Another major international tournament is upon us, with Euro 2016 kicking off next Friday for a month of delightful football to-be in France.
This year boasts the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship, and no less than twenty-four nations will be on show, with six groups of four teams each initiating the event. Spain are on a roll, having won the last two iterations of the competition… But who will be crowned Champions come the 10th July 2016 at Saint-Denis?
Here are the Top 8 teams in Europe according to the Bartolo Bros:
Euro 2016: Sam’s Predictions
Euro 2016: Quarter-final Eliminations
Croatia finished second in their qualifying group, and face a tough start to Euro 2016 having been drawn in the same group as Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey. Despite this, I believe that they will make it out of their group in second place, and I also have them down to eliminate a really strong Belgium side on the 27th June 2016 in the Round of 16! Unfortunately, their wonderful midfield composed of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Mateo Kovačić, besides other stars, will not be enough to match Germany in the Quarters. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Maltese National Team player Zach Muscat.
Zach Muscat playing for SS Akragas (Image source: Giuseppe Alletto)
Malta’s brightest defensive talent took time off his busy schedule to answer a few questions that we posed to him regarding his first experience overseas in professional football. Zach signed for SS Akragas, who play in the LegaPro Girone C, at the beginning of the 2016 calendar year, and has been a peripheral figure for his team over the last five months, helping them to end the season in a respectable 12th place despite a five-point deduction.
With Zach in the side, SS Akragas climbed from the penultimate position in the league to mid-table security, registering seven clean-sheets in the process, in which the Maltese defender played every minute. During his few months in Italy, Zach was listed in both the LegaPro Girone C ‘top 11’ players of the week, as well as Tutto LegaPro’s ‘top 11’ of the week. He has also recently been named as one of the top 11 hot prospects off contract in LegaPro.
Born in 1993, the young star formed part of the Malta Football Academy at every competitive level – captaining the U/21 side in the process – and has already featured for the Senior National Team on numerous occasions. I had the pleasure of playing alongside Zach for many years – and he always had that something special about him. His infectious determination, hard work and discipline have clearly paid off, and his ability to get through every moment in life with that large grin across his face is just admirable.
Take a look at Zach’s exclusive interview with Bartolo Bros!
Zach! Thank you for accepting my invitation so shortly after returning to Malta. Your first experience in a foreign league. How have the past five months treated you?
You signed for SS Akragas a few weeks after a move to Pisa broke down. Was that on your mind at all in the past few months?
Your season finished on Saturday, with a 1-1 draw against league leaders Benevento. What can you tell me about that match, and how would you compare it to your debut?
SS Akragas finished in 12th position out of 18 teams in its first season in the division. What were the club’s initial objectives when you joined, and have they been met?
Nicola Legrottaglie resigned from his role as manager just two weeks after you signed for the club, and was replaced by Pino Rigoli. Did this have any effect on you at all, and how is your relationship with the new boss?
Who, from your teammates, have you ‘clicked’ with the most?
How has the experience of playing in Italy developed you, both as a person and as a footballer? How much have you missed home, and did the move overseas provide a culture shock, or did you find it easy to settle in?
Can you give us a bit of a heads up on the overall experience of playing for a foreign professional club? What would the week leading up to a match look like in terms of meeting teammates, training, match analysis of the previous game, preparation for the next game, diet, and so on?
You have previously made your intentions clear in terms of wanting to play overseas for years to come. What does your future hold?
What are your personal objectives, and what would be your ultimate achievement in football?
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Do you have a saying or motto that you live by?
If you had to give one word of advice to young kids who dream of becoming professional footballers, what would it be?
Finally… I just have to ask… Messi or Ronaldo?
Thank you for your time Zach, and good luck for a great (and well-deserved) future!
Click the cover image to grab your copy of Alex Ferguson’s Autobiography
1. He’s a Knight
Knighthood doesn’t come cheap; it’s proof of great achievement. You should always be looking to learn from the best. Why else do you think I’ve just placed an order for Sir Richard Branson’s autobiography?
2. 13 Premier League Titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 Champions League Trophies
… and the list goes on. Oh, and those are just the titles he won with Manchester Utd.
3. He’s Scottish
So was William Wallace. ‘Nuff said.
4. He started off at £40 per week
It was never about the money and always about passion for the game. The guy dedicated his life to the game. Continue reading →