Who would have thought the best highlight in all of sports last week would come from the Manchester United vs Manchester City soccer match? Wayne Rooney’s game-winning bicycle kick goal was one of the most impressive goals I have ever seen. It set the Internet and sports analysts abuzz with replays and discussion, being called one of the most memorable goals ever and “jaw-droppingly” good. A sight of beauty that even a non-soccer fan could appreciate.
Although I’m not personally the world’s biggest soccer fan myself, I do miss summer days in DC, tailgating with Barra Brava and cheering on the guys in black and red. I must admit that I geeked out a little last week when ESPN ScoreCenter on my phone posted the first matchup between DC United and Columbus Crew for March 19th. There is something about the crazed fandom that soccer brings that really is not matched in any other sport. The drums, the chants, the fire, and yes, even the vuvuzelas that soccer fans bring to the match is unrivaled.
Speaking of fans, I was pleasantly surprised to see a group of guys sitting at the bar downtown Tuesday afternoon watching the UEFA Champions League as Tottenham blanked Milan in the opening round of 16. Yesterday there was quite a crowd downtown again as Arsenal took on Barcelona and shocked the favorites in a 2-1 victory. UEFA play will continue through the end of May, with the final being played on May 28th. With the weather warming up, I think an afternoon on the patio watching footy sounds like a fabulous idea!
Another bit of news that sent shockwaves through the futbol community was the retirement of Ronaldo. Ronaldo leaves behind a storied, but sporadic career playing for Brazil and most recently the Brazilian club team, the Corinthians. Ronaldo attributed his decision to leave the sport to the fact that at the age of 34, his body was no longer to meet the demands of the game. Others have mused that his choice rather has to do with the ire of Corinthians fans who damaged players’ cars and threw rocks at the team bus after the club was eliminated from the Copa Libertadores. The competition is Latin America’s most important in the world of soccer and the only major tournament that the Corinthians have yet to win. Regardless of his reasons, the soccer community will certainly mourn Ronaldo’s departure.