Visualizzazione dei post da luglio 24, 2017

How Amsterdam changed the world of football forever

The outskirts of the city, where Stadionweg meets Amstelveenseweg, and new apartment complexes are thrown up to the backdrop of the Oud Zuid neighbourhood, there sits an unassuming sports complex. Obstructing the view of the stadium is a decidedly ugly and square building. It previously housed a Citroën garage and showrooms, but is now home to one of those annoyingly hipster establishments, which primarily claims to be a bicycle-themed cafe. Little wrong with that, but further inspection reveals malfunctioning hints of a cafe, a bike shop, a plant shop, a gallery and a bike workshop.
In truth, it’s all of those, yet nothing at the same time. Should you be passing by, in need of a watery coffee, a lonely looking cactus, and a vintage French road bike, victim of a refurbishment of questionable quality, you’re in luck. If you’ve come here to discover the remains of the spiritual home of Amsterdam…

The in-depth history of Ajax and Barcelona’s unique relationship

To a child falling in love with football right now, there’s a world of difference between FC Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam. Barcelona play in a popular league with megastars in every position, whereas Ajax are largely out of view with a collection of raw youngsters struggling to cut their teeth. Barça have a global fan base that make it a commercial juggernaut. Ajax enjoy great respect, but the context of modern football makes genuine progress highly improbable.
Yet, as fans of a certain vintage understand, the red and blue silk of Barcelona was imbued with sacred meaning thanks in large part to the white and red velvet of Amsterdam. These giants of world football were cut from the same cloth, and in the persons of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, amongst others, a certain DNA was transplanted from one to the other. 
The clubs are separate entities, with distinct cultures and identit…

Cruyff: the American diaries

Johan Cruyff’s impact on football was far-reaching to say the least. His influence on the game in the Netherlands and Spain has been rightly lauded, and his role in the revolutionary Total Football of the 1970s and his moments of incomparable brilliance on the pitch are incomparable. Few would dispute that Cruyff was more to Dutch football, to European football, than simply a world-class player.
But in 1979, he began a very different project. It would earn him less recognition, less worldwide attention, but Cruyff’s time in America proved both formative and typically influential. His decision was misunderstood by some. Much of the Dutch media saw it as economically driven, perhaps even a publicity stunt. That, though, could hardly have been further from the truth.
Not enough is known of Cruyff’s escapades in the United States. It’s unsurprising that a footballing nation still not taken entirely seriously by man…

Froome & Team Sky a Parigi: quarto e quinto potere

Anquetil. Merckx. Hinault. Indurain. Chris Froome, è quasi lì, a un passo dagli unici capaci di vincere cinque Tour de France. Cancellati i sette di Lance Armstroing, of course.
Il capitano del Dream Team Sky - al quinto Tour in sette anni d'esistenza, e per la prima volta leader  a squadre - ormai corre più per la leggenda che contro i contemporanei, anche se mai come quest'anno il suo margine è stato così ristretto: 54" su Rigoberto Urán Urán,  tornato sul podio di un grande giro che in pochi gli pronosticavano.
Sul podio c'è salito anche Romain Bardet, e per solo un secondo su Mikel Landa, gregario di stralusso al Sky e prossimo leader alla Movistar, chissà se ancora con Nairo Quintana, il grande flop di questo Tour.
Per spezzare un'attesa che in Francia dura da Bernard Hinault '85, l'ASO aveva disegnato una Grande Boucle su misura per Bardet, ma la crono di Marsiglia è stata impietosa, anche se Romain - piazzato un anno fa - è al secondo podio consecu…