Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lionel Messi Is Not Good Enough For Stoke City & Barcelona Would Struggle In England

Thus says top EPL journalist Andy Gray

As Stuart Pierce puts it, the EPL is ludicrously physical, so it's safe to say that English play football the brutal way (i.e the uncivilized way?), whilst Spanish play it the Ballet way (with the exception of Arsenal and Manchester United).

Let us do some revision.

Lionel Messi was born 1987. Played first team match for Barcelona at the age of 17. He became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup in 2006. Nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007, but lost to Kaka. Finished second behind Ronaldo in Ballon d'Or voting in 2008. On Dec 1, 2009, won Ballon d'Or.

Image: sportinglife.com
Andy Gray was born 1955, was a Scottish centre forward and is now a football pundit for Sky Sports. In 1977, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year and the PFA Player's Player of the Year. He moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1979 for a then record transfer fee of £1.5m. But then 4 years later, in 1983, he moved to Everton for what was considered a bargain price of £250,000. Andy Gray won the FA cup, the League title and the European Cup Winner's Cup during his stint at Goodison Park.

Image: oleole.com
And this former Aston Villa and Everton striker questions whether Lionel Messi's could perform as well in the English Premier League? Well, this lad wins the Ballon d'Or at the tender age of 23, I mean how many of us could do that; to stand at the pinnacle of the world, having won everything at club level at that age? Certainly not you Mr. Gray.

Image: arsenalhighlights.com
The main difference between the two leagues is their playing style; English teams use sheer strength and speed to penetrate the defence, and they normally start at the wing. Wingers must be pacey, strikers must be powerful and agile. But the overall shape of the team is rigid, with long passing and chasing after long balls-which makes u look like school boys.

Image: telegraph.co.uk
Only Arsenal and perhaps Manchester United play somewhat differently. They sort of combined the traditional English style with other European style of play-results of constant contesting on European stage.

The Spanish league, on the other hand, is shaped heavily on skills. Wingers are skillful, fullbacks are skillful, the strikers aren't necessarily powerful to win the ball, but definitely skillful enough with wonderful touch of ball that puts even the best midfielders of EPL to shame. They prefer short passing, which requires telepathic understanding between players and that certainly makes them a formidable team. Watching teams like Barcelona and even Sevilla play is really a joyful thing, compared to watching Stoke's players chasing after long balls.
Traditional English way. Image: footy4kids.co.uk
As Stuart Pierce puts it, the EPL is ludicrously physical, so it's safe to say that English play football the brutal way (i.e the uncivilized way?), whilst Spanish play it the Ballet way (with the exception of Arsenal and Manchester United).

Image: guardian.co.uk
But this pundit from Scotland claimed that La Liga, when compared to its English equivalent, did not have the same depth of quality, hinting that Ronaldo and Messi would labour to score as consistently, despite the former scoring 31 goals in 34 matches for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season.

 Image: http://en/bloggum.com/posts/tag/ 
Now that's a big claim. The La Liga has always attracted the best footballers across the globe; Zidane, Figo, Xavi, Iniesta, Nistelrooy, Messi, Ronaldo. And this dude still doubts the quality of the league? Perhaps, strength-wise, Spanish aren't capable of bulldozing their way to the title. But entertainment-wise, and value-for-money, I would certainly prefer La Liga to EPL.

Furthermore, on Ronaldo, Gray added that he "would not be the player that he is today had he not played in English football". Yes I agree to a certain extend. But mind you he played for Manchester United, not Stoke City. He certainly wouldn't be the player that he is today had he not played for Manchester United in the EPL. Sir Alex nurtured him well, something which I think other managers aren't capable of.

Image: top-footballer.com
Moreover, there are Spanish players adapting well in the EPL; Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Alonso, Pepe Reina, etc. But there are not a lot of English players blossoming in the La Liga is it not? Steve Mcmanaman and David Beckham perhaps, if you think their performance at Real Madrid could eclipse those in their old clubs. Perhaps the quality of the teams in La Liga made them wet their pants.

Image: realmadrid200708.wordpress.com
Lionel Messi plays in the most attractive league in the world, where even small teams play attractive attacking football. Thus to succeed in this league and to become a top scorer in an attacker-laden team like Barcelona is truly a remarkable achievement don't you think Mr. Gray? How about scoring three past one of the most prolific goalkeepers of the game, Iker Casillas? Contrary to your idea, I guess Messi would still have the upper hand over the defenders of EPL because he is simply too agile for slow, tall, and strong defenders like John Terry.
Image: blogs.timeslive.co.za
And this is the problem with football in UK. Britons invented modern football, and they always set out to every tournament in anticipation, and it's fun to say that the only major trophy they'd won is the World Cup in 1966 in their own backyard.

Image: news.bbc.co.uk
They never really live up to their glamorous status every time they play-its just that the English media are overestimating the quality of their team. But when you dissect the team to scrutinize what's wrong, you'd find that the team isn't playing as a team. Each one of them are capable of winning matches for their respective clubs, so why would they wan't to play second fiddle to one another, especially in the England team where your every move could attract unwanted attention from the media. During the World Cup 2010, John Terry tried to be the "hero" when he told reporters that he "is going to tell Capello what's wrong". Too bad it backfired eh?
Image: candistar.com

Image: mirrorfootball.co.uk
Again we see here, a football pundit with limited achievement criticizing and belittling the ability of the winner of Ballon d'Or, while on the other hand praising and hyping over the quality of an otherwise second-tier league.

Let's face it. If La Liga broadcasting time shifts to one that could accommodate Asian viewers, it could well attract more viewers than the EPL, provided that La Liga prepares its own English commentators-most of us don't understand Spanish, and that is one of the reasons why we watch the EPL-not that I want to.



Malcolm
info:
http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/12/21/2271054/lionel-messi-is-not-good-enough-for-stoke-city-barcelona
http://www.biogs.com/football/gray.html
http://www.espnstar.com/football/primera-liga/news/detail/item360299/The-Lionel-Messi-Factfile/

1 comment:

  1. I guess after reading all that dribble we'll have to agree to disagree

    ReplyDelete

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