1. Yet again, I want to take this opportunity to thank Milan and United for coming to play as opposed to the trench warfare eyesore that was 210 minutes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
2. United fans will undoubtedly point to the injuries that their team suffered in central defense and they have a point. Wes Brown was twice to blame for the second goal and the recently healed Nemanja Vidic was routinely skinned by Kaka, although one wonders whether Kaka would have done the same to a healthy Vidic. Kaka is sitting on top of the world right now in the estimation of most observers, having wrested the title of best player on the planet from Cristiano Ronaldo in decisive fashion. Then again, momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher, so maybe Steven Gerrard isn't exiled to the right flank in the final and he reminds us of his own talent. To get back to the injury issue, United have a point, but on the other hand, Milan also played a back-up central defender for 135 minutes of the tie. More importantly, they can point to this fact: they were 5-1 winners when Gattuso was on the pitch and 0-2 when he was hurt in the second half of the first leg. Speaking of Rino...
3. It's a full crush on my part now. As I said last week, I'm a sucker for players who are defensively critical and who represent the emotional heart of their teams, hence my affection for Puyol for Barca over their attacking stars. The true fan always loves Gattuso or Puyol or Roy Keane or Patrick Viera. Gattuso was an absolute titan tonight, a perfect illustration of the importance of a defensive midfielder. He closed down Ronaldo's runs time and again, then started the Milan attacks with smart passes. He dominated the game without scoring a goal or getting an assist. He didn't even have to get dirty to be so effective. And to boot, he got all Keane-ish at the end when Paul Scholes screwed with him. In an alley fight instead of a football match, Scholes would be missing an eyeball right now after Rino sucked it out. I'm going to have to resist the urge to buy a Gattuso jersey on Ebay in the next week.
Screw with this guy at your peril.
By the way, Seamus Malin latched onto Gattuso's importance in a way that Tommy Smyth never did. There's a knowing air to Malin's commentary that just draws me in. I have no idea why he's on ESPN's #2 team, except that this is ESPN we're talking about and schtick will always win out over substance.
4. I never thought I'd say this, but Marco van Basten is an absolute fool if he doesn't recall Clarence Seedorf, who is playing at a higher level than I've ever seen from him. I've never liked Seedorf in the Oranje because he's failed to deliver for the Dutch time and again, but he's on fire right now. More importantly, he's an attacking midfielder who can pass the ball, which is what Holland lacked at the last World Cup. If I could dream for a minute that Marco and an in-form van Nistlerooy patched things up, couldn't the Dutch do very well with a van Persie - van Nistlerooy - Seedorf front line? Clarence might even oblige us with something like this:
The only Madrid goal I'll ever post here.
5. I really hope that this guy pops back in for a visit:
I hope you enjoyed watching Manchester United destroy Roma. Maybe you should wait for the second match before speaking up because you don't know jack sh*t about football and never will.
Kiss Roma's ass! They're just a bunch of losers as you are! Next time hope of shutting the f*ck up before hoping to see Manchester getting beaten by a bunch of wimps. Especially from a Barca fan.
The Cup is ours for the taking.
If by "Cup," you meant "F.A. Cup," then by all means, you're right.