Thursday, May 21, 2009

Argentina's domestic national team impresses coach & fans

Argentina's 3-1 victory in yesterday's friendly against Panama has given Maradona & Argentina some confidence going into the next round of qualifiers this June. The "local" national team, which consists exclusively of domestic player seemed like a risky gamble at first, but Maradona & the manager (Bilardo) felt like they needed to take drastic measures after their 6-1 defeat by Bolivia. It will be interesting to see what strategies they employ when it comes time to integrate the domestic players & international superstars like Messi, Tevez, Mascherano, etc. to form a truly integrated team.

Also, with all the exposure this domestic team is getting, I wouldn't be surprised if many of them end up in Europe during this summer's transfer window.

The standout players from the Panama friendly:

Gonzalo Bergessio - Had two superb goals. This 24 year old player scored his first goal with a great header and the second via a left footed shot.

Matías De Federico - Scored the first goal of the game.

Daniel Montenegro - Displayed his classic play-maker abilities by circulating the ball successfully and setting up Bergessio's second goal.

Argentine players who participated in the friendly:

Diego Pozo (72', Cristian Campestrini); Alexis Ferrero (67', Ignacio Canuto), Matías Caruzzo y Nicolás Otamendi; Eduardo Salvio (59', Sebastián Blanco), Hernán Bernardello (46', Leonardo Prediger), Fabián Rinaudo (58', Franco Zuculini) y Matías De Federico (46', Emiliano Papa); Daniel Montenegro (capitán); José Sand (46', Esteban Fuertes) y Gonzalo Bergessio.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maradona's "Local" National Team

Maradona's new "local" national team, composed entirely of domestic players from Argentinas's tops clubs is ready to take on Panama (friendly) on May 20th and soon after the two important qualifiers against Ecuador & Colombia. The only major club not being represented in this "local team" is River Plate. It seems Maradona is really focusing on players who have been on recent hot streaks.

Below are the latest stats on the 28 players that have been called up by Maradona to play the 3 upcoming games:

Avg Height
Entire Team - 178cm - 5ft 8in
Midfielders - 174.6cm - 5ft 7in
Forwards - 180cm - 5ft 9in
Defenders - 177cm - 5ft 8in
Goalies - 188cm - 6ft 1in

Average Age:
Entire Team 24 yrs

Youngest Players:
Eduardo Salvio - 18 yrs
Franco Zuculini - 18 yrs
Ezequiel Muñoz - 18 yrs

Oldest Players
Juan Sebastian Veron - 34 yrs
Martín Palermo - 35 yrs
Esteban Fuertes - 36 yrs

Birth Place (by Province)
Buenos Aires: 46%
Santa Fe: 37%
Other (Corrientes, Cordoba, La Rioja, Mendoza, Entre Rios): 17%

Current Clubs (by country)
Argentina: 100%

Current Clubs Represented (# of players)
Boca Juniors 4
Colon 4
Velez Sarsfield 3
Estudiantes 3
Lanus 3
Argentinos Juniors 2
Newell's Old Boys 2
Arsenal de Sarandi 1
Gimnasia y Esgrima 1
Huracan 1
Independiente 1
Racing 1
Rosario Central 1
San Lorenzo 1

Most Common Zodiac Signs
Aries, Pisces & Leo 45%

Players (by position)
Eduardo Salvio - Forward
Martín Palermo - Forward
Milton Caraglio - Forward
Matías De Federico - Forward
Esteban Fuertes - Forward
Jose Sand - Forward
Gonzalo Bergessio - Forward
Mauro Formica - Forward
Franco Zuculini - Midfielder
Sebastian Prediger - Midfielder
Fabián Rinaudo - Midfielder
Sebastián Battaglia - Midfielder
Ignacio Canuto - Midfielder
Maximiliano Moralez - Midfielder
Juan Sebastian Veron - Midfielder
Sebastián Blanco - Midfielder
Hernán Bernardello - Midfielder
Daniel Montenegro - Midfielder
Juan Forlín - Defender
Ezequiel Muñoz - Defender
Matías Caruzzo - Defender
Alexis Ferrero - Defender
Emiliano Papa - Defender
Marcos Angeleri - Defender
Nicolás Otamendi - Defender
Mariano Andújar - Goalie
Cristian Campestrini - Goalie
Diego Pozo - Goalie

Click link to see them during today's training session in Buenos Aires

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This week's player standouts - Lionel Messi & Diego Milito

This weekend we saw some outstanding soccer from Lionel Messi (Barcelona) & Diego Milito (Genoa).

Lionel Messi:

Messi's performance against Real Madrid this weekend was pure artistry. He was the creative engine behind Barcelona's 6-2 win. The similarities with Maradona are becoming more apparent as he matures. As for the Argentine national team, his role as the #10 is sold as a rock.

Diego Milito:

Diego Milito scored a hat trick today for Genoa against Sampdoria. He showed his true striker qualities by finishing off three great goals. I think Maradona should keep Diego Milito high on his national team radar. Milito would give him the option of using the classic tall center forward or #9. This would be a nice complement to the #10 (Messi).