Fútbol es la leche

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The strength behind Julen Lopetegui

The beginning had been warm and emotional. The end, though expected, was cold and brutal.

Julen Lopetegui’s unveiling as Real Madrid manager had been a poignant affair. “If yesterday was the saddest day of my life, since the death of my mother,” he said, choking back tears, “then today is the happiest”. Madrid and their president, Florentino Perez, put their arm around him — figuratively and literally — welcoming Lopetegui ‘home’.…

Farewell Wakaso – you will be missed

It’s a crisp, sunny, January afternoon in Vitoria where the hometown team, Alaves, hold a 1-0 lead as their visitors from the south, Real Betis, attempt to turn defence into attack. A square pass is delivered infield to Sergio Canales who, sensing pressure behind him, deftly lets the ball run across his body and to his left. And then it arrives — late. …

Gareth Bale – learning lessons from the world of rugby?

“Footballers could learn a lesson from their rugby counterparts.’’ So goes one of the most infuriating and familiar bar-room tropes that does the rounds during a 6 Nations tournament or a Rugby World Cup, usually pertaining to the more respectful relationship between players and the referee in the oval ball code. …

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