While Italian football club Internazionale acquired new owners last week, there were also profound changes going on at city rival AC Milan.
The club that has won the Italian league 18 times and the European Champions League seven times is rethinking its youth structure’s organization - in future, Milan officials hope to tap in to the power of the brain.
For cerebral help, they have turned to a couple of Belgians - former Standard Liege coach Jose Riga and pioneering youth coach Michel Bruyninckx - to help influence the way the club develops its young players.
Milan has long had a reputation as a club that leaves nothing to chance in the pursuit of excellence. This after all is the team with its very own science establishment - the MilanLab - which it describes as a “high tech interdisciplinary scientific research center” to provide “the best possible management of individual well being and health” for its players. FULL POST
It is arguably World War I's most iconic image - Lord Kitchener’s handlebar-mustached face, with his pointing finger almost coming out of the poster, above the slogan: “Your country needs YOU.”
Now superimpose Kitchener’s face with that of England manager Roy Hodgson or Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, with their pointing fingers above the slogan: “I’m a bit short of players: Your country needs YOU.”
Long gone are the days when a manager would pick his international squad from a collection of players born in their homeland. War, ethnic conflict and the relentless march of globalization have changed all that. FULL POST
Amid all the hyperbole that surrounded Lionel Messi’s record breaking achievements in surpassing Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old landmark for the most goals in a calendar year, one man has been seemingly forgotten - Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova.
Which is probably just the way Vilanova likes it.
When he took over from Pep Guardiola in June after his former boss decided to take a sabbatical from the game, Vilanova looked like he was on a hiding to nothing. In much the same way that Bob Paisley must have felt when he took over from legendary Liverpool coach Bill Shankly.
Over four years Guardiola - with Vilanova as his assistant - had won 14 trophies as Barcelona steamrollered the opposition both at home and abroad.
From the anonymity of the Barca boot room, suddenly all the pressure was on a 43-year-old man who had arguably only once come to the attention of the world’s media after being poked in the eye by Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho during a Spanish SuperCup game in 2011. FULL POST
Good enough for American Football, basketball, baseball, tennis, rugby league, rugby union and cricket; good enough even for the Professional Bull Riders organization; and now finally, good enough for association football.
Following the countless pleadings of managers, players, the media and the fans after some horrendously embarrassing examples of goals that have not been given despite the ball crossing the line, FIFA is to allow the use of technology in the sport.
After years of opposition Sepp Blatter, through FIFA’s law-making body the International Football Association Board has given the thumbs up, even if UEFA president Michel Platini’s digit remains fiercely down as he continues to oppose this new development. FULL POST
The spine still tingles. The sight of Vicente Del Bosque's team of torero's teasing and tormenting an Italian side, whose honest application should have made such subjugation subject to penalty on the grounds of cruelty, was as devastating a show of technical prowess and collective intuitiveness as you're ever likely to see during your time on planet earth.
The superlatives have long been exhausted and the cliches are too simplistic to capture the audacity of winning the European Championship, arguably the hardest competition in international football, by four clear goals against an Azzurri side bestowed with its own array of experienced superstars.
The ruling by the Football Association to ban Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for eight matches and to fine him $63,000 for racial abuse has proved controversial for a number of reasons.
It is the first time the governing body of English football has disciplined a player on such terms, a move that has been welcomed by many in the game as tangible evidence that talk of "kicking racism out of football" has some teeth. FULL POST
Football stadiums can be more than just arenas for the many who frequent the stands to watch their team. Like a church for believers of the faith, supporters flock to the communal ground of the terrace to cheer on the side, reaffirm identity with their "tribe" and to bond with their brothers in arms through shared experience and song.
The sight of individuals acting as a collective is as awe-inspiring in 2011 as one imagines it was in the Coliseum in Ancient Rome; when 10,000 souls sing in unison it is hard – nigh on impossible - not to be affected.
It is why sport, and football in particular, creates such a compelling spectacle for television - the drama on the pitch and the reaction of the crowd spilling forth from the screen to corrupt and convert the viewer, who may well be on the other side of the planet but can no longer ignore the significance of the event. FULL POST
The death of British driver and two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon in Sunday's IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas was graphic in its violence, distressing in its drama and a tragedy for all who knew him.
The 33-year-old, who started the race seeking to win a $5 million purse as victor, drove to his grave participating in the sport he loved.
IndyCar, America's most popular version of open-wheeled racing, is currently enduring its darkest hour as Wheldon's family and friends try to deal with his sudden departure. FULL POST
July 27 is a significant day for London: it marks one year until arguably the greatest spectacle in global sport takes place in the British capital.
Beginning with the symbolic lighting of the flame, and enduring for 19 days until it is extinguished, nation will fight nation across 26 sports and 39 disciplines in pursuit of the coveted haul of gold medals on offer. FULL POST