So Let Me Get This Straight

Craig Bellamy is going to hit you in your ovaries with his golf club if you fail to match his enthusiasm for karaoke.  Right in the babymakers.So right, earlier in the week Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise made the papers for getting into an alleged karaoke-fueled golf club fight (you can’t make that up) that involved the “hot-tempered” Bellamy swinging an iron in Riise’s direction. And then, in the Nou Camp against Barcelona in the highest-profile matchup in the Champions Leage Round of 16, Bellamy scores one and sets up Riise for the winner. And then swung an imaginary golf club to celebrate.

For the record, this is officially “Very 1986 Mets” of Liverpool. Getting a big win in the wake of ridiculous tabloid debauchery? And having the most ridiculous guys be the heroes? Yeah. That sounds about right.

Also, I am officially back from my imaginary leave of absence and watching a bit more soccer. Hmmm, what is it that just ended? I wonder. Anyway, I watched Arsenal yesterday and the Chelsea game today. In re: Arsenal, yeah, um, they weren’t very good. In re: Chelsea, I thought Sheva was good and feisty today, that Ballack was only occasionally in the game, that Obi Mikel is going to be really good, and that Essien is already really good.

Links:

Bellamy swings it as Barcelona are stunned
Liverpool face blanket fines for fracas from Benitez

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

That isn't actually Paul Pierce

So what about this picture/ story is most remarkable?

That Wayne Rooney jets to New York when he has two days off from practice? That he would get hoodwinked into actually attending a Knicks game whilst there? That he would attend said Knicks game with Jimmy Fallon? That he’s still dating that Colleen McLoughlin person? That the article quotes height in meters?

Nope.

The answer was “That Paul Pierce actually dove after a ball that was going out of bounds.”

Thanks for playing.

Link:
Rooney nearly re-injures foot at NBA game

What Does The Smile Of A Peasant Look Like?

jbeck.jpgWe’ve admittedly gone a little light on the tabloid-y stuff (depsite the fact that FC Camena has had over 500 hits this month from people searching for “Caroline Celico,” aka Mrs. Kaka) of late, but this little tidbit is just too much. This is a little bit of old news, but still. German daily Bild took some potshots at the greater Beckham family (and not Posh!). I could quote, but I think I’ll let it speak for itself:

Bild, Germany’s top selling newspaper, published its article after the entire Beckham family decamped to Frankfurt to watch England’s opening World Cup match against Paraguay on Saturday.

Beckham’s 24-year-old sister Joanne came in for especially harsh treatment in the full-page spread accompanied by color photographs.

“Dear me, is she chubby. Arms, bust, bum, all very British. Joanne is the sort of girl who drinks sangria on the beach in Majorca. And then dances on a table with her top off,” said the paper.

The Real Madrid star, who earns an estimated 17 million pounds (32 million dollars) a year, flew his relatives to Frankfurt in a private jet.

Bild described his mother Sandra, 50, as the “superstar’s mum with the smile of a peasant”.

(Fingers remain crossed in re: a Germany-England showdown in the Round of 16. And not just for the tabloid-y fun.)

David and Victoria Beckham on Yahoo Photos [Yahoo! Photos]
Beckham blasts sad German writer who lampooned his family [Yahoo]

Whither Clint Mathis?

Clint ShotgunAs U.S. Soccer fans prepare for a World Cup with Josh Wolff, Eddie Johnson and Brian Ching fighting for a starting role, one can’t help but wonder whatever happened to that Clint Mathis guy? Y’know, the one-time first great American goal scorer? Could it be one too many beer bongs? MySpace holds the truth…

An Italian Refereeing Scandal? I Won’t Believe It!

Say it ain’t so! There’s finally a smoking gun in re: The Old Lady of Turin and “influencing” the Serie A refs? The conspiracy theorists have claimed for years (endlessly, with lots of video evidence) that Juve is often the recipient of favorable calls (especially well-timed penalties), and that a number of refs have long since been in the Agnelli family’s back pocket. And it looks like they might have some proof.

The worst part about this whole story is how unsurprising it actually is. That is, most tifosi of the Italian game will tell you that things get a bit dicey at the end of each season, especially with respect to promotion and relegation. Teams might pay other teams to lose? Well duh. It’s only us uppity and sanctimonious Americans who get scandalized by this sort of thing (see, The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro).

I’m just happy to have something screwy going on in Italian football ahead of June 17. Implicate them all! Call the carabinieri!

Top clubs and ref in match-fixing probe [Soccernet]
Lo scandalo si allagra [Gazzetta Dello Sport]

And That About Wraps It Up For England

Imaginary Wayne Rooney will be the only one on the field for England this summerSo in the interests of being polite in the presence of our friends from across the pond, let me carefully and delicately say that ENGLAND HAVE EXACTLY ZERO-POINT-ZERO CHANCE OF WINNING THE WORLD CUP WITHOUT WAYNE ROONEY.

What’s even crazier was that I actually thought that England had a fighting chance. When the majority of the football coverage you read is in English, it means you read a lot of British press. And as opposed to previous England teams, I actually didn’t think the British press were exaggerating their chances this time around. At least until the idiot coach got stung by the tabloid and the most gifted English player I had ever seen in my entire life, ever, broke his foot.

I mean, this team won’t be terrible, but they had a puncher’s chance as of a couple months ago. Oh well. I actually confess to a weakness for this England squad, only because I’ve finally come to appreciate the level of crap they have to deal with from the press.

(I just hope this doesn’t keep Coleen out of the news.)

Links:
Roo’s Not Going Says Neville [The Mirror, and I can’t believe that the odds on England haven’t moved]
Nike dismisses concerns over Rooney’s boots [ESPN]
Coleen McLoughlin Picks Out Baby Names [Fametastic]

Beasley In Dutch With Eindhoven 5-0

We never found out if that chain was his.Though certainly modest by the standards of typical U.S. athlete scandals (No indictment? No sexual assualt? No 1,600 pounds of marijuana?), young DaMarcus Beasley has gotten himself into trouble with the Dutch cops. Beasley’s been charged with drunken driving for an incident back in January. He’ll probably be fined, though there’s a chance he could lose his license. His Dutch license.

The irony here is, of course, that in the country with the most liberal drug policy in the world, the cops didn’t find any mind-bending intoxicants tucked into the ashtray, while you can’t pull over a pro athlete in the U.S. without finding narcotics and at least two (2) handguns (“The Glock? That isn’t mine. I have no idea why it’s here.”) Still, shame on you, DMB. You can afford the cab.

Link:
Beasley To Face Drunken Driving Charges [ESPN Soccernet]

Ashley Cole: Set To Vibrate

This is 'cause my name is Ashley, idn't itWe have to at least applaud the workrate of the good folks over at News Of The World. Just six weeks after they completely torpedoed England’s chances in this summer’s World Cup with the Sheikgate scandal, they’ve now fixed their aim on England and Arsenal left back Ashley Cole, alleging that he participated in a “gay orgy” that somehow involved a mobile phone set to vibrate.

Though this is far trashier than anything The Post ever printed about Mike Piazza, it’s worth noting that the British tabloids (and the European tabloids more generally) aren’t above printing the details of heterosexual sexcapades as well. So at least they’re equal-opportunity offenders.

Note that this isn’t stopping Ashley Cole from suing them (which, thanks to UK libel laws, might actually work out for him).

Links:
U.K. Athlete Sues Over Bisexual Rumor [gay.com]
Ashley Cole Files Lawsuit Over Gay Orgy Story [Pink News UK]

Sven Is To Sheikgate As…

Just because he's poor doesn't mean he's stupid; I never said that.We’ve been remarkably mum about the whole Sven-Goran Eriksson affair. To summarize: Swedish-born England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was baited into talking out of turn by an undercover reporter for News Of The World posing as an Arab sheik. Among other things, he called central defender Rio Ferdinand “lazy” and suggested that Wayne Rooney’s quick temper was a result of having grown up “poor.”

As you might imagine, this didn’t go over so well. In fact, it’s already been agreed that Sven will step down as England boss after the World Cup.

What I’m struggling with here (beyond wondering how this guy still has a job, at all) is the most appropriate parallel in U.S. sports. Would this be like Andy Reid taking a secret meeting with Daniel Snyder the week before the Super Bowl and saying that he thought Jevon Kearse was lazy and that TO’s antics were the result of his single-parent upbringing? I’m certainly open to suggestions here.

Link:
Eriksson To Quit England After World Cup [USA Today]

Rooney v Kaka, Better-Half Edition

We’ll hear a lot from the footy blathermonkeys tipping Wayne Rooney and Kaka to star at this summer’s World Cup. And that’s all well and good. But how have they done for themselves off the pitch? That’s Mrs. Kaka, Caroline Celico on the left, and the future Mrs. Rooney, Coleen McLoughlin, on the right.

I bet Kaka's Mrs. skips the bangers and mash for breakfast

Errr, round one to the Brasilian!

Generally speaking, we consider posting photos of scantily clad women to be coarse and vulgar. And we hate to be getting down on people for not getting to the gym often enough. But there’s just SO MUCH great stuff in the British tabloids about these people that it really can’t be helped.

Link:
Classy Coleen goes from chav to chav-not [Daily Mail]