Every week, Luis Miguel Echegaray brings up the latest football news and shares his opinions, whether you agree with them or not. From stellar performance and what you may have missed to what to watch for in the coming days, LME has a few things to say.
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ON THE SIDE
Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid and the need for more English players to play abroad
On Thursday, Real Madrid officially unveiled their latest star – and perhaps one of the most important club signings for years to come – as 19-year-old prodigy Bellingham sat down in front of the media to discuss the reasons for joining. Los Blancos and become the seventh Englishman to join the club.
“It’s a different culture of football, it’s a different style,” Bellingham said. “So maybe it can give players who have only known England. Everyone in the national team always wanted me to come back to England and I appreciate that, but I wanted to get out of my zone. The easiest thing would have been to go back, but coming to a club the size of Madrid is an opportunity I had to take.”
Jude Bellingham: “I was in the final when Madrid beat Liverpool, that was a huge factor in my decision to join Real.” 🏆 pic.twitter.com/RCWVlhCz5l
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2023
First of all, Bellingham’s maturity is impressive. At such a young age, he knows who he is – as a player and a person – and that’s half the battle to succeed on and off the pitch. The other reason for his maturity is his continental outlook on life, not just his game. Bellingham left Birmingham City for Borussia Dortmund in 2020 as the most expensive 17-year-old in history and three years later , he arrives in Madrid with the mentality of a veteran.
He plays with the creativity of Juan Roman Riquelme, the decision-making of Luka Modric and the dribbling of Luis Figo. His overall game – from his composure in midfield to his vision for the future – has a continental approach. There is no anxiety in that. This all reflects his decision to join Borussia Dortmund and the Bundesliga away from English media and Premier League pressures. Subtly, slowly, like Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai trees in “Karate Kid”, Bellingham flourished.
What happens next is anyone’s guess, but there’s no hyperbole when I tell you this young man can win a Ballon d’Or. Now please, Madrid, stop with the Beatles references.
Jack Grealish: Be you, boy!
As a lifelong Aston Villa fan, it’s not easy for me to talk about Grealish without feeling sorry for his move to Manchester City in 2021, so I think I deserve extra credit for that.” Onside”. Forget his football, the excellent season he had with Man City or becoming a historic treble. It’s about Jack Grealish still being Jack Grealish and why – in an age of athletes with mundane answers to every interview – it’s refreshing to see someone being himself and Grealish – the kid from Solihull who helped his club to win the most amazing achievement – is the ultimate example.
On a rainy Monday, as the club paraded their accolades through the streets of Manchester, where Pep Guardiola smoked his cigar, Erling Haaland danced shirtless, John Stones sang 2 Unlimited’s classic ‘No Limit’ with the Premier League trophy – it was Grealish who got all the attention. The funny thing is that he doesn’t want it. He never does. He wanted to celebrate, and the boy did.
Jack Grealish is a turkey.. 😂
“The turkey needs to be fed!” »
— City Chief (@City_Chief) June 12, 2023
Whether it’s almost falling off the victory bus, wearing a construction worker’s jacket, or shouting out loud, “I’m a turkey and the turkey needs to be fed!”, so that Kalvin Phillips made him pour alcohol down his throat, Grealish put college freshmen to shame with his antics.
The reviews have arrivedcomparing him to former England international Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne and his possible alcohol problems or whether Grealish’s place in future squads could be in jeopardy.
Oh please. Grealish have just achieved a historic feat by winning the European treble with City (becoming only the second team to do so after Manchester United in 1999). So if he wants to do an actual version of “The Hangover,” then let him. Grealish, the carefree local boy who happens to be a professional soccer player, is having the best time of his life.
USA vs. Mexico: enough anti-gay chants
USMNT’s emphatic victory over Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League semi-finals showed a lot: the talent gap between the Americans and their neighbors (Diego Cocca was a terrible choice as coach- Mexico chief), how heated this rivalry is to the four red cards on Thursday night, the fact that Christian Pulisic must leave Chelsea as soon as possible, but above all, the inability of Concacaf (alongside the Mexican FA) to stop the disgusting anti-gay chants from Mexican fans.
Yesterday the game ended four minutes early in stoppage time due to chanting, but that was after multiple warnings and a temporary suspension of play. That chant isn’t going to go away unless it’s have serious repercussions for Mexico. Empty stadiums? We are past that stage. I’m talking about the removal of tournaments, especially the upcoming Gold Cup, empty Liga MX stadiums and other restrictions. Let us remember that this nation will be co-organizer of the next World Cup.
Something has to be done. NOW.
I am aware of the argument on the other side. There is historical and cultural significance among Mexicans and Latin Americans — that “pu–” is also a general slur, but in the context of a football game, the word is definitely used as a anti-gay slur. That’s not a good enough excuse to keep using it. Concacaf must act. Enough of stadium warnings during games. The warning was set, again and again and again.
Kylian Mbappé, PSG and the saga that never ends
Season after season, the Parisian club continues to live in a football-style purgatory where in all the reckless spending and Qatari owners’ need to market the brand like a Kardashian, they forget to focus on what’s most important: being a soccer club. .
PSG are in desperate need of new management, and Mbappe’s latest drama, combined with Lionel Messi’s tumultuous MLS exit, prioritizing star power over investing in local Parisian talent, and the revolving door new managers, are all the reasons. The Qatari ownership is expected to leave the club and allow for a new identity, but that will never happen as Ligue 1 finances are hard to come by. Either way, they are blind to what is right under their noses. Talented Parisian players – from Mike Maignan to Moussa Diaby – have left to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
In fact, Mbappe, who grew up in the suburbs of the French capital, chose Monaco aged 14 over PSG because he knew it would be difficult to get minutes and notoriety. He eventually ended up at the club, albeit at a price, which continues to be a burden today as he alerted PSG that he would not take the option of extending his contract until 2025, putting them in a difficult situation: move him this summer or risk losing him on a free transfer in 2024?
None of this would be a problem if the club paid more attention to what is in their own garden. Yes, you can buy your superstars, but if your foundation is connected to the city, then everyone – from property to grassroots – will be better off for it.
There’s a reason Dorothy said there’s no place like home.
Vinicius Jr and FIFA’s anti-racism “plan”
On Thursday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said there would be a special anti-racism committee made up of players who will dictate and suggest tougher penalties for racist and discriminatory behavior in the game. The man to show the way ? Vinicius of Real Madrid.
I appreciate the sentiment, but the reason I’m putting this as an “offside” is because I hate that Vinicius is the only one doing this. Why is it always up to the victim to solve the problem? It is not his job to solve this problem, nor that of anyone who has experienced hatred or discrimination.
Real change happens when those not directly affected by racism take action to combat it, so here’s a thought: let FIFA stakeholders take full action. Let those who have never been the target of racial slurs take collective action to create change. It is leadership.
Tweet of the week
Are you Of course you don’t want to go to the world cup in 2026, Leo? I think you will still have some magic left in the tank, even if there are still a few years left.
Lionel Messi at his best, sit back and enjoy 🐐
He somehow escaped the Socceroos defenders to find Garnacho 🔥
— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) June 15, 2023