Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2007 Mundo's Review - Football

Well what a year it was indeed. So many things to talk about, so much to remember and perhaps some to forget. In the end that’s life, always preserve the good.

The year started off with the uncertainty situation that surrounded both Carlos TEVEZ and Javier MASCHERANO’s time at West Ham Utd. It seems at one moment of time both of them are likely to be forgotten for this season.

But in true Albiceleste fashion that was not the case. Javier found his one-way ticket out of hell when Liverpool came knocking on his door for a loan move to Anfield. A move that subsequently became possible after FIFA needed bend some rule about players transfer policy within one season.

As a result Javier went on to become Liverpool’s starting midfield and played an important role in the clubs run towards the Champions League Final. Despite the defeat in that final to AC Milan, whenever he was on the pitch he gave no chance for the likes KAKA, Andres PIRLO and Gennaro GATTUSO to move around. For his contribution, the Kop faithful voted him as their man of the match for the final.

As for CARLITOS, the moment he started scoring, every single Hammers faithful knew that their messiah has arrived. So do I need to ask where would West Ham United be today if it wasn’t for him. He did not leave Upton Park empty handed as a result for his contribution; he was named as the club’s Player Of The Year.

His winning goal against Manchester United on the last day of the season not only saved West Ham Utd from relegation but also pave the way for his move to Old Trafford where he is now deadlier than ever.

Speaking of Manchester United, Gabriel HEINZE has finally won a premiership medal and for his reward, he was given the honour to lead the team into the field as newly crowned champion at Stamford Bridge, in front of Jose MOURINHO & Chelsea.

There were plenty other successes on the European domestic leagues.

Pato ABBONDANZIERI won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy as the best goalkeeper in Spain for his effort helping Getafe in La Liga. Javier ZANETTI has finally won a Serie A medal with Inter (on the field at least) after all these years. Not to forget Fernando GAGO and Gonzalo HIGUAIN winning La Liga with Real Madrid.

Then came the most heartbreaking story, the Copa America. Hard to believe as I’m sure some of you out there who would rather not talk about it but still despite of that painful defeat in the final, I chose to remember all the great times that we had in this blog during that one-month. All the discussion, debates and the hundreds of comments that we received, I cherished them all.

The bitter moment during the post Copa America was merely forgotten when just one week later, our young guns captured the World Youth title in Canada for the record of six time thus sealing our status as the Worlds best youth team. Kun AGUERO, who was only a sub player two years ago, became the star of tournament, following the footstep of Diego MARADONA and Lionel MESSI. He won the tournament's best player award and finished off as the top scorer as well.

And he did not just stop there. As the new season progressed, he made everyone in Atletico Madrid realized that there is life after Fernando TORRES at the Vicente Calderón.

Apart from this it has been a disappointing year on the international front. The women’s national team, which had plenty of promises, failed miserably in the Women’s World Cup in Japan. While the Under-17 did not managed to capture the one title that is still elusive in the AFA cabinet.

Despite the many things that we can talk about, when it comes to Argentina’s football there are only two things that matter the most. One its Lionel MESSI and the other is Juan Roman RIQUELME.

MESSI has proven to us many times this season why he is the right man to fill the vacant throne left by the Great Diego. Who can forget that goal against Getafe? Or what about the one he scored against Espanyol? From Buenos Aires to Catalonia to Naples, everyone just can’t stop talking about him and he is just simply irresistible.

As the new season began, the arrival of Thiery HENRY didn’t seems to bother him at all as despite the presents of all the big names, it is he who has shine the most at the Nou Camp. So what does the future holds for the Atomic Flea? Something inside me tells me that the 2010 World Cup was made for him to shine and to take us all the way to glory, just as was the 1986 World Cup was made for someone we all know as Diego MARADONA. But only time will tell.

And next we have is ROMAN. Love him or hate him, no one can deny that on his day there is no one better to inspire us all. The type of inspiration that he provides is so significant that it helped carry Boca Juniors all the way in the Copa Libertadores. That same inspiration was surely missed during the club’s 2007 World Club Cup campaign in Japan.

Despite being frozen out in Villareal, ROMAN was so crucial in COCO’s plan that he help us win our first three matches in the World Cup qualifiers, having scored four goal in the process. But then again sometimes ROMAN can also be his, own worst enemy. Don’t get me wrong here, as I’m not trying to start a new debate but only just a gentle reminder to everyone about the ROMAN that we love so much.

Now that his nightmare in Villareal is already over, all I can ask for from ROMAN is sing for us the same tune as he does when he wears the blue and yellow jersey.

2008 - What To Look Forward

So what can we expect from 2008? Well as usual we will follow the Albiceleste Army at all the top leagues in Europe, the Champions League and at various club football competition around the world.

Definitely the World Cup qualifier, which will resume in the month of June and supposedly some friendly matches that are likely to take place before that.

Then of course we look forward to the Olympic games in Beijing. Though still too early to predict who might be in the team but of course there is no denying that MESSI, KUN, GAGO and perhaps TEVEZ should all make the trip to defend our precious gold medal that we won gracefully in Athens 2004.

But before that, please marked your calendar on the date 18th of June. It is the first part of the South American World Cup qualifying blockbuster. After plenty of disappointment, all I can do is pray that 2008 will bring us good fortune.


Milanista said...

Excellent post! It is great to all the Argentines doing well in various leagues around the world. It shows that they can survive in any sort of league which shows the diversity of the Argentinians. It's great!

Melvin said...

Well, Argentines are one of the most versatile athletes in the world... They can do almost anything...

Share your take regarding the firing of Scott Skiles..

Anonymous said...

You are right John 2007 has been a up and down year for the Argentine side(More for football then anything else). We started 07 and were trying to forget the World Cup and looked to the future. I believe the first game of the year was vs France, which Argentina won and we said wow what a nice victory to have under our belts. A draw vs Chile(Granted the B team played) then vs the Swiss another draw, then playing the Algerians which the team was down a few times but won the game 4-3. A little before that I believe Copa Lib which Riquelme took charge and well the rest was history and another win the nations footballing. Then was COPA America, Cruised through US then played COL, then a tough Paraguay team but the 2nd half the big guns were in the rest was history. Crushed the Mexicans(Can we for once not play them, Conf Cup,World Cup, U-20, Copa America Jesus Christ!) then we all watched Uruguay-Brasil in the PK and too be honest I wanted to play Uruguay because they had a full team and would rather face them, but they blew the chance and we got Brasil. Going into this knowing a win would be great because beating a B Brasil team would not mean anything it would be the class and style they showed in all of COPA America. But knowing a loss would mean pandora box will be released and what do you know, a Baptista wonder strike in the first few min, a shot hit the post, then a O.G for Argentina. All of us threw in the towel@ HT. Then the 2nd half a counter attack goal against Argentina(What else is NEW!, ala Kaka just less then a year back in London) was it. That meant no Conf Cup, no trophy, and yet had to hear it from the Brasilians saying they can not beat the 2nd team, I'v said it 100X, 9-10 times those 2 squads play again ARG will win. After Copa America, a loss to Norway then everybody wanted Basile's head, Ayala retired and so on.... However some goodness came out in the summer time, the U-20 won another Youth WC! Aguero, Di Maria, Banega all shined!!!! (I am telling you when ever Di Maria gets to play, I hope in the olympics he will set the world on fire!). WC qualifiers started wins over Chile,Venz,Bolivia then what do you know a loss to COL because somebody got a red card(COUGH COUGH!). I pretty much repeated what you said John I know that, just want to put my take on it as well, so please forgive me. I believe the problem with the team is being so inconsistent, but if the team had won COPA America most of the ppl would be singing another tune, but its just facts, you can not go to sleep in big games! My heart still bleeds from 2006, and that was such a good team, kept Riquelme in, and put in Messi and held the ball for another 10min game over! ARG vs ITAL. It makes me really wonder when the team will get over the hump. I say win the game in Brasil and just stay on top of the world, but i do not know how long its been ARG has beaten Brasil in Brasil, and the last time they did it on a neutral field. Argentina is ranked#1 in the world, but it really does not feel like it, I say ARG can beat anybody in the world when they want to play and not take the game so lightly. Some history might help, 1970-before the 94 WC Brasil won 0 titles, 86-2010 will be 24 years for the team as well. Also no european team has ever won outside of Europe, so if history and the stars point it is time for Argentina to become WC champs again. They have the team that can do it.


Anonymous said...

Here is a list of the 50 of brightest young players in the world. A handful of Argentines made it, but i think some of them have not decided on playing for Spain-Arg, and I HATE that!


Sadick ADAMS (Gha) - Ashanti
Ismail AISSATI (Hol) - PSV Eindhoven
Alexandre PATO (Bra) - Milan
ANDERSON (Bra) - Manchester United
Gareth BALE (Wal) - Tottenham Hotspur
Giovani DOS SANTOS (Mex) - Barcelona
Sergio AGUERO (ARG) - Atletico Madrid
Bojan KRKIC (Spa) - Barcelona
BRENO (Bra) - Sao Paulo
Gerardo BRUNA (ARG) - Liverpool
Diego BUONANOTTE (ARG) - River Plate
Macauley CHRISANTUS (Nig) - Abuja
Angel DI MARIA (Arg) - Benfica
Franco DI SANTO (ARG) - Audax Italiano
Karim BENZEMA (Fra) - Olyimpique Lyonnais
Dumitru COPIL (Rom) - Hearts
Kermit ERASMUS (RSA) - Sundown United
FABIO (Bra) - Fluminense (joining Manchester United)
Fabio COENTRAO (Por) - Benfica
Marouane FELLIANI (Bel) - Standard Liege
GUILHERME (Bra) - Cruziero
Nour HADHRIA (Tun) - Club African
Rabul IBRAHIM (Nig) - Sporting Lisbon
Damian ISMODES (Per) - Sporting Cristal
Lorenzo DI SILVESTRI (Ita) - Lazio
KERLON (Bra) - Cruziero
Toni KROOS (Ger) - FC Bayern Munchen
LULINHA (Bra) - Corinthians
Sapol MANI (Tog) - Maranatha
Juan Manuel MATA (Spa) - Valencia
Cristian NAZARITH (Col) - America Cali
Aaron NIGUEZ (Spa) - Valencia
Daniel OPARE (Gha) - Ashanti
Ransford OSEI (Gha) - Kesseben
Fran MERIDA (Spa) - Arsenal
Nikolay MIHAYLOV (Bul) - Liverpool
Mesut OZIL (Ger) - Schalke 04
RENATO AUGUSTO (Bra) - Flamengo
Micah RICHARDS (Eng) - Manchester City
Andrea RUSSOTTO (Ita) - Treviso
Henri SAIVET (Fra) - Bordeaux
Alexis SANCHEZ (Chi) - Udinese
Marek SUCHY (Cze) - Slavia Prague
Sergio TEJERA (Spa) - Chelsea
Ivan RAKITIC (Cro) - Schalke 04
Abdou TRAORE (but) - Rosenborg
Gregory VAN DER WIEL (Hol) - Ajax
Carlos VELA (Mex) - Arsenal
Theo WALCOTT (Eng) - Arsenal

johnny said...

No Ever Banega ! An oversight !

Anonymous said...

ESPN had this to write one's to watch in 2008 and I will put only one that really counts for us.


Oscar Ustari (Getafe)

With 35-year-old Argentine stopper Roberto Abbondanzieri close to retirement, Ustari is next in line to take over his mantle for club and country. The 21-year-old goalkeeper had been tracked by both Manchester United and Barcelona before swapping Argentine football for Getafe in July for around €6million, but could now move on in search of regular football with the Spanish club keen for him to gain more experience. Ustari has already tasted international football, as he was called up to the Argentina squad for the 2006 World Cup, and has all the attributes to succeed if he can improve his playing time.

johnny said...

Biggest futbol news of the week-Carles Puyol shaved his head after the loss to Real Madrid.:)

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