Category Archives: Streakers and ballboys

A Closer Look At How Football Players Adapt To Their New Surroundings

This might not be the first thing that comes to a football fan’s mind, but sometimes it’s amazing how football players learn multiple languages throughout their careers.

 In addition to making tons of money, players also learn foreign languages when playing abroad. So, not only do they play football for a living; but many of them also are multilingual.

Well, to be more precise, it all comes down to the time a player spends in a country and how easily he can pick up new languages.

Players who moved around quite often during their career had such an experience.

 For instance, Manchester City’s Midfielder Yaya Touré has played in six different countries so far. One of them was France, meaning he didn’t have to learn a foreign language, as French is his mother tongue.

I don’t know if he can speak the language of every country he played in, but assuming he can, then that means he speaks six languages. Regardless of how good he is at each of them.  

 Former Arsenal player, Alexander Hleb, has played so far in Belarus, Germany, England, Spain and Russia. As a Belarusian, he probably speaks Russian and maybe Belarusian, and I guess he spent enough time in every other country to learn the language.

 Take for example, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who besides having played in Sweden, he had spells in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. Well, normally he can speak Swedish and English as well as Bosnian and Serbian probably. His Italian is quite good and so is his Dutch I guess. His Spanish though, is a disaster. And after more than a year in France, he still can’t speak the language properly. But hey, he already has five to six languages under his belt. Couldn’t ask for more.

 A perfect example of football players being multilingual is Clarence Seedorf. I don’t know how many languages he speaks in total, but the following video shows him talking in five different languages. English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

 Just brilliant!

 

 

Simon Sammour

Why German Winger Could Be The Perfect Addition For Arsenal

Okay, by now the news that Arsenal are set to move in for Patrick Herrmann is out already, and he’s not a young promising player that Arsene Wenger’s side is not aware of anymore. But more than two months ago, I wrote an article suggesting German players that Arsenal should consider, and Patrick Herrmann was one of them. Now let’s have a closer look at the player and why he could be a great signing for Arsenal.

The 22-year old German plays mainly on the wings, positions currently filled at Arsenal by Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Serge Gnabry and sometimes Tomáš Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey.

Meanwhile it’s not Rosicky and Ramsey’s main position, Gnabry is still too inexperienced, Cazorla and Podolski are turning 30 soon and are not the most stable players that Arsenal need. So the only real winger here would be Walcott.

Herrmann would fit in perfectly; he’s a natural winger, is the perfect age to develop rapidly under Wenger and has first team experience in one of Europe’s top leagues.

He is fast, decent at dribbling, and has very good ball control and finishing, and despite his small size, he can shoot the ball with power. Many see him as the next Marco Reus.

With him and Walcott occupying the flanks, I see Arsenal in the long run gaining the dynamism and speed they need to implement Wenger’s philosophy completely.

For those who haven’t seen him play, check out the video below!

 

Simon Sammour

Why It’s Time For Borussia Dortmund To Stop Acting Like Underdogs

BVB have stepped their game up in recent years, as they went so far as to win the Bundesliga two times in a row, participate in every Champions League since the 2011/12 season and even make it to the most recent final of the competition.  Despite this fact, their transfer policy still looks like one of a Premier League team contending for a Europa League spot.

Dortmund’s starting 11 might be one of the best around at the moment, but this was not achieved overnight by splashing cash in big way on a handful of stars. Even though they spent large amounts of money to sign players such as Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, this probably wouldn’t have happened without the sale of Götze.

But hey, they definitely can’t be criticized for that! On the contrary, they are setting the example for others to follow. BVB’s problem is the squad depth.

The Champions League finalists need to realize that they are now regularly fighting on three fronts and they are expected to be almost always one of the front-runners in all competitions. Their management need to adopt a winning mentality. Their fans, their head-coach and their players have it already, but the question is whether they have enough players to hold up an entire season.

BVB ended last season trophyless, but with such a small squad and a second-place finish in two competitions, I would say they earned everybody’s respect.

This season they have been very unlucky with injuries though. Many key players have gotten injured since the start of the season and Jürgen Klopp has dealt with it either by promoting youngsters from the junior team or by applying versatile models.

It worked well for them in the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal, but that wasn’t exactly the case in the Champions League. Assuming they make it through to second round, with no additions to the squad and with recurring injuries, I highly doubt they can manage to stand their ground against Europe’s big guns.

Recently, Klopp’s side were dealt a double backline injury blow, as Mats Hummels and Neven Subotić will face around a two-month and six-month layoff respectively. That meant they were left with only one central defender, which led them to sign up 34-year old free agent Manuel Friedrich. They were quite lucky to find a defender that Klopp has worked with before when the transfer window is closed.

Mats Hummels will be back in January, but would that be enough for them not to invest in a new central defender or in other positions? Hopefully they have learned their lesson this time. The hard way.

Simon Sammour

Pierre van Hooijdonk: One of the best free kick takers of all time

And it’s in the back of the net! That is where many of Pierre van Hooijdonk’s free kicks ended up, if not most of them. I have got no statistics to prove it, but I’m sure many of you who watched football back then remember his clinical free kicks as much as I do.

He was probably not the most technical player and he didn’t possess great pace and dribbling skills, but whenever his team needed him, he was always there to score from free kicks.

The former Dutch striker was something of a nomad having played for clubs such as Breda, Celtic, Feyenoord and Fenerbahçe. My personal favourite was his time at Feyenoord. There, he played an integral part in the 2001-02 UEFA Cup win by helping the team reach the final where he scored two of Feyenoord’s three goals in their 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals.

It is arguable whether he is the best free kick specialist of all time, as names such as Roberto Carlos, David Beckham and Juninho might stand in the way. But what is certain is that his name was associated with free kicks.

The video below shows some of his best goals (not only free kicks). Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Sammour

A look at the terribly huge decline of Serie A

In 2006, Italian football was hit by a match-fixing scandal known as Calcipoli that involved the country’s top football leagues. As a result, Juventus, the team with the most Serie A titles, was relegated to Serie B. They also received a nine-point deduction ahead of the new season and were stripped of the 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles. AC Milan, the team with the second most Serie A Championships, recieved an eight-point deduction for the following season. And that, football fans, is how the downswing of Italian football league began.

 

Ironically, Italy won their fourth World Cup that year and AC Milan their seventh Champions League title the following year. But those wins looked like short-lived successful defibrillations that somehow paved the way for a fall.

 

Juventus waited six seasons before winning Serie A again, whereas it took AC Milan five seasons. During the trophyless period of those two clubs, only one team took advantage of the situation: Inter Milan.

They went on a title streak as they watched others suffer. After being awarded the 2005-06 Serie A that Juventus lost, the Nerazzurri embarked on a winning journey after signing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Patrick Vieira and Maicon.     

Inter went on to grab four consecutive Scudetti and a Champions League when all other Italian teams were almost out of the European picture, only to find out later that they too would go through a lengthy nosedive. 

 

A couple of seasons later, Juventus finally won Serie A title after a long wait. For a split second, Italian football breathed a sigh of relief. The Italian giants were back to winning ways and they’d even done it in style. But, unfortunately, they still haven’t managed to restore the country’s lost European glory days.

 

During that period, Italy lost the fourth Champions League spot to Germany due to its teams poor results in Europe and the German football revolution that was well underway.

It meant that three teams instead of four would represent the league in Europe’s elite competition.  That led to Italian teams’ decrease in stability, European competitive edge and ambition, as well as missing out on some Champions League revenue benefit.

 

At the moment, the only team that is actually trying to keep up with Europe’s top clubs is Juventus. To a lesser extent, Napoli is also fighting on the same side. The San Paolo outfit are doing a good job, given their limited financial capability.

 

Inter and AC Milan’s current situation is, in a way, pathetic. With their latest transfer window activities, their squads, their results and their appetite for titles, they have reached a new low.

For instance, and with all due respect to the former Ballon d’Or holder, Kaká at the age of 31 being AC Milan’s top signing of the season is not a reassuring sign.

 

After becoming the first Italian team to have foreign ownership, AS Roma are currently sitting on top of Serie A.  Recently, Inter Milan has been taken over by Indonesian investors. Will the Italians follow in English and French footsteps and let foreign sugar daddies be their salvation?

 

Simon Sammour

Why Arsenal Should Consider Move For Bundesliga Forward

The 21-year-old German versatile forward can play out on the wings or in the middle, but with his current team, Hoffenheim, he has been playing mostly behind the striker. Perhaps at the moment, that is not a position Wenger is looking to reinforce, but the young talented player’s versatility and young age would be worth investing in. Technically, Volland can fit in with the likes of Özil, Walcott, Wilshere, Podolski, Cazorla and even Giroud spots.

His tender age allows him to still adapt to any attacking position, and therefore moving to Arsenal, rotating between attacking positions and developing until he finds his feet is most certainly a win-win proposition for him and the Gunners.

His performances at former club, Munich 1860, as well as for Germany’s youth teams, have opened the door to a Bundesliga move.  He is not Hoffenheim’s top scorer, and that is because he’s playing mostly behind the striker, but so far, his tally of five goals in 10 games this season is considered remarkable.

His playing style makes him a perfect fit for Arsenal. He possesses the agility, pace and technique that allow him to cut inside and open up space. He also has good vision that he uses often to create goal-scoring opportunities and a clinical finishing ability that is constantly improving.

Well, it seems to me that those attributes represent a small sample of the whole Arsenal front-line combined. 

If you haven’t seen him in action, then have a look at that short video. It might help a little. 

 

Simon Sammour