2011 has been a great year. The greatest team won the AFL flag, Osama Bin Laden is no more, Will and Kate finally got hitched, Kim Kardashian finally got divorced, and football continued to amuse its billions of fans all along the way. So with 2011 drawing to a close, it’s important to step back, take a good look and assess the year that was. Here are some of the lessons we took away from the round ball game in the last 12 months:
Mario Balotelli will be entertaining us for years
Ah, Mario Balotelli – a person seemingly created just for tabloid journalists. A mercurial, unbeliveably talented Man City striker, with the same touch on reality and sense of logic as Homer Simpson. Actually – mental note – I should definitely trademark “The Balotelli’s” as a future cartoon franchise.
Some of his off-field exploits have included: throwing darts at Man City youth players, showing a hilarious inability to put on training bibs, spectacularly and arrogantly missing a certain pre-season goal with an attempted backheel, setting fireworks off in his own bathroom and showing off a T-shirt as a goal celebration with the words “Why Always Me?” printed on the front. And that’s just 2011. Seriously, Hollywood screenwriters couldn’t script this stuff, so much so that I now have the YouTube page for “Mario Balotelli incident” bookmarked. So a hat off to your off-field exploits and let’s all make a toast to an even more bizarre and entertaining 2012 for Super Mario.
David Beckham can still kick goals, just not on the field
Becks recent visit down under was fantastic for football in Australia. I mean, he visited hospitals, charmed journalists, signed autographs and posed for pictures – and all this before he kicked a ball. Good thing, too. For those of you who missed the Victory v Galaxy game, Becks’ highlight was when he removed his shirt after the game. Still, you have to hand it to the guy. He has an unparalleled ability (along with Roger Federer) to make men cheer and women swoon regardless of his on-field performance. Just next time Becks, keep your shirt on – you’re making the rest of us look bad. While I’m at it, that goes for you too, Ryan Gosling.
Robin Van Persie is a freak of nature
About 4 games into the EPL season you could’ve sworn all hope was lost for Arsenal. No Fabregas, no Nasri, 8-2 drubbing against Man Utd, no hope. Then Robin Van Persie – that Dutch maestro more atuned to the recovery room than the soccer field – finally discarded his crutches, picked himself off the injury table, grabbed the Gunners up by the scruff of the neck, heaped them onto his shoulders and single-handedly hauled them up the table.
Arsenal are now just 9 points away from the top of the ladder and RVP’s Premier League record in 2011 currently stands at 33 goals from 32 games. It’s often said a world-class striker scores a goal on average every two games. The guy is a freak. So come January, it’s almost certain Arsene Wenger will sell him to the highest bidder. Oh well Gunners fans, it was fun while it lasted.
Cricket still beats the A-League, even with Harry Kewell
We all watched the will-he-or-won’t-he dance between ‘Arry and the Victory this offseason. It was fascinating, even captivating. Then he started playing. Certainly one not to live up to all the surrounding hype, Harry has notched only 1 measly penalty to date. What’s worse is he seems to have played a large hand in turning the Victory from exciting and appealing to dour, boring and dull. The A-League really isn’t cut out for this hysteria. It only took a few pats on the back from the football public to transform Brisbane Roar from invincible to chopped liver.
It says a lot that more fans are willing to watch us lose to the Kiwis in the cricket than have to sit through any given A-League match. Especially with Kerry O’Keefe’s general musings on Phil Hughes’ shaving abilities*.
So there you have it. In a nutshell, don’t set fireworks off in your bathroom, keep your shirt on in the presence of David Beckham, put the house on Van Persie being sold sometime in 2012 and forget the A-League, turn to the cricket on the radio this summer and have a good chuckle along with Kerry.
*For those who don’t follow cricket, Phillip Hughes was out caught ‘nicking’ to the same player – Martin Guptill, on four consecutive occasions in the recent 2-Test series against New Zealand. After the fourth time, ABC commentator Kerry O’Keefe quipped: “If Phil Hughes is shaving tomorrow and nicks himself, Martin Guptill will appear from the medicine cabinet with a bandaid!” And hilarity ensued.