round up #33

diego forlán of atlético madrid
the form of former tottenham target diego forlán has fallen off steeply; harry’s wheeling and dealing sensors must be tingling.

I admit that I’m really trying to steer clear of transfer rumors stories in my latest Round-Up and TWOL posts, mainly because I’ll need something to write for the rest of the summer. That said, there are some stories below that do mention the possibilities of transfers, so don’t skewer me when you come across it.

As we enter the final weekend of matches in the 2010-2011 Premier League season, it’s all pins and needles for no less than five clubs at the foot of the table, and Tottenham have a chance to keep a tiny trickle of European relevancy running through White Hart Lane. So needless to say, I’m on pins and needles a bit too.

So moving along to today’s round-up, we’ll start off on this side of the pond…

The New York Cosmos take to the field this summer –
And so it begins. Even though the “Zombie Cosmos” will begin their climb up the American professional soccer ladder at the lowest rung, the u-23 Premier Development League (PDL), I think it’s fantastic first step for an organization trying to earn what’s likely to be the 20th and last MLS franchise. This will give the club a great avenue for continuing to identify talent from their already established youth academy, a major pillar of the club’s philosophy.

The author of this article did fail to mention one of the other major benefits that this news will provide for the cosmos: a revenue stream. Aside from the revenue that have been generated by the club’s bad ass Umbro apparel, they really didn’t have another major source of income. By fielding a PDL side, it allows the club to charge fans to come and watch potential future Cosmos stars and pour some money into their coughers. It’s not a cheap to fund a campaign to join MLS, and the club is going to need some source of income to help them reach their eventual goal.

A perfect transition from the States back to Europe, a story about a player that used to play on this side of the pond:

Rohan Ricketts’ Moldovan nightmare –
With the big dogs in Europe trying to right their financial ships before UEFA’s financial fair play rules come into effect (well, some of them aren’t), it’s a little bemusing that UEFA don’t seem to be taking much interest in how finances are playing out in the lower tiers of the European football too. For example, consider this linked article about former Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolves, Barnsley, and Toronto FC winger Rohan Ricketts.

While ricketts is a textbook journeyman footballer, crisscrossing the glob in search of glory/paychecks, the hardships he’s endured at Moldovan side Dacia Chişinău are a far cry from what any professional should expect. While the big clubs are always getting the headlines about the dirty tricks their owners play when trying to screw over players, little clubs are often times just as guilty, if not worse. The problem is without the financial gain of European competition to hold over their heads, the smaller clubs often go unpunished for such actions.

Though to be fair, Ricketts probably should have assumed that something retarded would go down when signing up for squad in Moldova.

Speaking of a player that should have made a move elsewhere last transfer window…

Forlán’s relationship with Atlético seems damaged beyond repair –
Football is a rollercoaster, ain’t it? I’m sure if you were to ask Diego Forlán that question, the Uruguayan would probably agree right about now. Last summer he was named the best player at the World Cup, fresh after winning the European golden boot for Atlético Madrid. Now, just nine months after Los Rojiblancos were demanding £20 million for the 30-year-old striker, they appear to be trying to give him away.

The article states that Forlán’s difficult personality has strained his relationship with Atlético’s likely-to-be-departing manager Quique Sánchez Flores. But I do wonder if that’s really enough to have forced him out of a mid-table starting XI despite being in the running for the Ballon d’Or just a few months ago. Maybe Diego is trying to engineer a move away from the capital club because they wouldn’t let him leave last summer? All I can say is that with the kind of season that he’s had, I’m really glad Harry Redknapp didn’t convince Levy to dump a ton of money into some empty Spanish bank account for his services.

I hope you’re not afraid of being spied on if you like to attend sporting events…

Wembley 360 –
I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that you have yet to see every single person who attended the FA cup final between Manchester City and Stoke City this past weekend, nor am I guessing that you actually wanted to. But in the off-chance that you do want to see that, thanks to big brother The Sun, you can now look at and Facebook tag every single person sitting in England’s hallowed national stadium at somewhere between the 19:52 and 21:27 marks of the match.

While I can see the appeal of such a unique feature — and also impressed by the technology the oft-dubious tabloid used — I’m not convinced that I actually like the idea of a high-def stadium wide panoramic. It comes off as extremely Orwellian, especially with the paper imploring it’s readers to self-identify themselves and rat out their friends. Wembley 360 tastes of invasion of privacy. I mean, tell me there weren’t some blokes there playing hookie from work to go watch the Final. Now they’ve been made by the sun‘s all-seeing eye. Not cool.

Sometimes clubs need all-knowing presence floating behind the scenes to make things tick.

zidane still involved at real madrid
zizou is often greasing the wheels behind the scenes in madrid.

Real Madrid still benefiting from Zinedine Zidane’s presence. –
Not sure how I missed this from about a month back, but this piece does an excellent job of answering a question I’ve been contemplating for a while: what exactly does Zizou do at Real Madrid? Author Ben Lyttleton paints an excellent picture of Zidane’s role at his former club, where he’s serving as the club’s “special advisor to the president and first team”… quite the title.

Not only does it explain that the French legend takes time to work with the players and provide welcomed insight from Mourinho, but he also smooths over the political rifts within the club (Ex: Valdano vs. Mourinho) and is in tight with the president too. In a nutshell, he’s the glue that keeps the modern Real held together. Until he head butts Ronaldo.

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