Aleksandar Hemon

The Alex Ferguson Era Won't End With His Retirement

His legacy is Manchester United itself

His legacy is Manchester United itself. 

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The Biggest Ego in Professional Sports

The amazing and infuriating career of Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho

The amazing and infuriating career of Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho.

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Has the great Swedish player of Bosnian-Croatian origin finally found a home?

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Liverpool FC today is too big and loaded with history to be comfortable with mediocrity. But its American owners aren't making things better.

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The beauty of tournament soccer is that there is no way of knowing what might happen in a single game. Can Portugal beat Spain? Of course. Can Spain beat Portugal? Of course. Spain will want to limit the ball supply to Ronaldo, and they will do it by keeping it away from him and the Portuguese. It should be an apotheosis of tika-taka, and there'll be more people hating the Spaniards for killing the game and preventing the singular (lazy, selfish) genius of Ronaldo from expressing himself. If Spain win, they might extinguish Ronaldo's last chance to accomplish anything in a major tournament.

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I am still reeling from the awfulness of England in the game against Italy. The greatness of Pirlo notwithstanding, Italy was/is not that good. Consider what the Italian team would have been like without his constant orchestration; consider how bad Balotelli was/is, ever eager to show the extent to which he is overrated. But Italy, such as it was, was all over England and the lads could not string two passes together for two hours or so.

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If you have a headache, which is somehow related to a sense of utter meaninglessness; If baseball looks like fun; If you start craving food like French fries and bacon frappé; If you catch yourself reading the NYT Magazine while watching the game, until you realize that might be an even greater waste of time; If you start wondering if all the hours, days, and years you have spent watching soccer may have been misspent; If you start devising insults as answers for questions you anticipate coming from friends and family (”How was the game?”); If you start considering that all the American sports

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I once knew a quiet guy who liked to play soccer because playing, he said, allowed him to communicate without talking. You could see how football communication worked—and how it didn’t—in the Spain-France game. The Spaniards kept chattering, boring everyone who was not in on their tiki-taka lingo, laughing at their own jokes, confident that there would be no interruption coming from the French.

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Bad Lads

IF YOU FOLLOW international soccer, you might be familiar with the peculiar English compulsion to vastly overrate their national team. Before each major tournament, high expectations swarm the yellow and the-not-so-yellow press. The punditocracy asserts that the current generation, whatever it may be, is overdue for success. The fans book trips in the hope of a drinking holiday in some exotic place enhanced with national arousal.

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Alles ist gut!

I grew up hating Germany, but at this time no other national team—not even Spain—provides more football-watching pleasure than Germany. For some time now, the Bundesliga matches have been compulsively enjoyable. Borussia Dortmund is fantastic, having built a core team from no-names, beating Bayern (spending money like crazy by German standards) as they wish. Most of the German clubs are in the black, the tickets are cheap, the stadiums are full and the football academies have been steadily developing young, exciting players.

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