Posts Tagged ‘ Napoli ’

MatchDay Memory–Going Hollywood

During one of our Mid-Michigan United watch parties, after yet another Joe Hart/Rachel Maddow joke, I had the idea to do a post about players who like actors/characters.  I started jotting down some ideas and kept my notebook with me watching games in case something came to mind.  As usual, I was a day late and a dollar short to an idea.  Putting the post together, I came across the tumblr page Footballers Who Look Like Actorswhich had already gotten quite a head start.  Disheartened I pushed on, because I had a couple in my notes that they did not have, so here is my starting eleven plus a manager, a referee and a mayor.


From the moment I saw David de Gea at Atleti, I was convinced he was the starting keeper for the Whoville National Team.  Look at him.  Crazy hair and sideburns, little button nose, scrawny as Calista Flockhart on a bad day.  As a United fan I want him to bulk up and be more of a controlling presence in the penalty area.  As a bitter, snarky prick, I want him to remain ridiculously frail so that everyone can make fun of him.

Val Kilmer is preparing himself for his role as Sergio Ramos in the upcoming biopic about the Spanish defender.  Not a single part of the last sentence is true, especially because Val would have to lose too much weight to even make that happen.  When I see the current Sergio Ramos (beard, highlights, shorthair), I think Ice Man and Thunderheart.


Philippe Mexes has an uncanny resemblance to actor Jeremy Renner.  Credit to Footballers Who Like Actors for the pic, who did the hard work for me on that one.  Mexes occasionally has a moment of glory but sometimes (read: most of the time) can be utterly useless.  Likewise Renner has been in decent movies (The Town and Hurt Locker) but also has made some bad choices (The Avengers and Ghost Protocol).

Cedrick suggested that Thomas Vermaelen IS Jude Law.  Have to agree that some of the pics on the interwebs are striking in their similarities.  Tough to say whether the Belgian player is actually a decent defender or impersonating one in hopes of running off with Arsenal’s great fortunes.  Wait, what?

Fabio Coentrao is probably not chasing around supernatural forces or writing another best seller but he does have a resemblance to David Duchovny’s characters over the years, especially Hank Moody from Californication.  The actor has a little squarer jaw but Coentrao could probably do in a pinch.

ashley young

Another United player has a twin in the acting world.  Skimming the Footballers Who Look Like Actors website, a recent post showed side by side pics of Ashley Young and Jaime Hector.  Think what you want about Young (diver, poor crosser of the ball, waste of space) but Hector’s performance as Marlo Stanfield in the Wire was amazing.  What you say.  You haven’t seen the Wire.  Stop reading this post and start watching the series right now.

For the purposes of this post and as an acknowledgment of the Spanish Waiter’s tactical creativity with Chelsea at the 2012 Club World Cup, I have moved David Luiz into central midfield, and his doppelganger is easy: Sideshow Bob.  Next.

Mesut Ozil / Peter Lorre(submitted by mimirose)

Out on the left side of the pitch I have put Mesut Ozil.  Again the Footballers Who Look Like Actors website provided the comparison, in this case—Peter Lorre.  His name sounded familiar but had no idea who he was.  After a little research, found out he was in Casablanca, the Maltese Falcon, the Mr. Moto movies and Arsenic and Old Lace.  Who knew?

Pulling the strings for this eleven has to be everyone’s favorite Uruguayan—Luis Suarez.  Hopefully in some hypothetical match he doesn’t offend the opposition, try to dive for a penalty or save a goal bound shot with his hand.  His twin, Anne Hathaway, has been a running gag on the Men in Blazers podcast for a while now, even generating an entry on the MIB wiki.


Hopefully scoring the goals for the team would be Roberto Soldado and Edison Cavani. I started referring to the Spanish striker as Bradley Cooper in my early posts on La Liga, while Cavani’s particular facial features reminded me of days gone by and Masters of the Universe villain Skeletor.

holloway sloth

Mean-spirit-ness ahoy. Managing this team has to be Iain Dowie.  Due to his long record of success?  No.  Due to his inspiring man management skills?  No.  Because he is Sloth, again a touchstone to another movie of my youth—The Goonies.  Not nice to say but most think it and don’t say it out loud.  Credit to ROLFrazzi for pic.

Finally, taking charge of the match must be Spanish referee Cesar Nunez Fernandez who, along with University of Kentucky Lead Car Salesman Head Basketball Coach John Calipari, is keeping the world’s hair gel economy afloat.  Obviously he’s been hitting the beach or tanning bed more than the UK coach, and I’m sure he could make sure that any game goes off without a hitch.  Even with Suarez on the field.

Overseeing all of the festivities would be Mayor Quimby from the Simpsons, giving the match a sense of decorum.  And if he couldn’t make it, I’m sure his understudy, Brendan Rodgers, could step in.  Have to give a shout to Mid-Michigan United Supporters John and Ravi who tipped me off to this one.


So that’s the list.

GK      David de Gea              Who from Whoville

RB       Sergio Ramos              Val Kilmer

CB       Thomas Vermaelen     Jude Law

CB       Philippe Mexes            Jeremy Renner

LB       Fabio Coentrao           David Duchovny

RM      Ashley Young             Jaime Hector

DM      David Luiz                  Sideshow Bob

AM      Luis Suarez                 Anne Hathaway

LM      Mesut Ozil                  Peter Lorre

ST        Edison Cavani             Skeletor

ST        Roberto Soldado         Bradley Cooper

MGR   Iain Dowie                  Sloth

Referee Cesar Nunez Fernandez        John Calipari

The goal now becomes creating another squad for this team to play against.  The notebook will be at the ready and if I can’t create it on my own, then I’ll “borrow” from Footballers Who Look Like Actors.

In my research I found some more resources:

Enjoy and thanks to everyone for their suggestions and notes.

Old Futbol Buffet–Team of Destiny

I became an atheist shortly after 5pm EDT on Saturday.  How?  Why?  The 2012 Champions League Final.  How could a supreme being let a team of over-aged, racist, manipulating, selfish, underhanded players win one of the biggest trophies on the planet?  Not only win but consign Spurs to the secondary European competition and start a probable fire sale?  Not only win but beat their opponents on their home field to complete a horror treble (second in the league, runner up in the domestic cup, runner up in the Champions League Final) a la Bayer Leverkusen in 2002?  Not only win but let a disgraced captain—who hacked down an opponent in the semis to rule himself out of the game, who is up on charges of racism, who slept with a teammate’s significant other—lift a trophy of the highest order in football?

That first sentence was purely hyperbole for this post.  I disavowed God years ago.

I have no idea what happened in the game in terms of tactics and personnel.  I was at a bar with over 50 soccer supporters, drinking and ranting and yelling and taking pics and trying not to pull my ample hair out.  The first half flew by and was more entertaining than I thought it was going to be. Chelsea actually came into the game towards the end and were the best team for the last ten minutes.  A critical moment occurred when Gomez received the ball, beat Cahill and then blasted the ball into the stands.

The second half reverted to the typical script. Barcelona, Bayern, whoever, dominated Chelsea but couldn’t break them down; Drogba became isolated; time ticked away.  I kept screaming at the screen for Munich to start crossing the ball, to start challenging the Chelsea rearguard.  Guess what?  They crossed the ball in for Muller to head home, a goal that had been coming for him.  Immediately Heynckes subbed in Van Buyten for Muller.  Made sense at the time but looking back that might have been the turning point.  Five minutes later, Chelsea had their only corner kick of the match, and of course Drogba got away from his defender to score.  On to extra time.

Basically Drogba committed two penalties in the last two Champions League games and got away with it.  His foul on Ribery was idiotic.  One, what was he doing in the box?  Two, what did he hope to accomplish?  Three, how could he have been so stupid?  Robben’s penalty was horrible.  Well struck but not nearly accurate enough.  As someone tweeted:  all those Germans and they let the Dutchmen take the penalty.  After that there was only one result: The Team of Destiny would beat the Team at Home.  I tweeted that and resigned myself to a Chelsea victory in the shootout.

Not much to say about the penalties other than Schweini missed his and that was that.  Epic against Real Madrid, he didn’t strike it well enough and allowed Drogba to step forward and seize the moment, which he duly did, sending Neuer the wrong way before sprinting the length of the field, ripping his jersey off and soaking up the adulation.

Chelsea—sixth in the league, on the umpteenth manager in the Abramovich era, still in need of squad renewal—are European Champions.  Those are the facts.  I can’t change them, no matter how much I want to.  All this game revealed to me is that I’m snakebitten this season.  Just that simple.  Barcelona went down to Real Madrid and Chelski; Manchester United had the title pried from their fingers in 120 seconds on #Survival Sunday; Juventus won the scudetto only after I stopped paying attention after four years of hardcore support.  So now my strategy for the Euros is to root for Portugal, ensuring that this group of talented but brain dead players can’t win the competition.

When in doubt, I refer to Zonal Marking for analysis.  ZM’s secret identity (Michael Cox) wrote this post for the Guardian shortly after the final whistle, identifying the key trends in movement and player choices, noting that Muller and Mata were critical the match.  As for the final result, the substitutes proved the difference.

Roger Bennett (@rogbennett) summed up the game as only he can with witty and incisive and confusing comparisons and metaphors, while noting that Cech had been researching Bayern penalties since 2007 (diving correctly on all six, saving three), but he hit the proverbial nail on the head towards the end of his post:

This cup was won by repeatedly summoning glory out of the jaws of defeat through collective endeavor, resilience in adversity, indefatigable belief and gutsy pragmatism. The public profile of some of its players may make Chelsea tough to love, but its achievement is hard not to admire.

Jonathon Wilson broke down the tactics of the game, noting that both teams got their formations right but the difference was in execution.  Both teams were without key players which forced interesting changes, with both teams coping—Bertrand doing admirably in such a big game and Muller and Robben swapping positions as examples—but Bayern didn’t convert their chances, Gomez being the notable scapegoat.  Chelsea rode their luck, made their chance count and then Cech did the rest.

Raphael Honigstein was in Munich for another Final Failure for Bayern Munich, as memories of 1999 came back, with an English team snatching the trophy from Die Roten.  There was talk of change, but for me only one change has to be made—Gomez.  Get a clinical forward and Bayern can truly threaten the big boys and be yearly threat.  That is all.


A couple of pods regarding Manchester United and Juventus.

Bobby and Eddie at the Manchester United Redcast were like me in that they started to believe at 85 minutes and then the moment, and the championship, was gone. They moved on to discuss how MUFC might respond to another challenger like Blackburn, like Arsenal, like Chelsea. They finished with a hope that Chelsea would win so that the Reds could poach Tottenham players.

The gang at Juventiknows got the pod back together to discuss the scudetto victory.  They led off in terms of belief and where everyone celebrated the championship before moving on to praise for Conte and his preparation and flexible tactics.  The next topic was the transfer policy of Marotta for this season and looking ahead to what they need for next (ie Pirlo replacement).  They wrapped up with thoughts on next season, with more games and more expectations.

Paolo Bandini reviewed a Coppa Italia full of storylines—Juventus’ bid for an unbeaten double, Del Piero’s last game for Juve, and Napoli’s run at their first piece of silverware since Maradona.  In the end, Napoli ran out 2-0 winners and now face the future, knowing that key players could move on.


Uli Hesse wrote a great column about the final weekend in Germany, with results from the playoffs and the German Cup Final, where Dortmund thrashed Bayern Munich 5-2.  This result was the fifth straight win over the German power and was the most goals Die Roten have every given up in a final.  Uli kept with the stats with this stunner: Unless the French Ligue 1 produces 167 goals on its final matchday, the Bundesliga is once more the highest-scoring of the major European leagues – for the 22nd year in row!

Morbo Minute–Champions League MatchDay 5

Match Day Five provided plenty of goals, drama and excitement.  Several teams earned their way into the knockout round–Apoel, Bayer Leverkusen, Inter Milan, and Bayern Munich to name a few.

Tuesday I watched Napoli against Manchester City. Villarreal had been eliminated and Real Madrid was already through as group winners, so this match had the chance for the most drama, which it delivered. Napoli worked their socks off, were efficient in front of goal and executed their game plan almost to perfection.

Villarreal fell again, and the rest of the season will be spent trying to get back into European competition next year.  As for Real Madrid, the Special One tweaked his lineup and was rewarded with a great effort and lots of goals.  The game saw the first appearance of Sahin and another appearance of Varane as Real build up their squad for a fight on several fronts.  Here is a match recap from Real Madrid Football Blog.

On Wednesday I skipped out of work early to watch AC Milan versus FC Barcelona. What a game.  AC Milan was sharper and more aggressive than the first game, which allowed the game to move from tactical to thrilling.  I was worried that the Rossoneri would not be able to keep up for the entire match but KPB, Abate, and Robinho (then Pato) provided the energy for the veteran players to draw from.  Worried came to mind when I saw Busi and Masch in the back, because I didn’t want them to get isolated against Robinho (pace) or Ibra (strength).  Turns out KPB was the biggest threat, buzzing around the field bringing everyone into the match.  The quality of the goals was hit and miss, but the highlight of the match has to be Boateng’s goal with skill and finish of the highest order. Barcelona win the group but AC Milan show that they may be a tough out in the next round.

Here are some comments from Total Barca.

Valencia absolutely crushed Genk and have given themselves a real chance to advance.  On the last Match Day, they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.  The winner advances and may even the win the group.  I’m still not sure what happens if there is a draw.

Match results (games involving La Liga teams in bold):

Home Score Away
Bayern Munich 3-1 Villarreal
Napoli 2-1 Manchester City
CSKA Moscow 0-2 Lille
Trabzonspor 1-1 Internazionale
Manchester United 2-2 Benfica
Otelul Galati 2-3 FC Basel
Lyon 0-0 Ajax Amsterdam
Real Madrid 6-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Home Score Away
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Chelsea
Valencia 7-0 Racing Genk
Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Marseille 0-1 Olympiakos
Zenit St Petersburg 0-0 Apoel Nicosia
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-2 FC Porto
BATE Borisov 0-1 Viktoria Plzen
AC Milan 2-3 Barcelona

Strip Club–YMMV edition

from . . . YMMV: Your mileage may vary. This abbreviation is typically used to indicate that the amount of “mileage” you receive can vary from dancer to dancer.


European Football  is a money grab on many levels, with the Champions League being the golden goose and the Europa League settling into being an allowance for doing your chores.  One aspect of the quest for cash is the third kit.  Long gone are the days when a club would use the same kit for years.  Now there is a new home and away kit released each season (sometimes released a week before the previous campaign ends), plus the advent of the third kit, which is worn in varying amounts.

I took a little time to search the interweb for third kits for 2011-12 teams involved in Europe.  The list below is by no means comprehensive, and the results ranged from mind blowingly amazing to disgustingly horrific.  Here we go . . .


Let’s ease into this post with a “Really?  That’s what you came up with?”  Chelski go in the way back machine to take us to maybe the late 70’s/early 80’s to give us this masterpiece.  Shocking really.

Real Madrid

Usually Los Merengues go with a purple, navy blue or black for their away or change strip.  Red is a daring choice but it works.  Different pics should rib panels that can make it look like a training top.  In the end I would prefer a red top, with white shorts and socks, but this isn’t too bad.


The Orange is right down the middle.  It provides something a little different, which is sort of what Los Che do.

Manchester United

Can’t go wrong with black.  I really wish this was the away jersey rather than the blue/black piece of crap.  One of my future posts is to review all of the black kits from the mid-90’s until now, but for now this will have to do.  This one’s on the 2011 Wish List.

AC Milan

Staying with black kits, this one from AC Milan is fantastic.  The simple black kit is accented by the a narrow stripe across the chest using the colors of the Italian flag.  The gold crest adds a wonderful touch of class to the whole thing.  One of my favorite jerseys of 2011/12.

Bayern Munich

Like AC Milan, this kit takes the black top to a stunning level.  adidas does get it right on occasion.


Then there’s Lyon.  Not only do they go pink, or whatever shade of pink that is, but the top half of jersey gives me a headache.  I have no idea what they are going for but it doesn’t work for me.


Yellow Power?  I don’t think so.  Not impressed with this one.  Don’t see Cavani really intimidating his opponents wearing this.


I love navy blue.  The yellow and white accents on this top aren’t too distracting, and this is one of Puma’s better efforts.

Borussia Dortmund (third and Champions League)

The reigning Bundesliga champs are going all out this season.  They have two third kits.  The white change kit is solid, while the official Champions League jersey is meh.  Don’t know if really I like the swirling lines.  Seems out of a 80’s template catalog.

So that’s it for now.  If I find some more in my travels, I will definitely put them up.