Barcelona vs Juventus – Unlikely Hero Zalayeta Settles Breathtaking Quarter-Final At Camp Nou| Classic Clashes

Juventus vs Barcelona has been a rare fixture as of late, the two sides haven’t faced each other in a competitive fixture in over 12 years, but the battle between the black and white vs the red and blue will remerge once more, this time in the Champions League Final in Berlin this week. THT reviews a classic game between these two iconic clubs one day before the big final in Berlin. So it’s April 22nd, 2003 at the Camp Nou for the second leg following a 1-1 draw two weeks prior at the Stadio delle Alpi. Both sides were having contrasting fortunes in their respective domestic campaigns, Juve were sitting top of the Serie A table, six points ahead of Inter and had beaten Roma the previous weekend. Having earned a morale-boosting but energy-sapping 1-1 draw at Real Madrid CF on Saturday, Barcelona were feeling the strain; but their Serbian coach was adamant that his side’s busy schedule should […] Read more »


Southampton Season Review 2014/15 – Defying the Odds in Style

As the final whistle blew at Wembley confirming Arsenal’s second FA Cup win in as many years, celebrations also erupted some 75 miles away, on the southern coast of England. The result in the cup final meant that Southampton had qualified for European competition for only the second time in three decades – a remarkable finale to a season that had defied all odds. For most of England’s elite, the Europa League is at best, a poisoned chalice; at worst, a second-tier competition not worthy of serious attention or effort. For a club like Southampton, however, Europa League qualification is an outstanding achievement – a just reward for their record-breaking season. When St.Mary’s saw the departures of manager Mauricio Pochettino as well as the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Callum Chambers in the summer, some pundits predicted Southampton’s doom – touting them as contenders for relegation to the Championship. Absolutely nobody could have quite […] Read more »


Dharmaraj Ravanan On His Career, Love For Arsenal And More

Having represented highly successful teams such as Mohun Bagan and Chruchill Brothers, Dharmaraj Ravanan became a household name in Indian club football. While speaking exclusively to The Hard Tackle, the Tamil Nadu born defender spoke about various aspects of his game – from representing India in youth level to his love for Arsenal and Thierry Henry. Though Indian Super League norms allow only five Indian players in a team of eleven, you have managed fourteen flair appearances. Did you expect to be as decisive a player as you were? I’m so happy that I could play all 14 matches for my team. I always wanted to play in the first eleven and that gives me special feeling because it’s very difficult to get a chance to play in the first team in ISL. I worked hard to get into the team and so I played left back then right back. It was only after 7 matches that I got chance […] Read more »

Atletico Madrid presser

Diego Simeone Needs To Evolve To Be Considered Amongst The World’s Elite

For the first time since taking over from Gregorio Manzano in December 2011, Diego Simeone will finish a season with Atlético Madrid without winning a major trophy.  In what has been a truly remarkable three-and-a-half years with Atléti, El Cholo has brought back the glory days to the club; winning the UEFA Europa League, the Copa del Rey and the Liga title as well as the UEFA and Spanish Super Cups while coming within a whisker of adding the club’s first ever Champions League to that impressive list of honours. Not since 1995 – when Simeone himself played for Los Rojiblancos – has the club won so much in such a short space of time. The Spanish league triumph in 2013-2014 ranks as one of the most impressive achievements by a club manager in recent history – a true footballing miracle. Now, however, with the ever-increasing opulence of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the reassertion of their duopoly in the […] Read more »

If only he went past night clubs as he went past defenders, George Best would have augmented his brilliance and distinctness.


“Our plan was to be cautious, but somebody must have stuffed cotton wool in George’s ears,” Busby said. George Best got into the Manchester United dressing room at the age of seventeen – and into the Northern Ireland side simultaneously. Gradually, this teenager from Belfast started to hit the headlines, making a name for himself. Bob Bishop turned-up at George’s doorstep – and explained to Dickie Best and Anne Best about, Manchester United’s desire to acquire George Best. His intuitions and actions were straightforward. George was playing football down 16 Burrey Way with his friends – his parents called him home, explained to him the opportunity – agreeing, he ran back down the street, and with unmitigated astonishment he explained to his friends about it. Though, initially, circumstances were unpleasant for both the parties. George raced back to his home at 16 Burrey Way in Cregagh Estate, Belfast after a mere twenty-four hours at Old Trafford; the magnitude of the […] Read more »


Louis van Gaal’s Not So Impressive Report Card

With a little more than half the season done, Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United are tenaciously hanging onto their top four position in the English Premier League. THT takes this opportunity to grade LvG’s performance this season so far. Street Cred: A+ Van Gaal and his team have immense amounts of street cred. Van Gaal came to United after having won the top flight honours in three European leagues – the Eredivisie (AZ and Ajax), the La Liga (Barcelona) and the Bundesliga (Bayern Munich) – in addition to winning the Champions League with Ajax and guiding the Netherland National Team to the third spot in the 2014 Football World Cup.So, van Gaal comes with a lot of achievements already under his belt, unlike his predecessor. Coming to his players, most of them have won league gold medals through their tenures at Manchester United and elsewhere. In captain Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Juan Mata, […] Read more »


Manchester united 3-1 Leicester city:three talking points

With Manchester United recording a comfortable 3-1 win over Leicester City, lets analyze the talking points of the game as Van Gaal looks to get back to his winning ways in England. Is Van Gaal Still Twitching His Ass? Van Gaal had said earlier that playing with a 4-4-2 formation ‘twitches my ass’ but Manchester United showed once again that they are at their most lethal when they have an extra man in the midfield. “We have won more games playing 4-4-2 with a diamond, but when you analyze the game, we have twitched our ass on the bench.” Having failed to convincingly score goals this season despite boasting of a star-studded attacking line-up, Van Gaal’s Manchester United is at their best without the extra defender playing infront of De Gea. It is true that the 5-3-2 formation affords him comfort, given their rather shaky defence record, but United have failed to really trouble their opponents with this formation as […] Read more »

Garrincha - 1962 World Cup

Garrincha – The flawed genius

The world over if someone were asked to name the ten greatest players to have ever played a beautiful game, the names would be Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo (Brazilian), Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Michel Platini. These are the players who excelled at their trade and reached levels never seen or imagined before. But if you were to ask a Brazilian who is the greatest Brazilian player of all time don’t be surprised to hear the name Garrincha, a player who may not have been as technically gifted as Pele or Ronaldo but he had the gift of inventiveness, explosive pace, dribbling skills beyond anyone’s ability and a keen eye for goal. Sadly outside Brazil and academic discussions, Garrincha is mostly forgotten despite being a double FIFA World Cup Winner. Like many Brazilian footballers, Garrincha was born in poverty in Pau Grande in the city of Magé; southeast of Brazil and in the […] Read more »