Triviela – Beyond Trivia

The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these.


Momentous Win

When a Christiano Ronaldo goal gave Real Madrid a victory over an all conquering Barcelona team at the Estadio Mestalla, Valencia on 20 April 2011, it was more than a cup win for the club, the manager and couple of its players. Even though Real Madrid is one of the giants of Spanish and European football, they had endured a complete barren phase for 2 years and it was only due to the fact that their perennial rivals, Barcelona was sporting perhaps the best club team of all time. The Copa Del Rey was the only Madrid victory in the 5 El Classicos of the season and since the time they last won the La Liga in the 2007-08 season.

For manager Jose Mourinho, it was a continuation of a tradition where he has won a trophy in the first year in each of his last 4 clubs in the last decade. Starting his managerial career at the beginning of the millennium with Benfica in 2000, Mourinho had a brief one year spell with União de Leiria whom he took to their highest league position of 5th. The next season he was at Porto and thus started his career of remaining unbeaten at home and winning trophies in his first year at a club. He won the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and UEFA Cup in 2002-03. He would go on to win the English Premier League and League Cup in his debut year of 2004-05 with Chelsea. At Inter, he won the Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana on his debut in 2008-09 season. In that respect, failing to win the La Liga in his debut for Real Madrid may be considered a failure but at least the Copa del Rey proved he had something to show at the end of his 1st year.

The Copa del Rey also completed a set for one of the finest goalkeepers of this generation. Iker Casillas had won 4 La Ligas, 3 Supercopa de España, 2 Champions Leagues, an UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup, a World Cup, a European Championship, European U15 and U16 championships and a FIFA World Youth Championship. With the Copa del Rey, he completed the domestic set. With the exception of the Olympics, that is as complete a set as possible for a club and country combined and who knows, he may even win that in future.

Parting Shot: Alvaro Arbeloa, is perhaps a unique footballer in that he has played for many big clubs – Real Madrid (twice; having come through the youth ranks), Liverpool and Deportivo La Coruna but had yet to win any silverware for his clubs. Call him a bad omen at your risk though, for he has a European Cup and World Cup with Spain. Finally this win broke that & he also played for 120 minutes of the final.

Show Me The Goals

Fernando Torres has become from an iconic striker of his generation to a laughing stock since his € 58.5 mn deal to Chelsea. From scoring the tournament winning goal and being the man of the match in the European Cup, 2008, Torres has had a steady decline for Spain accentuated by the sheer lack of goals after his move to Chelsea. In fact since scoring the winner for Liverpool away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on 22 January 2011 (his last appearance for the Reds), Torres has played 1552 minutes for Chelsea in various competitions in 26 matches and scored only 3 goals till 10 October 2011. That is a shocking return of 517 minutes per goal. In the same period he has played 7 times for Spain for a combined 255 minutes and managing a single goal against United States.

There may be many reasons for this slump of Torres .We, here, are not going to ascertain the reason but just point out that how a similar fate had befallen another great European striker in the last decade after his multimillion euro move to Chelsea.

Andrei Shevchenko is a Milan Legend and the favourite son of Ukraine. His feats of goalscoring for Dynamo Kiev include 121 goals in 237 appearances which puts him fourth on the list of the club’s all time scorers. Perhaps he exceeded even that when he scored 175 times in 322 matches for Milan which made him the second highest scorer in Milan’s history. He also has 67 goals in 141 matches in European competitions which puts him just 5 behind all time leader Raul and 3 behind his long time partner Filippo Inzaghi. For his national team, he is an icon with over 100 appearances and over 50 of them as a captain (still continuing). He has scored 46 goals for Ukraine and a measure of how vital they have been can be gauged from the fact that only two other Ukrainian has scored more than 9 and #2 on this list is Serhiy Rebrov with 15. His calibre and stature among the all-time great hitmen of Europe in this century is unquestionable and the Ballon D’or of 2004 confirms that.

When Shevchenko left Milan for Chelsea at the behest of Roman Abramovich (or the desires of his American wife to put their child in an English atmosphere – as Sheva had widely accepted at the time) it was for a record € 46 mn. At that time, he was the player fetching the highest ever transfer fee that Milan, albeit unwillingly, had sold. What followed at Chelsea was a remarkable downturn of fortunes.  At Chelsea, in 2 stints he made 77 appearances scoring 22 goals. In those same years he played 13 matches for Ukraine scoring 6 times.

But Shevchenko was 30 when he moved to Chelsea and it is likely that a striker loses some of his sharpness beyond that age. Torres made his move before his 27th birthday and if his barren spell persists, the next big striker to move to Stamford Bridge for an astronomical sum may well consult an astrologer before confirming the move.

Parting Shot: Chelsea is the 3rd club in the career of Shevchenko and Torres. Sheva’s first two transfers fetched € 69 mn. His next two were for free. Torres’ first two transfers have fetched € 96.5 mn. He better get his act together though before he becomes a free transfer quality.