Home England When online, players can’t hide their Barca-Arsenal loyalties

When online, players can’t hide their Barca-Arsenal loyalties


“Arsenal vs Barcelona is basically soccer porn. You watch players do things you can only dream of and the game at a level that isn’t reality.”

That’s a tweet from Toronto FC Day One-man Alecko Eskandarian.

It was a fascinating exercise to go through a couple of hours worth of tweets after Arsenal’s stunning 2-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie. The pundits are one thing, but when the tweets come from players or, in the case of Eskandarian, recently retired players, it’s amazing to see people who are (or recently were) paid to play the game become fans.

Other than cheering for their college or junior teams, you wouldn’t see NHL or NBA or NFL players openly cheering another team, simply for the joy of it. You wouldn’t see a Yankee tweeting how badly he wants the Cards to beat the Astros or, heck, Industriales to take it to Santa Clara.

But soccer, with so many professional teams in so many leagues around the world, allows players to retain their fandom. Being a pro soccer player in MLS or the Greek League or Scotland is like being tossed into the famed Total Perspective Vortex from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; you are aware you are one very small piece of the community. No one will judge you for hanging an Arsenal or Barca scarf in your rec room. In a smaller community — say, American football, which is really played only in two countries — you can’t sign with the Packers and tell people you still sorta like the Bills.

So, when Real Salt Lake’s Arturo Alvarez tweets at kickoff that “Barca is my favourite of all” (translated from Spanish), no one would accuse him of stepping out of bounds.

“Barca looks uncomfortable for the 1st time since I don’t even know. Now we need to capitalize and avoid counters,” tweets Eskandarian at kickoff. Notice the “we.” Eskandarian has never hidden his Goonerdom.

“What a match between Arsenal and Barcelona! Should be a interesting second half,” tweets, ahem, Tottenham man Steven Pienaar.

Hoffenheim’s Ryan Babel tweets “Van Perrrrrrrrrrrrsieeeeeeee jawelllllll Bossssssss mannnn” when his countryman scores from a ridiculous angle to level the score. (“Jawel” is Dutch for “oh yes.”) Remember that Babel played with Liverpool, an English rival of Arsenal’s, till the Janaury transfer window. Earlier from Babel: “2 of My Fav Teams against each other, but tonite I’m cheering for Arsenal!”

New England’s Shalrie Joseph (also a declared Arsenal fan) after the game: “Unbelievable atmosphere at da Barca v Arsenal game, the better team definitely won. Revs fan we need to full up Gillette like that.”

(OK, as an Arsenal fan, Joseph should pray for a small miracle that would be a second-leg result in Camp Nou; selling out Revs games… well, that’s like asking Wigan to beat Barca.)

Also interesting is watching Gilberto Silva, now with Panathinaikos, cheering on his former club. “Come on Arsenal” is the theme of his tweets throughout the game.

Give the final word to former TFC man and current Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu: “Wow…what a game! Quality…can’t wait for the next 1!”

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One Comment

  1. Fouge

    February 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Methinks someone needs to have better sex.

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