Football season is here!

Last weekend, the first major European league, the Bundesliga, kicked off their new season. Today, Switzerland faces Brazil in a much anticipated friendly to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualification games. And in three day, my beloved Arsenal FC starts the new Premier League season with exactly one new signing against Aston Villa. But most importantly, it’s only eight days until I can play my first game of the new season with my local club, SC Zollikon. What’s special about the first game of the season is the fact that it’s a highly competitive winner-takes-it-all cup game against our local game.

This year in football will be a very intriguing, so naturally, I’m extremely excited. In Germany, FC Bayern will try to repeat it’s brilliant triple year with the highly rated Pep Guardiola at the helm and a squad featuring almost unparalleled squad depth. Borussia Dortmund is widely seen as the only challenger with the rest of the 16 teams left to scrape for the third place.

In Spanish La Liga, the departure of the Special One, Jose Mourinho from Real Madridwill have a great impact on the yearly fight between them and FC Barcelona. The club from the capital invested heavily in new young, talented players, but their most expensive transfer, Gareth Bale from Tottenham FC, hasn’t been confirmed despite a rumored world record 120 million bid. And their Catalan rival was able to sign the biggest prize of the summer with Brazilian superstar Neymar, who showed his class with during Brazil’s Confederations Cup win.

Whereas Spain and Germany are constricted by a duel at the top, the Premier League is primed for a highly competitive season. The top three of the last season have all changed their managers, with David Moyes replacing the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho returning to Chelsea and Manchester City getting Villareal coach Manuel Pellegrini. Only Arsenal have kept their manager, but have missed out on every reported transfer target they had this summer. It remains to be seen how the clubs will fare with their new coaches.

Looming large at the horizon however, is the World Cup next summer in Brazil. The biggest sport event of the world will be sure to on the minds of every player wanting to play themselves into their national teams. This virtually guarantees a highly competitive and interesting season in all of the major leagues, unlike next year, where most stars will be suffering from the lack of rest and increased need of focus. I hope Switzerland manages to qualify, but am looking forward to celebrating the beautiful sport in 11 months time nonetheless.

On a local level, my local club will look to improve on our fantastic last season, which ended with us missing out on promotion by one point by playing better football and progressing past the first round of the cup for the first time in years. For me, this is my second year after knee surgery, so I definitely feel more fit and comfortable than last year.
I’m really looking forward to show that feeling on the pitch. Should you have the time and enjoy football, you should definitely check out the games of your local club as you’ll be able to meet a lot of interesting people from your village.

See you on Friday with the next chapter of An Elusive Hero!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

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