Ossie Ardiles

“When I arrived at Tottenham there was a kind of union of mentalities with the supporters because I always thought football had to be played in a certain manner.”

Ossie Ardiles is reflecting upon his views of how the game of football should be played and on his philosophy of attacking football that was key to his identity right throughout his career as a player and manager.

A rollercoaster of a career that took him from Argentina to England as a World Cup winner and ground-breaking foreign arrival, and which then saw him go on to win the hearts of the Tottenham supporters to become a club legend. 

It’s a career that had it all and one with the constant theme running through it of Ardiles staying true to his attacking principles and not being afraid to push the boundaries. 

“When I have a challenge, it’s nearly 99.9% that I will take the challenge,” Ardiles tells Casumo. “And the challenge to come to England and play in 1978 was an absolutely huge one.”

Ardiles is referencing his decision to make the move from Huracán in his native Argentina to the shores of England and to Tottenham at the age of 26, fresh from having just won the World Cup with his nation on home soil.

Winning the World Cup

“It was amazing winning the World Cup, it was extraordinary,” Ardiles said. “But after winning it I thought I needed a new challenge and so decided to continue my career with Tottenham. It was a great adventure right from the beginning…” 

Ardiles joined Tottenham alongside fellow World Cup winner Ricky Villa, with the duo becoming the first overseas players to play for a club in England’s top flight following the lifting of a 47-year-old ban by the Football Association on teams signing foreign players. 

While the pair were breaking the mould and blazing a trail for future generations, their arrival led to widespread debate across the country, with players and politicians alike speaking out against signing talent from abroad.

“A lot of people recommended me not to make the move,” Ardiles says. “When I arrived in England, a lot of people were having bets about how long I’d last because I was smaller than other players; that I was only going to be here for three months, four months, and the winter I will not survive… It was an incredible challenge but I don’t regret it for a moment.”

It was a move that would soon reap its rewards, with Tottenham fans taking to the midfield maestro’s combination of excellent touch, dribbling and passing skills. Ardiles learnt his trade playing football in the streets of Argentina and was given the nickname ‘Pitón’ (python) by his brother due to his snake-like dribbling skills, which stuck throughout his career. 

Inspired by Ardiles, alongside the likes of Villa and Glenn Hoddle, Tottenham would go on to win two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup within the space of three years between 1981 and 1984. 

The FA Cup Final

Heading into the 1981 FA Cup final against Manchester City, Ardiles was the centre of attention in more ways than one with the Tottenham squad recording their cup final song ‘Ossie’s Dream (Spurs Are on Their Way to Wembley)’ with Chas and Dave, before the midfielder went on to play a key role in the final and resulting replay, made famous by Villa’s iconic winner. 

“It was a dream of mine to play at Wembley,” Ardiles says, referring to the song title’s origins. “Wembley is the cathedral of football. Growing up, if there was one stadium I wanted to play at it was Wembley. For a lot of reasons the song was called ‘Ossie’s Dream’ but the person who stole the show was Ricky for his wonderful goal in the final and I was delighted for him.”

Ardiles added: “Winning the UEFA Cup was also like a dream. It was like somebody was writing the script for me like a big, big film and everything was a happy ending. To win the UEFA Cup and to do it in front of our own supporters (in the second leg) on penalties was absolutely wonderful.

“Our supporters played an incredible role because we were decimated in terms of injuries in this particular game. But somehow the supporters carried on pushing and pushing us until we won. It was one of the most beautiful nights for Tottenham and one of the best nights of my life as well.”

Ardiles’ time at White Hart Lane was interrupted, however, with his Argentine roots again causing some controversy. This time, in the wake of the Falklands War between the UK and Argentina, it became difficult for the midfielder to play in England and he went out on loan to Paris Saint-Germain for six months in the 1982-83 season. 

“It was very hard,” Ardiles recalls. “At the end of the day, the country where I was born and I love was fighting a war against a country that adopted me and that I love as well. To be stuck in the middle was an incredibly difficult position to be in. But when I came back, I spoke to Ricky (Villa) and we saw we were going to be the bridge between the two countries through football. 

“In Argentina they started to talk about it because we were in the English Football League, and in England they started to talk about it because we were in the Argentina team – that was a way to connect the two countries. At the time there wasn’t even an ambassador here. Little by little the relationship got better and better, and now it is a normal relationship, something I am very proud of.”

Once back at Tottenham, Ardiles would remain there until 1988, even becoming caretaker coach in 1987, before leaving for spells at Blackburn, QPR, Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the U.S. and Swindon.

“When I arrived at Tottenham there was a kind of union of mentalities with the supporters because I always thought football had to be played in a certain manner,” Ardiles says. “I believe that football is part of showbusiness. We have to provide entertainment and very good quality entertainment. I 100% agree with ‘To Dare Is To Do’ – our motto at Tottenham – and I agree with the way that Tottenham won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the league in style in the 1960s. There was always a kind of communion of interests between us.”

His move into management

After finally hanging up his boots, Ardiles moved into management at Swindon in 1989. Staying true to his attacking principles, Ardiles replaced the club’s long-ball tactics with what became known as the ‘samba style’. Swindon went on to win promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history, only to have it stripped due to financial issues.  

Jobs at West Brom and Newcastle followed, before Ardiles returned home to White Hart Lane to manage Tottenham in 1993. While he was ultimately sacked into his second season at the club due to poor results, it was an exciting time with the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann arriving and Ardiles fielding his ‘famous five’ forwards of Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Darren Anderton, Ilie Dumitrescu and Nick Barmby as he continued to entertain until the very end of his tenure. 

“Tottenham was not a happy place to be at the time,” Ardiles says. “If you’re going to do something in the Premier League, you need everybody from the very top to the very bottom singing the same song – from the cleaners to the players. At the time I could see we were very divided which cost us dearly and it took Tottenham a long time to recover. It’s a big regret in my life that I could translate the way I played to managing all over the world, but I was not able to do it at Tottenham.”

Despite the setback, Ardiles’ trailblazing ways he displayed as a player never left him as his management career continued to take him across the globe with spells in the likes of Japan, Syria, Israel, Mexico and Paraguay.

And despite that disappointment at Tottenham, Ardiles’ significant contribution to the club’s success in the 1980s was recognised in 2008 when he was inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame.

“It was a proud moment, absolutely wonderful,” Ardiles says. “But the one thing in my mind was to thank all the people that made it possible, in particular my fellow players, because without them I am nothing. Football is the team. You play with 11 players, so if we’re doing very well, the whole team is. Certain individuals start to shine a bit more but the thing that always comes first is the team. That’s why we won the FA Cup, why we won the World Cup, because we were always able to put the team first.”

 

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Bundesliga Preview

The Bundesliga provided numerous talking points last weekend. Bayern Munich are in the groove, while Wolfsburg have shown serious signs of improvement. We will look ahead to two intriguing matches taking place this weekend — Greuther Furth v Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim v Wolfsburg. Check out our thoughts below.

Bayern Munich get into Oktoberfest spirit by demolishing Bochum

Bayern Munich recently revealed a rather suave green-and-gold kit, which was specially designed as an Oktoberfest tribute. And it was Bochum who were left punch drunk after they were cut to pieces by a rampant Bayern last weekend. Julian Nagelsmann’s charges were ruthless as they enjoyed an emphatic 7-0 win.

Leroy Sane, Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry wreaked havoc on Bochum as Bayern were 3-0 up inside 32 minutes. It was 4-0 just before the interval and Robert Lewandowski supplied his customary goal to score for the 13th home game in a row. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting put the finishing touches on the win, as Bayern eviscerated Bochum with a ruthless display.

Robert Lewandowski scoops European 2021 Golden Shoe award

We’re fast running out of superlatives to describe Robert Lewandowski. Last season, he outscored Lionel Messi (30) and Cristiano Ronaldo (29) to scoop the coveted European Golden Shoe prize earlier this week. The Polish hitman — who broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing Bundesliga record for most goals in a single campaign — continues to be a model of consistency. Greuther Furth has been warned!

Greuther Furth expecting baptism of fire

After a near 10-year exile from Germany’s top flight, Greuther Furth’s return hasn’t gone to plan. With just a solitary win from five matches, they have a tough task on Friday evening trying to thwart Bayern. Bayern have been prolific under Nagelsmann. They have rattled home 20 goals in the Bundesliga. It would be a shock if they didn’t add to that extraordinary tally!

Bayern Munich suffer Jamal Musiala blow ahead of Greuther Furth clash

Jamal Musiala has been a breath of fresh air over the past few weeks, sprinkling his stardust in matches when given the chance. But the 18-year-old sustained an ankle injury in training that has ruled him out of the game against Greuther Furth, and he could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Wolfsburg still on Bayern Munich’s coattails despite Eintracht Frankfurt draw

Wolfsburg will be eager to bounce back to winning ways on Saturday after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend. Having finished fourth last season, Wolfsburg made an impressive start to this campaign, racking up four wins on the trot before their winning streak ended.

Although Wolfsburg dominated possession against Frankfurt, they were unable to make their superiority count. They also mustered more efforts on goal, but they needed a Wout Weghorst strike to spare their blushes. Nevertheless, Wolfsburg — who are second in the Bundesliga — will be happy with their haul of 13 points from five games.

As far as Hoffenheim are concerned, they have plodded along, but they look like a mid-table outfit. At times, there has been a dearth of the creative spark needed to inject some energy into the side. Hoffenheim are going into the clash against Wolfsburg on the back of a goalless away draw to Arminia.

Hoffenheim v Wolfsburg: a look back on past clashes

Wolfsburg is a team on a mission, and they will be hoping they can break Bayern’s vice-like grip on the Bundesliga. After a strong start, Wolfsburg travels to Hoffenheim full of confidence. Overall, there have been 26 clashes between the two sides in Germany’s top flight. Wolfsburg has dominated the head-to-head with 12 wins, and there have been seven draws.

However, what is more telling, is that when the two sides faced off last season, Hoffenheim beat Wolfsburg 2-1. Christoph Baumgartner and Andrej Kramaric supplied the goals for Hoffenheim, but Wolfsburg look like a changed outfit. The way Wolfsburg have played over the first few weeks of this campaign, it’s hard to see them not leaving Hoffenheim with all three points.

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Ligue 1 preview

Paris Saint-Germain are trying to put distance between themselves and the chasing pack. There were some interesting talking points from the last round of fixtures, but we will preview two games taking place this weekend — PSG v Montpellier and Marseille v RC Lens. We will also take a cursory glance at how the odds are shaping up for these games.

Paris Saint-Germain looking unstoppable after a flying start to campaign

It could have been a whole different story against Lyon. Trailing 1-0, PSG levelled through Neymar, who converted from the penalty spot. Mauro Icardi had the final say as he netted the winner deep into stoppage time to ensure the French giants had collected maximum points from their first six games.

The victory gave PSG a five-point buffer at the top of the table, and the way they are going, they will take some stopping. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have had a sense of purpose and verve going forward, and their 18 goals in France’s top-flight pays testament to that. More significantly, they have been compact at the back, conceding six.

Mauricio Pochettino dismisses rumours of Lionel Messi rift after Lyon win.

Lionel Messi hasn’t got going yet for PSG. The Argentine — who made his full home debut against Lyon — is still searching for his first goal. He cut a frustrated figure after he was substituted in the second half against Lyon. However, it transpired he picked up a knee injury. Pochettino, however, rebuffed any notions of a rift, suggesting “all champions are disappointed when they are substituted”.

Montpellier going about their business with minimal fuss

Montpellier are one of those teams that could sneak under the radar this season. Before they take on PSG, they host Bordeaux in midweek. After a pensive start, they have picked seven points from their last four matches, and they will be a threat against PSG. And when the sides last met, Montpellier claimed a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Marseille in the hunt with Bamba Dieng in a rich vein of form

In last week’s preview, we were quick to sing the praises of Bamba Dieng. And it seems like we were right to do so! The 21-year-old — who netted a double in a 2-0 win over Monaco earlier this month — was on target in a 2-0 victory over Rennes last weekend. Dieng looks to be a real livewire, and he could be a handful for PSG.

Amine Harit is up and running for Marseille

After clinching a deal to take Amine Harit on loan from Schalke, the attacking midfielder has started to repay Marseille’s faith in him. Harit was energetic in the victory over Rennes, and he popped up with his first goal for the club. Marseille have the makings of a good side, and Harit could be critical for them this season.

If they can get the best out of Harit, then perhaps Marseille will be able to clinch a permanent deal for him at the end of the campaign. RC Lens, on the other hand, may not be the most glamorous side in Ligue 1. Nevertheless, they have turned in some battling displays to keep them in the upper echelons of the table.

So far, Lens remain unbeaten in their first six matches. Although they take on Strasbourg in midweek, they have been a surprise package. And after Lille upset the apple cart by dethroning PSG as champions last term, what’s not to say that Lens can’t do the same?

Marseille v Lens: A tale of past encounters

Sunday’s clash represents the second facing off against the third in Ligue 1. While this may have caught many people by surprise, this game will be worth tuning in for! Lens, however, may be feeling more confident judging by their most recent meetings with Marseille.

Last season, Lens clinched a 2-2 draw at home to Marseille, but they pinched a 1-0 victory on their visit to the Velodrome. A Simon Banza strike proved to be the difference between the two sides that day, and perhaps there could be a twist in the tale.

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La Liga Preview

There was plenty of drama in La Liga last weekend with a spate of last gasp goals and red cards dished out. In this week’s preview, we will provide our thoughts on Real Madrid v Villarreal, and Valencia v Athletic Bilbao. We will also check in on the latest match odds.

Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior’s double act completes dramatic comeback for Real Madrid

Real Madrid have been in superlative form so far this term. However, they came very close to coming unstuck against Valencia at the Mestalla last Sunday. After falling behind to a fine volleyed finish from Hugo Duro in the 66th minute, Real levelled four minutes from the end when Vinicius Junior’s effort deflected home.

Vinicius Junior then turned provider as he fired a delicious ball into the box, and Karim Benzema nodded home to seal all three points. Benzema and Vinicius Junior have come to Real’s rescue on several occasions, and they have now notched up 11 goals between them in La Liga this campaign. More importantly, Real has kept their unbeaten record intact.

Carlo Ancelotti reserves special praise for Eden Hazard after Valencia win

While Benzema and Vinicius Junior will rightly receive most of the plaudits, Carlo Ancelotti was particularly delighted with the contribution of Eden Hazard. He said: “Hazard linked up brilliantly. He was lively and looked to cause problems.” While Real had to dig deep to collect all three points, they have shown dynamism in their transitional play that makes it hard for teams to deal with.

Villarreal still looking for takeoff after a slow start

Villarreal fired blanks once again last weekend as they were held away to Mallorca. The Yellow Submarine are winless in their first four league games. So far, they have been rather toothless in attack, and they struggled to break down Granada and Espanyol. Before facing Real Madrid, Villarreal takes on Elche, and they will be hoping that will give them lift off.

Villarreal have to be careful with Samuel Chukwueze

Samuel Chukwueze has been struggling to recover from a hamstring injury that has already kept him sidelined for four months. Villarreal has missed the winger, and after sitting it out against Mallorca last Sunday, they can’t afford to rush him back. Unai Emery has also been without Dani Raba, and Villarreal will hope to have him back soon.

Valencia left to rue missed opportunity against Real Madrid

Somehow, Valencia seemed to grab defeat from the jaws of victory against Real. They looked to be in control of the game, but they opened the door for the visitors to get back into the contest, and they were made to pay the price. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t detract from what has been a fine start to the season for Valencia.

After five games, Valencia have yielded 10 points, and they occupy the third spot in La Liga. However, they have a tricky few days to navigate as they take on Sevilla in midweek before focussing their attention on Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. It is a case of now regrouping quickly and putting the Real defeat to the back of their minds.

For Valencia, they have to learn to manage games better. Valencia boss Pepe Bordalas couldn’t conceal his frustration after his side’s defeat against Real, and he admitted his side couldn’t cope with the counter-attacking prowess of Los Blancos. And with Carlos Soler forced off with an injury against Real, Los Che will be hoping it’s not too serious.

Athletic Bilbao should take confidence from Atlético Madrid result

Athletic Bilbao — who are fifth in the La Liga table — managed to keep Atlético Madrid at bay last weekend. Although Atlético saw João Felix sent off, the reigning La Liga champions were more threatening in front of goal. Bilbao, however, kept their shape, and they weren’t breached.

Valencia, of course, will be a step up for Bilbao. But Bilbao should take confidence from their draw against Atlético Madrid, and they will fancy their chances of causing an upset at the Mestalla. But if we are to go by recent meetings, the likelihood of the draw is high, with the last two encounters ending in a share of the spoils.

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Serie A Preview

We are only four games into the start of the new Serie A campaign, but there are some familiar patterns forming. Inter Milan appear to be at their imperious best, while Juventus can’t hang onto leads. There are two cracking games to feast on this weekend — Inter Milan v Atalanta and Lazio v Roma, so let’s take a closer look.

Inter Milan rout Bologna to send strong title message to their rivals

While there may have been a few raised eyebrows when Antonio Conte quit Inter Milan, Simone Inzaghi has put his stamp on this team. Last weekend, Inter carried out a demolition job against Bologna, as they enjoyed a thundering 6-1 victory. Inzaghi’s team in full flow are a sight to behold, and the Bologna win was another sign his side will take some stopping.

Inter blew their opponents away with some incisive football. Denzel Dumfries was a constant menace as he bombed forward, while Edin Dzeko netted a double to take his tally to three for the campaign. The Nerazzurri have already plundered 15 goals this season, which is the most the Serie A giants have scored at this stage of the campaign since 1960.

Inter Milan expected to announce four more contract renewals in the coming months

Inter Milan could announce four new contract renewals in the coming months. Lautaro Martinez is on the verge of signing a new three-year deal that will keep him at the San Siro until 2025. And with reports suggesting more stars will follow suit, this is an exciting time to be involved with Inter.

Atalanta ride their luck against Salernitana

Atalanta have become accustomed in recent seasons to competing in the upper echelons of Serie A. However, they were rather fortunate as they squeezed a 1-0 away win against Salernitana. Although Duvan Zapata grabbed the only goal of the game for Atalanta, Salernitana were denied by the frame of the goal. Franck Ribery was also making his debut for the Serie A strugglers.

Merih Demiral displays warrior-like qualities of Atalanta

Atalanta know they will be in a huge battle against Inter on Saturday. Against Salernitana, Merih Demiral took an elbow to the face, but he continued the match wearing a bandage around his head. Whether Atalanta will resort to the dark arts against Inter remains to be seen. Either way, it has the ingredients to be an absorbing encounter.

Lazio need to get back on track after dispiriting week

After such a splendid start to the campaign, Lazio have endured a bit of a blip. After defeat to AC Milan, Lazio followed that up with a 1-0 defeat away to Galatasaray in the Europa League. Last weekend, Lazio drew 2-2 at home to Cagliari, but they were far from their best.

Lazio had to come from behind to rescue a point thanks to Danilo Cataldi. However, for a side that will be harbouring Champions League aspirations, things have to improve, and quickly. Although they have dropped to seventh in the table, Lazio can count on Serie A’s top scorer Ciro Immobile to deliver the goods.

The Rome derby always has a febrile atmosphere, but that won’t faze Jose Mourinho. Mourinho recently enjoyed his 1,000th game as a football coach as he saw his side beat Sassuolo. He celebrated the winner in true Mourinho style with a trademark sprint down the touchline. Mourinho has galvanised Roma, and the fans will be hoping that this long continues.

Roma six-game winning streak comes to an end

Although Roma’s six-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Verona last weekend, the Giallorossi have been scoring goals for fun. They have netted 11 times this season, with only Inter scoring more out of the top four sides. However, Roma may well be feeling a sense of apprehension about their trip to face their cross town rivals.

Last season, Lazio ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, as Immobile opened the scoring before a Luis Alberto double killed the game off. At this stage of the season, it is too early to make any cast-iron predictions. But if Lazio can grab all three points, it could really kickstart their campaign.

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