The False Nine editor James Dutton remembers Doni’s time on Merseyside, and his chastening trips to England with Roma…
How do you assess the impact of a goalkeeper who played nine games on English soil, but only four of them for an English side?
A goalkeeper who conceded seven goals on his first appearance in 2007, and was sent off in his seventh, which arrived fully four years later.
A goalkeeper whose departure from these shores was shrouded in mystery and intrigue, only for it to later emerge that he had suffered a heart attack during a routine medical.
That is Doni’s lot.
The Brazilian was the unfortunate goalkeeper on the receiving end of Manchester United’s 7-1 humbling of AS Roma at the quarter final stage of the 2006-7 Champions League season. His fortunes in this country have followed a similar narrative. Continue reading
TFN Editor Greg Johnson marks his belated return to action with a plea that we focus on the real casualties of the Hull Tigers debacle…
The fury over Assem Allam’s plans to repackage Hull as Tigers rather than a large City in East Yorkshire feels awfully misplaced.
Forget the fans, tradition, history or even any notions of footballing honour and ethics, such concerns only place the true victims of this sorry little tale into the shade.
No. The real consternation should be reserved for the defence of a character who has suffered slurs, misrepresentations and ill-gratitude from the arguments of both sides. What, Allam? Give over. It’s the big cats we should be all worried about, and not in a “Save The Whales” sense either.
Put it this way. Since when were Hull a ferocious pack of individually elite hunters, able to tear their prey apart at will? It’s the tiger’s honour we should be defending. Continue reading
Ash Rose, QPR fan and editor of Kick Magazine, provides a few words on the enigmatic defender Bruno Perone…
Bruno Perone will go down as one of QPR’s favourite ‘do you remember’ players when discussed in pubs years from now.
The central defender came to Loftus Road in the summer of 2011 as Neil Warnock looked to recruit players for QPR’s forthcoming Premier League campaign, with the limited budget set for him by then owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone.
By the time the transfer window ended however, Tony Fernandes had taken over the club and allowed Warnock to go on a wild last minute spending spree, leaving Perone’s one year deal ultimately redundant. Continue reading
Daily Mail journalist Rik Sharma profiles Ramires, Chelsea’s big-game Brazilian…
Ramires is a divisive midfielder. While all of us appreciate his willingness to run through walls for the shirt, others chastise him for his erratic passing and errant decision making.
For every glorious vignette – and who could forget that chip which sailed mere centimetres over the outstretched arm of Victor Valdes, before nestling sweetly in Barcelona’s net? – there is a head-in-hands moment waiting to happen.
Ramires’s entire performance against Aston Villa away last season (all 44 minutes of it before he was sent off) verged on unwatchable. Late tackles, high feet, being dispossessed too easily, it highlighted his worst traits. Indeed, for months after his arrival many Chelsea fans were unsure of him. His passing in particular stood out as weak for a centre-midfielder, and even his energy seemed dampened by the weight of trying to adjust to the English game.
The question is: Does Jose Mourinho believe Ramires’s strengths outweigh his weaknesses? Continue reading
Once mocked for being controlled by a 10-year old on his playstation, David Luiz grew into a central part of Chelsea’s European conquerors. Ramon Isaac looks back at his three years on English soil, and what the future may hold under Jose Mourinho…
The Untouchables are long gone, Mourinho has, if anything, made that abundantly clear to the new squad. Nonetheless, in the case of David Luiz, the new (and old) Chelsea manager has highlighted the swashbuckling Brazilian as a player with exceptional ability, a judgement that anyone who has seen Luiz play won’t take him long to deduce.
Perhaps more importantly, Mourinho has highlighted what the three previous Chelsea managers have – David Luiz is a centre back and that is the position he has the potential to become one of the very best at.
Since he arrived in the January transfer window in 2010, Luiz has first and foremost, provided an exceptional amount of entertainment. His first start against Fulham was the epitome of what was to follow. A marauding defender that looked more comfortable up front than most of the Chelsea front men as he hit an overhead kick cross into the box after finding himself doubling up as a left winger. In a season of little joy, David Luiz lifted the crowd with his enthusiasm and passion on the field; a trait that no one can deny the Brazilian international. Continue reading
Tom Victor looks back with fondness at the 2000-1 Champions League season…
Over the last few years the Champions League has – in amongst the tired predictability of shit-on-a-stick derbies and Messi and Ronaldo hat-tricks – had moments of bona fide craziness so ridiculous you wonder whether they actually happened.
Classic examples include Monaco’s 8-3 win over Deportivo La Coruña in 2003 and Lyon getting the win by five clear goals to qualify from their group in 2011, but nothing matches the 2000-01 competition for moments that make you look back and think “what, really”? Continue reading
On his return to action on The False Nine, Huw Evans dips back into the political landscape of France and its effect on Ligue 1′s fortunes…
In October I wrote about the upturn in fortunes of French football, but now political change looks set to halt that progress.
There’s an air of disappointment in French politics currently with an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction lingering across the channel.
It’s easy to see how the French have lost their patience with Francois Hollande. The President was voted in on the back of an Obama-esque ticket, promising change and revolution. He wasn’t lying per se; he just hasn’t performed enough miracles to justify the shifts in policy he has brought about.
Some now vilify Hollande. The crowd booed him on Remembrance Day as he was laying the wreath. Sacre bleu! A level of abuse previously unheard of!
Yet I’m sure that many of those involved in French football’s top two tiers may well have shared the heckling crowd’s feelings. Continue reading