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Kubala, the path to glory of Barcelona's most loved legend: A story of overcoming, adventures, crazy nights, majestic matches and of a good man who made everybody around him happy.

Nothing in Kubala's life was normal. Now that TV series about sportsmen are fashionable, the one that could be made about the adventures of Ladislao Kubala Stecz (Budapest, 1927) would raze through many seasons. In one season we could go deeper into his facet of legendary footballer, capable of changing the way of playing this sport, how he saved his life at the very last moment by not getting on the Torino plane that crashed in Superga, or how he was ten minutes away from signing for Real Madrid or enrolling in the Pirate League of Colombia, all of this in order to end being Barcelona's biggest icon... who ended playing for Espanyol.
We could add a season of adventures due to his incredible escape from communist Hungary. His journey through Italy with a football team, the Hungaria, of stateless people in which in addition to Hungarians also played Croats, Albanians, Romanians and Serbs who were looking for a life as good as they could get. One could also add to this the facet of the social phenomenon that dazzled a country during the dark years of Franco's regime by becoming a pop star, and end up with another season about the legends, real, invented or simply exaggerated, of his adventures in Barcelona's nightclubs.
Everything about Kubala is like a movie.

The legend of the escape.

Born in Budapest to a Hungarian man and a Slovakian woman, he always considered himself as both Hungarian and Slovakian, even when this republic was part of the now extinct Czechoslovakia. By the age of 20, Kubala was a football star known for his performances with Slovan Bratislava and Vasas Budapest. In fact, he had already been capped by Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Later, he would go on to play for Spain, and is still the only player to have been capped by three countries. But fed up with the system that was preventing him from developing his professional football career, he embarked on an escape proper of a movie to the West. He contacted a human trafficking organisation, a mafia that, in exchange for a large amount of money, facilitated a partial escape. As is now the case with criminals who gamble with the lives of people who want to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe or pass to the United States through the southern border, the smugglers did not secure anything. The last part of the journey depended on the luck and expertise of the escapees and often ended tragically.
"I remember that when I escaped from Hungary I was just a kid. The traffickers left us in the middle of a mountain to do the last stretch on foot. We were a large group. The adults gathered the children and gave us palinka. A liquor similar to brandy to get us drunk and fall asleep. A child's cry could alert the border guards patrolling the mountain. And they had orders to shoot to kill. The group split in two. My group was lucky and we were able to win the Austrian border. Once we were safe, we learned that the other group that had travelled with us and took another road was discovered and killed." The chilling story is that of Zoltan Czibor, the son of the former Barça player who tells how he had to flee Hungary with his family to join his father in Italy. The odyssey of Kubala, six years earlier, was mirrored.
The traffickers disguised Kubala as a Russian soldier and put him in a truck that would leave the escapees at an undetermined point in the mountains so that they could cross the border into Austria on their own. Kubala remembered that this journey scared him to death because unlike his comrades, he was a national celebrity and any soldier who checked the military truck would recognize him. He was endangering his life and the lives of those who accompanied him.
When they were left in the mountain on January 27, 1949, Kubala walked, and crossing a river helped by a tire that carried him, managed to reach Innsbuck, Austria, without any documentation. He was a stateless man starting from scratch.
In Austria he managed to sign with Pro Patria, a team from Milan, but he could only play friendly matches. His escape provoked the anger of the Hungarian regime, which denounced him and blocked his registration. Kubala had married Anna Daucik two years earlier, sister of Fernando Daucik, a veteran player of the era who would later become a famous coach. When Kubala fled, he left behind his family, whom he was unable to reunite with until six months later, when Anna was able to cross the border and meet Ladislao in Udine. He arrived with one more member of the family. A baby, her firstborn, whom Kubala did not yet know.
While he is irregularly enrolled in the Pro Patria, he gets the chance to sign with Torino, Italy's dominant team at the time. He is offered a trial match. Nothing better than a friendly match that Il Grande Torino had in Lisbon as a tribute to Xico Ferreira. However, when the Turin team's plane is about to take off, the president of Torino prevents Kubala from boarding because he fears a federal sanction. On the return flight, on 4 May 1949, the Fiat G 212 of Avio Linee Italiana crashed into the retaining wall of the Basilica of Superga due to the wind, poor visibility and an error in the altimeter of the aircraft. At 180 kilometres per hour and with a visibility of 40 metres, the pilot saw the stone wall of the basilica too late when he thought the plane was at 2,000 metres and was actually at 690 metres above sea level. The 31 people who were travelling in that aircraft died. Kubala had saved his life again.

The legend of Hungaria.

With no possibility of playing in Italy because the back then very powerful Italian Communist Party was pressing to prevent people fleeing from countries in the orbit of the USSR from taking refuge in Italy, Kubala had no choice but to form a team of stateless people who hired their services throughout Europe to play friendly matches against whoever hired them.
The team was called Hungaria, was managed by his brother-in-law Fernando Daucik and was mainly made up of Hungarians, although there were also players of other nationalities. It was made up of: Kis, Marik, Torok, Mogoy, Lami, Rákosi, Hrotko, Majteny, Nagy, Kubala, Otto, Licker, Turbeky, Monsider (Croatian), De Lorenzi (Albanian), Szegedi (Romanian) and Arangelovic (Serbian).
They played their first match against Italy's B team, but again pressure from the PCI forced them to play outside Italy. And that is how they arrived in Spain, hired by Santiago Bernabéu. On June 5, 1950, they faced Real Madrid in Chamartin, losing 4-2, but with a stellar performance by Kubala, who scored both of his team's goals. Three days later, they beat the Spanish team that was preparing for the World Cup in Brazil, where they came in fourth, 1-2 again with a great performance by Kubala, who received an offer from Real Madrid to be signed.
Kubala requires that to join the team, Madrid must also hire Daucik as a coach, something that Bernabéu does not agree to. The Madrid coach at that time was the Briton Keeping, a great connoisseur of WM tactics. Daucik is offered to train the Plus Ultra, a Madrid branch that plays in the third division. That negative and the federative problems that drags Kubala cause that Madrid becomes disinterested in his transfer, that was already agreed lacking of some fringes that turned out to be determinant.
The Hungaria moves two days later to Barcelona, where on June 10 plays against Espanyol losing 6-4 in a match with Pepe Samitier, the technical secretary of Barça, in the stands. It is necessary to emphasize that Hungaria had been playing three matches in five days with a very short team and without being able to make substitutions. Even so, Kubala amazes and Samitier does not mess around. Six days after that match, on 16 June 1950, at half past six in the evening, Kubala signed his three-year contract with Barça at the Pasaje Méndez Vigo. Obviously, with Fernando Daucik as coach. President Montal, Sr., signed him as an "amateur player" in order to avoid any trouble for the federation.
Real Madrid rages and is shocked. Pablo Hernández, general secretary of the white entity and Santiago Bernabéu's right hand, assures that Barça had broken a non-aggression pact between both teams and had hired a player with whom they were in talks. Samitier, who was unbeatable in the media, declares that he had been following Kubala for months and that the pact had not been broken because it referred only to players who played in Spanish teams. And Hungaria was not Spanish. In fact, it wasn't from anywhere.
But Kubala's problems didn't end there. He still didn't have a registration card or an international certificate. Vasas in Budapest and the Hungarian Federation had reported him to FIFA. Barça used the weak argument that since professionalism had been abolished in Hungary, any amateur player could choose his destiny. But the fight was not going to be so easy.
Barça, it is fair to say, had the total support of the regime and the Federation to carry out the transfer. At the level of anti-communist propaganda, Kubala was perfect. A young and extraordinary sportsman who fled from the red hell to take refuge in Franco's Spain was a candy too sweet to let go. Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation, rowed in favor of Barça as did Ricardo Cabot, secretary of the organization, who, in addition to his affection for the regime, was a well-known Barcelona supporter.
But the procedures were very slow and Kubala could only play friendly matches. He made his debut against Osasuna on 12 October, scoring two goals on the day the Barça fans knew instantly that they had just signed a star. Then he played against Zaragoza, Frankfurt twice, Girona and the Badalona. In six friendlies he scored 11 goals. The fans and the player himself were eager to meet in an official match. For all this, the Federation to play the role with FIFA fined Barça every time he lined up Kubala with the symbolic figure of 50 pesetas.
It is at this time that Kubala is about to leave everything and go away from Barça. He needed the money and wanted to play at the highest level and in Colombia he was offered the chance to do so. The South American country had organised the so-called Pirate League outside FIFA and many of the world's biggest stars joined, including Alfredo Di Stefano who went to Millonarios in Bogota. Kubala had a tempting offer from Atletico Bucaramanga. With the option of Kubala leaving, events accelerated. To begin with, Barça fixed his financial situation by means of a peculiar amateur contract in which they paid him 1,200 pesetas for "compensation" and 3,800 for "encouragement and overfeeding".
On April 2, 1951, he was granted the status of political refugee as a stateless person, which was a step towards granting him Spanish nationality. But for this step, Kubala first had to be converted to Catholicism through the sacrament of baptism. Every Spaniard had to be a Catholic. Kubala was baptized in Aguilas, Murcia, the birthplace of Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation. It is then when Barça, to avoid problems, settles its differences economically with Vasas, which despite being against capitalism accepts a payment of 300,000 pesetas to provide the transfer, while the Pro Patria, which also complained, is satisfied with 12 million lire.
The Kubala era could now really commence.

The legend on the field.

Kubala made his official debut with Barcelona in Sevilla in a cup match. The Sevillistas at that time were one of the best teams. Sevilla and Barça had developed in that period a great rivalry in the high places of the table. In 1946 Sevilla had stolen the possibility of winning the championship from Barça by drawing in Les Corts on the last day, in 1948 Barça beat the Sevillians in the final of the Eva Perón Cup (which would be the current Supercup) and in that campaign a Barça without Kubala had lost all its options to win La Liga after losing 4-0 in Nervión three days before the end of the season.
The Cup, by that time was played once the regular season was over and in those circumstances the official debut of Kubala took place. On April 29th in Nervion, Barça arrived to play against Sevilla in the middle of a difficult atmosphere. The Andalusians had lost the league in a dramatic outcome when they drew at home in the last match against Atletico Madrid with a refereeing performance that the locals judged scandalous. For further concern, the Federation allowed Kubala to line up with Barça in the first round of the Cup, which in Sevilla was taken as a surprise.
With the stadium full to the flag, Barcelona defeated Sevilla in an exhibition of Kubala. He wasn't just the best of the match but he showed Spain a way of playing football unthinkable until that time: chest controls, shots with curve, millimetric changes of play of 40 meters, protection of the ball with his back, use of the body in the shot and touches with the heel.
Domenech, Sevilla's attacker who was the direct protagonist of that match, explained years later how he remembered that day.
"It was something never seen before. Ramallets kicked it and he would receive her with his chest, or with either of his legs. If you tackled him he would dribble you in a brick. He'd put the ball where he wanted her. Besides, from time to time he changed with César, he'd be a center forward and César would be a midfielder. They drove us crazy. The anger of the people became clamours. We were witnessing something extraordinary. It was like going from black and white cinema to colour," explained the former Sevilla player. The Sevilla crowd, who had welcomed Barça and its new superstar with anger, ended up giving Kubala a standing ovation for every action as if they were watching a glorious bullfighting performance.
Kubala's actions on the field change football forever. Since there was no television, his exploits are reported orally. There is no other way to see it than to go to the field of Les Corts, which is packed for every game Barça plays as a local. It is a very common argument to say that Kubala forced Barça to build the Camp Nou because the old Les Corts was not enough to accommodate all the people who wanted to admire him. Maybe he had an influence, but as the journalist Frederic Porta, author of an interesting biography of Kubala (Kubala, l'heroi que va canviar la història del Barça. Ed. Saldonar) explains, "the truth is that Barça had already bought the land to build the Camp Nou two years before and the idea of making a bigger field already existed, but Kubala advanced everything and justified the change".
Blessed with brutal technique, a sensational strike of the ball and an unusual physical strength, Kubala changed football. He would throw free-kicks over the wall with curve or by making the ball bounce in front of the goalkeeper, he would take penalties (he was practically infallible) with what was later called paradinha and was credited with the Brazilians although he was the first in Europe to do so. Physically he was a bull. In his youth he had practiced boxing and if he didn't become a recognized fighter with a great career it was because he had short arms. His lower body was sensational. He had a butt and legs that allowed him to protect the ball like no one else. Frederic Porta says that "in his time of splendour they measured his thighs and each one had a circumference of 69 centimetres, which would be the waist of one of his companions". He was also capable of running the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. A total athlete with a very refined technique.
However, that physical strength and the confidence he had in her, for he never avoided a collision, were his downfall. Kubala became the target of a hunt by rival defenders. He never went into hiding and that's why in eleven years at Barcelona he suffered up to eleven injuries of some seriousness. With matches without television, the harshness that bordered on violence was the order of the day. He was being kicked to death.
But Barça was living its most golden period to date. Moreover, the club revolved around Kubala. Frederic Porta compares it with the present time: "Now they say that Messi commands the club and surely he commands, but nothing to do with the influence that Kubala had. Kubala was the boss and even the one who decided the transfers. And no one was surprised. That Barça adopted the socks with the horizontal stripes blaugrana is his imposition. He saw them on the rugby team, liked them and incorporated them into the football team by decree. In fact, it is he who insists on signing Luis Suarez when he impresses him in a match against Deportivo. Kubala was Suarez's first fan, but what happened in the stands, which was divided between Suaristas and Kubalistas, is another matter.
Suarez was eight years younger than Kubala. He arrived at Barcelona at the age of 19, Kubala was 27 and his physique was very punished by his injuries and the life he was living, as he did not deprive himself of anything. If he held out, it was because of privileged genetics.
Therefore, there never was a real competition between them, but there was a lot of influence here from the figure of Helenio Herrera, the Barça manager, who saw Kubala as older and slower and was looking forward to a quick change by the young Galician as the leader of the team. The debate reached the stands and the media. It was an absurd debate, because they didn't play in the same position, with whom Kubala really had a certain rivalry with Eulogio Martínez, who was the one with whom he alternated the position.
Kubala's physical problems were not only due to injuries. He had the whole of Spain in suspense when he suffered a tuberculosis that could have cost him his life. There are apocryphal versions that explain that this tuberculosis was actually a stab wound he suffered in a fight in a cheap pub in the fifth district (Barcelona's Chinatown) and he has to retire to Montseny to recover. Nobody is betting on his return to the pitch if he survives a "hole in the lung the size of a silver bullet" according to the chronicles of the time. But once again, Kubala's ability to survive prevails. He returns to the pitches, but already heavily punished and slowed down.
It is against this backdrop that the 1961 European Cup final arrives, with Kubala arriving at the age of 34 with a herniated disc that barely allows him to walk, but he wants to play. He knows that the club is going through a critical situation despite having reached the final of the maximum trophy for the first time: the club is bankrupt because of the construction of the Camp Nou, the fights in the board of directors are chaotic, Luis Suarez has signed for Inter (the one in Bern will be his last game with Barça), which was where Helenio Herrera had left the team in the hands of Enrique Orizaola.
Kubala tells Orizaola to line him up, that like all the Portuguese will go for him and he can barely move because of the back pain and will play with painkillers, it will give more opportunities to his teammates. But the match is a pile of misfortunes for Barcelona. Ramallets scores an own goal, Barça shoots three times to the damn square posts of the goals (from then on they would change their shape) even Kubala kicked a ball that hit a post, went through the goal line until it hit the other post and came out repelled. Barça lost and Kubala's time at Barcelona came to an end.

The man of the year.

Kubala's significance goes beyond the playing field. According to a vote made for Radio Barcelona by journalist Joaquín Soler Serrano in the mid-50s, the Catalans most loved by their fellow citizens were Doctor Barraquer and Ladislao Kubala.
"He was literally the most famous person in the city, people really venerated him, and even Messi's influence cannot be compared to that of Kubala in those years," explains Porta.
His life off the field was notorious. An unrepentant night owl, it was common to see him in Barcelona's fashionable coffee shops and nightclubs. He was a man who stood out. Alfredo Relaño defines him in some of his articles as "a demigod. Tall, strong, blond with blue eyes and an overflowing personality. He aroused the admiration of men and women alike. An idol". Frederic Porta sums it up with the argument that "he would be the sum of Messi and Beckham and on top of that, he would go out every night".
Faced with Kubala's disorganised life, the Barcelona management decided to set up a private detective agency to follow him at night. The reports of the detectives are still in the Centre de Documentació del FC Barcelona and Frederic Porta published them in the history magazine 'Sàpiens'. In them, he gives a detailed account of the nocturnal wanderings of "Mr. K.", the code name of the Blaugrana star in an exercise in absurd discretion. There is also a letter from a Sabadell businessman in the club's archives, expressing concern that Kubala and Czibor had been "found in a Sabadell establishment after 2.30 in the morning accompanied by some of those ladies who were once gentlemen, I don't know if you understand". What the businessman doesn't explain in the letter is what he was doing in the same place.
Kubala's fondness for drinking was no secret. Helenio Herrera explains in a television interview that "one day at an airport in customs they asked Kubala if he had anything to declare and he said two bottles of whisky. The official asked him to show them to him and he, laughing, touched his belly and said: 'X-ray, I have them inside'. On another occasion, in the same situation, but carrying the bottle in the bag, he was told to leave it at the airport because no alcoholic drinks were allowed to be taken on board. Neither shy nor lazy, he drank it in front of the astonished official.
The legends about the occasions when the night was made longer and he did not arrive at training sessions or matches were recurrent. In that case, he called on the services of Angel Mur Sr., the team masseur who knew where to find him. He would start a pilgrimage through the usual places or floors until he found him, took him to the changing room, gave him a cold shower, a coffee with salt, a massage and played. The fans forgave him everything and were aware that their star was a man of joyful life. But he never failed on the field. Among the crowd at the time there were comments about the Kubala ritual in those games that followed a busy night. "He started off badly, and vaguely, but the signal was when, ten minutes into the game, he rolled up his sleeves as if to say 'I'm here, let's start, I've already cleared off', and the machine started to work.
You can't find anyone in the world who speaks ill of Kubala. Absolutely no one. Everyone highlights his huge heart and that despite being by far the highest paid player of the time (he earned six times more than his teammates) he didn't have a no for anyone. His detachment from money was legendary.
As proof, the anecdote explained by his biographer Porta: "one day he arrived at the dressing room and commented that his car had been stolen and that in the glove compartment he was carrying an envelope with 200,000 pesetas, which was a fortune for the time (a good apartment could cost 130,000 pesetas). When his colleagues tried to encourage him, he simply said: someone who needs it more than I do must have taken it".
It was also usual for him to take off his coat and give it to a poor man who begged in Barcelona's winter, or to take in any Hungarian who came to Barcelona asking for help in his house in Carrer Duquesa d'Orleans. Kubala, remembering his times as a stateless refugee without papers, asked nothing. He would take them home and pay them a boat ticket to America. The motto among the refugees fleeing the Iron Curtain was that "if you get to Barcelona, look for Kubala, he will help you". He never failed.
Later, now retired, he set up a bar next to Czibor in Capitan Arenas Street, the mythical Kep Duna (blue Danube in Hungarian) that became an unofficial refugee reception centre that was monitored by the secret services of the United States, the USSR and the Spanish police. Something like the Rick's Café in the film Casablanca, but in the upper area of Barcelona.
He was the great character of Barcelona loved by all, but there was a moment when this was almost broken, strange as it may seem. It coincided with the defeat in Bern, when a part of the press came to write that "Barça must be de-Kubalized as the Soviet Union must be de-Stalinized" and, especially, when he signed for Espanyol. The earthquake was a huge one.

From the bench to Sarrià.

After the defeat in Bern's final, Kubala announced his retirement from the fields. He had taken the coaching course and was ranked number one in his class. He made a pact with the president Llaudet, who was also an interesting character as we will see, that in principle he would take charge of the footballers' school of the club and that in a couple of years he would be in charge of the first team.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is directed by Lluís Miró who faces a team in disarray. Suarez has been transferred to Inter in the worst decision in the club's history and myths such as Ramallets, Tejada and Czibor were in the decline of their careers. The season starts badly and after losing at Mestalla to Valencia by a humiliating 6-2 that forces the resignation of Miro. It was time for Kubala, who was promoted to the first team in front of the joy of the fans. And the project results from the beginning. The Barça of the second part of season 61-62 recovers in La Liga and finishes second (the distance with the white ones when Kubala arrived was almost insurmountable) and avenges the 6-2 of Mestalla beating Valencia in the Camp Nou 4-0.
Facing the next season, the 62-63, Kubala can make his team by giving painful drops of some of his former teammates as it is the case of Eulogio Martinez or Evaristo. One of Llaudet's reluctances to give Kubala the job of coach was that he would have to manage some of his former teammates.
The positive expectations about Kubala's first full project were frustrated at first when the Blaugrana team had to play the final of the Copa de Ferias against Valencia, the team that caused the fall of Miró and the promotion of Kubala. And the history, by rare that it seems, repeats: Valencia returns to him to put 6-2 to the Barça. The fans explode against the team. In the return match, obviously, there is nothing to do, but Llaudet's ability to self-flagellation has no limits. As Alfredo Relaño writes, the Blaugrana president calls a dinner with the press the day before the game and makes this statement that if it happened today would open all the news.
Llaudet, in front of the press and accompanied by the coach Kubala and Gràcia as captain, asks the fans to forgive him and announces changes in the protocol of the start of the second leg. "Valencia will go out first to receive the applause, then Barcelona, to receive the whistles. Then Kubala will come out, so he can get the thunders. And finally me, so that all the whistles fall on my person, because I am the barcelonist who loves the club the most and who is destined to die on the pitch, if necessary...". He ends his speech crying. As we can see, Gaspart didn't invent anything.
The match ended in a draw and Kubala's project as Barça's coach was doomed. The manager is fired in the middle of the season and then a bomb explodes in Barcelona. Kubala accepts the offer to return to the pitch, but not as a coach, will be as a player and nothing more and nothing less than in Espanyol, Barça's eternal rival.
On 3 September 1963 Espanyol, then Español, announced that Kubala would be hired as a player. At 36 years of age, he was capable of being competitive.
His decision divides the public opinion. On the one hand, Federico Gallo and Juan José Castillo support his decision, on the other hand, Carlos Pardo or Ibáñez Escofet shoot at him. They call him a "Jew who sells himself for a plate of beans", a "traitor" and they see political interests in his decision.
Kubala explains that he wanted to continue playing and that he saw himself capable of doing so, although he accepted that he was not at Barcelona's level. He had received offers from important clubs, including River Plate and Juventus, but he doesn't want to leave Barcelona, where he feels like another Barcelonian. The Espanyol meets his expectations.
His start of the season is not bad, on the contrary, he scores in his first two games, but the team doesn't work out. The coexistence between the veteran newcomer Kubala and the team's symbol, Argilés, is not easy. Scopelli is dismissed as coach and de facto command of the team is given to the two team leaders despite their differences. The crisis erupts when the Spaniard visits the Camp Nou. The periquitos lose by 5-0 in a match in which the Barcelona crowd booed Kubala who they are eager to humiliate with his new team. Even so, at the end of the match, Kubala has a gesture to his former team that shows that he does not hold any grudge against what he has heard from the stands. At the end of the match, he organizes his teammates to make the corridor to Barça applauding the rival in recognition of the exhibition made. That gesture feels bad among the Espanyol fans and among some of his teammates. Argilés does not make the corridor and goes straight to the changing rooms.
The following year, Kubala becomes a manager-player and among the departures that he causes, there is the one of Argilés, but by contrast, Di Stéfano arrives, also hurt by his bad exit from Madrid fighting against Bernabéu.
Di Stefano and Kubala are like brothers. Even though they haven't officially played together, they have a special chemistry. A friendship that is forged when the Argentinian is about to sign for Barcelona.
When Di Stéfano arrives in Barcelona to sign for Español, he stays first at the Avenida Palace Hotel, but after a month he is living in Kubala's house as one of the family. The children of both always maintained a relationship as if they were brothers.
One of the players under Kubala's command was Jose Maria Rodilla, one of the players who would soon form the famous 'Dolphins' forward line. At 80 years of age, Rodilla remembers Kubala.
"I have a wonderful memory of Kubala, I always had a special affection for him. Not in vain, he was the one who signed me for Espanyol", he remembers when answering the call of this newspaper to which he confesses that* "normally I do not make declarations, but to speak about Kubala I do whatever is needed"*.
Rodilla, former teammate at Espanyol, has clear that "he was the best player in the world in terms of technique. Di Stéfano was the best footballer, but he didn't have his technique. Alfredo was more intense and more player of the whole field, but he could not do things that Kubala did"
Those who had the privilege of playing with both of them remember that "for example, Di Stefano wouldn't leave you alone for a minute, he was all over you and the fights were intense, but he always set an example, he never asked you for anything that he didn't do. Kubala was more paternalistic and tolerant. For example, he would ask us to do as he did in training, and while sitting down he would be able to make 3,000 touches on the ball without dropping it. Only he could do that."
Rodilla adds a story that explains Kubala's quality as a player-coach at the age of 38: "We went to play a friendly at Amposta and they called a foul on the edge of the box. Kubala takes the ball and whacks it into the corner. The referee made him repeat it because someone had moved or I don't know what. Kubala takes the ball and wham, back to the square. And the referee tells him that he has to repeat. That day Kubala got angry and left the field."
Rodilla recalls that Kubala's move from Barça to Espanyol created controversy in the city, but that he was oblivious to it. "He was still a magnificent person, I never heard him say a bad word against anyone. He never got into an argument, he was goodness personified, he was unlucky in his time as a coach, but as a coach he is one of the best I've ever had, with a great love for young players and always trying to help you improve."

Boys well, optimal morale.

He extended his playing career for a couple more years by playing for Zurich and even trying out the American adventure at the Toronto Falcons, where he coincides with Branko and Daucik's son. At the age of 40 he played 19 games and scored 5 goals.
In 1968 he returned to Spain and trained the Córdoba team for a short period of time until he was called up to the national team. Kubala will manage the Spanish team until 1980, when he signs for Barcelona again as a coach.
Kubala's debut with Spain was, once again, a propaganda match for the regime. It was played in the Estadio de la Línea de la Concepción against Finland and Spain beat their rivals 6-0 in a match that was no longer useful. Spain had missed out on qualifying for the Mexico '70 World Cup, but the idea of that game was to showcase a great field that could be seen from Gibraltar as if to give jealousy to those in the Rock for the sports culture of Spain. Dictatorship things.
It's true that at that time Spain was struggling more than anything else on the international scene. It did not qualify for the 1974 World Cup because of Katalinski's goal in the play-off match in Frankfurt, and in both the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship the team fell in the first round, but there is still no one from that era who will make a judgement against Kubala.
"Kubala, one ahead of his time. No doubt he had a lot to do with his past as a footballer. And not just like any other player, like the best! I remember him always saying to me: 'Ruben, you have to get out of the way on the other side of the ball. Look for the space, not the ball. The goal I scored in Yugoslavia has to do with everything he taught me," he told Fermin de la Calle in an interview with AS Ruben Cano, the hero of the famous 'Battle of Belgrade' in the match that took Spain to the World Cup in Argentina. Yes, the one with the goal by Cardeñosa that could have changed Kubala's record with the national team.
He did a lot to improve Spanish football and his idea regarding the incorporation of foreigners to improve the level of Spanish football was key in the future development of the Spanish competitive level.
His players remember him as a didactic person, tactically bold and very close. At a time when fury was the hallmark of the game, Kubala never forgot that he was the heir to the Magyar tradition of the Honved and the Hungary who, by moving the ball, shocked the world the day they destroyed England at Wembley 3-6.
For the average football fan, Kubala may have been a half-hearted coach who embodied an era of the national team in which nothing was won, as has been the case most of the time, and he became popular for his expressions that would now be meme material on social networks. The national team was known as the 'Kubala boys' and the coach's catchphrase before the matches saying "boys well, optimal morale" was the fashionable phrase in the coffee shops of the 70s in Spain.
But among his colleagues, Kubala still deserved reverential respect. "The first goal was authentically Latin, cunningly scored and perfectly studied. I can only congratulate Kubala on his previous tactical work," said German boss Helmut Schön after facing and losing to Spain in a friendly in which the recent world semi-finalist and next world champion fell to the Kubala boys at the Sanchez Pizjuan with two strategic goals from Arieta. Yes, Arieta against Müller. Seeler, Beckembauer, Maier, Netzer and company.
He left the national team in 1980 to join Barça as the coach of Núñez's second project in an operation that was the prelude to what would happen in the World Cup in Russia with Lopetegui. Kubala committed to Barça while he was coach and tried to alternate functions, but Porta refused. Finally, on 8 June 1980, four days before the start of the European Championship, Kubala signed for the Blaugrana team, which he would join after the European Championship.
His second spell at the head of Barça did not go well either and he was dismissed mid-season. He continued his adventure on the bench as coach of Saudi Arabia (in that he was also a pioneer), training Malaga and the Paraguayan national team before retiring from football on the bench of Elche.
He spent his final years in Barcelona as active as ever. Playing with Barça veterans, helping his teammates, not having a no for anyone and playing tennis every day or going for a run or cycling routes exhibiting an enviable physical condition.
Until the light of genius and the glory faded away 18 years ago. A degenerative brain disease put an end to the adventure, but not to the legend of a world football myth. An icon that changed the lives of so many people that they wouldn't fit even in a stadium.
The coffin with the mortal remains of Kubala was carried on shoulders, amidst the applause of the fans who gathered at the doors of the church of Santa Tecla, by Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gustau Biosca, Eduardo Manchón, Estanislao Basora, Joan Segarra, Josep Bartomeu, Luis Suárez, Antoni Ramallets and Gonzalvo III.
He rests in the cemetery of Les Corts, next to the Camp Nou because that is what he left written in his will, while Serrat sang to him about how...
...Pelé was Pelé and Maradona was the one and that's it. Di Stéfano was a pit of mischief. Honour and glory to those who made the sun shine on our football. Everyone has his merits; to each his own, but for me none is like Kubala. Respectable silence is requested, for those who haven't enjoyed him, I'll say four things: he stops it with his head, he drops it on with his chest, he sleeps it off with his left, crosses the pitch with the ball attached to the boot, leaves the midfield and enters the box showing the ball, hides it with his body, pushes with his ass and gets in with his heels. He pisses on the centerback with a dedicated piece. and touches her gently to put her on the path to glory.

by Santi Gimenez for AS.com (2020)

submitted by HippoBigga to Barca [link] [comments]

Kubala, the path to glory of Barcelona's most loved legend: A story of overcoming, adventures, crazy nights, majestic matches and of a good man who made everybody around him happy.

Nothing in Kubala's life was normal. Now that TV series about sportsmen are fashionable, the one that could be made about the adventures of Ladislao Kubala Stecz (Budapest, 1927) would raze through many seasons. In one season we could go deeper into his facet of legendary footballer, capable of changing the way of playing this sport, how he saved his life at the very last moment by not getting on the Torino plane that crashed in Superga, or how he was ten minutes away from signing for Real Madrid or enrolling in the Pirate League of Colombia, all of this in order to end being Barcelona's biggest icon... who ended playing for Espanyol.
We could add a season of adventures due to his incredible escape from communist Hungary. His journey through Italy with a football team, the Hungaria, of stateless people in which in addition to Hungarians also played Croats, Albanians, Romanians and Serbs who were looking for a life as good as they could get. One could also add to this the facet of the social phenomenon that dazzled a country during the dark years of Franco's regime by becoming a pop star, and end up with another season about the legends, real, invented or simply exaggerated, of his adventures in Barcelona's nightclubs.
Everything about Kubala is like a movie.

The legend of the escape.

Born in Budapest to a Hungarian man and a Slovakian woman, he always considered himself as both Hungarian and Slovakian, even when this republic was part of the now extinct Czechoslovakia. By the age of 20, Kubala was a football star known for his performances with Slovan Bratislava and Vasas Budapest. In fact, he had already been capped by Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Later, he would go on to play for Spain, and is still the only player to have been capped by three countries. But fed up with the system that was preventing him from developing his professional football career, he embarked on an escape proper of a movie to the West. He contacted a human trafficking organisation, a mafia that, in exchange for a large amount of money, facilitated a partial escape. As is now the case with criminals who gamble with the lives of people who want to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe or pass to the United States through the southern border, the smugglers did not secure anything. The last part of the journey depended on the luck and expertise of the escapees and often ended tragically.
"I remember that when I escaped from Hungary I was just a kid. The traffickers left us in the middle of a mountain to do the last stretch on foot. We were a large group. The adults gathered the children and gave us palinka. A liquor similar to brandy to get us drunk and fall asleep. A child's cry could alert the border guards patrolling the mountain. And they had orders to shoot to kill. The group split in two. My group was lucky and we were able to win the Austrian border. Once we were safe, we learned that the other group that had travelled with us and took another road was discovered and killed." The chilling story is that of Zoltan Czibor, the son of the former Barça player who tells how he had to flee Hungary with his family to join his father in Italy. The odyssey of Kubala, six years earlier, was mirrored.
The traffickers disguised Kubala as a Russian soldier and put him in a truck that would leave the escapees at an undetermined point in the mountains so that they could cross the border into Austria on their own. Kubala remembered that this journey scared him to death because unlike his comrades, he was a national celebrity and any soldier who checked the military truck would recognize him. He was endangering his life and the lives of those who accompanied him.
When they were left in the mountain on January 27, 1949, Kubala walked, and crossing a river helped by a tire that carried him, managed to reach Innsbuck, Austria, without any documentation. He was a stateless man starting from scratch.
In Austria he managed to sign with Pro Patria, a team from Milan, but he could only play friendly matches. His escape provoked the anger of the Hungarian regime, which denounced him and blocked his registration. Kubala had married Anna Daucik two years earlier, sister of Fernando Daucik, a veteran player of the era who would later become a famous coach. When Kubala fled, he left behind his family, whom he was unable to reunite with until six months later, when Anna was able to cross the border and meet Ladislao in Udine. He arrived with one more member of the family. A baby, her firstborn, whom Kubala did not yet know.
While he is irregularly enrolled in the Pro Patria, he gets the chance to sign with Torino, Italy's dominant team at the time. He is offered a trial match. Nothing better than a friendly match that Il Grande Torino had in Lisbon as a tribute to Xico Ferreira. However, when the Turin team's plane is about to take off, the president of Torino prevents Kubala from boarding because he fears a federal sanction. On the return flight, on 4 May 1949, the Fiat G 212 of Avio Linee Italiana crashed into the retaining wall of the Basilica of Superga due to the wind, poor visibility and an error in the altimeter of the aircraft. At 180 kilometres per hour and with a visibility of 40 metres, the pilot saw the stone wall of the basilica too late when he thought the plane was at 2,000 metres and was actually at 690 metres above sea level. The 31 people who were travelling in that aircraft died. Kubala had saved his life again.

The legend of Hungaria.

With no possibility of playing in Italy because the back then very powerful Italian Communist Party was pressing to prevent people fleeing from countries in the orbit of the USSR from taking refuge in Italy, Kubala had no choice but to form a team of stateless people who hired their services throughout Europe to play friendly matches against whoever hired them.
The team was called Hungaria, was managed by his brother-in-law Fernando Daucik and was mainly made up of Hungarians, although there were also players of other nationalities. It was made up of: Kis, Marik, Torok, Mogoy, Lami, Rákosi, Hrotko, Majteny, Nagy, Kubala, Otto, Licker, Turbeky, Monsider (Croatian), De Lorenzi (Albanian), Szegedi (Romanian) and Arangelovic (Serbian).
They played their first match against Italy's B team, but again pressure from the PCI forced them to play outside Italy. And that is how they arrived in Spain, hired by Santiago Bernabéu. On June 5, 1950, they faced Real Madrid in Chamartin, losing 4-2, but with a stellar performance by Kubala, who scored both of his team's goals. Three days later, they beat the Spanish team that was preparing for the World Cup in Brazil, where they came in fourth, 1-2 again with a great performance by Kubala, who received an offer from Real Madrid to be signed.
Kubala requires that to join the team, Madrid must also hire Daucik as a coach, something that Bernabéu does not agree to. The Madrid coach at that time was the Briton Keeping, a great connoisseur of WM tactics. Daucik is offered to train the Plus Ultra, a Madrid branch that plays in the third division. That negative and the federative problems that drags Kubala cause that Madrid becomes disinterested in his transfer, that was already agreed lacking of some fringes that turned out to be determinant.
The Hungaria moves two days later to Barcelona, where on June 10 plays against Espanyol losing 6-4 in a match with Pepe Samitier, the technical secretary of Barça, in the stands. It is necessary to emphasize that Hungaria had been playing three matches in five days with a very short team and without being able to make substitutions. Even so, Kubala amazes and Samitier does not mess around. Six days after that match, on 16 June 1950, at half past six in the evening, Kubala signed his three-year contract with Barça at the Pasaje Méndez Vigo. Obviously, with Fernando Daucik as coach. President Montal, Sr., signed him as an "amateur player" in order to avoid any trouble for the federation.
Real Madrid rages and is shocked. Pablo Hernández, general secretary of the white entity and Santiago Bernabéu's right hand, assures that Barça had broken a non-aggression pact between both teams and had hired a player with whom they were in talks. Samitier, who was unbeatable in the media, declares that he had been following Kubala for months and that the pact had not been broken because it referred only to players who played in Spanish teams. And Hungaria was not Spanish. In fact, it wasn't from anywhere.
But Kubala's problems didn't end there. He still didn't have a registration card or an international certificate. Vasas in Budapest and the Hungarian Federation had reported him to FIFA. Barça used the weak argument that since professionalism had been abolished in Hungary, any amateur player could choose his destiny. But the fight was not going to be so easy.
Barça, it is fair to say, had the total support of the regime and the Federation to carry out the transfer. At the level of anti-communist propaganda, Kubala was perfect. A young and extraordinary sportsman who fled from the red hell to take refuge in Franco's Spain was a candy too sweet to let go. Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation, rowed in favor of Barça as did Ricardo Cabot, secretary of the organization, who, in addition to his affection for the regime, was a well-known Barcelona supporter.
But the procedures were very slow and Kubala could only play friendly matches. He made his debut against Osasuna on 12 October, scoring two goals on the day the Barça fans knew instantly that they had just signed a star. Then he played against Zaragoza, Frankfurt twice, Girona and the Badalona. In six friendlies he scored 11 goals. The fans and the player himself were eager to meet in an official match. For all this, the Federation to play the role with FIFA fined Barça every time he lined up Kubala with the symbolic figure of 50 pesetas.
It is at this time that Kubala is about to leave everything and go away from Barça. He needed the money and wanted to play at the highest level and in Colombia he was offered the chance to do so. The South American country had organised the so-called Pirate League outside FIFA and many of the world's biggest stars joined, including Alfredo Di Stefano who went to Millonarios in Bogota. Kubala had a tempting offer from Atletico Bucaramanga. With the option of Kubala leaving, events accelerated. To begin with, Barça fixed his financial situation by means of a peculiar amateur contract in which they paid him 1,200 pesetas for "compensation" and 3,800 for "encouragement and overfeeding".
On April 2, 1951, he was granted the status of political refugee as a stateless person, which was a step towards granting him Spanish nationality. But for this step, Kubala first had to be converted to Catholicism through the sacrament of baptism. Every Spaniard had to be a Catholic. Kubala was baptized in Aguilas, Murcia, the birthplace of Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation. It is then when Barça, to avoid problems, settles its differences economically with Vasas, which despite being against capitalism accepts a payment of 300,000 pesetas to provide the transfer, while the Pro Patria, which also complained, is satisfied with 12 million lire.
The Kubala era could now really commence.

The legend on the field.

Kubala made his official debut with Barcelona in Sevilla in a cup match. The Sevillistas at that time were one of the best teams. Sevilla and Barça had developed in that period a great rivalry in the high places of the table. In 1946 Sevilla had stolen the possibility of winning the championship from Barça by drawing in Les Corts on the last day, in 1948 Barça beat the Sevillians in the final of the Eva Perón Cup (which would be the current Supercup) and in that campaign a Barça without Kubala had lost all its options to win La Liga after losing 4-0 in Nervión three days before the end of the season.
The Cup, by that time was played once the regular season was over and in those circumstances the official debut of Kubala took place. On April 29th in Nervion, Barça arrived to play against Sevilla in the middle of a difficult atmosphere. The Andalusians had lost the league in a dramatic outcome when they drew at home in the last match against Atletico Madrid with a refereeing performance that the locals judged scandalous. For further concern, the Federation allowed Kubala to line up with Barça in the first round of the Cup, which in Sevilla was taken as a surprise.
With the stadium full to the flag, Barcelona defeated Sevilla in an exhibition of Kubala. He wasn't just the best of the match but he showed Spain a way of playing football unthinkable until that time: chest controls, shots with curve, millimetric changes of play of 40 meters, protection of the ball with his back, use of the body in the shot and touches with the heel.
Domenech, Sevilla's attacker who was the direct protagonist of that match, explained years later how he remembered that day.
"It was something never seen before. Ramallets kicked it and he would receive her with his chest, or with either of his legs. If you tackled him he would dribble you in a brick. He'd put the ball where he wanted her. Besides, from time to time he changed with César, he'd be a center forward and César would be a midfielder. They drove us crazy. The anger of the people became clamours. We were witnessing something extraordinary. It was like going from black and white cinema to colour," explained the former Sevilla player. The Sevilla crowd, who had welcomed Barça and its new superstar with anger, ended up giving Kubala a standing ovation for every action as if they were watching a glorious bullfighting performance.
Kubala's actions on the field change football forever. Since there was no television, his exploits are reported orally. There is no other way to see it than to go to the field of Les Corts, which is packed for every game Barça plays as a local. It is a very common argument to say that Kubala forced Barça to build the Camp Nou because the old Les Corts was not enough to accommodate all the people who wanted to admire him. Maybe he had an influence, but as the journalist Frederic Porta, author of an interesting biography of Kubala (Kubala, l'heroi que va canviar la història del Barça. Ed. Saldonar) explains, "the truth is that Barça had already bought the land to build the Camp Nou two years before and the idea of making a bigger field already existed, but Kubala advanced everything and justified the change".
Blessed with brutal technique, a sensational strike of the ball and an unusual physical strength, Kubala changed football. He would throw free-kicks over the wall with curve or by making the ball bounce in front of the goalkeeper, he would take penalties (he was practically infallible) with what was later called paradinha and was credited with the Brazilians although he was the first in Europe to do so. Physically he was a bull. In his youth he had practiced boxing and if he didn't become a recognized fighter with a great career it was because he had short arms. His lower body was sensational. He had a butt and legs that allowed him to protect the ball like no one else. Frederic Porta says that "in his time of splendour they measured his thighs and each one had a circumference of 69 centimetres, which would be the waist of one of his companions". He was also capable of running the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. A total athlete with a very refined technique.
However, that physical strength and the confidence he had in her, for he never avoided a collision, were his downfall. Kubala became the target of a hunt by rival defenders. He never went into hiding and that's why in eleven years at Barcelona he suffered up to eleven injuries of some seriousness. With matches without television, the harshness that bordered on violence was the order of the day. He was being kicked to death.
But Barça was living its most golden period to date. Moreover, the club revolved around Kubala. Frederic Porta compares it with the present time: "Now they say that Messi commands the club and surely he commands, but nothing to do with the influence that Kubala had. Kubala was the boss and even the one who decided the transfers. And no one was surprised. That Barça adopted the socks with the horizontal stripes blaugrana is his imposition. He saw them on the rugby team, liked them and incorporated them into the football team by decree. In fact, it is he who insists on signing Luis Suarez when he impresses him in a match against Deportivo. Kubala was Suarez's first fan, but what happened in the stands, which was divided between Suaristas and Kubalistas, is another matter.
Suarez was eight years younger than Kubala. He arrived at Barcelona at the age of 19, Kubala was 27 and his physique was very punished by his injuries and the life he was living, as he did not deprive himself of anything. If he held out, it was because of privileged genetics.
Therefore, there never was a real competition between them, but there was a lot of influence here from the figure of Helenio Herrera, the Barça manager, who saw Kubala as older and slower and was looking forward to a quick change by the young Galician as the leader of the team. The debate reached the stands and the media. It was an absurd debate, because they didn't play in the same position, with whom Kubala really had a certain rivalry with Eulogio Martínez, who was the one with whom he alternated the position.
Kubala's physical problems were not only due to injuries. He had the whole of Spain in suspense when he suffered a tuberculosis that could have cost him his life. There are apocryphal versions that explain that this tuberculosis was actually a stab wound he suffered in a fight in a cheap pub in the fifth district (Barcelona's Chinatown) and he has to retire to Montseny to recover. Nobody is betting on his return to the pitch if he survives a "hole in the lung the size of a silver bullet" according to the chronicles of the time. But once again, Kubala's ability to survive prevails. He returns to the pitches, but already heavily punished and slowed down.
It is against this backdrop that the 1961 European Cup final arrives, with Kubala arriving at the age of 34 with a herniated disc that barely allows him to walk, but he wants to play. He knows that the club is going through a critical situation despite having reached the final of the maximum trophy for the first time: the club is bankrupt because of the construction of the Camp Nou, the fights in the board of directors are chaotic, Luis Suarez has signed for Inter (the one in Bern will be his last game with Barça), which was where Helenio Herrera had left the team in the hands of Enrique Orizaola.
Kubala tells Orizaola to line him up, that like all the Portuguese will go for him and he can barely move because of the back pain and will play with painkillers, it will give more opportunities to his teammates. But the match is a pile of misfortunes for Barcelona. Ramallets scores an own goal, Barça shoots three times to the damn square posts of the goals (from then on they would change their shape) even Kubala kicked a ball that hit a post, went through the goal line until it hit the other post and came out repelled. Barça lost and Kubala's time at Barcelona came to an end.

The man of the year.

Kubala's significance goes beyond the playing field. According to a vote made for Radio Barcelona by journalist Joaquín Soler Serrano in the mid-50s, the Catalans most loved by their fellow citizens were Doctor Barraquer and Ladislao Kubala.
"He was literally the most famous person in the city, people really venerated him, and even Messi's influence cannot be compared to that of Kubala in those years," explains Porta.
His life off the field was notorious. An unrepentant night owl, it was common to see him in Barcelona's fashionable coffee shops and nightclubs. He was a man who stood out. Alfredo Relaño defines him in some of his articles as "a demigod. Tall, strong, blond with blue eyes and an overflowing personality. He aroused the admiration of men and women alike. An idol". Frederic Porta sums it up with the argument that "he would be the sum of Messi and Beckham and on top of that, he would go out every night".
Faced with Kubala's disorganised life, the Barcelona management decided to set up a private detective agency to follow him at night. The reports of the detectives are still in the Centre de Documentació del FC Barcelona and Frederic Porta published them in the history magazine 'Sàpiens'. In them, he gives a detailed account of the nocturnal wanderings of "Mr. K.", the code name of the Blaugrana star in an exercise in absurd discretion. There is also a letter from a Sabadell businessman in the club's archives, expressing concern that Kubala and Czibor had been "found in a Sabadell establishment after 2.30 in the morning accompanied by some of those ladies who were once gentlemen, I don't know if you understand". What the businessman doesn't explain in the letter is what he was doing in the same place.
Kubala's fondness for drinking was no secret. Helenio Herrera explains in a television interview that "one day at an airport in customs they asked Kubala if he had anything to declare and he said two bottles of whisky. The official asked him to show them to him and he, laughing, touched his belly and said: 'X-ray, I have them inside'. On another occasion, in the same situation, but carrying the bottle in the bag, he was told to leave it at the airport because no alcoholic drinks were allowed to be taken on board. Neither shy nor lazy, he drank it in front of the astonished official.
The legends about the occasions when the night was made longer and he did not arrive at training sessions or matches were recurrent. In that case, he called on the services of Angel Mur Sr., the team masseur who knew where to find him. He would start a pilgrimage through the usual places or floors until he found him, took him to the changing room, gave him a cold shower, a coffee with salt, a massage and played. The fans forgave him everything and were aware that their star was a man of joyful life. But he never failed on the field. Among the crowd at the time there were comments about the Kubala ritual in those games that followed a busy night. "He started off badly, and vaguely, but the signal was when, ten minutes into the game, he rolled up his sleeves as if to say 'I'm here, let's start, I've already cleared off', and the machine started to work.
You can't find anyone in the world who speaks ill of Kubala. Absolutely no one. Everyone highlights his huge heart and that despite being by far the highest paid player of the time (he earned six times more than his teammates) he didn't have a no for anyone. His detachment from money was legendary.
As proof, the anecdote explained by his biographer Porta: "one day he arrived at the dressing room and commented that his car had been stolen and that in the glove compartment he was carrying an envelope with 200,000 pesetas, which was a fortune for the time (a good apartment could cost 130,000 pesetas). When his colleagues tried to encourage him, he simply said: someone who needs it more than I do must have taken it".
It was also usual for him to take off his coat and give it to a poor man who begged in Barcelona's winter, or to take in any Hungarian who came to Barcelona asking for help in his house in Carrer Duquesa d'Orleans. Kubala, remembering his times as a stateless refugee without papers, asked nothing. He would take them home and pay them a boat ticket to America. The motto among the refugees fleeing the Iron Curtain was that "if you get to Barcelona, look for Kubala, he will help you". He never failed.
Later, now retired, he set up a bar next to Czibor in Capitan Arenas Street, the mythical Kep Duna (blue Danube in Hungarian) that became an unofficial refugee reception centre that was monitored by the secret services of the United States, the USSR and the Spanish police. Something like the Rick's Café in the film Casablanca, but in the upper area of Barcelona.
He was the great character of Barcelona loved by all, but there was a moment when this was almost broken, strange as it may seem. It coincided with the defeat in Bern, when a part of the press came to write that "Barça must be de-Kubalized as the Soviet Union must be de-Stalinized" and, especially, when he signed for Espanyol. The earthquake was a huge one.

From the bench to Sarrià.

After the defeat in Bern's final, Kubala announced his retirement from the fields. He had taken the coaching course and was ranked number one in his class. He made a pact with the president Llaudet, who was also an interesting character as we will see, that in principle he would take charge of the footballers' school of the club and that in a couple of years he would be in charge of the first team.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is directed by Lluís Miró who faces a team in disarray. Suarez has been transferred to Inter in the worst decision in the club's history and myths such as Ramallets, Tejada and Czibor were in the decline of their careers. The season starts badly and after losing at Mestalla to Valencia by a humiliating 6-2 that forces the resignation of Miro. It was time for Kubala, who was promoted to the first team in front of the joy of the fans. And the project results from the beginning. The Barça of the second part of season 61-62 recovers in La Liga and finishes second (the distance with the white ones when Kubala arrived was almost insurmountable) and avenges the 6-2 of Mestalla beating Valencia in the Camp Nou 4-0.
Facing the next season, the 62-63, Kubala can make his team by giving painful drops of some of his former teammates as it is the case of Eulogio Martinez or Evaristo. One of Llaudet's reluctances to give Kubala the job of coach was that he would have to manage some of his former teammates.
The positive expectations about Kubala's first full project were frustrated at first when the Blaugrana team had to play the final of the Copa de Ferias against Valencia, the team that caused the fall of Miró and the promotion of Kubala. And the history, by rare that it seems, repeats: Valencia returns to him to put 6-2 to the Barça. The fans explode against the team. In the return match, obviously, there is nothing to do, but Llaudet's ability to self-flagellation has no limits. As Alfredo Relaño writes, the Blaugrana president calls a dinner with the press the day before the game and makes this statement that if it happened today would open all the news.
Llaudet, in front of the press and accompanied by the coach Kubala and Gràcia as captain, asks the fans to forgive him and announces changes in the protocol of the start of the second leg. "Valencia will go out first to receive the applause, then Barcelona, to receive the whistles. Then Kubala will come out, so he can get the thunders. And finally me, so that all the whistles fall on my person, because I am the barcelonist who loves the club the most and who is destined to die on the pitch, if necessary...". He ends his speech crying. As we can see, Gaspart didn't invent anything.
The match ended in a draw and Kubala's project as Barça's coach was doomed. The manager is fired in the middle of the season and then a bomb explodes in Barcelona. Kubala accepts the offer to return to the pitch, but not as a coach, will be as a player and nothing more and nothing less than in Espanyol, Barça's eternal rival.
On 3 September 1963 Espanyol, then Español, announced that Kubala would be hired as a player. At 36 years of age, he was capable of being competitive.
His decision divides the public opinion. On the one hand, Federico Gallo and Juan José Castillo support his decision, on the other hand, Carlos Pardo or Ibáñez Escofet shoot at him. They call him a "Jew who sells himself for a plate of beans", a "traitor" and they see political interests in his decision.
Kubala explains that he wanted to continue playing and that he saw himself capable of doing so, although he accepted that he was not at Barcelona's level. He had received offers from important clubs, including River Plate and Juventus, but he doesn't want to leave Barcelona, where he feels like another Barcelonian. The Espanyol meets his expectations.
His start of the season is not bad, on the contrary, he scores in his first two games, but the team doesn't work out. The coexistence between the veteran newcomer Kubala and the team's symbol, Argilés, is not easy. Scopelli is dismissed as coach and de facto command of the team is given to the two team leaders despite their differences. The crisis erupts when the Spaniard visits the Camp Nou. The periquitos lose by 5-0 in a match in which the Barcelona crowd booed Kubala who they are eager to humiliate with his new team. Even so, at the end of the match, Kubala has a gesture to his former team that shows that he does not hold any grudge against what he has heard from the stands. At the end of the match, he organizes his teammates to make the corridor to Barça applauding the rival in recognition of the exhibition made. That gesture feels bad among the Espanyol fans and among some of his teammates. Argilés does not make the corridor and goes straight to the changing rooms.
The following year, Kubala becomes a manager-player and among the departures that he causes, there is the one of Argilés, but by contrast, Di Stéfano arrives, also hurt by his bad exit from Madrid fighting against Bernabéu.
Di Stefano and Kubala are like brothers. Even though they haven't officially played together, they have a special chemistry. A friendship that is forged when the Argentinian is about to sign for Barcelona.
When Di Stéfano arrives in Barcelona to sign for Español, he stays first at the Avenida Palace Hotel, but after a month he is living in Kubala's house as one of the family. The children of both always maintained a relationship as if they were brothers.
One of the players under Kubala's command was Jose Maria Rodilla, one of the players who would soon form the famous 'Dolphins' forward line. At 80 years of age, Rodilla remembers Kubala.
"I have a wonderful memory of Kubala, I always had a special affection for him. Not in vain, he was the one who signed me for Espanyol", he remembers when answering the call of this newspaper to which he confesses that* "normally I do not make declarations, but to speak about Kubala I do whatever is needed"*.
Rodilla, former teammate at Espanyol, has clear that "he was the best player in the world in terms of technique. Di Stéfano was the best footballer, but he didn't have his technique. Alfredo was more intense and more player of the whole field, but he could not do things that Kubala did"
Those who had the privilege of playing with both of them remember that "for example, Di Stefano wouldn't leave you alone for a minute, he was all over you and the fights were intense, but he always set an example, he never asked you for anything that he didn't do. Kubala was more paternalistic and tolerant. For example, he would ask us to do as he did in training, and while sitting down he would be able to make 3,000 touches on the ball without dropping it. Only he could do that."
Rodilla adds a story that explains Kubala's quality as a player-coach at the age of 38: "We went to play a friendly at Amposta and they called a foul on the edge of the box. Kubala takes the ball and whacks it into the corner. The referee made him repeat it because someone had moved or I don't know what. Kubala takes the ball and wham, back to the square. And the referee tells him that he has to repeat. That day Kubala got angry and left the field."
Rodilla recalls that Kubala's move from Barça to Espanyol created controversy in the city, but that he was oblivious to it. "He was still a magnificent person, I never heard him say a bad word against anyone. He never got into an argument, he was goodness personified, he was unlucky in his time as a coach, but as a coach he is one of the best I've ever had, with a great love for young players and always trying to help you improve."

Boys well, optimal morale.

He extended his playing career for a couple more years by playing for Zurich and even trying out the American adventure at the Toronto Falcons, where he coincides with Branko and Daucik's son. At the age of 40 he played 19 games and scored 5 goals.
In 1968 he returned to Spain and trained the Córdoba team for a short period of time until he was called up to the national team. Kubala will manage the Spanish team until 1980, when he signs for Barcelona again as a coach.
Kubala's debut with Spain was, once again, a propaganda match for the regime. It was played in the Estadio de la Línea de la Concepción against Finland and Spain beat their rivals 6-0 in a match that was no longer useful. Spain had missed out on qualifying for the Mexico '70 World Cup, but the idea of that game was to showcase a great field that could be seen from Gibraltar as if to give jealousy to those in the Rock for the sports culture of Spain. Dictatorship things.
It's true that at that time Spain was struggling more than anything else on the international scene. It did not qualify for the 1974 World Cup because of Katalinski's goal in the play-off match in Frankfurt, and in both the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship the team fell in the first round, but there is still no one from that era who will make a judgement against Kubala.
"Kubala, one ahead of his time. No doubt he had a lot to do with his past as a footballer. And not just like any other player, like the best! I remember him always saying to me: 'Ruben, you have to get out of the way on the other side of the ball. Look for the space, not the ball. The goal I scored in Yugoslavia has to do with everything he taught me," he told Fermin de la Calle in an interview with AS Ruben Cano, the hero of the famous 'Battle of Belgrade' in the match that took Spain to the World Cup in Argentina. Yes, the one with the goal by Cardeñosa that could have changed Kubala's record with the national team.
He did a lot to improve Spanish football and his idea regarding the incorporation of foreigners to improve the level of Spanish football was key in the future development of the Spanish competitive level.
His players remember him as a didactic person, tactically bold and very close. At a time when fury was the hallmark of the game, Kubala never forgot that he was the heir to the Magyar tradition of the Honved and the Hungary who, by moving the ball, shocked the world the day they destroyed England at Wembley 3-6.
For the average football fan, Kubala may have been a half-hearted coach who embodied an era of the national team in which nothing was won, as has been the case most of the time, and he became popular for his expressions that would now be meme material on social networks. The national team was known as the 'Kubala boys' and the coach's catchphrase before the matches saying "boys well, optimal morale" was the fashionable phrase in the coffee shops of the 70s in Spain.
But among his colleagues, Kubala still deserved reverential respect. "The first goal was authentically Latin, cunningly scored and perfectly studied. I can only congratulate Kubala on his previous tactical work," said German boss Helmut Schön after facing and losing to Spain in a friendly in which the recent world semi-finalist and next world champion fell to the Kubala boys at the Sanchez Pizjuan with two strategic goals from Arieta. Yes, Arieta against Müller. Seeler, Beckembauer, Maier, Netzer and company.
He left the national team in 1980 to join Barça as the coach of Núñez's second project in an operation that was the prelude to what would happen in the World Cup in Russia with Lopetegui. Kubala committed to Barça while he was coach and tried to alternate functions, but Porta refused. Finally, on 8 June 1980, four days before the start of the European Championship, Kubala signed for the Blaugrana team, which he would join after the European Championship.
His second spell at the head of Barça did not go well either and he was dismissed mid-season. He continued his adventure on the bench as coach of Saudi Arabia (in that he was also a pioneer), training Malaga and the Paraguayan national team before retiring from football on the bench of Elche.
He spent his final years in Barcelona as active as ever. Playing with Barça veterans, helping his teammates, not having a no for anyone and playing tennis every day or going for a run or cycling routes exhibiting an enviable physical condition.
Until the light of genius and the glory faded away 18 years ago. A degenerative brain disease put an end to the adventure, but not to the legend of a world football myth. An icon that changed the lives of so many people that they wouldn't fit even in a stadium.
The coffin with the mortal remains of Kubala was carried on shoulders, amidst the applause of the fans who gathered at the doors of the church of Santa Tecla, by Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gustau Biosca, Eduardo Manchón, Estanislao Basora, Joan Segarra, Josep Bartomeu, Luis Suárez, Antoni Ramallets and Gonzalvo III.
He rests in the cemetery of Les Corts, next to the Camp Nou because that is what he left written in his will, while Serrat sang to him about how...
...Pelé was Pelé and Maradona was the one and that's it. Di Stéfano was a pit of mischief. Honour and glory to those who made the sun shine on our football. Everyone has his merits; to each his own, but for me none is like Kubala. Respectable silence is requested, for those who haven't enjoyed him, I'll say four things: he stops it with his head, he drops it on with his chest, he sleeps it off with his left, crosses the pitch with the ball attached to the boot, leaves the midfield and enters the box showing the ball, hides it with his body, pushes with his ass and gets in with his heels. He pisses on the centerback with a dedicated piece. and touches her gently to put her on the path to glory.

by Santi Gimenez for AS.com (2020)

submitted by LordVelaryon to soccer [link] [comments]

2019/20 Italian Superlega - match week 23 recap (the end?)

SUMMARY
It is strange to write about Italian volleyball these days. The previous week was postponed to an undefined date, while this week 6 matches were supposed to be played behind closed doors. I wrote “supposed to” because Milano vs Padova and Piacenza vs Sora have been suspended at the last minute because some people showed the COVID-19 symptoms. It has been recently confirmed, though, that all those who showed such symptoms have been tested for the virus and all of them turned out negative. Still, the other 4 matches took place, albeit with a very strange atmosphere. One of them, in particular, was a big match.
I’m talking, of course, about the one between Lube and Trento. It was the direct re-match of the Italian Cup semifinal that took place just 3 weeks before, but, this time, Trento had one more weapon, as Kovacevic was considered fit enough to start by Lorenzetti. De Giorgi opted for his usual lineup, with Anzani in the middle with Simon. The Serbian OH wanted to show immediately how fundamental is presence is in Trento’s team and scored 9 points in the 1st set alone. Lube trailed pretty much all set long and the guests took it (22-25, 0-1). In the 2nd set, Trento unleashed its fury from the line (5 aces). The Alps guys took a comfortable lead (13-18), Lube tried to catch up (19-21), but another ace (Lisinac) secured one point for Trento (21-25). De Giorgi sent Diamantini in for Anzani and, just like in Italian Cup, the momentum completely shifted. Lube mauled Trento (25-18, 1-2) and the guests went from 70% kills in the 2nd to 26% (13% efficiency) in the 3rd. Trento didn’t want the game to end like the last time and went up 10-12 in the 4th. D’Hulst went in and the move paid dividends (23-18). An ace by Giannelli and a block by Michieletto brought Trento closer (23-21), but not enough to avoid tie break (25-22, 2-2). In the 5th, Trento got the first break (4-6) and kept the lead until the court switch (6-8), then Lube scored 3 consecutive blocks and changed the leader (11-9). Lisinac tied it (11-11), but Giannelli made a crucial error, setting a clutch ball to Vettori, who got blocked by Leal (13-11). Nobody scored a break point since then and, just like in Italian Cup, Lube completed the comeback (15-13, 3-2). This was the n-th time this season in which Trento went very close to get a nice result but then choked badly. Despite being the team with the most blocks in Superlega, they got out-blocked 14-8 by Lube, going 12-5 in the last 3 sets. They finished with 40% kills, but, if you remove that 70% anomaly in the 2nd, the result is lower than 35%. Yes, they out-aced Lube 3-8, but, as I wrote, 5 of them where scored in the 2nd set alone and, despite this 5 aces differential, the reception stats were not that different (47%-40% positives, 13%-16% perfect). Kovacevic (24 points, 40% kills, 2 aces, 1 block, 5 blocked spikes) had a huge start but, when his performance went down, it dragged the whole team with him. Trento’s poor reception limited Lisinac’s use on offense (8 points, 50% kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks) and neither Russell (19 points, 43% kills, 3% reception efficiency, 2 aces, 1 block) nor Vettori (14 points, 35% kills, 1 ace, 5 blocked spikes) could compensate for that. Lube, instead, showed how deep and useful his bench is. Diamantini went in for Anzani and made a huge contribution with 4 blocks. D’Hulst briefly subbed Bruno and put Trento in an unforeseen situation. The starters did the rest, particularly Leal (25 points, 59% kills, 3 blocks), who redeemed himself from the bad game in the Italian Cup. Simon (12 points, 73% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks) was a factor despite the bad reception and Rychlicki (18 points, 44% kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks) is showing that he belongs in a team like Lube. Still, despite this great comeback, Lube lost 1 point and now Perugia (on bye) is only 2 points away, with the direct matchup coming up next.
The second most interesting match of the week was played in Modena, where the local team hosted Monza. I bet that, before the season started, most people would have thought that this could have been a proper “big match”, but, as you know if you followed Superlega this year, Monza has been a pretty big disappointment. Since even their playoff qualification is at risk, the guests absolutely needed to score points. Of course, Modena wanted to win as well, in order to shake off the Italian Cup delusion and to keep pursuing Lube and Perugia. No surprises in the lineups. Modena started really strong, mauling Monza and going up 2-0 in about 45’ (25-16, 25-18). The guests, who attacked with 36% kills in the first 2, kept a sloppy offense in the 3rd (41%) but compensated with 4 aces (3 in the first 6 points) and 3 blocks. They immediately went up 1-6 and, despite Modena catching up a few times, they managed to snatch this set (23-25, 2-1). The 4th set started with great balance (12-12), then an ace by Zaytsev gave Modena the first +2 lead of the set (15-13). Louati was on fire (16-16), but Dzavoronok was forced to leave the game for a sore ankle, forcing Soli to send Sedlacek in. Not a great start for the Croatian OH, who got blocked twice in a row by Christenson (19-16). Kurek blocked Zaytsev but then Mazzone returned the favor and Bednorz closed it (25-21, 3-1). In the first 2 sets, Modena seemed back to their best days, nuking from the line (4 aces, 6 errors forced, 0% reception efficiency for Monza) and attacking with high efficacy (57% kills). From the 3rd set onwards, though, they almost did a Trento, with less effective serving (3 aces, 20% reception efficiency for Monza) and less deadly break phase. Still, they managed to get 3 points, also because they started blocking hard (13, 8 in the last 2 sets). Bednorz (19 points, 67% kills, 83% positive reception, 3 blocks) probably wanted to do well in front of his longtime idol Kurek, and Zaytsev (18 points, 56% kills, 3 aces) broke havoc from the line, with also an ace off the roof. Holt (11 points, 64% kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks) confirmed his good form and Anderson (10 points, 33% kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks) his sloppy one, despite him being a constant threat from the line. The MVP went to Christenson, who is having a superb 2020 so far, despite that only, heavy exception in the Italian Cup. Monza was, well, the usual Monza, with neither Kurek (7 points, 29% kills, 2 blocks) nor Dzavoronok (13 points, 39% kills, -10% reception efficiency, 1 block, 5 blocked spikes) able to perform at their expected level. Louati’s big night (22 points, 52% kills, 5 aces, 1 block) was not enough, but if he keeps playing like that (44 points and 9 aces in the last 2 games) his team might be able to reach playoffs and, with the possible addition of Tine Urnaut, they could be a threat for anyone.
Ravenna and Vibo faced each other, both hungry for points, albeit for different reasons. The guests started strong (0-3), but the hosts caught up immediately (8-7). Vernon-Evans took charge and Ravenna got the 1st (25-20, 1-0). A stronger start by Vibo in the 2nd (0-6), but, once again, the Canadian OPP unleashed his fury and Ravenna overtook (12-11). On 19-17, Vibo found back the lost energy, caught up (24-24), and an ace by Abouba tied the match (24-26, 1-1). Alonso in for Grozdanov and N'gapeth in for Carle. The 3rd set was very balanced until 11-10, when Vibo placed a deadly 0-8 break despite Bonitta calling 2 time outs and sending Recine in for Ter Horst. On 12-21, Ravenna tried to shake things up with 3 consecutive blocks, but it was too little too late (18-25, 1-2, 6 blocks for Vibo). Recine stayed up and Grozdanov went back in for Cortesia. The young Italian OH played an incredible set (9 points, 80% kills, 60% positive reception) and sent the game to tie break (25-22, 2-2). After the initial breaks (0-2, 4-2), the 5th set went on very balanced until 13-13, when an ace by Recine and a counter attack by Lavia gave Ravenna the win (15-13, 3-2). This probably wasn’t a beautiful game (no teams reached 50% kills in any set, 58 aggregate errors), but it surely was an intense one (13 blocks each). Ter Horst has arguably been Ravenna’s best player this season, but he really played bad in this game (5 points, 31% kills). Luckily for the hosts, Recine went in and absolutely changed the game (16 points, 67% kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks), deserving the MVP trophy. Also, Vernon-Evans was in one of those nights (28 points, 48% kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks) and Grozdanov contributed with 5 blocks. Vibo went this close to getting important points, but they still managed to bring one home in a very tough court. Abouba (25 points, 43% kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks) engaged a nice battle with Vernon-Evans, and Chinenyeze (14 points, 59% kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks) did his best to support him. Unfortunately for Vibo, the 3 OHs that alternated on the court ended with an aggregate of 23 points and less than 33% kills.
Finally, a similar match happened in Cisterna, where Latina and Verona were looking for heavy points to reach the seasonal goals. Tubertini preferred Palacios over Karlitzek, while Stoychev reunited with his beloved Kaziyski, sacrificing Asparuhov in the process. The home team started strong (8-5) and even reached +5 (15-10), but Verona caught up (20-20) and Latina became sloppy on clutch moments. On 20-21, Szwarc missed a slash while Kaziyski didn’t miss the counter attack (20-22). On 22-23, Patry missed the serve, while Verona closed the set with their first chance (22-25, 0-1). The 2nd set was a very tough one, with no team able to gain a +2 lead on their opponents until the very end, when Patry’s 8th point turned the first set ball into a set point (25-23, 1-1). The 3rd set looked like a carbon copy of the 1st, with Latina going up 19-13, then Muagututia going to the line and generating a 0-8 break (19-21). Palacios finally halted the American’s serving turn and restored the balance with an ace (21-21). The set went over 24-24 but Latina ultimately got it (27-25, 2-1). Verona didn’t want to leave any more points on the ground and took a nice lead in the 4th (15-20), then Onwuelo went in as pinch server, scored 2 aces and a bic and almost tied the set (19-20). Unfortunately for Latina, Boyer took charge, Verona scored a 1-5 break, banked one point and sent everyone to tie break (20-25, 2-2). In the 5th, despite some lead changes, nobody was able to gain a +2 lead until 12-12, when Kaziyski’s experience gave Verona the last point available (12-15, 2-3). That was another intense game that ended up like the previous one, with the team fighting for playoffs gaining 2 points and the one fighting to avoid relegation getting 1. It was surely a better played one, with higher kill % (Verona even finished tie break with 77% kills) but lots of errors as well (57). Kaziyski’s 5th stint in Superlega started great (23 points, 51% kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks) and Boyer probably benefited as well (25 points, 48% kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks), while his former Trento teammate Solé contributed with 4 blocks. Patry (24 points, 49% kills) and Van Garderen (22 points, 51% kills, 2 aces) were not enough for Latina.
Now what? Good question. The recent measures for containing the coronavirus outbreak halted all pro championships in Italy at least until April, so, at the moment, nobody even knows if this season will ever see an ending. There were also rumors about some foreign players packing up and leaving, but with the current travel restrictions it’s very unlikely. Even if Superlega will be able to restart, though, the arrivals of Kubiak in Modena and Urnaut in Monza are now in jeopardy. I will keep you updated in case something relevant happens.

RESULTS AND SCORESHEETS
Lube Civitanova 3-2 Trentino Volley (22-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-13)
Lube: Bruno 3, Juantorena 12, Anzani, Rychlicki 18, Leal 25, Simon 12, Marchisio (L), Diamantini 9, Balaso (L), D’Hulst, Massari, Kovar, Bieniek.
Trento: Giannelli 5, Russell 19, Candellaro 1, Vettori 14, Kovacevic 24, Lisinac 8, Grebennikov (L), Cebulj, Codarin, Michieletto 2.
MVP: Yoandy Leal (Civitanova)

Modena Volley 3-1 Vero Volley Monza (25-16, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21)
Modena: Christenson 5, Anderson 10, Holt 11, Zaytsev 18, Bednorz 19, Mazzone 6, Rossini (L), Salsi.
Monza: Orduna, Louati 22, Galassi 2, Kurek 7, Dzavoronok 13, Yosifov 6, Buchegger 2, Goi (L), Sedlacek, Beretta 3.
MVP: Micah Christenson (Modena)

Top Volley Latina 2-3 Blu Volley Verona (22-25, 25-23, 27-25, 20-25, 12-15)
Latina: Sottile, Palacios 18, Szwarc 10, Patry 24, Van Garderen 22, Rossi 7, Cavaccini (L), Karlitzek, Peslac, Elia, Onwuelo 3.
Verona: Spirito 3, Muagututia 10, Solé 11, Boyer 25, Kaziyski 23, Birarelli 8, Kluth, Bonami (L), Marretta.
MVP: Matey Kaziyski (Verona)

Porto Robur Costa Ravenna 3-2 Callipo Vibo Valentia (25-20, 24-26, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13)
Ravenna: Saitta 2, Lavia 13, Cortesia 4, Vernon-Evans 28, Ter Horst 5, Grozdanov 8, Recine 16, Batak, Kovacic (L), Stefani, Cavuto, Alonso 6.
Vibo: Baranowicz 2, Defalco 12, Chinenyeze 14, Aboubacar Neto 25, Carle 2, Mengozzi 9, Rizzo (L), Hirsch, Vitelli, N’gapeth 9, Pierotti.
MVP: Francesco Recine (Ravenna)

STANDINGS
Civitanova (18-2) – 53\*
Modena (17-4) – 52\*
Perugia (18-2) – 51\*
Trento (15-6) – 45\*
Milano (12-7) – 36\*
Ravenna (9-12) – 26
Padova (8-11) – 25
Verona (8-12) – 24
Monza (7-13) – 23
Piacenza (7-12) – 18
Latina (5-15), Vibo (5-15) – 16
Sora (1-19) – 5
*clinched playoff berth

TABOOS
Civitanova never lost 3-0
Perugia never lost a tie break
Modena never won a tie break
Trento never lost 3-0
Sora never won 3-1 or 3-2

STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS
Points (match day): Sharone Vernon-Evans (Ravenna) – 28
Points (Superlega): Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Milano) – 458
Points per set: Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Milano) – 6.64
Aces (match day): Yacine Louati (Monza) – 5
Aces (Superlega): Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Milano) – 54
Aces per set: Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Milano) – 0.78
Blocks (match day): Aleks Grozdanov (Ravenna) – 5
Blocks (Superlega): Srecko Lisinac (Trento) – 56
Blocks per set: Robertlandy Simon (Civitanova) – 0.69
Most times MVP: Nimir Abdel-Aziz (Milano) – 9

STATISTICAL LEADERS – TEAMS
Kill % (match day): Modena – 53 %
Kill % (Superlega): Modena – 54.3 %
Aces (match day): Trento, Latina – 8
Total aces: Modena – 166
Aces/set: Modena – 2.24
Blocks (match day): Civitanova, Verona – 14
Total blocks: Trento – 194
Blocks/set: Civitanova – 2.49

NEXT ROUND (????)
Perugia – Civitanova
Verona – Modena
Piacenza – Milano
Sora – Monza
Padova – Ravenna
Vibo – Latina
BYE: Trento
submitted by tommyblizzard to volleyball [link] [comments]

Augustus Patch

Hello!
...and goodbye.
-Gxp
(bet you weren't expecting that, were you?)

Additions

Balance & Tweaks

Fixes

As always, feel free to send us your commentary and handwritten love notes via Discord, Steam and even here if you really want to. See you there!
submitted by Roadto56 to RoadTo56 [link] [comments]

Semi Final 1 Pre-Rehearsals Power Rankings

Rehearsal season is around the corner and we are hours away from the most important flow of information for the season: Rehearsals. Today's reality and odds board might be old history in a few days time with new competitors emerging and favorites disappointing.
So far I have spent most of the posts on the technical part of the contest and saw that this was something that was missing. My next few posts will focus on what I am expecting to see the next few days and will try to analyze the pros and cons of each song. I will review my power rankings again the days of the two Semi Finals and will start giving my first tips for the year at a certain point this weekend.
These are my personal thoughts and will try to present as many arguments possible. Feel free to disagree or argue with me. Once again grab your popcorn and enjoy.
1. Greece
Televoting: 1 - Juries: 1
Odds: Q 1.06 (exchange market), Q:1.05 -NQ: 9.00 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 3.00 (exchange) - 3.50 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Is one of the most interesting projects and has support both from fans and juries.
The most interesting Greek presence since 2013 with many allies on the semi.
Ideal running order
Will not qualify because...
Katerine keeps struggling with her vocals and the Greek delegation decides to stage an avant garde mess that leaves Juries and public indifferent.
Personal opinion: A sleeper so far that can step up if Katerine manages to control her vocals!
2. Cyprus
Televoting: 3 - Juries: 2
Odds: Q 1.05 (exchange market), Q:1.04 -NQ: 10.00 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 4.30 (exchange) - 3.50 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
It is the uplifting track of the semi.
Enough allies to support it
They have created a momentum the last 3-4 years
Will not qualify because...
Everybody thinks that is Fuego 2.0 and Cypriots did not even try to change it a bit
The contest is not transmitted for technical reasons to the Balkan region and Cyprus gets only a few points here and there by some western countries.
Personal opinion: Τhings in the final will be tougher but this is Cyprus' chance to build a momentum at the easiest Semi of the year.
3. Iceland
Televoting: 2 - Juries: 4
Odds: Q 1.13 (exchange market), Q:1.08 -NQ: 7.00 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 5.40 (exchange) - 5.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Will create the buzz needed and will be the talk of the town for the day and probably for the week.
We need more countries sending artistic projects to the contest
Will not qualify because...
Televoters and Juries find it too aggressive
Hattari perform BDSM sex acts on stage and EBU disrupts the airing and bans the song.
Mosad arrests Hattari upon arrival on Israel.
Personal opinion: Sailing to the final. One of the dark horses of the contest.
4. Serbia
Televoting: 5 - Juries: 3
Odds: Q 1.45 (exchange market), Q:1.33 -NQ: 3.25 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 70.00 (exchange) - 101 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Europe decides that has missed the classic Serbian ballads and starts a petition for Jeliko Joksimovic to return to the contest.
Enough Ortodox and ex Jugoslavian brothers to the Semi to give some support.
Good running order
Will not qualify because...
One more time Serbia fails to engage Juries and Televoters, ex Jugoslavian juries give them 0 points and they miss the final for a point.
Nevena wears something provocative that it is too much for a family show.
Personal opinion: On my first analysis for the semi a few weeks back i had the impression that Serbia will struggle to qualify, but the semi is friendly enough to give the boost needed and juries will definitely give some love as well.
5. Czechia
Televoting: 4 - Juries: 7
Odds: Q 1.31 (exchange market), Q:1.28 -NQ: 3.50 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 34.00 (exchange) - 26.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
A friend of a friend of a friend will vote for it.
The amateurish style that is televoting friendly and the coolness of the song are enough.
Will not qualify because...
This guy looks cool enough and I (the male televoter) don't like the guys that look cooler than me - I (the female televoter) find him too cocky and arrogant.
Czechia's bad history or lack of experience on staging.
Personal opinion: I personally don't like it, but who am I to judge a Eurovision entry? With a second half draw is a potential Top-10 finisher.
Betting wise: That 34.00 (26.00) Semi winner is a nice fun bet for a few units.
6. Portugal
Televoting: 6 - Juries: 5
Odds: Q 1.64 (exchange market), Q:1.53 -NQ: 2.37 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 16.00 (exchange) - 11.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
If Hattari can make it, why not Osiris? Brings something fresh to the contest.
Every spectator has a mobile phone and can relate to the verses of the song, if he/she/it can understand them ( Commentators please explain the meaning of the title! You did it for Hattari)
Osiris realized that needs to do something for the staging and hired an external team to help.
Will not qualify because...
Stop the madness!
The dancer breaks his ribs in the middle of the song and the staging becomes more messy.
Nike does not allow the song to be linked to their shoes and call for a boycott.
Personal opinion: Staging is the key but i do think that they will qualify one way or the other. The staging is the main focus
7. Slovenia
Televoting: 7 - Juries: 8
Odds: Q 1.36 (exchange market), Q:1.28 -NQ: 3.55 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 19.00 (exchange) - 9.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
These guys are the continuation of Lithuania 2018. If she did it they can do it.
No make up, no complex staging just looking at each other. Keep it simple.
Juries and teens will love it.
Will not qualify because...
Televoters have fallen asleep after the first minute and woke up when Australia was on stage because of Kate Miller's shouting.
Personal opinion: One of my personal favorites this year. Has the potential to be the song that from nowhere finished 5th-6th in the final.
8. Belgium
Televoting: 8 - Juries: 10
Odds: Q 1.56 (exchange market), Q:1.50 -NQ: 2.50 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 24.00 (exchange) - 21.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
The Wallonnes know how to do it and have Top-10 Final rankings since 2013.
The quality of the song is enough for this slightly weak semi.
Jury magnet and definitely teen friendly.
Will not qualify because...
Something is off like last year and fails to engage with the public.
Eliot is shaky with his vocals.
Personal opinion: It will be marginal. Needs to be as close to Top-10 in both constituencies.
9. Hungary
Televoting: 10 - Juries: 9
Odds: Q 1.33 (exchange market), Q:1.25 -NQ: 3.75 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 29.00 (exchange) - 26.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Josi Papai has a charisma and people know him!
The quality of the song is enought to carry it to the final.
Will score better than Origo with the Juries
Hungary has 9 straight qualifications to the final and currently holds the longest streak!
Will not qualify because...
Will score worse with the Televoters than Origo.
Returning artists usually fail on the second time.
Personal opinion: After the first 6-7 spots, we have an open semi and Hungary has the know how to stage its songs.
10. Australia
Televoting: 13 - Juries: 6
Odds: Q 1.44 (exchange market), Q:1.36 -NQ: 3.00 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 19.00 (exchange) - 15.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
The love between Australia and Juries will last forever.
Aussies produce an amazing staging for their song.
Vocal abilities of Kate.
Will not qualify because...
Pop opera is not Europe's cup of tea! The joke has to stop.
This is the weakest so far Australian song and will struggle.
Personal opinion: Looking forward for the first rehearsal to see if there is some value at that NQ @3.00
11. Poland
Televoting: 9 - Juries: 11
Odds: Q 1.68 (exchange market), Q:1.57 -NQ: 2.25 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 100.00 (exchange) - 101 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Polish diaspora does it again. A song that will definitely motivate Poles to vote for it.
Juries for the forst time after many years give Poland a Top-10 finish with them.
Will not qualify because...
Most of the allies are on the other semi.
Too many novelty participants and Poland is the first in line.
Personal opinion: Not written off but will be marginal either way.
12. Estonia
Televoting: 12 - Juries: 12
Odds: Q 1.59 (exchange market), Q:1.44 -NQ: 2.62 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 34.00 (exchange) - 29.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Having a Swedish singer when the producer of the show is Swedish and is the one responsible for the staging of Storm says it all.
Will be the Calm between the Storm after Iceland and before Portugal
Will not qualify because...
Will look way to bland with all that madness around it.
Was there a song after Iceland and before Portugal? When?
Personal opinion: That 2.62 looks tasty!!!
13. Finland
Televoting: 15 - Juries: 13
Odds: Q 6.60 (exchange market), Q:4.50 -NQ: 1.16 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 70.00 (exchange) - 67.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
A campaign called Bring Back the 90's House Music goes viral a few hours before the semi final.
Darude fans vote massively.
Will not qualify because...
Would struggle to be a Top-10 in 1998 and cannot see how it can do better 20 years after its time.
Remember what happened to DJ Bobo, Las Ketchup, Cascada...
Personal opinion: I am impressed that ended so high on my power rankings!
14. San Marino
Televoting: 11 - Juries: 17
Odds: Q 2.88 (exchange market), Q: 2.37 -NQ: 1.53 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 100.00 (exchange) - 151.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Fans of the contest love Serhat and this is a classic cult/kitch reminder of the late 90's early 00's.
Everyone can sing along Say Na Na Na
Pimp slot is a huge favor for them. San Marino needs to stay to the contest.
Will not qualify because...
Juries will kill it and won't do any favors to Serhat's vocals.
Slavko didn't make it back in 2017 and Serhat finished 12th but with a double score from the 10th spot.
Personal opinion: Will have a similar to Latvia's result in 2017 that had great odds for NQ just because of the pimp slot but finished last. Anything more than 1.70 for NQ is value for me!
15. Belarus
Televoting: 14 - Juries: 16
Odds: Q 3.05 (exchange market), Q:2.75 -NQ: 1.40 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 90.00 (exchange) - 81.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
Backing singers and dancers lift the song to a different level.
Russia decides to help the brothers from Belarus and hacks the televoting or takes the jurors of certain countries as hostages and sends doppelgangers in their place that vote for Belarus...
Will not qualify because...
The song is going nowhere with the Juries and will be difficult to finish in the Top-10 with televoting.
Personal opinion: Hopeless...
16. Montenegro
Televoting: 16 - Juries: 14
Odds: Q 11.00 (exchange market), Q:7.00 -NQ: 1.08 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 270.00 (exchange) - 151.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
All the other artists had a food poisoning and failed to show up for the Semi.
Will form a dodgy jury coalition with the other poor performers and thanks to the jury scores and some neighbor votes will qualify as 10th.
Will not qualify because...
This is a very poor try from Montenegro and even on a weak Semi this looks destined to fail.
Personal opinion: Montenegro has to find a different formula for its selection process!
17. Georgia
Televoting: 17 - Juries: 15
Odds: Q 6.80 (exchange market), Q:5.50 -NQ: 1.12 (betting site)
Semi Winner: 180.00 (exchange) - 151.00 (betting site)
Will qualify because...
It has some allies that can secure a few jury and televoting points.
Will not qualify because...
Too aggressive, too messy, too shouty...
Personal opinion: Might avoid the last place but that is the only goal for this year.
And that's it for Semi Final 1. I am curious to see how this post will look like in 10 days time. Let me know your thoughts and stay tunned for the next posts.

More posts available in eurovisionbetsandpieces.blogspot.com
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Which ideological bloc is best positioned to win the 2nd Weltkrieg? A military and geopolitical analysis of Europe Part 2

Hello Kaiserreich! The amount of interest in the first version of this post was surprising and awesome to see. So I'd like to thank all of you for reading and encouraging me to continue.
It happened lads. We hit the word barrier. Not only did we hit the word barrier, but part 2 alone hit the word barrier. Comments have 1/4th the word limit of posts so I have no real choice but to split the post, otherwise there'd be a chain of like 80 comments. So anyway, here's part two of part two (lol).
Click here for part two
So I way underestimated just how much goes into this, it took like 2 hours just to get through Germany's section in part 2. I'm trying to make sure I don't miss anything or give either side an unfair advantage that they shouldn't have. It also doesn't help that I'm off the reservation now, pretty far removed from the focuses and event of the mod. Once again, let me know what you think at the end and feel free to ask questions. I'd also like to know what you guys think of the little narrative bits I threw in. If you hate them and think they're unnecessary/just bad let me know, I'll axe them. Part 3 which is the war itself will be out tomorrow, I can guarantee that. It's looking like there is a desire for a part 4 which covers the aftermath as well, I'll do that after everything else is done.
As a side note, it may seem after going through part 2 that the situation for the Internationale and Russia is a bit bleak. Not to worry, the war is very much a 2 sided affair and the victory is very much pyrrhic. While I now know who will be coming out on top it is close enough that I wasn't sure until I got about halfway through part 3.
As with the first post, this will be an exceptionally long block of text, but this time much larger than the average dev diary in size as it now includes an amended part 1 (the buildup) as well as part 2 (the war setup and details on the major players). I've made quite a few changes (some from suggestions and corrections in the comments, others I've changed as new info appeared) to part 1 so I'd recommend going through it again, but if you don't want to reread all of that (understandable) then just skip to the comments section. Just scroll down and you'll see it. That said, read the amended rules of this scenario before you go. If you don't feel like pouring through all this the tldr has been moved to the part 2 section (see above).
The last few days I have seen a few threads asking if there is a "canon" ending for the 2nd Weltkrieg or who the community believes is best positioned to win (ie Sternberg). Responses range from the scenarios put forward by kalterkrieg to that of krasnacht and everywhere in between. This got me thinking as to who truly is in the best position to achieve final victory (aside from the Khan of Khans, but that's obvious). Also a quick disclaimer, this is not an after action report, I did not play the mod and get this result, this is what I believe would happen given my knowledge (and internet resources) regarding the resources and hypothetical industrial capabilities of the nations involved, as well as their realpolitik situations.
There are a few ground rules I'd like to set out before I begin. First, while I will attempt to remain as "realistic" as possible I will also be doing so in the context of the world the KR team has created (ie the 2nd ACW and Austrian Empire/Ottoman/AOG existence will be discussed regardless of its "real life" likelihood).
Second, I will be focusing predominantly on Europe. The other continents will be mentioned and discussed to varying extents, but for the most part, this is about Europe.
Third, while I will make several comparisons to OTL WW2, as well as the nations and men that fought in them, the various factions in the KTL are by no means limited by the actions and resources of their real world counterparts, nor are they limited by the focus trees and events in the Kaiserreich mod. This is what I believe would come to pass given the starting scenario of January 1st 1936 in addition to a handful of other major events such as the Kerensky assassination, the 2nd ACW, and Black Monday.
Lastly, this scenario can (just as the mod itself) be affected by thousands of different variables. I am merely analyzing what is in my opinion the most likely outcome. Unforeseeable events are almost guaranteed in everyday life, let alone in the chaos of a world war. The conclusion I come to will not be agreed on by a great many, if not most, of the users on this sub.
So without further ado, let us begin.
We will start with the first domino to fall on our way to WK2, Russia. Russia in OTL's 1936 was a miserable nation comprised of hundreds of ethnicities and religions, all of them chafing under the "Man of Steel," Joseph Stalin. While the KTL Russia has not suffered the tens of millions of dead, ruthless repression, or vicious purges of the Stalin led Soviet Union, it has also not benefited from it's industrial revolution. As of 1914 the Russian Empire, while improving, was laughably underdeveloped compared to its neighbours to the west (and east in Japan). The Russian economy was overly reliant on agriculture and still operated on a quasi feudal system that crippled the nation economically and laid the foundation for what would become the February and October revolutions. Stalin in OTL recognized these weaknesses and resolved to fix them. Resolve that led to millions of dead Russians and the miraculous success of his five year plans. These were economic initiatives that turned Russia from a cold backwater into the nation that would rival the United States for the latter half of the 20th century. Russia in the KTL never benefited from these ambitious projects. The KTL Russia has been crippled by war reparations to Germany, the loss of half it's arable land, and internal instability. With all this said, Russia is most akin to a less industrialized Weimar Germany, and as such is extremely likely to turn to extremism to solve its problems. An economically crippled and internationally humiliated Russia would be permeated by revanchism to its very core. Given Russia's long history of autocratic rule and near absence of democratic tradition (let alone successful democracy) it is almost a guarantee that Russia would turn to either the far left or the far right. Which of these it would choose is up for debate, and ultimately of limited consequence to this analysis. However, given the fact that the Bolsheviks have already been defeated in a long and bloody war only a decade prior to Kerensky's assassination, it is reasonable to presume that fear of a second civil war (inevitable if the communists were to attempt to seize power) would lead the Russian people to turn to the far right for an answer. Therefore, I believe that Boris Savinkov (or an ideological equivalent) would become the leader of Russia. The Russian people while afraid of Bolshevik influence, are still attracted to the promises it makes. As such, Savinkov's National Populist movement would be very appealing to not only the peasants, but to the hardline anti-German elites as well. Pyotr Wrangel offers a strong (and perhaps more level headed) alternative to Savinkov but is ultimately held back by his more measured approach. The Russian people want bread and they want vengeance. Savinkov offers these things and far more, a more attractive proposal then the cautious realpolitik of Wrangel. So while Wrangel may be the best option for Russia's long term success, I believe it is Savinkov that finds himself in power alongside Kornilov until the latter's death. Regardless of who finds themselves leading the geographically largest nation in the world, their foreign policy will be completely consumed by the need to reestablish Russia as a world power in the aftermath of Black Monday and the subsequent weakening of the German sphere. Once France or Germany kicks off the 2nd Weltkrieg, it is unlikely Russia could resist attacking Germany while it's back is turned. I'll return to Russia later for it's role in eastern Europe during the run up to, and execution of the 2nd WK.
Next up is Spain on the other side of Europe. In OTL Spain kept itself out of the 2nd world war for a variety of reasons. It had little to gain from choosing a side and was under no real threat itself from the belligerents. It was in the interests of both sides that Spain remain neutral (at least after the fall of North Africa to the allies). This is not so in the KTL. KTL Spain has no choice but to choose a side or one will inevitably be chosen for her. If the monarchy finds itself victorious it is doubtful that the French will merely wave from across the Pyrenees as they paint Europe red. As for the Germans, only a fool would believe that the Huns would not press on to Barcelona as soon as France falls. And so Spain really has no choice but to side with their ideological comrades. So who would win the Spanish civil war you might ask? Easy, the CNT. And it isn't even close. With Germany reeling from Black Monday and other events around the globe, the Entente waste deep in the American civil war, and the monarchist/anti-syndicalist democratic base split between the Carlists and the loyalists, there's only one real option. Augmented by a barely guised French intervention that rivals the size of the OTL Chineses intervention in the Korean war, the CNT would find victory in only a few months. Aside from weak diplomatic protests out of Berlin and Ottawa in regards to what is essentially a French invasion, nothing would (or could) be done about it. On a side note for Iberian peninsula, the collapse of Spain to syndicalism raises more than a few alarms in Lisbon. Furious debate would rage in both Algiers and Ottawa as to whether they should even attempt to defend Portugal should the need arise, or if they even could. Ultimately, the hawks would have their way and Portugal would be admitted to the Entente. This would not be taken well in Barcelona or Paris but ultimately there isn't much they can do until they stabilize Spain. A war with the entente this early would almost guarantee intervention by Germany and thus spell the doom of the Internationale. Thus Portugal would become a fortress, preparing for an inevitable syndicalist assault, and to act as the beachhead for the liberation of western Europe.
On our way back east we will stop by France and the UoB for a quick go over of the politcal situation (they will be covered in depth in part 2). Given the republican traditions of France and the democratic traditions of Britain, I doubt totalists could find their way to the highest echelons of power. While I cannot say for certain I would assume that orthodox syndicalists or radical socialists would be the predominant players in the two leaders of the Internationale. It doesn't matter a whole lot however as this analysis only covers the buildup to and execution of WK2 and not the economies and social lives of the nations involved. As for the SRI (no I didn't forget about them), they have a higher chance of going totalist than France or Britain given the fact their nation was blown to pieces, though I can't say for certain. Based off of the fact that Italians flocked to Mussolini after OTL WW1 it isn't hard to believe they would turn to totalists after the KTL WK and Italian civil war. If I had to put money on it, I would bet on orthodox syndicalist France, radsoc UoB (though the independence of Scotland and Wales is not necessarily included in that), and totalist Italy.
We now return to the steppe, to the lands of Ukraine and Belorussia. How exactly the German government would handle the aftermath of Black Monday is of course up for debate, but given that the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia before it were historically quite protectionist, it is reasonable to assume that Germany would leave its eastern partners out to dry to varying degrees. While Mitteleuropa called for an open trade union, that's easy to say when everything is peachy. As our own world's European Union has shown on many occasions, the various members will not hesitate to build fences (sometimes literally) if they think it is in their best interests. Authoritarian Germany would be no different and calls from the SPD for European unity and brotherhood would be swept aside. In the case of the Baltic Duchy where a large population of Germans reside, Germany would likely not shut them out, but for Ukraine and Belorussia, the impact would be far more severe. Given Belorussia's relative proximity to the Baltic Duchy and Germany itself it is likely that should any serious issues arise, they would be stamped out quickly by German forces. The Russians will also be far more hesitant to intervene in a nation closer to Germany and therefore potentially beyond the "red line" that would result in war before they're ready. Poor Ukraine on the other hand is in quite the pickle. With a revanchist and expansionist Russia to the east, and an indifferent German overlord to the west, Ukraine will have to look inward for a solution. A solution that will not come from the false king forced upon them. It is in this moment, struggling to feed their families and resentful of foreign meddling that Ukraine would, in my opinion, make the worst decision it could possibly make given their location and the politcal climate. That's right kaiserreich, I'm talking about the Corn Lord. Khrushchev wouldn't even have time to nationalize the industry. A syndicalist nation arising within the German sphere would not be tolerated by Berlin, and with the nearest friendly nation on the opposite end of Europe and unready for war, the carrion birds would flock to the land of corn. This would be the likely result of Ukraine's desire for independence. While Germany descends from Belorussia and reactionaries take to the streets of Kiev, the Russians and Poles would not allow such an opportunity to grab claimed land pass by. The Poles would supposedly act in the interest of protecting Polish minorities while Russia would blitz to the Dnieper in the name of protecting their kinsmen from the evils of syndicalism. Regardless of the publicized reason, Europe would be brought the brink of war. Poland, a de facto member of the German sphere would be begrudgingly ignored by Germany for the sake of focusing on a much larger foe. The Russian occupation of half of the Kingdom of Ukraine would bring Europe the closest it has been to war since the end of the first weltkrieg. With neither side willing to risk all out war just yet, an uneasy peace would settle. At the end of the day, east Ukraine would be dismembered to best serve the Russian state, and the west would be kept intact only to provide a buffer state against the resurgent Russians. No matter which side of the Dnieper a Ukrainian finds themselves on, a gun will be placed in their hands and an order barked to point it at their former neighbours.
The collapse of the Kingdom of Ukraine has further ramifications however. With Germany's land access to the Caucasus removed, Savinkov would waste little time moving against the pretenders in the south. With example of the Alash Orda and Turkestan to look to, as well as massive Russian minorities demanding reintegration, the Don Kuban union, already a house of cards, would crumble. Faced with the bear on their doorstep and Germany now hundreds of miles away, Armenia and Azerbaijan would have little choice but to accept annexation. Georgia, being a socialist state may attempt resistance, but far more likely it's leaders see the writing on the wall and flee the country. And so the bear consumes yet another abomination of Brest-Litovsk.
This brings us to Austria and its "friends" across the Balkans. Austria's problems run deep and stretch from one corner of the empire to the other. If the central powers had won the war it would have been a monumental task to hold the Empire together, a task that historians debate to this day as to whether or not it was even possible. That said, the KTL has Austria surviving this long on the back of our benevolent Kaiser Karl's reforms. As such, Austria will remain intact in this scenario, weathering the storm of the 20's and 30's and coming out (relatively) intact. With storm clouds brewing to the west and east and the world staggering from the effects of Black Monday, the Ausgleich of 1937 is the most important in the Empire's history. Now more than ever Austria must present a strong face to the world. Karl as of 1937 is a seasoned statesmen and negotiator with over two decades of experience on the Austro-Hungarian throne, and he learned much from the failed negotiations of 1927. The last decade has seen ever more reforms pushed through Vienna and into the waiting arms of the "lesser" members of the Empire. Hungarians and their ruled minorities alike look on with envy at the rights and privileges allowed to the other regions of the Empire. As 1937 arrives Karl seeks a true Empire, undivided into petty spheres and states that bicker amongst each other, the Hungarians wish to cling to the old ways of despotism and nobility, and the minor members simply want to be reunited with their kin. The result of the Ausgleich is a mixture of the status quo and pluralism, with the non Hungarian portions of the Empire being united in deed as well as name, and Hungary slowing being forced by internal pressures to adopt the reforms. While Karl is content to let the Hungarians come around in their own time, fate has other plans. The 2nd Weltkrieg comes as an unwelcome shock to Vienna and Budpast, and with the threat of Russian boots and French tanks fast approaching, plans are accelerated. Austria, for the first time in the history of it's existence, is truly united. Whether this is through the United States or the Federation is inconsequential, all that matters is that Austria is either already a unified force by the time the war begins, or it swiftly becomes one in the face of the red tide. As for the rest of the Balkans, the recent troubles in Vienna and the aftermath of Black Monday have allowed the various minor nations to challenge the status quo of Austro-Bulgarian dominance in the region. Unfortunately for you Serbia/Greece/Romania fans out there, this likely would't work out well for them. Serbia has been reduced to a rump state, Romania is crippled by forced oil exports to Germany, and Greece is wracked by internal woes. Thanks to whatever caused the Iron Guard/Monarchist split in the KTL Romania is constantly looking over its shoulder for monarchist sympathizers while Greece and Serbia eye a nation that has been preparing for their return for 20 years. Internal troubles or no, it is unlikely Austria would stand by and watch as Bulgaria collapses, nor would the Germans for that matter. Austria and it's Kaiser are no fools, they know that once Bulgaria is defeated Serbia and Romania will turn their eyes north to their "rightful" territories, and with access to the Caucasus cut off, Germany will be dead and rotting before they allow the last supply of oil in Europe to be denied to them. That is assuming the Bulgarians would be defeated in the first place, which they might not be given their superior industry and geographically defensible position (mountains to west and south, Danube to the north). Bulgaria has prepared itself for this moment for decades, but can they hold against an invasion from three side? Austria has always treated them as nuisance and an irritant inside "their" sphere of influence. This is to say nothing of the self obsessed Germans and their oaf of a Kaiser. Yet with enemies on all side and a restless Turk population in occupied Edirne perhaps it is for the best that old bridges be rebuilt? Between Iron Guard nationalization of the oil fields and revanchism out of Serbia, I believe it is almost assured that Austria and Germany would intervene in the Balkans. Whether this would be the beginning of rapprochement between the two old allies or a cause of further disagreements I will leave up to you as the coming second WK will wipe away all petty squabbles and thus leave the point moot. Regardless of how Germany and Austria go about it, the Belgrade pact is doomed to failure thanks to Iron Guard sabre rattling against a vastly superior foe and unconcealed Serbian revanchism towards a nation with thirty times their population. On a side note for those wondering, the Ottomans are dead. Like super dead. Like if the mod didn't need something happening in that area they wouldn't have made it past 1925 dead. The Ottomans are permeated to the core by corruption and ethnic troubles. They collapse into oblivion during their war with the Cairo Pact and Bulgaria occupies their European possessions outside Constantinople. This is likely the only time they will be mentioned in this analysis.
Before heading to the self appointed hegemon of the world, I will be taking a quick trip around the world to the various other flashpoints that take place in the mod (at least the ones that hold relevance to the 2WK, sorry SA). While China is currently undergoing a substantial update, we aren't entirely sure what that will bring, as such I will be dealing with them as they are now. And as they are now is not good, at least not for the Germans. In the aftermath of Black Monday and Germany's turn inwards, the AOG would be almost guaranteed to completely collapse in on itself immediately. Now whether this leads to the establishment of the republic (which is what I believe would happen) or if the Qing would move into to secure the rubble is beyond the scope of this analysis. The Indo-Chinese revolt would most likely be successful but it is possible that an aggressive regime willing to accept civilian casualties (ie Germany) would come out victorious. It's hard to say, and even if Ost-Asien is successful Von Mucke would be forced to deal with guerrillas retreating into the mountains and jungles to fight on. Ultimately the Pacific theater isn't particularly relevant to this analysis and Germany would be far more preoccupied with events in Europe and would likely leave Mucke to fend for himself. I just wanted to glance over the region. Speaking of glancing over, Mittelafrika is far too large and complex to be 100% reliant on a single man. Therefore even if Goering decides to blow it all up with his incompetence, he wouldn't really be able to do so. While significant damage could be caused, it would hardly result in the entire continent exploding. Mittelafrika is a complex web of local leaders and colonies, all held together by the German bureaucracy. If Goering was losing it, enemies in his own system would supplant him, or at the very worst, control of the colony would need to be transferred away from Dar Es Salaam and the local leaders informed. So as humorous as it is to see in game, Mittelafrika would not just blow up one day. It's possible that mass uprisings would occur, but nothing like you see in the mod. Many asked in the first version of this post about Japan, I may do one of these for the Pacific but in regards to this particular analysis they are not relevant. KTL Japan is nearly identical to OTL Japan and would need to take many of the same routes. Germany would be at war with them, but being surrounded on all sides in Europe they would leave it for another time. Japan would not invade Russia during all this, and Russia would not invade Transamur, if there's a desire I will go into why at a later date. Short story, Russia wants to regain all its western lands and punish Germany, not fight a years long war over what is essentially just Vladivostok.
Second to last and certainly feeling like they're the least, is the good old USA. The first post showed that all of you are very interested in the US conflict so it will be a bit more fleshed out than I originally intended and will partially break rule 2. If there's a desire for it (which there seems to be), an in depth analysis of the 2nd ACW will be next.The US is a very difficult entity to predict in the KTL and the most difficult part of this entire analysis for me personally. The United States in KTL is completely off the reservation and cannot really be compared to OTL as other nations can. While Russia is just Russia with half the people and factories, Austria had reforms so they're stable, and Britain had a revolution because of government cruelty, the US is in chaos just... because. It is entirely for gameplay purposes and doesn't have the same foundation other parts of the world do. The United States is in many ways the exact same as in our timeline, chaffing under the great depression and warily eyeing the coming storm. Yet in so many others it is completely unrecognizable. The US of OTL scoffed at extremism even in the depths of the great depression. National Socialism, Fascism, Socialism, and Communism never broke single digit percentile of national support and even then those that rallied around these groups often dropped the overt authoritarianism of their overseas benefactors. The US of the KTL however is entirely different. Authoritarianism is not just accepted but advocated by large swathes of the population and the recovery of the economy from both natural improvement and the (never penned) New Deal is non-existent. To make matters worse a lack of military industry from US involvement in WW1 and the collapse of the allies that owed millions to US banks has made the depression even more depressing than in OTL. I will do my best to convey what I believe would come to pass in the KTL but be warned that this is by far the most uncertain given its divergence from our reality.
The election of 1936 makes our real life 2016 elections look like an amiable tea party of best friends. Reed, Garner, and Long would have to be physically kept away from each other and anything resembling a coherent debate would be impossible. After years of completely ineffective Republican rule it is highly unlikely that the soft spoken and polite Curtis could achieve victory in the election. The Republicans clung to power in 1932 on the back of the House of Representatives, the American people would not let this happen again. The US people would be looking for decisive action, both politically in regards to the AFP and CSA, as well as economically in regards to the depression and now Black Monday. Even with the significant difference between OTL and KTL, the majority of the United States would be outright hostile to the rhetoric of both Long and Reed. Talk of broken chains and universal kingship would fall on deaf ears in the middle class and affluent west coast. With Curtis speaking of negotiations and seeming to be nothing but a continuation of the miserable status quo, Long spouting nonsense about a nation of kings and Reed dancing to the tune of Paris and London, many Americans will feel they have no choice but to choose the only option they feel will bring about real change. Democrat John Nance Garner. The Garnergang is a mixed bag to say the least. A staunch believer in republican and capitalist principles he sees Long and Reed as traitors both, and would be completely unwilling to negotiate with either. Why would he? They lost. As such the second American civil war begins with Garner unwilling to even discuss social security or welfare with Reed and threats of military action if the Minutemen don't stand down. With Garner standing defiant on the steps of the White House, the Internationale ringing from the streets of Chicago, and rebel yells echoing across the South, the world holds it's breath. While the political and social climate of the United States is quite difficult to predict, the actual outcome of the war is not. First things first, the west coast states do not secede, especially with Garner in control. The secession is being removed next update (barring MacArthur dictatorship, I'll get to him in a minute) and it doesn't make any sense in this context.
To start with the war itself, the American Union State is in a pitiful position. In OTL the south was heavily under industrialized well into the 1960's, not even coming close to northern levels during the post WW2 golden age. The south is no different in the KTL, if anything it is worse due to no US involvement in WK1 and the absence of the New Deal. Long's power base is therefore completely devoid of any actual power. He doesn't have the manpower, he doesn't have the industry, and he doesn't have the international support as Germany would much sooner support Garner in Washington than a man who swears to redistribute the wealth (another change coming in .8 is Germany can back the feds). The Minutemen would be pushed further and further back and reduced to scattered bands waging guerrilla war out of mountains and swamps across the South, as the bands of pro Long militia spread across the disUnited States are hunted down one by one. When this war started Huey forgot the most important law of all in America. There are no kings here, and there never will be.
Reed doesn't have it much better, possessing plenty of manpower and industry in the rust belt but none of the farmland to feed them with southern Indiana and Illinois a war zone. Reed's CSA stands thousands of miles from the nearest friendly nation that can help them with what is possibly the most anti-syndicalist nation in the world on their northern border. The reaction from Edward would be quick and decisive, an immediate intervention in the war to crush the syndicalists in America. Canada cannot even consider reclamation of the home islands as long as a hostile American force is at their back. How Canada would go about this intervention is arguable, it is possible they work hand in hand with the United States to end the war (I believe this to be the most likely), or they could act aggressively and infuriate an already cornered Garner (not particularly necessary given the ideological likeness and amicable relations with the federal US). Regardless of Edward's choice, it is very unlikely that the US and Canada fight one another. Even if Canada occupied New England and Alaska it would be promptly returned to the US at wars end lest Canada be prepared to face a full scale US invasion and uprisings across New England. Ultimately Reed would stand a decent chance on his own but would eventually be completely overwhelmed by a two front war with the feds and Canada. With a war in Europe brewing France and Britain hardly have the men to send on an excursion across the Atlantic, to say nothing of how they would actually get there. The navies of the Federalists and the Entente far outnumber those of the Internationale. The limited coastline of the CSA would be easily blockaded by the Norfolk and Boston based USN. Any attempt at a cross Atlantic naval invasion would be insanity. With no help from Europe and surrounded on all sides, Reed is left standing alone amidst the ruins of the revolution. His chains finally broken.
As for the periphery of this conflict, Hawaii was/is home to a large portion of the US Pacific fleet. With the west coast staying loyal to Washington there is no way Hawaii would be able to break away. Any local syndicalist or native troubles would be put down hard by the military presence on the islands. That brings us to Mexico. Mexico is not in an ideal position as of 1936, even in the KTL. Mexico has lacked stability ever since achieving independence from Spain and their only chance in hell of actually taking land from the United States is the three way civil war tearing the nation apart. Even so, Mexico is faced with a host of issues, firstly, the geography. The Mexican American border is a thousand miles of less than ideal terrain, with the sizable Rio Grande separating them from well developed and heavily garrisoned Texas (it neighbours AUS Louisiana and would be a front line state), as well as the vast Mojave desert. As real life campaigns in North Africa and the Middle East have shown, it takes a well equipped and supplied army to engage in desert warfare. Mexico, barring magic, would not have the motorized or mechanized units nor the logistical means to engage in this invasion. It would be tens of thousands of Mexican troops walking through a desert or attacking across a wide and fast running river against a determined defender (remember that Mexico is syndicalist, the Garner led US would suspect a back stab). Even if the Mexican army crossed the Rio Grande and Mojave, they would then run into a very unwelcoming American civilian population, the most heavily armed in the world. Even then, even if they took border towns and cities, it would all come crashing down when the 2ACW ended and Garner turned his eyes south. Moral of the story, Mexico isn't stupid, they wouldn't invade. If they did, they'd lose. Before I move on, many of you are wondering about our glorious Caesar and his role in the politics of the United States. Simple, he doesn't have one, at least not during the war. He's a general, perhaps he distinguishes himself in the war perhaps he flops, it's hard to tell given his spotty strategic record in OTL WW2 and Korea. As evidenced by his leadership of the Philippines, Japan, and even as the superintendent of West Point, MacArthur was a staunch Democratic Republican and was as far from a Julius Caesar as you can get. With that said, he may very well enter politics after the war is over.
So at the end of the war, America lies broken and divided. The South scarred and burned in Long's scorched earth retreat, the rust belt in ruins from federal and entente bombs. Americans want nothing more than to run and hide from the world's problems as they've always done, but a debt is now owed to the Entente that ensured their victory. And as the drums of war beat across Europe, a red sun rises in the east. Garner and a defeated nation must attempt to rebuild to face the challenges ahead. But for the first time since America was founded 150 years prior, Americans begin to ask themselves. Is the republican experiment a failure? The second civil war in less than a century has left millions dead and countless more lives devastated beyond repair. Is what's left of America still worth fighting for? The traitors have been put down and the stars raised across the land. But no one is singing.
On a (slightly) less somber note, we arrive at Germany. Germany has made few friends since the end of the Weltkrieg and has often alienated the ones it already had. The great Kaiserreich now stands as the undisputed hegemon of the world, basking in the sun it sought for so long. From Saint Helena in the south Atlantic to Pitcairn island in the south Pacific, the sun never sets on the German Empire. At the start of 1936 Germany is on top of the world, the apex predator so to speak. No nation or alliance can hope to challenge the Reich alone. However, over the years Germany has steadily alienated it's allies and accumulated many strong enemies. Brought low by the disaster of black Monday and the subsequent collapse of half her sphere around the globe, German stands on the edge of a knife. One wrong move and her place in the sun, her position atop the world stage, her very existence as a nation, could be forfeit. To the west, the godless syndicalists of the Internationale. To the east, Savinkov and his mob of barbarians. All are intent on destroying the Reich and the better world it has created. Yet now the Kaiser of Kaisers and his people must come to terms with the fact that no matter how powerful you are, no matter how vast your empire, no single nation can stand alone. A lesson that will cost Germany and her Kaiser much in the war to come. In strictly geopolitcal terms Germany has failed miserably in the aftermath of the Weltkrieg. The Reichspakt is held together by fear and German arms, former allies in Austria and Bulgaria turn their backs to the Kaiser as the Ottoman Empire crumbles to dust. And all the while the wolves circle east and west, waiting to pounce at the slightest sign of weakness. Germany does have one great advantage however, they are the lesser of two evils in the eyes of many. All across Europe, kings, queens, and kaisers alike ask themselves what will become of their nations should the German goliath fall. Will The Internationale cease their advance and look inwards? Will the Russian bear's voracious appetite be sated? Of course not. Should Germany fall, the free nations of Europe are next.
And so the Reich does not stand alone.
submitted by tuskedkibbles to Kaiserreich [link] [comments]

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