Legend. What does it mean? Who does it remind you of? For a football fan, players in the caliber of Paolo Maldini, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, David Beckham among many, many others spring to mind. It’s a term that emphasizes one’s glory, successes, attitude, respect, perseverance, and dedication to the sport or his or her particular passion, voyage, and aspiration.
And to assist in fulfilling a long time desire or adventure, Heineken – a popular brewing company – has launched a new campaign titled ‘Voyage’. It is a campaign – non-football affiliated – designed and created for the spontaneous adventurer or maybe the wildlife enthusiast. We don’t know. The purpose of this intriguing campaign is to take different men from across the globe and drop them in remote locations with nothing, but the most basic of supplies and directions – peculiarly reminiscent of the widely known show, The Amazing Race.
The outcome of such a campaign, is dropped – a series of intermittent voyages and adventures following the chosen ones on their once in a lifetime journey and experience. As previously mentioned, the destination of these brave souls is unknown. They might land in the rain forest along the mighty Amazon river, or the freezing wilderness of Alaska, or the barren desert of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, or perhaps a challenge against some of the world’s top football players amidst the treacherous and unsavory conditions of Quito – a place located high above sea level.
We – or, in this case, the chosen adventurers – don’t know what to expect. This is the beauty of this campaign. The excitement and anxiousness in anticipation of the voyage at hand, embodies the essence of what the campaign is all about.
Every year, we hear and read about clubs splashing out exorbitant amounts of money on players and wage payments. We regularly read articles bashing players and their lifestyles, demonizing them, and, in the process, generate hate and somewhat unfair generalizations of their character and lifestyle through a few words from a gossip newspaper or an unflattering image.
We’ve witnessed that with players like Mario Balotelli. The immensely gifted Italian international was regularly in the headlines and column inches of various newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs you name it – and almost never for the right reasons.
Such coverage and over-intrusion into the lifestyle of players such as Balotelli has given the public a dim and ugly perception of the modern football player. Not only hurting the player’s image, but also the club’s, who pay their extremely handsome wages to help achieve their goals and aspirations.
Because of such gloomy perceptions, it’s nice to learn about a charitable and admirable initiative launched by Chelsea – one of Europe’s top clubs – to help aspiring footballers from around the world.
Sponsored by tech-giant Samsung, this initiative called “Dream the Blues” is a program set up by Chelsea’s Youth Football Camp along with Samsung to provide a rare opportunity to train and coach young children aspiring to become the next Messi or Ronaldo, etc.
The team will travel to many youth camps worldwide, lending their experience and expertise to train the next generation of football players. They’ll travel across four continents and eight continents.
Among those representing the Blues on this initiative are players of the highest caliber, including Spanish international Juan Mata, Brazilian international Oscar, and Nigerian international Victor Moses, who’s helped his country reach the African Cup of Nations final for the first time in over 13 years.
Children aged 9 to 12 are expected to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity, training and learning from some of the best and most experienced coaches around. This annual event has proven to be of such immense benefit, assisting over 5,000 youths achieve their dreams from all over the world.
Among the participants, 16 will be exclusively invited to be a part of Chelsea’s youth camp in London itself. The camp is expected to be held in May of this year.
All in all, a lovely and thoughtful initiative by Chelsea and Samsung. A gesture that displays the beautiful and glowing side of the sport; bringing people and nations together to help those with wild, aspiring ambitions turn their dreams and fantasies into a reality.
After having one of the worst possible starts to a MLS season, LA Galaxy had turned their luck around to win the MLS Cup for the second year in a row. Only winning 2 games out of their first 16 of the season, many had ruled the former champions out of having any chance at winning the cup this year. But the players continued to play with belief and hope and once their invincible back four was repaired, they started to play like champs again.
After the playoffs were done and dealt with and the audience of the MLS knew who was in the final, many were wondering whether this match would be another case of Déjà vu. With the Dynamo having the upper hand over LA this season, but LA having the better omen after last year’s finals, it left everyone wondering who could win this year’s cup. With both teams being in top form coming into the final, it was impossible for people to pick out which team could win it.
This was David Beckham’s very last game for the LA side and he wanted nothing more than to win. Not only did they win, but they won with an elated and almighty bang! Beckham set up the Galaxy’s first goal and he was met with a fervent and gratifying goodbye by fans as he was subbed off right after Robbie Keane’s penalty.
After Houston started of the game in front of a very boisterous crowd of 30,515, they followed up with very tight chance from Ricardo Clark. LA was next to give away a heart wrenching chance. David Beckham set up a long ball for Robbie Keane who passed it to Donovan just outside the box but Donovan kicked it just wide of the goal – sending up groans from the home fans.
With nearly LA’s whole team in the box, David Beckham took a free kick in the 19th minute which Mike Magee sent just high from a low header – another groan from LA fans, another sigh of relief from Houston’s travelling mass. Kofi Sarkodie sent the ball just high of the goal posts as he dodged Marcelo Sarvas to give a good go at goal 5 minutes after Mike Magee’s wasteful header.
Just a minute before half time, Calen Carr scored a wonder goal for the Houston Dynamo.
After receiving a long ball from his team mates, Carr revved past Tommy Meyer to tip the ball over Josh Saunders’s with his right foot. A crucial goal before half time to put the Orange Crush’s up by one was the confidence Houston craved going into the second partial of the match.
Instead of Houston accelerating in the second half though, it was the LA Galaxy who fastened the play. Robbie Keane could of equalised things for the home side as he cracked the ball into the net from David Beckham but the offside was up to cut celebrations from the boys in white.
The equaliser came just 12 minutes after Robbie Keane’s offside goal. It wasn’t Donovan or Keane or even Beckham to equalise, but it was Omar Gonzalez! After the former MLS defender of the year tore his ACL – resulting in him missing the first half of the MLS season – he has come back to score in the MLS cup; a decisive equaliser and his second goal of the season. Juninho sent the ball flying into the area as Gonzalez jumped up to slam the ball with his head past the Dynamo goal keeper.
After a corner from David Beckham, Omar sent the ball towards goal for a second time and Robbie smashed the ball into the net. Again, the offside flag was up due to Omar holding his player back as he went to head the ball.
But with white, blue and yellow confetti still fluttering in the air, the LA Galaxy are awarded a penalty. Colin Clark was pulled up for a hand ball after Mike Magee endeavoured a bicycle kick towards goal. Landon Donovan stepped up to the plate and shattered the net as he converted the penalty in incredible fashion. For what could be Donovan’s last penalty for LA, he kicked it like he was in training.
Just after Keane’s legendary goal celebration, the whistle sounded and the residents of LA were hit with an earthquake of excitement. LA Galaxy were rewarded with their fourth MLS cup title – their second in two years.
Omar Gonzalez also won the Volkswagen MVP award!
Through such festivities comes sadness for LA Galaxy. They may have just gained a prized possession, but they’ve also lost a legend like no other. David Beckham has been a celebrated part of the LA team for five years now, winning them back to back MLS titles.
Also with the Galaxy, the Englishman won the Supporters Shield in 2010 and 2011, the MLS Western Conference Title in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and the Winners playoffs in 2009 also. He continued to believe and love the team he was playing with through all the discouraging lows and glorious highs.
Landon Donovan’s future at the Galaxy still remains unknown as he has not made a statement about the prospect of continuing at the club – a saddening cliff hanger for the LA fans and club.
Even though this may be the last time the unconquerable trio of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane will stand on a podium together as part of the LA Galaxy, there’s no doubt that this emotional moment will be theirs to relish in for years to come.
The past 12 months have seen some spellbinding in world football, and for the fourth time, one goal will be awarded as the best scored in the Ferenc Puskas award. So if you haven’t seen the goals nominated they can all be viewed in links below and at the end of the article, I’ll be giving you my opinion on which of these stunning goals has been the best.
Brazilian star Neymar is currently one of the hottest talents in world football, with many of Europe’s top clubs supposedly lining up bids for the player, who is currently playing for Brazilian side Santos, just like Brazil’s most famous ever son, Pele. His captivating run and finish against Internacional from March this year, best summarises the talents of the young Brazilian. Check out the video below and enjoy.
Atlético Madrid’s Colombian centre forward Radamel Falcao has had a superb 2012, with many claiming him to be the world’s most complete centre forward, and from this goal, it’s easy to see why. Wonderful technique was displayed with this effort as he readjusted his body to fire the ball into the net.
The America de Cali goalkeeper was left completely stunned. Some would say as this goal came in pre-season, it wasn’t as impressive, but the technique was so beautiful that I think it deserves the highest level of appreciation.
One of two Fernerbache goals to be nominated for the prestigious award comes from former Chelsea man Miroslav Stoch. The Slovakian attacker/winger hooked a cleared corner into the net with a wonderfully hit strike in a Turkish cup match against Genclerbirgli. Judging by the comments on the video below, many feel this should win the award.
Ones who didn’t quite make the final
Although the nominees have now been reduced to three, here are some other goals which were initially nominated.
In a typically fierce game against Galatasaray in March this year, Moussa Sow’s overhead kick gave Fenerbache the lead.
In a game against arch rivals Brazil in June, the Argentine went on a mazy run, beating Real Madrid’s Marcelo with ease, cutting inside, then firing a perfectly struck shot into the top corner. Pure class, and a goal that silenced critics who said Messi only gets into full gear with Barca.
Hatem Ben Arfa
In an FA Cup game against Blackburn Rovers earlier this year, Ben Arfa picked up the ball just inside the opposition half, beat Gael Givet, Martin Olsson and Ruben Rochina and then fired into the roof of the net.
At this year’s under 20 women’s World Cup in Japan, Denmark had possession in their game against Mexico. What followed was truly sublime. Defensive midfielder Olivia Jimenez picked the ball up and released a tremendous shot which beat the Danish goalkeeper from approximately 45 metres.
While playing for Ghana, Ageymang hit this wonder strike.
A sweetly struck volley from Vancouver whitecaps forward Eric Hassli.
So who should win? I’m sure every football fan has their own opinion, but I’m going to say Neymar. Everything about the goal was perfect, and all his quality was displayed. The run, the footwork, his initial positioning, and of course the finish was all spectacular.
On the other hand, Falcao’s wasn’t challenged much, while Stoch’s goal wasn’t as incredible. So for that reason, I think Neymar’s goal deserves to be considered the best. However, I think Emmanuel Ageymang’s goal deserves to be in the final as it was truly unstoppable, possibly at the expense of Miroslav Stoch’s goal.
All the goals nominated were brilliant however, and that’s just my opinion. Leave yours below.
This is just in. You do not need an off-pitch doctor to help you back on your feet if you are around David Beckham.
It happened last week during a league game against state rivals San Jose Earthquakes where midfielder Sam Cronin, was lying on the ground in an attempt to waste time. We all know how that works right?
But little did he expect, what was to come from the ex-England international. All it took was a foot and a ball from the Maestro. After all, he is known for his precision-based free kicks.
Beckham managed to heal Cronin by accurately kicking the ball at him, from a distance. Cronin obviously infuriated with this gesture, went running towards Beckham.
LA Galaxy had lost 4-3 the game against the Earthquakes. And David Beckham was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for his action. But at least, he will take one positive element from that night. The night he healed Sam Cronin.
Here is something that you do not see quite often.
A video of a 6-yr-old kid (5 at the time this video was uploaded) named Rasheed, hailing from a small town called Mambaad in Kerala, India, juggling the ball.
Why is this so compelling?
Few reasons really.
Firstly, this kid is from India. Now, we all know that there are a few talented gems out there that go unnoticed. He has not and hence it is on us (including the person who shot the video) to get hold off Rasheed and direct him with proper guidance (that is if he is interested in football). As an educator-turned-author –
Resa Streidel Brown once said,
“All children are born brilliant. It is up to us to help them find the passion that will lead to their brilliance.”
Secondly, what are the chances of watching a 6-yr-old juggling a ball 350+ times? I believe, not a lot.
And the last reason, he does it barefoot on a ground made up of hard rock with rubbles on it; a ground we would find difficult to walk on.
The video is approximately 5 minutes long but it’s beautiful to watch him juggle the ball for that extended period. Here it is.
Rasheed has a natural attraction towards the sport. His family is doing everything possible to help nurture his ambition including having him showcase his talent at half-time shows at local football matches. One can only hope that he does not go unnoticed, like the many that have.
This specific skill-set of Rasheed does not guarantee that he would turn out into some wonder kid that dazzles and mesmerizes on the field. It will take a lot of assessment by the right professionals to see what sort of a future he has in football.
But looking at how Indian football functions, I submissively whisper to myself – There goes another potential genius that will be denied the nourishment required.
His ambition – To play like Spanish number 9, Fernando Torres.
Hope that he is watching the Euro’s and eventually changes his mind on playing like Torres!!!
Just kidding, all you Chelsea fans.
PS: Appreciate the assistance in much needed translation provided from Shameer Shaduli.