Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Line of the Year

Take it away, Jorge Valdano:

"Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion - and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable. Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it's a work of art. It's not: it's a shit hanging from a stick."

But wait, there's more!

"Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct. But, a short pass? No. A feint? No. A change of pace? No. A one-two? nutmeg? A backheel? Don't be ridiculous. None of that.

"If Didier Drogba was the best player in the first match, it was purely because he was the one who ran the fastest, jumped the highest and crashed into people the hardest. Such extreme intensity wipes away talent, even leaving a player of Joe Cole's class disoriented. If football is going the way Chelsea and Liverpool are taking it, we had better be ready to wave goodbye to any expression of the cleverness and talent we have enjoyed for a century."

If I don't use the "shit on a stick" line at some point during the college football season, you have the permission to send said feces and twig to my home address.

This article caused me to evaluate my feelings on Chelsea. I've grown to despise them over the past several years, in large part because of their rivalry with Barca in the Champions League, but thinking more clearly about why I do, it's all Mourinho. I first grew to dislike them because of Mourinho's unfounded accusations that Rijkaard had invaded Anders Frisk's dressing room at halftime of a Champions League game, an accusation that got Mourinho fined. Similarly, Chelsea's incredibly negative approach in the match was a farce; a team with as much talent as any in the world coming out with the intention of putting ten men behind the ball.

Fundamentally, my biggest beef with them is that Mourinho takes the best players in the world and then deploys a boring, simple style. The rumors of Dani Alves heading to Chelsea just make me laugh. What does Mourinho need an attacking right back for when all he apparently wants is long balls played towards Didier Drogba? Of course, this assumes that Chelsea retain the Special One. With the right manager (Guus Hiddink?), Chelsea would be a terrific advertisement for football. If Abramovich fires Mourinho and brings in a manager who will deploy that talent better, then more power to him.

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