Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Monday July 18 2011
As the Copa America heads to its semi-final stage, City players,past, present and hopefully future have left their mark all over Argentina.
With the fancied teams from Brazil and the host Nation on their way home and third favourite Chile despatched by unfancied Venezuela, it might be said that teams encompassing attachments to the Blues have had a thin time of it, but some good has come out of the tournament and hopefully given us a taste of what is to come at the Etihad Stadium.
Brazil were all over Paraguay and but for some extreme heroics by their goalkeeper this game would have been out of sight. But they hung in to the extent that earned a penalty shoot out whereby Brazil scored NIL!
Robinho and Elano (who only came on as a late sub)were pretty abysmal all competition and only showed glimpses of what they can do and neither of them played as well as they did for City. I can't help thinking back to Robinho's time at Eastlands. He would be far more accomplished now under Mancini with our new array of talent around him. Elano Blumer is still a butterfly, beautiful one minute dead the next. Is Neymar the future? He loves himself in the Balotelli mode, and is an undoubted future talent, but I suspect for somebody else.
Absent from this match through a surprising injury soon to be released Roque Santa Cruz might have scored in Paraguay's first match against Brazil but has offered practically nothing to his nation in it's continental tournament. Gate 11 must be about to call Roque for the last time very soon.
So what of Argentina, the hosts? Wantaway talisman Carlos Tevez hardly set to the competition alight and at no time loked as effective as he has in club matches, especially those for City (neither did Messi for that matter). He didn't find the back of the net and worse still produced a penalty that was saved by the Uruguayan goalkeeper to eliminate his nation. It looks as though the Corinthians deal will go through ahead of Wednesday and he will follow RSC onto Ashton New Road.
Pablo Zabaleta did sterling work on the corners for them and despite an early yellow card in the quarter final managed to stay on the field as others headed for the showers.
The Argentinian future for City, we hope lies at the feet of Sergio Aguero, who was their top scorer with 3 and looks very much the type of livewire that will grace the Etihad in sky blue, again hopefully from Wednesday when he can go and rest up with his family for a week or so before joining his new team mates.
Without doubt the best individual single-match performance from one of the City links came from the under-rated Felipe Caicedo. Against the mighty Brazil and playing for Ecuador he produced an excellent centre forward display giving their backline a hard night. He scored 2 excellent goals and had the ESPN commentators eulogising over his excellence on the night where he might well have been man of the match despite his team losing 4-2.
When Caicedo arrived at Eastlands he immediately played in a reserves match at the Regional Athletics Arena. One of the first things that he did was to run straight over the oppostion centre back and plant a lethal shot into the back of the net reminding the 200 or so onlookers, myself included, of Malcolm McDonald.
He didn't really get a proper look-in under Mark Hughes and didn't see the field under Mancini but did enjoy a season with Levante in La Liga where his stock improved greatly and it is mooted that he can be bought for an 8-figure sum. So well done to him. As always, we wish him well in his future career.
I haven't been convinced with Alexis Sanchez playing for Chile but on the basis that players we have seen in East Manchester failed to provide their best at this tournament, maybe there is more to his Club game as is surely the case with Tevez.
Mancini looks to have shown his hand for the summer and has set out his stall to attract Aguero...yes please!
Date:Monday July 18 2011
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