Monday, December 23, 2013

1993: Argentina vs Colombia

September 5th 1993
Place: Buenos Aires
Argentina 0-5 Colombia

The Argentina-Colombia game on September 5th, 1993 went down as one of the biggest surprised results of the 1990's.  The game was the last game of the Group A of CONMEBOL's World Cup Qualifiers.  On the standing, Colombia led Argentina by a single point.  They had already clinched a continental playoff spot against Australia.  They had also beaten Argentina 2-1 less than a month ago at home.  The match ended Argentina's 33 matches unbeaten run.  Meanwhile, Argentina was two points ahead of Paraguay.  However, the September 5th match would be played in Buenos Aires.  Argentina won the last two Copa Americas.  No one thought Colombia could beat Argentina..... not by 5 goals.  Diego Maradona who made his return to the national team earlier in the year did not play in the match, but he made a controversial comment on TV before the game.   “The Colombians have to know that Argentina is always up here,” his right hand pointing to his head, before plunging downwards to his chest, “and the Colombians down here”.

With Maradona sitting in the stand, the home team started well.   Gabriel Batistuta was causing a lot of problems for Colombia.  Then, on the 41st minute, Carlos Valderama sent a through ball to Freddy Rincon and he beat Goycochea for the first goal.  The goal was very similar to the one Freddy Rincon scored against West Germany at the World Cup Finals in 1990.  The floodgate had opened.  Rincon would add one more goal in the second half, Faustino Asprilla would score two more and Adolf Valencia one more.  It was Argentina's darkest day in football.

On the next day, The most important sports magazine of Argentina, El Gráfico, posted a completely black cover on its frontage  with the only legend: "Shame".  Colombia suddenly became the favourite of the WC Finals in 1994. Perhaps, the result led to false expectations and their WC campaign was disastrous.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Players who played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona

The most fierce rivalry in club football is probably between Real Madrid and Barcelona.  The transfer of Luis Figo to Real Madrid in 2000 shocked the football world.  It is probably the most controversial transfer in history. 
Figo with his "future" Madrid teammate Ronaldo

However, players who played for both clubs are nothing new.  At the time of writing, there are 33 players who played for both clubs. Twenty-one of them came from Barcelona to Real Madrid and only eleven others went the other way.

1) Alfonso Albéniz, 2) Arsenio Comamala, 3) Walter Rozitsky

4) Ricardo Zamora & 5) Josep Samitier
Ricardo Zamora and Josep Samitier were part of Barcelona's successful team in the 1920's.  In 1930, Zamora went to Real Madrid vis Espanyol where he played for two seasons. Samitier joined a year later.  Real madrid won its first ever La Liga title in the season Samitier arrived.

Zamora and Samitier
6) Alfonso Albéniz, 7) Luciano Lizarraga, 8) Charles Wallace, 9) José Quirante, 10) Hilario, 11) Alfonso Navarro

12)  Alfredo Di Stefano
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid claimed to have signed Alfred Di Stefano in 1953. The Spanish Football Ferderation ruled that Di Sefano should play alternative season for each club. He played one game for Barcelona.  His performance was so bad that Barcelona gave up on him.  He joined Real Madrid.  In his first El Classico, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 5-0 with him scoring 4 goals.  He would put Real Madrid on the map by winning 5 straight European Cups.  Barcelona would not win its first European Cup until 1992. 

13) Justo Tejada, 14) Jesús María Pereda, 15) Evaristo de Macedo, 16) Fernand Goyvaerts, 17) Lucien Muller, 18) Lorenzo Amador

19)Bernd Schuster
He played with Diego Maradona at Barcelona, and then, La Quinta del Buitre at Madrid.  He also joined Atletico Madrid.  He is the only player in history to have won the Copa del Rey with each of the big three.

20) Gheorghe Hagi
Hagi joined Real Madrid after the 1989 Romanian Revolution and the WC in 1990.  He had an unremarkable career there.  He moved to Brescia in Italy.  After the WC in 1994, he moved to Barcelona, but again, he never settled.

21) Fernando ”Nando” Muñoz , 22) Julen Lopetegui

23) Michael Laudrup 
Laudrup played 5 seasons with Barcelona winning 4 La Liga titles and Barcelona's first ever European Cup. Then, he had a row with manager Johan Cruyff.  He moved to Real Madrid for free in 1994.  In his last El Classico playing for Barcelona, Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-0.  The following season, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 5-0 in his first ever El Classico with Real Madrid.  He also won La Liga in his first season.

24) Robert Prosinečki 

He was a star signing when he joined Real Madrid in 1991, but his career there was injury-riddled. He joined Real Oviedo and then, Barcelona, where he only played 20 league matches.

25) Miquel Soler

26) Luis Enrique
He played 5 seasons with Real Madrid and then, he went to Barcelona for a free transfer.  He spent 8 seasons there and became their captain.  Barcelona won their first ever European Cup in 1992 when he was playing for Real Madrid.  Real Madrid won three Champions' League during his time with Barcelona.

27) Daniel García Lara  

28) Luís Figo
The Barcelona fans absolutely loved Figo.  He was their best player.  He pledged his loyalty to his club only days before he moved to Real Madrid. In his first return to Camp Nou, the fans turned out against in a way unseen in the history of football.  

Fans' reaction to Figo's transfer

29) Albert Celades, 30) Alfonso Pérez

31) Ronaldo
In his single season with Barcelona, he scored 47 goals, including some of the greatest goals in Barcelona's history.  He went to Inter Milan after one season.  He joined Real Madrid after the WC in 2002.  He was Pichichi in his first season.  
Ronaldo vs Roberto Carlos
32) Samuel Eto'o 

He was from Real Madrid academy. He first sent on loan to Mallorca and then, a permanent move with a buyback clause.  Barcelona bought his rights from Mallorca and Madrid in 2004. He would taunt Real Madrid with his goals for the next 6 seasons.

33) Javier Saviola 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eusebio's alternative career

In 1957, Juventus discovered Eusebio when he was 15 years. Eusebio's mother did not want his son to move to Italy. I don't know the Italian law in 1957. He was not an oriundo. Let's assume that he became an Italian citizen around 1962. What would happen?

-- Would the Italians select a Black player to their national team in 1960's?
-- Italy with Riveria, Mozzola, Facchetti, Zoff, Riva and Eusebio?
-- Serie A banned foreign players by 1964.

In 1960, Eusebio was discovered by Bauer who wanted him to join Sao Paulo, but Sao Paulo rejected him. What if he went to Brazil? Again, I do not know Brazilian law in 1960. In 2015, he could become a Brazilian citizen in 4 years. He would have been eligible to play for Brazil by 1964.

-- I don't know if Brazil ever capped a foreign-born player before. And I don't know if Brazil would cap a foreign-born player in 1964.
-- Brazil with Garrincha, Pele, Eusebio?
-- Can Brazil win the WC in 1966 with Eusebio? Imagine Brazil with Eusebio in 1970.

They could have been teammates in 1966.

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Botafogo 1955 to 1964

Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas was actually the merge of two football clubs, Club de Regatas Botafogo and the Botafogo Football Club, in 1942.  Finally, they found successes by winning the Campeonato Carioca in 1948.  That team included a young talent named Nilton Santos. In  1953, Garrincha joined the club as a very, raw talent.  According to legend, he nutmegged on Nilton Santos on his trial match.  From 1955 to 1964, Botafogo enjoyed one of its greatest period. The team consisted of Quarentinha, Paulo ValentimDidi (bought from Fluminense), Tome, Pampolini and others. 

In 1957, João Saldanha became their coach.  They won the Campeonato Carioca in 1958.  They beat Fluminense 6-2.  Paulo Valentime scored 5 goals.  In 1961, they would win again.  This time, the team was reinforced by Mario Pagallo and Amarillo.  Then, in 1962, they repeated their successes in the Campeonato Carioca and  also won the Rio-Sao Paulo Championship(Torneio Rio-Saulo) for the first time.

In 1963, Botafogo had a historical series of matches against Pele's Santos.  At the Final of Taca Brazil, Santos beat Botafogo 4-3 on the first game, but Botafogo won the second match by 3-1, which forced a decisive third match.  Santos easily took apart Botafogo 5-0. A few months later, Santos and Botafogo would meet again at the Copa Libertadores.  The first leg need in a 1-1 draw, but Santos beat them again in the 2nd leg.  Santo went on to become champion.  The epic battles defined an era in Brazilian football.  The rivalry became legendary.


In 1964, Botafogo was again crowned the champion of Rio-Sao Paulo Championship.  They beat Santos 3-2 on the first leg, but the Brazilian FA decided to cancel the rest of the series and reward bot teams co-champions, despite Botafogo winning the first and only match of the series.  After 1964, new players such as Gerson and Jairzinho emerged.  They would eventually replace Didi and Garrincha.  The new Botafogo continued their successes by winning another Rio-San Paulo Championship in 1966, two Campeonato Cariocas in 1967 and 1968 and one Brazil Cup in 1968. Mario Zagello would coach them.

The Botafogo team of Manga, Nilton Santos, Zagallo, Didi, Quarentinha, Amarildo and Garrincha was one of the best teams in the history of world football.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
My All-Time Botafogo team here.