There were two travesties in Zurich on Monday night. Three if you count Lionel Messi's suit. Although as adjectives become increasingly useless in describing his play, few things could say "Yes, I'm that good" like wearing a polka dot suit to your sport's Oscar night.
On the one hand, it's comforting to know that the rest of the world is as bad as we are at voting Derek Jeter into the All-Star Game, or a reasonable analogy thereof. On the other hand, the FIFA World XI makes a strong argument that Sepp Blatter's ineptness permeates every facet of the organization he runs, right down to a mail room that refuses to recognizes any international boundaries outside of Iberia.
This past weekend, Spain played Italy in one of the marquee matchups of the Euro 2012 Group Stages. The match was held in Gdansk, Poland. It ended in a draw, 1-1, and Spain has subsequently started complaining, albeit informally, about the state of the Arena Gdansk pitch.
When Pep Guardiola took over as manager for FC Barcelona in 2008, he brought a little-known gangly 20-year-old midfielder named Sergio Busquets with him from the Barcelona "B" team. At first he appeared surplus to requirements, as the team was already well served in his position with experienced internationals Yaya Touré and Seydou Keita. By the end of the season, Busquets had played so well that the team sold Touré to Manchester City and Keita moved to the periphery. Busquets has been lauded by his teammates, with defender/midfielder Javier Mascherano calling him “the perfect player” and Spain national team coach Vicente Del Bosque saying, “If I was reincarnated as a footballer, I would like to be like Busquets.” While Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Andrés Iniesta deservedly get most of the credit for Barcelona’s historic run (13 trophies since Guardiola took over as manager), a good portion of the team’s success can be attributed to Busquets’s quick passing and effortless transition play, helping Barca go from defense to attack. But Busquets is also an accomplished cheater who lives to get opponents red carded and win questionable penalties. He is a full embodiment of the club, both sides of the Barcelona coin.