FC Goa 2015 Squad – Lucio to Be Their ISL Marquee Player?

Lucio for FC Goa 2015 Squad

FC Goa look all set to make the ISL 2015 season even better than their ISL 2014 season. The preparations have been fast-tracked which has resulted in the Goans almost on the verge of finalising their ISL 2015 squad. The highlight of moves being made in terms of FC Goa 2015 squad is that they may sign the Brazilian defender Lucio as their next ISL Marquee Player.

Who Is Lucio and What’s Will He Bring to FC Goa 2015 Squad?

Lucio boasts of a career that can make most footballers envious. He has won virtually everything there is to be won in a footballer’s career. His accolades include.

  • FIFA World Cup with Brazil (2002)
  • FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil (2005 and 2009)
  • UEFA Champions League with Inter Milan (2009-2010)
  • Coppa Italia with Inter Milan (2009-2010 and 2010-2011)
  • Serie A with Inter Milan (2009-2010)
  • DFB – Ligapokal or German League Cup with Bayern Munich (2004 and 2007)
  • DFB – Pokal or German Cup with Bayern Munich (2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2007-2008)
  • Bundesliga with Bayern Munich (2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2007-2008)
Lucio for FC Goa 2015 Squad

Lucio for FC Goa 2015 Squad

Lucio will bring a lot of experience to the FC Goa 2015 squad defence and will most probably by partnering Gregory Arnolin who had a wonderful debut Indian Super League season last time out.

The Brazilian is typically a no nonsense defender with a lot of upper body strength and a good leap off the ground. His ball control skills, while not legendary, are good enough for him to be a ball playing defender in the ISL.

At the age of 36, Lucio may not have a lot of speed, but he will look to compensate for that with his experience. Lucio also has a mean freekick on him.

Why Is Lucio Replacing Robert Pires as FC Goa’s ISL Marquee Player?

Robert Pires, FC Goa

Goodbye FC Goa

It comes as no surprise that FC Goa have decided on a new ISL Marquee Player as Robert Pires could only play eight games out of a total of 16.

In fact, if you assess Pires’s contributions in those eight games, it becomes clear why FC Goa’s pragmatic coach Zico chose to do without him and look to add Lucio to the FC Goa 2015 squad. Here are Pires’s stats.

  • Played eight games,
  • Didn’t complete those eight games and only played 561 minutes which is equivalent to just over six full games, and
  • Scored one goal and made no assists.

The impact of Robert Pires was limited on the pitch. These numbers aren’t surprising because at the age of 41, everyone knew that Pires was brought in for marketing reasons rather than footballing reasons.

Lucio or Riquelme; Zico Chooses

Juan Roman Riquelme

Juan Roman Riquelme

Zico was actually given a list of players who were interested in becoming ISL Marquee players for FC Goa 2015 squad. In the end, Zico shortlisted Lucio and Juan Roman Riquelme as potential member of FC Goa 2015 squad.

Those of you who’ve been following football for some time will remember Riquelme being brought to Europe by the resurgent Barcelona FC in 2002. Riquelme only played for Barcelona 30 times in three years before he was shipped to Villareal FC.

Riquelme actually made a name for himself with the Yellow Submarine. At Villareal Riquelme pulled strings from the midfield with Diego Forlan, who is being linked with Atletico De Kolkata, the most obvious beneficiary. Both would go on to become famous players from their countries and in Europe. Riquelme will be 37 years and is an attacking midfielder.

Riquelme’s age and the fact that he plays in midfield is probably why Zico chose to go with Lucio over him. Riquelme retired in 2011-2012 before making a comeback for his childhood team Boca Juniors. At the beginning of this Riquelme retired again but is still being connected to ISL as a potential ISL Marquee Player. Riquelme, by the way, also has a very good freekick on him.

I believe Zico made a wiser and much more informed choice in choosing Lucio over Riquelme for FC Goa 2015 sqaud. The reason for this is that the latter may not have much in the tank for the rigours of ISL. Lucio is a safer bet and has shown a keen interest in working with Zico.

Zico Key to Lucio’s Potential Arrival to Indian Shores

Zico, seeing the potential of his team, has decided to get a player who is only 36 and can contribute far more than Pires did at 36 to the FC Goa 2015 squad. It’s also a smart move to sign a central defender as the ISL Marquee Player because central defenders tend to have longer playing careers. Central defenders aren’t required to have a lot of stamina since they don’t have to run as much as midfielders who cover much greater areas.

For example, Paolo Maldini, the epitome of central defenders in recent history played at the top of the ladder till he was 41. Maldini was playing for AC Milan as late as 2009. He was born in 1968. Granted, players like Maldini come once in a lifetime but Lucio is also in the same mould. What’s better is that Lucio is only 36 and is still playing at the top of the league in Brazil. More importantly, Lucio looks to be very keen to work with the legendary coach Zico.

Mainstream media is reporting that Lucio already has a written offer in front of him. Moreover, it is expected that he will sign very soon, if he hasn’t already.

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Atletico De Kolkata 2015 Squad – Kaka and Forlan Dream Team!

Atletico De KolkataAtletico De Kolkata was underwhelming last time:

I said it.

Others said it.

Atletico knows it.

The world knows it.

This time around, though, Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad may turn out to have even more flair than FC Goa 2015 squad. We can expect to have a distinctly different Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad.

Why?

Because they may get Kaka and Diego Forlan both to play for them this time!

The Brazilian Maestro in Atletico De Kolkata 2015 Squad

You know how the Prince of Kolkata, Saurav Ganguly, owns half of the Atletico De Kolkata franchise? Well, he has revealed that his club is deep in negotiations with Kaka.

About Kaka… talks are going on, but nothing have been finalised yet

The chances of Kaka joining the Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad aren’t that bad especially since there’re rumours that Kaka’s current contract is due to expire this season.

Kaka, like all modern football greats, moved to Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US. Kaka signed for Orlando City last year to become the highest paid player in the MLS. Since Orlando City weren’t playing immediately, Kaka went to Sao Paulo where he first made a name for himself.

Kaka to join Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad?Kaka is a world beater. There was a period of two to three years in his career when he was considered to be the best player in the world in the league of Ronaldo and Messi.

This was a period when he won the Ballon D’Or as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year awards. The only reason this period wasn’t extended was that Kaka had to undergo surgery for a long term injury. After the surgery, he was never the same.

Between his excellence and injury, Kaka can be anything from glorious in the Red and White to ignominious in the same jersey. At the very least, his style of play should excite not only the Bengali football fans but also football faithfuls the country over.

In terms of how he plays, he has virtually everything! He can beat players on the dribble, he can see a sexy pass and get it, he can shoot from distance with precision, and he can do it all with a rare grace and artistry.

How good is Kaka? Here are his accolades to give you an idea.

  • Serie A with AC Milan (2003-2004)
  • UEFA Champions League with AC Milan (2006-2007)
  • La Liga with Real Madrid (2011-2012)
  • Copa del Rey (2010-2011)
  • FIFA World Cup (2002)
  • FIFA Confederations Cup (2005 and 2009)
  • Serie A Footballer of the Year (2004 and 2007)
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (2007)
  • UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (2006-2007)
  • Ballon D’Or (2007)
  • World Soccer Player of the Year (2007)
  • Time 100 (2008 and 2009)
  • AC Milan Hall of Fame

How can those accolades not get you excited?

Kaka to Supply the Uruguayan Sniper

Even the best attacking midfielders in the world would be duds if they had dud strikers in front of them. And, I’m sorry, while Fikru is no dud; he is no dude either. Quite simply, his finishing is nothing to write home about.

So, if Kaka was put behind Fikru, he might improve his goals tally but the Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad will still remain dull. Fikru could never do justice to Kaka’s skill and technique.

So, how is Atletico De Kolkata solving this problem? They’re about to rope in another footballing great.

Enter Diego Forlan – of the Manchester United, Villareal, Atletico Madrid, and Uruguay fame!

Forlan for Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squadThe chances of this Forlan joining the Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad are better than Kaka’s because of Atletico De Kolkata’s Atletico Madrid connection. The relationship between the Spanish club and its former players has benefited Atletico De Kolkata as they could approach those players freely.

Also, like Kaka, Forlan’s contract is going to expire later this year as well in May. He’s currently employed with Cerezo Osaka in Japan. Forlan hasn’t done all that well in Japan primarily because he has failed to settle in.

In terms of international football, Forlan has recently announced his retirement in March 2015 after a dreary 2014 World Cup.

While Forlan did well for Manchester United, scoring key goals at key junctures, his greatest performances have come for Atletico Madrid and Villareal.

The best asset of Forlan is his finishing. He’s known for scoring some cracking scores and doesn’t miss often. The combination of Kaka and Forlan are, in primal terms, mouth-watering.

Forlan list of achievements is neither as long as Kaka’s nor as illustrious but it’s not nothing either. Have a looksy.

  • Premier League with Manchester United (2002-2003)
  • FA Cup with Manchester United (2003-2004)
  • UEFA Europa League with Atletico Madrid (2009-2010)
  • Copa America with Uruguay (2011)
  • European Golden Show (2004-2005 and 2008-2009)
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball

He can definitely shine in the Indian Super League 2015 season.

Why Ateltico De Kolkata Needed To Shuffle Things Up

During the ISL 2014 season, many fans including I, castigated Atletico De Kolkata for being too much of a grafting team. The reason for this was also very obvious.

Last year’s team from Kolkata was well drilled and disciplined. What they didn’t have was flair. Granted, they went about marketing their ‘Captain Fantastico’ but he was decidedly ineffective.

Fikru, Atletico de KolkataThey only managed to become the ISL 2014 champions because of the way their coach drilled them. Moreover, another thing I didn’t like about that team was that it was too physical.

No team from Kolkata should play like Stoke City. They should be classy, artistic, and technically sound. Kolkata is the footballing capital of India. It deserves this much. This is why ATK needed to mix things up a bit in the Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad.

So, Ganguly and Habas have heard everyone’s plea. Bringing in Kaka and Forlan to Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad is a great step in that direction.

Habas the Henchman to Continue Terrorising Opponents

Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad will continue to be led by Habas the Henchman. After digesting what happened in ISL 2014 season, I have come to the opinion that ATK won because of Habas.

Antonion Lopez Habas ATK

Habas the Henchman

They won because of the way their team was set up. They didn’t win through individual brilliance or great attacking football. They won because Habas saw what his team was capable of and what it wasn’t.

He chose to set up his team in a way that their strengths were highlighted and weaknesses suppressed. What is worst is that he never got the recognition for it either.

I believe you ATK fans need to thank your stars that Habas is such a great tactician. Ganguly has realised this fact and revealed that Habas the Henchman will continue to lead the ATK Posse for the foreseeable future.

I can only imagine what Habas can do with Atletico De Kolkata 2015 squad especially since he’s getting to make it the way he wants it. I want to see how he melds Kaka and Forlan into the Dynamic Duo. For this reason alone, I want these deals to happen!

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The Return of the Jedi with Update on ISL Rules

Jedi Returns with ISL Rules

Jedi Returns with ISL RulesKind of a dream title isn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be a Jedi from Star Wars (non-nerds can go watch Roadies)?

After skipping out on you guys last year without a goodbye or even batting an eyelid, it won’t be a surprise if many of you have jumped ship to other Indian Super League blogs… oh, wait a minute… there aren’t any other blogs on the Indian Super League.

Ahem, still I shall try not to take the uniqueness of ISLBlog for granted. As we all know, in the age of information, it’s not really going to last that long.

It’s a bitch trying to cope with this system of few months of football mayhem and then multiple months of sitting on your arse twiddling your thumbs. In other words, the Indian Super League isn’t very blogger friendly.

After all, what am I supposed to write about in the 9 months when there aren’t any matches? If any one of you wiseasses thought ISL rules and ISL transfers, then I shall very politely tell you to deliver my regards to where the sun doesn’t shine. You would be partly right of course but did you consider the fact that in the past three months there hasn’t been anything interesting happening with regard to the Indian Super League?

That changed recently, however, as the Indian Super League seems to have gone into hyperdrive with news flying in. So, I was compelled back to once again to pontificate, contemplate, evaluate, ponder, deliberate, speculate, and intimate on the happenings in the league. This one will focus on the new rules that the promoters of ISL seemed to have brought out.

A Summary of ISL Rules

  • ISL Salary Cap: There will now be a salary cap folks. So, the psychotic optimists amongst you who were expecting to see Messi or Ronaldo on Indian soil can forget about it. Each team will have to limit their spending towards player wages to less than Rs 20 crore (that’s $3.28 million in case you want to compare it to European leagues).
  • ISL Marquee Players: Every ISL club will be required to have an ISL Marquee Player. The said player can be the one from 2014 (hopes Elano and Hume come back) or a new one brought in by the club with approval from the League.
  • ISL International Players: There are restrictions regarding ISL international players too. ISL clubs are required to have one ISL international player at least with a maximum of 5 allowed. ISL clubs can get these players themselves from the open market.
  • ISL Domestic Players: In terms of ISL domestic players, ISL clubs are required to have at least one domestic player with the quota capped at six. ISL clubs had to take on free agents before the beginning of this month as now the free players will only be available through Domestic Draft.
  • ISL Squad Sizes: ISL clubs must have at least 22 players and at best can contract 25 players. This total consists of one ISL marquee player, up to 10 international players, and 14 domestic players.
  • ISL Auctions: Later on, the Indian Super League will hold a player auction consisting of around 12 to 15 Indian players with each ISL club having the option of adding one player to their squad. These players will be those who have played for the Indian National Team but couldn’t feature in the 2014 season.

What Do the New ISL Rules for Salary Caps Mean for Football in the Country?

ISL Rules salary capLet’s cut the elephant in the room down to size – ISL player salary caps. If you’re an avid football fan, then you’re most probably looking at this new rule askance.

Many of you will say that these salary caps will limit the growth potential of the Indian Super League. Some will say that they want these ISL rules to be modified so that some players can be allowed to be outside the cap.

This is usually called ‘soft cap’ wherein the salary can exceed to a certain extent in special circumstances. ‘Soft cap’ has been used in cases of player retention.

‘Soft cap’ can also be used if the teams are allowed to exceed the salary caps put on them if they’re willing to pay financial penalties for the same. The premise regarding the ‘soft cap’ is pointless because of the following reasons.

  • Soft cap penalties won’t really bother rich teams as they can simply pay the fine and move on.
  • Soft caps where salaries of one or two players are allowed to exceed the cap are pointless because the Indian Super League hasn’t put a salary cap for individual salaries. The salary cap imposed is for the total money that the ISL club spends.

This brings me to the next subject. This being that these ISL rules regarding salary caps will stifle the ISL clubs’ spending power to a point where they won’t be able to attract high profile players. If you do the maths, this premise doesn’t pan out. Here’s why.

  • Rs 20 crore converts to about $3.28 million.
  • Our league only runs for approximately 3 months which is 12 weeks.
  • Suppose, we take out about $1.25 million for a marquee player or two.
  • If you convert $1.25 million into weekly wages, as is the norm in football, you get approximately $104,000. Do you think that’s not enough to attract high profile players that are on the verge of retirement?

Let me put this amount in perspective for you by picking out highest earners and high profile albeit aged players who are on the verge of retirement.

  • The biggest earners at Chelsea are Cesc Fabregas (ungrateful bugger) and Diego Costa (Stamp crazy goal scoring extraordinaire) at $300,000 per week salaries. These are players at the peak of their careers aged 27 and 25 respectively. Oldest player on Chelsea’s books is Didier Drogba who earns around $119,000. Would you like to see Drogba in Indian Super League?
  • The highest paid player at Manchester City is Sergio Aguero (26) at $327,000 per week. Bacary Sagna (31) earns $119,000. Is Sagna not good enough for the Indian Super League?
  • Top earner at Manchester United is Wayne Rooney (28) who earns $445,000 per week. Michael Carrick (33) gets paid $119,000 too. Wouldn’t our strikers benefit from Carrick’s passing?
  • The highest earners at Arsenal are Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanches earning $208,000 per week. The oldest players playing for the Gunners are Tomas Rosicky (33), Mikael Arteta (32), and Mathieu Flamini (30) earning $126,000, $119,000, and $97,000 respectively. Do you want to tell me that these guys won’t improve the quality of the Indian Super League?
  • At Real Madrid, Ronaldo (29) receives about $427,000 every week after tax. At the same team is Alvaro Arbeloa (31) who receives $97,000 per week. Wouldn’t Arbeloa light up this league if Bernard Mendy could?
  • Messi (27) gets $380,000 per week at Barcelona. Barcelona also has Sergio Busquets (26) at $99,000 per week. Can’t Busquets teach Indian defensive midfielders a thing or two?
  • At Bayern Munich, we have Arjen Robben (29) and Franck Ribery (30) earning $245,000. Bayern also have Claudio Pizarro on their books at $119,000 per week. Pizarro has already been linked with joining the Indian Super League.

I rest my case. The salary caps ISL rules won’t affect the quality of Indian Super League!

I’ll go one step ahead actually. The salary cap ISL rules will help the popularity of football in India. Why? Let me explain. If one team was to get ahead of all others because of their money, it wouldn’t matter how many stars they bring in because it would make the league imbalanced. At best, what this ISL club would manage to do is make football popular in its region and not others. Now, we don’t want that do we? Because we already have that situation in West Bengal and it does nothing for football in the country.

My Views on Other ISL Rules

I’m ok with all the other ISL rules listed above and particularly appreciative of the ISL rules for domestic auctions. Most of the rules are run of the mill and will only help the growth of football in the country along with improvement in standards of local players.

What I like about the ISL rules for domestic auctions is that they’re picking players who’ve played for the country but not in the Indian Super League. Think about that for a second. This means that the international players who didn’t get a chance in 2014 because their I-League clubs were being pricks will now get a chance. I, for one, am looking forward to what these guys can do especially after seeing Romeo last time out.

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