Articles

‘Paz olimpica’ : How the Barcelona Olympics brought gold and a brief moment of unity to Spanish football

As he climbed to his feet, detaching himself from the celebratory heap of bodies below, Pep Guardiola could see his prediction been wrong. “I’m confident there will be about 60,000 there, but filling it is impossible.”

He’d seen it packed before, of course. But this was different, surreal even. The entirety of the 95,000 crowd inside Camp Nou was on its feet, with seemingly every other person twirling a Spanish flag in celebration.…

“He’ll just think that’s his level. That it’s where he belongs. That’s just Robert.” The rise and rise of Robert Sánchez

“We’re going to try and give you the list, as we do, in an original way. Let’s start with the goalkeepers”.

Spain head coach, Luis Enrique Martínez, stood in a mocked-up changing room, iPad in hand, angling it up to scan the first of a series of QR codes pinned to the wall. On his screen appeared three faces, the first two familiar to the Spanish public — the third not so much, “David de Gea, Unai Simón, Robert Sánchez.”…

Pig farming, fleeing presidents and Helenio Herrera’s underpants: The bizarre story of Johan Cruyff’s spell at Levante

The shrill ring of a telephone breaks the mid-morning silence in a trendy Amsterdam apartment. Enjoying a restorative lie in after a nasty bout of flu, a woman climbs out of bed, wearily ruffles her blonde, bobbed hair and pads through to the living room to pick up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Sorry, he’s not here right now. He’s gone to a meeting at Ajax.”

Talent, tantrums and tragedy: The story of Canito — once the future of Barça but forever Espanyol

He didn’t particularly like the comparisons with John Travolta but stood there at his presentation, tall and handsome, in an immaculate white jacket and plunging, open-necked shirt, you could see why they made them. He was certainly no stranger to the nightclubs — a regular at the iconic Bocaccio on Carrer Muntaner, always impeccably dressed and generous company to be in.

“Rafa no me jodas,” — the human side of the celebrity linesman

Robinson was poignantly remembered as the programme began the new season by looking back over its three decades. As the montages relived moments from the annals of the show, one occasion inevitably featured. A remarkable interaction between a referee and his linesman captured by the Canal+ microphones that would forever be known by a phrase that was never actually said. One that changed the life of one of the protagonists forever. …

“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 …

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.…

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