Despite events on the pitch, a coked-up parody takes all the headlines. Jan-Aage Fjortoft tweeted that Maradona was the “King of Football” and that he didn’t want him to end up like Elvis. Dead on the toilet after a cheeseburger-induced heart attack? There’s an image you won’t easily shake for the rest of the day.
On the pitch, the conflation of whether Lionel Messi is a ‘world-class player’ and Argentina’s World Cup campaign continues unabated. He is, by the way, and isn’t reliant upon the latter being successful for that definition to his career. To assume Pele’s mantle of the greatest of all-time? That will always be subjective. The greatest Argentinean player? That’s always going to be Alfredo di Stefano.
Nigeria complained that the referee didn’t give a penalty under similar circumstances to the one Iran were awarded against Portugal. While I have sympathy for them, that reasoning is as specious as Panama bemoaning the referee penalised them, grapple fans, after Tunisia got away with murder; almost.
The match afforded the opportunity to see Ever Banega, whose pass created Lionel Messi’s goal. Unai Emery worked with Banega at Valencia and Sevilla so naturally, we’re signing him. Because we need more squad midfielders, don’t we? If we’re brutally honest about the signing, he is going to replace Elneny; he isn’t a replacement for Ramsey, or at least I hope our ambitions are higher than that in those circumstances.
To be honest, I will be surprised if Ramsey doesn’t renew his contract given the initial reports were that Emery fancies building a side around the Welshman. There is more to his situation than that but the flattery won’t do the new coach any harm. If Ramsey was on the cusp of leaving, there would be a lot more noise around him.
Ego’s Here, There, and Everywhere
There wasn’t much else to write home about from the day’s three other matches. France and Denmark served up a turgid ninety minutes to deny Australia a place in the knockout phase. Not that the Socceroos were going to make it anyway; they like the new Aussie philosophy of losing in sport and bearhugged it with all their might. Fair dinkum.
Today, it is Germany’s turn to be the centre of attention. In all honesty, if they lose to Snide Korea, they deserve to be knocked out of the World Cup. From a football perspective, Mexico’s clash with Sweden looks a better prospect.
After that, Brazil face Serbia and Switzerland meet Costa Rica. Arsenal interest in the latter and the hope that a ‘big name’ will fall flat on their face with the former. Messi dropped to his knees and pointed to the heavens last night after Neymar fell to the floor and cried with Brazil’s first three points secured.
What vanity act will they produce if either Brazil or Argentina wins the whole kit and caboodle? Prostrating themselves while team-mates trample over them with sharpened studs? Or committing some act of corporal mortification? Whipping off their shirts to reveal a cilice with the spikes dug deep into their skins so that their countrymen know they shed blood for them?
It’s all becoming as grating as kissing the badge; the meaningless acts of ‘love’ for the team/club/country are so superficial, it’s hard to believe anyone thinks there is anything other than a supreme act of ego involved.
While all this was going on, David Ospina wouldn’t be drawn on his future. Asked about Arsenal signing Bernd Leno, Ospina played with a straight bat and blithered about being a Colombia goalkeeper at the moment and not an Arsenal one.
You know he wanted to shoot back with, “What do you think, halfwit? Am I happy to be the third choice at the club? Take a rough guess, pencilneck”, or whatever it is that they call ‘pencilnecks’ these days.
Elsewhere, Caglar Soyuncu’s Mr20% can talk the hind legs off a donkey so no progress on that deal while Lucas Vazquez will bring his unique talents to the Emirates as Ramsey prefers Lazio’s brand of glorious failure to ours. The transfer window officially opens on Sunday so expect a flurry of activity with Sokratis expected to complete his move PDQ.