Keep your mails on Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United and anything else coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Ronaldo to Man Utd finally makes sense…
I see that once again today the Papers are reporting interest from Manchester United in Cristiano Ronaldo, just as they have for the past 10-11 years.
Strangely enough, for the first time in years, I actually think this could finally make sense.
Ronaldo went to Juventus for one reason – to help them finally win the Champions League. It hasn’t worked and they don’t look any closer to doing so than when he arrived. In the current climate, Juvenus might just feel that they’ve spent enough on this project and need to go about it a different way. Given the team’s struggles this year, Ronaldo may also be ready for a change of scenery.
But it’s most for Manchester United that this really makes sense. Look at what Cavani, and before him Ibrahimovic, brought to the squad – superstar quality yes, but most importantly experience and leadership. Reading The Athletic’s article on Cavani’s impact in Manchester this year, it’s clear that Mason Greenwood, Dan James and Marcus Rashford in particular have benefitted hugely from Cavani’s presence. He provides a focal point, quality and guidance for the younger forwards – against Tottenham, he encouraged Mason Greenwood to try the first-time cross that led to his goal.
If Cavani is indeed set on heading back to South America (and I wouldn’t blame him if he is), Ronaldo would offer everything that Solskjaer would be looking for in a replacement, but with the added bonus of having been a part of the culture under Sir Alex Ferguson that saw the very best players (Giggs, Scholes, Rooney) never content with what they’d achieved, and always wanting to be better. It’s very clear that Anthony Martial isn’t the centre forward that Solskjaer needs him to be, so they need someone else. Maybe now is the time for the great return?
Or maybe I’m crazy.
Suarez v Kane
Thanks to Paul (Spurs) T Wells for answering my point. I’m not sure if you were the only one who did, but you were nice in your rebuttal, and I appreciate that, so allow me to retort.
I’ll admit I was on a little wind up about Harry Kane. Of course he is an absolutely fantastic striker. I was a little bit churlish. But, being ridiculous aside…
If you or anybody in this mailbox can say with a straight face that Harry Kane is a better striker than Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez, or Robert Lewandowski, I honestly wonder what you are seeing. You mentioned Kane’s assist record this year as evidence he was elite…..
Okay my friend, let’s try that…I’ll just pick Suarez…..
Kane games 319 and assists 46
Suarez games (LFC) 131 and assists 32
This isn’t even the point. This is also the eye test. If you asked me if I wanted one striker to play up front for me, Kane would be far below these guys.
Because they are proven world elite players. They are the best.
Please don’t get me wrong, Harry is not a cousin of Andy Carroll. I was wrong. He’s much better than that. I was kidding.
But honestly, do you think Harry Kane is or will be a better footballer/striker than Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez, or Robert Lewandowski. Genuine question.
Mailboxers, over to you what do you think? I honestly would take any one of those three on a year contract than I would Kane. It’s not even a row.
Even in advancing years, they wipe the floor with him.
Mourinho’s next job – politics!
Having read both Prick of the Week and your fine article on where next for Mourinho (Crystal Palace is fine trolling), it occurs to me you’re thinking too narrowly. With his finely honed skills in media deflection after scandalously poor performance, surely he is ideally suited to working in politics? Imagine Mourinho as press secretary to Boris Johnson: bungled and delayed a lockdown decision? Here comes Mourinho with an omelette analogy. Need to backtrack on an unpopular tax policy? Here comes Mourinho to accuse the leader of the opposition of being a voyeur. Been caught in a corruption scandal? Let’s talk about Rafa Benitez’ diet. Of course, it’s a shame that Donald Trump is gone (it’s not), because he would have been ideal in the Trump Whitehouse (and it could actually have happened).
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, Singapore
The football brothers…
It is interesting that the Hernandez brothers are now the best in football. Some few seasons ago, it would have been the Hazard brothers but one has gone from being the main man at Monchengladbach to being a bench warmer at Dortmund and the other is starting to look like a contender for worst transfer in history considering his level at Chelsea and the huge drop-off that followed.
But history has surprisingly provided us with more brothers at the top level than one will expect, the Neville brothers were not bad, the Toure brothers won almost everything, the Boateng brothers are interesting. I wonder if the mailbox can think of more famous brothers.
Also, the ‘only feet can be offside’ (better than Wenger’s proposition) idea and ‘ball sensor’ idea were interesting.
Keep coming up with those ideas about how to solve the problem, but you have to ask if that will stop players from getting penalties and other favourable decisions under minimal contact, but.. that has always been part of the game just that the tolerance for those challenges has been waning and waning and guess who caused that, the same people who are complaining. Don’t you realise that just a season ago, Cavani and Pogba would’ve ran around celebrating a goal in the first half, Firminho will be celebrating his, and the Wolves social media account will be saying ‘What a goal Willian’ while someone is out there shouting, ‘this is why we need VAR’, the Cavani goal should have been cancelled, the Firminho goal wouldn’t have stood if we had the proper technology and as much as I am happy for Willian Jose, Fulham will feel hard done by; and they will go on about how it’s a shame that the league that calls itself the best in the world is behind others in Europe.
Sa’ad, Abuja (Just give the refs a break, they all want to be the best at what they do, I mean, just look at how sad Lee Mason looked when he realized the confusion he had caused in brighton v west brom)
Pathetic PSG > Bitter Bayern
Despite being from Galway and only having lived near Munich for six months as a teenager, I am a loyal Bayern fan, much to the consternation and bewilderment of my Manchester United-supporting Irish friends who can’t understand why I support a “foreign team”. Rest assured, none of them are geography teachers!
My one and only gripe with the result of the titanic battle between Bayern and PSG was the appalling amount of cheating PSG engaged in. Sure, you expect the last few minutes to be riddled with feigned injuries and time-wasting but PSG were at it from the off last night. Di Maria feigned injury for three minutes before even twenty minutes had passed before miraculously recovering, Keylor Navas collapsing in a heap after running into his OWN defender in the latter stages, f**king Neymar, don’t even get me started! Endless ‘counter tactics’ or as we should call it: cheating. PSG are a super club and shouldn’t have to resort to this, let alone for the entire game!
Did the referee add on appropriate stoppage time after all of these pathetic tactics in either half? Je pense pas! Instead, their cheating was rewarded and everyone heaps praise on Pochettino (who I do like as a manager), Neymar et al. Depressing.
Eric (Normally an ABU but considering United aren’t a champions league club anymore, I will gladly be an ABPSG in the Champions league this season!)
A long ‘un (sorry!) on PL decline
In response Bucky Bent on the PL’s regression… A friend and I were discussing this topic the other day: the Premier League – and probably football as a whole – just used to be objectively better, didn’t it? You’d need a series of articles, or even a book, to do the subject justice. But the 2008 season feels like a watershed moment.
The context: Fergie’s last great United side has just wrestled the title back from Mourinho’s Chelsea after a titanic struggle. Wenger, only three seasons removed from Invincibility, is building a vibrant young Arsenal of giddy potential. Benitez’s Liverpool has added Fernando Torres to last season’s Champions League finalists and this year might be their year.
All four managers are club legends. Each side has their talismen: Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney, Torres, Fabregas, Drogba, Van Persie, Terry, Carragher, Giggs, Cech, Ferdinand, Vidic, Walcott, Xabi Alonso. You know the names, you know the teams. Players who embody their club and their manager’s philosophy. Players who are here for the long haul.
Look further down the table: there’s Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa with Barry, Young, Carew. Moyes’s Everton (Arteta, Cahill, P Neville). Even Juande Ramos won Spurs a trophy, with a squad including Berbatov, King, Keane. Clubs have identities because their managers and stars hang round for longer than a couple of seasons. Scan the squad list for the likes of Portsmouth, Blackburn, Bolton and you will recognise many of the names: Kranjčar, Gamst Pedersen, Nolan.
That season United won the league (by 2pts) and Champions League, beating Chelsea in the first all-English final. (Liverpool went out in the semis; Arsenal in the quarters – both to English opposition). Portsmouth won the FA Cup, Tottenham the League Cup. (Rangers make the UEFA Cup final.) There are already warning signs – Derby relegated with 11 points, the decline of Newcastle – but English football is at a peak of both competition and quality. Our best beat any side in Europe and the rest can reasonably expect to challenge the big boys on their day, perhaps dream of European qualification or a cup run.
The following season Man City are bought by Sheikh Mansour, United are schooled by Barcelona in the Champions League final and Ronaldo leaves for Real Madrid. It’s too simplistic to say the party is over: like the Simpsons, the decline will be gradual. Moments such as Aguerooo, the Slip, Leicester all await us. But much of what diminishes the modern game as both spectacle and narrative: high squad / managerial turnover, a horribly uncompetitive domestic scene, a dearth of genuinely iconic players and, yes, alienating sums of money can be traced to 2008-2009.
I now want to compare the Premier League to the rise and decline of the Simpsons but this mail has gone on long enough. Suffice to say, we hit the Zombie phase a few years back.
Bucky Bent seems to think the PL has regressed in the last 5-10 years and certainly since the 2000s. I’m betting Bucky supports Man Utd? Seems to be a common theme amongst that fan base. As a Utd fan,Im sure it has regressed from his perspective.
But as a Liverpool fan,I wholeheartedly disagree. I think this season is an anomaly of a season but from Liverpool losing 4-1 to Spurs in October 2017 up to losing to Southampton in January of this year I can count on the 1 hand the amount of times Liverpool played poorly/didn’t entertain. They were sublime for 3 and a half years.
3-3 v Arsenal. 3-1 v City in the PL as well as doing the double over City in the CL by winning 5-1. Beating Porto 5-0 & Roma 5-2 in the latter stages of the CL. Salah scoring 4 v Watford. 97 points in 18/19 with a +67gd. 99 points in 19/20 with a +52gd. Going 3 and a half years unbeaten at home. Even winning 7-0 at Palace just before Christmas to go top of the league abd be proclaimed as Champions elect(seems an eternity ago).
If I compare that to the Houllier/Rafa/Dalglish/Rogers years I would of course thing the quality of the PL has improved massively since as my enjoyment has increased significantly. Utd fans will look back at the period from 99-2013 similarly. Even as a Liverpool fan I would think the quality last season was 100 times better(wonder why that is). When Utd were winning leagues at a canter from 93-2000 I’m sure Liverpool fans would havs been saying “quality was much better in the eighties,standard is so poor now.”
This all seemed to start from an email from a guy commenting on the standard of PL goals from 05/06 I believe. That could also be remembered as an era of bad pitches and of “Allardici” and Bolton doing well playing caveman football by hoofing it long to that thug Kevin Davies.
Or maybe I remember it that way as Liverpool played atrocious football under Rafa. None of the teams going for the league/top 4 would contemplate doing that now. Teams wouldn’t even play a Fellaini type(bar José but are they really going for CL?).
It’s human nature to think everything was better in the past. Truth is,it’s never as good or never as bad as you remember. Just enjoy it now….in 5 years time they’ll be the halcyon days(to some anyway!!)
Whilst the main agenda continues to hark back to an era before VAR and the respective merits of that, my friends were discussing other elements they miss from football’s yesteryear, and the backwaters of my brain threw up something I hadn’t thought about for at least a decade.
Would anyone else like to see the return of Masters Football on Sky Sports? Whilst we’re saturated with elite level football at the moment, I’d love to sub out players who’ve played 3 games in the last week and sub in players who haven’t played in 3 years for some indoor 5 a side.
The mix of club legends and obscure one appearance wonders. Screamers from the halfway line. Turning circles reminiscent of vehicles that could block the Suez Canal.
Any thoughts on why this stopped and whether I’m alone on thinking it’d be a welcome return?
VAR – Back to assisted basics
Reading the VAR emails about adding extra technology and trackers got me thinking, is this really the best route to go? I love a gadget, but i think it’s a terrible idea.
I still don’t understand why we can’t keep it simple. Stadiums with VAR have to have X amount of cameras, based in specific locations across the pitch. Cameras are relatively cheap, we know how to use them and they are already integrated into the sport.
When it comes to an offside decision we use the views to work out the offside position in slow motion, if its inconclusive then the on field decision stands.
No drawn lines, no freezed frames and no waiting as the VAR user tries to work out where the sleeve begins, or if that pixel on the screen is part of a boot or shadow.
The VAR team have 30 seconds to make a decision (or anything under a minute) if it takes longer because you’re watching your 5th replay then it’s too close and the on field decision stands.
This is the closest thing to an actual linesman decision, we are just slowing down time to give the user an opportunity to see things better.
The reality of this situation is that occasionally a toe may be offside, no doubt sky and BT will delight in showing this, but that’s surely better than the current mess?
Joe (i wonder if someone has analysed where most offsides occur so we can position cameras most effectively.. Hmm?)
The end of VAR? Not likely
It was a nice bit of wishful thinking by John Nicholson in predicting that the return of crowds will mark the end of VAR, but I don’t think it’s going to work out like that. The people who run football aren’t exactly renowned for learning from their mistakes or giving a rat’s arse about the fans.
I’d say it’s more likely that they’ll double down on their stupidity. Now that they’ve got VAR as a way to introduce mini-breaks into the game, the opportunities to make money surely outweigh the prospect of annoying a few thousand live spectators.
So instead of letting fans boo VAR into oblivion, all they have to do is drown it out with fake crowd noise, while the TV feed returns right after a word from our sponsor. Was it onside? Did his fingertips actually brush the hair on the other guy’s cheek? Have a bang on that!
Dear Matt Stead,
Please either do your research or try to be less biased in your pieces. You write an article talking about reaching multiple European Cup final as an achievement and you put in a hypothetical Pochettino who is 49, but you don’t do the same for Tuchel who is actually 47, and on the verge of back to back finals. I assume this is some article you conjured up (who thinks reaching multiple finals and losing them is an achievement?) to show that you think Poch is doing a great job despite being 3rd in a farmers league. Just wanted to point out that 3 of his last 4 knockout stage wins have involved scraping through on away goals so let’s wait a bit before we pull out the celebratory hats and assume he’s already beaten Pep or Haaland, eh?
Next time, please wait for an actual achievement before you write an article to worship your heroes.
What a thoroughly strange article written by Matt Stead regarding the age of the manages reaching 2 x champions league finals with different clubs.
It’s almost like he forgot that there was another game on last night which featured the manager of the team who made the Champions League Final last year (with the team he’s talking about in the article no less), progressed to the semi finals just like PSG did last night and is also 2 years younger than Pochettino. If Tuchel makes the final, he also does it two years on the trot with different teams which is some feat.
Lee, (loving this new resolute Chelsea. If we had a Drogba up front I’d be backing us for the whole competition) Hornsey
Do F365 rate Jose or not? I’m not sure?Maybe we could have a few articles that aren’t so on the fence about him?…