Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: football

Square pass(ports)

Together with Jelena, I wrote a blogpost on citizenship and football published on the observatory on citizenship I work for. We did some research and found out that 220 players at the world cup, that is one out of three,  have dual citizenship. These include the likes of Lionel Messi (citizen of Spain and Argentina), Kylian Mbappé (France, Cameroon and Algeria), Dele Alli (Nigeria and England). These players could well be representing another national team, if they had made the choice. And so could other players in the past: imagine what previous world championships would have looked like if Patrick Viera had chosen to play for Senegal instead of France, John Barnes for Jamaica instead of England, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski for Poland instead of Germany. You can see the visualisation we have made following this link and you can read the article here.

Post scriptum, July 23 2018: we have now published an updated version of this post on the nccr – on the move blog.


And the teenager I betrayed

It’s already April but the wind smells like we are still in January. As you folks know, I am living in Florence and yesterday the local football team was due to play the second leg of the semifinal of Coppa Italia against Juventus, which happens to be the most hated team in the whole country, in Florence, and in my personal records too. Boy, this had the potential to be a great day.

Surely the teenager version of Lorenzo would have gone mad for such a match. Until turning fifteen, a good 70% of my life revolved around football – the remaining 30% was evenly divided between girls, videogames, and masturbation. Unfortunately, a sardonic fate has changed the priorities of my life, putting masturbation on top… well, not quite. But the truth is football is no longer a raging characteristic of my life. Is no priority whatsoever, really. Gone are the times when I caused serious damages to the car of my dad because we were late for the Sunday evening match and I could not tolerate missing the first half an hour of it so I obliged him to pump in the wrong kind of fuel. Gone are the times when I obliged my cousin to record the televised replica of Milan-Monza, a pre-seasonal friendly match played at 3AM on the 15th of August watched by less than 100 people in the whole world. Gone are the times when I painted my hair blue hours before Italy played France in the final of the European Championship, probably unaware that blue is the national color of France too so it did not make much sense altogether – anyways, you got the message.

And so it is. Yesterday, while Fiorentina was being hammered by Juventus, I was happy go lucky with Thomas family, as the kids were jumping on me and the dad was telling stories, and I was just happy to be there with them rather than at the stadium or in a bar. We did, in all truth, end up in a bar for the final minutes of the match. But at that point I realized how football has faded away from my life and does not mean much, while other things still do. Spending time with Thomas family is one of these things and it will suffice to say that being with them makes me feel peaceful. Sometimes this kind of kindness is all what you need to feel. Simple, natural, and probably easier to explain that a pre-seasonal friendly match played at 3 in the night. Or a 3-0 home defeat against the most hated team of the entire country.

'ciao bello'

Post-scriptum: I thought I had already written something about this post, which is beautiful. Turns out I haven’t. So let me tell you now that football for me still makes some sense as a mechanism to mock my friends. Alvise is Parma, Stefano is Milan, Max and Tommaso are Juventus, Thomas is Arsenal, and so on. Obviously I am not immune from this system, so yesterday night I received quite a few messages from these friends. Here I will report only some, those pointing at my vile attitude to switch team depending on the circumstances and always side with the winner. I initially titled this blogpost “Frankly, my dear, I couldn’t care less“. I then realized how wrong that was. In fact, I would have cared very much about being able to send some ill mannered messages around. Instead, I will have to keep my mouth shut for quite some time now.

An American coach in London

Spurs’ Big Three

Intense sport day today. First the final match of the European Under-21 Championship in Jerusalem, which replicates that of Euro 2012, although Italy will be looking to avoid a similar 4-0 against Spain. Both sides are unbeaten en route to the final, with Italy conceding just a single goal and Spain none at all. I will support Italy as Spain is just too strong and I dislike their football superpower. En plus, Italian national players and coaches are much more professional than they used to be back in 2010 when it was plainly impossible to support them.

And later in the night match 5 of the NBA finals, with San Antonio Spurs challenging Miami Heats for the title. I will, of course, side with San Antonio Spurs who, after a miraculous ride, now find themselves one victory shy of their fifth NBA championship since 1999. The Spurs are the underdog and I always side for the underdog. But if you need further reasons, then you can read a partisan piece that has been published on today’s Repubblica. The Spurs come from all over the world and among their best players there are celebrities – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili – who were the acclaimed stars of the team already in 2008, the last time I played NBA Live on my computer. Miami, on the other hand, is a team based on three superstars – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – who were supposed to dominate the tournament in 2012 – they lost against the Dallas Mavericks in the finals – and again in 2013 – they are now down 3 to 2.



Calciatori che hanno ragione

Il Brasile aveva una squadra fantastica […] riconosciuta in tutto il mondo, e ovunque andiamo la gente ricorda quel team del 1982. Se avessimo vinto quella partita il calcio probabilmente sarebbe stato differente. Invece, dopo di allora cominciammo a mettere le basi per un calcio nel quale bisogna conseguire il risultato a qualsiasi costo, un calcio fondato sulla distruzione del gioco avversario e sul fallo sistematico. Quella sconfitta non fu positiva per il mondo del calcio. Se quel giorno avessimo segnato cinque reti, l’Italia ne avrebbe segnate sei, perché trovavano sempre il modo di capitalizzare i nostri errori. Il Brasile è una terra fertile per i calciatori, ma dobbiamo cambiare la mentalità nelle squadre giovanili dei club. Sono sicuro che se facessi oggi un provino per una squadra, sarei scartato perché troppo poco prestante. E basso di statura.

Arthur Antunes Coimbra, Zico, sul Corriere della Sera di oggi

Canadian soccer – and other stories

Funny story that I want to dedicate to Elaine, Federica, Franzi, Iris, Lisa, Maciej, Pernille, Suzanne, Zi-Jen. When in Canada, I played soccer in a random team that has now evolved into the Man Chest Hair City Team – where champions are born and bred. (The team still exists and last news I got from yesterday’s match is: Bad beat tonight. Huge potential though).

During one match I got what seemed a serious injury. It turned out to be a sprained ankle: still quite bad as I could not walk for a few days, but surely not as bad as I initially led everyone to think. In fact, after that match I wrote a text to the friends above and it went like this “Match won, but I am badly injured. Broken leg, probably. I might be unable to walk for the next year or so. Need your assistance“. We kind of set up an entire hospital staff in my room, with seven or eight people studying there just to keep me company as I was stuck in bed. That is still a very touching memory to me.

Anyway, last week in Spain we played a role game: everybody was given a random definition and we had to find out what we had. Guess which one I got. Then clic here to find out.

Campionato 2012

E’ iniziato il Campionato di calcio. Non credo che lo seguirò molto attentamente: ho smesso di farlo una decina di anni fa, quando ho acquisito una maggiore consapevolezza rispetto al presidente della squadra che tifavo. Già allora, in coerenza con i miei ideali politici, smisi di tifare. Per quest’anno mi piacciono due squadre in particolare: la Roma di Zeman e l’Udinese di Guidolin. Tifare é una parola grossa, soprattutto per uno spettatore distratto come me, ma sicuramente spero che facciano bene.

Most of the goals happen by chance

I have always been sure of it. Now there’s a scientific study: “According to the German sport scientist Roland Loy, about 50 percent of all goals are happening by chance, for example because of outright errors by the goalie or the referee or because the ball was deflected in a completely unpredictable way. Loy’s assessment rests on the detailed analysis of more than 3000 professional football games”. Source: here.