Wednesday, March 24, 2010


One of the nice things about European soccer is that I have no problem being a fairweather fan. I have no childhood connections to any team, so it's really more disingenuous to root for, say, Liverpool as though they were in my blood despite the team's recent misery. Instead, I just leap onto the best teams and players (Ronaldo excluded) and enjoy their greatness while it lasts, which is generally a lot more fun. Huge wins may not strike such a deep chord with you, but nor do heartbreaking losses (see Colts-Saints) make you a bitter ball of repressed hate for two weeks. Anyway, being a fairweather fan necessarily means being a huge Messi backer these days, so I liked this comment from Phil Ball:

Which brings us round to Mr Messi. I thought it was quite an achievement to manage 1,400 words without mentioning him, but as my friend the barman remarked in midweek, after the Argentine's stratospheric performance against poor Stuttgart, "Le tienen que prohibir. No es justo". (They should ban him. It's not fair). That came on the heels of a hat-trick against Valencia. Then he manages another one against Zaragoza, just in case anyone thought he was slacking.

Sigh--what can one say? Adjectives are beginning to fall short for this little man who seems to require neither space nor time to work his mojo. President Joan Laporta, frothing from every visible orifice, declared Messi the greatest player in history after the game, as if he [Laporta] were somehow qualified to say. He was getting a little carried away, and Messi will need to now prove his qualifications with his national side before any more can be seriously said on the subject. But, yes, the lad's a bit useful.

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