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  • The 10 Greatest clubs from South America

    Football has been around in South America for almost as long as in Europe. Football is deeply inbedded in life and culture of most countries. When it comes to the history of the World Cup Brazil and Argentina have taken center stage since the 1950s. Therefore it might not be surprising that most of the top teams from South America come from exactly these two countries. However smaller countries like Uruguay , Paraguay and Chile have also fielded succesful teams in the continental tournamente: Copa Libertadores

    Copa Libertadores trophy

    The two big clubs in Uruguay are Penarol (5) and Nacional (3) both from the capital of Montevideo.

    Paraguay has Olimpia (3) from the capital Asuncion. Chila has Colo-Colo (1).

    Colombia has also seen a bit of success with Atletico Nacional and Once Caldas both lifting the Cup.

    However, with all being said the vast majority of clubs with name recognition, being the birthplace and launch pad for great players, as well as participating in epic matches, and winning titles come from the Big 2: Brazil and Argentina.

    Peñarol is the only club being from neither Argentina nor Brazil to enter the list. Peñarol is the most successful team in Uruguay and the 3rd most successful in Copa Libertadores over time. It was picked as South America club of the 20th centenary in 2010 by IFFHS.

    The big two in Brazil are Corinthians from Sao Paulo and Flamengo from Rio de Janeiro. These are the most popular clubs throughout the country. Not always the most successful.

    The big two in Argentina are Boca Juniors and River Plate most from the capital CF Buenos Aires.

    So in order to get halfway through with the list was the easy part. The difficult part will be to select the 5 remaining clubs to make it on to the top 10 list over the greatest South American clubs.

    At number 6 we will have to include Independiente from Argentina due to its massive success during 60s and 70s. It is currenly the club with most wins in the Copa Libertadores at 7.

    Another legendary club this time from Brazil will make it to the list as number 7. Santos FC which was the club of Pele, and later on of Neymar Jr. is a force to be reckoned with past and present.

    São Paulo FC takes the number 8 spot being the other big club from the biggest city in the southern hemisphere, Brazil.

    Santos is from the state of Sao Paulo, but football is not just an occupation of the two major population areas in Brazil: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. There are strong clubs in Parana, Rio Grande Do Sul, and Minas Gerais as well. So in order to take the dispersed structure of football in Brazil into account let's bring on some of the regional powerhouses.

    Gremio from the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre takes the number 9 spot. The club of Ronaldinho Gaucho among others.

    The 10th and final spot is very contested indeed. One could argue for Estudiantes de la Plata in Argentina. The second grand old club from Montevideo Uruguay, Nacional. Why not give Rio another spot with Vasco da Gama or Fluminense ? Porto Alegre has not one but two great clubs the other being Internacional. Atletico Nacional of Medellin Colombia was the club of Pablo Escobar. But the final spot on the list will go to Cruzeiro from Brazil's third biggest city of Belo Horizonte. This is where o fenomeno Ronaldo started his carreer before making the switch to PSV at a very early age.

  • The 10 Greatest club Teams of all times 1950-2020

    The keyword to watch in the headline is TEAMS because this ranking is about the teams on the field and not the institutional framework of the club. Real Madrid is the most winning club in European football. But the club has won a number of titles during the 1950s and as well during 2010s meaning that nobody involved with the club in the 1950s would have been there 60 years later. So by club team what I refer to is group of players who play together during a certain period of time. Could be 5 years , could be 10 years - but rarely longer than that since in order to be able to qualify for the definition there has to be continuity. Certain players, managers, coaches have to be the same throughout the entire timespan.

    Inter team photo 1965-66

    So what defines a great team ? Well, a number of factors can be said to define it but definitely more than just one. The most obvious criteria would be winning titles. In order to be truly great you will have to win. A second criteria would be individual excellency. It would be the rare case where a very successful team would consist of a homogeneous group of slightly above average players. Thirdly, a specific tactical underpinning or way of play , maybe a novel invention tactically will also be a defining characteristic. And finally a manager or a coach with a unique personality often gets to symbolize the team itself.

    So here we go. It is hard to compare the teams over time since the game has changed dramatically over time. It is easier to try to find one of two teams which have defined football throughout a decade or maybe a slightly shorter period of time.

    Disclaimer. The focus is very Eurocentric. Though probably certain Argentinian and Brazilian club teams would deserve being mentioned.

    The first team which spring to mind must be the Real Madrid team winning 5 European Cups in a row from 1955 and until 1960.

    During the 1960s Inter became successful with the strong defensive mastery called catenaccio. This very defensive oriented football is still the cornerstone for most Italian clubs.

    Just like the Dutch national team made a push during the 1970s so did Ajax with their total football. But they were not the only ones to be inventive during the 70s. FC Bayern developed a new defensive formation with Beckenbauer as sweeper playing behind the center halfs. A strong axis with Meier, Beckenbauer, Breitner, Müller. Often this what you see that a dominant club team also makes up the basic foundation of the national team. The Bayern team winning in Europe in 2012 with Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Müller also went on to win the World Cup in 2014.

    Liverpool become the dominant team end of the 70s and until the Heysel disaster. Then AC Milan takes the throne of Europe with back to back titles in 89 and 90. The master tactician behind the team is Arrigo Sacchi. The money man making it possible in the first place is Silvio Berlusconi. The player axis being the foundation is made up of Baresi, Rijkaart, Van Basten, Gullit. At the same the team under Maradona in Napoli wins a league title to the south of Italy for the first time ever, as well as a European title.

    Around the same time Johan Cruyff now no longer the player but the manager what is known as the Dreamteam in FC Barcelona. The second incarnation of this magnificient machine is team under Rijkaard and later Guardiola winning 3 UCL titles. Players like Puyol, Xavi, Ronaldinho and Messi being the framework to carry out the orders on the battle field.

    Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson can also be said to be the proponent for particular style of football, and group of players being together for an extended period of time. Everything comes crashing down after 2013 though.

    Real Madrid takes to the top of Europe for a second time during the period 2013-2018 being the dominant team in Europe.

    So the final lists looks like this:

    1950s: Real Madrid

    1960s: Inter Milan

    1970s: Ajax and FC Bayern München

    1980s: Liverpool and AC Milan

    1990s: FC Barcelona

    2000s: FC Barcelona and Manchester United

    2010s: Real Madrid

    Honorably mention: SSC Napoli, Chelsea FC, Juventus

  • The 10 Greatest players Ever! From 1950 - 2020

    I must admit that I have no idea as to which players were dominant in their day prior to WWII. Maybe some football historian will be able to point o fantastic stars which simply have to be on the list, but since I am happily unaware of what went on at this early point I will simply leave it out. While the World Cup in 1950 was spectacular and a fantastic story, I never heard about any player as such which defined the tournament nor the period in time.

    Worlds 10 best players ever!

    The first superstar I am aware of is Puskas who starred for Hungary which nearly won the World Cup in 1954 as well as Real Madrid which won 5 European Cups during the 1950s.

    A fellow star at this Real Madrid team was Argentinian RM legend Alfredo di Stefano. The combined Ronaldo and Messi of his day.

    By 1958 a new star was won in Sweden by the name of Pele, and football was changed forever.

    1966 would see Eusebio excel for Portugal, while he was also doing his part at club level bagging two European Cup (UCL) titles with Benfica.

    Move on to 1974 and two superstars emerge at the same time: Beckenbauer and Cruyff.

    Moving into the 1980s and 1982 sees the emergence of Maradona as well as Platini. Platini would see his maximum glory in 1984 while Maradona would immortalize the 1986 World Cup.

    Next we move into the 90s where Ronaldo from Brazil and Zidane from France emerge as the next generation of superstars.

    After they retire the stage is taken over by the Portuguese Ronaldo and yet another Argentinian Messi.

    Who will be the next generation ? Neymar , Mbappe ?? or will we suddenly see a new superstar nobody has currently heard of.

    Honorable mention will have to go to Ronaldinho Gaucho, Baggio, Del Piero, Matthäus, Xavi, Van Bastan, Romario, Maldini etc. and a number of other players from earlier times as well.

    Rivera from Italy, George Best from England, Suarez from Spain - just to provide these World Cup winners with a bit of attention at individual players.

    Only problem is that this list now contains 12 names and not 10. And since it is a top 10 list it has to be shortened.

    So the two players who will be cut will be Alfredo di Stefano and Michel Platini. The first because he did not perform at the World Cup , and the second because he was overshadowed by Maradona, and later by his countryman Zidane.

    This leaves us with the following list in no particular order. Very hard to compare players over time since the game is in constant flux of development.

    Puskas

    Pele

    Eusebio

    Beckenbauer

    Cruyff

    Maradona

    Ronaldo de Lima

    Zidane

    Messi

    Ronaldo (Cristiano)

  • The 10 Greatest World Cup nations Ever! 1930-2030

    A ranking can be compiled according to results which can be converted into points. However, in this context it will not be as much quantitatively as qualitatively.

    However, no team and no country and no mention will be considered if it has not as a bare minimum made it to the semis at least once. Before we start the top 10 review let's bring some honorable mentions.

    FIFA World Cup trophy

    Czech Republic. Or Czechoslovakia since their best results took place during the period when the two countries were together. The Czechs made it to the final in 1938 where they lost out against Italy and again in 1962 when they again lost this time against Italy.

    Portugal had a fantastic team going into the tournament in 1966 but lost out in the semis to the team which would go on and win the tournament England. Furthermore they had one of the game's greatest players in their side at the time Eusebio. However, Portugal has made little noise since then though they managed one more semifinal appearance in 2006. Portugal has been able to produce other legendary players like Figo and Ronaldo so they would come close to make it to the top 10.

    Mexico. Since Mexico plays in the weakest qualification groups of all they all but certain to qualify at every World Cup. In the year 2020 the tally stands at 16, but by 2030 that figure will surely be 19. Furthermore Mexico has hosted two of the most memorable World Cups ever: 1970 and 1986. The results are a bit of a drawback though since Mexico has never made it out of the quarterfinals.

    Sweden. Sweden has hosted the World Cup once, participated in the World Cup 12 times and made it to the final once back in 1958. It was a legendary final where Brazil won for the first time and started their drive towards the stars. Sweden made another good run also during the modern era in 1994 with a semifinals appearance. However, by the end of the day these merits will not be able to qualify Sweden for the top 10 of the list.

    Belgium is a good at qualifying as well and has made it to the finals 13 times. They are second on that count over teams which have never won the tournament, only beaten by Mexico. Belgium ended up third in 2018 and also had a great run during the legendary tournament in Mexico in 1986. Belgium has never hosted the World Cup and will never be able to do so unless it teams up with other countries. Belgium has produced a number of decent players over the years but never a real . true and genuine super-star. Thus Belgium ends up just outside of the podium which in this context consists of 10 places.

    When it comes to picking the top 10 nations in world cup history, 8 speak for themselves. These are the countries which have won the tournament:

    Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (4), Argentina (2), France (2), Uruguay (2), Spain (1), England (1)

    So the real question is: which 2 teams among the also rans deserve to make it on to the list ?

    After having contemplated the question the first team no to win but make it to the list was an easy one: Holland / The Netherlands.

    The second one was harder though and I had to go back and look at the history of the World Cup all the way back to 1930 before I was certain as which nation to pick as the 10th and final. However, the initial country I had come up with turned out also to be the one which stuck after having reviewed the early tournaments. Hungary.

    The reasoning behind that choice goes as follows. Most people only have some kind of idea of World Cup history from 1950 and onwards. The early tournaments from the 1930s before TV was invented, with few participating teams, and little media coverage live a relatively quiet existence. But actually Hungary made it to the final in 1934 where they lost out to the Italy. But as I hint at that does not really count for much. What takes Hungary on the to top 10 list rather than one of the 5 honorable mentions from above is essentially one single tournament, the legendary 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. Hungary has also been a rather frequent visitor at the World Cup with 9 participations, but that alone would not be enough for them to make it. However, the fantastic 1954 team which was house high favorites and which featured the legendary star Puskas was just enough to take them across the finish line. Hungary did lose the final to Germany in Basel but they had thrilled the football world with fabulous play before that, they were essentially the Brazilians of football before Brazil started the rise towards the stars only 4 years later. Hungary will enter the list at number 10.

    At number 9 Holland will be the other top 10 nation never to have won the World Cup. But while Hungary has lost two finals Holland tops that with 3. 1974, 1978, and 2010. In all 3 cases the country fielded spectacular teams but especially the 1974 with total football and Johan Cruyff made its mark and changed the way the game was played forever. Holland while being a relatively small nation has always been very good a producing great footballers. Their bright orange uniforms also brings a special atmosphere to the World Cup. It is history being moved into the contemporary  world.

    Though the ranking will not necessarily featured teams correlated with their number of wins it does play an important role. Thus as for the number 8 spot Spain gets the nod over England, both countries with one world cup title to their name.

    The reason why Spain enters the list at number 8 and not England is that England has simply been a factor for longer than Spain. England is the perennial under-performer which always has a good run but usually crashed out in dramatic fashion during a penalty shoot out. Spain has been very solid when it comes to qualifying but the results have not always lived up the qualifying hype and apart from 2010 the team has often under-performed during crunch time.

    Among the 3 countries with 2 World Cup wins Argentina is certainly going to take top spot. That brings Argentina to the number 4 spot on the list. Had Argentina won a third world cup title they might even have made it further up the list even though they would still be behind Italy and Germany (4) in number of total wins. Such has been their impact on World Cup history. However, with twice as many World Cups for Germany and Italy alike I will have to go with these two countries to end up above Argentina. France versus Uruguay is a tough call. It is essentially a question of past versus present. Uruguay won their two titles in 1930 and 1950. France won in 1998 and 2018. In both cases 20 years passed between the two titles. Both countries have been frequent participants and have hosted the World Cup tournament. So not much separates them. However, by the end of the day I will have to go with France. If for nothing else due to the 2006 World Cup and the epic goodbye to one of the game's greatest ever Zidane.

    This leaves just 3 countries to rank: Germany, Italy, and Brazil.

    For top spot I will go with Brazil. Brazil ticks all the boxes so they deserve to be at the number 1 spot. Italy versus Germany is much about time frame as well. Italy won 2 World Cups before WWII while Germany has won all of their 4 titles in the post war era. Germany has also played in more finals than Italy as the losing part. But again it is very close and one could easily argue that Italy would deserve to rank above Germany.

    So the final lists looks like this:

    Brazil

    Germany

    Italy

    Argentina

    France

    Uruguay

    England

    Spain

    Holland

    Hungary

  • B. Fernandes 18 jersey Man United

    New star has arrived at Old Trafford. Portuguese Spielmacher Bruno Fernandes.

    Bruno has been given the number 18 which happens to be the old Paul Scholes number.

    Bruno Fernandes 18Will BF become another missing piece being found and added to the mix.

    Player of the month Feb 2020Player of the month in the Premier League as of February of 2020. BF has gotten of to a very good start indeed.

  • Eriksen 24 jersey | Inter Milan is back in business!

    Finally it seems like Juventus will have a serious contender for the league title for the years to go. Inter has ramped up their signings and seem serious about challenging for title each and every season going forward.

    Yet another piece in that strategy was the signing of Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen from Spurs.

    Inter home Eriksen 24

    Eriksen will wear the jersey number 24, at least for the first 6 months with the club. What happens after that and over the summer is yet to be seen.

    Eriksen and Conte

    One main reason why so many Premier League players suddenly make their way to Italy is the man to the left. Antonio Conte, current manager of Inter Milan. He knows the Premier League well after his stint at Chelsea.

    The printing is from Stilscreen while the jerseys are provided by Nike.

  • Vinicius 25 jersey | Real Madrid strikers re-emerge to play a role

    Ronaldo left a huge gap upfront when he departed from Madrid in order to join Juventus in the summer of 2018. Real Madrid never really recouped the 40-50 goals a season which were suddenly missing. But while the season 18/19 turned out to be a disaster well then the season 19/20 has seen some sparks of light even upfront with the Madrid side.

    Brazilian youngsters Vinicius and Rodrygo have shown some skills which may indicate that better days are ahead.

    Real Madrid Vinicius 25 kit

    Vinicius started out with number 28 but has now made his way down to the number 25. Rodrygo is number 27.

    Benzema home kit Real Madrid

    Another sign of life is provided by Karim Benzema. The French striker who arrived at the Bernabeu alongside Ronaldo back in 2009. He is now kind of a talisman at the Bernabeu alongside with other long serving players like Ramos and Marcelo.

  • Ibrahimovic 21 jersey | Zlatan returns to AC Milan

    Zlatan returns to AC Milan!

    Zlatan 21 for AC Milan home kit

    The printing is from Stilscreen, the Serie A patch is from Stilscreen, the 7 Cups badge is from Sporting ID.

    In case Zlatan remains in Milan beyond the initial 6 months contract most likely he will move on to either the number 9 , 10 or 11. But for now he will stick to the 21.

    Ibrahimovic in AC Milan home uniform

    The official AC Milan home kit is provided by Puma.

  • Haaland 17 jersey | Dortmund kit 2020

    Norwegian youngster and player on the rise Erling Haaland has made the switch from Austria football and to the German Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund won the hard fought fight secure his signature.

    Haaland 17 Dortmund home kit

    The jersey is provided by Puma while the Bundesliga sleeve badge is by courtesy of Deko Graphics. The sweat jersey underneath the outfield uniform is by Puma as well.

    Haaland 17 Dortmund home kit

    The official Dortmund printing is provided by Avery Denisson these days.

    Dortmund is pre-printed by the kit supplier in this case Puma. Which means that the name is placed under the number which is rather unusual and typically only seen in the Bundesliga.

    It does look like though that the soccer cleats the young Norwegian wears are from Nike. Nike and adidas have managed to corner the market for soccer footwear to an astonishing degree. Puma is third in this game but a very distant third.

  • Manchester United third kit 19/20 | Man Utd 3rd jersey

    Bayern , Juve , Real - have all launched their third kits. Laggards Man Utd and Arsenal will not play the UCL this season. Wonder if that is the reason why they run behind their continental counterparts.

    Manchester Untied third kit 19/20

    I assume that printing will be white for the Premier League matches , and for the Cup matches most like the printing will take on a orange , pink color to match the logos.

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