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Showing posts from June, 2014

Podcast: Mercato Kickoff

There is a massive sporting event being held in Brazil right now, the biggest sporting event in the world. But starting on Tuesday, the real spectacle begins: The mercato. The transfer market makes teams and breaks hearts, but the sharing of rumors is more of a bloodsport amongst fans. Still we decided to brave the waters with some good old fashioned mercato speculation. We also discussed the future of Italian football and oh, yeah, the World Cup.

Italy’s Orphans

In the wake of Italy’s Group Stage exit of the World Cup, Prandelli quit his post. But not without some parting advice to the nation who didn’t support their own team. One of the things he said was that “There has to be a technical project that starts from the youth academies.” And while most people think that focusing on youth means they should pile more hate on Balotelli, looking at Italy’s youth development is rather eye opening. Despite having a number of young prospects that are well known, it’s almost as if youth players in Italy are orphans.

False Positive

Anyone can criticize Mario Balotelli. And chances are that if you are reading this, you probably have, at least once. I know I have. But it takes a little more effort to peel back the layers and see what is really going on since Italy crashed out of the World Cup. Why is it that one person is being criticized so heavily for the failings of an entire team? Or even an entire nation? What could one person do so wrong that his own teammates would make veiled public references so widely interpreted to be aimed toward him? Bite someone? Oh, nevermind, that guy’s FA and country actually defended him. So maybe all of the criticism is actually a false positive.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Aside from being in complete shock at what just happened on the pitch with my beloved Azzurri, I am, of course crushed that they are going home early. Again. And while Azzurri fans everywhere look for someone or something to blame, try to interpret players’ intents or argue about formations and lineups, a bigger weight is on my shoulders. Fair play. You can argue until you are Azzurri blue in the teeth that Italy could and should have played better, Prandelli’s selections and tactics were poor, or whatever. But you can’t argue that the referee’s decisions and a pure lack of fair play were the game changer on this one. So Italy go home once bitten, twice shy.

So Sue Me

Reports keep bubbling up that Seedorf plans to sue AC Milan for damages after being fired almost inexplicably. This after it took about two weeks to resolve his contract following the initial reports Milan were going to make a change. That stalemate saw him hold them responsible for his two and a half year contract, despite the fact that they desperately tried to wiggle out of their obligation. So today I thought I would take a quick look at this issue through different perspectives. (All opinions are my own, no club presidents were harmed in the writing of this post, etc.)

Clearance on Co-Ownerships

In true Italian fashion, the subject of abolishing co-ownerships has been talked about for much of this past season, but the decision was only made about a month ago. When you also consider that the deadline for resolving them was yesterday, you can see why everyone was too busy to rush out and make ginormous offers to take our superstar, Matri off of our hands. Don’t worry, at his bargain price, I’m sure that he will go quickly now that these tedious co-ownership details are wrapping up.

Brazilian Photo Album

Our eight Milan players representing their countries at the World Cup haven’t all been making headlines. But they have been making memories. Apart from a few sound bites, though, we don’t always get to know what they have to say. So I have taken the liberty of captioning some of their photos for you: in essence, putting words in their mouths. So while you enjoy the World Cup, enjoy my Brazilian Photo Album.

World Cup Fever

There is a very serious virus going around, and I think I’ve got it bad. It’s called World Cup Fever, and it tends to consume those infected with it. The virus seems to last about four weeks, and luckily, it only comes around every four years. But it carries long term side effects, many of those afflicted with it are never the same again.

Podcast: World Cup Obsession

The World Cup is the greatest event in the world, it’s certainly how I fell in love with football. It also only comes every few years. So even with the official appointment of one Filippo Inzaghi as new Milan manager finally arriving, we are a bit obsessed with the Milan players and their teams in Brazil right now. Still, we focus on Milan, too, and don’t forget to update you on the Douchebaggery Alert System™. But seriously, Forza Azzurri!

Samba Lessons

In case you’ve been in a coma and also living under a rock, there is a little event happening right now in Brazil called the World Cup. Milan have eight players representing their various countries, the biggest honor for any footballer. With the tournament held every four years, it’s really a make or break (so sorry Montolivo) situation for all of the players who participate. And with the added excitement this year of it being held in such a giant footballing nation, the opportunity to entertain on a world stage is limitless.

World Cup Heroes: Franco Baresi

It was my very first World Cup, my introduction to football. I had followed the whole tournament in 1994 with wide eyes, taking it all in. But there was this Italian team with so many story lines, yet so very much the underdogs. I have always liked the underdogs. However, one of the most fascinating story lines for me was this guy, Franco Baresi. He was 34 years old, and was captain of the Azzurri that year. He had suffered a knee injury early in the tournament that required surgery, but made a miraculous recovery to play in the final. I had no idea what he meant to Milan at that point, in fact I didn’t know much about Milan at all at the time. But for me, he was a World Cup hero.

The Changing of the Guard

In current Milan fashion, that Milan have a new coach is not actually news. For two weeks, every media source has been reporting that Seedorf would be sacked and that Inzaghi would be promoted as manager of the first team. So much so that they then went on to predict lineups, formations, specialists Inzaghi might hire, diet and exercise regimes he might implement, and so much more long before Inzaghi was even appointed. There were “leaked” pictures of Inzaghi sitting in very public places with Galliani and with transfer targets, not to mention all of the multi-hour pow wows at Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore. In fact, the only mentions of Seedorf were how annoying it was that he hadn’t reached a severance package agreement with the club. That is not how fans want their legends treated, and that is not how fans want Milan to behave. Vergogna. But finally, it is official. And yet not really news.

Becoming Balotelli

Ahead of the World Cup, Balotelli has given us some epic sound bites: “People will always want to talk about Mario. They will always want to write about Mario. I’m used to that now. But for me, it’s time to make people talk about what I’m doing on the pitch. I want to be one of the best players in the world, and usually all the legends are born at the World Cup.” So I decided that if legends are born at the World Cup, it’s time for me to step it up. I want to become like Balotelli.

Papa Don’t Preach

Daddy is coming home. Finally. Almost three weeks after the unveiling of the new Casa Milan, Berlusconi is finally going to see it. Barbara recently said that he would visit after the elections were over, which is not at all shocking, as Milan has only ever been a platform for his politics. Nevermind that he claims to love the club. Nevermind that this project is the result of years of planning and a lot of money spent. Nevermind that his own daughter and co-CEO was over this project. Nevermind that he might have to abandon his dog’s website for a few hours to see Milan’s new home. The important thing is that today, Papa Berlusconi is finally making time out of his politically banned life of politics to visit the home of the club he claims to love so much. And we should be grateful.

Podcast: The Fantastic Four

With the level of douchebaggery at Milan already so high at Milan, I called in the big guns to help sort everything out. So we, the Milan Obsession Fantastic Four, talk about the coaching situation and then sort through the roster to give management some ideas as to who to sell and who to keep this summer. Last but not least, we introduce the Milan Obsession Douchebaggery Alert System™ to help you know what levels of douchebaggery are going on at any given time. You’re welcome.

Poll: Off With Their Heads

In March I wrote about the price of representing one’s national team. But this week, that has all new meaning, as Montolivo’s injury not only rules him out of the World Cup, but he will be out up to six month, impacting Milan’s season as well. And Balotelli's muscle injury seems to be worse now, too. All of this for playing a meaningless friendly ahead of the World Cup. Was it worth it? Should FIFA still allow these kinds of matches so close to a big competition? Some people think that heads are gonna roll.