This article was first published on June 17th 2015.
Juventus, domestic double winners and Champions League runners up this season, have been caught out stealing the marketing tactics of a lowly team all the way down in the fourth tier of Spanish football!
Club Deportivo Badajoz, who wear black and white stripes as their first choice kit, are fighting for promotion to Segunda B, and play Real Murcia Imperial in a playoff match. This is their poster for the game:
Meanwhile in Turin, Max Allegri’s team are running a campaign to get people to renew their season tickets after such an incredible season they had there. This is their poster for that:
There’s simply no chance these two marketing campaigns are so similar by coincidence. It seems clear somebody at the Italian giants saw what Badajoz did, and decided to nick the striking and brilliant idea.
CD Badajoz, whose peak in Spanish football led them only to the second tier for just a ten-year spell, publicly called the Old Lady out on their dirty tactics, tweeting them in both Spanish and Italian.
Translated to English, the tweets say:
“You’re doing well when the Champions League runners up, @juventusfc, are following your path.”
“Hi @juventusfc, don’t worry, everything’s fine with a game in Badajoz between us. Cheers.”
Surely the least the Italian giants could do now is offer a friendly match to say sorry…
With the summer transfer window in full swing and players making big-money moves to the top clubs, we’re going to see a lot of new faces on Match of the Day next month. Amongst those making their Premier League debuts are Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Roberto Firmino, and Georginio Wijnaldum to name but a few, while Raheem Sterling, James Milner, Radamel Falcao, and Petr Cech all have debuts to make with their new clubs.
Some will succeed, and some will likely fail. Who knows, some might even have the best game of their lives on their first appearances for their new clubs! If they’re good enough, perhaps they might even make it into a list like this some day – Goals, Goals, Goals! The best debut goals ever scored!
13 – Adrian Mutu – Chelsea 2003
Adrian Mutu scored this cracking goal against Leicester after becoming one of the first Roman Abramovic spending spree signings at Chelsea. Pity the rest of his Blues career went downhill from day one!
12 – Raúl’s Real Derby Rout – 1994
Spanish legend Raúl played with Atletico Madrid’s youth academy, before the team decided they didn’t want him and left him out with the bins so their neighbours could pick him up. Only, he went on to score on his home debut against Atleti, and became one of the best goalscorers of all time. Oops…
11 – Sergio Aguero’s City Start – 2011
The Argentinian’s City career has been littered with goals to date, none more important than the end-of-season title-winning strike against QPR a couple of years ago. But this goal against Swansea City is where it all started for the ex-Atletico man!
10 – Paulo Wanchope’s Legs of Rubber – 1997
Paulo Wanchope was known for his silky skills, and perhaps they caught Manchester United off guard when he hadn’t ever played for Derby County prior to this day in 1997 when the Costa Rican ran rings around their defence to knock in this wonder goal! Derby won the game 2-3 in Old Trafford!
9 – Mario Stanic – Chelsea 2000
When West Ham gave Mario Stanic far too much time in the middle of the park, the Croat made them pay dearly. What a goal this was from the versatile player!
8 – Sejad Salihovic’s 40-yard belter – 2015
Only last month did Salihovic, of Chinese side Guizhou Renh, score this thunderbastard of a goal. On first sight it’s not even exactly clear if the ball crossed the line after crashing on the underside of the crossbar, but upon replays it’s shown to have been a fair goal. And what a goal it was!
7 – Danny Rose’s North London Derby Screamer – 2010
Although Danny Rose had made his Spurs debut in the FA Cup before this, his first league game came in the biggest fixture of the year against Arsenal! This thunderous strike helped Tottenham on their way to a 2-1 win over the old enemy and is a debut that will be long remembered by the Spurs faithful!
6 – Ronaldinho Says Hello To Camp Nou In Style – 2003
We may be cheating a little with this one, as it was only Ronnie’s home debut, but a debut nonetheless. Trailing 1-0 to a Jose Antonio Reyes penalty for Sevilla, Ronaldinho collected the ball in his own half from a hairy-headed Victor Valdes before setting off to score one of the most beautiful goals ever, rounding two defenders and smacking the ball into the top corner!
5 – Alvaro Recoba’s Sensational Debut Goals – 1997
Brought on with only ten minutes remaining in the game, with his side losing 1-0, Alvaro Recoba had one of the most memorable debuts of all time in 1997. The Uruguayan scored two goals to give the Nerazzuri the win in what was incidentally also Ronaldo’s Inter debut!
4 – Stan Collymore Lifts Bradford – 2000
Another derby debut goal! This stunning overhead strike from Stan Collymore helped Bradford earn a point against West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.
3 – Wayne Rooney Announces Himself To United Fans – 2004
Wayne Rooney’s big-money move to Man United at the age of 18 “raised a few eyebrows” in the words of Alex Ferguson, but the youngster made his £25 million fee look a bargain on the night of his debut. In the world’s biggest club competition, at one of the world’s biggest clubs, what could this plucky former Everton striker muster? Only a hat trick (and an assist!) to announce himself to the Old Trafford crowd!
2 – Federico Macheda Writes His Name In History – 2008
Remember the name Federico Macheda? Manchester United fans certainly do! Probably Liverpool fans too… The Italian forward made his first team debut for the Red Devils against Aston Villa, late into the season, and scored a goal that many fans remember as the goal that ‘essentially’ handed them the title. Nowadays, Macheda is still playing with Cardiff City, at the age of 23…
1 – Mark Oxley’s Hibs Winner – And he’s a goalkeeper! – 2014
Mark Oxley’s first league game for Hibernian came on the opening day of the season last year, at home against Livingston. Hibs won the game 2-1, with the winner coming from Mark Oxley – their newly signed goalkeeper!
And finally, just for laughs…
Carl Jenkinson’s Nightmare OG – 2011
Carl Jenkinson was a youngster snapped up by Arsenal at the time their defensive woes were at their worst. When fans saw this horror show from the ex-Charlton player, they could only hold their heads in their hands and worry about what Wenger had done wasting so much money on him. Luckily for Gunners fans, Jenkinson didn’t repeat the trick on his competitive debut against Udinese in their hugely important Champions League qualifier only a couple of weeks later!
Optimism and excitement is the mood in Orlando, Florida. Not just from the thousands of families descending upon Disneyland, but because they have a brand new football team with a brand new player to idolise.
That new team is Orlando City, and that player is Kaká.
The Brazilian has put pen to paper on a deal which made him the first designated signing for the franchise, who will begin playing in MLS in 2015, with the midfielder being sent on loan to his first club, São Paulo, in the meantime.
Despite the delirium, the Kakámania, with hundreds greeting the former Ballon d’Or winner at the airport, I can’t help but shake the feeling that we have missed out on something – A player who could have become something more. Upon reading the news, my initial thought, and I assume along with many others on this side of the pond and around the world, was “what a player he could have been.”
These days, there is the ageing debate that La Liga or the Premier League is Europe’s best league. However, Serie A displays the most competitive division in Europe. Only 41 points separate league leaders Juventus from bottom placed Palermo and Pescara, who are equal on points. Compared to the rest of Europe’s elite, where the gap from top to bottom in La Liga is 54 points and also in the Premier League where 48 points separates top from bottom, this shows Italy’s competitive nature when it comes to football.
Spain do boast the giants of Barcelona and Real Madrid, however I’m not saying that the best team in Europe is an Italian team. Based on the unpredictability of an Italian fixture, Serie A, for me, is the most watchable league in Europe. The most goals scored by a team is held by Roma who have netted 58 goals this season, but remain in 7th place. First placed Juventus are the second best goal-scorers in Serie A with 55. The Old Lady have combined their good finishing with an airtight defence, conceding just 18, which has placed them top of Serie A with a healthy nine-point lead over Napoli.
Serie A is providing the closest contested league finishes in all of Europe’s top leagues this season. With six games left to play, there’s only a single point that separates champions Milan from league leaders Juventus. Most of the talk of an exciting finish to a season is on La Liga, with a sizable proportion also debating the Manchester rivalry at the summit of the Premier League. But the fact remains, the difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona right now is four times greater than that between Calcio’s top two.
That’s not where the excitement ends, though. It’s all still to play for at the bottom of the table too, with league positions as high as Atalanta in tenth place only six points above the drop zone. Cesena, however, look doomed, and Novara just above them don’t fill me with much more confidence about their chances of retaining their top flight status. Nevertheless, there are still a number of highly surprising names who have found themselves in a relegation dog-fight for the end of the season.
The series of our writers’ favourite players never to have played for the clubs they support continues with Alan Finn’s offering of legendary AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini.
In my years watching football, I have grown up admiring many different players. Arsenal striker Dennis Bergkamp, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, then Liverpool striker Michael Owen, former Real Madrid goal machine Raúl, but today I am going to talk about one of Serie A’s greatest centre-backs of all time. For those of you unfamiliar with Italian nicknames as is the reference in the article title, I am of course talking about AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.
Now don’t get me wrong, growing up watching Liverpool I was a big fan of Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher at the back, but I’d have loved to have seen Maldini line out in the famous red kit, and it goes without saying really it would’ve been like a dream come true seeing him tog out in The Showgrounds for Sligo Rovers!
Maldini made his first appearance for Milan on the 20th January 1985 as fresh faced 16 year old in what was his only appearance of the season. The following year he won the first of his seven Serie A titles, but it wasn’t until the 1991-92 season when his defensive qualities were garnering attention all over Europe as he was part of the unbeaten side that won the title. He wasn’t the only big name at the back for the club in those days however. In that unbeaten season he was joined by Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tasotti, one of the most formidable defences in the history of football. Read the rest of this entry »
Andrea Pirlo enjoyed ten glorious years at AC Milan, winning two Scudetti and two Champions League winners medals during his time there. Last summer, in somewhat of a surprising move, Pirlo left the Rossoneri to join rivals Juventus. The Bianconeri have suffered a torrid last few seasons and Pirlo was the exact thing they needed to get themselves back on track, and he’s doing just that for his new club.
Pirlo is often referred to as the “quarterback” of the team. In American football, the quarterback is the player on offense that dictates their entire way of playing. Almost all attacks that the Old Lady make are done through Pirlo; he gets the ball in a deep-lying midfield playmaker position, picks the right pass to make, and executes it in ways that other players simply can’t do. Pirlo’s contribution to the team has been outstanding this year, as Juve currently lie in second place in the league, three points behind champions AC Milan, with a game in hand on the Diavolo.