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6 Key Soccer Questions to Ponder Ahead of 2015

brendan-rodgers

As the year 2014 winds down, it is a good time to look back at what was a pretty eventful year for the beautiful game. We saw transfer madness, the slip seen around the world, the bite(s) felt around the world, the transfer ban that almost wasn’t then was again, and everything in between. It’s been a great year and one of my favorite in my few years of following the sport. Naturally, what are we to look forward to in 2015? It’s not a major tournament year, but there are going to be some interesting story lines to follow in the New Year. Here are a few of mine:

1)    Is Real Madrid going to continue its dominance of Europe?

Real Madrid’s 2014 has been nothing short of brilliant. The galáticos have returned with a flourish, and not only are they breaking records left and right, they are making it look rather easy. They’ve won the Champions League, Copa Del Rey, Club World Cup, and are on an unbeaten run in all competitions that may not be topped for a long time. They are looking to become the first team to repeat as European champions since those great Milan teams of 88-89 and 89-90, and they have a great chance to do so. They are also running away with La Liga. But there are questions about Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, the heir apparent to Iker Casillas, and who the next galático will be. Carlo Ancelotti has turned Real into a force, but can that be kept up?

2)    Who is the next casualty of FFP?

FFP has already shown its teeth in tethering Manchester City and PSG to doing basically nothing of substance in their next few transfer windows, which limits the number of big money moves that can happen independent of others. PSG has their own internal turmoil, and if they want to buy big, they have to sell big. Same goes for Manchester City. Is Manchester United next? It felt like they spent more money in the summer than the GDP of Vanuatu, and they want to do that again, but will they be able to? This also comes with the sneaky question of the FFP guidelines that no one really knows for sure. Easy targets like Málaga and Monaco were not surprises, but who is the next one?

3)    Brendan Rodgers… now what?

Liverpool’s 2013-14 season was extraordinary. Their 14-15 season has been extraordinarily disappointing. Their form seems to be rebounding slightly, but whether they can even get back to anywhere near their form from the SAS days seems a pipe dream. Now the question is whether Brendan Rodgers is the man to lead Liverpool back there. Nothing has come easy for the Reds so far, whether it be their spending spree or defending set pieces. Rodgers is the most fascinating manager of 2015, whether he leads a revival at Anfield or the spiral down continues.

4)    How far further down does International Football go?

Some might say that the 2014 FIFA World Cup saved international football, and they wouldn’t be wrong in saying it. Catastrophic injuries, less than fulfilling fixtures, and the halt to European play are all legitimate claims as to why the international game means so little to so many right now. The 2015 calendar has four continental championships to watch, but they feel insignificant next to the other football or even the transfer rumors of the summer. I personally love the international game, for very different reasons than the club game, and I’d like to see nothing more than it rebound. But 2015 might be the lowest year ever for international football, and that’s sad to see.

5)    Is MLS any closer to being a “Top 5 league”?

MLS has euthanized the Chivas USA experiment, and now is up to 20 teams with Orlando City and NYCFC joining the fray. Kaka, Frank Lampard and David Villa are joining the league (the latter maybe in July, or next July if City need to meet a English player quotient), as Thierry Henry has left it, which means the league isn’t really down on quality, but how will it grow? The new teams will add a new dimension, and the battle between MLS and Jurgen Klinsmann on where USMNT players should play is one at a stalemate, but with the specter of more teams in the future, and labor disagreement possible, can MLS take the next step forward as MLS 3.0 begins?

6)    What will be 2015’s biggest surprise?

Will the hegemony of the “Sky 6” be broken? Will Juventus spearhead a revival of Serie A? Will Borussia Dortmund be relegated? Who is Real Madrid’s next galático? Who will be Barcelona’s next galático, if they can even sign one? Will an MLS team beat a Mexican team on Mexican soil? Will we see an active footballer come out as gay? There’s going to be something that takes us all by surprise in 2015, and I’m excited to know what it is.

There are many more questions that will define 2015 in soccer. Above are six of mine. What are yours?

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. kelby

    January 2, 2015 at 12:11 am

    “5) Is MLS any closer to being a “Top 5 league”?”

    no. and it never will. soccer is the world’s most boring, un-American sport, and it’s completely irrelevant in the United States. In the U.S., soccer does not matter and it never will. and why should it? the only people who pay attention to it in the U.S. are white, privileged, anti-American, eurosnob hipster douchebags. if you like soccer and you’re American, you’re probably a communist/terrorist.

  2. yespage

    December 31, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Absolutely no getting rid of Rodgers. He signed a ton of playoffs, spent a huge amount of cash, it is his job to make the talent work. Lallana’s play is getting better and the team may be starting to gel, but this wouldn’t be the first time that Liverpool showed brilliance only to disappoint the following match up.

    It should be noted Liverpool aren’t in a terrible place. Their Champions League performance aside, they are in a decent spot on the table relative to them not having Suarez any more or Sturridge who was supposed to be their top scorer this season. So goals have been much harder to come by. This hasn’t been a banner year or even a great year, so far, but it is a long season and finishing top 4 or 5 is still within grasp.

    I want Rodgers to see out through 2016. The revolving door manager policies are so destructive for franchises.

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