There is no doubt every team in the world gets to a crucial stage where transitioning new life into the team is so vital, and they will be faced with the reality of transition into building a new golden generation which more often than not doesn’t usually come with a soft landing in terms of developing future stars and a formidable team.
In football, the reality of constant competition forces teams to operate dynamically when they have great players in every position which allows them to dictate possessions, and when they don’t have possession they easily fight to get back and transit from defense to attack.
The Italy national team is currently experiencing a transitional period with the rise of young prospects from well-known clubs, since winning the World Cup back in 2006 it has been a turbulent time on the international scenes for the Italian national team. The Mundial in South Africa and Brazil are two tournament Italians will want to forget in a hurry as their performance was nothing to write home about, and not to forget their failure in qualifying for Russia 2018 which was the end of an era for some of their players like Pirlo et al.
No doubt some of this prospect still needs the first-team experience with their respective clubs’ side before they can get to play for the national team. Meanwhile, some of them are already key players for their respective club while some still finding in hard to stick their feet on the ground, however, Sandro Tonali has become a key player with Brescia in Seria A.
If Italy match against Armenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina were anything to go by, then we can say the transition patch every team goes through is gradually working out fine for the Azzurri, as most of the players that played those matches are under 24 years which shows a very bright future for the national team when the players fully matured into great players.
One of the players who are currently doing well in the Seria A and the national team of Italy is Tonali, the young midfielder is an integral member for the newly-promoted side Brescia and has caught the eyes of many fans with his talent and performance when he played for the Italy U19 at the European Championship, and since then the hype about him been the new Pirlo hasn’t gone away.
At age 17, Tonali made his professional debut for Brescia Calcio coming on as a substitute against Avellino a match they went on to lose, from that time on Tonali did had over 19 match appearances in the league for Brescia in his first season as a professional player, scored two goals and provided two assists during the 2017-18 season in the Italian second-tier league Seria B.
The following season, Tonali broke into the team’s first eleven and played an important role in Brescia triumph of winning the Seria B title which got them the promotion to the topflight Seria A, and in 2019 he made his debut in the Seria A at age 19 against Cagliari, and the following week he assisted his compatriot Mario Balotelli to score a goal against Napoli.
No doubt there is still many big things the world should expect in the coming years from the young Brescia midfielder at 19, not because of anything but because of the glimpse of brilliance, he showed at the U19 European Championship and the hype that surrounds his future in becoming the next Pirlo for the Italian national team in terms of their style of play.
Tonali is one young midfielder that can actually play in a diamond formation just like he did under Eugenio Corini in the Seria B, a role which the man is been compared with played in painstakingly, dictate play from the middle of the pack using his passing ability, and critically make sure his passes reaches up the pitch to bring the goals.
One of the standout attributes of Tonali is how intelligent he is in terms of using his-Pirlo like positioning ability to benefit the team, no wonder why he’s been touted to be the next Pirlo, the young midfielder still need a lot of improvement before he could get to the level of former Juventus midfield maestro.
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Although he’s yet to fully step into that height Pirlo attainted for the Azzurri before he hung his boots, as that position currently belongs to Chelsea’s midfielder Jorginho who is also a complete passer and has the ability to create good passes for the Italian team, but then if he continues to brilliantly play well in that position for his club, he would definitely be moved away from the central position role he plays now and start from the deep line position if Jorginho isn’t available.
Absolutely spectacular by Sandro Tonali.pic.twitter.com/D2tvHdWJE8
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) October 27, 2019
The Italian national team is one of the European team that has a proud footballing heritage, but a deep drop of form in some of their players wasn’t expected as their 2006 triumph at the World Cup began a wrap up of an era and a great generation to some of their players, and a lack of suitable replacements and inability to let go of their past in trying to bring back their old guard has been their main problem.
But in trying to fix the problem, comes a young midfielder in Tonali who the Italian is waiting on to become the next Pirlo, as such even fans who don’t watch the Seria A often should be aware of him through the U19 competition, transfer rumors about him moving to some of the big clubs in Europe and also donning the blue jersey of Italy.
However, when asked by the Gazzetta Dello Sport if he believed Tonali was the heir to his own midfield throne, Pirlo wasn’t so sure.
“No,” he said. “He is very good but he is different from me on the pitch.
“He has everything to be a champion but he is more a midfielder for a two-man midfield. He could already play for a great team; he is the best in this league.”
Nevertheless, the future of Italy is bright as Tonali rise has been top-notch with his club and he has an ample time to develop, but then he needs to start proving himself as the next big thing for the Italian team else he would be robbed off his opportunity to shine for his team because there are a lot of young players waiting to snatch up any given opportunity.
Though a new era is here for Roberto Mancini and his team, as he has a lot of talent at his disposal which has been evident in their qualification for the Euro 2020, which of course won’t come to town again until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it’s would be interesting to see how Tonali would live up to that tag ‘New Pirlo‘, it’s left to be seen though, as he definitely has a legacy to build on and achieve success just like the former Juventus man.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.