The nearly men: Valencia and the Champions League

It’s April 2001 and a Champions League quarter-final where Valencia host Arsenal at the Mestalla, trailing by a goal on aggregate. The atmosphere is tense, gripping, and drawing to an enthralling conclusion. It has already been a hostile affair; shirts pulled, cards brandished, and whistles blown, much to the chagrin of the Spanish support. The…

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The flair and treachery of Luís Figo

A bustling café looks out onto a marina harbouring luxurious yachts and boats exclusive to the affluent. The enclosed water is calm and tourists visiting this shrine to the rich are serene, admiring the opulent decoration that adorns millionaire’s play-things. The sun serves only to heighten the palpable atmosphere of peace, yet it fails to…

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The slow death of Romanian football

Recent years have witnessed the last nails knocked into the coffin of Romanian football. It seems that Gheorghe Hagi’s famous words that Romanian football was a ticking time bomb, waiting to implode on itself, have come true. Let’s go back in time a bit, more precisely to 1998. The Romanian national football team was still…

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