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Poll Results: Should we start a new football thread?

  • 52% (35)
    Yes... - Lets Start Fresh
  • 47% (32)
    Nah... - Lets Just Keep This Going
67 Total Votes  
post #30001 of 34071
In case you're wondering what Ronaldo does on vacay when not clappin broads cheeks...

mean.gif looks like he's wishing someone would just kill him.
post #30002 of 34071
laugh.gif @ Danilo not doing his keepie uppies too well during his presentation yesterday... Someone needs to check his Brazillian footballer card to make sure he's actually Brazilian...
post #30003 of 34071
Sevilla boss Unai Emery has admitted that he is weighing up a move for Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

The Europa League champions need to bolster their attack having agreed to sell top scorer Carlos Bacca to AC Milan, and Emery told Corriere dello Sport Hernandez is on his list, along with Borussia Dortmund’s Ciro Immobile and Juventus’ Fernando Llorente.

“Now we have to find another Bacca, with a different name but with similar characteristics. It’s not easy, but there are opportunities

“There is Chicharito, Immobile and other players that we are evaluating, like Llorente, but it is not easy to get to him. What’s important is the desire, not the age.”
Former Manchester City defender Stefan Savic is on Atletico Madrid’s shortlist to replace Toby Alderweireld, according to AS.

Now at Fiorentina, Savic is reportedly on Diego Simeone’s list of targets to fill in for Aldeweireld, who has left to join Tottenham.
Crystal Palace have moved a step closer to signing midfielder Yohan Cabaye from PSG.

He is undergoing his medical in London, and Sky sources understand the fee is between £10million. and £13million
Remember Soccer AM's Skill Skool? Let's rewind to 2010, when a fresh-faced Raheem Sterling - then at QPR - took on Christian Nanetti in the ultimate one-on-one challenge.

It’s looking like a busy summer for the now 20-year-old, but here’s a reminder of his talent…

Bastian Schweinsteiger is “flattered” by reported interest from Manchester United, according to Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Rummenigge is planning to speak with the Germany captain when he returns from a summer – the 30-year-old midfielder has only a year left to run on his current contract with Bayern, but talks over a new deal do not appear to be on the agenda.

"I spoke to Bastian Schweinsteiger on the phone while on holiday and we're going to meet again when he's back.

"I'm not going to hide the fact that I discerned from these talks that he is flattered by the interest from England."
United target Matteo Darmian (Click to show)
Sky Italia report that Torino full-back Matteo Darmian is due to have his medical on Friday ahead of his planned move to Manchester United.

The 25-year-old Italy international is poised to become United’s second signing of the summer, following the earlier arrival of Memphis Depay, and a four-year contract has reportedly been agreed.

Darmian is to join for a fee of around £13m and has already written a letter to the Torino fans thanking them for their support.
Di Maria Potential Transfer Deal with PSG (Click to show)

More Manchester United midfield magic here, with reporting that Angel Di Maria's agent, Jorge Mendes, is in France regarding a potential transfer deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mendes is reportedly discussing details of the Manchester United's midfielder's salary with PSG with a view to a move to the French capital. The report suggests PSG will match Di Maria's staggering wages of €15 million a year.
Real Madrid must not use Kiko Casilla in David De Gea pursuit (Click to show)
Espanyol have confirmed that Real Madrid have made an inquiry about Kiko Casilla, but have warned Los Blancos not to play with the goalkeeper's feelings just to push through a deal for David De Gea.

Casilla, 28, has been heavily linked with a return to the Bernabeu with Marca reporting on Wednesday that Real, who are set to begin preseason with a shortage of keepers, are considering a €3 million deal.

Real are keen to acquire Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, but negotiations have reportedly stalled between the clubs.

With the departure of long-time No. 1 Iker Casillas to Porto imminent and Keylor Navas out injured, Real only have third-choice keeper Pacheco available.

When asked about the possible transfer of Casilla, Espanyol president Joan Collet told Spanish paper AS: "Everything is a lie, there's nothing.

"I have spoken a lot in the last few days with [Real Madrid general director] Jose Angel Sanchez and yes he asked a question [regarding Casilla] but we did not sit down no negotiate.

"I don't know what will happen tomorrow but right now, there is nothing and there will be nothing for those figures that are being reported."

"[Casilla] has already made his Spain debut and will return to play for the national team. First we have to receive an offer, find out if the player wants to leave and finally we must speak to the coaching staff.

"To speak of those figures for him is insulting, I don't know where they have come from."

When asked if he thought Real were using reports of their interest in Casilla to put pressure on United to sell De Gea, Collet said: "I don't know. I don't know if Madrid have said anything.

"I feel bad because [if true] they are playing with a lot of feelings and with the player. It annoys me that they are using his name."

Casilla left Madrid in the summer of 2007 to join Espanyol's reserve side and had a strong 2014-15 campaign, making 37 league starts and keeping 13 clean sheets in the Primera Division.

The 28-year-old is under contract with Espanyol until June 30, 2018.

Part of the Real squad will begin work under new coach Rafa Benitez on Thursday afternoon in Valdebebas, just 47 days after the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

Benitez replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the helm last month after the club sacked the Italian coach following a trophyless season.

Real players will undergo medicals in Madrid on Friday before travelling on Sunday to Melbourne, Australia, to begin their preseason tour.
Chelsea to complete Asmir Begovic signing this week (Click to show)
Chelsea are set to complete the £8million capture of Asmir Begovic this week.

Begovic is expected to secure his exit from Stoke in the next few days after the terms of a transfer fee were agreed with the Premier League champions.

Sources at Stoke admit “there is a deal to be done” and the only delay has been over Chelsea deciding which player to loan out as part of the deal.

Mourinho’s squad fly out to America for their pre-season tour on July 15 and want the Bosnia international fully integrated into the squad before then.

Begovic has been targeted as a replacement for Petr Cech, who joined Arsenal last week, and is determined to move on, despite the prospect of being No. 2 goalkeeper behind Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea’s opening offer of £6million was rejected last Monday but the clubs have continued dialogue and the move should go through this week.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
post #30004 of 34071
Cabaye has to shatter CPs wage structure if he goes there. The club should have TV money to use though right?

Chicha & Sevilla huh... eyes.gif could be smokin.gif

If/when DdG moves to Madrid, it will be interesting to see who United try to get to replace him. I wonder if there will be a delay in the announcment in DdG's arrival at Bernabeu so that United can work to get a keeper?
post #30005 of 34071
Beach soccer wc on foxsports smokin.gif
Looks fun, volleys galore
post #30006 of 34071
That vid of Ronaldo is gif worthy
post #30007 of 34071
More footage of Ronnie this time playing keepie uppie with the Japanese hosts...

post #30008 of 34071
4 candidates left running for Barca president.

post #30009 of 34071

But there's more! :lol




Fittipaldi, Hunt, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Hakkinen, Hamilton 

Seattle Mariners // MUFC


IG: SinnerP

PSN: SinnerP



Fittipaldi, Hunt, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Hakkinen, Hamilton 

Seattle Mariners // MUFC


IG: SinnerP

PSN: SinnerP

post #30010 of 34071
Originally Posted by SinnerP View Post

But there's more! laugh.gif


Comedy GOLD! laugh.gif
Capitals, Manchester United, Ronnie and Friends, DC United, Ravens, Terrapins, USMNT, El Salvador
Check out my gaming podcast: Player vs. Everything
Capitals, Manchester United, Ronnie and Friends, DC United, Ravens, Terrapins, USMNT, El Salvador
Check out my gaming podcast: Player vs. Everything
post #30011 of 34071
Barca kitmen laying out the new training wear.

post #30012 of 34071
Manchester Evening News says City isn't inclined to make a 3rd offer for Luxurious Raheem... Hope his agent has another team lined up... Steady Raheem was expected back today but "called out sick again"...
post #30013 of 34071
Something we can all agree on. Ronnie got yambs on deck in every country he steps foot in.
post #30014 of 34071
Originally Posted by Rolaholic View Post

Not sure whether to believe these ADM PSG rumours. Who would replace him?

psg can have him. we need a proven goal scoring winger, memphis isn't ready and I don't know if rooney can still bag 25 plus goals this year. someone like a griezmann will prevent us from play hoof ball with fellani.
post #30015 of 34071
Grizi too good for Man U.
post #30016 of 34071
Originally Posted by psk2310 View Post

Manchester Evening News says City isn't inclined to make a 3rd offer for Luxurious Raheem... Hope his agent has another team lined up... Steady Raheem was expected back today but "called out sick again"...

If I'm right, his agent only had one other client, Saido Berahino, who dropped him not too long ago...I'm sure he's praying right now that this Luxurious One deal works out...
post #30017 of 34071
In addition to behind the scenes shows like Being Liverpool & the kit man vids I've posted, I'm fascinated by that stuff. I'm even more fascinated by the youth academies Euro clubs have. The facilities they have, what kind of education (if any) they provide, living quarters, etc.

Here's a great post from espnfc about City's youth academy compared to United. Spoiler mode below.

Manchester United are being left behind in youth development

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Manchester United moved to their current training ground in 2000.

Through peaks and troughs, Manchester United's youth system has long instilled pride in the club's fans.

United have long been able to buy some of football's finest talents, but they have also created some of its greatest, from The Busby Babes in the 1950s to George Best a decade later and the Class of '92, which featured the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes.

Four of United's top five all-time appearance makers -- Ryan Giggs, Scholes, Bill Foulkes and Gary Neville -- started and finished their football life at Old Trafford, while it has become a well-used, but worth repeating, statistic that the club have had a youth product in the match day squad for 3,740 consecutive games, dating back to the end of World War Two.

Fans still eagerly watch for exciting emerging players and access to games through improved media has made that easier, but the current youth system at the Cliff and Carrington training grounds gives cause for concern.

There are promising young professionals who'll make a good career in football but the dynamics have changed. The competition for talent has increased and United simply aren't as appealing to the best young players as they once were.

First team manager Louis van Gaal has no reason to say so publicly but he sees significant room for improvement in United's youth system and was underwhelmed by the success of the Under-21 team, who won their league last season.

Van Gaal wants to bring in new coaches and United hope to rediscover their appeal, but without structural change it's going to be tough, especially as the manager has said he's only going to be in charge for three seasons.

Earlier this year Brian McClair, who headed up United's academy system, chose to leave to be in charge of the national system in his native Scotland.

His replacement has not yet been appointed, but insiders say there are so many meetings to attend and so much paperwork to complete to meet the regulations of the elite player performance plan operated at top clubs, that it's a job for two or even three people.

Before he left, McClair said of United: "We're in pretty good shape and are continuing to look all the time. We are always in particular looking and hoping to discover a local lad who will make it all the way to the first team and if not still have a reasonably good career in football. Every year we are still looking for the very best kids within an hour's travelling distance from Manchester. Then at aged 16 we're looking at what we perceive to be the best players in the rest of UK and Europe."

In recent years three United players of past and present chose neighbours City as the club where they felt their children would best develop as players. The sons of Phil Neville, Robin van Persie and Darren Fletcher are all there and their parents have no regrets about the decisions, though Neville's son will soon switch to Valencia's academy.

Traditionally short of United's riches, City once relied on their youth academy. They won Youth Cups and promoted players into the first team, but the club was so unstable that they ended up moving on. Ryan Giggs was at City but left at 14. He went on to have a 23-year career in United's first team, something that would have been inconceivable had he stayed at City

After the club's 2008 takeover, though, City began to get serious about youth development. They invested in infrastructure and talent. They invested in people. Their record of promoting youth players to the first team in recent years is pitiful, but they're determined for that to change.

Their new, no expense spared, training ground is one of the best in the world. It's also in the heart of working class east Manchester, while United are not on a public transport network, tucked away amid the fields and electricity pylons to the west of the city. It was a conscious decision of both clubs to be where they are.

Manchester City's Etihad Campus is home to the club's youth development programme.

"This is just the start for City," explains a source familiar with both clubs. "There's not a huge difference in the quality of the players at both clubs at present, but that could change. City have two full time coaches for each age group. United's coaches are part-time. Some are good, some less so. The facilities at City's new training ground are superior. Their pitches are fully enclosed and they have floodlights."

At Carrington, where first David Moyes and now Van Gaal insisted that floodlights are installed on first team pitches, the youth players train on open and occasionally windswept fields. Meanwhile, whereas City's youth teams play in a proper 6,000 capacity stadium, United's take place before a temporary stand that seats 120.

It's City who now get most of the best players in Manchester, as was recently the case with an 11-year-old who switched from red to blue. He's already the best player in his age group and was happy at United. However, when his older brother was released by the Old Trafford club, his parents were unhappy and City stepped in to take both boys.

Andrew Cole's son Devante has long been at City and is already a professional. United's former chief executive David Gill used to joke that Devante should join the club. At the time it was light-hearted and said by someone in a position of strength, as United's youth system was one of the best in England. It's no longer a joke.

"United became complacent," explained a source. "They thought that players would come to United because it was United, with the history of the Busby Babes and the Class of '92 -- or even of getting the best Manchester players in recent years like Daniel Welbeck. The truth is that United have stood still while the rest have caught up and, in the case of City, have gone past United."

City can approach young players and offer them a better package. Players under-16 are not allowed agents, but their parents are, which enables them to be given financial inducements way beyond mileage allowances, boots and kit.

City's young players train together and are educated together at a very good private school. By contrast, a select few United players, usually those from outside Manchester, go to a non-fee paying school close to the training ground. United have discussed building a school and having young players live at Carrington, but so far it hasn't happened.

"Imagine you're a single mum in Moss Side (a working class neighbourhood close to City's old Maine Road home)," explains someone familiar with the recruitment process. "Both clubs come in for your son but City offer him a full private education in one of Manchester's best schools, to be continued even if your son is released, as most are. If he stays at United, he stays in the same school he's in. City also offer money, maybe as a one-off payment to a parent. United offer a travel allowance.

"Or, imagine you're a 17-year-old from outside England and both Manchester clubs want you," he continues. "You go to see both clubs and see that United have the history, then you go to City and see that they have better facilities, education and they'll also pay more."

As they get older, money talks. Three of United's best Under-18 players currently have better offers from elsewhere, including Liverpool and it would surprise nobody at the club if they left.

United have an old-fashioned approach in that they want players who want to play for the club but there are grumbles that they focus their resources too much on sports science while rivals are stealing players from under their nose.

Even Everton have a satellite scouting system in Stretford -- right in the shadow of Old Trafford. United have so no such operation in Liverpool.

"It's getting hard for the United scouts," explains an insider. "United still have a couple of exceptional players in most age groups, but it's getting much harder to sign them in the face of so much competition.

City also have a popular, high-profile figurehead in Patrick Vieira who oversees the youth setup and meet parents personally, just as Sir Alex Ferguson used to do.

Money hasn't always been the issue it has become. Ferguson would tell young players that if they were patient, they would get their rewards. He was right about some but, statistically, if a club gets one first team player from their youth ranks every season then they're doing well. Ferguson was happy for reserve players on £1,000-a-week to be around, but was that right for the players?

Players often got pay rises by moving, even to third tier clubs, but that was after it became clear they weren't going to make it at United. Many regret staying too long as they held out on to a dream of making it and think that their development stalled through a lack of genuine experience.

Giuseppe Rossi, left, and Gerard Pique, right, both left Manchester United in search of first team football.

United's youth system has become muddled, too. It long irked English players that imports such as Giuseppe Rossi, Gerard Pique and Paul Pogba were on far bigger contracts to them, but even Pogba's wages were a fraction of what he was being offered elsewhere.

Ferguson told Pogba to be patient. He was but still didn't get his chance and has since gone on to become the best young midfielder of his generation and linked with an £80 million transfer this summer.

United got it wrong and it's easy to say that viewed in hindsight, but money played a part in Pogba leaving. There was not enough of it, despite him being offered the most lucrative reserve contract -- worth £20,000 a week -- in club history.

Rossi, Pique and Pogba were all top talents who feel that they weren't given the opportunities they deserved. That can be argued, but a big attraction in them leaving was that they were offered first team football, a chance they all took with Barcelona, Villarreal and Juventus respectively.

Some United fans are obsessed by transfer targets and would wish for their team to be filled with a world XI of stellar franchise players, but ask people inside Old Trafford and they like to see players -- especially local ones -- promoted from the youth ranks.

Will that happen given the lack of current standout emerging talents? Van Gaal used Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair and James Wilson among the 15 Carrington graduates who played first team football last season -- far more than any Premier League club -- though injuries were the reason for some of those appearances and several were for just a few minutes.

Be it by not spending like other clubs -- Arsenal recently paid Ipswich £100,000 for a 14-year-old -- or by losing out to City, United are not getting the best youth players as they once did. Meanwhile, one City coach who is actually a United fan was interested in a job at Carrington, until he saw the wages on offer.

City are not naïve and know they're not going to produce first team stars, but they currently have three outstanding players in their entire system who they think have a fair chance of making it. The rest will hopefully be sold for a profit -- an area in which United had traditionally excelled -- although City's coaches do worry how departing players will cope with facilities less spectacular than that which they are used to.

United have other problems. Where once they scanned England and Ireland for talents, now football has become globalised. The reserve system in England, with too few games, doesn't help. Players at a similar level in Spain play second or third division football in front of crowds of thousands and against experienced professionals fighting for their win bonus.

Everyone wants to beat the young players of Barcelona or Madrid. They deal with the media, they get abuse off fans. It's real. In England, the infrequent matches are played in front of a few hundred. They feature 20-year-olds who've largely not been good enough to be loaned out elsewhere. Chelsea have more young players out on loan around Europe than they have at Stamford Bridge.

As Tony Park, a seasoned United youth watcher and the joint author of "Sons of United", wrote of last season: "At the halfway point, the U21s had played 11 competitive games, the U18s totalled 13. In that period the U21s had used a total of 31 different players while the U18s had used 24 different players. How can a player develop if he doesn't play?"

It was baffling that United recently pulled out of the benchmark Milk Cup tournament, where many of their former youth teams had played. Aside from everything else, United have huge support, who love to watch the emerging players, in Northern Ireland. Such was the outcry, United are expected to return.

Van Gaal knows better than anyone how to promote young players and get them winning. There's no greater example than his European Cup winners at Ajax 20 years ago. He can add sorting United's youth system to his long list of jobs as he returns to his desk at Carrington.
post #30018 of 34071
Bet my dude Raheem is sweating right now. Going back to Anfield is going to be awkward
post #30019 of 34071

Khedira has to stay relevant here in Germany somehow right?

Team MetalHeads


Twitter:  @Metal_Mario 

IG: @metalmvrio


Team MetalHeads


Twitter:  @Metal_Mario 

IG: @metalmvrio

post #30020 of 34071
Fantasy EPL is back, it's early but I'm gonna start setting it up
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
post #30021 of 34071
Originally Posted by AZwildcats View Post

Bet my dude Raheem is sweating right now. Going back to Anfield is going to be awkward
I think Liverpool is the one who are going to end up being the biggest loser if they don't sell him now. Sterling is only on £30k a week and can buy out his final yr of his contract for £1.7m. So buy not selling him now, Liverpool risk taking a extremely lower offer in Jan, or Sterling walking out for almost nothing next summer.
post #30022 of 34071
Originally Posted by Mastamind89 View Post

Fantasy EPL is back, it's early but I'm gonna start setting it up

Then when you're super excited, someone like Lacazette will sign to United late in the TW and will cost like 13.5m throwing out all of your plans.

In the words of the great philosopher Johnny Tran...."too soon, Junior"
post #30023 of 34071
Originally Posted by Mastamind89 View Post

Fantasy EPL is back, it's early but I'm gonna start setting it up

never played, would be willing to try it


and ol lady wanted to mount cr7 for sure hahaha

post #30024 of 34071
Originally Posted by eiddyfouw View Post

Originally Posted by Mastamind89 View Post

Fantasy EPL is back, it's early but I'm gonna start setting it up

Then when you're super excited, someone like Lacazette will sign to Arsenal late in the TW and will cost like 13.5m throwing out all of your plans.

In the words of the great philosopher Johnny Tran...."too soon, Junior"

My plans have been real minor. No worries here
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
post #30025 of 34071
This fool ain't Brazilian, he's a oompa loompa from the Jersey shore... Want kind of Brazilian can't do keepie uppies... mean.gif

Good to see CP using some of that TV money... The gap between his wages & the person with the second highest wages has to be a Grand Canyon sized gap...

post #30026 of 34071
@GFN_France Monaco & Roma closer to an agreement for Mattia Destro after talks today, player wants between €2.6m - €2.7m a year, according to @DiMarzio.
- Yannick Ferreira Carrasco's mother has announced her son's transfer to Atletico Madrid via Facebook, according to @LiveTeamASM.
- Yohan Cabaye will be announced as a Crystal Palace player tomorrow at 0900 local time, the club's Chairman confirms to the BBC.
@samuelJayC Spanish Radio network @partidodelas12 tonight reporting that Wenger has made several calls to Benzema this summer
-Spanish Radio: Benzema has told Wenger he doesn't want to leave @realmadrid
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
post #30027 of 34071
I could never do keepie uppies during my 11 years of playing football laugh.gifmean.gif I was good at marking and clearing the ball though so it made up for my lack of touch laugh.gif
post #30028 of 34071
^ Yeah, but you never made it to Real Madrid either. laugh.giftongue.gif

Truth be told, a lot of the kids in the older aged teams can't do keepie uppies too well either. My son could do about 30 to 40 without it ever touching the ground...

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of Barca's dream team winning the club's first ever UEFA CL final win. This team featured the likes of Pep, game winning hero Ronald Koeman, Eusebio Sacristan, Andoni Zubizarreta, Michael Laudrup, Carles Busquets, & Txiki Begiristain among others.

Looks like Nike is using that shirt as the inspiration for the 16-17 shirt which is also going back to the horizontal stripes.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 90

Looks like Luxurious Raheem is the face of Nike FC's latest look vid.

post #30029 of 34071
^Shot in London....chilling with Ian Wright....

Welcome to Arsenal, Raheem Sterling! smokin.gifsmokin.gifsmokin.gifsmokin.gif
post #30030 of 34071
Tactical Philosophy: Frank De BoerBy Rishad Bharucha on July 5, 2015@RishadAFC

While this website has made it’s name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it with a tinge of tactical flavour meant for the football enthusiast, we found a large gap to be exploited in terms of combining the two. This mini-series thus focuses on young managers (below the age of 45) and their tactical philosophies, deriving what got them here and where they could go. In this piece, Rishad Bharucha focuses on the Ajax’ highly successful manager, Frank De Boer.


In a quarter final at France ’98, the Dutch were drifting into extra time with the game poised 1-1 against Argentina. Frank de Boer, an elegant Dutch centre half, received the ball deep in his own half, loped forwards, looked up, delivered a 60 yard pass straight into the narrowest corridor where only fellow artist Dennis Bergkamp could provide sublime control and a finish to match. After a decade playing for Ajax and a fine spell at Barcelona, the two were reunited at Ajax in 2011, with de Boer at the managerial reigns and Bergkamp at his side.

Frank De Boer 2015

As a player, Frank de Boer was influenced by two distinct Ajax stalwarts in Johan Cruyff and Louis van Gaal, the former while he was a fresh product of the Ajax youth academy and the latter when he went on to be a part of the last Ajax home-grown side to win European honours. Both Cruyff and van Gaal seemed to have influenced his managerial philosophy at Ajax, as another son of the Amsterdam club sought to restore their domestic and continental fortunes. Cruyff’s individualism and van Gaal’s universalism are both apparent in the basis of de Boer’s tactical philosophy.


Attractive football through combination play and individual expression are the key elements to please the Ajax faithful. De Boer incorporates possession in addition to these key elements for most games, although he has proved to be tactically flexible in big matchups, especially away from home where he has opted for a more direct approach.

In the sense of van Gaal’s universalism, this means that every single player is available for support while attacking and in the absence of ball possession, every player presses aggressively in order to transition quickly. Cruyffian individualism is also expressed through their quick combination play to release a man and through dribbling on the wings.

De Boer is true to Ajax’s 4-3-3 with a balance of the tactical ideals of Cruyff and van Gaal. He incorporates van Gaal’s sense of detail in defensive organization and pressing, and Cruyff’s favoured ball circulation and positional interchange in build-up play. He also tends to rely on the intelligence of players to do what the game demands of them and as such his tactics form a framework more than a static system of play. This understandably leads to comparisons with the totaalvoetbal of the 1970s and the contemporary Barcelona abound, but limited finances at the club mean the reliance on youth is their best hope of continuing their domestic revival and initiating one on the continental front.

Offensive Organization: Possession and Interchange to Release the Ball to ‘Direct’ Wingers

Ajax build from the back as part of de Boer’s philosophy to play with possession. They play with positional interchange to draw the opponent out of their spaces, often with the intention of finding a pass to one of the channels. Unlike Barcelona who overload the channels to switch the point of play with their passing, de Boer often employs quick, direct wingers like Anwar El Ghazi, Ricardo Kishna and Lucas Andersen for his midfielders to release the ball to, before they take on defenders in 1v1 or 2v1 situations. This balance is necessary to please the Ajax faithful who are not fond of excessive horizontal passing with no intention to combine and penetrate on the flanks. This is also good management on de Boer’s part to find a balance in incorporating the young, tricky dribblers from the Ajax academy, without being overly direct.

Playing Wide
Direct Wingers

Offensive Transition: Vertical Penetration through the Center

When Ajax get the ball wide, for the most part they are doing one of two things – drawing the opposition out before circulating the ball in midfield to keep possession or playing directly to the wingers as stated previously. In the former case, they are likely seeing the game out against lower ranked opposition who have likely tired after pressing the Amsterdam club for most of the game. In the transition from defense to offense however, de Boer’s team play with directness and verticality to exploit the spaces left by defenders out of position. Their vertical passing allows for quick, direct combinations before playing the ball through the center towards goal.

Offensive Transition

Defensive Organization: Single Midfield Block Denying Passing Lanes

Off the ball, de Boer’s Ajax tend to defend deep, setting up a compact midfield block with five midfielders behind the ball (4-5-1). This reduces the penetration and tends to be a simpler approach compared that of other young managers like Thomas Tuchel who have variations in the shape of their defensive blocks. De Boer’s simplified approach has proven to be successful domestically, considering the youthfulness and primarily offensive mind-set of the players from the Ajax academy in the first team. The team presses in response to triggers such as pressing a receiving player who is facing his own goal, or when the receiving player is pinned to the touchline.


Defensive Organization

Defensive Transition: Compact Shift to One Side of the Field

When de Boer’s Ajax concede possession in midfield with numbers behind the ball, they reduce the space and passing options to form a compact block that shifts towards the channel nearest to the player in possession. If they do not have numbers behind, the striker and one of the wingers press in their attacking third while the midfielders behind them recover their shape. With the play forced to one side, the nearest defender to the ball is able to press the opposition player with the ball to reduce his options, potentially forcing the ball out of play or recovering the ball to transition or keep possession.

Defensive Transition


A 2-1 win against Barcelona was vital to send Ajax to the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League in the 2013/14 season. On the night, they pressed and harried the Barcelona players off the ball, despite playing most of the second half with ten men. Goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen gave them a result that would have surely made Johan Cruyff smile.

A year before, de Boer’s Ajax played a key role in knocking Manchester City out of the Champions League and taking a Europa League spot for themselves. Beating a Manchester City team laden with riches with a young team of academy products was no mean feat by the Dutch side.

Rewinding to the 2010-11 season, de Boer capped his first season in charge with a 3-1 final day victory against defending champions FC Twente to secure the Eredivisie title for Ajax. This was Ajax’s 30th title, and securing it on his 41st birthday was a significant moment at the start of a promising managerial career.


Frank de Boer led Ajax’s youth academy in 2007, with Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur), Toby Alderweireld (Southampton on loan from Atletico Madrid), and Daley Blind (Manchester United) being some of the major beneficiaries of his tutelage then in the academy, and soon after in the first team when he took over the managerial role in 2010.

During his stint in the youth academy, de Boer spoke highly of Eriksen, “He’s always on the move. Quick thinking. He has eyes in his back. When you think he doesn’t see you, he sees you.” He believes that Daley Blind is best suited as a central midfielder for Manchester United although he began plying his trade as a full back. Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld formed a partnership with Jan Vertonghen that provided a basis for Ajax’s 2010-11 and 2011-12 title successes, but were replaced ably as de Boer’s Ajax extended their run to four consecutive Eredivisie titles.

Blending the talented individuals of Ajax with contemporary team tactics was not Martin Jol’s cup of tea and he paid the price. Discontent with the state of the first team’s affairs, Johan Cruyff pushed for changes in 2010 which resulted in Frank de Boer’s promotion from leading the youth academy to being put in charge of the first team. With the success of four consecutive Eredivisie titles and consistent third placed group finishes in the Champions League, de Boer certainly justified this choice of appointment. He will surely be looking to build on his domestic success, within the club’s limitations, to push on for European success in the coming years.
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
Arsenal FC - Gooner For Life PSN: TheMastamind89
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