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Thursday Hoddle of Coffee, Soccer News and Links: January 12, 2017

Today’s topic: Who were your first favorite footballers?

Barcelona v Athletico Madrid Photo by Lluis Buera/Getty Images

Before he spent the latter phase of his career bouncing around from small-time club to small-time club chasing paychecks, Ronaldinho was pretty damn good. I was reminded of my first introductions to him as I read his piece in the Players’ Tribune yesterday:

Think about what Dad said, to play free and to just play with the ball. Play with joy. This is something that many coaches will not understand, but when you are on the pitch, you will never calculate. Everything will come naturally. Before you have time to think, your feet have already made a decision.

Creativity will take you further than calculation.

One of my first memories of watching soccer is the 2006 World Cup. That, of course, ended with Zidane’s infamous headbutt, but while Brazil was in the competition we got to see the last gasp of the Ronaldinho-Ronaldo Brazil. It wasn’t nearly what the 2002 edition was, but it was still a sight to behold:

I’m curious, Hoddlers, who were your first favorite footballers? Ronaldinho and Zidane were mine. (I preferred Zidane to Ronaldinho, actually...) For those of you who didn’t grow up watching football, what player was it who first made you say “wow” and decide to watch more?

On to the links:

David Rudin on Diversity in Soccer Media

Uganda will be competing in this year’s AFCON, their first appearance in the competition since 1978 when Idi Amin was still in power.

Have opponents figured out how to stop Pep Guardiola? (My answer is, “No, not at all,” but the article linked here raises some interesting questions.)

Read about the time Nurnberg went from champions to relegation in 12 months.