One week without the throes of domestic action almost killed me. The Nations League did little to nothing to satisfy me. Then, I remembered the dark post-World Cup days and how I got through them.
I’m a recovering addict but that’s beside the point because over the last weekend, we saw Zlatan bag an astonishing 500 goals for club and country.
We watched (and grimaced) as the almighty Ronaldo took a grand total of 320 minutes to open his account at Bank de Juventus, with a tap-in he celebrated so wildly that I thought he might haemorrhage any moment.
We witnessed Harry Kane extend his goalless run to five games, as if no one gave two hoots about the Golden Boot from the summer. Because no one did.
Ronaldo’s Ripped Body Says 20 But Reality Says 40
There is no doubting Cristiano’s talent and dedication. Absolutely not.
A man of 33 years with almost no body fat, out-of-this-world metabolism and muscles the size of Mars, Ronaldo is one of our generation’s greats.
However, ONE goal in 320 minutes speaks of a game altered not by a diminishing in ability, but by age. The almighty CR7 is susceptible to the woes of ageing human flesh too.
Yes, the Portuguese was instrumental (open to interpretation) in Juve’s first few games. Yes, he grabbed an assist. But, face it. He’s no longer the player he once was, as evidenced by that ultra cheeky hair pull and kick on Murillo in mid-week.
Cristiano is not at Juventus to shake things up nor is he there to become the new hero. Neither is he there with an urgent need to prove a point. He is there to complement an already very decent and competitive side. That is the way things were always going to go, whether for Ronaldo or Ronaldinho; the older you grow, the less it becomes all about you.
I do share a love-hate relationship with Ronaldo because I find him overbearing at times with his image and narcissism as a whole, but then I find myself in absolute awe of his exploits on the pitch.
He was a rising star when he donned the red of Manchester. He cemented his status as a player that no one could match (except arguably, Messi) when he left Old Trafford and put on the white of Madrid. As he dons the white and black of Juventus, the curtains, as I see it, are already starting to draw to a close for him.
Zlatan Is The God Of Sweden
Where do I start with Mr. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Where?
I’ve loved the man from the beginning and I might sound like I’m contradicting myself, considering Ibra’s alleged arrogance and self-assuredness, but I find him so endearing.
500 goals for club and country ain’t no easy feat, making him only the third player in this generation (apart from Messi and Ronaldo) to achieve it.
He has set the MLS on fire and graced the league with so much swagger, it’s obvious his next career move has something to do with Tinsel Town.
When I was a player for my school team a few years back, everyone gave me a nickname and it was Zlatan, all because we both wore our ponytails in similar fashion. I told them the massive difference was that the Swede grew facial hair. Oh, and not forgetting the fact that he is one of the world’s best.
I’ve imagined how Zlatan might respond if I told him I was once called Zlatan – “There is only one Zlatan in the universe. No copies.”
I still rue how he never played for Sweden in Russia at the World Cup. I was constantly harbouring the hope of him putting on the IKEA colours again. Alas, it’s not meant to be.
You could imagine my rage when he joined Manchester United and breathed a massive sigh of relief, or two, when he decided that the Los Angeles sunshine was just what he needed. I want his LA adventure to go on for as long as his hair.
When Zlatan finally decides that Zlatan needs to hang up his boots, the world becomes Zlatan-less and a lot less colourful. The world needs Zlatan.
So do I.
Harry Kane And The Elusive Quest For Rest
Five games without a goal for Hurri-Kane probably has Tottenham fans in a corner crying and wailing at the demise of a once-great goalscorer.
Such is the exaggeration of Spurs and their fans and their over-reliance on ONE player. He needs a rest, it’s very obvious.
Kane went from smashing goals in 17/18 to leading his country in Russia over the summer to a barren run. Pochettino alluded that he would be crazy to rest his sensation of an Englishman. Pochettino has got to get that head of his out of the ground.
You might be wondering why an Arsenal fan is out here defending Kane? I’m not.
I am just stating the crystal clear fact that Kane is not in peak shape because he’s out-of-depth because he’s not well-rested enough. I don’t think it has anything to do with his confidence levels. For goodness’ sake, he has got a Golden Boot from Russia and he banged in 30 goals in the league last season.
That miss against Inter after he rounded Samir Handanovic was utterly embarrassing and it seemed to me, when I froze the frame, that his legs couldn’t quite function. He was clearly fatigued. In his peak, that was a goal all the way home.
I could be wrong. I would love him to prove me wrong.
We’re all human, professional footballers or not. Our bodies aren’t meant to function like robots 24/7, 365. We all need a rest, sometimes. Even if it means sacrificing game time, it is for the long-term. Rest is key, as DJ Khaled would say.
The Golden Boot doesn’t account for much when you’ve stopped scoring because you aren’t rested, does it? Pochettino, you know what you’ve got to do.