Eric Abidal: Cule of the year returns home to Lyon

By Barney Stephenson

Earlier this month Eric Abidal was awarded “Cule of the year”, an award that recognises individuals who possess “the Barca DNA: teamwork, solidarity, respect, fair play, humility, ambition and generosity”. Back at the club he spent six years at after five years away it is fair to say that the Frenchman is a decent candidate for the accolade.

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Four battles, one war: remembering the four Clásico’s in 18 days of 2011

Take out your diary and grab a pen, then jot down this note: Barcelona versus Real Madrid, the great eternal rivalry of Spain, the most watched derby in football, three times in the next 25 days. 6th February at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey, the return leg on the 27th at the Bernabéu, a blockbuster league tie on 2nd March at the Bernabéu. Good watching for the neutral, right? Certainly so, but nothing on 2011. Pep v José, Barça v Madrid, four times in 18 days…

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The forgotten greatness of Juan Pablo Sorin – skilfully versatile, eccentric and so stereotypically Argentinian

By Gerra Deegan 

Perhaps one Friday afternoon, a decade from now, when you’re sitting in your office bored and wishfully counting down the clock on your computer screen until it’s time to go home for the weekend, you decide to take one of the many thousands of quizzes on Sporcle. The question reads: ‘Name the South American Player who played for these clubs; Lazio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, River Plate, and Juventus?’

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Why full-backs are crucial to Pep Guardiola’s style of play

By Lewis Steele

Manchester City lost three games in December, which put a good few nails in their bid to become the first team to retain the Premier League title for over a decade. The reason mooted by many is complacency, the loss of Fernandinho, or simply a bad spell of luck, with many conceded goals being ‘screamers’. Given Guardiola’s meticulous nature, there is no such thing as ‘luck’, good or bad, and the issue always lies deeper. Continue reading “Why full-backs are crucial to Pep Guardiola’s style of play”

Advent Day 19 – a young Lionel Messi, footballing memories made forever

By Lewis Steele 

Throughout the Advent Calendar series here at 5WFootball, we’ve delved into the wonderfully glistening careers of many greats. Some have been so good that one article wouldn’t do them justice, so we have just looked at one aspect of their careers. That’s what we will do here, with Lionel Messi and the number 19. The GOAT wore the 19 shirt for just two seasons, but those two campaigns set in motion a trail of events that would establish Lionel Messi as the greatest footballer to ever grace our planet. Another theme of the series has looked at a particular part under a microscope from an outside perspective, like Westworld, but like the HBO blockbuster, let’s leap inside that world and have a look at what Leo Messi means to me.

Let’s start with my trip to the Camp Nou…
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Advent Day 10 – Juan Román Riquelme, the player who pauses

By Joe Davies

Number 10. Football’s most iconic shirt number has been synonymous with teams’ creative attackers all over the world. Brazil have had Pelé, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. Italy had Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero. Even England have had Geoff Hurst, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. However, nowhere is the number more crucial to a team’s identity than in Argentina. Arguably the two greatest players to have ever played the game, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, have donned the number for La Albiceleste, but few have embodied the essence of the shirt and its implied role more than Juan Román Riquelme.

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Advent Day 6 – Xavi Hernandez, the greatest midfielder of his generation

By Lewis Steele

To find answers you have to ask a question, obviously. So, I pose two questions: one – who is the best club team of the 21st century? Two – who is the best international team of the 21st century? There is a bit of debate to be had and there are teams that could pose a serious case for being the answer, but there are only really two logical answers – Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, and the treble winning Spain side of 2008-2012.

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Quique Setién, the far from traditional tactician who loves chess and Johan Cruyff

By Lewis Steele

“Before I signed for Betis, I asked them ‘Why do you want me?’ You’ve seen how my teams play, how I play. Are you clear this is what you want? Do you agree with this or not, because be clear that I am not going to score. If not, you better get another manager.’”

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