The first half-year of Soccer Gods fun is coming to a close, but we can’t let mere temporal constraints keep us from honoring one of the entertainment world’s great traditions. End-of-year recaps and awards are to sports journalism what sappy Lee Greenwood songs are to conservatism, and being the patriotic pseudo-caribbeans we are, we have to speak up. In short, it’s time for the first annual Goddies – the Soccer Gods’ awards for outstanding if meaningless achievement.
Complying to FIFA standards, the award winners were democratically elected by a panel of close, personal friends, with voting held behind closed doors. But the results are undeniably accurate, mostly because we say so.
If you have issues with winners, concerns about methodology, hit up the places people usually frequent with complaints: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … Yelp, YouTube, whatever. We promise to address every concern in the most FIFA way possible.
We start with our most prestigious club honor, one where there’s a clear favorite. Zenit St. Petersburg has been called the most racist club in the world. In fact, if you type “Zenit St. Petersburg fans” into Google search, the first suggested alternative is “Zenit St. Petersburg fans racist.” Thank you smart, intuitive technology.
But this year, we’re giving to the award to another Russian club that made huge moves in the Racism Power Rankings: Spartak Moscow. Just in the last couple of months, Spartak fans have racially abused Zenit’s Hulk and FC Rostov’s Guelor Kanga, mounting a surprise challenge to Zenit in the race for fewest morals. For that, they should be applauded with booing.
There are rumors that fans of several Russian clubs have pooled their resources to develop new, more aerodynamic fruit hybrids to make them easier to throw at the dark players of their choosing. Until they do, Zenit and Spartak may be in a league of their own. For all the talk about a potential European Super League, has anybody stopped to consider a super league of racism?
OMG, FIFA is the worst, isn’t it? Anyway … Check that box. What channel is the game on?
But really, the dead foreigners and labor issues and heat and stuff are so offensive. They need to evacuate all people from that country. How can you not care about … What’s it called again? Kuwait?
Alternates: Arsenal; hard-working Americans; tough, hard-working Africans; hard workers.
Best appearance in a music video
When goalkeeper/super producer José Manuel Pinto left Barcelona at the end of last season, whispers started circulating about the inevitable death of the underground Spanish soccer music scene. But Real Madrid’s Jesé Rodriguez is here to restore those vibes while wearing a cape made out of reggaeton, it seems.
Jesé suffered a major knee injury last season, but if there was ever the case of a career-threatening turn morphing into a silver lining, this has to be it. A career in lip syncing to the world’s finest club anthems has done wonders for the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, and RuPaul – two off which are way richer than soccerballers.
If this whole “one of the best young attackers in the world” thing is no longer an option, cameos at Ibiza massives may be. It’s a whole new world.
Nicklas Bendtner is probably a pretty reasonable contestant for every single one of these awards. Everything that Lord Bendtner does, both on and off the field, makes you second-guess life’s larger questions: Why do we exist? Is trees soccer? And bowling, WTF?
This tweet is probably not even about bowling. Or is it?
Best Twitter account
In a world of based exaggeration, one man’s devoted to keeping it real; or, in this case, never taking the soccer world that seriously.
“I hate Alexi Lalas.” You probably hate soccer. And burritos. And life, now that we think about it. Which is fine. More burritos and soccer for us.
That doesn’t change that fact that Twitter is a pretty horrible place. But one man is taking that horribleness and turning it on its head. Alexi Lalas isn’t fighting the good fight because he isn’t fighting at all. He’s made fuel out of Twitter’s greatest resource: Idiots.
Worst Twitter account
You’re a Twitter handle with no followers, no tweets, and no ideas. You’re naked. But you need to start somewhere. And when everyone’s watching, it isn’t easy.
Major League Soccer is one of the few leagues in the world that has clubs that don’t have any players or notable infrastructure. Expansion teams like Atlanta won’t take the field for two, three years. But they’re there, lurking. Ready to try to hard, same something unintentionally offensive, and start their brands off on the wrong foot.
Yeah, it’s hard to find things to tweet about, but for some reason, people still feel like they have to tweet. All of which brings is to LAFC:
You’re two years away from the field. What the hells are you tweeting about?
Why are you retweeting this?
Seriously. Why are you around, bro?
Stop it. Just … be away, until 2017. Maybe longer.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Twitter account is also terrible. FYI.
Best Instagram video
This is self-explanatory. No soccer person has done anything better than this in 2014 on Instagram. Or in real life.
Best Instagram account
It’s Mario Balotelli. Again. Or is it Nicklas Bendtner? Here’s how you answer this question: When you’re on any platform and see that Mario Balotelli has posted a picture or video on Instagram, do you: A,) drop everything and click, B.) drop everything and click, or c.) all of the above.
The answer is A, B, and C. Bendtner has toned it down a bit and has entered into contemplative mode, which our voting panel is so not about.
Alternates: Jermaine Jones; Kevin-Prince Boateng; Neymar; Mauro Icardi
Best facial hair
2014 has been the Year of the Beard. The shaving industry is in ruins and it’s almost certainly Andrea Pirlo’s fault. There’s a world full of clowns growing comedy beards for attention, but they should be ignored. These are men of distinction. Men who pour their liquor into decanters and let it breathe before turning up. Class gentlemen.
However, Jose Enrique:
Now, consider Roy Keane, …
… Tim Howard, …
… and Nat Borchers.
The winner, however, has to be Andrea Pirlo. Not that he didn’t have some competition, here from Arda Turan:
Most offensive hairstyle
Some people just have too much money, too much time, and not enough honest friends. These players let their barbers and stylists (or in one case, a high school affinity for Bob Marley’s Legend compilation) ruin them, all in the name of style.
Consider Inter’s Rodrigo Palacio …
… Gervinho, …
… and … Kyle Beckerman? That seems harsh.
But the winner has to be Blonde Neymar – really, the worst of the Neymars. No single player inspired as many “Why” moments based purely on his hairstyle.
Candidates: Joey Barton, Luis Suarez, Mario Balotelli
There was a guy. He bit another guy. And he’d done this many (well, two) times before.
This time, he did it in a World Cup game. How are we going to pretend there’s another level of crazy here that doesn’t involve incarceration?
Most racist performance
And now, the night’s most prestigious award. In a world full of “isms”, it’s difficult to distinguish yourself. How do you become the most “ist” of the “Ists?” It’s a proficiency most of us can’t even imagine.
Consider the challenge of knocking Spartak Moscow off this pedestal. The team’s already won Worst Fans, which should make it a shoe-in for this honor. And yet, there’s one crazy man in Russia that was so Russian that Russia went Russia on him.
FC Rostov coach Igor Gamula hit an ignorance trifecta this fall when he said had too many dark-skinned players, called them “things,” and implied they’d infect his playing squad with Ebola.
Sometimes, creating content is difficult. Other times, it writes themselves. Thanks to the miracle of cut-and-paste, Gamula allowed us to take a few minutes off. We would have never thought of “dark-skinned players” on our own. You made this choice so easy, Igor. Thank you.
Everybody, it’s been an amazing night, but one in which we’ve immortalized some truly deserving souls. While it may be another year before we can get together again to honor the amazing, inexplicable, indefensible, and horrible parts of our world, it’s our jobs to enjoy this brilliance with every moment of our lives. That’s what The Goddies are all about.