Monday, January 29, 2007

Chelsea Nonsense and Zidane News that Makes No Sense

Even when Chelsea wins, as they did this past weekend as they destroyed Nottingham Forrest, one cannot shake the feeling that the club is, at heart, nothing more than the incredibly apt description once voiced by the magazine When Saturday Comes: “A financial basket-case club run like a third-world diamond republic by a mysterious and shadowy foreign billionaire.” While that sounds neat, I do believe I will stick with Sheffield United.

Here are just a few of the fun things that have emerged from Chelsea over the past week or so:

· World-class striker Didier Drogba publicly calls out his fellow forward Andriy Shevchenco, suggesting to the media that Sheva doesn’t pass enough. Apparently Drogba didn’t finish his sentence, as he meant to say that Sheva didn’t pass TO HIM enough. But whatever.

· Drogba also took time out of his busy schedule to reportedly criticize Michael Ballack (who makes $250,000 per week for playing the same position as teammate Frank Lampard. At least Ballack does it with less whining and without writing dreadful books.) Anyway, Drogba later denied those criticisms.

· Speaking of Ballack, last week German legend Franz Beckenbauer said Ballack made a mistake by signing with Chelsea. I’m sure Ballack can think of millions of reasons why Beckenbauer is wrong, and Ballack basically said he didn’t need to be a surf to Bayern Munich the rest of his life, which is a pretty good point. Still, I’m sure no German soccer player wants to get on Beckenbauer’s bad side. That would be like a Brazilian footballer being criticized by Pele; like an Argentine being criticized by Maradona; like an American being called to the carpet by…Alexi Lalas? Kobi Jones? Mia Hamm? Maybe Rodney Dangerfield from that Ladybugs movie?

· Finally, the circus around Coach Jose Mourinho continues to be just exhausting. Regardless of what everyone is saying, I don’t think at this point that anyone really knows whether the special one is leaving or not. I think Jose is a lot of fun, but frankly, I think he’s nuts to stay. He needs to pretty much win everything every year, or he will be hammered in the press. With an unlimited payroll and any players you may wish for, you have no excuse but to win. Still, he seems to like being at the center of it all; and lets face it, Chelsea is never dull. Or, at least, hasn’t been since the mysterious and shadowy foreign billionaire took over.

One other interesting bit of news came out this weekend; apparently the Chicago Fire made an attempt to sign the recently retired Zinedine Zidane.

Now obviously I really like the Footballfan-atic poster boy. He’s one of my favorites. But it’s kind of hard to imagine the great man plying his trade in…Chicago. The city of broad shoulders. The city where women induce early births so there husbands can go to the Bears game. Would Zidane have been bigger than Jordan? Bigger than Ernie Banks? Bigger than Bill Murray? Perhaps; and it is certainly fun to imagine Zidane warbling through a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Wrigley before catching a late dinner with Mike Ditka and Ben Wallace at the Chicago Steak and Chop house. However, I do believe Zinedine is enjoying his happy retirement in France with his family, and that is probably where he should stay. He can leave America to be conquered by the Beckhams.

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