Casemiro is still fundamental to Real Madrid’s success. By Sid Lowe:
One day early in Zidane’s first spell as Real Madrid manager, Casemiro knocked on his door. He hadn’t played yet — five games had passed — and he wasn’t happy. Play me, he said, please. Zidane looked at him, told him to calm down and said that once he started playing, he would never stop. Zidane was right, so much so that it became almost a running joke. After one game recently, Casemiro was asked if he was ever going to rest. By way of a response, he offered that cherubic smile he has and said something about how he didn’t need it. Zidane didn’t think so, either. You only ever leave Casemiro out to ensure that you can put him in.
Wilfred Ndidi snatches the ball winning crown from Nogolo Kante. By Ryan O’ Hanlon
the tactical beauty of having an omnipotent ball winner player such as Ndidi in your squad is that he allows you to shove an extra attacker onto the field without losing much (if any) defensive solidity.
Roy Hodgson reflects on his time at Inter, and Javier Zanetti. From The Coaches Voice
Javier wasn’t even signed to be the big player he became – he made himself into that. He had an incredible professionalism and desire to make the very best out of himself. Whatever his coaches or fitness coaches wanted him to do, he was going to show he could do it.
3 Champions Leagues, still under appreciated.
We toasted to more chilenas in 2018. Ronaldo delivered.
I was thinking of my favorite football moment of 2017.
It wasn’t Monaco winning Ligue 1. An incredible achievement, but that was more of a story than a single moment.
Totti retiring, the actual day. His final goodbye at the Stadio Olimpico (which got killer reviews on Google by the way) came to mind. Tears and tears. A tearful Totti is a Totti worth remembering. But alas…
Then there’s the US men’s team not qualifying for the World Cup. A bit of shock and joy. A hope that rot will stop, which may only happen if Eric Wynalda is elected as the USSF president. But that’s another journal entry for another day.
But the moment that rose to my hippocampus’s surface was Mario Mandžukić’s Champions League final chilena:
Mandžukić, Juventus’s alleyway brawler, displayed his technique and audacity to lift the hope of Juventus supporters around the world.
It wasn’t enough.
Mandžukić’s goal, his match tying goal. His momentum shifting goal. His glimmer of hope goal, will likely be forgotten. Real Madrid’s 3 second half goals turned brilliance into a consolation.
Football supporters just don’t sit around in pubs discussing all the amazing consolation goals they’ve witnessed.
But when it was executed, in that that moment, the Croatian’s chilena wasn’t a consolation goal. It was a celebration.
Here’s to more chilena’s in 2018.