Players We Like: Edinson Cavani

Edinson-Cavani-e1342775008600

Soccer is the worst sport in the world.

As a game it’s incredible. The best. The best to play, the best to watch, the best to take home, dust off and give to grandma, the best to butterfly and gently sear in olive oil. But it is an abomination as a sport, a commercial entertainment product for public consumption. It’s the worst television show there is, and it’s getting worse every year.

It’s the worst because Monaco and PSG both exist. Because Monaco took Radamel Falcao, and even worse, PSG took Cavani. This will not stand. Cancel it. Tear it down. Piss on its ashes. Reboot it in 30 years. This show sucks.

I’m a relatively new convert to Cavani. I’d seen him play plenty of times with both Uruguay and Napoli. Exposure wasn’t the issue, nor was it a lack of respect. You can’t argue with his goal tally. There was just something about his game that I couldn’t put my finger on, and my inability to articulate it both irritated and bored me. But recently it clicked, and I’m kind of embarrassed it took me so long to come around. It’s incredibly simple, you see:

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Reunited and It Feels so Good: The UEFA Super Cup Recap

moupepreunitedYes yes yall, international week is so boring that I went back and recapped the UEFA SuperCup. BarcelonaBayern Munich vs Chelsea, Champions League winners vs Europa League winners, THE ULTIMATE BATTLE FOR UEFA CLUB COMPETITION WINNER TAKES ALL. All of what, you ask? Nothing, it’s just another preseason friendly put on to increase TV revenues. Still, it was fun! Good job at being entertainment!

Check it:

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How It Feels

Dimitar Berbatov misses golden chance. Tottenham Hotspurs v Chel

When I was in high school, I loved Dimitar Berbatov. I still do of course, literally every single person in the world besides Sir Alex Ferguson does, but my most focused obsession over Berbatov came during his Spurs run. I had simply never seen a player who played like that before.

The common piss take on Berbs was that he was lazy, and couldn’t be assed to run, but this is like criticizing Jesus for walking on water because he didn’t know how to swim. His ability to bring the game to him, stop it completely, then let it resume around him while he found a way to thread the ball lucratively back in was earth shattering to me. Up until that point all my sport idols were workhorses. Box-to-box midfielders that managed the field, that grabbed the game’s throat and told it what to do. Berbatov made the game do what he liked without even asking. I can still picture Berbatov calmly standing in the box in his long sleeved white shirt, defenders all around him leaping like animals to get a head on the ball, only for the ball to fall directly through the bodies right onto his foot, and then casually into the net.

In the spring of 2007 I was in a futsal league, and I was terrible. I always tried to play too fast, and with the natural pace of the game I lost all control. Eventually, I learned the best way to settle me down was to just watch a couple of Berbatov videos on the internet before I left my house to go play. It was really that simple, and it somehow actually worked.

One day, while I was watching a highlight before a game I made a shitty Berbatov replica with a white undershirt and a sharpie. I know it sounds lame and also more than a little infantile for a 17 year old kid to be doing, but it actually came out pretty neat. I hand sketched the Tottenham badge over the left breast, and drew in a number 9 on the back with Berbatov arched over it. It was cool. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

I wore it to school the next day. Not as an undershirt, but as an actual shirt. Again, this may seem an odd choice, but my friends and I had a strange fashion sense. Every Tuesday we would wear cutoff jeans torn so high the pockets hung out the bottoms. An undershirt drawn to look like a kit didn’t even stand out. In between second and third period, I was casually standing by my locker with friends when, for reasons which are still a complete mystery to me (maybe he was high? he really enjoyed cough syrup around this time) my friend Matt walked up out to me out of nowhere, wordlessly grabbed the neck of my shirt, and tore it completely off my body. I honestly cannot remember what I did for a shirt the rest of the day.

I’m not a Spurs fan, so I probably shouldn’t speak to how they collectively feel. In fact, I’m an Arsenal fan, so I definitely shouldn’t.¹ I can’t completely know how they feel this week. After a GREAT transfer window. After watching Arsenal whiff over and over again on high profile transfer targets. After getting to a point where they didn’t just have a chance at finishing in the top 4 or a shot at finishing ahead of Arsenal, but to the point where they should finish fourth, and should beat Arsenal. To the point where it would be an upset if they didn’t. What they must feel like when their only goal is to beat just this one team. One side. One arrogant side, and to look like they were just moments from doing that. Only to, in the span of two days, lose to them in a derby and watch those asshole Gunners sign Mesut fucking Özil.

I can’t know how they feel, but I imagine it feels something like how I felt after that asshole Matt ripped my fucking shirt off.

¹I’m an American Arsenal fan though, to be fair, so the Tottenham/Arsenal rivalry doesn’t really matter to me. I never had to go to school every day as a child and argue about which team was better. I never had to take shit from my Spurs supporting friends the day after a disappointing Arsenal fixture, and I never had any Spurs supporting friends to give shit to. The closest thing I have to that is my brother’s past-tense fanship of Manchester United, and my dad’s inexplicable love for Steven Gerrard. I like Spurs fine. I liked Modric, I loved Berbatov obviously, and I think I look like AVB from some angles.

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Dunna Duh Nuh Dunna Dunna Duh Nuh Dunna

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The Weak End

It’s a summary, yall already know what it is, you know what it do. Let’s get into it.

At one point early on in Arsenal’s hilarious 3-1 loss at home to barely-escaped-relegation Aston Villa, the commentator commentated that match referee Phil Dowd had lost weight over the summer. That really happened, honest.

Hull City have a kit of black and yellow vertical stripes, and their mascot is a tiger. I think that’s GRRRRRRREAT! However, they’re managed by Steve Bruce. So it goes.

Frank Lampard missed a penalty, the one thing he could still reliably do well. Then he scored from a free kick though, so 2 year contract extension here we come! The universe is indifferent.

Coach Mineral Water’s first game was wildly successful. When Newcastle were already 2-0 down, Stephen Taylor thought it would be fun to reverse-clothesline Kun Aguero. And I’m sure it was–the man has a huge arm tattoo in Lord of the Rings elf language like a fucking stupid asshole–but the ref saw it and the Baggies were down to ten. City scored two more, and now sit top of the league. Oh yeah, and Jovetic didn’t even play. Title favorites? Yes. (I’m referring to Newcastle obviously.)

Moving across the body of saltwater, in Spain Barcelona SUBBED MESSI OUT 20 MINS EARLY OMG OMG OMG INCREDULOUS ANCELOTTI EYEBROW. They were up 6-0 by halftime.

Oh yeah Alan Shearer said some kinda racist stuff about new Swansea signing Wilfried Bony. Just your usual strength, pace, comparison to Drogba racism, but still. Come on.

Speaking of Bony, his hair is pretty great. However, #1 hairstyle in the English game is still our man Danny Welbeck straight up ROCKING that hi top fade. Oh yeah Welbz is super good now??? Jkjkjk he’s been really good since forever ago. RVP bogarted the praise in United’s comprehensive 4-1 win on Saturday but he’s dead to me, so DW for MOTWeekend! This year is make-or-break for Welbeck, I’m rooting for him to grip it on that other level. Don’t let them kill your vibe…

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The Return

What you about to witness is my thoughts

Hey kids, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood vuvuzela soloist! Didja miss me? Don’t answer that. Let’s not talk about our 2012-13 adventures, during which we definitely just moved to Wisconsin for a steady paycheck and most assuredly did NOT spend the year traveling through space and time solving mysteries.

But anyway, we’re not here to compare brands of vintage moon cheese, and soccer doesn’t care about the total collapse of human civilization. Stuff happened while your editor was totally not busy KILLING HITLER. Soccer stuff!

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Every Year

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El Pirata

Imagine, for a moment, that you are Esteban Granero.

You were so good as a child. Better than anybody you’d ever met. Much better than anybody you went to class with. You’re even better than some of the much older boys. Your feet are so smooth. Your timing is impeccable. And you’re just a child. But so fast. And so strong. You live in Madrid, next to the biggest club in the world. Alfredo di Stefano’s club.

They ask you to join when you are just 8 years old.

Your grandma is so proud of you. None of your school mates are surprised. Your feet, your feet are so strong. You are so fast. Of course they called you up. One day you will play under those lights. One day you will play alongside Raul. You are so strong. One day you will be the best player in the world.

When you are just 9 years old you score 83 goals wearing the Real Madrid jersey.

That year Real Madrid’s senior team, led by Raul, Davor Šuker, and Clarence Seedorf edged out Barcelona by two points to win La Liga. There was no doubt in your mind you would be joining them soon.

In your late teens you play for Real Madrid’s C team. Maybe not the progression you expected, but the Bernabeu still looms in your future. It is your future. It still scrapes the sky in front of you.

Then, when you turn 20, you hit your first real setback. You’re unable to play yourself into Real Madrid first team. But you are strong, and you pass so well. You are still young. You go to Getafe on loan. But it’s just a loan. Later you’re sold to them, but there’s a buy back option.

You can still be a Galactico. Still play in the Bernabeu. Still be that player you knew you were going to be when you were 8. The player all your classmates knew you’d be. The one your grandmother knew you’d be.

And then you’re bought back. And you make it onto Real Madrid’s first team. Finally. But your competition is fierce. And maybe you’re not so fast. And maybe you’re not so strong. And your manager keeps buying players in your position. He brings in two Germans, a strong one and a fast one. Khedira and Ozil. They are stronger than you, and faster than you, and they maybe even pass better than you. And then another is brought in. Fabio Coentrão. A Portuguese wingback is slotted into your position. And they are hunting another. A tiny blonde-haired witch named Modric.

Maybe you never will be that player you thought you were when you were 8. Maybe you never were that player.

And then you are sent to Queen’s Park Rangers. And you go willingly, and happily leave the club of your childhood. Alfredo di Stefano’s club. Hugo Sanchez’s club. Raul’s club. And you leave the Bernabeu, the towering stadium that has given your life a skeleton which it has fleshed off of, to play at Loftus Road, with a capacity of 18,360.

And it’s not quite as big.

But there’s a buy back option.

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Labor Day

Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers free to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday.

Because of the importance of the sale weekend, many of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States.

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Art, vol. 31

Horse sized duck

Vincent Kompany, @BenTeague1

2011

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