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Monthly Column #8
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-03-27 14:13:58
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
My dose of modern football
Isaque Argolo | 16/02/2022
IAs much as my life revolves around it, I don't usually watch much current football. There is a lack of time and, in a way, the will, too. I, however, tend to watch matches characterized as first-class events, such as the UEFA Champions League. Also, I only write stuff regarding today's football due to people actually liking to read the columns. Yesterday, 15/02/2022, I went to the restaurant I usually go to and saw that Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid were facing each other. I lost early minutes of the match, at around five minutes, but I remained a viewer until the end of the match.
Right from the start, quite noticeable even, I saw the Parisian team much superior to Real Madrid. Strangely, Madrid, whose football is based on the old principle of "the best defense is the attack", was with a much more pragmatic posture, very defensive and without any spark that its tactical plan, to use counterattacks, would work. Paris Saint-Germain, on the other hand, exuded a dominant, sovereign and confident stance.
If the intention was to watch a football match with two completely offensive teams, well, my expectation failed. Only one team played: Paris Saint-Germain.
I remember that before the first twenty minutes, I thought that the whole sovereignty of Paris Saint-Germain would end. After all, eventually teams that exceed pressure get tired, thus giving more space for offensive actions by the team that was previously defending itself from opposing advances. Well, that didn't happen. I was surprised, I confess, and, in a way, even impressed. However, this perception I had was only focused on the home team's possessive game, as they couldn't convert that same possession into shots in the last block. If a team fails to accomplish this conversion, it is clear that the defending team will be comfortable with the plan, even if it does not create any offensive action.
Verratti, the non-stop machine.
Watching the match, I notice a player who seems tireless, he was always running around the field and connecting lines and giving passes to the better positioned players. He, in addition, if he suffers an opponent's pressure, can easily get rid of it, thus managing to develop his game. He is a passer, a supplier, a midblock player who is always very well positioned. His technical and tactical characteristics remind me a bit of Xavi, but Xavi didn't have that defensive determination, that same will and vigor that is a trait ingrained in the appearance of the Italian player. Verratti is always aiming for the game; always running. When he goes to try to disarm an opponent, he makes a characteristic slide tackle. Well, of course, Xavi was a player of levels far above Verratti, but I see such similarities already mentioned.
Verratti seems to get along very well with Lionel Messi. After all, both seem to be adept at the same school of short, precisely flat passes and positional play. Alongside Messi, when Messi himself decides to return to midfield, Verratti builds plans in the block to find a player in excellent positional condition.
An imprecise Messi.
I expected more from the Argentine star. It is a fact that Messi no longer has so much ambition to score; besides his dribbling and speed are no longer what they used to be; I, however, believed that his brilliant cerebral game and his passing quality would be enough to be used as weapons in favor of Paris Saint-Germain. Messi, however, failed with his shots and key passes, especially when trying to connect with Hakimi. In addition, his shots were always blocked or easily defended by the exceptional Courtois — who was one of the main names of the match.
When Carvajal fouled Mbappé inside the area, I thought it would be Mbappé himself to take the penalty — I was almost sure about that. However, it was Messi who took the penalty. Since his arrival at Paris Saint-Germain, Messi has shown that his shots are very imprecise, whether shots with the ball rolling or with the ball stopped. When I saw that Messi would be the player to compete with Courtois, I thought that the Argentine would lose, but I didn't imagine that the shot would be so badly sent.
Not too many comments about Real Madrid.
There is not much to say about Real Madrid, as their football was far from shining at the Parc des Princes. A duel between the young and excellent Vinícius Jr with Hakimi was expected, but it didn't happen. Benzema, who in a way was a doubt for the match, did not stand out. The famous Modric-Casemiro-Kroos trio didn't work. Casemiro, moreover, due to the accumulation of cards, will be sorely missed in the return game. The best man of the Madrid team was goalkeeper Courtois, who, in fact, made a spectacular game.
Isaque Argolo | 21/02/2022
III had written about this player before, but I would like to emphasize once again — and in more detail — the qualities of this spectacular footballer. His playing style is unique, completely distinctive and stands out from any comparison with the way the vast majority of other players dominate the ball. Pedri's style is different, he's a player you can nail your qualities. Pedri is always calm, but always attentive to the move. His movement is smooth and elegant; with a few touches, he solves a situation that seemed to have no end. Pressing him is a mistake, as he will be able to get out of the situation or act as bait to move an opponent in position, therefore creating space for a teammate. You may imagine that you are seeing a 30 years-old footballer, but Pedri is just 19 years-old. It is just like Dr. György Sárosi used to say: "Age does not matter. What matters is the knowledge"
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As much as he has a refined technique, Pedri's game is cerebral. His perception of the game, with or without the ball, is superklassisz; his intelligence transcends the ordinary. It is comparable to the intelligence and tactical knowledge of the best strategists of the past. Pedri is about to create; to resolve; to dance in the field with his elegance. He is an artist of the ball, a craftsman who connects the lines with his wide repertoire of precise and punctual passes. His rhythm — somewhat slow, but particular — dictates the pace of the match.
Of the characteristics already mentioned, Pedri is very reminiscent of Konrád Csámi, who had a style almost identical to the current Barcelona midfielder. If Pedri follows this path, with Xavi's commands and an eventual development that will come to this player, he will be one of the great geniuses ever produced.
The downgrade of Brazilian football
Isaque Argolo | 21/02/2022
IIIRecently, some comments, conversations and even more arduous debates have brought, in a way, a perspective on Brazilian football today. As the years go by, we look back and conclude that time has passed quickly and that it is already World Cup year. This conclusion, moreover, ends up emphasizing these debates about national football.
To have a slightest idea of the current level of our football, it is necessary to look to the past — whether recent or distant past. In recent decades, the decline of quality football production in green-yellow soil is notorious. Brazil no longer produces aces on a large scale — numerically and qualitatively; Brazilian football is no longer seen with the same eyes that Europeans had: those that reflected respect, fear, the glorification of squads shaped and reflected by great names that Brazil had.
Since the penta-campeonato, I see, what other team has Brazil produced that could match the one in 2002? None. The level has degraded so much that the seleção can not be competitive; can not be the same selection as candidates for maximum glory in the world's premier tournament. Since then, as the years have passed, the quality of football presented by both Brazilian teams and the national team has gradually diminished. Consequently, the level was increasingly distancing itself from European football, which, visibly, presents a much more flashy football; much richer — not just monetarily; much more sovereign.
The reflection of this is marked in the performances of Brazilian teams in the Club World Cup, which are of tremendous qualitative disparity. However, yes, it is football, so unexpected results happen; bringing some titles reflected not on an equal performance with the opponent, but with an atypical result. Anyone who watches the matches will see a big difference in technique, tactics, physical and psychologic.
Currently, with this decreasing diagonal line, what will become of future generations? Stand up, for the battle for the sovereignty of world football is being lost.
What is the true value of a tournament?
Isaque Argolo | 27/02/2022
IVA quick thought: if Uruguay had only won the 1930 World Cup and France had won only the 1998 tournament, which title would be worth more? The first was a poorly organized tournament, seen below even club tournaments, almost a Super Copa America; the second was one of the best editions ever made, perhaps the best.
I find this thought interesting. After all, Uruguay itself can serve as another example. If you combine the two World Cup titles of 1930 and 1950, you won't even have an Olympic tournament won in the 1920s, let alone the two together. However, for what specific reason are the two World Cup titles more valued? Simple. In the precarious and superficial analysis, the tournament that has current status prevails; not contemporary at the time. Consequently, the Olympic Games won by Celeste become only editions seen through the eyes of modern football. It is anachronistic, however it is what prevails, unfortunately.
Is a current FA Cup worth more than the one in Alex James' days, said to be the most prestigious tournament in the world? And the friendlies? Downplaying a large part of the numbers of players like Pelé, for instance, is one of the biggest football ignorances I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. However, the past is seen with the eyes of the present, so the deeper analysis will almost always be neglected; thus making discussions more and more superficial.