Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is it the end of Lionel Messi?

No, it is not. So the media can stop throwing that phrase whenever reporting about Lionel Messi's recent injury problems. I'm not a Lionel Messi fan by any means, but the amount of coverage his injury has been getting and the comments about this being the beginning of the end of Messi are ridiculous.

This is the same player who has won the Ballon D'Or 4 times in a row, who has broken every possible record in Spain, is consistently creating new records and is probably going to break every possible record for Barcelona, Argentina and in world football. Suddenly after he gets an injury, it's the end of the world and he's on his way down the drain due to a "misfiring season" (in which he's scored 14 goals in 16 games so far by the way).

Barcelona, with or without Messi, have been getting the results and playing well. They'll carry on doing so long after he's gone and were already doing so long before he arrived, so this injury won't necessarily affect them as all their other stars have raised their games to help ease Messi's absence.

Below are the list of injuries Lionel Messi has had throughout his career. Can anyone spot the common point? 9 out of his 11 injuries have been hamstring injuries. Those injuries are common in players who use their speed in excess. Ryan Giggs suffered of this quite regularly early on in his career and he's had to adjust his game and body to avoid that injury (Yoga training helped too it seems). Lionel Messi will do the same in the long run.

He is only 26 years old, an injury like this is only normal and he will be back banging the goals by the start of 2014. You can bet your house on that. The guy deserves a break. He's been performing at an incredibly surreal level since 2007 (yes, I'm complimenting him), it's only normal that his body gives him warning signs every once in a while. This might actually a blessing in disguise, who knows...

When eventually Messi becomes just another normal player (because that's what will happen by the time he hits 30 years old) and scores 1 goal every 2 games or so, it will be considered by many as his "demise", but they'll forget that even performing under-par, that will still be better than most of the strikers out there. Until that moment comes, the usual Lionel Messi will be back soon...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Vincent Kompany the most invaluable defender in Europe?

I don't like Manchester City. Actually I hate them. I hate how, thanks to a billionaire, they are suddenly considered a big club and how in modern football it's the power of one man's bank account that defines whether or not a football club is able to compete at the highest level or not. But that'll be for another post...

However thanks to that massive injection of cash, Manchester City do have some very, very, good footballers in their squad. Among those players, there is one man that stands head and shoulders above all the rest. One man without whom they look completely lost. It's their captain Vincent Kompany.
This season City are going through a transitional phase since replacing Robert Mancini with Manuel Pellegrini, but so far they have lost 4 games in the league and in 3 of those games, their captain wasn't playing and they looked hopeless while defending. His importance to their success is unquestionable.

Last season his importance was even more evident. City lost 6 games in total in the league. In 4 out of the 6 games, do you know what the common factor was? Vincent Kompany wasn't playing. In one of those 4 games they lost, which was to their neighbors United (3-2), Kompany limped off injured in the 21st minute and they went on to lose the match.

So it does raise the question of whether or not Vincent Kompany is the most invaluable defender in Europe? Can City perform without him?

Every other top club in Europe has had their main defender(s) injured at some point over the past couple of seasons and they've all coped admirably with the cover they have. But City just haven't been able to do so. Whether it was Kolo Toure last season, or DiMechelis this season, they look lost without their rock and captain at the back.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chris Kamara: a hero, a legend, a comedian!

For those who do not know who Chris Kamara is, I'll try and give you a brief background. He's a former footballer who played for Portsmouth, Swindon Town, Brentford, Stoke, Leeds, Luton, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Bradford City between 1975-1995. Since retiring he had short stints as manager of Bradford City and Stoke City.

However, that's been the boring part of his career. Nowadays, and for quite some time, he's been working for Sky Sports on several programs. Firstly he hosts a program called "Goals on Sunday" which shows all the English goals of the previous day. Secondly, he appears on the infamous Sky Sports show "Gilette Soccer Saturday". This program updates viewers on the progress of all league games in all divisions taking place in England on Saturday between 3 and 5pm.

The host Jeff Stelling is known for his good humor and banter alongside the selected 4 pundits who provide him with updates on specific games, as well as others who are actually at the stadium giving Jeff their updates.

And this is where Chris Kamara comes in with some legendary moments that are, if you're a proper football fan, among the funniest you can ever find. Below are his best moments. Chris Kamara, you've got a small fan club in Beirut, can someone please tell him that?

Kamara misses a red card in a match between Portsmouth and Blackburn:

Chris Kamara falls asleep while commentating on Fulham against Norwich:

Chris Kamara is unable to say the name of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov:

Chris Kamara simply pulls a "Chris Kamara" while covering Milwall v M'boro:

Chris Kamara uses a very strange comparison while speaking about Tottenham:

Chris Kamara turns his back on Jeff Stelling:

Chris Kamara is unable to pronounce Giaccherini: 

Chris Kamara introduces a young boy named Ashley Young in his first ever game:

Chris Kamara has absolutely no idea how to explain that there's been a refereeing error:

Chris Kamara makes a strange comparison about being calm:

Chris Kamara seems pretty damn happy:

What a Legend Chris Kamara is. If he could pull these sort of things off every week, we'd all be stuck on Gilette Soccer Saturday. The best thing about this though, is that it just comes naturally to him.