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Introduction to Football

Di Stefano, Kopa & Puskas - The true Galacticos

distefanopuskasEvery sport boasts of a long list of stand-out performers, gems that lit up their game for however brief a moment. Their glory captured in a time capsule, forever evoking memories of a bygone golden era. Football has been fortunate to be littered with magical moments throughout its existence. Numerous sides can lay claim to being the greatest of them all. But greatness is largely a subjective exercise, built on individual experiences and emotions. But then there also exists the empirical truth. Most "great" sides ruled the roost for a couple of seasons, flashing brightly for a brief period in football's long history. But Real Madrid proved to be the exception as they flattened everything in their path for almost a decade. The legendary Madrid side captured five successive European Cups between 1956 & 60, a record that hasn't been under threat in the years since and is unlikely to ever be broken.

On the 50th anniversary of Madrid's famous 1960 European Cup win, BBC Sport official named that Madrid side of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas (both in above pic)and Gento as the best footballing side in the history of the game. They got the unanimous vote over other great sides like the Ajax team of the early 70's, Bayern Munich of the late 70's, the Milan side of 1994 and the current Barcelona outfit.

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The Busby Babes : Remembering United's greatest side of all-time

busby_babes_1955Everytime a successful Manchester United side comes along; comparisons are invariably made with the historic side of the 1950s famously called the 'Busby Babes'. The Red Devils were led by their legendary manager Sir Matt Busby, who lead a hugely gifted squad of young players. Their lack of experience was never a drawback as they unleashed their cavalier style of attacking football. They were set to dominate English, and maybe even European football, for many years to come, but fate struck a cruel blow as their careers ended before they even reached their peak. The Munich disaster killed eight Manchester United team members and injured many more. The poignancy of Sir Matt rising like the phoenix from the jaws of death along with the will of survivors Bobby Charlton, Billy Foulkes and Harry Greg laid the foundations for modern Manchester United.

Sir Matt built an extensive scouting system to foster the development of youth at the club as he chose to breed new players instead of making expensive purchases. Most of the players in that golden age were brought to the club under the age of 20, and developed together to form arguably United's most talented side ever.

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Shankly - The Spirit of everything Red

bill_shanklyIf Dalglish is the King of the Kop, then Bill Shankly was most certainly its Emperor. Though he may no longer be alive, his ideas and principles still linger on in the hearts and minds of all Liverpool fans.

Bill Shankly was born on 2nd September, 1913 in the mining village of Glenbuck, Scotland. He had a tough upbringing and was, for all purposes, quite poor. For him and his four brothers, football was a way to get away from it all. Being a good player, Bill went on to have a pretty successful football career.

His senior career started in the year 1932, when he was signed by Carlisle United from Scottish Junior Football side Cronberry Eglington. A year and 16 appearances later, he was signed by Preston North End for a modest sum of £500. He would go on to make 296 appearances for the Lilywhites scoring 13 goals in the process.

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Ultimate Red Devils - The 10 Best Manchester United Players of All Time

Not many clubs can boast of a history rivalling Manchester United's. The Red Devils, who are the most successful club in England and the best-supported club in the world, have had many teams over the decades that have done well to accumulate accolades and awards for the club. They have also had a plethora of talent across the globe plying their trade for the team, but some players have stood out, looking a cut above the rest and becoming part of Manchester United folklore. Here is our list of the ten best players to grace the red of Manchester United, in chronological order of the beginning of their United careers :

Bobby Charlton (1956-1973) - 73 years old now, Bobby Charlton is still a director of Manchester United, with 58 years passing by since he began his association with the club. A man who famously survived the Munich disaster, Charlton's record of 249 goals has still not been surpassed by any other player donning the red of Manchester United in their history. Success followed him throughout his career, as he won three league titles, a European Cup and even the World Cup with England, winning the Golden Boot for the tournament as well. An attacking midfielder, Charlton was known to have the most humble attitude towards others and a fighting, never-say-die spirit on the field, eventually earning a much deserved knighthood in 1994. Even after the end of his playing career, Charlton had a huge role to play in the legacy of the club, as he was the one pushing for Sir Alex Ferguson's appointment after Ron Atkinson's departure. His requests were listened to, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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The Seven Best Managers in English Football

Great teams are built by great managers, ones who can select the right players, choose the right tactics, turn the corner when things aren't going right, inspire and encourage their troops and act as a mediator between the owners and the footballers. It is true that football is played by the eleven on the pitch, and not the man in the suit on the sidelines, but with a manager as capable and talented as the ones on this list, half the game is won already. Here is our list of the greatest managers to serve the English game, those whose efforts from outside the field have made a lasting impression on the history of the sport in the country :

1) Sir Alex Ferguson

sir_alex_fergusonWas there ever going to any doubting Ferguson's inclusion in this list? The Scot's 25-year tenure with Manchester United has seen the Red Devils go from strength to strength, asserting their status as the most successful team in England and winning countless honours along the way. Ferguson, now regarded as one of the best managers of all time, had garnered decent success before joining United, winning the Scottish League, UEFA Super Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with Aberdeen. He, however, took over Manchester United in less-than-auspicious times, when they were second-from-bottom in the league, but rebuilt the side, pushing them slowly up the table. However, three years into his job and still trophy-less, Ferguson was rumoured to be close to getting the sack, before a great run in the FA Cup won him his first title in 1990. Soon after that began Ferguson's golden era, as the signings of Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel, along with the emergence of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and other youngsters kept the Red Devils' purple patch going. A brilliant knack of never letting his team get old together, Ferguson always managed to bring the right mix of youth and experience into his side, and to date, has made countless transitions to his squads, with the same results. Now at the age of 69, Ferguson still powers on as hungry for success as ever, with the knowledge that he has helped turn British football's history on its head.

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