Portugal: European Campeons!
I’ve got a confession to make.
Well, let’s just say it’s more of a theory I’d like to prove than a confession.
Want to know what it is? Okay, here we go!
Football is a whole lot about “could haves,” “would haves,” and “should haves.” (you agree with me right?)
Although it’s something associated with sports in general, football (or soccer for the U.S fans) gets more than its own fair share of the “what-could-have-been” tales of the sports industry.
Maybe it’s because of the worldwide reach of the game, which means there’s a massive amount of people to talk about what happened, with plenty of regard to what could have happened.
“What if the German national team was not hit by injuries? They would have beaten France.”
“Manchester United want to buy Pogba for £100m? They shouldn’t have sold him in the first place.”
“Portugal are champions of Europe? They shouldn’t have even qualified out of their group. They were that poor.”
You get the gist?
It is these kind of questions and the assumptions (and presumtions) that come along with them that makes football deep; so deep, it’s hard to cover all about football in one article.
Different opinions from different people watching from different angles. But this is what makes football fun to talk about: the endless possibilities. An ever-growing list of stuff to talk about.
And in the past week, there’s been more than enough to talk about.
From the Euro 2016, to England’s search for a coach, the players leaving and joining football clubs with weird price tags (and weird locations too!), football has been quite eventful.
Let’s review some of the talking points from football this past week shall we?
– The Euro 2016: So Far, So Good…French Hosts, Portugese Champs, French Runners-up
The European championship has come and gone. It brought drama, amazing goals, upsets and surprises.
One of the surprise, and the ultimate one, was Portugal winning the tournament. Judging by the way they played in the group stages, they were the least-expected country to even qualify for the final.
But, they pulled a Leicester on all and, against all odds (the C. Ronaldo injury included), won the trophy.
Their opponents, the Frenchmen, couldn’t capitalise on their mistakes like they did against the Germans. The host-nation had to settle for second place.
This Euro was the one European tournament that had long-standing records tumbling over themselves. In Euro 2016,
▶ FRA which had NEVER lost an European Championship Final, after winning both the 1984 and the 2000 finals which were their only final appearances, came in second place behind Portugal.
▶ France beat Germany in the semi-final of the competition. That was the first time in 58 years that the French beat their German counterparts in competitive football.
▶ Ronaldo: With 9 Euro goals, Cristiano Ronaldo tied Platini’s 1984 record for most goals, in an European competition.
How about the weird ones?
▶ Portugal didn’t win any game in normal time until they got to the semi-final stage of the competition.
▶ Who would have thought that Griezmann would turn out to be the highest goalscorer of the tournament? Dunno bout you but, I didn’t see him scoring six before the tournament started.
▶ OFFICIAL: Renato Sanches has won the #EURO2016 Young Player of the Tournament award. A star is born. https://t.co/jwo3xnvKyy
Even Sanches could not have seen this one coming.
Jose 'The Serious One' Mourinho
– The Jose Mourinho Press Conference
The Special One has officially become the HNIC at Manchester United (just in case you’re wondering what HNIC means, search for it a href=”www.urbandictionary.com”>here ). I’ll be waiting for you when you come back.
But after his press conference, the media changed their minds and gave Jose a new name: The Serious One. Why?
Let’s just say some tough statements, aggressive statements and some excerpts from his first press conference as a Manchester United coach:
“I was never very good at hiding behind words or hiding behind philosophies.”
Man. Utd is a Champions League club. We have to make sure in July 2017 that this club is where it belongs.
“I prefer to be more aggressive, to say that we want to win. We want to win everything.”
“I know the responsibility, the legacy, the history. I know what the fans expect from me.”
“This is a job that everyone wants and I have it! This challenge does not make me nervous.”
“I feel a bit frustrated we’re not in the Champions League. Man Utd is a Champions League club.”
“49 is a lot. One lie repeated many times. Always a lie. If you want names, I give you the names.”
José Mourinho on why Ryan Giggs left Man Utd:
“The job Ryan wanted is the one I got. He wants to be a manager.”
José Mourinho on Ryan Giggs:
“I will never stop him coming back. The club tried to offer him any important job they could. He’s been brave.”
José Mourinho on the advice Sir Alex Ferguson gave him:
“Bring the umbrella! And bring the good bottle of wine.”
After using the word ‘I’ 91 times during his introductory press conference, according to DailyMail, you can understand why the media quickly gave Jose a new name.
But with all the huffing and puffing, will Mourinho turn Man. Utd’s fortunes around? Can he actually win all?
I think he can’t win all. What do you think?
New Citizen in town: Pep Guardiola poses for his first official photos as Man. City coach
– The Pep Guardiola Press Conference
During the week, in the other half of Manchester, Pep “The Philosopher” Guardiola also gave his introductory press conference.
While reading through the excerpts, you will notice a sharp contrast between the words he chose to use and those used by Mourinho. A norm for two coaches known to never have been on the same side of a coin.
Pep on Mourinho:
“I think Jose said pretty well in his press conference that it’s not about me and him.”
“The top coaches, and Jose is one, help me reach the next level. They made me better. Like Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund too.”
Pep Guardiola on Yaya Toure:
“I’m counting on them all including Yaya.”
“I love to work with young players. Now I realise in a short time working with players from the second team, I’m really impressed.”
“Antonio Conte is a master tactician. It’s going to be very interesting competing against him.”
Manchester City can play ‘beautiful football’ in Premier League
“I will always be grateful to this club for giving me this opportunity to come to the Premier League. I’ll do my best to the last day.”
“I think it’s great top managers are here in England. Big managers take me to another level — they push me to achieve things.”
“My responsibility here is for the players. The other business is huge so I just focus on my players.”
What is Guardiola up to? I wish I knew. Of course I’d love to hear from you if you know what the Philosopher will do next.
-The Crazy Football Transfer Market’s Getting Crazier!
With the way most football clubs are going about their deals: signing players, selling some, and releasing others for free, there might not be too much to do on that dreaded dealine day.
Clubs like Newcastle made their fourth signing in the past week (English Championship clubs beware!); a signing from Atletico Madrid. Unless they’re aiming to beat Quique Flores’ record at Watford last season, they’ll be very well done with their purchases before August 31 (or is it September 1?)
Players like Pelle of Southampton discovered that the grass is greener on the “Chinese” side. Victor Valdes intends to “pick it up from ground level” again at Middlesborough and Ahmed Musa joined “a family” at Leicester.
But the major transfer news was about a player whose only movement was the movements he was making on the pitch for his country at the Euro 2016.
Paul Pogba is his name. And wherever that name appears now, a price-tag of £100m follows. And Manchester United is the football club making the offer.
And a whole lot has been said by a whole lot of people about this, one of them being Robbie Fowler…
“The former England striker has launched a scathing attack on the Manchester United target, claiming the £100m price-tag is way too much for the 23-year-old France’s Paul Pogba is ‘massively overrated’ and has been average at the European Championships.”
“He’s done OK against pretty limited opposition for France, but what does he bring? Energy and athleticism to midfield, but so does N’Golo Kante.”
But, the question remains: Whose fault is it that an amount that huge is being offered for a player of, erm, let’s just say, that calibre?
Manchester United? Mourinho? Pogba? Who’s to blame?
– Coaching Drama
Guardiola and Mourinho weren’t the only coaches in the news over the week.
England has put a number of coaches in the spotlight with their recent search for a new coach. Roy stepped down after the dismal Euro 2016 showing and now the Three Lions are in search of a new coach.
Jurgen Klinsmann has become one of the front-runners for the job. Can’t blame the FA. Seeing the job that was done by the German with the USMNT, Jurgen presents a fantastic opportunity English football has been waiting for since 1966: a coach that knows how to win. Or at least, a coach that knows how to turn a losing side into a side that will be feared.
An impressive C.V and the opportunity to help develop a predecesor who will take over when he’s gone means Klinsmann is an offer the FA can’t refuse. Seems England may not be needing a ‘Roll of the Allardyce’ afterall. Sorry SkySports.
Still on irresistible offers, Marcelo Bielsa resigned just two days after taking the coaching role at Lazio! This one will go down in coaching folklore.
Bielsa threw all the blame on Lazio but we both know who’s to blame right?
During the past week, a certain Real Madrid player, Lucas Silva, aged 23, was forced to retire from football due to a serious heart problem. https://t.co/HRxK8zPvbL
It’s certainly a sad one for the lad who, going by his age, still had a couple of playing years ahead of him. Hopefully Real Madrid will be able to get him a player-scouting role at the club because… of course a coaching role would be bad for his heart!
This stat appeared somewhere online last week: Hugo Lloris had 33 passes v #GER, only Paul Pogba (35) had more on the French side. Playmaker.
I really dunno where to categorize that.
Kano Pillars, missed out on cash from the Musa-to-Leicester move. Why? No sell-on clauses were inserted in his contract when he moved to Europe. Maybe our Nigerian clubs need more business orientation. Maybe that alone can make the NPFL a better league generally.
Tight Battle For the Title: Wikki Tourists, Rangers and Rivers set to make this one a "photo-finish." Photo credit: LMCNPFL
Speaking of the NPFL, Rangers International are obviously giving Wikki Tourists a run for their money. Or should I say… a run for their title. And with both teams on 43 points, Rivers United is lurking around the corner like an hyena, with 41 points, waiting to take advantage of any slip ups.
Who said the NPFL isn’t fun?
Did I mention that Portugal, before the Euro 2016, were 20/1 to win the tournament? I guess it’s safe to say again, THEY PULLED A LEICESTER ON ME! I’m sure they did on you too right?
Don’t forget to share this beautiful read with your friends. I’m sure they’ll love it and will thank you.
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn