First of all, congratulations to everyone on getting to 2013. The Mayans look pretty stupid from this side of the calendar.
But getting back to football, there is so much information these days that everyone (including yours truly) has an opinion on everything. A lot of message boards on various blogs have long running and passionate arguments about whether one player really is better than the next. So let’s get right to it. What I’m doing here is basically a summary of the things that are being said about the hot topics of the football world. Sort of a newbie’s guide to sounding fashionable when you’re with your football geek friends arguing about whether Luis Suarez should have been sent off against Man United (subtle prediction there for the well-informed).
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are a vague summary of what this author has noticed, sometimes made up, and in no way should be expected to be verified factually. Also, this might contain a lot phrases in quotes.
Here it is. Top subjects and what to say about them!
1. Swansea/Michu : These guys are the proverbial ‘surprise package’ of the season. Playing in the most popular league in the world (apparently), they’re a team everyone now knows of. They play beautiful football, although not so much against Chelsea the other night, and have a peach of a striker/midfielder in Michu. Ah yes, the Spaniard that’s making Fernando Torres look like a 10 year old riding a bicycle blindfolded and seems like the intelligent pick in a fantasy team. You can call him a deep-lying striker, a goal scoring midfielder or a striker. You’d be right every time.
Also, they’re Welsh. Which is kinda cool.
2. Ballon d’Or : Lionel Messi has just won this award for the fourth consecutive year and suddenly all sorts of statistics have been uncovered. He’s the only one to have won it 4 times, which surely puts him ‘right up there’ (which is where, exactly?) with the best ever. As with anything to do with Messi’s success, this too comes with its dose of ‘Ronaldo should have won it’. The smart ones are calling it a Popularity contest with it being voted for by players and coaches in addition to journalists. We all know how unbiased that’s going to be with almost everyone voting for personal favorites based on country/club bias. The really smart ones are questioning the very need for individual awards in a team sport. Use phrases such as “The team is greater than the sum of its parts” or the more mundane “They win as a team and they lose as a team”, to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Either way, Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta are all extremely special players. To say one is shit while the other is the greatest player ever born on this side of the milky way is what really makes you sound like a retard.
3. Borussia Dortmund : First really noticed when Manchester United signed Shinji Kagawa, the double German champions are now the flavor of the season with people easily pronouncing tough Polish names like Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski (yes, I had to google that to spell it right). It would be fun to see how those names are mutilated by commentators in England, should they get some much talked about moves to the Premier League. They are definitely easy on the eye (the team I mean, not so much the player per se), and after coming out of the Group of Death in the Champions League with wins over the English Champions, they now have ‘pedigree’. Because we all know you’re not proven talent until you’ve ripped an English team apart. Mario Gotze and Marco Reus are always safe bets to pick out for special praise.
4. Andrea Pirlo : The now-bearded genius has shot to delayed stardom worldwide after a glittering Euro 2012 performance where he almost outshone Andres Iniesta. He seems to have been profoundly affected by the defeat to Spain and hasn’t shaved since, prompting some people to notice the scary similarities between him and Chuck Norris. He is genuinely brilliant in the way he reads the game and helped Juventus to their historic unbeaten Serie A season before going to Poland and Ukraine.
The truly elite in armchair football punditry would have picked him for the aforementioned farce that is, the Ballon d’Or. ‘The Metronome’ and the Man who makes them ‘tick’ and the observation that he ‘dictates the play’ are all socially acceptable forms of describing the Italian.
5. The ‘False 9’ position : This one is particularly smart and shows that you have an insight into the game. Initially used as a term to describe the seemingly indescribable position of the aforementioned Mr. Messi now every one’s using it when they see a guy who’s generally supposed to be scoring goals, dropping deep to get the ball. Its an immensely interesting tactical observation no doubt, but it has given rise to an annoying number of ‘false 10’s’. I think I even saw someone mention a player as an ideal ‘false 6’! I mean I’m all for getting a greater understanding of the game but that one’s dropping a bit too deep, if you know what I mean. Point is, describing a role or position by a shirt number holds you in good stead amongst the intellectuals.
With that, you’re set. Of course the only time you might actually use this is if you meet an extremely attractive member of the opposite (or same, whatever floats your boat) sex, who’s really into football and want to impress. That’s when you’ll think, “Ah yes!! All that time scrolling through innumerable blogs on the internet wasn’t such a waste after all”. Or not…