And on the 90th Day God said: “Bale Shall Score”….

Haley’s comet passing. Blood moons. Summer solstice. For some incredibly momentous happenings, the usual currency of days, weeks, and months is an ineffective measure of time. Time is and always has been relative. Our own values and prejudices taint it. For example, the ancient Aztec calendar, known colloquially as the “Eagle Stone”, measured years in 18 months of 20 days. By that measure, Gareth Bale would have gone over four months between goals for Real Madrid, not three.

But I’m not here to mock. I’m here to celebrate. Continue reading “And on the 90th Day God said: “Bale Shall Score”….” »

SoccErotica: Peeping Tom Busqy Edition

Oh, hello again dearest readers. If you recall from the last edition in this series, there’s nothing sexier online than writing in the second person. Wait, what’s that you say? Hmmm. Adolescent vampires in high school? Well, yes, I suppose with the right facial structure, they could be sexier than the second person in online writing. Sorry, come again? Ummmm, well, sure, listicles of images of shirtless soccer players may be some people’s cup of joe I guess. I concede both those concepts may be erotic for some. However, I am about to write some soccerotica second person for the entire world.

You see, during last Saturday’s Clasico, people missed something. Something big. Your eyes filled with pleasure, but you didn’t know why. As SoccerErotica (TM) poet laureate, I will now put your feelings into the neatest of words, the finest of sentences, the paragraphiest of paragraphs. And our journey begins (and ends) with Sergio Busquets. Continue reading “SoccErotica: Peeping Tom Busqy Edition” »

The Benitez Bad Aftertaste Clasico Recap

I have no agenda against Rafa Benitez. Yes, I have pointed fun at his website, one dollar eBook, and zonal marking system and he did coach Liverpool, but I also recall his successful years at Valencia and think he’s a decent man. Still, a 0-4 loss at home in El Clasico to Barcelona is a pretty bad start to his tenure: not quite 0-5 at the Camp Nou, but pretty bad.

And more than a few things stand out. Continue reading “The Benitez Bad Aftertaste Clasico Recap” »

The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico

Sigh. The last five years have been pretty dreamy. No, not in the sense Real Madrid has won title after title. Rather, we’ve at least been close to winning title after title. We’ve been a respectable second place. After the depths of the Galactico era, this was a nice relief. Capello, Schuster and Mou coached teams to titles. More importantly, under Mou, Madrid started to sign and field coherent teams with strong player at every position. The Zidane y Pavon policy was discarded.

Then Carlo took over, let the horses run wild, and things got really fun. Continue reading “The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico” »

Reflections on Rafa’s Early Tenure at Real Madrid

I’ve written about Rafa Benitez for Squawka a few times. First, I noted that Rafa loves to rotate players wherever he goes. I still have saved the angry tweets of LFC fans wondering why Javier Mascherano wasn’t starting a league game vs. a bottom-feeder. I also wrote about Rafa’s preference for the 4-4-2 and how Ronaldo fits into the system.

Now that Rafa has had a few months as coach, it’s time to reflect on the team. Continue reading “Reflections on Rafa’s Early Tenure at Real Madrid” »

A Lament for the Stillborn Transfer Rumors Now Lost to Purgatory

In all religions that promise either eternal bliss or damnation based on an evaluation of a human’s life, babies pose a problem. Namely, babies sometimes die before they can really do anything great or super bad. Thus, do babies automatically get shipped off to Heaven? Do they frollick in super dope cribs while angels hover above on clouds and sprinkle the softest talcum imaginable? In the Catholic faith, most babes go to purgatory, a land between heaven and hell. With any luck and a few hundred prayers from below, many eventually gain admission through St. Peter’s gate.

But what about stillborn ideas? What about concepts that linger in the air but then disappear? I’ve complained about transfer rumors with an air of inevitability before. However, just as sad is the transfer rumor snatched from our grasp at the last minute. Continue reading “A Lament for the Stillborn Transfer Rumors Now Lost to Purgatory” »

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” »

The Most Sincere Manchester United Story this Transfer Window

This past summer, Real Madrid fans were dumbstruck when Sergio Ramos said he wanted to play for Manchester United. At least the stupid ones were. You see, Sergio Ramos was in the middle of contract negotiations with Florentino Perez. Sergio has won every trophy imaginable, but here’s the dilemma: he is very close to 30 and in a few years may lose his pace. From the club’s perspective, a long-term deal and a pay raise were not warranted because his future production will probably decline. From the player’s perspective, his peak years are 28-32 and he has been a loyal (and successful) servant.

Thus, Sergio went public and said he wanted a move to Manchester United. Predictably, no such move materialized and instead he got a beefy new contract. Continue reading “The Most Sincere Manchester United Story this Transfer Window” »

Junito: The Importance of Winning

Every year, some parent blogger writes about how other parents are pricks for pushing their kids to play sports competitively and care about winning. I know this because I myself have been there. Junito plays on an elite soccer team, and I’ve noticed a great irony in youth sports: the higher the level, the more humble the parents. Yet the opposite is true. Basically, once you’ve seen just how good other kids are at a sport, you realize you and your kids’ place in the pecking order.

This is in contrast to rec leagues, where parents brawls and ref insult dot the land. In their heads, their kids are stars who can only be stopped by bad refs and cheating kids. They are Mourinhos but 10% more violent. Still, here’s the dilemma: their mind is misguided, but is their heart? Is there anything more American than hating losing? Is there a line to be walked? Continue reading “Junito: The Importance of Winning” »

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” »