I missed yesterday's post.
Please don't boo me out of the building.
I was sick but your friendly neighborhood blogger is back, ready to provide you with news regarding the 2010 World Cup.
8 days away and the news is ratcheted up. There's so much information out there regarding the tournament, it's quite literally information overload.
But that's why I'm here.
1 - Goalkeepers dislike the official World Cup Adidas ball more than Diego Maradona dislikes reporters and photographers, according to the New York Times.
As reporter Jere Longman says, 'the ball is being criticized for being too light and too curvy, as if it were a fashion model obsessed with too little food and too much plastic surgery.'
I love that analogy ...
2 - Spain's sports daily MARCA has the best World Cup fixture calendar I've yet to see. It's in Spanish but I'm sure you can figure it out. It's brilliant.
3 - The BBC has a wicked 2010 World Cup site. It's obviously geared towards the English national team. But what's this? WHAT'S THIS?! Stop the presses ...
One of the blogs there, Piers Edward's football blog, has your friendly neighborhood blogger linked on the side!!!
Sorry, I had to gloat some. It's great to be linked to the BBC ...
4 - The 2010 World Cup is already lucrative to FIFA. You think?
5 - Nelson Mandela will attend the 2010 World Cup. The 91-year-old will attend the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico as well as the Final scheduled for July 11 at Soccer City Stadium. Great news!
And because I wasn't here yesterday, one extra news tidbit:
6 - North Korea tried to pull a fast one on FIFA, listing one of their strikers as a goalkeeper. Tsk tsk ... Bad, bad Korea ...
What I Think I Think
Let me delve inside my fandom for a bit and touch on a news story.
"It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC," Benítez said. "I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.
"I'll always keep in my heart the good times I've had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager."
As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Spanish club Valencia CF, where Benitez made his name. While managing Valencia, Rafa guided Los Che to their first Spanish title in 31 years and two years later, the double, winning the Spanish league and UEFA Cup.
Since Rafa's departure, Valencia's star has fallen.
But Benitez has been a star, capturing the 2005 UEFA Champions League in dramatic fashion over AC Milan in a match no one will ever forget. He also led 'Pool to the 2007 final against the same AC Milan team, losing 2-1.
Ultimately, Rafa's undoing was his failure to capture the English championship, which has eluded Liverpool since 1990.
Where does he go now? Inter Milan? Back to Spain?
Who knows ...
What I do know is that Rafa's provided me with some of my favorite football memories.
From Valencia winning 2 Spanish titles to the UEFA Cup against Marseille.
From the incredible 2005 Champions League final to some heart stopping matches against Chelsea in the CL semifinals, Rafa's teams have consistently provided entertainment and excitement.
Sure, one of Rafa's criticisms are that his teams play 'boring' football. But whatever. The guy's a winner and that's all that matters to the fans.
He didn't win the English Premier League and that cost him his job. But that doesn't mean Rafa doesn't deserve accolades.
Thanks for the memories, Rafa. We wish you the best in the future.