The Greatest Show On Earth is returning

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After a decent summer break,a summer which featured no international tournaments,the Greatest Show On Earth is returning this weekend with the opening match betwen Wenger’s Arsenal which is going through its biggest crisis in the Arsene Wenger era and Leicester City which is looking to rebound after a not so great last season where they finished mid-table.But this summer the Premier League hasn’t been marked by a major transfer story,besides that for the first time in more than a decade we are going to see Wayne Rooney in blue since we returned to his boyhood club which is Everton and remains to see that the fans will accept him back after he spent more than a decade at Manchester United which is pretty much hated by both Mercyside clubs,But with gaining Rooney,the Toffees lost Romel uLukaku to the Red Devils and in recent years Lukaku has emerged as one of the Toffees most lethal strikers,however Ronald Koeman who took over the bench of the Toffees is more focused on the qualification to the group stage of the UEFA Europe League where in the last qualification round they face Hajduk Split.Meanwhile their cross-town rivals,the Reds have a good sense of optimism ahead of this season.Last season the Reds finished 3rd under Klopp and many Reds fans believe that the club has become a serious title contender.However during the summer the Reds have invested very little,only Mohammad Salah came from AS Roma,while the Reds lost Lucas Leiva to Lazio,like the Toffees,the Reds are involved in Europe for the qualification to the UEFA Champions League and they would be facing non other else than the German sensation of Hoffenheim and it will be interesting to see how the Reds will stand against Hoffenheim in the qualifiers.Meanwhile in Manchester both the Red Devils and the Sky Blues have been strenghting their squads all summer long,especially the Sky Blues which have cleaned up the locker room of names like Zabaleta,Clichy,Kolarov and most notably Joe Hart which his services to the Sky Blues are no longer needed after a loan spell in Italy last season,instead the duo from AS Monaco Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy was brought together with Kyle Walker from Tottenham.On the other hand the Red Devils have brought Lukaku and Matic,but lost Rooney and probably it will be another season for the Red Devils to search for themselves in the post-Ferguson era besides last season they won the UEFA Europe League which gives them an automatic spot for this season’s UEFA Champions League which the Red Devils could hope to return to their glory days under Ferguson,however unlike the Sky Blue they have done very little in the summer transfer market.Going southern in the capital city,the biggest story of the summer is West Ham which bolstesteed its squad with Zabaleta,Hart,Arnautovic and Chicarito Hernandez which had a spell in the Premier League with the Red Devils but after doing soul searing in Spain and Germany has returned to the Premier League,but this season as a Hammers player.The Hammers under Bilic in the last two seasons have an up and down form,but with the names aquired the Hammers should be competing for a place in Europe.Meanwhile the Gunners are in a summer where they are doing a lot of soul searching after last season they finished a mere fifth and we are probably entering in the final two seasons of the Wenger era where he would define the legacy at the club,but real change will be needed at the Emirates if the Gunners want to challenge for the title,for now Wenger is hoping that Alexis Sanchez will stay at the club,together with the aquisition of Alexandre Lacazette it could bolster the Gunners attack.Meanwhile it remains what will be seen at Tottenham,the Spurs didn’t aquired a single player during te summer and have lost Kyle Walker to Manchester City and the Spurs remain the biggest mistery of the new season since there is no new player aquired.The current champions,Chelsea is gearing for a title defence with the aquisitions of Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata which will boast the defence and the attack of the Blues.The new Premier League season will also feature two new clubs which once upon a time have played in the old First Division but never in the Premier League-Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion,both clubs are going to fight for survival with the likes of Burnley,Crystal Palace,Watford,Bournemouth and Swansea.IT is going to be a very interesting relegation battle this season.Anyways this weekend the new Premier League season starts and it is going to be interesting to see who is going to win the title,who is going to challenge for Europe and who is going to drop down to the EFL Championship League.

Is this a record year for Croatian clubs in Europe?

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If there is any country which is going with huge optimism into the new season in European competitions it is Croatia.Never before so many Croatian clubs are in the race for qualifying for major European club competitions which are the UEFA Champons League and the UEFA Europe League besides the real qualifications have started.In recent years only Dinamo Zagreb and Rijeka which was Dinamo’s biggest competitor in recent seasons in the Croatian First Division made some noises in Europe with other clubs only reaching the knockout stages of the qualifiers with trying to survive August.But this year is way different partially thanks to investments being made in Croatian clubs.The defending champion of Croatia which is Rijeka led by Matjaz Kek on the bench played in the UEFA Europe League in recent seasons and shocked the footballing world when they knocked out Stuttgart four years ago in the qualifiers for the UEFA Europe LEague and ever since they have been on the European football map with their home ground being a tough place for opposing European clubs,this seasons the whites from Rijeka are being involved in the qualifiers for the UEFA Champions League since last season they won their first ever Croatian First Division title and the draw matched them in the third qualifying round with Red Bull Salzburg,one of the most hated clubs due to their sponsorship with Red Bull,however Rijeka left a good impression at the first leg in Austria a week ago where the match ended in a 1-1 draw which gives Rijeka a chance to pass to the fourth and final qualifying round to achieve the ultimate dream to play in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.It will come down to tonight’s match at their home ground at the Rujevica stadium and it is the match of the generation for Rijeka to prove their quality and value in front of Europe.Meanwhile the blues from Zagreb have been in turmoil for much of the summer with Ivajlo Petev leaving the bench and Matio Cvitanovic coming to the rescue.For now Dinamo Zagreb is the only Croatian club with a trophy by winning the 1967 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1967 and besides being a major producer of talents for bigger European clubs,Dinamo for decades hasn’t survived the autumn round of European club competitions and made past beyond the group stage of the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europe League besides huge sums of money have been pumped into the club.Instead Dinamo which played in the UEFA Champions League group stage was humiliated by bigger European clubs besides two years ago they won their group match against Arsenal at home.For this season the blues from Zagreb are in for the qualifier for the UEFA Europe League against Norwegian minnows Odd.Going eastern from Zagreb,there is NK Osijek which by far gave the biggest shocker of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europe League qualifiers where they beat by a single goal PSV Eindhoven which caused huge celebrations and huge sense of optimism in Osijek which for years was plagued by disastrous financial situations,but since Hungarian businessman Lorenc Meszaros took over the club the blue-whites from Osijek are ready to make a huge return to the Croatian football scene and to Europe as well.They hope to replicate Rijeka’s success from recent seasons and turn themselves into a title contender in Croatia while making themselves a name in Europe and with the recent victory against PSV they already made a lot of waves,On thursday night at Gradski Vrt,their home ground it will be filled to the last seat since they want to knock out PSV out of Europe.At the end finally there is Hajduk Split which last time was featured in the competition in the 2010-11 season besides having a lot of unsuccessful qualification campaigns the whites from Split believe they can make to UEFA Europe League group stage.But their obstacle is one of the most famous Danish football clubs which is Brondby and Hajduk is known for crashing out on clubs which are weaker than they are.But Poljud will be filled to the last seat and the whites will have a huge support from their home fans.Four Croatian clubs are on the hunt for their place in European competitions which didn’t happened in a long time and all will be known on wednesday and thursday night to find out that is this the year that Croatian clubs will leave a mark in European club competitions and achieve a result worth remembering.

Can Vardar reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League?

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By far the biggest surprise of the current summer qualifications of the UEFA Champions League which the new edition will start in autumn comes from the southern Yugoslav country of Macedonia which in its football history never had a representative in Europe’s elite competition and that is FK Vardar.The red-blacks from Skopje are an apsolute surprise and sensation of the current qualification stage for the UEFA Champions League and if they score another win against FC Copenhagen in the return leg in Denmark,only sky would be the limit for Goce Sedloski’s men and they would be the first ever club from Macedonia to reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.Founded in 1947 with the merger of FK Pobeda and FK Makedonija,FK Vardar was Macedonia’s top club in Yugoslavia where they won the Yugoslav Cup in 1961 by beating NK Varteks in the final and then in 1986 they won their first ever Yugoslav First League title in 1987 but they were stripped of it and it was given to Partizan Belgrade besides they had players like Darko Pančev who later with Red Star Belgrade would win the European Champions Cup,Ilija Nadojski,Dragi Kanatlarovski and Vujadin Stanojković.After the Yugoslav era the red-blacks from Skopje became the most dominant team in Macedonian football with a record of 10 Macedonian Football League titles and in the least three seasons they are the most dominate side in Macedonia with three titles in a row.However European competitions are a different story and the red-blacks have been more or less a less then decent opponent for bigger and stronger clubs from the West and never qualified to a major European club competition,but that might be changing this year and that it by a couple of factors.First it is the bench which under the leadership of former Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb defender Goce Sedloski who took over Vardar’s bench two years ago and made it the club to beat in Macedonia,but this summer made a huge breakthrough by leading the club to its biggest results in Europe,the red-blacks under Sedloski beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s former club Malmo in the 2nd qualifying round of the qualifications of the UEFA Champions League in two legs (1-1,3-1) and with that they shocked Europe by knocking out the skyblues from Scania.Another reason is the club management,Russian businessman Sergey Samsonenko bought FK Varder as well the Hnadball Club Vardar (both male and female teams) and after the handball sections reached the top of Europe,Samsonenko is ready to make another wonder with the football section besides the roster of the red-blacks when it comes to the football section is made of domestic players from Macedonia.Samsonenko is the owner of BetCity which is a sport betting shop entered Varder in  January 2014 when it bought the club for a just mere 80 thousand Euros.Yes you heard it for only 80 thousand Euros but Samsonenko is obliged to invest a minimum of 1.5 million Euros a year into the club and the return of investment is becoming tremendous.Macedonia was never a serious player in European football even during the times of former Yugoslavia,but thanks to Samsonenko,it can become a though place to play and with the results which the red-blacks of Vardar achieved,Macedonia could place itself in the European football map.After they defeated FC Copenhagen at home by a single goal,it all comes to the match in the return leg in Copenhagen on Wednesday night between the red-blacks from Skopje and the home team and if Vardar makes it would be the biggest success of Macedonian football since the independence of the country in 1991.But the biggest question looms can Vardar write history and become the first Macedonian representative in the UEFA Champions League?The answer we might get on Wednesday night in Copenhagen.

Legendary Shirts:Olympique de Marseille

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One of France’s most famous clubs with one of the most unusual shirts of the 1970s is Olympique Marseille which won back-to-back titles back in the early 1970s.Founded in 1899 and based in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille in the Southern France which is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe  the Phocians are one of France’s top clubs enjoying success both at the home and European front.Their first success came in 1924 when they won the Coupe de France but it wasn’t until 1937 that they won their first Ligue 1 title with another title in 1948,however it was under Marcel Leclerc’s presidency of the club that the Phocians would return to prominence after being relegated from the Ligue 1 in 1952,the club returned to Ligue 1 and in 1969 won the Coupe de France with back-to-back titles in 1970 and 1971 where in the club played one of the best strikers from Croatia-Josip Skoblar who in the 1970-71 season scored a record of 44 goal which allowed him to win te European Golden Boot and set a record of goals in a single season in the Ligue 1 which to this day hasn’t been reached.The second golden period for the Phocians came in the late 1980s when under the presidency of Bernard Tapie which under his mandate,he built a team of superstars which consisted with the names of Enzo Francescoli,Eric Cantona,Didier Deschamps,Rodi Voller,Chris Waddle,Jean-Pierre Papin,Fabien Barthez and countless others,that led to the domination of the Phocians in French football from 1989 to 1992 where they won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and the culmitaion of that success was in the triumph in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan which to this day represents the only time that a French club won the UEFA Champions League to this day.However it was overshadowed by a bribery scandal which ruined the club and sent them to Ligue 2 as a punishment with the majority of their stars either retired or being sold to other clubs.Eventually the Phocians have recovered with appearances in two UEFA Cup finals and a Ligue 1 title won 2010.Besides with a recent turbolent history and a fanatic fan base Olympique de Marseille has become one of France’s top clubs and one of the most recognizible French clubs in Europe with a long successful history.

Is the Serie A making a comeback as Europe’s top league?

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There is a month left until the new Serie A season,but the question is the Serie A making a comeback as Europe’s top league?And seeing by the transfer window this summer there is hope that we are getting a more exciting Serie A season than in recent years.And there are many reasons why.Back in the 1990s the Serie A was the football version of the NBA.Never before the Serie A was so competent like in the 1990s and by far it was Europe’s top football league.Italian clubs back then were much more competitive and the Serie A was known to launch new football clubs into the map of Europe starting with Sapmdoria which in the late 1980s and early 1990s under legendary Serbian coach Vujadin Boskov and the Gemelli di gol-Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini were on the top of Italian football for the first part of the 1990s until Mancini and Vialli left the club.However it were the big three from the North to dictate the Serie A-Milan,Inter and Juventus.The Milan clubs were big spenders with wealthy financiers in Silvo Berlusconi and Massimo Moratti who built dream teams.In the early 1990s both Milan clubs were known of bringing stars from the Netherlands and Germany with the rossoneri bringing the Dutch trio of Gullit,Rijakaard and Van Basten,while the nerazzurri brought Klinsmann,Matthaus and Brehme.That represented a rivalry between the two Milan clubs which was seen in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy especially during the match between West Germany and the Netherlands where players from both Milan clubs were featured in the match.Also besides Sampdoria which was the surprise club from the early 1990s,the Serie A launched two more surprise clubs into the European map-Parma and Fiorentina.While the viola didn’t won any European trophy they did become one of cult clubs outside Italy with the Batistuta-Rui Costa combination which tore defences apart and made spectacular results both in Italy and in Europe and they won two Coppa Italia trophies with forays in European competitions.Parma on the other hand was Italy’s surprise club of the 1990s.The gialloblu won three European trophies and a powerful squad which consisted names like Buffon,Chiesa,Crespo,Veron,Stanic,Cannavaro,Brolin,Asprilla,Zola and many other was the club phenomenon of the 1990s besides they were close in numerous occasions of winning the Serie A title but they never did.As the 1990s progressed Italian clubs were the most powerful than ever before the rossoneri had the dream team of Maldini,Boban,Savicevic,Weah,Simone,Baggio (who played for Fiorentina and Juventus),Costacurta,Baresi and Bierhoff.In total the rossoneri have won 5 Serie A titles,3 Supercoppa Italiana and 2 UEFA Champions League titles.The 1990s were truly a golden era for the rossoneri.On the other hand for their city rivals,the nerazzurri the 1990s were a period of lavish spending and a lot of misses,besides that Il fenomeno Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima was brought by Massimo Moratti for a world transfer record and only brought them a UEFA Cup title in 1998 with earlier successes in the UEFA Cup in 1991 and 1994.The real rival to the Milan clubs was Juventus and the bianconeri were the rossoneri’s biggest rivals of the 1990s with their own team of stars which consisted of Jugovic,Vialli,Ravanelli,Del Piero,Conte,Sousa,Zidane,Inzaghi,Davids and countless others,by far it was the bianconeri’s successful decade in Europe where they won the UEFA Champions League and reached a final in Munich against Borussia Dortmund which they lost.The 1990s were the most successful decade of the Serie A where Italian clubs for six consecutive seasons have reached the final of the UEFA Champions League,dominated the UEFA Cup by winning on seven occations during the decade,signed world class players and brought millions of fans across the world to love the Serie A and Italian football in general.With the new millienium all that waned,too many clubs have gone bankrupt and financial problems have appeared in the Milan clubs as well with that the Serie A has waned in quality so is Italian football in general.However the football NBA has encouraging signs that it is returning back to prominence,just one needs to look the situation this summer at AC Milan which has bought a complete new squad and has new wealthy financial backers from China and many clubs are planning to build new stadiums to keep with modern stadium infrastructure in other football leagues across Western Europe.One can hope that the football NBA of the Serie A is making a comeback but we hope it will happen very soon.