By: Matt Lisoski
Manchester United has been a soccer powerhouse for most of the team’s existence, but pretty much since Sir Alex Ferguson left have been a bystander on the world stage. Most recently, the Manchester side lost to Brighton. For those who do not know, Brighton was just promoted to the Premier League. I think this team needs a philosophical change and that begins and ends with Jose Mourinho. Mourinho has been one of the best coaches in the world for years now, but that does not come without consequences. What do I mean? The guy cannot stay out of the headlines with the nonsense he spews out of his mouth. Every time Manchester United lose, it is never his fault it is always someone else’s. What kind of leader is that? Mourinho is not a coach that inspires players in my opinion. If anything, he instils anxiety and fear into players who do not follow exactly what he wants (ex: Pogba).
However, this is not the only problem. Mourinho’s soccer philosophy is not a good fit for a team like Manchester United and the players the team has. Mourinho’s style does not breed creativity, perhaps it does the opposite. Sit back, play defense and play safe is what Mourinho likes to do. Why should Manchester United play like that though? Manchester United should go into every game thinking, “Alright, we are Man U let’s take the game to them”. Sadly, I do not think Manchester United will play like that until Mourinho leaves.
Written By: Matt Lisoski
Real Madrid is back on the hunt to bring in new stars after selling their long time superstar and legend, Ronaldo. With the alleged purchase of Courtois, Real Madrid do not have to worry about their goalie position for a long, long time. At first I was very surprised about the transfer fee (35 million Euros), but I forgot that Courtois’ contract is expiring soon so Chelsea is forced to sell him for less than what they would want by a fair margin. The question is, who do they buy to replace Ronaldo?
It will be damn near impossible to find a player that is going to put up the numbers Ronaldo did (a goal a game) for almost a decade, but they should be able to find a good enough replacement. What have the rumors said? Eden Hazard seems like he is destined to land in Madrid, however Neymar and Mbappe shouldn’t be out of the question. If Hazard is the guy they get, Real should be just fine. If you watched any of the Belgium games in the World Cup or Chelsea the past four seasons, it’s no secret how good Hazard is. He is probably the second best dribbler in the world behind the one and only Messi. Not to mention, he can score a ton of goals. I could see him scoring close to a goal a game in the Spanish league, but no promises. I cannot wait to watch the new era in Madrid unfold in front of our eyes.
-By Nicholas Lavinio
Messi falls to France in the first stage of the Knockout Round. Ronaldo was nonexistent in Portugal’s game against Uruguay. Neymar flopped to his defeat against a juggernaut in Belgium in the Quarterfinals. A Spanish side, one of the heavily favorited sides to win, is stunned in the upset match of the tournament by a Russian team hungry to survive. What’s left – a French National Team that hoisted the trophy on a very rainy day in Moscow, a team that featured the world’s next superstar phenom in a 19 year-old speedster named Kylian Mbappe.
There is no question that the French teenager will be one of the world’s next best players in the coming years (if he already hasn’t convinced you otherwise in his current form and play in Russia). Becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup Final since history’s greatest player ever, Pele, Mbappe has the future of football firmly grasped in his hands. Some may say Neymar is fashioned to retain the title as the world’s best, but with Mbappe’s World Cup title already secured under his belt at just NINETEEN YEARS OLD, it’s tough to consider Neymar in that conversation, especially when Brazil is always a heavy favorite to win the World Cup almost every time it comes around every 4 years.
When can we start to see the Ballon d’Or trophies rolling in for Mbappe? As early as this year, in fact! According to Rob Hoskin at givemesport.com, Mbappe is the third favorite to win the Ballon d’Or this year, behind an impressive early campaign authored by Luka Modric (Champion’s League Winner and World Cup Runner-Up), the 32 year-old, and none other than – yup, you guessed it – Ronaldo. In the near future, as we start to see the stars that we love so dearly grow old, such as Ronaldo and Messi, Mbappe will be challenged by the likes of Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, and I would say Harry Kane, if he keeps up his stellar form, for runs at the Ballon d’Or each year.
But for me, I am all in on this kid. Kylian Mbappe has everything to succeed in the future – the speed, the build, and the skills and flare. From making history at the 2018 World Cup in Russia to being awarded the Best Young Player Award at the tournament in this past month, the already teenage legend is poised to take the throne as the King of Football in due time. He is this generation’s successor to greatness, and only time will tell of the pages he will spell out in the history books to be written.
By: Drew Haggerty
After a 17 year career at Juventus, Gigi Buffon has decided to begin a new chapter of his career with the French champions, Paris-Saint Germain. Buffon has established himself as one world’s best goalkeepers over the past two decades, and has helped Juventus win 11 Serie A titles and finish runners-up in the Champions League on three separate occasions. With 128 clean sheets since the beginning of the ‘09/’10 campaign, there are not many other goalies that managers would prefer to have as the anchor of their team. After a shaky 2017-2018 campaign by Alphonse Areola, Buffon joins the squad with the potential to appear regularly in the team’s Starting XI. However, even if Buffon is only in Paris Saint-Germain’s short term plans, no team can go wrong with signing this sharp and experienced 40-year-old goalkeeper.
Most of the global soccer community has heard that Cristiano Ronaldo is signing with Juventus, Buffon’s former team. Playing alongside teammates such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani offer Buffon a great chance at a Champions League Finals victory. However, there must be a small part of Buffon that regrets making the PSG move. This move prevents Gianluigi Buffon from playing in the one tournament that has evaded him his entire career, with the one player who thrives in the competition and has led his previous club to three straight trophies. Ronaldo is a master at having success in the Champions League, and joining Juventus gives Buffon’s old club a great chance at securing the trophy without him.
Written by: Matt Lisoski
And then there were four. France, Belgium, England and Croatia. All four of these teams can beat each other. On one side, we have France versus Belgium, and on the other, we have England versus Croatia. So, who has the best chance to win?
France is the second best, if not the best team left in the tournament. When it comes down to it, France and Belgium are on a different level of talent than Croatia and England. France has been able to use their young and creative players and turn them into a working team that plays together. Just like I said with Belgium, if they win this semi-final game, France will most likely be hoisting the trophy when it is said and done.
Is it coming home? Most likely not. I’ll admit it. I did not expect England to get this far. I expected them to fall flat on their faces way before this point because that is what England does at major tournaments. I even went out on a limb and said they would not get out of the group stage. However, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have been enough to get England to where they are. Also, who expected Jordan Pickford to play this well? One of my major concerns coming into this tournament was England’s goalie situation and they have proved me wrong again. I think England will make it through Croatia, but I do not think they have enough to bring it home.
Croatia has been awesome this tournament. All of their games have been great to watch and have been full with drama. I hate putting them last because I think I am putting too much trust in England, but I will not doubt England again. Croatia still has the best midfield in the tournament, but I don’t think it will be enough to get past the Three Lions.