Goodbye Super Depor, Thanks For The Memories

28 06 2011

Believe it or not, but there was a time when La Liga was contested by clubs other than Barcelona and Real Madrid. There was even an occasion when the Catalans needed a 90th minute overhead kick to secure Champions League football. How times have changed. Only as far back as seven years ago Deportivo La Coruna were Champions League semi-finalists, yet since that day the club has been on a gradual decline accumulating to this season, when they were relegated to the Segunda Division for the first time since 1991.

Their latest cycle in the Primera Division was the most successful in the clubs history; three Spanish Super Cups, two Copa Del Reys and their first La Liga trophy that they won in 2000. In the past 20 years ‘Super Depor’ became everyone’s second team. The Galician side of the early 90’s consisted of experienced players like Luis Lopez Rekarte, Donato, Nando and Adolfo Adana and blended that experience with the youthful legs of Fran, and Brazilian internationals Bebeto and Mauro Silva. In only their second season back they showed how good they would become by qualifying for Europe for the first ever time and consisted of the Pichichi (Bebeto) and Zamora (Paco Liaño) holders.

That form transferred to the next season and they were a minute away from that first La Liga title. Regular penalty taker Donato had been substituted and eventual World Cup winner Bebeto shied away from the pressure having missed his last spot-kick. So up steps Serbian defender Miroslav Dukic, whose timid effort was saved by Valencia keeper Jose Luis Gonzalez. Bribe accusations followed after Valencia’s joyful celebrations; perplexing as they had nothing to play for. Irony and fate made sure that Dukic would get his hands on the title, not with his Depor teammates, but with Valencia in 2002.

Deportivo Celebrate Super Cup Win

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The Underrated Academy Of Real Madrid

14 04 2011

At the end of the January transfer window, out of the 20 teams in the Primera Division, only four –  Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Zaragoza – did not contain one player in their squad who had graduated from Real Madrid’s cantera. It’s quite an astonishing accomplishment to see 16 teams containing at least one player instilled with Los Blancos philosophy, and apart from Zaragoza, the other three have known beliefs of developing their own talent. Yet talk across Europe the talk is that Barcelona’s La Masia is the greatest academy, but with these numbers of players in Spain alone, can Real have an argument that there’s is just as good?

Real Madrid have a history of great players from Ferenc Puskas to Hugo Sanchez, yet some of the most important have been graduates from their academy such as the famous La Quinta del Buitre, translated as “The Vultures Squad”, who were five homegrown players that were key to Madrid’s dominance in the 1980’s; which won five La Liga’s, two UEFA Cup’s and a Copa Del Rey in that decade.

Butragueno Is One Of The Greatest To Emerge From The Academy

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