First Whistle : July 2012

“On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail. Reasons the card, but passion the gale.”

As this edition marks the completion of its first year of e-publication, it is with passion that Goalden Times forges forward in its mission to unite every football lover across nations in their vision to support evolution of freedom of expression and attain the goal of knowledge sharing across generations; finally, hoping to bring its dream to fruition.

For the editors and all the staff of this periodical it has been a valuable and satisfying 12 months.

The magazine is intended as a medium by which everything under the sun surrounding the ‘beautiful game’ is conveyed in all humility, and a forum for debate on issues which are likely to shape the future of football.

When our first issue appeared, we did not know how much of a response we would enjoy. In the event, site views have risen slowly but surely with each subsequent issue, affirming your faith in us. We could not have made this headway without your constant support.

Our aim is to offer a variety of genuinely different ideas and we have never made any attempt to impose editorial uniformity where the views of our contributors are concerned. We heartily encourage our readers to provide feedback as much as they can. Your contributions, whether formal or informal, are very welcome. We may be contacted via e-mail at Our home page address on the internet is:

Goalden Times was conceived at a time when there was no football following Copa America. This year, the scene is a little different though. After the domestic leagues in Europe, we had Euro and now football in Olympics will nicely take us through the beginning of the European leagues.

Olympic football has kicked off with a stunner from Japan as they beat the European and World champions Spain. This naturally leads people to question how good Spain really is. Do they belong to the same league as the other great sides in international football like the Uruguayan team of the 1920s, the Italian side of the 30s, the Argentina team of the 40s, the Brazilian team of late 50s and 60s or even the French team of late 90s? Spain has always produced supremely talented football players who played with their contemporary international football greats, thanks to the high standard of the domestic league in Spain. However, before Euro 2008, Spain was tagged as the serial underachievers and rightfully so; but since then they have won everything that they have played for. Right after the Euro 2012 triumph, their under-19 team won the UEFA European championship.

Coming back to Euro 2012 – a tournament played across two time zones, two languages, two currencies – our team followed the game closely and brought insights before and after the game for our readers. In this issue we have done a team by team post-mortem of the big names in Europe.

The football transfer market has been simmering with Paris Saint-Germain leading the battle; they have already bagged Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from AC Milan, Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli among others and are looking to strengthen their squad further by bringing in the likes of Luka Modrić. UEFA Champions League winner Chelsea has signed on three talented midfielders: the Brazilian wonder kid Oscar, Marko Marin of Germany and Eden Hazard of Belgium. We shall no longer see Park Ji-Sung donning a Manchester United jersey this year, but he will still be seen in English league playing for Queens Park Rangers. United’s new signing Shinji Kagawa has already made an impact and will be the Asian prospect in England. Ballon D’Or winner Ricardo Kakà is facing an uncertain future as the Real Madrid boss José Mourinho has made it clear that Kakà will not be a part of his plan A next season. Kakà, however, is desperately seeking to return to regular football. Can he get back to his old club AC Milan and restore the glory days for him and the club?

We shall bring you more transfer stories and football news from the Olympics while stepping into Year Two of Goalden Times, looking for the same love and encouragement that we have received so far.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, especially those who contributed articles and ideas, for helping us in our work over the last year. Working together with you all has been a most fruitful and rewarding partnership for us. We look forward to continuing our collaboration in future issues. May football unite us.

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First Whistle – June 2012

Sixteen nations, eight venues, 31 matches and finally on July 1 we had one winner at the Stadion NSK Olimpiyskiy, Kiev. La Roja saved their best for the last to win what was one of the most one-sided final in any international tournament ever. As the world witnessed Europe’s top teams battling it out over the span of 24 days, our correspondents from across the globe got busy penning down stories of Euro 2012. Hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as we did in bringing them to you.

While the Euro-phoria persisted and the red-and-yellow fans continued to revel in the joy, Goalden Times took a moment to step back and savour the flavour….to present the June 2012 issue, with a vibrant new look. Download our PDF to bask in this whole new experience.

The transfer market is already in motion and will keep gaining momentum before the domestic football leagues in Europe start in August and September. Follow our Scouting Network to know which youngsters are sure to hit the headlines in the coming months. After all, most of our Euro stars did shine in Poland and Ukraine.

In transfer news from India, the Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has joined the Sporting Clube de Portugal B in the Liga Orangina. The club is planning to do some work in Indian football with the All India Football Federation (AIFF). We shall bring you more news from Indian football this season along with football stories from all possible corners of the planet.

Corinthians, the Brazilian club, won their first Copa Libertadores beating the six-time champion Boca Juniors from Argentina 3-1 in aggregate. We congratulate them and hope for an intriguing final against Chelsea in the 2012 Club World Cup final.

We also congratulate Ashvin Kumar for winning the National Award for the film ‘Inshallah, Football’. Goalden Times takes immense inspiration from the Argentinian-Brazilian couple, Juan and Priscla, who came to Srinagar, India to set up a football academy to engage the Kashmiri youth in the art form we call football. We share the vision of Juan and Priscla that football can and will make a better society with a stronger sense of friendship and fraternity.

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First Whistle – November, 2011

Here’s presenting the fourth issue of Goalden Times and it’s been like ‘watching the baby grow – from the tiny bundle of joy, kicking in the air to rolling over and then taking its first wobbly toddler step to feel the earth that is soon to become its playing field’. It’s the most fascinating magic show in the world – perhaps only comparable to the magic on a football pitch. One is never prepared for the surprises that a fascinating game of football can present on a given day.

Take for instance, how Sir Alex Ferguson reeled for a while from the merciless drubbing as his “noisy neighbours” emerged as the club of the month to retain the top spot in England. And first time around in UEFA Champions League, they have turned the tables and brought alive the group of death. Moving on to Germany, Bayern Munich seems to be cruising through both the domestic and European competitions, but it remains to be seen how they perform after losing their charismatic midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger to an unfortunate injury which can keep him out of action for the rest of the year. In Spain, Real Madrid appears to be in great form. They have established a 3-point lead over their archrival Barcelona and look forward to changing the colour of the ribbon on the league trophy. Serie A continues to be the most competitive league with Udinese and Lazio sharing the top spot and Milan right behind them; but Juventus have a game in hand and a win will bring them back on top and make it a 4-way title fight.

In the European circuit, Ronaldo led Portugal into Euro 2012. They were joined by Czech Republic, Croatia and Ireland who also won their respective play-off matches. Moving to the land of Africa, Esperance have lifted the prized CAF Champions league and Zimbabwe striker Edward Sadomba has won the Golden Boot. In other news, as FC Barcelona players continued to dominate the Ballon d’Or shortlist‎ this year, the club president has triggered a fresh debate, suggesting FIFA should pay players during the World Cup. We will keep an eye on how this debate unfolds.

The month was marked by sudden, unexplained illnesses of Rino Gattuso and Antonio Cassano. Last heard, they are recovering steadily and inching back to being match-ready. As true blue football fans, we’d like to wish them all the best and look forward to their speedy return to the pitch. As Diego Armando Maradona says: “Forza Antonio. Forza Rino. Football needs you.”

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First Whistle – August, 2011

The common thread between us is our love for the beautiful game. We have enjoyed an exhilarating 2010-2011. Europe was dominated by Spain. Barcelona football club’s domination continued both in the domestic league as well as in Europe. In South America, Santos won the Copa Libertadores after three years, thanks to some outstanding performances by the likes of Ganso and Neymar.
This year, while recharging ourselves for the next season and waiting for the transfer market to warm up, the idea of a group blog was floated to expand our football discussions to a wider global audience.
Meanwhile, international football took centre-stage. Spain, after winning the FIFA World Cup and Euro, made a clean sweep by bagging the European Under-21 and Under-19 Championships. The Copa America kicked off in Argentina, but Neymar and Ganso could not match their club performances with the Brazilian national team. The biggest disappointment of the tournament though was the lack of Messi ‘magic’ that we are accustomed to, at Barcelona. As a result, the two Latin American giants crashed out and
Uruguay won it for a record fifteenth time. The FIFA Women’s World Cup had drawn a lot of attention and Japan became the first Asian champions of the tournament beating Team USA in a closely fought final. Amidst all this, the corruption charges against the FIFA officials hit the headlines again, and football lovers around the world could only hope that the sport would emerge cleaner from such testing times.
Our initial thoughts of a group blog progressed towards a monthly magazine. We named it “Goalden Times” to bring you a flavour of global football all year round. Our present contributors span four continents and are looking forward to more. We stay true to our motto of “Ludo Ergo Sum” (I Play, therefore I am).
The upcoming football season promises to be exciting. Barcelona remains the team to beat in Europe, but they have their work cut out to sort their finances. What needs to be seen is how UEFA’s financial fair play policy impact team strategy. Clubs need to focus more on fresh talents and find ways to increase their revenue streams. We invite you to be with us to usher in the new season of football.
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