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16
##### Departments / Fuzzy Logic... A logic for taking decision
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:54:45 PM »
Fuzzy logic is a form of many-valued logic; it deals with reasoning that is approximate rather than fixed and exact. Compared to traditional binary sets (where variables may take on true or false values), fuzzy logic variables may have a truth value that ranges in degree between 0 and 1. Fuzzy logic has been extended to handle the concept of partial truth, where the truth value may range between completely true and completely false.[1] Furthermore, when linguistic variables are used, these degrees may be managed by specific functions. Irrationality can be described in terms of what is known as the fuzzjective.[2]

The term "fuzzy logic" was introduced with the 1965 proposal of fuzzy set theory by Lotfi A. Zadeh.[3][4] Fuzzy logic has been applied to many fields, from control theory to artificial intelligence. Fuzzy logics had, however, been studied since the 1920s, as infinite-valued logics - notably by Łukasiewicz and Tarski.[5]

Classical logic only permits propositions having a value of truth or falsity. The notion of whether 1+1=2 is an absolute, immutable, mathematical truth. However, there exist certain propositions with variable answers, such as asking various people to identify a color. The notion of truth doesn't fall by the wayside, but rather a means of representing and reasoning over partial knowledge is afforded, by aggregating all possible outcomes into a dimensional spectrum.

Both degrees of truth and probabilities range between 0 and 1 and hence may seem similar at first. For example, let a 100 ml glass contain 30 ml of water. Then we may consider two concepts: empty and full. The meaning of each of them can be represented by a certain fuzzy set. Then one might define the glass as being 0.7 empty and 0.3 full. Note that the concept of emptiness would be subjective and thus would depend on the observer or designer. Another designer might equally well design a set membership function where the glass would be considered full for all values down to 50 ml. It is essential to realize that fuzzy logic uses truth degrees as a mathematical model of the vagueness phenomenon while probability is a mathematical model of ignorance.
Applying truth values

A basic application might characterize subranges of a continuous variable. For instance, a temperature measurement for anti-lock brakes might have several separate membership functions defining particular temperature ranges needed to control the brakes properly. Each function maps the same temperature value to a truth value in the 0 to 1 range. These truth values can then be used to determine how the brakes should be controlled.
Fuzzy logic temperature

In this image, the meanings of the expressions cold, warm, and hot are represented by functions mapping a temperature scale. A point on that scale has three "truth values"—one for each of the three functions. The vertical line in the image represents a particular temperature that the three arrows (truth values) gauge. Since the red arrow points to zero, this temperature may be interpreted as "not hot". The orange arrow (pointing at 0.2) may describe it as "slightly warm" and the blue arrow (pointing at 0. "fairly cold".
Linguistic variables

While variables in mathematics usually take numerical values, in fuzzy logic applications, the non-numeric are often used to facilitate the expression of rules and facts.[6]

A linguistic variable such as age may have a value such as young or its antonym old. However, the great utility of linguistic variables is that they can be modified via linguistic hedges applied to primary terms. The linguistic hedges can be associated with certain functions.
Early applications

The Japanese were the first to utilize fuzzy logic for practical applications. The first notable application was on the high-speed train in Sendai, in which fuzzy logic was able to improve the economy, comfort, and precision of the ride.[7] It has also been used in recognition of hand written symbols in Sony pocket computers; flight aid for helicopters; controlling of subway systems in order to improve driving comfort, precision of halting, and power economy; improved fuel consumption for automobiles; single-button control for washing machines, automatic motor control for vacuum cleaners with recognition of surface condition and degree of sailing; and prediction systems for early recognition of earthquakes through the Institute of Seismology Bureau of Metrology, Japan.[8]
Example
Hard science with IF-THEN rules

Fuzzy set theory defines fuzzy operators on fuzzy sets. The problem in applying this is that the appropriate fuzzy operator may not be known. For this reason, fuzzy logic usually uses IF-THEN rules, or constructs that are equivalent, such as fuzzy associative matrices.

Rules are usually expressed in the form:
IF variable IS property THEN action

For example, a simple temperature regulator that uses a fan might look like this:

IF temperature IS very cold THEN stop fan
IF temperature IS cold THEN turn down fan
IF temperature IS normal THEN maintain level
IF temperature IS hot THEN speed up fan

There is no "ELSE" – all of the rules are evaluated, because the temperature might be "cold" and "normal" at the same time to different degrees.

The AND, OR, and NOT operators of boolean logic exist in fuzzy logic, usually defined as the minimum, maximum, and complement; when they are defined this way, they are called the Zadeh operators. So for the fuzzy variables x and y:

NOT x = (1 - truth(x))
x AND y = minimum(truth(x), truth(y))
x OR y = maximum(truth(x), truth(y))

There are also other operators, more linguistic in nature, called hedges that can be applied. These are generally adverbs such as "very", or "somewhat", which modify the meaning of a set using a mathematical formula.

17
##### Departments / Applications of Artificial Intelligence
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:53:15 PM »
Artificial intelligence has been used in a wide range of fields including medical diagnosis, stock trading, robot control, law, remote sensing, scientific discovery and toys. However, many AI applications are not perceived as AI: "A lot of cutting edge AI has filtered into general applications, often without being called AI because once something becomes useful enough and common enough it's not labeled AI anymore," Nick Bostrom reports.[1] "Many thousands of AI applications are deeply embedded in the infrastructure of every industry."[2] In the late 90s and early 21st century, AI technology became widely used as elements of larger systems,[2][3] but the field is rarely credited for these successes.

Computer science

AI researchers have created many tools to solve the most difficult problems in computer science. Many of their inventions have been adopted by mainstream computer science and are no longer considered a part of AI. (See AI effect). According to Russell & Norvig (2003, p. 15), all of the following were originally developed in AI laboratories: time sharing, interactive interpreters, graphical user interfaces and the computer mouse, rapid development environments, the linked list data structure, automatic storage management, symbolic programming, functional programming, dynamic programming and object-oriented programming.
Finance

Banks use artificial intelligence systems to organize operations, invest in stocks, and manage properties. In August 2001, robots beat humans in a simulated financial trading competition.[4]

Financial institutions have long used artificial neural network systems to detect charges or claims outside of the norm, flagging these for human investigation.
Hospitals and medicine

A medical clinic can use artificial intelligence systems to organize bed schedules, make a staff rotation, and provide medical information and other important tasks.

Artificial neural networks are used as clinical decision support systems for medical diagnosis, such as in Concept Processing technology in EMR software.

Other tasks in medicine that can potentially be performed by artificial intelligence include:

Computer-aided interpretation of medical images. Such systems help scan digital images, e.g. from computed tomography, for typical appearances and to highlight conspicuous sections, such as possible diseases. A typical application is the detection of a tumor.
Heart sound analysis[5]

Heavy industry

Robots have become common in many industries. They are often given jobs that are considered dangerous to humans. Robots have proven effective in jobs that are very repetitive which may lead to mistakes or accidents due to a lapse in concentration and other jobs which humans may find degrading. Japan is the leader in using and producing robots in the world. In 1999, 1,700,000 robots were in use worldwide. For more information, see survey[6] about artificial intelligence in business.
Online and telephone customer service
An automated online assistant providing customer service on a web page.

Artificial intelligence is implemented in automated online assistants that can be seen as avatars on web pages.[7] It can avail for enterprises to reduce their operation and training cost.[7] A major underlying technology to such systems is natural language processing.[7]

Similar techniques may be used in answering machines of call centres, such as speech recognition software to allow computers to handle first level of customer support, text mining and natural language processing to allow better customer handling, agent training by automatic mining of best practices from past interactions, support automation and many other technologies to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction.[8]
Transportation

Fuzzy logic controllers have been developed for automatic gearboxes in automobiles (the 2006 Audi TT, VW Toureg[citation needed] and VW Caravell feature the DSP transmission which utilizes Fuzzy Logic, a number of Škoda variants (Škoda Fabia) also currently include a Fuzzy Logic based controller).
Telecommunications

Many telecommunications companies make use of heuristic search in the management of their workforces, for example BT Group has deployed heuristic search[9] in a scheduling application that provides the work schedules of 20,000 engineers.
Toys and games

The 1990s saw some of the first attempts to mass-produce domestically aimed types of basic Artificial Intelligence for education, or leisure. This prospered greatly with the Digital Revolution, and helped introduce people, especially children, to a life of dealing with various types of Artificial Intelligence, specifically in the form of Tamagotchis and Giga Pets, iPod Touch, the Internet (example: basic search engine interfaces are one simple form), and the first widely released robot, Furby. A mere year later an improved type of domestic robot was released in the form of Aibo, a robotic dog with intelligent features and autonomy. AI has also been applied to video games.
Music

The evolution of music has always been affected by technology. With AI, scientists are trying to make the computer emulate the activities of the skillful musician. Composition, performance, music theory, sound processing are some of the major areas on which research in Music and Artificial Intelligence are focusing.
Aviation

The Air Operations Division (AOD) uses AI for the rule based expert systems. The AOD has use for artificial intelligence for surrogate operators for combat and training simulators, mission management aids, support systems for tactical decision making, and post processing of the simulator data into symbolic summaries.

The use of artificial intelligence in simulators is proving to be very useful for the AOD. Airplane simulators are using artificial intelligence in order to process the data taken from simulated flights. Other than simulated flying, there is also simulated aircraft warfare. The computers are able to come up with the best success scenarios in these situations. The computers can also create strategies based on the placement, size, speed and strength of the forces and counter forces. Pilots may be given assistance in the air during combat by computers. The artificial intelligent programs can sort the information and provide the pilot with the best possible maneuvers, not to mention getting rid of certain maneuvers that would be impossible for a human being to perform. Multiple aircraft are needed to get good approximations for some calculations so computer simulated pilots are used to gather data. These computer simulated pilots are also used to train future air traffic controllers.

The system used by the AOD in order to measure performance was the Interactive Fault Diagnosis and Isolation System, or IFDIS. It is a rule based expert system put together by collecting information from TF-30 documents and the expert advice from mechanics that work on the TF-30. This system was designed to be used for the development of the TF-30 for the RAAF F-111C. The performance system was also used to replace specialized workers. The system allowed the regular workers to communicate with the system and avoid mistakes, miscalculations, or having to speak to one of the specialized workers.

The AOD also uses artificial intelligence in speech recognition software. The air traffic controllers are giving directions to the artificial pilots and the AOD wants to the pilots to respond to the ATC's with simple responses. The programs that incorporate the speech software must be trained, which means they use neural networks. The program used, the Verbex 7000, is still a very early program that has plenty of room for improvement. The improvements are imperative because ATCs use very specific dialog and the software needs to be able to communicate correctly and promptly every time.

The Artificial Intelligence supported Design of Aircraft,[10] or AIDA, is used to help designers in the process of creating conceptual designs of aircraft. This program allows the designers to focus more on the design itself and less on the design process. The software also allows the user to focus less on the software tools. The AIDA uses rule based systems to compute its data. This is a diagram of the arrangement of the AIDA modules. Although simple, the program is proving effective.

In 2003, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, and many other companies, created software that could enable a damaged aircraft to continue flight until a safe landing zone can be reached. The software compensates for all the damaged components by relying on the undamaged components. The neural network used in the software proved to be effective and marked a triumph for artificial intelligence.

The Integrated Vehicle Health Management system, also used by NASA, on board an aircraft must process and interpret data taken from the various sensors on the aircraft. The system needs to be able to determine the structural integrity of the aircraft. The system also needs to implement protocols in case of any damage taken the vehicle.
News, Publishing & Writing

The company Narrative Science makes computer generated news and reports commercially available, including summarizing team sporting events based on statistical data from the game in English. It also creates financial reports and real estate analyses.[11]

The company Automated Insights generates personalized recaps and previews for Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football.[12] The company is projected to generate one billion stories in 2014, up from 350 million in 2013.[13]

Another company, called Yseop, uses artificial intelligence to turn structured data into intelligent comments and recommendations in natural language. Yseop is able to write financial reports, executive summaries, personalized sales or marketing documents and more at a speed of thousands of pages per second and in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French & German. [14]
Other

Various tools of artificial intelligence are also being widely deployed in homeland security, speech and text recognition, data mining, and e-mail spam filtering. Applications are also being developed for gesture recognition (understanding of sign language by machines), individual voice recognition, global voice recognition (from a variety of people in a noisy room), facial expression recognition for interpretation of emotion and non verbal cues. Other applications are robot navigation, obstacle avoidance, and object recognition.[citation needed]
List of applications

Typical problems to which AI methods are applied

Pattern recognition
Optical character recognition
Handwriting recognition
Speech recognition
Face recognition
Artificial Creativity

Computer vision, Virtual reality and Image processing
Diagnosis (artificial intelligence)
Game theory and Strategic planning
Game artificial intelligence and Computer game bot
Natural language processing, Translation and Chatterbots
Nonlinear control and Robotics

Other fields in which AI methods are implemented

Artificial life
Automated reasoning
Automation
Biologically inspired computing
Concept mining
Data mining
Knowledge representation
Semantic Web
E-mail spam filtering

Robotics
Behavior-based robotics
Cognitive
Cybernetics
Developmental robotics
Epigenetic robotics
Evolutionary robotics
Hybrid intelligent system
Intelligent agent
Intelligent control
Litigation

18
##### Teaching & Research Forum / Difference Between Research Paper and Research Proposal
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:50:32 PM »
For all students pursuing a course where they are required to write a thesis and get it submitted, it becomes necessary to present their research proposal. When their chosen subject and topic of research is accepted, they begin their actual research work. After completion (exploring the unknown and coming up with answers to problems identified), the research has to be submitted for approval. This is one procedure that needs the research to be presented in a standardized format known as research report. Though both research proposal and research report contain the same outlines, there are major differences between these two documents that will be highlighted in this article.

Research proposal

For a new student, putting forward a research proposal is even more difficult than actually conducting research. However, this is one aspect that is more than mere formality, and requires not just subject knowledge but also an insight into the problem that the researcher proposes to explore to come up with his analysis and answers to the problems. Research proposal should clearly include the research methodology, design structure and the logic researcher is going to use. Budget, time limit, and qualifications of the researcher are points that matter a lot to those who grant approval. As these cannot be changed, it is prudent to harp upon the problem statement and the solutions sought.

Research report

A research report is the culmination of all the effort, sweat and toiling that a research student undergoes during actual research process. Once the research has been completed, a formal submission is required which takes place in the form of a research report. This is a document that reflects the potential of the researcher and should contain all the information and facts in a standardized format that enables any casual onlooker to get everything easily out of the report. This document contains the title, abstract, introduction, experimental details, results, discussion, conclusions, and finally references use by the researcher.

Difference between Research Proposal and Research Report

• While a research proposal is the beginning of a research, research report can be considered its culmination

• Research proposal is a serious document as the approval of research topic and the researcher hinges upon its presentation and as such any student desirous of pursuing research.

• Research report is also an important document that reflects the effort put in by the student and should be prepared with sincerity and simplicity in a prescribed format.

• While chosen subject and identified problem are more important in a research proposal, the experimental results and methodology assume significance in the case of research report.

19
##### Teaching & Research Forum / Processes for Writing good research paper
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:48:41 PM »
A major goal of this course is the development of effective technical writing skills. To help you become an accomplished writer, you will prepare several research papers based upon the studies completed in lab. Our research papers are not typical "lab reports." In a teaching lab a lab report might be nothing more than answers to a set of questions. Such an assignment hardly represents the kind of writing you might be doing in your eventual career.

Written and oral communications skills are probably the most universal qualities sought by graduate and professional schools as well as by employers. You alone are responsible for developing such skills to a high level.
Resources for learning technical writing

Before you begin your first writing assignment, please consult all of the following resources, in order to gain the most benefit from the experience.

General form of a typical research article
Specific guidelines (if any) for the assignment – see the writeups on individual lab studies
McMillan, VE. "Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences, Third Ed." New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. ISBN 0-312-25857-7 (REQUIRED for Bioc 211, 311, recommended for other science courses that include writing)
Writing portfolio examples (pdf)

As you polish up your writing skills please make use of the following resources

Instructor feedback on previous assignments
Common errors in student research papers
Selected writing rules (somewhat less serious than the other resources)

For Biosciences majors the general guidelines apply to future course work, as can be seen by examining the guidelines for the advanced experimental sciences research paper (Bioc 311).
General form of a research paper

An objective of organizing a research paper is to allow people to read your work selectively. When I research a topic, I may be interested in just the methods, a specific result, the interpretation, or perhaps I just want to see a summary of the paper to determine if it is relevant to my study. To this end, many journals require the following sections, submitted in the order listed, each section to start on a new page. There are variations of course. Some journals call for a combined results and discussion, for example, or include materials and methods after the body of the paper. The well known journal Science does away with separate sections altogether, except for the abstract.

Your papers are to adhere to the form and style required for the Journal of Biological Chemistry, requirements that are shared by many journals in the life sciences.
General style

Specific editorial requirements for submission of a manuscript will always supercede instructions in these general guidelines.

Print or type using a 12 point standard font, such as Times, Geneva, Bookman, Helvetica, etc.
Text should be double spaced on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with 1 inch margins, single sided
Number pages consecutively
Start each new section on a new page

Mistakes to avoid

Placing a heading at the bottom of a page with the following text on the next page (insert a page break!)
Dividing a table or figure - confine each figure/table to a single page
Submitting a paper with pages out of order

In all sections of your paper

Use normal prose including articles ("a", "the," etc.)
Stay focused on the research topic of the paper
Use paragraphs to separate each important point (except for the abstract)
Indent the first line of each paragraph
Present your points in logical order
Use present tense to report well accepted facts - for example, 'the grass is green'
Use past tense to describe specific results - for example, 'When weed killer was applied, the grass was brown'
Avoid informal wording, don't address the reader directly, and don't use jargon, slang terms, or superlatives
Avoid use of superfluous pictures - include only those figures necessary to presenting results

Title Page

Select an informative title as illustrated in the examples in your writing portfolio example package. Include the name(s) and address(es) of all authors, and date submitted. "Biology lab #1" would not be an informative title, for example.
Abstract
The summary should be two hundred words or less. See the examples in the writing portfolio package.
General intent

An abstract is a concise single paragraph summary of completed work or work in progress. In a minute or less a reader can learn the rationale behind the study, general approach to the problem, pertinent results, and important conclusions or new questions.
Writing an abstract

Write your summary after the rest of the paper is completed. After all, how can you summarize something that is not yet written? Economy of words is important throughout any paper, but especially in an abstract. However, use complete sentences and do not sacrifice readability for brevity. You can keep it concise by wording sentences so that they serve more than one purpose. For example, "In order to learn the role of protein synthesis in early development of the sea urchin, newly fertilized embryos were pulse-labeled with tritiated leucine, to provide a time course of changes in synthetic rate, as measured by total counts per minute (cpm)." This sentence provides the overall question, methods, and type of analysis, all in one sentence. The writer can now go directly to summarizing the results.

Summarize the study, including the following elements in any abstract. Try to keep the first two items to no more than one sentence each.

Purpose of the study - hypothesis, overall question, objective
Model organism or system and brief description of the experiment
Results, including specific data - if the results are quantitative in nature, report quantitative data; results of any statistical analysis shoud be reported
Important conclusions or questions that follow from the experiment(s)

Style:

Single paragraph, and concise
As a summary of work done, it is always written in past tense
An abstract should stand on its own, and not refer to any other part of the paper such as a figure or table
Focus on summarizing results - limit background information to a sentence or two, if absolutely necessary
What you report in an abstract must be consistent with what you reported in the paper
Corrrect spelling, clarity of sentences and phrases, and proper reporting of quantities (proper units, significant figures) are just as important in an abstract as they are anywhere else

Introduction
Your introductions should not exceed two pages (double spaced, typed). See the examples in the writing portfolio package.
General intent

The purpose of an introduction is to aquaint the reader with the rationale behind the work, with the intention of defending it. It places your work in a theoretical context, and enables the reader to understand and appreciate your objectives.
Writing an introduction

The abstract is the only text in a research paper to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points. Approaches vary widely, however for our studies the following approach can produce an effective introduction.

Describe the importance (significance) of the study - why was this worth doing in the first place? Provide a broad context.
Defend the model - why did you use this particular organism or system? What are its advantages? You might comment on its suitability from a theoretical point of view as well as indicate practical reasons for using it.
Provide a rationale. State your specific hypothesis(es) or objective(s), and describe the reasoning that led you to select them.
Very briefy describe the experimental design and how it accomplished the stated objectives.

Style:

Use past tense except when referring to established facts. After all, the paper will be submitted after all of the work is completed.
Organize your ideas, making one major point with each paragraph. If you make the four points listed above, you will need a minimum of four paragraphs.
Present background information only as needed in order support a position. The reader does not want to read everything you know about a subject.
State the hypothesis/objective precisely - do not oversimplify.
As always, pay attention to spelling, clarity and appropriateness of sentences and phrases.

Materials and Methods
There is no specific page limit, but a key concept is to keep this section as concise as you possibly can. People will want to read this material selectively. The reader may only be interested in one formula or part of a procedure. Materials and methods may be reported under separate subheadings within this section or can be incorporated together.
General intent

This should be the easiest section to write, but many students misunderstand the purpose. The objective is to document all specialized materials and general procedures, so that another individual may use some or all of the methods in another study or judge the scientific merit of your work. It is not to be a step by step description of everything you did, nor is a methods section a set of instructions. In particular, it is not supposed to tell a story. By the way, your notebook should contain all of the information that you need for this section.
Writing a materials and methods section

Materials:

Describe materials separately only if the study is so complicated that it saves space this way.
Include specialized chemicals, biological materials, and any equipment or supplies that are not commonly found in laboratories.
Do not include commonly found supplies such as test tubes, pipet tips, beakers, etc., or standard lab equipment such as centrifuges, spectrophotometers, pipettors, etc.
If use of a specific type of equipment, a specific enzyme, or a culture from a particular supplier is critical to the success of the experiment, then it and the source should be singled out, otherwise no.
Materials may be reported in a separate paragraph or else they may be identified along with your procedures.
In biosciences we frequently work with solutions - refer to them by name and describe completely, including concentrations of all reagents, and pH of aqueous solutions, solvent if non-aqueous.

Methods:

See the examples in the writing portfolio package
Report the methodology (not details of each procedure that employed the same methodology)
Describe the mehodology completely, including such specifics as temperatures, incubation times, etc.
To be concise, present methods under headings devoted to specific procedures or groups of procedures
Generalize - report how procedures were done, not how they were specifically performed on a particular day. For example, report "samples were diluted to a final concentration of 2 mg/ml protein;" don't report that "135 microliters of sample one was diluted with 330 microliters of buffer to make the protein concentration 2 mg/ml." Always think about what would be relevant to an investigator at another institution, working on his/her own project.
If well documented procedures were used, report the procedure by name, perhaps with reference, and that's all. For example, the Bradford assay is well known. You need not report the procedure in full - just that you used a Bradford assay to estimate protein concentration, and identify what you used as a standard. The same is true for the SDS-PAGE method, and many other well known procedures in biology and biochemistry.

Style:

It is awkward or impossible to use active voice when documenting methods without using first person, which would focus the reader's attention on the investigator rather than the work. Therefore when writing up the methods most authors use third person passive voice.
Use normal prose in this and in every other section of the paper – avoid informal lists, and use complete sentences.

What to avoid

Materials and methods are not a set of instructions.
Omit all explanatory information and background - save it for the discussion.
Omit information that is irrelevant to a third party, such as what color ice bucket you used, or which individual logged in the data.

Results
The page length of this section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Continue to be concise, using figures and tables, if appropriate, to present results most effectively. See recommendations for content, below.
General intent

The purpose of a results section is to present and illustrate your findings. Make this section a completely objective report of the results, and save all interpretation for the discussion.
Writing a results section

IMPORTANT: You must clearly distinguish material that would normally be included in a research article from any raw data or other appendix material that would not be published. In fact, such material should not be submitted at all unless requested by the instructor.

Content

Summarize your findings in text and illustrate them, if appropriate, with figures and tables.
In text, describe each of your results, pointing the reader to observations that are most relevant.
Provide a context, such as by describing the question that was addressed by making a particular observation.
Describe results of control experiments and include observations that are not presented in a formal figure or table, if appropriate.
Analyze your data, then prepare the analyzed (converted) data in the form of a figure (graph), table, or in text form.

What to avoid

Do not discuss or interpret your results, report background information, or attempt to explain anything.
Never include raw data or intermediate calculations in a research paper.
Do not present the same data more than once.
Text should complement any figures or tables, not repeat the same information.
Please do not confuse figures with tables - there is a difference.

Style

As always, use past tense when you refer to your results, and put everything in a logical order.
In text, refer to each figure as "figure 1," "figure 2," etc. ; number your tables as well (see the reference text for details)
Place figures and tables, properly numbered, in order at the end of the report (clearly distinguish them from any other material such as raw data, standard curves, etc.)
If you prefer, you may place your figures and tables appropriately within the text of your results section.

Figures and tables

Either place figures and tables within the text of the result, or include them in the back of the report (following Literature Cited) - do one or the other
If you place figures and tables at the end of the report, make sure they are clearly distinguished from any attached appendix materials, such as raw data
Regardless of placement, each figure must be numbered consecutively and complete with caption (caption goes under the figure)
Regardless of placement, each table must be titled, numbered consecutively and complete with heading (title with description goes above the table)
Each figure and table must be sufficiently complete that it could stand on its own, separate from text

Discussion
Journal guidelines vary. Space is so valuable in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, that authors are asked to restrict discussions to four pages or less, double spaced, typed. That works out to one printed page. While you are learning to write effectively, the limit will be extended to five typed pages. If you practice economy of words, that should be plenty of space within which to say all that you need to say.
General intent

The objective here is to provide an interpretation of your results and support for all of your conclusions, using evidence from your experiment and generally accepted knowledge, if appropriate. The significance of findings should be clearly described.
Writing a discussion

Interpret your data in the discussion in appropriate depth. This means that when you explain a phenomenon you must describe mechanisms that may account for the observation. If your results differ from your expectations, explain why that may have happened. If your results agree, then describe the theory that the evidence supported. It is never appropriate to simply state that the data agreed with expectations, and let it drop at that.

Decide if each hypothesis is supported, rejected, or if you cannot make a decision with confidence. Do not simply dismiss a study or part of a study as "inconclusive."
Research papers are not accepted if the work is incomplete. Draw what conclusions you can based upon the results that you have, and treat the study as a finished work
You may suggest future directions, such as how the experiment might be modified to accomplish another objective.
Explain all of your observations as much as possible, focusing on mechanisms.
Decide if the experimental design adequately addressed the hypothesis, and whether or not it was properly controlled.
Try to offer alternative explanations if reasonable alternatives exist.
One experiment will not answer an overall question, so keeping the big picture in mind, where do you go next? The best studies open up new avenues of research. What questions remain?
Recommendations for specific papers will provide additional suggestions.

Style:

When you refer to information, distinguish data generated by your own studies from published information or from information obtained from other students (verb tense is an important tool for accomplishing that purpose).
Refer to work done by specific individuals (including yourself) in past tense.
Refer to generally accepted facts and principles in present tense. For example, "Doofus, in a 1989 survey, found that anemia in basset hounds was correlated with advanced age. Anemia is a condition in which there is insufficient hemoglobin in the blood."

The biggest mistake that students make in discussions is to present a superficial interpretation that more or less re-states the results. It is necessary to suggest why results came out as they did, focusing on the mechanisms behind the observations.
Literature Cited

Please note that in the introductory laboratory course, you will not be required to properly document sources of all of your information. One reason is that your major source of information is this website, and websites are inappropriate as primary sources. Second, it is problematic to provide a hundred students with equal access to potential reference materials. You may nevertheless find outside sources, and you should cite any articles that the instructor provides or that you find for yourself.

List all literature cited in your paper, in alphabetical order, by first author. In a proper research paper, only primary literature is used (original research articles authored by the original investigators). Be cautious about using web sites as references - anyone can put just about anything on a web site, and you have no sure way of knowing if it is truth or fiction. If you are citing an on line journal, use the journal citation (name, volume, year, page numbers). Some of your papers may not require references, and if that is the case simply state that "no references were consulted."

20
##### Teaching & Research Forum / Criteria for Good Research Proposal
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:47:32 PM »
Most students and beginning researchers do not fully understand what a research proposal means, nor do they understand its importance. To put it bluntly, one's research is only as a good as one's proposal. An ill-conceived proposal dooms the project even if it somehow gets through the Thesis Supervisory Committee. A high quality proposal, on the other hand, not only promises success for the project, but also impresses your Thesis Committee about your potential as a researcher.

A research proposal is intended to convince others that you have a worthwhile research project and that you have the competence and the work-plan to complete it. Generally, a research proposal should contain all the key elements involved in the research process and include sufficient information for the readers to evaluate the proposed study.

Regardless of your research area and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions: What you plan to accomplish, why you want to do it and how you are going to do it.

The proposal should have sufficient information to convince your readers that you have an important research idea, that you have a good grasp of the relevant literature and the major issues, and that your methodology is sound.

The quality of your research proposal depends not only on the quality of your proposed project, but also on the quality of your proposal writing. A good research project may run the risk of rejection simply because the proposal is poorly written. Therefore, it pays if your writing is coherent, clear and compelling.

This paper focuses on proposal writing rather than on the development of research ideas.

Title:

It should be concise and descriptive. For example, the phrase, "An investigation of . . ." could be omitted. Often titles are stated in terms of a functional relationship, because such titles clearly indicate the independent and dependent variables. However, if possible, think of an informative but catchy title. An effective title not only pricks the reader's interest, but also predisposes him/her favourably towards the proposal.

Abstract:

It is a brief summary of approximately 300 words. It should include the research question, the rationale for the study, the hypothesis (if any), the method and the main findings. Descriptions of the method may include the design, procedures, the sample and any instruments that will be used.

Introduction:

The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for your research problem. How to frame the research problem is perhaps the biggest problem in proposal writing.

If the research problem is framed in the context of a general, rambling literature review, then the research question may appear trivial and uninteresting. However, if the same question is placed in the context of a very focused and current research area, its significance will become evident.

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules on how to frame your research question just as there is no prescription on how to write an interesting and informative opening paragraph. A lot depends on your creativity, your ability to think clearly and the depth of your understanding of problem areas.

However, try to place your research question in the context of either a current "hot" area, or an older area that remains viable. Secondly, you need to provide a brief but appropriate historical backdrop. Thirdly, provide the contemporary context in which your proposed research question occupies the central stage. Finally, identify "key players" and refer to the most relevant and representative publications. In short, try to paint your research question in broad brushes and at the same time bring out its significance.

The introduction typically begins with a general statement of the problem area, with a focus on a specific research problem, to be followed by the rational or justification for the proposed study. The introduction generally covers the following elements:

State the research problem, which is often referred to as the purpose of the study.
Provide the context and set the stage for your research question in such a way as to show its necessity and importance.
Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing.
Briefly describe the major issues and sub-problems to be addressed by your research.
Identify the key independent and dependent variables of your experiment. Alternatively, specify the phenomenon you want to study.
State your hypothesis or theory, if any. For exploratory or phenomenological research, you may not have any hypotheses. (Please do not confuse the hypothesis with the statistical null hypothesis.)
Set the delimitation or boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.
Provide definitions of key concepts. (This is optional.)

Literature Review:

Sometimes the literature review is incorporated into the introduction section. However, most professors prefer a separate section, which allows a more thorough review of the literature.

The literature review serves several important functions:

Ensures that you are not "reinventing the wheel".
Gives credits to those who have laid the groundwork for your research.
Demonstrates your knowledge of the research problem.
Demonstrates your understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question.
Shows your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information.
Indicates your ability to integrate and synthesize the existing literature.
Provides new theoretical insights or develops a new model as the conceptual framework for your research.
Convinces your reader that your proposed research will make a significant and substantial contribution to the literature (i.e., resolving an important theoretical issue or filling a major gap in the literature).

Most students' literature reviews suffer from the following problems:

Lacking organization and structure
Lacking focus, unity and coherence
Being repetitive and verbose
Failing to cite influential papers
Failing to keep up with recent developments
Failing to critically evaluate cited papers
Citing irrelevant or trivial references
Depending too much on secondary sources

Your scholarship and research competence will be questioned if any of the above applies to your proposal.

There are different ways to organize your literature review. Make use of subheadings to bring order and coherence to your review. For example, having established the importance of your research area and its current state of development, you may devote several subsections on related issues as: theoretical models, measuring instruments, cross-cultural and gender differences, etc.

It is also helpful to keep in mind that you are telling a story to an audience. Try to tell it in a stimulating and engaging manner. Do not bore them, because it may lead to rejection of your worthy proposal. (Remember: Professors and scientists are human beings too.)

Methods:

The Method section is very important because it tells your Research Committee how you plan to tackle your research problem. It will provide your work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of your project.

The guiding principle for writing the Method section is that it should contain sufficient information for the reader to determine whether methodology is sound. Some even argue that a good proposal should contain sufficient details for another qualified researcher to implement the study.

You need to demonstrate your knowledge of alternative methods and make the case that your approach is the most appropriate and most valid way to address your research question.

Please note that your research question may be best answered by qualitative research. However, since most mainstream psychologists are still biased against qualitative research, especially the phenomenological variety, you may need to justify your qualitative method.

Furthermore, since there are no well-established and widely accepted canons in qualitative analysis, your method section needs to be more elaborate than what is required for traditional quantitative research. More importantly, the data collection process in qualitative research has a far greater impact on the results as compared to quantitative research. That is another reason for greater care in describing how you will collect and analyze your data. (How to write the Method section for qualitative research is a topic for another paper.)

For quantitative studies, the method section typically consists of the following sections:

Design -Is it a questionnaire study or a laboratory experiment? What kind of design do you choose?
Subjects or participants - Who will take part in your study ? What kind of sampling procedure do you use?
Instruments - What kind of measuring instruments or questionnaires do you use? Why do you choose them? Are they valid and reliable?
Procedure - How do you plan to carry out your study? What activities are involved? How long does it take?

Results:

Obviously you do not have results at the proposal stage. However, you need to have some idea about what kind of data you will be collecting, and what statistical procedures will be used in order to answer your research question or test you hypothesis.

Discussion:

It is important to convince your reader of the potential impact of your proposed research. You need to communicate a sense of enthusiasm and confidence without exaggerating the merits of your proposal. That is why you also need to mention the limitations and weaknesses of the proposed research, which may be justified by time and financial constraints as well as by the early developmental stage of your research area.

Common Mistakes in Proposal Writing

Failure to provide the proper context to frame the research question.
Failure to delimit the boundary conditions for your research.
Failure to cite landmark studies.
Failure to accurately present the theoretical and empirical contributions by other researchers.
Failure to stay focused on the research question.
Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues.
Too much rambling -- going "all over the map" without a clear sense of direction. (The best proposals move forward with ease and grace like a seamless river.)
Too many citation lapses and incorrect references.
Too long or too short.
Failing to follow the APA style.
Slopping writing.

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##### Teaching & Research Forum / Quality Measurements for Research Proposal
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:46:46 PM »
Writing a good research grant proposal is not easy. This document is an attempt to collect together a number of suggestions about what makes a good proposal. It is inevitably a personal view on the part of the authors; we would welcome feedback and suggestions from others.

Here is a translation of this paper into Czech, due to Andrey Fomin.
APPROACHING A PROPOSAL
The first and most obvious thing to do is to read the advice offered by your funding agency. In the case of EPSRC, the primary funding body for computing science research, there is a "Guide to EPSRC Research Grants". We make no attempt to duplicate the material in the EPSRC guide or any other; you must get yourself a copy and follow the guidance closely.

The most substantial part of any grant application is some form of "Case for Support". It is this case which will persuade, or fail to persuade, your funding body of the value of your proposal. Proposals range very widely indeed in their quality. You can improve your chances enormously simply by ruthlessly writing and rewriting. This document is entirely about improving your case for support.

There are two vital facts to bear in mind:

Your case for support will, with luck, be read by one or two experts in your field. But the programme manager, and most members of the panel that judges your proposal against others, won't be expert. You must, must, must write your proposal for their benefit too.

Remember that programme managers and panel members see tens or hundreds of cases for support, so you have one minute or less to grab your reader's attention.

Based on these facts, here are two Golden Rules:

Ask lots of people to help you improve your proposal. Give it to your colleagues, your friends, your spouse, your dog, and listen to what they say. If they misunderstand what you were trying to say, don't say "you misunderstood me"; instead rewrite it so it can't be misunderstood. If they don't immediately see the value of what you want to achieve, rewrite it until they do. And so on.

This isn't a big demand to make on someone. Ask them to read your proposal for 10 minutes, and say what they think. Remember, most committee members will give it less time than that.

Make sure that the first page acts as a stand-alone summary of the entire proposal. Assume (it's a safe assumption) that many readers will get no further than the first page. So don't fill it up with boilerplate about the technical background. Instead, present your whole case: what you want to do, why it's important, why you will succeed, how much it will cost, and so on.

CRITERIA FOR A GOOD GRANT PROPOSAL
Most funding agencies apply similar criteria to the evaluation of proposals. We discuss these below. It is important to address these criteria directly in your case for support. A proposal which fails to meet them will be rejected regardless of the quality of its source. Otherwise, there is a danger of discriminating unfairly in favour of well-known applicants.
Major criteria
Here are the major criteria against which your proposal will be judged. Read through your case for support repeatedly, and ask whether the answers to the questions below are clear, even to a non-expert.

Does the proposal address a well-formulated problem?

Is it a research problem, or is it just a routine application of known techniques?

Is it an important problem, whose solution will have useful effects?

Is special funding necessary to solve the problem, or to solve it quickly enough, or could it be solved using the normal resources of a well-found laboratory?

Do the proposers have a good idea on which to base their work? The proposal must explain the idea in sufficient detail to convince the reader that the idea has some substance, and should explain why there is reason to believe that it is indeed a good idea. It is absolutely not enough merely to identify a wish-list of desirable goals (a very common fault). There must be significant technical substance to the proposal.

Does the proposal explain clearly what work will be done? Does it explain what results are expected and how they will be evaluated? How would it be possible to judge whether the work was successful?

Is there evidence that the proposers know about the work that others have done on the problem? This evidence may take the form of a short review as well as representative references.

Do the proposers have a good track record, both of doing good research and of publishing it? A representative selection of relevant publications by the proposers should be cited. Absence of a track record is clearly not a disqualifying characteristic, especially in the case of young researchers, but a consistent failure to publish raises question marks.

Secondary criteria
Some secondary criteria may be applied to separate closely-matched proposals. It is often essentially impossible to distinguish in a truly objective manner among such proposals and it is sad that it is necessary to do so. The criteria are ambiguous and conflict with each other, so the committee simply has to use its best judgement in making its recommendations.

An applicant with little existing funding may deserve to be placed ahead of a well- funded one. On the other hand, existing funding provides evidence of a good track record.

There is merit in funding a proposal to keep a strong research team together; but it is also important to give priority to new researchers in the field.

An attempt is made to maintain a reasonable balance between different research areas, where this is possible.

Evidence of industrial interest in a proposal, and of its potential for future exploitation will usually count in its favour. The closer the research is to producing a product the more industrial involvement is required and this should usually include some industrial contribution to the project. The case for support should include some `route to market' plan, ie you should have thought about how the research will eventually become a product --- identifying an industrial partner is usually part of such a plan.

A proposal will benefit if it is seen to address recommendations of Technology Foresight. It is worth looking at the relevant Foresight Panel reports and including quotes in your case for support that relate to your proposal.

Cost-effectiveness
Finally, the programme manager tries to ensure that his or her budget is to be used in a cost-effective manner. Each proposal which has some chance of being funded is examined, and the programme manager may lop costs off an apparently over-expensive project.Such cost reduction is likely to happen if the major costs of staff and equipment are not given clear, individual justification.
COMMON SHORTCOMINGS
Here are some of the ways in which proposals often fail to meet these criteria.

It is not clear what question is being addressed by the proposal. In particular, it is not clear what the outcome of the research might be, or what would constitute success or failure. It is vital to discuss what contribution to human knowledge would be made by the research.

The question being addressed is woolly or ill-formed. The committee are looking for evidence of clear thinking both in the formulation of the problem and in the planned attack on it.

It is not clear why the question is worth addressing. The proposal must be well motivated.

The proposal is just a routine application of known techniques. Research funding agencies are interested in funding research rather than development. Industry are expected to fund development work. The LINK scheme is appropriate for proposals which combine both research and development. If the development would benefit another research field, rather than industry, then look to the funding agencies of that field.

Industry ought to be doing it instead. If the work is `near market' then it should be done by industry or industry or venture capital should be funding you to do it. If no industry is interested then the prima facie assumption is that the product has no commercial value.

There is no evidence that the proposers will succeed where others have failed. It is easy enough to write a proposal with an exciting-sounding wish-list of hoped-for achievements, but you must substantiate your goals with solid evidence of why you have a good chance of achieving them.

This evidence generally takes two main forms:

"We have an idea". In this case, you should sketch the idea, and describe preliminary work you have done which shows that it is indeed a good idea. You are unlikely to get funding without such evidence. It is not good saying "give us the money and we will start thinking about this problem".

"We have a good track record". Include a selective list of publications, and perhaps include a short paper (preferably a published one) which gives more background, as an appendix. If you make it clear that it is an appendix, you won't usually fall foul of any length limits.

A new idea is claimed but insufficient technical details of the idea are given for the committee to be able to judge whether it looks promising. Since the committee cannot be expert in all areas there is a danger of overwhelming them with technical details, but it is better to err by overwhelming them than by underwhelming them. They will usually get an expert referee to evaluate your idea.

The proposers seem unaware of related research. Related work must be mentioned, if only to be dismissed. Otherwise, the committee will think that the proposers are ignorant and, therefore, not the best group to fund. The case for support should have a list of references like any paper, and you should look at it to check it has a balanced feel - your referee will do so. Do not make the mistake of giving references only to your own work!

The proposed research has already been done - or appears to have been done. Rival solutions must be discussed and their inadequacies revealed.

The proposal is badly presented, or incomprehensible to all but an expert in the field. Remember that your proposal will be read by non-experts as well as (hopefully) experts. A good proposal is simultaneously comprehensible to non-experts, while also convincing experts that you know your subject. Keep highly-technical material in well-signposted section(s); avoid it in the introduction.

The proposers seem to be attempting too much for the funding requested and time-scale envisaged. Such lack of realism may reflect a poor understanding of the problem or poor research methodology.

The proposal is too expensive for the probable gain. If it is easy to see how to cut the request for people/equipment/travel, etc. to something more reasonable then it might be awarded in reduced form. More likely, it will be rejected.

The proposers institution should be funding it. Research agencies will usually only fund research that requires resources beyond that which might be expected in a "well-found laboratory" --- indeed, this is part of the charter of the research councils. If it looks like your proposal might be done by a PhD student on the departmental computer then that is what should happen. If the proposer's laboratory is not "well-found" then this is taken to be a vote of no-confidence in the proposer by his/her institution.

Doubtless there are other common grounds for failure that have been omitted. If you know of any please let us know!.

Often, one can tell from independent knowledge of the proposers or by reading between the lines of the proposal, that the criteria could have been met if a little bit more thought had gone into the proposal. There is a clear question being addressed by the research, but the proposers failed to clarify what it was. The proposers are aware of related research, but they failed to discuss it in the proposal. The proposers do have some clear technical ideas, but they thought it inappropriate to go into such detail in the proposal. Unfortunately, there is a limit to which a funding agencies can give such cases the benefit of the doubt. It is not fair for referees to overlook shortcomings in proposals of which they have personal knowledge if similar shortcomings are not overlooked in proposals which they have not encountered before. In any case, proposals which do meet the criteria deserve precedence.
CONCLUSION
We hope that this document will help you to write better grant proposals, and hence to be more successful in obtaining funds for your research. This article is not just about writing better grant proposals to obtain more money. The basic set-up of peer-reviewed grants of limited duration is a sensible one. It compels researchers regularly to review and re-justify the direction of their work. Behind poorly presented grant proposals often lie poorly-reasoned research plans. Perhaps if we can improve the quality of Computer Science proposals we will also improve the quality of Computer Science research.

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##### Sports Zone / বাংলাদেশ-জিম্বাবুয়ে সিরিজের সূচি চূড়ান্ত
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:43:30 PM »

বাংলাদেশে টেস্ট ও ওয়ানডে সিরিজ খেলতে আগামী ১৭ অক্টোবর আসছে জিম্বাবুয়ে ক্রিকেট দল। বুধবার এক সংবাদ বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে সফরসূচি ঘোষণা করেছে বাংলাদেশ ক্রিকেট বোর্ড (বিসিবি)।
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তিনটি টেস্টের প্রথম দুটি হবে চট্টগ্রামের জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়াম। ২৬ অক্টোবর শুরু হবে প্রথম টেস্ট, দ্বিতীয়টি শুরু হবে ৩ নভেম্বর। শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়ামে সিরিজের তৃতীয় ও শেষ টেস্টটি শুরু হবে ১১ নভেম্বর।

পাঁচটি ওয়ানডের মধ্যে প্রথম তিনটি হবে শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়ামে। চট্টগ্রামের জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়ামে হবে সিরিজের শেষ দুটি একদিনের ম্যাচ।

টেস্ট সিরিজ শুরুর আগে জিম্বাবুয়ে একমাত্র তিন দিনের প্রস্তুতি ম্যাচটি খেলবে ফতুল্লার খান সাহেব ওসমান আলী স্টেডিয়ামে।

প্রায় দেড় মাসের সফর শেষে জিম্বাবুয়ে দল ঢাকা ছাড়বে আগামী ২৯ নভেম্বর।

প্রায় ১০ বছর পর পূর্ণাঙ্গ সফরে আসছে জিম্বাবুয়ে। ২০০৫ সালের জানুয়ারিতে সর্বশেষ সফরে এসেছিল দলটি। সেবারই প্রথমবারের টেস্ট ও সিরিজ জয়ের স্বাদ পেয়েছিল বাংলাদেশ।

বাংলাদেশে এটি হবে জিম্বাবুয়ের সপ্তম ওয়ানডে সিরিজ। ২০০১ সালে নভেম্বরে প্রথম সিরিজে ৩-০ ব্যবধানে জয়ের পর শেষ পাঁচটি সিরিজে স্বাগতিকদের কাছে হেরেছে দলটি।

বাংলাদেশ-জিম্বাবুয়ে সিরিজের সূচি:

২৬-৩০ অক্টোবর, প্রথম টেস্ট, জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়াম, চট্টগ্রাম

৩-৭ নভেম্বর, দ্বিতীয় টেস্ট, জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়াম, চট্টগ্রাম

১১-১৫ নভেম্বর, তৃতীয় টেস্ট, শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়াম, ঢাকা

১৯ নভেম্বর, প্রথম ওয়ানডে, শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়াম, ঢাকা

২১ নভেম্বর, দ্বিতীয় ওয়ানডে, শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়াম, ঢাকা

২৩ নভেম্বর, তৃতীয় ওয়ানডে, শের-ই-বাংলা জাতীয় ক্রিকেট স্টেডিয়াম, ঢাকা

২৬ নভেম্বর, চতুর্থ ওয়ানডে, জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়াম, চট্টগ্রাম

২৮ নভেম্বর, পঞ্চম ওয়ানডে, জহুর আহমেদ চৌধুরী স্টেডিয়াম, চট্টগ্রাম

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##### Sports Zone / বিশ্বকাপের স্মরণীয় ১০ মুহূর্ত
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:41:32 PM »

ঘটনার অভাব নেই, অঘটনেরও। ঘটন-অঘটন মিলিয়ে সাম্প্রতিক সময়ের অন্যতম সেরা বিশ্বকাপ হয়ে গেল ব্রাজিলে। সেখান থেকে স্মৃতিতে সঞ্চয় হয়ে থাকার মতো ১০টি অধ্যায়ে আলো ফেলা যাক।
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১. মিনেইরাওয়ের লজ্জা

ব্রাজিলিয়ান ফুটবলের চিরন্তন দুঃখ হয়ে আছে ‘মারাকানা’। পাঁচ-পাঁচটি বিশ্বকাপ জিতলেও ১৯৫০ সালে ঘরের মাঠের আসরে উরুগুয়ের কাছে হারটির কথা ভোলেননি তারা। ৬৪ বছর পর আবার বিশ্বকাপ আয়োজনে উপলক্ষ ছিল সেটি ভোলার। কিন্তু মারাকানা পর্যন্ত যে যেতেই পারল না ব্রাজিল! উল্টো মারাকানা দুঃখের পিঠে যোগ হয়েছে মিনেইরাও লজ্জা।

জার্মানির বিপক্ষে সেমি-ফাইনালটি ছিল বেলো হরিজন্তের মিনেইরাও স্টেডিয়ামে। সেখানেই ব্রাজিলকে ৭-১ গোলের বিস্ময়কর হারের লজ্জায় ডোবায় জার্মানি।

১৯৭৫ সালের পর দেশের মাটিতে প্রতিযোগিতামূলক ম্যাচে এটিই ব্রাজিলের প্রথম পরাজয়। সেবার কোপা আমেরিকায় পেরুর কাছে এই বেলো হরিজন্তেতেই ৩-১ গোলে হেরেছিল ব্রাজিল।

বিশ্বকাপের মতো আসরে স্বাগতিকদের অমন অসহায় আত্মসমর্পন আক্ষরিক অর্থেই ব্যখ্যাতীত। প্রথমার্ধে ১৯ মিনিটের ব্যবধানে পাঁচ গোল খাওয়ারও যেমন কোনো ব্যাখ্যা নেই। না হয় চোটের কারণে নেইমার ছিলেন না, বহিষ্কারাদেশের কারণে চিয়াগো সিলভাও, তবু এভাবে বিধ্বস্ত হবে ব্রাজিল, কেউ ভাবেনি। দেশের সমৃদ্ধ ফুটবল ইতিহাসে এত বড় ব্যবধানে আর কখনো হারেনি তারা।

১৯৫০ বিশ্বকাপের মারাকানার মতো ২০১৪ আসরের মিনেইরাও ভূত ব্রাজিলবাসীদের তাড়িয়ে বেড়াবে অনন্তকাল।

২. কামড়-কাণ্ড

ঠিক আগের ম্যাচে ফিরেছিলেন চোট থেকে। ফিরেই জোড়া গোল করে ইংল্যান্ডের বিপক্ষে উরুগুয়েকে জিতিয়ে নায়কের আসনে লুই সুয়ারেস। কিন্তু এরপর খলনায়ক হতেও বেশি সময় নেননি। পরের ম্যাচে ইতালির জর্জো কিয়েল্লিনিকে কামড়ে বিশ্বকাপ ইতিহাসে সবচেয়ে বড় শাস্তি পান এই ফরোয়ার্ড।

ঘটনাটা এড়িয়ে গিয়েছিল রেফারির চোখ। কিয়েল্লিনির কাঁধ কামড়ে উল্টো দাঁত ধরে মাঠে পড়ে গিয়ে এমন অভিনয় করেন সুয়ারেস, যেন আঘাত করা হয়েছে তাকেই। ইতালিয়ান ডিফেন্ডারের অভিযোগেও তাই কোনো কাজ হয়নি। কিন্তু এরপর ঘটনার তদন্ত শুরু করে ফিফা। ক্লাব ফুটবলে তার অভিন্ন অপরাধে শাস্তি পাওয়ার অতীত বিবেচনায় এবার কঠোর শাস্তি দেয় ফুটবল নিয়ন্ত্রক সংস্থাটি। উরুগুয়ের হয়ে ৯টি আন্তর্জাতিক ম্যাচ এবং ফুটবল সংক্রান্ত সব ধরনের কার্যক্রম থেকে চার মাসের নিষেধাজ্ঞা। শুরুতে ঘটনাটি বেমালুম অস্বীকার করলেও পরে ঠিকই কিয়েল্লিনির কাছে ক্ষমা চান তিনি।

৩. বিস্ময়বালক

ফুটবল-বিধাতা যে তার জন্য এমন রূপকথার চিত্রনাট্য লিখে রেখেছিলেন, মারিও গোটসে কি তা ভেবেছিলেন!

মারিও গোটসের সেই সোনালি গোল। এই গোলেই দুই যুগ পর বিশ্বকাপ জিতলো জার্মানি। ছবি: রয়টার্স

মারিও গোটসের সেই সোনালি গোল। এই গোলেই দুই যুগ পর বিশ্বকাপ জিতলো জার্মানি। ছবি: রয়টার্স
ফাইনালের একমাত্র গোলদাতার হাতে বিশ্বকাপের ট্রফি। ছবি: রয়টার্স

ফাইনালের একমাত্র গোলদাতার হাতে বিশ্বকাপের ট্রফি। ছবি: রয়টার্স
জার্মানির জার্সিতে হতাশার এক টুর্নামেন্ট কাটাচ্ছিলেন, এমনকি বাদ পড়েছিলেন একাদশ থেকেও। আর্জেন্টিনার বিপক্ষে ফাইনালে তিনি নামলেন ৮৮তম মিনিটে। নির্ধারিত সময়ে গোলশূন্য ম্যাচটি অতিরিক্ত সময়ে গড়ানোর পর সেই গোটসেই হয়ে ওঠেন নায়ক। বাঁ দিক থেকে আন্দ্রে শুরলের ক্রস বুক দিয়ে যখন দারুণভাবে নিয়ন্ত্রণে নেন, তখন তার দুই পা-ই শূন্যে। এরপর বলটি শূন্যে থাকতে থাকতে আরো দারুণভাবে শরীর ঘুরিয়ে মারেন বাঁ পায়ের ভলি। আর্জেন্টিনার গোলরক্ষক সের্হিয়ো রোমেরোকে হতভম্ব করে বল ঢুকে যায় জালে। আগের ১১২ মিনিটে যে গোল হয়নি, সেটি হল অবশেষে। শেষ পর্যন্ত যা পরিণত জয়সূচক গোলে। আর তাতে জার্মান-ফুটবল রূপকথার চিরন্তন রাজকুমার হয়ে গেলেন গোটসে।

৪. বিদায়ের কান্না

পরিসংখ্যানের পাতায় লেখা থাকবে, জার্মানির কাছে হেরে বিশ্বকাপের ট্রফি জয়ের দৌড় থেকে ছিটকে পড়েছিল ব্রাজিল। কিন্তু ইতিহাস সাক্ষ্য দেবে, এক কলম্বিয়ানই আসলে শেষ করে দেয় সেলেসাওদের শিরোপা স্বপ্ন। হুয়ান সুনিগার হাঁটুর আঘাতে নেইমারের চোটটাই যে কাল হয়েছে অবশেষে!

কোয়ার্টার-ফাইনালের শেষ দিকের ঘটনা এটি। কান্নার জলে ভিজে মাঠ থেকে বেরিয়ে যান ব্রাজিলের পোস্টার বয়। চিকিৎসকরা পরীক্ষা-নিরীক্ষা শেষে দিলেন সেই বিপর্যয়ের খবর। চার গোলের সঙ্গে জাদুকরী ফুটবলের মেলবন্ধনে ব্রাজিলকে অত দূর নিয়ে এসেছিলেন যে নেইমার, তিনি না থাকায় তাসের ঘরের মাঠে হুড়মুড়িয়ে ভেঙে পড়ে সেলেসাও। জার্মানির কাছে সেমিতে ১-৭ গোলের হারে আরেক দফা কান্না উপলক্ষ পেয়ে যান নেইমার।

কলম্বিয়ান ডিফেন্ডার সুনিগা পরে ক্ষমা চেয়েছেন। কিন্তু ব্রাজিলবাসী কি আর কখনো তাকে ক্ষমা করবে!

৫. রেকর্ড

স্ট্রাইকার হিসেবে রোনালদোর মানের নন মিরোস্লাভ ক্লোসা। তাতে কী! বিশ্বকাপের সর্বোচ্চ গোলের রেকর্ডটি তো ঠিকই ব্রাজিল কিংবদন্তির কাছ থেকে নিয়ে নিলেন তিনি।

জার্মানির ৩৬ বছর বয়সী এই স্ট্রাইকার টুর্নামেন্ট শুরু করেছিলেন আগের তিন বিশ্বকাপের ১৪ গোল নিয়ে। পর্তুগালের বিপক্ষে প্রথম ম্যাচে খেলেননি। ঘানার বিপক্ষে বদলি হিসেবে মাঠে নামলেন, আর নেমেই গোল! রোনালদোর ১৫ গোলের সিংহাসনে ভাগ বসানোর পর থেকেই ক্লোসার অপেক্ষা রেকর্ডটি নিজের করে নেওয়ার। সেই অপেক্ষার অবসান ব্রাজিলের বিপক্ষে সেমি-ফাইনালে। ২৩তম মিনিটে গোল করে ইতিহাসকে আলিঙ্গন করলেন প্রজন্মসেরা জার্মান ফরোয়ার্ড।

১৩৬ ম্যাচে ৭১ গোল করে জার্মানির সর্বকালের সর্বোচ্চ গোলদাতাও এখন ক্লোসা।

৬. ধূমকেতুর আবির্ভাব

টুর্নামেন্টের আগে আলোচনার কেন্দ্রবিন্দুতে ছিলেন লিওনেল মেসি, ক্রিস্তিয়ানো রোনালদো, নেইমাররা। কিন্তু পারফরম্যান্স দিয়ে বিশ্বকাপে তাদের সবাইকে পিছু ফেলেছেন হামেস রদ্রিগেস। না হয় সেরা খেলোয়াড়ের পুরষ্কার ‘গোল্ডেন বল’ পাননি, কিন্তু সর্বোচ্চ গোলদাতার ‘গোল্ডেন বুট’ তো জিতেছেন ঠিকই। আর তার ছয় গোলের মধ্যে উরুগুয়ের বিপক্ষে করা গোলটি যে আসরের সেরা, এ নিয়ে দ্বিমত সামান্যই।

সতীর্থের হেড থেকে বলটি যখন উড়ে আসছিল রদ্রিগেসের দিকে, তখন তিনি উরুগুয়ের গোললাইন থেকে ২৫ মিটার দূরে। বলটি বুক নিয়ে নামিয়ে এরপর শরীর ঘুরিয়ে বাঁ পায়ের বিস্ফোরক ভলি। তাতেই তৈরি বিস্ফোরক এক ফুটবল-মুহূর্ত। সবাইকে স্তব্ধ করে বলটি যে ঠিকই হয়ে যায় গোল! স্পেনের বিপক্ষে রবিন ফন পের্সির উড়ন্ত হেড কিংবা ডাচদের বিপক্ষে টিম কাহিলের ভলি ছাপিয়ে রদ্রিগেসের এই গোলটিই বেশিরভাগের চোখে টুর্নামেন্টসেরা।

৭. উদযাপনের নাচ

১৯৯০ বিশ্বকাপে রজার মিলার সেই কোমড় দোলানো নাচ কে ভুলতে পেরেছে! ২০১৪ বিশ্বকাপে কলম্বিয়ার নাচও তেমনি রইবে স্মরণীয় হয়ে।

নাচের নেতৃত্বটা লেফট ব্যাক পাবলো আরমেরোর। ক্লাব ও জাতীয় দলের জার্সিতে স্বতস্ফূর্ত উদযাপনের রেকর্ড তার আগেই ছিল। সেটির পুনর্মঞ্চায়ন বিশ্বমঞ্চে হল, যখন গ্রিসের বিপক্ষে প্রথম ম্যাচে প্রথম গোলটি করেন তিনি। দ্রুত দৌড়ে বেঞ্চের দিকে চলে যান, ডাক দেন সতীর্থদের, এরপর ‘সালসা’ ছন্দে শরীর দোলানো। সেই শুরু। বিশ্বকাপে ১২ গোল করা কলম্বিয়ানরা এরপর বারবারই মনে করিয়েছেন নব্বইয়ের ক্যামেরুনকে। গোল উদযাপনে তাদের কাছাকাছি গিয়েছিল ঘানা; জার্মানির বিপক্ষে আসামোয়াহ জিয়ানের গোলের পর সবাই মিলে নেচে।

৮. ঢুস

‘আফ্রিকান অদম্য সিংহ’ ক্যামেরুন তাদের নখরে এবার ক্ষতবিক্ষত করতে পারেনি কাউকে। উল্টো মাঠের মধ্যে নিজেরা মারামারি করে লিখেছে লজ্জার নতুন অধ্যায়।

২০০৬ বিশ্বকাপ ফাইনালে জিনেদিন জিদান তো মাথার ঢুস মেরেছিলেন প্রতিপক্ষকে। ক্যামেরুনের ডিফেন্ডার বেনোইত আসু-একোত্তা একইভাবে আঘাত করেন সতীর্থ বেঞ্জামিন মৌকাঞ্জোকে। পক্ষ-প্রতিপক্ষ দুই দলের খেলোয়াড়রা এসে মারামারি থামান তাদের। ক্রোয়েশিয়ার বিপক্ষে ০-৪ গোলে হারা ম্যাচের শেষ দিকের ঘটনা সেটি। এই ম্যাচের প্রথমার্ধে রেফারির চোখের সামনে কনুই চালিয়ে লাল কার্ড দেখেন অ্যালেক্স সং। এখানেই শেষ না। এই খেলাটি পাতানো ছিল বলেও ওঠে অভিযোগ। পরে অবশ্য সেই অভিযোগ ধোপে টেকেনি। তবে নিজ খেলোয়াড়কে ঢুস মারার কেলেঙ্কারি ঠিকই সঙ্গী হয়ে থাকল এবারের ক্যামেরুনের।

৯. প্রার্থনা

বিশ্বকাপ গোলের জন্য আলজেরিয়ার অপেক্ষা ছিল ২৮ বছরের। বেলজিয়ামের বিপক্ষে মুফিয়ান ফেঘুইলি পেনাল্টি থেকে যখন সেই অপেক্ষার অবসান ঘটান, আরব দেশটির আনন্দ দেখে কে! দল বেঁধে সেজদার ভঙ্গিতে প্রার্থনা করে গোলটি উদযাপন করেন আরব দেশের খেলোয়াড়রা।

২৮ বছরের গোলখরা ঘোচার পর অবশ্য গোল পেয়েছে আলজেরিয়া নিয়মিত, ফেঘুইলির গোলের পর আরো ছয় বার। উঠে যায় তারা দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ডেও। জার্মানির কাছে হেরে অবশেষে শেষ হয় ব্রাজিলের একমাত্র আরব দেশের বিশ্বকাপ অভিযান।

১০. ক্রসবার

ব্রাজিলের বিপক্ষে দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ড ম্যাচের শেষ সময়ের ঘটনা। চিলির স্ট্রাইকার মাওরিসিও পিনিইয়ার বুলেট-শট পরাস্ত করে জুলিও সেজারকে। কিন্তু স্বাগতিকদের ত্রাতা হয়ে আসে ক্রসবার। সেখানে লেগে ফেরত আসে বলটি, খেলা গড়ায় টাইব্রেকারে আর সেখানে জিতে ব্রাজিল উঠে যায় কোয়ার্টার ফাইনালে।

চিলির জাতীয় বীর হওয়ার অত কাছাকাছি যাওয়ার দুঃখ কখনোই ভোলা হবে না পিনিইয়ার। চাইলেও যেন ভুলতে না পারেন, দেশে ফিরে সে ব্যবস্থাও করেছেন তিনি। পিঠে আঁকিয়েছেন ট্যাটু, যেখানে চিত্রিত বলটির ক্রসবারে লাগা। সঙ্গে নিজ ভাষা স্প্যানিশে লেখা, ‘গৌরব থেকে মাত্র এক সেন্টিমিটার দূরত্বে।’ রসিক বটে পিনিইয়া!

24
##### Sports Zone / বিশ্বকাপের টুকিটাকি
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:39:51 PM »

শেষ হলো ব্রাজিল বিশ্বকাপ। পরিসংখ্যানের বইয়ে লিখে রাখার মতো অনেক ঘটনাও উপহার দিল সাম্প্রতিক সময়ের অন্যতম সেরা আসরটি।
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বিশ্বকাপের স্মরণীয় ১০ মুহূর্ত

2014-07-15 14:43:48.0

# এবার গোল হয়েছে ১৭১টি, যা ১৯৯৮ বিশ্বকাপের সঙ্গে যৌথভাবে সর্বোচ্চ।

# রেকর্ড অষ্টমবারের মতো বিশ্বকাপের ফাইনালে পৌছায় জার্মানি।

# এবার ১৮টি গোল করেছে জার্মানি, যা ২০০২ বিশ্বকাপে ব্রাজিলের করা গোলের সমান।

# টুর্নামেন্টে মাত্র ৭ মিনিট পিছিয়ে ছিল আর্জেন্টিনা।

# ব্রাজিলের রোনালদোকে (১৫) পেছনে ফেলে বিশ্বকাপে সর্বোচ্চ গোলের রেকর্ড নিজের করে নেন জার্মানির মিরোস্লাভ ক্লোসা (১৬)।

# এই প্রথম কোনো আসরের দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ডে ওঠে কনকাকাফ অঞ্চলের তিনটি দল।

# এই প্রথম কোনো আসরের দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ডে ওঠে আফ্রিকার দুটি দল।

# টুর্নামেন্টে ইতিহাসে প্রথমবারের মতো কোয়ার্টার-ফাইনালে পৌঁছায় আট গ্রুপ সেরা।

# বিশ্বকাপে সর্বনিম্ন পয়েন্ট পেল ইংল্যান্ড (১)। ১৯৫৮ সালের পর এই প্রথম বিশ্বকাপের গ্রুপ পর্ব থেকে বিদায় নেয় ইংল্যান্ড।

# এবার নিয়ে শেষ চার আসরের তিনটির চ্যাম্পিয়ন পরের আসরে গ্রুপ পর্ব থেকেই বিদায় নিল। (২০০২ ফ্রান্স, ইতালি ২০১০, স্পেন ২০১৪)

# বেলজিয়ামের বিপক্ষে দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ডের ম্যাচে ১৫টি সেভ করে রেকর্ড গড়েন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের গোলরক্ষক টিম হাওয়ার্ড।

# আগের যে কোনো আসর থেকে এবার বদলি খেলোয়াড়রা সবচেয়ে বেশি ৩২টি গোল করেন।

# নেদারল্যান্ডসের পাঁচটি জয়ের তিনটিই এসেছে পিছিয়ে থেকে।

# ইতালি এ নিয়ে চারবার গ্রুপ পর্ব থেকেই বিদায় নেয়। এর আগে ১৯৬২, ১৯৬৬ ও ২০১০ আসরে বিদায় নেয় তারা।

# লাতিন আমেরিকায় ইউরোপের প্রথম দল হিসেবে বিশ্বকাপ জয়ের কৃতিত্ব জার্মানির।

# এ নিয়ে টানা তিনটি শিরোপা জিতল ইউরোপের দেশ।

# সেমি-ফাইনালে সবচেয়ে বড় জয় পেয়েছে জার্মানি। ব্রাজিলকে ৭-১ গোলে হারায় তারা। সেমি-ফাইনালে কোনো দলের ৭ গোলের কৃতিত্ব এই প্রথম। বিশ্বকাপের আয়োজক দেশের এটাই সবচেয়ে বড় ব্যবধানে হার।

# ব্রাজিলকে (২২১) পেছনে ফেলে বিশ্বকাপে সবচেয়ে বেশি ২২৪টি গোল করার কৃতিত্ব জার্মানির। ব্রাজিলকে বিধ্বস্ত করা ম্যাচেই তাদের ছাড়িয়ে যায় জার্মানি।

# বিশ্বকাপে সবচেয়ে বয়সে খেলার রেকর্ড কলম্বিয়ার ফারিদ মোনদ্রাওনের। কোত দি ভোয়ার বিপক্ষে বদলি হিসেবে মাঠে নামার সময় এই গোলরক্ষকের বয়স ছিল ৪৩ বছর ৩ দিন।

# এবারের আসরে মাঠে নামা সবচেয়ে কম বয়সী খেলোয়াড় লুক শ। কোস্টা রিকার বিপক্ষে মাঠ নামার সময়ে তার বয়স ১৮ বছর ৩৪৮ দিন।

# এই বিশ্বকাপে সরাসরি ফ্রি-কিক থেকে মাত্র তিনটি গোল হয়েছে।

# এবারের চেয়ে বেশি আত্মঘাতী (৫) গোল হয়েছে কেবল ১৯৯৮ বিশ্বকাপে (৬)।

# ১৯৮২ সাল থেকে ব্রাজিল প্রতিবার নিজেদের গ্রুপের সেরা দল হিসেবে দ্বিতীয় রাউন্ডে পৌঁছায়।

# নেদারল্যান্ডসের বিপক্ষে স্পেনের ৪ গোলের ব্যবধানে হার শিরোপাধারী দলের সবচেয়ে বড় পরাজয়।

# কেবল বাঁ পা দিয়েই হ্যাটট্রিক করেন জেদরান শাচিরি। ১৯৬৬ থেকে ২০১৪ পর্যন্ত এটাই বা পায়ে করা একমাত্র হ্যাটট্রিক।

# ২০০৮ ও ২০১২ ইউরো এবং ২০১০ বিশ্বকাপ জেতার পথে সব মিলিয়ে মাত্র ৬ গোল হজম করেছিল স্পেন। আর এবার প্রথম রাউন্ডেই নিজেদের জাল থেকে ৭ বার কুড়িয়ে আনতে হয় তাদের।

# এবারের আসরের শততম গোলটি করেন ব্রাজিলের সবচেয়ে বড় তারকা নেইমার।

# নেদারল্যান্ডস বিশ্বকাপে শেষ আসরের তিনটাতেই সেমি-ফাইনালে পৌঁছায়।

# এবারের আসরে কোস্টা রিকার কেইলর নাভাস ২৩ শটের ২১টি ফেরান।

# বিশ্বকাপে মাত্র ১৩ ম্যাচ খেলে টমাস মুলারের গোল ১০টি আর গোলে অবদান ছয়টি।

# ৭-১ ব্যবধানে হার ব্রাজিলের ফুটবল ইতিহাসের সবচেয়ে বড় পরাজয় (উরুগুয়ের সঙ্গে ৬-০ ব্যবধানে হেরেছিল ১৯২০ সালে)।

# ব্রাজিলের জালে জড়ানো ১৪ গোলের নয়টিই এসেছে তাদের খেলার প্রথম ৩০ মিনিটে।

# সেমি-ফাইনাল ও তৃতীয় স্থান নির্ধারণী ম্যাচে ব্রাজিলের গোলে নেয়া ১৪ শটের ১০টিই জাল খুঁজে পায়।

# বিশ্বকাপের ফাইনালে বদলি খেলোয়াড় হিসেবে প্রথম গোল করার কৃতিত্ব মাটিও গোটসের। শিরোপা লড়াইয়ে সবচেয়ে কম বয়সে গোল করার রেকর্ডও গড়েন তিনি।

25
##### Sports Zone / বাংলাদেশের আমজাদের খবর ফিফার ওয়েবসাইটে
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:39:08 PM »

বাংলাদেশের পল্লীতে বসে আমজাদ হোসেনের জার্মানির তিন হাজার গজ দীর্ঘ পতাকা তৈরির খবর স্থান করে নিয়েছে বিশ্ব ফুটবলের নিয়ন্ত্রক সংস্থা ফিফার ওয়েবসাইটে।
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2014-07-12 20:37:43.0

ব্রাজিল বিশ্বকাপের মধ্যে ফিফার অফিসিয়াল ওয়েবসাইটে ফটো সেকশনে ধার-দেনা করে আমজাদের তৈরি করা পতাকাটির ছবি তোলা হয়েছে।

এই পতাকা তৈরির জন্য আমজাদকে জার্মান ফুটবল দলের ফ্যান ক্লাবের আজীবন সদস্যপদ দিয়েছে জার্মানি। ঢাকায় জার্মান দূতাবাসের কর্মকর্তারা ফাইনালের আগে গত শনিবার মাগুরার এই কৃষকের হাতে শুভেচ্ছা স্মারক তুলে দেন। জার্মান দূতাবাস সূত্রেই এই ছবিটি পেয়েছে ফিফা।

আমজাদের সমর্থিত দল জার্মানি রোববার আর্জেন্টিনাকে হারিয়ে বিশ্ব ফুটবলের সবচেয়ে বড় শিরোপাটি জয় করেছে। সোমবার গ্রামবাসীকে নিয়ে এই জয়ে উচ্ছ্বাসও দেখিয়েছেন আমজাদ।

মাগুরার ঘোড়ামারা গ্রামের আমজাদ বলেন, কোনো লাভের আসায় তিনি জার্মানির সুবিশাল এ পতাকা তৈরি করেননি। জার্মান ফুটবল দলের প্রতি ভালবাসা থেকে তিনি এ কাজ করেছেন।

এবারের বিশ্বকাপ শুরুর আগেই জার্মানির সুবিশাল এই পতাকা তৈরিতে হাত দেন আমজাদ। আড়াই লাখ টাকা খরচে এই পতাকা তৈরিতে জমি বিক্রি করতে হয়েছে তাকে।

জার্মানির শিরোপা জয়ে আমজাদের উল্লাস

জার্মানির শিরোপা জয়ে আমজাদের উল্লাস
স্থানীয় অনেকের ভাষায় আমজাদের এই ‘পাগলামির’ খবর সংবাদ মাধ্যমে এলে তা নজরে আসে ঢাকায় জার্মান দূতাবোসের কর্মকর্তাদের। তখন তারা পতাকাটি দেখতে এবং আমজাদের সঙ্গে দেখা করার সিদ্ধান্ত নেয়।

জার্মান ভারপ্রাপ্ত রাষ্ট্রদূতের আসার খবরে মাগুরা জেলা ক্রীড়া সংস্থা ও জেলা প্রশাসনের কর্মকর্তারা আমজাদের পতাকাটি মাগুরা শহরে আনার ব্যবস্থা করেন।

ঘোড়ামারা গ্রাম থেকে শনিবার দুপুরে আমজাদ মাগুরা শহরে মোটর সাইকেল শোভাযাত্রা নিয়ে আসেন। গ্রামবাসীই বহন করে আনে লাল-কালো-হলুদের দীর্ঘ এই পতাকা।

জার্মান ফুটবল দলের খেলা পছন্দের পাশাপাশি ইউরোপের দেশটির প্রতিও অনুরাগ রয়েছে আমজাদের।

কী তার কারণ- জানাতে গিয়ে তিনি বলেন, ১৯৮৭ সালে দুরারোগ্য এক অসুখে আক্রান্ত হলে চিকিৎসার জন্য বিভিন্ন পথ্য ব্যবহার করেও তিনি কোনো সুফল পাননি। শেষে জার্মানি থেকে আনা ওষুধ সেবনে সুস্থ হয়ে ওঠেন তিনি। তারপর থেকেই তিনি জার্মানির প্রতি অনুরক্ত।

26
##### Sports Zone / ফুটবলে পিছিয়ে পড়েছে ব্রাজিল
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:38:23 PM »

ব্রাজিলের ফুটবল পিছিয়ে পড়ছে বলে মনে করেন দেশটির সাবেক কোচ মানো মেনেজেস। তার ধারণা, সমস্যাটা কোথায় বুঝতে পারলেও, এর সমাধানের পথ জানা নেই বলে ইউরোপের দেশগুলো ব্রাজিলকে ছাড়িয়ে যাচ্ছে।
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দেশের মাটির বিশ্বকাপে সেমি-ফাইনাল থেকে বিদায় নেয় ব্রাজিল। জার্মানির কাছে ৭-১ গোলের লজ্জায় ভেসে যায় তাদের ষষ্ঠ বিশ্বকাপ শিরোপা জয়ের আশা।

ব্রাজিলের এই দুর্দশার কারণ বিশ্লেষণ করতে গিয়ে মেনেজেস বলেন, "আমরা ঠিক জানি, আমাদের সমস্যাটা কী। কিন্তু এর সমাধান কিভাবে করতে হবে তা জানা নেই অথবা কী পদক্ষেপ নিতে হবে, সেটা বোঝার জন্য সামর্থ্যবান লোক নেই।"

জার্মান-লজ্জার পর তৃতীয় স্থান নির্ধারণী ম্যাচে নেদারল্যান্ডসের কাছে ৩-০ গোলে হারে ব্রাজিল। ব্রাজিল জুড়ে কোচ লুইস ফেলিপে স্কলারির অপসারণের দাবি ওঠে। দায় কাঁধে নিয়ে স্কলারি সরেও দাঁড়ান।

২০১০ সালে কার্লোস দুঙ্গার জায়গায় ব্রাজিলের কোচের দায়িত্ব নিয়েছিলেন মেনেজেস। তবে ২০১১ সালের কোপা আমেরিকার ব্যর্থতার পর তাকে সরিয়ে স্কলারিকে দায়িত্ব দেয়া হয়। ব্রাজিল বিশ্বকাপে ব্যর্থতার পর চলে যেতে হয় স্কলারিকেও।

মেনেজেস মনে করেন, এভাবে কোচ বদলিয়ে সমস্যার সমাধান হবে না।

ব্রাজিলের ফুটবলের সবচেয়ে বড় সম্পদ কৌশলগত দক্ষতা, বল দখল, পাসিং আর ব্যক্তিগত নৈপুণ্য। ব্যক্তিগত নৈপুণ্য এখনো অবশিষ্ট থাকলেও বাকি সব দিক থেকে ব্রাজিল পিছিয়ে পড়ছে বলেই মনে করেন মেনেজেস।

"বর্তমানে আমাদের খেলোয়াড়রা কৌশলের দিক থেকে বাজে। আমাদের বল নিয়ন্ত্রণ খারাপ। আমাদের পাসিংও তাই।"

মেনেজেস এর সঙ্গে যোগ করেন, "আমাদের এখনো ড্রিবলিং আছে, খেলোয়াড়দের শুদ্ধ ব্যক্তিগত নৈপুণ্য প্রতিভাও আছে; কিন্তু অতীতে আমরা যেভাবে খেলোয়াড়দের উন্নয়ন ঘটাতাম, আমরা এখন জানি না-এটা কিভাবে করতে হয়।"

আর এই সব কারণেই ইউরোপের দলগুলো ব্রাজিলকে ধীরে ধীরে ছাড়িয়ে যাচ্ছে বলে মনে করেন মেনেজেস।

"আমরা দেখি, ইউরোপের ফুটবল এইগুলোর উন্নতি সাধন করেছে। এখন সবকিছুই ওরা আমাদের চেয়ে ভালো করে।"

27
##### Sports Zone / Rogerer Federer-- the man born for tennis
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:36:11 PM »
Roger Federer (German pronunciation: [ˈfeːdərər]; born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world no. 3 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has been ranked inside the top 10 continuously since October 2002 and the top 20 since April 2001. Numerous commentators, pundits, and former and current players of the sport regard Federer as the greatest tennis player of all time.[a]

He holds several men's world records of the Open Era: holding the world no. 1 position for 302 weeks overall,[16][17] including a 237-consecutive-week stretch at the top from 2004 to 2008;[18] winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles; reaching each Grand Slam Final at least five times (an all-time record); and reaching the Wimbledon final nine times. He is one of seven men, and one of four in the Open Era, to capture the career Grand Slam. Federer also shares the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Open with Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic (4), at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras (7) and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras (5).

Federer has appeared in 25 men's singles Grand Slam finals, with 10 in a row, both records, and appeared in 18 of 19 finals from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships through to the 2010 Australian Open. He is the only man to reach at least the semifinals of 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, from the 2004 Wimbledon Championships through the 2010 Australian Open.[19] At the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, he played in a record 59th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, reached a record 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final (surpassed Connors' record of 41), a record 35th Grand Slam semi-final and a record 25th Grand Slam final. Earlier at the 2013 French Open, Federer reached a record 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final. He has also won the most matches, 274, in men's Grand Slam tournaments and is the only player to record 60+ wins each at all the Grand Slam tournaments.

Federer's ATP tournament records include winning six ATP World Tour Finals, playing in the finals at all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments (a record shared with Djokovic and Nadal), and having won the most prize money of any player in history, with over \$80,000,000. He also won the Olympic gold medal in doubles with his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He spent eight years (2003–2010) continuously in the top 2 in the year-end men's rankings and ten (2003–2012) in the top 3. Federer was the first tennis player, male or female, to earn more than 50 million US dollars in prize money.

Federer has won the ATPWorldTour.com Fans' Favourite Award a record eleven times straight (2003–2013) and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (voted for by the players) a record nine times (2004–2009, 2011–2013),[20] both being awards indicative of respect and popularity. He also won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award twice in 2006 and 2013. He was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for a record four consecutive years (2005–2008).[21] Federer is at times referred to as the Federer Express,[22] shortened to Fed Express or FedEx, and the Swiss Maestro,[22] or just Maestro

Childhood and early life

Federer was born at the Basel Cantonal Hospital in Basel, Switzerland.[26] His father, Robert Federer, is Swiss, from Berneck, near the borders between Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and his mother, Lynette Federer (born Durand), from Kempton Park, Gauteng, is a South African whose ancestors were Dutch and French Huguenots.[27][28][29] Federer has one sibling, his older sister Diana,[30] who is the mother of a set of twins.[31] He holds both Swiss and South African citizenship.[32] He grew up in nearby Birsfelden, Riehen and then Münchenstein, close to the French and German borders and speaks (Swiss) German, French and English fluently, German being his native language.[26][29][33][34]
Federer's signature

Federer was raised as a Roman Catholic and met Pope Benedict XVI while playing the 2006 Internazionali BNL d'Italia tournament in Rome.[35] Like all male Swiss citizens, Federer was subject to compulsory military service in the Swiss Armed Forces. However, in 2003 he was deemed unfit because of a long-standing back problem and was subsequently not required to fulfill his military obligation.[36] He grew up supporting F.C. Basel and the Swiss National Football Team.[37] Federer also credits the range of sports he played as a child—he also played badminton and basketball—for his hand-eye coordination. Federer has stated in various interviews that he is an "avid cricket fan" having met Sachin Tendulkar twice. "I was always very much more interested if a ball was involved," he says. Most tennis prodigies, by contrast, play tennis to the exclusion of all other sports.[38] In later life, Federer has been friends with the golfer Tiger Woods.[39]
Family
Federer's family watching him in Indian Wells, 2012
Federer's family watching him in Indian Wells, 2012

Federer is married to former Women's Tennis Association player Mirka Vavrinec. He met her while both were competing for Switzerland in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Vavrinec retired from the tour in 2002 because of a foot injury.[40] They were married at Wenkenhof Villa in Riehen near Basel on 11 April 2009, surrounded by a small group of close friends and family.[41] On 23 July 2009, Mirka gave birth to identical twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva.[42] The Federers had another set of twins on 6 May 2014, this time boys whom they named Leo and Lennart,[43] called Lenny.[44]
Management
Roger and Mirka at Wimbledon during the London 2012 Olympic tennis events

Federer was signed by IMG as a junior player in 1998. He quit the agency in early 2003, before he had any major championships, and handed his business matters to Roger Federer Management conformed by an attorney, a financial adviser and his mother, Lynette. Also Miroslava Vavrinec, for a period of time was put in charge of media relations and travel.[45]

By 2012 when Tony Godsick left IMG Worldwide Inc. he began to represent Federer exclusively. He travels with him around the tour most of the time.[45][46]
Philanthropy and outreach

Federer supports a number of charities. In 2003, he and his mother Lynette established the Roger Federer Foundation to help disadvantaged people and to promote sports.[47][48] In 2005, he auctioned his racquet from his US Open championship to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.[49] He was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF in 2006.[50] At the 2005 Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Federer arranged an exhibition involving several top players from the ATP tour and WTA tour called Rally for Relief. The proceeds from the event went to the victims of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Since then, he has visited South Africa and Tamil Nadu, one of the areas in India most affected by the tsunami.[51]

Federer has also appeared in UNICEF public messages to raise public awareness of AIDS. In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Federer arranged a collaboration with fellow top tennis players Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Lleyton Hewitt, and Sam Stosur to forgo their final day of preparation for the 2010 Australian Open to form a special charity event called Hit for Haiti, in which all proceeds went to Haiti earthquake victims.[52] He was named a 2010 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his leadership, accomplishments, and contributions to society.[53]

Similar to the 2010 event, Hit for Haiti, Federer organized and participated in a charity match called Rally for Relief on 16 January 2011, to benefit those that were affected by the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.

Federer is currently no. 8 on Forbes top 100 celebrities as of 2013.[54]
Tennis career
Pre–1998: Junior years
Main article: Roger Federer junior years

Federer's main accomplishments as a junior player came at Wimbledon in 1998, where he won both the boys' singles final over Irakli Labadze,[55] and in doubles teamed with Olivier Rochus, defeating the team of Michaël Llodra and Andy Ram.[56] In addition, Federer lost the US Open Junior final in 1998 to David Nalbandian. He won four ITF junior singles tournaments in his career, including the prestigious Orange Bowl, where he defeated Guillermo Coria in the final.[57] He ended 1998 with the no. 1 junior world ranking, and he entered his first tournament as a professional during 1998 in Gstaad, where he lost to Lucas Arnold Ker in the first round.

Junior Grand Slam Results:

Australian Open: SF (1998)
French Open: 1R (1998)
Wimbledon: W (1998)
US Open: F (1998)
1998–2002: Early career and breakthrough in the ATP
Main article: Roger Federer's early career
A dark-haired man in all white clothing, and carrying a reddish-black bag on his right shoulder and a black one on the left shoulder
Federer at the 2002 US Open

Federer's first final came at the Marseille Open in 2000, where he lost to fellow Swiss Marc Rosset.[58] Federer won the 2001 Hopman Cup representing Switzerland, along with Martina Hingis.[59][60] The duo defeated the American pair of Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill in the finals. Federer's first singles win was at the 2001 Milan Indoor tournament, where he defeated Julien Boutter.[58] Although he won his first title already in 1999 on the Challenger tour, winning the doubles event in Segovia, Spain with Dutchman Sander Groen, the final was played on Federer's 18th birthday. In 2001, Federer made his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open, and at Wimbledon that same year defeated four-time defending champion Pete Sampras to reach the quarterfinals. The most prestigious event final he reached during this period was the 2002 Miami Masters event, where he lost to Andre Agassi on hard court.[61]

Federer won his first Master Series event at the 2002 Hamburg Masters on clay, over Marat Safin; the victory put him in top 10 for the first time.[61] Federer made 10 singles finals between 1998 and 2002, of which he won four and lost six.[58][61][62][63][64] He also made six finals in doubles. Of note are Federer and partner Max Mirnyi's defeat in the final of the Indian Wells Masters in 2002, and their victory in the same year in the final of the Rotterdam 500 series event. Federer had won the latter a year earlier with partner Jonas Björkman.[61][64] He finished 2001 with an ATP ranking of no. 13, and 2002 was the first year he finished within the top 10, finishing at no. 6.
2003–2007: Breakthrough and dominance
Main articles: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Roger Federer tennis seasons

In 2003, Federer won his first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, beating Mark Philippoussis in the final.[65] Federer won his first and only doubles Masters Series 1000 event in Miami with Max Mirnyi[66] and made it to one singles Masters Series 1000 event in Rome on clay, which he lost.[65] Federer made it to nine finals on the ATP Tour and won seven of them, including the 500 series events at Dubai and Vienna.[65] Lastly, Federer won the year-end championships over Andre Agassi, finishing the year as world no. 2, narrowly behind Andy Roddick.[65]

During 2004, Federer won three Grand Slam singles titles for the first time in his career and became the first person to do so since Mats Wilander in 1988. His first Grand Slam hard-court title came at the Australian Open over Marat Safin, thereby becoming the world no. 1 for the first time. He then won his second Wimbledon crown over Andy Roddick.[67] Federer defeated the 2001 US Open champion, Lleyton Hewitt, at the US Open for his first title there.[67] Federer won three ATP Masters Series 1000 events, one was on clay in Hamburg, and the other two were on hard surfaces at Indian Wells and in Canada.[67] Federer took the ATP 500 series event at Dubai and wrapped up the year by winning the year-end championships for the second time.[67] He improved his year-end ranking to world no. 1 for the first time.
A dark-haired man is waving to the crowd with his tennis racket in his right hand, and he is wearing all white clothing
Federer during the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, where he won his third consecutive title

In 2005, Federer failed to reach the finals of the first two Grand Slam tournaments, losing the Australian Open semifinal to eventual champion Safin and the French Open semifinal to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.[68] However, Federer quickly reestablished his dominance on grass, winning the Wimbledon Championships over Andy Roddick. At the US Open, Federer defeated Andre Agassi in the latter's last Grand Slam final.[68] Federer also took four ATP Masters Series 1000 wins: Indian Wells, Miami, and Cincinnati on hard court, and Hamburg on clay.[68] Furthermore, Federer won two ATP 500 series events at Rotterdam and Dubai.[68] Federer lost the year-end championships to David Nalbandian, but maintained his position as world no. 1.[68]

In 2006, Federer won three Grand Slam singles titles and reached the final of the other, with the only loss coming against Nadal in the French Open. He was the first man to reach all four finals in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969. This was Federer and Nadal's first meeting in a Grand Slam final.[69] Federer defeated Nadal in the Wimbledon Championships final. In the Australian Open, Federer defeated Marcos Baghdatis,[69] and at the US Open, Federer defeated Roddick (2003 champion).[69] In addition, Federer made it to six ATP Masters Series 1000 finals, winning four on hard surfaces and losing two on clay to Nadal. Federer won one ATP 500 series event in Tokyo and captured the year-end championships for the third time in his career, again finishing the year as world no. 1.[69] Federer only lost to two players during 2006, to Nadal four times in finals, and to 19-year-old Andy Murray in the second round of the 2006 Cincinnati Masters, in what would be Federer's only defeat before the final that year.

In 2007, Federer reached all four Grand Slam singles finals, winning three of them again. He won the Australian Open over Fernando González and did so without dropping a set, Wimbledon over Rafael Nadal for the second time, and the US Open over Novak Djokovic. Federer lost the French Open to Nadal.[70] Federer made five ATP Masters Series 1000 finals in 2007, winning the Hamburg and Cincinnati titles.[70] Federer won one 500 series event in Dubai and won the year-end championships.[70] He finished as the year-end world no. 1 for the fourth year in a row, demonstrating his dominance, and during these four years he won 11 Grand Slam singles titles.
2008: Fifth US Open Title, French Open and Wimbledon Runner-Up, Emergence of the Big Four
Main article: 2008 Roger Federer tennis season
A dark-haired man is in a red shirt with white shorts and shoes and bandanna, which he is carrying his tennis racket in his right hand pointing towards the ground
Federer at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal in doubles

In 2008, Federer won one Grand Slam singles title at the US Open over Briton Andy Murray.[71] Federer was defeated by Nadal in two Grand Slam finals, at the French Open, and at Wimbledon, when he was going for six straight wins to break Björn Borg's record.[71] At the Australian Open, Federer lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Djokovic, which ended his record of 10 consecutive finals.[71] Later in the year, it was found Federer had been suffering from mononucleosis at the start of the year, including during the Australian Open. He lost twice in Master Series 1000 finals on clay to Nadal, at Monte Carlo and Hamburg.[71] However, Federer captured two titles in 250-level events at Estoril and Halle and one title in a 500 level event in Basel.

At the Olympic Games, Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the gold medal in doubles, after beating the Bryan brothers American team in semifinals and the Swedish duo of Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final[72] However, Federer could only reach the quarterfinals in the singles draw, knocked out by then world no. 8 James Blake.[73] He ended the year as world number 2.
2009: First French Open, Sixth Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open Runner-Up
Main article: 2009 Roger Federer tennis season

In 2009, Federer won two Grand Slam singles titles, the French Open over Robin Söderling, and Wimbledon over Andy Roddick.[74] Federer reached two other Grand Slam finals, losing to Nadal at the Australian Open,[75] and to Juan Martín del Potro at the US Open, both in tight five-set matches.[74] Federer won two more events, the first at the Madrid Masters over Nadal on clay.[74] The second was in Cincinnati over Djokovic, although Federer lost to Djokovic in Basel, later in the year.[74] Federer completed a career Grand Slam by winning his first French Open title and won a men's record fifteenth Grand Slam singles title by defeating Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in five sets, surpassing Pete Sampras's mark of fourteen.[74]
2010: Fourth Australian Open
Main article: 2010 Roger Federer tennis season

In 2010, Federer slowed down in his milestones and achievements. The year started with a win at the Australian Open,[76] where he defeated Andy Murray in the final and extended his Grand Slam singles record to sixteen titles, matching Andre Agassi's record of four Australian Open titles.[71] At the French Open, Federer won his 700th tour match and 150th tour match on clay.[76][77] However, he failed to reach a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since the 2004 French Open, losing to Söderling in the quarterfinals and relinquishing his no. 1 ranking,[76] having been just one week away from equaling Pete Sampras's record of 286 weeks as world no. 1. In a huge upset at Wimbledon, Federer lost in the quarterfinals to Tomáš Berdych and fell to no. 3 in the rankings for the first time in 6 years and 8 months.[76][78][79]

At the 2010 US Open, Federer reached the semifinals, avenging his French Open loss to Söderling in the quarterfinals, but proceeded to lose a five-set match to third seed Novak Djokovic.[76] Federer made it to four Masters 1000 finals, losing three of them (the Madrid Open, the Canadian Masters, and the Shanghai Masters), while winning the Cincinnati Masters against Mardy Fish.[80]

In 2010, Federer equaled Agassi for the number of Masters wins at 17 and tied Björn Borg's mark for number of total titles won, moving to just one behind Sampras. Towards the middle of July, Federer hired Pete Sampras' old coach Paul Annacone on a trial basis to put his tennis game and career back on the right path.[81]

Federer won two lesser titles at the Stockholm Open and the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, which brought his tally to 65 career titles. Lastly, Federer won the year-end championships by beating rival Rafael Nadal, for his fifth title at the event. He showed much of his old form, beating all contenders except Nadal in straight sets. Since Wimbledon 2010, Federer had a win-loss record of 34–4 and had multiple match points in two of his losses: to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of the US Open, and to Gaël Monfils in the semifinal of the Paris Masters. Federer did not play in the 2010 Davis Cup[82] and finished the year as world no. 2.
2011: Runner up of French Open
Main article: 2011 Roger Federer tennis season

The 2011 season, although great by most players' standards, was a lean year for Federer. He was defeated in straight sets in the semifinals of the 2011 Australian Open by eventual champion Novak Djokovic,[83] marking the first time since July 2003 that he did not hold any of the four Grand Slam titles. In the French Open semifinals, Federer ended Djokovic's undefeated streak of 43 consecutive wins with a stunning four-set victory. However, Federer then lost in the final to Rafael Nadal. At Wimbledon, Federer advanced to his 29th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, but lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It marked the first time in his career that he had lost a Grand Slam match after winning the first two sets.

At the US Open, Federer lost a much-anticipated semifinal match with Novak Djokovic, after squandering two match points in the fifth set, which repeated his previous year's result against Djokovic and added a second loss from two sets up in Grand Slam play to his record. The loss at Flushing Meadows meant that Federer did not win any of the four Grand Slams in 2011, the first time this has happened since 2002. Later that month, in September 2011, in a South African poll, Federer was voted the second most trusted and respected person in the world, next to Nelson Mandela.[84][85]

In pulling out of the 2011 Shanghai Masters, Federer dropped out of the top 3 for the first time since June 2003, nearly 8 1/2 previously.[86] However, he finished the season on a high note by winning his last three tournaments of the year. He ended a 10-month title drought (spanning since the Qatar Open in January) and won the Swiss Indoors for the fifth time, defeating youngster Kei Nishikori, who had defeated an ailing Djokovic in the semifinals. Federer followed this up with his first Paris Masters title, where he became the first player to reach all nine Masters 1000 finals.

At the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals, Federer crushed Rafael Nadal in exactly one hour en route to the semifinals,[87] where he defeated David Ferrer to reach the final at the year-end championships for the seventh time, his 100th tour-level final overall. As a result of this win, Federer also regained the world no. 3 ranking from Andy Murray. In the final, he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the third consecutive Sunday and, in doing so, claimed a record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title, finishing the year as world no. 3.[88]
2012: Seventh Wimbledon, Ascent to No. 1 again
Main article: 2012 Roger Federer tennis season
Federer's ATP position since 1998
Overview of Federer's ATP rankings since 1998
Federer at 2012 US Open

The 2012 season was a return to excellence for Federer. He had his most match wins since 2006, and his highest winning percentage and number of titles won since 2007.

He reached the semifinal of the 2012 Australian Open, setting up a 27th career meeting with Nadal, a match he lost in four tight sets. He participated in the Davis Cup representing Switzerland in the 2012 Davis Cup World Group, but Switzerland was eliminated in a home tie against the United States played on indoor clay in Fribourg. He then played the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament for the first time since winning the title in 2005. He beat Juan Martin del Potro in the final to clinch his second title in Rotterdam.

Federer played in the 2012 Dubai Tennis Championships, where he defeated Andy Murray in the final and won the championship title for the fifth time in his career. Federer then moved on to the Indian Wells Masters, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, and John Isner in the final. Federer won the title for a record fourth time, and, in doing so, equalled Rafael Nadal's record of 19 ATP Masters 1000 titles.

Federer went on to compete at the Madrid Masters on the new blue clay surface, where he beat Milos Raonic, Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer, Janko Tipsarević, and Tomáš Berdych en route to the title, thus regaining the world no. 2 ranking from Rafael Nadal. In the French Open, Federer made the semifinals before losing to Djokovic.[89]

At Wimbledon, Federer won matches against Albert Ramos, Fabio Fognini, Julien Benneteau, Xavier Malisse, and Mikhail Youzhny on his way to the semifinals. In his semifinal match-up against the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, Federer earned a record eighth Wimbledon final appearance after dispatching Djokovic in four sets. Federer defeated Andy Murray in four sets in the 2012 Wimbledon final,[90] regaining the world number-one ranking in the process.[91] "It's amazing. It equals me with Pete Sampras, who's my hero. It just feels amazing," Federer said of winning his seventh Wimbledon championship, tying Sampras' Open Era record.[92] By defeating top-ranked Djokovic in the semifinals and winning in the finals, Federer returned to the top spot in the world rankings and, in doing so, broke Sampras' record of 286 weeks atop the list.[93]

Four weeks after the Wimbledon final, Federer again faced Murray on the Wimbledon centre court, this time for the final of the 2012 Summer Olympics. This came after an epic 4-hour 26-minute semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina that Federer won 19–17 in the third and final set.[94] He lost to Murray in straight sets in the final, winning a silver medal for his country.[95]

Federer won in Cincinnati, beating Novak Djokovic soundly in the final.[96] In the US Open, five-time champ Federer was defeated by Tomáš Berdych in the quarterfinals.[97] In the Shanghai Rolex Masters, defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round, Federer confirmed his 300th week at no. 1. He went on to lose to defending champion Murray in the semifinals. He made the finals of the Swiss Indoors for the seventh consecutive year, but was defeated by Juan Martín del Potro.[98] Federer made it to the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in two tight sets.[99][100]
2013: Decline and injuries
Main article: 2013 Roger Federer tennis season

Federer was beaten by Andy Murray in the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open. The 2013 season is the first since 1999 in which Federer has failed to reach a final in the first four months of the year.

Federer continued to struggle in the clay season with the exception of making his third final at the Rome Masters where he lost to defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Federer's first title of 2013 came at the Gerry Weber Open (def. Mikhail Youzhny), where he also played doubles with good friend Tommy Haas. With the victory in Halle, he tied John McEnroe for the third-most number of ATP titles won by a male player in the Open Era.[101] Federer, however, was unable to maintain his form into Wimbledon, suffering his worst Grand Slam defeat since 2004 in the second round against Sergiy Stakhovsky. Not only did the loss end Federer's record streak of 36 consecutive quarterfinals at major tournaments,[102] it meant he would drop out of the top 4 for first time since July 2003, exactly 10 years after he won his first Wimbledon title.[103]

After Wimbledon, Federer continued to be upset early in tournaments due to a serious back injury through October when he announced that he was parting ways with Paul Annacone, his coach for the last three years.[104] Federer made the final in Basel, succumbing to Juan Martín del Potro. He then reach the semifinals of the 2013 BNP Paribas Masters losing to Novak Djokovic. He won two of his round-robin matches at the ATP World Tour Finals, but lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

On 27 December 2013, Federer announced that Stefan Edberg was joining his team as co-coach with Severin Lüthi.[105]
2014: Resurgence, Wimbledon Runner up
Main article: 2014 Roger Federer tennis season

Federer played well at the Australian Open and defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray, before losing in the semifinals to Rafael Nadal.

At the Dubai Tennis Championships he defeated Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and then defeated Tomáš Berdych in the final to win his sixth Dubai crown and his first title since Halle in 2013.[106] Federer made the final at the Indian Wells Masters with a straight set victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov, but lost to Novak Djokovic in a final set tiebreak.

At the Davis Cup quarterfinal, Federer won both of the singles rubbers against Mikhail Kukushkin and Andrey Golubev, the second of which was the first live deciding rubber of his Davis Cup career. After these two wins Switzerland booked a semifinal spot against Italy. Federer then took a Wildcard into the Monte-Carlo Masters to begin a European Clay Court Swing for the first time since 2011. Federer beat Novak Djokovic on his way to the finals, but lost to fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the championship.

Although being scheduled to defend 90 ranking points during the Madrid Open, Federer withdrew for personal reasons. The same day that he announced his withdrawal from the Madrid Masters 1000 tournament, Federer announced the birth of his third and fourth child, Leo and Lenny on 6 May.

Federer participated in the Italian Open, however lost in the first round. Federer then took part in the 2014 French Open, losing to Ernests Gulbis in five sets in the fourth round. This fourth round loss was Federer's first departure before the quarterfinals in ten years at the French Open, ending his European clay court swing early.

Federer next participated in the Halle Open, playing both singles and doubles, doubles with fellow-compatriot Marco Chiudinelli. Federer reached both the singles and doubles final, and won his seventh Halle singles title, beating Alejandro Falla in straight sets. His win at Halle was his 79th career title. In the doubles final Roger Federer and Marco Chiudinelli were defeated by Andre Begemann and Julian Knowl, thus preventing Federer from claiming his 2nd Halle doubles title.[107]

Federer was seeded fourth at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. He had wins over Paolo Lorenzi, Gilles Müller and Santiago Giraldo to make it through to the second week. He defeated Tommy Robredo in the fourth round to reach a record 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final. He defeated compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets to reach the semi-final. In the semi-final he defeated Canadian Milos Raonic in three sets to set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic in his 25th Grand Slam final. In the final, he was defeated by Novak Djokovic in a five set epic match.
Rivalries
Federer and Nadal during the 2006 Wimbledon Championships final

Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004 and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers.[108][109][110][111][112]

They held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour from July 2005 until 17 August 2009, when Nadal fell to world no. 3 (Andy Murray became the new no. 2).[113] They are the only pair of men to have ever finished six consecutive calendar years at the top. Federer was ranked no. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks beginning in February 2004. Nadal, who is five years younger, ascended to no. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks, before surpassing Federer in August 2008.[114]

Nadal leads their head-to-head 23–10. Of their 33 matches, 15 have been on clay, which is by far Nadal's best surface.[115] Federer has a winning record on grass (2–1) and indoor hard courts (4–1), while Nadal leads the outdoor hard courts (8–2) and clay (13–2).[116] Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 20 of their matches have been in tournament finals which have included an all-time record eight Grand Slam finals.[117] From 2006 to 2008, they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. They then met in the 2009 Australian Open final and the 2011 French Open final. Nadal won six of the eight, losing the first two Wimbledon finals. Three of these finals were five set-matches (2007 and 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian Open), with the 2008 Wimbledon final being lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.[118][119][120][121] Of their 33 meetings, 11 have reached a deciding set. They have also played in 10 Masters Series finals, including their lone five-hour match at the 2006 Rome Masters which Nadal won in a fifth-set tie-break, having saved two match points.
Federer vs. Djokovic
Main article: Djokovic–Federer rivalry

Federer and Djokovic have met 35 times with Federer leading 18–17.[122][123] Federer leads 4-3 on clay. They are tied 13–13 on hard-courts and 1–1 on grass. The Federer–Djokovic rivalry is the largest rivalry in Grand Slam history with a record 12 matches played against each other and they are tied 6–6. Djokovic is the only player besides Nadal to defeat Federer in consecutive Grand Slam tournaments (2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open), and the only player besides Nadal and Murray who has double-figure career wins over Federer. Djokovic is one of two players (the other again being Nadal) currently on tour to have defeated Federer in straight sets at a Grand Slam (2008 Australian Open, 2011 Australian Open, 2012 French Open) and the only player to do so three times. Of their 35 meetings, 14 have reached a deciding set.

Federer ended Djokovic's perfect 41–0 start to the 2011 season in the semifinals of the French Open, but Djokovic was able to avenge this loss at the 2011 US Open in five sets after saving two match points against Federer for the second straight year.[124] In the semifinals of Wimbledon 2012, Federer beat defending champion and world no. 1 Djokovic in four sets.[125] Many experts have included the rivalry between Federer and Djokovic as one of the best rivalries in the Open Era.[126]
Federer vs. Murray
Main article: Federer–Murray rivalry

Federer and Andy Murray have met 21 times with the series led 11–10 by Murray. Murray leads 10–9 on hard courts, and they are tied 1–1 on grass.[127] The two have met five times at the Grand Slam level, the first three times in the finals, Federer winning all three of these matches; at the 2008 US Open[128] and the 2010 Australian Open,[129] both of which he won in straight sets, and at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships in which Murray took the opening set, but went on to lose in four sets. However, Murray won their encounter in the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, defeating the Swiss for the first time at a Grand slam tournament in five sets. At the 2014 Australian Open, Federer reversed that result, defeating Murray in four sets in the quarterfinals.

They met in the final of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, in which Murray defeated Federer in straight sets, denying the Swiss maestro a career Golden Slam. Murray also leads 6–1 in ATP 1000 tournaments, 2–0 in finals. They have also met four times at the ATP World Tour Finals with Murray winning in Shanghai in 2008,[130] and Federer in London in 2009, 2010, and 2012.[131] Murray is one of three active players to have a positive head-to-head record against Federer (the others being Rafael Nadal and Federico Delbonis), as well as being one of only three players to have recorded 10 or more victories over Federer (the other two being Nadal and Novak Djokovic).
Federer vs. Roddick
Main article: Federer–Roddick rivalry

One of Federer's longstanding rivalries was with American Andy Roddick. Roddick lost his world no. 1 ranking to Federer after Federer won his first Australian Open in 2004. Federer and Roddick met on 24 occasions, including four Grand Slam finals (three at Wimbledon and one at the US Open). Federer's record is 21–3, making Roddick the ATP player with the most tournament losses to Federer.[132] Roddick himself said it was not much of a rivalry, being so one-sided.

In the 2009 Wimbledon final, Roddick lost to Federer in five sets. The match included a fifth set of 30 games (a Grand Slam final record) and was over four hours long. In the final game of the deciding set, Roddick's serve was broken for the first time in the match. With that victory, Federer broke Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles, and Roddick apologized to Sampras (who was there) for not being able to hold Federer.
Federer vs Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer have played each other on 27 occasions. Early in their careers, Hewitt dominated Federer, winning seven of their first nine meetings, including a victory from two sets down in the 2003 Davis Cup semifinal which allowed Australia to defeat Switzerland. However, from 2004 onward, Federer has dominated the rivalry, winning 16 of the last 18 meetings to emerge with an 18–9 overall head-to-head record. This is Hewitt's longest rivalry as these two first played each other as juniors in 1996. They have met in one Grand Slam final, the 2004 US Open final, where Federer won his first US Open title in a lopsided encounter in which Federer scored a bagel either side of a second set tiebreak. Federer has met Hewitt at six of the Grand Slam tournaments in which he lifted the trophy, including all five of his triumphs between 2004 and 2005. Their most recent meeting was at the 2014 Brisbane International, where Hewitt triumphed over Federer in three sets for his first title since 2010, when he also beat Federer to the Halle title.[citation needed]
Federer vs. Safin

Marat Safin and Federer played each other 12 times, with Federer leading 10–2.[133] Federer and Safin turned pro within one year of each other, with Safin turning pro in 1997 and Federer in 1998. Federer leads 4–1 on hard courts, 3–0 on grass, and 3–0 on clay courts, while Safin leads 1–0 on carpet. Notable meetings include Federer's defeating Safin at the 2002 Hamburg Masters to win the first Masters 1000 title of his career, as well as Federer emerging victorious in the semifinals of the 2004 Tennis Masters Cup, after winning a tiebreak 20–18 on his eighth match point. Federer also defeated Safin in the finals of the 2004 Australian Open to capture his first Australian Open and second Grand Slam title. However, Safin defeated Federer in the 2005 Australian Open semifinals, having saved one match point in the fourth-set tiebreak, to end a 26-match winning streak by Federer.[134] They met each other five times in Grand Slams, with Federer leading 4–1.
Federer vs. Nalbandian

David Nalbandian and Federer played each other 19 times, with Federer leading 11–8.[133] Nalbandian dominated early taking all of their first 5 matches from 2002–03. Federer reversed this trend at the 2003 Masters Cup where he recorded his first victory, and would go on to win 11 of their last 14 meetings. Federer led 6–5 on hard courts, 1–0 on grass, and 3–1 on clay courts, while Nalbandian led 2–1 on carpet. Notable meetings include Nalbandian's win in a fifth-set tiebreaker to win the 2005 Masters Cup, and Federer's win in the 2006 French Open semifinals. They met each other six times in Grand Slams, with Federer leading 4–2.
Legacy

Federer has been regarded by many pundits, coaches, past and present players as the greatest tennis player of all time.[135][136][137] He dominated the game at his peak and has more grand slam titles than any other men's singles player.[138][139] He is also the first ever men's singles player to have reached 10 consecutive grand slam finals and a total of 25 grand slam finals.[140][141]
Playing style
Federer at the 2007 Davidoff Swiss Indoors.
Federer's serve

Federer's versatility has been summarised by Jimmy Connors: "In an era of specialists, you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist... or you're Roger Federer."[142]

Federer is an all-court, all-round player known for his speed, fluid style of play, and exceptional shot making. Federer mainly plays from the baseline but is also comfortable at the net, being one of the best volleyers in the game today.[143] He has a powerful, accurate smash and very effectively performs rare elements in today's tennis, such as backhand smash, half-volley and jump smash (slam dunk). David Foster Wallace compared the brute force of Federer's forehand motion with that of "a great liquid whip",[144] while John McEnroe has referred to Federer's forehand as "the greatest shot in our sport."[145] Federer is also known for his efficient movement around the court and excellent footwork, which enables him to run around shots directed to his backhand and instead hit a powerful inside-out or inside-in forehand, one of his best shots.

Federer plays with a single-handed backhand, which gives him great variety. He employs the slice, occasionally using it to lure his opponent to the net and deliver a passing shot. Federer can also fire topspin winners and possesses a 'flick' backhand with which he can generate pace with his wrist; this is usually used to pass the opponent at the net.[144] His serve is difficult to read because he always uses a similar ball toss, regardless of what type of serve he is going to hit and where he aims to hit it, and turns his back to his opponents during his motion. He is often able to produce big serves on key points during a match. His first serve is typically around 200 km/h (125 mph);[146][147][148] however, he is capable of serving at 220 km/h (137 mph).[146][147] Federer is also accomplished at serve and volleying,[149] and employed this tactic frequently in his early career.[150]

Later in his career, Federer added the drop shot to his arsenal and can perform a well-disguised one off both wings. He sometimes uses a between-the-legs shot, which is colloquially referred to as a "tweener" or "hotdog". His most notable use of the tweener was in the semifinals of the 2009 US Open against Novak Djokovic, bringing him triple match point, on which he capitalised for a straight-set victory over the Serb.[151]
Equipment and apparel
Equipment

Federer currently plays with a prototype Wilson 98 square inch tennis racquet. Previously, Federer played with a Pro Staff 6.1 90 BLX tennis racquet,[152] which is characterised by its smaller hitting area of 90 square inches, heavy strung weight of 364 grams, and thin beam of 17.5 millimeters. His grip size was 4 3/8 inches (sometimes referred to as L3).[153] Federer stringed his racquets at 21.5 kg mains/20 kg crosses pre stretched 20%, using Wilson Natural Gut 16 gauge for his main strings and Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 16L gauge (polyester) for his cross strings.[153] When asked about string tensions, Federer stated "this depends on how warm the days are and with what kind of balls I play and against who I play. So you can see – it depends on several factors and not just the surface; the feeling I have is most important."[154]
Apparel

Federer has a contract with Nike footwear and apparel.[155] For the 2006 championships at Wimbledon, Nike designed a jacket emblazoned with a crest of three tennis racquets, symbolising the three Wimbledon Championships he had previously won, and which was updated the next year with four racquets after he won the Championship in 2006.[156] In Wimbledon 2008 and again in 2009, Nike continued this trend by making him a personalised cardigan.[157] He also has his own logo, an R and F joined together.[158]
Endorsements

Federer is one of the highest-earning athletes in the world. He is listed at number two on Forbes World's Highest Paid Athletes list.[159] As of 2013 he remains the top earner in tennis with ten endorsement deals. He makes 40 to 50 million euros a year from prize money and endorsements from Nike and the Swiss companies Nationale Suisse, Credit Suisse, Rolex, Lindt and Jura Elektroapparate. In 2010 his endorsement by Mercedes-Benz China was extended into a global partnership deal.[160] His other sponsors include Gillette, Wilson and Moët & Chandon.[45][159][161] Previously, he was an ambassador for NetJets and Maurice Lacroix.

28
##### Sports Zone / Barcelona... The Real football team
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:33:32 PM »
"Barça" redirects here. For other uses, see Barca (disambiguation).
This article is about the men's football club. For the women's football club, see FC Barcelona (women). For the reserve team, see FC Barcelona B. For the futsal team, see FC Barcelona Futsal. For other uses, see Barcelona (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Barcelona Sporting Club.
Page semi-protected
Barcelona FCB.svg
Full name    Futbol Club Barcelona
Nickname(s)    Barça or Blaugrana (team)
Culés or Barcelonistas (supporters)
Blaugranes or Azulgranas (supporters)
Founded    29 November 1899; 114 years ago
as Foot-Ball Club Barcelona
Ground    Camp Nou
Capacity    99,786
President    Josep Maria Bartomeu
League    La Liga
2013–14    La Liga, 2nd
Home colours

Away colours

Third colours
Current season
Active departments of FC Barcelona
Football pictogram.svg    Football pictogram.svg    Football pictogram.svg
Football (Men's)    Football B (Men's)    Football A (Men's)
Football pictogram.svg    Futsal pictogram.svg    Beach soccer pictogram.svg
Football (Women's)    Futsal    Beach soccer
Handball pictogram.svg    Roller hockey pictogram.svg    Ice hockey pictogram.svg
Handball    Roller hockey    Ice hockey
Rugby union pictogram.svg    Rugby union pictogram.svg
Rugby union    Rugby league

Futbol Club Barcelona (Catalan pronunciation: [fubˈbɔɫ ˈkɫub bərsəˈɫonə] ( listen)), also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça,[note 1] is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, the club has become a symbol of Catalan culture and Catalanism, hence the motto "Més que un club" (More than a club). Unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona. It is the world's second-richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of \$613 million, and the third most valuable sports team on the globe, worth \$2.6 billion.[1][2] The official Barcelona anthem is the "Cant del Barça", written by Jaume Picas and Josep Maria Espinàs.[3]

Barcelona is the most successful club in Spain, in terms of overall official titles won (82). Barcelona was ranked first in the 'All-Time Club World Ranking' by IFFHS, on 31 December 2009,[4] and was placed on top of the 2012/13 UEFA club rankings.[5] It has won 22 La Liga, 26 Copa del Rey, 11 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte and 2 Copa de la Liga trophies, as well as being the record holder for the latter four competitions. In international club football, Barcelona has won four UEFA Champions League, a record four UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, four UEFA Super Cup, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[note 2] and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies.[6] The club has a long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid; matches between the two teams are referred to as "El Clásico".

Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, and has the largest fan base among all sports teams on all major social networks.[7][8] Barcelona's players have won a record number of Ballon d'Or awards (10), as well as a record number of FIFA World Player of the Year awards (7). In 2010, the club created history when three players who came through its youth academy (Messi, Iniesta & Xavi) were chosen as the three best players in the world, having bagged the top spots at the FIFA Ballon d'Or, an unprecedented feat for players from the same football school.

Barcelona was one of the founding members of La Liga, and is one of three clubs which have never been relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. In 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the continental treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. That same year, it also became the first football club ever to win six out of six competitions in a single year, thus completing the sextuple, comprising the aforementioned treble and the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.[9] In 2011, the Blaugrana again became European champions and won a total of five titles, missing out only on the Copa del Rey (in which they finished runners-up). This Barcelona team, which reached a record six consecutive Champions League semi-finals and won 14 trophies in just four years under Guardiola's charge, is considered by some managers, players and experts to be the greatest team of all time

On 22 October 1899, Hans Kamper placed an advertisement in Los Deportes declaring his wish to form a football club; a positive response resulted in a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé on 29 November. Eleven players attended—Walter Wild (the first director of the club), Lluís d'Ossó, Bartomeu Terradas, Otto Kunzle, Otto Maier, Enric Ducal, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol, Josep Llobet, John Parsons, and William Parsons—and Foot-Ball Club Barcelona was born.[13]
A formation of FC Barcelona in 1903

FC Barcelona had a successful start in regional and national cups, competing in the Campionat de Catalunya and the Copa del Rey. In 1902, the club won its first trophy, the Copa Macaya, and participated in the first Copa del Rey, losing 1–2 to Bizcaya in the final.[14] Kamper—now known as Joan Gamper—became club president in 1908, finding the club in financial difficulty after not winning a competition since the Campionat de Catalunya in 1905. Club president on five separate occasions between 1908 and 1925, he spent 25 years in total at the helm. One of his main achievements was ensuring Barça acquire its own stadium and thus generate a stable income.[15]

On 14 March 1909, the team moved into the Camp de la Indústria, a stadium with a capacity of 8,000. To celebrate their new surroundings, a logo contest was held the following year. Carles Comamala won the contest, and his suggestion became the crest that the club still wears as of 2012, with some minor changes.[16]

With the new stadium, Barcelona participated in the inaugural version of the Pyrenees Cup, which, at the time, consisted of the best teams of Languedoc, Midi and Aquitaine (Southern France), the Basque Country and Catalonia; all were former members of the Marca Hispanica region. The contest was generally considered the most prestigious in that era.[17] From the inaugural year in 1910 to 1913, Barcelona won the competition four consecutive times. Carles Comamala played an integral part of the four-time champion, managing the side along with Amechazurra and Jack Greenwell. The latter became the club's first full-time coach in 1917.[18] The last edition was held in 1914 in the city of Barcelona, which local rivals Espanyol won.[19]

During the same period, the club changed its official language from Castilian to Catalan and gradually evolved into an important symbol of Catalan identity. For many fans, participating in the club had less to do with the game itself and more with being a part of the club's collective identity.[20] On 4 February 1917, the club held its first testimonial match to honour Ramón Torralba who played from 1913 to 1928. The match was against local side Terrassa, which Barcelona won 6–2.[21]

Gamper simultaneously launched a campaign to recruit more club-members, and, by 1922, the club had more than 20,000, who helped finance a new stadium. The club then moved to the new Les Cortes, which they inaugurated the same year.[22] Les Cortes had an initial capacity of 22,000, and was later[when?] expanded to 60,000.[23]

Gamper recruited Jack Greenwell as the first full-time manager in Barcelona's history. After he was hired, the club's fortunes began to improve on the field. During the Gamper-led era, Barcelona won eleven Campeonato de Cataluña, six Copa del Rey and four Pyrenees Cups and enjoyed its first "golden age".[14][15]
Rivera, Republic and Civil War (1923–1957)
Black-and-white photo of the city from high above. Smoke from a bomb can be seen
The aerial bombardment of Barcelona in 1938

On 14 June 1925, in a spontaneous reaction against Primo de Rivera's dictatorship, the crowd in the stadium jeered the Royal March. As a reprisal, the ground was closed for six months and Gamper was forced to relinquish the presidency of the club.[24] This coincided with the transition to professional football, and, in 1926, the directors of Barcelona publicly claimed, for the first time, to operate a professional football club.[22] On 3 July 1927, the club held a second testimonial match for Paulino Alcántara, against the Spanish national team. To kick off the match, local journalist and pilot Josep Canudas dropped the ball onto the pitch from his airplane.[21] In 1928, victory in the Spanish Cup was celebrated with a poem titled "Oda a Platko", which was written by a member of the Generation of '27, Rafael Alberti, inspired by the heroic performance of the Barcelona goalkeeper, Franz Platko.[25] Two years after the victory, on 30 July 1930, Gamper committed suicide after a period of depression brought on by personal and financial problems.[15]

Although they continued to have players of the standing of Josep Escolà, the club now entered a period of decline, in which political conflict overshadowed sports throughout society. Attendance at matches dropped as the citizens of Barcelona were occupied with discussing political matters.[26] Although the team won the Campionat de Catalunya in 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936 and 1938,[14] success at a national level (with the exception of the 1937 disputed title) evaded them.

A month after the Spanish Civil War began in 1936, several players from Barcelona enlisted in the ranks of those who fought against the military uprising, along with players from Athletic Bilbao.[27] On 6 August, Falangist soldiers near Guadarrama murdered club president Josep Sunyol, a representative of the pro-independence political party.[28] He was dubbed the martyr of barcelonisme, and his murder was a defining moment in the history of FC Barcelona and Catalan identity.[29] In the summer of 1937, the squad was on tour in Mexico and the United States, where it was received as an ambassador of the Second Spanish Republic. The tour led to the financial security of the club, but also resulted in half of the team seeking asylum in Mexico and France, making it harder for the remaining team to contest for trophies.[30][31]

On 16 March 1938, Barcelona came under aerial bombardment from the Italian Air Force, causing more than 3,000 deaths, with one of the bombs hitting the club's offices.[32][33] A few months later, Catalonia came under occupation and as a symbol of the "undisciplined" Catalanism, the club, now down to just 3,486 members, faced a number of restrictions. All signs of regional nationalism, including language, flag and other signs of separatism were banned throughout Spain. The Catalan flag was banned and the club were prohibited from using non-Spanish names. These measures forced the club to change its name to Club de Fútbol Barcelona and to remove the Catalan flag from its crest.[34]

In 1943, Barcelona faced rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of Copa del Generalísimo. The first match at Les Corts was won by Barcelona 3–0. Before the second leg, Franco's director of state security visited Barcelona's players in the changing room. He reminded them that they were only playing due to the "generosity of the regime". Real Madrid comfortably won the match, beating Barcelona 11–1.[35]

Despite the difficult political situation, CF Barcelona enjoyed considerable success during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1945, with Josep Samitier as coach and players like César, Ramallets and Velasco, they won La Liga for the first time since 1929. They added two more titles in 1948 and 1949.[36] In 1949, they also won the first Copa Latina.[37] In June 1950, Barcelona signed Ladislao Kubala, who was to be an important figure at the club.[38]

On a rainy Sunday of 1951, the crowd left Les Corts stadium after a 2–1 win against Santander by foot, refusing to catch any trams, and surprising the Francoist authorities. The reason was simple: at the same time, a tram strike was taking place in Barcelona, receiving the support of blaugrana fans. Events like this made CF Barcelona represent much more than just Catalonia and many progressive Spaniards saw the club as a staunch defender of rights and freedoms.[39][40]

Coach Ferdinand Daučík and László Kubala led the team to five different trophies including La Liga, the Copa del Generalísimo (now the Copa del Rey), the Copa Latina, the Copa Eva Duarte, and the Copa Martini Rossi in 1952. In 1953, the club won La Liga and the Copa del Generalísimo again.[23]
Club de Fútbol Barcelona (1957–1978)
Barcelona against Hamburg in 1961

With Helenio Herrera as coach, a young Luis Suárez, the European Footballer of the Year in 1960, and two influential Hungarians recommended by Kubala, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor, the team won another national double in 1959 and a La Liga and Fairs Cup double in 1960. In 1961, they became the first club to beat Real Madrid in a European Cup play-off. However, they lost 2–3 to Benfica in the final.[41][42][43]

The 1960s were less successful for the club, with Real Madrid monopolising La Liga. The completion of the Camp Nou, finished in 1957, meant the club had little money to spend on new players.[43] The 1960s saw the emergence of Josep Maria Fusté and Carles Rexach, and the club won the Copa del Generalísimo in 1963 and the Fairs Cup in 1966. Barcelona restored some pride by beating Real Madrid 1–0 in the 1968 Copa del Generalísimo final at the Bernabéu in front of Franco, with coach Salvador Artigas, a former republican pilot in the civil war. With the end of Franco's dictatorship in 1974, the club changed its official name back to Futbol Club Barcelona and reverted the crest to its original design, including the original letters once again.[44][45]

The 1973–74 season saw the arrival of a new Barcelona player Johan Cruyff, who was bought for a world record £920,000 from Ajax.[46] Already an established player with Ajax, Cruyff quickly won over the Barcelona fans when he told the European press that he chose Barcelona over Real Madrid because he could not play for a club associated with Francisco Franco. He further endeared himself when he named his son Jordi, after the local Catalan Saint George.[47] Next to champions like Juan Manuel Asensi, Carles Rexach and Hugo Sotil, he helped the club win the 1973–74 season for the first time since 1960,[14] defeating Real Madrid 5–0 at the Bernabéu along the way. He was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1973 during his first season with Barcelona (his second Ballon d'or win; he won his first while playing for Ajax in 1971). Cruyff received this prestigious award a third time (the first player to do so) in 1974, while he was still with Barcelona.[48]
Núñez and the stabilisation years (1978–2000)

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Zubizarreta (C)
Koeman
Nando
Ferrer
Juan Carlos
Eusebio
Guardiola
Bakero
Laudrup
Salinas
Stoichkov
1992 European Cup Final starting lineup

In 1978, Josep Lluís Núñez became the first elected president of FC Barcelona, and, since then, the members of Barcelona have elected the club president. The process of electing a president of FC Barcelona was closely tied to Spain's transition to democracy in 1974 and the end of Franco's dictatorship. The new president's main objective was to develop Barcelona into a world-class club by giving it stability both on and off the pitch. His presidency was to last for 22 years, and it deeply affected the image of Barcelona, as Núñez held to a strict policy regarding wages and discipline, letting go of such players as Maradona, Romario and Ronaldo rather than meeting their demands.[49][50]

On 16 May 1979, the club won its first Cup Winners Cup by beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 4–3 in Basel in a final watched by more than 30,000 travelling blaugrana fans. The same year, Núñez began to invest in the club's youth program by converting La Masia to a dormitory for young academy players from abroad. The name of the dormitory would later become synonymous with the youth program of Barcelona.[51]

In June 1982, Diego Maradona was signed for a world record fee of £5 million from Boca Juniors.[52] In the following season, under coach Luis, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey, beating Real Madrid. However, Maradona's time with Barcelona was short-lived and he soon left for Napoli. At the start of the 1984–85 season, Terry Venables was hired as manager and he won La Liga with noteworthy displays by German midfielder Bernd Schuster. The next season, he took the team to their second European Cup final, only to lose on penalties to Steaua Bucureşti during a dramatic evening in Seville.[49]

Around this time, tensions began to arise between what was perceived as president Núñez's dictatorial rule and the nationalistic support group, Boixos Nois. The group, identified with a left-wing separatism, repeatedly demanded the resignation of Núñez and openly defied him through chants and banners at matches. At the same time, Barcelona experienced an eruption in skinheads, who often identified with a right-wing separatism. The skinheads slowly transferred the Boixos Nois' ideology from liberalism to fascism, which caused division within the group and a sudden support for Núñez's presidency.[53] Inspired by British hooligans, the remaining Boixos Nois became violent, causing havoc leading to large-scale arrests.[54]

After the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Barcelona signed the English top-scorer Gary Lineker, along with goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, but the team could not achieve success, as Schuster was excluded from the team. Terry Venables was subsequently fired at the beginning of the 1987–88 season and replaced with Luis Aragonés. The season finished with the players rebelling against president Núñez, in an event known as the Hesperia mutiny, and a 1–0 victory at the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad.[49]
Dream Team
Johan Cruyff won four consecutive La Liga titles as manager of Barcelona

In 1988, Johan Cruyff returned to the club as manager and he assembled the so-called Dream Team.[55] He used a mix of Spanish players like Josep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero and Txiki Begiristain while signing international players such as Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Romário and Hristo Stoichkov.[56]

It was ten years after the inception of the youth program, La Masia, when the young players began to graduate and play for their first team. One of the first graduates, who would later earn international acclaim, was previous Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola.[57] Under Cruyff's guidance, Barcelona won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. They beat Sampdoria in both the 1989 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley, with a free kick goal from Dutch international Ronald Koeman. They also won a Copa del Rey in 1990, the European Super Cup in 1992 and three Supercopa de España. With 11 trophies, Cruyff became the club's most successful manager to date. He also became the club's longest consecutive serving manager, serving eight years.[58] Cruyff's fortune was to change, and, in his final two seasons, he failed to win any trophies and fell out with president Núñez, resulting in his departure.[49]

Reacting to Cruyff's departure, an independent protest group was organised by Armand Caraben, Joan Laporta and Alfons Godall. The objective of the group, called L'Elefant Blau, was to oppose the presidency of Núñez, which they regarded as a corruption of the club's traditional values.[59][60] Laporta would later take over the presidency of Barcelona in 2003.

Cruyff was briefly replaced by Bobby Robson, who took charge of the club for a single season in 1996–97. He recruited Ronaldo from his previous club, PSV and delivered a cup treble, winning the Copa del Rey, UEFA Cup Winners Cup and the Supercopa de España. Despite his success, Robson was only ever seen as a short-term solution, while the club waited for Louis van Gaal to become available.[61]

Like Maradona, Ronaldo only stayed a short time before he left for Internazionale. However, new heroes emerged, such as Luís Figo, Patrick Kluivert, Luis Enrique and Rivaldo, and the team won a Copa del Rey and La Liga double in 1998. In 1999, the club celebrated its 'centenari', winning the Primera División title, and Rivaldo became the fourth Barcelona player to be awarded European Footballer of the Year. Despite this domestic success, the failure to emulate Real Madrid in the Champions League led to van Gaal and Núñez resigning in 2000.[61]
Exit Núñez, enter Laporta (2000–2008)
Plaque commemorating the centenary of FC Barcelona (1899–1999)
Ronaldinho, 2005 Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player

The departures of Núñez and van Gaal were hardly noticed by the fans when compared to that of Luís Figo, then club vice-captain. Figo had become a cult hero, and was considered by Catalans to be one of their own. However, Barcelona fans were distraught by Figo's decision to join arch-rivals Real Madrid, and, during subsequent visits to the Camp Nou, Figo was given an extremely hostile reception. Upon his first return, a piglet's head and a full bottle of whiskey were thrown at him from the crowd.[62] The next three years saw the club in decline, and managers came and went. van Gaal was replaced by Llorenç Serra Ferrer who, despite an extensive investment in players in the summer of 2000, presided over a mediocre league campaign and a humiliating first-round Champions League exit, and was eventually dismissed late in the season. Long-serving coach Carles Rexach was appointed as his replacement, initially on a temporary basis, and managed to at least steer the club to the last Champions League spot on the final day of the season. Despite better form in La Liga and a good run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, Rexach was never viewed as a long-term solution and that summer Louis van Gaal returned to the club for a second spell as manager. What followed, despite another decent Champions League performance, was one of the worst La Liga campaigns in the club's history, with the team as low as 15th in February 2003. This led to van Gaal's resignation and replacement for the rest of the campaign by Radomir Antić, though a sixth place finish was the best that he could manage. At the end of the season, Antić's short-term contract was not renewed, and club president Joan Gaspart resigned, his position having been made completely untenable by such a disastrous season on top of the club's overall decline in fortunes since he became president three years prior.[63]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg
Valdés
Márquez
Puyol (C)
Oleguer
Gio
Edmílson
Giuly
Ronaldinho
Deco
van Bommel
Eto'o
2006 Champions League final starting lineup

After the disappointment of the Gaspart era, the combination of a new young president, Joan Laporta, and a young new manager, former Dutch and Milan star Frank Rijkaard, saw the club bounce back. On the field, an influx of international players, including Ronaldinho, Deco, Henrik Larsson, Ludovic Giuly, Samuel Eto'o, and Rafael Márquez, combined with home grown Spanish players, such as Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Víctor Valdés, led to the club's return to success. Barcelona won La Liga and the Supercopa de España in 2004–05, and Ronaldinho and Eto'o were voted first and third, respectively, in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards.[64]

In the 2005–06 season, Barcelona repeated their league and Supercup successes. The pinnacle of the league season arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in a 3–0 win over Real Madrid. It was Frank Rijkaard's second victory at the Bernabéu, making him the first Barcelona manager to win there twice. Ronaldinho's performance was so impressive that after his second goal, which was Barcelona's third, some Real Madrid fans gave him a standing ovation.[65] In the Champions League, Barcelona beat the English club Arsenal 2–1 in the final. Trailing 1–0 to a 10-man Arsenal and with less than 15 minutes remaining, they came back to win 2–1, with substitute Henrik Larsson, in his final appearance for the club, setting up goals for Samuel Eto'o and fellow substitute Juliano Belletti, for the club's first European Cup victory in 14 years.[66]

Despite being the favourites and starting strongly, Barcelona finished the 2006–07 season without trophies. A pre-season US tour was later blamed for a string of injuries to key players, including leading scorer Eto'o and rising star Lionel Messi. There was open feuding as Eto'o publicly criticized coach Frank Rijkaard and Ronaldinho.[67] Ronaldinho also admitted that a lack of fitness affected his form.[68] In La Liga, Barcelona were in first place for much of the season, but inconsistency in the New Year saw Real Madrid overtake them to become champions. Barcelona advanced to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, winning the first leg against Getafe 5–2, with a goal from Messi bringing comparison to Diego Maradona's goal of the century, but then lost the second leg 4–0. They took part in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup, but were beaten by a late goal in the final against Brazilian side Internacional.[69] In the Champions League, Barcelona were knocked out of the competition in the last 16 by eventual runners-up Liverpool on away goals.

Barcelona finished the 2007–08 season third in La Liga and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, both times losing to the eventual champions, Manchester United and Valencia, respectively. The day after a 4–1 defeat to Real Madrid, Joan Laporta announced that Barcelona B coach Josep Guardiola would take over Frank Rijkaard's duties on 30 June 2008.[70]
Guardiola era (2008–2012)
Lionel Messi, four-time FIFA/Ballon d'Or winner, in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and FC Barcelona's top goalscorer in official competitions with 354 goals[71]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg
Valdés
Touré
Piqué
Puyol (C)
Sylvinho
Busquets
Messi
Henry
Xavi
Iniesta
Eto'o
2009 Champions League Final starting lineup

FC Barcelona B youth manager Pep Guardiola took over Frank Rijkaard's duties at the conclusion of the season.[70] Guardiola brought with him the now famous tiki-taka style of play he had been taught during his time in the Barcelona youth teams. In the process Guardiola sold Ronaldinho and Deco, and started building the Barcelona team around Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.

Barça beat Athletic Bilbao 4–1 in the 2009 Copa del Rey Final, winning the competition for a record-breaking 25th time. A historic 2–6 victory against Real Madrid followed three days later and ensured that Barcelona became La Liga champions for the 2008–09 season. Barça finished the season by beating the previous year's Champions League winners Manchester United 2–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to win their third Champions League title and completed the first ever treble won by a Spanish side.[72][73][74] The team went on to win the 2009 Supercopa de España against Athletic Bilbao[75] and the 2009 UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk,[76] becoming the first European club to win both domestic and European Super Cups following a treble. In December 2009, Barcelona won the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup,[77] and became the first football club ever to accomplish the sextuple.[78] Barcelona accomplished two new records in Spanish football in 2010 as they retained the La Liga trophy with 99 points and won the Spanish Super Cup trophy for a ninth time.[79][80]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg
Valdés
Mascherano
Piqué
Alves
Abidal
Busquets
Pedro
Villa
Xavi (C)
Iniesta
Messi
2011 Champions League Final starting lineup

After Laporta's departure from the club in June 2010, Sandro Rosell was soon elected as the new president. The elections were held on 13 June, where he got 61.35% (57,088 votes, a record) of total votes.[81] Rosell signed David Villa from Valencia for €40 million.[82] and Javier Mascherano from Liverpool for €19 million.[83] In November 2010, Barcelona defeated their main rival, Real Madrid 5–0 in El Clásico. In the 2010–11 season, Barcelona retained the La Liga trophy, their third title in succession, finishing with 96 points.[84] In April 2011, the club reached the Copa del Rey final, losing 1–0 to Real Madrid at the Mestalla in Valencia.[85] In May, Barcelona defeated Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League Final 3–1 held at Wembley Stadium, a repeat of the 2009 final, winning their fourth European Cup.[86] In August 2011, La Masia graduate Cesc Fàbregas was bought from Arsenal and he would help Barcelona defend the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid. The Supercup victory brought the total number of official trophies to 73, matching the number of titles won by Real Madrid.[87]

Later the same month, Barcelona won the UEFA Super Cup after defeating Porto 2–0 thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Cesc Fàbregas. This extended the club's overall number of official trophies to 74, surpassing Real Madrid's total amount of official trophies.[88] The UEFA Super Cup victory also marked another impressive achievement as Josep Guardiola won his 12th trophy out of 15 possible in only three years at the helm of the club, becoming the all-time record holder of most titles won as a coach at FC Barcelona.[89]
FC Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League

In December, Barcelona won the FIFA Club World Cup for a record second time since its establishment, by beating the Brazilian 2011 Copa Libertadores holders, Santos, 4–0 in the final thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi and goals from Xavi and Fàbregas.[90] As a result, the overall trophy haul during the reign of Guardiola was further extended and saw Barcelona win their 13th trophy out of 24 possible in 4 years, continuing their high-quality performance in recent world football competitions.[91][92]

In the 2011–12 season, Barcelona lost the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League against Chelsea. Right afterward, coach Pep Guardiola, who had been on a rolling contract and had faced criticism over his recent tactics and squad selections,[93][94] announced that he would step down as manager on 30 June and be succeeded by assistant Tito Vilanova.[95][96] Guardiola finished his tenure with Barça winning the Copa del Rey final 3–0, bringing the tally to 14 trophies that Barça had won under his stewardship.
Recent history (2012–)
FC Barcelona against Bayern Munich in the 2013 UEFA Champions League

It was announced in summer of 2012 that Tito Vilanova, assistant manager at FC Barcelona, would take over from Pep Guardiola as manager. Following his appointment, Barcelona went on an incredible run that saw them hold the top spot on the league table for the entire season, recording only 2 losses and amassing 100 points. Their top scorer once again was Lionel Messi, who scored 46 goals in the League, including two hat-tricks. On 11 May 2013 Barcelona were crowned as the Spanish football champions for the 22nd time, still with 4 games left to play. Ultimately Barcelona ended the season 15 points clear of rivals Real Madrid, despite losing 2–1 to them at the beginning of March.[97] They reached the semifinal stage of both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, going out to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. On 19 July, it was announced that Vilanova was resigning as Barcelona manager because his throat cancer had returned, and he would be receiving treatment for the second time after a three-month medical leave in December 2012.[98]

On 22 July 2013, Gerardo 'Tata' Martino was confirmed as manager of FC Barcelona for the 2013-14 season.[99] Barcelona's first official games under Martino were the home and away legs of the 2013 Spanish Supercup, which Barça won 1-1 on away goals. On 23 January 2014, Sandro Rosell resigned as president by the admissibility of the complaint for alleged misappropriation following the transfer of Neymar. Josep Maria Bartomeu replaced him to finish the term in 2016.

On 2 April 2014, FIFA banned the club from buying players for the next two transfer windows following the violation of the FIFA's rules about the transfer of footballers aged under 18.[100] A statement on FIFA's website read "With regard to the case in question, FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of ten minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players, including under Annexe 2 of the Regulations. The Disciplinary Committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of CHF 450,000. Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned."[101]

On 17 May, in a game where they needed to defeat Atlético Madrid (who eliminated them from the UEFA Champions League in the quarterfinals earlier in the year) to be crowned champions of La Liga for the 23rd time, they drew after Atlético defender Diego Godín headed in the equalizer in the 49th minute, giving Atlético the championship.[102]
Support
Main article: Supporters of FC Barcelona
Fans in the Camp Nou

The nickname culé for a Barcelona supporter is derived from the Catalan cul (English: arse), as the spectators at the first stadium, Camp de la Indústria, sat with their culs over the stand. In Spain, about 25% of the population is said to be Barça sympathisers, second behind Real Madrid, supported by 32% of the population.[103] Throughout Europe, Barcelona is the favourite second-choice club.[104] The club's membership figures have seen a significant increase from 100,000 in the 2003–04 season to 170,000 in September 2009,[105] the sharp rise being attributed to the influence of Ronaldinho and then-president Joan Laporta's media strategy that focused on Spanish and English online media.[106][107]

In addition to membership, as of June 2010 there are 1,335 officially registered fan clubs, called penyes, around the world. The fan clubs promote Barcelona in their locality and receive beneficial offers when visiting Barcelona.[108] The club has had many prominent persons among its supporters, including Pope John Paul II, who was an honorary member, and former prime minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.[109][110] FC Barcelona has the second highest average attendance of European football clubs only behind Borussia Dortmund.[111][112]
Club rivalries
El Clásico
Main article: El Clásico
Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Lassana Diarra of Real Madrid in a 2011 El Clásico

There is often a fierce rivalry between the two strongest teams in a national league, and this is particularly the case in La Liga, where the game between Barça and Real Madrid is known as El Clásico. From the start of national competitions the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival regions in Spain: Catalonia and Castile, as well as of the two cities. The rivalry reflects what many regard as the political and cultural tensions felt between Catalans and the Castilians, seen by one author as a re-enactment of the Spanish Civil War.[113]

During the dictatorships of Primo de Rivera and especially of Francisco Franco (1939–1975), all regional cultures were suppressed. All of the languages spoken in Spanish territory, except Spanish (Castilian) itself, were officially banned.[114][115] Symbolising the Catalan people's desire for freedom, Barça became 'More than a club' (Més que un club) for the Catalans. According to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, the best way for the Catalans to demonstrate their identity was by joining Barça. It was less risky than joining a clandestine anti-Franco movement, and allowed them to express their dissidence.[116]

On the other hand, Real Madrid was widely seen as the embodiment of the sovereign oppressive centralism and the fascist regime at management level and beyond: Santiago Bernabeu, the former club president for whom their stadium is named, fought on the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War.[117][118] However, during the Spanish Civil War, members of both clubs such as Josep Sunyol and Rafael Sánchez Guerra suffered at the hands of Franco supporters.

During the 1950s the rivalry was exacerbated further when there was a controversy surrounding the transfer of Alfredo di Stéfano, who finally played for Real Madrid and was key to their subsequent success.[119] The 1960s saw the rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice at the knock-out rounds of the European Cup.[14]
El derbi Barceloní
Main article: El derbi Barceloní

Barça's local rival has always been Espanyol. Blanc-i-blaus, being one of the clubs granted royal patronage, was founded exclusively by Spanish football fans, unlike the multinational nature of Barça's primary board. The founding message of the club was clearly anti-Barcelona, and they disapprovingly saw FC Barcelona as a team of foreigners.[120] The rivalry was strengthened by what Catalonians saw as a provocative representative of Madrid.[121] Their original ground was in the affluent district of Sarrià.[122][123]

Traditionally, especially during the Franco regime, Espanyol was seen by the vast majority of Barcelona's citizens as a club which cultivated a kind of compliance to the central authority, in stark contrast to Barça's revolutionary spirit.[124] In 1918 Espanyol started a counter-petition against autonomy, which at that time had become a pertinent issue.[120] Later on, an Espanyol supporter group would join the Falangists in the Spanish civil war, siding with the fascists. Despite these differences in ideology, the derbi has always been more relevant to Espanyol supporters than Barcelona ones due to the difference in objectives. In recent years the rivalry has become less political, as Espanyol translated its official name and anthem from Spanish to Catalan.[120]

Though it is the most played local derby in the history of La Liga, it is also the most unbalanced, with Barcelona overwhelmingly dominant. In the league table, Espanyol has only managed to end above Barça on three occasions in almost 70 years and the only all-Catalan Copa del Rey final was won by Barça in 1957. Espanyol has the consolation of achieving the largest margin win with a 6–0 in 1951. Espanyol achieved a 2–1 win against Barça during the 2008–09 season, becoming the first team to defeat Barcelona at Camp Nou in their treble-winning season.[125]
Finances and ownership

In 2010, Forbes evaluated Barcelona's worth to be around €752 million (USD \$1 billion), ranking them fourth after Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Arsenal, based on figures from the 2008–09 season.[126][127] According to Deloitte, Barcelona had a recorded revenue of €366 million in the same period, ranking second to Real Madrid, who generated €401 million in revenue.[128] In 2013, Forbes magazine ranked Barcelona the third most valuable sports team in the world, behind Real Madrid and Manchester United, with a value of \$2.6 billion.[1]

Along with Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna, Barcelona is organised as a registered association. Unlike a limited company, it is not possible to purchase shares in the club, but only membership.[129] The members of Barcelona, called socis, form an assembly of delegates which is the highest governing body of the club.[130] As of 2010 the club has 170,000 socis.[105]

An audit by Deloitte in July 2010 showed that Barcelona had a net debt of €442 million, currently 58% of net worth as evaluated by Forbes. The new management of Barcelona, which had ordered the audit, cited "structural problems" as the cause of the debt.[131] News had emerged that the club had recorded a loss of approximately €79 million over the course of the year, despite having defended their La Liga title.[132]

For 2011, Barcelona's gross debt stands at around €483m and the net debt is at €364m.[133] Barcelona was found to have the highest average salary per player of all professional sports teams in the world, just ahead of rival Real Madrid.[134]
Records
For more details on this topic, see List of FC Barcelona records and statistics.
Lionel Messi holds the record for all-time top-scorer for Barcelona.[135]
Xavi holds the record for most games played for Barcelona

Xavi presently holds the team record for number of total games played (721) and the record number of La Liga appearances (472), surpassing the previous record holder Migueli (391).[136]

FC Barcelona's all-time highest goalscorer in all competitions (including friendlies) is Lionel Messi with 381 goals.[136][137] The all-time highest goalscorer for Barcelona in all official competitions, excluding friendlies, is Lionel Messi with 354 goals. He is also the record goalscorer for Barcelona in European (68 goals) and international club competitions (72 goals),[138] and the record league scorer with 243 goals in La Liga. Four people have managed to score over 100 league goals at Barcelona: Lionel Messi (243), César Rodríguez (192), Ladislao Kubala (131) and Samuel Eto'o (108).

On 2 February 2009, Barcelona reached a total of 5,000 La Liga goals. The goal was converted by Messi in a game against Racing Santander, which Barça won 2–1.[139] On 18 December 2009 Barcelona beat Estudiantes 2–1 to win their sixth title in a year and became the first ever football team to complete the sextuple.[140]

Barcelona's highest home attendance was 120,000, for a European Cup quarter-final against Juventus on 3 March 1986.[141] The modernisation of Camp Nou during the 1990s and the introduction of all-seater stands means the record will not be broken for the foreseeable future as the current capacity of the stadium is 99,354.[142]
Crest and shirt
diamond shaped crest surrounded by laurels and topped with a crown and a bat
The first crest worn by Barcelona

Since its foundation the club has played with a crest. The club's original crest was a quartered diamond-shaped crest topped by the Crown of Aragon and the bat of King James, and surrounded by two branches, one of a laurel tree and the other a palm.[16] In 1910 the club held a competition among its members to design a new crest. The winner was Carles Comamala, who at the time played for the club. Comamala's suggestion became the crest that the club wears today, with some minor variations. The crest consists of the St George Cross in the upper-left corner with the Catalan flag beside it, and the team colours at the bottom.[16]

The blue and red colours of the shirt were first worn in a match against Hispania in 1900.[143] Several competing theories have been put forth for the blue and red design of the Barcelona shirt. The son of the first president, Arthur Witty, claimed it was the idea of his father as the colours were the same as the Merchant Taylor's School team. Another explanation, according to author Toni Strubell, is that the colours are from Robespierre's First Republic. In Catalonia the common perception is that the colours were chosen by Joan Gamper and are those of his home team, FC Basel.[144] The club's most frequently used change colours have been yellow and orange. The team's current away kit features the red and yellow stripes of the flag of Catalonia.

Prior to the 2011–2012 season, Barcelona had a long history of avoiding corporate sponsorship on the playing shirts. On 14 July 2006, the club announced a five-year agreement with UNICEF, which includes having the UNICEF logo on their shirts. The agreement has the club donate €1.5 million per year to UNICEF (0.7 percent of its ordinary income, equal to the UN International Aid Target, cf. ODA) via the FC Barcelona Foundation.[145] The FC Barcelona Foundation is an entity set up in 1994 on the suggestion of then-chairman of the Economical-Statutory Committee, Jaime Gil-Aluja. The idea was to set up a foundation that could attract financial sponsorships to support a non-profit sport company.[146] In 2004, a company could become one of 25 "Honorary members" by contributing between £40,000–60,000 (£52,000–78,000)[147] per year. There are also 48 associate memberships available for an annual fee of £14,000 (£18,200)[147] and an unlimited number of "patronages" for the cost of £4,000 per year (£5,200).[147] It is unclear whether the honorary members have any formal say in club policy, but according to the author Anthony King, it is "unlikely that Honorary Membership would not involve at least some informal influence over the club".[148]

Barcelona ended their refusal of corporate sponsorship prior to the commencement of the 2011–12 season, signing a five-year €150m deal with Qatar Sports Investments, that meant the Qatar Foundation[149] was on the club's shirt for the 11/12 and 12/13 seasons, then replaced by Qatar Airways for the 13/14 season, the deal allowing for a commercial sponsor logo to replace the charity logo, two years into the six-year deal

29
##### Sports Zone / All about Fifa World Cup 2014
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:31:49 PM »
The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the 20th FIFA World Cup, the tournament for the association football world championship, which took place at several venues across Brazil. Germany won the tournament, defeating runners-up Argentina 1-0 in the final match.

It began on 12 June, with a group stage, and concluded on 13 July with the championship match.[5] It was the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the first being in 1950. Brazil was elected unchallenged as host nation in 2007 after the international football federation, FIFA, decreed that the tournament would be staged in South America for the first time since 1978 in Argentina, and the fifth time overall.

The national teams of 31 countries advanced through qualification competitions that began in June 2011 to participate with the host nation Brazil in the final tournament. A total of 64 matches were being played in 12 cities across Brazil in either new or redeveloped stadiums. For the first time at a World Cup finals, match officials used goal-line technology, as well as vanishing foam for free kicks.[6]

All world champion teams since the first World Cup in 1930 – Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay – qualified for this competition. The title holders, Spain, were eliminated at the group stage, along with previous winners England and Italy. Uruguay was eliminated in the Round of 16 and France was eliminated at the quarter-finals. In the final between two former champions Argentina and Germany, Germany won the title by defeating Argentina 1–0 after extra time, thus becoming the first European team to win a World Cup in the Americas.[7] This result marked the first time that sides from the same continent had won three successive World Cups (following Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010).[8][9]

As the winners, Germany qualified for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Fan Fest in the host cities received 5 million people, and the country received 1 million foreigners from 202 countries.[10]

Final draw
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup seeding

The 32 participating teams were drawn into eight groups. In preparation for this, the teams were organised into four pots with the seven highest-ranked teams joining host nation Brazil in the seeded pot.[18] As with the previous tournaments, FIFA aimed to create groups which maximised geographic separation and therefore the unseeded teams were arranged into pots based on geographic considerations.[19][20] The draw took place on 6 December 2013 at the Costa do Sauípe resort in Bahia, during which the teams were drawn by various past World Cup-winning players.[21][22] Under the draw procedure, one randomly drawn team – Italy – was firstly relocated from Pot 4 to Pot 2 to create four equal pots of eight teams.[19]
Officials
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup officials

In March 2013, FIFA published a list of 52 prospective referees, each paired, on the basis of nationality, with two assistant referees, from all six football confederations for the tournament. On 14 January 2014, the FIFA Referees Committee appointed 25 referee trios and eight support duos representing 43 different countries for the tournament.[23][24]
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup squads

As with the 2010 tournament, each team's squad consists of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers). Each participating national association had to confirm their final 23-player squad no later than 10 days before the start of the tournament.[25] Teams were permitted to make late replacements in the event of serious injury, at any time up to 24 hours before their first game.[25] During a match, all remaining squad members not named in the starting team are available to be one of the three permitted substitutions (provided the player is not serving a suspension).[25]
Venues
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup venues

12 venues (seven new and five renovated) in twelve cities were selected for the tournament. The venues covered all the main regions of Brazil and created more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil.[26] Consequently, the tournament required long-distance travel for teams.[27] During the World Cup, Brazilian cities were also home to the participating teams at 32 separate base camps,[28] as well as staging official fan fests where supporters could view the games.[29]

FIFA Fan Fests

For a third consecutive World Cup tournament, FIFA staged FIFA Fan Fests in each of the 12 host cities throughout the competition. Prominent examples were the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, which already held a Fan Fest in 2010, and São Paulo's Vale do Anhangabaú.[33][34] The first official event took place on Iracema Beach, in Fortaleza, on 8 June 2014.[35]
Innovations
Technologies

To avoid ghost goals the 2014 World Cup introduced goal-line technology following successful trials at among others 2013 Confederations Cup. The chosen Goal Control system featured 14 high speed cameras, 7 directed to each of the goals. Data were sent to the central image-processing centre, where a virtual representation of the ball was output on a widescreen to confirm the goal. The referee was equipped with a watch which vibrated and displayed a signal upon a goal.[36][37][38] France's second goal in their group game against Honduras was the first time goal-line technology was needed to confirm that a goal should be given.[39]

Following successful trials,[nb 4] FIFA approved the use of vanishing foam by the referees for the first time at a World Cup Finals. The water-based spray, which disappears within minutes of application, can be used to mark a ten-yard line for the defending team during a free kick and also to draw where the ball is to be placed for a free kick.[40]

The Adidas Brazuca was the official match ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup[41][42][43][44] and was supplied by the Forward Sports of Sialkot, Pakistan.[41] Adidas created a new design of ball after criticisms of the Adidas Jabulani used in the previous World Cup. The number of panels was reduced to six, with the panels being thermally bonded. This created a ball with increased consistency and aerodynamics compared to its predecessor. Furthermore Adidas underwent an extensive testing process lasting more than two years to produce a ball that would meet the approval of football professionals.
Cooling breaks

Because of the relatively high ambient temperatures in Brazil, particularly at the northern venues, cooling breaks for the players were introduced.[45] Breaks can take place after the 30th minute of the first and second half of games at the referee's discretion if the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature exceeds 32 °C (90 °F).

The first cooling break in World Cup play took place during the 32nd minute of the Netherlands vs. Mexico Round of 16 match.[46][47][48][49] At the start of the match, FIFA listed the temperature at 32 °C (90 °F) with 68% humidity.[50]
Anti-doping

The biological passport was introduced in the FIFA World Cup starting in 2014. Blood and urine samples from all players before the competition, and from two players per team per match, are analysed by the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses.[51] FIFA reported that 91.5% of the players taking part in the tournament were tested before the start of the competition and none tested positive.[52] However, FIFA was criticised for its approach towards finding doping offences.[clarification needed][53][54]
Format

The first round, or group stage, was a competition between the 32 teams divided among eight groups of four, where each group engaged in a round-robin tournament within itself. The two highest ranked teams in each group advanced to the knockout stage.[25] Teams were awarded three points for a win and one for a draw. When comparing teams in a group over-all result came before head-to-head.
[show]Tie-breaking criteria for group play

In the knockout stage there were four rounds (round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final), with each eliminating the losers. The two semi-final losers competed in a third place play-off. For any match in the knockout stage, a draw after 90 minutes of regulation time was followed by two 15 minute periods of extra time to determine a winner. If the teams were still tied, a penalty shoot-out was held to determine a winner.[25]

The match schedule was announced on 20 October 2011[55] with the kick-off times being confirmed on 27 September 2012;[56] after the final draw, the kick-off times of seven matches were adjusted by FIFA.[57] The competition was organised so that teams that played each other in the group stage could not meet again during the knockout phase until the final (or the 3rd place match).[25] The group stage began on 12 June, with the host nation competing in the opening game as has been the format since the 2006 tournament. The opening game was preceded by an opening ceremony that began at 15:15 local time.[58]

30
##### Sports Zone / Biter Suarez looses sponser
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:29:43 PM »

Luis Suarez has left the World Cup, returning home to Uruguay to see his family. His bite on Giorgio Chiellini has also cost him a sponsorship deal, but Chiellini and the players' union have come to Suarez's defense.
FIFA WM 2014 Suarez Fans auf dem Flughafen von Montevideo 26.06.2014

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was greeted by scores of fans and President Jose Mujica when he landed in the capital Montevideo on Friday. The Uruguayan leader joined hundreds of fans gathered at the airport to support the Liverpool striker after his suspension for biting Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup group game against Italy.

The suspended player and his family left the airport, with local media reporting they were headed for a home in the coastal resort of Solymar. Suarez, 27, is yet to comment publicly since FIFA banned him from nine competitive Uruguay matches and from all football-related activities for four months
Uruguay Präsident Jose Mujica

Presdient Mujica greeted Suarez on his premature World Cup return

Sponsor 888poker on Friday said it had terminated a sponsorship contract recently signed with the Uruguayan on the basis of his behavior against Italy on Tuesday. Penned just last month, the betting firm said the contract could no longer be upheld.

"888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognized," the company said of Suarez's league-high 31 goals for Liverpool in the English Premiership season. "Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect."

Suarez also has a deal with German company Adidas, who have removed him from their World Cup promotional material. Adidas has said it will meet with the player after the World Cup to discuss their future relationship.

Players' union, president, bitten Chiellini offer support

In a radio phone-in show co-hosted by Argentine star Diego Maradona, President Mujica accused FIFA of double-standards in its treatment of Uruguay. Mujica said that it would "not cost FIFA much to be harsh with Uruguay as it is a tiny nation," calling the ban an "act of aggression" against Uruguayan fans. Maradona himself, famed for his outspoken nature and occasional gaffes, went further.

"Who did Suarez kill? This is football, this is contact," Maradona said. "They may as well handcuff him and bring him to Guantanamo Bay."
WM Italien-Urugay

Suarez was not sent off for the incident at the time

The international players union FIFPro voiced reservations about the severity of FIFA's suspension on Friday, saying that banning Suarez from club football was problematic when his misdemeanor came in international competition. Suarez will not be able to represent his employers, Liverpool Football Club, until the end of October. More traditional suspensions handed out for misbehavior in international football do not impact on club games; the same applies in reverse.

"The fact that Suarez is prohibited from working for a long period must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work. Also the fact that Liverpool FC is affected needs to be an important issue," FIFPro said in a statement. "Luis Suarez should receive all the support he needs to deal with any off-field issues he may be experiencing at this time. This means that the focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment of the player."

Even Chiellini, whose shoulder bore the marks of Suarez's jaw on Tuesday night in Natal, questioned the severity of the sanction for repeat-offender Suarez, who has made the headlines for biting in the past with both Liverpool and former club Ajax Amsterdam.

"Now inside me there's no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that's done," Chiellini said in a statement on his website. "I believe that the proposed formula is excessive."

The ban is the longest ever issued by FIFA for a World Cup offense. Similar examples of extended suspensions do exist, however. Manchester United's French forward of old Eric Cantona was famously banned for eight months by the English Football Association in 1995 for kicking a supporter in the stands, who had reportedly shouted abuse at Cantona.

msh/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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