Topic: Real Madrid

March 6, 2013

A bad call at a worse time will presumably prevent England from winning the Champions League trophy. It's not the first time a ref has made a mistake that cost a team a chance at glory, but it happens more in soccer than it feels like it should. Or at least that's what the death threats that the refs get would make you think.  

January 29, 2013

Why do you hate Pepe? Looking beyond particulars such as that Messi hand stamp (and subsequent disingenuous apology that would make Lance Armstrong look sincere), the reasons you hate Pepe can be easily classified. However, here's the odd part: the reasons you hate Pepe are also the reasons you should (and deep down do) love him. 

April 17, 2012

However much authority the José Mourinho that walked into the press conference on that warm July day in 2004 could mobilize, the one that walked out was one of rare, maybe unsurpassed authority who had literally seduced most of the press pack. Thereafter, The Special One would have his Anglophone audience largely eating out of his hand for the remainder of his three-and-a-bit years in charge at Chelsea.

April 16, 2012

A rare and special excerpt from a forthcoming novel torn from the headlines: A man dares damnation to have his revenge on tiki-taka.

January 24, 2012

The importance we onlookers attach to a game of football is not a default property of that game. Even for the participants, it is important to them because they have willed it to be so. It's a fiction, and when we buy into it we are suspending disbelief. Sports fans are serial self-deluders.

December 11, 2011

On Saturday, Real Madrid ensured that there would be nothing for Barcelona to transcend. For the first time in several years, the fixture stood out as a great game between two amazingly talented teams rather than a referendum on pragmatism vs. ideology, or the best way to build a club, or the moral value of a stepover. It was a matchup of rough equals, not an allegory of higher concepts. And it was fun.

December 9, 2011

Whereas most clubs are scruffy hamlets hoping the world hasn't forgotten them completely, Real Madrid and Barcelona are empires. They are masters of self-aggrandisement, all royal flash and ermine undergarments. When two great pomposities meet, the results are spectacular and inevitable, in the same way the dying sun swallowing the Earth will be spectacular and inevitable, except that we get to witness this particular supernova via television and web streams of dubious legality.

December 9, 2011

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho must deal with elected presidents and shifting political allegiances. The guy (or gal) who hired them will probably not be the one to fire them. And Real Madrid and Barcelona have especially bitter recent political histories.