Friday, October 29, 2010

Beach. Football. Women.

A nice little video to take you into the weekend. The title pretty much explains everything you need to know.

Happy Halloween to you all!

(Thanks to The Spoiler for the video)

Halloween hell - a torrent weekend of must see matches

WHAT. A. WEEKEND. AHEAD. Tricks and treats for everyone. After what was a rather boring weekend of football last week, the next two days are sure to be memorable in many respects: Two of the most famous and fiercely contested derbies in England. One of the most fiercely contested derby in Europe. Five - that's right - five top leagues will see #1 face #2. Pretenders will attempt to stake their claim as contenders.

Have I wet your appetite enough? Sit back and lick your chops as we preview the matches that will set this weekend alight.

Let's start with in the top leagues:

Weekend Couch Guide

Friday, October 29
2:30pm Bayern Munich vs Freiburg (GolTV)
2:30pm Genoa vs Inter Milan (FSC Plus)

Saturday, October 30
9:30am Wolfsburg vs Stuttgart (GolTV)
10:00am Blackburn vs Chelsea (ESPN2)
10:00am Arsenal vs West Ham (FSC)
10:00am Wolverhampton vs Manchester City (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Valencia vs Zaragoza (ESPN Deportes)
12:00pm Roma vs Lecce (FSC Plus)
12:30pm Manchester United vs Tottenham (FSC)
2:00pm Hercules vs Real Madrid (GolTV)
2:30pm AC Milan vs Juventus (FSC)
4:00pm Barcelona vs Sevilla (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake - Western Conference Semifinal (FSC) 
6:00pm PSV Eindhoven vs FC Twente - tape delay (ESPN Deportes)
7:30pm Everton vs Stoke City - tape delay (FSC)
8:00pm Fulham vs Wigan - tape delay (FSC Plus)

Sunday, October 31
7:30am Palermo vs Lazio (FSC Plus)
9:30am Newcastle United vs Sunderland (FSC Plus)
10:00am Brescia vs Napoli (FSC)
11:30am Aston Villa vs Birmingham - tape delay (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Deportivo La Coruña vs Espanyol (ESPN Deportes)
12:00pm Bolton vs Liverpool (FSC)
12:00pm Sporting Gijon vs Villarreal (GolTV)
2:00pm Mainz vs. Borussia Dortmund - tape delay (ESPN Deportes)
2:00pm Atletico Madrid vs Almeria (GolTV)
3:30pm Catania vs Fiorentina (FSC)
4:00pm Montpellier vs Paris Saint-Germain (FSC Plus)
4:00pm Hoffenheim vs Hannover 96 (GolTV)

Most lucrative shirt sponsorships in Europe

UK based SPORT+MARKT has released its 12th annual European Football Jersey Report - evaluating and ranking the most lucrative shirt sponsorships in Europe for the current season. Not surprisingly, the Premier League regained first place over Germany while Spain, arguably the most indebted of the big leagues in Europe, sits in fifth. Such deals may not solve all your problems, but they serve as a vital source of revenue for certain clubs. These numbers should also come as a warning to certain leagues (ahem - Spain) that they may need to try a bit harder in order to garner enthusiasm and worldwide popularity, or face perilous economic decisions.

Top revenue generating leagues:

1. English Premier League- €128 million (€83.5 million last year)
2. German Bundesliga - €118.5 million (€108.6 million last year)
3. Italian Serie A - €65.9 million (the only league to record a revenue drop)
4. French Ligue 1 - €58.8 million
5. Spanish La Liga - €57.5 million (€48.6 million last year)

6. Dutch Eredivisie - €42 million

Top revenue generating clubs:

1. Manchester United and Aon - €23.6 million
2. Liverpool and Standard Chartered bank - €23.6 million
3. Real Madrid and Bwin - €23 million
4. Bayern Munich and Deutsche Telekom - €22 million
5. Chelsea and Samsung -  - €16.3 million

More food for thought:

- La Liga - why are you so dumb?! On the one hand, the Spanish currently sit atop the world and european football thrones so why the pressure to do more? However, their period of greatness will soon dissipate and reality will set in. Barcelona, the most popular team on the planet at the moment, is in serious debt and has never worn a sponsor until 2006. However, Barcelona pays UNICEF to the tune of €1.5 million a year. It is inexcusable for La Liga to sit in 5th position. 

- Lazio and Fiorentina, two of the bigger clubs in Italy, do not have sponsorship deals.

- Getafe is still sponsored by Burger King.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The curse of goalkeeping in North Africa

What is it with North African goalkeepers? Are they all really this dumb? Remember Khalid Askri of FAR Rabat? The keeper for the Moroccan club side celebrated stopping a penalty kick a bit too early, and then realized the ball rolled into the net behind him. A few weeks later, Askri tried dribbling away from a defender only to have the ball tackled directly into the net. He subsequently took himself out of the game in a fury.

Now, a new keeper wishes to top the list of bonehead plays.

Nadim Thabet, goalkeeper for Étoile Sportive du Sahel in Tunisia, decided on his own that the ball went over the end-line. Little did he know it was still in play, and upon retrieving a new ball from behind the net for a goal kick, he realized his blunder. Luckily, one of his defenders heroically defended the empty net and prevented Thabet from being tarred and feathered in the town square afterwards.

I think Arsene Wenger has found the right place to ship off every pathetic goalkeeper he's had since Lehmann.

WAG Wednesday Part 9 - Michela Quattrociocche

This adorable 21 year old was only recently granted permission to drink booze in the United States, although I'm sure Alberto Aquilani bought her plenty before that point. Luckily for Michela, Alberto has been loaned out to Juventus this season so she need not worry about spending the year in beautiful and picturesque Liverpool.

A Mediterranean climate and a Mediterranean diet for a tight Mediterranean body:

Platini claims goal-line technology will lead to "PlayStation football"

Michel Platini is an idiot. Plain and simple. His remarks regarding the use of goal-line are completely irrational inasmuch as they are rooted in a prehistoric mentality that football has been, and always should be decided by human error. Platini told the Scottish FA's website on a visit to Glasgow that should FIFA initiate the use of video replay, "then we will have PlayStation football."

Platini believes that two extra officials on the end line are more than enough to assist the referees. He continued:

"The referee has to be helped by the clubs, the fans, by players, by the media and also by the authorities – everyone has a responsibility. It is why we have added two assistants for Champions League games this season. It is a logical step with so many cameras that can pick up incidents: the more eyes there are to assist the referee, the better the chance of spotting those incidents."

Did anyone else not catch the bullshit here? The "logical step" with such advanced and extensive video capabilities is to add another referee?! If it is the duty of everyone to help the referees, shouldn't we allow video evidence to prevent their screw-ups, which sometimes lead to death threats and violent reprisals by fans?!

In Memorium - Paul the Octopus 2008-2010

Since Paul never had a chance to complete his will, please help determine what should be done with him by answering the question above.

Are or you're an asshole, you can start following Maradona on Twitter who supposedly wrote "I'm glad you're dead" in response to Paul's passing.

WAG Wednesday Part 8 - Sarah Brandner

Here's another one of those head-scratchers. With all do respect to the abilities of Bastian Schweinsteiger who is a phenomenal player, the bleached hair and his overall gentlemanly look don't really flatter. And yet, he has dated the very sensual, blonde bombshell Sarah Brandner for some time.

She looks good in pictures with him. She looks good at World Cup matches. She looks even BETTER double fisting two beers at World Cup matches. I guess you could say, she's pretty good looking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barcelona arrives in style

About a month ago, I mind-numbingly outlined the issues surrounding Barcelona's predicament in traveling to Ceuta for today's Copa del Rey match. Ceuta, as you may or may not know, sits on the northern tip of Africa across the Straight of Gibralter. Well after a quick flight south, they chose the most flamboyant of means of transportation. Like kings, the team crossed the Straight in a helicopter and landed at their own little helipad.

Hey, when you're the best, you deserve the best.

Sociedad players celebrate in a car

Move over Stjarnan - there's a new sheriff in town taking goal celebrations to the next level. Real Sociedad, mired in relegation, took an easy three points off pathetic Deportivo la Coruna on Monday, and in the process produced a celebration to be remembered.

Already up 1-0, Antoine Griezmann headed home Sociedad's second and immediately ran to the meaningless running track behind the goal. Awaiting him was a car on display with doors ajar. Once the rest of the carpool arrived, everyone jumped in for a scene straight out of the Flinstones.

You must credit the creativity, as I'm sure these players are aware of the cars sitting back there every match. It would have been nice if he threw it into neutral and took the car for a nice 10 foot joy ride. Although from the looks of it, Griezmann is not the most relaxed behind the wheel.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chinese cartoons of Liverpool

You gotta love the Chinese. Check out their cartoon rendition of Gillett and Hicks' takeover of Liverpool, its demise, and eventual sale.

Weekend Couch Guide

Friday, October 22
2:30pm Hamburg vs Bayern Munich (ESPN Deportes)

Saturday, October 23
7:30am Tottenham vs Everton (ESPN2)
9:30am Borussia Monchengladbach vs Werder Bremen (GolTV)
10:00am Chelsea vs Wolverhampton (FSC)
10:00am Sunderland vs Aston Villa (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Zaragoza vs Barcelona (GolTV)
12:30pm West Ham vs Newcastle (FSC)
2:00pm Real Madrid vs Racing Santander (ESPN Deportes)
2:30pm Fiorentina vs Bari (FSC)
4:00pm Valencia vs Mallorca (GolTV)
5:00pm West Brom vs Fulham - tape delay (FSC)
6:00pm Birmingham vs Blackpool - tape delay (FSC)

Sunday, October 24
6:30am Parma vs Roma (FSC Plus)
8:30am Stoke City vs Manchester United (FSC)
8:30am PSV Eindhoven vs Feyenoord (ESPN Deportes)
9:00am Bologna vs Juventus (FSC Plus)
11:00am Manchester City vs Arsenal (FSC)
11:00am Almeria vs Hercules (ESPN Deportes)
1:00pm Sevilla vs Athletic Bilbao(GolTV)
2:30pm Inter Milan vs Sampdoria (FSC)
3:00pm Lille vs Marseille (FSC Plus)
3:00pm Villarreal vs Atlético Madrid (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm Liverpool vs Blackburn - tape delay (FSC)
5:00pm Bayer Leverkusen vs Mainz- tape delay (GolTV)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rooney isn't making many friends

United fans were none too pleased to hear of their star striker's intention to leave the club, and made their opinions known last night.

UCL Matchday 3, Day 2 Top Goals

After Tuesday's display, one would think the bar was set a bit high for the best goals of the week. However, yesterday saw a bit more finesse and technique which, for the purists like myself, are just as impressive as thunderous volleys.

Not to mention one of the most impressive hat tricks you will ever see on this level:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turkish Airlines unveils Manchester United in-flight entertainment

Flying Turkish Airlines just got MUCH cooler.

WAG Wednesday Part 7 - Malena Costa

We're kicking it Spanish WAG style today. Next up - Malena Costa, the charming and adorable girlfriend of one of the most unattractive men in the game today - Carles Puyol. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy for everything he has given to Barcelona. But you can't argue with the evidence: here, here, and here.

But who cares what I think? As they say, looks aren't everything. It's obviously about fame and fortune and sugar daddies, of which Puyol can boast all three characteristics.

Whatever you do Carles, don't let this chick get away:

Four players drugged by rival opponents

I've heard of fans sabotaging their own stadiums, or attacking team buses before and after the match. But this recent development trumps them all by a long shot. Sport Áncash faced off against Acosvinchos in the Peruvian Second Division in a crucial promotion match, and the visitors made sure their local rivals didn't gain an advantage to reach the top tier of Peruvian football. It appears that the kit-men dropped sleeping pills into a number of water bottles, causing four Acosvinchos players to collapse unconscious during the match. Sport Áncash went on to win 3-0 and secure promotion.

Upon further testing at the hospital, doctors confirmed the presence of a drug causing a neurological condition that decreases a person's level of consciousness (aka sleeping pills). Acosvinchos directors are demanding an investigation and the match forfeited in their favor.

Sport Áncash president Pepe Mallqui responded with his own interpretation that a big meal before the match caused the players to collapse:

"They ate barbecued chicken with spices and ended up taking indigestion tablets afterwards. I'm sure these four men fainted because of that and the physical effort they put in."

Just like Alberto Contador tested positive for performance enhancing drugs because of bad meat?

Give me a break. Blaming spicy chicken, a players' digestive track, and lack of fitness as a triumvirate triple conspiracy is one of the worst excuses I've ever heard. They should replay the match, but have both teams stuff their faces with a BBQ chicken buffet beforehand. You know, level the playing field a bit.

WAG Wednesday Part 6 - Zaira Nara

Zaira Nara is an Argentine model and the girlfriend of Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan - a guy with 123 goals in his last 212 club appearances. A guy with at least 16 goals in each of the past four seasons. Needless to say he's got the goods, and deserves the goods that come with being a superstar.

In fact, the contract of their relationship requires him to score double digit goals each season or else she'll ditch him for a more prolific scorer. Don't you just hate high maintenance chicks?

I guess I can make an exception for her based on the following:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

UCL Matchday 3, Day 1 Top Goals

If you're seeking delicate footwork, finesse, or sleek interplay, look elsewhere. The best of yesterday's goals had a common theme - violence and power. Thunderous volleys from set pieces. Thunderous volleys from the field of play. And the poor goalies left helpless in their wake.

Video evidence after the jump:

Kick to the nuts gets 4 match suspension

Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Juan Arango has been suspended four matches after kicking Hoffenheim's Sejad Salihović over the weekend. A deserved straight red and an even more deserved suspension.

But just watch Salihović. The kick doesn't even hurt him!! After impact, he remains on his feet unharmed until falling like a sack of bricks a few seconds later. Arango knows it too.

So either Salihović wore a chastity belt or he's got no balls. Pretty pathetic either way.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fat Ronaldo returns with a BANG

Fat Ronaldo, sidelined with an injury and incessant trips to McDonalds, held a press conference yesterday to announce his intentions of returning to the field for Corinthians this weekend.

At the conclusion of his remarks, Ronaldo lit a smoke bomb on stage with a little shit-smirk on his face. He later explained, "It was given to me by a comedian. I play poorly, and then disappear into the mist."

Well that sure is promising for Corinthians fans. The guy is already making his own jokes about how bad he'll be when he returns to the field! Unfortunately for Ronaldo, he may need a little bit more than smoke to make his plump frame disappear. Something more along the lines of fruits and vegetables might do...

Matches you can't miss this weekend

Club football is finally back!!  After a rather dreadful international break which would have been even worse had the Liverpool saga not entertained us, clubs finally return to the trenches for battle. There are two monster affairs taking place this weekend which you surely cannot miss. We begin, of course, with the biggest monster of them all on Merseyside.

EVERTON VS LIVERPOOL (Sunday, 8:30am Fox Soccer Plus)
Could the gods have set this up any better for us? As Liverpool trudge along with the sale of the club to NESV, which should go through today, they must now prepare themselves for their most bitter of rivals across Stanley Park. Throw out the record books this Sunday - previous head-to-head encounters mean nothing. Performances this season mean nothing since both teams stink. Who would have thought this match would be a relegation 6 pointer? Liverpool sit in the drop zone while Everton, who are even on points but enjoy a better goal differential, lie one spot ahead of their rivals in 16th. It's safe to say Everton are much better than their record would tell you, since they begin every season terribly. Liverpool on the other hand are as bad as their record shows. Most of their transfer acquisitions over the summer have been duds and Torres cannot remain healthy. And after all the anti-American vitriol spewed from the mouths of Liverpool supporters, they finally got their wish and now must turn all their attention to the field. Unfortunately, new owners won't bring them out of this relegation fight any time soon. Prediction: 2-1 Everton

BARCELONA VS VALENCIA (Sunday, 12:00pm ESPN Deportes)
The league leaders are coming to town...and it's not Barcelona. Yup, Valencia have defied every preseason prediction after losing the spine of their club, and sit top of the table with an unblemished away record to boast. Meanwhile, things are not very rosy in the Camp Nou. Xavi is expected to miss this match while David Villa is trying to stay healthy ahead the reunion with his old club. Their home form has been dreadful to say the least, 1-1-1. While many people would say this is one of those games where Barcelona is prime for the taking, I would have to completely disagree. We have seen all too often over the past few years in any competition that when Barcelona need to win, they produce the kind of performance that squashes any doubt of who is the best team on the planet. Sunday will be one of those days (or at least it needs to be!) Prediction: 2-0 Barcelona

MAINZ VS HAMBURG (Saturday, 9:30am)
The hosts and surprising league leaders go for history tomorrow. A win would be eight in eight, a new record for the Bundesliga. Aside from that, Mainz are a very entertaining side to watch and have one of the most lively and energetic managers of any club in Europe.

AC MILAN VS CHIEVO (Saturday, 12:00pm Fox Soccer Plus) 
An interesting match as 4th place Milan host 5th place Chievo. With the superstars peppering the Milan roster, any match of theirs is must see theater. But they have yet to look convincing since the arrivals of Ibrahimovic and Robinho. This will be a great litmus test for how good Milan truly are.

SCHALKE VS STUTTGART (Saturday, 9:30am)
A battle of the losers for teams that finished 2nd and 6th respectively last season. They now occupy the very bottom of the Bundesliga table. Let's just hope one, if not both of these teams can turn it around.

Weekend Couch Guide

Friday, October 15
2:00pm Cologne vs Dortmund (GolTV)

Saturday, October 16
9:30am Bayern Munich vs Hannover (GolTV)
10:00am Arsenal vs Birmingham (FSC)
10:00am Fulham vs Tottenham (FSC+)
10:00am Manchester United vs West Brom (ESPN2)
12:00pm AC Milan vs Chievo (FSC+)
12:00pm Atletico Madrid vs Getafe (GolTV)
12:30pm Aston Villa vs Chelsea (FSC)
2:00pm Barcelona vs Valencia (ESPN Deportes)
2:30pm Roma vs Genoa (FSC)
3:50pm Malaga vs Real Madrid (GolTV)
4:00pm Wolverhampton vs West Ham (FSC+)
8:30pm Newcastle vs Wigan - tape delay (FSC)

Sunday, October 17
2:00am Gold Coast United vs Adelaide United (FSC)
6:30am Cagliari vs Inter Milan (FSC+)
8:30am Everton vs Liverpool (FSC+)
8:30am Willem II vs PSV Eindhoven (ESPN Deportes)
9:00am Juventus vs Lecce (FSC)
11:00am Blackpool vs Manchester City (FSC)
11:00am Deportivo La Coruña vs Osasuna (ESPN Deportes)
11:30am Hoffenheim vs Borussia Monchenglasbach (GolTV)
1:00pm Athletic Bilbao vs Real Zaragoza (ESPN Deportes)
2:30pm Bari vs Lazio (FSC)
3:00pm Sporting Gijon vs Sevilla (GolTV)
3:00pm Lyon vs Lille (FSC+)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chile's 33 miners finally taste freedom - so who do they all support?

Unless you're an idiot living in a dark hole, you probably heard the miraculous news out of Chile as all 33 miners were finally brought to the surface after two months and nine days underground. Well, now that they are healthy and free, it's back to the pub on weekends to watch their clubs compete in the Chilean Primera División. Who do they all support? I thought you'd never ask.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turkish fans are a little upset

It's safe to say Turkish supporters are a bit frustrated with the shocking loss to Azerbaijan yesterday 1-0 (this after a 3-0 smacking by Germany on Friday). Sports paper Fanatik printed the above cover, picturing manager Guss Hiddink and his assistants with black eyes and other facial wounds. Hiddink himself called the loss, "the worst day of my career."

After this reaction, it doesn't look as though the team will have many more excuses to avoid public rebuke. It seems their patience has already worn thin.

Turkey currently sit third in Group A with six points - one behind Austria and six behind the leaders, Germany.

Photo courtesy of Bild

WAG Wednesday Part 5 - Ronaldinho's very own Sara Tommasi

Sara Tommasi is Ronaldinho's newest arm candy. I know, it is barely believable how a man so ugly could score such a woman. However, fame and fortune have their influence in the world of WAGs and this man has as much as any footballer out there.

Well done 'dinho. You've made all us decent looking guys feel completely inadequate. Thanks.

More pics and a video after the jump:

Pandemonium in Genoa

It was supposed to be an intriguing and hotly contested match between Italy v Serbia. Instead, the dark side of football reared its ugly head in a manner we have not seen in some time. After a delayed start and another stoppage, the ref deemed the match unsafe for the players (some players made that decision themselves) and called it off.

The violence began before the match outside the stadium as Serbian Ultras attacked their own team bus prompting goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic to withdraw as he was reportedly hit with a firework. Clashes with police ensued until they were able to enter the stadium.

Once inside, the antics continued. Fireworks, flares, and missiles pelted the field. A "Kosovo is Serbia" flag was unfurled which gave a hint to which group of supporters are suspected (this isn't the place for a history lesson but you're a quick google search away from one of the worst genocides since WWII). Then there's the masked ringleader - the tattoed idiot who sat atop the partition throughout the ordeal cutting the security netting and egging on the Ultras. He has since been arrested and identified as Ivan Bogdanov - a leader of one of Red Star Belgrade's supporter groups.

Serbia's players tried to calm the traveling supporters but to no avail. They set out with a purpose to sabotage this match and nothing would stop them.

The implications of this will be severe as UEFA weigh up their options - forfeiting the match (which is obvious) and possibly tossing Serbia from the qualification. A harsh proposition but fair nonetheless. Much more to follow but for now, here's a video and plenty more photos after the jump:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Incredible goal from kick-off!!

Scotland are known for not scoring goals. In fact, their senior squad deployed a striker-less formation in their weekend European qualifier. So I guess it is only fitting that they would score a goal like this. U21 Chris Maguire took the second half kick-off and launched it 50 yards into the back of the net.

It was short lived as Iceland sealed the win four minutes later with a thunderous strike of their own from Hoffenheim's Gylfi Sigurdsson:

All in all, a great day for the neutral.

Follow Liverpool's D-Day LIVE on the Guardian!!

On the most important day in Liverpool Football Club's history, Gillett and Hicks are off to the high court to block the sale of their club to NESV.

Follow the play-by-play account of proceedings from individuals in attendance at the court. CLICK HERE

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mourinho lashes out at Madrid press: "They'll kill you."

This is by far the best quote yet from Mourinho since arriving at Real Madrid. In an interview with GolTV, Mourinho exclaimed:

"I think that Real Madrid cannot have a coach with no track record. Right now there is a coach in place with 2 Champions Leagues...championships in different countries including league cups and 17 championships. Then I arrive here and create so much doubt [among the press], that if you are a title-less manager coming to manage [Madrid], they'll kill you"

Just brilliant. First of all, how many people out there can pull off talking in the third person with such arrogance and grace better than this guy? And for all the soundbites that come out of his mouth, this one really hits out at the Madrid base more than others.  

If God managed Real Madrid but couldn't produce the spectacular, he'd be crucified. Other than owning Liverpool, managing Madrid is the most futile and nonsensical job a person can have in football. But at the moment, Madrid have the BEST manager in the world at the helm. A guy who craved Real Madrid as a dream job.

So get off his ass. This is as good as it gets.

England keeper gets obliterated two days before Montenegro clash

The English never learn. The coaching staff never learns. The manager never learns. The players still haven't learned.

The backlash from this summer's World Cup was very straight forward - these players are thrust into fame and fortune at such a young age and don't know any better. They are irresponsible, rash, aggressive, hot-headed, and believe they as individuals are bigger than the game itself. So you'd think Capello would have cracked down on this type of behavior by those representing the Three Lions, especially the young ones new to the squad.

Not a chance. England's most talented goalkeeper, Joe Hart, spent his weekend at Puerto Banús in Marbella to celebrate (exactly what I'm not sure). Only days before a European qualifying clash against Montenegro, Hart was caught on video dancing atop a bar with two ladies and singing into a fake microphone. I don't know if you could qualify it as dancing, but it was some sort of bodily movement nonetheless. In fact, it was a significant improvement from the last dance routine he subjected the world to.

Just another example of entitlement and irresponsibility from the England camp, and a failure by the leaders of the team to prevent it. For England's sake, I hope he's better in goal than he is with his dance moves.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who said celebrating with clothes on was cool?

Roma's Mirko Vucinic scored the winner and only goal for Montenegro on Friday to defeat the Swiss in a Euro qualifier. What happened next can be described as nothing short of an audition for Chippendales (video here). In a moment of ecstasy after an admittedly well worked and splendid finish, Vucinic wheeled away to the left, removed his shorts, and put them on his head.

It seems the home fans had become restless over the past year or so for having never seen his junk in person. You see Vucinic is a serial underwear offender and only the Roma supporters have been privy to his family jewels. This was his opportunity to settle the score with the home fans as he thrust...Montenegro to the top of Group G with three wins in three.

Looks like tighty-whities and junk are the winning formula. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

France sponsors want their money back - Part 2

As reported a little over a week ago, three of the main sponsors of the French national team were demanding compensation for the repulsive behavior of the team during the World Cup while donning their logos. As if that was not embarrassing enough, the situation has only worsened.

Now, everybody wants a piece of the FFF. All twelve of the team's sponsors have agreed on a payment scale in which "there will be bonuses and penalties based on results and image," according to FFF vice-president Noel Le Graet. The sponsors can reward a 10-15% bonus if the team starts winning games and, in the process, conducts themselves like normal, civilized, human beings. If not, they will reduce their contributions by the same amount.

Does this not hark back to your childhood? I remember my mother offering me cookies and sweets when I behaved well. Obviously, time-out in the corner resulted from being a brat. This is exactly what has transpired in France, and it is so pathetic yet hilarious all at once.

If you act like a baby, you'll be treated like one. Come to think of it, I'd throw lots of money behind a Toddler XI to beat this current French squad any day of the week. Then the sponsors would pull the plug on France and the new fad in world football would be Pampers!

It could happen ya know...

Breathtaking free kick from Dani Alves vs Iran

Meaningless international friendless are, quite frankly, meaningless. And so, Brazil faced off against Iran in Abu Dhabi yesterday to wow the spectators, especially the Iranian supporters who were able to make the short trip.

Luckily for everyone in attendance, Brazil was playing, which meant the chances of a memorable highlight were about 100%. Only 14 minutes in, Dani Alves produced one with his right foot:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nigel de Jong's ONLY career red card

Here it is ladies and gentleman. In an 18 year career, Nigel de Jong has broken more bones than Bruce Lee and put more players' careers in jeopardy than appearing on Who's The Boss. However, he has only ONCE been sent off from the field of play for his actions - and it wasn't even a straight red.

Waaaay back in 2006 while playing for Hamburg, De Jong dug his cleats into two Rapid Bucureşti players during a UEFA cup match. Both challenges are absolutely disgusting and in typical fashion, he is utterly perplexed the referee thought they warranted bookings.

Hm. Some things just never change.

VfB Stuttgart attend beer festival despite sitting bottom of the table

Sometimes, clubs set standards for themselves. And when those standards are not met, there are consequences - privileges are taken away. Case in point: Bayern Munich. After defeat in Dortmund and tumbling down to 12th position in the league, Coach Luis van Gaal canceled the team's annual trip to Oktoberfest for beer and bustiers. Understandably, the performances on the pitch did not warrant such reward.

Then there's VfB Stuttgart. Dead last in the Bundesliga. They have won a single game all season and lost six. A sixth place finisher last season, one would expect this horrific start to qualify as not meeting the club's preseason goals...not quite.

Instead of spending extra time training and working on fundamentals, or tweaking the existing tactics and formations, the team decided on a better course of action to raise their standard of play - BEER FEST!!!

So, the team set off for the Stuttgart Beer Festival prepared to drink away their sorrows and dine on bratwursts, knackwursts, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Players and coaches received warm welcome and applause from the 3,000 in attendance. Then the President got up to address the crowd, prompting a fury of boos and whistling. All he could muster up was, "We're gonna work our asses off to get out of the relegation zone."

Well said! You convinced me that's for sure. Especially since that "we" you speak of is sharing benches with the locals in a tent, drowning themselves in pints of beer. To me, that looks like working their asses off. Rumor has it they've already booked a trip to Disney World for the Christmas break, and plan to take an African safari when relegation is confirmed in the Spring. Isn't it just great being a loser?!

More pics to follow:

The 2010/11 Football Rich List

Four Four Two has released its annual "Football Rich List" ranking the wealthiest players, managers, and owners in England.

Not surprising, the top of the list has Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's name all over it. The Manchester City owner, with an estimated worth of £20bn, has brought in a new age of foreign ownership to the English Premier League and will undoubtedly ruin the sport as we know it (but that's a discussion for another day).

Today we celebrate the oil barons, oligarchs, steel magnates, industrialists, stock market kings, marketing magnates, mommy and daddy's lucky boy, adulterers, cheapskates, profit mongers, and any other term you wish to label football's rich and famous.

Before reading on, Four Four Two was kind enough to explain how they go about compiling these lists so they are as accurate as possible. Clearly we would be furious if they were £1bn off.

So without further ado, here are the top ten richest owners, managers, and players for 2010/11:

Anchorette Update

Karina Kvasniova is not only a beautiful sports journalist for La Sexta, she also happens to be born and raised in Lithuania - Spain's upcoming opponent in their European qualifier. "It is a luxury to play against the world champion," she explained in a recent interview.

She left for Spain to pursue a Masters degree in sports journalism and decided to re-settle upon completion.

Kvasniova claims basketball is Lithuania's biggest contribution to the sports world. I think she's just being modest...

World's closest stadiums

There is truly nothing like it - calling home just across the street from your most hated and reviled nemesis. You could argue that party lines are blurred when the stadia are so close, whereas places with grounds on opposite sides of the city make it easier to claim "your side of the tracks." It allows for social and cultural lines to be drawn between the clubs.

And to be honest I prefer it that way. But such proximity brings a different element the former does not have. Imagine walking to your ground having to pass your rival's stadium. Perhaps they are the more successful club, and purposely flaunt their trophies and accolades for all to see, especially their struggling neighbor. Imagine gameday when both teams host matches. Sub-consciously, each club and their supporters would hate to face the specter of losing when the other wins. The following work week would be hell!

Such proximity breeds more bitterness and resentment between the supporters - not the hatred and fundamental loathing rival supporters of different social classes would exhibit.

It's a tough way to live as a supporter, but fascinating nonetheless.  Here are the world's closest venues:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WAG Wednesday Part 4 - Cristina De Pin

Riccardo Montolivo has not scored many goals in five years with Fiorentina. Needless to say, the only score that really matters is his girlfriend, former playmate Cristina De Pin.

Things are looking up for the 25 year old - scoring twice already this season and being named the captain. It also doesn't hurt to have this little playmate waiting for you at home every night.

Cheers to you Riccardo! Now if you don't mind, here's more pictures of your lady:

World Cup champs receive their beer

Trophies...keys to the -  the spoils of war for winning the World Cup. But let's be honest, all these things will hang on the wall or sit in a case and remain untouched and unused for years to come. That is what winning the World Cup gets you? Nonsense!!

Thank heavens the Spaniards have other options. Cruzcampo, one la selección's main sponsors, has decided to reward their champions with a different type of memento. Something that won't collect dust and become obsolete in a year's time. Something that will generate continued celebration and debauchery for months and months to come - BEER.

Yesterday, one by one, the squad stepped onto the "beer scale," which measured their weight in kilos and converted that into liters. However much brawn you brought to the table determined the number of cases you walked out with.

In total, the team amassed 1,734 liters of beer. The most went to Basque striker Fernando Llorente, pictured above, weighing in at 94.6kg (approx 209 lbs). Poor little Jesús Navas who weighs all of 60kg (approx 132lbs) only went home with 180 beers...

Oktoberfest?! Pff. Looks like Novemberfest, Decemberfest, and maybe even Januaryfest are in order for the world champions. 

Mohawks ravage the city of Naples

Without question, Napoli's Marek Hamsik has the BEST mohawk in all of football. Hamsik, in all his kindness, brought a photographer to his hair appointment the other day to show us the process of creating such a masterpiece.

The story does not end there, however. Accordingly, others who frequent this hair dresser want to look like their hero and shark fin madness has broken out. Young boys can't take their eyes off autographed pictures of the midfielder hanging in front of them on the mirror, as the barber does his magic. Pretty soon, walking through Naples will be a dangerous proposition if you're looking to get your eyes poked out.

Then again, it could be worse.

More photos of Hamsik and the mohawk orgy after the jump:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WAG Wednesday Part 3 - Sylvie van der Vaart

The absolutely stunning and glamorous wife of Tottenham's Rafael van der Vaart is today's treat. But before you all jump to the photos, let's do the right thing first

Van Der Vaart was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-2009 and subsequently underwent extensive chemotherapy. She can now proudly claim to be cancer free. And as breast cancer awareness month gets underway this October, take a quick moment and learn something, and perhaps donate a bit to the cause.

NOW, enjoy the rest of the photos:

More trouble with the French squad

There is never a dull moment in the soap opera that is French football. This time it involves two well-known trouble makers - Karim Benzema and Lass Diarra. The Real Madrid duo arrived late to Clairefontaine where the French team is preparing for European qualifiers against Romania and Luxemburg. This came after Laurent Blanc had already postponed the deadline twice.

Blanc was understandably furious with both players who claimed to have missed their flight. He didn't buy it:

"If you miss your flight from another country, you will obviously be late. We are professionals and therefore must make sure we arrive on time for any flight. Benzema did not play in Real Madrid's match over the weekend, so there's no reason he should have arrived late."

Poor Blanc - a proven and successful manager who will no doubt bring the French team back to glory at some point. But not with these classless bums at his disposal. They have zero respect for the manager, the squad, or the institution. Self indulgence and individualism seem to be their only virtues.

When asked if the two would be sanctioned, the manager responded by saying:

"We already have players suspended. We're not going to throw stones at our own house."

HA!! In other words, he unfortunately has no choice but to play the pair since France has limited options and CANNOT afford to lose either of these games. Otherwise, it seems like he probably would have sent them home. And the last thing Blanc needs is more turmoil to tear apart the French team as he tries to rebuild it.

David Villa and Dwight Howard swap jerseys

Adidas just released a new advertisement for their official jersey of the NBA, featuring the World Cup champ and Dwight Howard. Howard congratulates Villa on winning the World Cup and subsequently switches jerseys with him.

It is amazing that Howard is even able to get the jersey on - the guy's shoulders are so broad I can only guess he needs to turn his body to get through doorways. Villa actually has some skill with the basketball, although I'm a bit upset he didn't wear his short soccer shorts. It would have been a fitting tribute to the good ol' days of the NBA.

Bolivian president knees an opponent in the nuts during match

It doesn't get much better than this. Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, teamed up with his bodyguards and officials to face a team of political rivals which included the mayor of La Paz in a match to inaugurate new renovations to a stadium in the capital. As expected, the match devolved into a physical display of brutality after the ceremonial handshakes and smiles before the match.

Just five minutes in, Daniel Gustavo Cartagena caught the president very late and cut his leg. Not one to shy away from a rash challenge, the president approached Cartagena, showed him the blood, and promptly delivered a crushing knee into the unsuspecting opponent's groin.

By the time the match ended 4-4, two players had been sent off from either squad. One of Morales' bodyguards supposedly tried to arrest Cartagena after the match but the mayor intervened to prevent it.

Why can't these things happen in this country? Just imagine if W threw on some pads and a helmet to inaugurate the new Cowboys stadium a few years back...

Are Barcelona becoming Arsenal?

The concept seems preposterous, especially coming from a Barcelona supporter. Yet after watching Arsenal's display at Stamford Bridge followed by Barcelona's draw at home to Mallorca, you could not help but notice some cringing similarities between the flag bearers of beautiful football. And whereas during the past few seasons you could characterize the North London side as a Barcelona "B team" of sorts - an identical style of play but just a class below the Catalan giants - the first six matches of the La Liga season have revealed that the "A team" may not warrant the pleasure of such a title.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Top goals of the weekend

A great weekend for goals. Here's but a few of the best:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekend Couch Guide

All the matches available to you this weekend in the US. And you don't even need a satellite!!

Friday, October 1
2:30pm Hannover vs St. Pauli (GolTV)

Saturday, October 2
7:45am Wigan vs Wolverhampton (ESPN Deportes)
9:30am Hamburg vs Kaiserslautern (GolTV)
9:45am Sunderland vs Manchester United (ESPN2)
10:00am Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Fox Soccer Channel)
10:00am West Ham vs Fulham (Fox Soccer Plus)
12:00pm Udinese vs Cesena (Fox Soccer Plus)
12:00pm Birmingham vs Everton (Fox Soccer Channel)
12:00pm Real Zaragoza vs Sporting Gijon (ESPN Deportes)
2:00pm Real Sociedad vs Espanyol (GolTV)
2:00pm Crystal Palace vs QPR (Fox Soccer Plus)
2:30pm Parma vs AC Milan (Fox Soccer Channel)
4:00pm Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao (GolTV)
4:00pm Stoke City vs Blackburn – tape delay (Fox Soccer Plus)

Sunday, October 3
6:30am Lecce vs Catania (Fox Soccer Plus)
8:30am Manchester City vs Newcastle (Fox Soccer Plus)
9:00am Napoli vs Roma (Fox Soccer Channel)
11:00am Chelsea vs Arsenal (Fox Soccer Channel)
11:00am Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid (ESPN Deportes)
1:00pm Barcelona vs Mallorca (GolTV)
1:00pm Dortmund vs Bayern Munich
2:30pm Inter vs Juventus (Fox Soccer Channel)
3:00pm Real Madrid vs Deportivo la Coruña
3:00pm Rennes vs Toulouse (Fox Soccer Plus)
5:00pm Liverpool vs Blackpool – tape delay (Fox Soccer Channel)

Matches you can't miss this weekend

CHELSEA VS ARSENAL (Sunday, 11:00am Fox Soccer Channel)
What a better way to start your Sunday than a good ol' London Derby? Of course with Arsenal, questions and drama loom. Flappy Handski looks to start in net after "impressing" midweek. (Watch the replays again. It was a poorly taken PK that he saved and the shot he "pushed" aside wasn't pushed at all. He completely miss-hit the ball with weak hands and got lucky it went wide.) Fabregas and Diaby are in doubt as well. Would it make a difference though? We don't know how a full strength Arsenal would fare because they haven't been full strength in a decade. But based on what they bring to the table, and what Chelsea bring to the table, the Arsenal look to be outmatched. They've only beaten Chelsea twice in the past 17 meetings, and were demolished last season 5-0 on aggregate. I doubt we'll see any surprises. Prediction: 3-1 Chelsea comfortably.

INTER MILAN VS JUVENTUS (Sunday, 2:30pm Fox Soccer Channel)
Juventus, although they sit in ninth position, are only three points behind the leaders in what is an extremely even Serie A table. Can the old lady regain some momentum and start playing consistently? Last weekend was Roma's chance and they seized the opportunity over Inter. Something tells me the league leaders won't let up again, especially at home. Prediction: 2-0 Inter

RENNES VS TOULOUSE (Sunday, 3:00pm Fox Soccer Plus)
2 vs 3 in a battle for top of the table. Who would have thought these two would be battling for top spots at this point in the season? So sell the Ligue 1 short. Outside of Germany it has been the most entertaining league in Europe. Last year Rennes won their home leg 4-1 and lost away 3-2. So, I'll go with the home side for this one. Prediction: 3-1 Rennes

The Black Cats already scalped Arsenal this season with a very late equalizer. Now come the kings of letting in late goals - Manchester United. The atmosphere will be cranked up and should be quite an enjoyable match. Prediction: 2-1 United

TOTTENHAM VS ASTON VILLA (Saturday, 10:00am Fox Soccer Channel)
Another edition of "who wants fourth position?" Villa currently claim fifth while a lackluster Tottenham of late sit only two points back in eighth. Tottenham is fresh off their Champions League spanking of Twente at White Hart Lane. Let's see if they're able to channel that European energy to an important league match against Villa. Prediction: 1-1

SEVILLA VS ATLETICO MADRID (Sunday, 11:00am ESPN Deportes)
First match for new Sevilla manager Gregorio Manzano. Atlético Madrid pose a stern test, currently sitting two places and two points above Sevilla. With Barcelona and Real Madrid off to stuttering starts, and Valencia and Villareal sitting 1-2, neither club can afford to drop points in this one. Expect plenty of open, attacking play. Prediction: 2-2
League leaders Mainz went into Bayern's house last week and beat them 2-1 to stay top of the table. Now the Bavarian outfit travels to the 2nd place team in the Bundesliga. If Bayern wants to remain optimistic about challenging for the title this season, they must win this match at Dortmund. Prediction: 2-2.