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Europe is Red!

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Liverpool and Tottenham headed to the Wanda Metropolitano hoping to color Europe. The Spurs had the chance to finally win their first UEFA Champions League, as the Reds could go back to the place they should have never left. For the whole context of the campaigns from both clubs this season in the Champions League, we all expected a much better game than it really was. Maybe the three-week break had broken the rhythm and pace from the Reds, and the Spurs. In fact, the final was maybe the worst match from both clubs in this Champions League. However, even playing poorly, Liverpool showed Europe why their supporters call the Reds as the European Royalty, defeated Tottenham 2-0, and lifted their 6th European Cup.

Thousands of English supporters traveled to Madrid. Sadly, less than 20% of everyone who traveled actually got into the stadium. This is due to the UEFA politics of giving more than half of the available tickets to sponsors. Despite the large majority had been left ticketless, and regarding the fact, the confront was between two English sides, the supporters were peaceful towards each other. There were no concerns or complains from the local police about the fans, and it showed that Football can unite people, even if they support different colors.

With that said, let’s get into the pre-match, with the Imagine Dragons music concert opening the Final.

Imagine Dragons UEFA Champions League Final

They were okay. I think Liverpool fans would rather hearing Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” just like in Madrid though. Or maybe not, regarding the outcome of that night. As the Imagine Dragons left, Liverpool supporters chanted their traditional “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, and Spurs fans sang the “Oh When the Spurs Go Marchin’ In”.

With only 20 seconds into the match, Liverpool fans were already celebrating, as Sadio Mane’s cross attempt was deflected off Moussa Sissoko’s opened arm inside the box. After a brief VAR check, the referee awarded the Reds a pen. Mohamed Salah stepped up, and smashed the back of the nets from Hugo Lloris, in a powerful shot down the middle. 0-1 Liverpool in the final.

Mohamed Salah Goal Champions League Final

After that, you could just feel the tense atmosphere from both sides. The only thing that Liverpool did well on that night was the high-pressing on Tottenham’s defense, making the Spurs’ players even more nervous. Despite that, the match was just ugly. Nor Liverpool or Tottenham could put two passes together without losing the ball. The only dangerous offensive actions were long-range attempts from both Liverpool full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andy Robertson. Lloris saved both.

Christian Eriksen had a chance from outside the area as well, but his attempt went off the crossbar. Tough 45 minutes to watch.

Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino had to choose between England International Harry Kane or UCL Semifinal hero Lucas Moura to start the match. He went for the Englishman, who honestly, has been lost until now inside Joel Matip’s pocket.

Pochettino waited too much to introduce Lucas into the match. How can you not start the man who literally made it all possible?

On the other hand, Jurgen Klopp had not the same calm as Poch. He subbed Roberto Firmino off for Divock Origi. And what a sub was this.

We need to mention that both Kane, and Firmino were injured, and looked clearly out of pace for a final.

When the Argentine manager decided to introduce Lucas into the match, Tottenham was already way better.

If Loris Karius’ howlers against Real Madrid last year costed the title for Liverpool, we can say that Alisson Becker’s brilliant saves got the job done for the Reds this time.

The Spurs went to the All or Nothing and pushed hard for an equalizer. Thanks to Alisson, who saved Eriksen, Son Heung-Min, Lucas, and Deli Alli chances, Liverpool got to the 6th.

Alisson Becker saves Champions League Final

Then, at the 88th minute, the Man for the Big occasion sealed the deal. Divock Origi. After a James Milner corner from the right, Son failed to clear, as Jordan Henderson could find Origi down the left, as the Belgian found the back of the net in an improbable finish from a narrow-angle. What a goal from Origi, making the improvised Kop erupt at the Wanda Metropolitano. 0-2 Liverpool.

Origi goal Champions League Final

The Spurs fought until the end. But it was just meant to be for Liverpool to lift their Sixth European Cup.

Surely after the final whistle, pretty much every player on the pitch was breaking down in tears. Some of them from the disappointment, some of them, from joy, and proudness. Both sides had very beautiful moments and memories which will stay forever.

The Spurs were considered dead by the 3rd match of the Group Stages and came back to secure an improbable place amongst the last 16. Then, conceded a last minute goal to Manchester City away, which would have eliminated them. However, they were saved by the VAR.

VAR no Goal

Then, the impossible comeback versus Ajax with a Lucas Moura second-half hat trick. A campaign to be proud of.

Lucas goal vs Ajax

Everyone also said that the Reds were out, as they fell 3-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Semifinal. However, the Anfield Power on a European Night was too much, that even Lionel Messi could not handle it. Plus the fact that they had to kill all of the ghosts from last year in Kyiv to secure the 6th Champions League.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

Many stories. A lot to say, and to be proud of. And surely, Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool’s commander, who had lost all of his 6 last finals, finally broke the curse and made it 6 for Liverpool. On his last defeat, he sang with Liverpool fans at Kyiv Airport, saying that they “Saw the European Cup, Madrid was luck. We Swear we’ll keep on being cool. We’ll bring it back to Liverpool”. And you did, boss!! The European Cup is back home! He even created another song saying that “We’re sending Greetings from Madrid, Tonight we made it number six! We brought it back to Liverpool, as we promised we will do!”. Well done!

Jurgen Klopp UCL Trophy

The German manager is now at the same level as the likes of Bob Paisley, Fagan, and Rafa Benitez in LFC’s European history.

The criticized Jordan Henderson, who turned things around and overcame the pain of last year’s runners-up to Real Madrid to lift the European Cup.

Henderson Trophy

Andy Robertson, who said that life was “rubbish” back in 2012 on Twitter, as he said he had no money.

Robertson tweet

 

And now lifts the European Cup for the Biggest club in England!

Robertson trophy

Arnold, who grew up watching Gerrard and company making history at Anfield, and now he’s part of it.

Arnold, Champions League trophy

The three Brazilians, Alisson, Fabinho, and Firmino, who were hired by Klopp, and had maybe no ambition to win the Champions League, and have done it. Fabinho has arrived this season, and both he and his wife are adored at Anfield.

The Brazilians with the Trophy

Alisson, who will become the father of Matteo in three-days time and shared his happiness with his wife, Nathalia Becker, and her daughter Helena.

Alisson Becker and his wife Facetime Champions League Final

Virgil van Dijk, who was the most expensive center-half in the world, but made the price look almost a bargain only by the way he improved Liverpool’s defense.

Van Dijk trophy

Joel Matip, who was the 4th center-back at the beginning of the season, and due to injuries from Joe Gomez, and Dejan Lovren, was put into the starters XI and got the likes of Messi, and Kane in his pocket.

Matip Champions League Trophy

Georginio Wijnaldum, who is World-Class, and is almost everywhere in the pitch, but was never recognized from it until the Semifinal against Barca.

Gini Wijnaldum and Van Dijk trophy

Salah, who left the UCL Final last year after a violent arm-lock with Sergio Ramos, who almost broke Salah’s shoulder, and now has Europe in his hands.

Salah Champions League trophy

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who got injured against Roma in last season’s semifinal against Roma, and stayed one year on recovering from the knee-ligament injury.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and his wife with the Champions League Trophy

James Milner, Liverpool’s iron man. Maybe the most underrated player in Liverpool, mostly due to his age. Milner proved to be worth more than many young players. Such a warrior on the pitch.

James Milner Trophy

Sadio Mane, who became the first Senegalese to ever win the Champions League. Liverpool’s best player for many Liverpool supporters this season.

Sadio Mane Trophy

Naby Keita, who scored important goals throughout the season and helped Liverpool to reach the 6th in his first season at the club.

Keita Trophy

Surely it’s hard to mention player by player. But these are the ones who highlighted Liverpool’s season. This Liverpool team deserves so much. This Liverpool City deserves so much. These Liverpool fans deserve so much. We can say that Gods of Football made justice, and the UEFA Champions League trophy is happy by itself. She will stay for the next 365 days listening to the Beatles, in Liverpool.

Kings of Europe

Congratulations, Liverpool! Kings of Europe for the 6th time in History!

Deportes

El interesante proyecto de Alguacil

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Además de la siempre linda competencia entre Barcelona, Real Madrid y Atlético por los primeros lugares, el fútbol español, durante las últimas temporadas, se está convirtiendo en un torneo especialmente atractivo en la media tabla.

Sevilla, Getafe, Betis, Valencia, Espanyol, Celta… Y, claro, la Real Sociedad, dan mucho qué ver año tras año.

El equipo de Alguacil, más allá de la competitividad que lo caracteriza, apuesta por un proyecto tan atractivo como repleto de calidad para esta temporada 19/20. Y esto, en parte, explica talentos como los Ødegaard e Isak llegando en verano.

Los Txuri-urdines se han reforzado con jugadores de mucha proyección, además de un probado en la liga como Portu, para aspirar por competencias europeas este año.

Analicemos equipo, idea y sistema:

  • Plantilla 19/20

La Real Sociedad alberga una de las mejores plantillas entre los equipos del segundo escalón en LaLiga. Además de la calidad individual, que ya es un tema a resaltar, tienen profundidad en el banquillo para las dos competencias que disputarán.

Las llegadas del noruego y el sueco antes nombrados otorgan un plus enorme al ataque. Y ambos incluso mostraron cierta química ante el Valencia en el debut oficial (1-1) de la temporada.

Dos jugadores por posición y muchas variantes en cada línea. Esto, de hecho, responde al proyecto que han venido labrando.

Recomendamos, especialmente, seguir a Ødegaard, Oyarzabal, Igor Zubeldia y Mikel Merino.

  • La idea de Alguacil

Ante el Valencia, hubo un claro objetivo: el dominio del partido a través de la posesión. Ilarra, como ya es costumbre, tendrá una labor vital en esta idea mientras ordena todo.

Lo más atractivo de la propuesta, además del buen pie de los centrales para salir jugando, es cuando el balón llega a los teóricos “interiores”: Mikel Merino y Martin Ødegaard. Dos zurdas prodigiosas para crear.

Y eso que no hemos mencionado la movilidad de Willian José y Mikel Oyarzabal. Hype, sí.

  • Sistema

Para desarrollar y potenciar esa idea, Alguacil ha utilizado un 4-3-3.

La primera prueba fue con: Moyá; Bengoetxea, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Muñoz; Ilarramendi, Merino, Ødegaard; Januzaj, Oyarzabal y Willian José.

La posesión y el 4-3-3 son buenos amigos. En la Real Sociedad lo saben. Y así es como cada elemento apunta a una dirección; es la magia de los proyectos. Esto recién inicia, pero vaya que luce bien.

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El nuevo Ceballos y el Arsenal se las traen

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Dani Ceballos ha dado un gran paso al irse del Real Madrid y llegar a unos de los grandes de Inglaterra, a Dani le bastó un solo partido para ganarse definitivamente el cariño de la afición del Arsenal y los galones del equipo gunner para esta temporada tras un gran debut en el Emirates Stadium en partido oficial ante el Burnley. El centrocampista contribuyó decisivamente con dos asistencias a la segunda victoria cosechada por el conjunto entrenado por Unai Emery (2-1). Un salto impresionante de aguador en el Real Madrid a ser elegido el “Man of The Match” con el Arsenal.

Por las botas de Ceballos pasaba todo el juego del Arsenal, ese chico que lucía torpe, con algunos destello de calidad en la casa blanca, a los 13 minutos de encuentro mediante un saque de esquina asistió a Alexander Lacazette en el área y, tras revolverse cuerpo a cuerpo con los defensas rivales, disparó al fondo de la red poniendo el 1-0 para los Gunners y la primera asistencia del español.

Al 63 luego del empate del Burnley, Ceballos mostró otras de sus cualidades al recuperar un balón que Aubameyang mandó a la red con un disparo potente al palo corto. dejando cifras definitivas y un Arsenal que hasta el momento se mantiene invicto en la Premier.

Emery ha encontrado un sustituto perfecto para Ozil que sigue con sus problemas de mafias y queriendo huir a la tierra de los futbolista retirados con algo de dignidad, la MLS. Emery busca regresar el Arsenal a Champions  y contará para ello con Ceballos como cerebro y a Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang como killer que actualmente está en el top 3 de delanteros en forma al día de hoy. Además de contar con Lacazette y Nicolas Pepé, en el segundo año del proyecto de Mister Europa League, el equipo Gunner está para pelear la Premier.

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Deportes

Reconciliaciones, recuerdos y victorias

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La victoria del Real Madrid ante el Celta (1-3) en Balaídos, probablemente, sea el resultado con más y, por ende, distintas interpretaciones en la primera jornada de LaLiga. Y el Barcelona perdió un día antes.

La lectura que se le da al partido es completamente distinta incluso en los mismísimos sectores del madridismo. Para algunos, los más alarmistas, es una sorpresa que rápidamente se transforma en ilusión. Son de quienes sacan conclusiones en pretemporada; conclusiones efímeras. Ya saben qué opinamos de eso.

Por otro lado, hay un sector más conocedor del juego. Y conocedor de Zizou, del Madrid de Zizou. ¿Y es que cuándo fue la última pretemporada buena del Real Madrid? Además, aún no se conoce al técnico francés en un contexto desastroso.

Si bien Zidane no es un experto desde la pizarra, sí lo es desde la gestión grupal. Esta última, la que lo hizo ganar tres Champions y la que puede llevar al equipo actual a recrear aquellos días gloriosos.

Calidad individual para gobernar

El Madrid visto en Balaídos trae recuerdos de, precisamente, aquellos días gloriosos. Y lo hizo porque jugó (y ganó) a partir de la calidad individual de las piezas que alberga y no desde la pizarra, como se pedía.

Porque no, no todos los equipos necesitan brillar desde la pizarra. A veces siquiera trabajan desde allí.

Los rompimientos de Bale, las pinceladas de Kroos o los apoyos de Benzema. Eso (¡esto!) es el Real Madrid. A ello hay que agregar la recuperación de forma de Marcelo, lo que puede aportar Hazard o la progresión de Vinicius.

Nadie recuerda las pretemporadas porque nada dicen. Las competencias oficiales comienzan, literalmente, desde el día 1. El Real Madrid, por su parte, ha empezado diciendo muy claro lo que quieren y lo que harán.

Gareth Bale y James Rodríguez, dos viejos conocidos

Junto con la pretemporada, al parecer, se han ido las declaraciones de Zidane apurando la salida del galés. También las de James en la Copa América.

Ambos contarán en el nuevo proceso. Dos de las mejores zurdas del mundo. Otra vez.

Esto último puede responder a muchas cosas, como quizá a una mayor exposición para una mejor venta y con ello traer, tarde o temprano, al tan ansiado fichaje de Zidane (Paul Pogba).

El hecho es que estarán. Y las impresiones comienzan a cambiar. ¿Nos divertiremos? Creemos que no hay ninguna duda de ello.

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