It’s been a nice return to club football this weekend after all 32 countries are now locked in & booked for South Africa next Summer. What a week it was though for memorable moments and unforgettable photos in world football. Long will football fans remember the handball heard ’round the world, the pain and dejection on the Irish players faces and moments of pure passion and joy from other countries who will be playing their part in 2010.
This weekend the EPL saw quite a few goals (34 by my count) including a 9-goal blitz by Tottenham v. Wigan. But another bizarre moment caught my eye Saturday afternoon. After I had been through 3 to 4 EPL matches, I found myself still searching for more football. I ended up with a fine match up on my hands as current champs of Spain and Europe, Barcelona traveled to San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao. Having just relinquished top spot to Real Madrid earlier in the day, I knew Barcelona would be playing with a sense of urgency headed into next weekend’s epic El Clasico. I wasn’t disappointed. Both teams were committed to the 3 points on offer and on 54 minutes Barcelona’s swash-buckling, Brazilian right back Dani Alves opened the scoring with a fine finish provided by midfield maestro Xavi. Bilbao eventually fought back to level the score in what ended a very entertaining 1-1 draw.
But before the sides finished level, an unforgettable moment of (accidental) madness occurred involving current front runner for FIFA Player of the Year, the Argentinian wizard, Lionel Messi. In the 21st minute, Messi attempted to rush Bilbao’s Fernando Amorebieta who was attempting to clear the ball from the on-rushing Messi. Let’s just say Messi’s unbelievable quickness didn’t benefit him this time like it’s aided Barcelona so much in the past. Amorebieta was able to clear, but only at the behest of poor little Messi’s face. I like to call this photo, “The Fortunate Become Unfortunate“.
The odd thing about the incident was that Amorebieta wasn’t even cautioned for the high challenge. Messi required treatment for the knock and emerged with a decent looking black eye to finish the remainder of the match. Messi is the definition of an incredible, breathtaking player. His pace and vision in attack can only be compared to that of the most recent FIFA Player of the Year recipeients, Cristiano Ronaldo and KaKa.
As a loyalist to the EPL, I would one day LOVE to see Messi applying his trade in the World’s most exciting league. He’d immediately add goals and attacking options to any team in the league and could easily walk into the starting eleven at any club in the world. Also, I’d like to hear from EPL Talk readers to see what other stars of world football you’d like to see terrorizing defenses or locking down your team’s midfield in the EPL. Feel free to leave a comment below explaining which footballer you’d love to have at your club who currently plays in a different country. The player can be from any continent.