There were some high-flying events of the previous year. We had ups and downs, great achievements, and big failures. Leicester city demonstrated that we should dream and if we fight strong enough we can do great things. The Pogba transfer was the first ‘social media’ driven deal of history. The Portugal national team won the European championship despite they weren’t the best but had great luck and Fernando Santos’s idea. Johan Cruyff died and we lost one of the greatest thinker and innovator of football. Chile won the Copa America centenario the oldest international tournament.
The Euro 2016 final saw the hosts favourites France take on Portugal. France, who played in a 4-2-3-1 for nearly the whole match, controlled the match but were unable to put away their chances. Portugal stuck with the 4-4-2 diamond that had made them to the final and put on yet another display by the book, made even more thrilling after Ronaldo’s early exit. Linked with the goalkeeping heroics of Rui Patricio, excellent substitutions, and France’s profligacy in front of goal, Portugal recorded their first ever major tournament victory.
Fernando Santos killed two birds with one stone when Quaresma came on, replacing their injured talisman but also vitally changing the shape of the midfield. He kept his midfield fresh and gave his team an outlet through Eder as it became more apparent the match was moving towards extra time predicting that they would be relying on long balls to alleviate pressure. On the other hand, Deschamps continued with his shape and took off his target man – effectively ending Griezmann’s final. Had Griezmann finished his chances and had Gignac scored in the last minutes of the match maybe the story would’ve been different. Instead, Deschamps was outmatched on France’s big day as Portugal ruined the party and etched themselves into European footballing history.
Pogba has rebounded to his erstwhile stomping ground after United principals achieved the remarkable £90million transaction to acquire the midfielder from Juventus. Deal reached for Juventus player who played for two years at Manchester earlier to return — on wages of £210,000 per week.
Raiola, Pogba’s agent has persuaded his apprentice to reunite the club he left in 2012 after two seasons because of the absence of first-team chances under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Pogba, now 23, has succeeded at Turin and appeared as one of the most wanted wonderkids in Europe with United delighted to pay the money for a player they let go.
The agreement has been named as the definitive example of a sport gone money-mad, and expressed as former manager Sir Alex’s main mistake.
United’s deliberately designed and branded message of the Pogba business was as glistening as a multi-million pound advert campaign, marking a new stage in the evolution of the modern-day football business.
Football’s biggest fairytale. Period.
Johan Cruyff died
Netherlands footballing hero Johan Cruyff has died of cancer aged 68. As a player, he won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974. Cruyff was the famous artist of the football philosophy known as Total Football researched by Rinus Michels, and is widely seen as one of the most memorable players in football.
Ajax (as a player): European Cup x 3, European Super Cup x 2, Dutch league title x 8, Dutch Cup x 5, Intercontinental Cup x 1, Super Cup x 1.
Ajax (as a manager): European Cup Winners’ Cup x 1, Dutch Cup x 2.
Barcelona (as a player): Spanish league title x 1, Spanish Cup x 1.
Barcelona (as a manager): European Cup x 1, European Cup Winners’ Cup x 1, European Super Cup x 1, Spanish league title x 4, Spanish Cup x 1, Spanish Super Cup x 3.
Feyenoord (as a player): Dutch league title x 1, Dutch Cup x 1.
He listed his 14 basic rules that include:
- 1.) Team player – ‘To accomplish things, you have to do them together.’;
- 2.) Responsibility – ‘Take care of things as if they were your own.’;
- 3.) Respect – ‘Respect one another.’;
- 4.) Integration – ‘Involve others in your activities.’;
- 5.) Initiative – ‘Dare to try something new.’;
- 6.) Coaching – ‘Always help each other within a team.’;
- 7.) Personality – ‘Be yourself.’;
- 8.) Social involvement – ‘Interaction is crucial, both in sport and in life.’;
- 9.) Technique – ‘Know the basics.’;
- 10.) Tactics – ‘Know what to do.’;
- 11.) Development – ‘Sport strengthens body and soul.’;
- 12.) Learning – ‘Try to learn something new every day.’;
- 13.) Play together – ‘An essential part of any game.’;
- 14.) Creativity – ‘Bring beauty to the sport.
Copa America centenario
Copa América was 100 years old and the world’s bests were coming to the U.S. to celebrate last year. Copa América Centenario officially recognizes the tournament as the oldest international continental soccer competition in the world. It was first officiated in Argentina on July 2, 1916, but didn’t get its name until 1975.
Chile won the tournament, beating Argentina again in the final. The Best player award was given to Alexis Sanches after his outstanding performances. The Copa America Centenario ended with a tense, closely fought contest between Argentina and Chile in a repeat of last year’s final. And, in a prescient case of déjà vu, it once again saw Chile emerge triumphant from a penalty shootout after a goalless draw, handing them their second trophy in quick succession. Chile verified that last year’s Copa America win was no accident as they well defended their pinnacle. After the horrible refereeing of Lopes endangered to spoil the match, Chile were able to accommodate to the sending offs, retain control of the midfield thanks to their strenuous press and the tactical conservativeness of Martino and cut off the supply to an increasingly segregated Messi.
For Argentina the failure will be a difficult one to accept and the fallout could be substantial, what with the off-field disarray of the AFA and Messi’s international future in the balance. On another day this tight fixture could have swung the other way but Argentina will once again rue their missed opportunities to end their 23-year wait.