Bastian Schweinsteiger, Public Relations Gott

Bastian Schweinsteiger has taken to Facebook to apologize for singing a few lyrics from a profane Bayern Munich schweinifan chant at a party to which at least one guest brought a smartphone.

In a video that surfaced over the weekend, Schweinsteiger stands on a chair, claps his hands, and leads a rousing chorus of “BVB, sons of bitches.” Then some people in the background start chanting, “Bastian Schweinsteiger, fussball Gott,” and the camerawork quickly deteriorates. Which is a shame, because I would love to know whether Schweinsteiger joined in the second chant. Did he, after drunkenly insulting Borussia Dortmund, proclaim himself a soccer God? Sadly, we’ll never find out.

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A Sad Day For Bojan Krkic

Earlier today, Bojan Krkic – the all-time leading scorer in Barcelona’s vaunted youth academy, the wunderkind who bojanused to play alongside Lionel Messi – signed for Stoke City. “Anyone who knows European football will be aware of him as a player,” Stoke manager Mark Hughes said. “The fact that he sees his future at Stoke City is really exciting.” Personally, I think it’s a little depressing that Bojan, whose once-promising career fizzled during his recent stint in Serie A, has ended up at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke is no longer the place where good football goes to die – to be honest, I wish it still were – but it remains a less-than-attractive destination for players who aren’t desperate. Put it this way: I doubt Bojan had even heard of Stoke in the days when he regularly scored goals like this one.

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Bebe’s Set To Leave United–And About Time, Too

Louis van Gaal’s decision to leave Bebe – the Portuguese winger Sir Alex Ferguson bought for nearly bebe wolveseight million pounds in 2010 – out of Manchester United’s 25-man pre-season squad marks the beginning of the end of one of the strangest Old Trafford careers in recent history. For those of you who haven’t kept up with developments on the Bebe front, here’s a quick summary of his first two years at United.

  • August 2010: United signs him for only slightly less than what Real Madrid will pay for Mesut Ozil a few days later. Early reports indicate Sir Alex has never seen him play. Early reports also indicate he once participated in the Homeless World Cup. Early reports turn out to be right about Sir Alex but wrong about the Homeless World Cup.
  • November 2010: He produces what one YouTube user later terms the “Bebe Crossing Show” during a Premier League match against Wolves.
  • June 2011: He signs a season-long loan deal with Besiktas, then breaks his leg and misses most of the season.
  • March 2012: He returns from injury in time to appear in a league game against Istanbul Belediyespor.
  • April 2012: He breaches a strict 2:30 a.m. curfew, and the Besiktas coach kicks him off the team.
  • December 2012: He scrapes past Alexander Buttner in the 2012 Manchester United Christmas Challenge. This hard-fought victory remains the highlight of his United career.

To be fair, since then Bebe has scored a reasonable number of goals during loan spells in the Portuguese league, probably because the Christmas Challenge boosted his confidence. He is expected to sign for Benfica any day now. I hope, for the sake of the Benfica fans who sit behind each goal, that someone in Portugal teaches him how to cross.

This Article Does Not Contain Fantasy Premier League Tips

The official Fantasy Premier League game has returned for the new season. This is not necessarily goodfpl news.

This year, the opening day of the fantasy football season, which always kicks off long before any actual teams take the field, marks an important milestone in the transition from the high drama of the World Cup to the rather less dramatic mid-July horse-trading of the summer transfer window. (The online football community seems to think that this transition should be carefully stage-managed, lest anyone suffer the psychological letdown that can accompany the end of major tournaments.) Earlier this week, Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup final; the memory of Gotze’s winning goal is still fresh, and pictures of German players consuming alcohol in interesting ways are still surfacing on the Internet. And yet the Fantasy Premier League is already open for business. For better or worse, it’s time to move on.

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For Better Or Worse, It’s That Time Of Year

The ink has barely dried on the media’s last few attempts to make sense of the joint goal-iest World enner valenciaCup of all time, and football fans are already moving on. The tournament was terrific (9.25 out of 10, according to Sepp Blatter), but let’s be real here — July is all about the summer transfer window.

Yesterday, Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia, whose gravity-defying leaps made him a star in Brazil, underwent a medical at West Ham; he’s expected to sign a contract later this week. In other words, while the rest of us reveled in Germany’s midfield dynamism and Holland’s speedy counterattacks, Sam Allardyce spent the last month scouting the South American Andy Carroll. Welcome back to the Premier League, everybody. Welcome back.

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David Brooks on Soccer, Baseball and Life

In today’s New York Times, David Brooks wrestles with one of the most fundamental questions of our time: “Is life more brookslike baseball, or is it more like soccer?” Brooks makes a couple of reasonably good points about soccer – that winning is all about controlling space, that the sport doesn’t lend itself to statistical analysis – and then quickly transitions to his usual faux-philosophical rambling. The article contains classic Brooks-ian pronouncements like “awareness of the landscape of reality is the highest form of wisdom” and “genius is in practice perceiving more than the conscious reasoning.” It is monumentally stupid. Enjoy! 

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Grading ESPN’s World Cup Coverage

I’ve written a review of ESPN’s World Cup coverage for Deadspin.world cup coverage

ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 World Cup received widespread acclaim, both from lay viewers experiencing soccer for the first time and from hardcore fans desperate for a Marcelo Balboa-less tournament. This year, ESPN has followed a similar formula, with largely positive results. 

Read the rest of the piece here. 

Don’t. Tell. Me. The. Score.

In last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman discusses an issue every soccer fan has espn world cupgrappled with: the ethics of spoiling match results. Klosterman concludes that “a live event is a form of breaking news” and that therefore no one is morally obliged to keep quiet about the World Cup around friends and coworkers planning to watch games on DVR.

Fair enough, I suppose. But why ruin someone’s viewing experience if you can avoid it? If I hear the score of a game I’ve recorded, it’s usually because one of my so-called friends decided to play a hilarious prank.

A Few Notes On Day 1 Of The Round of 16

Brazil needs to calm down. Brazil’s players don’t merely sing the national anthem; they bellow it with aneymar manic intensity I find slightly disturbing. After opening day of the tournament, many fans hailed the pre-match a capella performance as a moving example of the squad’s patriotic spirit. But in recent games, the emotional screaming has begun to seem indicative of a serious problem: Brazil’s inability to exert steady control over matches it should win. The size of David Luiz’s eyeballs dramatically increases as he passionately howls the anthem, but Luiz remains a sloppy defender prone to stupid mistakes. And if Luiz Gustavo continues to hack opposing players with the same enthusiasm he brings to each rendition of “Hino Nacional Brasileiro,” he will eventually get sent off. The team needs to relax. At the moment, it feels like only a matter of time before a Brazilian player high on nationalistic fervor tries to bite somebody.

Neymar is a seriously cool customer. Unlike his teammates, Neymar seems completely immune to the manifold pressures associated with playing football in a stadium full of expectant Brazilians. If he’d missed his penalty and Chile had won the shootout, Neymar probably wouldn’t have made it out of Belo Horizonte with his head intact. And yet he was still confident enough to pause for some cool but unnecessary stutter steps in another ridiculous run-up.

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How Do You Say “Laser-gate” In Russian?

Fabio Capello has blamed Russia’s embarrassing exit from the 2014 World Cup on the meddlesome fan who akinfeev laserpointed a laser at keeper Igor Akinfeev’s face mere seconds before Islam Slimani headed the goal that sent Algeria to the next round. “You can see that in the footage,” Capello said after the game. “This is not an excuse – it is a fact.”

The laser incident isn’t the first time a fan has tried to hobble a player at this year’s tournament. Earlier this month, Ghanaian witch doctor Nana Kwaku Bonsam (aka Devil of Wednesday) claimed he placed a curse on Cristiano Ronaldo’s knee. Ronaldo started all three of Portugal’s games, but he played poorly and scored only one goal. That’s a fact. You can see it in the footage.

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