Posts Tagged Cristiano Ronaldo
Good day from a part of the world where the president is supposedly about to add another jet to the presidential fleet, if he hasn’t. 11 birds for one citizen, albeit the ‘number one’ citizen (how did that happen, Lord?), yet the nation he presides over doesn’t have a national carrier.
Amidst adding to the presidential fleet, the husband of Mama Peace – Lucky Joe – ”quietly” (as the Telegraph rightly put it, seeing as the lawmakers had passed the bill December 17, 2013 and Lucky Joe had signed it as law January 7, 2014) made the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. I mean, is there a better way to start your Tuesday morning?
Before delving into the matter of somewhat flexuous sexuality, have you ever found yourself in public transportation sitting right beside a ninj… a muslim woman dressed to cover all parts of her body?
Always a fascinating experience for a male, at least it is for me. I’m sitting comfortably while she is fidgeting for reasons best known to Allah. I would sniff my armpits to check if I’m being an inconvenience but my cleanliness is like my appetite… satisfied at least twice a day.
The last time I sat beside a nin… woman dressed in niqab, she fidgeted for 10 minutes while I thought up this post. And when I’m thinking, as I’m sure you do, I tend to have a smile/smirk… as I’m sure you, uhm… do.
You should see me while I’m thinking up a blog post in the bedroom… or not, your preference. Bringing us back to Lucky Joe and the bill he just passed since it’s the least one could do on a Tuesday morning.
In a country where ”there’s no network” forever at Union Bank, where the Stella Oduah trust fund worth ₦225m as at 2013 has been dwarfed by the joint trust fund of NNPC and CBN worth varying yet equally staggering sums between $12b and $48b…
… in a country where the amounts budgeted to fuel power generators at government offices is ‘necessary’, in a country where the CBN Governor is asked to resign by the President for the leak of letter when Stella Oduah is still on the matter… what I’m concerned about at the moment is this…
A basic Nike football advert. Sorry, we’ll get to the gay rights bill in a bit. For now, the Nike advert has five players in Brazil national team colours making up a wall for what looks like an icon of Cristiano Ronaldo about to take one of those freekicks.
Each time I see that picture, ‘every each time’, all I think about is how Luis Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers panned out; very much like this picture. In case you didn’t see him, Nani’s the one in the back… ”to the left to the left. Looking-for CR-lite? Look to the left!”
Why would a creative be so wickedly creative and do that? My God! If I was at the brainstroming session that led to this creative (master)piece I’d have the Portuguese touchline as the background with Ricardo (fake charisma) Quaresma about to come on for none other than Nani (noni).
Writing of, Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d’Or, congratulations. Lionel Messi, knowing full well he wasn’t getting the Ballon d’Or decided (actually, I assume) to wear that to the ceremony. (No, don’t bring Ballon d’Suit-esque jokes here. The award itself isn’t a bad enough joke already?)
Then… Franck Ribery. After being frontrunner for the prize before FIFA thought it wise to extend voting, Ribery didn’t even finish as runner-up but in third place. At least he’s got the cups in the Bayern Munich trophy cabinet to cry into, consolation.
I feel for Ribery, really. All he didn’t do better than Ronaldo or Messi in 2013 was be the only player in his team that was in extraordinary form. Sentiments aside, all he didn’t do better than the other two was score endless goals.
One now must really cherish the moment Fabio Cannavaro was crowned world player of the year in 2006. Dare a defender (or anyone who doesn’t play upfront) to win the award now… dare you!
… but que sera sera. The Ballon d’Or mockery, which became crystal apparent based on some of the players listed in the team of the year, has happened. ”Deal with it!” is what I’ve told myself.
Which is what I’ll say to debaters arguing in favour of the ‘anti-gay’ law. You guys do realise showing public support of homosexuality could see you spend a decade in jail right? Jail where the myth of the dropped bar of soap came from?
Deal with it, please!
Or, what would you do when you find out the manager of your favourite (title winning on a regular) football club is gay? Call for his sack? And risk becoming what Manqueester United is becoming?
Look, my opinion on homosexuality is…
… anyway, whether you like it or not, the law basically says being homosexual is wrong. Be a ”law abiding citizen” (like Gerard Butler’s character was) and deal with it (… not like Gerard Butler’s character did though).
Besides, as Chief Edochie once asked, “would you have your plantain bare and feed it to the wrong person through their anal hole rather than to the right person through the proper hole?” and indeed, what pleasure do some people derive from anal sex?
Hmm… it is time to rest, Punkenstein.
Easter greetings to you as the long weekend snails to an end, with the unpleasantly pleasant day of April Fools’ being its last day. Will there be pranks in the following paragraphs? Having supported Arsenal for the better part of the last 15 years going on 16 and lived through Wenger’s press conferences all that time… “I don’t want to comment on speculation.”
The Arsenal manager had little need for evasive answers however, following the club’s 4-1 win over relegation threatened Reading on Saturday in Nigel Adkins first match as Reading manager, having lost 6-1 to Arsenal earlier this season while at Southampton.
The result took the Gunners within two points of fourth place on the Premier League table; a spot currently occupied by Chelsea that was beaten 2-1 at Southampton. Chelsea’s loss favoured all concerned at north London; a bit to every gooners’ dismay though, as Tottenham Hotspur went up to third place, two points ahead of Chelsea, with a 2-1 win at a Swansea City side that look like it can’t be bothered to having a go in matches ever since claiming the League Cup title.
Knew such could happen after Swans manager Michael Laudrup felt after that League Cup win that getting 10 points from their last 10 matches/30 points would be alright. Swansea’s seeming nonchalance has now ‘helped’ both north London clubs in the club’s last two league matches; very much to every Chelsea fan’s disappointment I imagine.
With the yet-to-be-relieved interim manager Rafael Benitez tinkering his team; most notably leaving out Juan Mata (who officially was ill), one may want to blame the loss at the coast on the Blues having an eye on tonight’s FA Cup quarterfinal replay at home to Manchester United.
However, the Red Devils, also with an eye on tonight’s tie, had manager Sir Alex Ferguson shuffling the team just a bit in the early kick-off at Sunderland and still coming away with a lone goal win that, for a few hours opened an 18 point gap at the top. Manchester City later restored that gap to 15 points with a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle United.
For Sunderland, the loss led to the sacking of Martin O’Neill who in no time was replaced Sunday night with the appointment of charismatic, former West Ham United player and more recently former Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio, handed the task of keeping Sunderland in the top flight with eight matches to play.
The Italian manager, who only has Swindon on his managerial CV though did lead them to League One by winning League Two last season, quit the lower league club earlier last month in quite dramatic circumstances and one would expect some more of that to come up now at Sunderland… drama trailed Di Canio in his playing days and spectacularly so (apparently) in his first managerial job.
While awaiting that, Sharks of Port-Harcourt caused a bit of a stir when it unveiled now former manager of Sunshine Stars, Gbenga Ogunbote, as its Technical Adviser during the halftime break of its goalless draw with city rivals Dolphins in a Nigeria Professional Football League match.
First, the unveiling couldn’t have been done before or after the match? Compared however to the fact that Ogunbote will only sign an agreement on Tuesday (rather than a proper contract, long story), the unusual halftime unveiling takes a slightly more trivial position in the whole charade reminiscent of former TA Austin Eguavoen’s arrival at the club.
One also must question the motivation behind Ogunbote leaving a Sunshine team he led to the last four of last season’s CAF Champions League (albeit with fortune’s favour), a team that hasn’t lost its opening four league matches and lies in fifth place with a game in hand, for a club that currently is second from bottom following a woeful start to the campaign.
At the other, brighter, top end of the table, champions Kano Pillars remain in top spot after a 3-2 win at ABS in Ilorin; its second away win this season. Pillars now have 12 points from five matches, a point ahead of Rangers that needed two goals in the closing 10 minutes to get a 3-1 win at home to Kwara United.
Elsewhere, Shooting Stars raced to a three goal lead but in the end held on for a 3-2 win over Wikki Tourists and rise to third place on nine points, with Akwa United now fourth also on nine points courtesy of a 3-0 win over Bayelsa United.
Other results saw Warri Wolves claim a point in a goalless draw at Enyimba despite playing a better part of the last half hour there with 10 men, Heartland thrashed Gombe United 4-0 to rise into the top half of the league, as did Nembe City now in 10th place after a 2-1 win over bottom side El-Kanemi Warriors while the match between Sunshine Stars and Lobi Stars was postponed due to the latter’s continental engagement this week.
Going further north on the continent, the young Pharaohs of Egypt won the Africa Youth Championship in Algeria 5-4 on penalties, as the final match against Ghana on Saturday ended 1-1 after regular and extra time. Nigeria last Friday had finished third with a 2-1 win over Mali in the third place play-off.
Expectedly, the AYC’s Best 11 is dominated by Egypt that had five of their players named, including Saleh Gomaa who was also named Player of the Tournament. Abduljaleel Ajagun was the only Nigerian player on the list, strangely, as golden boot winner Aminu Umar; who finished with seven goals, was left out.
The Flying Eagles meanwhile will face Portugal, South Korea and Cuba in Group B of the World Youth Championship. Egypt find themselves in Group E with England, Chile and Iraq while Mali will face Mexico, Greece and Paraguay in Group D. Ghana on their part will come up against France, Spain and the United States in what potentially is the group of death at the WYC holding later this year in Turkey from June.
Well before then, Turkish giants Galatasaray visit Spanish giants Real Madrid in a first leg quarterfinal UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday night, with Madrid heading into that encounter on a bit of a low after only managing a 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza in a Primera Liga match.
That result meant Jose Mourinho’s side remain 13 points off the pace in La Liga having failed to take advantage of Barcelona being held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, a match that saw Lionel Messi score his 43rd league goal and create a record of scoring in 19 consecutive league matches, as well as joining Cristiano Ronaldo as a player to have scored against every other team in that league. Those two are a pleasant scare with their footballing prowess.
Elsewhere in the major European leagues, Bayern Munich is now a match from claiming the Bundesliga title after spelling out the opponent’s name, with two to spare, in a scary and scarring 9-2 rout of S.V. Hamburg (okay, the nine letters are now accounted for).
Scarier was the fact that it was third choice striker Claudio Pizarro that led the massacre with four goals. And the message will surely have been crystal to Italian champions Juventus that visit the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night in another Champions League quarterfinal encounter.
Juve prepared for that with a 2-1 Derby d’Italia win at Inter Milan to remain nine points clear of second placed Napoli that won 5-3 in a thrilling match at Torino, and a further two points ahead of AC Milan that claimed a lone goal win at Chievo Verona.
As if that wasn’t an exciting enough match-up to look forward to, Ligue Un leaders Paris Saint Germain; with an extra day’s rest and home advantage, welcome Barcelona to the Parc Des Princes in Tuesday night’s other quarterfinal match-up.
Finally in Tennis, Andy Murray continued his ascendency by replacing Roger Federer as the world number two player after capturing the Sony Open title with a 2-6 6-4 7-6 win over David Ferrer. Ferrer himself rose to fourth on the rankings to replace Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal who now occupies fifth place.
The new rankings suggest the coming French and Wimbledon Open will be one of the most competitive grand slams held in recent times, barring injuries, with the top five players heading to them in good form along with the likes of Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych. In the female section, Serena Williams claimed a sixth Miami title win courtesy of a straight sets defeat of Maria Sharapova.
With that, it’s a wrap here. There’s the FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge tonight as well as a chance for QPR to come within five points of safety in the Premier League match at Fulham to look forward to.
Then Champions League quarterfinal matches on Tuesday and Wednesday followed quarterfinal matches in the Europa League on Thursday mean it’s an eventful start to the month of April and indeed the second quarter of 2013.
Have a great week ahead and hey, don’t get fooled out there.
You know a team is very good when its lost matches make the headlines and Barcelona, following an unbeaten streak in the Spanish Primera Division from April 2012… 10 months, finally succumbed to defeat.
The manner of the Catalan cruise control footballers’ loss however was the surprising bit, letting go of a two-goal lead earned through goals from Zeus incarnate and Pedro in the opening 25 minutes and losing 3-2 at Real Sociedad.
Indeed Sociedad’s remarkable comeback, completed with an injury time winner, was much aided by Gerard Pique’s sending off just before the hour mark and Javier Mascherano’s ‘zzzz’ moment soon after but even a man down, Barça usually wouldn’t crumble as it did on Saturday night.
But like I said, the very good teams have their losses making headlines hence, with Barcelona now without a win in two successive matches – having been held by 10-man Malaga to a 2-2 draw in the quarterfinal first leg of the Copa Del Rey – it is only natural that ‘something is wrong’.
At least Atletico Madrid would hope so, taking advantage of Sociedad’s unlikely win with a 2-0 win at home to Levante. Unfortunately, leading scorer Radamel Falcao limped off ‘hamstrung’ to leave the task of cutting Barça’s eight-point lead at the top to Adrian and co.
As for Barça, I honestly hope Malaga actually get the required result in the return leg, just so sanity can be within the reach of Real Madrid that, in the event of Malaga not getting the required result, would have to play three El-Clasicos along with the two legs against Manchester United in the Champions League at a stretch.
Besides, it is too early in the year for more recycled reasons, arguments and analysis of who’s ultra-better between Zeus incarnate and Cristiano Ronaldo… Achilles if you may… right? WRONG! Who am I kidding? I hope Malaga get thrashed out of the Copa so Barça sets up that fortnight of godly football to look forward to, something Madrid would likely prefer to avoid!
AFCON 2013 Begins
Before then we may have endured an insufferable African Cup of Nations. Hopefully we wouldn’t but following the opening matches on Saturday, it did seem like it would be an absolutely dull Nations Cup as both Group A matches between hosts South Africa & debutantes Cape Verde and Morocco against Angola later on ended in goalless draws.
It flooded us with dark memories of Mali 2002 where goalless draws were the full time scores in about 33% of group stage matches, with a further 30% ending in dire lone goal wins; that’s seven goals scored in 15 out of 24 group stage matches! Never again oh Jesus, please!
And matchday Two on Sunday livened matters a bit, with DR Congo coming from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Ghana in Group B’s curtain raiser, while Mali left it rather late before edging Niger Republic by… a lone goal. Typical ’02 behaviour.
Underdogs Nigeria meanwhile get their campaign underway with a clash with Burkina Faso in a Group C match, preceded by Ethiopia squaring up to defending champions Zambia. Hopefully, the goals will come in these matches to further light up this Nations Cup.
Otherwise it would be just as the Premier Soccer League of the host nation is, good looking playing surfaces at the stadia along with cool ads for the competition, which itself is far below the standard it is packaged as.
Sharapova, Djoker Stay Unstoppable in Australia
On another continent down under, in another sport, the billings are being lived up to with some stunning displays coming from the players vying for the first grand slam of the year at the Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova at this moment looks the sure bet to get the slam in the female section, easing into the quarterfinals with a 6-1 6-0 stroll past Kirsten Flipkens.
That result meant the pretty Russian has won all four of her matches so far in straight sets, winning five of eight sets contested to love and losing just five games in those eight sets played so far.
Such beastly form from a beauty who will next face compatriot Ekaterina Makarova, after the 19th seed defeated fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4 in her last 16 encounter.
Over in the men’s draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic needed five hours to overcome talented Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets, winning the deciding fifth set 12-10 and setting up a last eight match with Tomas Berdych.
The epic win was the Djoker’s 18th consecutive win at the Australian Open and keeps him on course to become the first player in the Open era to win three successive Australian Open titles. Just three more matches DjokerNole!
Before then, two French men went at each other for almost five hours before Gilles Simon overcame Gael Monfils and set up what likely will be the end of his time down under in the hands of world number three Andy Murray.
Roger Federer continues to be a maestro on the court but world number four Rafael Nadal watches on, probably with a tight fist as he edges closer to his return from injury.
Bavarians March On, Red Devils Freeze Up
The Bundesliga resumed from its winter break with Bayern Munich maintaining its charge towards an umpteenth league title in a routine 2-0 win over bottom side Greuther Fürth while Bayer Leverkusen kept pace, albeit nine points adrift, with a 3-1 win over fourth placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
Champions Borussia Dortmund remain in third place, a dozen points off the top, but back in good form after demolishing Werder Bremen with five unreplied goals away from home.
In Spain, Real Madrid posted the same result from their trip to Valencia with Achilles and Mary’s Angel getting a brace each after Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring… and all five goals came in the first half.
With Barcelona losing, that display left the Merengues 15 points behind their bitter rivals still while still trailing their neighbours Atletico by seven points. Jose Mourinho’s getting the boot at this rate.
In Italy, Juventus got a 4-0 win with Paul Pogba scoring a spectacular brace to help Lega Calcio’s Old Lady open a five point gap on Napoli that drew 1-1 at Fiorentina and Lazio that could only manage a 2-2 draw at lowly Palermo.
Thankfully for those two (Napoli and Lazio), Inter Milan played a 1-1 draw at Roma in Sunday’s late kick-off, leaving Nerazzurri on 39 points, four points behind the sky blue duo and thus, allowing city rivals AC Milan come within five points of them after a 2-1 win at home to Bologna.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 19th league goal helped PSG return to the top of France’s Ligue Un with a lone goal win at Bordeaux, with Lyon dropping to second on goal difference after a goalless draw with Evian while Marseille is now a point behind in third place.
Finally from the Premier League, Robin van Persie’s 18th league goal proved not enough as fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur stole a point with a stoppage time equaliser at home to the Red Devils on Sunday.
That saw United’s lead at the top cut to five points as a David Silva brace had given champions Manchester City a 2-0 win at home to Fulham on Saturday.
Chelsea came out 2-1 victors over misfiring and misguided neighbours Arsenal, Loic Remy scored on his debut but had to settle for a point in QPR’s 1-1 draw at West Ham United and Osaze Odemwingie rescued a point for West Brom in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Midlands rival Aston Villa, before becoming a father on Sunday.
On that cheery note, it’s a wrap. Nigeria plays Burkina Faso later today, the first time I’ll see the Super Eagles play in months while the Australian Open enters its home run this week.
Hopefully, the DjokerNole gets the male title while Radwanska is also looking in championship form in the female section, which looks set for a competitive semi-final as defending champion Victoria Azarenka is also through to the last eight.
Have a productive week ahead. Till Saturday.
For a fourth year running, the human incarnate of Zeus’ godfather Lionel El-Messius was honoured as the winner of the Ballon d’Or award for Player of the Year, much to everybody’s surprise *yawn* and not too few pundits’ dis(pleasure)/(gust).
Till he wins a World Cup or a Copa America at least, the latter set of football lovers/followers will not right away agree with those already resigned to referring to Messi as the GOAT over all others.
And indeed, 91 goals scored in a calendar year is no mean feat. Then again, all those goals managed to earn just a Copa Del Rey triumph while CR7, with his three scores and some of goals, won a league title; which is more prestigeous.
In the end however, both phenomenal, uber ultra-footballers each won a trophy with their respective clubs and if Ronaldo wanted a clear shot at the award, he should have done just a bit more than lead Portugal to a last four finish at the Euros.
Therefore, and bringing the matter to a closure (which will last till the next El-Clasico is played), congratulations to Messi for an unprecedented fourth Ballon d’Or triumph. Hope dinner later in the week with the Dolce & Gabbana designers went tastefully?
As for Ronaldo, being Messi’s escort at the awards has to be killing his nerves and white blood cells. Then Pep Guardiola had to rub it in and push the ignore button when CR7 came round to him? What’s “Aye ma ni’ka o…” in Spanish or Portuguese please?
Not to be outshone by one person however, football’s world governing body, in all its exalted, overpampered bereaucratic and extravagantly nonplussed false sense of esteemed justification, named a World XI comprising players from two cities in one country.
So much for a ***WORLD*** team that it was devoid of talents such as Neymar who unfortunately lost with Brazil at the Olympic Games football final, Robin van Persie who scored many crucial and well executed goals for Arsenal and Manchester United and Andrea Pirlo who orchestrated an unbeaten title winning season for Juventus with sumptuous through passes and celestially graceful poise (yes, the tautology’s worth it).
Since we’re talking of a World XI, Chris Katongo could well have made that list having led Zambia to a historic, dramatic, memorable and highly emotional first African Cup of Nations triumph.
Yaya Toure could as well have made that list, leading Manchester City – along with Hart and the rest of the Kompany – to the English Premier League title and going so close with Cote D’Ivoire at the AFCON.
Manuel Neuer certainly deserved a spot too and Didier Drogba wouldn’t have been out of place though a host of strikers did much better than he did; he just happened to score crucial title winning goals.
In the end, squashing whatever faint hopes the likes of Edinson Cavani, Fernando Llorente, Mario Götze, Mario Gomez and Gianluigi Buffon among others may have had, five players each from Real Madrid and Barcelona were named in the World XI, with Radamel Falcao being (sort of) the exception… since he plays at Atletico Madrid. Ridiculous!
I’d put Falcao with van Persie upfront, dump CR7 and Messi in midfield either side of Pirlo and Yaya Toure with Kompany showing up at the back.
Would be quite a gesture to have Sergio Ramos earn a career ending red card by tackling FIFA, in its nonplussed entirety, the *censored* *censored* out of the beautiful game. Gosh!
Math Gone Wrong
Beauty at times can be a complication and football is a beautiful game, so beautiful that it makes values become distorted so that £2m becomes so much more valuable and benefitting than £50m ever could.
So was the tale of two Spaniards when Chelsea hosted Swansea in the first leg of a Capital One Cup semi-final match, with Miguel *can’t remember the rest of his native name but thankfully we all can simply call him… * Michu did damage as the Swans ran out 2-0 victors.
Fernando Torres on the contrary was, to be kind, lethargic and one knew from the 10 minutes Demba Ba got when he replaced El-Zero was the result would have been much more competitive.
And for Chelsea, Torres remains a loss they’ll have to live with as no club, logical and even most of the financially illogical ones, will bid even £13m (I reckon) for him and pay him an outrageous weekly wage. Not even on Football Manager.
At this rate, Michu would replace Torres in the Spanish national team and it has been widely reported the Armadas coach and winner of the Ballon d’Or coach of the year Vicente del Bosque will be at Goodison Park to watch the Spanish Swan come up against the Toffees.
So… that’s how Michu will get a cap with Spain ahead of Mikel Arteta… this is too emotional for me, let’s move on.
Seems Arsenal got round to settling the contract issue with Theo Speedo, as well as Bacary Sagna so it’s looking like the Gunners won’t have to part with yet another key member of their team after the likes of Cesc Fabregas, van Persie, Samir Nasri and more.
Elsewhere in France’s Ligue Un, PSG’s Nene reportedly agreed terms with a Qatari club, ensuring one more payday for the 31 year old Brazilian who’s place has been taken by a younger Brazilian in Lucas Moura.
Moura made his debut last night as Ligue Un resumed from its winter break, but things didn’t go as planned with Les Parisiens managing a goalless draw at home to lowly Ajaccio, playing an entire half with 10 men after Thaigo Motta was sent off just before half time.
And another high profile transfer will see Wesley Sneijder earning well after Inter Milan shipped him off to Galatasaray for about £8.5m. Why Turkey for a player of Sneijder’s reportoire? Well it’s said that the income tax on players there is just 15%, compared to about 40% in most of the other top European leagues.
But if you asked Wesley himself why, be sure to get the ‘need to play regularly’ or ‘seeking a new challenge’ speech because ‘it is never about the money.
One player’s transfer that does seem not for the money is Nuri Sahin’s. It however is farcical how he has completed a circle back to Borussia Dortmund, the club he moved from to join Real Madrid which in turn loaned him to Liverpool only six months ago.
Dortmund is still a good team, perhaps even much better than when he left thanks to a host of players such as Götze, Robert Lewandowski, the exciting Marco Reus, Neven Subotic, Lukasz Piszcek (spell check) and Sven Bender.
Sahin, on a six month loan deal, should fit perfectly in to the current BVB set-up and even get right to the starting XI since Ivan Perisic has left the club. Hopefully, he’ll rediscover the form that made him one of Europe’s best passers of the ball.
And with that, it’s a wrap. It’s a week to the start of the African Cup of Nations, which promises to be exciting with the Ivorians ready to have another go at the trophy that keeps eluding them while Zambia won’t get the underdog treatment this time around.
Ghana comes into the tournament all pepped up, as always, while underdogs Nigeria will be out to make the last four a 14th time in their 17th appearance. And each time Nigeria makes the last four, they come away with at least the bronze medal.
Morocco and Algeria are other nations to look forward to though, without doubt, the footballers from the island of Cape Verde will get the most attention as they make their AFCON debut, even set to opening the tournament in a match against host South Africa.
Till then, there’s the rival’s match between Manchester United and Liverpool on Sunday, to be followed by Manchester City’s visit of the Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal.
Hopefully the weekend lives up to its billing. Have a pleasant one.
P.S: Got the Sahin bit in the headline from a tweeter (I think is) known as “TheNarcisist_”.
The FA Cup began proper in England as clubs from the Premier League joined in the third round action, while a couple of the major leagues returned from the mid-season break with Cavani, CR7 and El Messius still banging goals in and Tito Vilanova back in the Catalunya dugout as he recovers from cancer… and Casillas showing just why The One would rather not start him.
The oldest competition in football witnessed its third round over the weekend, traditionally the stage where the elite clubs – the Premier League clubs – begin their quest for the Cup.
But there’s a reason the FA Cup is so revered by all who play and who watch the competition, the giantkilling. And Brighton & Hove-Albion set the third round going with a well earned 2-0 humbling of what has lately been a rather appalling Newcastle United (one club from the elite, down! Next!)
Yes, yes, the pitch there wasn’t Ashburton Grove sleek or Old Trafford inspiring but the early kick-off on Saturday gave little indication that the Toons deserved to get even a replay from the encounter.
On the contrary, the Cup’s most illustrious clubs and landlords of the exemplary pitches in the previous paragraph, managed to trigger yet more twitter banter between both set of their loyalists along with nosy spectator fans of other clubs.
First, on Saturday, Manchester United took a Cleverley lead, then fell behind to DeJoe vu moments as Joe Cole (on his second West Ham debut) fed James Collins twice, only for Robin van Persie to come on, take down a long ball from Ryan Giggs under pressure and strike low (with his right foot) for a 90th minute equaliser.
With that goal, gooners yet again opened the book of Lamentations on the world though it sounded more like the Songs of Solomon to the red devils.
And on Sunday, Arsenal, typically, fell behind to a Miguel Michu strike, before well taken goals by iPod, who came on for the much loved Ramsey, and a well struck left foot venom by Kieran Gibbs off a sumptuous one-two put the Gunners ahead in the closing stages.
But that’s merely dramatic and Arsenal love the drama only when it’s extremely so hence, some very absurd defending allowed the Swans to get a late equaliser and earn a replay next week at the Emirates with Brighton & Hove-Albion awaiting the winner of that.
Elsewhere, Demba Ba settled in quite quickly to being number 29 at Chelsea, getting a brace on his debut as the Blues came from behind (sexual) to trounce Southampton 5-1 at St. Mary’s.
Then Daniel Sturridge, sold to Liverpool for 12 mlllion quid by Chelsea, got a goal as the Reds beat Mansfield 2-1. He lived up to expectation of course, failing to convert when one-on-one with the opposition keeper.
Why Liverpool got Studge for a dozen million quid when it would’ve cost a bit less to get Ba… well, it’s done. Liverpool have done better in these sort of matters ala Henderson and Downing.
The club did spend good money on Luis Suarez, a very talented player that. Problem is, the Uruguayan always has controversy trailing him and this weekend was no exception as he clearly controlled the ball with his hand just before scoring Liverpool’s second.
Lionel Messi scored his 27th league goal of the season.. pause… I’ll take that again. After 18 matches played, Zeus’ godfather incarnate Lionel Messi scored his 27th league goal as Barcelona eased to a 4-0 win over neighbours RCD Espanyol.
More embarrassingly for the neighbours, all four goals were scored in the first half while Pedro was denied a hattrick by an offside flag. Neighbours, the closest Espanyol will get to being at Barcelona’s level.
That said, Barça now holds an 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid after the latter was held to a 1-1 draw at Real Mallorca. Real Madrd meanwhile remains ♫super sweet 16♫ points adrift of their arch-rivals after coming out of an eventful seven-goal encounter victorious.
Iker Casillas again started from the bench and after Karim Benzema had put Real ahead in the second minute with a goal that continues to render Gonzalo Higuain surplus to requirement, Real keeper Adan was sent off for conceding a penalty in the sixth minute.
On came Casillas but Prieto levelled for Sociedad. No problem there, goalkeepers hate facing penalties. But Casillas twice lapsed in concentration and you have to ask, is the man still motivated to be Real and Spain’s number one? Reina, De Gea and Valdes keenly watch on.
Real at the other end spared Casillas blushes and, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo brace, claimed a fortuitous 4-3 win over Sociedad that later had a man sent off themselves.
In the end, what matters is the count in the 2013 golden boot, they-score-when-they-want race. Radamel Falcao isn’t off the mark yet, CR7 has two and Messi has one no thanks to Pedro’s stray foot and the crossbar.
Robin van Persie though has three goals so far and was joined by the very fit Edinson Cavani who got a hattrick as Napoli bullied AS Roma to a 4-1 defeat.
Cavani now has 16 league goals and a total of 99 goals in his Serie A career, helping Napoli rise to third on a weekend that saw Juventus, Fiorentina and Inter Milan fall.
Juventus’ lead had been cut to five points by Lazio in a 2-1 win over Cagliari in Saturday, but the Old Lady certainly was still on her mid-season break as 10-man Sampdoria came from behind – after being reduced to 10 men – to claim a 2-1 win at Turin’s Stadio Olimpico.
Antonio di Natalie meanwhile orchestrated Inter Milan’s 3-0 loss at Udinese while Fiorentina fell 2-0 at home to lowly Pescara but remain ahead of Inter on goal difference, with both still nine points behind leaders Juventus.
It’s a Wrap
Here’s wishing Tito Vilanova a recovery as smooth sailing as his club’s La Liga form. Barcelona, after 18 matches, have won 17 and drawn one and look very well on course to break the records Real set in winning the title last season.
Finally, I don’t think I’ve ever run a series of posts to schedule over a stretch of time on here so “Over the Weekend” and possibly “During the (Mid)Week” will help this cobweb clogged blog clear up.
Have a productive week then.
It’s been a tasking year actually, one which went by with me still not knowing how to drive a vehicle, still unable to be seen as the sane person I really am and yet to make headway on the path to marriage as verily pointed out to me lately by equally unmarried friends.
It almost happened, the third bit. But like I said, almost. All is well, hence I’d randomly take a look at other things that I enjoyed this year. Starting with:
Omo Pastor – Ajebutter 22
Too many witty lines on this one. ♫ And I’m N-T-A mo kan speak out. ♫ ” and ♫ You bring fire to my wood, o fe da’nà. ♫ are just a couple. And the beat!
Power Circle – MMG ft. Gunplay & Kendrick Lamar
The best thing about this song, even though he may have done a tidy verse, is that Rick Ross didn’t do more than he did on the song. I zone when Meek Mill’s verse comes on (dunno why) but overall, this was my morning devotion for the third quarter of the year.
Clique – Kanye West ft. Big Sean & Jay-Z
*bumps head to the beat while going ♫ Clique… Clique… Clique… Clique… Clique. ♫*
Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
Braveheart – Lupe Fiasco
One of my favourite rappers on the beat of one of my favourite producers (the Runners). Odd combination on paper to me, but the track turned out a very good one.
Rich Forever – Rick Ross ft. John Legend
That part when the main beat comes on… better than whatever high alomo can get you to.
Higher – Big Sean ft. Mae, Pusha T & The Dream
The Dream murdered the hook. Pretty much why I put this song here.
Ihe Neme – 2 Face
A simply happy song. And funny part is, I still don’t have the song. Only just hear it often on others’ phones.
Breath of Life – Florence + The Machine
This song, is the highlight of watching Snow White and the toned down Thor. Powerful rendition to end a (stale) story we grew up hearing/reading/watching.
Tonight [Best You Ever Had] – John Legend ft. Ludacris
Song had a brother doing false-ettos in Lagos and Ilorin bath tubs. Not a jergens behaviour. 😦
2 Mussh – Reminisce
Beats so Legendury. Cheeky lyrics from Reminisce, lyrics toh ta ta! The remix too isn’t half bad.
Asylum – Slaughterhouse ft. Eminem
What I liked most about the song, the beat, verses… whole feel of the song went with the title, and it’s groovy (for someone who mostly hears rap music I guess). Basically what they did on the album, a good album.
Club Rock – Durella
♫ sweet sixteen wan-na have a good time… ♫ on a cool, lowkey beat. Tugbaski!
Lines – Big Boi ft. A$AP Rocky & Phantogram
Goodbye – Slaughterhouse
Hard White [remix] – Yelawolf ft. T.I. & Slaughterhouse
Black Boy Fly – Kendrick Lamar
Come to Me – Sarkodie ft. D’banj
Oliver Twist – D’banj
Tony Montana – Naeto C
Leave Level – Owen Gee ft. M.I., eLDee, Waje, Isolate…
Sherane – Kendrick Lamar
And a special mention to Olamide for numerous, humorous songs he churned this year. Certainly my act of the year.
Go and find songs by Ms. Chief too. She try well-well!
Ah, sorry if you were expecting download links o. I mean… “say no to piracy” please.
Top Movies Seen This Year
Doesn’t have to be a movie released this year, in case you missed the “seen” above. And if you follow me on twitter, you would know that…
The Dark Knight
… was seen by me time and again, I didn’t need to have my eyes on the (laptop or phone’s) screen after a certain time of watching the movie. Yet, I’ll always get pumped up when the scene that culminates in Batman upending that long truck begins.
Great script, great delivery. Some say the theme’s too dark… well, what were you expecting? The train station Potter went when he ‘died’? Move.
The Dark Knight Rises
Bane turned out to be a puppet. And “His only crime… was that he loved me”, f*** outta here with that zoning Miss Tate! “Goodbye my friend… ” *smh*. A notch lower than The Dark Knight but goodness, the mere fact Hans Zimmer did the score makes TDKR 2012’s undisputed movie. *mutes every contrary opinion*.
P.S.: Christopher Nolan sha got a relative to play a waka pass role in the film. Well done.
Nothing more to say. Too bad it came out same year the Dark Knight rose. Still no explaining how Thor got to Earth from Asgard.
The Expendables 2
Doing a second part was pushing it by Stallone, but he pulled it off with the classic gong-hu flick… honouring us with the presence of Chuck Norris while at it. He better just enjoy the money hammered from the two films and not do a third. Aseju ni won n pe ‘yen.
Funny, thoughtful. Probably the only Indian/Hindi movie I’ve seen and took serious.
The idea of the film is captivating, more so the fact that she went ahead to their home world rather than return to earth. Uber busy body behaviour though!
Too dope! If it happens in Nigeria, I suggest a house along Bourdillon. “And this, is.. Project X… yo!”
Yep, another 2010 movie. One my brother dismissed with a whiff back when it was released. Naïve. Do you still remember from how many levels Di Caprio’s character came up from after finding Saito?
Chronicles of Riddick
Yes, another one from archives but one worthy to be redone “in 3D”.
Only read the synopsis and loved it. ( ._.)
A gay ex-agent being the pain in MI6’s asses. Such a twisted masterpiece.
Top Daydreams (Clean Version)
Driving to school in a particular person’s turbo engine ‘muscle’.
Paying for a certain hostel in Ilorin, and demolishing the whole structure. Then building something much better there.
Finally finishing a novel, which may well be deleted altogether. Writing can be a piss off profession at times. But then…
Being paid £400 per week as a writer for a publication online. Not sure why it’s never more than that figure since we’re talking daydreams here.
Reporting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games live from Brazil, not once getting distracted.
Buying a controlling stake of Horlicks from Glaxo Smithkline. The world domination afterwards ehn… *makes mental note to daydream of that*.
Living happily and comfortably somewhere in Estonia.
A number of his friends getting appointed into a Federal Government’s cabinet, at least three of them. But not in this Jonathan administration of death!
Watching an Arsenal match live in the Emirates Stadium. Never did the bit of the match itself, can’t be going through same heart-racing bull crap experienced watching Arsenal in reality. Arsenal’s sanity’s much worse than mine.
Debuting for Kwara United at 27 and winning the league and CAF Champions League in the second season. Then becoming their all time leading goal scorer, winning the Nations Cup with Nigeria soon after and finishing third at a World Cup. How he had this daydream, when he’s not played a proper football match in years let alone a monkey-post ‘set’… is better left to me.
Acquiring three high performance laptops, each one with at least 8GB of RAM (one possibly clocking 16GB), and using them same time for work, pleasure and browsing the internet. Yes, he really is socially dead!
Meeting one alter-ego in a person. That ego, hopefully, won’t be me.
Top Daydreams (R-21 Version)
Two swords drawn, fighting what aren’t demons but certainly not angels in a Church… while Mass is being celebrated. The Mass goes on while he fights them because the congregation can’t see them fight while the officiating Priest pretends not to. I’m not sure but, the fight may have been over the Communion, a special kind of communion. I’d rather not delve further, yet.
Setting two, largest size Ghana Must Go bags full of one thousand naira notes on fire… :s
Selling souls for a living. (stopped work on it. Maybe will do next year).
Hearing a conference of religious clerics, christian and muslim, ask Him on judgement day, “Are you Christian or Muslim?” only for another section of clerics to ask “Are you male or female?”. Then I imagined hearing ‘Is that why we’re here’ in reply to… uhmm… I should stop now.
Hunting down all those who posted a “list” in that week list-blogging was the trend on twitter. That would be my list.
Top Lines of the Year
“hayteen an’ ah-bove… sheybi eez legah…” – D’banj in Sarkodie’s “Come to Me”.
“as enemies envy the green my n****s lawn mow.” – Wale in MMG’s “Power Circle”.
“Been around the world, twice to be exact.” – J. Cole in DJ Khaled’s “They Ready”.
“Bands emeka dance.” – Nigerians singing Juicy J’s song.
“Halle-Berry. Halle-lujah.” – Kendrick Lamar on A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin’ Problems”
“So I log on… to her internet. On a four-gee… wireless!” – D’banj on K-Switch’s “Sister Caro”.
“o ta! ta!” – Reminisce on “2 Mussh”.
“Ohh I’m in trouble… ” – Parker’s girl in Amazing Spiderman
“DESHI! DESHI! Basara Basara!” – The Dark Knight Rises
“I’ve a plan… ATTACK!” – Iron Man in “Marvel’s: The Avenger’s”
“There’s a midget in the oven!” – Cobb’s Jewish pal in “Project X”.
“You plebeian” – -___-
I wish I could talk about goals scored this year but I didn’t watch a lot of matches to be talking about this. But of course, Zlatan’s fourth in Sweden’s 4-2 over England remains a stinking goal.
And off the top of my head, the other top goals of 2012 I can think of include:
Robin van Persie’s goal at the Emirates against Everton, before the madness that saw him end up in the devil’s lair happened, is another.
Karim Benzema’s sweet volley from a very tight angle for Real Madrid last season. Can’t remember against what team but I do know that goal had similarly only been scored by Marco van Basten.
Papiss Cisse’s freak (second) goal at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
Not sure if this was in 2012, but I remember one of Demba Ba’s goals in Newcastle United’s 3-1 win at Swansea City, where he looped a curling effort over Michel Vorm. The technique oozing off that goal, midas stuff!
Sergio Agüero’s title clincher. Nothing special about how the goal was scored, just the massive impact it had.
Peter Crouch’s volley in Stoke City’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City.
Can’t think of any more but I’m sure CR7, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Radamel Falcao scored some cool ones too.
With those, how about wrapping this post up with my top FM12 matches. You see the joy in this game is, you can save an entire match and watch (the key highlights or the entire match) later.
So some of the matches I saved are:
Arsenal 5-1 Manchester United
Unlike daddy Wenger, I didn’t ever sell Robin van Persie and in this match he got two goals and provided one of the goals in Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s hattrick.
All five goals were scored in the first 35 minutes (swerve) while Kyle Bartley got a straight red in the 38th. Still, those chumps could only get a goal back? Abeg WengerOut!! A hundred and forty thousand pounds sterling every week for the love of Bergkamp!
Arsenal 3-1 Real Madrid
This was the second leg semi final of the Champions Cup. After a goalless first half, Douglas Costa opened the scoring for Arsenal with one helluva volley before van Persie extended the lead on the hour mark.
Then Karim Benzema got a goal back for Madrid with two minutes to play. Another goal for them and they’d have gone through on away goals but my young prodigee Olivier Markoutz got the third in stoppage time.
Arsenal 3-2 Manchester City
Can’t remember if it was the League Cup or FA Cup final but in it, Arsenal came from two goals down to win 3-2 after extra time. Van Persie got two goals and Douglas Costa scored a sweet free kick in extra time.
England 13-0 Liechenstein
Mo spell won ni oruko mehn, tun fun manéja ni jara. No mercy.
Great Britain 4-3 Brazil
Humbly took the job as Great Britain’s manager to the Olympics and won all matches with relative ease till Brazil came along.
Having beat Spain in the semis, Brazil – complete with Neymar, Hulk, Pato, Sandro, my Douglas Costa and Ganso and others – led 2-0 by half time against my Team GB.
Then we got a penalty, and no thanks to forgetting to set my peference for penalty takers… Andy ponytail Caroll stepped up instead of Rooney. A “fuck my life!” moment, which last a few seconds only thankfully. Dude scored another goal sef. Miraculous.
Arsenal 4-2 Sillywhites
Having lost every match played against Tottenham (home and away) consecutively for two and half seasons, we met in the FA Cup final. Twice came from behind to end 90 minutes at 2-2 before Gervinho scored twice in extra time, with his glorified forehead (as both came from Arteta cornerkicks), to end the embarrassing run.
Arsenal 3-1 AS Roma
So happened after my first season, I finished sixth in the league and got knocked out of the UCL first round. Europa League jam me mehn and you must know, that Cup goes hard.
The minnows in it, migraine inducing inglorious basterds! Huffed and puffed to the last 16 and met Roma. Having scored a late second goal in the 4-2 first leg loss, Roma took the lead with a penalty right on the 45th minute from a non-existent foul… meaning Arsenal needed three goals to qualify.
60 minutes, 1-1 from the penalty spot. 75 minutes, 2-1. 90 minutes, still 2-1… OmO! Five minutes into stoppage time, still 2-1 and Ganso goes off injured. All hope lost, Wilshere throws a cross in with 97 minutes on the clock. Ball hits a Roma defender and rolls into the bottom corner.
Hysteria from me, from what the rest of the world refer to as just a simulation game. Dead people.
They: “No wonder Leke is how he is. How will he be close to ‘finding love’ when he’s analysing football manager like this? Reckless behaviour.”
Me: “By all means, please blame Ramsey!”
Top Shit to Look Forward To in 2013
Samsung’s Galaxy SIV
Still rumoured successor of the hugely successful SIII. Word is, the SIV’s processors will be ‘hexa-core’… power guzzling, smart ass monster… and that the screen will be “unbreakable” since it’d be made with plastic. Hopefully that won’t affect the display’s quality.
Royce has said he’s in the studio, as has 50 Cent. And seeing as Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse have put out albums in 2012, his (executive) production responsibilities in 2013 (at the moment) seem light so he should have enough time to put out material.
Following the Kokomaster’s well documented feature in this year’s Cruel Summer album, Kanye should be G.O.O.D. enough to get our bros to do more hooks at least on a Cruel Winter album.
Another Mayan Calendar Concept
It’s never ending with us really, and I don’t mean life as we know it but speculations, rumours, did-you-hear talks and whatever else you may refer it as will remain with us.
Where would the fun be otherwise.
I’d rather not elaborate. All I’ll say is, FM is not involved. 😐
His sabbatical will be up at the end of this season and I wouldn’t mind if PSG got him. To be frank, Old Trafford seems a sure bet as his destination. Time will tell.
Finally Getting Disvirgined
An Album from Timberlake
Otherwise… blame Jessica Biel!
CR7 Scoring 90+ Goals
If Messi can achieve what he has this year, Ororo can next year. He’s scored some 60 goals this year anyway, so a hundred in 2013… eez nuffin!
We’re all looking forward to it here SO BAD, it’s almost on a self-destructive level. God keep us level headed as we get closer Lingua lords and ladies. Amen.
But if it does happen on the 21st… oh well, I lived.
Despite the efforts of Iker Casillas at redeeming his Real Madrid team’s horrid start to the six-yard lottery shots, Bayern Munich will square up with Chelsea for the ultimate prize in European club football.
A jet paced start to the match saw CR7 “not do a Messi” and give the Merengues the lead before once again being the recipient of a Mesut Ozil assist to put Real 2-0 up in the night and 3-2 ahead on aggregate.
Both goals came either side of Arjen Robben side-footing over when scoring seemed sure… before bundling himself into the Madrid net, comic consolation.
The Dutchman soon after got the ball into net from the penalty spot and level aggregate scores. The rest of the night was huff and puff really, with Mario Gomez squandering a number of chances, CR7 sending two ‘trademark’ ‘spot kicks’ straight into Manuel Neuer’s waiting gloves before poking a third well over.
And Kaká… the Brazilian was uncharacteristically below par after replacing Angel di Maria and him going off for Granero rather than Ozil wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
And indeed it wouldn’t have, as Kaká saw his penalty saved by Neuer after extra time had seen no further goals scored. Kaká’s was Madrid’s second penalty, the first had also been missed.
Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo eventually did a Messi. Neuer did very well to get down and save ego personified’s six-yard lottery shot. Thus putting Messi’s miss into perspective… “shit happens!”.
Why Kaká decided to duplicate CR7’s spot kick is a bit annoying, and Neuer obliged gladly by duplicating the save. It was Bayern’s UCL final ticket now…
Cue in the drama that had gone awol from the second half through to extra time and Casillas saved a poorly taken pelanty from Badstuber; who will miss the final suspended, before putting his left arm out in position to keep out Philip Lahm’s pelanty as well. A top draw save there.
Xabi Alonso had put Madrid on their way back between both Casillas saves, or so it seemed. Up stepped Sergio Ramos, the man who has seen red almost as frequently as the Bayern squad.
He missed, in a most woeful manner.
That left Bastian Sch… *quits trying to spell name without looking it up*… weinsteiger to send the Bavarians home, on the night, for that night, for the night.
It also left me (and I’m sure it’s not just me) wondering why Ramos when it could have been either of Higuain or Granero. Putting things to perspective, again… “shit happens!”.
All that said, this saves the world from another round of Martian Messi vs. Lord Ronaldo previews. We’ll instead have another proper final between teams that will be extremely motivated albeit differently.
Bayern will be playing in front of home fans, and be sure the beer will flow that day even before the match’s over and more so should Bayern win.
Chelsea meanwhile will play knowing it’s their best chance of making next season’s Champions League. The Blues are not out of contention to finish fourth in the Premier League but it’s not like Newcastle United would do the West Londoners a favour and sleep off at this moment, Tottenham though… *smh.
That said, it’s actually the best possible final for neutrals of the beautiful game. We’ll get to argue over theatrics by Drogba, Ribery and Robben though we’d rather a pulsating tussle for the right to be crowned kings of Europe.