Happy Wednesday, readers! As I have failed to complete a bizarre and eye-wateringly expensive transfer to the sports writing equivalent of the Chinese Super League, I am pleased to present this week’s column. We have a lot to cover today, and I don’t want to miss any of the live coverage of Neymar’s appearance in court over tax fraud. Into the dumpster we go.
Alas, poor John! We knew him!
John Terry’s career in English soccer appears to be over. Chelsea’s Captain Leader Legend™ announced that he would be moving on from his boyhood club because his contract will not be renewed at the end of the season. The club’s official line is that it would prefer to wait until a new manager is appointed before making a decision, but Terry decided to jump before he was pushed.
Terry probably expected better than to be made to suffer the indignity of not knowing whether or not his services would be required. But some might say it was an apt response by the club considering Terry’s alleged habit of leading mutinies to destabilize managers. At least the Blues had the decency to stab him in the front.
As much as Terry has declined as a player of late, he will undeniably be a great loss to all of us with weekly column inches to fill. His antics, including frequent harassment of referees and occasional parking in handicapped spots, were usually only mildly unpleasant. And who could forget his meme-worthy egotism, like the time he melodramatically adjusted his captain’s armband to take a crucial penalty only to slip at the last second, or the time he changed into a full kit for a trophy presentation following a game for which he was suspended? Then there was the little matter of him cheating on his wife with the mother of his teammate’s child. But nothing beats the moment when Terry completed his transformation into a cretinous scumbag: yes, that time he racially abused a fellow professional on the pitch. What a man, indeed. What a leader.
We may never see the likes of John Terry again. It is hard to imagine another individual that better embodies just how truly awful an idea it is to have sporting heroes. If we’re lucky, he’ll join his fellow washed up former England colleagues on the MLS retirement circuit. He is on record saying he would consider playing in America, and the bookmakers currently list MLS as his most likely next destination. Hopefully by then most people will have forgotten about the time he got drunk and mocked stranded American tourists in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. Godspeed, JT.
Guardiola and Mourinho should be reunited, for the bantz
The worst kept secret in European soccer has finally been confirmed: Pep Guardiola is moving to Manchester City this summer, which means that City can now seriously claim to be the best run (if certainly not best supported) club in Manchester.
City’s more famous neighbors, meanwhile, continue to labor under the fraudulence of Louis van Gaal. United has recently upgraded its form from “utterly unwatchable” to “not as shit as before,” but it would be stunning to most fans if van Gaal is still getting paid to coach Manchester United players come summer. Which brings us to an important point: With a vacancy likely opening up at Old Trafford soon, and a certain high profile and unemployed coach making no secret of his desire to fill it, we are one step closer to a Guardiola and José Mourinho reunion.
That’s important because Guardiola and Mourinho hate each other. Their bitter rivalry in La Liga led to Guardiola needing to take a year off, and Mourinho working himself into such a frenzy that he tore his own club apart. The ongoing feud often appears unseemly and distracting, which is why we should all hope that it can be reignited in Manchester next season. Mourinho may be a sexist, paranoid bully whose best years are behind him, but he’s still the best non-cardigan-wearing manager in the sport. Manchester United doesn’t know what it’s doing anyway, so why not roll the dice on Mourinho? He may abandon the youth system, embarrass the fans, and start a civil war within the club, but he’ll probably throw in a league title or two along the way.
While we’re here, let’s go one step further and bring Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo along for the ride. City would love nothing more than to lure Messi away from Barcelona, and United has been flirting with its ex, Ronaldo, for years. Considering the standard of defending in the Premier League today — Spurs(!) may be the only team that knows what it’s doing back there — Messi and Ronaldo joining would be an absolute bloodbath. What could be more Peak Premier League than attempting to recreate the best ever iteration of European soccer’s best rivalry (El Clásico of the Guardiola/Mourinho years) with shittier and more expensive parts?
Like death and taxes.