Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s Transfer Could Mean Schweinsteiger and Podolski are Manchester United Bound

June 25, 2008

I haven’t been able to post in a while as I’ve been busy working on an exciting new football blog project that will be launching in the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to bring you more details about that once the time is right. However, I figured I had to weigh in on the status of Cristiano Ronaldo’s seemingly unstoppable transfer to Real Madrid.

I’m not gonna shit on the guy as a player, I can’t belittle his contribution from last year and he is truly one of the world’s greatest players, if not the most exciting. However, if he really wants to alienate the fans, insult our manager and basically turn himself into a pariah during his exit; then he is more than entitled to do so. If we get a fair price for him (the 70 million pound vicinity sounds about right) then I’m more than happy to let him go. If he is willing to piss everybody off in this manner, then the guy must really want it. He could have stayed and become a United legend and truly one of the all-time greats, but it appears as though that doesn’t interest him. I am confident that I know the answer as to why.

He is supposedly now engaged to Nereida Gallardo and I am positive that she has her heart set on becoming one of Spain’s biggest celebrities and that will require Cristiano signing up as the newest, greatest Galactico. Face it, once he shacked up with her, his whole tone changed. Guys will do weird things if it means that they can bang a model on the regular.

If he stays he stays, if he goes he goes, but I would much rather see him leave than stick around and stink up the place or unsettle other members of the team. I am pretty sure that Fergie and the Glaziers have enough pride to not let Madrid get away with what they have been obviously trying to do. We don’t have to sell, Manchester United aren’t a selling club. But I say if he’s going to be a dick about it, then sell him and cash the hell in.

Lukas Podolski is being linked heavily with Tottenham. I think he is exactly the type of striker we’re looking to bring into the side and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fergie was busy in the background trying to make something happen. There hasn’t been a great deal of United transfer news since we missed out on Aaron ‘retard’ Ramsey and I think that may have something to do with Carlos Quieroz’s potential ascension to the Portugal job. I don’t think he will leave, but if he does I would immediately put a bet on Keano as next Man United manager.

Shweinsteiger is a football manager favourite and he will fill Ronaldo’s shoes ably. He is more of a traditional winger but possesses the eye for goal that our style of play requires. Him and Podolski would add some continental class to the United side and it is pretty obvious that they are both looking to GTFO of the Bundesliga ASAP.

If Ronaldo goes, we can fill his shoes with these two and be better off because of it. And I imagine we’ll likely have another 25 million or so kicking around in change. Maybe we could put that towards lowering ticket prices.


Transfer Rumor: Who Will Manchester United Sign In the Summer of 08? Robinho, Luis Fabiano or Klaas Jan Huntelaar?

May 29, 2008

Every summer that there’s a major international tournament, a large volume of transfer that normally wouldn’t go through turn into done deals quite quickly. This is compounded by the nearly 50 million pounds shelled out just in the past week or two on just three players- Jose Boswinga for Chelsea, Luka Modric at Spurs and Arsenal’s soon-to-sign Samir Nasri (who is supposed to be the business, but a bit of a diver).

For me, Man United should really be doing better to put Chelsea off from Robinho. I think he’d be a good addition to the side and he would give us that out and out finisher that we currently lack, along with the ability to fit into our fast-paced style of play. He also fits in with this Portuguese contingent that is being instilled in our squad. Robinho hasn’t really developed as an outstanding finisher in Spain, but I think he would be well-suited to the Premier League. Pace and tricks in abundance, I think he would be able to link up much better with our crew than the crap they’ve got going on down at Chelsea.

A lot of people are floating the idea of Luis Fabiano of Sevilla. While there is no doubting the Brazilian’s ability, he doesn’t have a demonstrated track record of success. His stays in French and Portuguese football were both nothing to write home about. However, when he was at Sao Paolo a few years ago he had a real tendency to get involved in scraps and brawls as he really seemed to enjoy winding up opponents. Might fit in well at Chelsea, but I think that he may detract from our style of play a bit. Either way, I’d like to see more of the guy. I would take Robinho over Fabiano though, at this point in time.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar remains a name perpetually linked with United. What else can you say about the Dutchmaster? A slick finisher and a real poacher of goals. He can run at a defense as well, but I can see Fergie wanting to start him off as an impact substitute and then somehow embedding him into the Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez consortium. With three or four different contrasting styles of football running at a defense all at the same time I think we may very well have teams from up and down the English countryside cleaning Hershey-squirts out of their Nike shorts.

Either way, I expect only two signings this summer. One high-profile and the other an emerging player.
Euro 2008 could always offer up another heroic set of performances from players you’ve never heard of before.


Video Highlights: The 07/08 Manchester United Goals of the Year Featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes

May 13, 2008

The end of the season always means a flurry of new lists and commentary where people try to talk up their choices for the best goal of the season. It seems like this year, there hasn’t been much debate about it. Ronaldo’s incredible freekick against Portsmouth encapsulates the brilliance that CR7 has banged out consistently this season. Observe.

#1


You listen to the announcers chuckling and that’s when you realize… that’s all you can really do. Better than Beckham. Here’s what he had to say about it.

#2

While some may not agree, I think that this next one here was the definition of why United won the title: free-flowing football and lethal finishing. Watch this combination from Rooney and Tevez. I would say that their partnership is one of the most interesting and dynamic in the world. After this one, there was no doubt that these two would thrive alongside each other.

#3

Speaking of Tevez, here’s another gem from his performance against Birmingham. The pass from Cristiano Ronaldo is testament to how every attacking player on our team can score and pass at a world-class level.

#4

No goals of the season list would be complete without Wayne Rooney. In off the post for his first of the season.

#5

So now we’ve got Hargreaves against Arsenal. Everybody thought this was coming from Ronaldo, but Hargreaves pops up to score one of the most important goals of the season.

#6

Here’s another Ronaldo free-kick and this one comes against his boyhood club, Sporting Lisbon. Notice how he doesn’t celebrate, a true professional, he doesn’t forget his roots.

#7

Here we’ve got Scholesy’s magic strike to make the difference in the Barcelona tie. We did what needed to be done and ground out a tough, Chelsea-like victory over three hours of high-energy football. Magic stuff.

#8

Nani’s first wonderstrike. A sign of things to come once he sorts out his temperment.

#9

Nani’s second wonderstrike.

#10

Ronaldo knocks the wind out of himself with this one, but this was definitely the header of the season. Incredible stuff.


Manchester United 07/08 Season In Review With Video Highlights

May 11, 2008

The buzz from my Boddington’s is building to a crescendo, whilst the sun shines brightly on a beautiful Pacific afternoon, and this translates into the best time to write up my full Manchester United Season In Review. Let me just crack open another one here.

I am adamant that if last year’s Manchester United would have remained unchanged, we would likely have finished 2nd or even 3rd. The real shining success from this season is a tough thing to pinpoint precisely, but I think Fergie’s astute signings are the main talking point of the season, despite the incredible emergence of Cristiano Ronaldo as a genuine contender for best player in the world. More on him later, but first, let me explain my hypothesis.

Our early 2000’s team blew pretty hard despite the presence of some bigger names and some success on and off the field. The Van Nistelrooy years stand out to me as an era of poor signings that, while they may have been skilled players, didn’t fit into the United system and the likes of Seba Veron, Kleberson, Djemba X 2, Diego Forlan and Liam Miller all proved to be floppish. While I’m not doubting the ability of some of them (namely Forlan and Veron, Miller is still shite though, Djemba has dropped off the face of the earth) these were the wrong types of signings.

The players that Fergie picked up this year all added a different element to the team, without detracting from our overall style of play. Each of the players are extremely dynamic and while regular readers will know my thoughts on Nani (who I think needs more composure to compete at the highest level) each of these four have played a key part in United’s campaign, thus far. While I’m on the topic of Nani, he did singlehandedly deliver three points early on in the season for us in the match against Middlesbrough. While his actions the other week against West Ham were not the type of football I like to see played at United, the lad obviously has the skills to pay the bills. He needs to spend more time soaking up advice from top pro’s like Giggs, Scholesy and Ronaldo in order to reach that level of maturity and composure necessary to compete in the big games. Look at what happened to Rooney this year, Nani needs a dose of that. But watch this video as testament to Nani’s gamebreaking ability.

Oliveira Anderson has provided something unique for United this year- an element of the unexpected. In retrospect, he was our mystery player this year- nobody knew much about him coming in. People had seen a bit of Nani and people more or less knew what to expect from him. Anderson was a different deal altogether. I expected the young Brazilian to come in and act like, as one of my readers predicted, “THE creative midfielder.” Anderson adapted quickly to the pace and hard-hitting nature of the EPL and he shined as a box-to-box midfielder with vision and guile. Like Tevez, he possesses a low center of gravity and this makes him hard to knock off the ball and also gives him the ability to creep up on opposing players and quickly snake the ball from him. He was much more defensive and mentally aware than any of us predicted at the start of the season. While he finished goalless, his contribution was telling in that other teams still haven’t quite figured out how to deal with Anderson. He will wear a United shirt for many many years.

Somebody’s put together a little Anderson tribute here. I think it’s fitting. Give it a look.

As a Canadian, seeing Owen Hargreaves take to the pitch in a United uniform always fills me with pride. Watching this good old boy from Calgary AB out there kicking ass in the name of Man United is one of the greatest pleasures I have. I admire the man’s commitment and professionalism and while he grew up playing for Bayern, he brings the grit and get’er-done mentality that Canadians bring to everything they do. He is our ambassador to England and the Premier League and I think he is an excellent example of the type of versatility Man U have lacked in previous seasons. He is Phil Neville times three. All the versatility and ability to slot in basically anywhere, but he brings free-kicks and hard, lazer-guided tackles to the fore whenever he steps over the white lines. Hargreaves delivered the points at Arsenal and while he was hampered by injury all year, Hargreaves stepped up when he was called upon. Something that can do every Canadian proud.

This will go down as one of the greatest United freekicks of all time. I was shitting myself when he scored this one. These three points made the difference and Hargreaves fucking delivers.

And now, we’ve got Tevez. What more can you ask for from a player? While he isn’t a 30 goal a season man in the vein of Torres, old Michael Owen or Ronaldo, him and Man United formed a symbiotic relationship this year. Manchester United has brought out the best in Carlos Tevez and Carlos Tevez has helped Manchester United get better. Everybody said that him and Rooney were too similar to succeed and that turned out to be one of the talking points of the season. Him and Rooney are similar, and contrary to predictions, it made them a better strike force. They can track each others runs expertly and both can drop deep, while both can play as out and out strikers. Tevez’s versatility is one of the things that allows Man United to play the free-flowing attacking game that we all know and love. He is short, stout, and has the heart of a lion. It’s an honor to watch this man go to work in the service of our team. He is on course to be a Man United legend and I have a feeling that he’s a favourite in the dressing room.

He has a habit of scoring important goals. Case in point:

Now that I’ve addressed my four reasons why we won the title, let’s get to the season’s other main talking point- THE EMERGENCE OF CRISTIANO RONALDO AS THE BEST FOOTBALLER IN THE WORLD. I will argue it with anybody. Nobody plays the game like this guy and what he accomplished this season helped him break the bank, win the the title and shock the world. Over 40 goals from a right-winger is absolutely unprecedented in English football and I will also defend my theory that Ronaldo is blurring the lines between midfielder and striker. He alternates a Jeckyll and Hyde-style double-bill as a winger and old-fashioned center forward, scoring goals for fun and making opponents trip all over themselves. Always labeled as a one-trick pony thirty seconds away from a shampoo commercial, Ronaldo grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck and delivered the goods. This guy is the one who will sell “soccer” to America, not David Beckham. People in North America want to see goals and they want to see exciting stuff. Ronaldo plays football from another planet and the Glazier’s know that he is their best chance at selling the game to the North American audience once and for all. That is why this guy is going nowhere.

Here’s a few highlights from this season to whet your whistle. I’ll have a full bio and review on him coming up in a few days.

The other main point worth mentioning is our defense. The central partnership of Rio and Vidic has been absolutely unparalleled in recent memory and the two will be operating in tandem for almost a decade, they’re flanked by Wes Brown, who finally emerged as the top player we all knew he was (particularly in the second leg against Barca), and Patrice Evra- a more complete version of Roberto Carlos. These guys and Van Der Sar are the unsung heroes of the season. Like they always say- offense wins games, defense wins championships.

And that’s exactly what our boys did today. Ryan Giggs scoring to put the icing on the cake as he matched the all-time appearance record for the team is a story that you just can’t make up. I think you can’t forget how important it was that Chelsea slipped up against Bolton when it mattered most. That gives us the big mo’ going into the Champions League Final.

Drink up United fans- it’s been a long season and we’ve delivered the goods.

Bring on Moscow.


Video Highlights: Manchester United Secure the 07/08 English Premier League Title!

May 11, 2008

Well, it’s done and dusted. I hereby declare this the greatest season in the history of the English Premier League. And appropriately enough, United have come out on top. Excuse me for a second here….

FOR BEST RESULTS, START THE FIRST VIDEO AND THEN FIRE UP THE SECOND.

EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD- COME ON!
*shaky dance*

I really can’t express my pleasure at knowing Chelsea couldn’t finish the job at Bolton. How many times have the chavs allowed last second goals to demote wins to draws? I would say at least five times this season and that, my friends, is why Ronaldo & Co. hoisted the trophy and wore ridiculous chapeau’s.

I’m gonna be back later on to write up a full season in review and then in the build up to the Champions League Final I’m going to be putting together some lengthy run downs on individual players.

We did it. We are the best. Not on goal difference, but points.

Moscow. Looms. Large.

And if the vids go down, check out 1000 goals.com.


Video Highlights: Manchester United Thrash West Ham 4-1 And Take a Giant Step Closer to the EPL Title

May 3, 2008

After getting up at about 4:45 in the morning, hungover as shit, I managed to watch one of United’s most complete performances of the season. The game was never really in any serious question after Ronaldo pulled off that sickening run to open the scoring. Which sickening run you ask? This sickening run.

If the videos go down, click here and you can watch them all at 1000 Goals.com

The next goal was really more Hargreaves doing, but Ronaldo was right place- right time and managed to stay onside the entire time. Credit to him. His 40th goal of the season. Incredible. What is it? If he scores like 5 goals against Wigan he becomes Man U’s all-time leading scorer in one season? Something like that anyway, I don’t know the specifics, all I do know is that only Brian Law and Ruud Van Nistelrooy have scored more goals than Ronaldo in a season and he’s a winger ferchrissakes.

Then we come to Tevez’ screamer. Absolutely wicked. This guy is probably the best person you could ask for to lead your line in tight games at the end of the season. Tevez may not score 50 a year, but the 15-20 that will score will be made up of some of the season’s most important goals. Check this-

Then we’ve got Michael Carrick’s effort. A true Michael Carrick goal if I’ve ever seen one. He’s been a really give-and-take player this year, putting in a handful of inspiring performances, but most of the time you forget he’s even out there. Face it, the goal was lucky and didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Celebrations were limited as Carrick was scoring against his boyhood team.

This brings us to the unfortunate scenes from Nani. I really think this guy is out of his depth at the moment and I am now 100% certain that he lacks the composure needed to succeed at the highest level. Some people (commentators included) thought he played well against Barca. I didn’t. I thought he screwed up pretty much every move he became involved in and you can tell that he wants to do it all himself. This is a guy who grew up training alongside Ronaldo and he has to sit and watch all of the press and attention Cristiano is getting and I think it makes Nani want to be the front page player even more. I’m not saying the guy isn’t talented, I’m saying he lacks composure. He can’t finish and when he pulls stunts like he did today, he doesn’t realize how embarrassing it is to the team. I think that the Euro this summer will mature him and he’ll come back next season a better player.

After having watched both Anderson and Nani all season, I have to say that Nani is probably the better offensive player, but Anderson is much more complete. His battling presence is always helpful and I haven’t seen him have too many bad games. Anyways, bring on Wigan next weekend. I will be supporting Newcastle whole-heartedly on Monday.

We’re THIS close, guys.


Manchester United’s 07/08 Season in Review (Up ’til this point)

March 25, 2008

Gentlemen,

It’s been a while, a long while, but due to work hecticness and assorted insanity, I was out of blogging commission for the better part of the season. Truth be told, I find that during the middle of the English Premier League season, there is such a saturation of coverage that it almost isn’t worth it to blog about all the highlights and details. However, after this past weekend, the horse race is definitely on- this could be the most exciting three months that United, the Premier League and quite possibly the Champions League have seen in ages.

Anyways, things are starting to heat up, since the last post (which was early September, I believe) United have come a long way, to say the least. In my opinion, the two key factors that have thus far defined United’s season are a) the early season injuries to Giggs, Scholes and Neville, b) Ronaldo and Rooney redefining their positions.

Early on, none of us expected Anderson and Nani to have much to do this season except possibly a loan deal to a continental side or a few substitution appearances interspersed with reserve team duty. Speaking from late March you can only say two words: fuck that. Giggsy and Scholesy have seen themselves upstaged and replaced by the pace, vision and trickery of Nani combined with the raw talent and guile exhibited by Olivera Anderson. While both youngsters are far from the finished product, they have shown themselves able deputies for the two aging superstars, who are enduring the final few days of their playing careers. While both Giggs and Scholes have contributed much to United’s success this season, the torch was passed earlier than expected with the two Portuguese speaking players coping much better than we all expected.

Anderson specifically should be singled out for praise, and while I admit he can sometimes be wasteful, he shows a steely resolve and an ability to read the game that you’d normally see in a player more than a decade his senior. I expected Anderson to be a creative attacking player, but perhaps that particular part of his game only worked in Portugal. His approach to the Premier League has been that of a box-to-box midfielder- able to break down opposing attacks (Anderson is so adept at harassing the other team’s central midfielders)  and then play wicked through balls to release Rooney, Ronaldo, or Tevez in the blink of an eye. Anderson needs to stop shooting on the volley and start keeping the ball on the ground, I would personally like to see him run at players more, but if he seems himself developing in the mode of a Keane or a Gattuso- I say good on him.

Nani as a much more attack-minded player and the old adage definitely applies that while he isn’t necessarily a great goal-scorer, he is a scorer of great goals. Witness the one he banged in against Liverpool over the weekend and you’ll know what I mean. He’s only gotten four on the season, but they’ve all been hum-fucking-dingers.

The absence of Gary Neville has also been telling, as Wesley Brown finally came into his own and proved that he was a quality player able to run with the big dogs. Now he just needs to sign his goddamn contract and we’ll be good.

The second part of my season in review is to address the explosive play of Cristiano Ronaldo.  Everybody agrees that Ronaldo is redefining the role of a winger and I personally think its short-sighted to mention that and not mention Rooney in the same sentence. A lot of people have said Rooney’s lack of goals this year prove that he is an average player similar to somebody like Dirk Kuyt. Nothing could be further from the truth.  What is happening here is something that would only come out of a system run by Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo is doing so well because he is a midfielder in the process of becoming a forward, while Rooney is playing well because he is a forward in the process of becoming a midfielder.

Look at Rooney’s performance in the match up against Liverpool this weekend, he set up both goals that weren’t from a corner with excellent off-the ball running and a creative range of passing. These are the characteristics of a world class midfielder. Rooney has always been a short battering-ram of a striker, and it worked very well for him in his early days because players simply didn’t know how to play against him. As opposition defences figured out Rooney’s style and learned how to stifle him, Rooney has upped the ante. This is how he differs from a player like Kuyt. Kuyt has gone from being mediocre up front to being mediocre on the left wing. Rooney has adapted to dropping deeper or leading the line and playing the role of provider instead of the finisher of attacking moves.

There have been many cases this season when Rooney would, in previous years, have fired a hopeful long shot at the keeper but instead he is now opting to play incredible passes into the direction of Tevez or Ronaldo and allow them to share in the spoils. Ronaldo would not have 34 goals this season if Rooney weren’t playing Cash to Ronaldo’s Tango.

And let’s face it, Ronaldo is a one-man gang sometimes. He is a proven match-winner and I can’t believe some people still slate him as over-rated. For my money, Ronaldo is the most exciting footballer in world and is the best attacking player in the Premier League. He will not be leaving United for some time as he is realizing that he won’t get more play or promotion anywhere else in the world. He is simply that good.

I also have to give hats off to the defensive duo of Ferdinand and Vidic, who have both remained healthy all year and I would genuinely put them up as the best central defensive pairing in the world. I firmly believe that the understanding between the two is something special with both players possessing power, pace and precision in abundance. Evra has been his fleet-footed self all season and he adds so much to our attack on the overlap. I think that over the course of his career, many people will see Evra as the natural successor to Roberto Carlos, except for one thing- Evra can actually defend.

If you were to ask me who should be sold this summer, I would have to give you two or three candidates right off the bat. While there is still time in the season and I could very well be eating my words later, I would say that Louis Saha and Michael Carrick should probably be off-loaded while we can still get a decent price for them. Saha is too injury prone and just looks off the pace right now. His first touch is gone and the runs he used to make are now easily picked off by opposing defenders or the keeper. He can’t cut it at this level and he has to go. Carrick on the other hand hasn’t played particularly terribly, he just doesn’t really get the job done for me. He really has only had one outstanding game for us (second game against Roma) and his range of passing just doesn’t hold up when you compare him to the quality of Nani, Anderson and Hargreaves. I think Fergie has given Carrick too much of a chance at Hargreaves expense, but I think that Fergie is trying to keep Owen fresh for a long Champions League campaign.

That is definitely one thing that we owe Fergie for. Our team has probably been the luckiest big four club thus far in terms of injuries. Whereas in other seasons long term injuries to Neville, Giggs and Scholes would have proved disastrous, Fergie’s summer spending spree has proved fruitful. I think Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea have long term futures at the club. I am on the fence about Park Ji-Sung, but at the end of the day, he’s a solid guy and always gives 110%. He looks really stoked when he scores too. I say keep him.

From now on, I’ll be blogging the England and Man U games for the rest of the season. I’ll be back with a new video format and who knows, you might even see some of my other projects starting to show up around here. Rumor has it that there is an andrewisahater English cricket blog coming up.

Until then, it’s good to be back. Make sure to check back on the regular as I’m going balls out on the blogging again.  Congratulations go out to Rio Ferdinand for being awarded the England captaincy. Should be worth watching. What happens if we hammer France? Something to chew on.