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  • Ralf Rangnick: The Hoffenheim Diaries

    “That’s the kind of football we want to play one day,” said Jürgen Klopp after his Borussia Dortmund side were beaten 4-1 by Ralf Rangnick’s Hoffenheim in a Bundesliga fixture in September 2008. Vedad Ibišević (twice), Sejad Salihović and Carlos Eduardo struck for the Sinsheim club to seal an emphatic win in their first-ever season…

  • Cristiano Lucarelli: How a Political Enemy Became Italy’s Best Goalscorer

    Shirt tucked in. Captains armband. Livorno was Cristiano Lucarelli’s ninth club, but the one closest to his heart. A divisive figure, known for having La Bandiera Rossa as his ringtone, he scored one-hundred and one goals in four seasons to fire Livorno from tenth in Serie B to ninth place in the Italian top flight. …

  • The Ajax Renaissance: How the Dutch Club Rose to Fight With Europe’s Best

    In September 2010, Ajax visited Real Madrid in the Champions League for a group stage game. It finished 2-0 as José Mourinho’s team were largely untroubled – a Vurnon Anita own goal in the first-half was paired with Gonzalo Higuaín’s strike in the second in a routine victory for the club from Spain’s capital. Ajax…

  • Spezia’s Remarkable Return to Serie A

    La Spezia is a city that is not well known for its sporting prowess or great historical sites, and it is better known as a transport hub, especially for tourists who travel to the colorful villages of Cinque Terre.   The city has the second-largest population in the Liguria region after Genoa and it is…

  • Juventus 3-2 Fiorentina: A Star Is Born

    Juventus vs Fiorentina is a unique rivalry in Italian football. Unlike other derbies in Serie A, mainly forged out of geography, the enmity between these two sides goes back to a plethora of incidents in the early 1980s and early ’90s. From Juventus edging Fiorentina to their 20th Scudetto in the last round of games…

  • Sylvinho: The First Brazilian Gunner

    In the last year, Arsenal’s Brazilian contingent has grown quite considerably with the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli, David Luiz, along with the recent acquisition of Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea. They look set to add to their tally with the signing of Lille’s Gabriel Magalhães, who looks set to join the Gunners for…

  • The Fall and Rise of Leeds United

    The stars of Leeds United dropped on their feet as referee Urs Meier blew up for the final time. Around them, Valencia fans rejoiced as the sun set over the famous Mestalla pitch.   Having mustered a stalemate in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal, they were torn apart at the seams by…

  • The Magic, Glory and Relentless Loyalty of Ricardo Bochini, the Best One-Club Man You Never Heard Of

    June 25th, 1986. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City. A Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina had ripped Belgium apart for the past 85 minutes, the 2-0 scoreline not quite reflective of El Pelusa’s masterclass. La Albiceleste had all but confirmed their qualification to a third World Cup final.   Manager Carlos Bilardo then lines up a substitution, seemingly an…

  • The Agony of Doha: When Iraq Snatched Glory From Japan’s Palms

    Japan are known today as one of the giants in Asian football, their players grace Europe’s top leagues, with their domestic clubs winning Asian Champions League titles on multiple occasions and the national team is widely respected for their technical prowess on the ball.   Yet the reputation Japan have cemented on the football stage…

  • Andy Cole: A Tale of Fiery Relationships, Injuries and One Fateful Afternoon at Upton Park

    13 clubs, 229 goals and an illustrious trophy cabinet. Only Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney have scored more Premier League goals than him, but yet English forward Andy Cole has played for his country fewer times than Matthew Upson. This is by no means to discredit the career of Upson, but the disparity between the…