As they say.. The Business End of the season is finally around the corner.. Things over the course of the next couple of months may yet just make or break one’s party for once and for all.. It’s now or never time for the Best in the European peninsula.. Either perform now or perish. Not only do we frequently see and hear constant references to the frightening scenarios about the european juggernauts cooked up in the media.. But on the pitch too things are certainly getting hotter than ever.. Merely just illustrating the sheer importance of this critical phase of the season.
And in the midst of all this chaos.. We ll now take an introspective glance at the current scenarios at some of the BIGGEST NAMES in all of Europe.. And of course we ll talk about the incredible chain of events about ‘em too that had even the purists turn their heads in awe.
Now without further ado.. here’s is where the real business starts for the elite. So.. Buckle up n fasten your seat belts folks because we ‘re gonna have one rollercoaster of a ride.
SOMEWHERE IN TURIN..
We drop off in italy n what better place to start with than TURIN itself.. Where the so-loved darlings of italy.. Of course none other than Juventus. Still unbeaten in the serie A.. They ‘ve delivered during the season some dazzling stuff(Remember?.. 3-3 away to SSC NAPOLI.. 2-1 win at UDINESE.. or more recently.. 5-0 mauling of ACF FIORENTINA!) , delivered at breakneck speed. Their turnaround in fortunes that seemed so unthinkable after two years of massive underachievement.. Their astounding resurgence has been nothing short of extraordinary, bordering on the brink of unreal.. Given the catastrophic events of the unfortunate Calciopoli scandal that rocked the floor under their legs not so long ago.. Antonio Conte really deserves much plaudits for providing the Bianconeri the stimulus for a remarkable fightback out of nowhere. But as of late.. Their improvement has stagnated dramatically. Ugly draws resulting from their inability to put the game to bed.. They are lacking the cutting-edge so desperately at times this season. An ineffective Alessandro Matri.. Lack of creative influence up front.. Some mind boggling decisions by club general director Giuseppe Marotta(Take for instance the signing of Marco Borriello!).. N some recent tinkering in formation n tactics by Conte have cost the record italian champions the lead they held for so long. Even stark comprehensions of enduring similar fate to 1978-79 Perugia side have also been drawn to surface.. But as Antonio Conte put it best as he asserted.. title or no title, this was surely to be Juventus’ season.. Yeah mate I agree too.
OFF TO THE FASHION CAPITALE..
We now head to the italian capital n go right away to the biggest club in town(as we all can guess already..!) .. Sitting safe atop the standings with a comfortable 4-point cushion over Juve.. The Devils of Lombardy are finally hitting their strides n oozing confidence that lacked a few months back. They ‘re in rampant form of late and look set to clinch their 19th serie A title barring any serious comeback rally by the trailing Bianconeri that looks more n more unlikely with each passing day. Boasting an arguably better roster than the rest in the league.. N with top marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic banging in the goals at will.. They ll believe those slim juventini hopes of any title shot have been finally laid to rest. But they too themselves can ill afford any let-up in the hunt as evident from a horror show at The Emirates as they embarrassingly went down 3-0 against The Gunners in the Champions’ League last 16 second leg. But still.. They are well n truly the masters of their own destiny now.
CHANGING THE COLORS..
We now turn our attention to the blue half of Milan where everything looks grim. Ageing process has bitten down hard on the Nerazzurri while the entire squad is fraught with issues on n off the field. Current crop are well beyond their use-by date whereas a rebuilding task of mega size proportions is the call of the Curva Nord. A strikeforce of Diego Milito n Diego Forlan are not just up to the task while Giampaolo Pazzini has hit a bad patch lately. An immoblie midfield crux is swamped with 30-somethings that that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Some baffling decisions by the club hierarchy like the signings of Mauro Zarate n even Forlan(But.. Let’s not name names, shall we?) raised a few eyebrows n evidently sabotaged their progress(if any..!) and club president Massimo Moratti needs to cover these terrible facets if The Pinetina are to return back to glory days of old. N unfortunately there are no quick fix strategies here Massimo! You ‘ve gotta do it the hard way.
OVER TO MANCHESTER..
We arrive in Manchester where the title race gravitates ever so swiftly towards a fascinating finale. Manchester United’s recent form has given further credence to claims of Sir Alex being one of the best managers around. On the face of it.. The two horse race for the title looks to go down to the wire while certainly The Red Devils look to have gained the upper hand for now, latching onto some scratchy results from their noisy neighbors by trumping ‘em to second spot. But better yet.. Manchester City too have played some of the most aesthetically pleasing football in the English top tier in years n are more than capable of giving United a run for their money. Because The Citizens reckon they ‘re closer than ever to ending their purgatorial hell with a first title win in almost 44 years. The season-defining crunch game for the title race awaits come 30th April.
We ‘re in the English Capital where the ongoing drama just leaves you mystified and flabbergasted at the absurdity of this thing we call football. We fly to south west where we behold the sight of a side maddeningly inconsistent in terms of results this season. Long gone are the days when an air tight water proof defense combining to deadly effect with a lethal strike force that used to toy with their opponents with sublime ease n crush ‘em into submission. They still have some catching up to do to stay in the European places while a profligate Fernando Torres needs to extricate the goal-scoring monkey off his back soon enough before he suffers the ignominious wrath of their billionaire Russian oligarch for whom sack is the favored official tool for control(Ask.. Andriy Shevchenko!). Elsewhere in the northern region, Arsenal’s headless chickens are finally gelling to wonderful effect n delivering the goods after some early season hiccups. Wins against Chelsea(5-3!), Tottenham(5-2!) n AC Milan(3-0) have the Gunners jostling with glistening new confidence while skipper Robin Van Persie remains something of an enigma. Arsene Wenger’s methods surely takes time and consistent effort to work best as the tetchy fellow suggested himself.. They are merely a perception that things ―could‖ go wrong – but that doesn‘t mean they will. In Arsene we trust.. don’t we?
AN EVENING IN SPAIN..
It‘s hard really to believe that anyone could be so afraid of success (isn‘t success usually a good thing?). But REAL MADRID CF seems to be pertaining to this disease quite stubbornly. The proliferation of fears is as limitless as the human imagination as many of us know. But why just they always seem to be scared(!) of their eternal rivals the Los Cules?.. That’s the big question here. Fears often relate to situations and events that leave us feeling vulnerable and defenseless as in The Blancos’ case(3 draws n 4 losses in last 7 clashes against The Catalans).. And to lash out at others(Referees.. that is!) when a possible failure is imminent doesn’t tangibly suit the profile of a club of such eminence n prestige. What Jose Mourinho fails to realize here is the mindset that you most often hold that really makes the difference at the big moments in the marquee matches. All it takes is a simple shift in approach.. Mind you they are still at the pinnacle in LA LIGA(though last week saw their lead dwindled to six points) n they are REAL MADRID CF.. The most successful club on the continent.. That should be just about enough. Now across the divide in Catalunya.. Where football on the pitch seems more PlayStation than real life.. The Blaugrana are at the peak of their powers. Though the odds don‘t seem to be stacked up in their favor in the liga.. Still they ‘re firmly in the driving seat in Europe n Copa Del Ray while on the road setting unprecedented feats that may yet stand the test of time for years to come(See.. 7-1 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen).
So at the end of the day.. From the viewpoint at this level, the world suddenly looks a better place indeed.
No more topsy-turvy rides.. No more footballing cliches.. All we do need now is a sumptuous cup of coffee n a replenishing break!!
That’s the end of our beautiful journey across Europe folks.. Hope you enjoyed the journey just as much as I did.
See you again.. Godspeed.
A boiling hot sunny day.. A sumptuous lunch to die for( or is it to.. SUICIDE for??).. N finally an ever-so-monotonous college schedules made by few goddamn people you’d love to kill for free.. N there you ‘ve got your complete recipe for ultimate boredom! But at long last.. got a perfect li’l recipe of my very own to look to when things get this much worse.. Blogging, of course.
But maybe.. I am a li’l short of options to write about something as of now so I see no better way than football(Oh.. I love it!) to have some fun all the way. N talkin of football, I ll now get you into the nuts n bolts of the recent UEFA CHAMPIONS’ LEAGUE draws that have us, the fans take to the edge of our seats right away.. shimmering with profuse excitement n anticipating with much aplomb the 4 exquisite rounds of pulsating fixtures where some top notch european giants will be desperately gunning for glory n vying with each other to lay their hands on the most prestigious of all prizes this planet has to offer.. LA OREJONA- THE COUPE DES CLUBS CHAMPIONS EUROPÉENS.
I ll here take a quick look only at the sides who stand the most realistic of chances to go all the way in the competition, with no offense to the rest of the sides who deservedly got this far. But the road to success from here on will certainly not be paved in gold.. The battle ll be tougher than ever. Yep, that’s right.. In all certainty, where a precious moment of magic(or madness..!!) could presumably seal off your fate altogether.. There’s no room for any complacency now even for the cream of the crop in europe.
Now let’s get down to the action straight away.
THE CONTENDERS :
#1. BAYERN MUNICH :
The Bavarians were certainly looking off color in their past few games but they choked their critics in breath-taking fashion, with a resound thrashing of a lacklustre FC BASEL side with consummate ease, winning the tie 14-1 on aggregate(watch out.. europe!) n proving their mettle in the process as a genuine contender for the title. On friday, they got a difficult, but manageable draw against french outfit OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE.. But their eyes ll surely be already on a potential semi-final showdown against the competition co-favorites REAL MADRID CF. In that scenario, a look even beyond the semis ll be a tough ask for the german behemoths.. But the very fact of the final being hosted at their very own home ground ALLIANZ ARENA may well act as a sheer motivation for jupp heynckes’ men to at least put some real fight.. Coz to become the best.. Inevitably, you ‘ve gotta beat the best. N they know that well enough.
#2. REAL MADRID :
A DAVID vs GOLIATH battle here on cards really.. After REAL MADRID CF drew cypriot minnows APOEL NICOSIA in the last 8 draw in Nyon. Considering the glaring gulf in class between the two.. An easy progress for the spanish powerhouse is all but certain. Well, it just so happens that there have been always some noise from time immemorial about Jose Mourinho’s second season being the most fruitful one.. N frankly I do believe it. He has in 2 years time fine-tuned a glamorous but arrogant side into a gritty rock-solid n stellar attacking unit with sky high confidence. They have some outrageously gifted midfield n defense while an enigmatic CRISTIANO RONALDO spearheading an already lethal midfield to tear anyone apart on their day. But.. one team that has stood in their way always.. Their arch-nemesis FC BARCELONA.. Have always denied ‘em their fair share of successes n left ‘em contemplating what just went wrong! But Even if the world thinks there is no way you’ll succeed against this Barcelona side, this time, all Madrid have to do
is prove them wrong once to make ‘em eat their own words. Am I right? A simple change in
mindset is all it will take for the Men in White to do the impossible.. Coz inside the word impossible itself, is possible. For the 9-time european champions.. This.. is the judgement time. An epic EL CLASICO for european supremacy awaits.
#3. CHELSEA FC :
Chelsea’s shambolic defensive frailties were exposed brutally at the SAN PAOLO by a fire-flying SSC NAPOLI side as evidently seen from their cataclysmic collapse in naples.. N many had even written off even their faintest of chances.. But the blues did salvage some pride n stepped up the gear to turn the tie on its head at the STAMFORD BRIDGE triumphing 5-4 on aggregate.. Much to the dismay of a shell-shocked Napoli. The premier league giants may well be in buoyant mood after such heroics but still the squad harmony remains in question while the players remain irreversibly short of confidence. Then there’s a £50 million man Fernando Torres.. who has still been unable to seamlessly integrate into Chelsea’s 4-3-3 system. The whole sale overhaul of hierarchy by owner Roman Abramovich did not help Chelsea’s cause much either. Reigning champions Barcelona are likely to be lying in wait in the semi-finals where finishing line looms increasingly large for the blues. Like I said, the only way to get past Barcelona is Desire n Quality.. The first one they have aplenty.. The second.. I doubt that. Its about time to hit the panic button.. Roman!
#4. FC BARCELONA :
They are widely touted as THE best side ever to have graced a football pitch.. Probably the greatest ever. N then you look at their star-studded squad.. Top quality all over the pitch.. n the outright favorites for the competition.. N u think.. Is the hype justified? Well.. the records say it is. The easy-on-the-eye one touche silky brand of football they showcase.. Many believe they play on another whole new horizon altogether.. Hard to even figure out.. let alone breaking ‘em down. N what if that is still not enough?.. They ‘ve got 3-time BallonD’Or winner the diminutive argentine maestro, LIONEL MESSI.. Who many regard as the best ever! A pivotal last 8 clash with italian powerhouse AC MILAN certainly grabbed plenty of column inches in papers worldwide but against this side’s mighty attacking prowess.. I think even the Rossoneri don’t really stand a chance.. At least not with the li’l argentine mozart pulling the strings in an immaculate Barcelona midfield. A final frontier showpiece with either Madrid or Bayern is the least one should expect from a side of such calibre.. Provided the Blaugrana avoid any surprise defeat.. N you fancy they will. Beyond that.. Even I don’t know much!!
#5. AC MILAN :
The outsiders with not so realistic of chances. Even considered as the perennial underdogs for their last 8 tie too. Still, Milan’s european pedigree can never be called into question. Sitting pretty at the summit in serie A, they are capable of springing a few surprises too on the grandest of stages as they ‘ve done a countless no of times before. Barcelona could eventually prove to be a potential banana skin for the 7-time european champions.. But you can count ‘em out at your own peril! Here’s the no-nonsense deal for Milan’s charges.. get past the favorites.. n in most certainty they ll surely go all the way through. Sounds simple right?.. But they do know how hard it is. All the same.. at least u can believe.. Nothing wrong with that.
So be ready folks. Let’s get away from philosophy now n wait for some mouth-watering clashes of the titans that wait in line. There’s so much at stake.. So many twists n turns n ups n downs yet to be seen. The emotions palpably running high through the fans already which makes it quite a spectacle! But that’s what this game is all about.. isn’t it?
So.. With all this talk about football I thnk we now need to take a break.. seriously!
N yeah.. I am not a scientist who has devoted my life’s work to researching statistically significant findings or an anthropologist who discovers the secrets of other cultures. No.. I am just a person who is passionate about the beautiful game of football. That’s it.
If you ‘ve got any problems with that.. I tell you what.. I ‘ve got just two words for ya..
See you again folks.. Sayonara.
With Valentine’s day behind me, one can understand if my distraction quo was a li’l overboard this weekend. There’s just something weird about the pre-college preparation works that makes everyday feel like a friday(though it isn’t..!).
But just when I found FACEBOOK n FOOTBALL weren’t gonna cut it in the time wasting department this time around.. I thought a li’l bit blogging might just about make it up for the size. I guess I was right.
I, eversince crawling down the floor of the living room in a diaper have been an ardent die-hard hollywood movie freak, uttering the heart-thumping adrenaline-pumping dialects of the protagonist time n again & giving the villain a piece of mind in dreams every single night. Though the textbook stuff always found it pretty hard to get access to my crazy mind.. The movies certainly somehow got etched into the core with finesse.. The most eccentric of facts I never could figure out.. I never wanted to.
So coming to the prospect of movies, let me tell you this first. When it comes to the success of a movie, we ‘ve almost always gone for the faces or the stars n given ‘em the round of applause profoundly every time but fell short(or cared less..?) to give real credit where it is due. Yes ladies n gentlemen, Im talking about those few people who indeed make the movie worth all the hype n hoopla it ever gets.. not to mention the overnight success it achieves worldwide. But you know the worst part of it yet?.. the craziest part? Some of us don’t even know the names of the directors of our so-called favorite movies even yet!!.. sounds staggeringly odd.. but facts are facts.
Now without further ado.. Im gonna put down here in this manuscript the names of some of the extraordinary directors of our time who have made me drop my jaws in awe n watch their masterpieces again n again n again with joy. It all starts right here..
#10. SAM RAIMI
An american film director-cum-producer, he’s well known for his exploits of his artistry in the cult horror films viz. EVIL DEAD SERIES, DARKMAN n DRAG ME TO HELL. But the pinnacle of ‘em.. the one that would stand tall above all else will undoubtedly be THE SPIDERMAN TRILOGY which propelled him to instant stardom.. n of course, to my top 10. A slick blend of all-action theme with hearty emotions with perfection surely caught my eye n that of many others too. A genuine class act he really is.
#9. ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
A one-man-film-crew, as he’s often called for his strange penchant for serving multiple tasks all by himself for his films, he’s an immensely talented director-cum-screenwriter who uses sheer creativity n NOT money as the source of his successes going forward. Cool off-the-grid cars, samurai swords, hi-tech gizmos n towering apartments drive this purpose to a tee n found ever present in his works. Filmography springs few hits such as SPY KIDS SERIES, SIN CITY, PLANET TERROR, THE FACULTY, DESPERADO n MACHETE.
#.8. BRYAN SINGER
Bryan Singer simply is one monster of a director. This dyslexic but incredibly gifted man is no stranger to superhero geeks like us having directed some critically acclaimed worldwide blockbusters like X-MEN films n SUPERMAN RETURNS alongside others like VALKYRIE n THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Thanks in no small part to his child life struggles, his drastic experiences show in his ensemble pieces. A visionary with a futuristic approach to his work unlike many others who flatter to deceive, he unquestionably deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe as the immortals in this very list.
(Psst.. He’s a gay, too..! with all due respect.. of course)
#7. PAUL W. S. ANDERSON
Directing movies ain’t any glitch. And nobody will embody this line as perfectly as the man on the picture seen above. An all-action thriller variant as he is, as seen from his frequent adaptation of science-fiction n video-game series, this guy truly packs a punch. A high definition director as I call him, you’ve gotta see his works to believe what Im talking about. He’s no pushover by any means n though not as commercially successful as many others in this list, all the while his finest works still break past the barriers that usually stifle many others. Evidence?.. See MORTAL KOMBAT, RESIDENT EVIL SAGA, ALIEN vs PREDATOR, DEATH RACE n THE THREE MUSKETEERS n you ll know for sure.
#6. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
Some people do have a superiority complex over others. I call ‘em models. They always are one-of-a-kind, n do stuff that sets the trend for years to come n in the process become the benchmark for others to follow. Nolan personifies this quite brilliantly. He’s a proven winner, a guy who fancies his chances in the biggest of stages. Some of his mainstream successes over the years include MEMENTO, INSOMNIA, THE BATMAN TRILOGY n INCEPTION.
#5. JOHN WOO
Think highly stylised drop-dead slam-bang action.. Think John Woo. An iconic showman recognized for his astonishing action sequences n innovative slow motion stand offs, he’s regarded by many as one of the most influential n intimidating directors alive on the planet today. His films always gave me the adrenaline-rush I needed.. almost always. His works speak volumes of his hugely successful directorial stint in hollywood n beyond. His outstanding breakthroughs include FACE OFF, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II, HARD TARGET, BROKEN ARROW, PAYCHECK, RED CLIFF SERIES n THE KILLER.
#4. JAMES CAMERON
James Cameron has an air of charisma n flair around him.. to be brutally honest.. almost magical. A canadian director revered with the highest of esteem, he’s got that midas’ touche.. he can almost turn a stone into a golden coin. The sheer elegance n impeccable aura can be judged from the very fact that his two films( or masterpieces..!) viz TITANIC n AVATAR are the two highest-grossing films of all time. Depicted by a certain biographer as part-scientist part-artiste, his contributions to the industry ll always remain unmatched. His greatest works include THE TERMINATOR, RAMBO FIRST BLOOD, ALIENS, THE ABYSS, TRUE LIES, TITANIC n AVATAR.
#3. STEPHEN SOMMERS
One of my genuine favorites here. Always two steps( or maybe three..?) ahead of his rivals when it came to making high-impact sci-fi thrillers, this american director-screenwriter is one of the pioneers of swash-buckling adventure genre movies since I have watched films. I heard once he said that he didn’t care everyone in the room was smarter than he was.. probably because he knew that he could literally kick everyone off their arse! The phenomenal n revolutionary director that he is, he certainly belongs to the top of the pile. His significant hits include THE JUNGLE BOOK, THE MUMMY SERIES, THE SCORPION KING SERIES, VAN HELSING SERIES n G.I. JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA.
#2. STEVEN SPIELBERG
The director par excellence. One of the first inductees into the hall of fame. One of the greatest of all time. In an illustrious n glittering career spanning four decades n having won every single accolade there is.. He has set the bar so high for his contemporaries to follow up that it’s really hard to see someone get anywhere near it anytime soon. Further international n commercial hands on successes have only solidified his standing amidst the pantheon of greats in the business. His crown jewels include box office hits such as SCHINDLER’S LIST, JURASSIC PARK, E.T.- THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, JAWS, MINORITY REPORT, WAR OF THE WORLDS, INDIANA JONES, A.I.- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE n CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.
#1. MICHAEL BAY
The numero uno spot in my favorites list is obvious. It was always obvious. I was virtually lost in a sea of confusion to find sensible choices up to the second place but the first place was a near certainty. N I know I have put my money on the best man there is. If Spielberg were here with me, even he would have attested gladly my decision to give that spot to Bay ahead of him. The way I see things.. there are two kinds of people in this world. You ‘ve got talkers or what I call know-it-alls. Then on the other side of the fence you ‘ve your doers. N Bay falls in this category. The fox-in-the-box director, the right man for the job. He was born for greatness. The lightning fast effects, the ultra clear visuals n all substantially high budget films. His magnificient works of art include BAD BOYS SERIES, ARMAGEDDON, PEARL HARBOR, TRANSFORMERS SERIES, THE ROCK n THE ISLAND. Im pretty sure there’s still plenty more to come from him.
Alright folks, so there you ‘ve it. Now you know who to watch out for, the next time you decide to hang out in a multiplex near you. There may still be a few surprise misses too, may have done injustice to some of the other immaculate talents but then Im just 20yers old n there’s still scope for others to make the cut into this very list by their awesome works.
So that’s it. Thank you all.
Yes.. it is true.. As arguably the world’s largest social network officially turns 8 years old today.. I, along with millions of other FACEBOOK-AHOLICS(as I call ‘em..!) will surely reflect on the indelible impact FB has had on our lives however big or small that maybe..
I personally, for the record, ‘ve been on FB for 961 days on the go, having joined during my first years of engineering. And my FB experience morrors those of oyhers in many possible facets.
As we ‘ve changed our relationship statuses a countless no of times that we can hardly remember.. Flipped n glided through our tagged photos(sometimes.. err.. all the times.. those of others too) and every once in a while untagging n unfriending the ones we now deem unfavorables.. Seen friends’ last names change for mysterious or obvious reasons.. Bid adieu to fellow FB users whose walls(.. now we call THE TIMELINES™) have become digital memorabilias.. We have cried.. We have smiled.. We have told our stories.
Just shy of its sixth birthday bash on Feb 4, 2009, FB saw me register for an account. Back then, it was not so much hyped n was only crowded by some college bullies. I was 18, living in a dorm at my college hostel. I just owned a NOKIA 3500 then unlike now as I have since gone on to own a DELL STUDIO XPS laptop as well as a SONY ERICSSON HAZEL alongside a MOTOROLA GLEAM.. n a PDA.. But coming back to the old days I accessed FB only on campus computers & opera mini on the fone.
FB so quickly found its feet in my not-so-heavy schedule.. n soon enough it became a hobby.. An addiction later on. Something I would check in every so often & not everyday as I do now. But as more n more old faces poured into the service in numbers beyond count- first my cousin sister(Hi Ekili Apaa.. I hope u “LIKE” this story..!) n friends.. then my other sisters n old buds- I rather began to rely on it more n even more. I soon replaced my physical diaries n scrapbooks which I so carefully n routinely updated in high school, with an online version of database of memories..
In 2006, FB unveiled NOTES..which I used as my first crack at blogging.. To showcase my celeb-skills. It fostered content sharing on FB to new heights.. so much so that even media organizations began to perceive the site’s humongous untapped potential to bring in more readers to their stories. This piqued my interest profusely. FB then capitalized on that revelation by introducing a SHARE button after just some months. In 2008 it unleashed its CHAT feature n in the process brushed aside all other prevalent IM apps to push its claims further up as the reigning social networking giant. More n more sophistications continued to follow- Merging walls n Mini-Feeds.. Usernames allowing custom URLs for users(.. A really majestic feature!).. the @facebook.com email address integrating the emails(.. did they want to slam-dunk GOOGLE with it?.. Im not sure..).. Even just a year ago my FB experience got bamboozled tremendously.. First, FB chat presented with it videocalling capabilities.. Then came the SUBCRIBE feature allowing to subscribe to personalized profiles n seeing anything publicly.. n most recently.. n notably.. The walls got transformed into TIMELINES..
Somewhere beneath all these changes.. I sent virtual gifts.. Poked some of my friends.. Cringed at the ads appearing on my screen.. Updated my status like a psycho maniac..
Now its year 2012, & FB is used by biggest of celebrities as well as the common folks. It has become an essential part of our lives just like those sleeping pills for oldies n those tonics for kids. Together we ‘ve come a long way. We ‘ve grown up side-by-side. Shared the fondest of memories.. n the bitter most moments alike.
Happy Birthday, Facebook.. Long may you continue.. Good luck..
..& by the way.. Zuck(..Mark Zuckerberg.. CEO, FB!) & Co.. Thanks for all this. Thank you very much.
Galacticos Era started when the President of Real Madrid Florentino Perez started a new policy, under which Real Madrid would buy a super player, which means the best and the most marketable player in the world at the end of every season, no matter how much money it would take.
He knew exactly how to generate revenue, sold some sports fields and made millions for Real Madrid..
He did it, to boost Real Madrid as the richest club in the world, to improve Real Madrid’s economic condition and to give the fans what they want to see and that is A Dream team which would consist of, no stars, but just superstars, super players , more precisely put, only Galacticos, a galaxy of superstars on cards.
Then came the time when Real Madrid roster was filled with Galaxy of football icons, worlds best and most marketable attacking players were signed by Real Madrid which not only boosted Real Madrid’s popularity but also improved the quality of football played at the White House, and the world was introduced to a new brand of football.
Football, where there were nothing such as defending in numbers, or making rash challenges to get the ball, Los Blancos’ strategy at that time was, you score 2 goals we score 5!
Real Madrid, at the very best, defended with six players, along with four defenders, makelele ( who was the engine which ran the car known as Galacticos) and one other player from the forwards.
This was the time, every Real Madrid fan(includin me!!), wanted to watch every game that Real Madrid played, because Real Madrid played such neat, easy on the eye and one-touche attractive football. The fans came to watch football and had absolute entertainment of 2 hours and left for home happy, dreaming at night about the football their team showcased.
The Original Galacticos included:
* Luís Figo (£38.7m from FC Barcelona) – joined in 2000
* Zinedine Zidane (£44m from Juventus) – joined in 2001
* Ronaldo (£26m from Inter Milan) – joined in 2002
* David Beckham (£25m from Manchester United) – joined in 2003
* Michael Owen (£8m plus Antonio Núñez from Liverpool F.C.) – joined in 2004 (not really a Galactico in terms of ability, but he was the best forward left who was not playing for Real Madrid at that time, of couse there were no C. Ronaldo or Messi at that time, neither had Ronaldinho been playing so dominantly as he did a season after that, also Thierry Henry was too monotonous in his play, Owen had variety to his finishing and positioning)
Other players who were eventually considered galacticos:
* Roberto Carlos da Silva
* Iker Casillas (Called, The Saint)
* Raul González
The Galacticos, every name that you ever wanted to be in your life.. was at Real Madrid!
So basically this policy was intitially called Zidanes and Pavones(which ultimately turned out to be a betrayal!) , meaning that Real Madrid would buy world’s best footballers and also promote their youth system players (which never happened by the way).
Initially, the policy paid off some dividends, when Real Madrid won 2 league titles and 1 Champions League title (Zidane and Figo were on that squad), Ronaldo’s form at Real Madrid led him to win player of the year award too.
Zidane was unleashing his talent on the football world, scoring impossible goals. Ronaldo was scoring like a machine from every opportunities, beating whole teams by himself. Then there was a Figo on the right flank, who could strip any defender in the world with his tantalizing dribbling skills.
This was the golden age, Roberto Carlos was scoring those 30-40 yard screamers regularly, even if his shots did not go in, still they looked magnificent. Roberto Carlos never wanted to beat the goal keeper whenever he tried to score, he always wanted to destroy the keeper to score a goal! Makelele showcased, why he was the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Every Real Madrid forward wanted to take on players, beat teams up, do the little 1-2 moves. Every team that came to Bernabeu was treated with goals, for and against. Every team had to bow in front of the Mighty Madrid Masterclass (not every team, but most of the teams including Manchester United).
Perez then signed the face of football, David Beckham..
With Figo and Zidane in the Real Madrid’s engine room, it was not difficult to understand why Real Madrid made so many chances and scored so many goals. Then came another superstar, David Beckham, who set the Bernabeu on light with his booming pin point crosses and his bending free kicks.. it was a thing of joy to see Real Madrid at that time.
Perez was a smart business not a football club president in real sense though.
But then suddenly, there were too many egos in the dressing room of Real Madrid, Vicente Del Bosque (coach of Real Madrid at that time) was able to control that for a period of time, but to have some tactical play as well, he had to drop some big name players.
Of course, players like Zidane and Figo would never like to sit on the bench, so it was very difficult for the coach to come up with a strategy because you know these legends, they always have a bad attitude problem, as one Maradona said “you cannot be the best player and a saint together”, now I understand what he really meant!
Zidane and Figo considered themselves to be too big, and did not listen to the coach. Anyway, Real Madrid continued to buy attacking, attractive players who had little defensive abilites which lead to a weak backbone of Real Madrid. Real Madrid did sign Beckham in 2003 but lost Ronaldinho to FC Barcelona saying that Ronaldinho’s face would sink them as a brand(rubbish thinking of course.. seriously..)
One interesting thing that also happened (which eventually lead to the destruction of the team!) was that Perez was not prepared to pay defensive players high wages and when Makelele along with some teammates demanded that, Perez (to stamp his authority maybe) showed them the door, the coach Del Bosque was also sacked later on.
Makelele was the heart, Though Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo and Beckham were the biceps and abs, He did all the dirty work to make these parts look beautiful.
One very important thing to note here is that, the arrival of Beckham and departure of Makelele to Chelsea started the trophy less years of Real Madrid and Trophy filled years of Chelsea.. hmmm.. not so strange when you consider that Real Madrid sold the world’s best defensive player just because he wanted an improved contract!
Change of colours by Makelele, changed the situation for both Real Madrid and Chelsea.
The quality of Makelele’s role and his pureness about it can be judged from the fact that, football named a postion in his name, which we now a days, know as “The Makelele role”.
Makelele stablized Real Madrid by raw work, he left, Real got destabilized and Chelsea got stabilized.
Zidane said afterwards that Beckham is the gold plating on a car, but what good a car is if it’s engine is sold (referring to Makalele’s departure.. absolutely spot on though!).
The beautiful game was gone now and the team looked like a bunch of talented players. all trying to impose their ideas on the pitch, at one time Zidane would not make a pass to Figo and Figo would also do the same which, in the end, cost Real Madrid a lot.
After the sacking of Del Bosque, Real Madrid could not play as a footballing unit, like it used to, although Real Madrid still had the best attacking players in the world, it, all the same lacked the defensive qualities where many times David Beckham was played as a defensive midfielder out of necessity.
The signing of David Beckham was also stupid because of another reason, which I told my friends too when I heard of the signing. The reason was that Real Madrid already had the best right winger in the world, Luis Figo, so signing of players like these meant that all the galacticos could not be put into a single team sheet.
Which led to many frustrations, eventually Figo left the club to join Inter Milan after he was not given a two years contract by Real Madrid which he wanted. Owen also left in the same season (2004-2005), while Real Madrid had their fair share of troubles. The man they rejected because of his face, Ronaldinho, drove Barcelona to title victories meanwhile, Ronaldinho who led the resurgence of Barcelona to two straight league titles and a Champions League Title as well.
Sameul Etoo (another surprise reject!) was a Real Madrid player, but Perez sold him to RCD Mallorca, who sold him to Barcelona where he would go on and become the top striker in the world. Perez argument was that Real Madrid already has Ronaldo and Raul as its strikers, the same reason he gave for not signing Ronaldinho, saying that Real Madrid already had Zidane in that position.
I think Florentino Perez was a stupid guy and a smart guy too(..still I love him!). Let me explain it. He was a stupid guy because he did not know how to form a balanced team with attack and defense. He signed players because of their market value and not on merit or on their footballing performances.
He was a smart guy because he knew how to increase Real Madrid fortunes.. he sold some land and bought super players and made money for Real Madrid (I intentionally have put it in this simple way).
Eventually he also realized that, the galactico policy was not paying off and after throwing the club into a turmoil, he stepped down as the president because of the decline in the team’s on-field performance seemingly hitting an all time low in the 2005-2006 season, exiting in the UEFA Champions League to Arsenal F.C. in the round of 16 without scoring a goal in either leg!
Perez stepped down, Zidane retired in 2005-2006, shortly after Beckham and Ronaldo left in the same season i.e. 2006-2007 season, both on bad terms with Real Madrid.
This was the end of the Era which gave all Real Madrid many great moments and some bad moments too, all in all, it put Real Madrid on the map of elite European Club’s in the world (which it already was even before this policy, but now its authority was official and consolidated).
Let us now look at a quick glance to why Real Madrid bought the “ORIGINAL GALACTICOS”
Zidane: Do I even have to write about this guy? Probably the greatest midfielder of all time, and certainly one of the greatest players of all time, no doubt, as he was the silent general, no words just pure raw action. Why he was signed, well..
#Had the greatest first touch of all time
#Had great vision, could pick out any run, any pass anywhere
#Had great shooting ability with both feet
#Had composure and self belief (probably the reason why he played with so much finesse)
#Of course all the money he brought with him in the shape of fan following, sponsors and merchandise sale
#Just had everything you could possibly want from a midfielder.. his speed was not like Ronaldo’s though
(Psst.. Makelele once said that “when we did not know what to do with the ball, we just gave it to Zidane.. he would always work something out of it”)
Figo : He was also , almost a complete player like Zidane. The only reason why Figo did not win the Player of the Year award three times or more was because he was unlucky enough to have Zidane in his time, who took all the awards leaving only second places for Figo. Figo had..Great touch on the ball
#Tantalizing dribbling skills
#Pin point crosses
#Not renowned for his speed, but he was never slow though
#Was two footed, had great shooting ability
#Could also take freaking free kicks (his free kicks curved the most, more than Beckham’s)
#Also had great vision and understanding of the game
#His ability to work in tight situation, with no space to work with was amazing as well
#Of course the money he brought with him in the shape of Merchandise sales and sponsors
Ronaldo: Many call him the greatest striker to have played the game, came to Real Madrid with his huge reputation of scoring picture perfect goals and he lived up to it, treating the fans with his amazing sprints and solo goals. He was at Real Madrid because..
#He had great speed, fastest player on the planet
#Great ball control
#Ability to take on players after players with sublime ease
#His finishing was unmatchable
#His feet movement was unchallenged
#His acceleration is still one of the fastest
#His stamina and composure when making those solo runs
#Always knew what the defender was thinking
#Of course the money he brought with him in the shape of Merchandise sales and sponsors
David Beckham: As the name suggests, he was the most known and marketable player on the planet, not neccessarily was the best player in the world in terms of ability at any point in his career but was very entertaining because..
#He had that never die attitude, always had that work ethic
#Had the best crosses in the world, sometimes they were called bananas, the way they swung
#Had great looks (yeah, this also counts, not that Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo were ugly but just that Beckham was handsome)
#Looked like a Robin Hood, had that pony and those devastating free kicks and long passes (resembled an archer, with a bow (his feet) and arrows (the ball)
#Of course the money that brought with him for reasons specified before.
THE NEO GALACTICOS ERA
Florentino Perez came back to Real Madrid 2 years ago and he came back with a bang after some time off contemplating about his decisions in his previous reign as Real Madrid’s president.
Well, he did not disappoint anyone and shocked the transfer market and the world with the signings of C.Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema and Xabi Alonso in the same season.
All four of these players are the best at their positions and to picture them in one team you only had FIFA 12 on the pc to look at.
But this was the reality at Real Madrid. After these signings, people thought that Real Madrid were going to outclass every opposition on the continent except Barcelona.
And how true that turned out to be as Barcelona denied Real Madrid a possible treble last season.
The signings made by Perez this time around were similar in nature to the ones he made when he first arrived.
He bought Ronaldo for 80 million pounds which made him the most expensive player in the history of football.
Shortly before Ronaldo became the most expensive player in the world, Kaka became the most expensive player in the world for about 2 days when Real Madrid signed him from AC Milan for 65 million euros.
Fast forward some two days later and Real Madrid signed the hottest young striker on the planet and that was Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais with some 40 million euro hard cash.
And amidst all this chaos of huge signings and with people blaming Real Madrid for blowing up the transfer market and introducing inflation in the players market value, Real Madrid also signed Xabi Alonso, possibly the best long passer of the game and dead ball specialist after David Beckham.
Florentino Perez had a business plan in mind to recuperate all the money he had spent on these players through marketing. And he did, Ronaldo sold over 100 million euros worth of shirts for Real Madrid in his first week as a Real Madrid player and some good figures were posted by Kaka and Benzema as well.
I do not know about you guys but I certainly did not think that Real Madrid would win anything the first season Perez came because he made a massive overhaul of the whole squad and that messed up the team chemistry for Real Madrid.
Anyway, I was happy to see some real talent on the pitch for Real Madrid after a long long time.
Lets now take a good look at the 4 star players that Perez signed.
Well what should I say about this guy? Just that he is the best player on the planet and he is the most complete attacking player I have ever seen. If he keeps on improving the way he is currently improving, I think there will come a day that he will be remembered alongside names like Ronaldo, Figo and Zidane.
This guy is just so perfect. His attributes are of course
#great free kick
#great left foot
#great head for the game
#Exemplary leadership skills
#great finish on his right foot
With Ronaldo in our team, I think it was a given before every match that Real Madrid were going to score goals or at the least create a hell loads of chances.
Ronaldo scored 33 goals in 35 games in his first season with Real Madrid. In his second season with Real Madrid he scored 54 goals in 54 games which was an all time record. He scored 40 goals in 38 games in La Liga, an all time top and deservedly won the pichichi..
C.Ronaldo showcased some brilliant individual skills in his early days with Real Madrid. After Mourinho came to Real Madrid he got much more disciplined (and less selfish!) and played with much more purpose than before.
I know it might sound a bit too common now but Kaka is another one of those players who perfect the position they play in. Apart from his fitness problems, I think he has been a great signing for Real Madrid. In the few games he played with Real Madrid in his first two season with Real Madrid (he had to sit out long periods of time because he got injured) he showcased his quality with authority.
He scored beautiful goals and provided clever assists. He was much more robust and effective than Xavi, who Barcelona fans think is the best in his position but I think Kaka would play even better than him in that position.
His qualities are..
#great head for the game
#great vision for the game
The only problem with Kaka was his fitness problem due to which he could not live up to his hefty price tag.
Neither Pelligrini or Mourinho trusted the young lad early on in their reigns as managers of Real Madrid but Benzema kept on pushing and fighting to get a starting place in this star studded line up of Real Madrid.
He scored quite a few goals in the handful of games that he played for Real Madrid and if I am not mistaken, he scored like 28 goals in his second season for Real Madrid and that is a great achievement given that Mourinho basically used him as a sub throughout the whole of the season.
But benz did not loose hope and kept on working hard on his already well established game and may be that is the reason why Mourinho was so hard on Benzema. May be it was because he had seen the true reserves of untapped potential in Benzema. Benzema did not disappoint Mourinho but lets just keep it at that.
His main attributes are..
#Great position skills as a center forward
#great left foot
#good shoot on the ball
#good dribbling skills
#can head the ball and can take tough challenges of opponent’s defenders as well
Not exactly a galactico in terms of his marketability but in terms of his skills on the ball, I think he deserved to be one of those people who shared the same locker room as Ronaldo, Kaka and Benzema.
His arrival at Real Madrid was a quite one and since them he has been performing for Real Madrid in the midfield to good levels.
His main attributes are..
#Great range of passing
#great ball control
#great first touch on the ball
#dead ball specialist
#good head on his shoulders
#good work ethic
#can play as a defensive midfielder as well
So these were the main signings that Perez made in his second stint as Real Madrid’s supremo. Who knows what else has he got in store for us but so far the journey has been a reasonable one(and quite successful one too!).
I have not even listed the star players that were already on Real Madrid’s roster before these people came in. People like Higuain, Casillas(Called, the SAINT), Sergio Ramos, Pepe and co.
Even after their arrival, During the Mourinho era, the signings of Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira and Nuri Sahin were vital ones as they became the integral part of a formidable team that was formed by Jose Mourinho(Himself, more or less a Galactico!).
A team that could win titles and not just play pretty football. A team that would eventually end the dominance of their eternal rivals FC Barcelona.