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Sunday, 17 April 2016 00:00

The world's top football earners

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Being a football player is one of the most lucrative jobs that anyone could have, but with all the discussions regarding the money involved does anyone actually know how much money the best of the best are paid? Here we look at the top 10 paid players in world football today. 
 
 
The top 10 of the highest paid footballers starts off with Angel Di Maria, with his contract at oil rich Paris Saint Germain earning him $2,572.86 an hour according to research from Betting Sites. Having also played at Real Madrid and Manchester United in his career, it’s fair to say that Di Maria will be fairly comfortable when it comes to career earnings. 
 
Earning around $100 an hour more than his compatriot is Argentine Sergio Aguero who English side Manchester City are paying $2,675.32 an hour for his goals. Having recently become their all-time top scorer, you can say that they are definitely getting their money’s worth. 
 
In 8th place, we move on to the second Uruguayan on the list in Luis Suarez, who is earning $3,062.39 an hour having moved to Barcelona from Liverpool. Despite having disciplinary issues in the past, the player has gone on to be the frontman that Barcelona needed to compliment Lionel Messi. 
 
Next we move on to the first British player to join the list in Wayne Rooney, who is currently on the books of Major League Soccer side DC United being paid $3,073.77 an hour. Having won countless trophies in England with Manchester United, and then returned to his boyhood club Everton, England’s all-time record goalscorer moved on to America in order to try and help build the brand of football in the United States. 
 
The highest paid player not playing in Europe is in 6th place on the list with former Chelsea man Oscar being paid $3,119.31 an hour by Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG. The Brazilian star has previously discussed his surprising move by saying he moved to ensure a better future for his family and not for football reasons, which has been met with a backlash from some football purists. 
 
Entering the top 5, we have the last player from the English Premier League in World Cup Winner and Manchester United star Paul Pogba. The Frenchman may have had his run ins with managers at both club and international level, but he is still being paid $3,358.38 an hour after his return to the club that he left on a free transfer at the age of 19. He is yet to provide the major silverware that he was bought in for. 
 
We now have the only other British player on the list in Gareth Bale who left Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid for a then world record fee of over $100 million. His time at Real Madrid has been full of highs and lows and a reported strained relationship with the fans has hampered his progress throughout. He is still paid a reported $3,938.98 an hour by the Spanish club. His winning goal in the Champions League final may have helped this figure. 
 
The top three is started off by the player who stole the world record fee from Bale in Neymar Jr, who moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain for over $200 million. A fee that is yet to be beaten and is unlikely to beaten in the near future. Despite the high fee, and not yet providing the UEFA Champions League trophy that his club so badly wants, he is still paid a reported $10,245.90 an hour. This wage is miles ahead of the 4th place and shows the disparity between the top three best players and the rest. 
 
 
The top two places could go to no one else but Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have dominated football headlines for years. Their rivalry goes beyond the pitch with many football fans choosing one to follow as their GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) and using many facts to back up their claims. In terms of money, however, there can only be one winner and this crown goes to the Argentine captain Messi. He earns a reported $12,636.61 an hour compared to $12,295.08 earned by his Portuguese rival. 
 
In total, $56,978.60 is paid per hour to the top 10 players in the World, in just their salary earnt. They will more than likely earn double or triple this when you include the sponsorship deals and bonuses that are paid to them. Do you think these players are worth their money? Have they earned it? Some of the facts around these players do suggest that their respective clubs have got their money worth. 
 
 
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 00:00

College Football Sports Betting

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College football is on the rise and as we watch the youths of our nation, it is with growing anticipation we have the urge to place wagers and add to the excitement. The NFL has a massive database of online punters, with sports books offering bets it’s easy enough to get in on the action. College football on the other hand, that’s less mainstream and somewhat more challenging to find. But if you do come across a team you wish to bet on, here is what you need to consider.
 
Reliable Sports Books
You need to find a reliable sports book like Novibet.co.uk to place wagers on teams. The kind of sports book you choose should depend on the types of bets available, the team’s available and the amount of betting lines available. Once you have approved all of the above, it's time to sign up and get those wagers in. Here are some tips to turn the odds in your odds.
 
Spread Bets
Based on NFL sports betting, college sports betting is similar in the sense of spread bets being more popular to wager on. So what is the spread bet? This is the forecast that is predicted before the game begins and it balances out the chance of the wager being won. The underdog, which is the team thought to lose the match, is followed by the “+” symbol, while the money line, which is the favoured team is followed by “-“.
 
The Juice
In sports betting, there are a number of terms and this one refers to the amount or percentage the bookie reserves for themselves as a result of placing a bet. You could call this a free charged for the bet and it comes off the wager.
 
Betting On the Odds
Placing a bet means you need to know what you are betting on. Betting on predictions or forecasts is a popular form of betting and is usually projected by the online sportsbook. There are other methods such as in play or live sports betting which generally proves to be somewhat more expensive in terms of continuously changing bets on the updated odds, but this form of betting is also more lucrative and rewarding.
 
Sports Betting Terms
As you can see from the above, there are a number of important terms which are used in sports betting. Familiarize yourself with as many of these terms as possible as this is what you will be using to place your bets. These terms will grow on you and the more you bet, the easier it becomes. In the meantime you can always research the terms and use the referral as you place wagers.
 
You can improve the way you bet by seeking out professional predictions and calculating how the bet was cast. Join college football forums to interact with likeminded folks and better the way you cast your wager. Improve the odds by doing as much research as you can and have fun while getting your wager in the books!
Friday, 01 April 2016 00:00

The Growth of Brazilian Betting

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It’s a well-known fact that people in Brazil like online betting. Of course, this market is emerging right now but we are sure that it can be even bigger than the market of betting in India, the UK or other countries.

It’s a well-known fact that people in Brazil like online betting. Of course, this market is emerging right now but we are sure that it can be even bigger than the market of betting in India, the UK or other countries. So, if you would like to start gambling as well, you should start reading this article right away!

Why do people in Brazil gamble online?

In fact, there are two main reasons for that, as follows:

Entertainment

Of course, it’s always really interesting to watch a soccer match but sometimes you want to make it a bit more risky and exciting, that’s why people bet on particular matches. It’s a real pleasure to be proud of your team and earn money simultaneously.

You can earn money

It’s really strange to be a real professional in Brazilian soccer while losing this precious chance to earn money, that’s why people bet on particular matches and win. It’s profitable and fun.

How to start gambling as well?

If you really want to become a thrill-seeker, you should follow these recommendations:

Choose a reliable casino

Fortunately, there are special services such as Codigobonuses.com, which compare the conditions of different online betting rooms. Consider all the pros and cons and only after that, make your final decision.

Register your private account

Visit the website of your casino and register your private account. It takes several minutes, that’s why it will not be a problem at all.

Make a first deposit

In most cases, if you chose a reliable casino, you can do this with the help of a bank card, Cloud Wallets, and even cryptocurrencies. Just choose the best payment method, which matches your needs, and conduct your first financial transaction.

Start gambling

Now, you have the possibility to start gambling. Choose the appropriate game or match, make your bet and wait for the result!

It is not a secret to anyone that kids today are a lot different from the kids of the past decades. There are many things that stand between generations, and such a factor is present in any sphere.

It is not a secret to anyone that kids today are a lot different from the kids of the past decades. There are many things that stand between generations, and such a factor is present in any sphere. However, today we are going to talk about video games and football.

When you think about it for the first time, it may seem that these two things are entirely different and there is nothing similar between them. However, since we are talking about gaming generation here very often, people tend to think that modern youth is not taking part in sport at all.

All the old school football players remember the ways they learned how to play. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the concrete paved yard, grazed knees and ultimate amount of fun and running. Many professional football players will admit that these were the factors that made them who they are now.

If you stop for a minute and brood on the thought – how often do you see kids playing football outside nowadays? These days you will not see things like that too often because all the youth is involved in their gadgets most of the time.

Many people think that this kind of attachment to devices is a very bad and addictive thing. Of course, there are cases where such a consumption comes true to life. Yet, there are dozens of cases where the involvement in video gaming played out well in fact.

Have you heard about the notion called Esport? Esport stands for Electronic Sport, and you will be surprised how many people are involved with it. The fact is that the Esports Growth made it clear that you do not need to go outside to play football and to get appreciated by the audience. You can skillfully do that in the safety of your home and get praised by live audience no matter the season or the weather outside.

When you begin to think about the positive and the negative sides of such a notion, there are two sides to the coin, and no one can deny it. The fact is that many young people play football online which makes it clear that video games do not substitute sports in some sense, they involve it. As for the part when you are physically active video games lack that, for now at least.

To sum everything up, it is hard to tell whether video games will fully substitute football since it all depends on personal preferences. What is more, more and more modern football coaches encourage participation in video games when it comes to their students.

 

 
Being a soccer player isn’t a joke especially if you’re serious about making it your career. Whether you play locally or internationally or even for fun, it may feel like your life is an endless cycle of playing, training, eating and sleeping. While this is an effective routine, it can get pretty mundane. Therefore, to avoid your passion for soccer draining away, you need to find other ways to spend your time effectively that’ll also help you with your soccer-player lifestyle.
 
Maximum effectiveness
What you need to pay attention to is to maximize every hour so it helps you reach your goal. From healthy habits to a change of routine, there are many effective ways to spend your free time as a soccer player. In fact, I’ll go so far as to suggest that you follow your favourite players, book cheapest flights and go watch a live match to get inspired. The lively cheering and the competitive game where teamwork is key, all of it will help you become a better soccer player.
 
Meditate
A little calm in life always does you good. And as a person living an active sporty lifestyle, you’ll need to take some time to calm down so you have full control over your mind. In fact, science has proven multiple benefits of mindfulness meditation. One of the biggest benefits is that it reduces stress. The pressure of trying to be the best and the overall competitive world of soccer can make you quite stressful. A few minutes of meditation can really do wonders for your mind and body. It’s also proven that meditating can improve your focus and control over your body.
How does it improve your game? Well, the calmer and more in control of your body you are, the more goals, more tackles and more W’s you’ll score. Just make sure you dedicate a few minutes to meditating every day and judge the results for yourself.
 
Read
Similar to meditating, it also improves your knowledge. You can do research and find out that most of the very successful people around the world are avid readers. And they’re known to read about various subjects like health & fitness, self-development, personal finance, biographies, philosophy and so on. You can even stick to fiction if that’s your cup of tea. Reading is a wonderful way to take your mind off of soccer for a while in a positive manner as it’s a very beneficial hobby.
Take advice from famous coaches and players and try reading their recommended book. Perhaps you’ll get inspired by the same thing that motivated them. It’s also said that reading for a few minutes on game-day can improve your focus as the few minutes of zoning out with a book allows you to have a sense of tranquillity.
 
Sleep
Everybody needs to sleep but as an active person, you really need proper peaceful sleep. In fact, recently it has been stated by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport that a disturbed sleep can have a negative impact on you as an athlete and your physical health. Your reaction time will be slower as well as you’ll end up feeling sluggish. While too much sleep is also bad, proper 8-hour sleep is a must. Don’t feel bad if you’ve been neglecting your sleep schedule, you can still change things up. After all, if you want improved results, then you’ll have to optimize your schedule properly. Even the best soccer player on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo, required guidance to make an effective schedule to get proper sleep. It may sound weird but he has a sleep coach that makes sure his lifestyle is as healthy as possible to ensure proper sleep. Some of the tips include:
  • No alcohol before sleeping
  • Break 8 hours into blocks throughout the day
  • Try to sleep without a pillow
  • Limit screen time to 30 minutes before you sleep
Mobility training
Most of the time this one training is neglected in favour of other training sessions but this can be the one thing holding you back from reaching that certain level of sportsmanship. By definition, mobility is the degree to which an individual can control their movement through a complete range of motion. While this may sound trivial as compared to other training and exercises, the lack of it can cause you terrible injuries as it will disrupt the flow of your kinetic chain. According to the theory of kinetic chain, certain body parts have an impact on others. The most common injury caused by lack of mobility training is an ankle injury.
To overcome this issue, you can make an effective routine that isn’t too hard so you can commit to it daily. As a soccer player, I highly suggest that you focus on ankle and hip mobility training to lessen the chance of any nasty injury.
 
Be critical of your performance
One of the best ways to improve yourself is to analyse your performance and be critical of it. It requires you to have a very down-to-earth personality so you’re able to pinpoint your own blunders. Record footage of yourself when you play or even train and then review it to see how you can improve yourself. Watching a video of yourself provides a unique outsiders’ point of view which helps greatly. If you commit to this habit then you’ll be surprised by all the improvements you’ll be able to make.
Most of the famous athletes already analyse their performances. Take the world-class athlete Kobe Bryant. He watches his team’s game films to make sure they’re picking up important aspects that’ll give them an edge and implementing them correctly. While you may not have access to high-end recording equipment, you can simply use your smartphone or a Go-Pro to help you out.
 
Get inspired
Lastly, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to take inspiration from the professionals. You can even take some time to go watch a live match. Not only will it cheer you up but it’ll give you a live look of how the game can be and what the audience expects. A little change of perspective to help you along your main goal. From biographies to memoirs, try reading up on your favourite players to find out things that inspire and motivates them. With time, you’ll have the same focus as them that’ll definitely make you a better player on the field.
Monday, 25 February 2019 21:24

The Best Scottish Footballers in History

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Scotland has provided some fantastic players to football over the years, from those who have put teams on the map to those who have unbeatable scoring records, making them a sure thing in the world of football betting with Infogol.net. These are some of the greatest Scottish footballs in history.
 
Kenny Dalglish
 
One of the top scorers for one of the two Premier League seasons he played and captain to Celtic before heading to Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish meets all the criteria for being one of the greatest Scottish footballers in the history of the sport. Over the course of his career, Dalglish was an incredible player and won one League title and one Scottish Cup during his Premier League era. Unlike few others, Dalglish had an impeccable football brain that could work out the pitch better than anyone, resulting in some spectacular goals that seemed to come from everywhere.
 
Ally McCoist
 
A prolific goal-scorer, Ally McCoist is one of the best-known names in football. But this football was more than just a scorer – from headers and chips to incredible shots from outside the box, there was more to McCoist than it first appeared. If he missed an opportunity on the pitch, he’d try and win it back later, determined throughout every game to win by as much as possible. McCoist won an impressive nine Premier Leagues, one Scottish Cup, nine League Cups and also won Player of the Year as well.
 
Willie Miller
 
Willie Miller was one of the best central defenders in the whole of the British Isles and the main reason why Aberdeen became such a prominent team during the ‘80s. Glasgow-born Miller was faultless on the pitch and could go entire seasons without so much as a single error, bringing him plenty of respect from fans and players alike. Throughout the course of his career, he won three Premier Leagues, four Scottish Cups, three League Cups, and one European Cup and Super Cup apiece.
 
Billy McNeill
 
Billy McNeill was captain to Celtic during their most famous triumph when they won the European Cup back in 1967, the first British team to achieve such a victory. For many, McNeill is the greatest football in Celtic Football history. He played almost 500 times for the club and won an impressive 23 trophies.
 
Gordon Strachan
 
Strachan played as a right-side midfielder and is best known for his successes at Leeds, Manchester United and Aberdeen, periods of his career where he won several domestic and European competitions. The Scot also played in two World Cups and scored a historic goal in the 1986 against West Germany. After retiring from the pitch, Strachan didn’t journey far, making his way into management instead, but he remains one of the greatest Scottish footballers of all time.
 
Jim Baxter
 
Known as ‘Slim Jim’, Jim Baxter is believed by many to be the greatest footballer Scotland has ever seen, helping the Rangers win ten trophies during a five-year period of his footballing career thanks to incredible technical skills and vision for the game.
Monday, 01 January 2018 00:00

Get the latest football headlines

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Haven’t caught up with the latest football matches, scores, and news, yet? We are here to help! Live football on TV today is a little different than back in the day, because you know; it might not even be on an actual TV. We get that this can pose some challenges and might be a little confusing for some of you. It is easy to lose track of the so many channels, streaming services, or TV guides. That’s why we’d like to keep you updated and make you stay ahead of the game!


If you missed out on the last couple of matches, here are the latest football headlines:

Ballon d’Or 2018 Announcement

The winner of the 2018 Ballon d’or will be announced shortly on Monday evening (Dec 3) and everyone is placing their bets on who is going to win. Luka Modric is predicted to be the one to take the award back home and finally end an era of dominance from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Croatian has reached the World Cup with his country, as well as win Champions League with Real Madrid. In addition, Modric has won this year’s Golden Ball, the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, and FIFA Best Men’s Player award. It is the first time since 2006 for Messi to be out of the top 3 players, coming in fifth place right ahead of Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah.

Mbappe Wins Kopa Trophy

Crowned as the best young player in the World Cup and the reason why France finally won the cup after 20 years, it is no surprise that Kylian Mbappe won Kopa Trophy. Mbappe has become the first recipient of the inaugural Kopa Trophy, at the age of 19. “I am very happy to receive this award,” Mbappe said. “This rewards a great year, which I realize is thanks to all my teammates in club and national team. My next goal? It is to lift everything (not only the Ballon D’Or). It will be with hard work and I’ll need help from my teammates”.

Jurgen Klopp Gets Charged with Misconduct for Celebration

Divock Origi scored a bizarre last second goal against Everton. What was more unexpected than Origi’s goals was Jurgen Klopp’s reaction. Klopp ran to the center circle at Anfield in celebration of the goal while everyone else was shocked by his actions. 'Absolutely shocking, Klopp should be punished,' Former England full-back Danny Mills said. “To run into the middle of the pitch, I think it's disrespectful to Everton. There are so many managers that get absolutely hammered, but Klopp is very media friendly, everybody seems to love him and he can't do anything wrong. You cannot go on to the middle of the pitch, no matter what the circumstances,” he said.


Others gave him their full support and sympathy, on top of them is Pep Guardiola, saying that it is pretty understandable what he did. "I didn't want to be disrespectful, but I couldn't stop myself," Klopp told Sky Sports. "It just happened. The plan was not to run [onto the pitch to celebrate]. When I chose to stop I was close to Alisson. He was surprised. It was the last situation of the game. Both teams delivered an unbelievable fight."

Liverpool must wait on Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson fitness

The fitness of Liverpool’s players Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson will be assessed ahead of Wednesday's Premier League fixture at Burnley. Both players were injured during Sunday's match after a 1-0 win against Everton. Mane injured his foot, while Robertson suffered a dead leg.


“We have to see, but we have opportunities, options [and] we can make different lineups. We'll see," said Klopp on the club's website."But Sadio got a real knock on his foot, we'll have to see how that ends. He played a game, huh? He was so quick, unbelievable. But that's only one thing. Hopefully all the rest will be OK. Robbo, I think, has a dead leg, his hip, so at the moment we have to see. Of course, we play in three days, that's really hard, but tonight we don't have to think about that. We celebrate, go home, [have a] proper sleep. Tomorrow, recovery, and then we'll make ourselves ready for Burnley."

 

That’s it for now! These headlines are merely just a scratch on the surface. If you wish to be always updated with what is new and what is not, it is important that you follow a credible source and be loyal to it and only it. Because if you end up using Google every time and end up reading too many different sources, your mind will definitely get scattered.

Monday, 07 January 2019 11:28

Importance of fitness in football

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How climbing, mountain running and swimming helps with football fitness and conditioning
 
Are you planning or aspiring to become the footballer? If so, one of the most important attributes is stamina. In a 90-minute match, the average professional player covers 10 km. Do you know how they reach this level?
 
Football demands a strong level of fitness. Players benefit from a good physique with a high fitness level, so that they can remain at the top of their game for longer periods. In the modern game, football is a quick, fast and highly energized game which means unfit players can be left behind.
 
If you want to build a career in the sport then talent and technique can take you far, but it can be hard to get the time on the ball you need, if it isn't match by your fitness. There are various procedures to enhance the fitness level among the footballers. A couple of these fall under the banner of climbing for fitness conditioning, mountain running and swimming.
 
 
What benefits can fitness and strength give?
 
 
 
Climbing, mountain running and swimming are the good activities to take on for footballers. They help you maximize your speed, stamina and power. Apart from that, you can take other benefits as well, such as:
 
  • Additional strength activities can maximize sprint speed.
  • It becomes more explosive and makes you ready to win.
  • Agility training improves your change of direction on the field.
  • It will develop rock-solid core stability as well as stamina.
 
Here we have a look at three important football fitness and strength exercise:
 
  • Climbing:
Climbing is one of the most important physical activities which are undertaken by the footballers to regain their fitness and prepare themselves for the international stage. Often this comings in the form of rock-climbing. It is growing day by day and, becoming one of the fastest growing sports activities across the world. This activity is highly recommended by footballers who cover a lot of ground on the field as well as. It will help them to increase the toughness of mental, physical and even social.
 
 
There are many advantages given by climbing such as:
 
  • It helps in an increasingly firm grip in hands and fingers.
  • It built a strong muscle mass to produce a lean yet endurance masculine figure.
  • It will promote better cardiovascular health.
  • It will result in fewer strain injuries.
 
Mental benefits of climbing include goal setting, good decision making, high visualization and enhanced self-confidence.
 
  • Mountain Running:
If you're physically or mentally tired of running on roads then, it is good for you to vary your routine and start mountain running. It is a part of resistant training which makes the player build strong hamstrings, calves and quads. Apart from that, it increases flexibility to hip flexures thus ensuring good achilles tendons.
There is no difference in running in mountains and running on treadmills as both the running activities strengthen the legs. Having strong leg muscles is very important to footballers as it decreases the risk of suffering from running-related injuries. It helps in building confidence among the sportsman and makes them mentally tough to face any drastic situations. If a footballer includes mountain running in their fitness regime, they would be able to increase their flexibility and durableness to the manifold.
 
 
 
 
The major advantages of mountain running are:
 
  • It will improve flexibility in the football player.
  • One can get higher durability on the field.
 
  • Swimming:
Swimming is one of the most popular activities amongst footballers. It is a good way to keep fit, stay healthy and also give mental health benefits. It is itself a sport which has been included in the fitness regime of various sports across the world. It could be listed as an “all in one fitness package” because of its role in shaping the muscles of each and every part of the human body.
 
This also strengthens the muscles and enhances flexibility. It improves the core strength as it helps in shaping the abdominal, hip and back muscle and makes them toned. In addition to this, a proper swim workout is more beneficial than any other physical activities for a footballer as it brings significant improvement in the cardiovascular system. It promotes better lung capacity which helps in improving breathing which helps the footballer to increase their oxygen intake while running.
 
 
Key reasons why swimming can benefit footballer:
  • It provides an excellent way to prevent injury and rehabilitation.
  • Swimming can help to establish a cardiovascular baseline.
  • Lung capacity can also be improved by this as we know good health and lung condition is needed the most on the field.
  • It also helps generalised strength and full body movements.
 
Looking at the extraordinary benefits of these top three activities in football we must advice aspires to include it in their life. A good and proper fitness training can improve durability, strength and flexibility in the footballer. Apart from that, one can get great exposure to perform at a higher levell and to a great extent in the field.
A proper climbing, mountain running and swimming routine helps a footballer to increase their capacity and enhance their career to a high extent. So, involve these in your training and let us know if you feel the benefit.
Tuesday, 25 December 2018 18:07

The Story of Neymar’s Short-Lived Barcelona Career

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On May 24th,  2013, FC Barcelona announced that they had finally completed the signing of Brazilian winger Neymar Jr from Santos for an undisclosed fee. It was a dagger through the heart for most of Europe’s big clubs who had all been chasing the winger's signature.

At the start, it had the potential to blossom into a lucrative partnership for all parties, as Neymar had a huge following in Brazil and his social appeal and footballing skills were set to elevate the union between him and Barcelona to unprecedented heights.

History was on his side as well, as Camp Nou has a long history of Brazilians showcasing their talent week in, week out. Ronaldo Delima, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Dani Alves, Juliano Belletti, and many others have come and gone, leaving their footprints firmly on the turf at Camp Nou. The general perception was that Neymar was to be no different.

Fast forward four years and the samba star is nowhere to be seen. His Barcelona career was tailing off and eventually coming to a bewildering exit. Things started out smoothly though. His first season in the Barca stripes saw him seamlessly adapt to life alongside star names like Fabregas, Iniesta, and Messi.


First Barcelona Season

His first goal for the Catalans came against rivals Atletico Madrid, a goal that sealed the Super Cup victory for Barca, thus becoming the first of seven trophies the Brazilian would lift as a Barcelona player.

He would give two outstanding performances in both El Clasicos that season, finishing the year in double figures for both goals and assists. It wasn’t the perfect season – as highlighted by their exit at the hands of Simeone’s Atletico in the quarter-final stage - but it was a start and a very good one.


Second Season

Then came the second year and a burst of goals, skills, trophies, and more goals. Barca had signed Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez and Sevilla playmaker Ivan Rakitić. With Messi, Neymar, and Iniesta already in the squad, betting sites all had Barcelona nailed on to win all the major trophies. And they were right.

Neymar would go on to be the chief creator of the MSN trio of him, Messi, and Suarez. The trio would go on to rack 122 goals between them, with Neymar scoring a career-high 39 goals on his way to a treble-winning season.

They would beat both Madrid clubs on the way to the La Liga title, win the Spanish Cup, and Champions League final against Juventus, with Neymar scoring crucial goals in both cup finals.

His final two seasons at Camp Nou would not reach the lofty heights of his sophomore year, and with an ever growing need for more recognition, things slowly started to go wrong.


The Fallout

He came in third for the Ballon d’Or and maybe being there when Messi lifted the trophy sparked a thought in his mind that would manifest two years later. His third season saw another domestic double for him and Barca, with MSN racking up 131 goals between them.

Then came his final season in a Barcelona shirt. It began with business as usual, with Neymar putting in vital performances all season long, but it wasn’t to be his or Barca's year.

The highlight of his season was outstanding performance against Paris Saint-Germain to help drag Barcelona from the brink of elimination. Despite scoring two goals and laying on another two, Messi received all the plaudits for Barca's victory, and this was perhaps the final straw.

Real Madrid would go on to win both the Champions League and La Liga, and with Luis Enrique departing as Barca manager, perhaps it was the best time to pursue his dream elsewhere. A comically drawn-out transfer saga followed, and there were fights between Neymar and his teammates in training.


Transfer to PSG

On August 3rd, 2018, Barca and PSG both announced the deal, with Barca fans left with a sore taste in their mouth, branding him ‘Judas’ and ‘cash cow.'

Whatever Neymar's motives were for leaving Barcelona, a club which had offered him so much, it’s certain that he will not be fondly remembered at the Camp Nou, at least not like Ronaldinho or Rivaldo were.

While the aforementioned are considered legends, Neymar would only be remembered for his contributions to their treble-winning season and little else. It was a puzzling scenario for a player with such a distinguished career, still yet to hit its peak. Although his marriage to Barca seemed like the perfect union, it just wasn’t to be, and a divorce was best for all parties.

 

 
After that nail-biting finish against Israel last month, Alex McLeish’s Scotland side can look forward with confidence to their upcoming Euro 2020 campaign. That said, they will be up against Belgium and Russia in Group I, both of whom outperformed during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so the Scots will face a fight to occupy either of the top two places which guarantee qualification for the finals.
 
However, a top-two finish might not be necessary for Scotland to qualify for its first major finals since France ’98. That’s because the heroics of hat-trick hero James Forrest against the Israelis at Hampden guarantee Scotland a semi-final play-off match against Finland in March 2020, with the winner then taking on Norway or Serbia in the final. How might Scotland fare against these three teams? Let’s take a look at each of the opponents now to see how they compare…
 
With a population of 5 million, Finland is the largest European country never to have qualified for a major tournament. This ice hockey-mad nation has produced some quality players in the past though, with Jari Litmanen a Champion’s League winner at Ajax, and Dundee United fans still fondly remember Mixu Paatelainen. Finnish football fans are getting excited about the current crop, and former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki scored 3 times in 3 narrow victories for the Finns, as they saw off Hungary, Estonia and Greece in Group 2. Finland are a defensively tight, cagey side, and Scotland will have to show patience if they are to see them off in the semi-final.
 
If they do, then they may face Finland’s Nordic rivals Norway in the final. Interestingly enough, the Norwegians faced Scotland in that last tournament in 1998, when Craig Burley’s volley was enough to sneak a draw. After that tournament, Norway fell into a similar downturn as the Scots did, as the rest of the world worked out how to counter the Route One football of Egil Olsen. But the Norwegians never gave up their style, and are finally back, with a squad based around a solid defensive unit of Rosenborg’s Hovland and Reginiussen, as well as the quick feet of LA Galaxy’s Ole Kamara up front. It ain’t pretty, but it works, and Scotland will need to keep their concentration if they are to beat this tough Norway team.
 
The Norwegians will take on Serbia in the other semi-final, and this Balkan powerhouse is surely the strongest of the teams on paper. The Serbs can still count on big names like Kolarov, Matic and Mitrovic and ooze quality in every department. When they are on form, Serbia can beat anyone, but as the recent World Cup showed, they are prone to lapses of concentration, especially when a team gets under their skin (as the Swiss did in Russia). However, Serbia were pleasingly solid in the Nation’s League group stages, seeing off Balkan neighbours Romania and Montenegro, as well as Lithuania. Fulham’s Mitrovic put his mixed Premier League form behind him by scoring 5 goals in the 6 matches and would be the danger man to watch for Scotland.
 
The big international tournaments have missed Scotland and the Tartan Army these last 20 years. With Euro 2020 taking in Wembley, Cardiff, Dublin and Hampden, this might be a rare chance for the Scots to play a major finals game on home soil. Assuming the Belgians and Russians will be too strong in regular qualifying, the chance to play Finland and then one of either Norway or Serbia looks like one the Scots should grab with both hands.
 
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