Don’t you hate it when your favorite blogger hops and skips about and blogs at sites other than his own blog domain? You have to, like, click on links and go to other sites. It’s quite inconvenient. Well, alas, prepare yourself. I have put finger to touchscreen for a few other fine sites. Here they are: Continue reading “OWN GOALS – Some Delightful Soccer Links to Lighten Your Day” »
Guess what eBook goes on sale to the general public today? A hint. Look at the above image. Details after the jump. Continue reading “Real Madrid & Barcelona: the Making of a Rivalry, Now on Sale!” »
Real Madrid fell a single goal short in their comeback attempt vs. Dortmund. Barcelona got smoked at home by Munich. All glory is fleeting. But fans of both clubs can glance back at 100 years of history to conjure up fond memories and look forwards to a future of trophies. Thanks to my Kickstarter backers, I had the pleasure of researching, writing, and now publishing a book on the first hundred years of this rivalry. The eBook, Real Madrid and Barcleona: the Making of a Rivalry, officially goes on sale May 6, 2013.
In the meantime, enjoy the book’s introduction (also in PDF at the end). Continue reading “eBook Preview #8 – The Beginning” »
High school yearbooks. Reunions. Facebook. The universe conspires to nostalgically divide time into “watershed moments” that “forever mark” our lives. When the smoke cleared in Munich, a 4-0 shellacking had folks cuing Green Day’s “Good Riddance”, saying adios to the Iberian era of dominance, and gushing about a new era of Bavarian brilliance.
But isn’t this all a bit too trite, too simple, and premature? Continue reading “The End of the End of an Era Articles” »
The universe demands, dare I say, cries out for another clasico. However, UEFA is a tease – rather than repeating a Spanish Champions League semi-final from two years ago, a few German speed bumps have emerged. As in, Barcelona and Real Madrid will not face one another. Rather, they will face German teams. Fans of Real Madrid and Barcelona are terrified. Uncertainty plagues the proceedings. Both teams are so used to playing one another that playing a club who is not your bitter and eternal rival feels like a letdown.
What can Real Madrid & Barcelona fans expect in the two semi-finals? Let’s start with the fundamentals. We do know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have played a boatload of clasicos in the last few years. Using this trove of data and negative inferences, we now present a very special preview of the upcoming games. Continue reading “Champions League Semi-Finals Preview: Real Madrid v. Team and Barcelona v. Other Team” »
The shadows that dance in the corner of your eyes. The voices only you can hear. A breath on the back of your neck. The creaking of an old wood floor. Humans are predators. We have two front-facing eyes so that we can focus on our prey. Yet the view behind our back terrifies us.
And this is especially true of goalkeepers. Continue reading “Victor Valdes & A Life Spent Watching Nets Ripple From Not Afar” »
In the 1970′s, Spain amended its oriundo law to allow clubs to field two foreign born players-a-piece. FC Barcelona immediately benefited by signing Dutch all-star Johan Cruyff. In his first season, they beat rivals Real Madrid 5-0 and won La Liga. More importantly, he embraced left-leaning Catalan politics and even bestowed a Catalan name upon his son. He was the perfect mix of athletic prowess and political consciousness.
However, his tenure as coach decades later just may have been even more impressive. Continue reading “eBook Preview #6: Which is Mightier – the Mind or the Foot?” »
When does history begin? For humans, the answer is relatively simple. You are born. Your mother pushes your out of her womb. Then, the clock starts to tick. Normally, after sixty to eighty years, you expire. You are buried. The story ends. The story begins. Simple and clean.
For institutions, such as nation states, the story is seldom so simple. Rather, historians strive to identify a single individual or “event,” and then label that “event” and the year of that “event” as the proper starting point for an institution. In the case of FC Barcelona, the club’s story lends itself to both an event-driven and individual-driven historical story. In the case of Real Madrid, we have a muddled mess of clubs, associations, and leaders. Who gets the credit? Or, rather, should nobody get to claim the prize?
Only by re-framing the basic historical question of “when” can we arrive at a satisfactory answer. Let’s begin. Continue reading “eBook Preview #5: Dispelling and Re-telling Foundation Myths” »
History is a funny thing. If you’re not successful, you’re forgotten. However, if you’re an all-star, everybody wants a piece of you – even after your dead. In the 1920′s and 1930′s, no goalie could compare to Ricardo Zamora. His broad shoulders and 6’4 frame made him a force in the box. He won several trophies, and, today, the award for top goalie in Spain is named after him.
Still, his hopscotch playing history and political dealings leave a question mark on an otherwise impeccable career. Barca claims him. So does Real. Who wins? Continue reading “eBook Preview #4: Ricardo Zamora, To Whom Does History Belong?” »
Power vs. grace. Speed vs. strength. For the most part, the universe forces us to choose between one good thing or the other. We seldom can have our cake and eat it too. Soccer players (and athletes) normally come in two categories: slow & strong, or small but quick. In a world of limitless budgets, you could have Diego Milito and Xavi Hernandez on the same team, but they’d never be the same player. One is a battering ram. The other? A locksmith.
Yet, in the 1950s, Barcelona rode to glory on the back of a mutant of an athlete: Ladislao Kubala. He was both butcher and chef, elephant and mouse. This is his story. Continue reading “eBook Preview #3: Ladislao Kubala, the Broad-Shouldered Ballerina” »