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Chris Jardine | 11:34 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Well, it's been a bit of an up and down week since my last column.

The world record transfer fee has been broken.

There are still three Scottish clubs in the top division without a manager. Setanta are on the brink of collapse and it's only five sleeps until pre-season - happy days!

Let's start with Kaka - and it looks like Real are returning to the Galactico days.

They have just shelled out £59m and this is only the beginning, according to the transfer rumours doing the rounds.

Depending on what papers or internet sites you read, it's looking like President Perez will follow up his purchase of the gifted Brazilian by bringing in Ronaldo, Ribery, Villa and Ibrahimovic to name but a few.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that perhaps they should also be looking at a defender or two?

Real are the only club in the world who could pull these signings off in my opinion.

Sure, there are clubs who would get one or two of their main targets in, but it really wouldn't surprise me to see four of those players I've listed playing at the Santiago Bernabeu next season.

I just hope the odd one out is the big Swede - I just don't get it with that guy! Maybe it's just me, but every time I see him, he flatters to deceive.

To me, he looks like a player who thinks he is far better than he actually is.

Over to Scotland and, although there hasn't been much player activity so far during the close season, the management situation is still keeping football on the back pages.

Hibernian have recently got their man in John Hughes, meaning Falkirk have joined Aberdeen and Celtic in their search for their top man. It's looking like a manager merry go round and it will only continue.

I don't think I've known a close season where there have been so many jobs up for grabs.

I've not seen Harry Cairney's name linked as yet, so it's looking like he'll be at Galabank come Monday night, stopwatch round his neck and clipboard in his hand!

I mentioned last week that I was stepping up my own work in preparation for pre-season training and that's exactly what I did last Wednesday.

It was my intention to pound the roads and I did that as well as a little extra.

The late Gordon Lennon celebrates winning the Third Division with Dumbarton

I ran to the gym, ran at the gym and then ran home - and, on Thursday morning, I struggled to make my work!

After working for 12 days straight come Thursday, I will have 10 days off to look forward to, so I'll still get a few runs in to brush up on my fitness before the real hard work begins.

I've not got too much on during that time, although I might well fall off the wagon for a couple of days when I go to see Oasis at Murrayfield next week.

Before some of you think I'm talking about drinking exploits again, I'm simply talking about missing a couple of sessions while I'm having a wee break with family and friends in South Queensferry.

I mentioned at the beginning about it being an up and down week and, with the sudden passing of Dumbarton defender Gordon Lennon, it has certainly been more down.

I won't pretend to have known the man, but obviously I came across him this season when we were captains of our respective clubs and I could tell he was a character straight away.

I read Jim Chapman talking about Gordon the other day and he mentioned his smile - and it is certainly one you will never forget.

On the last day of the season, we had Dumbarton down at Galabank when they officially clinched the league title.

The one thing I remember from that day was Gordon heading up to the fans and clenching his fists in front of them all going absolutely crazy. He seemed to be there for ages, the fans loved it and so did he.

You could tell that it meant so much to him.

My thoughts and condolences are with Gordon's family and friends as well as everyone at Dumbarton Football Club.

Rest in peace.


  • Comment number 1.

    At last, someone else who thinks Ibrahimovic is useless! Ive never seen what people see in him. Mourinho rates him as the best forward in the World! Madness. Maybe the biggest nose in the World, which he is all too happy to turn up as he thinks he is so great, but thats it!

  • Comment number 2.

    Anyone who thinks Ibrahimovic is useless just doesn't watch enough football. How many games have you seen of him? Let me guess 4 Two against United and two against Liverpool where against United he had a good game but was just unlucky not to score. If you watch Ibrahimovich week in week out in Serie A you will see he is one of the most talented players in the world.

    He is essentially THE complete striker, he is great with both feet, good in the air; as in with his head and with audacious acrobatic goals, very skillful, takes brilliant free kicks, he is incredibly strong and is very powerful but what sets apart Zlatan from every other striker is his ability to do the unexpected, thats what makes him unique.

    Recently he has added much more consistency to his game and has finished as Top scorer in Serie A with 25 goals. It is no wonder Barcelona are signing him as we speak!

  • Comment number 3.

    Trying to sound positive, if we remember the last time Scottish football was struggling financially due to the pull out of Sky Sports, it forced the clubs to play young Scottish players, rather than the drivel that had been floating around lower European leagues. That era kicked started players like Gordon, McFadden and Fletcher, so who knows maybe we will see some positives from this latest TV deal disaster?

  • Comment number 4.

    i agree with shocco, ibrahimovic is a great player, abit like cristiano ronaldo, hetakes free kicks and good in the air, and also powerful and skilful, i think he would be rather better in barcelona then real madrid, but mourinho has put a very expensive price tag on him, so he'll probably stay in italy, were he won't be noticed as much, but so far no one has taken over fernando torres as the best stirker in the world, since he signed for liverpool, what a player eh.

  • Comment number 5.

    Just really posting to echo jardies condolences to Dumbarton and Lennons family. Having met a few of the Dumbarton faithful at the last game of the season they certainly spoke very highly of him and Im sure he will be sorely missed.

    Good to see you are training hard even in the off season and hopefully we will see a lean mean Jardie in the starting line up come first game of the season. Ive been an Annan fan and follower for 20 odd years and have been delighted by the achievements and performances in recent years. To have a first league season as good as we have is down to the hard work and dedication of players and staff with the heart, work ethic and belief like yourself. ( Except the guy that binned me for the Under 13's lol )

  • Comment number 6.

    Zlatan is one of the best players in the world. No othe player can score so many different wonder goals. So he wasn't the best when Inter played Liverpool, not at his best in the 1st league against Man Utd, He was brilliant in the 2nd league, prob should have scored, his 1st touch and hold up play was in a different league. He plays for a poor national team, and a poor Inter team. No one apart from the English Media slate Messi when he is poor against English opposition. Now I am not comparing Zlatan to Messi (Zlatan is one of my fav players in the world) But Messi is on another level, he will be one of the best players ever, up there with Pele and Maradona at the end of his career, he can be that good.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think the thing with Ibrahimovic is he is seen as a flat track bully, doesn't do it in the big games for club or country. I think it was last year I heard a stat that he hadn't scored against any of the top 6 teams in Italy in the previous 2 or 3 years, as well as being poor against bigger clubs in Europe and in the more crucial games for Sweden. Yes he scores goals, but great players do it on the biggest occasions.

  • Comment number 8.

    Euro 2004 against Italy? Big game me thinks

  • Comment number 9.

    Ibrahimovic for me is another Berbatov. Doesnt do it enough for me and certainly not worth the money. In my opinion Villa is the best striker in the world and i'm surprised none of the english clubs have made a firm offer for him yet.

    Anyway Chris good blog and I might see you at Murrayfield next week!

  • Comment number 10.

    So you've had to go back 5 years for an example, and 2nd game in the group stage of a tournament is hardly the biggest stage in the world... Same as in the Champions League, does it in the groups, looks rubbish in the knock out.

    If you look at his record in Serie A he did not score against Juve or Milan, in 12 games against the 6 teams below Inter he scored 5 goals, 2 against Fiorentina, 1 against Genoa, 2 against Roma and 0 against Udinese. He very rarely scored the first Inter goal, regularly scoring the 2nd, 3rd or 4th in games where they won by more than 1 goal.

    He is not a player who scored game winning goals, especially not in the big games.

  • Comment number 11.

    Harmannick thats 10 goals Ibra's scored in 12 games against the top 6 in Italy; doesn't sound too bad to me.

  • Comment number 12.

    5 goals, 2 against Fiorentina, 1 against Genoa and 2 against Roma, 2+1+2 =5 simple matchs really!

  • Comment number 13.

    I have seen Ibrahimovich play many times for Sweden, Inter and dating back to Ajax. I remember maybe one game where i have watched and genuinely been impressed. As a norm i see him in the big games in Serie A or in the Champions League or Internationsls. I dont watch him all the time, but what i can deduce with absolute certainty is he must be VERY inconsistent to always play so poorly when i have seen him. In the Champions League against Man United his finishing was woeful. Any quality striker would have bagged a hat trick the service he was getting.

    He is temperamental, moody and goes missing in games.

    How does he play for a poor Inter team? They won the league AGAIN! He plays for the best team in the Italian League and thus gets far more chances than someone who plays at a lesser club with fewer creative players.

    #9 thats ONE game. Like #8 says, he normally doesnt perform against any quality opposition

    #11 maybe you watch TOO much football as you clearly haven't been to Maths lessons

    And to say he scores goals like no other player is ludicrous. I could name several better all round players, but clearly a few people on here have a love fest with the big nosed sulker

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh and this 'superstar' didnt even score an international goal for over 2 YEARS!!!


  • Comment number 15.

    Well, I knew what the biggest talking point was going to be as soon as I came across it - and fair play to Chris for expressing his views.

    However, Ibrahimovic scored a fantastic goal for Sweden against Greece in the Euros, then followed it up in the next game against Spain with a slightly more fortunate one that nonetheless showcased his fantastic ball control and use as a target man. Even if you don't watch Serie A (and I haven't much since it left Channel 5), you must have seen these goals.

    Again, because he doesn't run blindly back and forth, ultimately leaving his team short up front, people brand him 'lazy' and 'lacking in hunger'. Somebody compared him to Berbatov, a good comparison in that he is another player who is criticised for arrogance and laziness, because anyone looks like that when on the same field as Rooney and Tevez, two unbelieveably hard-working strikers, but who often get criticised for their shockingly bad positioning. It took Capello to point out to Rooney that a striker needs to stand somewhere near the goal to score. Having said all that, Berbatov remains a poor-man's Ibra. How long did it take Messi to score against English opposition (i.e. the only time most of you see him play)?

  • Comment number 16.

    1. Ibrahimovic might be a good pairing with Ruud and/or Raul, he seemed to play better when he played at Juve with Del Piero and they're more like Del Piero than Cruz or Crespo are. Raul is looking a bit tired (from age no doubt) in the games I saw him in last year, although like Maldini did at Milan he brings something irreplaceable to the team. I expect Mourniho's talking up Ibrahimovic because he wants to sell him, as others have said on this blog, he needs a big game player for success in the Champions League and Ibrahimovic hasn't really been that for him. (I still think Mourinho wants Drogba if he can get his mitts on him.)
    2. How many flair players would be too many? Sure people would tune in to Real for a while just to see the modern day Galacticos but really, how effective would they be with those signings?
    3. Every one likes Rick Kaka and because he's so humble, loyal and a clean player, want him to do well. And he is very talented. But, is he really the next Zizou? If you saw Kaka play for Milan last year, you'd have to wonder.
    4. Where's the new Claude Makalele? Again as has been mentioned, great teams need goals and to prevent the other team getting them too.
    Bottom line, even if Real get their wish list filled (and I doubt that they will get Ronaldo or Ribery) I don't see them being able to beat the top English teams or Barca.

  • Comment number 17.

    So Zlatan scored one in a drubbing of Greece, and got a slightly fortunate one against Spain. Before that he hadnt scored in 2 years. Just as a matter of interest, what did he do in the crucial game of the group against Russia??? Sweet FA, as a fancied Swedish team (to at least progress from the group) were dumped out.

    It was nice that Messi played well against Manure, as that showed people who dont have access to La Liga what he is capable of. Ronaldo, like Messi and so many others have often not cut it in the European games or for their international teams. To be a true World great, you have to show up for the biggest games of them all. Messi showed his credentials in the Final, whilst Puyol kept Ronaldo under wraps.

  • Comment number 18.

    "I have seen Ibrahimovich play many times for Sweden, Inter and dating back to Ajax."

    Then you will know of his quality, he is not an 'on his day' player he was Ajax's best player for them in 2001, at Juventus in his debut season he took Serie A by storm and at Inter well, they are basically a one man team.

    "What i can deduce with absolute certainty is he must be VERY inconsistent to always play so poorly when i have seen him. In the Champions League against Man United his finishing was woeful. Any quality striker would have bagged a hat trick the service he was getting."

    Service he was getting? One through ball and one cross both chances were hardly sitters. The only thing he lacked was luck, the second chance was hard but he was only an inch at best away from scoring two.

    You're also forgetting his all round contribution in that match, his hold up play and through balls were excellent and he had some delightful takes and touches. He had a good game he just did not have luck on his side or for that matter quality players.

    The problem is no one watches enough of him to see his quality and whats more like SummersIron pointed out, because of his apparent lack of work rate, i.e because he doesn't run blindly back and forth chasing every player around him it must make him arrogant and lazy.

    His work rate may not be comparable to Rooney but his overall quality definitely is, far superior in my opinion.

    You talk about Messi but he was critiscied in Spain for the same reason Ibrahimovich was: He doesn't cut it in the important matches, (see Chelsea semi final). C.Ronaldo the same.

    By the way in the final Messi had a good game, nothing amazing, nothing that took my breath away, all I can remember was one dangerous run which produced nothing but a vital goal which blew his performance out of perspective.

    As for Puyol keeping Ronaldo under wraps, in the first 10 minutes Ronaldo was all over Barcelona having a host of chances. After Barca scored United switched off and thus Ronaldo could not do it all by himself. Puyol had nothing to do with it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just one more thing Deats, I interpreted your earlier comment wrong I'm sorry it must mean I never went to maths lessons! Queue childish insults...

    And to say he scores goals like no other player is ludicrous. I could name several better all round players, but clearly a few people on here have a love fest with the big nosed sulker


    Yes must be a love fest what else could it be? It could never be that I have actually seen his quality first hand...

    This a common thing I hear on 606, because you don't express the same opinion as someone else it either means you are severely lacking in football knowledge, have a love fest with a team/player or are just plain stupid.

  • Comment number 20.

    One very last thing, I'm sorry you got me caught up in this. Rooney had not scored an international goal for one - two years yet everyone rates him inside of England!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    His international goal rate is pretty good; 21 in 56 games. His goal rate at Inter is fantastic, 57 goals in 88 games. The fact that so many of them are individual efforts is what wins him so many fans.

  • Comment number 23.

    With a player of Zlatans ability or lack of it , the best place would be Barcelona. The chances they create and the indivisual brilliance of Zlatan which comes up intermittently would be a great combination.
    I think a person who can get a golden boot in Serie A would do twice as much in the Spanish League with Barca just for the Service he gets.
    Would love to see how he performs with the likes of Iniesta , Xavi , Messi and Henry providing him service.
    Dont you guys think it is an awesome proposition......

  • Comment number 24.

    I think Zlatan is a cracking player on his game but has let people down on the big stage.. and like the afore mentioned Berbatov I think (unfairly) he sticks out when he is having a howler..

    I dont think he should sign for Barca.. it would contradict their playing ethos which has won them so much this season.. Ibra likes a lot of the ball and is very good in tight situations because of his quick feet.. pass and move are not his best points though.. another team yes but Barca would not suit him or them.

  • Comment number 25.

    Zlatan is a a very good striker though I don't think he is suited for Barca.
    As some people have pointed out on here, just because you have not watched a player unless he plays an English side makes you a poor judge of his quality. Ronaldo has not scored in the last 7 games against teams from La Liga. Does that make him inconsistent or poor in the Spanish eyes?

    I now see why players like Le Tissier, Ginola and more recently Kanoute were not appreciated in the EPL. It is because the don't play like Sonic " the hedgehog" (Gerrard, Lampard, Tevez,Rooney)would.

  • Comment number 26.

    Khanq8; I agree with you, Zlatan should do relly well at Barcelona with the quality service he could get there; Samuel Etto should move on, I think there is some friction with Guardiola that may cause dressing room trouble for Barca

  • Comment number 27.

    The rules of the game are that it is played for 90 minutes. The ten minutes of Ronaldo (Man Utd) did not counting for anything in the end.

    Puyol indeed had him in his pocket so much for the weakest link we were made to believe he would be by the media in Britain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Money doesnt buy European Cup just ask Abramovich. If Ronaldo and Kaka don`t bond ie: who thinks they are the biggest star, then Real could find themselves still wanting.
    Good riddance to Ronaldo its good business for ManU with a fee of 80million they can go get a few decent players instaed of having a cheating selfish one trick pony. Its bad news for the other top 3 teams though, 80million is a lot of dosh to strengthen a team.

  • Comment number 29.

    #14 I remember a certain Alan Shearer having a similar run for England. It doesn't mean he isn't world class. It's impossible to have a good opinion on a player if you haven't seen him play regularly.

  • Comment number 30.

    I can't help it placing my vote on Zlatan. He is the best, complete player for sure. I describe him as a taller version for Messi, cause he keeps his ball closer when he moves it. May be the best way I can describe him is 'a combination of Messi and C. Ronaldo.
    1. Messi for his control/ability with ball and vission for passes..
    2. C.Ronaldo for his faster pace with the ball and the strong shooting.
    3. Then his trick finishes (more like Giggs during his hay days)

    If he goes to Barca football will not be interesting anymore, cause I don't see any team bitting Barca even the projected Galacticus Real Madrid unless David Villa makes the list of future Real Madrid.

    David Villa is another player I rate highly.

    So with the way things seems, next season's football arena will be Spain, seeing big names like: Kaka(already at Madrid), Villa, Zlatan, Ribery, Cristiano etc making their way to the La liga's big 2....This means another year of Champ's league in Spain....mark my words.
    Chelsea is so unlucky to be able to sign these big talents

  • Comment number 31.

    zlatan is quality. english fans are idiots. rio and vidic could not touch him last year and for 1 offside decision (a wrong one when stankovic passed it and he controlled it beautifully) he would have scored. what has rooney done. Nothing.

  • Comment number 32.

    Shoccco - the trouble with Ibrahimovic is that he is a flat-track bully, he's the Graham Hick of football, brilliant in the day-to-day games, useless when it matters.

    That's why so many people here don't rate him, they only see him in big international tournaments or Champions League games - where he's as much use as a chocolate condom - rather than against Nac Breda or Torino, where he's a worldbeater.

    A good player, capable of moments of brilliance, but not a great player by a long, long distance.

  • Comment number 33.

    Inter are a one man team - a comment like that clearly shows you know nothing about football. Any team is NEVER a one man team and ESPECIALLY no team that Mourinho manages. If he was THAT good, then Inter wouldnt sell him for a third of what Man U will get for Ronaldo

    "The fact that so many of them are individual efforts is what wins him so many fans."

    He scores so many "wonder" goals because he is greedy and selfish. He always wants to score these types of goals and in the process he misses plenty of chances to play in team mates. Im sure he misses more of his wonder strikes than he scores, but of course we dont see the efforts replayed that go into Row Z. His goal rate at Inter is good, but lets not forget, the Italian League is not particularly good. Someone said earlier that Inter are a one man team and are so dreadful - but have run away with the Italian League for the umpteenth consecutive season. So how bad are the opposition!

    "I now see why players like Le Tissier, Ginola and more recently Kanoute were not appreciated in the EPL. It is because the don't play like Sonic " the hedgehog" (Gerrard, Lampard, Tevez,Rooney)would."

    Le Tissier was appreciated. But do tell me what the 3 players you mentioned first ever won - then tell me what the last 4 have ever won.... theres your answer as to why these players are more respected.

    "It's impossible to have a good opinion on a player if you haven't seen him play regularly."

    Nonsense. If i see a player perform well in 10 games i think he is good. If i see him play bad in 10 games i think he is bad etc etc.

    "zlatan is quality. english fans are idiots. rio and vidic could not touch him last year and for 1 offside decision (a wrong one when stankovic passed it and he controlled it beautifully) he would have scored. what has rooney done. Nothing."

    Yeah pure quality the goals he scored against Utd... oh wait a minute.

  • Comment number 34.


    A ten game review of a player isn't long enough to make a realistic evaluation of a player. If i counted the first few times i saw Messi play and based my opinion solely on that, i would rate him as an underperformer who couldn't head the ball.

    As for basing a players ability on a transfer fee, well that would mean that Henry is a worse player than Darren Bent.

  • Comment number 35.

    As I mentioned earlier, and having looked at the Inter results from last year, Ibragimovic is very good at scoring goals in games that Inter are already winning. And not against the top teams. Very few of his goals are decisive. When you look at the likes of Gerrard, Rooney, Ronaldo, Drogba etc... you can see how often they have genuinly changed the game. Not with Zlatan.

    #34, your point about watching Messi is an interesting one. He is 21 and developing, he is a genuin world beater and been in the Barcelona team since he was 16 years and 154 days, or similar.... Zlatan is 27, at his peak and still divides opinion. Does that not tell you something.

    Zlatan is a good player, no more, no less. Great players do it when it matters, they do it against the biggest opposition, and they change games. Ibrahimovic fails on all 3 counts.

    And lets not forget, Mourinho who says Ibrahimovic is the best striker in the world previously said Drogba was, and probably his striker at Porto before that. He knows that strikers need their ego massaged for confidence.

    Finally, greatness is not just about performances it is about humility. The likes of Messi, Kaka, Rooney and Gerrard all have a humility about them, they are all humble. Zlatan's statement at 20 that only injury could stop him being the best player in the world and the story of turning up as a teenager at Malmo and telling the senior players they had never seen a player like him rank with Ronaldo/Drogba and their insistance on talking in the 3rd person. If you are truly that good, you don't need to tell people, you just show them.

  • Comment number 36.

    "A ten game review of a player isn't long enough to make a realistic evaluation of a player. If i counted the first few times i saw Messi play and based my opinion solely on that, i would rate him as an underperformer who couldn't head the ball."

    Thats a HUGE contradiction. Messi CANT head the ball! He scored ONE header! I made my 10 game comment as an example, to show you can think a player is good or bad. You could have watched 100 games someone has played in, but that player may have made 700 league appearances. So whats a good basis to judge that player? Ive seen Ibrahimovic a fair amount, and from the games i have seen, i dont rate him, thats my opinion from wht i have seen.

    And the Henry/Bent comparison is not fair - you dont take into account the players age, contract length remaining etc etc.

  • Comment number 37.

    The Henry/Bent comparison was made to highlight that you can't judge a player on price, hence Zlatan/Cristiano valuation.

    As far as judging players go, i can see your point but i think a watching a player for a season would be adequate. It's easy to have uniformed opinions on players based on a few games, and the truth is everyone has off games. A full season and you can judge.

  • Comment number 38.

    what we need to realise is with the rapid decline of italian football recently compared to the growth and increas of standard in the top half of the english game which we jump so quickly upon the bandwagon of comparing foreign football to, Ibrahimovic would not be consistent enought to compete regularly in the english game, yes he is a fantastic european footballer but he wouldnt hit 15 in egnland so there is no point in bigging him up in the spanish league in case barca sign him as spanish football is a different kettle of fish

  • Comment number 39.

    Some great comments people - Zlatan really is dividing opinion! Keep the comments coming.

    Shuggy78 - here's hoping.
    heartsfanno1(C) - thanks for the comments and I'll look out for you at Murrayfield!

  • Comment number 40.

    Good one, Chris - you're totally spot on about Zlatan (please don't take any notice of me being Norwegian; we're not negatively biased towards any Swede, it's mainly him) Ibrahimovic, I've got pretty much the same impression as you, that he always flatters to deceive once he's trying to do the business outside the Italian league. He'd just be one amongst many in the English Premier League, and let's be honest: John Carew is a better striker.

    Keep up the good blog work, mate!


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