Messi leaves Barcelona, England win the World Cup - Five things we may see in 2014
The retirement of Sir Alex, the return of Jose, Luis Suarez’s bite, six managerial sackings in the new season and a surprise FA Cup winner; 2013 has certainly been a turbulent, but exciting, year for the world of football. What (realistic) surprises could be in store for 2014?
1. England over achieve at the World Cup
They may not win it, but with the country’s expectation pretty low, don’t bet against the Three Lions reaching the semi-finals in Brazil. Granted they’ve slipped up in some games but they also up their game when playing big nations- we saw that as we beat Brazil at Wembley and held them to a draw in their own backyard. There may be a few surprise inclusions and a few exciting youngsters to combine with the old guard to play their way past the group stages with little expectation.
2. Messi moves
Recent rumours suggest Lionel Messi’s relationship with the Barcelona hierarchy is a little strained and he could be set to depart the Nou Camp. With PSG and Man City being one of the few teams that could finance a deal for the silky Argentinean, don’t rule out German giants Bayern Munich reuniting the forward with his former manager Pep Guardiola.
3. An empty press box at SJP
Mike Ashley is a shrewd businessman, but charging press different rate packages to talk to players on match days is scandalous and they should be using them to their advantage to promote the club, not treat as customers. If the press can’t access all areas at the ground, why should they be there? Therefore matches maybe reported from afar and there maybe a lack of numbers in the press box at the Sports Direct Arena.
4. A different Premier League winner
After a horrendous start to the new campaign with a defeat to Aston Villa, Arsenal were wrote off left, right and centre and Arsene Wenger’s head was being called for by fans and the media. £42.5million later spent on Mesut Ozil and a step-up in the team’s play has seen them top of the Premier League at the turn of the year and they have every chance of ending a nine-year wait for a trophy. What a breath of fresh air this would represent for neutral fans as it would provide us with a different winner from recent years, setting aside previous winners that have consisted of Manchester’s United and City and Chelsea. If the Gunners fall short, who’s to say Liverpool can’t do it after a strong calendar year under Brendan Rodgers?
5. Real Madrid regain the Champions League
It’s been a long wait at the Bernabeu for the return of the Champions League. With Cristiano Ronaldo looking the likely winner of the Ballon d’Or, can he spur his team to win the competition for the first time since their triumph in 2002? Carlo Ancelotti is a two-time winner of the competition, so he knows what is required to win the competition. It would represent a new winner of the competition in recent years and mark a record tenth triumph for the club in the competition.
There’s sure to be twists and turns during the year that many won’t predict, what do you think could happen (realistically) in 2014? Comment below or tweet me: @Georgepitts_
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