It hasn’t exactly been rosy times for Valencia CF and their fans of late. Since qualifying for the Champions League in 2015, the club has completely gone downhill. In the last two seasons, they’ve finished mid-table in La Liga, flirted dangerously with relegation, sold their best players and have had a total of five managers: Nuno, Gary Neville, Pako Ayestaran, Cesare Prandelli and Voro. However, things may finally be changing at Valencia after three important announcements were recently made by the club.
You could say it’s been an abnormal season for Cristiano Ronaldo. We’ve all gotten used to the Portuguese star playing almost every single competitive match and reaching outrageous totals of 50 or 60 goals a campaign.
This season, however, Ronaldo has scored 37 goals across all competitions, and he’s appeared in 43 of Real Madrid’s 57 official games — a total of only 75%. This is a significant change from last season when he scored a total of 51 goals and played 48 of Real’s 52 matches — a total of 92%.
Each narrative in the English Premier League has a nauseatingly long lifespan until it utterly annihilates itself — it’s annually cyclical, like the depiction of a serpent eating its own tail. We belabor the same statistics, the same trends and the same memes until we’ve had our fill, proceeding to damn them out of existence like a child pop star whose career of cultural martyrdom has run its course.
As I followed the fortunes of both Arsenal and the New York Knicks this season, I realized I had seen this movie before. The two organizations struggled through campaigns that mirrored each other. Fans of each team have experienced similar trauma over the past decade and the similarities became uncanny this year.
What a major weekend from the major soccer league — we were treated to it all. Andrea Pirlo, whose salary of $5.9 million is 35% of NYCFC’s total payroll, was benched because Patrick Vieira cited the need to have a midfielder with an animated body, New England threw away a three-goal lead against Seattle in 15 minutes and the Philadelphia Union are already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
For the last five years, every battle between Lazio and Roma has had the same repeated sub-plot: could this be the last Derby della Capitale for Francesco Totti? Eventually, this will be true. Eventually, there will be a time when Rome’s favourite son will no longer be able to enter the fray. Already, he has been relegated to a bit part player in the derby. But, as ever with Totti, he has managed to make starting from the subs’ bench a vital part of the action.
For those who religiously follow and catalogue all of the endless nonsense I churn out (you’re terrifying), you’ll remember that back in February (Jesus, what have I done these last two months) I got really into the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship. It was really cold and I was really sad so I turned to the carnival of sand, merriment and bangers that is beach soccer for respite. Plus it was all streamed on Facebook for free.
Okay, before we get started here, put this song on. It's a jam.
Okay, now you’re in the zone.
Are you tired of that one friend who ruins soccer spectating? You know the one, the person that constantly complains about a lack of scoring and sees the low accumulation of point totals as some kind of irrefutable condemnation of the sport. Yeah, that jagoff.
After a year away from the spotlight (unless you include Jonjo Shelvey’s ban for racially abusive language, rumors of a fallout between Rafa Benitez and the boardroom over a lack of January spending and some other stuff), Newcastle United are back in the big leagues. We know you all missed the never-ending soap opera that is Newcastle, don't pretend you didn't.
For me, August can’t come soon enough, and you should be excited too. Here are 10 reasons to be stoked over the Toon’s return to the Premier League.