Soccer Jam

The year is 2004. Zinedine Zidane has just announced his retirement from Les Bleus¬†and international football. Instead, he wants to focus on his club career at Real Madrid and also try to play professional ping pong, which was his dad’s greatest dream for him. Sadly, though, Zizou’s serve lacks the spin and precision for him to advance past the semifinals at any of the major pro ping pong (PPP) tournaments.

At the same time, trouble brews in the galaxy. An Intergalactic Amusement Park complete with non-rolling coasters and wheels not  named after Ferris Bueler is having serious attendance problems. The place is named Seven Flags after some famous clone-ware related battle and resulting truce, but nobody can remember the exact details. All they know is that attendance has dropped precipitously. Even with 20% discounts on season passes and free meals (chicken tenders and fries) for kids ages 6-10 on Tuesdays, folks fail to turn up.

Thus, the nefarious Seven Flags CEO, Mr. HammSwindler, devises a dastardly plot: he sends his minions, the PotLucks, to Earth. Continue reading “Soccer Jam” »

Mourinho, Enrique, and the Sophomore Slump

In the world of music, critics often lament a thing called “the sophomore slump.” Basically, a new band with a unique sounds enters the fray, generally kicks ass, and launches a debut album that blows our hair back Sir Alex-at-halftime style. Then comes the problem. The second album. Almost inevitably, with expectations lifted, novelty not a factor, and initial creative juices maxed out, the follow-up album passes muster but does not light our hearts aflame.

In soccer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the hardest season for a manager. No, not after a relegation dogfight. Rather, I speak of the one following a major trophy haul. And Jose Mourinho and Luis Enrique have their work cut out for them. Continue reading “Mourinho, Enrique, and the Sophomore Slump” »

Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being

Futfanatico is thrilled to announce this exclusive interview with a terrible person who scores goals for your favorite European soccer club, Barcentus CF. We are incredibly grateful to Carlos Luis Suavez’s PR folks for arranging this interview and hope he can finally dispel the rumors contrary to his being a terrible human being who scores goals.

Q: Carlos Luis Suavez, what has life been like on the Continent since your big summer move?

A: Coming to a big club like Barcentus CF has been a dream come true – I couldn’t make this up! Playing with stars like Massi and Reymar is fantastic – training with them everyday, you see just how good they are and they make you better and want to be even better.
Continue reading “Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being” »

Clasico Recap: A Tale of Two Halves Edition

Yesterday’s clasico was a tale of two halves. Or so say the headlines. In fact, many headlines refer to a game as a “tale of two halves.” Your cerebral self chuckles and thinks: no shit. Doesn’t every game of soccer consist of two halves? Isn’t that, like, kinda the fundamental rule and proportion of time? Could a headline be any less descriptive?

I used to agree with you. But, alas, you are wrong (and so was I). Continue reading “Clasico Recap: A Tale of Two Halves Edition” »

Barca Stuffed: Mes Que Un Petty Troll

I’ve written extensively here about the online soccersphere. Sometimes, I take potshots at sleazy mods and catty subreddits. Other times, I focus on copyright law and how trolls try to twist the arms of upstart sites who arguably follow the spirit and letter of the DMCA law. For example, I wrote about the US legal saga of the Spanish website RojaDirecta. Roja survived bogus DMCA complaints and even an illegal seizure by the US federal government.

However, this past December, many Barcelona fans noticed something strange: their beloved BarcaStuff disappeared. Here’s why. Continue reading “Barca Stuffed: Mes Que Un Petty Troll” »

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?” »