Here is Arun’s latest article for us. He has now started his own blog, you will find a link at the bottom of this article.
The Farce That Is Real Madrid
Florentino Perez today regained his position as President of Real Madrid. Why? No-one else stood against him. Perez has been painted by the media as the man on the white horse riding to save the club after one of their worst seasons in living memory. The humiliation of a 6-2 defeat to Barcelona was compounded by an abysmal end of season where Madrid couldn’t buy a win – they were humbled by lowly Malaga, 3-1, at the Bernabeu.
Just as he did during his previous Presidential campaign (between 2000 and 2006), Perez has said that he will go after the brightest talent in the world, and he has already made his first signing, in Manuel Pellegrini, the now ex-manager of Villareal. He has also hired Zinedine Zidane, a Madrid legend to say the very least, to act as an advisor to Perez during his reign in charge of one of the most famous clubs in the world.
Previously, Perez presided over the famous era of the ‘Galacticos’, when the likes of Zidane, Beckham, and Figo were taken to the Madrid based club, and it seems as if he wants to do it all again.
Let’s just take a look at some of the quotes from his latest speech. Perez said that Madrid must be an “institution of impeccable behaviour”. I’m sorry, but isn’t Madrid the club that goes around tapping up the world’s best players in broad daylight? Must be my mistake.
Perez also said that he wants to return “hope and excitement”. He will return that, all right. His slogan going into the Presidential campaign (against…no-one), was “The dream is back”. Laughable. But that just about sums up Perez.
Why am I so cynical?
Well, have you wondered yet, why did Perez step down in 2006? Well, he was accused of destroying Madrid with his disastrous policies and he was then forced to step down.
The man who was thrown out, and slated from all sides, is now being hailed as the saviour.
But then, that just about sums up Real Madrid.
One big joke.
Well done to the Welsh FA. They have announced that they will pay for match tickets for the 80 Welsh fans travelling to Azerbaijan for the World Cup qualifier. Good on them, but let’s be honest, that is the least those fans deserve, after some of the dross served up by the national side in the last few.
Just On Time (Give or Take 10 Years)
During next season’s UEFA Cup..sorry, Europa League (because the new name is so much better), games will take place with 5 referees. Yes, 5. I would call this a new innovation, with 2 assistants behind the goals (one behind each), but this is an idea that people have cried out for, for decades. It’s about time that FIFA and UEFA made a move.
I would put my neck out on the line now, and say that this move will be a success. Shame that it took FIFA and UEFA this long to realise what we could all see many years ago…
My Team of The Season
Well, since every other pundit in the world seems to have made their selection, I think I should give it a go as well. Here is my Premier League 2008/2009 XI.
Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) – For many years, Schwarzer has done well, without really shining at Middelsbrough, but this season he has been absolutely fantastic at Fulham. If he was still a
Boro player, they would not have been relegated.
Right back: Glen Johnson (Portsmouth) – It has been a vintage year for Johnson who has really started to fulfil some of the potential that was noticed at a young age.
Centre backs: Brede Paulsen Hangeland (Fulham) and Phil Jagielka (Everton) – This was a hard one. Many people will argue that Vidic has been the best centre-half this year, but I felt that these two deserved it for their outstanding performances throughout the season. Hangeland has been a rock for Fulham while Jagielka has been outstanding. It was terrible for Jagielka that he missed the Cup Final, partly because of his excellent form throughout the season, and partly because he deserved his appearance at Wembley.
Left back: Leighton Baines (Everton) – This was probably the easiest choice I had to make. He has been absolutely fantastic. Case closed.
Right wing: Stephen Ireland (Manchester City) – He has had a fabulous season and has outshone the majority of his City colleagues, including Robinho, the 30 million pound man.
Central midfield: Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) and Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – Alonso has been on another level this season; it is ludicrous to think that 12 months ago, Beintez was desperate to offload the Spaniard. Alongside him, Lampard has had another strong season, where has hit the 20 goal mark for the 5th season running. Special mention must go to Steven Gerrard who has once again been exceptional, and Darren Fletcher, who has finally emerged from the shadows at Old Trafford to become a key element in Sir Alex’s side.
Left wing: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) – Giggs has had a fantastic season, and maybe this selection is out of sentiment, but there are still few better than the Welshman, even at this age.
Strikers: Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Fernando Torres (Liverpool) – Both players have had strong seasons, and they both get in the side ahead of Anelka, who I feel can blow hot and cold on a more regular basis. Both players have consistently scored goals and performed when the team has needed them most, and so they make the XI.
And there you have it, there is my XI based on the 2008/2009 season. A manager? A hard one, but I’d say Roy Hodgson of Fulham. He has done an absolutely tremendous job at the club, and he deserves to be noticed for the job he has done.
Please visit my website, for more of my views on the beautiful game.