While watching Craig Bellamy, John Arne Riise and the rest of the Liverpool Karaoke All-Stars
deliver a nicely placed nine-iron to the knee of mighty Barca last night, I couldn't help but notice the lack of form displayed by many of the Champions League's leading lights. Barcelona, known for its nearly-telepathic on-field chemistry, snipped and griped with each other as if they had suddenly been body-snatched and replaced with Madridistas
. How fiercely does this Samuel Eto'o
fire burn, that they cannot summon the teamwork required to dispatch a team who recently had one star player beat the $#!+ out of a teammate over a few notes of karaoke?
But no matter who you are (we're looking at you, Rafa Marquez
), you have to give credit where it's due, and Liverpool were never rattled, even after going a goal down in the Camp Nou pressure-cooker. While nobody ever said the Reds don't have any fight in them, their ability to come from behind in pressure situations is beginning to border on legendary. Milan, West Ham and now Barca fans know of Liverpool's fighting spirit, but Craig Bellamy wants to make sure everyone knows just how ballsy they are:
That's right, kids; he celebrated his goal with a golf swing! Craig Bellamy is straight up gangsta
Speaking of goal celebrations, Mark van Bommel's "up yours
" to the Real Madrid supporters was pretty classic as well. Sure, Bayern lost the match, but they are steps closer to winning the war, getting two key away goals before heading home. Real Madrid, after looking unstoppable in the first half, wilted away in the second, and the infighting has begun anew
at the Bernabeu. While it's true that it's only Jose Antonio Reyes doing the yapping (he always seems to be whining about something), there can be no doubt that Fabio Capello is losing the squad. How can you not second-guess Capello after seeing the nearly-banished David Beckham dominate the first half so thoroughly? To give (begrudging) credit to Reyes, he has a fair point; Capello's tinkering with positions and playing time has undermined the confidence of his squad. Real's failure to bury their old German rivals underscores this point.
In light of the situation at Lille, as well as in Italy, I don't think there's any question that the Premiership is poised to run away as the best league in soccer over the next few seasons. With so much TV money coming in, along with new investors and stadiums to provide stability, as well as overseas marketing clout, the league already has a leg up on its less-organized European counterparts. Add better security and safety for fans and players than is available elsewhere, and I don't see how more of the world's top starts choose not to play there. Serie A's problems are so severe and unfixable, expect a mass exodus to England by its biggest stars in the near future.
In the same vein, watching the Dynamo play in that unsafe stadium in Costa Rica makes the think that SuperLiga is an especially good idea. Nothing against the CONCACAF Champions Cup, but the field conditions and security situation in some of the smaller island countries is not on par with a Champions-League style tournament. In future years, SuperLiga should add a play-in round to add one club from a smaller country entry into the tournament, similar to the play-in rounds of the Champions League.
Last but not least, congratulations to AEG and the Los Angeles Galaxy for essentially getting David Beckham for free. If the San Diego Union Tribune
is to be believed, bidding for the Galaxy's shirt-sponsorship rights is up to $49 million for 5 years, with Citibank holding the edge at the moment. That would more or less cover Beckham's salary, wouldn't it? We'll keep an eye on this one.