Football News: 16 Is Now The Age For Goalkeepers To Emerge

16 Is Now The Age For Goalkeepers To Emerge
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1. The MLS is making huge strides forward
In recent years the MLS has grown massively, from a minor league where faded, well past their best, minor stars go to retire, to a league that attracts huge names who are fading, but not quite finished. No longer are they going there to retire, they are going there in the hope of staving off retirement for a bit longer. The growth of the league has also seen an increase in teams that a part of it, and the expansion is showing no signs of stopping yet. Now USL club Sacramento Republic have put forward a design proposal for the stadium they will have built if accepted to the MLS.

2. It is time to rip up FIFA and start again
Two more FIFA officials have been detained in the ongoing investigation into corruption, Juan Angel Napout from Paraguay and Alfredo Hawit Banegas from Honduras. The pair have become just two more of many that have been implicated in the fallout of this corruption scandal which has completely destroyed the already indelibly stained reputation of football's world governing body. The longer this goes on, the more clear it has become that the scandal is not just limited to FIFA, but involves all the continental confederations as well. It has left all of the bodies looking unfit to lead, with not one potential candidate in the forthcoming FIFA presidential elections being free of taint. This is definitely the time to rip all the confederations apart and begin again afresh, free of the corruption. Just to emphasis the point, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that 16 additional FIFA officials have been indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption charges. Eight defendants in the case have also pleaded guilty, including former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, whose evidence assisted in the latest round of indictments. There will be no one left to run any of the confederations anyway at this rate.

3. How do huge clubs make simple basic administrative errors?
Real Madrid face being thrown out of the Copa Del Rey after fielding an ineligible player, Denis Cheryshev, in a game against Cadiz. Madrid are trying hard to put the blame on to head coach Rafael Benitez, in a clear attempt to use his unpopularity amongst the fans as the fall guy. Florentino Perez has been on the defensive of late, as it is, this is sure to increase the pressure on him, especially as his defence in this case is one of ignorance. That just smacks of incompetence on the part of Real Madrid, to not know he was suspended is shambolic. Each club should have administrative staff taking care of those kind of details to ensure they keep track of players while out on loan, and any other incoming transfers, to ensure they are aware of any bans. This is not the coach picking a player by mistake, this is a club making a major mistake in not being aware of the eligibility of its own players. Perez can mouth off all he likes about how Madrid are going to fight their corner, but they have no real defence in this case. Instead of wasting time and effort arguing over it, he should be spending his time sorting out the internal organisation of the club to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

4. Is this finally Liverpool's year?
Year upon year, Liverpool fans have been heading into a new season with optimism that it might be their year to win the league again, each year that optimism has been misplaced. This year the Liverpool fans were no longer feeling this would be their year as the season began, but then Jurgen Klopp took over. Suddenly, especially after a smashing of both Manchester City and Southampton on their own grounds in recent weeks, it is the media talking of a title challenge. With Liverpool in 6th and Klopp only just finding his feet in English football, is that even close to being a realistic ambition? Any other season and the answer would be a resounding no. Maybe accompanied with fits of laughter. This season feels different, not because Liverpool are likely to win the league, but because no one seems likely to win it. The usual suspects Chelsea are struggling still, Man City keep losing key players to injuries just as they hit form, Manchester United are happy to just avoid defeat and Arsenal are, as usual, finding themselves short of a few players in key areas and missing key players to injury. Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City have put themselves in a position to chellenge, though it does seem very unlikely the Foxes can even hope to last the course. Spurs, on the other hand, are just a Harry Kane injury away from a loss of momentum. So, does this mean it finally is Liverpool's year? If they did win it, then it would probably be the biggest surprise title winner of my lifetime, only Leicester, of the current top 6, would be a bigger outsider after the early weeks of the season.

5. Steve Clarke might well wish he had taken the Fulham job now
Following Thursday night's 1-0 defeat to QPR, Reading have sacked their manager Steve Clarke, just a few weeks after he turned down the chance to manage Fulham, following talks with the Cottagers. That he chose to even speak to Fulham at all angered the board at Reading, who warned him that he would need results to go his way to keep his current role. Four defeats in seven matches sealed his fate, with one of those defeats coming at the hands of Fulham themselves. The club's slide, from second in the table to ninth, was felt to be enough to justify his sacking. Seems a bit short sighted to me, the Championship is always topsy-turvy with any team capable of a winning run and, equally, a slide down the table. If you felt he was valuable enough to want to hold onto him when Fulham came calling, that should not have changed a few games later.

6. Garde is doing the right thing with Grealish
Jack Grealish is continuing to sit on the sidelines at Aston Villa, as Remi Garde punishes the youngster for his party boy antics following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Everton last month. Not only does the lad need to learn a lesson, but he needs to learn how to play as part of a team, to keep his feet on the ground, which he will not learn in the first team with the media fawning over his every touch. Even when most of those touches are poor. More of an issue for Villa is sorting out the defence, especially with the first choice pairing, Ciaran Clark and Micah Richards likely to be unavailable to face Southampton. Clark being suspended and Richards struggling with a knee injury is likely to give Jores Okore and Joleon Lescott a chance to build a partnership. The biggest issue of all is the return to fitness of Gabriel Agbonlahor, making him available for the first time since Garde took charge at Villa Park. Previous managers had him as first choice when fit, despite his lack of any kind of form, will Garde do the same?

7. Jurgen Klopp is showing there is more to football than what happens on the pitch
While I am worried that this was not happening anyway at Liverpool, I am glad to see that Klopp is not just remembering for himself, but taking the time to remind the players that the club is a big part of the community and that they have a responsibility to the local area. Certain clubs, although they are slagged off by opposing fans, take their responsibilities very seriously and make a great effort to involve themselves in the local community. I am of course referring to Chelsea and Manchester City, who are very keen to establish themselves as a key component of the local life. In recent years, many Premier League clubs have often allowed their pampered stars to forget about their responsibilities to the fans, as managers worry more about pandering to the players' desires. Jurgen Klopp has wasted no time in changing that culture at Liverpool, as he took time out to first learn about the LFC Foundation and then gather the players together to hear about the work it undertakes and to remind them of their responsibilities to the local community. As a result the forthcoming LFC Foundation Day has seen all the squad get involved in some capacity, in particular the charity auction that now offers lots that include a Brazilian-style night out with Lucas Leiva, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho. If that does not appeal to you, then you could always bid for the African meal at Kolo Toure's house.

8. The pressure on teenage prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma is growing
The 16 year old goalkeeper has made the starting spot for AC Milan his own this season, despite his tender years. Now the pressure is being ramped up on him, despite Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic's attempts to calm down the hype around the youngster who has starred for his team. First there was his agent Mino Raiola who claimed his client was worth 170 million Euros, now Christian Abbiati has added his tuppence worth. "Few people have this kind of quality at 16," the veteran shot-stopper stated. "The Lord looked down on him and said, 'You need to be a goalkeeper.'" To be fair, the lad does look to be something special, physically imposing, despite his age.

9. Donnarumma is not the only 16 year old goalie claiming a starting slot
French Ligue 1 side Toulouse have the youngest goalkeeper in the history of the top flight in France in Alban Lafont. The youngster made his debut last weekend, keeping a clean sheet in the process, in a relatively quiet night. Midweek was different, as he picked up man of the match in a 3-0 win. His elevation to the first team is all the more startling, when it is considered that his previous experience was limited to just two reserve team appearances.

10. Zlatan on the brink of another PSG record
Sweden's talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to make more history in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt this weekend. Currently equal with Mustapha Dahleb with 85 goals as the club's all time joint top goalscorer, Zlatan has reached the milestone after just 101 games, unlike the over 300 games Dahlab needed to hit those goals.

One more thing:
Does anyone really care about Cristiano Ronaldo's sexual orientation? If so, they really need to get out more.

Written by Tris Burke December 04 2015 15:02:45