Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let The Superlatives Flow

I know, I know. Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world blah blah boooring. Hackneyed, isn't it? But after yet another virtuoso performance and one of the goals of the season what else do you expect me to talk about?

So anyway, Manchester United had an easy going of it against Portsmouth tonight at Old Trafford after Ronaldo blitzed them for 2 goals in 3 minutes early on in the first half. After that it was smooth sailing and the game ended 2-0 but they could have easily scored more. By the way, I'm a psychic. Predicting the scoreline and Ronaldo to get on the scoresheet (although these days it'd be more of a gamble to bet against Ronaldo scoring.)

Now for some quotes:

"David Beckham's strike rate was pretty good, Eric Cantona used to take them too but Ronaldo's strike rate is phenomenal. That without doubt must be the best (I've seen in the Premier League). From that distance he is going to hit them. No keeper in the world would save that." - Sir Alex Ferguson

"He's a gift from heaven, isn't he? He truly is a gift from heaven. Whatever he touches turns to gold." - Match commentator (Martin Tyler?) after the brilliant free-kick.

Strong words coming from a guy who's coached such free-kick masters as Cantona, Veron, Scholes, Denis Irwin, and of course David Beckham. Also very flattering words from the match commentator who, if I'm not mistaken, isn't even a United fan yet he's sounding like one.

Marvel at the magic:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now Back To The Boys In Red...

Alright now back to business. First thing's first: All Hail Cristiano.

No thumbs up to you, good sir. Alright now that that's out of the but seriously, 25 goals? In 23 games? Really? Revolutionizing the winger position as we know it? And he's great looking? And he throws parties for his teammates complete with authentic Manchester hookers? He's really embracing the #7 shirt. George Best is smiling down from heaven.

Moving on, Manchester United were drawn to play Arsenal in the 5th round (round of 16) of the FA Cup. I couldn't be happier about this draw. Not only do we get to play them at home as opposed to a semi-final that would've likely been at Villa Park or a final at Wembley, but we play them 6 days after the African Nations Cup ends which is most likely when Kolo Toure and Eboue will return after the Ivory Coast inevitably wins.

Update: my colleague Nick over at the Manchester United Offside pointed out the draw isn't exactly ideal as we play Lyon in the Champions League a few days later. Good point but still, I'll take a home draw vs an ANC-weakened Arsenal team.

Speaking of African Nations Cup cha boy Manucho--of former Petro Atletico glory, current Angolan Black Antelopes glory, and future Red Devil glory--scored two in an upset over Senegal. Not getting carried away, all I'll say is he looks promising. And when he scores his first goal for us in the imminent future I will declare the Trawler to be in a state of Manucho Mania.

Looking ahead to Wednesday's home clash vs Pompey I must say I'm cautiously confident. Despite our poor recent form against them and them being a generally stingy team to break down, the ANC has severely weakened their team plus I don't see a viable solution they could have to the boy Cristiano. Still Pompey is as hard a team as any to blow out so I'll predict 2-1 or 2-0 as a final score, with Cristiano quite obviously on the scoresheet.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Can't Find The Words

For a title, that is. An appropriate title to the first post I've done in a little over 5 months. What can I say when you study abroad you don't have time for a lot of things--class (academic), sobriety, class (behavior), so on and so forth but I digress--not least of which you don't have time to keep up a blog, especially living in a country as technologically backwards as Italy where the internet goes out about as often as...I don't know it's been a while, it's gonna take me a few posts to get back to my heyday of witty metaphors. Point is, the internet went out a lot. But enough excuse-making; let's get back in the swing of things.

In recent news I've become a Fiorentina fan. After spending a semester in Florence and not having a previous Italian league allegiance how could I not? Add to that the Viola were punching above their weight for a while in the early stages of this season with an impressive undefeated record and a stint at 2nd place in the standings. Two of the highlights of my time in Florence were the two games I attended, a day game vs Atalanta (not at all as bad as you would imagine) and a night game vs Roma (every bit as incredible as you would imagine). Really a cultural phenomenon. The first video is Bobo Vieri's first goal for Fiorentina vs Atalanta, a header off a free-kick from Liverani (the token black guy Anson Carter-type of Italian soccer). A bit hard to see as it was the opposite end of the field but you get the picture. The second video is Adrian Mutu's equalizing penalty kick vs Roma, a cheeky chip from a cheeky man. And the third is a bit of the Viola ultras, the Autonomous Collective, in full voice and some random game action, enjoy. I'll be back soon with another post reaalll soon, promise.

note: the videos were bigger on my computer, sorry.

Bobo's First Goal

Mutu's Cheeky Chip

Crowd and Game Action