Real Madrid v. Atletico Recap: Tactical Indeterminacy Revisited

The game is over. Real Madrid has won La Decima. Allegedly, Sergio Ramos has not dropped the trophy. Thus, as per the actual game, there’s not a lot to write home about. Atletico defended with numbers and score off a setpiece/goalie error. Madrid switched formations (pushing Ronaldo up as a striker and Di Maria wide as a winger) and then made some key positive subs (Isco for Khedira, Marcelo for Coentrao) to turn the momentum, tie the game, and dominate in extra time.

But still, Atletico had a wonderful season. They won La Liga. They reached the Champions League final. They sold Falcao last summer, yet only improved. If they sell Diego Costa this summer and improve by the same increment, they will win every trophy imaginable (and probably some made up ones). Yet just how has Atletico done it?

Many have ideas. They are almost all at odds. Continue reading “Real Madrid v. Atletico Recap: Tactical Indeterminacy Revisited” »

Real Madrid’s History Revisited

Atletico is campeon. Long live Atletico. If you’re a Real Madrid fan, you’re used to losing La Liga by now. FC Barcelona has been off the charts the last decade, so we’ve been happy with Copitas del Rey and good Champions League showings (and the occasional SuperCup). This year, we all know that the big game still looms: this Saturday, the chance at La Decima. For non-Spanish speakers, “La Decima” means “The Decima.”

I’ve had the pleasure of writing some historical summaries/snippets for SoccerPro this past week and the series will run until Friday. It deals with Real Madrid’s past and present. Here’s Part I and Part II. Enjoy.

Some Real Sober Reflections

The Carlo era is a success. By that, I mean he has equaled Jose Mourinho’s trophy haul in his first and third seasons at Madrid (He won the King’s Cup the first year and SuperCup the third). At first glance, Carlo has Madrid playing slightly more attacking, offensive soccer. The team has reached the Champions League final and made the race for La Liga interesting until the last month.

However, a close look that some other things have stayed the same. Continue reading “Some Real Sober Reflections” »

Soccer English: the Kick Kick of Cristiano Ronaldo?

If you just look at this picture, it appears Cristiano Ronaldo is doing a Nigel De Jong impression. No big deal. But, alas, it was  kind of a big deal. Ronaldo has scored off heels. He has scored off wicked dipping free kicks. He’s even come super close to scoring off bicycle kicks several times.

But just how exactly do you label his goal vs. Valencia? Continue reading “Soccer English: the Kick Kick of Cristiano Ronaldo?” »

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Reality Reconsidered

I’m no stats guru, but if your buddy predicted a Sergio Ramos first-half brace would seal this tie in the second leg away in Munich, there’s a 90% chance he’s full of shit. For many Madrid fans, the Champions League has been an exercise in pain deescalation for the past decade. For years, we couldn’t get past the quarterfinals. Then, Mou guided us to the semifinals, only to lose to Munich on penalties and fall just short of a classic remontada vs. Dortmund. We’ve come a long way from the dark days of Luxemburgo and Juande Ramos and Pellegrini.

So, what exactly happened? Continue reading “Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Reality Reconsidered” »

Top 10 Pictures of Arjen Robben Trying Desperately to Keep a Secret

Arjen Robben. Bundesliga champion. La Liga champion. EPL champion. Champions League champion. Devilish winger. Bag of tricks. Powerful left foot. Many words describe the brilliant Dutchman. But few know that his truly greatest asset is his ability to keep his mouth shut: yes, that’s right, Robben is a veritable Ft. Knox of gossip.

Here are pictures of him keeping secrets. Don’t let his giddy enthusiasm fool you. Those lips are locked. Continue reading “Top 10 Pictures of Arjen Robben Trying Desperately to Keep a Secret” »

The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico

Cristiano knows of many reasons for the absolute thievery in the latest Clasico and is not afraid of telling the world. Nothing will stop him naming and shaming these parties and/or organisations who will do him (oh and his team) wrong. For it must be told.

And here is a list of said culpable parties, as named by CRon to Webbie of the lovey Football and Music. Continue reading “The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico” »

Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending

On November 29, 2009, I unleashed my three-year old son Junito on the world of soccer and proudly chronicled his exploits. The task was simple enough: mold the greatest ever player for Real Madrid. We’ve all enjoyed the ups and downs, cried at the false early retirement, and were happy to see him come back stronger than ever. And had fun on Vimeo and Youtube. Sadly, though, it must end. Today.

There’s two problems: (1) Junito’s talent and (2) Me getting in the way. Continue reading “Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending” »

Some Hot & Spicy Mexican Content

Don’t you just love stereotypes? I’m half-Mexican and fair-skinned, which has given me a unique window to know what white folks think of Mexicans and vice-versa. The general consensus is that Mexican Coke is better than American Coke, and that people can’t even agree to disagree about the rest but I can dance salsa quite well as long as it’s not with your daughter.

Luckily, I’ve gotten in touch with both my “roots” quite recently. Continue reading “Some Hot & Spicy Mexican Content” »