The curious case of Portuguese sensation Dani

Portuguese, devilishly handsome, full of himself and self-centred. A product of the Sporting Clube de Portugal academy, fond of a step-over or two and a footballer who made his name in the Premier League. There the comparisons end, for we are not talking about Cristiano Ronaldo. In 1996, some seven years before the multiple Ballon d’Or…

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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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