Archive for May, 2009

… Just how I would describe one of my favorite footballers ever.

Luis Figo has called it quits. Today; Sunday, May 31st, 2009, Figo played his last game for Inter Milan:

Truly a tear shedding moment. Luis Figo was a gem. He was the first in line of a series of great Portuguese wingers who came after him; but none able to dethrone king Figo as the best winger of his generation. He was easily the best winger I have ever seen. But to be fair to the great George Best, I will accept the views of others that he may not be head and shoulders the best ever.

No matter what the verdict, and where anyone will rank him among the greats, no one can deny his legendary status. Luis Figo was of a rare breed of footballers. When he had the ball at his feet, you knew that he was going to be 1-3 players at will, and the set someone up for a goal scoring chance. He was the best player in the World in 2001 when he won the FIFA player of the year award. The following year, he was teamed up with the one and only Zinedine Zidane (which formed on of the best 1-2 attacking punches ever seen) to win the Champions League.

This is a very unorganized entry, but I just want to pay my respects to this wizard of football. He graced us with his talent for 20 years on the professional level, and now he’s gone.

Adios y gracias Luis Figo!

A day after the Devil wins the Champions League for the 3rd time in their 108 year history, the Spanish press is already talking about Florentino Perez and the exciting project he’s putting together in Madrid.

I was only kidding about the first sentence of this post. The Devil is actually in their 109th year and not 108th year. But in all seriousness, Barca was great yesterday, and all season long for that matter. They won the treble with dignity and class. It might be tough to swallow, but they were head and shoulders the best team in the World this year, so hats off to them.

Only a fool would argue against Manchester United and Barcelona being the best two teams in the World right now. And I think I speak for about 65% of the football population when I say it was shocking to see Manubeing toyed with like that by a superior Barca team. As a neutral, I was enticed by a potentially mouthwatering final; but it was far from a close game.

Any threat that United had last night was from Cristiano Ronaldo, and it was only in the first moments in the game where Barca looked completely rattled. But football is a funny game because Barca scored on their first chance, and for the other 80 minutes of the game, Manu was no where to be seen.

What was interesting was Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments before and after the game. When asked about the white kit they were going to wear prior to the game, Cristiano said: “I like wearing the white colors”. It brought me a giggle. And after the match he was asked if he’s going to stay in Manchester next season to which he responded “I don’t know”. Could he be part of Florentino Perez’s summer project? It’s very possible. Cristiano Ronaldo is an overt Madridista and there’s no secret about it. He criticized Fergy’s tactics after the match, and his feud with Puyol during the match must add extra incentive to move to Madrid for revenge next season.

Here are the full match highlights:

But the good thing about football, is that the cycle spins rapidly, and the footballing Gods will arise again from Madrid to take their crown back when the Champions League final is played in the Santiago Bernabeu next year. And this is the man who’s going to help them do it:

Florentino Perez held a press conference today at 7PM CET. Although he did not announce any names, it was exactly what we wanted to hear: He has a plan, and Florentino is a man of his word.

Florentino emphasized the importance of :

  • Youth Players (Granero, Negredo)
  • The best Spanish players (Xabi Alonso, David Villa y David Silva)
  • The best players in the World (Ribery, Cristiano, Kaka)

Perez also noted that although he can’t say how much they will spend, there will be at least five signings over the course of this summer. I won’t speculate who exactly is set in stone yet, but I will say what I know: There is apparently a pre-agreement with Kaka and Milan. Galliani and Perez are good friends and the fees have already been agreed. Perez should announce this next week.

Zidane and Valdano are the sporting directors respectively. The former has influence over Frank Ribery, who seems to be on his way out of Bayern, and Zizou will help make make the decision to come to the Bernabeu. Valdano meanwhile has more influence over the coach. It’s reported that current Villareal coach Pellegrini will be announced as Real Madrid’s new coach at around the same time Kaka is introduced.

That’s all for now, but for sure even after these announcements, the transfer window is far from closed.

Now you can kick back and jam to some Lupe.

LBJ - FTW!
LBJ – FTW!

 “By the time his career his over, he may pass Michael Jordan”. That’s what a friend of mine said to me the other day about Lebron James. I didn’t think too much about it. I usually quickly laugh off these things. Maybe I am biased, and would refuse anyone even coming close to Michael’s greatness, but once Lebron wins 6 rings, then I’ll take some serious consideration as to where he’ll be ranked among the greats. Let’s not take anything away from LJ23. The MJ comparisons are unfair right now, so let’s talk about the incredible game last night in Cleveland.

First of all, I have to say this is been the best NBA playoffs I have seen in a while. So much drama, and every series has been awesome thus far. Some have even just been unreal (Namely, the Bulls-Celtics overtime fiasco). I think it’s fair to say that the conference finals have been great to watch so far too. It’s quite clear that these are the four best teams left in the league, and they made it this far deservedly.

Hedo - Almost FTW
Hedo – Almost FTW

When I was watching the game last night, I was thinking to myself that Cleveland has finally restored order in this series and put Orlando in their place. I never for a second thought that Orlando could come back from the huge hole they had dug themselves in; especially in the playoffs where it’s that much harder to pull a comeback. Lo and behold, they had cut the deficit to three, and the Turkish Michael Jordan, tied the game with a three. After that, he hit what we all thought was the game winning jumper with 1 second left. At that point, I was in somewhat of a shock that Orlando was going back home with a 2-0 series lead. 

As I was getting up off the couch to turn off the TV, I decided to just stand up and watch the final attempt by the Cavs to try to salvage something from this mess that they were in. I was following all the screens and waiting to see how Lebron could get open, and as soon as they inbounded the ball into his hands; you could sense something special was going to happen. King James rose majestically over Hedo to nail the game winning three pointer. A shot that totally changes the series, and gives us more of a chance to see an epic final between Kobe and Lebron.

Just a crazy sequence to end the game (Don’t mind the biased video author):

Check out how humble The King is after he hits the shot, interview at 2:00 :

My friend Ben (that’s for you bro, props on my blog is a big deal.. Cherish it forever) sent me a link to an Algerian football match. As it turns out, Algerian people are football fanatics.. Who would’ve thought:

On a related note; Argentina fans in the Racing – River Plate game 3 years ago:

Fenerbache fans:

Silly, immature reaction.

It’s ok child,  just come to Madrid. You’ll play alot.. Because you’re better than Drenthe, Sneijder, Van Der Vaart and Guti combined.

An unbelievably gifted kid. Maybe the next Zidane?

After seeing Manchester United pick Arsenal apart today, I couldn’t help but to think what a final it would be if Barca beats Chelsea tomorow.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like any of the teams that are left in the competition. But let’s be honest, Barcelona and Manchester United are clearly the two best sides in the World right now. A final between these two would not only be justified, but also mouthwatering. Cristiano and Messi are the two best players in the World right now, and they are surrounded by players like Xavi, Iniesta, Henry, Alves, Rooney, Anderson, Evra, Rio etc.. It would potentially be the best final in years.

Fergy played it perfectly today. Manu were very organized and they were clearly the better side over 180 minutes. Ronaldo proved that he’s still a top 3 player in the World, and I really like how Anderson is slowly showing that he can be an adequate long term replacement for Paul Scholes.

The only unfortunate part for Manu is the loss of Darren Fletcher. He’s such a key instrument in their flow and he will be missed big time for the final in Rome. Although, I can’t understand some people who said it shouldn’t be a foul. ESPN commentator Tommy Smith ( by far the worst commentator in the World ) kept going on about how Fletcher got the ball and it shouldn’t have been a penalty. My response to you Mr. Smith: Read the rules. It doesn’t matter if you got the ball or not if you also chop down the players legs. Ridiculous how he got his job.

Highlights from today’s game:

The biggest rivalry in all of sports history is here for the second and final time this season. This is easily the biggest Clasico in years. There is so much at stake and so much pressure on both teams. This Saturday is going to be a war, and will decide the championship. Barcelona is playing its best football in years, but make no mistake; Real Madrid is in top form and will have almost their whole team available unlike the first Clasico in Camp Nou which ended 2-0 to the Catalan side.

Squad lists:

REAL MADRID C.F.

GK:Iker Casillas, Jerzy Dudek
DF:Sergio Ramos, Miguel Torres, Fabio Cannavaro, Christoph Metzelder, Gabriel Heinze, Marcelo
MF:Arjen Robben, Dani Parejo, Fernando Gago, Lassana Diarra, Javi Garcia, Rafael Van der Vaart, Julien Faubert, Royston Drenthe
FW:Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Gonzalo Higuain

Not Called:

Injured:Ruud, Mahamadou, Guti, Sneijder, De la Red
Technical decision:Salgado, Saviola, Codina
Suspended: Pepe

F.C. BARCELONA

Valdes, Jorquera, Henry, Xavi, Piqué, Iniesta, Puyol, Cáceres, Sylvinho, Bojan, Eto’o, Messi, Hleb, Alves, Abidal, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Touré and Sergio Busquets.

Not Called:

Injured: Marquez, Milito

Technical Decisions: Pinto, Pedro, Victor Sanchez.

Pepe will not be there to to keep Messi and co. in check.

 Probable line-ups:

REAL MADRID C.F. (4-4-2)

_____________Casillas

S. Ramos_Cannavaro_Metzelder_Heinze

___________Gago___Lass

Robben___________________Marcelo

________Higuain_____Raul

F.C BARCELONA (4-3-3)

________Valdes

Alves_Puyol_Pique_Abidal

__Xavi___Yaya__Keita

__Messi__Etoo_Iniesta

The Cules will want revenge from last year’s pasillo

 Madrid will be hoping that the draw against Chelsea midweek will have somewhat slowed Barca down. If we are to win this game, we have to make sure we don’t let Barca settle down into their passing game (easier said then done). I’m sure this Madrid team with the Bernabeu behind them is capable of stopping this record breaking Barcelona team. Oh how sweet it would be to beat Barca now and go on to win the league.. How sweet indeed.

Video preview:
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!
VAMUNOS MUCHACHOS!! HALA MADRID!