90 on 95

Sports, rumors, and humor from the Ben Franklin to the George Washington

SOCCER?: A Champions League Users Manual

Now I've got your attention.

The Champions League 1st knockout round is finally over, and it was full of surprises. Chelsea returned to the Bridge hoping to improve upon their 2-0 aggregate score over FC Copenhagen, whereas Lyon looked to do the impossible and upset a rambunctious Real Madrid team, hoping their depth at the striking position would be enough to propel them into the Champions League Final and a chance at the coveted double. Manchester United is through to the second round, with a lovely brace from Chichirito on Tuesday, and Inter are enjoying another journey to the European 8. For a lot of sports readers, what I just said was gibberish. Braces, doubles, strikers, rambunctious; for most Americans they are just nonsensical words, but to the rest world, they are part of the most exciting tournament in sports across the globe (of Europe.) To get our readers more acquainted with the upcoming round of 8, here’s a simple comparison of each team to an American sports team, so you know who to pretend you are rooting for when you meet a liberal-arts exchange student at the bar.

Chelsea – Why not lead off with my favorite starting XI, the London Blues. Of course Chelsea are essentially the New York Yankees of the soccer world. Known for spending a ridiculous amount of money on transfers, public spats with coaches and bandwagon fans at every bar, this team is the United Kingdoms version of the Evil Empire (imagine Hal with a monocle, stove pipe hat and a shoe shiner.)

Manchester United – I fucking hate this team. Let’s leave it at that. There isn’t a player on this team that I can appreciate. They wear red. They are a machine that systematically destroys opponents by wearing them down and exposing their weakness. Regardless of who they bring in or who leaves, the team seems unchanged, a true testament to management, lead by their staunch, sometimes controversial manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. They are the Detroit Red Wings, a model of success for all sports franchises, and I hate them and wish polio upon all their fans.

Real Madrid – A storied franchise with multiple championships. The Bernabeu stadium is as famous in Spain as the Staples Center is here. Christiano Ronaldo is one of the most bankable stars in the game, not unlike Kobe Bryant. And just like the Los Angeles Lakers every person you spot in one of their jerseys is a douche bag.

Internazionale – Coming off a storied year for Italian teams in which they earned the Treble (Italian club champions, League champions, and Champions League winners), they are one of the most successful teams in soccer right now. They have won 5 successive Serie A titles. They are the UCONN Women’s basketball team, because honestly other than that one school with that hot blonde a couple of years ago (AC Milan and Ronaldinho) they really have no competition.

Now you're not thinking of women's basketball. Probably wondering why there are two number 4's on one team.

Barcelona – The other Spanish team, they have recently been overshadowed by their Madrid competitors. But with a revolving door of talented strikers, a rabid fan base, and an ideology of playing the game a certain, unchanging way they represent the arrogance and unabashed sense of entitlement that comes along with any black good hearted New England Patriots fans.

Tottenham Hotspurs – A spirited club, not used to playing with the big boys in the knock-out stage, the Hotspurs are a group hoping that recent successes are a sign of things to come. However, if history is to say anything, their recent success will not amount to anything. Have a good summer, Chicago Cubs fans.

Shalke 04 – Never mind that their name sounds like a hippie festival your aunt went to and came back with her life partner, it seems like every year this German squad sneaks into the tournament, usually earning itself an easy first round in hopes of giving a second round team a run for its money, but ultimately failing. Let’s see, blue and white color scheme, moderately successful every year but not to the point of reaching that next plateau reserved for champions, and crazy Germans? Sounds like the Dallas Mavericks.

Shakhtar Donetsk – I’ll save you the 10 second search; they are from the Ukraine. Yes, I’ll admit I don’t know much about this club. Since they are from Eastern Europe I’m going to assume their mascot has a uni-brow and wears gold chains and a dark blue track suit. You know who else no one cares about? The Philadelphia 76ers. Yeah, no one is going to wait up for them either.

He's got his jersey. What's your fucking excuse?

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