While a player is on the ground after an obvious dive, waving frivolously for the stretcher…we forget about why we watch football. When a football powerhouse steals a young starlet away from his hometown club and ends up ruining his career…we forget about why we watch football. But, as soon Eric Abidal started warming up on the sideline to come in and play for Barcelona during a 5-0 win, our love of football came flooding back.
For those of you that do not know about the French defender, Abidal has already had one miraculous recovery under his belt and he fought cancer for several months. After the cancer had finally gone in remission, he was told that it would be a long time before he was able to play top level football again. However, three months later, he was on the pitch for Barcelona as they took home the Champions League title at Wembley Stadium.
As if his story was not inspiring enough, the tale does not end there. In March of 2012, Abidal was told that his liver issues had worsened and that he would need a liver transplant to live out a full life. At the time, his ability to ever return to the game he loved seemed like impossibility and his story seemed destined to have a slightly sour ending.
But, if there was anything that we had learned about Abidal, it was that he should never be counted out. After receiving a liver transplant from his cousin, Abidal began the recovery process. Of course, despite the fact that this man had to recover from MAJOR SURGERY, he is now back in the fold at Barcelona. Not to be redundant, but it is not like Adibal recovered enough to play charity matches in France with local intermediate players. Abidal is playing for a team that is largely considered to be one of the best club teams of all time.
So, the next time there is a player waving the fake yellow card at the referee. Or, the next time that a coach pitches a toddler-esque fit on the side of the pitch. Or, whenever any black spot tries to take away the joy that we all get from the beautiful game, remember the amazing journey that Eric Abidal has been on and remember why we keep tuning in every weekend
Written by: Andrew McCole, Soccerprose.com
Although the matches that happen today might see Madrid march on and BVB end Malaga’s Cinderella run, the Champions League matches from yesterday have left no doubt that Bayern Munich is now the favorite to make it back into the Champions League final and seems the likeliest team to emerge victorious. A 2-0 victory by the soon-to-be German champions against Italian giants Juventus was impressive enough, but the fact that Barcelona stooped to a 2-2 draw against PSG translates into the Bayern club becoming the Champions League favorite.
Although this writer proclaimed the Munich club to be the favorite from the beginning of the competition, a recent stumble against Arsenal had many jumping off the Bayern bandwagon. Despite dismantling the London club when they visited Munich’s home fortress, Arsenal made it a very interesting affair when Munich played the second leg at the Emirates. Then, as if in response to that stumble, Munich went out and made Juventus look second-rate.
Although a second leg will have to be taken into account, Munich seems to be one of the strongest in every area of the pitch of the teams remaining. Barcelona has an immaculate attack force but their defense is typically poor, Madrid can’t seem to string two positive results together, BVB has a questionable midfield, and Juve has already fallen prey to the Bayern machine. Bayern has one of the best defenses in the world, their midfield is filled with international powerhouse players, and their attack is as deep as any other club in the world, making them the deadliest team remaining in the competition.
Remember, Juve knocked out last season’s champions Chelsea and they have looked very impressive throughout the Champions League campaign. PSG looked like they deserved to be on the field with Barcelona, but Munich makes teams look like they have no right to be a part of any competition that Bayern is involved in (including Juventus).
If Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Neur, and Lahm are involved, the German giants have to be considered as the favorite against any other club. Lahm has shown that he is the best outside defender on the planet and Schweinsteiger can control the pace of any match that he is involved with. If any of these players accrue yellow cards or injuries, the tide may turn, but until that happens then it seems that no one should really have a chance against Bayern. If they aren’t already the heavy favorites for most betting companies, then they need to be.
Written by: Andrew McCole, contirbutor, soccerprose.com
The United States Men’s National Team will play Mexico Tuesday at Estadio Azteca. The U.S. national team is currently in second in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The team lost it’s first hexagonal match 2-1 to Honduras, but bounced back and beat Costa Rica 1-0 in snowy conditions. This leaves the U.S. national team with three points from two games. However, Costa Rica is hoping to replay it’s game against the U.S. due to the poor weather conditions.
“We can confirm that FIFA has received a letter from the Costa Rica FA regarding last Friday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier. FIFA will now analyze the content of the letter and next steps will be determined in due course,” according to ESPNFC.
Costa Rican Football Federation Treasurer Rolando Villalobos also showed his anger at the decision to let the game be played.
“What happened…has no precedents, since it not only went against the sporting spectacle, but also against the physical integrity of the officials and players. You couldn’t see the pitch markings and that is not allowed under the FIFA regulations,” Villalobos said according to ESPNFC.
Sidenote: If you were able to see the players through all the snow Friday, what did you think about the new United States centennial jerseys?
Mexico comes into it’s match against the United States in fourth place, drawing both of their games. However, when it comes to USA vs. Mexico at Mexico, the results have not been favorable for the United States. According to American Soccer Now, “Against the U.S., Mexico has tasted much more success than failure over the years, especially in Mexico, where a friendly loss last August was the only defeat El Tri has suffered at home against its northern neighbors. In World Cup qualifying, the U.S. has but one point to show for all its visits to El Azteca.”
Tuesday’s match should be an exciting one. The U.S. vs. Mexico rivalry has always been intense and with a trip to the 2014 World Cup on the line, both teams will come out focused and intense. The United States needs to keep getting positive results, while Mexico will be looking for it’s first win during the final round of World Cup qualifying to come at home in front of it’s fans
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
Nike have just released the first update to their Nike5 line combining births colors and new technology to create some the sharpest and most advanced soccer shoes on the market today. The first one of the sick new pairs of boot worth a look is the new Nike5 Elastico.
At the highest level, the Nike Elastico Finale II features a brand new upper material, called Nike Skin, which follows the shapes and contours of your foot as you move, and features dimpling to maximize surface area when striking the ball. It also fits like a dream, and has to be the thinnest Nike synthetic upper ever released. In terms of looks, the bright green tonal base color with and black and pink speckled swoosh will definitely get you noticed, but not be for everyone.
The Nike Bomba Finale II is another top end model, build for turf surfaces, and featuring a black and orange color scheme. Its upper is also made from Nike Skin and is sure to make a statemtn for the coming season.
The biggest change, integrating some of Nike’s running technology and a new leather, has to be the Lunar Gato. This pair of indoor soccer boots features goat leather, which feel like a dream, and LaunrLon to keep your feet cushioned in any street game.
Overall, this is a sweet new offering from Nike, and we can’t wait to try them out.
Adidas have just released more apparel for all your Galalcticos fans out there and we’ve been lucky enough to get first hand look at one piece of it, the Real Madrid Anthem jacket. Now this jacket is inspired by the colors and designs that are important to the club and its history, namely, white and light blue. And that what really sets this jacket apart from you typical Real Madrid jersey, its bright blue with with a navy band across the chest and white shoulder stripes. For my part, I love the look of this jacket. The navy strip across the center of the chest on this jacket really makes the look of the piece. It sets off the lighter, shimmering blue on the rest of the coat, and with the thin white stripe running through the center it really brings things to life.
The white adidas stripes running down the shoulders and sleeves also look gorgeous, and give this jacket an authentic feel. However, what really makes it a Real Madrid jacket is the embroidered crest on the left breast. It doesn’t get lost against the lighter blue background, and combined with the v-neck style collar makes this a fashionable bit of kit you wear out to the pubs or around the town.
The jacket itself is made out of polyester, so don;t get near any open flames, and will keep out the wind fairly well but will not protect you from rain or a truly wintery chill. Other than that, it fits true to size, so if you own a medium jersey, you’ll need a medium jacket, and they run $76 to $84 dollars depending on where you shop for them.
As you may have seen earlier today, Nike has released a brand new jersey to celebrate 100 years of U.S. soccer. In addition to the jersey, Nike has also released some other great looking products as part of its USA Centennial Collection. Since we’ve already taken a look at the jersey, we are now going to take a look at two other great products: the Nike USA authentic N98 jacket and the Nike5 Gato USA 100 leather indoor soccer shoe.
The Nike USA authentic N98 jacket looks spectacular and is comfortable as well. This jacket is perfect to keep you warm while still remaining stylish. It is predominantly navy blue with a single red stripe going down each arm to tie in the country’s colors. Subtle vertical stripes also run up the front of the jacket to provide a little more style instead of plain navy. It’s a minor detail but it looks awesome.
Since this jacket is part of the Centennial Collection, it features the Centennial crest on the left chest. The Centennial crest, unlike the modern USA crest, has thirteen stars and stripes to represent the original 13 colonies. It is a great looking crest and, in my opinion, should become the regular crest on all USA soccer gear. It is simplistic but looks fantastic. Finally, we move to the back of the jacket where we see “USA” pressed on so everyone can see where your support lies.
This jacket is a cotton/polyester mix, which is very comfortable. It is also fairly thick to provide enough protection from the wintery weather to keep you warm. The neck of the jacket goes a little higher than most jackets. It almost provides a turtleneck look, which is nice to keep wind out and provides warmth.
Even though there are currently some cool looking USA jackets, this is my favorite. I like the combination of red and blue and the Centennial crest. The combination of great design and comfort make this jacket the perfect option for any USA fan.
SoccerPro does not normally carry shoes; therefore, Soccerprose does not normally look at too many shoes. However, as part of the Centennial Collection Nike released a pair of great looking shoes.
The Nike5 Gato USA 100 leather indoor shoes are off-white/cream, which should help make them a little easier to keep clean than pure white shoes. These shoes also feature navy blue to tie in the national colors in the design while also maintaining a stylish look. The shoes tongue features the Centennial crest above the laces to show that these are part of the Centennial Collection. However, the coolest part of these shoes is the outsole. The outsole has stars and stripes to, once again, tie in the United States flag. It looks awesome and is a nice touch by Nike.
As the name suggests, the upper is made of leather to make these extremely durable since they are built for indoor soccer. With durability in mind, these shoes also have toe and medial overlay to help keep the toe from tearing up with tough indoor surfaces.
Not only do these look great and provide great durability, they are also very comfortable. These shoes feature soccer specific Cushlon technology that helps with cushioning and stability. Style isn’t the only nice thing about these Gato’s. These shoes have an articulated gum rubber outsole, which is non-marking but also provides great traction on indoor surfaces.
Even though these are called indoor soccer shoes, they don’t have to be. These shoes are stylish and comfortable enough to wear with jeans while you are hanging out with friends or whenever you cheer the United States on in soccer. You can now be dressed from head to toe with great USA soccer gear.
Of course, these two products and the jersey mentioned already are not the only products available with the Centennial Collection. A retro jersey, t-shirts, shorts, socks and soccer ball are all available. These products were just two of my favorites that I wanted to share. The jacket and shoes look amazing and are a stylish way to support the U.S. soccer teams. You can find the other gear at SoccerPro.com.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
Nike and US Soccer have just launched the new US Centennial soccer jersey and its a stylish mix of classic style and modern attitude. The jersey, which is a celebration of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 100th year, is designed to pay tribute to a century of American soccer by including several classic elements.
The first one of these elements featured on the kit is the original US Soccer crest. It looks like Capetian America’s original shield, from the 1940′s and 50′s, and is a stunning departure from the anemic modern crest that has sullied to surface of recent US soccer jerseys. The majority of the kit is a classic white design, with this sharp crest on the left breast and the Nike logo opposite. It also features navy trim around the collar and end of the sleeves, with room for official numbering and name sets on the center front and across the back shoulders.
Its constructed from the same Nike Dri-Fit material you’ll see in any other current soccer jersey, and should wick away sweat and moisture from your body. This fabric is also stain resistant, and fits true to size. So if you are a large in a t-shirt, then you’ll need a large one of these kits. The short, socks, and shoes in the rest of this collection look stunning as well, and you can get them all now for 10% off at our favorite partner, SoccerPro.com
Barcelona traveled to the San Siro Wednesday, where they were stunned by AC Milan. AC Milan took the lead in the 56th minute after a Kevin-Prince Boateng goal. Milan then secured the win in the 81st minute when Sulley Muntari scored to give the home side a 2-0 lead heading into the second leg at the Camp Nou.
AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri was happy with his team’s performance after the match.
“The lads played well in defensive terms and didn’t let them near our penalty area. We know Barcelona kept possession for about 65 percent of the time, but we had five or six very favorable situations where we got the final pass wrong,” Allegri said.
It was actually 72 percent possession for Barcelona according to ESPNFC’s match stats. However, despite all the possession, AC Milan actually had more scoring chances in the game, and capitalized on them. Milan outshot Barcelona 8-7 in total shots and 3-1 in shots on goal.
Barcelona interim coach Jordi Roura said the poor playing conditions contributed to the team’s loss.
“They defended with a lot of organization. It was difficult to play, they stuck lots of players close together, the pitch was like a potato-field, not right for a match like this, which made it difficult for us,” Roura said.
If Roura thought Milan defended with a lot of players in this game, he should wait for the second leg at the Camp Nou. With a two goal lead and playing away from home, you can expect AC Milan to pack it in a try to maintain their two goal lead in order to move on. Milan could surprise everyone and come out attacking, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
“At the Camp Nou they will sit back, we need to go at them and hope we have better luck than here,” Barcelona midfielder Pedro said.
The second leg may not be very exciting if Milan try to hold on to their lead by playing 11 in the box, however, it will certainly garner interest. The way Barcelona have cruised through La Liga and drawing AC Milan in the Champions League, many thought Barcelona could cruise through the Champions League this season. Barcelona have not been knocked out of the competition yet, but it will be a difficult task to move on with a 2-0 deficit.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
The ultrabright red and white colors on the instep and outstep of these boots are stunning. Adidas haven’t done a bright red and white F50 in years, and the three stripes design looks aggressive and interesting in white and red when set against the opposite color on the upper. They also feature Messi’s new log on the top of the tongue, also in red against a white tongue.The soccer shoes feature the same material on the upper, a Sprint Web, that allows for quicker cuts and better stability. Keep in mind, these shoes are built for a speedy striker, and have a foot area built for high-speed dribbling. An internal SprintWeb also gives increased support to the upper, meaning it won’t flex or stretch too far despite being ultrathin when you make a quick turn off the ball. The upper also offers decent ball feel, and while it may not the best after a season, its far more durable than any other speed boots on the market.
The outsole of these Messi F50 adizeros is the same TRAXION™ 2.0 stud configuration you’ll see on the other Adizeros. Its designed for maximum energy return and easy release through the flexibility of the sprint frame construction, and the triangular stud offers decent traction in the wet and the dry. These boots are adidas miCoach compatible, which means you can stick this little device goes into the sole of your left cleat and look at acceleration, top speed, and distance traveled by you post-match.
Overall, they’re a stunning pair of soccer shoes and well worth a look at our favorite partner site, SoccerPro.com.