Lionel Messi – The Greatest Footballer Ever?

The footballing world watched on in utter amazement and delight yesterday as Messi’s Barcelona put 7 goals past a hapless Bayer Leverkusen side in a UEFA Champions League game at the Nou Camp. For the first time ever, we saw one person score 5 goals in a Champions league game and it so happened to be no other person than Lionel Messi.

Yes, the number of goals may be a new record which I think he can better in the years ahead, but it’s more the manner and the sheer class with which he scored the goals that made many a football enthusiast admire this rare talent that has emerged in this generation.

Of course, we all knew about his ability already but his display yesterday has put him in another League. The way in which he made the difficult act of scoring spectacular goals look so easy was just a joy to watch. One was a left foot lob, another a delightful right foot lob, then a careful control from an acute angel, a laser-guided placement with his left foot and then a drive through a number of opposing players. His unique sense of picking the right moments in games to do what he does best is simply quite extraordinary.

He has often been compared with the Legendary Pele and his fellow country man Diego Maradona as to who is the greatest player ever but I will dare to say that even these legends will secretly admit that it’s just a matter of time before this boy from the backside of Rosario, Argentina supersedes their achievements if he hasn’t already done so. Considering the fact that Messi is only 24 years of age and has at least 10 years of top flight football in him, the prospect of what he could achieve can be incredible.

It’s almost inconceivable that the world would never have seen what happened yesterday had it not been for the Barcelona scouts who intervened to save his career when he was being given up on. River Plate, one of the biggest clubs in the Argentine First Division who wanted to sign him from Newell Old Boys Club in Rosario, soon discovered that his inability to endure playing for 90 minutes was due to the absence of a growth hormone that hindered his normal physical development as a person. He looked so tiny for his age at the time that, they were not sure if he could develop physically to meet the demands of the modern game even though his talent was never in dispute. The money needed to put him on a special dieting programme was just too much they couldn’t afford it. They gave up on him but thankfully, he was spotted and taken to Barcelona’s La Masia’s training academy and the rest, they say, is history.

Talking about humble beginnings, his first contract was signed on a white handkerchief because his Dad was so frustrated with the directors of Barcelona at the time due to their indecision about his son’s future that, he gave Charles Rexach, the Director of football at the time a brief window of opportunity to make up his mind. Either they give him an answer there and then or forget about Messi forever once they fly back to Argentina. His exploits today has proven that it doesn’t matter where you begin in life but rather, it’s about you believing in your unique abilities and giftings given to you by God regardless of your size, age, race or gender.

As great as the current Barcelona team is at the moment, it is my firm conviction that if you pluck Messi out of this team, they would not have achieved as much as they have. He brings a certain quality to the team which puts them way above any other team at the moment. When games are tight, he is the only one that can come up with some special instinctive play capable of breaking down opposing teams whereby creating opportunities to score goals.

The flip side of the above argument is that, even the greatest players will find it very difficult to perform at their optimum when they are either surrounded by mediocre players or the team they find themselves in doesn’t play to their strengths. This may well be the reason why he is yet to hit the same dizzy heights with the Argentine National Team as he’s done time and time again with his Club side.

With all that he’s achieve so far, hearing him speak just makes you believe why he may go on to accomplish much more. He seems to exude this important virtue of humility which is vital not only to help get you to the top of your game but more importantly, to stay there. There isn’t any air of «superstardom» about him. His lifestyle is just simple, both on and off the pitch. I’m yet to hear any news about Messi involved in any «off the pitch» incidents that you so often associate with English Premiership players. He just seems to enjoy playing in huge stadia as much as he did when he played on the streets of Rosario.

So is he the greatest player ever? The legendary Pele seems to think he is the best by far in the world at the moment. Most football Managers, fellow professionals and the football community at large seem to think he is the best ever even though he’s yet to lead Argentina to Word Cup glory. I would not dispute that either. I think we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He is simply sublime.

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Must-Know Bayern Munich Facts for Readers

FC Bayern Munich is one of the most celebrity football clubs in the world. The club, which is popularly known as FC Bayern or even called FCB, competes in the top-tier of German football system, commonly known as Bundesliga. Without any shade of doubt, Bayern Munich has been the most consistent performer in Bundesliga. They are the most successful entity in Bundesliga. The article is intended to share some amazing Bayern Munich facts with the readers.

Bayern Munich – Story of Success

The club has climbed to the crest of success since its establishment back in 1900. Franz John along with eleven players took the leading role to set up the club. It was in 1932 when the Bavarian side claimed their first national champions title. The club kissed their greatest success in the 1970s. Bayern won the European title in 1974 and successfully defended the same in the next two seasons under great captaincy of Franz Beckenbauer who is considered one of the greatest players football has ever produced.

Among the Bundesliga clubs, Bayern has marched their way to the finals of the UEFA Champions League for the maximum number of times. The club has been the most dominant one in Bundesliga. Though the club was not a part of Bundesliga during its inception, it has won the Bundesliga title for the highest number of time. The club has wrapped up UEFA Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, European Cup Winners Cup and also International Cups.

In a word, the club has earned respect and popularity on strength of its success both on national and international level. They have produced several football legends. Several Bayern Munich players were in the World Cup winning German team in 2014.

Bayern Munich – Rich in Resources

Bayern Munich is rich in resources both in terms of money and talent. As per the latest reports, the club is one of the wealthiest entities in the world of football. The club attracts both fresh and experienced footballers from all over the globe. They also nourish the young prospects at their own academy. The club has been managed by a number of brilliant coaches and is currently under the stewardship of Carlo Ancelotti.

Rivalry & Jersey

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have become arch rivals since mid of 1990s. Their rivalry has become more infamous as Bayern has been alleged of attracting the star players from Borussia Dortmund in order to maintain their monopoly in Bundesliga. The club’s boys play in ‘red and white’ jersey. A ‘white and blue’ flag is the crest of Bayern.

Stadium & Members

The club has its home ground at the Allianz Arena. Olympiastadion used to be their home ground for 33 long years. Being popular internationally, the club has fans and followers all over the world.

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Euro 2008 – Football Worldcup Guide

The days are being counted as are approaching the Euro 2008 which is definitely going be the blockbuster tournament of the year. The UEFA Euro 2008 will be hosted by Switzerland and Austria. The opening match will be held on Saturday 7th June 2008 at St. Jakob-Park in Basel. Sixteen teams will battle it out in the ultimate tournament with only one goal in mind, the Euro 2008 Cup. The teams are from Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal. Turkey, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Italy. Romania, France, Greece. Sweden, Spain and Russia.

The teams qualified for the Euro 2008 tournament went through tough qualifying matches to reach to the top spots in their standings. The teams divided into seven groups, with the top two in each section going straight into the finals. The qualifying system was simple enough, but still very few sides found it to be plain sailing. Greece being the team with 31 points had to face the most humiliating defeats in their history. After Germany’s Otto Rehhagel failed to make it in the FIFA World Cup in his home country, he was then determined to make a statement in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers but his team had to face a terrible defeat in his own home against Turkey in the most memorable Group C Euro 2008 qualifiers game. Even though Germany made an early goal but Turkey’s play tempo did not let Germany keep up with them.

Turkey managed to achieve the runner’s up place in the Euro 2008 qualifiers table after their final struggling match. England faced many defeats in the qualifying matches but with much struggle managed to steal one victory from Israel putting England last position in Group E of Euro 2008 qualifiers. England did recover from the early defeats in the tournament when they followed a 0-0 draw at home against F.Y.R. Macedonia with 2-0 defeat in Croatia. However, two second-half Roman Pavlyuchenko goals saw Russia make a comeback after the 2-1 defeat in Moscow which then let them only to win their remaining games against the already eliminated Israel and Andorra. Omer Golan’s late goal saw Israel beat Russia 2-1, and then handed the initiative back to Steve McClaren’s England to face Croatia for a spot at the Euro 2008 but unfortunately faced a tie against group winners Croatia. At Wembley a qualification was expected only if the match drew but they lost 3-2 making big errors during the game and let Russia move on 1-0 win against Andorra. Russia’s coach did not expect it to end this way. Other worthy matches of the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament included Denmark-Sweden tie which was finally called off when a pitch invader attacked referee Herbert Fandel for dismissing a Denmark player and awarding the away side a penalty.Don’t forget to catch live UEFA Euro 2008 tournament matches on your PCs. It isn’t worth missing it.

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Saltwater Fishing Reels

Saltwater fishing conjures up the image of a vast sea with a large fish dancing across the waters surface. This is not far from reality when you think more generally terms of large fish and corrosive conditions. These are the two main reasons why a good saltwater fishing reel is so important to your fishing arsenal.

While a saltwater reel may look much like any other reel, the fact is that the these fishing reels are constructed for saltwater fishing conditions and are designed to stand up to the elements that a fisherman encounters. They are also made to with stand the rigors of heavier fish.

Consider first the type of fishing you will be doing. Shore fishing and open water fishing are two of the distinct types of saltwater fishing anglers can enjoy. Each type requires a different type of reel.

If open water fishing is for you, then you will be searching for a reel that has durable construction and is more on the heavy-duty end for bigger fish and deeper depths. Baitcasting type of reels are the most commonly used saltwater fishing reels, as these saltwater types of reels are made to handle heavy line weights associated with open water fishing. Also you will find the drag systems accommodate a variety of resistance automatically.

Shore fishing on the other hand will most likely be scaled back when it comes to the depth of the water and the fish size. Here a spinning reel, similar to those used when bass fishing, will do the job. The saltwater spinning reels offers better resistance to corrosion, as it is normally made from stainless steel. Always keep corrosion in mind when thinking of reel selection or reel maintenance.

The life expectancy of your saltwater fishing reel depends squarely on your care. Cleaning is crucial when you own saltwater reels. Always hose down your saltwater equipment after every outing. This will help your expensive fishing reel last longer.

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Onshore and Offshore Outsourcing: Your Choices

Outsourcing is practised throughout the business world, offshore outsourcing in particular has been well documented in the media for numerous reasons.

The fact is businesses will continue to outsource especially if the process;

  • Offers them specific expertise they don’t have in-house
  • Most importantly, if it saves them money

Outsourcing is particularly popular as far as IT is concerned, many businesses outsource their IT departments to gain expertise in the field and in an effort to cut down on costs.

Whether you decide to go offshore or stay within the country will depend on the needs of your company, your budget and your business ethos. Both onshore and offshore have advantages and both are designed to increase productivity and cut down on staffing costs.

What’s best for my business?

Onshore Outsourcing; This usually involves outsourcing within your own country. For instance a business in London could outsource its call centres in Manchester or freelancers based in Liverpool.

The general consensus is that the costs you will face staying within your own constituency will outweigh the potential risks of transporting your business to another country or continent, particularly a country with another language and different legal regulations.

There’s also the geographical advantage to consider, meaning that if you want to get in touch with your IT department for instance, they’re likely to be only a train journey or short flight away.

One of the main advantages is that communication will be greatly improved.

You’re also likely to face less issues when it comes to legal issues, if you’ve outsourced within the same constituency, with stricter legislation in place intellectual property law is often vastly different in other countries.

Offshore Outsourcing: The process essentially follows the same ideas but you’re likely to face some problems going abroad. The main attraction for outsourcing offshore is the reduced labour costs, India is the most popular choice as far as the United Kingdom is concerned because the has a high number of fluent English speakers and lower labour costs than most of western society.

Of course there are the issues we’ve previously mentioned, despite the fact that some countries speak English, there’s no guarantee they’ll be fluent in the language. It can be costly and stressful consistently flying to far off countries meaning that communication will primarily have to be online or on the telephone.

It’s also worth noting that you may have to train these employees whether their based in the same city or in another continent.

So these are some of the choices you’re likely to encounter as a business, there are obviously arguments for both of these methods, outsourcing is likely to remain a popular choice for businesses for the foreseeable future, what method you choose will depend on your business.

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EPL 2011-12 Preview: Chelsea Vs Liverpool

Stamford Bridge will be witness to a big match day when Liverpool travel to face Chelsea, on Saturday, November 19, 2011, in match week 12.

Villas-Boas’ men are coming off a 1-0 win away at Blackburn, on the back of Lampard’s 52nd minute header. It was an unconvincing performance by the Stamford Bridge squad for whom the game was a must-win, after consecutive league defeats, including a 5-3 loss at home to Arsenal. The visitors were colourless in the first half; after a first minute scoring opportunity to Sturridge that was saved by Robinson, the hosts dominated possession.

Chelsea were lucky to see a shot from Yakubu go wide as he reached out to prod a cross from Formica home. Sturridge was the outstanding player for Chelsea, and he came close to winning a penalty, and had another scoring attempt. Rovers almost equalised on 86 minutes when the ball ricocheted off the underside of the bar after Ivanovic’s muffed an attempted clearance off a Pedersen corner.

Liverpool played out a 0-0 stalemate against Swansea, at Anfield, in match week 11. The hosts failed to breach a Swansea defence on a day that will be remembered for Andy Carroll’s missed scoring chance more than anything else. This was Liverpool’s third consecutive home draw that had several other scoring opportunities squandered, including one by Routledge for Swansea, and Liverpool were lucky not to concede and had Reina between the posts to thank for a brilliant one-handed save that kept Routledge’s shot from doing damage.

Head to head, Chelsea and Liverpool have met 18 times, in the Premier League, and Chelsea have won on 9 of those occasions, while Liverpool have won on 7, with the remaining two games drawn. The last time these teams met was in February 2011, at the same venue; Liverpool won that game 1-0.

Currently placed 4th on the league table, the Stamford Bridge squad have hosted 5 home games, this season, winning 4 and losing the remaining one, while Liverpool who are in 6th place have had 3 wins and 2 losses in 5 games on the road.

This one promises to be an intriguing match between two well-matched teams both trying to get some momentum going in their campaign, with Chelsea enjoying an edge on the back of home advantage.

Chelsea’s starting eleven against Blackburn: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Mata, sturridge, Malouda.

Liverpool’s starting eleven against Swansea: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Carroll, Suarez.

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Didier Drogba and the Ivory Coast Men’s National Soccer Team

Didier Drogba was a smash hit at the African Nations Cup which was produced by CAF (Confederation of African Football) and hosted in Egypt. The final with Ivory Coast took place on February 10 2006 and was won by the host country Egypt 4-2 on penalty shoot-out.

Didier Drogba had the most impact of any other national player of any other of the participaying teams during the course of the intra African match-ups. He is essentially a centeral force on any of the teams he has played on.. This also includes Chelsea of the English Premier League of which he is also a striker.

For team mate, Toure, Drogba presents a potentially decisive edge in the first competitive meeting between Ivory Coast and Nigeria since the 1994 Nations Cup semi-final won by the Nigerians on penalties.

«Drogba is a really great player and he is something special. We are really proud of what hehas a done for the team».

«It’s going to be a very hard game. But now we are in the semi-finals, anything can happen. We’ve got our chance,» said defender Toure.

Seconds into the second half, the whole difference was made when Drogba netted his fourth goal of the tournament and the Elephants could afford to sit back for most of the second half.

The goal stung the Nigerian bench who immediately replaced Mikel Obi with Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo with Julius Aghahowa, but still the Nigerians could not turn the game round. This is the first time the Ivorians, who have qualified for the World cup, will have played in the final since winning the title in 1992 in Senegal.

The Egyptians must thank goalkeeper Essam EL Hadary for saving two penalties as Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba missed a crucial first spot kick for the Elephants.

COTE D’IVOIRE (Ivory Coast) National Team Line-up

01.Tizie Jean-Jacques Hobrou

02.Akale Kanga Gauthier

03.Boka Etienne Arthur

04.Toure Kolo Abib

05.Zokora Deguy Alain Didier

06.Kouassi Koffiblaise

07.Fae Emerse

09.Kone Arouna

11.Drogba Tebily Didier Yves

21.Eboue Emmanuel

19.Toure Yaya Gnegneri

How many of these following substitutes will make their way to other Premier League teams in Europe and Asia?

10.Yapi Yapo Gilles Donald

08.Kalou Bonaventure

14.Kone Bakari

15.Dindane Aruna

16.Gnanhouan G. Amoukou Okosias

17.Domoraud Depri Cyrille Leandre

18.Tiene Siaka

22.N’dri Koffi Christian Romaric

23.Barry Boubacar

20.Demel Guy Roland

12.Meite Abdoulaye

13.Zoro Kpolo Marc Andre

The battle for African Footballer of the year

Drogba overshadowed Samuel Eto’o, his rival for the African Footballer of the Year award usually held in late February. Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty to put Ivory Coast into the last four in a dramatic shootout victory over Cameroon in Cairo.

However it might be blindsided by a contender from Egypt. Could Mido be in the mix?

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Time to Do It – Now!

There can be many frustrations in business and more especially in management.

Lots of us, in these roles, get irritated by the smallest things – often these things seem to be about others and, in truth, are just about ourselves.

Getting honest about this is one of the biggest challenges we have.

Sometimes, it’s vital to cast all our doubts and fears to one side and get on with it.

The more polite shortening of this is ‘JDI’ – otherwise known as ‘Just Do It’.

In this little article, we’ll explore more about JDI and how this weekend, it made a magnificent difference to a small town on the Scottish/English borders.

Manager Rowan Alexander says he never wants to leave Gretna.

In four years, this little Scottish football team have moved from the incredibly unknown non-professional league called the Unibond League, to the Scottish First Division (next season) and as of this weekend, their 3-0 win over Dundee led them to the Scottish Cup Final.

Never before has a team from the Scottish Second Division got there. And they are not expecting to stop progressing till they achieve Premier League status, hopefully sometime in 2007.

Already, due to their win and that of Hearts in the second semi-final on Sunday, Gretna are assured of European football next season (as long as Hearts stay 2nd in the Scottish Premier League!)

When asked how they had achieved this, Alexander, manager since those heady days back in the Unibond, says,

«We don’t talk about things here, we do it. Nothing negative, everything is positive.»

If ever there was a time when a state of expectations, meeting with application and wonderfully supportive, encouraging and developmental management came to fruition, then surely Gretna is it.

Sometimes the seemingly ‘unachievable’ is so very achievable. We just get in our own way, prevaricating with reason after reason why we shouldn’t, can’t or mustn’t.

We fear possible outcomes which might not achieve our goals – blindly forgetting that if we don’t try, we are certain of failure.

I once worked with a client who told me that he prevaricated because at least if he didn’t try, he wouldn’t fail and the hope and dream he had would still be there.

It had taken years of practice to reach this state of inertia – it took but a few coaching sessions to encourage him that using a JDI approach would not be life-threatening.

This week you have the opportunity to move on those things you have been putting off, for whatever reason.

Let’s call it an amnesty.

Give yourself permission for slipping out of your comfort zone and into action. It might not be as chilling an experience as you may think.

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