Category: Football

Messi texts to Martino Again

When current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, recently called Messi a good boy and Ronaldo a commander on the pitch, Blatter appreas to be right while calling Messi a boy. It has come to light that, in a childish display, Messi has once again taken to texting his coach, Martino Tata, for his continued position as striker of the team. The Satire Blog has learnt from sources in Argentina that Lionel Messi is scared about the ascent of teammate Alexis Sanchez and has expressed his fears to Martino over SMS. Messi’s SMS to Pep Guardiola over Ibrahimovic’s role as striker was widely reported. It had brought much ridicule to the four time Ballon d’Or Winner and it appears that the boy hasn’t grown.

Recently, he suffered an injury and Barcelona had to be carried forward by different striker, Alexis Sanchez, to shores of victory. It appears that Messi sees ascent of Sanchez as a threat to his chances to win the Golden Boot, a precursor for him to win the Ballon d’Or prize. The source also informed The Satire Blog that Ronaldo’s reply to Blatter with a hattrick has made Messi even more worried about his chances for a fifth consecutive Ballon d’Or prize which had been looking uncertain ever since the thrashing FC Barcelona were handed by Bayern Munich earlier this year. The Ronaldo troll fans, meanwhile, have already labelled the prize as Blatter d’Or.

A close source to the Barcelona dressing room adds, “It has been years since a proper striker has completed the duties for Barcelona as Lionel Messi has been in an amazing form. With his teammate Xavi in some form of decline in form, Messi has been worried off late.” Now it remains to be seen who will be other recipients of Messi’s texts. In the meantime, Pakistani population have taken to Twitter to calling Messi a “Dehati Aurat”.


El Clasico: A new turn?

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are two of the biggest names in club football across the world. The clubs are situated in the capital of Spain and the capital of Catalunya, which to this day, wants its independence from the Spanish rule. Naturally, both clubs enjoy a rivalry, dubbed as the El Clasico, which spreads far more than the footballing history. The shining point would be the tie (now called as Copa Del Rey) in which the Barcelona players were made to play, supposedly at gunpoint by the Spanish general, to a 11-1 defeat. That scoreline remains the largest, but for all football fans like me, (who started following the game in late 2008), two scorelines are perhaps the most memorable: a 5-0 victory to Barcelona in 2010 and a 3-1 victory to Real Madrid in 2013, both happening at Camp Nou.

The importance of these two scorelines comes from the fact that they turned the perception of the belligerents of this historic and iconic battle for Spanish supremacy. Although the Madrid victory is relatively fresh, and its psychological consequences are yet to be debated over Barcelona, no football fan can deny the fact that over the 2012-13 season, the Capital club have outclassed Barcelona in the six Clasicos which is the same as the Catalan dominance over Madrid throughout 2010-2012 coming after the emphatic and inspiring 5-0 thrashing of Madrid. Real Madrid had brought Jose Mourinho as their head coach, as he had a CV with recipe to stop Barcelona. But the thrashing in the November of 2010, left the Blancos in fear. Barcelona was the best club around. With their brand of football being touted to be the much needed revolution in football, they stamped each of those words of countless journalists into the minds of Madrid players.

Each goal that Barcelona scored against Madrid, produced a reaction from the Blancos which gushed through their faces as an inevitability. Madrid went after physical tactics to disrupt the Barcelona fluid system of play whereas Barcelona resorted to some serious play acting to get crucial decisions their way from the referee. Champions league semi final tie between these two clubs in 2011 was a hallmark of dirty play, which in my mind, sours the brilliance displayed by Messi to score the two goals for a victory. The league was lost, Copa del Rey came to the capital, and Champions league went to Barcelona.

Come the beginning of 2011 and in a scintillating display of football, Real Madrid came close to beating Barcelona when they fought fire with fire, only to lose to Messi’s inspired play by 5-4 over two legs. So far, Messi had proved vital to every Barcelona success and Ronaldo despite scoring in the Clasicos wasn’t getting the work done.

All of it changed in 2012, when Madrid registered a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou to put League title issues at bay and clinically outclassed Barcelona. This was the first, and since then, the story has been different. Now Madrid look much more capable of inducing errors into the Barcelona squad and taking their chances. Spanish Super Copa of 2011 was lost 5-4 due to reckless finishing from Madrid players while Barcelona executing perfectly on their chances. But things changed in 2012 in the same cup when Angel Di Maria made Valdes fumble to give Real the way out to clinch the title on their home turf, although on away goals rule. Either way, things had changed, Barcelona became profligate in finishing while Real have looked much more clinical.

So, for all the Madrid fans, like me, perhaps this is the turn of tide that the Madridistas have been waiting for. Only the time can tell about it. But the victory at Camp Nou in 2013 on last Tuesday, <savor this moment> changed things. I saw in the follow up victory in the League yesterday that Barcelona player had the same dejected look which Madrid players used to have all through 2010-11. Whatever be the case, the biggest turn Clasico has taken is that of respect of the players towards each other which was close to animosity in 2011. The animalistic games of 2011 yielded only in controversies. Come 2012-13, we see a tactical brilliance outclassing the opponent, and the games continue to enrich the history of the EL CLASICO.

The Premier League Finale

There are certain names in world that draw a lot of attention. People revere them, loathe them, dance in their glory and curse in their misery. Somehow, the common men are able to attach themselves to that crest, badge and banner and truly feel the pain and the joy of those who actually bear that responsibility. I can toil over the concept of religious fanfare for such institutions but that would sidetrack me. It was an incredible day of football in the history of English Premier League (EPL) where the title was decided in the most dramatic ways.

First, the background. Manchester City had spent close to a billion pounds since 2009-2010 in buying players to challenge the big four of EPL: Manchester United (Red Devils), Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea for the title. There has been severe criticism of the policy and for two seasons the returns had been poor. In fact in the 2009-2010 season, City could drag almost any match to a finish in a tie. Barring Manchester United, all of the other three clubs have withered considerably over the past few years and this season, it had to be one of the two clubs from the same city of Manchester to battle for the crown.

Come October 2011, and in one of the most scintillating derby matches between the two neighbours, Manchester City pulverized United on their own home turf at Old Trafford. The analysts wrote off the league after just a few months into the season with Manchester City boasting a 5 point lead and walking with the strut of an invincible side. However, karma is a bitch, they say. In the 2010-2011 season, Chelsea had the same flair of winning and City stopped their march only to see themselves defeated by Chelsea in the 2011-12 season. City still kept the lead at the top of the table and United maintained the pressure.

A league in a football is a battle over almost 10 months of a year. And its a long time to level lots of gaps. Manchester City commanded the two point lead over their local rivals while United maintained the pressure for weeks. It finally paid off and after an unusual upset, Manchester United were a point ahead of their “noisy neighbors”, which soon swelled to 8 points. Premier League was dead again for the critics. City had lost the initiative. They appeared to have returned to the same ways of drawing any game of previous seasons. But football is a stage for drama.

A week later, United succumbed to a goal from wrongly given corner. However, if the defense cannot hold a bunch of players taking a short corner, it probably does little to crib at the referee. The Old Trafford veterans and fans were both left bewildered as they shockingly drew against Everton 4-4 having been 4-2 on the front. It came down to a difference of 3 points with Manchester derby still to go. The derby was supposed to decide the course of the title. It would be unfair to call it “The English El Clasico” for the Spanish duo from Madrid and Barcelona have a far richer meaning of the rivalry but nevertheless, this match was going to decide the fate for both teams.

City emerged victorious through a header in stoppage time of first half and the league table had two teams with same number of points at the top. Unlike other leagues, the EPL position in league is decided via goal differences (goals scored – goals conceded) in case of a tie at any ranking. Goal difference was set to decide the title history of EPL for the first time and it went to the final match. The pundits claimed City to be in pole position in the race.

A league is usually won by the best team. City had beaten almost every other team and United twice for good measure. They had been good. But on the D-day, things can go awfully wrong as it becomes a one day match where the title could go to any one. Nobody could have expected what would happen on the final Sunday of 2011-12 EPL campaign.

Manchester United played at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland and City hosted the relegation threatened (lose a chance in next EPL season) Queens Park Rangers (QPR) on their home turf in the Etihad Stadium. A victory for City would require United to beat Sunderland by a margin of 9 goals, an impossible feat and the only escape for the Red Devils was City being held by QPR without a win. It was unlikely to many.

The Devils drew the first blood in their 20th minute and forced their “Noisy Neighbours” to score. It took immense pressure from the City and something of a fumble from the otherwise exceptional goalkeeper to score the goal for City after about 40 minutes of play. The Devils were in hell. The game took a nosedive for City after half time as a horrendous error from Lescott gave QPR a chance to equalize. The captain of QPR, however, wasn’t in the best of his moods and was sent off for a reckless challenge on City striker, Carlos Tevez. United fans could only curse that moment of recklessness from Barton as City had their full arsenal to destroy the 10 man opposition. Fate has all facets and on an unusual break, QPR struck again through a fine cross and a neatly headed ball to make it QPR 2-1 City.

20 minutes were left in the match with City fans in disbelief. United fans gloated in the other side of Manchester. There were tears from fans in both sides of Manchester but for very different reasons. 15 minutes later, the commentator said “City had to win only one game, they had all their members in the stadium to witness their club take the title after 44 years. It is not going to be and 44 years will change to 45 years of wait for the title. I do not know how the Manchester City fans will pluck the courage to pick themselves up and work the next day.” The normal time was over. The assistants signalled another 3 minutes for the game in Stadium of Light and 5 were given to Manchester City to score twice. The people of Manchester couldn’t have hoped a bigger drama on the final day.

That day, Pabla Zabaletta had scored for City, his first of the season on the last day of the season. 2 minutes into stoppage time and Edin Dzeko, who had not been among goals scored from a header and give City a final chance to get the title. Etihad Stadium went wild, and everyone was at their edge. The game finished at Stadium of Light with the Devils emerging as victorious but still clueless if they had won the league. It came down to 120 seconds at Etihad Stadium to glory for one of the teams from Manchester. City had got two goals from two players who had not been among the goals. They had been chokers for best part of last three years.

It was a script as written by Christopher Nolan. City would either come full circle to the chokers they had been or they would exhibit phenomenal resilience. A beautiful play, gave their star, Aguero, the ball who went past a couple of defenders and fired into the net. And, that was it, Etihad stadium exploded in the relief and City got their investments worth. Sir Alex Ferguson could only ask their team to wrap up and enter inside the locker room.

The glory was fought hard and well. City deserved it and they won it. The Devils had beaten City once in injury time that had lasted 6 minutes (4-3, in 2009-10 season) and many other matches against many other teams in the final seconds. However, the Noisy Neighbours came out as proud champions to have snatched the title from the Devils in those final 100 odd seconds.