Quirks of Fate

Today exactly 15 years ago, Xavi made his first team debut, in a Catalan Cup game against Lleida, Puyol also played in that game, Mourinho coached the team, Vilanova played and scored for Lleida, Barcelona won 2-1.

How times have changed.

To Madrid, with Love

To Madrid, with Love

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The Catalan Caveman

Tito's now at Barca

Tito’s now at Barca

In football, almost nothing is permanent. Enjoy the losses with the victories and let the game take you for one helluva roller-coaster ride!

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Happy Birthday El Nino

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Happy birthday to the Spanish Maestro, Fernando José Torres Sanz, who turns 29 today. The Spanish hitman, fondly known as ‘El Nino’ is currently at Chelsea F.C and struggling to recapture his form from his days at Merseyside.

Here’s an interesting anecdote from his days at Atletico wherein he reveals how he always hated the nickname ‘El Nino‘:

It’s what I learned when I was 16 and arrived in Atletico’s dressing room, nobody wanted to talk to me because they were threatened. They called me “El Nino” because nobody knew my name. I didn’t like it and it shouldn’t be like that, but dressing rooms are very complicated with players coming from different parts of the world and with different roles.

‘I was captain in Atletico at 19, playing in the same team as Demetrio Albertini who won three Champions Leagues and Sergi Barjuan from Barcelona, who had won everything, and they were 32, 33.

‘I was a kid as captain, so I wasn’t the real captain, just a kid learning from them. I wore the armband but they were the leaders and I learned a lot from them.

‘I remember when I first came to Liverpool, Pepe Reina helped with everything and he made it easy for me. When I was Atletico Madrid captain I tried to help everyone. These are the basics in football, you need to create an atmosphere and try to create a group of friends. It’s not easy and it doesn’t always happen but you have to try.

 

Here’s a video from his days at Liverpool where he used to be the terror of opposition defenders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-ZSuAU03Bs

 

May he continue misfiring for the Blues but regain his form for the Spanish team 😛

Happy Birthday Sire.

Of Kahka, Gattuso, and Friendship.

The story as told by Carlo Ancelotti:

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The Good ol’ Days

Rino Gattuso was losing his mind, and it was all Kakha Kaladze’s fault. Rino’s birthday is on January 9.
A few days before his birthday, at the beginning of a training session, Kakha made us all stop what we were doing. He asked if he could speak. “Coach, sorry, I have something to say. It’s very important.”

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“Be my guest, Kakha.”
“It’s three days to Rino Gattuso’s birthday.”
Maybe his gears were starting to slip, but we decided to act as if nothing had happened. That night, at dinner, the same thing: “Excuse me, guys, I have something to tell you all.”
“Go ahead, Kakha.”
“It’s two days and fourteen hours till Rino Gattuso’s birthday.”
Our doctors gave us worried looks; they wanted to intervene. They were standing by with a straitjacket, cleaned and pressed, but we told them to hold off.

The following morning, the same thing again. He raised his hand, and I let him go ahead: “Go ahead, Kakha.”
“It’s two days until Rino Gattuso’s birthday.”
Poor Kaladze, Alzheimer’s is a terrible thing. And in such a young man, too.
The team members started laughing, and Rino started to lose his temper. He felt he was a target of ridicule.
The countdown went on – and on, and on. Until the night of January 8: “Guys, it’s just three hours until Rino Gattuso’s birthday.”
Rino Gattuso was having a hard time controlling himself at this point. He would have gladly beaten Kaladze within an inch of his life.

Finally, it was the 9th: nothing. Zero. No one said a thing. The silence of the darkest days. So I finally spoke up: “Kakha, you don’t by any chance have something to tell us?”
“No, coach, what on earth would I have to tell you?”
“You’re sure you’re not forgetting anything?”
“I don’t think so.”
I looked at Rino out of the corner of my eye; he was ticking like a time bomb, ready to go off at any second. He kept control of himself and believed he had emerged the winner.

On January 10, at lunch at training camp, Kakha came over to me with a very sad expression on his face. It seemed like something terrible had happened, so I walked over to him with a show of concern, and asked him, “Is there something wrong?”
“Yes, coach, it’s three hundred and sixty-four days till Rino Gattuso’s birthday.”
Explosion in the cafeteria; we were clearly in the presence of a genius. Kakha was immediately chased down by Rino and pummeled furiously.I think that this is when Kakha began to feel the first creakings in his knee.

Oh Rino And Ancelotti’s Milan :’)

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Football Facts Stranger than Fiction

A few random facts and trivia about football. Every character and tale here is truthful, with no fiction added to enhance it. This proves the old adage, “Fact is stranger than Fiction”.

A player was once sold for a bit of pork?!

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1. The heaviest ever England player was a goalkeeper called Willie ‘Fatty’ Foulke. At 6 feet 6 inches tall, he weighed 22 stones and played for England around the turn of the century.

2. A Manchester City fan was banned in 1995 from bringing dead chickens into City’s Maine Road ground. He used to celebrate City goals by swinging the birds around his head.

3. Barcelona ’s Hristo Stoichkov was banned for six months in 1990 for stamping on the referee’s foot after being sent off in a Cup tie against Real Madrid.

4. The Liberia team escaped imprisonment by holding Gambia to a goalless draw in 1980. The Liberian Head of State, Master Sergeant Samuel Doe, had threatened to jail them it they lost.

5. The Scottish Cup tie between Falkirk and Inverness Thistle in 1979 was postponed no fewer than 29 times because of bad weather.

6. The Sampdoria team and 200 players walked 20 miles to a mountain sanctuary near Genoa in 1969 to thank the Madonna for helping them stave off relegation.

7. In 1998, The Macclesfield mascot, was sent off for making obscene gestures during a players’ brawl in the match with Lincoln City.

8. At the age of 52, Pedro Gatica cycled from his home in Argentina to Mexico for the 1986 World Cup, only to find on arrival that he couldn’t afford to get in. While he was trying to haggle for a ticket, thieves stole his bike.

9. A Tanzanian soccer match was postponed in 1978 after the referee was arrested on the pitch and accused of smoking marijuana just before the kick-off.

10. Romanian midfielder Ion Radu was sold by Second Division Jiul Petrosani to Valcea in 1998 for 500kg of pork (Worth about £1750)

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