The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition

During last Saturday’s clasico, my twitter feed was curiously silent. Was I in shock after the first half? Was I silently exuberant during the second? No and no. I was driving across Houston to my son’s game and then at a Halloween gathering. Thanks to Dishworld and BeIN Sports, I could watch the game later. Thus, I carefully avoided the excellent Guardian cellphone app, Facebook, Twitter, and incoming text messages and WhatsApp messages from the known entities.

Miraculously, I watched the game at midnight Saturday night and still didn’t know the score. However, the storyline and start were predictable. Continue reading “The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition” »

Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico

The furling eyebrow. The non-abrasive press conferences. The jovial laugh. Carlo Ancelotti is definitively not Jose Mourinho. Thanks in large part to signings, he’s re-made the Real Madrid roster into an attacking 4-3-3 with little regard for, say, defending. Gone is the counter-attacking 4-2-3-1, the crossfield switches of Xabi Alonso, the darting runs of Di Maria, the lackadaisical drifting of Ozil.

Also gone, perhaps for the better, is the animosity for FC Barcelona. Continue reading “Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico” »

A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart

It’s easy to view modern footballers as soulless mercenaries, to assume they feel no emotion whatsoever for a club or the fans. But we don’t really know any and all footballers. What if they just crush a lot? What if they are merely Don Juans, men with feelings who just happen to fall head over heels for the newest club and immediately forget the prior one? That may cheapen their prior feelings, but it doesn’t deny they existed.

Thus, in that respect, I’ve penned a look at some bandits with the nerve to kiss our badge and then never look back. Continue reading “A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart” »

QUIZ – What Kind of Soulless, Bandwagoning European Soccer Fan Are You?

The bright lights at Old Trafford. The cramped, noisy box that is Stamford Bridge. The vibrating vibrancy of the Bernabeu. The vertigo-inducing steepness of the Camp Nou. You know nothing about any of these places. You’ve never been to them. The closest you’ve come was a week-long school trip in high school to Spain where the autobus had to stop every half hour because paella gave your classmates the shits.

Luckily, though, Maxi Rodriguez of the delightful Futbol Intellect has created a quiz to help you feel better about yourself by putting other similar, miserable souls down even a notch further. Due to WordPress plugin problems, you have to take this quiz by hand. Pull out a pen, a piece of paper, and tally your answers. You wont’ be too disappointed. Continue reading “QUIZ – What Kind of Soulless, Bandwagoning European Soccer Fan Are You?” »

The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico

Cristiano knows of many reasons for the absolute thievery in the latest Clasico and is not afraid of telling the world. Nothing will stop him naming and shaming these parties and/or organisations who will do him (oh and his team) wrong. For it must be told.

And here is a list of said culpable parties, as named by CRon to Webbie of the lovey Football and Music. Continue reading “The 8 Reasons Why Real Madrid REALLY Lost the Most Recent Clasico” »

Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.

It’s been, say, four years since my last intra-sport comparison. At Run of Play in 2010, I looked at college basketball to talk about Barca’s possession game, the half court offense, and Chinese water torture. A year earlier, I reflected upon the Chicago Fire career of one Cuautehmoc Blanco and another comparison stuck: Steve Nash at Phoenix.

Both were a bit aged. Neither played much defense. Yet both were indisputably the catalyst for their team’s respective offense. Recently, another NBA/Soccer comparison dawned on me: Steve Kerr of the Chicago Bulls during the 1990′s and Pedro of Barcelona and Furia Roja fame.

Here’s why. Continue reading “Pedro of Barcelona is Steve Kerr. Feel free to disagree and be wrong.” »

The Neymar Transfer Third Party Party

I’ve already written about third party ownership. In the best light, it’s a way for poorer countries and clubs to pool risk and invest in players. Regardless of your opinion, it’s a product of the transfer system: as long as clubs exchange lots of money to get players, folks will try to get a slice of that pie. Sometimes it’s shady agents. Sometimes it’s shady family members. Sometimes, with creative contracts, it’s the players themselves.

The English FA banned third party ownership, even though Chelsea has recently been investigated by the Guardian for alleged links with a Portuguese agent and suspicious tax-haven shell companies. That situation, though, is still developing and opaque. Today, I’d rather look at the juicy details from the Neymar transfer, which have come to light thanks to a soci lawsuit (and led to the resignation of an FC Barcelona President). Continue reading “The Neymar Transfer Third Party Party” »

The Classic Co. – How Did We Get Here?

If the clasico could be trademarked, it’d be worth millions. If it was publicly traded (like Manchester United), I’d buy some shares. Why? Well, in the past few months, Microsoft talked about buying nonexistent “naming rights” to the Bernabeu, Barca wants to expand or move out of the Camp Nou, and they recently signed an “inside the shirt” deal with Intel. The club called this deal “innovative.” In sum, both the Spanish clubs are great at soccer, but also money-making machines.

Technically, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are both owned by socios, but, in reality, they are multinational corporations. They are heavily in debt, but have enough total annual revenue to not sweat it. Still, many can remember a time when Barca refused to even sell the front of their shirt, let alone the inside liner. Here’s a trip down memory lane as we mark the emergence and eventual dominance of the “sponsorship” model in soccer. Continue reading “The Classic Co. – How Did We Get Here?” »

An SEO Guide to the Clasico: Surprising Key Words

As the only soccer website to have been taken over twice by SEO-geared businesses, we at Futfanatico know a thing or two about “key words” and “black hat” antics. Hardly a days goes by without some spam email asking about “content partnerships” filling our inbox. Still, cynicism cast aside, “search” can be useful. At the very least, the mass of information entering and leaving Google algorithms offer a glimpse into just what people are thinking and/or doing when they believe they’re alone, just a keyboard before them and no peering eyes.

As a website with plenty of clasico content (and Google Analytics), we’re happy to share just what folks really think/care/do/relate to the so-called “clasico.” At least online. Continue reading “An SEO Guide to the Clasico: Surprising Key Words” »