I remember holding my phone, staring at the screen, reading my friend’s message: “Zinedine Zidane has left us.” It’s 15th Ramazan, I’m about to break my fast, I felt like a lump of tears had tied a knot in my throat. Even after keeping a fast of 16 hours, suddenly, I didn’t feel like eating anything at all. Shock, anguish or grief, I don’t remember. A wave of mixed emotions had swept across my body. I don’t remember crying but I do remember my mom asking, “What happened to her?” And the usual reply by my sister, “Oh, probably something related to football.” I don’t remember isolating ...Read Full Post
Visualisation of a dream is considerably easier than actually turning it into a reality. One can associate a lot of attributes with the realisation of this process but three key elements behind it are optimism, persistence and hard work. The perfect embodiment of these traits can be found amongst many successful individuals, and one such name in that prestigious list is Cristiano Ronaldo. We can all talk at length, with great detail and assurance, about how great a footballer Ronaldo is due to the benefit of hindsight. Yet this by no means will surpass the confidence of a 15-year-old Ronaldo ...Read Full Post
Following the round of 16 victory against FC Porto, Scousers were dreaming of all the fantastic cities that could potentially end up as their next European destination. Thoughts were already occupied with airplane and hotel bookings, which had to be made for the Champions League quarterfinal away trip. But as fate would have it, local Liverpool FC fans had to begrudgingly settle for a mere 60 minutes bus-trip down the M62 motorway, when the draws were made for the quarters in Nyon. Neither Liverpool nor Manchester City would have preferred to draw their local opponents at this stage of the ...Read Full Post
I have never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. As far as I am concerned, poor St Valentine ought to be rolling in the grave with the kind of cringe-fest that goes on in his name. But for Liverpool fans all around the world, including myself, cupid is no longer stupid when he comes this February 14th. Valentine’s Day 2018 would be the first time in nine long and tiring years that we find ourselves involved in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Love is finally in the air! Even though fans in Pakistan will be watching this match ...Read Full Post
Champions League Round of 16: Xabi Alonso gives us some nerve-racking encounters, and boy, oh boy, are we in for a ride!
Show me a football fan that doesn’t like Xabi Alonso, and I’ll show you a liar. The former Spain player had a long and glittering career with the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Liverpool. While playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world guarantees that one is adored by millions, chances are the same player could be despised by an equal number of fans who are associated with a rival club. However, despite playing for more than a decade for the aforementioned European heavy weights, Alonso was an extremely unique case of a player who was respected ...Read Full Post
Italy as a country is not too dissimilar to us, especially if you consider the misfortunes that have befallen this particular European nation in recent times. A corrupt head of state governing a highly unstable democracy, natural disasters and general economic woes are just some of the many elements that make us Pakistanis relate to an ordinary Italian’s life, on a somewhat deeper basis. But there is one other similarity between the two countries that is pertinent to mention here – the die-hard love for one particular sport. Football to Italy is exactly what cricket is to us. If we are ...Read Full Post
Liverpool got lucky in the UEFA Champions League group draw, but will luck be enough to take them to the knock-out stages?
For a huge football fanatic like me, not giving two hoots about the UEFA Champions League (UCL) is a bit unheard of. But that is precisely what yours truly has been doing for the past several years. People who know me would find this really hard to believe, but there is a very simple reason for this seemingly bizarre behaviour of mine. You see, I might seem like I am football mad, but the truth is I am only crazy about the club I support, Liverpool (LFC). Now anyone who has a passing interest in football would be aware of our European struggles ...Read Full Post
On Friday morning, Neymar completed his transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris St Germain (PSG) for a whopping €222 million. It has by far shattered previous records for being the most expensive transfer in history – more than twice the fee Manchester United paid Juventus last summer to lure Paul Pogba to Old Trafford. The question that comes to mind after this fiasco is done and dusted with is: Was it worth it? The level of scrutiny that will be aimed at Neymar over the course of his first year in Paris is bound to be incessant. On the field, every touch that he makes will ...Read Full Post
Okay, I have been fighting this for quite a few years now but it simply cannot go on like this anymore. Being a Liverpool fan, I didn’t really have any vested interest in the relentlessly incessant Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo debate. But like every other football fanatic, I had to take a side and, probably owing to Ronaldo’s former allegiance with our hated rivals Manchester United, ‘Team Messi’ it was for me. Over the years, like a proverbial ostrich, I have been burying my head in the sand while Ronaldo – like a true force of nature – kept blowing away every record that ...Read Full Post
The immensely talented Spanish giants, Real Madrid, have finally gotten their hands on the coveted La Liga trophy, which is a title they have cherished the most over the past few years. Real Madrid feel ‘broken’ after losing late lead in Dortmund. Photo: Reuters From the very beginning of this season, it was absolutely clear that Real Madrid were very keen on tasting some domestic league glory as the La Liga title had eluded them since 2012 and this is precisely what Zinedine Zidane and his boys have achieved after a stellar season. Zidane’s influence After Real Madrid sacked ...Read Full Post