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ISSUE 18, 21 FEBRUARY 2014




Split loyalties for Messi and Neymar




Messi and Neymar: Friends and foes Until recently, Argentina’s Lionel Messi has outshone everyone, even exceptional players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa and Samuel Eto’o, but this season he has been sharing the limelight with Brazil’s Neymar. Although the duo have only played 30 per cent of matches together so far, the combination has paid off, but when the team-mates become opponents at this summer’s World Cup, the rivalry between their two countries will be more fascinating than ever.


South American glamour in Malaysia Argentinian Pablo Aimar now plies his trade in Malaysia, acting as a role model for the nation’s young footballers. But despite his confident displays on the pitch for Johor Darul Takzim, the 34-year-old is not particularly happy in Southeast Asia.


2014 World Cup: Battling against doping and heat Medical preparations are also crucial for this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil. As well as the usual drug testing, the tournament’s medical staff will be helping players to cope with the heat, with additional breaks and the use of refreshing towels among the solutions proposed.


 latter: The big video debate B How great a part should video evidence play in interpreting the rules of football? FIFA President Blatter’s position on the matter is clear: disciplinary bodies should be able to rule on obviously incorrect decisions relating to clear violations of fair play values, and it should also be used to deal with divers and time wasters.

Upholding fair play Sepp Blatter states his case for using video evidence

The Miracle of Denmark Denmark’s 1992 European Championship win marked one of the biggest surprises in football history. Central to their triumph was coach Richard Moller Nielsen, who passed away recently. We take a look back at a footballing fairytale and pay tribute to one of the sport’s big personalities.


 eekly Top 11: The best players from Kosovo W The Football Federation of Kosovo is currently sitting in the waiting room of world football. If the UN recognises Kosovo as an independent state, it could clear the way for the country to field a national team. The FIFA Weekly reviews the players who would be in contention.


 ucien Favre: “I’m not sure Brazil will win” L Lucien Favre was the Bundesliga’s best-performing coach before the winter break. In the FIFA Weekly Interview, the former Swiss international discusses his future plans, explains how Germany has changed him and reveals he is not convinced A Seleção will win the World Cup.


C hristian Karembeu: “I’m an island boy at heart” At the age of 17, Karembeu travelled 20,000 kilometres to French club Nantes to begin a glittering career. Despite that, the world and European champion has never forgotten his roots.


South America 10 members

Prof. Jiri Dvorak New World Cup measures to combat heat and doping

U-17 Women’s World Cup 15 March to 4 April 2014, Costa Rica


Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup 28 to 29 May 2014, Zurich

Cover: David Ramos / Getty Images


North and Central America 35 members


Europe 53 members

Africa 54 members

Asia 46 members

Oceania 11 members

Richard Moller Nielsen Farewell to a brilliant coach

Lucien Favre The interview

Brothers in arms Having played alongside each other for Barcelona all season, Messi and Neymar may have to face one another at this summer’s World Cup.

Pablo Aimar The homesick role model

Christian Karembeu Remembering his island roots

Getty Images, Foto-Net, Keystone

Volker Finke The man on whom Cameroon’s hopes are pinned

FIFA World Cup 12 June to 13 July 2014, Brazil

U-20 Women’s World Cup 5 to 24 August 2014, Canada


Youth Olympic Football Tournament 15 to 27 August 2014, Nanjing

FIFA Club World Cup 10 to 20 December 2014, Morocco



Feel the Beauty



“SONY” and “make.believe” are trademarks of Sony Corporation.


Like Pelé and Maradona

Tango-Samba Messi and Neymar are wowing the Barcelona crowd, but their partnership will be temporarily put on hold next June.

Thomas Renggli

David Ramos / Getty Images


hink John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Or Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Or Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Put two talented individuals together, and you frequently have the stuff of legends. But as everyone knows, one plus one doesn’t necessarily equal two. Simply pairing outstanding solo stars is no guarantee of a dream team, especially not in football. The powers that be at FC Barcelona beg to differ and have provided their Argentine ­w izard Lionel Messi with a new foil, his Brazilian counterpart Neymar. The footballing world is closely monitoring events at Camp Nou. Can you take a superlative and make it even better? Or will Neymar, the hottest goalscoring talent in the world, burn out alongside established global star Messi? That’s what has happened to all his predecessors who have not been a product of in-house talent factory La Masia. Will Neymar fall victim to the curse of Messi, like Ibrahimovic, Eto’o and Villa before him? The

first tentative signs seem to vindicate the Catalans’ decision to bring together the best of Brazilian and Argentine footballing culture. With their club, Messi and Neymar are right in the thick of the race for the most important trophies. The perfect pair are now aiming to make waves in European football right through to next May. But come the summer, the liaison ­between the two gifted artists will be put on ice, the partnership in the name of Barcelona suspended. Because at the World Cup, it will no longer be Neymar with Messi, but rather Neymar against Messi, Brazil against Argentina. Hosts Brazil will start the tournament as hot favourites. Anything less than the trophy would go down as a national tragedy for A Seleção. Approaching his personal World Cup debut, the 22-year-old Neymar is under severe pressure. But Messi must deliver too. At 26 he is world-class, seasoned and mature. It is his best chance yet of winning the trophy, on the soil of his greatest rivals. It may also be his last chance. T H E F I FA W E E K LY

Brazil or Argentina? Up to now, any comparison between the two South American footballing giants has been characterised as a clash between two former greats, Pelé and Maradona. Who is the greatest player in the history of the game? FIFA elegantly dodged the question by naming both as Player of the 20th century. Three-time World Cup winner Pelé was chosen by an expert jury. Maradona, winner in 1986 and proud possessor of the Hand of God, topped an internet poll. Pelé reacted with incomprehension: “It’s like in music. You have Beethoven and the rest. and in football, you have Pelé and the rest.” Prior to that, Maradona had let it be known via his wife that he would only attend the prize ceremony in Rome if he was guaranteed to win. Pelé or Maradona? Brazil or Argentina? ­Neymar or Messi? The answer in Barcelona for the time being is a compromise: Neymar and Messi. But if not before, by 13 July 2014 at Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, there can be no more hedging of bets. It will be time to come off the fence, and provide a definitive answer. Å 5


And along came

Neymar He was linked with almost all of the world’s biggest clubs before deciding on a move to Barcelona, and now Neymar has to prove himself alongside Lionel Messi. Better yet, these two global superstars could soon face each other at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

David Ramos / Getty Images


Jordi Punti

istory counts for something in football, which is why there is a case for saying that the ground for Neymar’s move to Barcelona was laid back in 1931, when Brazilian club Vasco da Gama embarked on their first tour of Europe. In late June that year the Rio de Janeiro-based outfit played two friendlies against Barça, during which their star players, the midfielder Fausto dos Santos and flamboyant goalkeeper Jaguare Bezerra de Vasconcelos, caught the eye with their performances. The Catalan side made an offer for them shortly afterwards, with the duo deciding to accept and play in Spain. They were the first black players ever to run out for Barcelona, and photos of the time depict two tall, elegant, well-groomed dandies, cigarettes in hand wherever they went. Times were different then, of course. Jaguare proved to be quite a joker. According to the papers of the day, he saw football as a means for him to entertain, take risks and get under the skin of rival players. Invariably stopping the ball with one hand, he would then juggle it in the face of opposing forwards or dribble with it, just to tease them. T H E F I FA W E E K LY

The Spanish Football Association prevented the two Brazilians from playing in official matches, however, and at the end of the season Jaguare and Dos Santos moved on. The midfielder joined Young Boys of Switzerland, while the goalkeeper signed for Olympique de Marseille of France, where he also made a name for himself with his sense of fun and by being the first goalkeeper ever to wear gloves. Though their stint with Barcelona was brief, Jaguare and Dos Santos were the forerunners of a rich and happy tradition, with more than 30 Brazilians having since played for the Catalan club, cementing a relationship in which creative football and showmanship are cherished by both parties, not to mention a desire to lead the good life. The list of names includes many players who made their mark, and the odd failure or two, enough in fact to fashion an entire XI. The 1980s in particular saw many a rumour in the press about the next big thing, with “new Peles” being sighted all the time and attracting the interest of all the big clubs. Yet there have been many gems over the years, particularly during the halcyon days between 1993 and 2003, when Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho all graced the Barcelona shirt. Latterly, Barça have focused their attention on Brazilian full-backs, those midfielders in defenders’ clothing, with Sylvinho, Julian Belletti, Maxwell, Adriano and Dani Alves patrolling the flanks. There is a conclusion that can be drawn from all these signings: for a Brazilian to succeed at Barcelona, they first of all need to undergo a period of acclimatisation at another European club. Romario and Ronaldo both played in the Netherlands before moving to the Camp Nou, while Ronaldinho enjoyed a spell with Paris Saint Germain beforehand. It is 7


“While the Champions League is great, the World Cup is special.”

David Ramos / Getty Images

Lionel Messi

­ lmost as if, by enduring rainy afternoons in a Dutch, German and Italian stadiums, Brazilian players learn how to deliver their fantastic brand of football in mundane surroundings and thereby make it that much more effective. And then along came Neymar, straight from Santos at the age of 21, with his long legs and punkish hairstyle, flashing his infectious smile. Though he had no European league experience under his belt, he had no doubts about his ability to adapt to the Barcelona philosophy. They say that history repeats itself, but that is not always the case, and in response to the doubters and the peddlers of statistics, there are two points that weigh in Neymar’s ­favour. The first is the globalisation of the game, thanks to which we can now watch ­games all day and every day and from every continent, keeping abreast of events in the big leagues as they happen, while perming new line-ups in video games. Contrast Neymar’s incipient career path with that of Pele, who apart from his late-­ career adventure at New York Cosmos never left Santos, despite dozens of offers coming his way. Those were the seventies though, when no one in Europe knew how to cook a feijoada. Things are very different these days, with Neymar arriving in Spain a well-known name, the subject of YouTube reels and compilations seen a thousand times already. The other thing the young Brazilian has going for him is that he has arrived at a relatively stable Barcelona, his brief being to add nothing more than an extra dash of quality, with no more pressure on him than any star of his potential would ordinarily face. Not for Neymar, then, the responsibility of trying to save the coach or club chairman. And while he received more lucrative offers from other clubs, he chose Barça because of their prestige, the lure of playing alongside Lionel Messi and the chance to form part of the best side the world has seen in recent times. The sense of calm that surrounded his signing was then broken, as Barcelona’s ­ pre-season plans were thrown into turmoil T H E F I FA W E E K LY

by an unexpected series of events. Firstly Tito Vilanova’s cancer relapse led to him relinquishing his coaching duties and triggered a hasty search for a replacement, which ended with the appointment of Argentinian Gerardo Tata Martino. Then, in late July, when the players who had taken part in the Confederations Cup returned for training, Neymar was found by club doctors to be suffering from anaemia. Though he was soon back to his ideal weight, the feeling was that this Barcelona side were far from being the finished article, despite Martino stressing time and again that he ­intended to pursue the same philosophy as ­Vilanova and Pep Guardiola, his immediate predecessors. Though there was talk of a new central defender joining the club, Neymar ­remained their only signing of the year, with the fans unsure as to whether the carefree pose he struck on his arrival was down to youthful innocence or a belief that it would all work out right in the end. Neymar and Messi When pre-season training and the round of warm-up matches got under way all attention was focused on the questions the fans had been pondering for months: how would Messi and Neymar, or Neymar and Messi for that matter, play together? Would they be able to strike up an understanding in the rarefied ­atmosphere of Barcelona? Would they torment opposing defences? Sure of the answers, the most optimistic of onlookers were already ­m aking favourable comparisons. Messi and Neymar, they said, would be up there with­ ­M ichael Jordan and Magic Johnson, Lennon and McCartney, Batman and Robin. At the other end of the scale were the sceptics, and there are plenty of those among the Barça faithful, especially those old enough to have endured the lean spells of yesteryear. Their biggest concern was the potential clash of egos, and they argued that while Messi is an extraordinary player who works for the team, his style of play requires those around him to work for him. Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic­ 9


430 g of feijoada Eating a national dish straight from a can might not seem appealing, but this Brazilian stew of meat, beans and rice is surprisingly popular in canned form in Europe.

are two big names to have left the club in ­recent seasons after rumours they failed to hit it off with the Argentinian ace, a list to which David Villa’s name can now be added. Perhaps fearful of a repeat, in the wake of Neymar’s arrival the press waited with bated breath for a symbolic gesture, for a photo of the two together, for some warm words of welcome from Messi or a declaration from Neymar ­acknowledging that his new team-mate is the best player in the world. While it is true that great players usually make their colleagues look even better, we have yet to see exactly how well the Messi-Neymar connection might work. In these first few months at least, the two seem to be afflicted by a curse that prevents them from playing together for any length of time. Last November, just when it seemed they were starting to build a rapport in the Barça attack, Messi stretched for a pass from his Brazilian team-mate and suffered an injury – his third and most serious of the season. Sidelined for two months, he returned to competitive action in January 2014 only for Neymar to sprain an ankle in a Copa del Rey match a week later, an injury that put him out of action for a month. Over the course of the season, Messi and Neymar have been on the pitch together for just 30 percent of the time, all of which means that their partnership, as promising as it is, has yet to become a reality. Both have turned in

What will also be interesting to see is how well they gel when personal goals become inextricably linked with team success. While Messi and Neymar play for the same club and will no doubt celebrate titles together at some point, Brazil 2014 is coming up fast, and no sooner will the domestic season end than their sporting careers will take different, not to say virtually opposing paths. Logic dictates that Argentina will be ­genuine contenders for the World Cup. Now 26, Messi is seemingly ready to win the world title and add yet another honour to his burgeoning collection. Brazil 2014 provides him with an excellent opportunity to win a trophy that would unquestionably make him the greatest player of all time. Diego Maradona was 25 when he won it and Zinedine Zidane 26, as was Iniesta. The only thing is, winning this World Cup involves winning a Final at the Maracana, and Neymar’s Brazil could well be there, blocking his path to just such an achievement. Given the passion and drama a Brazil-Argentina showpiece would generate, it is perhaps best – for the time being at least – not to think too much about it. Å

“To tell the truth, the World Cup’s on all of our minds already.” Lionel Messi

good performances, Messi in particular, but instances of them linking up and forging the kind of moves we have all been dreaming about have been all too rare. Last Saturday’s 6-0 defeat of Rayo Vallecano, which kept Barça at the top in La Liga, was a case in point. Messi scored twice,­ Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas served up virtuoso displays of ball control, and Neymar returned to action after his ankle sprain, finding time enough to score a wonder goal, by which time Messi had been substituted. As a result they spent just 12 minutes together on the pitch. Brief as it was, though, the pairing did enough to suggest great things may lie ahead when the season enters its decisive phase, with the knockout rounds of the Champions League and the championship run-in still to come. 10



L io n e l Me s s i ’s “ v ic t i m s ” Samuel Eto’o (Cmr)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Swe)

David Villa (Esp)

In Barcelona

In Barcelona

In Barcelona

2004–09, 145 games, 108 goals

2009–10, 29 games, 16 goals

2010–13, 77 games, 33 goals







Joined from

Joined from

Joined from

RCD Mallorca (Esp)

Inter Milan (Ita)

Valencia CF (Esp)

Left for

Left for

Left for

Inter Milan (Ita)

AC Milan (Ita)

Atletico Madrid (Esp)

World Cup winner

World Cup winner

World Cup winner


FIFA World Player of the Year

FIFA World Player of the Year

FIFA World Player of the Year

Pioneer: Fausto dos Santos (Bra) In Barcelona 1931, no competitive games played Position Midfield Joined from Vasco da Gama (Bra) Left for Young Boys Bern (Sui) World Cup winner – Died

Getty Images

1939, aged 34




B a r c e l o n a’s B r a z i l i a n s t a r s Romario (Bra)

Ronaldo (Bra)

Rivaldo (Bra)

In Barcelona

In Barcelona

In Barcelona

In Barcelona

1993–95, 46 games, 34 goals

1996–97, 37 games, 24 goals

1997–2002, 157 games, 86 goals

2003–08, 145 games, 70 goals









Joined from

Joined from

Joined from

Joined from

PSV Eindhoven (Ned)

PSV Eindhoven (Ned)

Deportivo La Coruna (Esp)

Paris Saint-Germain (Fra)

Left for

Left for

Left for

Left for

Flamengo (Bra)

Inter Milan (Ita)

AC Milan (Ita)

AC Milan (Ita)

World Cup winner

World Cup winner

World Cup winner

World Cup winner


1994, 2002



FIFA World Player of the Year

FIFA World Player of the Year

FIFA World Player of the Year

FIFA World Player of the Year


1996, 1997, 2002


2004, 2005

Pioneer: Jaguare Bezerra de Vasconcelos (Bra) In Barcelona 1931, no competitive games played Position Goalkeeper Joined from Vasco da Gama (Bra) Left for Olympique Marseille (Fra) World Cup winner – Died 1946, aged 41


Ronaldinho (Bra)



“I never realised he was so great” You’ve been at Barça some months now. Would you say you’re a different player to the one who left Santos? Neymar: No, I’m still the same, though obviously more experienced having been in new surroundings, in another city and a new country. You learn new things, a new culture, and that’s very good.

Are you already speaking Spanish? A little [he replies in Spanish]. It’s quite similar to Portuguese, though a bit harder.

Has it surprised you how quickly you’ve adapted to your new club? I wouldn’t say it’s surprised me. Thank God I’ve had a lot of good fortune, mainly to have found such a great group of people here, along with players who have made me very welcome. All of Barcelona, in fact. We’re talking about players who have won practically everything there is to win yet remain as humble as ever. That’s the main reason why everything is working out well.

Do you mind telling us what’s said when that game is discussed? We joke about it, but they’re jokes that stay among ourselves.

Going back to that final against Spain, was the atmosphere inside the Maracana and the way everyone sung the national anthem a significant factor, and what did it feel like on the pitch? That was a fantastic moment, and I’m certain there will be a lot more moments like that during the World Cup. It will be even more emotional than during the Confederations Cup.

How has A Seleção changed since Luiz Felipe Scolari’s arrival? I don’t know that it has changed. I think the team created its own identity. We needed time to train and get to know each other better, time for our game to flow. We had that at the Confederations Cup and everything worked out well. The way the group bonded, both on and off the pitch, was fantastic, and

What do you miss about Brazil? I miss my home there and always miss my family and friends. But as I said, I’m very happy to be discovering new things. Right now I’m living my boyhood dream, which was to play for a European club. The fact that it’s a huge club like Barcelona makes it a tremendous honour. I like everything about the city: the climate, the people. It’s quite similar to Brazil, which helps a lot. There’s even a beach!

What would you say are Felipão’s main strengths as a coach? As a coach he’s a normal, unassuming guy, just like one of us. He can crack a joke but he can be tough when he has to be. He’s a hard-working man who always likes to win, and a great person. Those are his main virtues and the reason he’s won over the squad.

What does it mean to be able to play your first World Cup on home soil? It’s a unique opportunity – we know that only too well. We’re delighted about it and happy that other people will be able to come here and discover our culture and country. I know Brazil will welcome everyone.

You’ve always spoken in glowing terms about Lionel Messi, but come the World Cup, he’ll be a direct rival chasing the same goal. (Laughs) Indeed, I’ve even spoken to him about a possible Final between Brazil and Argentina, obviously with Brazil winning. I was always a big fan of his, and am even more so now that I know him. I have the good fortune to work with him every day and I wish him well in everything.

Have you been surprised by him now that you’re team-mates? He’s surprised me a lot, even as a player. I never realised he was so great when I was just watching him on TV.

Are the fans similar to those of Santos. Can you walk down the street without a problem, for example.

Your country’s fans have placed great store in you for the World Cup. What would you like to say to them ahead of big event?

They’re very passionate too – fanatics, just like at Santos. And yes, I can walk down the street without worrying. Some people recognise me but that’s normal.

FIFA via Getty Images

that just motivated us even more to run and work for each other. It helped us win that title.

To rest assured they can count on 23 warriors who will be fighting for the national team in our bid to realise everyone’s dream, not just that of the players. Hopefully they’ll drive us on till the end, and we’ll be giving our all for them too. Å

When you played in the final of last year’s Confederations Cup against Spain, your planned move to Barcelona was already official. What was it like facing some of your soon-to-be team-mates and how did you feel?

Neymar was speaking to Alejandro Varsky

(Laughs) Yes it was unusual to play a final against future team-mates. Now we sometimes talk about that game and other things. It was a huge thrill to win the Confederations Cup. T H E F I FA W E E K LY


A FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just like Visa: everyone is welcome.

TM & © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization.




Elite One Cameroon

Make an impression

for Lorient, where he is in red hot goal scoring form this season.

As the World Cup gets ever closer, so time is running out for players in the Cameroon league to impress national coach Volker Finke and win a place in the squad for Brazil.

Cameroon’s league has just started, making it even more difficult for players to make an impression. The new season is just four weeks old with again the primary objective of the clubs being to try and rein in Coton Sport of Garoua, who have been the dominant force over the last decade. Since 2001, they have won 10 of the 13 Cameroon championships and last October got to the semifinals of the CAF Champions League, being eliminated only on post match penalties by eventual winners Al Ahli of Egypt.

It has been rare for home-based players to make the breakthrough into the Indomitable Lions as so many talented Cameroonians play in leagues overseas but often the pressure to take one or two from local clubs weighs heavily on the selector.

It is unusual for a club from a provincial town to have such a stranglehold on a league in African football, where most resources are based in the major urban centres. It used to be, in Cameroonian football, that clubs from the commercial centre of Douala and the

Mark Gleeson is a South African journalist and football commentator and lives in Cape Town.

In 2010 just one player emerged from the local ranks to make the squad for the World Cup in South Africa; the teenage striker Vincent Aboubakar, who was quickly snatched away from Cameroon’s Elite One league by French club Valenciennes and now plays in Ligue 1


I N S I D E capital of Yaounde traded honours. Clubs like Union Douala and Canon Yaounde went on to become African champions and in the 70s and 80s the country were not only a force at national team level in Africa but also at club level. But Coton Sport, from the arid north of the country, have been able to relocate the centre of power, using the resources of a parastatal company that owns them to import players from elsewhere in Africa and a succession of French coaches in Denis Lavagne, Alain Oumbléon, Sebastien Desabre and now Didier Gomez Da Rosa. Coton Sport have started the new season with four unbeaten results (two wins and two draws) and sit in a predatory position, just two points behind the early leaders Unisport Bafang. Å

“Time is running out for players to impress national coach Volker Finke.”

Happy feet Cameroonian team Coton Sport’s players pose for a team photo. T H E F I FA W E E K LY


Liga ZON Sagres

Benfica spread their wings Jordi Punti is a novelist and the author of many football features in the Spanish media.

An eagle by the name of Vitoria (Victory) has pride of place on the Benfica badge and at the popular Lisbon club’s stadium. Just before the beginning of each match, a real eagle with red and white ribbons tied to its feet takes flight, circles the Estadio da Luz and then lands majestically on a plinth on top of the club crest, while the fans go wild in the stands.

As the crowd settled into their seats and the players prepared to take to the pitch, the wind began to rip up the stadium’s roof, causing pieces of glass and other debris to come crashing dangerously to the ground. The match was duly postponed and the eagle, one can only assume, was taken back to its nest. Three days later, with the wind long gone but the usual derby passions only stoked by the previous weekend’s events, the game finally went ahead. Argentine duo Nicolas Gaitan and Enzo Perez fired Benfica to a 2-0 victory, leaving the hosts in pole position in the title race. This is hardly a turn-up for the books: Benfica lead the way for Portuguese title wins alongside Porto and the pair enjoy a stranglehold over the division together with Sporting. Indeed, only twice since the league was founded in 1934 have a team outside this historic trio gatecrashed the party to win the championship. While Porto have been the dominant force in recent years, with Benfica 16

Familiar feeling Lazar Markovic after scoring in Benfica’s 2-0 win away to Pacos de Ferreira on 16 February.

snapping at their heels and falling just short, this season Jorge Jesus’s side appear to have got the balance just right. Victory over Sporting served to ward off some of the pessimism that had begun to descend on the Benfica faithful following the sale of Nemanja Matic to Chelsea in the winter transfer window and a long-term injury to the club’s main marksman, Paraguay’s Oscar Cardozo. The duo’s absence has allowed the likes of Lima and Roberto to step up to the plate. The proof came in the derby, when the Reds dictated proceedings and stifled their neighbours to such an extent that Sporting’s top goalscorer, Fredy Montero, didn’t get a sniff at goal until the 82nd minute. The Portuguese league has traditionally been a stepping stone for South American players in Europe. With their finest home-grown talents plying their trade for some of Europe’s big guns, Portuguese clubs hoover up prospects from across the Atlantic, giving them a springboard to make their name and potentially go on to bigger and better things. A cursory glance at the goalscoring charts speaks volumes of this influence: Colombians and Brazilians, from Jackson Martínez and Fredy Montero to Derley and Evandro, top the billing. At the other end of the scale, T H E F I FA W E E K LY

Portugal can also provide a last day in the sun for veteran South Americans who have been there, done it and got the T-shirt in Europe, giving them a less challenging environment in which to see out their playing days. Against this backdrop, Benfica deserve huge credit for managing to assemble a group of young players who are so fiercely committed to the cause. Another win this past weekend ensured the Lisbon outfit continue to top the pile, four points ahead of Porto and five ahead of Sporting. Though there is a long way to go yet, the Eagles will be desperate to hold onto this lead, particularly after being pipped at the post last time around. What’s more, with a mouth-watering meeting against Porto, their closest challengers, to come on the last day of the season, the Benfica faithful don’t want to take any chances. After all, what better way could there be to honour the memory of the late, great Eusebio, one of the club’s all-time legends, than by winning the title in the year of his passing? Å Rafael Marchante / Reuters

Saturday 8 February marked one of the rare occasions when the eagle was grounded. Ben­fica, the Portuguese league leaders, were all set to take on second-placed Sporting in the Lisbon derby. However, a few minutes before kick-off it became clear that Vitoria would be unable to spread its wings this time around, as hurricane-like gusts of wind began to sweep and swirl around the ground. Though it is a state-of-the-art stadium with all mod cons – it is only 10 years old, having been built for Euro 2004, and is the venue for this year’s Champions League final in May – the new Estadio da Luz was unable to withstand these extreme conditions.

Super League Malaysia

The crown jewel Sarah Steiner is an editor at The FIFA Weekly.

Malaysian football has been the subject of negative headlines in recent days. At the start of February, 17 players were fined as part of the ongoing match-fixing scandal, after five players and three officials were handed life bans for match manipulation in December. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) ruled that the players fined this month were forced to fix their matches after being threatened with blackmail and physical violence. Nevertheless, the current Super League season is only five matches old, so the show must go on. Officials will be keen to avoid further embarrassment given that Malaysian football is currently experiencing an upswing and is expected to grow in popularity. The current incarnation of the league is now in its 11th season and enjoys a stable footing from

which to produce the country’s next generation of young players. The nation’s first sporting academy, the Bukit Jalil Sport School, has made a particularly strong contribution to junior football, and many in Malaysia now hope that the league can reap the fruits of this success.

adored by their fans, but his status as the highest paid player in the league means expectations are high. However, money cannot buy happiness, and the 34-year-old is struggling to adjust to Asian football, telling the media recently: “I don’t enjoy playing football here; it’s difficult.”

The country’s young players have several exemplary role models to look up to, not least Pablo Aimar, who now plays for Super League club Johor Darul Takzim. The Argentinian is no stranger to top-flight football and is widely admired in South America and Europe for his stylish play and eye for goal. In the 2000/2001 season, he moved from River Plate to Valencia for 21.25 million euros and completed spells at Real Zaragoza and Benfica before joining the Malaysian Super League last autumn. Aimar is now the Southern Tigers’ crown jewel and

Nevertheless, the midfielder appeared rejuvenated just a few days later, exhibiting his tactically and technically exquisite brand of football on the pitch and demonstrating his worth to fans. In JDT’s match at home to defending champions Lions XII on 28 January, he first played an inch-perfect pass that led to his team’s first goal despite pressure from three opposing players, then fired a free-kick into the net in the 42nd minute. If this is what an unhappy Aimar looks like, Malaysian football is in for a treat once his mood brightens. Å

“I don’t enjoy playing football here. It’s difficult.”


Lauded Argentinian midfielder Pablo Aimar mingles with fans of Johor Darul Takzim FC.



C O U N T D O W N T O B R A Z I L 2 0 14 : 1 6 W E E K S T O G O


Ensuring a healthy World Cup All necessary precautions, even medical ones, have been taken ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A biological profile will even be created for each and every player. Perikles Monioudis



n a media conference last week, FIFA representatives, the 2014 World Cup Brazil Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the Brazilian government announced to the world that they are ready to welcome the World Cup. Issues raised at the press conference included emergency care at the stadiums, ensuring the health of spectators, visitors and teams, climate and heat, medical examinations for players before the tournament, drug testing during the competition and FIFA’s “11 for Health” programme, which has been launched in the twelve World Cup host cities. FIFA Chief Medical Officer Professor Jiri Dvorak, LOC General Medical Coordinator Luis Fernando Correia, “11 for Health” programme coordinator for Brazil Dr Edilson Thiele and Brazilian Health Minister Ademar Arthur Chioro dos Reis took the opportunity to emphasise the health legacy that the 2014 World Cup will provide for Brazil. First, Prof. Jiri Dvorak addressed FIFA’s new drug testing programme: “Our anti-doping ­strategy involves a combination of clarification and prevention, an approach we first trialed at the Confederations Cup. As part of this new anti-doping strategy, players must provide blood and urine samples to enable us to create a biological profile for each athlete. Starting from now, all players taking part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil could be tested at least once at any time, wherever they are in the world.” Another topic raised was the Brazilian heat. Prof. Dvorak is relaxed on the issue: “With regard to the discussion about high temperatures in certain regions of Brazil during the competition, it should be noted that all our decisions have been based on scientific ­findings. We carried out tests in Turkey during the summer and measured the body temperatures of players in match situations. We published our findings in the ’Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports’. I do not

believe that conditions in Brazil will be as ­d ifficult as they have sometimes been portrayed. We could introduce additional breaks to allow the players to take on fluids, and it may also be possible to use refreshing towels, but our ­medical staff will make these decisions on a case-by-case basis before each match. In any event, we are extremely well-prepared and will do everything we can to protect the health of the players.” FIFA’s “11 for Health” programme was also discussed, with Prof. Dvorak explaining: “We

are glad to have the support of the Brazilian government for our ”11 for Health“ programme and are certain that this will be one of the ­World Cup’s biggest legacies for this country. Football has enormous power here. It is one thing for a doctor to speak to a child, but ­having Messi or Neymar spread simple health messages will have an enormous impact.” Dr Edilson Thiele, coordinator of the “11 for Health” programme added: “We have launched the project in Brazil with 450 children at 15 public schools in Curitiba. They have been ­ receiving information and taking part in activities aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle through sport and healthcare. We expect two million children across the globe to take part in this programme by 2015.” After all, football and health are intrinsically linked. Å

“We are extremely well-prepared.”

Stretching in the shadows Palmeiras attacking midfielder Wesley Lopes Beltrame defies the heat. T H E F I FA W E E K LY


First Love



Place: Beni Hasan, Egypt Date: 16 October 2012 Time: 2.11 pm

Tim Dirven / Panos




CSI Toronto

Deep in discussion National Hockey League referees seek a second opinion from the “War Room” at the NHL headquarters

Thomas Renggli


ce hockey referees are able to do something that mankind has long dreamt of: they can stop the clock and, if they so wish, even turn back time. The implementation of video technology in the sport entails a comparatively large number of stoppages during a match, but while its use in football is limited to goal-line technology, video evidence is an ­inherent part of ice hockey. All North American National Hockey League matches are monitored from the NHL Video Review Room – more commonly known as the 'War Room' – in Toronto, whether they’re taking place in Los Angeles, New York or 22

­Phoenix. Should the referee require technical assistance, he simply reaches for the phone and calls Toronto. Lunch, tea and infrared images Video technology plays an even greater role in the North American National Football League (NFL). If the coach of one of the teams wishes to contest a refereeing decision, he is free to do so – albeit only twice per game. The head official then retreats to a special video booth, where he is able to review his decision from all camera angles. If he opts to abide by his initial call, the team that challenged the decision ­forfeits a timeout. Video evidence has conquered practically every sport, even those that set greater store by tradition than others. Lunch and tea breaks may still be a distinguishing feature of cricket matches, but that hasn’t stood in the way of the introduction of Hot Spot, an infrared imaging system that determines whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad. The implementation of similar technical equipment has led to heated debates in every sport, with many people citing concerns about T H E F I FA W E E K LY

losing the spirit of the game in question. They frequently contend that human error is part and parcel of any sport and an important part of sporting culture. The use of video technology in America, however, proves that it doesn’t ­a ffect the overall appeal of the game. Å

The weekly debate. Any thing you want to get off your chest? Which topics do you want to discuss? Send your suggestions to:

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo / Keystone

Do we need video technology? Other sports have long since settled the issue that is currently raging in the football world.


The human referee’s errors are part of the game. It's what gives football some drama. O.Demi, Egypt

The biggest controversy in soccer is if the ball crossed the goal line completely or did not. I think that to avoid the eternal controversy in the most beautiful game, and be fair with both teams, yes the video referee must be implemented. The technology is here, so what are we waiting for? Acapulco, Mexico

Referee mistakes may create some drama as some said below but, above all, they create injustice. I’m tired of seeing teams win games they didn’t deserve only because some referees messed up. A hundred years ago we had no solution for human error but now we do. Refusing to implement it means being anchored in the past instead of evolving and improving. Of course tradition is important but not more than Justice. If it were all about not changing a thing....maybe we should go back to not allowing any player substitutions cuz that is how the beautiful game started!


“The video referee will add justice to the game.”

Lourouso, USA

I’m all for it. The only thing that a video referee will add is justice to the game. Jona Town, USA

Having stoppages for reviews will take away from play and will make the game a slower pace. I however think that something like the NBA review and fining of divers should be implemented, if not worldwide at least by the top leagues of the world to set an example of fair play. Carabal, Canada

I am tempted to say yes, but in the real sense of it, my answer is no. If we bring in a video referee, all in the name of trying to knock off human inconsistencies and error, it means football will no long be 90 mins plus the small injury time usually added, it might go a far as 2 hours or more depending on the number of cases requiring such attention. I agree that live is dynamic, meaning that, change is a constant factor we must also be ready to embrace. But for now no need for it.

Goal-line technology is as far as I would take it. While others on here will point out the NFL and other major sports use video replay, the NFL, a game that consists of 4 x 15 minute quarters, with a 30 minute halftime, takes 3 hours to play. Of course, advertising plays a big part, but the long replays are awful. Goal-line technology only! Chaser Ot, USA

I am very happy FIFA is asking this question, yes the game of football needs a video referee. Kingboa Siako, Ghana

If any more technology is added to football, I suggest we simply abolish it and replace it with ‘roboball’. The rules and overall concept of football make it the freest form of sport there is. The essence of the game is not found in fairness or evidence, but in its drama. In sport, as in life, things sometimes happen that aren’t fair. Anyone who doesn’t like that should find another sport to follow.

Mfonjohn, Nigeria

R. Lippold, Switzerland

Video evidence can uphold fair play


imes are changing, giving us new opportunities to officiate matches even more efficiently. The introduction of goal-line technology is one step in the right direction, and the use of video evidence is another. I am not talking about a new technological aid to be used during matches, but about consistently applying a tool already at our disposal. As long as 20 years ago, article 96 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code provided us with the perfect framework for this development. It states that admissible evidence in disciplinary cases includes reports from the referee and his assistants, statements from the parties and witnesses involved, documentary evidence, expert opinions – and audiovisual recordings. I am not suggesting we use video evidence to correct offside decisions or settle disputed penalty claims, because if we were to permit this it would lead to a flood of appeals that would essentially destroy the game. The referee’s verdict must always take precedence. Once the match official hands down a decision, it must be the end of the matter. Instead, I am pointing out that video evidence can be used for serious breaches of the principle of fair play such as brawling, spitting at opponents, verbal insults and racist slurs, or for incorrectly awarded red or yellow cards. In cases such as these we must make use of the avenues already open to us and intervene after the event if necessary. In this context, we should include the faking of injury, intentional diving or time wasting in our considerations. If the referee does not see unsporting conduct of this nature during the course of a match, we can come back to it later. Video evidence can contribute greatly to fair play, provided the sport’s disciplinary bodies are prepared to use it – and they should.

“Goal-line technolgy only!” Best wishes, Sepp Blatter T H E F I FA W E E K LY



The Danish miracle From holidays to European champions. The late Richard Moller Nielsen helped Denmark to cause one of the biggest upsets in world football at Euro ’92. We take a look at Danish football history. Dominik Petermann


he path taken by the Danish national football team has been likened to that of a rollercoaster, full of surprising highs and disappointing lows. In fact, the team’s performances over the years do not betray even the slightest hint of consistency. But if ever Danish football enjoyed a golden era of unparalleled success, it is the six year period between 1990 and 1996 when Richard Moller Nielsen was in charge of the national team. The country’s participation in the 1992 ­European Championships in Sweden certainly began in bizarre fashion, the players heading on their summer holidays after finishing their qualifying group as runners-up to Yugoslavia. But with a ghastly civil war sweeping through the Balkans in the weeks prior to the tournament, a decision was made: Yugoslavia would not take part. Danish coach Richard Moller Nielsen was left with the task of recalling his players from their holidays just days after they had departed. But their lack of preparation did not hamper their progress, the Danes securing qualification from the group with a win against France before defeating the Netherlands on penalties in the semi finals. Nielsen’s men then rounded off a spectacular tournament by beating reigning world champions Germany 2-0 in the final. Richard Moller Nielsen had been installed as coach in equally bizarre fashion just two years earlier, the Danish Football Association originally lining up Horst Wohlers to replace the outgoing Josef Piontek. But with the German still under contract at his club, the Danes ultimately had no choice but to bring in Richard Moller Nielsen as a stopgap. The Danes also surprised many with their nutritional choices, the team acquiring the unflattering nickname of the “Big Macs” due to rumours that the players’ diet consisted predominantly of coke and Big Macs throughout the 1992 tournament. But the “Big Macs” had big names in their ranks, boasting footballing greats such as Peter Schmeichel, Flemming Povlsen and Brian Laudrup. And the team’s unhealthy image did not stop World Soccer from voting Richard Moller Nielsen as Coach of the Year for 1992. Denmark still boasts a record 24

from that tournament to this day, remaining the smallest country in terms of population to have won a European Championship. But Nielsen’s success did not stop there. Denmark qualified for the 1995 Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia as European champions, sealing the trophy in the final with a 2-0 win against Argentina.

Those two triumphs in the nineties remain Denmark’s greatest accom plishments to date. But the history books also tell their own story, the Danes winning Olympic silver in 1908, 1912 and 1960 and a bronze medal in 1948. Up until that year, only amateurs were allowed to compete in the Olympic football tournament, which meant that even the famous Dane Harald

Simon Bruty / Allsport / Getty Images, Allsport / Getty Images, Sven Simon

The Big Macs The Danes didn’t just set the standard when it came to celebrating (Henrik Larsen here).

Bohr, a well-known mathematician and the brother of the Noble Peace Prize winner for physics Niels Bohr, was able to help his country to Olympic silver in 1908. Denmark’s best performance at a World Cup came at France ’98, where the national side reached the quarter final. The Danish team consisting of Michael

Laudrup, Morten Olsen, Allan Simonsen and Preben Elkjaer went down in football forklore for their performance at the 1986 World Cup. Nicknamed the “Danish Dynamite”, the team at the tournament in Mexico was voted the best Danish side of all time and included players considered to be on a par with the true greats of the era such as Maradona, Matthaus

or Platini.The Danes were fearsome opponents back then and boasted a team of formidable talents. Their 1986 World Cup campaign attests to this, a tournament in which the Danes beat Uruguay 6-1 and defeated finalists Germany 2-0 as they racked up maximum points in the group. But the team’s progress ground to a halt in the quarter finals, where they suffered a

“Danish Dynamite” Richard Moller Nielsen’s team celebrates victory over Germany in the 1992 European Championship final in Gothenburg.

Snapshot Kim Vilfort (m.) scores the second goal in the final. German players Andreas Brehme (l.) and Thomas Helmer form a guard of honour.

heavy 5-1 defeat to a Spain side spearheaded by star striker Emilio Butragueno, who almost beat the Danes single-handedly that day. The current regime under Morten Olsen, in place since 2000, has sought to build on Denmark’s success of yesteryear. Olsen is one his country’s most capped players, having made 102 appearances and captained the team at the 1986 World Cup. Denmark have twice qualified for the World Cup under his leadership, firstly in 2002 and most recently in 2010. But Olsen’s side won’t be on the plane to Brazil this summer. Having finished qualification as the second-placed team with the worst record, the Danes narrowly missed out on a European play-off place. Whether they like it or not, the “Olsen gang” – a nickname for which they have a Danish crime series to thank – will have to wait another four years. But the Danes are used to ups and downs. Å



Tomorrow brings us all closer To new people, new ideas and new states of mind. Here’s to reaching all the places we’ve never been. Fly Emirates to 6 continents.


A great of the world game Danish footballing milestones



The Danish FA is one

As reigning European

of the seven founding

champions Denmark

members of FIFA.

qualify for the Confederations Cup, which they win with a 2-0 victory

22 October 1908

over Argentina.

In their second international at the first Olympic Football Tournament,


Denmark record the

In May of this year the

biggest win in their

Danes rise to third in the

history with a 17-1 defeat

FIFA World Ranking, their

of France. It remains

best-ever position. They

the biggest-ever win by

lie 20th in the current

a European nation. The


Danes finish with the silver medal after losing the final to Great Britain.

1998 After a 12-year hiatus, Denark are back at the


World Cup. They lose

Denmark’s modern

3-2 to Brazil in the quar-

attacking football takes

ter-finals, but it is their

them all the way to the

best-ever performance

semi-finals of the 1984

at the global showdown.

Big-hearted boss Richard Moller Nielsen died on 13 February aged 76.

European Championship in France.

Walter Gagg

2010 Denmark’s most recent


World Cup finals appear-

The Danes make their

ance ends at the group

maiden World Cup


­appearance. They reach the last sixteen with three group stage

15 October 2013

victories and a record of

Denmark beat Malta 6-0

nine goals scored and

in their final qualifier but

only one conceded, but

16 points are not enough

they are subsequently

for a play-off place and

crushed 5-1 by Spain.

De Rød-Hvide miss out on Brazil.

1992 Denmark fail to qualify for the European Championship, but are named as late replacements for Yugoslavia and stunningly go on to win

Johnny Anthon Wichmann

the trophy.


enmark winning the European Championship in 1992 was one of the biggest upsets in modern football, and an exceptional triumph for the head coach. The achievement sealed Richard Moller Nielsen’s place in footballing history. I had the privilege of personally getting to know the Dane very well in 1996 in New York at a match between a FIFA World XI and the Brazilian Olympic team, with three players aged over 23. The Brazilians, who were using the match as a final dress rehearsal before the Atlanta Games, fielded the likes of Bebeto, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, with the FIFA representative team featuring Jurgen Klinsmann, Fernando Hierro, Marcel Desailly and Michael Laudrup. The world XI was coached by Moller Nielsen. The fact he was selected for this honour reflected Moller Nielsen’s special status, but he was entirely uninterested in the trappings and allure of stardom. He was second to none in his ability to relate to his players. He could feel the chemistry in a team, and had a finely tuned instinct for short and long term developments. His intuition was key to the Danes’ fairytale in the summer of 1992. Moller Nielsen knew ­exactly when to lay down the law and when to cut his players some slack.


An air of grandeur surrounded him away from the field too. He knew precisely when to be formal and serious and when to be relaxed and witty. I recall him addressing his team in New York in English and German, and getting Klinsmann to translate his instructions into Italian and Spanish. Klinsmann was going about his interpreting duties when Moller Nielsen intervened with the words: “That’s not exactly what I said.” Klinsmann replied: “But the way I’ve translated it, it’s better.” We all burst out laughing. We have lost one of the great footballing instructors, and an outstandingly likeable personality. You do not establish authority by raising your voice. It is done with expertise and intelligence. To borrow from Franz Kafka: “All talk is futile in the absence of trust.” Richard Moller Nielsen knew what he was talking about. We will treasure and honour his memory. Å

Walter Gagg is a Director of FIFA and qualified football instructor. He played for Neuchatel Xamax and Thun in the Swiss second tier and was a member of the Swiss junior national team. 27

game onor game over

all in or nothing Š 2014 adidas AG. adidas, the 3-Bars logo and the 3-Stripes mark are registered trademarks of the adidas Group.


A W E E K LY T O P 11

The best players from Kosovo *

Cowardly fans Alan Schweingruber

“None of it makes any sense anymore.” “What doesn't? Life?” “No Eckart, I'm talking about Hamburg, obviously.” “I thought so.” Johannes reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a pair of leather gloves: “Look at those tourists over there! Doing a tour of the harbour in this awful weather.” “Why are you actually a Hamburg fan, Johannes?” “Why? Because I’ve always been a Hamburg fan. I don’t need a reason for it.” “But you must have chosen to support them at some point.” “My father took me with him. That was back in the thirties. We played against Hindenburg Allenstein. Allenstein doesn’t even exist anymore. It all belongs to Poland now.” “I did better things when I was that age. You don’t go to watch football at that age.” “Of course you do, Eckart.” “I played with my train set. Or did arts and crafts.” “Arts and crafts? Well, you are a Bayern fan.” laughs Johannes. “What’s wrong with being a Bayern fan?” “If you’re a Bayern fan, you’re either from Munich or you're clueless. Choosing to support Bayern Munich is like being a fish in an aquarium.” “A fish in an aquarium? What does that have to do with Bayern?” “You have a good chance of success! Bayern fans are cowards.” “My grandfather was from a suburb of Munich. I grew up there too.” “Did he take you with him to see your first Bayern games?” “He might have done. I can’t really remember anymore.” “I thought you played with your train set?”

“It wasn’t easy being a Bayern fan back in those days. We never had all the success that we have today.” “Difficult times, eh?! So did you play with your train set or watch Bayern, Eckart?!” The conversation pauses. “I think you're just trying to take your mind off of Hamburg’s struggles. Have fun next season in Sandhausen and Paderborn…” Johannes reaches into his coat pocket once again. This time he pulls out a hat. “Or Ingolstadt”, adds Eckart. “They play in the second division too.” Johannes doesn’t react: “Look at the tourists now. They’re all sitting in the warm boat. How cowardly.” “Do you still remember Ingolstadt? Hans and Hilde’s amazing wedding? You were an idiot and jumped into the Danube. ‘I love Ingolstadt!’ you screamed.” Now Johannes bursts out laughing. “Of course! It was a great weekend. We’ll have to go there again at some point. Tell me again, where is it exactly?” “In Bavaria.” “Ah.” “Just north of Munich. There are good train connections. What about Saturday?” “Impossible. Dortmund are playing in Hamburg.” Å

The weekly column by our staff writers T H E F I FA W E E K LY


Xherdan Shaqiri (22/Bayern Munich/midfield)


Lorik Cana (30/Lazio/midfield)


Adnan Januzaj (18/Manchester United/midfield)


Granit Xhaka (21/Mönchengladbach/midfield)


Valon Behrami (28/Napoli/midfield)


Ilir Berisha (22/Örebro/defence)


Blerim Dzemaili (27/Napoli/midfield)


Almen Abdi (27/Watford/midfield)


Besart Berisha (28/Melbourne Victory/striker)


Ardian Gashi (32/Helsingborg/midfield)


Ilir Azemi (22/Greuther Fürth/striker)

* As of this year FIFA has sanctioned friendly matches involving clubs and representative association teams from Kosovo. However, teams may not display any national symbols such as flags and emblems and national anthems may not be played. A decision whether to admit the Kosovo Football Association (FFK) to FIFA will only be taken after the UN recognises Kosovo as a nation state. Can you think of any other candidates? Who would be in your Kosovan dream team? Email your views to: 29


“I’m not sure Brazil are good enough” Borussia Monchengladbach’s Lucien Favre was voted as the Bundesliga’s best coach in the first half of the season. In a wide-ranging interview, he speaks about the World Cup, Bayern Munich and wonders how long the Champions League will continue to excite audiences. Lucien Favre, you have been in Germany for seven years now. Did you join Europe’s best league? It’s a different world but I can’t say with any certainty whether it’s the best league or not. It’s certainly one of the best though. As a French speaking coach I never planned to end up in the Bundesliga, I’d always thought more about France or maybe even Spain. But thanks to the success I had in Zurich I got a call from Berlin. I took a while to decide, especially as I was very attached to FC Zurich. In the end I said to myself “Lucien, you’ve got an offer from the Bundesliga!” I had to accept it.

How has the Bundesliga changed you since moving there in 2007? I’ve always tried to keep learning, irrespective of where I’ve been. If you’re not a complete idiot then you can move on and develop. I’ve kept on surprising myself too. I’ve matured and know what my strengths are but I’m also aware of my weaknesses. The area where I’ve learned most is in establishing relationships with people. Communication with players, colleagues, the press, the football association and everyone else involved is hugely important.

Football has also changed in recent years, becoming quicker, more dynamic and more athletic. How much as that influenced you as a coach? Training is still the key. The quality and the effort we put into that bears fruit at the weekend, but other aspects have also grown in importance.

Such as? As a coach you have to understand the psychology of the game. Football is a reflection of society. Everything is faster today: trains, aeroplanes, work and football too. We have to adapt. The intensity has also changed along with the pace. We now have to hone a player’s technique, his movements, his acceleration and his mental strength. 30

Is there such thing as the perfect player? Perfection doesn’t exist and thankfully never will. All we can do is try to get as close to it as possible. What does a good player need to have? Technique, speed, intelligence and to be good with both feet. He needs to learn to think quickly and to read the game. [Lionel] Messi is as good as it gets at the moment.

You are renowned for giving young players a chance. Do you view that as part of your duties as coach?

It’s not just about the Bundesliga and Bayern but about football as a whole. The gulf between different teams’ budgets is too big and it’s dangerous. The Champions League is all well and good but it also creates massive discrepancies. Clubs that reach the latter stages earn unbelievable sums of money that other clubs can’t hope to compete with. On top of that, I’ve been asking myself how long the Champions League can continue to excite spectators. It’s the same every year: Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern…

It’s important to choose the right time to give young players their first few games as the consequences can be disastrous. Psychological factors are so important. You have to avoid putting them under too much pressure and you need to bed them in step by step. You also need to be careful not to overuse them. On the whole, for me it’s vital to be close to the players and to the team. For a player it’s important to sense a coach’s honesty.

Yes. It’s a different kind of challenge but it would appeal to me. When Ottmar Hitzfeld announced he was stepping down as Swiss national coach I immediately moved to clarify my situation. The time wasn’t right for me [to take over] but the idea of being Switzerland coach? Yes, why not?

How hard is it to lose a player that you have developed to another club?

Who do you believe are favourites to win the World Cup in Brazil?

That’s just the way life and football are. A club like Monchengladbach has to learn to live with that fact and to accept it. We’ll never be able to compete with Bayern, [Borussia] Dortmund or [Bayer] Leverkusen, at least not in terms of financial power.

I’m certain a South American team will win it. No European side has ever been able to succeed over there. I’m not sure whether it’ll be Brazil though. There’s no question A Seleção have a good team but I’m not sure it’ll be enough. They’re missing a player of the calibre of Ronaldo from a few years ago. Argentina might be able to go all the way if they can sort out their defensive problems.

Speaking of Bayern Munich, is there any way of beating them? Bayern bought [Mario] Gotze for 37 million Euro and in the summer [Robert] Lewandowski will join them too. Their transfers haven’t only served to strengthen their own squad, they’ve weakened the opposition as well. But you have to recognise that Bayern are no flash in the pan: they’ve been at the top both domestically and in Europe for years now and I’m sure they’ll stay there. Bayern are a professionally run club that do practically everything right.

You once said that Bayern could become a danger to the Bundesliga. Why was that? T H E F I FA W E E K LY

Can you picture yourself taking charge of a national team one day?

Interview by Sarah Steiner

Name Lucien Favre Date and place of birth 2 November 1957, Saint-Barthelemy (Switzerland) Clubs played for 1976–1979 FC Lausanne-Sport 1979–1981 Neuchatel Xamax 1981–1983 Servette FC 1983–1984 FC Toulouse 1985–1991 Servette FC

David Klammer / laif/ Keystone

Clubs coached 1991–1994 FC Echallens 1999–2000 Yverdon-Sport FC 2000–2002 Servette FC 2003–2007 FC Zurich 2007–2009 Hertha Berlin 2011–Borussia Monchengladbach Major honours as coach Swiss Cup winner (2001, 2005), Swiss champion (2006, 2007), Coach of the Year (Switzerland: 2006, 2007; Germany: 2009, 2011)








Bad Neuenahr, Germany



Pioneers. Sisters Charlotte (l.) and Christa Nusser were among the first stars of women’s football in Germany in the 1970s, winning the national championship in 1975 with SC Bonn and in 1978 with SC Bad Neuenahr. The siblings were true trailblazers in the fight for sporting emancipation: the German Football Association only officially lifted the ban on women’s football on 31 October 1970. While the Nusser sisters were both tactically adept and technically gifted players, it appears their hairdresser was not quite so talented.







Wolfsburg, Germany

Boris Streubel / Bongarts / Getty Images

2013 All-conquering. Forty years on, Alisa (l.) and Lauran Vetterlein continued the tradition of sisters playing top-level football together. The duo have quite the collection of silverware, winning the German league title, the cup and the Champions League among others with VfL Wolfsburg. The Wolves are well ahead of the pack when it comes to gender equality, although there is one significant difference between the men’s and women’s sections at the club: the latter have been a great deal more successful.



Only eight countries have ever lifted the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Yet over 200 have been winners with FIFA. As an organisation with 209 member associations, our responsibilities do not end with the FIFA World Cup™, but extend to safeguarding the Laws of the Game, developing football around the world and bringing hope to those less privileged. Our Football for Hope Centres are one example of how we use the global power of football to build a better future.


Change in ranking Points

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Spain Germany Argentina Portugal Colombia Switzerland Uruguay Italy Brazil Netherlands

0 0 0 1 -1 2 -1 -1 1 -1

1506 1314 1255 1219 1211 1159 1157 1135 1125 1122

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 35 37 38 38 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 62 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 70 72 73 74 75 75 77

Belgium Greece USA Chile England Croatia Bosnia-Herzegovina Ukraine France Denmark Mexico Russia Côte d'Ivoire Ecuador Sweden Algeria Slovenia Cape Verde Islands Serbia Armenia Czech Republic Panama Romania Scotland Costa Rica Venezuela Ghana Egypt Iran Honduras Peru Turkey Austria Hungary Tunisia Cameroon Nigeria Iceland Paraguay Japan Wales Montenegro Australia Slovakia Albania Israel Uzbekistan United Arab Emirates Mali Norway Korea Republic Burkina Faso Guinea South Africa Finland Senegal Republic of Ireland Libya Jordan Poland Bolivia Bulgaria Sierra Leone Morocco Zambia Saudi Arabia Trinidad and Tobago

0 0 1 1 -2 0 2 0 2 5 0 0 -6 -1 1 1 2 8 1 8 -3 4 0 3 -3 4 -13 -7 -4 3 1 3 4 2 -1 4 -6 1 2 -2 4 0 3 6 1 7 8 5 -19 -1 -8 -4 -1 -10 1 2 0 -6 3 7 -1 2 3 0 -6 -2 1

1117 1084 1044 1038 1032 966 919 917 917 907 887 862 841 831 821 819 799 799 775 771 760 754 746 742 734 734 733 729 729 716 704 703 678 673 656 626 616 613 603 601 598 594 576 574 571 570 569 565 561 557 556 554 554 550 540 529 528 523 514 494 494 486 484 454 450 450 444

Ranking Sep 2013

Oct 2013

Nov 2013


Dec 2013

Jan 2014

Feb 2014

1 -41 -83 -125 -167 -209

78 79 80 80 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 91 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 111 113 114 115 116 117 118 118 120 121 122 123 124 124 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144

Top spot  

Biggest climber  

El Salvador Haiti Oman Jamaica Belarus FYR Macedonia Uganda Northern Ireland Congo Gabon China PR New Zealand Togo Congo DR Estonia Azerbaijan Botswana Angola Liberia Benin Cuba Qatar Zimbabwe Ethiopia Lithuania Georgia Niger Central African Republic Bahrain Moldova Kenya Kuwait Tajikistan Latvia Dominican Republic Canada Iraq Malawi Tanzania New Caledonia Mozambique Equatorial Guinea Luxembourg Lebanon Cyprus Sudan Namibia Burundi Guatemala Philippines Kazakhstan Turkmenistan Myanmar Malta Suriname Syria Rwanda Grenada Korea DPR Gambia Afghanistan Lesotho Tahiti St Vincent and the Grenadines Belize Vietnam Hong Kong


10 0 -1 1 1 1 3 5 -1 -2 4 2 -19 -10 2 1 3 -6 1 2 2 2 5 -6 1 -1 0 2 4 -11 1 -3 3 5 3 -2 1 2 2 4 2 -10 2 2 3 -4 1 0 -14 0 0 4 -1 -1 0 2 -4 -1 -1 1 0 -1 1 14 10 0 -7

Biggest faller (Togo) Biggest faller (Mali) 436 430 426 426 423 402 400 397 393 386 380 378 376 373 373 372 360 356 354 335 334 331 330 329 326 325 316 310 308 305 300 299 285 282 282 275 269 268 254 252 251 251 247 243 240 236 234 234 229 219 214 203 200 199 197 196 195 194 191 190 184 182 179 177 176 172 170

144 146 147 148 148 150 150 150 153 154 154 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 172 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 184 186 187 187 189 190 190 190 193 194 194 196 196 198 198 200 200 202 203 204 205 206 207 207 207

Palestine Antigua and Barbuda Thailand St Lucia Kyrgyzstan Liechtenstein Singapore Malaysia St Kitts and Nevis India Guyana Laos Puerto Rico Indonesia Mauritania Guam São Tomé e Príncipe Chad Maldives Bangladesh Pakistan Dominica Nicaragua Barbados Nepal Chinese Taipei Sri Lanka Aruba Faroe Islands Solomon Islands Bermuda Seychelles Mauritius Curaçao Vanuatu Mongolia Fiji Samoa Guinea-Bissau Swaziland Bahamas Yemen Madagascar Montserrat Cambodia Brunei Darussalam Timor-Leste Tonga US Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Papua New Guinea British Virgin Islands American Samoa Comoros Andorra Eritrea Macau South Sudan Somalia Djibouti Cook Islands Anguilla Bhutan San Marino Turks and Caicos Islands

-2 -2 1 -2 -2 6 -1 4 -3 2 -3 -3 -1 3 -14 2 -1 2 0 0 7 1 -8 -2 3 -3 -2 -2 -2 -2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 -6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

170 164 158 155 155 152 152 152 150 149 149 146 141 135 127 123 122 121 120 116 107 103 102 101 98 97 90 87 87 86 83 67 66 65 55 49 47 45 43 40 40 39 33 33 30 26 26 26 23 21 21 18 18 17 17 11 11 10 8 6 5 3 0 0 0




Do we need to reintroduce the foreign player quota? Question from Alex Wild, New York (USA)

Perikles Monioudis


bsolutely not. For me, this shouldn’t even be called into question. We live in a free market economy, with football under­ going major development too. And it’s moving in the right direction. But I do know what you’re getting at. Nowadays you often see teams with just a few or some­ times even no local players in the starting lineup. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as the players who are brought in are com­ mitted to the cause and identify with their club. Back in my day the coach was only allowed to pick two foreign players, a rule which com­ pletely dominated a club’s attitude towards transfers. Europe’s biggest clubs were in the habit of signing a star player from abroad once every two years or so to keep the fans happy. Things could become uneasy in and around the club if the big transfer failed to materialise. What I find astonishing is that most coun­ tries readily accepted the abolition of the for­ eign player quota. I did not see that coming, especially in countries like England because 36

the Brits don’t seem to take too kindly to rule changes. But English football has really bene­ fitted from the modernisation of the game. The level in the Premier League is very high, with the world’s best coaches working there too. Traditions are to be cherished – but foreign player quotas in football are now a thing of the past. Å

What have you always wanted to know about football? Ask Gunter Netzer: T H E F I FA W E E K LY

Alamy / Mauritius

Kick-off in Dusseldorf Jupp Heynckes, Heino and Gunter Netzer (f.l.t.r) at a charity match (30th December 1972).

The tiki-taka playing style used to devastating effect by FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team in recent years has its roots in a specific version of the game: indoor football. The ­d istinctive short passing so crucial to tiki-taka is learned early and thoroughly in futsal, and the four against four formation common to the sport is a recurring pattern in the 11-a-side game on grass too. The basic premise of four against four, played in a tight space and at breakneck speed, is for the player in possession to always have at least two options for a pass. Consequently the ball is played in triangles, with the players ­constantly finding new angles until a gap for a decisive through ball can be found. It effectively amounts to a rhombus-shaped 1-2-1 formation. Add in the opposition’s rhom­ bus and the midfield becomes a diamond made up of different, moveable rhombuses, creating a fascinating spectacle. All Barcelona players are intensively schooled in four against four until the age of 12 and many Spaniards, including World Cup ­w inners Andres Iniesta and Xavi, started out playing futsal. The dazzling skills they show­ case on the pitch today were learned indoors. At its best, tiki-taka resembles an old-­ fashioned pinball machine. The ball is thrown in and bounces from pin to pin in a seemingly random sequence until it approaches the goal at the bottom – marked with the word ‘goal’ in the English pinball machine from the 1950s from the FIFA Collection pictured above. However, it is rarely as exciting as a well-­ ­ executed rendition of tiki-taka. Å


“I became a man at 17” In 1988, Christian Karembeu packed his bags and bid farewell to his home in New Caledonia to make the 20,000 kilometre journey to France.

Name Christian Karembeu Date and place of birth 3. Dezember 1970, Lifou, New Caledonia (overseas territory of France)

Lukas Maeder / 13 Photo


have 17 brothers and sisters. I stay in regular contact with them; after all, they’re my family, so it’s normal that we call each other and see each other regularly. It’s difficult to define where ‘home’ is – it tends to be wherever I am at any given moment. One thing is for sure, though: my roots are on the island of New Caledonia. I spent my childhood there, played football in the village square with my friends each Sunday after Mass and attended the local football academy. In the 1980s, efforts to gain independence led to unrest on the island. These were difficult times, and my parents begged me to leave the country. I am grateful and humbled that football offered me the opportunity to do so. However, even though relations in my home country have not always been plain sailing, we are all linked to France. We are part of France and as such, we are French. Despite all this, leaving New Caledonia to seek my fortune in Nantes at the age of 17 was far from easy. The journey took me 72 hours, and once I reached France I was completely alone almost 20,000 kilometres from home. Of course, there were people in Nantes who looked after me, but generally it was up to me to grow up. I no longer had anyone to wake me up in the morning and make sure I made it to school on time. I had to take responsibility for myself. At the age of 17, I became a man. France was different to New Caledonia in every respect, including the weather, the people and the pace of life. I still remember how I would lean right forward while sitting beside my coach in the car travelling to away matches, asking him “Coach, where are we going? Up or down?” He had absolutely no idea what I was trying to ask him. We had no need to use compass points back at home; we were either going up towards the mountain, or down towards the beach. The time I spent in Nantes was incredibly educational in every respect.

Position Midfielder or defender Clubs played for Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough, Olympiacos, Servette, Bastia French national team 53 caps, 1 goal

I achieved a lot during my career. I played for Real Madrid, became a world and European champion with France and won the Confederations Cup. Those are experiences I will never forget. It is a highlight of any footballer’s career and every player dreams of those moments. I always felt like a Frenchman; that’s why I was always so proud to pull on that red, white and blue kit. But in addition to being a footballer, I was always a human being above all else. I always had a wide range of interests and stood for my beliefs. When the French government launched their nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific, I knew I had to speak out. My roots played a part here too, as I come from a society whose most important source of nutrition and income is the T H E F I FA W E E K LY

ocean. The negligent destruction of this environment is unacceptable. Having respect for both our planet and our fellow human beings is the most important message my parents passed on to me. Å As told to Sarah Steiner

In Turning Point, personalities reflect on a decisive moment in their lives. 37

Totally transformed, more stylish than ever All-New

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The FIFA Weekly Published weekly by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)



A club duopoly in a World Cup Final and Coca-Cola in black and white – test your knowledge!

Publisher: FIFA, FIFA-Strasse 20, PO box, CH-8044 Zurich Tel. +41-(0)43-222 7777 Fax +41-(0)43-222 7878 President: Joseph S. Blatter Secretary General: Jérôme Valcke

Y Azteca 1

H Maracana

C Wembley

W  Hampden Park

Which World Cup Final drew (in all likelihood and according to FIFA estimates) the biggest crowd to the stadium itself?

Director of Communications and Public Affairs: Walter De Gregorio Chief editor: Thomas Renggli Art director: Markus Nowak


Staff writers: Perikles Monioudis (Deputy Editor), Alan Schweingruber, Sarah Steiner

Certain nations, such as England, have an undeniably poor record in penalty shootouts. Which men’s national team most recently exited a global tournament on penalties? A Great Britain O England

Contributors: Jordi Punti, Barcelona; David Winner, London; Hanspeter Kuenzler, London; Roland Zorn, Frankfurt/M.; Sven Goldmann, Berlin; Sergio Xavier Filho, Sao Paulo; Luigi Garlando, Milan

E Scotland X Ireland


Picture editor: Peggy Knotz, Adam Schwarz Production: Hans-Peter Frei (head), Richie Krönert, Marianne Bolliger-Crittin, Mirijam Ziegler, Susanne Egli, Peter Utz

This is almost the only place you’ll see the Coca-Cola logo in black and white. Where? R  La Bombonera L  Camp Nou

N Anfield I  Allianz Arena

Proof reader: Nena Morf Contributors to this issue: Dominik Petermann, Alejandro Varsky, Walter Gagg Editorial assistant: Honey Thaljieh Translation: Sportstranslations Limited


S 4



The entire starting eleven in a World Cup Final played for just two clubs from the same city. Which clubs?

Project management: Bernd Fisa, Christian Schaub Printer: Zofinger Tagblatt AG

Getty Images / AFP

Contact: Reproduction of photos or articles in whole or in part is only permitted with prior editorial approval and if attributed “The FIFA Weekly, © FIFA 2014”. The editor and staff are not obliged to publish unsolicited manuscripts and photos. FIFA and the FIFA logo are registered trademarks of FIFA. Made and printed in Switzerland.

The answer to last week’s Quiz Cup was FAME (detailed answers on Inspiration and implementation: cus

Please send your answers to the E-mail by 26 February 2014. Correct submissions for all quizzes received by 11 June 2014 will go into a draw to win two tickets to the FIFA World Cup Final on 13 July 2014. Before sending in your answers, all participants must read and accept the competition terms and conditions and the rules, which can be found at T H E F I FA W E E K LY




Will a European team win a South American World Cup for the first time this summer?

What has been the most efficient performance in football history to date? Yves Aegerter, Stallikon, Switzerland

Getty Images, AFP

Answered by Thomas Renggli, chief editor: There are several ways to answer this question, but my favourite example is that of Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz, who secured a Europa League place in 2011 without scoring a single goal in normal time. That year, Alania reached the final of the Russian Cup by winning three matches on penalties after playing out a 0-0 draw. The only exception was their quarter-final, when opposing team Saturn Moscow went bankrupt shortly before the match, handing Alania a bye to the next round. Vladikavkaz faced CSKA Moscow in the final, but as the favourites had already qualified for Europe by finishing second in the league, Alania were promoted to the Europa League before the final was even played.


In order to compete at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, European teams faced a three-week Atlantic crossing by ship. Despite getting plenty of fresh air, the travel took its toll on France, who exited the tournament after the group stage. Can European sides fare better this time around? Send your opinions to:

L A S T W E E K’S P O L L R E S U LT S: Do we need video arbitration to increase punishments retrospectively?


Diego Maradona has offered the Italian treasury 3 million Euro in order to settle his unpaid tax bill, although the figure is well below the 40 million authorities are demanding. The World Cup winner is keen to put the episode behind him as quickly as possible in order to fulfil his aims at SSC Napoli: Maradona, who won the championship twice with the club as a player, is reportedly eager to restore the side to past glories as coach. Talks between the two parties are yet to materialise, however.



Yes, we need video arbitration. No, goal-line technology is enough.


No, technological aids are counter to the fundamental concept of football.




Nadine Angerer has won 13 titles over the course over her career: seven with the German national team and six at club level. The 2013 Women’s World Player of the Year could pick up another one this weekend in the Australian W-League final



Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk was in only charge at Hamburg for 143 days, with the side’s 4-2 home reverse against bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig proving the final straw. Van Marwijk took

with Brisbane

over from Thorsten Fink on 25

Roar. The match

September 2013, but a run of eight

will double up as the

straight losses was a step too far.

35-year-old goalkeeper’s

Incidentally, the match against

farewell game down

Braunschweig marked van Marwijk’s

under as she will don

100 th Bundesliga fixture as coach,

her gloves for Portland

although there were not many celebra-

Thorns in the USA come April. T H E F I FA W E E K LY

tions to mark the milestone come the final whistle.

The FIFA Weekly Issue #18  
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