Friday, May 27, 2011

Your (Rambling, Yet Somehow Abbreviated) Champions League Final Preview

The mainstream American media has been surprisingly on top of tomorrow's big club championship match between Barcelona and Manchester United. SI had a one-page preview in the mag and another good piece here, the WSJ has a big story in today's paper, and the NY tabloid papers are giving it a big mention (one is here). So I suggest you read those after this. My typing mojo has been suppressed by a 13-hour day on Thursday, a delayed train home last night and a short night of sleep thanks to the Heat's fourth-quarter slapdown. So here are some key points before my caffeine-induced energy fades into Bolivian:

Ruud van Nistelrooy - He is known for two things. First, he has the best name in the history of ever. Seriously. How could I miss an opportunity to type it? Pure awesomeness. Second, he set the record for goals in a Champions League tournament (12). Lionel Messi currently has 11, so he has a chance to make history, albeit a history that most Americans don't care about. Watch some of RvN's goals, including some tremendous post-up goals, here, in a video compilation set to what sounds like a terrible Oasis tune.

Lionel Messi - the diminutive striker is awesome to watch. The NY Post calls him a combination of Barry Sanders, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan. To those of you who doubt this uber-comparison, allow me to remind you he may be THAT GOOD. He is the world's best player now, and on pace to become one of the greatest of all-time. Don't believe me? Check out the video below. He's the best striker in the world, so good that he offsets Manchester United, which has two of the top ten in the world in Wayne Rooney and Chicharito. And the best thing about Messi - HE DOESN'T DIVE. His teammates collapse and writhe on the ground if you look at them funny, but Messi does not.




Nemanja Vidic - This Ivan Drago lookalike is the most bad-ass athlete from Serbia this side of Novak Djokovic. He is a stopper for Man U and will be tasked with chopping down Messi. It will look bad when he tackels Messi hard, which he will do until he gets a yellow card. Vidic will also be a force on set plays, when his height and elbows will cause match-up problems against a short Barcelona side.

Fox - This game is airing on the real Fox. I'm crossing my fingers they have announcers who don't suck. I know they'll have Brad Friedel in the booth, and I'm cautiously optimistic he won't be terrible. He's been a keeper in the EPL for a very long time and he knows Euro soccer well. But my biggest fear is that they "Americanize" the coverage. We don't need animated robots fighting each other on screen with sound effects, we don't need scrolling information and we don't need Joe Buck.

Wembley Stadium - This match is being played in London, which will be an advantage for the Red Devils. But Barca is as big and powerful of a club, with a huge fan base. I bet they will represent themselves pretty well. Since we're talking about Wembley, I have an excuse to embed the video of one of my favorite live music clips of all-time, Queen doing Radio Ga Ga at Wembley in '85 as a part of Live Aid. Freddy Mercury was at the height of his powers here and it's fascinating to watch him captivate over 100,00 fans, even if his performance is dated and sexually ambiguous, to say the least. The forgotten subtext to this video is how incredibly effeminate this tune is for a live rock anthem. There is nothing remotely heterosexual about the tune, yet it captivated a legion of Queen fans at that concert. That's the power of Freddy Mercury, who was fresh off his role as the villain in Commando. Don't believe me? Go to the 0:13 second mark of this clip. Or look at this picture.

Enjoy the match, folks. Go Red Devils.

19 comments:

T.J. said...

I guess the Metal Up Your Ass Memorial Day Friday edition will just have to wait until the afternoon.
/i haz a sad

Mark said...

Pretty excited for this game. Not as excited as I ma abou the NBA Finals though.

Last night was unbelievably impressive. Wade and LeBron dominated the 4th quarter, and did so with remarkable efficiency, offensively. And the Heat's team defense was a clinic. If you like basketball greatness, it's becoming increasingly harder to hate the Heat.

T.J. said...

TR, good to see GTB folks discussing that Commando chainmail vest again...

http://bit.ly/gEgfvI

TR said...

What was amazing about the comeback is that the game seemed OVER when Brewer hit the trey to put them up 76-64 with about 3:30 left. I think they cut to commercial and everybody started thinking about Game 6. Everybody but the Heat.

LBJ has been a stud this postseason. If he gets a ring, who cares if it deserves an asterisk for having the Big Three together.

I think the Heat will win EASILY over the Mavs. In 5 games. Maybe 6. I don't see who is going to shut down Wade or LBJ. Not Kidd. Not Terry. Not Abe Lincoln neck. With Caron Butler out, they will have a hard time.

Wade and LBJ > Dirk

zman said...

I miss the days when TR would dress like Freddy Mercury and go to Mazzy's Lounge to serenade middle aged alcoholic women with "Fat Bottomed Girls" as it played on the jukebox.

rob said...

that messi clip is sublime. the chip goal over the mexican keeper and the final goal are outrageous.

mayhugh said...

John Matrix is one of the most horrible movie protaganist names of all time.

The best? I'm glad I asked - I'll go with Shane "Footsteps" Falco, despite the terribleness of the movie.

Danimal said...

zman - i thought you would appreciate the following letter written to time warner...i think you might even be the author

http://tinyurl.com/3uuhz3h

two things that recently way exceeded my expectations: 1) did you know there are now fruit loops w/marshmallows?

and 2) i read rob lowe's book. yes, i purchased and read rob lowe's book. it was an entertaining read - good stories in that man's story.

mayhugh said...

I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now... i am... VERY HUNGRY!!

zman said...

That guy hasn't had the full Time Warner experience yet. Wait until his cable box breaks on the Sunday on which the NFL, Mad Men, and True Blood seasons begin and he has to make three trips to Queens before he gets a functional cable box.

KQ said...

Pop a few pills in honor of Jeff Conaway. RIP Kenickie.

TR said...

He's been dead on his feet for years. Celebrity Rehab did that guy no favors.

Squeaky said...

This should be the official sport of G:TB.
http://goo.gl/PaH6P
The 360 at minute 3 is amazing.

Marls said...

Love that Nick Tortelli was teaming up with Freddy in Commando.

zman said...

The LeBron vs MJ debate is stupid. Carry on.

Mark said...

It is beyond stupid. Much like the the Dirk v. Bird debate. The debates created by the 24/7 sports cycle are profitable yet asinine. Until I see multiple chips from these guys, well, I dont want to hear it.

rob said...

game 7s are cool

TR said...

I had the misfortune of hearing Stephen A. Smith on ESPN radio for 5 minutes in my car tonight. He played a Pippen sound clip where Pippen said Jordan may have been the greatest scorer of all-time, but LBJ brought more to the table.

The point to be taken from this is that Scottie Pippen is dumb.

zman said...

Or Pippen feels like pissing Jordan off.