where, after captaining the team for 9 years, MS Dhoni had decided to quit as the Indian team captain in the ODI and T20 format. The entire country was stunned by this unexpected news especially when the series against England is to begin in a couple of weeks. But the real question is – Dhoni just quit his captaincy. He didn’t retire yet and can still continue playing. Then why is the entire country going crazy over this news? Why am I so depressed about this?
Before February 2016, Chelsea, the defending champions, were languishing in mid table after their worst ever start in the Premier League history saw the sacking of manager, Jose Mourinho. Manchester United were uninspiring at best and toiled under LVG. Manchester City were faring decently as they were in the Capital One Cup Final and had progressed through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, although their league form was highly inconsistent. At that time, it was obvious that there would be changes in the offices of these giants come summer. So, when Manchester City pipped their rivals to Pep Guardiola early in February itself, it signaled a huge victory and a statement that City would be back to win it all the next year. Fast forward to the end of 2016, and things haven’t gone all that smoothly for the Guardiola and City. Despite an excellent start, they currently sit 10 points behind leaders, Chelsea, with Manchester United and Tottenham breathing down their necks. The key signings of Bravo and Stones have flopped and player-manager relationships with Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have become strained. So where has it gone wrong for one of Europe’s most successful managers?