All posts by Jonathan Abraham

Is Christian Pulisic causing debates among fans around the globe?

On January 2nd 2019, Christian Pulisic signed with Chelsea for $73 million from Borussia Dortmund, the most expensive transfer for any American player. The “Wonder Boy” was supposed to make the game of soccer popular in a country where sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and hockey are more respected. His two-goal performance in a preseason match at Red Bull Salzburg was supposed to be a glimpse of what the future of U.S. soccer could become. Instead, Pulisic’s performances have caused several debates whether or not his move to The Blues was the right decision.

After making his Premier League debut as a substitute in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Pulisic started his first game for Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup match against Liverpool. He made an immediate impact on his Blues’ starting debut with an assist on an Olivier Giroud goal, but Chelsea lost to the Champions League winners 5-4 in a penalty shootout. Pulisic’s performance in the match earned him starts in a few games for the club in the Premier League. However, Pulisic’s performance’s in those games not only lost him a starting gig but would wound up causing him not feature in several games for The Blues.

Pulisic’s inconsistent playing time caused several fans to be concerned over the move to Chelsea, with some already stating how this was the wrong decision for the 21-year-old American phenomenon. Comparing his play to other young Chelsea talents such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, fans were worried over Pulisic’s play compared to those around him. However, players such as Abraham, Mount, and Hudson-Odoi have been a part of the Chelsea system since their youth days and Mount played under current manager and club legend Frank Lampard at Derby County last season. So, while Pulisic may not have had the same success as other young phenomenons for The Blues, it could just be a time issue and nothing more. In fact, in Pulisic’s last game for Chelsea, he had an assist on a late goal from Michy Batshuayi in a 4-1 victory at Southampton.

Ignoring his play for Chelsea, Pulisic also has had a string of mediocre games for the U.S. National Team as they compete in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League. In Pulisic’s first game in the tournament he had a goal – albeit from the penalty spot – in a 7-0 thrashing against a weak Cuba squad at Audi Field in Washington D.C. However, in the team’s second game at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada, the Americans were upset by the Canadians 2-0 win in the country’s first against their neighbors to the south since April 2, 1985. One of the big issues in the defeat was when manager Gregg Berhalter substituted Pulisic in the 60th minute for DC United’s Paul Arriola while the game was tied at zero, causing a wave of frustrations for the phenom.

This season has been tough for Pulisic in terms of league and international play as the pressure to be the face of American soccer is starting to take a toll on the young Pennsylvanian. Time will tell if his move to the Premier League giants will pay off in the end.

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German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger announces retirement

On October 6th, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, fans got to witness the last game of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s career as he announced his retirement. This followed from the 5-2 victory in the MLS regular season finale for Chicago Fire.

Known for his playing days at Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger won several awards with the Bavarians from 2002-2015. Scoring 45 goals in 342 appearances for Bayern, Schweinsteiger won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal titles, a DFB-Ligapokal title in 2007, a DFL-Supercup in 2010, and was a part of the UEFA Champions League squad that won the tournament in 2013.

After a great career for Bayern, Schweinsteiger signed a three-year contract of £6.5 million with Manchester United in 2015. In Schweinsteiger’s first season with the Red Devils, he won the FA Cup. However, after the arrival of José Mourinho, Schweinsteiger’s role was diminished, forcing him to move to the Chicago Fire in 2017.

The midfielder also played a pivotal role in the success of Germany’s national team, including winning the 2014 World Cup with the nation, deafeating Argentina 1-0. Scoring 24 goals in 120 appearances, Schweinsteiger’s last appearance for the Germans came after the team’s run ended in the 2016 edition of UEFA’s European Championship.

Schweinsteiger also won several individual awards across his career, including being named the German national team Player of the Year in 2010, and two-time MLS All-Star in 2017 and 2018, and was inducted in Bayern Munich’s prestigious Hall of Fame in 2018.

Premier League teams attempt to rise on Matchday 2 of Champions League

As the second matchday of the UEFA Champions League commences later today, Tottenham and Manchester City begin their quests of making it to knockout rounds after having successful tournament results last year. Reigning Champions League winners Liverpool and former winners Chelsea are set to play on Wednesday – aiming to get back in the standings after devastating losses to Napoli and Valencia respectively.

Tottenham, fresh off a Champions League campaign in which they finished as the runner-up, started this edition of the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Olympiacos. Scoring two early goals from Harry Kane’s penalty in the 26th minute, followed by a Lucas Moura goal in the 30th minute – goals from Daniel Podence in the 44th minute and Mathieu Valbuena in the 54th minute were enough to seal a draw at Karaiskakis Stadium. Tottenham will host German giants Bayern Munich at 8 p.m. GMT for its fifth-ever meeting against the club. Bayern are coming off a 3-0 victory over Crvena Zvezda after goals from Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller took all three points at The Allianz Arena.

Manchester City had a huge victory 3-0 over Shakhtar Donetsk at The Metalist, with Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gündogan, and Gabriel Jesus providing the necessary goals. They will face off against Dinamo Zagreb at Etihad Stadium at 8 p.m. GMT. The Croatian side defeated Atalanta 4-0 on Matchday 1 after Mislav Orsic’s hat trick at Stadion Maksimir. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs – who do you think will end up in top spot?

Liverpool, fresh off of their recent Champions League winning campaign, started their campaign off with a dud as they lost 2-0 to Napoli. Late goals from Dries Mertens in the 82th minute and Fernando Llorente in injury time, helped the Italian team embarass the holders. Now, Liverpool will have to get back on track as they host Red Bull Salzburg at 8 p.m. GMT. The Austrian side had a 6-2 victory against Genk on the first matchday, led by a hat trick from Norwegian teen sensation Erling Braut Haaland at Red Bull Arena. The matchup between tonight’s game will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs.

Chelsea, the champions of last year’s edition of the Europa League beating London compatriot Arsenal, did not get off to a great start in the Champions League as new coach/former club legend Frank Lampard and The Blues suffered a 1-0 loss at the feet of Rodrigo at Stamford Bridge. Considered the favorites of the group before the start of the tournament, Chelsea will have to get back in gear as they head to Stade Pierre Mauroy to battle Lille OSC at 8 p.m. GMT. Lille suffered a 3-0 defeat in their last game against Ajax due to goals from Quincy Promes, Edson Álvarez, and Nicolás Tagliafico at Johan Crujiff ArenA. The two clubs will face off against each other for the first time.

With the Champions League still in the beginning stages, time will tell if England will have back-to-back winners in the tournament for the first time since Liverpool and Aston Villa won the 1981 and 1982 editions.

FIFA awards Klopp and Alisson; van Dijk and Alisson part of Best XI

On Monday at the Teatro all Scala in Milan, Italy, The Best FIFA Football Awards ™ were hosted. It was a particularly huge night for Champions League winners Liverpool as they had two major award winners for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper (Alisson) and The Best FIFA Men’s Coach (Jürgen Klopp). Although Virgil van Dijk did not win the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, he and Alisson were a part of FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11.

Klopp, after consistently losing in the finals of major competitions such as the Champions League final twice (2012-13 and 2017-18) and the UEFA Europa League Final (2015-2016), he finally was able to get over the hump and win his first major European trophy. Klopp’s journey to glory came with a few bumps in road, having to overcome a massive deficit against FC Barcelona to win 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-final. It ended in glory as Klopp and Liverpool were able to defeat Premier League foe Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid to clinch their first Champions League trophy since the 2004-2005 season. Klopp had received 48 percent of the vote, edging out fellow Premier League managers Pep Guardiola of Manchester City (38 percent) and Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur (27 percent) for the top award.

Alisson was able to land the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after becoming a world-class player for Liverpool in their Champions League triumph and for Brazil in their victory at CONMEBOL Copa América, having been named the Best Goalkeeper and to the Team of Tournament as well. He was able to beat out FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen and fellow Brazil compatriot Ederson of Manchester City to win the award as the best goalie in the world.

Virgil van Dijk, although not able to win the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player after FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi received 46 percent of the votes, was able to finish second in the race with 38 percent of the votes, just above Cristiano Ronaldo’s 36 percent. The center back had an incredible 2019 as he helped lead a Liverpool defense in their Champions League journey while also playing a key role for the Netherlands during the UEFA Nations League, making it to the finals before ultimately losing to host Portugal.

Alisson and van Dijk were also able to make the FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11, recognizing the best 11 players in their respective positions during 2019. They made the list along with Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/FC Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), and Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona).

This year was successful for Liverpool as not only were they recognized as a great team by winning the Champions League but received individual awards thanks to those who played a pivotal role in a season their fans will never forget.

Reports: David Beckham, Inter Miami set to sign Man City star David Silva

According to several reports, midfielder David Silva is reported to likely join Major League Soccer’s newest franchise Inter Miami after the end of the Premier League season, making it David Beckham’s first big signing for the club.

David Beckham entered the MLS as the league’s first worldwide soccer star in 2007, after arriving from powerhouse Real Madrid. He wants the league to continue to bring in superstars and is hoping to bring them to his franchise in South Beach. Although Silva is not a household name like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, he is a player that a team can easily build around.

Since Silva arrived from Valencia nine years ago for £26 million, he has been a catalyst in Man City’s success over the past few years. He has won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and four League Cups. Silva has also been a pivotal part in Spain’s history as he was won two European championships and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

Although Silva would miss the first three months of the inaugural season as the MLS campaign starts in March, he may not be the only player arriving in Miami late. There have been several reports that Paris Saint-Germain and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is also a target for the team. Also, it was reported that Beckham and his partners Jorge Mas and Paul McDonough were in Barcelona this month, apparently approaching Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.

Inter Miami had already signed three players prior to the Silva reports. Forward Julián Carranza (Banfield) and midfielder Matías Pellegrini (Estudiantes) are both on loans at their respective teams in Argentina’s Primera División, while Venezuelan defender Christian Makoun arrives after being on loan at Juventus’ U-23 team.