Fútbol es la leche

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“I fell for the club in a really big way” — Howard Kendall’s love affair with Athletic Club Bilbao

The ink was barely dry on Howard Kendall’s two-year contract to coach Athletic Club Bilbao but he was regretting the decision already. “I honestly thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.”

His new club had flown him out to watch the 1987 Copa del Rey Final between Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad in Zaragoza. Kendall found it almost impossible to concentrate on the game and the trio of Basque players that he was supposedly there to evaluate. …

From video shop assistant to Maradona’s agent: Elche owner Christian Bragarnik’s eventful rise to power

Leyland Video Club, close to the intersection of Yerbal and Avenida Boyacá in the Buenos Aires barrio of Flores was a fairly typical neighbourhood video store. Members would pop in, browse the rows of latest releases and take their choice to the counter. A chunky VHS tape was snapped into a generic branded case, the customer paid and went home to enjoy their selection.…

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’.…

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