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Thread: ViToMiNs' Player To Watch Thread 2009

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    86 FIF Special Ones

    ViToMiNs' Player To Watch Thread 2009

    I have decided to start a thread based on IMScouting's Player's To Watch Section. Here you will find information, and where possible, videos on players that could be the next stars of European football. I will start way back in January of this year and post a new player each week, when IMScouting updates their site. Hope you enjoy!


    JANUARY 2009

    01/01/09 - Robert Lewandowski




    Team: Lech Poznan (Poland)
    Shirt Number: 8
    Nationality: Poland
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: Right forward, Left forward
    Age: 20
    Height: 1.83 m / 6 ft.
    Weight: 79 kg / 173 lbs

    Report: A Polish Goal Machine

    At just 20-years-old, Polish football is bracing itself to see how the career of Robert Lewandowski progresses. In just a few years the Lech Poznan striker has established himself as the up and coming player in the eastern European country.

    Lewandowski is a prolific striker, a "goal machine" with a great record of scoring goals, he is quick, has excellent shooting and finishing ability of the highest caliber. If he can improve his ball control, he could become one of the best target strikers in Europe.

    Scouts in Poland claim the 20-year-old has all the ability to become a great player, showing little fear of the bigger stage he has bagged goals in the UEFA Cup and in World Cup qualification matches. Lewandowski, thanks to the guidance of Lech coach Franciszek Smuda, is becoming stronger and stronger and has illustrated a killer instinct and the ability to finish with both feet.

    According to IMScouting, his estimated market value is 2.5 million euros, whilst he is undoubtedly a great talent he still has much to improve, although he is quite tall (181m) he scores very few goals with his head and this could be an important facet to his game.

    Lewandowski was born in August 1988 in Warsaw and was in high demand as a youth player representing Partyzant Leszno, Varsovia Warszawa, Delta Warszawa and then Legia Warsaw II.

    In season 2006-2007 he signed a professional contract with Znicz Pruszkow, a club which would have a major bearing on his career progression. In his first season at the club the young talent immediately made a name for himself, finishing as the top goal scorer in the Polish third division with 15 goals. Lewandowski was a significant factor in helping the club gain promotion.

    During his second season with the club (2007/2008) Lewandowski again finished as the second division’s top goal scorer with 21 goals. As a result, in summer 2008, Robert Lewandowski was the hottest player in the Polish transfer market, with almost every top club trying to sign him, and even clubs such as Italian giants Lazio interested in securing his services.

    After much speculation, Lewandowski chose Lech Poznan, who paid around 550,000 euros for the young striker, and coach Franciszek Smuda hailed the shooting, scoring ability as well as the acceleration of his new front man, and from the start of the 2008/2009 season it was clear why he was so highly rated. Lewandowski started scoring immediately for his new club (he bagged 12 goals up to the winter break), and adapted superbly to the pace and aggression of the Ekstraklasa.

    Early on at Lech he appeared to have won a personal rivalry with veteran Piotr Reiss. The 36-year-old was forced down the pecking order as Lewandowski started in his place. However, the 20-year-old does not always start as Lech coach Franciszek Smuda prefers to play with one striker and often chooses Peru international Hernan Rengifo.

    Despite his success at club level, Lewandowski has played only once for the Polish Under-21 national team, as a substitute in a friendly match against England in March 2008, but it didn't stop national team head coach Leo Beenhakker calling him up to the senior squad.

    He made his debut for the national senior team on September 10, 2008 against San Marino, where he came on as a sub and scored one goal. Currently he has four caps and has claimed two goals for Poland.

    When he played in the second division Boguslaw Kaczmarek compared him to Fernando Torres. Kaczmarek, a former assistant to Polish coach Leo Beenhakker, is famous in Poland because he discovered many talented players including Jerzy Dudek.

    The hype surrounding Lewandowski is huge, the 20-year-old is undoubtedly talented but the whole of Poland will be hoping he can continue his rapid career progression and become one of the top strikers in Europe.


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    86 FIF Special Ones
    01/08/09 - Nikola Kalinic



    Team: Hajduk Split (Croatia)
    Shirt Number: 9
    Nationality: Croatia
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: None
    Age: 21
    Height: 1.87 m / 6.14 ft.
    Weight: 81 kg / 178 lbs


    Report: The Next Davor Suker

    Since the era of Alen Boksic and Davor Suker, Eduardo Da Silva has been the only top international striker to represent Croatia. This could well change in the coming years thanks to Nikola Kalinic a player described in Croatia as "the next Davor Suker."

    Kalinic was born on January 5, 1988 in the small town of Solin. He quickly showed great potential and has all the qualities to be a modern striker of the highest level.

    Croatia national team manager Slaven Bilic has described the young striker as the "future of Croatian football," and of course many top European clubs are tracking this unique talent.

    Club career: At the age of 10, Nikola Kalinic joined Hajduk Split. His talent was extremely obvious and he made an early debut for the senior team - when he was only 17-years-old.

    At first he failed to put much effort in and he was sent on a six-month loan to NK Istra 1961 Pula in 2006. During this period, he made 12 appearances and scored three goals. He impressed during this loan spell and the club’s coach Krunoslav Jurcic said he could become "the Croatian Ibrahimovic."

    On his return to Hajduk he was immediately sent out on loan to HNK Sibenik where he made only occasional first team appearances, again Kalinic impressed with some fine performances, claiming four goals in eight appearances.

    Nikola Kalinic returned to Hajduk and in season 2007/2008 he received plenty of first team action, finishing the campaign with 17 league goals in 25 appearances. As a result he came second in the top goal scorers table to Zelimir Terkes.

    Year on year, Kalinic is showing vast improvement and he continued his fine form into the 2008/2009 season. Up until the January winter beak he had claimed 12 goals in 20 appearances and a lot of European clubs and scouts have been watching him.

    International career: Kalinic was a key member of all the Croatian youth national teams. He played 20 matches for the Croatian Under-17 team and scored 16 goals. At the Under-17 European championships he finished as the tournament’s top goal scorer with 11 goals. This incredible goalscoring record has continued, at Under-19 level he managed 11 goals in 12 games and he also claimed three goals at Under-21 level.

    Kalinic was finally called up to the Croatian full national team squad for Euro 2008 and was even presented with the number 9 shirt. Kalinic made his first appearance for the senior national team on May 24, 2008, coming on as a substitute in the 62nd minute of Croatia's 1-0 friendly win against Moldova. He went on to make his first competitive appearance for the national side at Euro 2008 in Croatia's final group game against Poland, coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Ivan Klasnic.

    Technical skills: Kalinic is a young player with very good potential who has an excellent nose for goal. He is very fast and possesses a strong shot and great heading which are his stand-out characteristics. In previous seasons, many team mates, coaches and journalists have accused him of being too selfish but with age and experience this appears to have changed and he can now also provide assists, defenders find it very difficult to mark him.

    Personality: One of Nikola Kalinic's main weaknesses could be his temper. During the 2007/2008 season, in a match against Dinamo Zagreb, he dropped the captain's armband after he was substituted. Also, this season, he had a confrontation with a section of the Hajduk supporters who whistled him after he dived to win a penalty. He then apologised to the fans, and for now relations between the young striker and the supporters are good.

    Value: According to IMScouting, Kalinic is valued at 10 million euros. Interested clubs include Valencia (Spain), Napoli and Palermo (Italy), German Bundesliga leaders TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and several clubs from England. His contract with Hajduk expires at the end of season 2009/2010.



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    btw vito, when I saw word Croatia I remembered my moments in Dinamo Zagreb's stadium, really great moments, I go and in their trophy room, I saw and some photos when they had match vs Stuttgart final of UEFA Cup in 2004.
    Massimo Moratti: "Javier Zanetti ha sempre onorato la maglia e ci ha sempre fatto sentire fieri di essere interisti"

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    86 FIF Special Ones
    01/15/09 - Keiren Westwood



    Team: Coventry City (England)
    Shirt Number: 1
    Nationality: Republic of Ireland
    Position: Goalkeeper
    Secondary: None
    Age: 24
    Height: 1.88 m / 6.17 ft.
    Weight: 87 kg / 191 lbs


    Report: The Best Keeper Outside The Premier League

    It isn’t easy for young goalkeepers to establish themselves these days. With football such a high-pressured environment and results all-important, inexperienced custodians are a rare breed. One keeper bucking that trend is Coventry City’s number one Keiren Westwood who is fast making a name for himself.

    In just half a season at the Ricoh Arena, Westwood has become very popular with Coventry’s fans thanks to some assured displays and world class saves. Manager Chris Coleman spent around 500,000 pounds on the 24-year-old custodian in the summer and he has quickly become a fans’ favourite in a short time.

    Westwood is simply a very good all-round keeper; he is a good shot-stopper, commands his area and is strong in the air. His only slight weaknesses are his kicking which needs to improve and the fact that he is inexperienced but he has played consistently well in the lower leagues.

    He became Carlisle’s number one in October 2005 and played a key role in an upturn of fortunes for the club. His record of 55 clean sheets in 147 games at Carlisle in all competitions is often cited but Westwood has stood out in a couple of performances in his short career where the opposition found him almost impossible to beat.

    After being named in the League One team of the season at the end of 2007/2008, Westwood produced a remarkable performance in the first-leg semi-final play off at Elland Road against Leeds. The then Carlisle custodian made a number of world-class saves as Leeds piled on the pressure (they can be seen in the video above).

    Following his move to the Ricoh Arena, he has now claimed seven clean sheets in 26 league games, but it was his heroic performance in the 1-0 win at Birmingham that again made scouts sit up and take notice. The three points that Coventry gained at St Andrews in early November were put into perspective when Westwood was named man of the match after three saves which were described as world-class by all those fortunate enough to see them.

    Even after such a performance Westwood kept his feet on the ground and he is a young player described as a consummate professional by those that know him best. Following games Westwood analyses his performance with Coventry goalkeeping coach Steve Ogrizovic who is a legend at the Championship club for being the goalie when they won the FA Cup in 1987.

    Westwood is eager to improve, after the win at St Andrews, he said: "I did all right and the thing that I do look at is mistakes because they are the only thing you can improve on. You can't improve a great save; you can only improve what you have done wrong."

    Such is the belief at Coventry in his talents that Chris Coleman recently scoffed at suggestions that Westwood could be leaving the Championship side in the January transfer window. The former Fulham and Real Sociedad manager has said of Westwood "that there are none better outside the Premier League."

    Since Westwood is still in the first year of his contract it is unlikely he will move in the January transfer window unless a major offer is received. According to IMScouting, Westwood’s estimated market value is five million euros and for now with Coventry placed midway in the Championship it would probably take a massive offer if he was to leave the club.

    In early January press reports claimed he was on his way to Newcastle after he missed the FA Cup tie with Kidderminster but Coventry were quick to point out that the custodian had been sick. Nevertheless, Westwood could be the number one candidate to replace Shay Given should the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper get his way and leave the troubled Premier League club.

    Given could play a major role in the future career of Westwood as he also represents Republic of Ireland despite being born in Manchester. The Coventry keeper qualifies for the Republic of Ireland through his grandmother and caused uproar when he commented in May that "I’m not Irish as such, but I’m a Catholic boy."

    Westwood was picked by Giovanni Trapattoni at the end of last season and although he has yet to pick up an official cap he did make a second-half appearance in a 3-1 victory over Portuguese minnows Lagos. He has since apologised for his comments and has spoken publicly of being "very proud and privileged to be called up."

    Such has been his rapid rise in recent years that England may well regret not spotting his talent before the Irish did.



    http://en.sevenload.com/videos/RDMD2Wj-006TY0606

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    86 FIF Special Ones
    01/22/09 - Emiliano Viviano



    Team: Inter Milan (Italy)
    Shirt Number:
    Nationality: Italy
    Position: Goalkeeper
    Secondary: None
    Age: 23
    Height: 1.95 m / 6.4 ft.
    Weight: 88 kg / 193 lbs


    Report - The New Francesco Toldo

    Brescia goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano is one of the up-and-coming players in Italian football, a fantastic custodian with a bright future. Comparisons have been made with Francesco Toldo, who is Viviano’s idol and have been further fueled by the fact that both keepers spent time at Fiorentina.

    The Brescia number one is also a huge fan of Fiorentina and started at The Viola where Toldo also spent the majority of his career. Viviano is considered to be the most promising goalkeeper in Italy and represented his country at the Beijing Olympics in the summer of 2008.

    Club career: Emiliano Viviano grew up in the Fiorentina youth system. Even though he was just a kid, Brescia Calcio scouts kept a close eye on his talent, finally securing his signature in 2002/2003, when Viviano was just 16. After two years at Brescia, he showed great potential and was loaned to Cesena in 2004/2005 where he played as a professional for the first time, making 13 appearances.

    In season 2005/2006 he began to make the breakthrough at Brescia, playing 14 times, as a replacement for the injured Francesco Agliardi. His excellent performances immediately led Brescia to understand that they had a great goalkeeper on their hands so they presented Viviano with the number one position in 2006/2007 when he was just 20 and he repaid the club with some excellent performances between the posts.

    International career: Viviano was a key member of the Italy Under-20 team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships held in Netherlands. He then progressed to be the goalkeeper for the Under-21 Italian team during the 2006/2007 season representing Italy in the 2007 Under-21 European Championships, also held in Holland. In the first match of the tournament he replaced the injured Gianluca Curci and played all the remaining matches of the tournament including the play-off matches for qualification to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

    Due to his excellent progression he was selected to be Italy's first choice goalkeeper at the Olympics helping the "Azzurrina" to finish the group stage unbeaten in a run that came to an end at the hands of Belgium in the quarter –finals in a 3-2 defeat. This shock loss saw Viviano receive a red card in the 80th minute which was a major reason why he was not picked as one of the best keepers at the tournament.

    Technical skills: Above all, Viviano is an imposing goalkeeper, spectacular on the goal line, almost unbeatable, especially with shots from distance. Like his idol Toldo, he is exceptionally tall (6.4ft) and also displays great reactions and can get down well to low shots. Viviano is extremely confident between the posts; he's got excellent technical ability, good kicking and very good positioning, he is also brilliant on penalties showing calmness under pressure at key moments.

    Being just 23, there is still much Viviano can improve on; he is still insecure when he leaves the line, especially when the ball is crossed into the box, and his reactions to aerial balls are sometimes too instinctive or impetuous and he needs to improve his aerial ability and decision making of when to leave his goal line. (He was sent-off against Rimini this season for rushing out of his goal and fouling the opposition striker.) Nevertheless, he has time on his side and displays a work rate ethic that suggests he will become a great goalkeeper.

    Antonio Rocca, vice-coach of the Under-21 team (and responsible for most of the Italian national teams since the Nineties) describes him as "a modern keeper, probably the next Italy custodian together with Consigli."

    Personality: Emiliano Viviano is mature and although he made his debut at a young age, he has shown great personality since the beginning of his career. He remains ambitious and serious in the way he approaches training and his career. Viviano is only 24-years-old, and is already married, his wife, Manuela, is his agent.

    Value: According to IMScouting, Viviano is valued at 12 million euros. Many big clubs have an eye on him including Fiorentina, Inter, Napoli, Palermo and Sampdoria who were thought to be ready to offer Antonio Mirante plus cash for Viviano. In addition, English clubs Tottenham and West Ham have also been linked with a goalkeeper who appears to be the future of the Italian national team, as The Azzurri search for the custodian to replace Gianluigi Buffon in the long term.


    Last edited by vitomins; 09 Jul 09 at 14:56.

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    86 FIF Special Ones
    01/29/09 - Hassan Rabia



    Team: Al Nasr Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
    Shirt Number: 14
    Nationality: Oman
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: None
    Age: 25
    Height: 1.82 m / 5.97 ft.
    Weight: 78 kg / 171 lbs


    Report - The Omani George Weah

    Two months ago, Hassan Rabia was an unknown name even to the most fanatic Omani fan. But one golden tournament was enough for Rabia to become one of the most appreciated strikers in Asia, earning himself a lucrative move to a top notch club on the continent, with a view to a European transfer in the coming years.

    Rabia came to the 19th Gulf Cup, which Oman hosted, as a fringe player from second division side Al Suwaiq, where he was on loan from first division side Mjees. "I won the bet on him," Oman manager Claude Le Roy said after the 24-year-old target man scored four goals, finished as top goal scorer of the Gulf Cup and steered Oman to winning the title for the first time in their history.

    The young sensation has been plying his trade for Mjees since childhood, but his career didn't take off until recently. He never stopped scoring from the start of the season, and Le Roy invited him to a Gulf Cup preparation match against Jordan. Rabia scored a brace and established himself as an important player for the team, but the criticism was almost immediate. "A month before the tournament, I faced a lot of critics regarding Rabia because he is a player from the second division while the Omani squad has a lot of professional players that play overseas," Le Roy said.

    But Le Roy's belief in the young striker paid off. After a first mediocre game against Kuwait, Rabia exploded. He scored an amazing hat-trick against Asian champion Iraq, showing his abilities to the entire football community in Asia. Another goal, in the semi-final against Qatar, gave Oman a ticket to the final where they beat local powerhouse Saudi Arabia on penalties. Despite not scoring in the final, Rabia was the most dangerous Omani player, and he became a national hero, lifting the trophy together with star goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

    Dozens of gulf clubs tried to sign him, but a lucrative loan move to Saudi side Al Nasr was completed only days after the final. "It's a dream come true," he told Omani media after the deal was signed, "two months ago I barely earned enough to buy myself food and clothes, now I'm at such a big club and already thinking ahead. I expected to score in the Gulf Cup, but never expected to be the top scorer of the tournament. I want to express my gratitude to my manager and my great team mates who all believe in me. I wouldn't have scored my goals without them. And now, I want to prove myself at Al Nasr, and then play in Europe."

    So what makes Rabia more than just another good Asian player? Le Roy, the man who discovered George Weah when the famous striker was playing in Yaounde, answers: "Rabia proved in this tournament that he is a top notch striker and a great goal scorer as I expected him to be. I believe that I discovered this player, the same as I previously did with George Weah. Rabia can be Weah for Oman."

    Rabia impressed coaches and opponents alike in the Gulf Cup not only with his cool finishing, natural strength and high velocity, but with great tactical positioning inside the box and magnificent ball control, which is extremely rare for target strikers in Asia.

    Rabia, a bulky forward, proved that he can shoot at a speed higher than 100 km per hour from a standing position. "He has everything," Le Roy said, "he only needs to gain more experience and then he should be able to play at the highest level." (Yesterday, in an Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait, he added to his tally for the national team with the solitary goal in the match.)

    And indeed, despite being 24-years-old, Rabia is practically a fresh player. Much needed playing time in the competitive Saudi league should help him sharpen his skills even more. By doing so, Rabia can become a perfect candidate for second tier clubs in Europe looking for a clinical, fast, strong and agile target striker. He is a positive character for his team, has almost no ego and is always willing to work hard in training and improve himself.

    Al Habsi, an extremely respected figure in Oman as he was the first Omani player to join a Premier League club (Bolton), is not short of warm words for his team mate. "Rabia is an absolutely great guy," Al Habsi said, "but even more important – he has a golden touch with the ball. Rabia is one of the most talented players I've ever played with. I'm sure he will make every Omani even more proud of him in the future, when he plays for a top club in Europe."

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k3D96FqZIMnHnwVIke
    Last edited by vitomins; 09 Jul 09 at 14:57.

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    86 FIF Special Ones
    FEBRUARY 2009

    02/05/09 - John Fleck



    Team: Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)
    Shirt Number: 53
    Nationality: Scotland
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: Attacking Midfielder (L)
    Age: 17
    Height: 1.75 m / 5.74 ft.
    Weight:

    Report - The Scottish Wayne Rooney

    The production line of Scottish talent is not what it used to be. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Scottish players made a major impact south of the border with the likes of Denis Law, Billy Bremner, Kenny Dalglish, Charlie Nicholas and Graeme Souness some of the most impressive performers in world football.

    In recent times it would be fair to say that only Darren Fletcher and Craig Gordon have emerged to great fanfare and they both still have a long way to go to firmly establish themselves as true greats of the game.

    Glasgow giants Rangers though have great hopes for 17-year-old striker John Fleck, who has been described by the press in Scotland as "the Scottish Wayne Rooney." The young striker is the nephew of former Scottish international Robert Fleck who played for Rangers, Norwich and Chelsea.

    IMScouting's network of scouts in Scotland claim that the 6.0ft striker, is "a player of massive promise despite his tender years. Direct running, powerful style and extreme confidence have earned him comparisons to Wayne Rooney. He has been a regular for Rangers' Under-19s and made his first team debut at 15 on a pre-season tour to Germany in 2007."

    Fleck is well developed for his age, not quite as much as Rooney was at the same age but he is a strong boy. He is good on the ball, direct and has recently broken into the Rangers team playing on the left of midfield.

    In a short time Fleck has made some high profile appearances in Scottish football. He played a starring role in the Scottish Youth Cup final last season (which can be seen on the video above). And also became the youngest British player to play in a senior cup final when he came on as a substitute in the 2007/2008 Scottish Cup final win over Queen of the South.

    After making his mark by being named man of the match on his full Rangers debut against Falkirk in January, it was reported in the English press that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson sent his brother Martin, one of his most trusted scouts, to watch Fleck a week later in the 0-0 draw with Aberdeen.

    The left-footed youngster confirmed his growing reputation in his third SPL match against Dundee United as he won a penalty and then converted it in the 78th minute of the 2-0 home victory (this can also be seen on the video above). Fleck was again named man of the match for this display, capping two highly impressive performances in just three league games.

    Rangers seemingly knew that Fleck would be a major star, in March 2006 it was reported that the Glasgow giants had purchased a house for Fleck and his family since they were worried about the company he was keeping and were eager for him to stay focused on football. This appears to have been a good move as the current Rangers squad say John Fleck is a good guy off the pitch, very level-headed, confident yet humble.

    On being labeled the "Scottish Wayne Rooney," Fleck himself has previously spoken of the comparisons: "I don't think I'll ever be as good as Wayne Rooney but hopefully I can follow in his footsteps. It doesn't bother me that people make comparisons with someone like him as anyone would like to be spoken about in the same way as a guy who's a brilliant footballer. There is only one player like him but it doesn't hurt to look up to players like Rooney as he's unbelievable."

    Fleck added: "I can use him as an inspiration as he is someone who every young player would want to copy. It is flattering to be compared to Rooney and I obviously hope to be as well known as him.”

    Some recent press reports have claimed that Fleck was ushered into the Rangers first team in recent weeks due to the clubs financial problems which could have been lessened by selling the youngster to a club in England.

    It seems clear that Fleck's future will likely end up in England for the benefit of Rangers and then we shall see whether he really can be compared to Wayne Rooney.


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    86 FIF Special Ones
    02/12/09 - Vaclav Kadlec



    Team: Sparta Prague (Czech Republic)
    Shirt Number: 24
    Nationality: Czech Republic
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: None
    Age: 17
    Height: 1.79 m / 5.87 ft.
    Weight: 67 kg / 147 lbs


    Report - The Biggest Czech Talent Since Tomas Rosicky

    Football fans in the Czech Republic are bracing themselves for the rise of 16-year-old Sparta Prague striker Vaclav Kadlec who is tipped to be a major star in the coming years.

    The 5.8ft striker is described by scouts in the Czech Republic as a quick and fierce attacker who despite his young age has shown signs of predatory finishing. The media have claimed that Kadlec is the biggest talent to emerge since Tomas Rosicky.

    He has almost everything one would desire in a top class striker including timing, a good shot, speed and he is excellent in one-on-one situations. Kadlec is at the current time somewhat weak but he is expected to strengthen in the coming seasons.

    Kadlec started his career at Bohemians 1905 and was always considered one of the stars of the team, shining in a different light compared to his team mates. Throughout his career, this supporting striker has played above his age group and impressed, showing a maturity that belies his young age.

    When he was 10-years-old he would regularly play with boys who were considerably older than him. At the age of 15 he went on trial at English Premier League giants Liverpool. Whilst at Anfield he played two trial games and received the attention of the youth coaches.

    Once they realized that he was determined to return to the Czech Republic they told him "you will be back here one day." Kadlec hopes to get stronger on home soil and prove himself to his countrymen before leaving for a bigger club in Europe which is expected during the next two seasons.

    Sparta Prague were quick to pounce for Kadlec, for a tremendous transfer fee for a player of his age, estimated to be 400,000 euros. This is a Czech record for a 16-year-old which captured the imagination of the east European country.

    Recently, Chelsea have also been sniffing around Kadlec but his family are intent on keeping him close to home during his formative playing years. This season, Kadlec has made three substitute appearances and recently scored in the winter break friendly against Austria Wien (the goal can be seen on the video above.)

    The 16-year-old supporting striker, has as one would expect, received international recognition and is currently a member of the Under-19 Czech Republic team.

    Most scouts have been impressed with Kadlec’s subtlety and intelligence in front of goal. Since he has always played with older players he can adapt quickly to a game environment quickly.

    According to those that know him well, Kadlec is a polite guy who is confident on the pitch and has been given a steady upbringing by his parents. All the ingredients seem to be in place for Kadlec to emerge as a penalty box predator for a big club in a major European league.


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    86 FIF Special Ones
    02/19/09 - Vincent Enyeama



    Team: Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)
    Shirt Number: 1
    Nationality: Nigeria
    Position: Goalkeeper
    Secondary: None
    Age: 26
    Height: 1.8 m / 5.91 ft.
    Weight: 80 kg / 176 lb


    Report - Can "The Cat" Succeed In A Major League In Europe?

    Besides Dudu Aouate, no goalkeeper has been able to make a move outside the Israeli league and succeed in Europe in recent years. But Nigerian international Vincent Enyeama is set to change this trend.

    Enyeama, who plies his trade for Hapoel Tel Aviv, has been performing extremely well in recent seasons, showing steady improvement from year to year and now he is playing the best football of his career. The Nigerian custodian has utterly proven this year that he's far above the level of the Israeli top flight.

    So how come he is still playing for Hapoel Tel Aviv instead of a fine European club?

    The answer to this question is a combination of experience, money and luck. Enyeama, who at 16 started with semi professional club Ibom Stars, played four seasons with local giants Enyimba Aba, before moving to Israel. During his spell with Enyimba he won the CAF Champions League twice, with one noteworthy mention: He was always substituted before penalty shootouts.

    "I don't know why I was substituted before penalties, but it worked," he said in an interview back in 2006. "In Israel I stopped many penalties and now everyone knows that I can handle penalties." Enyeama also replaced Ike Shorunmo as the national goalkeeper, after playing second fiddle to him during the 2002 World Cup, playing one match.

    After three seasons with Enyimba and one with FC Heartland, Enyeama moved to a minor club in Israel, Bnei Yehuda FC. He had a fantastic first season, showing amazing physical and athletic skills. Moreover, Enyeama showed from the first moment that he differs from many African goalkeepers in his decision making process.

    "The Cat," as he's nicknamed, showed that he's not driven by emotions but by a fantastic, calm reading of the game. But Enyeama also quickly showed the downside of his personality. In an interview in Nigeria he said that he perhaps made the wrong decision joining Bnei Yehuda, adding that he had offers from France, Greece, Turkey and English side Bolton. "In the beginning I wanted to escape here," he said.

    His first season with Bnei Yehuda ended by reaching the state cup final and gaining a historic place for the team in the UEFA Cup. Enyeama also had a good tournament with Nigeria in the 2006 CAN; he stopped three penalties in the quarter-final against Tunisia, but couldn't prevent a loss to the Ivory Coast in the semi-final.

    Enyeama also impressed during the 2006/2007 season, despite some ups and downs in his ability during the season and interest from unnamed English sides. He moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the summer of 2007 but in the beginning he didn't live up to expectations. Enyeama wasn't consistent enough and had a hard time controlling his temper. He shouted at players after losses, but the club saw it as dedication and his desire to improve the fortunes of the team. He also received a four match ban after hitting a Bnei Yehuda player during a match, as he struggled to control his temper.

    Hapoel Tel Aviv endured a poor season in 2007/2008, but Enyeama just kept on improving. He proved to be a real leader helping the team to avoid relegation and reach the state cup final. This included an emotional letter he wrote to his fellow players, encouraging them to fight together for the club.

    Slowly he started to feel that he belonged to the club, which will be an important ingredient for the success of Enyeama in any future team. On the international level, he had problems with Nigeria coach Berti Vogts, lost his place in the team and didn't play in the 2008 CAN.

    This season has seen Enyeama playing the best games of his career. He regained his place as Nigeria's number one goalie and has produced some unbelievable performances in the Israeli league. This occurred despite Hapoel Tel Aviv preventing him from participating in the Olympic Games.

    Enyeama's only shortcoming is his height – he stands at just 1.80 meters. Despite having great natural jump and positioning, Enyeama might struggle against tall strikers in Europe when the ball is crossed into the box, mainly from corners. His aerial ability has improved this year but his height means it will never be of a high caliber.

    His mental stability this season is very important, as he is a complete goalkeeper in all other terms bar height/aerial ability. Enyeama's extensive personality could be fruitful for any top club. So the stage is set for the next phase in this African "Cat’s" career.





  10. #10
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    02/26/09 - Ivan Perisic



    Team: KSV Roeselare (Belgium)
    Loaned from: FC Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
    Shirt Number: 4
    Nationality: Croatia
    Position: Central Midfielder
    Secondary: Defensive Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder (C)
    Age: 20
    Height: 1.85 m / 6.07 ft.
    Weight: 74 kg / 162 lbs


    Report - The New Aljosa Asanovic

    Croatia is well known for developing high-class technical midfielders. The likes of Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki and Aljosa Asanovic have sparkled on the international stage whilst Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar continue this tradition.

    As we noted when we picked Anas Sharbini as a Player to Watch, the conveyor belt of technically gifted, imaginative, creative midfielders coming out of Croatia seems to show no signs of slowing up and another name to add to the list is Ivan Perisic who is currently making his mark in Belgium.

    Ivan Perisic has played just six league games in Belgium for KSV Roeselare since his loan move from French side Sochaux in January, during these matches he has claimed three goals and two assists. Having struggled for playing time in France, regular first team football appears to be the making of Perisic who is improving all the time and last weekend his two goals against RAEC Mons were the inspiration behind a 3-2 win. His first came with a fine header from a corner and the second, a late winner, was a terrific flying volley that won the match. (Both goals can be seen on the video above.)

    The box-to-box midfielder came through the ranks at Hajduk Split and has long been thought of as a great talent which was confirmed when he was part of their first team squad at the tender age of 17.

    Perisic can play all across the midfield although he is used predominantly in the centre of midfield. Thanks to his impressive physical ability he can cover a lot of ground during a game. This mobility alongside his technical qualities has led to comparisons with Aljosa Asanovic, one of the stars of Euro ’96 and World Cup ’98.

    The 20-year-old’s great energy ensures that he often finds himself in the oppositions’ area. Perisic rarely wastes these opportunities displaying good shooting and he can also get on the end of crosses thanks to his ability in the air and his height (6.0ft).

    After he was recognised as the best player in the Under-18 Croatian national squad, Perisic was targeted by a number of the biggest clubs in Europe. These included PSV, Ajax, Hamburg and Anderlecht but it was Alain Perrin who convinced him to join Sochaux in 2007 where he has gained experience and improved.

    With Sochaux, Perisic has impressed in the youth team and he was a part of the side that won the Gambardella Cup, a prestigious tournament for Under-18 sides of French football clubs.

    In Belgium he has really come to the fore at the team who are bottom of the Pro League. Perisic’s arrival has coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Roeselare and now they have hope of beating the drop from the top division in Belgium.

    Scouts in Belgium describe Perisic as a goal scorer and an accurate and visionary team player who is able to use both feet. He is very mobile and also versatile as he can also play up front if needed.

    If Peresic does have any weakneeses it is that he is a little thin and he could do with bulking up to really make his mark in France or other major European leagues. Fans of Sochaux have compared him to Johan Micoud, another tall technical midfielder.

    Undoubtedly, the next few months are crucial for both Perisic and KSV Roeselare, if the "new Aljosa Asanovic" continues his impressive form in Belgium we can expect him to be a major star in Ligue 1 next season, in what will be the last year of his contract with Sochaux.


  11. #11
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    MARCH 2009



    03/05/09 - Ânderson Miguel da Silva (Nene)

    Team: Cagliari (Italy)
    Shirt Number: 18
    Nationality: Brazil
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: None
    Age: 25
    Height: 1.83 m / 6 ft.
    Weight: 78 kg / 171 lb


    Report - The Sensation Of The Portuguese Liga

    During this European season we have witnessed a number of Brazilian players come to the fore much later in their career than might have been expected.

    Lille’s Michel Bastos has impressed greatly in Ligue 1 and his left foot is surely one of the strongest in Europe. Jadson of Shakhtar Donetsk has also illustrated his qualities with scintillating performances in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

    In common with these two 25-year-old Brazilians, another unknown player from the South American country has set his league alight this season. The top goal scorer in Portugal at the current time is Nacional Funchal’s Nene, or to give him his full name: Anderson Miguel Nene da Silva.

    The 6ft striker has claimed 15 goals in 19 games this season and is comfortably the top goal scorer in the Portuguese player, currently six goals ahead of his nearest rivals in the top scorers list of the top division in Portugal.

    For those football romantics that believe Brazil is literally teeming with talented footballers, the story of Nene simply adds further fuel to the fire.

    Nene was discovered by current Nacional manager Manuel Machado last summer, when he was on a week tour in Portugal. Nene was on loan at Ipatinga (in the second division in Brazil) and Cruzeiro decided to do a tour in Portugal with players that were on loan at small clubs. Nene was one of them.

    During a friendly match with Vitoria Guimaraes, Nene scored three goals. Manuel Machado was unemployed in that time and was watching the game as a spectator. He liked what he saw of Nene and when he was appointed coach of Nacional Funchal he immediately urged the club to buy the striker, which they duly did for just 500,000 euros.

    Despite a varied career, including a number of clubs, Nene never truly hit the heights in Brazilian football. Born in Sao Paulo, he started playing for Sao Bento, a medium club in the region and after that represented several smaller clubs (Guacuano, Riachuelo, Boca Junior, America and Confiança) until he moved to Santa Cruz (in the Brazil second division) and after that to Cruzeiro.

    He spent just six months at Cruzeiro and rarely played, the club sent him on loan to Ipatinga until Manuel Machado and Nacional came calling.

    Ironically, scouts in Portugal are still having a hard time discovering what exactly Nene excels at, he is simply very good at scoring goals and in many ways resembles Pippo Inzaghi, the Italian forward who is "only" good at putting the ball in the net.

    Nene is not overly quick or very technical, he is a hard worker and is good in the air but most importantly the Brazilian has the instinct of a target man. At the current time he is highly motivated thanks to his fine form – he has scored five goals and provided one assist in his last four games.

    Like Bastos and Jadson, Nene may have found a style of football that suits him after years of frustration in his home country. He is not the typical Brazilian player; his characteristics are better suited to the European game.

    Now, after leading the goal scorers chart and as one of the sensations of the Portuguese season so far, Nene will surely play for a bigger club and a step up in level could tell us a little more about his qualities.

    Earlier this week, after the Brazilian striker had scored a fine free-kick in a 2-2 draw in the Taca de Portugal against Pacos Ferreira, Nene was linked with Lokomotiv Moscow who have placed a 4 million euro offer. However Nacional president Rui Alves scoffed at the bid: "We can sell him for 4 million euros, but at the end of the season he could be worth 8 million."

    Arsenal and Hamburg have also linked, expect this Brazilian striker to be one of the hottest transfer targets come the end of the season.


  12. #12
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    86 FIF Special Ones
    03/12/09 - Bruno Ekwele Manga



    Team: SCO Angers (France)
    Shirt Number: 4
    Nationality: Gabon
    Position: Central Defender
    Secondary: Right Defender
    Age: 20
    Height: 1.86 m / 6.1 ft.
    Weight: 76 kg / 167 lbs.


    Report - One Of The Transfer Coups Of Last Summer

    Samuel Eto’o and David Platt are just two examples of players who were rejected by big clubs, by Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively, only to rebuild their careers from a young age and prove that they had the quality to become world class players.

    In the coming years Bordeaux will almost certainly bemoan the fact that they let Bruno Ekwele Manga leave the club. The 20-year-old defender from Gabon has impressed greatly at SCO Angers in Ligue 2 this season and is set for a major move to one of the biggest clubs in Europe this summer.

    Bruno Ekwele Manga is probably the biggest surprise in the French second division this season. Three years ago he was playing in his homeland for 105 Libreville before he was spotted by Bordeaux.

    After playing just one game for the Ligue 1 giants last season, a 3-2 win over Panionis in the UEFA Cup, the central defender from Gabon was sent on loan to Rodez Aveyron until the end of the season. There he made 15 appearances and although he did not do enough to secure a permanent return to Bordeaux, he impressed former French international midfielder Alain Giresse who recommended him to SCO Angers who snapped him up on a free.

    SCO Angers were only promoted to Ligue 2 at the end of the 2006/2007 season, they made further progress last season by finishing tenth and this season they have been exceptional and are challenging for a place in Ligue 1. On arriving at Angers, Bruno Ekwele Manga joined up with countryman Fabrice Do Marcolino who has also played a part in Angers’ success this season.

    The 6.1ft defender, who is an intimidating presence in the centre of defence, immediately showed his qualities at his new club. Although he was at first signed as cover for central defenders Blaise Kouassi and Malik Couturier, he has replaced the former in the team thanks to a serious injury sustained by the 35-year-old Ivorian.

    Ekwele Manga is vastly talented and his displays this season have suggested that he can play in Ligue 1 next season or in any other top league in Europe. He positions himself well; he is powerful in one-on-one situations and is good in the air. Regular viewers of SCO Angers games describe him as a “rock” in their defence.

    Since he can be dominating in the air, Ecuele Manga is also a threat in attacking positions and his one goal this season, against Tours in October, which can be seen on the video above, illustrates that he is not afraid to join the attack at any opportunity.

    Since he is just 20, Bruno Ekwele Manga still has a lot of room for improvement. Scouts in France claim that he is fairly shy and needs to speak more on the field whilst he can also lose self control on the pitch and can be too aggressive.

    Nevertheless, he is a key reason why SCO Angers are currently fourth in Ligue 2, just a point off a promotion position. They boast one of the strongest defences in the league and the dominating presence of Bruno Ecuele Manga has been a key component of their fine season so far.

    The performances of Bruno Ekwele Manga have not gone unnoticed by some of the biggest clubs in European football. Last month both Liverpool and Arsenal were linked with the Gabon international, who has made seven appearances and scored two goals for his national side.

    On the transfer gossip the defender said: "It is fantastic to get noticed by huge clubs from the Premier League. It means I am doing well. What I need to do is to concentrate on improving my game and see what happens."

    This week the latest club to have sent scouts to watch Bruno Ekwele Manga was Real Madrid who watched the central defender who can also play right back in the 2-2 draw with Lens.

    With his contract expiring at the end of 2011/2012 Angers can expect to receive hefty compensation for one of the most promising defenders in Europe this summer whilst Bordeaux will simply be left to wonder at what might have been.


  13. #13
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    86 FIF Special Ones
    03/19/09 - Jozsef Kanta



    Team: MTK Budapest (Hungary)
    Shirt Number: 19
    Nationality: Hungary
    Position: Attacking Midfielder (C)
    Secondary: Right Forward, Left Forward
    Age: 25
    Height: 1.7 m / 5.58 ft.
    Weight: 66 kg / 145 lbs.


    Report - The Heart And Soul Of MTK

    MTK Budapest's Jozsef Kanta has been one of the best players in Hungary over the past few years, crowning his career with the league title last summer after leading his team with an average age of 23 to a historic championship.

    The 24-year-old playmaker started his career at local club Ajka SE. His play raised the interest of the leading youth academy (Sandor Karoly Academy, Agard) in the country and the youngster joined them to fine tune his skills. In 2002, Kanta was assigned to the third division MTK farm team, Bodajk FC. The 19-year-old soon established himself as a team leader and played a key role in gaining promotion to the second division. He scored 24 goals in 29 games at Bodajk.

    MTK coach J. Garami noticed the young forward and called him up to first team duty with the ultimate goal of turning him into a playmaker to replace ageing MTK icon Bela Illes. Kanta played as a forward in his first top division season while gradually learning the role of an attacking midfielder/ playmaker. He opened with a dream start, scoring after just 26 minutes on his debut against Sopron and scored a total of eight goals in 28 games in his debut season.

    The 2005-06 season was Kanta’s breakout campaign. He finally turned into the midfielder role his coach envisioned for him. He scored two hat-tricks and finished the season with 18 goals and as third top scorer in the league. He then received the plaudits, winning the "Puskas award," for the best young player of the year.

    The following season he scored 16 goals and again finished third on the top scorer list. His play helped his team to second place in the league. This season Kanta was called up for the Hungarian national team for the first time.

    In 2007-08 Kanta displayed true leadership again and led the blues to a historic championship with nine goals in 22 games. This achievement is underscored by the fact that MTK are a rather low budget team with the average age of their players being 23. His achievement was recognized by the prestigious Player of the Year award.

    After winning the Hungarian championship in 2008, he was linked with a possible move to Italy and the Netherlands but a knee injury picked up during a training game prevented him from realizing his dream of playing in one of the top leagues in Europe.

    Two weeks ago Kanta returned in great style from his injury, scoring the winning goal against Kaposvar in the season opener with a great low shot from just outside the box. His presence is so important to his team that the struggling champions finished in the disappointing 10th position before the winter break, jumped to 5th place with three victories since Kanta has returned to dominate the MTK midfield again.

    Kanta is quick and very technical; he is a hard worker and has exceptional vision on the field. He is good at setting up a goal scoring opportunity or capitalizing on one himself. He is the primary free-kick and penalty taker of MTK.

    He is valued at around 500K euros and his contract at MTK runs out in 2009/2010. Having returned from injury and proved himself to possess character as well as talent, the stage could well be set for Kanta to move to a bigger club in a major European league.

    Last edited by vitomins; 09 Jul 09 at 16:26.

  14. #14
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    86 FIF Special Ones
    03/26/09 - Cheick Diabate



    Team: Girondins Bordeaux (France)
    Shirt Number:
    Nationality: Mali
    Position: Striker
    Secondary: Right Forward
    Age: 21
    Height: 1.94 m / 6.36 ft.
    Weight: 84 kg / 184 lbs.


    Report - Mali's Answer To Drogba And Adebayor

    Following in the footsteps of Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebayor, 20-year-old Cheik Tidiane Diabate is the latest powerful African striker to make a name for himself in French football.

    He came through the ranks of Center Salif Keita in Mali which have produced other international stars including Mahamadou Diarra and Seydou Keita. CSK are a Malian football club based in Bamako, they were founded by Malian football legend Salif Keita as a training centre for promising players.

    French giants Bordeaux brought him to France but he has yet to play for Laurent Blanc’s first team and in July was loaned out to Ajaccio in Ligue 2 for the whole of the 2008/2009 campaign.

    At just 20-years-old and standing at 6.3ft tall, Diabate has been a revelation for Ajaccio this season. He has terrorized opposition defences due to his physical presence. The Mali international enjoys one-on-one duels with defenders and is also quick as well as being strong in the air.

    Thanks to his physical qualities, Diabate is also a good dribbler and like Didier Drogba can provoke defenders into making crucial mistakes. Despite his young age, Diabate is swiftly on his way to becoming a complete striker. Although not known for his finishing, he has displayed slyness and skill in front of goal, often finishing with a side foot or finish.

    The first few months of the campaign saw Ajaccio and Diabate excel. The on-loan hitman claimed seven goals in his first eight games and was the talk of France. However, following those heady first few months, both Ajaccio and Diabate have found it a little tougher.

    Diabate’s progress was further slowed by an injury picked up in early December which kept him out for two months. The young Mali international suffered from inflammation in both knees and on his return he was sent off in the 2-0 defeat to Sedan in February.

    After returning from suspension, Diabate has become a crucial member of the Ajaccio side again and claimed the only goal in their highly impressive 1-0 win at Ligue 2 leaders Lens earlier this month which could be crucial in their fight against relegation.

    From his first real season of professional football it is clear that Diabate still has some way to go to become a consistent goal scorer. His loan spell at Ajaccio is up at the end of the campaign and he will return to Bordeaux where he has a contract until the end of the 2010/2011 season.

    The young striker is considered to be a promising player by the Ligue 1 giants but he wants to have a chance in the first team and play regularly. Last season Diabate scored 18 times for the Bordeaux reserve side and he has also been hugely impressive for the Mali international team. In just four international appearances he has claimed two goals.

    Judging by his current playing level and his potential, Diabate could become a major star in European football. Press reports in France have claimed that he has been watched by scouts from Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. However, with fellow Bordeaux strikers Fernando Cavenaghi and Marouane Chamakh linked with moves, Cheik Diabate could well get his chance under Laurent Blanc next season.

    http://en.sevenload.com/videos/Sf6gU1H-032TY3232

  15. #15
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    Bessi

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    50 FIF Special Ones
    Maan, where do u know all those players.. Do you watch every football game

    Nice topic mate

  16. #16
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    Haha, well ive seen most of these guys, but even I have not heard of a few...i just read alot about the game!

    Months April-July will be posted tomorrow!

  17. #17
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    Many thanks for you vito, the thread is very good, keep it up
    Massimo Moratti: "Javier Zanetti ha sempre onorato la maglia e ci ha sempre fatto sentire fieri di essere interisti"

  18. #18
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    he said they come from this site http://www.imscouting.com/players_to_watch.aspx hes kindly putting them on here and keeping us form goin there and signing up...
    Only One Inter

    I'm so high I can eat a Star

  19. #19
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    41 10 years of FIF
    Nice tread man. Nice to see Kalinić on the list. I am from Split, Hajduk fan, and he is a player to watch. I wouldnt say he is next Šuker, he is closer to Boksic, a lot. Loves to fight, isnt scared of anyone,..Šuker was all about perfect technique, first touch, finishing....Not Kalinić.

    But I would suggest one or 2 great talents form Hajduk. Tičinović!
    No doubt he is biggest talent in Hajduk, I would say in Croatia too. He is having some problems now with big competition at club, but kid is just great. this is all they have on youtube from him, sadly, but you can see what he is about. Quick player with skills and vision. And only 17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egyOE2xJA4Q

    Tomasov is another one too watch, young left-footed palymaker, Drago Gabrić, club and supporters idol,...nice future for Cro football.
    "If we win I will be the first to leave the pitch. If we lose, I will be the last. I'm no masochist, but the difficult moments don't scare me."

  20. #20
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    10 years of FIF
    Let us pray that Hamed does not open a thread of the same name...


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