A league of their own?


 

In the future could matches between Chelsea and United only be in a European league?

Something that has been spoken about in many pubs and bars across Europe for many years is the prospect of a European Super League. How many times have you heard someone make the statement “It’s inevitable, football’s all about money anyway and TV money drives everything so it’ll happen”. Usually this is closely followed up by someone else chiming in with “Yes but, who wants to watch Man U – Real Madrid four times a season, what about the local rivalries?”
And so it goes. Most supporters feel that someone, somewhere is working away at making this happen and that there is a willingness there, a desire to make this happen. However, you look at the current set up for the clubs, the money-spinning Premier League and the really major cash-machine of the Champions League.

Why change? Well certain other planets are currently coming into alignment which might push the game’s power brokers into reviewing their future horoscopes.

Platini’s so-called financial fair play rules are upon us. Rules which may – on the face of things – make European football more equitable and lessen the power and influence of the major clubs.
In short, clubs could be banned from European competition from the 2014/15 season onwards if they do not comply with the new financial rules. So what will this mean for the clubs? -read on>

Athletic Bilbao – More Than a Club


The Bilbao Fans

Athletic Bilbao are the last team in modern football that can honestly claim to be a team of local players. Resisting the sweeping globalisation in football, this proud Basque club has maintained it’s policy of only selecting players born and bred in the Basque country. This policy has elicited much debate, gaining many admirers as well as critics, and makes Athletic a uniquely fascinating club.

Athletic are one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Spain. Formed in 1928 (only  Recreativo de Huelva are older), the club has since won eight national championships and twenty-three king’s cups. Only two teams have bigger trophy cabinets: Real Madrid and Barcelona. Along with these two, Athletic are the only club in Spain never to be relegated. However, with the rapid globalisation of football since the Bosman ruling, Los Leones have been somewhat left behind due to their la cantera philosophy. The last league title came in 1984, and since then the club has been mired in mediocrity. However, to judge this club in pure footballing terms is to miss the point. -read on>

Rafael Van Der Vaart: the Big Fish Little Pond Effect


 

Rafael Van der Vaart and the Big Fish Little Pond Effect - Image Courtesy of Gregory Rodriguez Bott

We are working with These Are Utopias Who Never Happen to bring you a brand new Illustrations section to upper90magazine. If you are interested in having your artwork published by us please email us at upper90magazine@googlemail.com

Follow upper90magazine on Facebook or Twitter -read article aswell>

Premier League vs La Liga


Premier League vs La Liga

David Villa Celebrates for Barcelona - sourced from www4.pictures.zimbio.com

In a week that saw every premier league club score in one weekend for the first time, and also one of the greatest team performances of all time from Barcelona, which is the stronger and more exciting league?

With some of the world’s greatest players no longer opting for the premier league and looking for clubs in other countries, is the English top division losing its appeal? In the past the top flight in England has boasted some of the greatest players ever to grace the field of play, names such as Ronaldo, Bergkamp, Overmars, and Cantona are just a few. But now, even though money seems no option for most of the big clubs in the premier league, big stars seem to go elsewhere.

The warm shores and attractive football of the Spanish La Liga seems to be the preferred destination for many of the world’s stars. David Villa is the most notable name to shun the premier league, opting to stay in his native Spain with Barcelona and turning down lots of offers on the table from English clubs, and after Monday night’s performance in El clasico few could blame him.

The performance of Barcelona in that game was one of the greatest team performances La Liga and the world has ever seen. The intricate passing and fluent skill of the Barcelona players blew Real Madrid away, as it would have done all teams. The performance stemmed from some of the world’s greatest players, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Villa. However, all of the Barca players can play the game with ease and quality.

The Spanish game is based on skill, quick short passing and fluency and you will see that in all the teams in the Spanish top division. It may be slow at times and some might say boring, but for true lovers of the game the precision, pure talent and vision on show is a joy to watch. The passing at times is a thing of beauty, and not just from the top teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia, lower sides like Hercules, Sporting Gijon, and Levante play the game of football with the same ethos. You will never see a Spanish team play “ugly” football. But at times this want for perfection can become painfully slow and boring with neither side taking hold of a game. read on

Has the English Premier League become a ‘Selling Division’?


When Henry left Arsenal in 2007 for Barcelona (at a bargainous £16.5 Million), he stated that ‘Barcelona would be the only club I’d leave Arsenal for’. Or something like that. Christiano Ronaldo said something similar when leaving Man U for Real Madrid (at a ridiculous £80 Million). ‘It’s everyone’s dream to play for Madrid’, he stated to a Spanish paper after a Utd match. These two are the highest profile cases in recent years, but there have been countless transfers away from English clubs to “bigger” European clubs, often for crazy wonga. Namely, Flamini to Milan, Hleb to Barca, Vieira to Juve, Robbie Keane to Inter, McManaman to Madrid, Owen to Madrid, Beckham to Madrid, Graveson to Madrid (no comment), Lassana Diarra to Madrid, and even Mourinho to Madrid (fair enough that was from Inter), let alone Bale to Madrid (Oh sorry, not yet…).

In the last decade to fifteen years, a culture has emerged of English Clubs selling (or being forced to give up) their prize assets to European Heavyweights. Henry and Ronaldo’s statements about Barca and Madrid representing a peak for a footballer’s career, as well as Mourinho’s hype of Madrid, highlighted a weakness in the power of English football. -take a peak>

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