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Introduction to Football

Was Pele the Greatest Football Player of All Time?

Picking out an all-time great from football’s hall of fame might be a futile pursuit; with players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi achieving what was previously deemed impossible, however, we tend to turn a nostalgic eye to Pele, considered by many the greatest player of all time.

In a fascinating article, The Telegraph’s Jonathan Liew questions the objective value of the legend, arguing that other rival players (such as fellow Brazilian, Garrincha) achieved equal if not similar feats. “Garrincha virtually won the 1962 World Cup single-handedly. Pele could never claim that,” says Liew.

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5 Greatest Champions League Finals of All time

The Beautiful Game is a sport which brings together people of all castes and creeds, from all the corners of the world, to cheer for their beloved teams. And with European football being amongst the most glamorous in the world, the finals of its top tier competition – the Champions League – is certainly considered a sporting bonanza, probably surpassed only by the final of the FIFA World Cup.

The competition was started in the year 1955, known by the name European Champion Clubs' Cup, or simply the European Cup, until it was rebranded as the UEFA Champions League in 1992.

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Derby of Derbies: The Manchester Derby

One of the most, if not the most grueling of derbies in the world, has got to be the one fought between the Blue and the Red of Manchester, between the nouveau riche Manchester City and illustious Manchester United. With the history going back to 1881 when a certain West Gorton (now Manchester City) hosted Newton Heath (now Manchester United). They have now faced each other another 161 times with, United having the better of the contest 68 times and City on 44 occasions while 50 of these matches have resulted in a draw. The Red devils, have been more successful of the two sides both in England as well as Europe having won the league the 19 times, the most for any English club and the Champions league thrice (once the European super cup and twice the Champions league), while the Citizens have won the league twice but have never won a Champions league.

Both the clubs have come a long way since the old days, with both clubs having been taken over by foreign owners. While the Glazer family took over Manchester United in 2005, their neighbours were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Club owned by Sheikh Mansour four years later. The new found wealth has helped the Citizens close the gap on their red neighbours and having led for most of this season, they are now close in a close second behind them.

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When Friends turn into Foes: A history of the Merseyside Derby

liverpool_everton_2It is quite an unnatural sight to see, when two great clubs with a vast history of success in the same city take a liking for one another. Take the Manchester derby for example, or the Derby della Madonnina (Milan derby) in Italy, or the Old Firm derby in Scotland, and one commonality is the hostility and acrimony shared between the two contesting sides. However, that's exactly what set the Merseyside side derby between Liverpool and Everton apart. Called the 'Friendly Derby', supporters of both sides used to share stands and each other's revelry in the olden days. Times have changed since, with games between the two sides in the more recent day marred with malevolence and spite. Not many stories in football however are as enriching, or as exciting, as the story of Merseyside.

Everton, having now competed a record 108 seasons in the English top division, was founded as a football club in 1878, with the side then playing their football at Anfield. Interestingly, the formation of Liverpool had a lot to do with their neighbour club, as Everton, after having a dispute with the owner of Anfield John Houlding over the fixed-rent they paid for using the ground, relocated to Goodison Park, where they've been based since 1892. Following that, Houlding, having no one playing at his ground, founded his own club called Everton Athletic. The Football League refused to acknowledge another side with the name of Everton, so the side were forcibly renamed Liverpool Football Club.

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The Manchester Derby: A history spanning many an era

banner_350_560Among the greatest sporting traditions that still exist, the Manchester derby surely is one of the most hallowed in terms of history, and most fierce in terms of competition. The two clubs, originating in the North-West of England, have shared a deep-rooted history and rivalry, dating back to the 1800's, when Manchester United and Manchester City were still called Newton Heath and St. Mark's respectively, being their parent clubs. A lot has happened since then, with the duo now being reckoned as two of the biggest clubs in England as well as the world.

The arch-rivals currently hold the two pre-eminent trophies of English Football - the Premier League and FA Cup respectively, and are set to meet each other in the 160th Manchester Derby in the FA Community Shield on 7th August 2011 - the annual curtain raiser to the English Football Season. This represents only their second clash in the friendly cup-final, previously called the Charity Shield, but one can safely assume that it'll be anything but friendly. The fraternal call is least summoned in our times, as City's rise as a major financial player in world football post Sheikh Mansour's acquisition has launched them to the horizons of immediate success and sent shockwaves in the established World Order of Football, whose epicenter certainly lies at Old Trafford.

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