Man Utd: A look at those who got away

Not many teams have dominated the English footballing landscape in its entire history quite like United have done in the last two decades and not many teams have produced as many high caliber players from within its own youth system quite like United have and still continue to do so with Cleverley and Welbeck going great guns before being bogged down by unfortunate injuries. Rather unsurprisingly, nearly 200 footballers(or a few more) have graduated through the United academy and went on to play for the club’s first team since the WW2.

Fergie- Believer of the youthful.

Regardless to say, there isnt a better youth academy and youth scouting system in the country that has consistently brought in and reared such prodigiously talented players, and the only one’s comparable on the continent would be Barcelona’s La Masia and the youth setup’s/scouting networks of Ajax, PSV and FK Partizan.  And during the quarter of a century long reign of Sir Alex alone, the likes of Mark Hughes, Lee Sharpe, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Neville brothers, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, and countless others, have either been brought through the various stages of the United youth setup or brought in at a tender age only to be moulded to play the United way, as envisioned by the gaffer.

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Serie A roundup: Juventus & Napoli dominant, Milan rusty while Roma & Inter bite the dust!

The much awaited Serie A season finally began at the weekend, couple of weeks later than originally scheduled due to a player’s strike and the subsequent international break. It was the champions AC Milan who kicked off the new campaign but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Rome based Lazio.

Calcio Returns!

Elsewhere, there was enthusiasm and a massive sense of joy in Turin as Juventus welcomed Parma to their newly inaugurated stadium for the first game of the season.

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Juventus: New stadium, New warriors and a return to old glory?

A season of massive disappointment for the Turin giant’s last campaign resulted in what was a summer of inclement change, full of transfer activity inwards and outwards of the club. Last season was every bit as disappointing as the one before it, despite the radical changes that had been made in the upper echelons of the Juventus management. The fabled Agnelli name returned to Juventus last summer with the arrival of Andrea Agnelli as the chairman who appointed Beppe Marotta as the Director of Sport.

Antionio Conte- A Juventus Legend. Can he lead the Old Lady's Renaissance as a Coach?
Antionio Conte- A Juventus Legend. Can he lead the Old Lady's Renaissance as a Coach?

But it was far from a rosy story for the ‘Old Lady’ who endured another year of pain and despair failing from Scudetto contenders to Champions League hopefuls to Europa League seekers to eventually missing out on Europe altogether. However, this summer was Beppe Marotta’s shot at salvation, to correct all that had been wronged at Juventus all this while and to cover up the numerous chinks in the Old Lady’s footballing armor. What Marotta had failed in doing last year was to set up a base for Juventus’ future endeavors and after having been back to square one, that is what he set out to do once again in this season’s ‘mercato’.  His task was simple, find solutions to the incredibly evident flaws in the team and to buy world class players to take Juventus to the next level and try to challenge the Milan twins and Napoli for the Champions League places.

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Man Utd’s Generation Next: Can They Keep The Legacy Going?

Nearly two decades ago, at a time when Man United were still struggling for a long awaited league triumph that had deserted the Reds for well over quarter of a century, an army of young kids, more ubiquitously known as the Class of ’92 were being groomed, kids who would go on and define how English Football was going to be seen in the coming decades as they swept aside all and sundry in the league and even in continental football, helping United conquer 12 league titles in 18 years to go along with 2 Champions League triumphs.

Fergie Classes!

But looking at in hindsight, the way of the Fergie’s Fledglings, as they were(and still are) famously known amongst the United faithful, was not the easiest or devoid of critics, it was towards the end of 1995 summer tansfer window that Alan Hansen made his egregious rant against United’s youth-oriented team after their opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

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Juventus: In the Shadow of Greatness of the Immortal Gaetano Scirea

Football, a sport in which the result of a match hinges entirely on the number of goals that a team scores and yet as the popular saying goes, that while striker might win you games, it is the defenders that win you the titles and the trophies. And when it comes to the defensive side of football- it’s all about Italy and their long line of fabled defenders. Hence, it is anything but surprising that the greatest defender the world has ever seen came from the land of the greatest defense in football- the Italian peninsula.

Still in his shadow of greatness?

The name? Gaetano Scirea, a legend so great that he’s been revered for generations and his shadow of greatness touched upon nearly every Italian defender who has since donned the colours of the ‘La Nazionale’, so much so that Paolo Maldini, a legend in his own right, grew up idolizing Scirea. As a player, he was as calm and collected as they came, yet so incredibly talented and strong in the challenges that the best of forwards would wish to avoid playing against him. What made him even better was his affection for fellow players, never wished anyone any ill luck or made any rash tackles like his partner Claudio Gentile. There was a reason why he was arguably the football’s greatest gentleman. He lived for Juventus, loyal to the core, fighting and giving it his all on the pitch, and he achieved some astounding results too. But it was on this sad day, September-03, that he died 22 years ago in an unforgettable tragedy just months after his retirement. He died just as he had lived, for Juventus, as he became a victim of a car crash in Poland while scouting Juventus’ opponents for a UEFA Cup match.
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