Mails: Tevez is a weapon and French wastes…

Daniel Storey

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Jose Mourinho at a career crossroads
The Sanchez transfer is an interesting one should it be a swap for Mkhi. While the money for Sanchez seems ridiculous considering his contract both teams get rid of a player who is currently out of favour and replace them with someone who will likely strengthen their squad.
Sanchez would undoubtedly better Utds striking options and Mkhi (or Angel Di Maria 2.0) would be going to a club where he can be loved and not feel the pressure to try and win things. He is undoubtedly talented and it would be good to see that more regularly even if it was for another club. City really didn’t need Sanchez although maybe they could have got him just to piss Utd off.

And with Jose signing for another couple of years I’m not sure how I feel??? Great that it means Utd will likely buy some first rate players and maybe be more competitive one day. Great to have some more stability. BUT…i can’t help feeling Jose likes a longer contract just to make him richer when the club are forced to fire him in season 3 when he throws his toys out of the pram.
Also, all this money spent and to be spent doesn’t mean we have to play kamikaze attacking football like Liverpool but one would hope would at least see us trying to beat the top teams and not park the bus? I hope that is not just wishful thinking…

Jose seems to be at a crossroads for me. He was a successful young arrogant entertaining manager winning things. Then he’s been the cheque book manager trying to claim he’s always the victim and now he needs to decide if he can be a manager who can actually build and maintain a team and work with the club rather than fight everyone.
Jon, Cape Town


Read more from Planet Sport: Tennis365 exclusive interview with Boris Becker (Tennis365)


Top ten French wastes
Here are some of the tragically wasted talent that France has seen in the last twenty years.

10) Marvin Martin – is there a better way to handle your first cap than by scoring 2 late goals and assisting another? Martin was a bright talent as an attacking midfielder at Sochaux, who managed an incredible 19 assists in his third full season with the club at 22. Unfortunately, the 427th new Zinedine Zidane never replicated that kind of form.

In fact, his move to Lille to replace Hazard was a complete waste. Further moves to Dijon and Reims have yielded similar unflattering results.

9) Mvila – Another young center mid who benefited from France’s meltdown in 2010. He became on the first names on the teamsheet for Blanc in the rebuild phase as he was putting out consistent performances with Rennes.

Despite a terrible euro 2012 where his attitude was often questions, he was still linked with clubs such as Inter Milan and Arsenal, yet he chose to move to Rubin Kazan. That move did not go well and he never saw the French national team again. Just recently moved to Saint-Etienne this winter.

8) Yohan Pele – The man who was to replace Barthez in goal for France. Pele was a starting goalkepper for Le Mans at 23 in Ligue 1 and many expected big things from him. He was consistently linked to bigger clubs in Europe but decided to stay in France with a move to Toulouse, a stepping stone for bigger clubs surely. Unfortunately, he suffered from a pulmonary embolism and was out of the game for years.

Did manage to come back and play for Marseille. Even managed the most cleans sheets for any club in the big five leagues in 2016-2017. He is now however back up to Mandanda.

7) Kakuta – A product of the Chelsea Loan System©, Kakuta cost Chelsea fines and a transfer ban for breach of contract at age 17. Yet many thought he was well worth it. He was a fast winger with great technical ability.

Played in a few games in his first two seasons at Chelsea where he seemed like the real deal before going on loans across Europe. Moved to Sevilla where he barely played before signing in China. Somehow he is still only 26.

6) Le Tallec – Another Le Havre academy talent, he joined Liverpool with his cousin Sinama-Pongolle at 17. He was wonderful forward who could really play anywhere up front in his pomp. Winner of the silver ball at the Under 17 World Cup, we all thought Sinama-Pongolle and he would be the natural successors of Henry and Trezeguet.

Yet he failed to make the mark at Liverpool despite several loans. Then moved back to France to become a banal journeyman.

5) Philippe Christanval – Former young player of the year of ligue 1 with AS Monaco as they won the title, Christanval was much sought out in Europe as a classy young defender. He left for Barcelona for 6.5M pounds in 2001 and had a decent first season there. Enough to be in the 2002 World Cup Squad.

Unfortunately, Van Gaal’s arrival at Barcelona meant he barely got a sniff in his second season. Later went to Marseille and Fulham but barely played. Retired at age 30.

4) Ibrahim Ba – Ibrahim Ba was an exciting, dynamic winger who had a breakout season with Bordeaux in 1997 at age 23. He even managed to score a wonder goal with the French national team on his first cap and establish himself as a regular a year before the world cup. He was chased by many European giants and joined AC Milan in the summer of 97. There, he failed to establish himself in a more defensive-minded league that did not afford him the same amount of space.

After a first mediocre season, he was not selected for the World Cup 98 despite many predicting him a place in the starting line up months before. He then got injured on his second season, spent time on loans at Marseille and Perugia before being released by AC Milan and wandering across Europe with clubs from England, Sweden and Turkey.

3) Diaby – Everyone knows the story. A big injury on the last day of the 2005-2006 season. A body that never fully recovered. A player Wenger kept giving contracts too despite his poor injury record. But people forget how fucking good he was.

Strong, powerful player with great passing range and an eye for goal. A stalwart for the 08-09 season, where he played 40 plus games for us. Finally left Arsenal in 2015 to play 5 games for Marseille in 2 years.

2) Gourcuff – Some player’s careers are defined by World Cups, for the better or worse. For Gourcuff, the 2010 World Cup was definitely the turning point of his career, but for the worse. Before that, he had already established himself as one of the best centre midfielders in the world at 23. He could score, assist and had great vision on and off the ball. He led Bordeaux to a league title, ending Lyon’s 7 year dominance and bagged himself a player of the year award in his first season there. In his second season with the club, they topped their Champions’ league group ahead of Juventus and eventual finalist Bayern Munich and got all the way to the quarter finals. And In the league they finished a solid 2nd place. He even finished 20th on the ballon d’Or 2009.

Concurrently, many expected big things from him after the world cup with the French national team as his current Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc would succeed the useless Domenech. He was the new Zidane, but one that finally able to support the burden.

But with Domenech’s ineptitude, infighting, Anelka being sent home, the players’ strike and alleged bullying by Ribery on him, Gourcuff was never the same, physically and mentally. He got his big money move to Lyon, but was unable to establish himself due to constant injuries and frankly poor play. He was finally brought back home to his boyhood club, Rennes where his father was a coach last year.

1) Ben Arfa – The definition of wasted talent. Started at Lyon with the tag of future great alongside Benzema. Whereas Benzema managed to establish himself with lyon, score loads of goals before going to Real Madrid with the career that demands respect, Ben Arfa went the other path. He never really managed to gain a starting berth at Lyon and went to Marseille to replace Nasri in 2008.

And for the rest of his career until his move to Nice, it was the same story. Fights with managers, inconsistent performances polished by wonder goals. Finally, at 28 he managed to consistently produce results for an entire season and led nice to 4th place with 17 goals and 5 assissts. He later moved to PSG where he has been in and out of the squad and is Winston Bogardeing it until his contract expires at the end of this season.

Honorable mentions to: Dalmat, Luccin, Menez, Sakho, Imbula, Sinama-Pongolle and Aliadiere
Guillaume, Ottawa


Thank you, Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho remains the reason I started watching and am now in love with football. A player that was so determined to be the best, yet never stopped smiling both on and off the pitch. Ronnie, at his peak, had me rising from my seat every single team the ball landed at his feet.
The euphoria felt with every step-over, flick, flip flap, hocus pocus and no-look pass was palpable.

There are too many moments of ingenious to mention (shoutout to the Samba Goal vs Chelsea!). However, the engraved memory of his merciless destruction of Real Madrid in 05/06 at the Bernebeu, with the Madrid fans both applauding and waving whatever white they could find in surrender, is still the greatest moment I’ve witnessed in football.

He will forever be the epitome of Joga Benito and what playing beautifully truly means. Farewell, you buck-toothed legend. Keep dancing though. Never stop dancing.
Garthie P


And thanks for the article
Have to commend you on your lead story this morning from Sachin Nakrani – not just the story but the fact it took prominence. 2016 / 17 were horrible years for me – my self-inflicted darkest ones.

Every word jumped off the screen and resonated with me. I wish I lived in England so I had the football ritual as my solace too but the main crust of the issue is we don’t talk enough as men. I started too and it has been immense, if too late to save some things that were important to me.

I tip my hat to you fine folk. There should be more of this.
Michael Bickers


Excellent article by Sachin which I think really nails the importance of football to people who just don’t get it. Unfortunately the more unsavoury elements of football are regular headlines but this detracts from the significance and uniting force that football can be for people in need.

I’ve had countless arguments with people that think football is a game for thugs and “just overpaid millionaires kicking a ball around a field”. These people can’t understand how sport can be as culturally significant as art, music or literature. I find this view incredibly condescending and ignores many of the great achievements that football has spawned. You only need to look at the roles of Didier Drogba and George Weah in uniting countries devastated by civil war to see how football can offer hope where there was once just misery.

This brings me to a story about this weekend. While playing football for my local team a tragic incident took place on the next pitch, you can read more about it here: This happened in the middle of our game which had to be stopped as players and supporters ran over desperately looking for first aiders to assist.
Despite the best attempts of everyone there, the paramedics and the air ambulance, the player didn’t make it. It’s such a horrible thing to happen to somebody so young but what I want to focus on here is the response from the local community. Most teams in the area have set up fundraising events or collected donations to help support the family. Even people who have never met the guy are getting involved to offer support. Angel Rangel has confirmed his legendary status in Swansea by getting involved and offering items to auction for the cause.

This is what football means. In times of sadness or hardship people come together in a very unique way which completely restores my faith in humanity.
Darren, Swansea


Tevez is a weapon
It wasn’t reported on this website so not everybody might have read about it but world class footballing douchebag Carlos Tevez has finally got his (second) dream move back to boyhood club Boca Juniors. You may think this is nothing unless you are familiar with his behavior the last 7 months while he was suppose to be playing for Shanghai Shenhua in China.

Firstly he turned up overweight so the coach refused to play him, following that he only played 20 games scoring just 4 goals while being booed by his own fans for being persistently unprofessional and sh*t. This was all let us not forget while getting paid over 600K a week which is the same as Neymar and comfortably more than both Messi or Ronaldo.

To make matters worse now he’s returned home he has described his time in China as a ‘vacation’ and laughed it all off as a big joke. If ever there was a poster boy how detached from reality modern footballers are this idiot is it. His former club should sue him for every penny they paid him as he clearly had no intention when going there to play the football he is still capable of (in his last season at Juventus he scored 29 goals) which is unbelievably disrespectful.

Hopefully Chinese clubs will have learned their lesson after this scam. If only they’d read about his previous drama queen behavior and persistent ‘homesickness’ while in England so they could have saved themselves the trouble and a lot of money instead of dealing with this gold digging con-artist.
William, Leicester


Walcott made the best of what he had
You wonder about the extent to which assessments of Theo Walcott are coloured by the malaise which Arsenal currently find themselves in. As has been referenced by this website on more than one occasion, no player has made more appearances for Arsenal than Theo and that, to an extent, sums up the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s prolonged refusal to embrace the retirement he’s so clearly scared of.

Theo Walcott is, apparently not even a has been – he’s a never was. A meandering wastrel who in no way made the most of his talent who coasted on his large contract at Arsenal for many years more than he deserved. And yet, if you look at the raw ingredients there, there’s one defining attribute to Theo and not a lot else: pace.

I think we talk up the promise that Theo had because everything came so quickly for him and English football’s tendency to talk up the next big thing as we hope for a brighter future. But in retrospect, 100 goals, nearly 50 assists and 47 England caps for a guy who’s main talent is running very very very fast isn’t really the story of a guy who didn’t make good on his talent. You could argue he made the most of it. Is Theo Walcott a markedly better player than Aaron Lennon or Shaun Wright-Phillips was?

So I hope he does well at Everton. I hope he has some sort of renaissance. Was he ever as good as those initial performances at Southampton suggested he could be? Absolutely not. But he was a solid, effective premier league performer for a good number of years and I hope when he come back to Arsenal next month his contribution is appreciated by fans.
Simon, London


How do City fans feel about their club’s model?
I just read a fantastic article in the guardian about Ferran Sorriano, Mansour and Man City’s business strategy for the City Football Group. Here it is; if you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and read it. This is some top class journalism and is a fantastic insight into CFG’s plans for their clubs.

My question to City fans is: How do you feel about this? It seems like CFG is merely reducing Manchester City into the largest of the ‘branches’ of the CFG in Europe, and feels like whatever little identity the club previously may have had as an English football community club representing the working class of Mancunia is now finito.
Adi (NYC)


Recommended listening of the day
It has been a sad couple of days in the West Midlands with two legends passing on. Ed Doolan a legendary DJ who helped literally hundred of people have a voice and of course the great Cyrille Regis. BBC WM has football phone in every night of the week for 90 minutes from 5:30.
The host is called Paul Franks. He is a truly amazing broadcaster. Please take the time to listen to BBC WM’s tribute show to Cyrille. It highlights what a true pioneer he was.
Ben Pugh