So that is that then, football is finished for the summer and for that we must thank the footballing gods. With Loris Karius sobbing, we wave goodbye to football until August when it all gets going again. We probably won’t hear anything of it between now and then.
What do you mean Olivier Giroud scored last night and someone spotted former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz managing Iran?
Warm-up friendlies? Does this bloody game never rest?
Here’s this week’s Super Six! And yes, it is a bit Champions League Final heavy.
#1 Zinedine Zidane
“But is he actually any good,” muses your mate on social media. I don’t know, what does three consecutive Champions League Final wins in a row suggest? “But a pea could manage Real Madrid,” muses your mate on social media. Really? An actual pea could get into the minds of all those egos and get them to perform on the biggest stage in world football three years running, a feat that nobody else has ever achieved? Considering the liberal use of the word “great” in football in this day and age it is a bit embarrassing that people are even asking if Zizou is a ‘good’ manager. Sure, his side doesn’t play with the aesthetics provided by Peppy G who, it has to be said, has not won the Champions League since Barcelona despite having owners with very deep pockets. Sure, he has not won La Liga every single time since he took over – but so what? The Champions League is much more difficult to snag. Yes, being Zidane helps and he got airlifted into a top job because of that but come on, really? He’s at the very least a very good manager.
#2 Gareth Bale
“I wanted to come on and make an impact,” said Gareth. A second-touch overhead kick into the top corner in a Champions League Final is quite impactful, I suppose. As was his post-match “come and get me plea” interview on BT Sport. Well played Gareth, on both counts. Equally, not enough credit has been given to the Welsh wonder for sizing up that shot from distance knowing Karius was still in absolute bits.
#3 Loris Karius
Probably best to step away from social for a while, Loris, no matter how well-intentioned and from the heart your apologies have been. Nobody goes into a Champions League Final looking to screw it up completely for everyone, and the kid is human after all. He is also not a world-class goalkeeper – remember, Klopp signed him hoping he could turn him into one and that has failed on the biggest stage. I guess we will never truly know what was going through his mind when he tried to roll the ball through the slightly imposing frame of Karim Benzema but that is the kind of mistake that finishes careers.
#4 ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’
Well, I think we can pretty much write that cliche of as total myth now, can’t we? Not one player or member of staff went up to their teammate at the final whistle to console him. In a world where players cover their mouths whenever there might be a camera around, they knew the impact of their actions. And then there are some of the Liverpool fans. Yes, it is OK to be disappointed that you lost the final. Sure, if you really have to vent your anger at Karius. But to consistently troll him on social media and, worse, send him death threats? Take a look at yourselves, seriously.
#5 Sergio Ramos
What a clever bastard he is. Not in the day-to-day world, no – Sergio is a bit thick. But, when it comes to utter footballing skull-duggery and shit-housery, Sergio is a genius. Did he mean to dislocate Mo Salah’s shoulder? Of course not. Did he see an opportunity to leave a bit on Liverpool’s main threat and maybe slow him down a bit? Hell, yeah and anything extra was a bonus. In a world where defenders can not easily leave their mark on a striker, this was a golden opportunity for Ramos and, like the true professional he is, he took it. Bleat away once more Liverpool fans, because it’s not as if Graeme Souness, Tommy Smith or any other of our fabled legends ever did anything a bit naughty to win you a European title, was it? And no, I am not saying they were wrong to do so. But you can’t have it both ways, folks. And petitions? Once again, take a look at yourselves. The Liverpool family used a petition once for the most important judgement in football and social history. Don’t fucking tarnish its legacy with that tripe.
#6 West Ham
West Ham United moved swiftly to replace David Moyes with a manager who has won a Premier League title. This must very good news, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, it is West Ham so potentially everything. Manuel Pellegrini has been convinced to come out of semi-retirement where he was earning £8m a year in China. How was he convinced? A pay-rise, of course. A guy in his mid-60s who isn’t one to rock the boat with the owners has a three-year contract guaranteed to net him £30m regardless of performance. Only in football, right?