When asked to describe football, my friend could only let out one word, “Magical,” after a deep sigh.
The sigh in itself was enough answer (I’m sure you’ll agree with me). Football is just unfathomable.
One time, it gives you joy. Another time it breaks your heart. At other times, it just abandons you in-between, leaving to wonder what exactly happened.
And over the past week, there were more-than-enough heart-breaking, pressure-relieving, shocking, amazing, heroic stories that happened in the football world.
One of them was,
– Manchester United’s #ZlatanTime
It was dubbed the world’s worst-kept secret at the time. Speculations were rife! Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with French giants PSG had expired. The big guy was a free man.
And every single club wanted him to join them. Who wouldn’t want the Swedish king on their team?
The Swede powerhouse was in no hurry to choose sides. He kept his cards close to his chest, using the Euro 2016 for cover-up.
Sweden got eliminated from the competition and the big man was followed everywhere by questions about his next move.
He answered the world via his Facebook page.
And on Friday, it was Zlatan time in Manchester. Zlatan signed for Manchester United and rejoined ‘The Special One.’
You can’t wait for the Manchester derby right? Me too!
But Zlatan and The Red Devils weren’t the only ones signing contracts in England. There were more…
– …Premier League Transfers
It’s buying and selling season across Europe. And the English Premier League clubs have been pulling their weights.
Over the week, Manchester City unveiled Pep Guardiola to the fans. The Philospher who called City his “new home” joined from Bayern Munich and will be looking to infect the Citizens with his winning power. And also attract some big names.
Manchester City also acquired the services of Nolito who was the leading goalscorer for Celta Vigo last season.
Saido Mane became the 5th Southampton player to join Liverpool in 3 years. Dwight Gayle left Crystal Palace for Newcastle. The Batshuayi hijack was completed by the Blues. Arsenal signed a certain Japanse striker, Asano (surprise surprise).
Henrik Mkhitaryan, who was listed in the 2015/2016 Bundesliga Team of the Year, also signed for Man. Utd as was confirmed by Borussia Dortmund.
While players were moving in and out of clubs, the action continued in the…
– Euro 2016
“If in doubt, smash it down the middle.” – Commentator, on penalties, during the Germany vs Italy game.
The Quarter finals of the Euro 2016 witnessed a clash of the titans: Germany vs Italy (Poland, Wales and Iceland don’t exactly count as titans if you know what I mean…).
Both coaches played a 3-5-2 formation. A cagey game highlighted by Boateng’s ‘Air Jordan’ advert led to a 1-1 draw at the end of 120 minutes.
A penalty shoot out was needed to seperate both teams. And the penalties on display were amazing…ly funny. There were some really good ones though like De Sciglio’s and Kimmich’s.
But it was generally a contest of poor penalties. Comical penalties. Zaza of Italy literally danced for a couple of seconds before sending his penalty into space.Pelle’s spot-kick was a shot very well off-target.
Then there was Schweinsteiger’s blaze over the bar and Mesut Ozil’s penalty that sent Buffon the wrong way but hit the post. Muller missed too.
In the end, Germany won the game and finally broke the jinx of not beating the Italians in the last 8 meetings in major competitions (4 draws, 4 losses).
In the other games, Portugal, which are yet to win a game in normal time, knocked Poland out of the competition via penalties.
France ended Iceland’s fairytale run by scoring 5 past them. That was the first time in the competition a team scored five goals.
Wales came from a goal down to beat Belgium 1-3. Robson-Kanu’s “Cryuff-esque goal” was one of the highlights of the game.
The teams are now down to four. Who will win the Euro 2016?
While the quest for European glory continues, there’s another quest on-going in the Nigerian Premier Football League.
– The NPFL: Who Will Wear The Crown?
The much-talked about contest between red-hot, second-placed Rangers International, and table toppers, Wikki Tourists, ended in a draw. The Lagos derby saw MFM fire 3 past Ikorodu United (who I think can’t avoid a relegation this season).
There was an away win as Plateau United got one over their counterparts, Abia Warriors (this one came as a surprise though). Unsurprisingly though, Enyimba bounced back from their South African travel (travail?) with a 2-0 win.
Credit to the very commited Italian side that was able to finally score one past Germany in the competition. The flying block made by Florenzi in the game emphasized the kind of commitment Conte had drawn from his men.
But football isn’t all about defending. And I hope Conte now knows better as he heads for the Stamford Bridge.
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn