All posts by Tomos Llewelyn

Take a bow – a Zlatan Ibrahimovic special (Video)

It is sometimes easy to forget how long Ibrahimovic has been around, with this goal dating back to August 2004. Whilst many of his peers were still in academies, Ibrahimovic had already played in a World Cup and European Championships for Sweden, and in this match was playing for Ajax against NAC Breda in a Dutch league game.

The goal turned out to be a fitting send-off for Ibrahimovic, who would sign for Juventus a week later and to say he ‘went out with a bang’ would be an understatement.

The tall Swede beats five players, as he twists and weaves his way towards goal, before fooling the goalkeeper and finishing coolly.

Ibrahimovic, went on to play for Inter, Milan, Barcelona and now PSG, scoring many great goals, including of course an overhead kick against England last summer. But it was this, the 35th and last goal he scored for Ajax, that will go down as one of his finest.

 

Will Mata

Where are they now- Liverpool’s Djimi Traore (Video)

Djimi Traore was often portrayed as something of a scapegoat during his time at Liverpool. Despite making 88 appearances for Liverpool, the left-back is often remembered most for an embarrassing own-goal that led to Liverpool’s exit of the Champions league against lower league Burnley. 

Traore appeared to attempt a drag-back in his own box, but a poor touch diverts the ball into Liverpool’s goal. Errors such as this led to the defenders name becoming used in an infamous Liverpool chant “blame it on Traore” to the tune of the Jackson Five’s ‘Blame it on the Boogie’. Traore didn’t condemn the Liverpool fans though, instead blaming the media for his reputation.

Although often prone to an error, Traore developed his defending and attacking abilities under Rafa Benitez, and became an important player for the side in the 2004-05 season. Yes, it was Traore who started at left-back for Liverpool in the Champions League final against AC Milan, and despite conceding the free-kick that led to the opening Milan goal, Traore cleared an Andrey Shevchenko shot off the line to allow Liverpool to come back into the game. Liverpool may not have got to the final at all had Traore not scored this important goal in a qualifying round against Steaua Bucharest.

 

 

Traore, despite being born in France, opted to play for Mail, the country of his father’s birth, and made 6 appearances between 2004 and 2006, the year he left Liverpool to play for Charlton. Spells at Portsmouth, Rennes and Birmingham followed, before Traore established himself at Monaco and later Marseilles. After being released by the latter in 2012, Traore was left without a club, before moving to Seattle Sounders in January 2013, where at the age of 33 he still plays. Seattle, a club which has an average attendance of over 45,000, is by far the most supported MLS side and former players have included Freddie Ljungberg. Traore has settled in nicely in his new surroundings and could prove to be a key-player for the greens. It is unfair to summarise Traore’s whole career into one embarrassing gaff, and he should be given credit for moving on and not letting the terrace banter affect him.

Will Mata 

Everything Liverpool fans need to know about £8m target: Martin Montoya Profile

After a textbook rise through the Spanish system, 22-year-old Martin Montoya finds his career at a crossroads. Potential suitors queuing up for Montoya’s signature, but the right back faces a difficult decision as to whether to try and break into the first team of his beloved Barcelona, or pursue a career abroad.

Born in the Catalonian coastal city of Gava, Martin Montoya joined the local Barcelona youth team at the age of 8. From an early age, Montoya showed the skills, pace and commitment Barcelona are built upon and successfully made the graduation into more senior teams as many of his peers fell away. He has also represented Spain from every age group from under 17 to under 23, as well as being capped for Catalonia and featuring for the Spanish Olympic team at last year’s games.

Montoya’s greatest assets are his pace and dribbling ability, allowing him to sprint away from defenders and start attacks and counter attacks. He likes to roam forward and cut inside from the right-flank often teeing up a lethal shot. After making his debut in 2010, Montoya has started to appear more frequently for the Barca first team this season, so-far making 13 starts. His attacking instincts allow Montoya to fit straight into the Barcelona side, often as a back-up for Dani Alves.

However, whilst Montoya has the pace to match the Brazilian, he is often let down by his passing and crossing ability. Montoya can often frustratingly get into a good position before wasting a chance with a poor final ball. Also, whilst he is able to roam forward against lower opposition, his defending is often a liability exposed against stronger sides. For now Montoya has to be content with the odd run-out, as the ability of Alves and also the resurgence of Adriano, has limited his first team chances.

Montoya is a strong reserve choice for Barcelona, but now at the age of 22, the 2013-14 season is crucial in defining the Spaniards career. The number 22 could find new employers in the form of Liverpool, Chelsea or Tottenham, all who have been linked to the Catalan, and if he is to move to the Premiership it is vital he does so sooner, rather than later, the with pace of the English game often proving difficult for an older Spanish player to adapt to. However Montoya does have the arsenal to make an impact oversees, and could prove a good addition to any top English side. The alternative is sticking to boyhood Barcelona, where he may eternally struggle against superior players. But if he is to improve his passing and tacking, there is no telling how good Montoya could prove to be, wherever he decides to play.  

Will Mata

 

Where are they now? #1- Francis Jeffers (Video)

 

England’s embarrassing defeat to Australia in 2003 is a game many home fans wish to forget. The game was most noted for being the debut of Wayne Rooney, but it was another debutant who scored England’s solitary goal on his one and only cap- Francis Jeffers, remember him? Whilst Rooney never looked back in his career, Jeffers has all but been forgotten.

After scoring an impressive 18 goals in 49 games for home-club Everton, Jeffers was a centre forward revelation. Scoring a record-equalling 13 goals for England under-21s, Jeffers signed for Arsenal for £8m in 2001, becoming one of Arsenal’s most expensive ever signings. Jeffers arrived at Arsenal with a reputation as a “fox in the box” and scored 2 goals early in the 2001-02 season.  

However, a series of niggling injuries restricted Jeffers’ time at Arsenal- who went on to win the League and Cup double. With strikers such as Henry, Wiltord, Bergkamp and Kanu on their roster, Jeffers was deemed surplus to requirements, and appeared to completely drop of the radar. What happened next is a mystery for most football fans.

After troubled loan spells at Everton and Rangers, Jeffers was equally unimpressive for Blackburn and Charlton, scoring only 3 goals in 56 appearances for all 4 clubs combined.

After another loan spell with Ipswich, Jeffers signed for Sheffield Wednesday for around £700,000 in August 2007. His time with the Owls was blighted by injury, and many of his 54 appearances came as a substitute. Although Jeffers may be remembered fondly for a  25-yard strike against Hull, his reputation was dealt a further blow after being sent off for a head-butt against Port Vale in 2009, and was released in 2010 after Wednesday were relegated to League 1.

Spells at Newcastle Jets, where Emile ‘Heskey-cam’ Heskey is now playing his trade, Motherwell and Maltese side Floriana followed; before joining current club Accrington Stanley in January 2013. Jeffers has said he hopes to prove himself in his new colours, and prove doubters wrong. The number 9 got off to a great start, scoring two against AFC Wimbledon on his debut, as Accrington fight for League 2 survival.

Will Mata

Time to dance – Top 5 Goal Celebrations (Video)

Everyone loves a good celebration. Some become symbolic of the player, such as Alan Shearer’s raised hand whilst other players, such as Obafemi Martins becoming better known for their celebrations than their ability as a player.

Here is my Top 5; but I would like to hear your suggestions too, so please do comment below.

5. Vincenzo Montella- L’Aeroplanino

Montella scored 83 goals for Roma and won 20 caps for Italy in a career that also saw a brief spell at Fulham. However, his fine dribbling and finishing skills were often overshadowed by his iconic aeroplane celebration that earned him the nickname L’Aeroplanino, the little aeroplane.

4. Tim Cahill- The Boxing Aussie

Cahill now plays for New York, but his boxing celebration lives long in the memory of Everton fans.

3. Julius Agahowa- Filppin’ mad

Lomana Lua Lua was well-known for his acrobatic celebrations, but Agahowa stands out for the sheer number of flips he did. Here the Nigerian is doing what he does best, celebrating- not scoring, as Wigan fans may know.

2. Ruud Van Nistelrooy- Dutch revenge

After missing a penalty for the Netherlands, Van Nistelrooy is taunted by a Moldovan defender. However, it was the former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker who has the last laugh as the video shows.

1. Muteba Kidiba- DR Congo vs Ghana- 2012 African Nations Cup

DR Congo goalkeeper Kidiba celebrates his team scoring by doing the weirdest bum-dance/animal impression type thing. Has to be seen to be believed.

As for the worst celebrations;

Robbie Fowler’s coke sniffing comes to mind, as does Temuri Ketsbaia’s stand against an Addidas advertising board. Rumour has it the then-Newcastle midfielder wasn’t happy about being left on the bench for match.

Will Mata

The Wednesday Goal- #1- Stephen Appiah (Video)

Stephen Appiah was a defensive midfielder, never known for his goal-scoring ability. However in this 2004 match for Juventus against Cagliari, the Ghanaian displayed breath-taking skill in rounding two defenders before superbly finishing in the top corner. Appiah only played for two seasons at the Stadio-Della-Alpi before moving onto Fenerbache, but played an important part in Juve’s 2005 Serie A triumph. He also captained Ghana, winning 69 caps, but his career was largely hindered by injury.

Will Mata

Miss of the Season? (Video)

In this Dutch ladies league game, Nicoletta den Ridder of Beerschot is played through on goal from a free kick and has the ball at her feet two yards from goal; she has to score doesn’t she? But no, with the goal in touching distance Ridder manages to scoop the ball over the cross-bar. Poor stuff, but is this really this miss of the season?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_60O0ddd5hc

 

 

Other notable challengers have come from Israel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe13SZozKsQ

and Italy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owTngPYtplg

 

So who should win the miss of the season? Please do post responses or suggestions below.

 

CHAMPIONIES: European Round up 27-28 April

ItA Round-up of all the leagues around Europe.

Italy- Juventus require only one more point from their remaining four games to clinch successive Serie A titles. The Old Lady are on the brink after defeating Torino in the Turin derby, thanks to late strikes from Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.  Challengers Milan also won, with former Sampdoria hit-man Giampaolo Pazzini netting twice to keep the Rossoneri in the third and final Champions league spot. Fiorentina remain one-point behind, with an Adem Ljajic inspired victory away to Sampdoria. The Serbian wonder-kid, who has been linked to Manchester United, scored the second in a 3-0 win for the Viola. Things went from bad to worse for a crippled Inter side, which lost Captain Javier Zanetti in losing to Palermo.

France

David Beckham’s sending off marred a PSG win over Evian. Javier Pastore scored the game’s only goal, leaving the capital side clear of Ligue 1, and in touching distance of their first title in 19 years. Lyon’s win against St. Etienne should be enough to ensure their qualification for the Champions league.

Germany

Champions Bayern Munich beat Freiburg 1-0 on Friday, to move onto 84-points- within reach of a Bundesliga record. Xherdan Shaqiri scored the only goal from a free-kick. Borussia Dortmund, likely Champions League final opponents for Bayern Munich, won 2-1 against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Greuther Fuerth were relegated on their debut top-flight season after fellow strugglers Augsburg defeated Stuttgart to condemn Fuerth’s fate.

Spain

Reports in England are suggesting Cesc Fabregas could return to old club Arsenal, but Barcelona seem unaffected by the claims. Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi helped secure a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao- to leave the Catalan side 11 points clear of La Liga. Elsewhere Real edged a tense Madrid derby to beat Athletico 2-1, with Angel Di Maria scoring the winner. Malaga’s Champions League chances were boosted with victory against Getafe and defeat for rivals Valencia.