Barcelona Still 10 Points Behind After Win Against Atletico

While FC Barcelona has taken some time in recent matches to fully get into the game, on Sunday night they started out fully in their stride. Barcelona were guests of Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium and with none of the apparent grogginess of late they started out on the attack.

This seemed to pay off after just seven minutes when Lionel Messi scored, however the referee ruled it out for handball. Next up came Xavi, whose 30 yard free kick forced Atletico keeper Courtois to show what he could do and save the ball.

The hosts quickly stepped up to the mark and responded to the Barcelona attack with a couple of dangerous looking breaks of their own. However, solid work by the defence and by Victor Valdes ensured nothing came of these.

The match started to get a little tough, but Barcelona settled down and then showed why they are considered the best team in the world at the moment when Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Dani Alves worked in perfect harmony to score the first goal of the match. However, Atletico’s Falcao responded with an attack on the Barcelona goal, which was denied by the quickness of Valdes.

After the break Atletico came on with a renewed sense of purpose and quickly started to push. This paid off a few minutes into the second half when Falcao, on the back post, volleyed the ball into the Catalan’s net from a corner.

As is so often the case Barcelona dominated possession, but even so the hosts were quick to attack when they had the opportunity. Dani Alves was instrumental in setting up an attack on the Atletico goal, but the ball was just beyond Messi’s reach and Alexis headed it over the post. Close to the end Barcelona’s defence messed up and allowed Falcao into the area. However, Valdes kept his head and reached the ball to prevent a second goal.

The match was won from a free kick by Messi. The ball soared over the Atletico defence and looked like it would go over the goal; however at the last second it dipped and went into the back of the net, much to the surprise of the Atletico goalie.

The final score was 2-1 to Barcelona, but with a 10 point disadvantage to Real Madrid their dream of another Spanish league title in 2012 was already over; coach Pep Guardiola admitted the fact, saying only that they would continue to play until the end.

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10 Interesting Facts About FIFA Player of Year Award

It is time of the year where the FIFA world player of the year award is decided by the votes of coaches and captains of national team worldwide.

An introduction of the mechanism of the system used to select the player of the year would be discussed first. The award was started in 1991 for the male player and in 2001 for the female player categories respectively. Basically, the coaches and national team captains would vote for players drawn by the technical committees of FIFA. The system used is called the Borda count where each coach and captain would get three votes (one of five points, one of three points and one of one point) to cast for the players of his choice. And the winner would be determined by the total of points received. The winner last year is Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro of Real Madrid.

And here are ten interesting things about the FIFA World Player of the Year Award

1. The winner of 2006 award, Fabio Cannavaro, is the first defender or a player other than a midfielder or striker to have ever won the award since its inception win by Lothar Matthaus in 1991. The closet any other defender or goalkeeper has came to the award before Cannavaro’s victory are Oliver Kahn (Goalkeeper, second in 2002), Roberto Carlos (Defender, second in 1997) and Paolo Maldini (Defender, second in 1995).

2. In the past sixteen editions of the awards, it had been won by strikers and midfielders for seven times each. Thus making outfield players with the exception of defenders, a more popular choice for the award. It is summarized that as strikers and midfielders hoard most of the glory in competitions, therefore their chances are equally higher than defenders and goalkeepers.

3. There are two triple winners of the awards since its inception in 1991. They are French Midfielder Zinedine Zidane (1998, 2000 and 2003) and Brazilian Striker Ronaldo (1996, 1997 and 2002). The other player who has won more than once is Brazilian Ronaldinho (2004 and 2005).

4. No player has ever won the award for three consecutive years in the roll. The closet any one have came to it are Ronaldo (1996 and 1997) and Ronaldinho (2004 and 2005). It would take something really special every season for any one player to do so.

5. Although the award is meant for the world’s best player, only players from Europe, Africa and South American do make it to the final short list. Hence there have been quite some critics from some corner in the world about the selection process.

6. Another interesting fact is other than Juan Roman Riquleme’s nomination in 2007 when he is playing on loan for Boca Juniors, all the players on the short list came from clubs in Europe.

7. No English Player or Player from United Kingdom has ever won the award before. The closet any have came are Gary Lineker (1991, third), Alan Shearer (1996, third), David Beckham (1999 and 2001, both second) and Frank Lampard (2005, second). Maybe it would take England winning the World Cup or European Championship for a English to take the award.

8. Brazil has the most wins by nationality. Brazilian players have won the award a staggering seven times; four times more than the closet nationality of French with three wins. It could be the flair and attacking nature of the Brazilian players that clinched them the wins as players such as Ronaldo, Ronaldino, Rivaldo and Romario are all attacking players full of flairs. Or it could down to the names as all the Brazilian winners have a letter “R” to head off their names.

9. The last six winners of the award have come from teams in the Spanish La Liga. Hence it can be seen it is not English Premiership with the most star power, but the La Liga.

10. FC Barcelona had six winners from players within its ranks while great rivals Real Madrid had four. Thus making a majority of winners (a staggering sixty three percentage) from both of them for the past sixteen awards since the inception of the award. Their closet rivals for this honor is the Italian Giants Juventus with four winners.

Hopefully, the above can give one a better understanding of the FIFA Player of the year Award. And let’s await the result in 17th December 2007.

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Futsal: The Secret Behind Playing Beautiful Soccer

What do Ronaldinho, Messi, Zidane, Kaka, Fabregas and Cristian Ronaldo all have in common? They have great ball skills. These great players don’t even think about what to do with the ball, it comes to them naturally. This is a result of lots of touches on the ball and lots of practice. Do you know what else these great players have in common? They all played futsal.

Futsal is the official FIFA version of indoor 5 a side soccer. The sport is played on a hard flat court roughly the size of a basketball court with a ball that is smaller and heavier than a regulation soccer ball. Substitutions are made “on the fly” and a fast tempo is maintained by limiting kick-ins, corners and goal kicks to four seconds. Although still in the early stages of its development in North America, futsal is hugely popular in countries like Italy, Brazil, Spain and Argentina.

The fast flow of futsal enables young players to improvise, be creative and use individual skills such as ball control and feints. It doesn’t allow for “kick and run” tactics as the playing area is too small and too crowded. It requires players to think and act quickly many times over on the futsal court, often only having enough time for one touch. Players must be resourceful with their one touch and use any and all parts of the foot to pass, redirect, flick and shoot the ball.

Futsal continuously places players in challenging decision making situations, which forces players with the ball to use proper technique to make quick passes. Players without the ball are encouraged to make their way into the space and create passing options. Futsal’s quick passing environment is one of the finest teachers of the quick pass and move or “give and go”. Did you ever notice how Messi and his Barcelona FC attacking teammates effortlessly respond to quick short passes? They all played futsal.

Playing beautiful soccer is developed by playing futsal.

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Lilian Thuram

His complete name is Ruddy Lilian Thuram-Ulien. He was born on 1 January 1972 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Thuram is an ex-professional soccer player of French and his playing position is as defender (Right back / Centre back). He is the most capped player in the France national side history. At the European Championship, most appearances also have been recorded by Thuram with 16.

Lilian Thuram has some experiences with a number of senior clubs of football. His career started with AS Monaco in 1991. Thuram afterward moved to Parma F.C. in 1996-2001 and next to Juventus in 2001-2006 for value of transfer £25 million, and finally in 2006-2008 to Barcelona club. The greater part of his Italian experience was together with Juventus. He gained 4 Italian Scudetti (two were subsequently withdrawn.) In 2008 Lilian Thuram got retirement from professional soccer because of an uncommon heart defect that miserably happened and took the life of his brother.

Subsequent to becoming world champion in 1998, he was an essential component of France’s victory at Euro 2000, which caused the squad being placed by FIFA as favorite from 2001-2002. In addition Thuram participated in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, as well as Euro 1996, 2004, and 2008.

Lilian Thuram had some honors and award as long as his career as professional soccer player, some of them as an individual honors are include FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball: 1998, Légion d’honneur: 1998, FIFA 100: 2004, and FIFPro World XI: 2006. And his role with some clubs his achievements are AS Monaco FC (Coupe de France: 1991), Parma F.C. (Coppa Italia: 1999, Supercoppa Italiana: 1999, UEFA Cup: 1999), Juventus F.C. (Serie A: 2001-02 2002-03, Supercoppa Italiana: 2002, 2003), and FC Barcelona (Spanish Super Cup: 2006).

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