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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. …


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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. …


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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…


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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.


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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…


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Arsenal vs Manchester United from the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s was the dominant rivalry in English football, and the first time in the Premier League era where United had a long-term competitor they had to deal with. The competition between the two clubs was fierce enough that it spawned off different documentaries and gave us numerous captivating moments: the 1999 FA Cup semifinal, Arsenal clinching the title at Old Trafford in 2002, the 2–2 draw at Highbury in 2003, Ruud Van Nistelrooy hitting the crossbar and nearly derailing Arsenal’s undefeated season. The PL has gone through numerous incarnations…


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In many ways, we’ve been spoiled since the beginning of the 2010’s with the level of excellence that’s been on constant display in European football. This hasn’t always been the case as the footballing landscape was in an unclear place once we reached the back end of the 2000's, with there being a temporary lack of superstar attackers. Ronaldinho was at the tail end of his peak, Thierry Henry was entering his post-prime years, Ronaldo was far removed from his best following numerous knee injuries and overall fitness issues. …


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It’s impossible to talk about the history of Liverpool F.C. without dedicating ample time towards Steven Gerrard. He is the most iconic player to wear the Liverpool kit since the glory days of the 1970’s and 1980’s, and he helped define an era of football that featured both amazing triumphs (three cup titles in 2001, 2005 Champions League, 2006 FA Cup) and heartbreak (2007 Champions League, Premier League runners up in 2002, 2009 and 2014). …


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If you asked pundits to come up with a list of the best players from the time period of 2000–05, there’s a decent chance that Claude Makelele’s name wouldn’t rank very high compared to some of the usual suspects. That being said, it is tough to argue otherwise that few from that era had greater influence on the game than the Frenchman. …


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When discussing the dominance of Manchester United during the 1990’s, there were several individuals that stood out. Sir Alex Ferguson was arguably the biggest figurehead of them all given his longevity as manager and sheer influence on the club, which has been felt well after his retirement in 2013. There’s the famous class of 1992 featuring David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt. As well, the signing of Eric Cantona was incredibly influential because it brought United a different dimension in attack with his outstanding technical qualities and overall versatility.

The man who arguably helped knit…

Mohamed

Previously wrote about football, my old Medium posts can be found here

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