Joe Hall argues the case for Robert Lewandowski as the winner of the Ballon d’Or 2013…
He doesn’t have one tenth of the talent Lionel Messi does. He will never match the phenomenal force of Cristiano Ronaldo. And even when he eventually joins Bayern Munich, he could well play second fiddle to Franck Ribery. Having said all that, Robert Lewandowski should have won the 2013 Ballon d’Or.
Before you roll your eyes, I’m not a jumped-up Bundesliga “expert” with a BT Sport subscription who could tell you how the intricacies of Lewandowski’s games are more tactically flexible, his pressing more effective than the three nominees, or anything like that.
It’s just that if you do insist on giving out an individual award in a team sport, it’s not very interesting simply to ask “who is the best?!”. Laboriously working over the stats to try and come to some sort of scientific conclusion is a fruitless task; subjectivity will always be present. Some people are Messi people and some are Ronaldo people, just as some prefer Oasis and others Blur. Some don’t care.
With a host of top clubs on high alert for a new frontman to lead the line, David Dodds looks at the 23 strikers making up the most sought-after shopping list in world football this summer…
This summer is going to be fun. After the failure of last year’s transfer window to deliver the gross manifestations of über-affluence we’ve now come to expect, plenty of clubs will be looking to splash out this summer. One thing this window looks likely to be defined by is the lucrative movement of blockbuster strikers to the titans of contemporary football. And, as always, cash-strapped teams will also be on the prowl for a new man up top.
So here’s a look at some of the men whose painfully-protracted transfer sagas are likely to dominate media narratives this summer: players whose exorbitant transfer fees we’ll either be laughing about or lauding this time next year; cheaper options whose progress is worth keeping an eye on; a crop of youngsters so good they’ll leave you questioning how the striker could have ever been declared dead; and just a jolly good chance to acknowledge the entertainment value of speculation. Whether such media pressure lifts them to the status of icons or causes their careers to crash and burn is another story all together. Continue reading →
Christopher Lash provides a look at a team composed of members from the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth…
I realise that by even starting this piece I have tumbled headlong into the world of football geekdom but I suppose there are worse things to fall into. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was an enormous realm whose star shone brightly from the mid-16th century to the end of the 18th century. Approximately twice the size of modern Spain, the Commonwealth at one point stretched across the territories of eight modern states in Central and Eastern Europe.
It was a state that was characterised by high levels of political participation, the so-called ‘Noble republic’ with an elected monarchy. The Commonwealth was also renowned for its religious tolerance. Here Roman, Armenian and Greek Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Eastern Orthodox believers and Muslims lived side by side, an island of relative harmony at a time when Europe was tearing itself apart in a series of fierce religious wars. Continue reading →