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Football: The Kids Are All Right


Raja
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9 hours ago, Wilbur said:

I actually think that Messi might possess more skill that Maradona, and he has certainly been the beneficiary of hugely improved medicine and safer play.

However, neither of those arguments for Messi you suggested have any merit as determiners.

Defenses are not higher quality.  They are set up differently, but only as a reaction to the changes in how attacks form today, which are different.  Teams today don't line up with a back four of full-time defenders, a sweeper and a shielding midfielder, all of whom are focused on defense like the catanaccio played in Italy in the 80s.  Today most teams will have defenders who get forward as much as midfielders did in the 80s.

And Maradona played in the Big Cup and the Euro Vase every year throughout the 80s except for maybe 1984-85, and those were serious competitions, not the dead-rubber manufacturing competitions of today's Champions League, the pale shadow of the Big Cup.

Finally, enjoying watching the following video, and see where the refs waves "play on" in situations that would be a five-game ban today.  

 

What about the increased fitness and more aggressive closing down employed by teams today; you don't think a player like Maradona would have had less space to work with in today's midfields? In fact I think the no.10 playmaker role in general has suffered a decline as a result of that.

The Euro Vase is the original Intertoto cup, right? What was the Big Cup?

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The Big Cup (The European Cup) was watered down to become the Champions League of today, handing out money to powerful clubs for lengthy group stages of no particular value.

The Euro Vase (formerly the UEFA Cup) was similarly debased into the Europa League, which was then merged into the Intertoto, spreading the talent even thinner.

Dead rubbers for everyone!

Giving Maradona less space isn't really a thing - in many Italian League games, teams would man-mark him with a player whose entire role on the field was to face guard him in 1) an attempt to prevent him from receiving the ball and 2) cut him down as soon as he received it as far away from goal as possible.

In other words, the treatment Girona's Maffeo gave Messi, but for entire games across stretches of eight or nine games in a row.  Italy even used it at the international level with Claudio Gentile.

The ironic thing about the face-guarding Maradona got was that officials actually yellow carded him for complaining about the treatment he received, but they allowed him to get hacked down off the ball with impunity.  Football has utterly changed in the last thirty years.

Edited by Wilbur
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Tbqh there's decent arguments for Maradona having been a more skilled player at his best (though Ronaldo, the real one, wins that contest every day of the week for me anyway) but the sheer longevity of Messi's volume means there's no contender for greatest player other than Ronaldo (the other one), really. It's hard to compare across eras, for sure, and no, goals aren't the only metric, but then goals isn't all either offers and they're both so far clear of anyone else from this era. 

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7 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

The Big Cup (The European Cup) was watered down to become the Champions League of today, handing out money to powerful clubs for lengthy group stages of no particular value.

The Euro Vase (formerly the UEFA Cup) was similarly debased into the Europa League, which was then merged into the Intertoto, spreading the talent even thinner.

Dead rubbers for everyone!

Well, I think the Champions League is a stronger competition than the European Cup was, because the European Cup only featured the winner of each league, right? Where as the CL is the top 4, so it features more of the top teams. It has, sadly, come to be dominated by an elite few clubs though, as has the English Premier League, because the effect of TV money.

I agree that the UEFA Cup must have been a very strong competition in the 80s. I suppose playing in that was the equivalent of playing in the CL.

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2 hours ago, Darryk said:

The Euro Vase is the original Intertoto cup, right? What was the Big Cup?

No. That was the original name of the UEFA-Cup (what became the EL today, after it was merged with the Cup Winner's Cup first).

Intertoto cup was a brainchild of the mid 1990s iirc. That was basically a qualifier for the UEFA cup back then. So the VASE/UEFA was the second biggest European trophy, after the Champion's Cup (or later on Champion's League).

 

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger
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7 minutes ago, Darryk said:

Well, I think the Champions League is a stronger competition than the European Cup was, because the European Cup only featured the winner of each league, right? Where as the CL is the top 4, so it features more of the top teams. It has, sadly, come to be dominated by an elite few clubs though, as has the English Premier League, because the effect of TV money.

I agree that the UEFA Cup must have been a very strong competition in the 80s. I suppose playing in that was the equivalent of playing in the CL.

No.

From the 1970s (or even before that?) until the 1990s there were three European competition.

The Champion's Cup (league winner's only)

The UEFA Cup (2-5 placed teams in the league (at least for the big leagues))

The Cup Winner's Cup, for the teams that won their national cup competition (FA Cup for the English teams, not the league cup).

 

So Champion's Cup was way more exclusive before the CL days. I recall my dad finding it ridiculous having the second placed teams play in a competition, that's labeled Champion's League.

Either way, you can see how the UEFA Cup (or Vase Cup) was actually a strong competition back in the day. So winning that competition was really no mean feat.

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger
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The CL is a stronger competition than the old European Cup. It's absurd to refer to the CL as 'watered down'. The old European Cup was just more difficult to get into since in was for league champions only. The UEFA Cup (pre CL era) often featured a stronger field than the European Cup.

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1 hour ago, Darryk said:

Well, I think the Champions League is a stronger competition than the European Cup was, because the European Cup only featured the winner of each league, right? Where as the CL is the top 4, so it features more of the top teams. It has, sadly, come to be dominated by an elite few clubs though, as has the English Premier League, because the effect of TV money.

I agree that the UEFA Cup must have been a very strong competition in the 80s. I suppose playing in that was the equivalent of playing in the CL.

European Cup had a lot more appeal than Champions League, because it allowed for more upsets, being an actual Cup from the start and one bad matchup could mean you're out in the first round even though you might have been one of the strongest contenders to win the whole thing.

Plus, back in the day you had some quite strong teams outside of the top 5 leagues. Steaua Bucharest and Crvena zvezda Belgrade won the thing. A lot of other leagues were stronger as a result of their champions actually playing top teams and having funds to do it instead of languishing in several rounds of qualifiers only to be fodder for the richest clubs (some exceptions do happen but rarely).

At the moment, top 4 PL clubs (for example) are definitely better than champions of some "smaller" competitions but  that wasn't always the case and it's a result of decades of fund allocation that had a sole purpose of ensuring just that.

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2 hours ago, Consigliere said:

The CL is a stronger competition than the old European Cup. It's absurd to refer to the CL as 'watered down'. The old European Cup was just more difficult to get into since in was for league champions only. The UEFA Cup (pre CL era) often featured a stronger field than the European Cup.

That's two different arguments.

From a nostalgic/purists point of view. It was the nation's champions representing the country on the continental stage. Not the fourth place finisher.

Your argument that a competition featuring Liverpool, Chelsea and United is certainly of a higher sporting value than one featuring Legia Warsaw, Cluj and HJK.

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The old European Cup's straight knockout format might have allowed for more upsets but the competition was still largely dominated by the big four leagues + Ajax and Benfica. The formation of the CL had little to do with weakening clubs outside the top 4 leagues - that was already happening anyway with the ever widening gap in broadcasting money between the top 4 leagues and the rest in addition to the Bosman ruling which had a much greater impact than changing the format of the European Cup.

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3 hours ago, Consigliere said:

The CL is a stronger competition than the old European Cup. It's absurd to refer to the CL as 'watered down'. The old European Cup was just more difficult to get into since in was for league champions only. The UEFA Cup (pre CL era) often featured a stronger field than the European Cup.

That is true, because due to luck of the draw, you could face only weaker sides until the latter stages, or quite opposite, face very strong ones at the beginning (think Napoli vs Real Madrid in the first round in 1987/1988).

Also, Bosman and the EU meant clubs from the top 5 leagues could attract more foreigners from weaker ones or from outside Europe.

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The Big Cup and Euro Vase were stronger, more exciting competitions than their current incarnations for several reasons.

1. Every tie counted.  If you didn't win the tie, you were out.  Today the group stages provide a lot of TV revenue, but a team can coast through several games and it shows.  As a fan, the sense of urgency was far, far greater in the knock-out cups of the past.

2. Every round was a crap shoot.  Your team might travel to the gentle pleasures of the South of France, or into the icy teeth of some opponent behind the Iron Curtain.  The opponent could literally be some team that you had never heard of before.  You might face Kaiserslautern or you might face Juventus, and therefore the draw after each round was meaningful and stress-worthy.  Again, today's group stages mean that the group games are slow, methodical point-gathering exercises among the wealthy teams.

3. Every participant was a league champion for the Big Cup, or a cup winner for the Euro Cup, or a strong contender in the Euro Vase.  And again, win or go home.  Every game was an important European Night.  No gentle demotion from one slightly more prestigious competition to the next lower tier to collect more TV cash if you aren't good enough in the group stages.  And teams from the same association meeting was a rarity - it was almost always someone exotic on the pitch.

4. With fewer participant teams and a greater percentage of true league and cup winners, the quality of the participants appeared to almost always be the cream of the crop.  The argument that expansion of a league or competition improves quality of play is very, very weak (see the dilution of talent in the post-expansion NBA, the NFL, MLB, etc. for comparison if you are American).

The successor competitions today are much less urgent, mysterious and unknown.  For example, in a five-year span in the mid-70s, Liverpool played East German teams eight times.  But today, Dynamo Dresden are not going to rock up for another 100 European games any time soon, and fans won't have to cross Checkpoint Charlie en route to matches against Dynamo Berlin, Magdeburg or Leipzig, either.

The participants in today's competitions skew heavily toward the wealthy clubs of wealthy countries, playing each other in wealthy stadiums full of wealthy supporters for wealthy prizes.  The percentage of teams from the less advantaged teams and nations getting into the round of 16 or quarterfinals has dropped significantly, while the clubs who want to create the European Super League slurp up the TV contract money every year.  Meh.

Edited by Wilbur
meh, boring
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1 hour ago, Wilbur said:

The Big Cup and Euro Vase were stronger, more exciting competitions than their current incarnations for several reasons.

 

You're confusing the two things- they were definitively more exciting, but certainly not stronger.

Teams, even the richest, were more limited to whom they could buy. For example, if this was the 70's, Messi, Neymar, Suarez, and nearly all South Americans would be almost to a man be playing in their continent, maybe going to the US at the final stages in their careers for a quick buck, because of the limitations of foreigners, the differences in wages being smaller and the fact that clubs were not obligated to release their players to play for other nations in the WC and qualifying games.

Meanwhile, the likes of Salah, Son, Mané, etc, would for the most part probably not even be playing at all, or just locally, because football was less developed in Africa and Asia, and even if a great player appeared there, he'd be unlikely to be noticed for European clubs, or even if they did, they probably wouldn't bet on him because they preferred finished products and sure bets.

So, from the start, you remove all players from every continent but Europe. You're saying if that happened tomorrow with the CL, it would be a stronger tournament? Of course not.

And you add to that a much worse standard of refereeing, and much, much worse pitches, not to mention nonexistent or nearly nonexistent doping controls.

 

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2 hours ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

...So, from the start, you remove all players from every continent but Europe. You're saying if that happened tomorrow with the CL, it would be a stronger tournament?...

 

I don't think anyone is saying that?

The stimulus for the discussion was Maradona, a South American who definitely played in Europe.

Edited by Wilbur
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Newcastle have a lot of potential, and definitely deserve better than Mike Ashley, who's been holding them back for years. But the Saudis? I wonder how Newcastle fans will feel about that if it happens. On the one hand, lots of money; on the other, you're now owned by one of the most brutal regimes on the planet. 

 

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38 minutes ago, Darryk said:

Newcastle have a lot of potential, and definitely deserve better than Mike Ashley, who's been holding them back for years. But the Saudis? I wonder how Newcastle fans will feel about that if it happens. On the one hand, lots of money; on the other, you're now owned by one of the most brutal regimes on the planet. 

 

I'm more interested in the alleged amount of money they are going to pump into the local area for regeneration.  

It will be funny making Man City feel like peasants though, the amount of money is truly astonishing.

I'm guessing Pep is already looking for a house in Jesmond. 

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