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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Best Team in the World:

Udinese.

Seriously.

They are the best football team in the whole wide world. The fact that they currently sit top of Europe's toughest domestic league (Yeah, suck on that last 16 line up) seems as good a place to start this argument. Yep, as of last time I checked, Udinese sat atop Serie A, a league with not only the most teams in the Champions League last 16, but one where those teams that have made the last 16 are struggling to break out of the upper mid table, or in Inter's case, struggling to do anything at all. You could probably spin this into a Serie A is shit argument, but as far as I can tell a team that currently sits 16th in Serie A, managed to achieve something that Manchester's big spending high flyers failed to achieve....

Anyway, back on point, Udinese are top of Serie A, and I doubt many remember, but they pushed Arsenal pretty close to the edge of the Champions League cliff. For a while back in September, until penalties started to go awry, Udinese  had Arsenal staring down the long drop the the Euopa League group stage. And this is without any Oligarch, or massive shirt sale income. When was the last time you saw an Udinese shirt in the background of the news? Never, that's when.

Yep, Udinese are a fairly small team, from a fairly small place. Udine is about as far east as you can get in Italy, pretty darn close to Slovenia and has a population of about a hundred thousand. So roughly equal to St Helens in population terms. It is not like they can rely on huge gate receipts then is it, especially when the stadium can hold a third of the towns population. And yet through some transfer market genius, so much of Europe's hot young talent has passed through this town.

Somewhat understandably, last season everyone was salivating over Alexis Sanchez. He was at the center of a team that performed miracles all season long, eventually finishing 4th. Perhaps the most miraculous part of a glorious season was a 13 game unbeaten run from January to April, when they boys from Friuli where playing some of the greatest football on the planet last season. Yeah, a thirteen game unbeaten run is great, but when it includes beating thumping champions Inter 3-1, then following that up with a 2-1 beating of Juventus at the Olimpico, leading Milan 4-3 going into the third minute of injury time (it finished 4-4), and putting 7 (seven!) past Palermo in Scilly, you know something special is happening. In those 13 games Udinese scored 34 goals. It was sensational. They possibly were the best team in the world for 3 glorious months.

But Udinese pull this sort of shit regularly. An entirely rebuilt team is doing it right now. Admittedly not with the attacking flair of last season, which was sold on for a tidy 50 million euro, but with a team built on defensive solidarity, and Anotio Di Natale's never ending ability to score loads of goals. Last time the current Best Team In The World yardstick came to Friuli, Udinese held out until the last 5 minutes before going 2 down in heartbreaking fashion. We all remember hearing Mr Richardson talk of Udinese's latest escapades over an ice cream or two. Yes, they are a selling club, but what is the problem with that if you can keep your shit together season after season (I accept there were a few wobbles, but that just adds to it). Indeed, arguably one of Italy's best players of the last 10 years, the aforementioned Mr Di Natale, has stayed heartwarmingly loyal. Why aren't more footballers like that?

But that is the thing, here in Radetto's mountain cave we prefer those who get a bit close to the sun. Yeah, Barcelona may be a really good side, but how much cash has gone into it. Yes they play amazing football at times, but it is kind of expected, especially after they signed the Zebrette's brightest star. When Udinese are pulling of equally mind bending football, it is far more joyous to behold. Late last winter was a sensational time, the plucky underdogs were at it once again. Impossible dreams of Scudetto glory were taking place. In the end it went a bit awry, but a 4th place finish lead them to Europe once again, but it is better to try and fail right? Especially when you try like the Zebrette did for those few glorious months.

I accept, they may not be winning the Champions League any time soon, but if that is your come back, you are missing the point. No one has occasionally but consistently shone like Udinese over the last few seasons.   For a team from a city of 100,00 souls, to be, even briefly playing some of the worlds most sensational football, all for the most part of its own back is sensational. You can keep your Barcelona thanks.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Another One 'Bout Bosnia

So Bosnia & Herzegovina almost nearly got to the last World Cup, and seemingly became everyone's second favourite team along the way. With hindsight a Bosnian team would probably have been a breath of coffee tigned fresh air compared to the Ronaldo led shitstorm that knocked them out in the playoffs, but anyway, that is in the past now. And where Bosnia is involved, looking forward is kind of the done thing.

So yeah, looking forward, Bosnia could well be one of the revelations of this Qualifying tournament, as they so nearly were 12 months ago. Whilst last time round they had a team of bright young talent mixed in with experienced euro-journeymen, this time their is a really solid look about the squad, that runs deeper than just 4 or 5 stars in the first 11.

Messr's Dzeko and Pjanic now look like genuine quality players who should spend a good while at the top table of European clubs, not just one season wonders that they easily could have become. Not many teams from the '2nd group' of countries in European football can build around such a talented, and now fairly experienced partnership. With Pjanic sure to play his part in this seasons Champions League, and Dzeko at the front of a pricely rebuilt Wolfsburg (Cough Diego Cough) it could be another big season for these two.

But beyond that there is more quality coming through. A solid goalkeeper for a team at BiH's level is a massive boon, take Handanovic between the sticks for Slovenia being a prime example. Hopefully Asmir Begovic can sort out his dispute with big T Pulis and really put his name on the number one Jersey both for Stoke and BiH. The heart shaped nation's main footballing strength is their attacking flair, but with a handful of defenders playing in France and Germany some top level experience is seeping in.

It is however midfield and forward where things get exciting. Pjanic is the obvious talent, and is a huge danger from dead balls, especially with Dzeko rangy frame to aim at, but beyond that there is strength in the depth. Misimovic and Rahimic bring with them experience and anchor a team that has been slowly progressing over 4 or 5 years, With Rahimic being 34, this is probably the last chance he will get to go to a major championship.
Menudjanin, Ibricic and Salihovic are a solid supporting cast who without a doubt will give the majority of teams a difficult time.

And then there is the forwards. It could be seen as a case of one of Europe's best and A.N.Other. Whilst Dzeko's sublime goalscoring does give this an element of truth, Muslimovic and Ibsevic, along with new boy Vec can more than hold there own across this continents stadia. Whilst Luxembourg, who where dealt with 3-0 at the weekend, do not represent the stearnest of tests, when Pjanic went of after 75 minutes, the chances continued to come. Far from a one trick pony.

And as clichéd as it seems, these guys are playing for something. This squad could easily represent a golden generation for the Lillies, and in such a small country they may not come along so often. The chance to represent BiH at a major tournament probably means a lot to this generation, and if they do it, they will be the first. Almost the polar opposite of tomorrow's rivals France. But there may never be a better time to play Group D's superpower, and after the World Cup fiasco, BiH may well be the team, in true clichéd fashion, that Wants It More. An upset could be on the cards, Sarajevo will be behind them, the majority of Bosnia will be behind them. This could be their time.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Liverpool for the Title. Boss.

So the literally bezillions of Radette's on twitter will have noticed a brave and somehwat foolhardy prediction of Liverpool for the title on the Radetto Twitter (Check that out kids). Things is as a Newcastle fan I can look at the title race in a completely unbiased way, and I wasn't just going for the lets say something ridiculous and controversial angle, I think Liverpool might have a genuine challenge this season.

Why is that then lad? Well the first team isn't that bad. They still have Torres, who will surely get back to form eventually, and Gerrard, who was pretty good for that other underachieving football institution midweek and will certainly get them points. If N'Gog can find the man within himself and score regularly all season (If Marlon Harewood can have a 20+ goal season then surely N'Gog can), he will be playing infront of a fairly potent first choice midfeild.

So the squad is fairly decent, but it is the man in the bench that is the reason I may put a bit down on Liverpool sensationally pulling this one out the bag. Hodgson has excelled in situations where he has had a not 'really good enough' squad, and taken them on to some fairly sensational things right through from taking Halmstad to the Swedish title before knocking up a sensational five in a row with Malmo. Whilst Malmo may have been one of Sweden's bigger teams, five in a row with any squad is not to be sniffed at, especially when you take in the knocking Inter out of the champions league antics. Hell, this is a man who got Switzerland playing some of Europe's best football, and took them 2-0 up against eventually not quite winners Italy in the '94 world cup. Then there was Copenhagen, another mid table side taken to the title, and we all know the Fulham story.

So yeah, Roy has a record for doing this kind of thing.

And then there is the fact that Liverpool's 'not quite good enough but that's ok cos we have got Roy' squad is relatively unchanged and will not have to cope with Champions League issues. Chelsea seem to be going all out for Euro Glory this year, and after last night, clearly the competition is going to cause Spurs a bit of stress and I can't help but feel united are going to have problems once there aged all-stars get completely crocked. And lets be honest, City is going to descend into an ego laden pit of despair this year.

 I should probably wait until after the city game to say this, but if the 'Pool can compete with the rest of the big seven in the same way they did against Arsenal and the squad can unite behind both Roy and the underdog banner then I at least think things could be rosy.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Kids Are Alright, But the Spanish Ones Are Actually Good

England Young'uns were schooled quite spectacularly today by Spain Young'uns in France, in the semis of the Under 19 European Championships. It's pretty evident that the constant influx of quality footballers at all levels of the Spanish national side isn't going to stop or even slow down anytime soon; in fact, the similarities between the styles of play between the national team (that we all know and hate) and the under 19s is pretty notable. The "passing carousel" that Sir Alex Ferguson referred to (in relation to Barcelona - lazy journalism is where it's at) is present here: lots of nice one-touch football, sweet flicks, almost telepathic movement. The quality of the side is most obvious in Spain's second goal, scored by Atletico's Keko, but if it's sheer innovative audacity that you're after (which it is) check out Sergio Canales' goal. Despite the game finishing 3-1, it really sould've been about 5-0, such was Spain's dominance of the game. It doesn't tell the full story: England's youth teams seem to struggle a great deal getting the top side's to release their youngsters for such tournaments. There's no doubt, for instance, that Jack Wilshere would get into this side. Conversely, Spain's kids (again, like the national side) are comprised almost entirely by Real and Barca players.

Spain, unfortunately, look like they might just make up for their years (and years and years and yearzzzz...) of underacheivement with the crop of players they've got coming through, and therefore we'll all have to listen to our nation's twat-bastard pundits creaming themselves over their football. There's almost no doubt, though I may well wind up eaing my words, that Spain will go on to beat France/Croatia in the final. And when they do, and you read some bandwagoning pundit bang on about how good they are, just remember that Radetto was down from day 1. Y'all.

NB. Fuck France/Croatia, it's looking like France. Bakambu, with a right finish, 2-1 with 5 to go.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Marketing Expert Plays Football Game

So it turns out that amongst all of this “getting fucking paid” malarkey that Thierry Henry’s been getting up to in the Big Apple, he has to play the odd game off soccerball. And who more apt an opponent for his first game for the New York Red Bulls than Arsenal’s Norf Lahndan rivals Tottenham. The game has, naturally, been billed as Henry’s Red Bulls debut: it’s not, of course, seeing as how it’s not even a proper game, but you have to sell these ultimately meaningless games somehow. Who’d watch it otherwise; aside from the unemployed insomniac market, natch.
Spurs took the points (it’s a tournament, with a real trophy and everything, you see) in a match that was overshadowed by the mere presence of The Greatest Footballer of His or Anyone Else’s Generation™. They were poor really, and looked very much like a team in pre-season (probably because they are) and were fortunate to turn around a game in which Henry had given Red Bulls the advantage in the first half. Scrappy goals from Keane and Bale gave the game to Spurs, although they were gifted them by some woeful New York defending.
The first real chance of the game fell, somewhat inevitably, to Henry. Put it down to a lack of sharpness, or a season of bench-warming in Barcelona taking its toll, but he was foiled by Valentino Rossi wannabe Carlo Cudicini. It really was the kind of chance that the Frenchman used to score for fun back in his Premiership days. That miss was nothing compared to what followed some six minutes later, when winger Dane Richards made a good run down the right, crossed low, and presented Seth Stammler with an open goal about 5 yards out. Stammler got it all wrong, mis-controlling on his left foot and allowing Cudicini to recover.
Red Bulls took the lead through the lively Henry on 25 minutes. Estonian Joel Lindpere embarrassed supposed professional footballer Alan Hutton on the left, before putting in a low cross for Henry to put away first time inside the six yard box. It might not have been the Henry classic that some may have been hoping for, but the Gillette enthusiast will be chuffed to get off the mark for his new club against an old enemy.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Henry was hauled off at half time, leading me to question the already debatable worth of this article, but the second 45 wound up providing significantly more excitement than a first half that saw just four shots on goal. Stammler nearly made up for his first half shocker with a well struck left foot shot, after skinning Alan Hutton (see a pattern developing here?) some 25 yards out.
If Henry had looked lively in a point-to-prove sort of way, Robbie Keane was the polar opposite. Disinterested, constantly offside, one can’t help but think that Keane may have to roll out his stock press conference sometime soon; in which he declares that between chomping potatoes and tarmacing drives, his childhood was spent watching all the Trabzonspor games Dublin had to offer. Two early missed chances in second half preceded a simple goal that he really didn’t deserve, tapping in at the far post after a horrendous flap from Red Bulls’ second half keeper, Greg Sutton.
Macoumba Kandji really should have taken the lead for the Americans five minutes later, after some good work from Stammler on the left (who, turns out, looks like a handy player) but it was Spurs who took the initiative on 72 minutes. Jeremy Hall sold his goalkeeper criminally short from a header, and Gareth Bale (hilariously referred to by the American commentator as Christian Bale following the goal) nipped in ahead of Sutton to score, getting clattered by the Canadian keeper in the process.
A couple of Red Bulls chances followed, being denied by the crossbar late on, but an unconvincing Spurs held on for the victory. The Fox Soccer Channel cameras zoom in on Henry chatting to ‘Arry Fackin’ Redknapp at the end, declaring him man of the match. It’s a fair shout, although there was little competition. If I thought that football was so simplistic a game that a player’s performance could be evaluated through a numerical value, I’d give him an 8/10. If this causes massive controversy amongst our literally 1s of readers, however, rest assured that Radetto never wished for this information to be published anyway, and currently have our crack team of lawyers (sorry, The Fiver) working round the clock for it to be taken down. It’ll be a good few days, mind.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Team of The Time #6

Thought Radetto was dead, didn't you? Prolonged slumber is where it is at kids. It is on trend right now. Just ask a bear, or a squirrel. But we are back, and you know what the first thing a bear does after hibernating through the Canadian winter? That's right, Team of the Time:

Kevin Kuranyi - Yes! It's Kuranyi time guys. The man with the finest precision beard art in all of Gelsenkirchen is delivering the goods. Goal based goods. Always well bearded, seems like a while since big Kev has been amongst the goals like this, but he is back, at the front of an improbable Schalke '04 title challenge. If Kev keeps this up, he could spell out Deutchmeister across his chiselled lower face. That is something we all want to see. The unholy meeting of hair gel, beard grooming product and German lager as Kuranyi gets dowsed during the title celebrations would be a beautiful thing to behold. Here's to it.

Cacau - Bundesliga is where it is at right now (and possibly always), and whilst the big C-man may not have the chin foliage of some of the leagues other strikers, he is sure scoring the goals. 7 in 3 or something. Yowzers. Cacau could mastermind the biggest champions league upset in all of history, in fact, sod it, what are the odds of him banging in the first at the Nou Camp next week, or the week after. I'll take some of that. He is even German now? Madness eh? Seriously Podolski, your gonna have to score a few for your goat clad mates to get to South Africa now Cacau has got his passport stamped. German National. German International more like.

Remember the name, Wayne Rooney - Maybee the only time Motty got something just about right eh? Anyway, amongst all the super exciting news about those Chelsea defenders which was far too exciting for words, aparently Wayne did pretty well, scored a few goals from what I here. But you allready knew that. The boy could fire us to glory, if only he didn't look so bad in a super retro shirt.

Peter Crouch - Being Peter Crouch must be pretty darn sweet. Think of all the perks. First of, the horizon is at least 3kms further away for Crouchy, simple Pythagoras says so. Plus having awesome robot dancing skills is always a bonus, even if the big man rarely unleashes them even though he ALWAYS will score goals for England. Plus he looks so damn happy when he does get one, like the kindly father figure to the whole rest of England team set up. The man will be going to South Africa, he really should. Yet there are still more reasons to envy the big man. He is so tall I doubt he can hear what bell enduous nonsense Harry Redknapp is spluttering out whilst down the Spurs training field, plus I hear his wife is a babe. Oh Crouchy....

The Whole of The J-League - Hell yes, a five a side team featuring at least 200 of Japans finest players, pus a load of naturalised Brazilians would be neigh on invincible. Could just stack dudes in the goalmouth. So the J-League kicks off this weekend, meaning all teams with the greatest names ever, and some of the best flag displays known to man, are back in action. I have no idea how my personal faves JEF United will fair. I predict well. But when Nakamura and Ono are setting the world cup alight, you are gonna wish you had paid the J-League more attention

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Die Zukunft Ist Deutsch

Everyone knows predicting the future is a fools game, but I am prepared to make a fool of myself for you, long range prediction fans (They exist right?). Plus I have this hunch I might be on to something.

So we all know Michael Platini is on a mission to make UEFA a fairer, more worthwhile, and in my opinion better place. Sorry big four fans, but it is true. A maximum of three teams would be better for everybody, but that is a story for another time. Back to the point in hand; what will become of Michael's presenting-the-trophys-in-the-stands-for-the-fans Europe?

Well this dealio with only financially sound teams being allowed into the Champions League thing makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, what is the point of supporting a team that can just be bought out and made good? Really, what would be more satisfying all you Chelsea/City fans, the current paid for by Russian privatisation/middle eastern investment sucess you have at the minute, which lets be honest, the fans didn't have much to do with, or proper, achieved on the back of fan power sucess? Surely the second. When I see fans disucusing about how they need an investor for the team I die a little inside. That is not the banter of football fans, that is the banter of banking fans.

Seems there is growing feeling, especially amongst the throngs of the Kop and Stretford End, that maybee clubs should be in the hands of the fans. Their is a revolution brewing I tells you, a beautiful footballing revolution. Clubs owned by those that give their time and rubels, not by those with an interest in bizarre economics.

Whats more, here in England we need this revolution soon. If Platini really can bring this rule through, then as far as I can tell, England's Champions League representatives would be Arsenal, Villa, Spurs and Christ knows who else. One of those super well run Isthmian league clubs perhaps? God knows who Scotland would send. We need this revolution, or we are out of Europe guys.

Thing is, as per usuall, Germany is allready there. There are many, many wonderful things about the Bundesliga; Cheapness, entertainingness, beeringlassesinthestandsness, standingterassesthatactuallyworkness, Miroslav Klosseness, but most importantly of all clubsownedbythefansness. I accept, this it not entirely true, but their seems to be a lot of negative feeling towards the way Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen are run. Every other club is owned by the fans, for the fans, for the good of the fans and the comunity. CLubs are not investments, they are football clubs, sports clubs, social institutions. Glorious



Okay, German clubs may be off the Sky Sports Barca-and-Real-and-the-English European radar, and to be fair, they have struggled in the CL of late, but things will change. Germany is going to be all over the Champions League pretty soon, seriously. Some of the best attended and most well run (Schalke aside) clubs, operating on a morally superior model to le prem. This is the future, and in Germany, the future is now.

Spain is similar, but most clubs outside the top few get attendances that would be normal in the Championship, whereas Eintracht Frankfurt, a club so mid table, the prospect of any other finishing position that the warm embrace of 10th through 12th strikes fear into all concerned, average 40,000 every week. So while Real and Barca are also fan run, the rest of the Spanish league are to small or incompetent (cough, Valencia and Deportivo) to hold a candle to what the German teams will become.

But to be honest, a few years of Germany showing us the way would be great news. Hell, we may get real glasses and standing terasses back. Perhaps ticket prices will fall, attendaces will rise, and our penalty taking skills will Improve. Either way, if I have a choice of spending my £15 on watching Chester City climb their way out of the negative numbers whilst their winding up order is put on hold, or going to see Bayern vs. Dortmund, with a Weissbier or two on the way, the decision dosen't require to much.

It may not be obvious at the moment, but Germany has got football right, and soon they are going to be rubbing it in our noses.

Gratuitous Competition Time

I will award a celebratory high five, and a big slice of smug pride pie to anyone who can name all the players on the spiffing background. Post 'em up. There are 22, but of you make 19 I will be impressed.

NB. If you want the high five, you'll have to travel for it.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Ballad of Little Mickey O

This tale begins back in '98 in the cool Saint Etienne breeze. A young lad from Cheshire way had something special up his short Umbro sleeve. The lad had 23 goals in the big leagues, 23 times he had got his name up in lights. There was talk he could be the next big thing, Englands new hope, the man that could bring the titles back to Liverpool.

So he went on a bit of a jog did little Mickey Owen in France. Floppy haired Becks lofted it up. A deftness of touch and a burst of raw pace. A jink right, a jink left, and a sublime finish. Good God it was good. But that was it. That was best, his zenith, his peak. The mountains rolled away in front of him, he would never tread so high again, than he did that night in St Etienne. I doubt if he knew it, but ahead of little Mickey, lay the foothills and plains. Some high points yes, but at the end of it all was a city by the sea, all altitude lost, the Gallowgate called.

And so it went. Make no mistake, little Mickey still tucked them away; another eighteen then eleven more, before one glorious season that promised so much. Mickey won the cup by himself he did, one afternoon in Cardiff, then again in Dortmund. Three titles for Mickey and the Reds. This was it, they could challenge for the league, the Champions League. Gerrard knew how to do it, Mickey knew how to find the net. He got three on that night in Munchen, the first man do that since some bloke in red. Liverpool were ready, and so was Mickey. How could it fail? Yet fail it did, it all unravelled somehow, it didn't happen. It was time for a change.

So Mickey went Galactico, when he could get a game. The boy did good, he outscored Raul and everyone else in Spain. It was going so well. Except it wasn't somehow. Goals per minute is great n' all, but if you still ain't getting the minutes so what can you do? You could go to Newcastle I suppose.

Hoho, Mickey was to good for that, he could never be convinced tha Tyneside is where his future lay. But he did it, he wanted to play, hats off to the lad. Alas, injurys took their toll, he scored when he could but is wasn't what it was supposed to be. As he looked over his shoulder little Mickey could see European glories over on the Mersey. Should have gone back lad, should never have left. Turns out fortune dosen't allways favour the brave. You can be a man, and stride out from home, away from the worship of the Kop, and how does fate repay you, by exploding your knees that's how.

When Mickey was playing, he could still put them in, but that second night in Germany, something broke. The knee poping, the spiralling fall. Seemed like the nation recoiled, seemed like Mickey could be done, but he wasn't. The lad picked things up, and after a years out he was back on form. Keegan and Owen, how could that fail? Then some fat bastard ruined it. Mickey despaired with the rest of us. He got caught up in the great shitstorm of the Tyne. He lost face, he lost his England place, he got relegated for Christs sake.

But Mickey had one last trick up his sleeve. The boy couldn't jink no more. He is a poacher now, but if you are poaching for Manchester United, you are going to catch some pheasants, and so Mickey proved. Last gasp winners, European hattricks, the boys getting them. Not bad for a lad with knees held togethor with naught but bailor twine.

Alas Mickey's future is still up in the air. You need games for England lad so it seems, Bailor twine or no. But we need a poacher right, an impact sub? Surely no Italian can forget what good an past his prime hero can do. Take the lad Fabio. His knees may be past it, his speed gone, but he is a good lad.

I was going to be all scathing in the above rubbish, but it turned out all posetive. Who'd have thunk it?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Team Of The Time #5

So here we are. The fifth occasional Radetto team of the time. There was talk of multi million pound transfers to other more well known, actually read by real people blogs. Alas, all were turned down, so here's what you get:

1. Luca Toni - So the transfer window has been a bit of a let down. 4 months of tabloid speculation seem to have failed to materialise. Apart from big Luca. Seems that Euro '08 somehow broke him a little bit. The million goal wurst und weissbier fan seemed to have lost his golden touch. And lets be honest, we all wanted Toni's return to triumphant. The big man teaming up with Totti again, just like that summer four long years ago. And it went so well. That smile is infectious no? DM

2. Marco Boriello - Another Italian journeyman pick. Boriello seems to have been there abouts for a good while now. After a glorious year at Genoa and a big money move to AC, you got the feeling that he would become another one of those almost guys. He had only hit double figures in two seasons ever. But things seem to be going okay in Milan. A few goals, still getting some appearances, however it is a mighty task to steal the limelight away from Filippo Inzhagi, and you have to respect the man for taking it on.18 months later, he finally did it. This was a sublime goal. First off, FIlipo would have been offside, but I doubt he could have pulled a goal out from that position without a decent amount  of elbow deflection. Boriello said he just felt the ball and that was all it took, like a Jedi. Whatever happened, he hooks that thing out of the air in a supreme fashion. Who says Serie A needed Zlatan? DM

3. Lee Chung Yong - The second most excellent bachelor in all of South Korea, Lee Young-Pyo can get bent, and Seol Ki-Hyun? Seol Ki-Hwho? Harsh, but we need to get with the times, this cat is 21 and he's already the best at football of anyone in Bolton, even when Vernon Kay goes back twice a year to visit his gran. I wish June Sarpong was still hot... And you wish your teenage/young adult/middle aged/deathbed hero of 2006, Lee Young-pyo, was still the second best South Korean player to hit the Premiership. Dead wrong, mate. Owen Coyle's reputation for 'good' football (I didn't actually WATCH Burnley games, sheesh), precedes him and this gent exactly what he needs if he's going to surmount the fact that Bolton is 4 feet deep in pies and everyone has mouths on their knees. You know readers, I get the feeling, that in time, he will play for a better club than Bolton Wanderer's FC. Everton or somebody. IJC

4. Clint Dempsey - AKA Deuce, The Human highlight reel, the Kansas City Can Opener,  AKA the winner of this months Radetto Crossbar Chubby of the Century! Fuck, who needs over a cenury of cultural immersion when you've got money athleticism and rigourously practiced technique?! You know what I always say, 'What up? The best footballers aren't bred in the streets, dude, they're made in laboratories. With a shit load of cones. Peace!' But he's gone, stolen from us by an incident that didn't make the highlight reel. But fear not ,one of his crew, The Scholarship Six (who probably also read the Guardian Sport website that day, come to think about it) has informed me he'll be back for the World Cup, just in the nick of time to net me a modest amount on a radical anti-patriotic bet: Clint to put in a lung busting performance: 200 - 1 against.

Are you seriously telling me that given the oppurtunity you WOULDN'T make a rap video? IJC

5.Boaz Myhill - Boaz is one of those keepers who inhabit the lower reaches of the premiership. The Paddy Kenny/That guys who played for Charlton type. The type who will occasionally have one heroic day in the limelight. Last weekend it was Boaz' turn. But it wasn't just the heroic clean sheet that we liked here at Radetto. It was the style of the saves. It was Deflecto-tastic 90 minutes of goalkeeping. That man wasn't gonna catch nothing. Hero. DM

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Serie A Needs This Title Race

People say Serie A is in need of a recovery, it needs a title race. The English press paints a picture of a league dominated by Internazionale's euro bottlers. Scudetto after Scudetto handed out to the Nerrazurri, in acknowledgement of their somewhat disheartening ability to grind out the results despite the best efforts of the peninsula's provencial heroes, the whole season leading to an inevitable blue and black glory. That seems a little harsh to me. Serie A has not been far off its late 90's saturday morning best. Luciano Spaletti aided by that boy Totti took the fight to Inter for three years. Roma coming within 45 minutes of the title 2 short seasons ago, and getting the better of Inter in the Coppa Italia thrice in a row.

What Serie A has lacked is a genuine, season long battle for the crown. One of those ones that really gets juicy round about the end of January. Thing is, this season, as of right now, Serie A is looking pretty darn juicy. Something imprtant is about to happen amongst the towers of San Siro. Lets just get this straight; If AC beat Inter, they will be three behind with a game in hand, and fingers crossed, they can push Inter all the way through untill June.

But there is more to it that that. A title fight between AC and Inter has so, so many plus points, but with this AC, and this Inter, it would be wonderous to behold. Inter have become the immovable object of the Italian game post Calciopoli. No matter what happens they will be at the top come the end of the season. They invested heavily, and if I am honest pretty awesomely over the summer, bringing in Diego Millito and Wesley Schneider, thus satisfying Radetto's cool sulky Argentinian and genius Dutchman criteria. This is a more likable Inter squad than any of the previous four, the fact that they seem to be more falliable than previous seasons just adds to it.

And then there is AC. The antithesis of Inter's 'churning out the reults' play. This is a team containing masters of the sublime pass; Beckham and Pirlo, and the darting adventurous play of Alex Pato that undid Real Madrid not so long ago, not to mention the skills a motivated Ronaldinho can call upon. With Alex Nesta back at the back and in commanding form, along with Thiago Silva, Abbate and Antoninni Milan look formidable at the back for the first time in years. Hell, these guys are even presenting a goalscoring threat, and lets be honest, no one was expecting that. With Gattuso as commanding as ever as well as Boriello and that man Filippo Inzhagi adding not insignificant contributions to the cause I think the majority of Italy's calcio fans are dreaming of an upset this weekend. It really is a classic Mourinho, football by numbers side up against the Leonardo's opportunistic and of late prolific free spirits. Just look at the highlights from the Juve and Sienna games.

So yeah, if AC get the result this weekend Milan, and Serie A as a whole are in for one hell of a 2nd half of the year. Silky skills against solidarity, sulbilme passes against percentage play. Sod it, I can even bring myself to commit good against bad to words. But Inter are hella cool bad guys. Hell, Ranieri's happy go lucky Roma are not too far back, and Toni is back among the goals. Oh Mr Richardson, how my saturday morning need you now.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Football Is My Conscience

So what if I wrote exactly what it is about football, just write what is going on all up in those synapses.

Man I love football. It really is one of those great things in life. Like when your are in the build up to a big game. Waiting for it to start, and the tension and all that jazz. And then occasionally you just get those awesome games. Like Italy vs. Germany in 2006. That was glorious. The whole of that World Cup was glorious. Football has really got good again. I don't know what happened with WC 02 and the '04 Euros, but they just were not as good as the tournaments that preceded and followed. I mean, France '98, oh god that ruled. I mean there was the final, and there was Croatia, my lord there was Croatia. I totally fell in love with Davor Suker. On the playground at school I was allways Davor after that (I was eight, come on). And Chilie. Zamarano and Salas are still one of my all time favourite strike forces. They just ruled. That time with the national anthem before the Brazil game. Daaaaang. And Baggio playing for Italy, and how glorious the Netherlands were. It was great. Then Euro 2000 came along. Oh Francesco. The classic Toldo hands on hips, dissilusioned pose. With his nose tissue holding back the blood, and his awesomeness holding back the tears. How did it end like that after the semis? After the first 85 minutes. And then there was Bobby. Never had it felt so good to be a Toon fan. We beat Arsenal at Highbury to go top, in like, January. We drew at the San Siro. 4th, 3rd, oh holy glories. Then there was that night. The missed pens. The Going out to Partizan Belgrade. The shame. And football was kind of medium untill 2006. But then Germany came along. And I fell in love with international football again. It was primo. The German renaisance under Klinsi, the French reeling back the years, the awesome bastardlyness of Ronaldo. The glorious, gloroius Italians. Grosso in the semi, the Tardelli run all over again. And then the penatlies. Those penalties. Those stand an inch from the TV screen penalties. Buffon. Grosso again. Oh Lord. I'll set this down. I loved Germany 06. And then off to the Alps. Where everyone played such good football. When you watch every single game, and they all rule so hard, I mean c'mon. The Dutch at first, then the rain, and Colin Kazim Richards. He was superb. The Turks were superb. The Tournament was Superb. Croatia again, Slaven's nightmare. Spain. Good lord. Anyway, I need a brew. Only 143 days to go.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

How High are these North Country Boys (Support Your Local)

Here at Radetto we grew up on the banks of the Mersey, in the footballing hotbed that is Cheshire. While the songs from the other side spoke of European and Domestic sucess, on our bank the ballad was not quite as sweet. That dosen't mean that the melting pot of Cheshire football culture has no stories worth telling. So in the interest of supporting the local boys, here it is; the football in Cheshire West administerative district update.

Crewe Alexandra

First off, the Alexandra bit of the name still makes Crewe Cheshire's glamour club, and with the Gradi wonderland glory days of early this century seeming like a distant, beautiful memory, Crewe are struggling to adjust to Division 4 football. The ongoing trauma of finding a replacement for Gradi seems to be troubling the Alex at present, allthough the present incumbent, Dario Gradi is doing a good job of keeping them in reach of the playoffs, between tenth and eleventh. Alas I think the return of the glorious days may be a long time coming, and a future of League One/Two alternation awaits amongs the draft rafters of Gresty Roads main stand.

Chester City

Oh my Christ. They may have achieved pub quiz importality by having the fist owner to fail the 'Fit and Proper' thing, but that seems to have somewhat unsuprisingly, fucked them over good and proper. A man needs to be told before it goes this far. I mean, jeez. One constant of my youth was City's latest crisis being on the back of the Chronnie. The failing of living an impossible dream has left City with blackened blue eyes and only needing three more points to finally get some points on the board.

Northwich Victoria

Love was the key to Vics popularity for a brief, glorious week in November. Love of the cup, and the plucky giant killers, found its way to the Vic's door. First taking out the somewhat idiotic FC United of Manchester in satisfying style, before turnig on the romance and knocking out Charlton in the first round proper. The Vics were on everyones lips. The charlatan underdogs, whose star striker dreamt of knocking out Liverpool whilst pulling pints down the road. Alas it was not to be against Lincoln, but another solid Conference North season beacons for Cheshires current cool kids.

Witton Albion

I never want an easy life if me and he were ever to get there. So it goes for the Albion. Tellin stories forever. Keeping it real

Airbus UK Broughton

And so to Airbus. Crashin' In to become Chester's best team. Never have things been so good down at The Airfeild. Firmly ensconsed in the League of Wales, hopefully free of relegation battles for now, yet unlikely to cross paths with the average english football fan. The Wingmakers are a bit of a Cheshire sucess story, one of the only ones I know. Heres to the lads, and fingers crossed they can do the business against TNS this weekend.

So it is with football. Local love is the key

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

If I Was A Pro #1

Football at Christmas is kind of dull. Europe has closed down, and the never ending trudge of the English leagues is all that keeps us going. Until the glorius dawn of a new year that is the FA Cup third round, things are a bit samey, so with Newcastle grinding out solid, if uninspiring draws, other things have been on my mind at the Radetto offices.

Namely, what if we were Pros in the noble world of football? So to cries of 'Who would read this, you self indulgent bastard', here it is.

Okay, so the pro story would have started at high school. My glorious days in the top group for football would have been undenaiably more glorious if I had had the skills of a professional, but I guess I would have been the same type of player. Namely, one with a good reading of the game (the nicest thing any sports teacher said about me), but an lack of strength, and a fairly poor ability to dribble the ball. Basically, I was one of those deep lying midfielders/defenders, intercepting passes, putting in the tackles and playing the super sexy passes out to midfield. All of this with the physique of Peter Crouch. Not the most glamourous player then, allthough possibly the only player to represent the school (one glorious appearance) wearing an alice band.

So after school I guess it would have been the academy at either Everton or Crewe, like a few of the guys who could actually play at my school. I reckon the glamourous Italian flair of Dario Gradi would have seen me end up at Crewe.

After a few confidence building years at Gresty Road, churning out the mid table results, my chance to hit the big time would have undoubtedly arrived. Problem is, I really am shit at the physical side of the game. I reckon I would have thrived in a slower, more continental passing based enviroment. Plus the alice band would go down better there. So, come the end of the nineties (I am moving things around here cronologically a tad), the big money premiership move falling through, I feel Tirol Innsbruck would have been an ideal move. Thats right, FC Tirol Innsbruck.

First off, I do love Innsbruck as a city, being a man of the woods and mountains. But secondly, Tirol would have been a great place for a not quite premiership standard player such as myself (Ha!). Slotting into the back of Joachim Loew's diamond formation, no doubt I would have had a crucial role in the run to the 2000 Austrian Championship. Recognition in England gained in the sterling 0-0 draw at home to Valencia in that season's Champions League Qualifiers, and the defeat of Fiorentina in the Uefa cup, gaining me a crucial bit of attention to the clubs of Serie A.



So, after a 2nd Austrian title, aged 22 with English clubs interested, Martin sensatioanally turns them down, in favour of a move to Roberto Baggio's Brecsia filling the void left by Andrea Pirlo. The chance to form a deep relationship with his football hero, based on budhism, and glorious passes to much to turn down.

A place in this side would have been glorious, of that there can be no doubt. Not only supplying the balls through to Baggio and a youthful Luca Toni, but playing alongside Pep Guardiola for one glorious season and taking Brescia to new, glorious places at the Mario Rigamonti. Undoubtedly long lasting relationships would be formed with some of the greatest players in the world. I wouldn't want the Brecsia days to end...

Stay tuned for more; tales of (no) interest...

Chicks Are Football's Real Heroes

Professional footballers are hero's right? Maybee. I consider a few of them to be pretty rad dudes, but nothing more than that. I mean, can anyone who earns so so so much money be a hero? Damiano Tomassi is one. He was a damn good player for a while. Won a Scudetto, got to a European Champs final, then lost. He took the Italian minimum wage when he was injured at Roma. All pretty cool things to do, but still.



Turns out Girls are the real heroes of football. I mean, if you only have X's, and are good at football, there are like 100 teams you could play for in England alone. If you were prepared to travel a bit I am pretty sure that even I could hold down a place on the bench of any Quatari side right now. Just next to Mario Jardel, and I am sure the Quataris would throw in a villa and a golfcourse for Mario and I to hang out at between training sessions. If you are damn good at aforementioned sport, then money could mean nothing to you by the time your 25.

But if you have a Y hanging round in your chromasones, and skills at football, then things arn't quite so rosy. If you are the actual best woman in the whole country at football you could go Semi-Pro for Arsenal Ladies and play infront of a few hundered punters every weekend, but that is about it. Kelly Smith, voted the third best player in the world, was doing exactly that. In order to be fully pro she had to move to the US, and is now plying her trade in Boston, along with several other of Englands best. So to make a career out of football, these ladies have moved to America, and it is not like they have the celeb freinds and millions of pounds to reassure them that the US is best. You would be pretty aprehensive right?. There is a lot of stuff to leave behind.

See what I mean, theses girls clearly love football way more than any current premiership player. How many of the premiership's stars would turn up for regualr training aswell as holding down a day job? I would have serious doubts whether many of them could. And then, in order to turn pro, leave family and freinds and move to the opposite side of the Atlantic? Brave.

And that is just the best players. There are whole leagues of ladies out there, despite knowing that the absolute pinacle they could reach in this country is probably equivalent to a man playing for a mid table Conference North side. I am not sure Christiano Ronaldo would be the player he is today, if he knew the best he could hope for was evening training, a game a week on a sodden picth, a couple of quid at Harrogate Town.

My original thought was that lower league journeymen, those who never stoped believin' where footballs real heroes, playing football for a few quid a week. Turns out it is the fairer sex. You can be the third best player in the world and still be at that level, and yet still the determination to play is there. Clearly, the girls are in it for the football.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

And Then There Were Sixteen

So it has been said the Champions League groupstage is a money making irrelevance. But then, what is football but an irrelevant distraction on the unavoidable trudge towards death. And yet I know a good few people who could not revere Shankly's famous 'more important than that' words more if they had come from the Christ himself. Even my year nine Religous Education teacher agreed that football was a religoin to many. So by that reckoning, the Champions League groupstage must be fucking important right?

Either way, it was a glorious feast of trans-continental football, that brought light in to my dark, cold midweek evenings, and no man brought more light than Laurent Blanc. This man is a footballing genius. The anti-Allardyce walks among us. Chamakh and Gourcuff are undoubtedly brilliant players, but Blanc has got a team whose third most recognisable player, to me at least, is Diego Placente, one of those classic 'what club does he actually play for?' players that crops up in defense for Argentina. Turns out it is Bourdeaux, but he dosen't get many games. Laurent has brought, an admitedly French title winning, but largely unknown squad through a group containing big spending Juve, and a trying-to get-their-act-togethor Bayern, with style. Good job. Bordeaux are the darkest of all dark horses.

Talking of Bayern, if they can get Robben and Ribery fit for febuary... by God that could be special.

Then their was those teams kicking off to the east. A European competition should have games kicking off in the frozen east of the continent. Not only did Rubin have the best name and kit (was that a winged lion?), they outplayed some of the best teams in the competition. CSKA made it through, with Unirea being Cluj-esque in their performance. Even Debrecen and Maccabi Haifa did kind of alright. These guys brought a bit of mystery and excitement, I mean c'mon, who dosen't want to follow their team to Tartarstan? But they also brought some genuinely chalenging fixtures aswell. For once that Platini fella was right.

Real and Barca? Those dicks that will ruin world football by signing all the worlds best player right? Well...nah. They both looked pretty good on occasion, but they could have both gone out in the final round of games if things had been a bit different. If this was the champmarketing league, they would win by miles, but happily enough, marketability (That is a word yeah?) has nothing to do with football. Sevilla looked the best team in the whole thing for quite a long time, churning out some top notch performances until they got through, and they ain't exactly pretty boys. Turns out the ability to kick a ball still counts for something in this modern age.

Then there was the Milanese. AC's glorious reneaisance under Leonardo was amazing to behold. The amount of aged joy the pitch during the win over Real was obvious even from ITV's highlights packages. Sure did put a smile on Marcotti's face. Seeing Becks help these guys heroically in the knockouts, preferably aganst Chelsea, would bring a tear to my eye. And then there is Inter. Somehow they just seem like an angry team at the minute, with Balotelli and Mourinho fighting throughout, but they pulled it out and got through.

And finally, there was the heoic efforts of ACF Fiorentina. First they beat Liverpool, then Lyon, and this from a team that could have easily all gone a bit Leeds not so long ago. It is nice to know that a bit of comitment, belief, inteligence and the ability to sell shoes can still get you somewhere in this sport. Angelo Di Livio must be smiling now.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Fuelling the Market

Transfer rumours? Seems like Sergio Aguero can mention something about not going to Chelsea, and boom, it's all over the place. Ageuro £40 million pound raid, Aguero wants Chelsea, yada yada yada. Seems like these stories can come from nowhere, so here at Radetto we are going to try and improve things and push through transfers we would like to see, through rumour mongering alone. I mean, we totally have our ear to the failed agent corpse laden floor of the transfer market. We totally know some stuff you don't. So yeah, spread these rumours round kids. We can make football a better place.

Pazzini & Cassano to Juventus - I mean c'mon, this would rule. Just think, come febuary next year, Drogba makes his way through the Tuscan night, but runs into a supreme Chielini challenge. Chielini dinks it back to Buffon. Gianluca pauses, checks his headscarfe thing, and generally looks supremely cool, before lacing a pass out Diego. Diego runs forward before threading it out to Cassano, draped in the Biancolesti stripes, who procedes to dink and trick his way forward towards the box. A blur of begloved wonderment. Just when you think he is done for, he laces the pass back across the box to Diego, who eyes up the shot. But No! a sublime fake out cross glaces of the head of Pazzini and past Cech's grasp. Juve make the quarters, the old lady is back. Buffon - Chielini - Diego - Giovinco - Pazzini - Cassano - Del Piero etc would rule. I would buy FIATs for life. This was written before Bayernfest im Turin. Even more reason for them to get on the case.

Bojan Krkic to Arsenal. Imagine how supreme Arsenal would be if they didn't have to rely on Bendtner every other week. Senior Krkic, possibly the least Spanish sounding Spaniard ever, is the Radetto approved solution. First of, imagine Motty or Pearce trying to get their gobs round that name. It goes K - R - K for christs sake. But anyhoom. I like Bojan, he scored a few in Spain and could sort out the Arsenal striker situation. In the mighty Toon's absence, I think Arsenal would be a supreme home for the lad.

Sol Campbell to Anywhere but the Toon. FOR CHRISTS SAKE NO. The best defence in the Championship does not need Sol. Sheesh

Edin Dzeko to AC Milan. AC are getting there act togethor. Leonardo is going to bring them round. I can feel it. Now think how sweet it would be to see Leo at the head of a team with Alex Pato and Edin up front. AC would have one of the greatest striker combos on earth. With Pirlo in behind them they could cut sublime shapes all across the San Siro turf. Beautiful. Dzecks has allready said he would prefer Italy to the premiership, and no doubt AC are keen on him. He would help put AC a few more points on the board, and put the glamour back into Serie A again.

Robert Green to the Big Four. Give the lad a chance. This fella is good. Just give the man a chance. Yes, there was that England gaffe, but he didn't have much choice really. I blame Rio. Is it only me that sees the ideal replacement for Van Der Saar in this man's steely gaze? Plus he looks good in the British Racing Green of the England goalkeeper kit


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Team Of The Time #4

Team of The Time is back folks. Oh Yes. Just when you thought it was gone, lost in the wilderness, boom, back it comes, just like Adriano scoring 19 in 29 for Flamengo.

1 - Sebastian Frey. Yeah, putting Liverpool, or any English team out of the Champions League gives you some Radetto creds. Saying that, Seb has allways been one of my favourite goalkeepers since he replaced Buffon at Parma. Pink short sleeved jerseys, alice bands and awesome saves being one of my favourite combinations since childhood. But Mr Frey was super safe in goal against Lyon, keeping out Lyon's late pressure. Sweeet

2 - Juan Vargas - So you are stepping up for a penalty that could take your side into the last 16 of Europe's biggest fotball tournament. Only 7 seasons ago that team were in Serie C, and missed out at this stage, against the same opposition, the same time last year. Tense right? Not for 'the best Juan since Veron' Vargas. This pen was steely

3 - Klaas Jan Huntelaar. So AC Meeelan are 2nd in Serie A. Turns out Leonardo was a genius afterall. Not only that, but even Klaas Jan (I am so sure that is the name of a tractor company) got a few at the weekend. Furthermore, the 2nd was one of those 'oh you didn't' chips. Nice

4 - The FA Cup. Don't deny it, you would give the FA Cup a run out for your five a side team. Put it in the opposition's box, and it will head in those crosses. But seriously, it is not even the third round yet and I am allready convinced the FA Cup is one of the greatest tournaments on earth. 6,000 people turned up to see Oxford United take on AFC Barrow. That is two conference sides. And the atmosphere was electric. Seeing Newcastle take out a premiership side, preferably a top four one, would be the most glorious thing to have happened to the club in a long while. Big Four fans (often known as deluded fools) may disagree, but the FA Cup rules

5 - Laurent Blanc. The 2nd managerial genius to come out of France's golden generation. First off the man beats Lyon to the league title, then he goes and takes Bordeaux through a group containing Juventus and Bayern. He is clearly a genius. Girondins have one of those super exciting youthful talent teams and I really think they could go far. This could be the greatest gallic Champions League campain since Didier Deschamps' Monagasques went nuts a few seasons ago.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Success @ St. James' Park

And so two goliaths of the English game pre-1920 met last night at Deepdale, with The Toon looking to hold their place at the top of the English Championship. It is like nothing has changed.
I was pretty gutted when Newcastle went down last season. Supporting The Toon has allways lead to heartbrake, but going down just made me angry. Lets be honest, it was Mike Ashley's fault. I can still remember where I was when I got a text saying 'Keegan gone, Milner Sold'. On a bus from Sarajevo to Jajce. Actually it had stopped for lunch on the side of the road, next to this white horse. That text was devastating. Pre 'Horse-text-gate', supporting Newcastle had felt good again. We had Kev, we had a good team, we had drawn at Old Trafford. Then Ashley ruined it.

But now things are going better. Top of the table better. Glorious. And we didn't sell to many players. When was the last time two Argentinian internationals played in the 2nd tier? I am enjoying supporting Newcastle again, and not just 'cos we win a lot at the minute. I am totally going to jinx up everything here, but next season, trying to stay in le prem (crosses everything) should be way more exciting that a dull run to 11th. And if we do better than that; Glorious. Make yourself familiar with Parma's current situation, but that could be us, a team of journeymen, youngsters and not-quite-good-enough for-the-big-time-ers.

And that brings me on to the squad. Watching the Kevin Nolan - Alan Smith joint interview last night warmed my heart. Seriously, it was lovely. Both or their accents seemed to have thickened since 'the drop' and it seems this whole 'team vibe' thing might be true. They really really wanted to get us out of this league. Managerial stability is working as well, Crissy seems to be the man. And then there is the youth. Ranger and Carrol and ranger have got to be two of the best young englishmen knocking around the Championship.

And hopefully we can take that other united out of the cup. I actually think we could be back in Europe in a few seasons. Whatever people say, the support is there, and we should be getting in Europe really. But for now, the Championship rules.

Ashley is still a dick though.

Henry Handball Outrage!!!

!!!

I love this picture more than words can describe.