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October 20, 2017
Friday, June 16, 2017

Surprise attacking start by coach Sampaoli

Argentin’s coach Jorge Sampaoli dishes out instructions during the friendly match against Brazil last week.
By Eric Weil / Sportsworld

World’s richest club is Manchester United and the richest player is Cristiano Ronaldo

Argentina’s new national soccer team coach, Jorge Sampaoli, fielded an attacking team for his first match in charge, lining up with only three men in defence, which seemed a bit risky against Brazil. Argentina’s strikers managed to score only once in the 1-0 win, but the defence, with fewer men than in most matches, stopped Brazil from scoring and ended their run of nine victories.

It is important for a new coach to be able to start well, especially in this country where after two or three poor results the new man is normally criticised. It bucks up the players also. For the second friendly match on this tour, against Singapore — which had not been played when this was written — Sampaoli said he would only line up with two defenders and that every player who did not play against Brazil will be in the line-up.

Matías Rodriguez, who won three Chilean league championships as a player for Universidad de Chile under Sampaoli, says that with this coach you have to run a lot, but Rodriguez said he also enjoyed playing soccer under the coach. Sampaoli has always tried to convince players of his style and he gets the best out of players.

Sampaoli, says Rodriguez, used to call you up at your room to talk or to come and watch a video of a match. It made one wonder when you could have a siesta, so as to avoid being woken up, but later you come to accept it, he adds.

“Sampaoli does drive the players a bit crazy, but then you realise it helps your play and you accept it. And when he tells you what to do and you don’t do it, he gets very angry. Once he told us the rivals kick all their crosses to the nearest goalpost and then, they (the opponents) equalised in this way. When we went to training again in gym shoes, he said no, boots only, and made us practise defending crosses to the nearest goalpost for a long time. Sampaoli changes playing tactics, but does not alternate players too much,” Rodriguez said.

MACRI INVOLVES POLITICS

President Mauricio Macri thinks his party will have a better chance in the midterm elections if people are happy because they can watch soccer on TV free of charge, although a poll showed that only two in 10 people were interested in watching soccer without having to pay. The government then said it would not pay the Argentine Football Association (AFA) any more for broadcasting rights, ending Fútbol para todos. But now perhaps free soccer will carry on for a bit longer. The government is negotiating with TV companies Fox and Turner to televise free soccer for the first three months of the so-called Super League, which starts in August, until the midterm elections in November.

People interested must register for this free TV, but this is still being negotiated with Turner and Fox. Afterwards it is likely to cost 300 pesos a month.

QUILMES, NEWELL’S TROUBLES

There are splits and arguements in the Quilmes committee as the soccer team is moving closer and closer to relegation. Coach Cristian Díaz, who has a contract until 2018, is leaving at the end of the season as he is not getting paid, like the players. The committee in charge says it will resign at the end of the season (after making a mess of things). But what are they arguing about? Quilmes never had players who were good enough to stay in the top division. Newell’s Old Boys is the other crisis spot where its committee says it will resign after not knowing how to relate with players and after paying them with fake cheques. You will remember that the players carried on playing without pay as they were close to winning the championship, but that is unlikely to happen now. One of their best players, Ignacio Scocco is the spokesman against the committee, which is believed to have carried out fraudulent administration.

AFA’s disciplinary committee, with five new members, may change its methods and sanction players who have not been reported by the referee. This is felt to be necessary in cases of poor refereeing.

I have often said that a coach does not make a team, but a team makes a coach, but this assertion is not written in stone. Marcelo Gallardo is looked upon as the best coach in Argentina, which may or may not be true (because River Plate is doing so well) but there are reasons that make a good coach. One of Gallardo’s reasons is that in all this he has kept the same training staff.

RICHEST CLUBS,

RICHEST ATHLETES

Here are the richest soccer clubs and richest athletes from the past year, according to Forbes.

In terms of clubs, Manchester United, after five years off the top, has again returned to be the richest soccer club, displacing Real Madrid, with a value of US$3.69 billion. There are six English Premier Division clubs in the top 10: 1) Manchester United, US$3.69 billion; 2) Barcelona, US$3.64 billion; 3) Real Madrid, US$3.58 billion 4) Bayern Munich, US$2.71 billion; 5) Manchester City, US$2.08 billion; 6) Arsenal, US$1.93 billion; 7) Chelsea, US$1.85 billion; 8) Liverpool, US$1.49 billion; 9) Juventus, US$1.26 billion; 10) Tottenham Hotspur, US$1.06 billion.

In terms of athletes, Cristiano Ronaldo is out ahead of everyone else. Here are the top 10 richest athletes: 1) Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer), US93$ million; 2) Lebron James (basketball), US$86.2 million; 3) Lionel Messi (soccer), US$80 million; 4) Roger Federer (tennis), US$64 million; 5) Kevin Durant (basketball), US$60.6 million; 6) Andrew Luck (American football), US$50 million and Rory McIlroy (golf), US$50 million; 8) Stephen Curry (basketball), US$47.3 million; 9) James Harden (basketball), US$46.6 million; 10) Lewis Hamilton (motor racing), US$46 million.

LONG AND FAST

Argentina’s Arsenal de Sarandí surprisingly scored a goal after 13 seconds against Huracán the other day, but in Costa Rica, América scored in only three seconds. But the world record still belongs to Englishman Mark Barrows, who scored in just two seconds for lower division club Cowes Sports.

THIS HAPPENED IN SOCCER

When Argentina’s Alfredo Di Stefano was Real Madrid’s leading player, the club signed Brazilian international Didi who had been part of his country’s World Cup winning team in Sweden in 1958 shortly before. Didi played a few matches and left again. Di Stefano was asked how was it possible that a player of Didi’s quality failed with Real. Di Stefano smiled and said: “At Real you could not wait to receive the ball (as Didi was used to), you had to look for the ball.”

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