Features

The Search for the Unstable Element

Every successful team needs an Unstable Element. Whether it’s Roy Keane policing his team-mates, or Sergio Ramos indulging in the dark arts, they are an indispensable part of a team’s pursuit of glory, writes Musa Okwonga.

The Search for the Unstable Element

Endearingly naïve, yet utterly brilliant: Dortmund win feverish Klassiker

There are still the long, dark nights of winter to get through but as far as statement wins go, this was about as big as it gets for Dortmund. Their Klassiker victory marks an important night for Lucien Favre’s side but also a turning point for the Bundesliga, writes Michael Da Silva at the Westfalenstadion.

Endearingly naïve, yet utterly brilliant: Dortmund win feverish Klassiker

Ross Barkley and the Return of the Number Eight

The idea of the box-to-box midfielder is a very English concept, but largely absent since Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, the role is returning to prominence in the shape of Chelsea’s Ross Barkley.

Ross Barkley and the Return of the Number Eight

Thomas Tuchel adding substance to PSG's style

There have been a few false dawns at Parc des Princes since Nasser Al-Khelaifi bought Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, and the recent lavish sponsorship deals have led to accusations that they are more of a lifestyle brand than a football club. But good things are happening under the watch of Thomas Tuchel, and Ryan Hunn believes they have finally found a coach who can add some substance to the style.

Thomas Tuchel adding substance to PSG's style

The Age of the Full-Back

All things considered, it was fitting that the goal of the 2018 World Cup was scored by France’s Benjamin Pavard. His dramatic intervention could be seen as the crowning moment in what we might call “The Age of the Full-Back”.

The Age of the Full-Back

Jesse Lingard: My overnight success was years in the making

In Sir Alex Ferguson’s final days as Manchester United coach, he recommended that the club keep faith in one of their academy kids. English football’s greatest ever coach talked of a player with searing pace, a strong work ethic and fantastic skill, even though he was considered too small and weak to rub shoulders with the big boys during the Scot's reign. The player he was talking about was Jesse Lingard. 

Jesse Lingard: My overnight success was years in the making

Neymar: YouTube sensation to marketing gold

His pre-teen skills harnessed on the mean streets of suburban Sao Paulo made him an internet sensation over a decade ago, now Neymar is set to dazzle in the French capital for wannabe European power Paris Saint-Germain as the world's most expensive player.

Neymar: YouTube sensation to marketing gold

El Tigre to El Fénix: The resurgence of Radamel Falcao

It’s Wednesday night, 22nd January 2014. The Monaco supporters inside the Stade Ludovic Giuly have gone deafly silent. Laid before them in a crumpled heap, is Radamel Falcao. The Colombian striker appears to be in some discomfort following a heavy challenge by Soner Ertek. Unable to walk off, the stretcher is called and Falcao is carried from the pitch.

El Tigre to El Fénix: The resurgence of Radamel Falcao

Derbies: The Superclásico

Few derbies pack a punch quite like El Superclasico. River Plate's fans are drawn from the well-heeled neighbourhood of Belgrano, while Boca Juniors is a working class club of the people. This contrast has contributed to a stormy relationship between the two Buenos Aires giants. Over a century since the clubs first met, the rivalry is still as fierce as ever.

Derbies: The Superclásico

Derbies: Derby della Capitale

Benito Mussolini was a man who usually got his own way. But when his hopes of building a single football team in Rome to take on the supremacy of the teams in northern Italy were scuppered by Lazio, who refused to join forces with three other local teams to form AS Roma in 1927, a rivalry was born. Since then, the Derby della Capitale has been punctuated by violence and riots. It's safe to say it remains the fiercest in Italy.

Derbies: Derby della Capitale

Aleppo to Cologne: A Syrian refugee story

Over four million Syrians fled their homeland after civil war broke out in 2011, with many of those seeking to start a new life in Europe. One of those refugees, 17-year-old Mohammad from Aleppo, pushed himself to the limit after a torturous 3,660km journey through seven countries. Now living in the German city of Cologne, Mohammad explains how football has helped him settle in a foreign land.

Aleppo to Cologne: A Syrian refugee story

The Reivention Of Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger has enjoyed some of the finest displays of his career since reinventing himself as a deep-lying midfielder. While Louis van Gaal likes to take credit for discovering the ‘new Schweinsteiger’, Joachim Löw gave him his first run-out there in 2007 and he has gradually made the position his own ever since.

The Reivention Of Bastian Schweinsteiger