Benjamin Palandella dribbles around a bigger boy who comes charging at him and shoots to the goal with shocking force for a 7-year-old player. Nearby, children jump to head a ball tethered on a rope, tiptoe over hoops and dribble around orange cones. The kids training in this concrete court in a Buenos Aires, Argentina, play for Club Social Parque. It’s the same soccer talent factory where such international stars as Diego Maradona, Carlos Tevez and Juan Roman Riquelme polished their skills as children. Spain’s “La Masia” youth academy may be the famed bedrock of Barcelona’s success and where Lionel Messi started training at 13 when he emigrated from Argentina. But Club Social Parque, a humble
A week ago, we brought you the story of goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes finding a new club despite a conviction for ordering the torture and murder of his mistress, whose body was then fed to dogs. The two were having a disagreement on child support. Fernandes, 32, was set free from jail on a technicality and has since been signed by Boa Esporte in Brazil. He said he couldn’t “throw in the towel” on his career because he believed in himself. Fans were outraged with the team, major sponsors pulled their funding, and an activist group even hacked Boa Esporte’s web page. And the club is digging in its heels. Boa Esporte’s president, Rone Moraes da Costa, reacted to protests by saying he’d rather move
Arsène Wenger will target Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan in an effort to replace the departing Mesut Ozil, according to a report. Turan, 30, does not fit into Wenger’s policy of buying youth but he may be a viable target, having become marginalized at Barcelona. Barcelona is about to undergo its own rebuild with head coach Luis Enrique on his way out at the Nou Camp, with Turkish international Turan likely to be surplus to the new manager’s requirements.