Monthly Archives: March 2013

Holy Football: The Pope’s Team, Barca’s Blessing, and Vatican FC

Pope Lorenzo

So the white smoke has blown and Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been announced as the latest… famous San Lorenzo fan (and Pope). After Pope John Paul II who was a goalkeeper in Poland and Pope Benedict XVI who was a big Bayern Munich fan, it’s been revealed that the new Argentine Pope supports the Buenos Aires team San Lorenzo. See:

'Activo Simple' do I sense an atheist club card maker?

‘Activo Simple’ do I sense an atheist club card maker?

God Supports Barcelona

However it seems the powers that be in the Vatican favour Barcelona. The Catalan team have played during three papal conclaves: ’58, ’78, and last tuesday in their Champions League game against AC Milan. They won all three games 4-0. AC never stood a chance.

But surely the people of Vatican City can’t support a Spanish team, and what about nationally? Is there a Vatican City international team?

Vatican National Team

Yes there is. They played their first game (a 0-0 against Monaco) in 2002 and have gone on to play a further seven games. Their only other recognised international was again against Monaco and was a 2-1 loss. They have also played San Marino in a 0-0 friendly as well as some wins against minor footballing outfits in Switzerland and Italy. They are managed by none other than Giovanni Trapattoni.

Their most hyped game was a religious crunch match between themselves and Palestine’s national football team. Unfortunately ‘the heavens’ weren’t on their side and they were smashed 9-1 in Al-Khader by the more professional Palestinian team. There must have been a lot of added time for all those prayer celebrations…

“The sport of football can be a vehicle of education for the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially for the younger generation” said Pope Benedict XVI, probably after a quality kick around. So football is on the rise in the World’s smallest country but they have one thing hampering their football calendar.

See, the only citizens of Vatican City (and thus the only people eligible to play for them) are pretty much the Swiss Guard, who themselves are normally busy guarding stuff and are only held for a limited amount of time, hence the lack of games.

Meh, David Seaman has worn worse

Meh, David Seaman has worn worse

The football fan Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone hinted that they be allowed to take players from their Catholic Seminaries (religious training schools) around the world, cheekily suggesting that “If we just take the Brazilian students from our Pontifical universities we could have a magnificent squad.” I think it’s time the Vatican did a little less praying on a sunday and a little more attacking drills.

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From Player to President to Player

Football chairmen, owners, and presidents get a pretty bad name nowadays. They surf in from foreign lands on surfboards made of political suspicion, riding tsunami waves of gold and oil, buy your rivals the league, fire your favourite manager, and sit there wondering why the peasants are revolting (both meanings).

But we can’t tar all these suits with the same brush. Some people in power seem alright; like Delia Smith or Dave Whelan. Then you have Jamie Estrada Medranda – the president of the people.

Medranda was a youth player for Ecuadorian top flight outfit Manta FC when he jacked in his playing career, going to university to study business management.

Shame it was Graphic Design...

Shame it wasn’t Graphic Design…

 

There, after eight years of learning and working, he returned back to Manta – this time as president. That in itself is a nice tale; local player chooses football’s academic path, while staying loyal to his club. But it doesn’t stop there…

After three years in charge of the club Medranda got that ‘itch’, the itch that could only be scratched by playing the beautiful game. Unfortunately for him the Edcuador Serie A League doesn’t allow a player-president.

That didn’t stop Medranda’s passion for the game though, as he actually stepped down from the president role to re-sign for his club.

He made his debut at the weekend, eleven years after last playing. He came on in the 85th minute, and two minutes later you bet bottom cheesy Hollywood movie dollar he scored.

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Flashback Football: Ronaldo Stuns Old Trafford – 2003 (Video)

So tonight two of Europe’s heavyweights meet at the Theater of Dreams to slog it out for a place in the CL quarter finals. A classic encounter that’s been played throughout the ages, the most successful team in England and the most successful team in Spain delicately sit at one a piece.

All eyes are on a certain ex-Man U attacker in the well-groomed shape of Cristiano Ronaldo. Not a lot has changed over the years. Cut back ten years and the situation wasn’t much different, all eyes were still on a Ronaldo. A currently more deadly Ronaldo. One a bit… softer round the edges.

Before Messi, before C-Ron, before Kaka, and before Ronaldinho there was an attacker that teams feared more than any other, and didn’t he show why against United. His first, an individual strike that demonstrates his lethality. His second, a masterclass of intense possession football and movement. His third, a powerful dipping finish from distance. This is the night (fat) Ronaldo scored at hattrick at Old Trafford:

Sure Cristiano is going to cause hell for United tonight. But they can be glad that the original Ronaldo isn’t there.

 

 

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