The Battle of Nuremberg at World Cup 2006

On any occasion that a player’s participation in a major tournament is cut short courtesy of an accumulation of yellows, the empathetic aftermath often unites the watching world in a way unlike most footballing matters. The repeat offender, painfully aware that should his team progress he shall be relegated to the role of spectator by…

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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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André Villas-Boas and the long con

I have seen the future. Football’s future. It’s both exciting and tragic. Amidst the increase in strength, pace and fitness, players have taken centre stage like never before. Long gone is the cameraman walk along the two lines of players prior to Champions League fixtures; instead, the captain takes his super-smartphone along the line for selfies…

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Benfica and the curse of Béla Guttmann

In sport, especially within the often wildly unpredictable world of football, there is rarely anything like a guaranteed winning bet. The Europa League final on May 14 2014, was, however, probably as close to being a dead cert as almost anything ever is when the beautiful game is involved. Bet on Sevilla to beat Benfica and…

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Porto: Southern Europe’s talent conveyor belt

Portugal’s Primeira Liga is Europe’s breeding ground for top talent; a veritable goldmine of as yet unfulfilled promise and hidden gems. Each year, the continent’s top clubs scout extensively in the long, narrow country on the Iberian Peninsula in the hope of unearthing the next Hulk, Radamel Falcao or James Rodríguez. And for good reason. For…

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The Sporting CP Academy Way

This feature is part of The Academy Way Few academies in world football that can boast a history brimming with illustrious names quite like Sporting CP’s. The Academia Sporting, located in the Portuguese municipality of Alcochete, has produced a roll call of superstars throughout the ages. From Luís Figo to Cristiano Ronaldo, Sporting’s academy is responsible…

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A Tale of One City: Lisbon

This feature is part of A Tale of One City John O’Shea’s grimace said it all. As a wisp of bleached hair flicked past his sweat-lined brow, it was all he could do to manhandle the virtually unknown boy to the ground to avoid being humiliated yet again. Despite having been crowned a champion of England months earlier,…

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