Friday, August 19, 2011

Paul Scholes, he scores goals...(2)

AsSalamu'alaikum wrh. wbt. and hola everyone!

Every now and then, I suppose someone or something would just put a big, fat, teethy and gleeful smile on your face...I know I am, plus positively sure that I put on the biggest grin of the day when I got to know that Inside United published a 'double cover' issue to commemorate Scholesy's retirement! *shrieks*

The cover shows Scholesy in all his glory -in painting- and in full flight while smashing in THAT goal against FC Barcelona at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match. There's another shot of this famous goal that took United to the final in Moscow 2008 that I really really liked, if you've seen it, it's the one where Lionel Messi was in the background of the picture looking intently at Scholesy's technique and execution! If I remember it correctly, the ball wasn't even a pass from a United teammate, a loose ball that was moving all over the place and Scholesy just hammered it past a hapless Victor Valdes, but hey don't take my word for it, head on to and have a closer look peeps...

Here's a look into the content of this special section which I may add here looks a bit 'hastily done' by the mag's editorial team, but my guess is as good as anyone's, that this special section is only some sort of a prequel before a full-blown-all-exclusive-tell-all-no-holds-barred special edition mag of Paul Scholes! *pengsan*

This here are a few pages dedicated to Scholesy's brilliance in the United shirt, 10 of his best games picked and chosen before being relived in err... blushing pink!!! *say what!!?pfft*

Oh ya, I got to know another fun fact about Scholesy...he used to wear the evergreen, much loved, classic and legend-wait for it-ary Adidas football boot, World Cup! No, seriously, that's the name of the boot guys, it's called World Cup for real, of course not to be confused with its not-so-evil twin, the Copa Mundial which is equipped with a full 12 studs instead of the 6 on the other. I can understand the popularity and of course quality of the Adidas World Cup boot at the time was enormous, but dear Scholesy, why you wanna change to those pesky Pony football boots after that? Aiya, you ah...sometimes you really like to make my blood go upstairs lah, and don't make me start on your tackling! *shhhh...*

to top it all off, a Scholesy book will come out !!! I don't actually know when but rest assured, for all the 'Ginger Ninja' fans out there you can pre-order from or at any other major online book retailers...yippee! just to get your freak on, it is "the first and only book by one of the greatest players of all time" heh, eat your heart out Theo Walcott!

ahhh...I missed him already *tsk,tsk,tsk* did any of you guys see him at The Hawthorns? the United bench looks quite peculiar without him, what more the United team on the pitch but I've said this before and I'll say this again, Scholesy, you're a GENIUS !

Wassalam guys and ciao !

Friday, August 12, 2011

La Masia and De Toekomst

AsSalamu'alaikum wrh. wbt. and a splendid evening readers,

Most of us, football fans don't really know or bother to care about La Masia de Can Planes do we...? How about De Toekomst...? Now, comparing these two places or shall I say 'institutions' is missing the whole point altogether but what's interesting is that Johann Cryuff had a hand in setting up and envisioning these two famed hallowed venues.

Admittedly, Cryuff was always one of those footballing icon that I considered too 'old school' for me to remember or even liked but one little thing that I knew of him -Cryuff's turn - proved to be more than sufficient to make him one of the truly greats that ever graced a football field.

Halfway through my reading of The Football Men by Simon Kuper (I just had to postpone reading it because of we moved out of the apartment), I was completely hooked on Cryuff's chapter (more about Kuper's book in other entries,insya-Allah ;-)) and there I was reading page after page and can only come out with one conclusion, Cryuff is a one off.

Everybody knows he's a genius, that he's a joy to watch while he was playing whether in real life or through the small screens of YouTube videos but what impressed me most about Cryuff is that he certainly has an opinion or two or three on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Although he's quite infamous in a way that people always seem to get the quirkiest of quotes out of him but that's exactly why I said he's a one off, meaning there'll be no other footballer quite like him.

Coming back to La Masia and De Toekomst earlier on, it was Cryuff who persuaded the then FC Barcelona president, Josep Nunez to adopt the youth-centered approach because Cryuff himself was one of De Tomkoest's earliest success stories. Note the determination and persuasive nature of Cryuff in looking forward to youth's potential and nurturing them to play in a certain way from an early age.You guys can go and read a whole lot more about La Masia here and here because apparently, La Masia will be getting a new home as it says goodbye to the old one.

Though not as famous as FC Barcelona's youth set up in terms of location or facilities, AFC Ajax Amsterdam's youth academy prestige is second to none and a quick look at its list of alumnus proves to be the case. If FC Barcelona can claim Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta as their 'products', just don't forget Edgar Davids, Wesley Sneijder or Rafael Van De Vaart were also once the marquee players of AFC Ajax Amsterdam.

I remember reading about the England's FA youth set up, the Lilleshall School of Excellence once but got to know that it has been turned into a National Sports Center or something...if my memory serves me well, Michael Owen and Wesley Brown were there as apprentices at one time.

Food for thought, I've been reading around Rizal Hashim's blog and loved the nuggety behind-the-scenes stories that he shared about Malaysia's current football heroes. My take is that when you're on a first name basis with the players, plus your significant other is an insider of that closely knitted inner-circle, you ought to share a fair bit hahaha! Sekolah Sukan Bukit Jalil might not be anything close to La Masia or De Toekomst at the moment, not in our wildest dreams but as Cryuff has once proven, soon enough it might just be our turn!

*picture of Johann Cryuff nicked from FC Barcelona's official website.

Good night and ciao !

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Paul Scholes, he scores goals...

AsSalaamu'alaikum wrh. wbt. dan hola rakan-rakan !

Sedang asyik melayari internet sementara menunggu mata mengantuk, saya kembali segar apabila terbaca tentang perlawanan seterusnya yang akan diharungi oleh pasukan Manchester United.Perlawanan khas yang juga merupakan perlawanan 'testimonial' ('testimonial match' adalah satu perlawanan mengiktiraf jasa dan perkhidmatan yang telah diberikan oleh seseorang pemain bola sepak kepada sesebuah kelab, bagi tempoh lebih kurang 10 tahun dan biasanya sebuah perlawanan yang tidak kompetitif) buat Paul Scholes di mana Manchester United akan menentang pasukan francais Liga Bola Sepak Major, Amerika Syarikat yang diberi 'nafas baru' iaitu New York Cosmos

Apa yang membuatkan saya terkesan adalah Paul Scholes sendiri! Saya mengetahui pasti suatu masa Scholesy, seperti juga rakan-rakan seangkatan dengannya di era 'The Fergie Fledglings' bersama Beckham, Giggs, Neville bersaudara, dan Butt akan bersara, tetapi bukan secepat ini...ya betul, Gary Neville sudah membuat keputusan beliau namun secara peribadi saya masih merasakan Scholesy boleh bertahan sekurang-kurangnya satu musim lagi bersaing dengan bakat-bakat jauh lebih muda dan bertenaga di kancah Liga Perdana Barclays.

Paul Scholes adalah pemain bola sepak antarabangsa yang pertama saya minati dan paling saya kagumi, seklise mana pun pernyataan saya yang berikutnya, saya tetap mahu mengatakan yang bilik saya dipenuhi dengan poster-poster pemain Manchester United dan yang mendapat tempat paling strategik untuk dilekatkan adalah poster Scholesy, biasanya pada dinding bersebelahan katil atau pun pada dinding betul-betul di atas meja ulang kaji.

Saya rasakan tidak perlu untuk saya bersusah payah mengulangi statistik dan pencapaian Scholesy sepanjang dia beraksi untuk kelab dan negara, memadai saya nyatakan saya cukup mengaguminya kerana 2 perkara. Pertama, Scholesy adalah seorang pesakit asma dan mempunyai kondisi lelah namun dia telah membuktikan betapa itu bukan halangan untuk berjaya. Kedua, bentuk fizikal yang dimilikinya juga dianggap terlalu kecil dan pendek untuk berjaya sebagai seorang pemain bola sepak professional tetapi sekali lagi Scholesy mempamerkan semangat juangnya. Kualiti-kualiti seperti ini yang agaknya boleh menjadi pembakar semangat buat mereka yang kepingin menjadi pemain bola sepak jagoan!

Kepada pembaca yang turut sama membesar seperti saya pada lewat tahun 90'an dan pada waktu awal kedatangan capaian internet dan perkhidmatan e-mel dulu, tentunya anda pernah terjebak dalam kegilaan menggunakan nama-nama idola anda sebagai alamat e-mel, antara contoh yang saya boleh beri supaya sama-sama boleh mengimbau kenangan dahulu ialah ataupun semua ini contoh ya! Selamat untuk mengakuinya, saya pun ada alamat e-mel seumpama itu yang masih saya gunakan sehingga hari ini iaitu

Saya harap pembaca tidak jengkel dengan nama panggilan "Scholesy" yang saya guna pakai kerana sejujurnya saya selesa, memang banyak lagi nama jolokan yang lain seperti "The Ginger Ninja" saya agak kerana warna rambutnya, "The Artful Dodger" mungkin kerana 'style' permainannya yang licik dan berkesan, "The Pocket Dynamite" diberi oleh bekas jurulatih bangsa asing pertama England, Sven Goran Eriksson. Terbaharu yang saya ketahui ialah "SatNav" setelah membaca salah satu tweet daripada Rio Ferdinand, dan ini pembaca mesti tahu kenapa, tentunya kerana hantaran dan umpanan tepat yang sering dilakukan oleh Scholesy seolah-olah mempunyai ketepatan setaraf teknologi GPS jenama SatNav itu sendiri! Itu Paul Scholes yang rakan sepasukannya kenali dan menyaksikan sendiri ke'sifu'annya setiap hari di padang latihan.

Antara lain, saya dan rakan-rakan sekelas sewaktu di sekolah dulu pernah membuat sekeping poster mini tribute kepada pemain-pemain kegemaran masing-masing hanya dengan menggunakan sehelai kertas berwarna bersaiz A4 dan keratan-keratan surat khabar sebelum di'laminate'kan agar ia nampak menarik dan tahan lasak!

Tentunya, saya mengabadikan Paul Scholes melalui secebis 'sticker' yang saya dapat secara percuma hasil pembelian majalah Shoot atau Match saya tidak ingat, tetapi istimewanya 'sticker' itu ialah kerana aksinya membuat larian 'celebration' sambil tersenyum girang setelah menjaringkan gol bagi pasukan England di Piala Dunia Perancis 1998 menentang Tunisia. Kalau anda perasan, ketika itu Scholesy masih bintang muda mendapat tajaan but bola sepak berjenama Pony sebelum disambar oleh Nike, syarikat jenama sukan gergasi dari Oregon, Amerika Syarikat.

Mungkin hati sedikit terubat kerana setelah mengumumkan persaraannya beberapa bulan lepas, Scholesy diserap menjadi sebahagian daripada sepasukan jurulatih yang akan membantu Sir Alex untuk memantapkan persediaan musim baru 2011/2012.

Yang pasti, Paul Scholes akan terus diingati oleh semua peminat bola sepak tidak kira anda penyokong Manchester United atau bukan. Saya sempat tampilkan tribute daripada pemain-pemain lain yang turut mengagumi dan pastinya akan merindui kelibat Paul Scholes !

Xavi : In the last 15 or 20 years the best central midfielder that I've seen - the most complete - is Scholes (Ini Xavi Hernandez daripada FC Barcelona tu yang cakap, kalau dia pun boleh panggil Scholesy 'complete' siapa lagi yang boleh pertikai)

Zinedine Zidane : My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He's the complete midfielder. (Zidane memang sejak dia main untuk Juventus lagi menjadi penggemar setia corak dan kebolehan Scholesy membaca permainan)

Juan Sebastian Veron (while at Chelsea FC, was asked who's the best English player,he answered) : Paul Scholes (sempat berganding bahu semasa 3 atau 4 tahun Veron beraksi di Old Trafford)

Roy Keane : An amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.(memang selalu sangat disebut-sebut bahawa barisan tengah pasukan Manchester United yang ada Giggs-Keane-Scholes-Beckham adalah yang terbaik pernah dibariskan!)

Edgar Davids : Every one of us (midfielders) is just trying to be as good as him. Everyone can learn from Paul Scholes. (Davids merupakan antara pemain bola sepak Belanda yang paling digeruni satuketika dulu)

Patrick Viera : The player in the Premiership I admire most? Easy - Paul Scholes. (Antara 'musuh' yang cukup mengagumi Scholesy)

Sekian dulu daripada saya, terima kasih kerana sudi membaca! Ciao !