Shakespeare Terminator

When talking of Messi, as I’m going to do, it probably helps to bring in Shakespeare – not that Messi is an avid reader of the Bard, preferring as he does the instruction book to the PS4, which he claims was the last book he read.  This is a shame because in Sonnet 48 there’s a neat little couplet that goes:

“Dear killer, spare not thy sweet cruel shot / A kind of grace it is to kill with speed.” Continue reading “Shakespeare Terminator”

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To be or not to be… a derbi

“derbi”:

From the English word Derby, name of a famous horse race, created by the Count of Derby.

  1. m. Horse race, especially the famed one celebrated annually in which three-year-old specimens participate.
  2. m. Sporting confrontation, usually playing the sport of football, between two sides followed by fans who maintain a rivalry, often due to regional reasons.

Continue reading “To be or not to be… a derbi”

Place your bets

If you’re somewhat familiar with betting on Spanish football, you probably know that if you want to make some cash on a top LaLiga team not winning its weekend match, you must wait until the do or die part of the Champions League starts. Key players are rested, the general mindset of the team is not quite focused on what the weekend match means, even the fans are not totally considering the importance of the three points at stake… until it’s too late. Continue reading “Place your bets”

Quiniela: Week 24

OMG it’s Friday! Must be time for the quiniela,  I remember when my dad won 50 pounds on the English football pools, back in about 1968.  He bought his first car with it, a second-hand Standard 8.

The first day he decided to take it to work, it wouldn’t start.  It didn’t start much for the next year either, which just goes to show that the pleasure in predicting football results is all about getting more predictions right than your mate, or than those other anonymous individuals who place their bets on Liga Fever. It’s not about the money, since we can only offer you international prestige.  Last week Eduardo scored a spanking 7, and called some difficult ones in the process.  Maybe it’s getting easier….who knows?  I’ll try my best. Continue reading “Quiniela: Week 24”

Four score and ten

As I tap on the keyboard on Sunday night in Spain, it is exactly 90 years to the day when La Liga was officially formed.  It should have started in September 1928 but there had been a dispute over the format of the league, so no surprises there.  Of the ten sides invited to participate that February, six are still in the top flight (Real and Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao).  The region with most clubs was the more prosperous and industrialised Basque Country, with four sides (Sociedad, Athletic, Real Unión and Arenas de Getxo), with Catalunya in second place with three (Barcelona, Español and CD Europa), the team ‘Europa’ from the Barcelona neighbourhood of Gracìa lasting for three seasons before disappearing into the murky depths of regional football. They play in ‘Tercera’ (3rd Division) now.  Racing Santander, from the Cantabria region and now in Segunda ‘B’, made up the roster. Continue reading “Four score and ten”

Peaking at the right time

Just over a month ago, I thought this season was pretty much over, at least in terms of title race and Champions League spots. But a few things have changed: Real Madrid have regrouped, Atletico are still consistent and Valencia finally look like they did last season, while Barcelona and Sevilla somehow play less convincingly and could drop points when least expected. Does that mean that we have a title race? No, not yet. But if, like many of us, you thought this season would end with Barcelona, Atletico, Real and Sevilla in that order, it’s now becoming quite possible that it won’t. Continue reading “Peaking at the right time”

Ama a tu prójimo

La mayor diferencia entre los “viejos tiempos” y el juego moderno no es el contraste entre estar de pie en el fondo norte o sentarse en un civilizado asiento de plástico, sino más bien la compañía que uno se ve obligado a mantener. En los viejos tiempos (vi mi primer partido profesional en vivo en 1966), la gente solía andar en áreas similares del estadio: los jóvenes detrás de los goles y los más viejos en las posiciones laterales, pero dentro de esas configuraciones había mucha flexibilidad. Podías elegir entre quedarte en el nivel más abajo o superior, o, si estuvieras en ubicación lateral, moverte hacia la izquierda o hacia la derecha, dependiendo de en qué gol atacase tu equipo. No había asientos, ni mucho menos localidades asignadas, así que te ponías donde querías. Continue reading “Ama a tu prójimo”