Casa-Museo Zacarias Gonzalez, Salamanca, A Memorable Visit

Zacarías González is not a name that appears in many art books or catalogues. It’s not a name that appears on the title tags in many public galleries. It does appear attached to the name of a less than significant building in Calle Alcaron in Salamanca, the Casa-Museo Zacarías González.

Zacarías González was an artist. He was also a teacher. He taught drawing. He was born in 1923 and died in 2003. He lived most of his life in Salamanca, the city of his birth. He spent some time in Madrid, some on national service in Navarra and, in later years, when the Castilian winter was felt more keenly, he headed south to Alicante. He was a lifelong teacher of drawing and painted in his spare time. He does not seem to have travelled extensively.

In the Calle Alcaron gallery, a visitor can see most of the artist’s life’s work, which divides itself across three broad periods, the representational, the abstract and the re-discovery of a changed realism. Zacarías González is largely unknown in international art circles, hardly known even in Spain and is a name that only aficionados in Salamanca would recognise. So why devote an article to him? The answer is simple. It’s the quality of the experience that deserves publicity and wider appreciation.

In his biographical note in the gallery’s excellent catalogue, Louis Javier Moreno observes that for many twentieth century artists, the life is the art. In the case of Zacarías González, however, he insists that this should be inverted so that for this artist, the art was his life. These are pictures that are intensely personal, enigmatic, intellectual, reflective, self-analytical, self-critical, refined, ascetic. They are also incredibly beautiful. At no point does this work try to shock, strive for noticeable individuality above communication, use overstatement to momentarily shock. Everything here simply communicates.

As an artist, Zacarías González seems to have visited several twentieth century styles in the same analytical way that an interested tourist might become familiar with a new place. He seems always to have been learning, but his powers of assimilation were considerable. He notices stylistic detail, contextualizes it within his own experience and then, rather than copy its dictates, he uses this assimilated language to communicate a personal world in visual form.

And so here, in three floors of this Casa-Museo set in a modest house, we are presented with recognisable associations of early Picasso, cubism, di Chirico-like surrealism, Tapies-like enigmatic abstraction, classical forms that might have been painted on the plaster of Pompei, Klee and Rouault and probably quite a lot more. But these are not copies. They are not imitations. They are personal works that inhabit a stylistic world and use the language of that world to share potential expression and thus, via that learned assimilated language, state something profoundly personal, and thus quite different from the still identifiable influence.

The gallery’s website can easily be found by enetering the name and location into a search engine and many of the works it houses may be viewed there. Personal highlights included Cerrada hasta octubre, Fuga, Fuego fatuo, Charra, La tunecina, El viaje del Dios, Viejo, viejo Mondrian, La suite de Nueva Orleans, and many more.

One of the joys of traveling in Spain is to share the oft-expressed pride in local heroes, be they artists, writers, musicians, architects, or whatever. From the famous, such as Dali in Figueres or Chillida in San Sebastian or Sorolla in Madrid (which, of course, was his residence, not his birthplace) to the less well-known internationally such as the Galician painters in Ourense and Pontevedra, those of the Almería school, or the Basque artists in Vittoria or Bilbao. Each town in each province seems to express a quiet, understated pride in local achievement and, crucially, devote resources to celebrate that achievement with always understated, but real pride. There may be queues of tourists in Figueres, but one often needs to seek out those galleries that display local work. One needs, for instance, to book an appointment to visit the Chillida. Also here in Salamanca, there’s an email link on the Casa-Museo website that allows a visit to be pre-arranged. One can’t just turn up to visit to the Casa-Museo Zacarías González. But do not be deterred. The appointment is easy to obtain, and the rewards are memorable.

The visitor to Salamanca will have the cathedrals, the University, the palaces and the stunningly beautiful old town on the list, not to mention the art nouveau gallery. But do not let the apparent obstacle of having to arrange a visit to this gallery deter you. Any visit to Salamanca by anyone with the slightest interest in art should include a trip to the Casa-Museo Zacarías González. You will not be disappointed.

Arsenal Transfer News – Does Arsenal Have As Much Money As They Claim?

I have decided to write this little in the pretext to highlight the significance of the financial problems faced by Arsenal and had subsequently affect the team’s performance.

Point: Arsenal’s board lead by Peter Hill-Wood and Co has not kept their promise to hand Wenger and the fans the supposed budget to buy players.

30/08/2008: Hill-Wood says Arsenal have plenty of money to spend and that Wenger’s critics should stop telling the Frenchman how to do his job. He said: Everyone tells Arsene how he ought to run the place but no-one is a better judge than him. We have plenty of money and enough to spend.

19/12/08: Arsenal’s Board have made it clear that funds are available should he wish to spend them next month. Indeed, some reports have suggested that Wenger has been urged to splash the cash by the Club’s hierarchy. At his pre-match press conference, the manager reiterated that HE has the final decision over potential reinforcements. «They [the Board] let me do what I want to do,» said Wenger. «I know how much money I can spend and I will try to do it in a wise way.»

23/12/08: Arsène Wenger admits he is more likely to enter the transfer market next month in the wake of Cesc Fabregas’ knee injury. «Yes [I am more likely to buy], but we also have internal solutions so we are not desperate because of that,» said Wenger.

02/01/09: Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood admits manager Arsene Wenger has a limited budget for the January market. «I don’t think there is a lot of money anywhere,» Hill-Wood said in the papers. «One has got to look ahead – in the future there is probably not going to be much more money coming in.

04/01/09: The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is on a collision course with his higher-ups over the modest transfer budget he has been given this winter. The Frenchman is eager to sign Andrei Arshavin, but Zenit St Petersburg are demanding in excess of 20 million Euros for their star forward – a figure the Gunners have thus far been unable to match.

The North London club have always maintained that they will back Wenger to the hilt in the transfer market, although that claim has rarely been tested due to the gaffer’s low-budget, youth-oriented approach. But now that the ex-Monaco boss has set his sights on a big-money target, the Emirates board are unwilling to free up the funds required to seal the deal. This is is not the first report of friction between Wenger and his bosses to emerge this season. Indeed, it is has been whispered that the 59-year-old could break his contract with Arsenal to join Real Madrid next summer. That remains the remotest of remote possibilities, but if the Gunners fail to secure Champions League qualification this term – they currently sit fifth in the Premier League table – their long-serving manager could consider his options.

May we know where are the 50 million pounds that the board has promised us? Where are the support that was supposedly promised to Wenger, now that we want a player?

La Liga Rules for Non-European Players

La Liga or La Liga BBVA is the top-level professional club football competition in Spain. It is considered one of the most popular as well as competitive domestic leagues throughout the world, with English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 being other most viewed national leagues. Just like every football league in the world, La Liga is also guided by specific rules as prepared by the Spanish football authority in alignment with the FIFA guidelines. Let us now take a closer look at the La Liga rules for the non-EU players.

Rules for Non-European Players in La Liga

According to the rules in La Liga, a club playing in the top division Spanish football league is not allowed to recruit more than three non-EU players. The same figure is 2 for the second division football clubs (LigaAdelate). The clubs in the Segunda Division B are not allowed to recruit any non-EU player. The clubs relegated to the second or third division are, however, permitted to retain the non-EU players until their contracts expire.

According to a decision adopted by the Spanish Federation, the teams playing in La Liga and the second division football in the country should make an optimum use of the rules and construct their squads with the foreign payers as many as permissible by the authority.

Citizenship for Foreign Players

As per La Liga rules, the players can claim citizenship of Spain from their native lands. A non-European player can apply for Spanish citizenship. However, he must play for five years in Spain in order to be eligible for Spain citizenship. Furthermore, the players arriving from Caribbean, African and the Pacific counties (commonly referred to as ACP countries) are not included in the non-EU category due to the Kolpak Ruling.


From La Liga, we will head our way towards English Premier League side Arsenal. Fondly called as the Gunners, they are one of the most successful Premier League sides in England. Currently managed by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have their own home ground at the Emirates Stadium. They have produced some of the big names in the world football and attracted several top-tier players to London.

Achievements by Arsenal

Arsenal has a good number of silverware in their collection. The club has won Premier League titles 13 times. They won their last Premier League title in 2004 and currently lead the league table to make it 14 in their profile. They have won FA Cup 12 times in their history and lifted FA Community Shield.

Arsenal honors are not limited to only achievements within domestic field but also extended to international level. They have won UEFA Champions League as well as former UEFA Europa League (Former UEFA Cup). They are also the winner of FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. In 1994, Arsenal wrapped up UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

Arsenal has several stars on their board. They brought German International Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on a club record deal in summer of 2013.

Is Every Soccer (Football) Player Unique?

1960’s – 2011 comparison (Pele)

There is no doubt that Brazilian striker Pele was the best player of the 1960’s. Pele and Maradona are the two players who are always mentioned when the common question is asked, ‘Who was the best player to have ever lived?’ Pele will often be the answer. So what was Pele like? Pele was a natural goal scorer, the Santos striker was incredibly athletic and his dribbling/balance combination was unstoppable for defenders. His ability to go past defenders at such speed and maintain such balance credited him with many goal scoring opportunities, which more likely than not Pele would score emphatically. Pele had technique, the passing ability of a central midfield maestro, the engine of a Marathon runner and the power of a steam train. His statistics are sensational, 1281 goals in 1363 games.

No one can live up to Pele’s name; Manchester United’s George Best in the 70’s was a similar type of player to Pele but was more a winger than a forward. In the modern era, few have been compared to Pele but none have lived up to the reputation that Brazilian Pele possessed. Alexandre Pato of AC Milan was tipped to be the Pele of this era, but he has to yet to show any phenomenal form to even label him the one of the best strikers today let alone ever lived. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is the closest of this decade that we have compared to Pele. Rooney possesses the same power and physique that Pele does, the same ability to pick out a 70 yard cross field ball and the same vision and technique. England striker Rooney just doesn’t have same amount of pace that Pele did which combines with the factor that Rooney doesn’t particularly go past players with skill and flair.

Wayne Rooney has scored goals that you wouldn’t think were possible with the stunning volley against Newcastle and the recent potential goal of the season overhead against rivals Manchester City. Pele scored stunning goals in the 60’s and 70’s for Santos and Brazil, one ‘nearly’ goal that would’ve been one of the greatest goals of all time. His dummy against Uruguay that left the keeper for dead when the ball went one way and Pele went around the other way, but his shot off balance and on a tight angle just went wide.

1970’s – 2011 comparison (Johann Cruyff)

Johann Cruyff was part of the Ajax side that inherited the ‘total football’ philosophy introduced by Dutch coach Rinul Michels. Former Barcelona and Ajax front man Johann Cruyff’s style of play was influenced by the total football approach he conducted to his game. His natural position was centre forward but because of the tactical way the Ajax side played the game, he roamed around and ended up playing on the wing and central midfield more often than not. The Holland striker spent half of the 1970’s at Barcelona for Rinus Michels, where he was crowned European Footballer of the Year at his time at Barcelona in consecutive years.

Cruyff was dubbed the ‘Pythagoras in boots’ because of his ability to pick out passes from angles that looked impossible. Not only did he have an eye for a pass but he had tremendous speed and his ability to accelerate away from defenders which was helped by the ‘Cruyff turn’ named after the Dutch maestro is still a turn associated with football 40 years later.

I don’t think any striker could grace Cruyff’s ability to play in multiple positions to maximum effect so I’ve chosen a playmaker and speed merchant who would grace Cruyff’s technical and physical attributes to his game, Ryan Giggs. Both players in their prime had the ability to go past players with flair and tremendous pace creating goal scoring opportunities. Giggs isn’t as prolific as Cruyff as a finisher but Giggs certainly lives up to the playmaking abilities that Cruyff possessed. Ryan Giggs in his prime was lightening over 5-10 yards and could maintain such frightening pace for 40-50 yards which he shared with Cruyff.

However as football has changed much over the years since Cruyff’s successful days at Ajax and Barcelona, the style of play has changed and there aren’t many similar type of players of Cruyff’s calibre that could play naturally upfront and drop back deeper and still be extremely effective.

1980’s – 2011 comparison (Diego Maradona)

Maradona or Messi? There is no doubt that of today’s game, Lionel Messi is the nearest if not potential candidate to surpass Maradona’s ability as a footballer. Former Barcelona striker Diego Maradona along with Pele is one of the best players to have ever graced this planet. He wasn’t as clinical as Pele but taking nothing away from Maradona he still had a very good goal scoring record for club and country. The style of play on the ball for Maradona and Messi is identical. They both dribble with extreme pace and a very low centre of gravity; they both possess extreme dribbling skills with the ability to have 5-10 touches in the space of seconds to make it impossible for defenders to tackle. Many have questioned whether Lionel Messi could do what Maradona did at Napoli. Maradona won what is now the Italian ‘serie A’ with Napoli with what was a very average squad, Maradona being the pivotal part of the Napoli side and no doubt wouldn’t have been title winners if Maradona wasn’t on their books. Could Messi do a similar fate at Blackburn of the English Premiership, Udinese of the Italian Serie A? Many doubt whether Messi could.

In contrast Messi has achieved a lot more than Maradona at this age having already won the Spanish La Liga 4 times and Champions League 2 times. Messi is only 23, Maradona at 23 won the treble with Barcelona in 1983 and an Argentine title with Boca Juniors in 1981 but that was it. So Messi so far has had a better career on silverware success but Maradona’s achievements at Napoli and on the international arena set him aside to Messi. Infamously, Maradona also has a World Cup to his name in 1986 which Maradona made his name.

There is no doubt that Barcelona winger Messi scores goals from all sorts of angles and all sorts of scintillating runs but Maradona’s second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup has been regarded as the goal of the century by many people. Maradona travelled with the ball 60 metres and took on six English players in the process, rounded England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and scored from a tight angle to beat England 2-1 in the quarter finals of the 1986 World Cup which they went on to win. The ex-Napoli striker also scored the very controversial ‘hand of god’ goal in the same game which has been spoken about ever since. Messi hasn’t really shined on the international stage and if he does, it might be what takes him past his boyhood hero’s status.

1990’s – 2011 comparison (Ronaldo)

He was a natural goal scorer of his era and by far the best striker in his generation for simply scoring goal after goal. Ronaldo played at the highest level through the 90’s and early 00’s, he represented PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan in an illustrious career that was disrupted by serious knee injuries.

Brazilian striker Ronaldo was a born goal scorer, he had the ability to go past players with his skill and power but defiantly his threat was in the box. He scored 62 goals in just under 100 appearances for Brazil and has been voted Brazil’s best ever striker since Pele by numerous judging panels. Former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo was indestructible, if he got in the box it was inevitable he was going to score.

As Ronaldo has still being playing till quite recent, there hasn’t been long for anyone to potentially replace Ronaldo’s prowess for being a known goal scorer. However, there a few players that this season in world Football has started to develop their reputation. Javier Hernandez of Manchester United is one striker that could have the potential to live up to Ronaldo’s abilities in front of goal. He already has 16 goals for Manchester United in his first season and is a predator in the box similarly to Ronaldo. It’s doubtful whether Mexican forward Hernandez will have the impact on world football that Ronaldo did, but the Mexican is a very similar striker to what Ronaldo was in his prime.

Barcelona’s David Villa is another striker who is known for his potential in the box. Spanish hit man David Villa has earned his trade at Valencia for several years and finally sealed a move to Barcelona where he already has 21 goals to his name. Villa has also lived up to Ronaldo’s international reputation, having already won the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010 with Spain being a key member of the winning side in both tournaments with his contribution of goals.

2000’s – 2011 comparison (Zidane)

One of the most gifted players of this century was French midfielder and former Juventus/Bordeaux midfielder Zidane. One of the most natural players at playing the game, Zidane glided through the game in a nonchalant manner that saw him one of footballs most composed players ever to have graced the game. An out and out central midfielder, Zidane possessed a goal scoring ability from midfield and also the ability to craft out magic in midfield to launch attacks for his side.

Zidane joined Real Madrid from Juventus in 2001 for a world record fee at the time of around 50 million pounds. Zidane enjoyed success in Real Madrid, winning the Champions League and the Spanish La Liga in his 6 years at the club. Not to mention becoming a World cup winner with France in 1998 and a runner up in 2006. Zidane was a tall, strong midfielder at 6’1 he was no fool at defending and wasn’t afraid to challenge for an aerial battle but Zidane came alive in the attacking half and his deft touches on the ball and he seemed to have eyes in the back of his head at times with his awareness of space around him.

Not many footballers have composure as a skill to their game because of the extreme amounts of pressure footballers are put under and now with all the money at stake. However, Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov is one of very few footballers that possess superb composure on the ball which is a very gracious skill to have. Bulgarian striker Berbatov and French midfielder Zidane also share the same style of control and first touch, with Berbatov having one of the greatest techniques in the world today similarly to Zidane in his prime. Although ex-Tottenham striker Berbatov is an out and out forward and Zidane never played upfront, the abilities they both have are very similar. Even their mental approaches are very alike, both are very quiet and don’t particularly talk much when competing competitively. Both have tremendous control on the ball, both have the ability to go past players with the skill on the ball rather than speed or strength.

Great players are easy to come by; it’s the magical players that are hard to come by. Who’s going to replace Barcelona’s Messi’s or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s of today’s game in a few years? Football has the ability to produce stars to show on the world stage which is what makes football such an amazing sport to watch.

The Champions League Final 2011: Manchester United V Barcelona, Wembley Stadium, 28th May 2011

On May 28th 2011 the World’s ‘best’ team, Barcelona, travel to Wembley Stadium in London to take on the power of Manchester United. After destroying Real Madrid and Schalke in their semi-finals, these two giants of World football will do battle for the premier prize in club football. On display will be some of the planet’s most talented players in Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Villa, Bojan, Mascherano, Alves, Rooney, Vidic, Ferdinand, Hernandez, Berbatov, Van der Saar, Evra, and, of course, the very best of all in the Argentinean genius Lionel Messi.

Barcelona, given their comprehensive victory over United in 2009 and their awesome pedigree over the past few seasons, will go into the final as strong favorites to lift the trophy and conquer Europe for a second time in three years. Their La Liga form has again been outstanding this season as they have pulled away from the big spending Ronaldo / Kaka led Real Madrid at the top of the table. David Villa, after a slightly slow start by his very high standards, has started regularly find the net and shown the form he did for previous club Valencia. Add to that the masterful passing and possession of Iniesta and Xavi, the vision, skill and finishing of Messi and it’s easy to see why Barca score so many goals. Lionel Messi has scored 52 goals so far this season in all competitions – that, by anyone’s standards is amazing and will be giving Alex Ferguson and his players countless sleepless nights.

Manchester United’s form has gathered pace as the season has progressed. After a slow start, with a number of draws against lower table sides, they have established themselves at the summit of the Premier League table going into the remaining 3 games of the season. They face a massive test against title rivals Chelsea on Sunday 08th May at Old Trafford. Should they win or draw that match they will be highly likely to win the Premier League title, which would see them surpass Liverpool’s record for the most league titles.

In Wayne Rooney and Hernandez United have two strikers in red hot form. So much so that they are keeping top scorer Berbatov on the sidelines. It will be interesting to see how Alex Ferguson addresses Barcelona’s midfield masters in the final. I expect him to pack the midfield with five players, and play Rooney alone upfront. That may mean Hernandez is limited to a cameo role.

This game has all the ingredients to go down as one of the greatest ever Champions League Finals. Will Manchester United gain revenge for the mauling they received in the 2009 Final, or will Fergie mastermind a victory over the seemingly unplayable Messi and Co? Come the 28th May 2011 and all will be revealed on the magnificent Wembley pitch. I for one can’t wait!

Will Milito Follow Mourinho to Madrid?

At the same time as a outcome of Jose Mourinho gossip that he would move to Real Madrid next season, so therefore one of his players, Diego Milito perhaps as well pointed out that he will leave the San Siro next season.

Milito is a third person as well as a following player who reveals with the intention of he perhaps leave Inter in the season ahead of time. Initially, just Jose Mourinho stating with the intention of he would move to Real Madrid next season. Not long before, spin to Douglas Maicon who as well declared that he might go along the coach’s company to El Real. Now, go the mainstay Inter striker, Diego Milito, who confirmed with the intention of he too would go along his coach to Los Blancos.

«In football, you in no way know what will take place in the upcoming. Now I get an offer which is very valuable and we’ll find out what will take place soon,» Milito said

Curiously, the striker who became important victory in the final of the Champions League Inter Milan versus Bayern Munenchen it suddenly turned 180 degrees as he publicly welcomed Inter Milan in Italy on Sunday (23 / 5) morning local time. Ex-Real Zaragoza striker revealed with the intention of he will complete his contract left behind in the first three years Nerazzuri.

«My contract still left behind three seasons and I will stay at Inter,» Milito supposed on Sky Sport 24.

Some Italian media alleged with the purpose of what was alleged on Sky Sport Milito is a tall tale. Because, Jose Mourinho was not in attendance by the celebration event held to salutation the arrival of Inter skuat I Nerazzuri in Italy and supposed of Mou is negotiating to bring his favorite player was to Madrid if «The Special One» really encouraged.

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Talisman Hazard, Back Where He Belongs

For Eden Hazard, the first season at Chelsea was supposed to be difficult, given the Premier League’s immense physical demands and his modest stature at 5’8″. Hazard though announced himself in a respectable way with 13 goals in the season. The next season got him 17 goals plus the PFA Young Player of the Year award. The season after, he scored another 19 and won the PFA player of the Year award. Both seasons he was unanimously voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year.

Three seasons with the West London outfit, and Hazard was a superstar. His dribbling skills were mesmerizing, his ability to outfox defenders with ease was a treat to watch. He could score at will, his pace was amazing and his set-pieces were brilliant.

Indeed, terminologies like ‘the next Messi’ and ‘a future Ballon d’or’ were heard when referring to Hazard. And while Hazard did find himself crashing on the football turf often, courtesy of some aggressive defending, his form took an abruptly similar turn before long.

Playing the 2015-16 season for the defending champions of the Premier League, Hazard lost possession often, and it looked like his heart was not in the game. He tried switching it up but nothing came of it. His tally of just six goals bore a symbiotic relationship to Chelsea’s own decline over the season as they endured a lowly 10th-place finish. Unfortunately for the Belgian, he bore the brunt of the criticism from the media, former players and pundits.

They said he was a ‘flash in the pan’, ‘weakling’ and ‘overrated’. PSG and Real Madrid generously offered to give him an out. West London was not a happy place.

All that was about to change.

The new season brought in a new manager from Italy Antonio Conte and a new formation that did wonders for Chelsea, and indeed, Hazard.

As part of the tip of the unusual 3-4-3, Hazard found all the boost he needed. With his hunger back, he tore apart opposition defenders, looking stronger and sharper. He was free-scoring once more and his passes and first touches were precise and incisive.

Fuelled by his 14 goals so far presently the West Londoners sit pretty atop the league table with a bit of daylight between them and their nearest opponents. He has definitely shut all the doubters and stormed his way back into elite status. Those Messi comparisons and Ballon d’or statements are back in circulation.

A heck of a turnaround indeed for the Belgian wizard!

Football Jerseys Hunt

Football has emerged as one of the greatest sports in the world. Due to its popularity, football fans have grown in very large numbers. For the love of the game, jerseys are making a hit as the most popular sport items in the market. A lot of fans want to be seen with their favorite football jersey. That’s right! By wearing these, they can show their admiration for their team.

And it’s now becoming a trend after a long time. It’s more than a fashion statement! With the growing enthusiasm for the sport, all fans are looking forward to finding a good jersey from their favorite team or player. You will find people of all age’s group are hunting all kinds of shirts in various football matches.

You will find them hunt the collection of the most popular clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool or Real Madrid. Moreover, when a star like Beckham or Ronaldo is being transferred into a different club, these fanatics can’t hardly wait for these stars’ jersey to make public.

This demand has caught the attention of some of the leading sport brands such as Adidas or Nike to supply the enthusiasts. Look at their stores, their football collections are making huge sales! And their sales will get better when there is a big event like the World Cup or Euro Cup. These big events are always making their shares hit top level at Wall Street.

The collection would include a large range of cheerfully colored and vibrant shirts available in different styles. You see, most of the fans are looking forward to short-sleeved shirts that can be very comfortable in summer. And not only that, a throwback jersey is also making its way as a fashion style statement. This item had been worn by several great football stars such as Pele and Maradona.

2010 World Cup Football South Africa Showcases Worldclass Black Talent

Yes, the world is in the throes of football fever. The 2010 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup football, which wows the globe every four years is now in its quarter final stage and all bets are on to see who will capture this year’s final cup. Will the indomitable Germans beat the resilient Argentineans or, will the Netherlands score an upset? World Cup Football is hands down, the greatest and most highly anticipated sporting event of all time. Two hundred and four nations tried to qualify for thirty two spots, with the U.S. qualifying for the first time in decades. The 2006 final match between Italy and France was watched by an estimated 715 million. With shifting demographics and 21st century technology rendering borders nearly obsolete, this year’s tally is anyone’s guess. Aficionados pour into stadiums, huddle around television sets, with gladiator-like fervor. Histories are invoked, wars waged, players pilloried and publicly chastised. Allegiances for players and countries are drawn in stone with blood and sweat.

It is known universally as, «the beautiful game,» for its elegant simplicity, the divinely appointed athletic prowess of its players and its appeal to the common man. The skill of the play, the passion and the enduring love for the game creates a brotherhood that transcends the sport. The unparalleled high and mindless exhilaration of GOOOOOAAAL! Much like basketball, it elevates its gifted players to god-like status, while simultaneously connecting them with the mortals who live vicariously through them. More than any other sport, football is a great equalizer. Because not mere color of skin, or nationality or Club can dictate ability or greatness. It simply is. A boy from a favela of Brazil with a devastating strike or from an obscure village in Côte d’Ivoire can become a striker for a world-class English Club. A good number come from exceedingly difficult circumstances, where pulling yourself up by the bootstraps often means borrowing a pair of cleats and heading to a game on a dusty bowl. Today’s black football players who hail from far-flung countries to play for European Clubs such as Inter Milan, Barcelona and Manchester United. But for World Cup, they return to play only for their national team. This is not to say that racism in football is not a serious issue. Taunts and behavior of fans can be unspeakably ugly, cruel and primitive, coming as it does from a contingent that remains stubbornly ignorant and primitive. That players consistently rise above it is a testament to their personal strength and integrity. The game has become a way of life that can change the trajectory of lives and communities. Stunning paychecks are often accompanied by lofty commercial endorsement from Nike, Gillette, and others. Players share their good fortune, donating substantial amounts to build hospitals, schools, and life-saving social service programs.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is the first played on the continent of Africa and has the potential to shift global perceptions on a number of levels. From the Africa Cup of Nations to 2010 World Cup, footballers of African descent and nationality have put the world on notice: they are a force with which to be reckoned. Just ask Team USA.

And no self-respecting football fan ever calls it soccer. It’s football, now and always.

Here are eight of the world’s best and brightest black football players of the 2010 World Cup South Africa.

Samuel Eto’o

Country: Cameroon

Club: Inter Milan; Cameroon national team

Position: Striker

Earnings: $12. 7 million

The world’s been put on notice. Hands-down one of the top left-back in the world, Samuel Eto’o’s achievements are momentous for his country and his club. He exemplifies football excellence in the vein of the great legends and has surpassed expectations in every club for which he has played. His performance has been consistently excellent and he is at present the most decorated African player of all time, including African Player of the Year for three consecutive years. A goal scoring machine, Eto’o scored over 100 goals in five seasons with FC Barcelona. He is captain of the Cameroon national team and currently Africa’s best-paid football player. He has participated in two World Cups and five African Nations Cups and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Nations Cup, (capturing championship twice) with 18 goals. In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Eto’o became joint leading goalscorer

As a member of the Cameroon national team, he was a gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Didier Drogba:

Country: Ivory Coast/Côte d’Ivoire

Club: Chelsea

Position: Striker

Earnings: $7.5 million Endorsements: Pepsi; Nike, Samsung

Mark the name for it is the future of football. Don’t be fooled by Drogba’s late entry to the football arena, he in a powerhouse. Known for breaching impregnable defenses, Drogba is a goalkeepers’ nightmare. Signed by Chelsea for $37 million, he has proved invaluable. He has scored more goals for the club than any other foreign player and is it’s 7th highest goal scorer ever. most promising African football players, he is one of the top scorers in the Premier League. Captain and all-time top scorer of the Côte d’Ivoire national football team, Drogba was signed to Chelsea for a record breaking fee of £24 million, making him the most expensive Côte d’Ivoire player in history. Drogba came to prominence as one of the world’s foremost strikers in 2006 when he won the league title with Chelsea and captained the national team for the first time. In the 2006 World Cup he scored Côte d’Ivoire’s first ever goal of the competition and was chosen the 2006 African Footballer of the Year. He is the only player to score in six English cup finals.

But much of this pales in comparison to his humanitarian work for his country. After Côte d’Ivoire qualified for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba pleaded for a ceasefire between the combatants of his country’s deadly 5 year civil war, which was honored shortly after. In 2007, he was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated his $4.5 million signing on fee for his endorsement of Pepsi towards the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan.

Maicon Douglas Sisenando

Country: Brazil

Club Team: Internazionale AKA Inter Milan

Position: Defender

Earnings:$5.4 million

A gifted righ-sided fullback and formidable back-field, Maicon is a something of a phenomenon in Brazilian football – not an easy feat. He excels at defensive games and provides great support for his team. Maicon scored Brazil’s first 2010 World Cup goal – a tight angle shot – against Korea in their first game. Maicon’s contribution to Inter Milan have included staunch defending and offensive support, place him in contention for the 2010 ballon d’Or, the European Footballer of the year award. In a nod to his prowess, Real Madrid recently paid £28 million for him to join their Club.

Patrice Evra:

Country: France

Club Team: Manchester United

Position: Defender, Full-back; French captain

Earnings: $4 million

Evra is his own version of the United Nations. Born in Senegal of Guinean heritage and a French national, he is one of Manchester United ‘s most valuable players and oddly, captain of the French national team. Arguably one of the best left backs in the world and a wicked left wingback Evra has won Premier League titles and the Champions League with Manchester United. During United’s 07-08 season, Evra became a key member of United’s defense. But he is not without controversy. Following the dismissal of teammate, Nicolas Anelka from the squad after his dust-up with coach Raymond Domenech, Evra led a player mutiny against the decision and publicly denounced the coach. Asa result, Evra was benched for the final game against South Africa. Even so, he returns to a highly distinguished career.

Thierry Henry

Country: France

Club Team: Barcelona; French national team

Position: Striker

Earnings: Annual salary plus bonus: $6.2 million, Other income: $6.2 million

Endorsements: Pepsi, Gilette, Reebok

He is one of the most recognized and lauded players in football and certainly A worthy distinction for one of the most prominent forwards in the sport. During his meteoric rise at Arsenal, the phenomenal Henry emerged as leading goal-scorer for almost every season with 226 goals in all competitions. The phenomenal Frenchman won two league titles and three FA Cups and was twice nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year. Possessed of devastating speed and superhero agility, he remains the leading all-time goal-scorer in Europe with 42 goals with a flair for impossible, dramatic goals. Despite the controversy surrounding Henry’s propensity for using his hand to set up a goal, he is a football institution that has elevated the sport to an art form.

Nicolas Anelka

Country: France

Club Team: Chelsea (ENG); French national team

Position: Striker

Earnings: $5.8 million Endorsements: Puma

Though his petulance rivals his potential, Anelka has shown tremendous potential as a striker. A relentless scorer who is lightning fast with superb control, Anelka’s goal won France its World Cup match against Ireland. His three-and-a-half year deal and his reported fee means more money has been spent on transferring Nicolas over the course of his career than on any other player in football history.

Sully Muntari Country: Ghana

Club Team: Internazionale AKA Inter Milan

Position: Midfielder

Earnings: $5.3 million, Endorsements: Puma

If Ghana takes World Cup, you can bet Muntari will be instrumental to their win. A football prodigy, Muntari was just 16 when he played for Ghana at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. He was voted as an All-Star Player during the 2008 African Cup of Nations Tournament in Ghana.

Yaya Toure

Country: Ivory Coast

Club Team: Barcelona

Position: Midfielder

Earning: $3.7 million

Toure’s titanic stature and gushing energy combine to make him one of the best midfielders in modern football, with a perfect combination of physical power with superb technique. He is the first player from Côte d’Ivoire to win the UEFA Champions League, in 2008/09 and one of the driving forces behind the team that rewrote football history by winning six trophies in a single season. He was recently transferred from Barcelona to Manchester City for £25m, where he’ll join his brother, brother and club captain, Kolo. He was a powerful midfielder for his native Côte d’Ivoire, who made their first appearance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

FC Barcelona Players – Dani Alves

If any player has all the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ Barcelona signing, then it has to be Dani Alves.

With the potential of being to right back what Roberto Carlos was to left back, Dani Alves has the lot – pace in abundance, aggression, skill, attitude and seemingly limitless energy.   Who needs a right winger when Alves is playing right back?

Born in Juazeiro in Brazil in 1983, Daniel Alves da Silva first came to the notice of European eyes whilst playing for Brazil in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships.   Sevilla snapped Dani up from his first professional club, Esporte Clube Bahía, and, during season 2003/04 he really began to shine in Spanish football.   As part of the Sevilla side that won the UEFA Cup in consecutive seasons, Dani Alves began to develop his reputation as a tough tackling, marauding full back.   In fact, in 175 career games for the Andalucian side, Alves scored 11 goals – not bad for someone who didn’t take the penalties.

After the 2006/07 season, Chelsea appeared to be on the brink of signing Alves – at least they thought they were.   They reckoned without Sevilla’s powerful and idiosyncratic president, José María Del Nido, who took exception to Chelsea’s methods and insisted on holding out for a transfer fee that even Chelsea thought was too high.   Much to the player’s annoyance at the time, Alves started the following season an unwilling Sevilla player.   There then followed one of those ‘if he doesn’t like it he can stay in the reserves for the season’ comments that presidents love to make and the relationship between club and player appeared irrevocably destroyed.

The tragic death of team mate Antonio Puerta, however, put things in perspective for all the parties concerned and Alves went on to make 33 league appearances for Sevilla, in what turned out to be his final season for them.

When he did leave, in the summer of 2008, as the world’s most expensive right back for a potential total fee of EUR35 million, Alves left Sevilla in tears with the memorable phrase that he arrived at the club a boy, but was leaving it as a man.

Watching Alves play for Barcelona now, it is hard to imagine him playing for any other team.   His exuberant style completely fits into his new surroundings.   He does appear to be in defence one second and in attack the next and his tireless enthusiasm quickly won over the local supporters.   In seemingly no time at all, he developed an intuitive relationship with Lionel Messi that sees them linking on the right flank and mesmerising the opposition.

Now fully established in the Brazilian national team – he scored one of the three goals in the team that won the Copa America in 2007, Dani Alves can perhaps claim to be the best attacking right back in modern world football.