Categories
Inter

Inter Ambassador in the Green Room

 Inter Ambassador answers questions . . .

Why do you support your current favorite club ?

For me, the first and last question are inevitably linked. As a child and budding calcio enthusiast, my favorite teams had 1 thing in common – Baggio was on the roster. From Juventus to Milan, Bologna and so on all before the age of 10 – my allegiances hopped around along with the divine ponytail.

However, in 98-99 something changed – I got internet at my house and was no longer restricted to following calcio on RAI via once-a-week public television programming. I became addicted to Baggio’s goals and magical moments.. in
nerazzurro!

I was now not only following my favorite player, but following a massive club challenging in -what was- the best league in the world.. Taking in weekly goals and highlights. Other legends of that era included Vieri, Zamorano, El Chino, Djorkaef, even Pirlo and Ronaldo; I worshiped them. 

It was around that period of time that I received my first jersey as a gift – an authentic, thick-striped Internazionale home kit. I wore it everywhere and in doing everything and still feel a sense of satisfaction whenever I have it on – that’s how I know I’m a lifelong Inter fan; my roots are deep.

Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting ?

Italian football has lost its champions league spots and must now battle in all European competitions to regain its status as a top 3 league – giving 4 of its proud clubs the chance to thrive in Europe’s top competition once again every season.

However, I regretfully must advise inter to forgo Europa league success while focusing on winning the scudetto once again. As a top squad with only one competition to focus on, inter should be able to make a strong push for the title ala Juventus of this season with no taxing commitments outside the peninsula.

Being a perennial challenger and either winning the league or qualifying for the ucl directly is the only way to attract top talent to the side and maintain inter’s proud history.

Inter have had great success in the past 6 or so years, but also have suffered some huge disappointments in that time, dips in form, manager uncertainty and an aging squad.

Many of their current troubles stem from bad club and player management and a return to “Pazza Inter” or crazy Inter – an unpredictable but always enthralling state of affairs that can end in great victory or epic heartbreak.

The best years of Inter’s past 10 seasons have seen some of the world’s top players come and go – I would suggest bringing back the man who made it all happen, Oriali. As sporting director, Oriali signed prolific talents such as Ibrahimovic, Eto’o, Milito, Thiago Motta and more – while his successor Branca has brought on flops including Zarate, Forlan and Palombo.

Last, sign Stramaccioni as full fledged manager. He’s clever, charismatic, and has the support of the players – compared to the other options out there, the man affectionately dubbed ‘Stramala’ may have a promising future at the nerazzurri post.   

What is the low point of the club while you have followed it ?

The obvious low point during the time I have followed Inter was the ___ season in which Inter led the title race until the last day.. Only to lose to bitter arch-rivals Juventus after an historic collapse. I distinctly remember seeing a soggy eyed Ronaldo on the sideline weeping as the scudetto slipped through black and blue fingers – an image we as Inter supporters won’t soon forget.

What is the high point ?

The highest highs of Inter’s success came with the 09-10 season treble: scudetto, coppa Italia AND the legendary Champions League victory over Bayern Munich.

The victory was not only a win for Inter’s trophy cabinet, but all of Italy -whether they accept it or not. In beating Bayern in the final, Inter secured the 4th and final champions league spot remain with Serie A for one more season.. Though the accomplishment was largely unappreciated.

It is also the season where a personal favorite of mine for years came to life and etched his name in the history books – there was no striker better than Diego Milito, il Pricipe, in 09-10. Period. 

Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club ?

For me, this question is a very tight race – and would have to be a draw in my eyes between my very first Inter jersey or 98-99 and the 09-10 shirt.

Purely on aesthetics, the 09-10 shirt wins with its smart stripes and tight ribbed collar.. Though the 98 shirt comes close with the bold, chunky black and blue stripes – my mind often wanders back to the champions league winning shirt being that it is the collector piece I do not have! Help me MM Sport!!

From a nostalgia standpoint, one shirt is what Baggio wore as he roared like lion, the other Milito donned as he twirled like dervish – its a tie!

When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ?

As stated numerous times in this interview, my favorite player since I began following calcio has been Roberto Baggio – divin codino.

I idolized him as a youngster in 1994. I followed him throughout his career and thought that I was his biggest fan – only to learn that every fan of calcio was also -without exception- a die hard Baggio fan.

As an aspiring soccer player, trying to star on my high school team with all my might – I turned to Baggio. I purchased his career highlight vhs in the Le Stelle di Calcio series title Baggio – il Divin Codino and watched it
religiously, studying and learning each of his moves and using them to great effect against my opponents on the pitch.

I had even purchased his autobiography, Una Porta nel Cielo (written in Italian) and had my father read and translate it to me – a little bit each night – until he grew tired of the scholarly undertaking and I was forced to become a strong Italian language scholar myself to continue learning from Baggio in his own words.

Being a die-hard Roby Baggio fan has shaped a lot of my young life! Will there ever be another like him.. Surely not. I hope that he will turn to manage the nerazzurri sometime soon.

 


Categories
Valencia

Valencia ambassador in the Green Room

 Valencia ambassador in the mixed-zone tells the story about his favorite teams

 

 

-Why do you support your current favorite club ?

Arsenal and Barcelona along with Bilbao and Valencia (+ spain, dutch and french national teams). I also follow Sevilla and Tottenham, though since there are only so many hours in the day I don’t follow them as closely. I think the common bond is inventive play (excluding France and, surprisingly, holland this last world cup – I followed Holland since the early 90’s and this past team was a bunch of thugs that had nothing in common with the euro 2008 team and the WC team of 98 – the team with davids, bergkamp, stam, the brothers de boer, overmars, etc?). 

 

-Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting ?

I’m not very good with this type of question. I guess, maintain an emphasis on winning but not at the expense of creative play (because there are plenty of italian style teams already).

 

-What is the low point of the club while you have followed it ? 

Newcastle’s comeback vs. Arsenal January/Feb 2011. Arsenal seemed primed to challenge for the league, champions league, etc. and that was the moment it all came undone. Barcelona’s loss to Inter in the Champions league a few seasons back. Not only did Inter not have the courage to actually play the game, Bojan’s last minute score to bring barca back from the brink was disallowed (the calls always go against poor mourinho, or so he continues to insist). 

 

-What is the high point ?

Barcelona’s 5-0 win last season and comeback win last December vs Madrid. Arsenal’s entertaining play in the winter of 2010.

 

-Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club ?

Barcelona’s anniversary jersey 3 or 4 years ago. Nice collar, straight forward stripes and no “qatar foundation” (and similarly detalied jersey’s a few other years around that time). Recent shirts have gotten lame (please get rid of that bland crew collar).

 

-When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ?

I actually played lacrosse as a kid and young adult and started getting into soccer after my playing days were past. I’ve always liked the playmakers – iniesta and xavi, of course, but guys like jesus navas (his was the charge up the right wing that led to the spainish wc win), overmars (in years past) and others.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona ambassador speaks out

 FC Barcelona ambassador talks in the Green Room

Q&A with MM Sports’ Barca ambassador Gerard A. Banez

 

-Why do you support your current favorite club ?

 

(1) I support Barca because of its attractive, possession-oriented, tiki-taka style of play; its commitment to youth dev’t and policy of developing and promoting its youth team players; and the club’s commitment to huminatarian values & efforts.

 

-Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting? 

(2) With all the club’s success over the past several yrs, the board must be doing a lot of things right. If there was one suggestion I would give, it would be to incorporate more B-team players into La Liga games during the regular season. La Liga games would provide good opportunity to the B players, enhancing their dev’t and providing them with the experience needed to contribute when they play more regularly. I think the B players would be hungry and provide good energy. This practice would also give the starters some rest and possibly eliminate some of the complacency and pedestrian efforts that have been seen this yr. I have no doubt that Barca is still the best in the world, but I doubt that they will win La Liga this yr because of these issues. The team will play well in big games, like a CL final, but struggle in less important ones. A sprinkling of B players now and again could help in the present and also serve as an investment in the future.

 

-What is the low point of the club while you have followed it? 

(3) Not many lows, but I would point to the slips against inferior squads, mostly in La Liga this yr.

 

-What is the high point ? 

(4) Highs would definitely include the many championships won. This yr alone would include the run from the CL final, the Super Cups, to the FIFA Club World Cup. Moreover, I would point to the commitment and execution of the Barca style of play and the joy that team members appear to have playing with one another.

 

-Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club ?

(5) Xavi & Iniesta.

 

-When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ? 

(6) Growing up in the US when there was very little soccer, I still remember getting caught up in Pele & the NY Cosmos of the old NASL. I also liked an American soccer player, probably the best of that era, by the name of Kyle Rote Jr. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would love to grow up to be Xavi or Iniesta, who, in my opinion, are the two best midfielders in the world. If only my body would cooperate.

 

 

 

 

Categories
FC Bayern

FC Bayern ambassador talks

The FC Bayern ambassador speaks out in the Green Room

 

 Q&A with MM Sports’ FC Bayern ambassador Ben Roden.

 

 -Why do you support your current favorite club ?

I first came to love football while watching the World Cup. I was impressed with the Germans, and really started supporting Bayern because I recognized so many great players from Die Nationalelf.

 

-Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting?

Invest in better central defenders! When everyone is fit, each part of the Bayern squad could be considered World Class, with the exception of the central defense. Badstuber is a great passer, but often falters in defense. Boateng is athletic and strong, but needs to mature. If Bayern want to consistently compete in the Champion’s league, they need an experienced top-quality centre half to shore things up at the back. 

 

-What is the low point of the club while you have followed it?

Inter knocking Bayern out of the 2011 Champion’s League…I don’t think I can ever forgive Goran Pandev 😉

 

-What is the high point ?

I’ll hold off on this one until Bayern win the CL at the Allianz this year 🙂

 

-Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club?

The 2007 Home kits were great, but my favorite has to be Bayern’s black Euro away kits this year- simple and intimidating. 

 

-When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ?

Miro Klose – quite possibly the most underrated striker in world football. Even at the age of 33, he’s still one of the best

 

 

Read more from the FC Bayern ambassador by clicking the links below. Each leads to an interesting review of an FC Bayern product.

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern DVD and CD review!

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern hoody review!

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern hat and scarf review!

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern t-shirt review!

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern away jersey review!

 

Click here to read the FC Bayern home jersey review!

 

Enjoy! and be welcome to post your comment also.

 

 

 

Categories
AC Milan

AC Milan ambassador speaks out

AC Milan ambassador in the Green Room 

 

Q&A with MM Sports’ AC Milan ambassador E. Jr. Madrona

 

 

-Why do you support your current favorite club ?

I support AC Milan because I enjoy teams with a lot of history, both on the field and off. Also, I like teams with a lot of culture and diversity, not necessarily just in the squad roster, but in the style and play of the team as well. AC Milan is a team that likes to experiment on the field, and though it doesn’t always lead to success, it definitely catches your attention. I, like most football fans, love to watch great football played on the pitch, and AC Milan is a team that rarely disappoints.

 

-Which piece of advice would you offer your club if you were present at a board meeting ?

AC Milan has incredible potential, but there’s always an obstacle of some sort between the team and deserved international success. If I attended a board meeting, I would have many subtle recommendations, but there is one aspect of the team that I would most push to change. AC Milan has an amazingly deep squad, but so many great players comes at the cost of playing time, and AC Milan is too content with switching frequently between many different players throughout the season. On paper it works well, but when you look at the unshakeable giants of football, such as Barcelona, you’ll find a deep squad that isn’t afraid to stick to a standard starting set of players. AC Milan’s biggest issue, in my personal opinion, is that the team cannot connect through experienced chemistry since they are constantly shifted around. A great example of this is Thiago Silva. The Brazilian defender is one of the ultimate best defenders in the world, and if you put him with AC Milan defenders Nesta and Zambrotta, he really shines. Now that Nesta and especially Zambrotta see less and less playing time, other new defenders, like Mexes from Roma, get to make their place. Because they are changed all the time and Thiago Silva is the constant, he has no time to adjust to their playing styles and they have no time to learn how best to work with Thiago Silva. As a result, there are some matches where it is really clear that the defenders don’t know how to work with each other, regardless of their world-class talent. This is the same for many other parts of AC Milan like the midfield and attack, on occasion.

 

-What is the low point of the club while you have followed it ?

For me, the low point of AC Milan was the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League for the 2010/2011 season. AC Milan, though greatly successful back in Serie A, struggled to play well against the Spurs and ultimately were eliminated from the prestigious Championship. It was not the loss that I consider the issue, so much as the lack of confidence and skill on the field. AC Milan pretty much gave the position away after two disappointing matches against Tottenham Hotspur, and I, as a fan, felt let down.

 

-What is the high point ?

Undoubtedly, the high point of AC Milan as I’ve followed it was the Serie A title for the 2010/2011 season. In all of my football watching years, rarely have I seen such hard-earned success. The 2008 Euro Cup with Spain’s victory was an example of amazing football all the way through, and the trophy was well deserved. I consider AC Milan’s 2010/2011 campaign similar; I watched every match and saw a team that needed to take the throne for themselves, I saw a team that was resurrected through the likes of Ibrahimovic and Robinho. AC Milan proved worthy of the Serie A trophy, and I relished the victory for a long time.

 

-Which is/are your favorite jersey(s) from your club ?

AC Milan has had many great jerseys over the years, but if I had to choose the best ones, I would say that the 10/11 Home Kit was possibly the best AC Milan kit for me. In close second is surely this year’s third jersey, the

11/12 Black Third Kit. I like the home jersey because of the large vertical stripes, I felt that though AC Milan has used larger stripes before, this was a better use of the design. I’m sure much of my appreciation of it is due to it being the home jersey of a most successful Serie A season for the team. This year’s (11/12) third jersey cannot be argued with; it’s clean, it’s elegant, and from a technical standpoint, it has an incredible build and comfort. I really like the third kit this year, though as AC Milan has recently stated and proven, it is a cursed kit. Black kits have never treated AC Milan well and recently, the team announced the return of the yellow kit for the team next season; no longer will AC Milan sport the black third kit. That may be a hint that if you like the jersey, pick it up now. I had the pleasure of reviewing it for MMSports.

 

-When you were a kid which player would you like to become ? or who was your favorite player ?

Though born in Spain, I’ve been raised in a few places that don’t include that Mediterranean and as such, though the Spanish National Team is “my”

team, I’ve always been and still am a huge fan of the German National Team.

Without a doubt, alongside with Ibrahimovic, among my absolute favorite players is Miroslav Klose, the undeniable striker from the German side. I knew nothing of Ibrahimovic until I spotted him in the 2008 Euro Cup playing for the Swedish side, and until then, Klose had a monopoly on my favorite players. Though his major playing career will be approaching its end after this year’s Euro Cup, nobody can deny that he has left his mark on football, German and otherwise. He is usually underrated and under hyped as national tournaments approach, but he natural climbs his way up the goal scoring table until everyone sees the name again and again. Without a doubt, as a child, Klose was the player for me.

 

Sincerely,

Enrique Madrona Jr.