Are we witnessing the birth of a new football superpower? Just a few years ago, Chinese league football play was little more than a footnote. With the Premier League, the La Liga, the Bundesliga, the Serie A, and the Ligue 1-not to mention other increasingly competitive divisions like the Dutch Eredivisie-what was there to draw players to China? And without the star players, what did China have to draw international audiences?
In the past few weeks, though, it's become clear that ignoring the Chinese Super League might not be an option for much longer. This week alone, there are numerous high-profile headlines pertaining to Chinese football. There's the Daily Star article about how current Paris Saint Germain star (and major Chelsea target) Ezequiel Lavezzi could make a move to China at the end of the season, instead of moving to the Premier League. There's the Telegraph piece about how Chinese President
You can't blame Manchester City for jumping at the chance to hire Pep Guardiola as their new head coach for the 2015/16 season. The Spaniard is viewed as arguably the greatest football manager alive, and judging by his work at FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he is going to do great things in the Premier League.
Still, Man City's current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, deserves a thank you from fans and a commendation from the club for turning the Sky Blues into one of the best squads in English soccer. Since taking over at Etihad Stadium in 2013, Pellegrini has coached the football club to one Premier League title, one runner-up finish in the Premier League, and one League Cup. He's kept his win percentage right around a very respectable 64%, and could deliver yet another top-flight title for Manchester City this season. Under any other circumstances, Man City probably would have adopted the "if
When was the last time this many major, league-winning managers were in the market for new jobs? Between Chelsea's December sacking of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola's decision to leave Bayern Munich for Manchester City at the end of the season, there is a lot of upheaval going on in the top-flight coaching markets right now.
Unsurprisingly, all of that upheaval is leading to some pretty big rumors about where various big-name coaches are going to end up in 2015/16. Guardiola has already been appointed at Man City, and Carlo Ancelotti has taken over Guardiola's old Bayern Munich job. But the Guardiola move displaced Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho is still in the market for a new job, and Louis van Gaal could be on the lookout soon, as well.
There may be a few other kit manufacturers on the battlefield-like Puma or the newly involved New Balance-but for the most part, Adidas and Nike are the rulers of the football kit market. Ahead of the 2015/16 season, these two sporting gear companies held nine of the 11 most valuable kit manufacturing contracts in all of soccer. Judging just on contract price, Adidas was winning the battle at the start of the season, holding all four of the most valuable kit deals (Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Real Madrid). Nike's top soccer properties, meanwhile-Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain-aren't quite as high-grossing, since those deals were all signed two or more years ago.
But what about aesthetic and performance? Whose jerseys look better this season and whose kits have been worn by the better-performing football clubs? Read on for Soccer Box's rundown of who made the better football kits for the 2015/16 campaign.
Has there ever been a Premier League season as tumultuous and unpredictable as this one? Starting with Chelsea's complete and utter collapse and continuing with surprisingly limp campaigns from both Liverpool and Manchester United, the 2015/16 English Premier League has been anything but a foregone conclusion. In fact, 25 weeks into the competition (and with only 13 games to go until the end of the season), the EPL title is still anyone's game.
Leicester City: Your New Frontrunners?
Leicester City, previously part of the Premier League's so-called "middle class," have been one of the major game-changers this season. Spurred forward by a record-breaking scoring run from Jamie Vardy, the Foxes have been hanging around at or near the top of the table for the majority of the
The January transfer window is never as eventful as the summer gap. Fewer teams dip into the market to flesh out their ranks or spend big on new stars, and fewer clubs are willing to let go of big stars. In other words, you're never going to see a Cristiano Ronaldo transfer in January, or any transfer fees that land in the top 10 or 20 of all time. Still, this year's January window was bigger than it has been in the past, with Premier League spending topping £1 billion for the first time ever. Read on to find out which clubs made the biggest signings of the month.
Pep Guardiola: Sure, he's not a player, but
Jorge Sampaoli is on the move, but where could he land next?
The 55-year-old Argentine manager has been the head coach of the Chile national football team since 2012, and he's orchestrated some pretty marvelous moments for the organization. Just last year, Sampaoli led Chile to their first-ever win in the Copa America, leading the soccer squad to a narrow, nail-biting victory over the Lionel Messi-led Argentina team. The championship match was an evenly matched contest if there ever was one, with the score still tied 0-0 after 120 minutes of full-time and extra time. Chile won the shootout 4-1, with Messi the only player from Argentina's side to make his penalty kick.
Add a solid round of 16 runs in the 2014 World Cup and a promising squad that included
A year ago, by the time the fifth round of the 2014/15 FA Cup rolled around, only three heavyweight Premier League clubs had survived the eliminations. Those three teams-Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United-had managed to avoid an upset-ridden fourth round that had sent Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Southampton (among others) packing. Arsenal went on to win the tournament, beating Aston Villa in the finals for a second consecutive FA Cup trophy.
This year, things could hardly be more different. Most of the football clubs to qualify for the round of 16 in the 2015/16 FA Cup are big names from the Premier League. The fourth round of the tournament-played this past weekend, in place of regular league competition-saw Arsenal, both Manchester teams, Chelsea, Everton, and Crystal Palace all earning spots in the final 16. Furthermore, most of those soccer clubs won big in their fourth round matches,
2015 was, in many ways, a banner year for women's football. The summer's Women's World Cup was both a viral sensation and a ratings juggernaut, garnering tons of attention on Twitter and scoring viewership figures typically unprecedented for the tournament. Particularly in the United States-whose women's national team won their third Women's World Cup title in 2015-the tournament was a hit. Airing on the Fox Network, the tournament garnered a little shy of 23 million American viewers-not only making it the most-watched soccer game ever for U.S. audiences, but also delivering numbers comparable to Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series. Considering that baseball is generally much bigger in the United States than soccer, that stat is a remarkable one.
Women's football also got more interest in Europe last year. The Women's FA Cup-played at Wembley Stadium between Notts County and FA WSL champions Chelsea-drew an attendance of over 30,000 fans. That figure
The 2015/16 football campaign is barely half done at this point, and the English Premier League has already been a bloodbath in terms of management shakeups. Liverpool sacked Brendan Rodgers; Aston Villa fired Tim Sherwood; Sunderland dismissed Dick Advocaat; Meanwhile, other managers like Louis van Gaal (Manchester United) and Steve McClaren (Newcastle United) could very well not last until the end of the season in their current positions.
A New Sacking Record
The Premier League's turnover rate has been modest compared to that of the Championship, too. Indeed, England's second professional football tier has sacked a combined total of 10 managers so far this season. In fact, according to the LMA (League Managers Association), the top four divisions of English