Nothing plagues the sports world like the “next” label. In chess, every talented American player is the next Bobby Fischer. In soccer, Neymar is the “next Pele” and Messi is the “next Maradona.” Fans cling to nationalities as predictors of success and prototypical molds.
Which is why EPL clubs continue to sign Spanish strikers. Continue reading “The Next Nino Torres” »
Christmas is all about love and family and yultide greetings and adorable bandanas on dogs and snow and giving gifts to others. Now that Christmas has passed, though, it’s time to revert to your selfish, materialist ways. And I have just the best auto-regalos for your stocking.
Of course, they revolve around football and smart writing. Continue reading “Belated Holiday Gifts You Deserve” »
As Alexander Pope wrote in his Essays on Criticism: “To err is human; to thirst, also quite commonplace.” For the last decade, fans of soccer have had our eye-balls assaulted by Cristiano Ronaldo. Basically, he is a dude that works out a lot, and wants everybody to know that he works out a lot. His skin is an unnatural orange presumably from over-tanning, he wears short shorts that would make a 1970′s NBA player blush, and he invents excuses to take off his shirt anytime a camera may be within five miles.
He has been mocked for his behavior. But I will now dive even deeper into this important, salient issue and raise two very profound points. Continue reading “Somber Reflections on the Thirstiest Picture of Cristiano Ronaldo on Social Media Yet” »
as your trusted guardian of all that is cool and just and neat and worth reading, I would like to direct your attention to a really cool Spanish soccer journalism project. It is called “Los Demas”, and here’s the deal: a monthly long-form piece of journalism about teams in La Liga other than Real Madrid and Barcelona. Continue reading “Spanish Futbol Plus Excellent Journalism = Support!” »
…Is so not happening at this site. I know you have loved your Pep on X player features, your Pep vs. Mou columns, and your contrarian “media overblows Y aspect of derby” takes. Still, I shall indulge you. Here is a brief summary of the Manchester derby: two teams from Manchester played soccer. They both fielded eleven players and kicked a ball for a combined ninety minutes plus change.
There. Now, onto important matters: Chicharito and Messi. And what they have in common. Continue reading “The Absolutely Essential Manchester Derby Recap…” »
Futfanatico is closed for the summer as per usual. In fact, the only editor is not even in the United States of America: how dare him! Thus, this random dispatch from GonzoBro is even less edited and less relevant than ever, yet we need pageviews so here goes.
“On assignment” means one thing to baller freelancers like me: watching adult films on the company dime late at night while staying in some roach-infested Howard Johnson motel in the crummy neighborhood of a somewhat major metropolitan area. That fact may creep you out, but honesty and fidelity to truth at all costs are the trademark of GonzoBra.
Every time you see a byline at The Guardian like “Tom Dart in Dallas“, I think: how many Debbie films did this guy catch between flights during his cursory three-hour stay at a Day’s Inn? “On assignment” means “on our” means stags will be stags roaming the wild and its always ever so much fun and glamorous and they don’t serve peanuts in coach anymore and you have zero space to rest your elbows but you are paid to travel hence travel is suddenly fun.
Yet this odd thing happened: Lionel Fucking Messi and the the Argentinian national team came to play a game vs. the US in my own backyard: Houston. On Assignment suddenly meant zero travel, just futbol. Of course, the codo mofos at Futfanatico couldn’t land me press credentials. Should I bother? Could I cook up some content to get paid to pay back a relative who stopped talking to me a few months ago?
The Heavens answered, shouted, cried out: HELL YEAH. SMy wife of all people insisted we attend the Argentina-US match…but not actually pay to enter the stadium. I had no clue what this bonita broad was cooking, but I lapped it up and was ready for whatever whenever. Continue reading “Hungover Dispatches from Htown: Messi Walks on Water Edition” »
I really loved the year 2013. It was a great time for me. My wife got her papers and could finally come to the US and live with me. She also brought along my two stepchildren who have grown into beautiful, amazing, brilliant individuals who inspire me every day.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, I successfully Kickstarted a nonfiction book on the history of Real Madrid & Barcelona. A year before the Kickstarter, I acted as my own literary agent and “queried” the idea to some publishers in the US and even the UK. I actually got some decent responses and one face-to-face meeting. However, nobody pulled the trigger. I kinda sorta felt like a conspiracy: I was “liked” to death. Like, why are people so kind but then unwilling to pay me? My sister, a recovering TV producer (and mother), explained being “liked to death” is uber common in both LA and elsewhere. It happens. A lot.
Thus, one full (wasted) year after my idea, we Kickstarted, you supported me, you got your rewards, you were elated, and, two months later, I found out that Sid “Mother Fucking” Lowe was writing on the same topic. Understand that I write “Mother Fucking” as a compliment – Sid is boss. He is badass. He researches like an academic and interviews in that classic bipolar Oprah fashion that is 50% your best friend and 50% jaded civil rights attorney in a deposition. He gets access without selling out. He churns out more columns AND match recaps in a single day than I do in a month. I found out about Lowe’s project on a WSC forum, and thought: fuck me. Fuck me hard. Continue reading “Friends, enemies, shifting alliances – please give me your money. Right now.” »
When researching and writing (and later “recording”) my first book, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish, I looked closely at the history of the Spanish soccer term: chilena, which is “bicycle-kick” in English. Basically, a Spanish expat in Chile pulled off a bicycle kick near the start of the 20th century, it was reported, and the name caught fire. Still, how our society apportions credit for inventiveness kinda bugs me.
At the same time as the chilena came to be in South America, Josep Samitier starred for FC Barcelona in Spain. A continent away, he became known for his famous “lobster-kick”. What is a lobster-kick, you ask. Sadly, no video or even good still image of the lobster-kick exists. Based on a few bare-bones match reports, the move was similar to the “scorpion kick” of a certain loco goaltender for Colombia. Still, can we be sure Samitier did not invent the chilena? And what makes a kick “lobster” as opposed to “scorpion”? Continue reading “Folha Seca: The Arbitrary Importance of History” »
I still play FIFA 13 while sipping a fine glass of red wine, a melancholic gloom hanging over my head as my thumbs grow numb from the iPad slide-rule pass finger motions. I always play what is either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-1-1: Higuain gets the nod ahead of Benzema with Ozil underneath, Di Maria wide right, Ronaldo on the left, and Khedira and Alonso shielding the back four. I know that this team didn’t win the coveted Decima, but they did reach numerous Champions League semifinals and enjoy the best La Liga season for Madrid ever.
And they are no more. Continue reading “Watching Mou’s Madrid Unraveled From Afar” »