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2 hours ago, yomurphy1 said:

Yeah. For a period of time I was more excited about him than Davies. Shows you what I know...

I never was. He showed flashes of his potential in MLS but never the complete package and never consistently. He never played regularly which is a sign he wasn't training well, not favoured by the manager and not talented enough to overcome these negatives.

Then his attitude soured on me with the way he got a move to Barca. But Barca saw something which gave me the most hope ever for him. He also chose Canada which gave me hope he was maturing.

But again, he didn't deliver too much at Barca. He came back and haven't seen anything that he has changed on or off the pitch. 

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13 minutes ago, red card said:

I never was. He showed flashes of his potential in MLS but never the complete package and never consistently. He never played regularly which is a sign he wasn't training well, not favoured by the manager and not talented enough to overcome these negatives.

Then his attitude soured on me with the way he got a move to Barca. But Barca saw something which gave me the most hope ever for him. He also chose Canada which gave me hope he was maturing.

But again, he didn't deliver too much at Barca. He came back and haven't seen anything that he has changed on or off the pitch. 

I still think choosing Canada has played a role (in a bad way). That is when he stalled out. Correlation does not always equal causation, but it may have in this case.

My theory is that his dream was to play for the Ivory Coast. He then gave up on that dream (for whatever reason) and a part of his motivation died. I honestly think Salesman John sold it to him and now there is a void where there was once a hunger.

I am not saying he has lost all his desire. There can be many factors that drives one to success. However, from what we can see of his personality, and from what we know if his affinity for the Ivory Coast, it would not surprise me if I am touching on something here, even if I do not have it all right. 

Only Tabla knows. 

One thing is for sure though, with his talent he can be anything he sets his mind to on the soccer field. His problem seems to be upstairs.

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5 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

So he throws away his shot at Barca because of feeling let down choosing Canada??  Thats a very strange conclusion to draw.  Either way...he's 21, he should be getting his head screwed on straight by now and needs to buckle down or he wont even be a pro soccer player.  That should be something to keep him motivated.  

No. It is less to do with choosing Canada and more to do with giving up on Ivory coast. 

If your dream is to play for the IC and that dream is now gone, don`t you think that kills your motivation a little?

You may then ask why would he even choose Canada then? That is where smooth talking JH comes into play. He probably gave Tabla the push he needed to commit to us, probably had him believing he was going to be a critical player for us. Then he found himself behind Davies, David and Millar. So now he cannot play for IC and he is only a bench player for Canada? That is not what I signed up for, he must be thinking. That should be easy to shake off but...it is Tabla we are talking about. The same kid who refused to show up to practice because he wanted to go play with Messi at Barca.

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No....I think his problems started long before he made any decisions on any potential national team representation.  Who puts that ahead of getting first time minutes at the club they are at?  Maybe he is fragile enough that giving up playing for IC makes him give up on playing for Barca.....but that seems very strange. It could very well be true, but lets hope he at least cares about playing well for his current team and getting a pay cheque.  

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Even if he chose to play for the ivory coast he would be far behind players like Zaha and Pepe and even Cornet who are not much older. It's not like he would be any closer to making an impact for them. His problems are on him now. He has the talent 

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2 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

No....I think his problems started long before he made any decisions on any potential national team representation.  Who puts that ahead of getting first time minutes at the club they are at?  Maybe he is fragile enough that giving up playing for IC makes him give up on playing for Barca.....but that seems very strange. It could very well be true, but lets hope he at least cares about playing well for his current team and getting a pay cheque.  

Sure. 

I am not saying he never had problems before....I am suggesting it may have compounded them.

Lets face it, do you think Tabla grew up dreaming of playing for the Montreal Impact? He probably grew up dreaming of playing for a major European team and (probably) the Ivory Coast National Team. Sure he even left the Montreal Academy as a teenager to play with Panellinios (actually a very strong amateur club based in Montreal).

My point is, I think he is motivated enough to earn a pay cheque at Montreal. I am sure he enjoys playing for the Impact. He still has the dream of succeeding in Europe, surely. Maybe that is enough. He doesn`t have the dream to play for the Ivory Coast. That dream is dead for him. I think that has impacted him in a negative way, to a degree we surely disagree upon.

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3 minutes ago, JuicyHam said:

Even if he chose to play for the ivory coast he would be far behind players like Zaha and Pepe and even Cornet who are not much older. It's not like he would be any closer to making an impact for them. His problems are on him now. He has the talent 

Probably part of the reason why he came to his senses and decided to play for Canada instead. I am sure he very much enjoys playing for Canada, otherwise he would not play for us, but I think he chose us in part because he could be a big fish in a small pond. 

Now he is not even in the pond. He is floundering on land.

Edited by Obinna
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Jeepers...when it happened, when he gave that Ivory coast dream up he was still in the Barca system???  I am skeptical that being there and trying to break into a club like Barca wasnt enough to motivate him.  How about this for a scenario, He lobbied to go to europe, he got a golden ticket and went to Barca, everyone said he was a golden boy and he wasnt up to the challenge??  Very little to do with any potential decision on a international carer.  He stalled out because that jump from MLS to Barca was too much for him.  And I am not knocking him...thats hyperspace jump in talent levels.  He still has time (only 21) to be a success for Montreal, and move on etc etc, who knows how far eh?  But man it starts with doing the job now, with the team he is at....pay attention to the job at hand and quit looking ahead and listening to the hype.  

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28 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

Jeepers...when it happened, when he gave that Ivory coast dream up he was still in the Barca system???  I am skeptical that being there and trying to break into a club like Barca wasnt enough to motivate him.  How about this for a scenario, He lobbied to go to europe, he got a golden ticket and went to Barca, everyone said he was a golden boy and he wasnt up to the challenge??  Very little to do with any potential decision on a international carer.  He stalled out because that jump from MLS to Barca was too much for him.  And I am not knocking him...thats hyperspace jump in talent levels.  He still has time (only 21) to be a success for Montreal, and move on etc etc, who knows how far eh?  But man it starts with doing the job now, with the team he is at....pay attention to the job at hand and quit looking ahead and listening to the hype.  

I am sure he was very motivated by playing for one of the biggest clubs on earth. I am not suggestion otherwise. I think he just failed at Barca. Just because you are motivated does not mean you succeed. 

And I completely agree with your scenario. I think it very much played out that way for him. People probably hyped him up his whole life, because he was an exceptional talent. Do you know what else probably came with that hype? People telling him he could walk in Drogba`s footsteps and play for the IC national team!

I do not see how you can lay out that scenario and dismiss the Ivory Coast part. He very clearly was motivated to play for them. I do not believe for a second that dream was not pushing him every day to get better as a youth player. Playing in Europe was surely the same. 

Europe is still on the table. Ivory Coast is not. That has to have affected him, because it is not like he is the star of our team. He has 2 caps in 2 years. Is that what he gave up on the Ivory Coast for? 2 Caps?

There is never the guarantee of a recall. If he was wise he would realize that and make the most of where he is at. He can still be a major factor for us and Montreal, but not while he is enamored with his own practice highlights. Like I said before, they mean nothing. He has not accomplished anything yet.

Henry was right, he is an enigma.

Edit: By the way, I believe he made his Barca B debut in the winter of 2018 and made his Canada debut in the fall. He actually had a very good start at Barca B. He was very good on his debut. I saw it. That half season was a success personally, but the club got relegated. Then summer came and he played for the first team in pre-season, again he did very well. Then fall came and he played for us. His second season was not as good as his first despite the club dropping down a tier. He was loaned to Albacate after the winter break (we are into 2019 now) and again he did nothing. Then he moved back to Montreal and the rest is history. I am not saying playing for Canada had a direct negative impact. I am saying the decline started around the same time. It was probably a confluence of factors. He was after all a little disappointing in the two games he played for us. He showed nice flashes, but Davies and David and Millar were the talk of the camp when it was said and done. Going in you would have said it would be: Davies, Tabla, Millar and David. 

Edited by Obinna
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I don’t buy the theory that his dip in form had anything to do with Canada.  If he was that emotionally invested in the idea of playing for IC he wouldn’t have accepted our call.  There is no reason why he would feel pressured to suit up for us - he had plenty of time to defer and make a different international decision.   And as has been pointed out, the idea of suiting up for the biggest  club in the world (at the time) would be plenty of motivation for someone who had the right mentality.  

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8 minutes ago, dyslexic nam said:

I don’t buy the theory that his dip in form had anything to do with Canada.  If he was that emotionally invested in the idea of playing for IC he wouldn’t have accepted our call.  There is no reason why he would feel pressured to suit up for us - he had plenty of time to defer and make a different international decision.   And as has been pointed out, the idea of suiting up for the biggest  club in the world (at the time) would be plenty of motivation for someone who had the right mentality.  

Yeah but he doesn`t have the right mentality. That is the thing. 

I do not think he was pressured to join us at all. 

I think if he delayed his decision he may be further along than he is. Don`t you think Ivory Coast was a carrot for him to chase? I sure do. 

Edit: Also, maybe he chose to play for us because he could play international soccer sooner and he could be a star for our team? That is a reason to pick us despite the emotional attachment to Ivory Coast. 

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9 minutes ago, Mikmacdo said:

chances he ends up in the CPL soon? id say 50-50

Could his ego even handle playing in the CPL?

I think either a light switch will go off and it will finally click and he will go on to have an excellent career, or he will flame out and be out of the professional game all together in a few years. Hard to see an in between with this guy.

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So his giving up his Ivory coast dream in the fall of 2018 made him play like crap the rest of the winter and piss away his chances at barca???  He was playing well up until that point??  Going to the CDN camp and seeing that Davies and David were better than him put him into a funk??  Its a theory......I guess.  

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10 minutes ago, Mikmacdo said:

chances he ends up in the CPL soon? id say 50-50

Should he continue to ride the pine in Montreal, this would almost be a blessing in disguise for young Ballou. Here me out... I know we all want him playing and succeeding at the highest level possible, but. Let’s say he gets loaned/transfered to a CPL team. He would definitely be a top talent in that league. CPL is a domestic league, built to sell players. MLS, much harder to move on. Now seemingly, the CPL does attract some European interest (started with Borges, look at all the Euro loans as well as the Zator to Championship rumours), a monstrous season or so in the CPL for Ballou could really catch the eye for some lower table top division clubs. Essentially, if he was to put his ego aside, work hard and light up the CPL, he could potentially have a stronger chance of making that jump, a jump definitely not as daunting and spread out as Impact -> Barca. Lower table Belgium or Denmark would be huge for him, and us at this moment. All in all, I wouldn’t mind seeing him play in the CPL, sometimes you do need to take a step back before you make 2 steps forward.

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I won't deny the fact that he's gotta work on his attitude, but I'm not sure we can really question or wonder why he has an attitude.  He was poorly managed and developed from a young age.  IMFC isn't exactly known for successfully bringing up their academy players, its a work in progress.

The guy is an extreme introvert.  He had a good start at Barca, but the wheels fell off when he went out on loan, etc...word on the street was he kinda begged Barca to send him back home.  Even though the Impact probably isn't the best fit, his family is still in Montreal.

IMFC kept saying they were trying to protect him from the expectations, he's got big shoes to fill yada, yada, yada.... so we want to bring him up slowly.  Meanwhile, IMFC is playing Choiniere, Fisher, Ontivero and Salazar regularly.  None of these guys come close to the talent and level that Tabla has shown even though he was younger.  Freakin Choiniere was getting more minutes than Tabla, and we all know Choiniere has no future with any national team.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Vancouver starts giving regular "end of the game minutes" to Davies to see how he handles it (the way it should be done).

Has anyone seen the Impact v Roma game?  Ballou WAS the highlight reel, and he still didn't get any minutes after that.  There is more to this than just whats in his head, his entourage, IMFC are all at fault.  He's young, there is still time.  He just needs playing time, where ever that is, even CPL if need be.   

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7 hours ago, Bertuzzi44 said:

When he held out for a transfer away from Montreal instead of just putting his head down and working hard like Davies did, that was my first red flag...

Two different situations, Davies got the minutes, Ballou didn't.  He only asked for the transfer after the Impact kept him locked up.

That's where the Impact and his entourage made mistakes. Things started piling up and something had to give.  You couldn't escape the "when will Ballou get his chance" questions, it was all the fans and media were talking about.  Its only normal it got to his head.  IMFC just swept it under the rug.

You can't keep a kid with that talent sidelined after he performs at that level against that kind of opposition.  He earned his chance, and got robbed.

Edited by costarg
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@Obinna, your theory seems to be all over the place. He has regressed because of a lack of motivation since he can't play for IC anymore, but you also say you think he would have been motivated to play for Barca.

14 hours ago, Obinna said:

Lets face it, do you think Tabla grew up dreaming of playing for the Montreal Impact?

 

14 hours ago, Obinna said:

My point is, I think he is motivated enough to earn a pay cheque at Montreal.

I'm not sure how these two quotes add up either. You are talking about a lack of motivation at Montreal and then turn around and say you think he is motivated in Montreal.

So he regressed due to a lack of IC motivation despite having Barca motivation and Montreal motivation but he simultaneously isn't motivated by Montreal.

14 hours ago, Obinna said:

I am sure he was very motivated by playing for one of the biggest clubs on earth. I am not suggestion otherwise. I think he just failed at Barca. Just because you are motivated does not mean you succeed. 

Then in the above quote you go on to say that he didn't fail at Barca due to lack of motivation, and that you can fail despite motivation. So what exactly is your point? He may or may not have been motivated, and motivation may or may not play a role in his success or failure.

 

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2 hours ago, Kent said:

@Obinna, your theory seems to be all over the place. He has regressed because of a lack of motivation since he can't play for IC anymore, but you also say you think he would have been motivated to play for Barca.

 

I'm not sure how these two quotes add up either. You are talking about a lack of motivation at Montreal and then turn around and say you think he is motivated in Montreal.

So he regressed due to a lack of IC motivation despite having Barca motivation and Montreal motivation but he simultaneously isn't motivated by Montreal.

Then in the above quote you go on to say that he didn't fail at Barca due to lack of motivation, and that you can fail despite motivation. So what exactly is your point? He may or may not have been motivated, and motivation may or may not play a role in his success or failure.

 

1) We are thinking of motivation differently. It is not black and white the way I see it. You are not either motivated or not motivated. It is not all or nothing. There are different levels to it. Keep that in mind and hear me out: If he is motivated by two factors (Europe and Ivory Coast) and 1 of those factors is removed, there is now a void. Where two things were pushing him before, now one thing pushing him remains. Is that any more coherent now?

I hope you can see that I am not saying he lost all of his motivation. I am saying I think he lost some of his motivation.

As I see it, if he became a big player for us it would have filled that void. My read on it is that he dreamed of playing for the IC and was convinced to exchange that dream for being a key player for this new exciting Canadian generation. However, he is nowhere near that right now, and it is not like he can go back to the IC. Now he is in a tough place mentally. He can play his way back to Canada, but the path is through hard work, not talent. Talent without hard work only gets you so far and that has not clicked with him yet from my observations. Does it make more sense if I put it that way? 

2) Again, we are seeing motivation in two different ways. It is not motivated vs. not motivated. There are levels. I think Montreal is enough to motivate him to get back to Europe and the national team, but ultimately I think it is about his self-perception.

When IC was in play I think he could imagine himself playing for them one day, based on his raw talent and perhaps what family and friends filled his head with. That is no longer in play, but I am sure he can still see himself back in Europe at a high level. But if he cannot get back into the Canada National team how can he even do that? I imagine his thoughts go something like that. For someone who got by on talent and not hard work I imagine such a thought process to be a motivational drag. It would be far easier for someone who had to claw their way to the top, with no illusions. Tabla is not built like that though. I do not think he sees himself as a hardworking player. I think he sees himself as a talent who has been unlucky.

Does it make sense if I frame it like that?

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2 hours ago, costarg said:

Two different situations, Davies got the minutes, Ballou didn't.  He only asked for the transfer after the Impact kept him locked up.

That's where the Impact and his entourage made mistakes. Things started piling up and something had to give.  You couldn't escape the "when will Ballou get his chance" questions, it was all the fans and media were talking about.  Its only normal it got to his head.  IMFC just swept it under the rug.

You can't keep a kid with that talent sidelined after he performs at that level against that kind of opposition.  He earned his chance, and got robbed.

2017    Vancouver Whitecaps FC    26    9    0    1053    1    15    2    15    3    1    

2017    Montreal Impact    21    11    2    1146    2    26    10    26    1    4    0

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As the only person on this board, and probably in Canadian football, who watched him live regularly at Barça B, let me say a few things, repeating many of the observations I made while watching him. 

First, he arrived and fit in fine, on a team of teens in Spanish 2nd division. Yes, they relegated, but most B teams do, the 2nd tier is too demanding for most of the maturing academy aged players, and no club wants to fatten up their B team just to keep it in 2nd tier. 

How many current NT players have experience at this high a level?

Back in 2B he was also fine. He started or subbed in, played well on a team that did not score much. He had a good attitude tracking back defensively from the wing. Fans also liked him. No one expects more from a teen at Barça. True, as well observed here, he is not a finisher, his shot is weak and imprecise, and that caused frustration as well: he clearly wanted to score. He also seemed a bit too afraid to take on defenders, he was even overly cautious, and that went against him, since you have to take your mark on, and if you lose it, go full out to get the ball back. Young guys now in the Barça first team mix, like Pedri (who's a 17 year old from the Canary Islands), do exactly this: attack their defender, and if they lose it, go nuts to recover the ball. 

I also saw what others are seeing, that he was shy and unsure of himself. Not so much his play, more his demeanour and connection with fellow players. I think that he is definitely unsure of himself personally. Perhaps he needed some closer support when away from Montreal.

The loan to Albacete. Well he got screwed basically. They could have played him more, they needed goals, he faded out of the picture, a bit of a waste. Even so, at his age, after the loan was over, he could have gone back to Barça B with his contract in place, and continued. Players can take a long time to get into the first team, often they are loaned out and come back (Miranda, a teammate who came back, was at Schalke last season and now at Betis; Aleñà, another teammate who actually took Ballou under his wing at Barça B, was at Betis last year).

So the move back to Impact has to be seen as personal, as the player had the pedigree to continue on loan or with Barça B. He had a year of experience in Spanish 2nd division, after all. And is young. Build on that, why not? It seems the personal issues, perhaps his lack of support from family or friends in Barcelona, had a stronger effect on him than we realise. 

Edited by Unnamed Trialist
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I think the observations above are interesting and very accurate. I think thats why its important for young players in many cases to spend a lengthy period of time in 1 professional environment surrounded by positive mentors and consistenly playing. It doesn't have to be the most glamorous league but its great for confidence and building that foundation 

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1 hour ago, Obinna said:

2017    Vancouver Whitecaps FC    26    9    0    1053    1    15    2    15    3    1    

2017    Montreal Impact    21    11    2    1146    2    26    10    26    1    4    0

Exactly my point!  Ballou is 21, Davies is 19.  Your screen shot shows the year they both got their shot.  Ballou had already sucked it up for over a year, when everyone knew he was better than who Impact was playing at the moment.  That destroys confidence.

To add to that, Davies played a bigger role as the year progressed.  Ballou's diminished even though he scored 2 with one assist in his first 10 games.  He didn't make the 18 in 8 of the last 14 games, not from lack of production.  Just "management decisions".  It just wasn't done right.

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