What up world? You know who this is? It’s EJ, a.k.a. Young Blognado, a.k.a. the blog game’s Uncle Rico, and I’m back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. Although I can’t curl into a ball like Dutch maestro, Arjen Robben, the blog this week will be special. This will be an all soccer (football for the rest of the World) edition of the blog. No other sports will be discussed. It’s about to go down! Let’s go!
As I’ve stated several times over my time here on 7poundbag, I’m a Manchester United fan first and foremost. I’m an uttmost supporter of the best club in English history. A supporter of one of the best clubs in the World. I show no love or admiration for any other soccer club. Chelsea? You’ll never catch me wearing their shirt. Manchester City? You’ll never catch me doing the Poznan (their “dance” of celebration where they turn their backs to the pitch and jump up and down, which they stole from a Polish club). Liverpool? I’ll never be caught singing their anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone. If you’re a Liverpool fan and you’re reading this, know that I hope you’ll always walk alone. Always. On the domestic level there is Manchester United and there is everyone else. No other club matters. On the international level I’m partial to England’s 3 Lions, and because my parents hail from the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I am a fan of the Soca Warriors.
When Trinidad played England in the 2006 World Cup there was no one happier, and more upset, than I. That was a hard day. For I truly love this game. It was something I’ve inherited from my father, and like most American youth around my age, the United States hosting World Cup 1994 only grew my interest for it. I love the game the World calls football, that we call soccer, and I dedicate this blog to it.
This week the International Federation of Association Football, better known by their French acronym FIFA, awarded their Ballon D’Or, or Golden Ball, to the player who was deemed to be the best player of the past year. The recipient of the award was Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Manchester United man, yes I had to sneak that in there, came off of a season where he scored 55 total goals, in 55 appearances. Basically, the man scored at an average of 1 goal per game. His goals were dramatic, timely, and vital to the success of his club, Real Madrid, and his country, Portugal. In winning his 2nd Ballon D’Or, Cristiano only boosted his credentials in the much debated argument over who’s better: Lionel Messi (of Barcelona) or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Now, Messi is a genius. Despite my dislike of all things Barcelona (earned over watching 2 crushing Champions League Final defeats Manchester United suffered at their hands), I’d be remiss in not acknowledging that the dimunitive Argentinian is a genius in space and can score goals both sublime, and easy. The man is a walking golazo. With that said, I have to admit that Cristiano is my favorite player to follow. His stepovers with the ball is something to watch, his scoring prowess is something to admire, and the fact that he is a bit of an asshole is something I actually like about him. He is a ball hog, he’s a pouter, and he likes toying with fans, but I actually believe all of that adds to the mystique and drama about him. He’s exciting to watch, really. The 28 year old, who has now scored over 400 goals, is firmly in his prime. As we go forward we can look forward to more Ronaldo vs. Messi duels, and how they will play out in Spain’s La Liga, at the World Cup, and at award ceremonies. It’s a rivalry that definitely bears watching going forward.
Something that bears watching is World Cup 2014. The competition, hosted by Brazil, kicks off in just under 4 months. The World Cup is a religion, a spectacle that demands watching worldwide. Although soccer is a huge youth sport in the United States, the domestic league of Major League Soccer doesn’t gather much ratings. What will gather ratings, and draw in American eyeballs will be the World Cup. With that said, don’t look forward to the United States doing much in this year’s competition. The United States arguably was drawn into the Group of Death (Group G) with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. If you have any familiarity with the US National Team and the World Cup, you’ll quickly recognize the nation of Ghana. The Black Stars have beaten the United States at the last 2 World Cups. Revenge will surely be on American minds heading into Round 3.
As far as Germany and Portugal goes, I don’t like the Americans chances against Die Mannschaft (The Team in German) or against A Selecao (The Selection in Portugese). Both teams are arguably more talented then the good old Stars and Stripes. However, all 4 teams have two common enemies. Travel, and heat. Brazil is a very large country and the event is being held by 12 cities over a landmass that stretches over 3,287,612 square miles. The United States alone, will have to travel close to 9,000 miles from their base in Sao Paulo to all 3 group matches. Also, with a nation that size there are different climate factors in play. Brazil straddles the equator. The south of the nation will have comfortable temperatures, while the north will be very humid and uncomfortable. All 4 nations in the Group of Death will play the majority of their matches in the north. It may be the great equalizer, despite my feeling that Germany and Portugal will win the group with ease. I’ll likely delve deeper into World Cup 2014 in the months to come, but I just wanted to give a little appetitzer in this soccer only blog.
Finally, I just want to say this: I hate Liverpool. I hate Chelsea. I hate Manchester City. I hate Arsenal. I detest Barcelona. I can tolerate Real Madrid. I am OK with AC Milan, and most of the Italian clubs. I’m a soccer fan. I’m a football fan. You’re supposed to pick a team. You’re supposed to live and die with that team. My days are dependent on Manchester United success. I’m happy when they win, I’m despondent when they lose, and I’m ready to grab the scissors when they lose in big matches. OK, I’m not ready to grab the scissors but I damn sure am testy when they lose. That’s just fandom. I love them. I love this game.
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