Stories about football

Looking for a blissful holiday? Forget Thailand, hello Zanzibar!

The orange of the flame trees was so vivid that I felt it would come off on my finger if I were to touch it. The colour of the flame trees stands out in my memory when I think about Zanzibar, with its white beaches and dreamlike turquoise waters. Zanzibar, an island off of Tanzania, is a beautiful place to escape to. The brilliant green of the trees is unfettered by billboards, tiny shacks with metal roofs crowd the roadsides, selling bright red, yellow and blue football jerseys, t-shirts and flip-flops. The locals are predominantly Muslim, the women are dressed ...

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English Premier League 2015: The good, the bad and the ugly

With the English Premier League underway, and viewers enthralled with excitement, I can feel the anticipation for the upcoming matches seeping in wherever I come across die-hard football fans. Therefore, keeping in mind the charm that EPL has, I have come-up with a list of the good, the bad and the ugly that we have so far seen this season. The good Eden Hazard Eden Hazard has been the key for Chelsea’s title winning campaign; he has so far won the PFA Player of the Year Award, scored 13 goals and 8 assists, and will probably help Chelsea get to their fourth EPL ...

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A sports club for Manchester United fans is the push football needs in Pakistan

It was a Sunday afternoon; I was sitting at a café with my friends, watching Manchester United play against their arch rivals, Manchester City, at the theatre of dreams, Old Trafford. It was a match of high magnitude – a win could help United finish second or they could probably even have a chance at winning the Premiership. However, the icing on the cake was that I wasn’t watching the match just with a group of friends; rather, it was being watched at the launch of the official fan club community of Manchester United in Pakistan, a feat which was even acknowledged by Andrew ...

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With their powers combined, this is what an India-Pakistan combined XI would look like

Tomorrow, all statistics and records will go out the window – it will be all about which players perform best as a unit under pressure. But before the big eleven, let us see which team has the better players. Rohit Sharma versus Nasir Jamshed The competition for the opening slot is as good as a walk over. All the talk before the World Cup around India’s batting is about Virat Kohli but at almost 28, this World Cup comes at the prime of his career for Rohit Sharma. Sharma has an average close to 39 but he is one of those ...

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Is Messi getting ready to pack his bags and leave Barcelona?

The year 2015 hasn’t started so well for the 27-years-old Argentinean, Lionel Messi, who lost the Ballon d’Or award to his rival, Ronaldo. Last year, however, was a great year for Messi; from becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in La Liga (and in the history of the UEFA Champions League with 72 goals) breaking Raul Gozalez’s record, to captaining his Argentinean side in the FIFA World Cup, making it to the final against the World Cup Champions, Germany, he had done it all. Messi, who has been a Barcelona player through the academy ranks and made his debut in 2004, has been ...

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Ballon d’Or 2014, Cristiano Ronaldo and becoming the Alpha-male of football

For the second time in a row and third overall, Portugal and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned as the best player in the world, beating the likes of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer at the glitzy gala in Zurich, Switzerland. The result comes as little surprise as the Portuguese has had a remarkable year, winning three trophies for his club – UEFA Champions League, Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup – and netting an astounding 54 goals in 60 appearances for club and country during the voting period (November 30, 2013 to November 21, 2014). On ...

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Does Pakistan even care about its FIFA ranking?

Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) method to calculate rankings has had its fair share of praise and criticism over the years, with many calling it inconsistent, while others enjoy the benefits with smaller teams making great leaps with famous wins. However, for minnows like Pakistan, the rankings are truly reflective of the team’s state of affairs. I usually don’t pay much attention to rankings but, nonetheless, it plays a key part when one is in a constant battle to promote the game and raise awareness amongst masses. And it’s no surprise that the eventual mention of Pakistan’s ranking often brings ridicule and disappointment.   [caption ...

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5 reasons Manuel Neuer deserves the Ballon d’Or

Finally, after much anticipation, the list is out. And it’s out with a bang. Three players have been shortlisted for the prestigious award and it is no surprise that this year’s trio of the planet’s best players yet again includes the giants of the football world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. What is enthralling about this year’s award, however, is that this time it is not Xavi or Andrés Iniesta or Franck Ribery who will compete with Ronaldo and Messi – this time, it is a goalkeeper. This time it is the ‘SuperManu’, the ‘sweeper-keeper’, the legendary German and Bayern Munich goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, who ...

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Frank Lampard and Chelsea’s awkward yet beautiful reunion

Every once in a while in sport, something awe-inspiring happens – something that envisages the true spirit of sporting ethos. The beautiful game that is football is filled with such episodes of shear emotional brilliance that help give the sport a human face, which not only can we relate to but also idealise. It was the 78th minute in the Etihad stadium, the hosts not only trailed their rivals by a goal in a match that could have a lot of bearing in the title race, but also were a man short. It was in that moment that Manuel Pellegrini ...

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Pakistan sports: Abundance of talent but lack of recognition

It was amazing how Pakistan beat India 2-1 in their Asian games fixture yesterday. If you see the last couple of months in light of the Indo-Pak rivalry, you would be proud to see how well Pakistan has done against India in pretty much all sports. Just last month, Pakistan beat India 2-0 in the final match of a friendly series. Though Pakistan lost the first match, we won the series on goal average. Last week, our domestic side, Lahore Lions, took on the two time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians and surprisingly ended up beating them. And it’s not just these Indo-Pak clashes where we have done really ...

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