Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bad Day for Drogba, Van Nistelrooy and Maradona

What a nasty day Thursday was. Any time more news is made off the field than on, it qualifies as a bad day. Let's review and analyze:

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?: Didier Drogba scores a goal against Burnley in this week's Carling Cup match. Fan throws coin at Didier Drogba. Didier Drogba throws said coin at fan. Let's just call this one universal dumbness. But there is no way in hell Drogba should be banned more than three games on this one, and the police should surely stand clear.

A ticket does not entitle fans to that kind of first-person participation. Boo, curse, chug your beer all you want. As soon as you start interfering with the enjoyment of the game by your fellow ticket-holders or become part of the proceedings on the playing field, then it's time to go--FOREVER.

The police should be looking at the clown chucking pounds at the players and not only ban him from the grounds permanently, but charge him with simple assault. This kind of ignorance cannot be tolerated or misinterpreted as passion for one's club. It's dangerous and stupid. Had the coin taken out Drogba's eye (yes, I sound like your bitty, old aunt here), then not only is the man's eyesight impaired, but Chelsea's multimillion-dollar investment is lost as are the fortunes of the club, the players and the fans.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Hammer the fan here; it's an opportunity that cannot be missed.

HOW RUUD!: Ruud Van Nistelrooy is done for the season, and perhaps his career, after knee surgery this week. The Real Madrid striker had the surgery in the U.S. and it's the second time he damaged the knee in his career. Love 'em or leave 'em, Van Nistelrooy is one of the decade's purest scorers. Always in the right position, Ruud was in top form at Manchester United for many years and his transfer to Madrid was huge news.

The question now is how does Madrid answer? With Van Nistelrooy out for at least six months, and probably closer to nine months, it's unlikely he'll be ready for the start of next season. Where does Madrid spend in January and beyond? Carlos Tevez perhaps? Hernan Crespo's name is also being tossed out there. And how does this impact coach Bernd Schuster's future? For now, Gonzalo Higuain is Ruud's stand-in. Higuain is the Argentine who scored four times over the weekend in Madrid's 4-3 win over Malaga.

GO DIEGO GO!: And speaking of Argentina, new coach Diego Maradona was almost the old coach Diego Maradona this week. The legend apparently was in a snit when he learned his assistant coach selections were being questioned, and he threatened to quit. Maradona denies all this, but where there's smoke, there's fire... Concerns have been rampant about Maradona's fitness to run Argentina. His addictive compulsive personality will be put to the test severely, especially if the noose tightens on Argentina's run at qualifying for the World Cup. Failure is not an option there. All I can say is that this will be great theater going forward.

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