Sunday, March 11, 2007

Messi Cleans Up Real Well

Teenage winger Lionel Messi, wonderfully christened La Pulga Atomica, (The Atomic Flea), by an adoring Argentine Press, sent shock waves through the soccer world on Saturday, posting an incredibly stylish and immeasurably important hat-trick in a Barcelona-Real Madrid "El Gran Clasico" which truly lived up to it's name.

It wasn't just that Messi became the first Barca player since mercurial Brazilian superstar Romario to score three times against Real, but it was how he did it. Check out YouTube to see for yourself, but his third goal, which ultimately knotted the match at 3-3 and denied Madrid the crucial victory, was pure genius. Ronaldinho dinked the ball behind the Real defense on the right, where Messi streaked in from the wing and promptly eschewed the quick snap shot at the near post that 99 out of 100 players would have made, and instead darted across the goal, from the right side to the left, against traffic and holding off two Real defenders, until he reached the point of almost-no-return at the far post, drawing the keeper out of position, before fluently cracking the ball back in the opposite direction, just inside the post from which he had just scampered away. As the Guinness Guys say, Brilliant!

Also brilliant, was Gol TV's live broadcast of the match. With Real Salt Lake honcho Dave Checketts reportedly fronting a group purchasing a stake in Gol TV, let's hope Checketts doesn't break what doesn't need fixing. The option of catching this thrilling match, without having to shell out for pay-per-view or trudging out to a sports bar, is well-worth the five extra bucks a month for the Sports Pak. As long as Checketts and his Salt Lake investors steer clear of Roman Grant, this deal could be a boon for U.S. soccer fans.

No comments: