Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Couch Guide

(Apologies, but the ESPN website is "unsure" which matches they will be showing. Be sure to check ESPN Deportes throughout the weekend for a handful more to watch)

Saturday, November 20
7:30am Arsenal vs Tottenham (ESPN2)
9:30am Schalke 04 vs Werder Bremen (GolTV)
10:00am Manchester United vs Wigan (FSC)
10:00am Birmingham City vs Chelsea (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Roma vs Udinese (FSC Plus)
12:30pm Liverpool vs West Ham (FSC)
2:30pm AC Milan vs Fiorentina (FSC)
4:00pm Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao(GolTV)
4:00pm West Brom vs Stoke City - tape delay (FSC Plus)
5:00pm Bolton vs Newcastle United - tape delay (FSC)
6:00pm Blackpool vs Wolverhampton - tape delay (FSC Plus)

Sunday, November 21
6:30am Genoa vs Juventus (FSC Plus)
8:30am Blackburn vs Aston Villa (FSC Plus)
9:00am Chievo vs Inter Milan(FSC)
11:00am Stuttgart vs Cologne- tape delay (GolTV)
11:00am Fulham vs Manchester City (FSC)
1:00pm Sevilla vs Mallorca (GolTV)
2:30pm Napoli vs Bologna (FSC)
3:00pm Real Sociedad vs Atletico Madrid (GolTV)
3:00pm RC Lens vs Olympique Lyon (FSC Plus)

Five years ago today - a standing ovation for Ronaldinho in Madrid

On November 19, 2005, Frank Rijkaard took his Barcelona side to Madrid for another incarnation of El Clasico, which the visitors won 3-0. At the time, nobody would have guessed Rijkaard and his side would finish the season hoisting the La Liga and Champions League Trophy. Neither could anyone have foreseen the unprecedented events which transpired on the field.

A Samuel Eto'o goal 14 minutes into the match put the visitors ahead, but this night would belong to Ronaldinho. The first was a scintillating run down the left flank, leaving Sergio Ramos on his ass, and Iván Helguera and Iker Casillas helpless. For the second goal, he again made Ramos look pedestrian finishing ever so calmly to seal the win. Then the unthinkable - the Bernabéu rose to its feet to give the Brazilian, a Barcelona player, a standing ovation in one of the very few classy gestures in this extremely fierce rivalry.

Ronaldinho later capped off that season with the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Worst goalkeeper in the world

No questions asked, this guy is the worst. Either he was drunk, or high, or had trouble seeing the ball during a evening match without lights.

I don't buy the excuses. Anything short of "this guy is embarrassingly bad" won't be accepted.

Ronaldo robbed of wonder goal

My personal feelings aside, you can't argue with the ability of this guy. Cristiano Ronaldo, in the midst of his country's utter shellacking of World Champion Spain, created one of the most jaw dropping "goals" you will ever see. The problem is, it didn't count.

After stopping short on Pique, flicking the ball behind him to his stronger right foot, Ronaldo then dragged the ball ever so slightly and chipped a flat footed Casillas. Unfortunately, his teammate thought it important to make sure the goal-bound ball really crossed the line with some gusto and headed it home. Nani flagged for offsides and the goal waved off.

After watching about fifty replays, and you should too, watch the drag before the chip. Usually Ronaldo adds twinkle toe accessories to his moves for the sake of pissing people off. However, the drag is what kept Puyol and an onrushing Xabi Alonso on edge for that split second to prevent them from blocking the shot. It also occurred to me that if Nani was the shooter, Ronaldo probably would have done the exact same thing by heading the ball into the net.

But hey, Portugal still won 4-0 and Captain Ronaldo didn't celebrate a single goal with his teammates. Why? Because he wasn't the one who scored them....duh.

Italian racism strikes yet again

Mario Balotelli always seems to find the headlines for the wrong reasons. Whether spats with the coaching staff or reckless play on the pitch, the 20 year old never seems to get the benefit of the doubt from anyone. Which is why his most recent comments are a bit baffling:

Until June I am certainly at Manchester City. I have a five-year contract and can’t say anything.

What do I think of Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Ah, Ibra and I would make a very strong pairing

They are not baffling because of the nature of his remarks - a lack of complete commitment to his current squad and always hinting at moving to other clubs. They are baffling because of what awaits him at home, and he is fully aware of it.
Yesterday's international friendly between Italy and Romania took place in Austria. Balotelli made a much anticipated start for his country, but any pre-match excitement was immediately squashed. Every time he touched the ball, whistles filled the stadium as Romanian supporters spewed racist chants and slogans at the Italian striker born of Ghanaian immigrants. However, this was not even the tip of the iceberg. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FIFA unveils Puskas Award shortlist

FIFA has unveiled the 10 finalists for the 2010 Puskas Award for goal of the year.

Established only last year at the behest of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, the award is given to the best goal of the year scored by a man or woman. It is named for Ferenc Puskás, captain of the Hungarian national side in the 1950s and scorer of 84 goals in 85 international appearances at one point.

Ibrahimovic and his agent go too far - Barcelona block payments

There has been to decrease of pathetic, classless, insulting remarks from former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his stupid, gluttonous agent Mino Raiola. To start with, the gangly Swede has used every breathe over the past few weeks and months to slander the Barcelona manager and his image.

He has repeatedly mocked Pep Guardiola calling him a "philosopher" - claiming he is no better than any other manager or player in the game - that he barely had anything to do with Barcelona's success. Just a few days ago, he told reporters that Guardiola thinks of himself as Ghandi. "He seems to think he invented Barcelona's style of play."

As if that wasn't enough, his agent joined the fray yesterday stating, "I think [Johan] Cruyff and Guardiola should go to a mental institution, shut their mouths, and play cards. They would be doing a great favor to Barcelona and the modern game."

Enough is enough. For all the bad blood and supposed bust-ups between manager and player, Ibra is long gone and has almost single-handedly carried AC Milan to the top of Serie A. Upon transferring to Milan, he and his agent made out like bandits with Barcelona's money. So why must they keep pestering and badgering?

There is no rational answer. And luckily, Barcelona Football Club have slammed their fists in response. In an official statement, the club defended their coach and, effective immediately, threw the book at Raiola:

Futbol Club Barcelona considers inadmissible the recent statements issued by Mino Raiola, which have attacked the honor and moral integrity of our manager, Pep Guardiola, and Mr. Johan Cruyff.

These statements have been published by the Swedish daily newspaper "Expressen" and widely reported by numerous agencies and international media.

In this regard, the Legal Department is considering legal action against Mr. Mino Raiola, including criminal proceedings.Taking effect immediately, FC Barcelona has blocked all outstanding payments to Mr. Raiola as per his contractual agreement with the club.

I do wish they had mentioned Ibrahimovic in here, but on second thought, that would only bring the club down to his level. Everyone in their right mind knows that the stupidity coming from Ibra's mouth is exactly that. He's the one looking like an ass. Raiola is a different story altogether - a businessman and an agent. He deserves everything the club has threatened him with.

WAG Wednesday Part 13 - Dorien Rose

And what a lucky 13 this is.

Barcelona recently secured the services of PSV Eindhoven captain, and Dutch international winger, Ibrahim Afellay. The 24 year brings creativity, skill, depth to Barcelona's depleted squad, and oh yeh, his okay looking girlfriend Dorien Rose.

The 27 year old former Dutch Playmate of the Year will turn plenty of heads on the streets of Barcelona. She also bears a striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie. Unfortunately, Jolie ain't no WAG so there's no place for her here.

If Afellay's impact on the sqaud is as good as his girlfriend's looks, Barcelona will be licking their chops for years to come.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sporting Gijon supporters let loose on CR7

Over the weekend, Real Madrid traveled to Gijon for an anger fueled match after Gijon's manager Manolo Prediado called Mourinho a "scoundrel." And while Mourinho enjoyed the confines of an enclosed box seat after receiving a two match suspension, his players faced the most vile of vitriol from the supporters who packed El Molinón all evening.

Needless to say, Cristiano Ronaldo is not one of their favorites.

If you need more, right this way.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't give up on La Liga just yet

Only eleven matches in and the gap is six. Villarreal, with a chance to choose contender or pretender, were put to the sword by an emphatic Barcelona. Cynics would look at the result of that match without a blink of an eye and promote La Liga as a two horse race here on out. However, such people would be incredibly dumb to do so.

Those who watched can tell you it was probably the most artistic and technically gifted match of any played this season in Europe, or the rest of the world. The visitors matched their hosts in every facet of the game - high defensive lines to push forward, neat and tidy possession, wing play and attacking fullbacks. What they lacked, though no fault of their own, was the world class brilliance of Messi and Villa whose goals may go down as the best of the season.

With that in mind, don't be fooled by the final 3-1 tally. Villarreal taught us more in a loss than you would expect. And if you look ahead to the next few weeks, yesterday's match was but a prelude to the true deciders as to whether this league will be a two or three horse race.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Must see matches on the weekend

All eyes turn to Italy this weekend in what is a top heavy fixture list of massive encounters. Quite simply, all of the top six clubs will face each other (including the Milan derby), not to mention the Sicilian derby on Sunday. Not to sell the other leagues short, but aside from Serie A, there is really only one other match of note and that is in Spain where a true test of contender/pretender faces Villarreal. Inasmuch as I obviously support Barcelona, I'm sick of the two horse race and all the flack La Liga receives. Spain needs a Villarreal win or draw, and to be honest it would not be all that bad in my mind.

But hey, that's why they play the game. Buckle up for a roller coaster Italian style weekend:

A Veterans Day Tribute

So I'm a day late, relax. I was clearly just looking for the perfect story to honor the veterans of war and now I've got it:  The Amputee World Cup

This year's tournament was held in Argentina, and for the second straight year, Uzbekistan took home the championship. However, it is the English squad which included a number of men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. After war, bloodshed, and missing limbs, these men are still able and motivated to compete in a sport that they love. It is truly a heroic and touching tale of human sacrifice and the strength of the human heart.

(Video courtesy of The Guardian)

Weekend Couch Guide

Saturday, November 13
7:30am Aston Villa vs Manchester United (ESPN2)
9:45am Wolfsburg vs Schalke 04 (ESPN Deportes)
10:00am Manchester City vs Birmingham City (FSC)
10:00am Tottenham vs Blackburn (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Fiorentina vs Cesena (FSC Plus)
12:30pm Stoke City vs Liverpool (FSC)
2:00pm Atletico Madrid vs Osasuna (GolTV)
2:30pm Juventus vs Roma (FSC)
4:00pm West Ham vs Blackpool(FSC Plus)
4:00pm Barcelona vs Villarreal (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm Newcastle United vs Fulham - tape delay (FSC)
8:30pm Mainz vs Hannover - tape delay (GolTV)
9:30pm Colorado Rapids vs San Jose Earthquakes - MLS Eastern Conference Final (FSC)

Sunday, November 14
6:30am Lazio vs Napoli (FSC Plus)
8:30am AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax (ESPN Deportes)
9:00am Everton vs Arsenal (FSC Plus)
9:00am Palermo vs Catania (FSC)
11:00am Mallorca vs Deportivo La Coruña (ESPN Deportes)
11:00am Chelsea vs Sunderland (FSC)
11:00am Zaragoza vs Sevilla(GolTV)
1:00pm Sporting Gijon vs Real Madrid (GolTV)
2:30pm Inter Milan vs AC Milan (FSC)
3:00pm Valencia vs Getafe (ESPN Deportes)
3:00pm Olympique Lyonnais v Nice (FSC Plus)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Man love at the Manchester Derby


I can barely find the words to describe this. It looks like Carlito is looking for a pot of gold up Rio's ass. Or simply a way in...

Here's a side view:

El Clásico to be contested on a MONDAY

Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have agreed to move El Clásico to Monday, November 29th. On Sunday, the originally scheduled date of the match, Catalan elections are set to be held, and the local authorities had reservations about security for both occasions (and getting people to vote). 

On the one hand, I completely understand why Barcelona did not want the game staged on Sunday. Although it would kick off around 10pm local time at the Camp Nou and polls would be long closed, there is the issue of security. At the stadium itself and around the city, there will be plenty of Madrileños aka targets for violence and vitriol. Security forces will need to be at their fullest capacity. The problem is, 10pm is around the time when results could come in. And even if they came in earlier, there is the issue of celebrations and election parties where security would also be necessary. Frankly, it's a logistical nightmare and the RFEF could ill afford risking a lax in security for one of the most heated derbies on Earth.

Then we have the RFEF itself who were, in my opinion, too weak to assert any influence here. We all know every decision made in this sport revolves around money, and nothing more. Not the supporters, not attendance levels, not the squads (and in some cases not even security). Money and revenue only. So how could the Federation allow the biggest, and most anticipated game on the planet, to be played on a workday?! When ratings will drop. When interest will dwindle. Catalans would have complained (or at least the candidates would have) were the game held on Sunday. And I doubt many people would have argued with their reasoning to do so. But the RFEF needs to do what is in the best interest of their league - a league with the potential to be the most exciting in Europe. This is their grand spectacle to the world, and most won't be able to watch.

You could say that having it on a Monday makes it even more engaging. They will have their own Clásico day. That's just crap though. Spain missed an opportunity here to reach a record number of televisions in every corner of the world. I can't think of a bigger inconvenience in history than this.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WAG Wednesday Part 12 - Gina Lisa Lohfink

I know you are probably thinking from the name and photo that Gina Lisa must be a porn star name. Okay, so she may have released a sex tape in 2008 and featured in Playboy. HOWEVER, Lisa is a former contestant on Germany's Next Top Model and a notorious serial WAG.

Her current conquest is VfB Stuttgart's Ivorian left back Arthur Boka.

Lucky bastard:

WAG Wednesday Part 11 - Melissa Castagnoli

Mario Ballotelli made his Premier League debut over the weekend with two goals and a red card. The Italian kicked out at an opponent prompting his marching orders, and a three match suspension which unfortunately rules him out of today's enormous derby with Manchester United.

In his absence over the next few weeks, it seems only fitting to feature his wonderfully adorable girlfriend today, Melissa Castagnoli. The 19 year old former Miss Italy finalist was once brutally attacked by another girl jealous of her looks, resulting in a broken nose and some bruises.

Looks like she found the right guy to prevent that from happening again any time soon.

A beautiful and unblemished Ms. Castagnoli after the jump:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why England won't win Euro 2012

Tactics, formations, players, subs, starters, weather, opponents. You can dissect them all and still not find the main reason England will not succeed at the European Championships in 2012.

All you need is this:

More goalie blunders

Nobody wants to be a goalkeeper these days. Ever since Robert Green set the position on a tormenting downward spiral during the World Cup into levels of pathetic ineptitude we have not seen in years, other keepers appear to be falling down with him. From those bozos in Morocco, to Heurelho Gomes against Manchester United, to any keeper Arsenal has fielded, the blunders in the net have reached every corner of the globe.

I figured it would be easiest to condense some of these events, as they appear to take place every weekend in mass numbers. First up is another keeper getting too excited, too early. After watching his opponent lash the ball off the crossbar, the goalkeeper peeled away thanking the heavens. Little did he know, as apparently the penalty kick taker and the referee did, the ball ricocheted straight up into the air and bounced into the back of the net. His reaction upon realizing his mistake is priceless.

In Moldova, Edgars Gauračs (number 11) showed off his wily and cunning abilities for FC Sheriff Tiraspol. After his teammate missed a PK and the rebound, Gauračs quietly tip-toed out of the net, waiting for the keeper to get rid of the ball. Now, the goalie could have punted the ball instead of dropping it on the ground. He also could have LOOKED OVER HIS SHOULDER to make sure there were no stragglers behind him. Smart goalkeepers with awareness make that a habit like breathing.

You can imagine what happens next, Gauračs steals the ball immediately and slots home the goal.

Scouse in the City - Kim Cattrall attends Liverpool match

Once a scouse, always a scouse. Kim Cattrall, better known as Samantha Jones having more than plenty of sex in the city, re-embraced her childhood roots by attending the Liverpool vs Chelsea match over the weekend at Anfield.

Liverpool captain Stevie Gerrard invited Cattrall as his guest to sit in his private box, just in front of the skipper's bodacious blonde wife, Alex Curran. And while Curran undoubtedly recognized the Sex in the City star, I can assure you the feeling wasn't mutual. I guess making the back pages for prancing around in Gucci handbags with your children dressed in Louis Vuitton outfits is not breaking news outside of England.

You're probably unaware of the fact that Cattrall was born in Liverpool and promptly relocated with her family to Canada at 3 months. However, she returned at the age of 11 when her grandmother became ill, until departing once again at the age of 16. The year of her departure saw Liverpool win the English First Division and UEFA Cup, a nice sending off for the aspiring actress.

Scheduled to perform in a production of Antony and Cleopatra in Liverpool's Playhouse theater, Cattrall could be seen belting out the club's anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone" both before and after the match. And rightfully so, as her club defeated league leading Chelsea 2-0 off two splendid Fernando Torres goals.

More photos of Kim's afternoon after the jump:

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's raining tennis balls in Switzerland!

We've seen protests in Greece by disgruntled supporters who resorted to vandalism and destruction of their own team's pitch to have games suspended or re-scheduled. Classless and pathetic to say the least. We've also seen supporters in Italy protest lunch time kick-offs by bringing packed lunches to the matches.

It appears the Swiss also have a knack for the creative and non-violent approach. On Sunday, Swiss television wished to broadcast the final of the Swiss indoor tennis tournament in addition to the match between FC Basel and FC Luzern, the top two teams in Switzerland's Super League. So, they moved the football match to an earlier than expected 12:45pm kick-off, much to the dismay of Basel fans.

Their response? Litter the field with tennis balls!! Ultras behind the goal heaved countless tennis balls onto the field, suspending the game for a few minutes until they were cleared.

You see? Lighting things on fire and trashing cities is not the only way to advertise your disgust and discontent. Sometimes a little humor goes a long way, and at the end of the day the Basel supporters left with a 90 minute equalizer to retain their lead atop the table, and no more balls for their mid-week tennis games at the gym.

Schweinsteiger's topless female doppelgänger

Germany's Bild is running a doppelgänger campaign for a number of players and managers both in Germany and the rest of Europe. Of them all, the above takes first prize.

Bastian Schweinsteiger has never been cast in such embarrassing light, or at least not since he bleached his hair white to resemble Paul Bettany as Silas in The Da Vinci Code. Nor has Schweiny been one to flatter the cameras either (probably why he clings to his girlfriend at every opportunity).

I just hope that isn't a picture of his mother from her college years as a free-spirited topless sunbather surrounded by storm troopers in motorcycle boots (don't worry - she's actually a woman on a postcard in Ithaca, Greece and a creepy farmer with a handlebar mustache looking down on her.)

Click here and scroll down for the rest of the doppelgängers (FYI - the above picture isn't censored on the site).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Facebook has spoken: Puyol will play until 40

About a month ago, reports claimed that Carles Puyol had confided in a friend that he would play until 40 if a Facebook group for the cause attracted 250,000 followers. Well, it appears the power of Facebook has succeeded once again.

As of today, November 5th, the group named Carles Puyol: "If this gets 250,000 I will retire at 40", has surpassed the benchmark and currently boasts 251,082 followers. Carles has not released an official statement as of yet, but Barcelona, Spanish, and giant hair supporters around the globe will be thrilled with the opportunity to watch the Rock of Gibraltar compete for another EIGHT years.

Why not? The guy still plays at an extremely high level and his partnership with Pique has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. He does not appear to be slowing, nor has Guardiola ceased to put him at right back when needed. It's safe to assume that Facebook or not, Puyol probably anticipated playing a few more seasons as long as injuries did not get in the way (and he has been pretty healthy over the past few years).

I attribute his endurance to Malena Costa - his young brand new, super hot girlfriend.

Must see matches of the weekend

We've got a few derbies of note coming up. Midweek European hangovers will surely be in effect, taking the bite out of a number of clubs over the weekend (put ALL your money on Bolton to defeat Tottenham). Most people may see this weekend as simply a layover before the colossal tussle between Manchester United and Manchester City on Wednesday.

But don't sell it short! There is plenty of action you cannot miss over the next two days so let's get right into it starting with Liverpool and Chelsea.

Weekend Couch Guide

Saturday, November 6
8:30am Bolton vs Tottenham (ESPN2)
10:40am Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich - joined in progress (ESPN Deportes)
11:00am Manchester United vs Wolverhampton (FSC)
11:00am Fulham vs Aston Villa (FSC Plus)
1:00pm Sunderland vs Stoke City - tape delay (FSC)
1:00pm Bologna vs Lecce (FSC Plus)
3:00pm Real Sociedad vs Racing Santander (GolTV)
3:30pm Inter Milan vs Brescia (GolTV)
4:00pm Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich - tape delay (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm Blackpool vs Everton - tape delay (FSC Plus)
10:00pm Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas - Western Conference Semifinal Leg 2 (FSC)

Sunday, November 7
6:30am Fiorentina vs Chievo (FSC Plus)
8:30am Arsenal vs Newcastle United (FSC Plus)
8:30am FC Utrecht vs. PSV Eindhoven (ESPN Deportes)
9:00am Lazio vs Roma (FSC)
11:00am Villarreal vs Athletic Bilbao (GolTV)
11:00am Liverpool vs Chelsea (FSC)
11:00am Levante vs. Deportivo La Coruña (ESPN Deportes)
12:30pm Cardiff City vs Swansea City- tape delay (FSC Plus)
1:00pm Getafe vs. Barcelona (ESPN Deportes)
1:00pm Stuttgart vs Werder Bremen - tape delay (GolTV)
2:30pm Palermo vs Genoa (FSC)
3:00pm Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (GolTV)
3:00pm Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille (FSC Plus)
5:00pm West Brom vs Manchester City- tape delay (FSC)
9:00pm Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy - Western Conference Semifinal Leg 2 (ESPN)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top 30 U-21 Players

A Portuguese football finance company has released its list of the top 30 players under 21 years of age, and their minimum/maximum value. Many of you may think these numbers are low, but you've simply been brainwashed by the inflated and astronomical transfers fees we've seen over the past two years. I give a lot of credit to this company who gave an honest estimate on these players' worth - especially for kids no older than 21.

There are also a number of surprising names missing from this list, but after looking it over, a majority of the players who made the list have been performing at a high level for some time on both the club and international level. So in some ways you can reduce the list of names not on this list if looking at those credentials only.

Either way, think what you will of it. Here's a quick breakdown followed by the list itself:

How many more screw ups before replay is introduced?

As Pippo Inzaghi started his run, I screamed at Gattuso to get rid of the ball and play him through. Whether he didn't see his teammate or simply thought the ball would never reach the Pippo is anyone's guess. Regardless, when he finally released the ball, I got up to go to the bathroom as he had missed the opportunity and Inzaghi was visibly two yards offsides. Next thing I know, the commentator is screaming "Goooool" on my television screen - Milan had taken the lead.

CR7 is a disgrace to this sport

"Who is the best player on the planet: Messi or Ronaldo?"

You can produce volumes upon volumes of text debating this very topic. It is a question of football philosophy and personal preference. I will not attempt to defend one man against the other here (although my response should be quite obvious to you). What I will do, however, is expose the degenerate and disgusting aspect of Cristiano Ronaldo's game which should make any proper football fan loathe him.

There are plenty of athletes throughout sports who are cancers - Terrell Owens and Albert Haynesworth in the NFL, Manny Ramirez in baseball, Sean Avery in hockey. They are all excellent talents and add a competitive advantage to whichever team they play for. What they have in common though, is that all (or at least 95%) of the headaches they cause are off the field or on the sideline. When they have a chance to prove their doubters wrong, they enter the fray and give their all.

Ronaldo falls into a different category, which makes him a pathetic human being. His ability is mesmerizing. I'll give him that. But to give up on plays - to CHEAT the game itself by feinting injury and collapsing like a heap of bricks from the slightest of contact is an issue that will forever cement him as the second best player in the world. I don't care what happens during halftime, or in the dugout, or at a night club. But when you step on that pitch, and 10 other guys are relying on you to be an honest player and make the best decisions for the team, you owe it to them to act in an upstanding manner.

He is an unprofessional primma donna who attracts more viewers than any player on the planet, and conversely plays into the very reason most people hate the sport.

Yellow cards are given for diving. Why not the above clip? The minute Ronaldo gets up and reveals he is unblemished in an attempt to deceive the referee, give him a card!! No medic, no stretcher, no blood, no magic spray, no limp. Nothing. He is trying to cheat the ref and the game. That is a card-able offense.

Say what you will about his shooting, and speed, and sexy looks, and stepovers (which get him nowhere 90% of the time). The bottom line is, he is a disgrace to football. Lifting a Balon d'Or and being nominated for the most prestigious awards year after year carries with it an expectation of professionalism. The poster boy of the sport, should act in a way that reflects the dignity of the sport.

He doesn't. And he should never earn your respect.

UCL Matchday 4 Day 2 Top Goals

They may not be the best goals you've ever seen, and there may not be very many, but they were tops for the day. Only three made the cut:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WAG Wednesday Part 10 - Abbey Clancy

One of my favorites, Abigail Rose "Abbey" Clancy is a luxurious lingerie model and quite the eye popper. She is currently carrying what I can only imagine is a gumby-like figure in her stomach as she and fiance Peter Crouch are expecting a child in March. Crouch is that gangly a-hole who cheated on Abbey a few months ago with some extremely ugly tramps. Forgetting for a moment that they were ugly, why on earth would he ever cheat on her?!?! Some guys would part with limbs just to get an hour with her in the bedroom (although that might be a littttle too extreme even for me).

But hey, this column is not meant to judge character flaws and commitment issues - just bodies. So as far as Abbey is concerned, she gets an A++.

Pep Guardiola and Stale Solbakken almost come to blows

I love my manager - one of the classiest and humble perfectionists on the planet, who always takes the high road and never gets mired in the childlike banter many managers employ. However last night, Guardiola's patience reached its breaking point as the Barcelona manager confronted FC Copengan's Stale Solbakken in a very heated exchange that almost got physical. Apparently, Guardiola was pissed at Solbakken for attempting to infringe on the Barcelona man's unflappable sense of style - shaved head and stubble, scarf, tapered coat, tie, and vest. It is a look that sends shivers down my spine every time I see Pep on the sideline. However, the Copenhagen man wears it with a little less class and sets an extremely bad example for that look...

Okay, I only wish that was the issue at hand. But in all seriousness, Solbakken had made a number of remarks before the match in reference to José Manuel Pinto, the Barcelona keeper suspended two matches by UEFA for unsportsmanlike conduct after he imitated the referee's whistle to stop a Copenhagen player from advancing on a break-away, who thought the ref blew for offsides and stopped playing. In an unprecedented scene in the career of one of the quieter managers, Pep stood up for his man.

(Details of the exchange and the video after the jump)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UCL Matchday 4 Day 1 Top Goals

Highlighting the best goals from Tuesday's Champions League action. Not too shabby.

Stop, drop, and roll

Over the years, we've witnessed some jaw dropping spectacles on the field. From goal celebrations, to pre-match rituals, to violent confrontations among players and/or fans, the sport has produced moments etched in history which leave every viewer wondering, "what the fuck just happened?!"

This video, for me, could very well be my top "wtf" moment (it's a close contest with toothbrush guy from the Chelsea match).

In a match televised around the world, Lisen battled Jihlava B in an epic Czech 3rd division tussle. Already up 3-0, the Lisen players decided to add a little fun to their romp. As one of the center-backs booted the ball in the air, someone on the sidelines screamed out "Kotoul," or "roll" at which point the entire team dropped into a forward roll.

Granted this was a 3rd division match, the stunt was actually somewhat humorous, and I would imagine most of the players are part time professionals. However, as an opponent, I would have pummeled every player on the Lisen squad - both on the field and in the dugout. There is a certain level of respect that this game warrants, and the Lisen players showed none. It's one thing to celebrate a goal while the game is stopped. But during the run of play?! They deserved a proper ass kicking.

Monday, November 1, 2010

U-S-A!! U-S-A!!

It was a great weekend to be an American playing football abroad. Marcus Hahnemann helped Wolves secure only their second victory of the season in a shocker against Manchester City. It should be noted that of City's 19 shots, only two were on goal - and one of those got past him. Either way, Hahnemann gets a victory no matter how many stops he made.

Now to Craven Cottage where the most in-form American can't stop scoring. Clint Dempsey netted a brace in Fulham's 2-0 over Wigan. He has now tallied four goals this season, and very much on pace to better his total of seven all of last season. I would imagine a number of Americans cringed at the sight of Dempsey's embrace with Carlos Salcido. The Mexican international frustrated Wigan all game, wreaking havoc down the left side and setting up Dempsey's first. For what it's worth, this pair could be extremely menacing for opponents going forward. Highlights of both goals right this way.

One of the continent's big matches took place in Belgium as league leaders Racing Genk hosted second place Anderlicht. And wouldn't you know, Sacha Kljestan opened the scoring for the visitors with a poacher's goal. Kljestan signed a four year deal with the Belgian champions and has scored twice in five appearances (the first came in his debut for the club). Sacha's goal here.

MORE goals from Maurice Edu, and luckily not for the other team. The Rangers man put the home side up 1-0 against Inverness Caledonian Thistle (arguably the best name of any team on the planet). Edu showed great composure rifling the ball on the volley past the goalkeeper. Perhaps the best of all the American goals this weekend.

And although it was midweek, we should give Jozy Altidore a shout-out. The big striker who has struggled to impress anywhere in the past year finally scored for Villarreal in a Copa del Rey match. Playing time has been sparse for Altidore with his New Jersey counterpart Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar being the preferred strikers. Let's hope this goal is the start of something good for him.

And while we are on the subject of American goals, remember when Landon scored that winner in the World Cup? This montage never gets old.