Poet, journalist and musician Musa Okwonga of The Blizzard, ESPN and The Independent laments the unfulfilled promise of Kleberson – the World Cup winner that should have been Old Trafford’s midfield conqueror…
Kleberson. To paraphrase HBO’s cult show The Wire, his name is not one which “rings out” when you mention Brazil’s World Cup winners. Yet the midfielder, who began his professional career at Atletico Paranaense, was arguably one of his country’s top three performers at World Cup 2002. And, if that’s a generous assessment – given that the team featured Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu and Roberto Carlos – then it’s indisputable that they would not have won the trophy without him.
Brought in alongside Gilberto Silva to add balance to the base of midfield – the more attacking Juninho did not provide sufficient protection to the back three – Kleberson was a revelation, providing a star turn in pretty much every round until the final. This success makes his time at Old Trafford all the more disappointing. Continue reading
Simon Smith’s latest tactics column looks at North London’s Number Eights, who are currently trumping their rivals’ split teams…
An Arsenal fan recently told me he hoped Tottenham would finish second in the league this season. It turned out to be a tongue in cheek setup for a joke about how Arsenal always finish higher. While I laughed, I’m sure Spurs fans will struggle to see the humour through the cruelty: recruiting a new manager, changing the playing squad, extracting every last penny from the Madrid coffers to reinvest this season – literally every meticulous thing Daniel Levy has been able to do to improve Tottenham’s standing has been done. Meanwhile the red half of North London have somehow managed, at times, to appear languid and lazy while staying one step ahead.
Whether or not that will be the case by May remains to be seen, but certainly this increasingly divergent ethos of each team has been on display already this season. It’s not so much a style of play as much as a method in achieving this style: I couldn’t help but notice the very Tottenham and Arsenal ways that their new number eights have been unearthed and harnessed this season. I’m talking about the more attack-minded holding player, the function midfielder as opposed to the defensive specialist. Both have made a conscious decision to change the individual charged with this role, both have improved their fluidity as a result, but both have achieved this in a different manner. Continue reading
The False Nine editor James Dutton begins his new weekly column, focusing on some of the talking points of the weekend’s football action…
So David Moyes has made the worst start of any Manchester United manager for the past 850 years. Or something like that.
A return of seven points from the opening five fixtures was below-par, but by no means a disaster. The way those points were won though, was hardly a sign of encouragement for the season. United were by no means rampant in their opening-day win at Swansea, merely clinical in the opposition’s penalty area and solid in their own.
In the middle third there was little that was excellent though, a shortcoming that Ferguson was able to paper over for years but which Moyes is struggling with so far. The insipid 0-0 with Chelsea lacked the typical Ferguson tour-de-force, and the performance in defeat at Anfield was little better.
Their dispatchment of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League was impressive, but has been followed up by three performances which have straddled between lacklustre, indifferent and diabolical. Continue reading
David Wild takes you through the FIFA Personality Test…
This is largely reposted from a blog piece that I wrote previously last October for The Daily Touch.
We have a theory here at TFN that FIFA brings out a lot of your inner personality. Gaming in general gives any person the medium to behave exactly as he wants in a world with relatively few consequences. Whether it’s GTA V, Fable or Fifa, where there’s an element of free roam there is going to be the opportunity for the game to bring out some of your innate virtues and unleash some of your inner demons.
Fifa’s relatively broad canvas of creativity and the variations in playing style and in-game behaviour that it gives us may bring with it that chance for us to finally live out our fooballing fantasies.
We can stamp an imprint of ourselves on play and behave as if we were the spoiled millionaire of our dreams. Not in as broad ranging a way as something like a souped up New Star Soccer would perhaps allow (EA Games please take note) but nevertheless the structured freedom of play gives us scope to get creative with how we go about things.
Bearing this in mind there are certain archetypal personality types that can be seen over and over again in the Fifa world. Just as people can sometimes be seen as ‘introverted’ or ‘passionate’ in real life, so their Fifa personality can be dissected to reveal some interesting insights into their true character.
We invite you then, our loyal readers, to take our personality test and discover which of the Fifa personality types you think you best fits your own style. Be warned, we may not invite you to Fifa 14 release night if you reveal yourself as a number 5 or a number 7. Continue reading
Chris Manning from Lion of Vienna Suite profiles the first Brazilian at Bolton – the once prolific, Mario Jardel…
In Mario Jardel, Bolton Wanderers had signed a striker with a phenomenal goalscoring record in European football. At the time it was a slightly unreal situation seeing a fee of just £1.8m had secured the services of a forward who was feared across the continent. At Porto he had scored 166 goals in just 169 appearances, he moved then to Galatasaray in Turkey and scored 34 goals in 43 appearances before returning to Portugal with Sporting CP where he again broke records scoring 67 goals in 62 appearances. It was here that Jardel won the European Golden Shoe, in the 2001-2 season during which he scored 42 goals in 30 league games. Continue reading
Kyle Hulme talks about his experience at last weekend’s Krakow derby…
Despite Poland being occupied by both Nazi and Soviet forces during the Second World War, Krakow remained pretty much unscathed – legend has it the Pope wrote to Roosevelt, asking that he pressed Stalin to take extra special care of the holy city – and so its many grand buildings and monuments remain as beautiful today as they were when they were first built.
Yet wandering around the main square on Saturday afternoon, it was as though you were walking around a warzone; large groups marching through the city, chanting; casings of explosion-type fireworks and flares strewn across the floor; Polish flags attached to famous landmarks flying bravely and the remnants of symbols of the enemy, left charred and burning on the street. Continue reading
Eamonn Dalton, of Howson Is Now & The Square Ball, runs the rule over World Cup winner Roque Junior and his brief time at Elland Road…
Cast your mind back. 30 June 2002. Brazil vs Germany in the World Cup FInal. Two second half goals from Ronaldo give Brazil a deserved victory and a record fifth World Cup Championship.
Cast your mind back. 15 September 2003. Leicester City vs Leeds United in the Premier League. Goals from Jamie Scowcroft, Lilian Nalis and two from Paul Dickov more or less confirmed Leeds’ relegation – it was only September, but we all knew.
One man and one man alone starred in both of these games. He transcended football. He transcended reality. He is Roque Junior. I am baffled. Continue reading