It’s been a football-full week. Every day had one game or the other, one name or the other that made headlines. Bologna surprisingly holding Juventus to a goalless draw, Valencia and Gary Neville tearing their opponents apart, Barcelona and Messi. It was the week Mikel – of all people – scored a Champions League goal for Chelsea and CR7 stormed out of the press conference room.
Dramatic right? But there’s more:
The Chinese Football Invasion!
No one knows exactly what’s going on – I’m at least sure I don’t – but China is the new go-to country for all things football. Forget England and Spain. Forget Man. City and PSG, the Chinese league and its clubs are splashing the cash effortlessly. It’s like they’re poaching European football. They’re literally buying any player in sight!
The weird part? The players are responding! They’re moving effortlessly. Some years back, it would have been weird for any player plying their trade in England or Germany to talk about finishing off in the Chinese league. It was either America’s MLS or Australia’s A-League (the Indian I league joined the fray too). All of a sudden, some players and their move to the home of the ‘Great Wall’ is now a “dream come true.” Well, money does play an important role in making dreams come true right?
The UEFA Champions League is Back!
Good times are here again! Erm, I should have said instead, “Real football just started in Europe.” It’s the business-end of the UEFA Champions League. It’s “go big or go home” time. Here the boys are seperated from the men and a goal is counted as two goals.
Weird right? But awesome too! And the stand-out clash – and obviously the stand-out game – was PSG vs Chelsea. It was a show of total domination by the Parisiens as they won 2 – 1. Why not? They were playing at home and had a certain Di Maria and Veratti in their arsenal which they utilized effectively. Di Maria especially. And then talk about Thiago Silva and David Luiz snuffing life out of Diego Costa but letting Mikel score. I’m sure Luiź wasn’t expecting it. Before I forget, Cristiano Ronaldo must love to do his talking with his legs more than with his mouth. Why else do you storm out of a conference room and go on to score?
Sevilla WILL Win the Europa league, again!
Like the Champions League, the Europa League resumed action too. Yeah, that “very stressful” league. And guess who was back competiting for the trophy? You’re right. They played against Molde and in all honesty, it felt like a mis-match in every sense of the word. Okay. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe that was me exaggerating. Then again, maybe not.
The ‘Moldeans’ – what else do you call Molde players? – seemed to move fast. They seemed to be up to the task until Sevilla started knocking them around and doing what they do best in this league: press, press and press. To be more elaborate, they dictated the pace at which their opponents chased the game. If they wanted the Molde players to run faster, they passed the ball around faster. If they wanted their opponents to catch their breaths, the boys from Spain kicked the ball around less faster. From start to finish, Unai Emery’s Sevilla had that competitive, always-fighting-for-the-ball-possession edge. By the 72nd minute, they were already 3 up. So much for being in your comfort zone. The Europa League is back and Sevilla will win it, again! No disrespect to the remaining 31 teams.
Can we give Barcelona the La Liga title now?
Cheers to a great weekend of football!!
Rotimi is a football lover whose love for the game translates into writing about the beautiful game, talking about the game and some times getting into ‘profitable’ arguments. You can engage him on Twitter @rotdav
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.