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Season 8: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

February - March

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There weren't any competitive games in January this year (I think we had 1 last season?).

We had a bit of trouble getting going in February - possibly it was the transfers and players shifting between XIs; possibly it was just a somewhat tricky run of fixtures. The performances against Dortmund were good, though: we should have won the first leg. and then having taken an early lead in the second leg we tore them apart at the end, getting 3 goals in the last 10 minutes.

For the second season in a row, we won the title on the final matchday in March. 

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Random screenshot:

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I thought this was fun - our players scored 4 goals in the Rijeka/HNK Gorica match (Flores, Miyesenge and Walito)

 

Not-so-random but still funny:

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With 2 matches to go, Hajduk are in with a realistic chance of needing the Play-off to stay in the division. 

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Season 8: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

End of Season

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The end of the season went as I expected. The draws against Rijeka and Osijek were fairly dull and the rest of the league games were straight-forward enough. The friendlies were just to make sure we kept our two XIs fit in case of injuries.

Against Spurs, they comprehensively outplayed us in the first leg, but they needed an 81st minute goal to win the tie outright in the second leg. Still, a good effort given that they made the final (and bought our best player in January). 

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:idiot::idiot::idiot::idiot:

4 players - all sold earlier in the season for modest fees. Only Molhoek has got any first team game time (3 starts for Liverpool in the league). Easy money (far too easy, imo).

Summary + Plans

Other teams are certainly improving, which goes some of the way to explaining why we were marginally worse this season in the league. We also consolidated into a strong and weaker XIs for Europe and weekend games respectively, and the weekend side obviously had to deal with our improving opponents. We've also gone some way to improving our opponents by virtue of loaning them many of their players. It's mildly irritating, but kind of essential if I want the players to A) get game time at a decent level, and; B) be Home Grown (Nation) for Champions League registration purposes down the line.

Planning for next season is tricky, since I don't know how many of our players will leave. Of our two XIs (not including our backup GK), around half of them are Wtd by 'bigger' clubs. Clearly, we don't have to sell for financial reasons - we've got £177m in the bank, £120m in transfer budget and £921k p/w in spare wage budget - but players have a tendency to get pissy if you start rejecting bids from ManUre, ManShitty, Liverpoo, etc, even if the bids themselves may as well have been submitted on used toilet paper.  I 'think' our Croatian youngsters will probably stay. Radas got a new contract at the start of April - admittedly with a MFRC (£39.5m) - but I think that's too recent for him to leave in this window. The rest? Who knows?

In terms of players this season, I'm fairly happy. We've got decent strength and depth when you consider that half of the 46 players we sent out on loan this season would be good enough to get in our first team. I'll have to sell some of them, though; we've got around 125 players in total across our squads. There are still got 33 players rated as having 4.5 / 5 stars of PA (white star included) which is good news. 

Despite the vast number of players we own, I'm now actively scouting for Croatian youngsters, since I haven't really prioritised those much. And let's face it; we've got enough money to sign whoever we want from other Croatian teams.

 

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Last season's Youth Intake:

I didn't give this any mention at the time. Partly, it wasn't very inspiring; partly I was just annoyed that despite having a Model Professional HOYD and a Determined 'Squad Personality', at least half of the players were rejected straight away for having **** personalities and **** Determination.

It turns out that my Coaches are pretty happy with two of the players who came through, though:

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The fact that there were two good players among the small number I signed wasn't enough to save my HOYD's job. That said, Kunstic is pretty good. Pajvot probably is as well, although I never can tell with Goalkeepers. 

We've got improvements to Youth and Training facilities on the go at the moment. I can't get Youth Recruitment improved; I assume we need the club's reputation to be a bit better yet. 

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

July - August and Transfer Window

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It's been a good start to the season. I was a bit miffed to be drawn against Ferencvaros, since they were probably the hardest unseeded team we could have got. And then I realised that the AI manager would be saying the same thing if AI managers were sentient. We weren't very good in the first leg, but scored some nice goals, and then just made them look like a pub team in the second leg. There was a blast from the past in the tie against Astana who have the striker who scored all our goals in my first season at Clermont. You can see how effective he is these days... TNS were tough to break down, but Bodo/Glimt were not. 

We've been drawn in a group with Chelsea, PSG and Besiktas. Tricky.

Our league form has been good, too. We probably should have got a point against Hajduk, but the other games have been comprehensive.

Transfers

The most important sale was Zanellato, who left for Spurs for ~£10m plus 30% of profit on next sale. I'd asked for more last summer, but Zanelleto had a pretty awful season (I'm fairly sure Paulo Cesar scored more goals as a sub than Zanellato did in his starts) and I reckon it was due to the epic sulk he had after we batted bids away. Good riddance. 

We cleared out a few not-quite-as-youngsters who were coming to the end of their contracts and weren't likely to make the first team. We also sold our Thai MC for £3.6m + 25% ONS and a backup ST for £5m. 

Importantly, we didn't sell anyone I wanted to keep. That means, all of our Wonderkids and Croatian youngsters (we got bids of up to £23m for Radas, £29m for Menga, and ~£12m for a couple of the others). Paulo Cesar also got a new contract. At 25 he's the 3rd oldest players in our squad. 

Our most important transfers were actually freebies this season. We arranged a permanent deal for a kid we'd had on loan from Anderlecht, and got a Spanish Wonderkid DC from Atletico Madrid. I also spent a few million sorting out future transfers for some Croatian kids (all loaned back for the season). A few youngsters, as always, came in for free or for loose change (which raises an interesting philosophical question of whether "loose change" as a quantity varies depending on how much money you have in the bank) including an Uzbeki DC and [yet another] Mongolian midfielder.

Hernández (our Argie DLP) came to me asking for more regular game time, I agreed and he promptly broke his leg. Top stuff. With only a few days of the window left, I didn't have time to scout anyone new, so I picked up a Hungarian AMR for £4.7m on the basis that we could swap other players around to accommodate him.

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Lacroix played well for us towards the end of last season and on relatively modest wages, it was a no-brainer to get something permanent sorted out. He can play AMR as well. What's not to like?

Intxaurraga was a "thank you, scouts" moment as last season came towards an end. His agent insisted on a MFRC, but it's for £20m and expires on July 1st next year; still, if someone comes in for him before then, I won't complain. Solid and seems to have decent Professionalism as well. 

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Varsányi is the Hungarian we brought in for depth. Technically, he's good but not exceptional, but he's got Pace and that's what I want in my Inside Forwards.

Bekaert is someone we picked up a couple of years ago from a non-league Belgian team. He was on loan at Vojvodina last season and got 9 goals and 19 assists in 44 games, so he got a new contract and will stay and play with us this season. I'm a little surprised his reputation got high enough that he got the Wonderkid label, but I don't care (mostly because we haven't had any offers for him yet). 

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It's not often I look at a 12-1 scoreline and think "the losing team got kinda unlucky there" (I mean, ****, it's not often I look at a 12-1 scoreline), but they kinda did.

And yes, RBS had a more-or-less full-strength team out, and they're pretty good.

Edited by turnip
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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

September - October

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The back-to-back games against Rudes and Besiktas were fairly astonishing. The match against Rudes took 25-30 minutes to play through on Extended Highlights as we created chance after chance after chance. The match against Besiktas was quicker - they usually are if you press the 'Instant Result' button - but no less remarkable for the result (although the Champions League has thrown up some fairly bonkers scorelines already this season). 

We've had a number of injuries during this period - none of them bad, but they disrupted the team a bit anyway. Most of them from ****ing international duty, too.

Random Player of the Update

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Mandic is continuing to develop really well. His Pace is creeping up and is now at 'good but not exceptional' level. He's also got 7 goals so far this season - albeit two from penalties - and his average rating is 7.2, which I'm happy with. 

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On 20/02/2021 at 09:59, turnip said:

The match against Rudes took 25-30 minutes to play through on Extended Highlights as we created chance after chance after chance.

That's the highest xG I've seen

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

November - January + Transfer Window

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As expected, and hoped-for, we finished the Champions League Group Stage stronger than we'd started it, to be level on points with PSG and with a better goal difference... but because they beat us 2-0, and we only beat them 1-0, they topped the group. Boo, I say, BOOOOOOOO. 

In the league, our tepid form dragged on. I played through most of these games, and it was hard going most of the time. Just eking out wins against 11 men trying their damndest to kick lumps out of us. Boo, I say, BO-

Still, our ridiculous unbeaten run continues, and even if Hajduk are putting a better effort in this season, the league still looks like being yet another walk in the park.

Transfer Window

The inevitable happened, and Frane Radas left us for better-funded climes. We'd already batted away a couple of ~£30m bids and then Inter and Real Madrid ponied up the £39.5m stated in his Release Clause and off he went to Milan. We also sold Hernandez to Nantes for ~£9m - he is a good player, but we're well-stocked in central midfield and it just gives us other options. Bids for Menga, Mandic and Diallo also came in, but were all rejected; only Diallo got annoyed, but Menga will need a new contract soon if we're to keep him long-term. Malkoc got a new contract - 5 years + 3 optional - so he's going nowhere in a hurry. 

We didn't make any big signings. Another raft of youngsters came in on frees - a Spanish DR capped at U19 level the standout - and we spent around £1.5m each on a Croatian DC and a Swiss AMC. 

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Pusic doesn't look like he'll set the world on fire, but he should end up as a solid DC, and he's already comfortably good enough for most league games. As I start filtering Tomic out of the side, Pusic can get some game time.

Simonetta also doesn't look like a world-beater but, again, is good enough to get some game time without embarrassing himself and doesn't have any particular holes in his game. 

We've also got a few players lined up for the end of the season. This includes the Croats we signed and loaned back during the summer, 3 Greek youngsters and an Egyptian MC (because I find it unlikely I'll keep hold of all of my good youngsters in the summer). 

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More money for nothing.

Benali is a young Moroccan we signed for nothing and made a couple of appearances for us. The initial part of the fee was £2.5m, I think. I'm fairly sure he'll be released when his contract at Chelsea ends.

Koré is an Ivorian striker we also signed for nothing, who couldn't shoot and was uninspiring at best on the loan deal we arranged for him. Man City paid £850k up front; he's now been capped by Ivory Coast, so I expect he'll get a deal to move, rather than being released. 

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

February - March

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This is, despite my whining about matches being grindfests, our best season yet. We've managed to maintain good results even when our performances have been pretty average, and even give game time to a GK we signed in the summer. His party piece - which he shows us each game - is in absolutely whiffing attempts to save a shot that passes about a foot past his body.

I wasn't that annoyed about getting Real Madrid in the Champions League. They scored early in the first leg, and then we just battered at their door for the next 80 minutes; the two goals we scored in injury time fully deserved as our 3.12 xG shows. In the second leg, we got an early goal and restricted them to not many good chances. Milan are up next for us; they're probably the best team we could have drawn at this stage. 

The last league game of March was - again - the match that won the league for us, although we had to wait for Hajduk and Rijeka to both fail to win their games on the Sunday, to actually wrap it up. (The friendly against Independiente del Valle was because I've been scouting one of their players and it's taking for eeeever to get full knowledge). 

 

Random Player of the Update

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Trevor here has been on our books for almost 2.5 years, since we signed him from [checks notes] Curzon Ashton for £0. This is his second season slumming it in Belgium, but he's obviously doing well, since he's just got his first cap for the Netherlands. He doesn't immediately strike me as 'Dutch International' calibre, but I can't be bothered checking the rest of the squad to see how good they are, so I'll assume he is. Well done, Trevor!

Edited by turnip
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That's the Quarter-Finals successfully navigated, then. We've got Sevilla next, who were almost certainly the best of the remaining bunch to play next (Bayern, PSG and Zebventus are on the other half of the draw and play tomorrow). Sevilla probably feel the same about us, though!

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

April - May

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We'd already won the league, but we put in a series of professional performances to see it out in style. The less said about the game against Rijeka, the better, though. That was mildly horrific at times. The Cup final against Hajduk was as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. The overall league performance was very good, but let's be clear: we've got a very strong squad. The fact that we can go 35-1-0 for a season with our Second XI speaks for the depth we have at the squad. 

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This season, we were able to give some game time to the guy I'm hoping will eventually become the new #1 for the club. He's kinda **** at the moment, but it doesn't really matter. 

We've got strength and depth coming out of every orifice at the moment. The weakest position we had this season was backup DL, and I've already agreed a deal with River Plate to sign a Wonderkid from them to solve that issue for a while. Not that the Scottish kid we had playing there this season was bad: he was capped for Scotland but we'll still look to move him on in some way over the summer. 

With more than £200m in the bank, the board agreed to fund another round of upgrades to Youth and Training facilities. The only thing we still need to boost is Youth Recruitment, but that hasn't been an option at any point while I've been manager.

 

The final game of the season was, obviously, the Champions League final. We faced my old nemesis: Paris Saint-Germain. Prior to the game, their manager - a Bulgarian with whom I'd engaged in mind games with, while managing Clermont - decided that a woman who'd taken Dinamo ****in' Zagreb to the Champions League final was someone to point at and say "She's not very good is she?". Well, two can play the name-calling game. 

Spoiler

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Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Eat ****, PSG !!!!!

 

 

They probably edged the game on xG, but I crammed as much 'Defensive __________' stuff into the training schedule for the week as I felt comfortable doing. Our first goal was a bullet header straight from a corner, and the second was a mostly flowing move that ended up with our AMC rounding the keeper and poking home from 6 yards. 

After the game, the manager of Paris Saint-Ger-****in'-main still thought that attempting to diss me was a good look. My response was not charitable. The only team to beat us in the competition this season choked when it mattered the most. 

In short: Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Eat ****, PSG !!!!!

 

Also: uoQ4oaN.png?1

More details to follow tomorrow, once I've had some sleep. This session took longer than I thought it would!

Edited by turnip
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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

Season Summary:

We continued to roll onwards in the league, trampling everything in our path. It's pretty much a development league for us now - we have our best players in the Midweek XI, and then the next-best player in any position gets a season in the Weekend XI so we can see whether they're ready or whether they need to be moved on. The Scrooge McDuck-esque piles of money we have mean that the turnover of first-team players has reduced so we really don't need to sell many players. Intxaurraga is the only one with a MFRC, so he might leave, and Tomic is off to - ahem - Clermont to end his career there.

Paulo Cesar might leave - he got the hump pretty early on in the season about "not playing enough games", got injured and then the relentless Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday wasn't really conducive to throwing him back in to every game. He then decided to really kick up a stink a couple of days before our second leg against Sevilla, which I was not pleased with. His form didn't drop off, though, and he provided both assists in the final, so I might just play it by ear.

There are a few other players - Pitbull, Agostinho, McLaughlin - who we might move on just because they've only made marginal progress since joining (despite getting lots of football). 

 

In terms of performances, only one player who made more than 6 starts for us had an average rating lower than 7: a Mercenary little arse who whined all season about not getting to go and play for Liverpool U23s. Lozada and our Weekend ST each made 45 appearances, between starting and being subbed on. The ST top-scored for us with 21 goals; Cesar got 17, Menga 16, Mandic 15, Pavlica 10 and Lozada popped up with 12 (mostly headers). The assists were spread around nicely, with Wong & Cesar each getting 14 which is nice reward for the extra time we spent in training on Set Pieces. 

Looking through the numbers, our DCs had the best pass completion %, our MCs made the most passes and our IFs had the most shots. In a funny little stat like % Headers Won, we can also see how most of our league opponents tried to play against us - the top 3 for us are Wing-Backs (Agostinho is 5'4", so unsurprisingly, he didn't win many). 

Having a quick look at the squad, we've still got 13 players considered to have 5* PA, which I think is pretty good considering how good our best players are (15 have 4.5*). 

 

I only now just looked at the Champions League awards - we won Best GK, Best Defender (all three of them!) and Best Attacker (Cesar). Radas was also #2 for Midfield, and since he couldn't play for Inter, I'm calling that a partial win for us.

We also set a new record for the number of goals scored in a season, with 57, the number of games won in a row (10) and most clean sheets for a player in a season (16). Oh, and we also made sure that PSG have still never won the Champions League. Eat ****, PSG!!

 

Summary:

A very, very good season. I've won the Champions League with lots of clubs from big leagues, but I can't remember ever doing it with a team from a secondary league.

I still don't feel like I'm done here, either. With the reputation boost, we should be able to get more talented players through the youth system - maybe even drag back some of the Croatian talent that's been going abroad. There's also the Club World Championship - it'd be fun to have a go at that, although I'm already cringing internally at the thought of what that will do to our fixture congestion, and player's fitness (it's the European Championships this summer). 

I'm also going to start looking around to see if there are any good options for a move coming up. But there's no hurry - I'm enjoying myself at the moment. 

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56 minutes ago, kingjericho said:

Congrats. The CWC can be hard on the players' legs, especially if you reach those dates with ongoing injuries. How big is your squad? I usually have 22, surely no more than 24.

I had 64 players out on loan last season. And at one point, we had 83 players called up for international duty. I think my squads may run bigger than yours do...

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Weekend XI lineup:

                                                          GK: Daniel Antonic

DR: Anderson Pitbull      DC: Joao Lozada            DC: Dejan Pusic      DL: Ryan McLaughlin

                                           MC: Kevin Wong          MC: Oke Witt

AMR: Mirko Pavlica                           AMC: Abdul Diallo                         AML: Djuro Mandic

                                                        ST: Emmanuel Lacroix

 

Midweek XI lineup:

                                                         GK: Dinko Jokic

DR: Rui Agostinho      DC: Alejandro Intxaurraga    DC: Peter Kovacs    DL: Patricio Orsini

                                         MC: Dinko Malkoc          MC: Jason Bekaerts

AMR: Roman Istvanic              AMC: Alexandru Blanuta                    AML: Paupol Menga

                                                        ST: Paulo Cesar

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12 hours ago, turnip said:

I had 64 players out on loan last season. And at one point, we had 83 players called up for international duty. I think my squads may run bigger than yours do...

Ah yes the Parma approach :D

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