1). Rangers is everything that is wrong with football. Here in the United States a lot of people think football (soccer) sucks; they think it is boring, defensive, and lacks anything remotely related to grace or athletic ability. In other words, that the sport is little more than a bunch of morons kicking a ball around, waiting for the 0-0 draw that would end the game. Fiorentina is the antithesis of that belief; Rangers are the poster boys.
2). Conversely, one of the great things about football is that it is more reflective of life than any other sport; in no other game could a team that was so outclassed in imagination, athletic ability, and pure skill drive a better team into the ground by playing negatively. But in football we have unfair results. Just like life.
3). I’ve got a new second-favorite team. Tomorrow I’m going out to buy a Celtic shirt. I wonder how many neutral fans of the game will join me.
4). I’m more proud then ever of the Viola. Monto, Mutu, Pazzini, Gamberini and the rest all played like men tonight. They went out and played the beautiful game when Rangers packed 11 men behind the ball. They went over the trenches and charged the enemy, even in a losing cause. I will never forget this season, and the players that made up this very special team.
5). Bobo is obviously done playing football at the top level. There’s no need to beat this into the ground. Let’s just acknowledge it and move on.
6). I‘ve never been less scared of an opponent than I was tonight vs. Rangers. All week I worried about the away goal, but ten minutes into the match I realized the Scots weren’t trying to score one. From minute 1 to minute 210, they were playing for penalties. Hell of a way to play football.
7). Can you tell I’m bitter?
One last anecdote and then I’m going to bed. Midway through the game my Dad came over the house and began watching some of the match with me. My Pops is not a football fan (he’s a baseball guy and raised me to be the same) and is always baffled by soccer. After watching the teams play for a few minutes, he asked “Is the white team [Rangers] even trying to score? Are they even trying to win the game? I don’t understand why you think this is fun to watch…”
And I didn’t have answer to give him.
More tomorrow. And now, more than ever, Forza Viola.