Seasons watched: 2004–05 to 2007–08 (Age 18–21 seasons according to FBref)

For a player who reached the heights that Wayne Rooney did, there still remains a certain degree of “what if” which surrounds him. This is largely due to him having a career arc that was slightly atypical from what tends to happen for star talents. He was thrust into playing regular Premier League minutes at age 16 and more than held his own, won everything by being a key complimentary star for Manchester United during the late 2000’s, and had his prime cut short due to injuries before a…


Seasons watched: 2002–03 to 2005–06 (Age 18–21 seasons according to FBRef)

It’s been nearly ten years since Atlético Madrid hired Diego Simeone in December 2011, and in the time since they have ascended to become one of the most successful clubs in European football. With their shocking La Liga triumph in 2014, they became the first Spanish club to break up Barcelona and Real Madrid’s domestic stranglehold since Valencia in 2004, and look set to once again capture the title in 2021. …


Seasons watched: 2001–02 to 2003–04 (Age 19–21 seasons according to FBref)

The heights that Diego Maradona reached in the 1980’s were so grand that towards the end of his playing career, he joined an exclusive club of sporting figures where the media rushes to find their successor. Just in Argentina alone, there have been many who were given the label as the new Maradona. The likes of Pablo Aimar, Carlos Tevez, and Juan Román Riquelme established strong legacies in their own right which helped them just escape Maradona’s shadow. Others weren’t as lucky, with Ariel Ortega being a noteworthy example…


Seasons Watched: 1997–98 to 2001–02 (age 17–21 according to FBref)

Every few years, there seems to be a young English attacking talent who bursts onto the scene and displays the kind of potential which could see him eventually rival some of the best in Europe during his prime. As it currently stands, that individual is Jadon Sancho, who’s been great in the Bundesliga since age 18 yet somehow still feels a bit underrated by the English media. Before him was Raheem Sterling when he became a regular starter at age 17 for Liverpool in the early 2010s. …


Seasons Watched: 1997–98 to 1999–2000 (age 19–21 seasons according to FBref)

At his peak, Thierry Henry was one of the great footballers that we’ve seen in the 21st century, who came to symbolize the continued evolution of the modern attacker through a combination of fluid athleticism and inventiveness as an on-ball initiator. …


Seasons scouted: 1994–95 to 1997–98 (Age 18-21 seasons according to FBref)

Ajax’s 1994–95 campaign has rightfully been remembered as one of the best single seasons that a European side has ever had, going undefeated in both the Eredivisie and Champions League. While there have been a few instances of teams going undefeated in league play (Arsenal in 2003–04 and Juventus in 2011–12 spring to mind as modern examples), what Ajax did stands an exceedingly high chance of never being replicated given the incredible slog that European football has become in its current incarnation. …


Years Scouted: 1994–95 through 2004–05

Truth be told, for the majority of this series I was rather dismissive on the idea of doing a profile on Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima. Once this became an official project that I would spend ample time on (after the Zidane writeup), my preference was to examine players who were household names in their own right, and in some cases became club icons, but who weren’t necessarily at the absolute pinnacle of the sport in terms of both celebrity and performance. …


Years scouted: 2001–02 through 2005–06

There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Juventus finishing tops in Serie A. Their 36 league titles in Italy is by far the most from any Italian club, and they’ve accumulated on their own the same amount of championships as the combined total of AC Milan (18) and Inter (18). The last time that Juventus didn’t finish tops in their domestic league was the 2010–11 season, when they were still in the midst of recovering from the Calciopoli scandal in the mid 2000's. Even in more recent seasons when underlying metrics would’ve suggested…


It’s become common knowledge that from an attacking standpoint, fullbacks have grown in importance since the turn of the 21st century. The license for wide attackers to access the inside areas in the final third has meant that others have had to occupy the flanks, which made FBs the logical choice to assume those responsibilities. The higher average positioning during the attacking phase has necessitated a greater need for FBs to possess both the technical and athletic skills needed to perform in those spaces. It’s become a position of immense importance, and no longer one that invites for banter on-air.


The history of football (and professional sports in general) is filled with a long list of players, who for different reasons, weren’t able to fulfill on the massive potential that they flashed during their younger years. The biggest reason tends to be injuries that were suffered that drastically altered their career trajectory. Ronaldo is perhaps the greatest example of this, with knee injuries costing him his age 22–24 seasons and the version we saw post-2002 wasn’t quite the same as the one who was putting together a GOAT resume (somehow we’re lucky enough to have been granted a second chance…

Mohamed

Previously wrote about current football, now I focus on producing historical football pieces

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