Blog Archives

When Facial Recognition Is a Bust

We all remember the statue disaster regarding soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo that was unveiled back in 2017 that was a legitimate global news story.

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo stands near a bust of his likeness during a ceremony to rename Madeira's airport after him on March 29, 2017. Right: The bust that was revealed.

(Francisco Leong–AFP/Getty Images; Octavio Passos–Getty Images)

The comical bust that can be seen above, which was created by Emanuel Santos for a ceremony that honored the soccer star by renaming the Madeira Airport to Madeira Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Portugal, was eventually replaced last summer. In the same spirit, ‘Late Late Show’ host James Corden decided to pull a prank just a couple of days ago along these same hilariously exaggerated (jaw) lines.

The target: James Corden’s friend and fellow Brit, David Beckham.

After Bayern Munich was eliminated from Champions League during the team’s return leg against Liverpool, which is something I am still processing, I needed to laugh.

This did the trick.

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Happy Monday!

Breaking News: Zinedine Zidane is pulling a Jupp Heynckes and coming out of retirement (of sorts) to return to European powerhouse Real Madrid where he won multiple Champions League titles with during the past few years.

Following the embarrassing Champions League series loss against Ajax just last week–highlighted by the 4-1 loss at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by the team from Amsterdam–coupled with less-than-stellar performances in La Liga this season, Real Madrid has been in veritable crisis mode. It’s the reality of incredibly high expectations for a club that’s been the king of the Champions League with Mr. Zidane as their manager.

And now Real Madrid’s real leader has returned. Of course, winning the Champions League is not an option in 2019. Catching Barcelona, a team that’s 12-points ahead of Real Madrid, for the La Liga title also seems unlikely in 2019. So what’s left?

Mr. Zidane must right the ship immediately by basically winning out the remainder of the 2018/2019 schedule with style and renewed energy while searching for his new Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid will be looking to throw insane amounts of money for its next world-class x-factor. And finding this player where “x marks the spot” will be Mr. Zidane’s greatest challenge.

Oddly enough for Real Madrid, that spot marked by x (well, actually three x’s) may very well be located in Amsterdam. Just ask Barcelona.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week. 

P.S. I  have to say that I called Ajax upsetting Real Madrid in their Champions League series. However, I definitely did not foresee the blowout win that transpired. That was shocking. Who saw that coming? In Madrid no less! Now hopefully Bayern Munich can pull off a similar upset against Liverpool this Wednesday at the Allianz Arena. 

It Was #GiveFansGoalsOnTuesday for Bayern Munich

A win is a win is a win…

but is a win enough?

The Niko Kovač-led Bayern Munich squad in 2018–we’ll wait and see who the club’s coach is in the spring and fall of 2019–has received understandable pressure from the press and fans alike after a subpar beginning to the 2018/2019 campaign. Sitting at 21 points after 12 matches, which is nine-points out of first-place to heated domestic rival Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarian giants have showcased uncharacteristic weakness and lack of comprehensive identity.

It’s just not good enough.

So what better time (and competition) than the Champions League match against the visiting Portuguese side Benfica to reassert its dominance for 90 minutes?

Ladies and gentlemen, when you score off a short corner–a kiss of death for scoring 99.99% of the time–then you know the game is going your way.

A brace (2 goals) for the ageless #10 Arjen Robben and relentless #9 Robert Lewandowski led the Bavarians to an emphatic 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena. The Frenchman #7 Franck Ribéry added a laser of a goal in the 76′ for good measure.

Bayern Munich has proven that a win is, in fact, a win. However, is this one win enough to get Mr. Kovač off the hot seat?

No.

Will the remainder of the 2018/2019 season be slowed down to analyzing this Bayern Munich squad, as managed by the enigmatic Niko Kovač, with a tirelessly critical eye on a game-by-game basis?

Yes.

Welcome to FC Hollywood, Mr. Kovač.

P.S. Regardless of what the Bayern Munich business leaders are saying to the press regarding their coach’s job security, accomplished manager Carlo Ancelotti can attest that it’s the Bayern Munich locker room that will ultimately decide their manager’s fate. 

FIFA Bids Farewell to Tradition in 2022

Image result for Gianni Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming to a close this weekend–third place on Saturday and the final on Sunday–people are already starting to look to the next World Cup in Qatar.

You know, that soccer-rich culture crazy hot Middle Eastern country that surely has at least one soccer ball within its borders.

While I am not a fan of people immediately dismissing the moment for the future, there was news that broke today that was eye-opening. FIFA President Gianni Infantino (Swiss) confirmed that said World Cup in Qatar four years from now will be November 21-December 18. And in announcing the unorthodox schedule for a tournament meant to be played in June and July, Mr. Infantino added this remark.

“Leagues around the world have been informed already, and of course they will have to adapt.”

“…of course they will have to adapt” is quite the statement to make regarding a host country whose bid process was a bit shady, to say the least. The perception looked like a cash grab by FIFA and Qatar with accusations of corruption in the voting process.

Having traveled to Qatar years back, it’s a nice country and I’m glad I stayed the night, having taken in its burgeoning skyline. It’s sort of a mini Dubai–the new Dubai–to a restrained extent. But when other soccer-rich countries and cultures lost the bid for 2022, that seemed a bit odd.

And now the FIFA president has the gall to speak down to the world’s top soccer leagues–steeped in storied history and tradition, as well as world-class talent–to force them to adapt?

FIFA should have adapted to the traditional needs of the World Cup and its participating coaches and players in awarding the tournament for 2022. Particularly given the historical fallout via corruption charges waged against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter (Swiss) and Co. in 2015 and FIFA officials concerning the Qatar bid, FIFA has yet to earn back the benefit of the doubt in cases like the 2022 bid.

FYI – The road of redemption for FIFA will be long and weighed down in a myriad of heated debates. And it doesn’t help that this road for FIFA is being built to travel through Qatar in November and December.

P.S. Liquor is heavily restricted in Qatar. Well, at least soccer fans aren’t famously known for drinking an alcoholic beverage or two, in a stadium or a pub, when watching the beautiful game…

P.P.S. One unresolved issue still under review is whether the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include 48 teams. No, no and no. It may be time for a competitive marketplace of alternative governing bodies to emerge to challenge FIFA and its endless train of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ideas as conducted by the Swiss. Perhaps it’s fitting this type of news broke on Friday the 13th.