Monday, June 23, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

To revel in someone else’s misfortune does not seem a rather gentlemanly occupation to partake in. And yet, I must admit to a degree of satisfaction whilst watching Italy lose on penalties to Spain in the QF in Euro 2008. I have no real grudge against Italy, indeed I am rather fond of their wine, food and history. However, I do have a personal enmity towards a certain Italian football player who should have been banned for a long time after his brutal attack against the USA’s Brian McBride in the 2006 World Cup. Due to FIFA weakness an initial 5 match ban was reduced to 4 games allowing the miscreant the opportunity to play, and score a penalty that helped Italy become world champions.

So it was with a contented grin that Daniele De Rossi missed a penalty that contributed towards Italy’s elimination from Euro 2008. In the ways of karma I suppose it doesn’t quite balance out, but nonetheless maybe a small act of the Gods applying a degree of retribution for that savage injury.

It should perhaps be noted that Brian McBride, who to this days suffers from nerve damage in his face publicly called De Rossi a “classy” guy for apologizing to him after the match. I think it perhaps says more about the class of McBride than anything else.

The Euros (and by the way, when did that moniker start being applied?) have been entertaining in a distant sort of way. I don’t buy in to either of the approaches being adopted by exiled England fans and pundits. Firstly, it is not “more relaxing” because we don’t have to suffer the ineptitude of 11 Englishman trying to find each other win a football before crashing out in a penalty shoot-out. Nor do I wholly accept that “it is short term pain for long term gain”. Yes England have a smart, tactically aware, star non-obsessed (and Italian) coach, but look at the small print – 34% of the Premier League are English qualified. It is just painfully embarrassing that England are unable to qualify for a major championships – winning it may be beyond us, but hell qualifying? Richest league in the world - not in English talent it isn’t. But I have beat that drum many times before…

So Cristiano Ronaldo is off to Real Madrid in a “world record fee”. I am torn, he has been a great player for my beloved United, but if he really wants to go to Real then take as much money as you can get and re-eneregise the team with the cash. Then again, why should United acquiesce to a player and a club (Madrid) that have acted beyond the pale? This, considering we are talking about modern football, is concluding quite a lot! Say no to his increasingly petulant demands and tell him not to instigate a move 6 months after signing a 5 year contract. Sadly, the inevitable seems, well inevitable and he will be off, but it is a gamble for the player, Real are hardly the most stable environment to grow as a person and player. Ronaldo could yet regret his haste in moving, even if his hangers-on, agent and bank manager disagree.

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