Sunday, April 26, 2009

This week's player standouts: Carlos Tevez, Lisandro Lopez, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Aguero, Esquiel Lavezzi

Carlos Tevez (Manchester United):
Tevez had a tremendous impact in Manchester's 5-2 victory over Tottenham. He didn't score any goals but created a goal conducive environment during the second half once he substituted for Nani. All five goals came in the second half. What makes Tevez such a special player is his ability to switch from striker to playmaker whenever the need arises.

Lisandro Lopez (FC Porto):
Lisandro kept Porto at the head of the Portuguese league with two big goals in his 2-0 win over Setubal. This win gives Porto a four point over their closet rival Sporting.

Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid)
Like Tevez, Higuain did not score today but he hustled for every ball and set up one of Raul's three goals in Real Madrid's 4-2 win over Sevilla.

Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid):
El Kun finally broke his goaless streak with a fantastic goal against Sporting Gijon which added to their 3-1 win.

Esquiel Lavezzi (Napoli):

Lavezzi set up the only goal of the game against the omnipotent Inter. Lavezzi attacked relentlessly making it difficult for Inter to deal with.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maradona selects a new national team made up of local players

As expected, Maradona and his advisers decided to select a "local" national team consisting of the most talented domestic players. This will enable Maradona to train once week and prepare for the upcoming world qualifiers against Ecuador & Colombia. This shift in strategy proves how serious Maradona and AFA officials are on qualifying for South Africa next summer. For now, the only objective for the "local" team is to qualify - I will publish statistics on this new team in the very near future.

The "Local" National Team

Cristian Campestrini (Arsenal)

Mariano Andújar (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Juan Verón (Estudiantes de La Plata)

Juan Forlín (Boca Juniors)

Ezequiel Muñoz (Boca Juniors)

Sebastian Battaglia (Boca Juniors)

Martín Palermo (Boca Juniors)

Nicolás Otamendi (Vélez Sarsfield)

Emiliano Papa (Vélez Sarsfield)

Maximiliano Moralez (Vélez Sarsfield)

Ignacio Canuto (Argentinos Juniors)

Matías Caruzzo (Argentinos Juniors)

Alexis Ferrero (Colón de Santa Fe)

Diego Pozo (Colón de Santa Fe)

Hernán Bernardello (Newell's Old Boys)

Mauro Formica (Newell's Old Boys)

Daniel Montenegro (Independiente)

Fabián Rinaudo (Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata)

José Sand (Lanús)

Sebastián Blanco (Lanús)

Eduardo Salvio (Lanús)

Gonzalo Bergessio (San Lorenzo de Almagro)

Franco Zuculini (Racing Club)

Matías De Federico (Huracán)

Milton Caraglio (Rosario Central)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

River Plate Vs Boca Juniors: A must see this Sunday (April 19 - 14:00 Est)

This Sunday, the two biggest rivals of Argentine soccer are going to battle it out in Boca Junior's home turf, La Bombonera. This event is also referred to as the "Super Classic" or "Superclasico" in Spanish. This is a definite must see for any one interested in Argentine soccer or soccer in general. It exposes the good the bad and the ugly of true soccer passions - You will get to experience authentic Argentine soccer style in its raw state.

The History of this rivalry goes back to the early 1900's and has intensified ever since. In addition, River has not won a game in their last four encounters -- You basically cannot add anymore wood to this fire.

There is an excellent article put out by FIFA called "All Eyes on Buenos Aires" that describes this rivalry very thoroughly, and I recommend reading it before watching the game tomorrow.

Players to watch closely:

River Plate:
Diego Buonanotte 30
Marcelo Gallardo 10

Boca Juniors:
Martín Palermo 9
Sebastián Battaglia 5
Juan Forlín 6
Ezequiel Muñoz 19
Juan Riquelme 10
Luciano Gabriel Figueroa 18

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inter needs a striker: Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero?

With the news of Adriano, Inter's Brazilian striker on the way out, the odds of Sergio Aguero (El Kun) or Carlos Tevez (El Apache) going to Inter Milan this summer have just shot way up. There is also the fact that two other top strikers, the Argentine duo Julio Cruz (34 yrs) & Hernan Crespo (33 yrs.) are past there prime age. It is also no secret that Maradona has told both players at one time or another that they should go to Inter. Furthermore, there is the Argentine gang of players already making Inter their home. When you put all these factors together you really have to ask yourself the big question - Who will it be? El Kun or El Apache?

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week's Game Highlights: Juan Veron, Gonzalo Higuaín, Mauro Zarate

This past week these 3 players had game winning impact for their teams:

Juan Veron (Estudiates, Arg) - Juan Veron did a splendid job circulating the ball during the important game against Cruzeiro of Brazil for the Copa Libertadores. It gave his team a 4-0 win - He even got a chance to sneak one in.

Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid) - Had a fantastic assist for Raul in their 2-0 win against Marilyn Chambers.

Mauro Zarate (Lazio) - Had a long distant monster shot creating a spectacular goal in their 4-2 win against Roma.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Champions League quarter finals full of Argentine goals

The Champion League quarterfinals has been full of Argentine talent and goals. First we had Tevez's goal as a substitute against Porto. Then came Mariano Gonzalez's late goal equalizer for Porto againt Manu. Today we saw more Messi magic againt Bayern Munich with two great goals.

Champions League Teams in the Quarterfinals

Manchester United
Carlos Tevez - 1 goal

Lucho Gonzalez
Lisandro Lopez
Mariano Gonzalez - 1 goal

Messi - 2 goals

Bayern Munich
Martin Demichelis
José Ernesto Sosa

Javier Mascherano

Javier Gonzalo Rodriguez
Ariel Ibagaza

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Napoli interested in Ever Banega: looks to Inter as role model

With the possible signing of the clever defensive midfielder Ever Banega it appears Napoli along with its new coach Donandoni is looking to Argentine players to secure a successful future. This is a similar path Inter Milan took a few years ago when they acquired several high profile Argentine players (see below) all of which have been national team players. This strategy has surely worked for Inter as they continue being the undisputed powerhouse of the Italian league. Ever Banega would bring Napoli's Argentine player count to four the others (see below) are fairly new signings with the latest being Boca Junior's Jesus Datolo.

Ever Banega would bring much needed relief in Napoli's midfield with his defensive style which includes great ball control and tackling. He is from the same school as Fernando Redondo, Mascherano & Gago. Unfortunately Banega has not had much playing time since his arrival to Atletico Madrid via a loan from Valencia. I hope this changes when he goes to Napoli or any other team he ends up in. I also think he should be Gago's backup on Maradona's team just like he was for his ex-team Boca Juniors.

Inter's Argentine Players
Javier Zanetti
Nicolas Burdisso
Walter Samuel
Esteban Cambiasso
Julio Cruz
Hernan Crespo

Napoli's Argentine Players
Jesús Dátolo
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Germán Denis

Ever Banega Compilation

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back to square one for Maradona

After Argentina's historic loss to Bolivia, Maradona will have to re access his strategy & players when playing in high altitude locations. In Bolivia, he completely underestimated the forces of nature and the soccer abilities of the Bolivians. He, however, will soon get a chance to redeem himself when they play Ecuador on June 10th in Quito (2,850 m/9,350 ft) the second highest capital city after La Paz, Bolivia. I agree with Maradona that high altitude soccer should not be banned. It is just one extreme condition out of many such as high heat/humidity or extreme cold that one needs to prepare for. What really annoys me is the lack of mental and physical preparation the team had going into this game - After this horrific loss in altitude, I think Maradona will look very closely at the strategy used by the "Ghost Team" of coach Enrique Omar Sívori in 1973 (Qualifiers for Germany 1974). Basically, Sivori selected a young team of domestic players and had them train secretly in Argentina's high altitiude city of Tilcara (Jujuy province - 2500 m/8,200 ft)
There they trained 40+ days until the day of the game where they were joined by a few other high profile players. The outcome of that game was a 1-0 victory for Argentina.

1974 National Team

I will keep a close eye on any new players he might considering or should consider integrating to the national team.