Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soccer Intelligence: All in the Mind, or the Feet?

Silvio Berlusconi, the owner of AC Milan, has given his team talk ahead of his club’s Champions League game in Manchester on Wednesday.

“We need a possessed Milan,” Berlusconi told the players through the Italian media. “We need everyone at the top of their game, without distractions until the final second.”

So speaks the man who sold Milan’s best player, Ricardo Kaká, last summer, yet still expects his team to reverse its 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in the first leg last month.

If Berlusconi is to be believed, soccer is all in the mind.

It is a far easier game from behind a microphone. Even the full-time pundits, the ex-professionals who have played at highest level, only think they know what goes through the mind of players actually attempting to win matches.

Last week, Chris Waddle, a former wizard on England’s right wing, laid into Theo Walcott, the young Arsenal and England winger.

“Walcott has one major strength, his terrific pace,” Waddle said on British television, “But he has no football brain.”

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/sports/soccer/10iht-SOCCER.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a23

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