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1998 Summer Review

After a long, exciting summer, Futbol World brings the best and the worst of the Spanish preseason


The BEST Team


Real Madrid looked like the reigning European champions this summer with a dominating series of performances. The European Super Cup match against Chelsea will be the climax of an impressive campaign. Little has changed on the European champion's squad- the notable reinforcements in 98-99 will include Robert Jarni, Edgar Carvalho, and Ivan Campo, who have all shown to be capable in the preseason, and Jarni in the World Cup. The dream attack of Real Madrid has been impressive, and is helped by the dream left side- Raul, Roberto Carlos, Jarni, Redondo, and Savio. Add to that the talent of Mijatovic, Morientes, Suker, and Seedorf on attack, and the midfield and defense of world champion Karambeu, Hierro, Panucci, and Sanchis.



The BEST Player


SAVIO (Real Madrid)

Savio Bortolini Pimentel has been truly amazing this summer. He has recovered from his injury woes of last season and exploded in the preseason. His performances were at all times notable, especially against Atletico Madrid (4-0), where he scored a goal and was involved heavily in the attack. He has terrorized defenses in his new position- the extreme right wing, which he has played to virtual perfection under Hiddink. Savio has been a great revelation, and a continuation of this outstanding form will surely earn him a guaraunteed spot in the 4-4-2 system of Hiddink. This system is crucially dependent on Savio's position, which is similar to the Dutch system used by Hiddink in the World Cup. Real Madrid fans will hope that his goalscoring and assists will extend into the regular season.


The shield of a Legend....


Luis Van Gaal began the summer by tearing apart tradition and selling many of the youth system veterans in a controversial foreign infusion. The preseason began with some rather embarrasing results. Against 3rd division amateur Dutch teams the Barcelona squad could twice muster up weak 2-1 victories. On one, against Agaavv, it took a 15-year old, Babangida, to save the team from total embarrassment, scoring the winner in the 80th minute. Despite not having all their stars, the Barcelona team is expected to do MUCH more against non-professional players, the results showed team disunision and poor play by the new youth players brought by Van Gaal. When truly tested, Barcelona did not shine even with all their stars. This is seen in the Supercup loss to Mallorca, 3-1 on aggregate. The determined Mallorcans kept the cules off the scoreboard even at home, and Van Gaal's new men could do nothing about it. The Barcelona team starts the season with an image of disunison and poor managment on the field and in the offices.  



Mallorca's Stankovic

When considering a revelation team, one must consider 2 standouts this summer: Mallorca and Deportivo La Coruņa. Mallorca, under the leadership of Yugoslavian Jovan Stankovic (photo) captured the Spanish Supercopa, their first ever title in club history in their defeat of F.C. Barcelona. While they were the 97-98 revelations, no one expected much from this year, as the team was practically dismantled when the big teams signed all the stars of the past season. Deportivo captured the Teresa Herrera trophy of La Coruņa, the highly prestigious trophy contested this summer between Lazio, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Deportivo. "O Depor" took it convincingly with 2-0 defeats of both Atletico and Lazio. The new-look team could be on its way back to prestige under coach Javier Irrureta.

The standout revelation of this summer is Dani, of Mallorca, a revelation team as well. He scored the vital first goal against Barcelona in the 2-1 victory of the 1st leg of the Supercopa. In the 2nd leg, he struck again with a fine goal to give Mallorca the 1-0 win and the Supercopa trophy.


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