Friday, December 16, 2011

Hilarious Picture of Totti in Borriello's Ridiculous Hipster Glasses

Oh Francesco. Amid turmoil at the club and regarding your future, you still find time for a few laughs around the locker room and training ground! You're the best. Forza Capitano!

And props to this awesome blog The River Tiber, where I found this picture!

Once a Toffee, always a Toffee...

Landon Donovan's sweet-tooth for competitive football has come back! LD will be gearing up once again for Everton in a two month loan spell slated to begin on January 1. 

Finally, Donovan provides me with fodder to boast about, rather than shake my head in disdain. Some of you may have heard Brad Friedel's remarks last week insinuating Landon preferred the big sponsorship money offered to sportsmen in the USA rather than the fight for the first team in a European league. To my surprise, many people (who I can only assume know nothing about world football and its accolades) vehemently rebuked Friedel's statements. They expressed disgust with Friedel, who has been a starter in the English Premier League, the best league in the world, for about 10 years. Shocking. As you might imagine, I stood with the old man on this one. I was crossing my fingers to hear about news of a move.

To my delight (and many other's), Donovan has made the leap once again. This loan, as the last spell in 2010, I, along with the Toffee faithful, will be crossing my fingers for a permanent move. Let me be clear - I could care less about Everton, but in terms of our country's best player of all time's footprint on world football - I'm rooting for a permanent move that will lead to something big for Donovan.

Go Landon and go Toffees!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dortmund Ultras Are AWESOME

German champions Borussia Dortmund not only have a talented squad, but some of the best fans in the world. Check out this video detailing their preparation prior to the team's match against Wolfsburg last week (which they eventually won 5-1):

That's dedication.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Alessandro Del Piero!!!!

To the player who drew me to the sport of soccer all those years ago: Happy birthday Alessandro Del Piero! The 37 year old has inspired the world with his play - and hair - for many fruitful years. Tanti auguri!

Check out this compilation video Juventus made in honor of their capitan:

Though I would like to applaud Juve for their efforts, I can't help but be fed up with the Old Lady. Happy birthday Del Piero...enjoy the bench. And oh yeah, you're done after this year. Juve let their most important player in history know they are not re-signing him at a Board of Directors meeting. Not man to man. Not anything out of the ordinary for an extraordinary player. Shameful and classless.

But you know what, Del Piero pushes on. All the while, he has displayed the most professional attitude possible, fortifying the belief that he is one of the classiest footballers in the game. For his humble attitude, uplifting spirit, and goal against Germany in the semis, I wish this special, special player a buon compleanno!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Messi's World...?

Messi has officially made my Monday. Upon browsing the Barcelona man's Facebook page this afternoon, I noticed a series of videos in his news feed that seemed interesting. Interesting immediately turned into hilarious upon viewing.

The fact that all the videos are 11 seconds long, contain similar five word professions of love spoken by Messi himself, and are branded with the above Transformer/Batman hybrid logo, made these videos a riot.

For your pleasure:

"I love every goal."

"I'll always play like that boy from Rosario."

"I love to help children dream."

"I love to team up for my country."

Though I respect Messi's strength as a player and humble character, these videos have left me puzzled. What do they say about you Messi? That you can only explain yourself in vague one-liners in 11 second video clips? Am I the only one who thinks these are hilarious (and weird)?!

Perhaps there are fuller versions of each to come.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get Well Soon Antonio Cassano... wild son of a b*tch.

Sad news from the AC Milan camp today regarding Antonio Cassano's mystery illness after the Rossoneri's match with Roma on Saturday.

The player has suffered a stroke and will need heart surgery to correct an existing problem. Though the procedure is said to be relatively safe, it's still scary as hell, especially for such an exuberant man like Cassano. He is slated to miss a few months.

See this article from Football Italia for full details of the dilemma.

Get well soon Antonio.

Landon Donovan: Love - Hate Relationship

Love Landon in red, white and blue.
Nothing made me prouder as an American soccer fan when Landon Donovan slotted home the injury-time winner against Algeria that heroically sent the USMNT through to the knockout stages of the World Cup in 2010. It was a moment, that's for sure. A big moment, if not the biggest in US Soccer history (see above photo). I am forever grateful and a fan of Landon Donovan for his devotion and accomplishments for this country.

"Stop being meanies NYRBs"
Hate Landon in the MLS.
Landon Donovan the MLS player infuriates me. His cocky, over confident attitude just comes off as petulant to me. He is a real competitor - I'll give him that - but sometimes his do-no-wrong disposition is grating. Donovan's a great player, but he's sort of prone to complaining and whining. Just play hard like you do for the USMNT, dude!

Recent hate Full disclosure: I am a New York Red Bulls fan.
Landon's recent comments following a scrappy semi-final first leg with the New York Red Bulls, I thought, were unprofessional:
“There a few plays where they took some cheap shots at us. In all my years in this league, I’ve not played against a cheaper team, and they’ve been doing it all year. We saw it a few weeks ago with [Thierry] Henry kneeing someone in the back. We’ve seen that stuff all year. You just deal with it, and at the end of it, the cream rose to the top, and the better team won.”
"What a d*ck." First thoughts that come to mind after reading that. Talk about attitude. The game was heated, there were tackles on both ends, and frankly, I believe LA embellished more than a few fouls (DAVID BECKHAM *ahem). Even if Rafa Marquez (the biggest baby/waste of space in the league) threw a ball at you at the end of the match, there's really no reason to denounce the whole team like a sad clown in public. As far as I can see, the Red Bulls are just as competitive and hard-nosed as any other team in the league. Forget about the little tidbits you're griping about and be happy you won!

When did footballers start getting soft? Cheap shots, Landon...really? You know how you counteract cheap shots (other than b*tching to the media after the match)? You win. You play hard and you win. You did that on why drone on and complain? Just shut up and play.

Tune in to leg two of this semi-final on Thursday at 11pm ET.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marco Borriello: Complaining in Video Games Too

News flash - Marco Borriello is never happy with his playing time, not even in the virtual world. Maybe try scoring more? See this little gem that popped up in my FIFA '12 Career Mode with Roma:

My reaction? "God, shut up Borriello." This is the guy who lip readers quoted as saying "I'm on the bench and I've scored 25,000 goals" when passed up for selection. Dude...shut up!

Anyone else have funny player gripes pop up on the new FIFA?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Blur of a Brazilian: Pato

Did everyone see the ridiculous fashion in which Pato scored last night a mere 25 seconds into Milan's Champions League clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou? Well if you didn't, you must watch this video:

Truly amazing. Pato made the Barcelona midfield and defense look like school children! Why doesn't he do that all the time?!

I know there are some Pato haters out there who believe he will not live up to his potential, but after seeing a piece of magic like that I would reserve room for hope that he can produce magic like this consistently. Imagine Milan with a healthy, in form Pato? They hardly had him last year and took the title.

Keep your eyes on this young man and the Italian champs, people.

Side note: during this blog post I kept erroneously writing Pato as Patio, which lead me to wonder if Pato would be as awesome on the field if his name was actually Patio. After thinking it through, a Brazilian named Patio would probably just draw laughs, not first team call ups. Alexandre Patio. Haha.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HOT RUMORS on deadline day PART ONE

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the inactivity but shut up for a minute. I am writing this as fast as humanly possible because of the amount of rumors I have been tracking on this extraordinary deadline day. Here they are:

Better late than never

Giuseppe Rossi to Tottenham
Rumors are swirling all over Twitter and even Wikipedia seems to think the deal was done. Not sure if that holds true, but Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone exclaimed via Twitter that he could not believe who snuck into training today. Rossi or maybe...

Kaka to Tottenham
What?! Surely it can't be...but maybe. I've heard some things.

Gary Cahill to Tottenham for either Bassong or Bently
Not sure about this but I've heard murmurs.

Scott Parker signs for Tottenham
Now official.

Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United
Have not heard too much about this move, but I believe it will happen. Forlan has signed with Inter, opening the door for a possible exit for Sneijder. We shall see!

Luka Modric to Chelsea
I think this deal will happen today, given Tottenham's need to fortify the rest of their squad. Good luck getting playing time, jerk!

Raul Meireles to Chelsea for cash and Yossi Benayoun
This would be a ridiculous deal in my opinion. Liverpool look great with Meireles in the lineup...why would they do this DON'T DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF JEBUS.

Mauro Zarate on loan to Inter
I guess this deal is done, but who cares because he sucks anyway. Lazio merda.

Arsenal sign Santos, Mertesacker, and Park Chu-Young
Hard to believe, right? Wenger power!

Roma continue to own the transfer market
They will be putting pen to paper with Simon Kjaer and Miralem Pjanic well as possibly Fernando Gago. Great mercato.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daily Buzz - August 18

News and rumor(s), brought to you by the World Wide Web:

Romelu Lukaku finally signs for Chelsea
The promising Belgian youngster finally sealed his dream move to Chelsea, signing for €25m. The forward will be available for the Blues on the weekend.

American Thomas DiBenedetto finally takes over AS Roma
Though he was technically in charge throughout much of the summer, the final papers have been signed, making Thomas DiBenedetto and his consortium majority owners of Roma. Now if he could introduce the signings of Osvaldo and Kjaer as act one, that would be something.

Welcome: enjoy your first defeat to Slovan wherever the hell - today!
Bocanegra joins Rangers
USA skipper Carlos Bocanegra has left French side St. Etienne and landed in Scotland with the Glasgow Rangers. He joins his American patriots Mo Edu and Ale Bedoya in the side.

Diego Forlan to Inter?
I resisted putting this hot-rumor up but I keep hearing little birdies whispering about it. Word is Forlan's agent is in Milan today for a meeting. Forlan to Inter, Sneijder to United?!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daily Buzz - August 17

Hello all:

It has been tough for me to post with some regularity as of late because of work get over it! One thing I have been able to do though, with all the swiftness in the world I might add, is check Twitter for world football least every 10 minutes! I've noticed this habit has become sort of an obsession. First step: admitting you have a problem.

I've also noticed Twitter is one of the most reliable news/transfer/gossip tools around. Most times, if a majority of people on your feed (for me, soccer folk) are saying Cesc is going to Barca on Monday...he is (he did). If they say Samir 'don't hate on me' Nasri is in line to join Manchester City today...he probably will. People you can follow on this silly little thing called Twitter are people who often confirm these deals have happened aka professionals in the field. So often times, their sources on transfers, news, etc. is legit.

So, being the oh so awesome blogger that I am, I plan on filtering these news bits and displaying them for you with (hopefully) strict regularity. And here begins the first edition of the Daily Buzz. Name - still debatable.

Samir 'I'm a little baby' Nasri finally leaving
Word has it that Nasri is a Manchester City player. The fee is £25m and the ridiculously annoying Frenchman will be earning £200k/week (£10.4m/year) plus a £5m signing bonus. Cha-CHING. Let's sweep this infuriating ego under the rug (Man City ha ha!) and hope Arsenal handle this cash with care...and buy Eden Hazard

Ade or Ruiz?
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is said to have his sights on either a loan deal for the wandering Emmanual Adebayor or a straight up money-buy for Twente hitman Bryan Ruiz (who Redknapp watched score in Twente's CL match last night with Benfica).

Roma Roma Roma: Osvaldo and Kjaer
My beloved Roma continue their assault on the transfer market with the nearing purchases of Daniel Osvaldo from Espanyol and Simon Kjaer from Wolfsburg. It looks to be that Roma have indeed high-jacked Atletico Madrid's deal for Osvaldo, which was said to be all but done, and snuck in a €17m bid for the player. As far as Kjaer stands, his agent both has stated that no contact from Roma has been made, but various sources seem to think this means he is definitely signing with Roma. Don't ask me how or why, I'm just reporting (and crossing my fingers). Sabatini POWER!

Eto'o to...I don't even know how to spell this Russian team's name

Picture of Eto'o waving which new sites like to post because it's like 'goodbye' 
Will Eto'o just leave the Serie A already? The babyman Cameroonian was set to have a medical in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala (googled it), but they decided to come to Milan and allow him to smell the cash on their bodies, presumably. I heard it's something like a €35m deal and Eto will make €400K/week. Suck it, Nasri!

That is all I feel like divulging on this initial Daily Buzz. Check out Twitter, amici.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jumpin' for Joy: Klinsmann 1 - 1 Mexico

Jurgen Klinsmann debuted as head coach of the United States last night against a top Mexican side. As you can see by the energetic airborne German above, the USMNT grabbed a critical moral boost by drawing with their rivals, who had beat them in the three games prior.

I'll be the first to admit, a draw in this game did not look likely after a dismal first half. The team played poorly. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones looked lost in the middle of the park and the midfield in general seemed to be grasping for possession. The fluidity of year's passed seemed gone. Thus, the attack was invisible

But on came the second half! As the US team steadily gained some bearings, Klinsmann made a few changes that essentially flipped the game. Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea were introduced, immediately adding the tempo upfront that was needed. As a result, Jose Torres was pushed more central, close to his buddy Landon, and got to be more creative. Yay!!!! Well, it worked. Passing was fluent and once Robbie Rogers injected his pace into the game, the Mexicans were roasted. Who would have thought the decision to put in Robbie Rogers would tip the tie?! Klinsmann, that's who.

Winning this game was something we could have done, but as a first test for a coach in charge for only nine days, a draw is more than satisfactory.


Brek Shea is awesome. His marauding play on the left-wing was just what the doctor ordered in the second half. A great assist to boot.

Jose Torres needs to play in proximity to Donovan. When they were both attacking in the center, their inter-play was mind-blowing.

Landon Donovan: still the best.

Robbie Rogers...did I just say that?! He looked fantastic. His impact was immediate and he rightfully could have won the game for Klinsmann.

Juan Agudelo looked lively. I can see Klinsmann favoring the quick and crafty striker as the years tick by...maybe it reminds him of someone?

Kyle Beckerman should still get the call up every now and again. His work ethic and shutdown ability in the midfield kept the team in check during the trying times of the match.

Edgar Castillo was OK. Not a bad second cap for the young man. He was attacked pretty heavily for most of the match and managed the best he could. Needs to work on that passing though!

Michael Orozco put in a good shift. He played a quiet role in quelling the Mexican attack - one which really did not generate much in front of goal.

Michael Bradley fits in where under Klinsmann? I know what everyone is saying after this performance, but listen, Bradley is good...he just needs to be used correctly. I think Klinsmann allows for more time to figure this out.

Oh and in case you missed the game:

And in case you missed the epic Klinsmann celebration dance, click here haha.

Monday, August 8, 2011

FIFA World Cup Qualifying Draw

Since I am American and have little to look forward to in terms of international competition over the next few years, here is a recap of the recent qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:

Brazilian legend Ronaldo displaying an unfavorable fortune cookie message

African Zone Draw 
Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Central African Republic, Somalia or Ethiopia 
Group B: Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar
Group C: Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco, Gambia, Chad or Tanzania
Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho or Burundi
Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome e Principe or Congo
Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles or Kenya, Djibouti or Namibia
Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros or Mozambique
Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea or Rwanda
Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea-Bissau or Togo, Swaziland or Congo DR
Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius or Liberia

Asian Zone Draw 
Group A: China, Jordan, Iraq, Singapore
Group B: Korea Republic, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon
Group C: Japan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Korea DPR
Group D: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Thailand
Group E: Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia

North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Two) 
Group A: El Salvador, Surinam, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic
Group B: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda
Group C: Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas
Group D: Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Lucia
Group E: Grenada, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize
Group F: Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, US Virgin Islands

North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Three) 
Group A: USA, Jamaica, Winner of R2 Grp E, Winner of R2 Grp F
Group B: Mexico, Costa Rica, Winner of R2 Grp A, Winner of R2 Grp B
Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Winner of R2 Grp D, Winner of R2 Grp C

Oceanian Zone Draw
Group A: Vanuatu, New Caledonia, American Samoa/Cook Islands/Samoa or Tonga, Tahiti
Group B: Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea

European Zone Draw 
Group A: Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia, Wales
Group B: Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, Malta.
Group C: Germany, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan.
Group D: Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Andorra.
Group E: Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus, Iceland.
Group F: Portugal, Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg
Group G: Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia, Lichtenstein
Group H: England, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, San Marino
Group I: Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia, Finland

Intercontinental play-offs
Asia – South America
North, Central America and the Caribbean - Oceania

Source: FIFA

More in depth reviews to come, with the possibility of some outside commentary. Stay tuned, amici.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

USMNT: Jurgen Klinsmann Thoughts

As you may have heard, former German great Jurgen Klinsmann has been named head coach of the US Men's National Team. This represents a huge change in the dynamic of the US camp. Not only is Klinsmann aiming to guide the US team through upcoming competitions, but he is looking to lead American soccer on the whole.

Klinsmann's unveiling as USMNT coach...oh the joy!

According to Jurgen, his approach to the job will focus on developing more talent in the United States - which is awesome - and guiding the USMNT to the next level - not winning trophies, but getting involved in knockout matches starting in "quarter" or "semi." In year's past, coaches like Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, both good coaches in their own right, have simply been the manager of the squad. As Klinsmann indicated in his introductory press conference, he will be digging deeper and acting as a multifaceted coach/developer. Sensible Soccer likey!

It is clear he has an understanding of our vast, somewhat inefficient system of development. His goal is to connect with people who know the problems that exist in this structure and hopefully come up with solutions to change things for the better. I think it helps that he seems to be a kick ass networker. I can honestly say I am happy with this decision - I am a supporter of development and energized people who get the job done. This seems like Klinsmann. Props to USSF President Sunil 'puppet-man' Gulati on this decision.

Sunil Gulati - USSF President/strange-faced puppet

Now, for the Klinsmann detractors: I know what you're saying and feeling after Klinsmann's press conference. "Development?? Long term? What about 2014. We need to do good!" Well, no sh*t Sherlock. I think obviously, Jurgen is going to use his talents as a coach to motivate and field the best squad we have while he's in charge. But honestly, in 2014, the best we've got is probably starting to get a little old, age-wise...hence a focus on development, a focus I support whole-heartedly.

I constantly dream of the day when I can wildly celebrate a huge US Men's National Team tournament win. To achieve this, we need better players. To get better players, we need a better system of development. To get a better system of development, the national conversation about how our system works needs to be open. Bring it, Klinsmann!

Jurgen's first game in charge:

USA vs. Mexico 
August 10th, 9pm
Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, PA

Talk about Baptism by fire! Anyhow, the German has selected a roster for the game, his first act as coach:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), José Torres (Pachuca)

FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (Benfica), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Let's see what the golden-haired German can do in a mere 9 days!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh My Word: Neymar & Ronaldinho - Santos vs. Flamengo

In case you missed one of the nicest goals in a while, feast your eyes on this:

An incredible effort by the Brazilian prodigy, Neymar. As Dirty Tackle predicts, this could up the asking price of the talented youngster. But hey, what are a couple-a-million more smackaroos?

Oh and by the way, this game was an absolute cracker - a battle of Neymar's Santos and Ronaldinho's Flamengo; the latter's hat-trick won the match in a 5-4 thriller:

Truly one of the best matches of the year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homo-Erotic Headline Win:

I'll admit, I frequently hate on  - often because of their constant comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and terrible player ratings system - but nothing comes before my hatred of Manchester United's smug defender Patrice Evra. Which is exactly why I was delighted in seeing this headline, below, on yesterday evening:

Oh Patrice, you'll get your man. Someday...

Best headline ever. Bravo, 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Alexis Sanchez To Learn Style From World's Best

Dude, what are you wearing?

The style of Alexis Sanchez - an infusion of Chilean duds and Udine flare that (re)creates the look of a rural farmer - was on display as the player was presented to Barcelona fans today. Admitting he wants to "learn from the best," Sanchez already picked up style tips when someone made him change before his press conference.

What's next for the crafty Chilean winger (besides lengthy receipts from Gucci and Prada)? Well, at aka, the obvious next step is to compare Sanchez with Cristiano Ronaldo, like they do with every top player ever. I'm so tired of these waste of space comparisons! Enough

Mario Balotelli, Continued...

After reviewing the 2010-11 Numerous Exploits of Mario Balotelli, it seems I am poised to have a first entry on the 2011-12 review of Super Mario. See video evidence, below:

Hilarious! What a horrible back-heel try in a preparation game ahead of the arduous Premier League season! Poor Roberto Mancini - he has had to, on many occasions, play Mario's disappointed dad, as seen here through the immediate subbing out and dressing down of his troubled striker.

But why is everyone shocked? Balotelli does stuff like this all the time! What would Balotelli not do? That is the question.

Keep stirring the pot, Mario! I support your brand of comedy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Delightful Park Ji-Sung Makes Pizza

Park Ji-Sung: Havin' a great time makin/eatin' pizza
Ahead of Manchester United's World Football Challenge match against the Chicago Fire in Chi-Town, midfielder Park Ji-Sung decided to try his hand in creating a local delicacy: deep-dish pizza. Oh, and he brought along Patrice Evra. mmmm mmmm watch the video here.

Patrice Evra: Seeing if it's time to leave yet
Based on Park's precision sauce and cheesing, one would assume he is handy in the kitchen. But notice in the video how Evra vehemently refuses to eat Park's pizza and how shocked Park looks when he takes a bite of his own pizza. Could the Delightful Park Ji-Sung be a bad cook?? I refuse to believe it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Djibril Cisse to Lazio - In the most ridiculous way possible

Djibril Cisse arrived in Rome today for a medical ahead of his move to Lazio. I can't be too sure if the deal is still on though, as doctors might have to site the odd-fashioned Cisse mentally unfit for play:

Good signing...

For more pics of Djibril's zebra-booties, see Il Corriere dello Sport's gallery.

Monday, July 11, 2011

USWNT: What is it with Americans and late drama?

A year after Landon Donovan buried the injury-time winner against Algeria that sent the USMNT through to the knockout stages of the 2010 World Cup, the USWNT similarly progressed yesterday with an even bigger heart-stopping last gasp goal in their Women's World Cup quarterfinal match with Brazil.

Hope Solo's vital save in PKs 

Abby Wambach sealed the United States' comeback while playing with 10-women, nodding home a pin-point Megan Rapinoe cross in the 122nd minute of extra-time to force penalties. Hope Solo, the towering 'keeper who wrongfully had a penalty save overturned in the second half, played the hero in the shootout, producing a critical save with a strong right hand (pictured above).

This match had it all - stunning strikes, finger-tip saves, referee controversy, and heroics. Highlights here:

The climax of this match rivaled that of Landon's legendary moment, for sure. As for Brazil, they got what they deserved. They played lackluster all game, pretty much had the referee's calls going their way, and shot themselves in the a$$ while faking injury in ET. This ultimately added the injury-time at the end of the second half in which Wambach struck. Had they not embellished, they would have likely won the match. Note to young players: Don't act like babies and fake injured.

Tune in for more Sensible Soccer this week and keep your eye on the ladies of America, who are reppin' the stars and stripes versus the French on Wednesday.

P.S. - how awesome were the black kits? I'm sick of this USMNT's "Red all over" sh*t.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival - NYC: July 20 - 23

Good news Sensible Soccer fans in and around New York City: a soccer film festival is headed our way! Culture meets the beautiful game at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival in NYC from July 20 - 23.  Five films will features at the festival, which takes place at the historic Tribeca Cinemas. They are:

Wednesday, July 20, 7:30 pm
Argentina Fútbol Club w/ Sivan & Opprykk

Thursday, July 21, 7:30 pm
Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story
w/ Swarbrick animations & Blind Ambition

Friday, July 22, 7:30 pm
Soka Afrika w/ The Final Fax

Soka Afrika - Trailer 1 from Masnomis on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 23, 7:30 pm
Match 64 & The Referee

These all look very exciting! To purchase tickets or learn more about the festival, check out Kicking and Screening's website.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

La Gazzetta dello Sport: Making Coaches and Directors Look Ridiculous - Daily

As I cruised through La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning I noticed a majority of their photographs were ridiculous - specifically of coaches and directors. What is going on in Italia? Check out some strange picture choices I found today:

Cesare Prandelli playin' pong

Claudio Lotito: "Huh?"

"Ho ho ho...Who's this guy think he is? The Coach?"

"F*ck this"

Cell phone shot: the moment is captured!

Another great phone shot: Luciano 'Scumbag' Moggi

Choir-boy Andrea Agnelli

And stud

Perfect shot of Luciano Spalletti...

Had to throw this intense pic of Edinson Cavani in

Shushing creeper: Massimo Moratti

What a creeper!

Do Italian coaches and directors just look hideous in pictures or is it La Gazzetta's horrible photo selections? You be the judge. 

All photos courtesy of La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The King, Has Returned...

Hi all:

After a month of relentlessly searching for an apartment, finding one, paying for one, packing, moving, unpacking, and living - I am back and it feels good! Now that I am all settled, let me tell you about certain things in world football that are unsettling to me at the moment:

They have won it all. Everything. Their players are the best ever. Their team is the best ever. And I am tired of it. I am fed up with their success and style of play. Sick of it! Just when I thought some Barca-relief was on its way after the season ended, quite the opposite has occurred, as every news source indicates any player, anywhere, of any age,  is tied to a summer move to Barcelona. Any semi-large move in world football has at least two teams interested in the player: Team X and Barcelona. For more on that, see below.

Transfer Sagas
The summer window is a super-exciting time to be a football fan. Each hour, die-hardistas like myself sit on the edge of our seats and pray to Pele himself that the next big star will put pen to paper for our team, not Lazio merda. Along with this on-the-edge prayfest, comes the long, drawn-out sagas that will capture headlines for weeks, months, or even the whole summer. Here are some of those sagas:

Cesc Fabregas Arsenal
Price Tag €30M - €40M
Fabregas fuels speculation of a move to the New York Mets ...
Another summer, another saga. Will Cesc Fabregas finally leave Arsenal for Barcelona (or the Mets)?! The young captain's future was made clear, in a muddled way, as he was omitted from Arsenal's new kit photo-shoot earlier this week. Football pundits see this as a great big sign that Cesc will leave. My opinion: I think they are right.

Alexis Sanchez Udinese
Price tag €35M - €45M
The Chilean winger has certainly caused quite the coup on football's front pages as of late, with both Manchester teams and Barcelona, naturally, interested in the player. Sanchez has publicly stated it's Barca or bust, and the Catalan giants have put in their final bid for the player (supposedly). Will this drag on? I'd wager he leaves Udine and gets dumped into the talent ocean in Barcelona.

Future star/got2be spokesman
Neymar Santos
Price tag €40M - €50M
We might never see the end of the Neymar saga which means we might never see the end of a rooster haircut appearing on our browser every single day, at any time of the day. The talented young Brazilian, who apparently has the Midas Touch, is wanted by five clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City and the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. I'm not sure where the young gun will end up, but frankly, I'm too tired of hearing about him to care.

Javier Pastore Palermo
Price tag €30M - €50M
Argentine hitman Javier Pastore could certainly be headed for an exit this summer, but to where, I know not. Palermo President Mauro Zamparini seems willing to let the player go and is up to his old, not-so-sly tricks of asking for ridiculous amounts of money for players, then randomly accepting less. Pastore should make a move, but who knows with a crazy old man pulling the strings.

Charlie Adam Blackpool
Price tag Who cares?
Despite all the big money moves on the line in world football, nothing makes me more angry than constantly seeing rumors about Charlie Adam. It started during the winter window: he was going to Liverpool for sure but the move fell through at the penultimate moment. Now here we are again: he's going to Liverpool but the move has stalled because blammo, Chelsea and Spurs are in the mix! Is this player really worth all this speculation? Please stop.

The Gold Cup
I know the Gold Cup is not tremendous news to those around world football, but to us Americans, it's pretty much all we had this summer. Which is why I am sad to say, it sucked bad. The USMNT played sub-par the whole tournament on their way to getting smashed by their fiercest rival Mexico, again. Bob Bradley seemed to have no grasp of his lineup and fielded a few question marks consistently.

I agree with Sweat Pants Bob on benching leading USMNT scorer of all time Landon Donovan for the match in which he arrived from his sister's wedding at 7am on gameday, but the rest of the games? Are you kidding me?

FIFA's new rankings came out and supporters of American soccer should have cringed when they saw the top ten: 9. Mexico. Our benchmark just jumped into the top ten! We're in the top 25 though...barely. I think it is time for some changes in the national team camp. Sorry to say, but I think Bob Bradley must go.

Well, that's all that's bothering me at the moment. Stay tuned for some more regular Sensible Soccer posts!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chicharito Still Impressing

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is truly sensational! After a stellar year at Manchester United, the 'Little Pea,' better known as the normal sized 'Pea' at this point, recorded a hat trick in Mexico's first match at this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Have a look at his cheeky chip, which Dirty Tackle points out as extremely embarassing for the keeper. Sensible Soccer agrees whole-heartedly:

That was Chicharito's third of the night. Quite a start to the tournament! Thus begins Mexico's journey to most likely another Gold Cup victory. I fear USA will be outclassed by this scrappy Mexican side. We'll see!

Stay tuned for more Gold Cup 2011 updates...

Football Spy is Back!

Your guide to the topsy-turvy summer transfer window is back!! Brought to you by the Daily Mirror, Football Spy is a comprehensive transfer source you can trust.  Summertime is Spy's bread and butter, so follow along with my friend Darren on a daily basis and do not hesitate to email in questions to or comment on their videos at Footytube or You Tube.

Check out today's edition of Spy and keep following along:

Friday, May 27, 2011

2010-11 Player Review: The Numerous Exploits of Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli had quite the interesting year following his switch from Inter Milan to Manchester City over the summer. The troubled 20-year-old Italian never ceases to amaze with his on and off the field antics. Lets see what Super Mario was up to:

Aug. 13, 2010: Mario Balotelli signs for Manchester City. The transfer fee was £24m. The move represents a new start for the troubled young striker, whose year's at Inter were marred with controversy. A new chapter opens in the life of Super Mario.

Sept. 25, 2011: The 20-year-old gets pulled over by police with £25,000 cash in his car...when asked why he is carrying so much money, Balotelli responds: "Because I'm rich."

Oct. 2, 2010: Balotelli and his brother drive into a women's prison. Reports state the Balotelli brothers saw the gate open and never imagined they would need a permit to drive up to the front door. After being recognized, the officers let the two off. The police commented that both seemed to be particularly intrigued by the fact that it was a women's prison. Balotelli's reasoning for the breif visit: "I told my brother: 'Do you want to see a prison?' Then I went in."

Oct. 3, 2010: Super Mario returns to Italy and flips off supporters at a match between Inter and Juventus.

Dec. 21, 2010: Balotelli named best young player in Europe and expresses extreme confusion at who his second place adversary is:
"What's his name? Wil ... ? No, I don't know him, but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him. Perhaps I can show him about the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it."
His name is Jack Wilshere.

Jan. 18, 2011: Super Mario takes a dig at Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, claiming: "He [Rooney] is a very good player but not the best [striker] in Manchester."

Jan. 19, 2011: Cristiano Ronaldo, jealous that Mario commands the headlines, tells Balotell to "speak less and play more."

March 10, 2011: Blades of grass cause the young Italian to be withdrawn from City's first leg knockout match with Dynamo Kiev after 57 minutes. Allergic to grass as a footballer? You might be in the wrong profession, Mario.

March 17, 2011: Balotelli struggles to put on his training bib...for about two minutes:

March 17, 2011 cont'd: Edin Dzeko makes fun of Mario Balotelli's bib problem:

You know you are foolish when a tall, awkward, doofus is making fun of you and getting laughs out of it.

March 17, 2011 cont'd: With a bib on mind, Balotelli destroys Man City's European hope by getting a straight red in the 36th minute of the second leg knockout match against Kiev, after a chest-high lunge. How did Coach Roberto Mancini react? "He [Mancini] called me an idiot. He shouted that he wished he'd never signed me." Sick burn.

March 21, 2011: Mario admits to Italian national team coach Cesare Prandelli the he "needs help" because he always ruins everything, but cares about being in La Nazionale. Aww.

March 25, 2011: While dining in a posh city centre restaurant, Balotelli notices Wayne Rooney's alleged hooker...and says hi by yelling "ROONEY, ROONEY" across the restaurant, before approaching the woman and blowing a raspberry in the face of her companion.

March 27, 2011: Balotelli throws darts at Manchester City's Youth Team players through a first floor window at the club's training complex because he is "bored." Gotta do somethin' when you're bored!

April 6, 2011: The play-maker challenges several bouncers outside of a Manchester night club, continually goading and laughing at them, until one of them hit his Maserati repeatedly with a metal torch.

April 16, 2011: Following the club's crucial win over city rivals Man Utd in the FA Cup Semifinal, Balotelli raucously celebrates in a taunting manner in front of United's faithful.

April 20, 2011: Luck strikes Balotelli at a local casino, earning him a cool £25,000, of which he gives £1,000 to a homeless man outside on the street

April 25, 2011: The young Italian accrues parking fines of over £10,000 for having his car impounded over 27 times. Club staff report having to retrieve Balotelli's Maserati time and again out of the impound lot, as he will "drive from his luxury apartment to a restaurant a few streets away and leave the car on double yellows," for instance.

May 8, 2011: Balotelli retracts earlier statement about Rooney:
“When I was at Inter I saw Rooney and I didn’t think he was a really, really good player. But now I see Manchester United matches properly, I think he is one of the best."

May 9, 2011: After learning an autograph seeker is being bullied, Mario drives the young lad to his school and demands a meeting with the headteacher. After discovering the bullies identity, Balotelli makes the two shake hands.

May 14, 2011: Following City's FA Cup final victory, the ever-so-tactful striker curses on live TV:

May 23, 2011: Mario baffles club officials by requesting that pet dog Lucky, a black Labrador, join him atop Manchester City's celebratory bus during the FA Cup trophy parade.

May 23, 2011: Balotelli wins City's Young Player of the Year award, but fails to show up to the ceremony, forcing Micah Richards to awkwardly accept the award on his behalf.

May 24, 2011: Balotelli and Lucky skip Man City's FA Cup trophy parade.

Season Long: Over the year, Balotelli collected fines over £300,000 and had training ground bust ups with Carlos Tevez, Jerome Boateng, and Vincent Kompany.

This explains what Roberto Mancini has dealt with this season
I'm not even making this up! Mario Balotelli is hilarious. Is anyone else waiting to see this reality TV show? All in all, I would say the young Italian is just that: young. But lets hope he continues his ridiculous antics in the future.

Mario, I'm a fan.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Serie A Season in Review

Hello my friends,

I recently got the opportunity to collaborate with an awesome football site and recap this year's Serie A season. Please check out my season review on the suavely designed site, The Elastico! Many thanks go out to editor(s) for allowing me this great opportunity.

Also follow my friends at The Elastico on Twitter!

Best wishes,
Sensible Soccer

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Sensible Soccer Weekly Posts: Player Reviews

Now that the European season has come to a close, I will be putting out a weekly topical post reviewing the year of a player of my choosing. I will try draw from each top league around Europe, perhaps even a few players from a lone league. Some initial ideas:

The Numerous Exploits of Mario Balotelli

Francesco Totti: The King of Rome is Not Dead

Raul: Same Sh*t, Different League

Inside the Mind of What Looks Like a Child: Andrey Arshavin

Anyone have player suggestions from any other top leagues around Europe? You name it and (if it's interesting) I'll post it. Stay tuned for more from Sensible Soccer

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last Day Blues - Your Guide To Surviving the Next Three Months

As the champions celebrate their triumph after nine months of football, we the fans weep inside and wonder what in the world we're going to do for the next three months on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sensible Soccer would like to offer you some options:

1) Monitor Transfers: As we reach the end of the season, a new one begins - one in which money is king. For the next three months, flamboyant rumors detailing big money moves of your favorite superstars will grip football media sources as the summer transfer window comes into full swing. Keep your eyes peeled on your favorite team's movements and fingers crossed for that new hero that could be signed. And if you are a Roma fan like I am, celebrate like a mad man because we now have money and possibly Carlo Ancelotti.

For the most comprehensive and honest look at the transfer window, follow the Daily Mirror's Football Spy either on footytube or YouTube.

2) Play Soccer: Why not lace up the boots, grab a few friends, and head to the park? Be healthy and exercise - it's good for you. And if you are rubbish at football, join a coed league where everyone sucks!

3) Watch International Matches: Summer is more often than not the time where country comes before club, for once. Check out a stellar set of competitions such as the Copa AmericaCONCACAF Gold Cup, or the often touted friendly (USA vs. Spain).

4) Watch Pre-season Friendlies: You know how I know soccer in America is starting to grow and get the attention of the world soccer community? When over a dozen teams from all around the globe will be playing pre-season friendlies in America this summer. So check out your local listings and tune in to the many pre-season friendlies happening here in the USA and across the world.

5) Watch the MLS: Why not support soccer in America? Watch your local teams, Americans, because the league is getting better, I promise! This comes from person who watches top-notch European football week in, week out, and claims to be "Sensible." Thus, I feel I can honestly attest to the acute increase in a) talent b) competition and c) excitement in the MLS. The progress of the league has been exceptional, even as of the last year, and the many rumors of top European talent coming to the MLS is exciting. I can literally sense John Harkes becoming too excited about US soccer as we blog.

6) Start a Blog: Why not start a blog about your favorite club, country, or league? Writing is intellectually stimulating and often liberating. Let it all hang out and tell the public how you feel! If that doesn't entice you to write, start a blog so you can promote my blog, like this guy at Forza Roma.

Oh and let us not forget the absolute feast of football we have to look forward to next Saturday at 2:45pm: the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona. Excitingly and sadly - this is football's final act of the season.

Who I want: Go United...because aren't you sick of Barcelona by now?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Landon Donovan: 100 Reasons Why You Should Join Roma

Dear Landon,

I recently read a report on suggesting Roma's interest in you. Congratulations! As a huge Roma and USMNT fan, and incidentally a blogger, I could not sit idly by as my favorite club and player were mentioned in the same breath.

So, as a guide, I would like to give you 100 reasons why you should join Roma (give or take a few). These reasons come from three years of living in the Eternal City as a young American abroad and numerous years following the club:

The Club 

Francesco Totti - Il Capitano, Er Purpone, The King of Rome...the list of nicknames goes on. This living legend could be your teammate! I know you've got Becks at the moment, but you've had him as a mate for awhile now. Totti is unheralded: a club man for his whole career, a World Cup winner, and one of the most revered/hated figures in Italy. Most importantly he will do anything for the team he loves and the place he calls home.
New Owners - Roma have new American owners. That's right: American! For the first time in Italian league history a foreign owner owns a club in the Serie A! This is an exciting achievement for the league! The owners are part of the consortium that own the Red Sox. Since they are linked to the MLB, I'd imagine they are familiar with throwing money EVERYWHERE to acquire awesome players like yourself. This could be beneficial...

Squad Upgrade: The team was a stunning save away from winning the Serie A last year with a squad similar to what they have this year. Unfortunately, they did not play up to snuff this season. Next year, we will see numerous upgrades to the squad in hopes of building a championship winning team. Roma is ready to be pushed over the hill and win. I'm not talking Manchester City money, but money that could tip the scales and turn Roma into a powerhouse. And since it's not like City money, you wouldn't be riding the bench.

Daniele De Rossi - I know he elbowed Mcbride in the 2006 WC, but let bygones be bygones. De Rossi is an honest player who is fiery with passion. He is a hard worker, a tremendous leader, and rare midfield talent. I see him as a Michael Bradley 2.0 and similar to Bradley, you would have the honor of linking up with him often during the run of play.

Stadio Olimpico - The Stadio Olimpico is great! Home to Roma and Lazio, it holds around 60,000. It's fairly easy to get to (right near the only river that runs through Rome) and is always well maintained.

Curva Sud - This is the end where the diehard fans sit. Sud is full of song and jeer all match long. Quite honestly, it is frightening to sit there, but it is one of the best fan ends in the world.

Hating Lazio - This should prove easy. Hating Liverpool was one thing. Chivas, another. But Lazio?? Good lord. Just watching a match featuring the baby blue side is enough to boil the nerves. They are horrible and you will see why - which brings me to my next point...

Derby della Capitale - This is one of the most heated rivalries in the world. Roma versus Lazio is INSANE. Fans have died at these games (which is a shame). The passion on the field is electrifying and the atmosphere in the stands is enough to make your hair stand up. This derby is the real deal.
Derby day
American - Along with my earlier point, you would in fact be the first American to sign for Roma. That's pretty damn cool. Plus your new club owners would feel a kinship towards you (not like that matters, but still).

John Arne Riise - Though he comes from your rival Liverpool, John Arne Riise speaks good English and is the whitest man you'll ever see. This will constantly make you feel good about your tan and you can tell him about it in English.

New Coach - Presumably. Since about six big transfers are slated for the summer, a new coach with more experience is in order. Who might it be you ask? It could be the Champions League/Premier League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti, amongst other candidates. You could be coached by a living legend, Donovan. And become a legend.

Europe League - Roma will be in Europe next season. Hey, it's not the Champions League, but who are you to complain, you've never played in Europe before anyway? That said, one of the team's highest priorities will be to win this competition and it could be a good journey.

A Wing Player - Roma need a man who can patrol the wings like you can! The role you played at Everton is exactly what is needed in the Capital.

Consistency - Roma need a consistent player. I would rate you as one of the more consistent players out there.

Trigoria - Roma's famed training ground. Though it's not Milanello (ask Gooch about that), Trigoria is still as beautiful as any country club I've ever seen. They even have pool parties.

Vucinic's unorthodox celebration
Mirko Vucinic - The very talented Montenegrin is surely someone who will provide the movement and up-tempo play you enjoy. Plus that guy is hilarious (see picture, inset)!

Wild Man Nicolas Burdisso - Nicolas Burdisso is a wild man! He is also a rock at the back who can be relied upon heavily. You might remember him when squaring off against Argentina not long ago.

Romanisti - There is rarely a better fan base than the Romanisti. They are severely passionate and are ready to jump for joy or revolt. I coin their attitude like that of a New York fans attitude: they love you if you do good, hate you if you do bad. It's like any big city.

Giallorossi - The team colors: red and yellow. You'd look good in them, I am sure. In addition, the "Giallorossi" is also the nickname for the team. Every squad in Italy does that. Kit colors = nickname.

Serie A - Your skills would tear the Serie A in two! Your pace on the ball will put you in some good positions in this slower moving, tactical league.

The City

History - Rome is unlike any city in the world. As you walk around the streets you see layer upon layer upon layer of history. Many time periods are represented in the vast array of ruins strewn about the city. Even if you stayed for 5 years, you probably will not have seen it all.

Prati - This district of Rome is a quiet upper-class living quarter in the city that is fairly close to Stadio Olimpico.

Monteverde - LA has Hollywood, Rome has Monteverde. It is the "Green Mountain" that overlooks beautiful Roma. This section is (or was in my time) home to players like Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta (you know...the World Cup winners?).

Sunshine - Happy days and rainbows...I would say out of the three years I spent in Rome, 90% of the days were sunny and beautiful. It's pretty much LA climate out there. 

Not Rain - I am sure your time with Everton was full of rainy days, muddy boots, and depressing off days. Not in Rome. Off days are like summer vacation!

The Beach - I know from all your years in California, you must enjoy a fine trip to the beach - unless you are weird or something. The good news is, if you come to Roma, you can enjoy a quick and convenient ride to the beach. You will also acquire a rocking tan since the sun seems to be way hotter in this part of the world (I know this because every time I went to the beach I got incredibly burnt even though I have darker skin). The Mediterranean Sea is calling you, Landon.

Driving - Do you like to drive fast? Recklessly? Well, Rome is the right city for you, #10. You can drive fast AND recklessly without getting in an accident! These crazy Italians are so akin to driving all over the place you don't even have to worry about bending fenders. Lines?? What lines?!
Why not get a moto? I heard Montella has one...
Good Place To Visit - Family and friends will love visiting and staying with you in Rome. There are so many things to do and see. They'd have to be the most boring people on the face of the planet to not have a good time in this city.

Cobblestone Streets - I don't know about you, but when I walk on cobblestone, I immediately think I am in a cooler place than I normally am. Since Roma is probably 30% cobblestone, you have a high chance of being somewhere awesome in the city. Oh did I mention these stones were laid in the 16th and 17th century?

Piazzas - Or "squares" in English, are really nice. They are essentially spots to hang out and relax in the city. Often times restaurants and bars line piazzas, as well as beautiful cathedrals. Favorites: Santa Maria in Trastevere, San Cosimato, Risorgimento, Venezia, San Pietro, Navona, and Trilussa, to name a few.

The People

Italians - Are incredible. They are personal, emotional, and loyal. Sounds like the opposite of many people in LA (and NYC for that matter). You will make friends for life with everyone on your block the second you arrive. You will kiss men on the cheeks. Yes, I know that's weird at first - after all, we're American and weren't raised that way - but it's a beautiful thing knowing someone likes you that much as a friend. What I'm saying is it's a really accepting environment.

Passion For Soccer - The passion surrounding Italian soccer is insane. It is almost frightening at times, but overall, it can be very profound and heartfelt. I have seen tears of joy and happiness in the stands and at bars. I guess it's a good way to take these people away from stark realities.

Passion For Life - Along with soccer, Italians have a great passion for living life. Culture is highly valued in this society and generally people work to live, not live to work. The atmosphere in the city is in turn looser and more down to earth, in my opinion.

Women - Italian women are delightful and friendly to Americans... End of story.

Ex Pats - I went to college in Rome for three years and found many English speaking ex pats in the city. There are plenty of people to relate to if you do not speak Italian.

The Pope - I'm not very religious but I'll have to admit it was interesting to see the Pope's influence on the people and city. Also, seeing him emerge at his window one Sunday's was fairly awe inspiring.

Italian Pronunciations - Your first and last name both end in "N," meaning you have stumped 75% of Italian people as to how to pronounce your name. It will be hilarious. Announcers will stumble and just call you the American. I imagine it will sound something like "Laandone Donovone." But after all the laughter, they will be wowed by your work ethic and contribution to the side.


Pizza - The pizza in Rome is tremendous. Some people will say the Napolitani make it better, but those people are wrong. Try a potato slice with cheese and tell me you don't love Rome...

Suppli - Better known as rice balls in the USA, Suppli are an incredible delicious snack that you won't be able to resist after your first bite. Check out I Suppli in Trastevere by Piazza San Cosimato for the best results. My mouth is watering as we blog.

Pasta - Do I need to explain? Two words, LD: Amatriciana and Carbonara. Eat them. Experience them. Live them.

Gelato - Ice cream?? F*ck ice cream! Gelato is the real deal. Once you taste gelato, ice cream won't be the same for you ever again.

Nutella - Have you ever had Nutella, Landon? The delicious chocolate/hazelnut spread is incredible and can be found in stores, in abundance, anywhere in the country. Boom.
Humanitarian Organizations - Rome is rife with organizations which aim to better society. A nice addition to the caring nature of the city. In turn, a lot of English speaking ex pats work there.

Drinkin' in the Streets - Strictly an off-season activity. It's pretty cool to have the freedom to walk down the street with a cold one in your hand and not risk an arbitrary slap on the wrist. You're not doing anything wrong!

The Vatican - The Vatican can be liked for either of two reasons, or both reasons themselves: 1) It is the center of the Catholic world (if you are religious) 2) It is literally a different country (if you are not religious and want to grasp something cool about it).

Paninis - Are sandwiches, basically - but better, since they are in Rome.

Prosciutto - Finely cured ham that goes in paninis deliciously.

Pancetta - Italian bacon, which many consider better than our bacon. Seriously, try it out.

Coffee - You might not be used to this brand of coffee Donovan, but it is a pleasure to enjoy. Sip either a caffe (pretty much a shot of coffee), an espresso, or my favorite, a cappuccino to start your day off right. You'll certainly be moving after one of these, because those Italians make coffee right. Also, cappuccino comes in cool designs.

Fruit - The fruit in California must be good, but I would venture to say the fruit in Rome is better. There is something about the soil and Mediterranean atmosphere that makes every piece of delicious fresh fruit taste wonderful. Also, you may purchase fruit in essentially any piazza around the city. Campo di Fiori is the best though.

I know there are more awesome reasons why you should come to Roma, Signore Donovan, but I'm tired and can not think anymore. Plus I'm not entirely convinced you'll read this. But if you do, and have more questions, feel free to contact me (offering me free tickets or signed gear is not mandatory).

Some final thoughts on a potential move to Roma...There is really no better atmosphere to live and play. The city is cultural and full of vibrant, down to earth life, and the club is storied and very much on the cusp of growing to new heights. It's a no brainer if the price is right!