Archive | November, 2010

El Clásico Preview – Barcelona vs Real Madrid

29 Nov

Today, the footballing world will come to a halt for the most anticipated match, in the greatest rivalry on the planet. For purists, front-runners, and neutrals, there is something to savor in every aspect of this match. Barcelona’s beautiful game. Real Madrid’s stonewall defense and lethal counter-strikes. Messi vs Ronaldo. Mourinho vs Guardiola. Catalans vs Madrileños. Not to mention 13 Spanish internationals. Ten of the starting XI from the final vs Holland.

Barcelona fans have already stoned an assistant coach as well as two players, in addition to the Madrid team bus which shattered a window. We get it, they don’t like each other and tensions are higher than ever before. Not since Figo’s return to the Camp Nou have we seen such excitement and anticipation. How will it play out? Let’s delve into the main match ups to highlight the keys to victory for both clubs. Continue reading

Sara Carbonero Receives The BEST Anniversary Gift EVER

24 Nov

Last Thursday, Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas and his incredibly gorgeous wife Sara Carbonero celebrated their one year anniversary. And what a year it has been, with both celebs basking in the spotlight all too often. Poor Sara was brutally attacked by the Spanish press as the reason for Spain’s loss to Switzerland in the group stages of the World Cup. She tripped backstage at a talk show revealing a little bit of love for everyone to see.

Luckily, her boyfriend is simply the perfect man. Casillas more or less told everyone to shove it, and after lifting Spain’s first ever World Cup trophy, he grabbed his girl for a passionate kiss live on TV. He also prevented his belligerent teammates from getting Sara all liquored up on the plane home. Ain’t he just dreamy?

However, Saint Iker has made every chivalrous moment of this past year look like child’s play with his latest move. For their one year anniversary, Casillas gave Sara what we all she hoped for – boob job!!

Sara went under the knife at Nisa Pardo de Caravaca Hospital over the weekend and hopes to be back on our screens this week just in time for El Clasico.

How anyone in their right mind will focus on the game itself on Monday is a mystery. But if the league was worried viewership would be down because of the schedule change, I believe a solution has been found.

WAG Wednesday Special Edition – Barcelona vs Real Madrid

24 Nov

While there will be an epic battle on the pitch, an equally enticing battle of WAGS goes on unnoticed behind the scenes. Both teams boast some of the world’s best players, and with that comes the pristine privilege of bagging the best looking girls on offer. I can tell you off the bat that Cristiano Ronaldo could run away with this competition on his own, blind folded, and on one leg. But where’s the fun in that?! The rest of the team deserves a shot at glory.

It may be that the guys in the white shirts use much more hair gel and flaunt excessive designer clothing than their Catalan rivals, which is why they could be considered more attractive mates. But then again, the Barcelona players have championships, and lots of them. And we all know every girl loves a winner.

I’ll let you be the judge…

Continue reading

UCL Matchday 5 Day 1 Top Goals

24 Nov

Incredible goals all around Tuesday night. There could have been many more, if not for the endless number of crossbars and goalposts hit. Regardless, some real eye openers  to whet your appetite: Continue reading

El Clásico Preview – Guardiola vs Mourinho

23 Nov

If you can find me a better match-up of managers and minds, be my guest. Their work ethic, style, and philosophy puts them on a level never before seen. Okay, Mourinho and Sir Alex had their duels back in England. But Guardiola, with all due respect to the Scotsman, is a completely different animal…and much more hungry.

The history of these two men dates back to 1990′s, when Mourinho joined Barcelona as Sir Bobby Robson’s assistant, and later Louis Van Gaal’s. Barcelona won the European Cup Winner’s Cup as well as two league titles in Mourinho’s time there.  The focal point of that team – the proverbial cog in the wheel – was none other than Pep Guardiola. He had epitomized the role of central midfielder, winning the European Cup four years before Mourinho arrived.

They were different then. They are different now. I love Mourinho and I hate him. I love him because of his arrogance, his narcissism, and his ability to make any team a champion in no time at all.  I hate him because of his arrogance, his narcissism, and his ability to make any team a champion in no time at all. Tito Vilanova, Guardiola’s right hand man, said of Mourinho the other week, “He is a football manager who never talks about football.” Call me a purist, or call Mourinho brilliant for taking attention away from his players, but it is a style of managing that simply gets under your skin. Agree with it or not, nobody has ever done it like Mourinho.

Guardiola is a psychotic workaholic. Up 8-0 against Almeria over the weekend, Guardiola barely sat on the bench. He is always managing, always directing, always looking at the smallest errors and mistakes. Can you blame him? The man has created a system decades in the making, taking the Dutch idea of “Total Football” to an unthinkable level. Not to mention, he always talks about football. He is as cool as a cucumber during press conferences, and never gets mired in managerial cheap shots. It’s about the players and the game on the pitch. Nothing else.

Intangibles:

Guardiola’s combination of shaved head, heavy beard, sweater/cardigan, tie, and suit or jeans and a flannel checkered shirt are epic. Mourinho has trouble keeping his socks up (he’s always pulling them up on the sideline), and looks incredibly sloppy with the loose tie. Advantage Guardiola

Guardiola won an unprecedented 6 trophies in his first season as manager. In 8 seasons of management with 3 teams, Mourinho has 2 Champions League trophies, 1 UEFA Cup, and 6 domestic trophies. Advantage Mourinho

Guardiola speaks fluent English. He probably spoke a little Italian while at Brescia for a season. Mourinho learned Catalan when he coached Barcelona. He learned Italian with a Milanese dialect at Inter Milan. He spoke English while at Chelsea. However, it is unfair to fault Guardiola who has coached nowhere but Spain. Draw

Guardiola LOVES Coldplay. Mourinho sobbed when he said goodbye to Marco Materazzi. Draw

Guardiola’s press conferences are kinda boring. Raspy voice and all, he’s never good for a soundbite because it is impossible to bait him into angry responses. Mourinho’s press conferences should interrupt every channel on the planet. He grips the room like a fat kid clings to candy bar. Advantage Mourinho

Guardiola sprints down the sideline at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho jogs onto the pitch at the Camp Nou. Speed kills in this game. Advantage Guardiola

Too close to call!! Both of these guys are class acts, and arguably the most respected managers in the world. There will be as much excitement on the sideline as there is on the field of play.

(Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com)

El Clásico Preview – Messi vs Ronaldo

23 Nov

If I may borrow the words of Pep Guardionla, “Es una puta barbaridad” – it’s f***ing barbaric. Not the unprecedented and historic point tally both Barcelona and Real Madrid accumulated last season to which Guardiola was referring to, but the output of the two best players in the world. Raw numbers do more justice than poetic prose:

Lionel Messi (23) - 16 goals in his last 9 competitive matches. 19 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions. 13 goals in 10 league matches. He has scored in each of the team’s last 8 consecutive matches. 6 multi-goal matches this season – 2 hat tricks and 4 doubles.

Cristiano Ronaldo (25) – 17 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions. 15 goals in 12 league matches (current league leader). 5 multi goal matches this season -  3 doubles, 1 hat trick, and 1 four goal tally. He is the highest scorer in Real Madrid history at this stage of the season. He is the first Real Madrid player to lead the league in goals heading into the clásico since Ildefonso Fernando Sañudo García back in 1935/36.

Who or what can stop them is a question better left unanswered – you’d spend the rest of your life trying. The easy answer is you can’t – you can only hope to contain them. There are, however, two possible ways of containment.

First, injure them (not recommended). Second, cut off their supply, although that won’t really work either as they are too intelligent to allow it. They may line up on the wings, but just to start. Should they find it hard to receive the ball, both have shown a tendency to drift into the middle or even to the center circle in order to receive the ball. No matter what you do, they will find a way to get the ball at their feet. At which point, as an opponent, start praying. I will say that Messi, more so than Ronaldo, comes back to the ball more often. And that comes down to the system. Khedira, Alonso, and Ozil dominate the middle and usually don’t stray to the sidelines. Ronaldo can disappear from matches. Messi on the other hand has much more freedom to roam in Guardiola’s system making him that much more deadly. The bottom line is, you can only hope to contain them. You probably won’t.

Intangibles:

Messi likes paying with legos. Ronaldo likes to pout and sit on the ground crying like a baby. Advantage Messi

Messi has a cute little girlfriend. Ronaldo bangs supermodels, lingerie models, cover girls, swimsuit models…you get the point. Advantage Ronaldo

Messi’s hair flaps in the wind like a 5 year old’s bowl cut. Ronaldo has a an incredibly dumb looking “mohawk.” Advantage Messi

Messi likes his shorts baggy like a basketball player. Ronaldo opts for short shorts. Advantage Ronaldo

Messi is everyone’s favorite little big kid. Ronaldo is everyone’s bratty pain in the ass. Advantage Messi

It’s settled! Kind of… The biggest game in the world calls for the biggest superstars to perform. Ronaldo has never scored a goal in Barcelona. Messi has never scored against a Mourinho managed side. Something better give.

(Photo courtesy of AS.com)

El Clásico Preview – The Ref

23 Nov

Eduardo Iturralde González is the man charged with officiating El Clásico. The 42 year old Basque dentist is known for being quite unsparing with his bookings, and lacks many friends around the league. Last season, he led all La Liga referees with 102 yellow cards, 15 more than the next guy. He averaged 6 cards a match, which ranked second for referees officiating at least 10 matches.

This season he’s no better. 22 yellow cards in only 3 matches including 1 straight red. His average is up to 7.33 yellow cards a match, ranking him 4th among active officials.

Monday will be his third clásico. Both previous matches saw Barcelona defeat Madrid 3-0 in 2004/05 and 2005/06. (The latter was the very match we celebrated last week when Ronaldinho was applauded off the pitch by the Madrid faithful.)

Historically, here is how he’s fared officiating both clubs:

Barcelona
31 matches
20 wins, 7 draws, 4 losses
4 players sent off, 9 opponents
10 penalties in favor, 6 against

Real Madrid
36 matches
22 wins, 3 draws, 11 defeats
6 players sent off, 7 opponents
10 penalties in favor, 6 against

Let’s all hope that he is not the main focus on Tuesday. We all know the tensions and competitive edge for both clubs will be full tilt. Any thought of nerves or cagey performances should be thrown by the wayside. There will be fouls and plenty of  physical play. Iturralde must issue his bookings cautiously, or the entire ebb-and-flow of the match will be ruined.

(Statistics courtesy of statbunker.com)

Joan Laporta Hires A Porn Star

22 Nov

Speaking of those rather inconvenient and pesky elections, the most exciting candidate of the lot is none other than Barcelona’s former President Joan Laporta. Known for his off the field shenanigans as President (see above and below), Laporta formed the Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència immediately following his second term – a staunchly separatist political party seeking Catalan sovereignty from Spain. As his newly formed party is only a few months old, Laporta decided it, as well as his own candidacy, needed a PR shot of adrenaline…so he employed the services of a porn star.

María Lapiedra is her name. Prancing around naked is her game. Laporta has used Lapiedra at a number of rallies, but most notably in a number of riskay advertisements for the party. One features the glamorous vixen wrapped in a Catalan flag dancing around in a bikini in front of Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.


While I’m furious the match has been moved to Monday, this somewhat makes up for it. Could you imagine the victory party should Laporta and his party win? Could you imagine his tenure as President?! Strippers, booze, yachts, parties, helicopters, and strippers. He may be bad with numbers, but he still gets my vote.

Jump ahead for pictures of Ms. Lapiedra as well as some of her recent work for the party:

Continue reading

Historical Monday Clásicos

22 Nov

It’s Clásico week here on the Footy for the Soul!! A week in the full sense of the word as the epic match-up will be played on a Monday this year. No worries – anger and dismay have already been expressed, and we can now look ahead to the game itself.

To start, a trip down memory lane to the previous two instances when El Clásico featured on a Monday, both played at the Camp Nou coincidentally:

March 30, 1964 – Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 1

Madrid took a valuable three points with only three matches to play in the season. Francisco Gento opened the scoring for the visitors which was nullified by a José Antonio Zaldúa equalizer nine minutes later. Only sixteen minutes after that, the incomparable Hungarian Ferenc Puskás put Madrid ahead for good. The important three points allowed them to stay top of the league and ultimately win their 10th La Liga title by a four point margin over their rivals.

April 3, 1972 – Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 0


Revenge! An 11th minute strike from Juan Manuel Asensi was all the home side needed to hold off their opponents.  Didn’t matter much in the end however. Barcelona finished third on 43 points, four points behind Real Madrid who won their 15th championship.

Next Monday will be the all important rubber match.  We should expect more goals than the above two combined.

(Photos courtesy of El Mundo Deportivo and Marca)

Eto’o masters the art of the headbutt

21 Nov

Taking a page right out of Zinedine Zidane’s manual on how to be the biggest bonehead, Samuel Eto’o has sent Inter Milan’s season from bad to worse. In the process, however, he has one upped the Frenchman with one of the classiest headbutts you’ll ever see. The headbutt Zidane famously delivered to Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final was not exactly subtle. And standing over his victim with a grim reaper-like stare did not help his cause either.

Sammy watched that video over and over, which is why the shot he delivered to the sternum of Chievo’s Bostjan Cesar was a masterpiece.  For starters, the two tussled over the ball and it appeared that Cesar landed a left jab to the left shoulder of Eto’o, who dropped to the ground like a sack of bricks ten minutes after the feather-like contact (he’s ripping off Cristiano Ronaldo as well!!). When he got up, the striker casually jogged after his opponent to deliver the headbutt. You cannot deny the graceful application of head to chest as Eto’o, in one superfluous motion, struck his opponent and pirouetted ever so cleverly towards the ball. And just like batman, he evaded capture and any booking whatsoever. Utter perfection.

In all seriousness though, Inter is in big trouble. On a day where Rafael Benitez’s tenure at the club seemed to reach its breaking point after another dismal loss, sending the Nerazzurri tumbling into 6th and nine points behind their crosstown league leaders, the Cameroon international delivered an extra needless black eye. Luckily, Serie A has already shown that retroactive decisions can be made, and Eto’o will surely receive a lengthy ban. Seeing as how, he has scored eight of the team’s thirteen goals this season, this smells like trouble.

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