I normally save my soccer/futbol/footie posts for things like the World Cup qualifying, weird goals and the Euro Cup. Essentially the big, “everybody’s watching” games, like, for instance, the UEFA Champions League Final, which takes place later on this afternoon. The match will be watched the world over, and when you consider the fact that two of the best soccer players in the world (Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi) — not to mention two of the most followed clubs in the world — the appeal is understandable. For those of you who don’t like the sport, today’s game between Manchester United and Barcelona is a good opportunity to perhaps change these colors.
The United States loves its celebrities, athletic or otherwise, and with that in mind, a Ronaldo/Messi head-to-head could be the very thing to attract more fans — at least for today’s match. If you haven’t heard of either and question their star power, don’t, especially with Ronaldo. Not only is each player an international superstar, both are competing for the World Player of the Year award, which was given to Ronaldo last season. The thinking is, if Barcelona wins, Messi wins the award and vice-versa.
There is one unfortunate thing about today’s Final: the timing. Because of Europe’s silly “we’re ahead of you lot by five or six hours” mentality, the game comes on during the afternoon for us Americans. Fear not, however. ESPN360 has you covered if you are at work. If you are at home, ESPN will be doing the deed in a “live television” format.
Allow me to echo the thoughts of ESPN’s Josh Elliot (via Twitter and The Sporting News Blog), “give it a chance.” You never know, you might actually enjoy it. And hey, there’s always a chance a riot breaks out, so you have that going for you as well.
Game time is 2:25 Eastern.