16
Jul

Blackpool cancels preseason tour due to lack of players

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Blackpool have canceled their pre-season tour in Spain citing a lack of available players.

The Championship side has just eight players signed to the active roster after 27 left the club at the end of last season. It is unclear if that many players have ever left the same club in a single summer before, but we’re guessing this is a record.

Based on who they do have under contract, the best Blackpool could do is field a fairly aggressive 3-1-4 formation, with no goalkeeper. That’s right. A second-division club in England currently has just one midfielder and no goalkeepers under contract. Good luck with that!

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston told the club’s website:

"I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be able to recruit sufficient numbers and quality to be able to compete in the Championship.

"The main thing people want to see is players signing for us and I think once we get some signed, and everything settles down, then we’ll soon forget about some of the problems.

"We’re finding it difficult to land some of the players we’ve been chasing.

"That’s always the case, but unfortunately it’s with the backdrop of not having many players, so it probably focuses things a little more than would normally be the case."

FIFA rules require a team to field a minimum of seven players for games to be valid, so technically The Seasiders could still play. However, that would obviously still be pretty dumb.

Instead of getting embarrassed on the road, the team has decided to skip the tour and concentrate on player recruitment. A wise choice in our book.

(H/T The Guardian, Press Association).

Photo provided by Getty Images

15
May

World Cup stickers: Then-and-now photos of stars from 2006-2014

The fine folks over at Eurosport did some digging and came up with some of the best old-school Panini sticker cards of stars at the World Cup. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite before-and-after looks:image

Look at that! Even the dashing Cristiano Ronaldo went through an awkward phase. It looks like the sunshine of Madrid has treated the Portuguese quite nicely over the years. Not only did he pick up a tan, he also picked up another earring!imageThe 2006 edition of Clint Dempsey would fit right in where the 2014 edition plies his footballing trade professionally: Seattle, a.k.a. the grunge capital of the world.

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Look at little Lionel Messi. Eight years of tirelessly running around melted that baby fat from 2006 right off.

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8
May

Scoring from that angle should definitely be illegal

Somebody arrest Fernando Guerrero, because the goal he scored for Independiente del Valle over the weekend is definitely not legal.

The Ecuadorian striker scored from a nearly impossible angle. You have to watch it to believe it. And then maybe watch it again:

If breaking the laws of soccer is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

(H/T SB Nation)

27
Apr

Dani Alves shows everyone how you combat racism

How perfect is this?

In the late stages of Barcelona’s 3-2 win at Villarreal on Sunday, a banana was thrown at Dani Alves as he was getting set to take a corner kick.

Unfazed, the Barca defender picked up said banana, peeled it and took a nice big, satisfying bite before going on about his business.

After the match, Alves said humor is the best way to kick racism to the  curb.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily.

"If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective."

That’s right, bigots. Dani Alves eats your racism for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ain’t no thang.

19
Apr

One-legged soccer player inspires World Cup commercial

imageImage via Coca-Cola

Get ready to choke back the tears, because this is one heck of a story.

Nico Calabria was born with only one leg, but the rare disability has never inhibited him from achieving greatness on and off the field. Using forearm crutches now after learning how to play soccer, basketball or even how to ice skate with the help of a prosthetic leg, Nico still excelled competing against two-legged peers, even at the varsity high school level.

Now 19, Nico has become one of the best players on the United States National Amputee Soccer Team and an inspiration to anyone with a pulse. Six years ago, Nico became the first person to ever summit Mt. Kilimanjaro on crutches, raising more than $100,000 for charity in the process. (Now that kid’s got some upper body strength!)

Inspired by Nico’s amazing journey, sports drink makers Powerade have now featured him as part of their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, and the ad is perfect. Watch:

For more on Nico’s story, check out Coca-Cola’s profile on him.

H/T Huff Post

30
Mar

Player in Ukraine may have saved opponent’s life after collision

Something truly amazing happened in the Ukrainian Premier League today.

Dynamo Kiev midfielder Oleh Husev was knocked unconscious when he collided with the Dnipro goalkeeper’s knee. But not only was he out cold, his tongue seemed to have blocked his airway.

By stroke of luck or fate, Dnipro’s Jaba Kankava was nearby and knew exactly what to do. What happened next is both chilling and astonishing:

As of now, there hasn’t been any word on Husev’s condition, but regardless of outcome, it’s pretty clear that Kankava’s reaction could have saved his life.

UPDATE:

More video surfaced from the opposite angle, and it’s somehow more intense than the first. It also shows Husev being transported to the hospital and walking in under his own power. While we don’t know the extent of his injuries, it looks like he’ll be just fine — largely in part because of Kankava’s actions.

(H/T SB Nation)

16
Mar

Golazos! Jordan Pro League is bringing the heat lately

It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing Champions League or Jordan’s Pro League. If you score on an over-the-back heel flick from a good twenty yards out, you’re getting on the Blog! On Saturday, Al-Wihdat forward Motaz Salhani did just that, turning in one of the most outrageous and oddest (or is it luckiest?) goals you’ll ever see against Al-Ramtha.

But wait: there’s more from the Kingdom! That’s right, the JPL has graciously given us a two-for-one ‘Golazo Special’ over the past seven days.

Last Sunday, Al Ramtha were on the right side of a ridiculous goal when right-back Suleiman Al-Salman scored an absolute cracker from his own side of the field against Al Arabi:

Forget the Premier League! We all might need to start watching the Jordan Pro League regularly.

6
Mar

Zlatan praises Matuidi wonder goal

Blaise Matuidi scored a ridiculous goal for France in their friendly against the Netherlands yesterday. The entire soccer world took notice, and for good reason.

The best way to describe it is a no-look spinning scissor kick, but it’s better if you just watch it:

The stunning strike even caught the attention of PSG teammate and soccer god Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Only Zlatan can get away with talking in third person while complimenting another player. Because Zlatan does what Zlatan wants.

22
Feb

Hamburg player serves up wicked knuckleball goal

Hamburg haven’t had many reasons to smile this season — they sit in 16th in the Bundesliga — but were given several in their 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund today.

In particular, this insane knuckling shot from Hakan Calhanoglu in stoppage time put the icing on the very tasty cake.

Jurgen Klopp’s reaction says it all. Even he can’t be mad at that.

H/T SB Nation Soccer