Hump Day Dumpster Dive: Louis van Gaal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister struggle with criticism

The Hump Day Dumpster Dive is coming to you late this week dear readers, and I apologize (not really) to those of you who have been rabidly refreshing your browser pages, waiting with bated breath for the HDDD to bring meaning to the middle of your week. I take full responsibility for this, as I was suffering from a bad come down from a psychedelic drug trip, during which I looked upon the face of god and also imagined that I had watched a Manchester United game that was actually entertaining. I even saw Wayne Rooney do something useful. Ayahuasca is a hell of a drug. And now, into the dumpster we go.

(Editor’s note: Every day is hump day.)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02:  Louis van Gaal Manager and assistant manager Ryan Giggs are seen on the bench prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal, Master Troll: Part Two

Miraculously, Louis van Gaal is still manager of Manchester United, for no other apparent reason other than to allow rival fans to ridicule England’s stumbling giant. Having bravely battled against the odds and avoided defeat against three clubs battling relegation (as well as narrowly beating a third division side via a last minute penalty), his job seems to be safe for the foreseeable future. After looking a beaten and broken man entering the Christmas period, the old Dutch fraud is getting back to his bullish best.

In a move clearly meant to rile his own fans, van Gaal has gone back to starting Marouane Fellaini, a man with both the appearance and the footballing ability of a comically sized toilet brush. Yesterday, while stubbornly trying to prove that his team is unable to both attack and defend competently in the same game, van Gaal substituted United’s two best players on the day (Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera) midway through the second half. Not content to stop there, van Gaal continued his trolling in the post-game press conference. He bristled at questions about Wayne Rooney’s performance, saying that he never questioned him (despite the fact that Rooney has been dog shit for the better part of three years), and called a journalist “fat man” for good measure.

He’s no longer getting the required results, the soccer is still awful, but the man loves a good wind up.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 11: FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid (R) attend a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015 at the Kongresshaus on January 11, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Ronaldo’s sister tried to defend Ronaldo, and it didn’t go well

In news that should shock absolutely no one, some soccer fans did something moronic this week. In Cristiano Ronaldo’s home island of Madeira, vandals painted Lionel Messi’s name and number on a statue of Ronaldo following the alleged wee Argentine tax dodger’s triumph over the Portuguese preener in the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards on Monday. In light of the fact that Ronaldo is Madeira’s most famous native, and that he has invested heavily and specifically in its local economy, this act of stupidity is even more of a disgrace. The statue itself, along with a museum dedicated to Ronaldo’s accomplishments, was built in order to boost tourism in Funchal. In Ronaldo’s own weird, narcissistic way, the statue was an act of love for his hometown.

Ronaldo’s sister, Katia Aveiro, was understandably disappointed by the defacement, and promptly took to social media to make things worse. She wrote: “I am angry, sad, disappointed and speechless at this so disrespectful lack of maturity.” As she should be.

“We all know how proud I am of this person [Ronaldo] — I could spend hours talking about his acts of goodness and qualities. As a Portuguese I am left sad and ashamed.” Again, justified outrage. “Thanks to him [Ronaldo] there has been tourism, jobs created and investment on our lovely island which unfortunately is inhabited by some frustrated savages who deserve to live in Syria.” Oh dear. Katia may have meant well, but the only thing she succeeded in doing was pouring bigoted, offensive fuel on the fire of stupid soccer fan tribalism.

GettyImages-499271140Getty Images

No one should care about which is the world’s best league

After the FIFPro World XI for 2015 was named on Monday, some simple-minded observers used the opportunity to assert the superiority of La Liga, the league in which eight of the eleven ply their trade. La Liga may actually be the best league of course, if you use certain criteria. Spain’s top three clubs as a collective are certainly stronger than the top three of England, Germany, or Italy. But at this point, arguing over league strength misses the point completely. Those eight players all came from two clubs, and the other three represented Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Juventus — each of which has won at least the last three consecutive league titles in their home countries. We are now in the era of the superclub, and domestic leagues matter less than ever to Europe’s elite clubs.

Paris Saint-Germain will have Ligue 1 wrapped up by Groundhog Day, Bayern Munich’s lead in the Bundesliga may actually be in the triple digits by now, and Barcelona and Real Madrid have been mostly just playing against each other for the last decade. Manchester United and Manchester City will surely (re)join that select group in the near future, as the Blues hand Pep Guardiola an open checkbook and the Reds throw enough money at their team until something sticks. The much-rumored European Super League may not be here yet in name, but it already exists in practice. The future is here, and the future is a handful or so billion dollar corporations battling amongst each other for world domination.