Saturday, July 08, 2006

Weird Facts of the Day

I ish damn damn bored. So I ish went to Wikipedia to surf for fun. All it took was one word and lots of links and the night, and I'm now blessed with loads of useless facts that I didn't really need to know.

I started with Ronaldo because I wanted to know how many Ronaldos there are in the world, at least the famous ones. So I came to the disambiguation page. There wasn't anything there I didn't know, so I went on to look at the greatest actor of all time.

The greatest actor recently got his wiki page vandalised. hahahahaha~ Of course when I come to the page of a famous actor, I must go check up the page on acting.

Weird Fact of the Day 1
"During the 1998 World Cup, in the quarter-finals matchup between Argentina and the Netherlands, Ariel Ortega received a red card for headbutting Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, after van der Sar confronted Ortega on the his play-acting attempt to draw a penalty. Ortega had already been cautioned by the referee for diving. [3] [4]
A notorious incident of a player not caught simulating until after the match occurred during the Brazil - Turkey group stage match during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Rivaldo was about to take a corner Hakan Ünsal of Turkey passed him back the ball, as Turkey wanted to hurry up the game. The ball softly hit Rivaldo on his legs but he collapsed dramatically holding his face and consequently Ünsal was sent off. Rivaldo was fined, but the sanctions were criticised as too lenient. [5]"

After this, I clicked Edwin van der Sar because I think he looks cute. He looks like the Vice Captain, but of course, van der Sar is captain, not vice captain.

And while at my fettish for goalkeepers, I went on to look at the List of Goalkeepers, but with so many names right in front of me, I headed straight for the shuaige I can see, Iker Casillas.

Weird Fact of the Day 2
"Because he did not have a driving licence, Casillas was the only Madrid player to use public transport to get to training sessions in the 1999/00 season.
He is currently dating Spanish model Eva Gonzalez. (2006)"

Remember what I said about Pavel Nedved? Well, there's another doll like footballer I like, Real Madrid's Guti, the player I like so much off the field but hate so much on the field. He sucks as a player, but he's damn shuai, just like a little china doll.

Weird Fact of the Day 3
Spanish youth academies are called canteras.
"Since 1912 Athletic Bilbao have employed a cantera policy. One of the main beneficiaries of the policy has been Spain. Athletic has provided numerous players for Spain, second only to Real Madrid."
"Numerous senior players have graduated through the ranks of FC Barcelona B. These have included Francisco José Carrasco, Ramón María Calderé, Guillermo Amor, Albert Ferrer, Josep Guardiola, Sergi, Víctor Valdés, and Andrés Iniesta." (I like Victor Valdes almost as much as Iker Casillas, two great young Spanish goalkeepers.)
"Many great home grown players have since passed through the ranks of Real Madrid Castilla, among them Emilio Butragueño, Manolo Sanchís, Martín Vazquéz, Míchel and Miguel Pardeza. More recent graduates have included Raúl Bravo, Guti and Íker Casillas. The club has also produced some notable managers including Vicente Del Bosque and Rafael Benítez." (And also both rose through the ranks to establish themselves as number 1 goalkeepers.)

Victor Valdes.

But I didn't linger there for long, I clicked back back and found a link to Raul. But there was nothing much, so I went to to the newly minted Real Madrid's trainer, Fabio Capello. But there wasn't anything new there either. So I went to Scudetto and took a look at the Serie A which provided me with the next fun fact.

Weird Fact of the Day 4
"The Serie A Championship title is often referred to as the Scudetto (small shield) because the winning team will bear a small coat of arms with the Italian tricolour on their uniform in the following season. The most successful league club is Juventus F.C. with 29 championships, followed by A.C. Milan (17), Internazionale (13) and Genoa C&FC (9). For every ten titles won, clubs are allowed to wear a golden star above their club badge; so Juventus has two stars, while Milan and Internazionale have one star each."

Cool~ I know the national teams get to wear those gold stars on their crests in the World Cup, but I didn't know the Italian Clubs got to do that too.

Then I went to Torino. Someone once said that Juventus is a team that is more popular abroad than locally. In the region of Turin, the more popular club was this, but I've never heard of this team before.

Weird Fact of the Day 5
"On May 4, 1949, after having secured their record fifth back-to-back Serie A title, and on their way home after a friendly match with Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal, the airplane carrying Grande Torino crashed against the Cathedral of Superga, on a hill near Turin, killing all the players and managers.
Grande Torino is still much loved by Italian football fans as a symbol of national pride that helped Italian people get through the hardships of post World War II."

A more normal fact, fun fact, Torino will be back to the Serie A next season, so we'll get to hear more of them, hopefully~

Next Italian team I took a look at was Inter Milan. And then next was AC Milan.

Weird Fact of the Day 6
The full name of AC Milan is "Associazione Calcio Milan".
"The club was founded in 1899 by Alfred Edwards, a British expatriate. In honour of its origins, the club has retained the English spelling of its city's name, instead of changing it to the Italian Milano; it should be noted that the current Italian pronunciation is actually MEE-lahn."

I never noticed that AC Milan was Milan instead of Milano which is the Italian name for Milan. Now I know, and now I know AC Milan has British roots, and note the pronounciation, MEE-lahn, not MAI-lahn, like some American wannabe would pronounciate it as.

Then I visited the San Siro, like what anybody would do after visiting the two Milano teams. But there was nothing much, so I went back, and noticed this very interesting thing called "retired numbers". One of the players who retired a number is Paolo Maldini. Actually he didn't retire his number, he...

Weird Fact of the Day 7
"Paolo Maldini has had AC Milan designate the number 3 for his son Christian who was born in 1996. Christian has already been signed for the AC Milan Youth Club."

wah lau... So young already so much weight placed on his shoulders. Anyway, while I was at Maldini's place, I visited his father, Cesare Maldini, but he wasn't a very interesting person, so I went back. And back. Before finding something more interesting to read.

Squad numbers. And I found this little bit of gem.

Weird Fact of the Day 8
"The typical numbering given above comes from the days when the 2-3-5 formation was used. With the convention of numbering from the back forwards and from right to left across each line the numbering is:
1. Goalkeeeper 2. Right full back (right back) 3. Left full back (left back) 4. Right half back (right half) 5. Centre half back (centre half) 6. Left half back (left half) 7. Outside right (right winger) 8. Inside right 9. Centre Forward 10. Inside left 11. Outside left (left winger)
Early evolutions of formations involved moving specific positions, e.g. moving the centre half back to become a defender rather than a half back. Their numbers went with them, hence central defenders wearing number 5. You can still see the effects of this system in operation. For example, in friendly and championship qualifying matches England, when playing the 4-4-2 formation, general number their players (using the standard right to left system of listing football teams) 4 defenders - 2,5,6,3; 4 midfielders - 7,4,8,11; 2 forwards - 9,10. "

No wonder. And I was wondering why Joe Cole was assigned to 11 when he's a midfielder. And why Gerrard was a 4 when he's also a midfielder. And why so many right wingers use the number 7.

Weird Fact of the Day 9
"Players were not compelled to wear the number 13 if they were superstitious. " (most notably, Ballack, but I don't think he's able to get that number at Chelsea cos Gallas is wearing it. Chelsea doesn't want Gallas to leave, but Gallas wants to leave, not this year, but he will leave next year when his contract ends. Wonder what number will Ballack get. Shevchenko has already got his favoured number 7. Oh well...)
"In 2003, FC Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía became the first player to wear 99 in the final of a major European competition. Hicham Zerouali was allowed to wear the number 0 for Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen F.C. after the fans nicknamed him "Zero"."

Anyway, those people aren't that interesting, so I went to this number 14 person, Johan Cruijff, to get to know the legend a bit better.

Weird Fact of the Day 10
"Cruijff used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day prior to undergoing double heart bypass surgery in 1991, after which he quit smoking and began chain-sucking Chupa Chups lollipops instead. He also led the anti-smoking campaign developed by the Health Department of the Catalan government."

I went to the Chupa Chups page. We all like Chupa Chups, but how much we know about it? Yes, it's a high class lollipop, and we probably know that it's European, but I'll provide more weird facts about it!

Weird Fact of the Day 11
It's Spanish, Catalan, to be more precise.
"The Chupa Chups company was quite a success. Within five years his sweets were sold at 300,000 outlets. After the end of the Francisco Franco dictatorship (1939–1975), the self-funded private company went international. In the 1970s the colorful lollipops appeared in South East Asian nations like Singapore and Malaysia. In the 1980s it expanded to the European and American markets and in the 1990s to most Asian countries and Australian market. In 1995 a Chupa Chups lollipop was brought to the Mir space-station. As of 2003, 4 billion lollipops a year are sold to 150 countries with 2000 employees, 90 percent of abroad sales and a €500m turnover."
"The Chupa Chups logo was designed by the surrealist Salvador Dalí. "

So, amazingly, Chupa Chups came to Singapore and Malaysia before going European even though Spain is a European country. erm... Totally amazing. I really, totally didn't know that. Should we be proud of this? Hey! We've started eating Chupa Chups before you Europeans even though Spain's right beside you~ diaoz... And also, quite zai sia... Can find famous artist to design it's logo. hmm... How come no American brand find Andy Warhol to design their logos, although Warhol did painted lots of Campbell soups, but that's not because he was asked to. Speaking of Campbells, I'm so angry Germany doesn't have it. Sucks... I want soup!!!

Sidetracked a little, anyway, I went back to to Cruijff's page, then went on to KNVB because I wanted to know what those four letters stood for, it's Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond, by the way. There's nothing there, so I went to The Dutch National Football Team page.

Weird Fact of the Day 12
"The Netherlands national football team does not wear the colors of the Dutch flag of today, but instead plays in bright orange. Orange is the historic national color of the Netherlands, originating from the coat of arms of the Dutch founding father William of Orange-Nassau. The top (red) band of the current flag was originally orange. The current Dutch away shirt incorporates the flag colours as a diagonal stripe."
Orange Land.

Then I went to visit one of my favourite Dutch player. Dennis Bergkamp. But most of the stuff in his wiki page I've already read and know and nothing much for me to find out more. But I found this link interesting. Testimonial Match. We all know Roy Keane just had his, now come July 22 Bergkamp will hold his at the all new Emirates Stadium. I personally think naming the stadiums after sponsors is so disgusting, the stadium loses its identity.

Weird Fact of the Day 13
"The practice started in the days when players, even those at top professional clubs, were paid far less well than they are today. Few players were able to live on their club wages, much less save for retirement. The testimonial was a charitable gesture by the club; as testimonials were typically very well-attended matches, the practice of giving the players the proceeds from the match often enabled the honorees either to retire or establish themselves in another line of work once they finished playing. This is still the main object of testimonials in Australia and some other countries.
In recent years, testimonials have been less frequent, especially in the top levels of European professional football and other sports in which the top players are able to make enormous salaries, well into seven figures annually (whether expressed in United States dollars, euros, or pounds). Today's top-level players in popular sports often have far less need for the money from a testimonial than players from the past would have. "

I always thought testimonials were vanity events, I didn't know that there's a history behind it. Now it makes so much more sense because in the past retired players often struggled to get back into normal life. But I found that line "(whether expressed in United States dollars, euros, or pounds)" totally hilarious. yea... So true...

Speaking of Weird Facts, I've just realised something only today. The Coke bottles I've bought have German football stars printed on them, but only for the 500ml original Coke ones. I now have 5 bottles of those bearing 5 different players. I shall buy more, and buy the whole team! wahahaha~

And speaking of the World Cup, I'm so happy Lucas Poldoski won the young player award. I'm so happy out of pure spite. At least a football player won that award, not an actor. Ronaldo should be awarded an Oscar for all his theatrics sia...

Next up, the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe. I must emphasise, the adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Shoe award. I think, if all goes on as it should be, Miroslav Klose should win it because because I don't think an Italian defence would allow Henry anything more than a goal. Even with one goal, Henry still would trail Klose. The Golden Shoe, I think would be the cap to the end of Zinedine Zidane's playing career. Although I personally think Klose should win, but then I'm just being biased. hehehe~

Finally my dear Klose is making a big name for himself. But I do not wish to see Chelsea to buy him then place him on the bench. Klose plays better in a 4-4-2 formation, or with another striker, so Chelsea won't fit him well, and I do not want him on the bench. This World Cup has been a pretty mediocre World Cup with no one really shining like a superstar. Maybe Zidane, but then hor... Remember four years ago, people were saying that Zidane is old. Now he's four years older than before, how come nobody's saying he's old and tired. With this I rest my case that the failure of the French team in 2002 is not due to old age and tiring old players but due to their own incapabilities to perform. See how the oldies are shining four years older? wahahaha~

Unveiling the FIFA MasterCard 2006 All Stars Team:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jens Lehmann (Germany), Ricardo (Portugal).
Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Argentina), John Terry (England), Lilian Thuram (France), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy), Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal).
Midfielders: Ze Roberto (Brazil), Patrick Vieira (France), Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Luis Figo (Portugal), Maniche (Portugal).
Strikers: Hernan Crespo (Argentina), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Francesco Totti (Italy), Luca Toni (Italy).

Only one Englishman, but it's Terry!!! I really think he'll be the next captain, at least I hope so~ Anyway, Chelsea has four representatives in that team. lalalalala~ Chelsea all the way~ This World Cup tournament is becoming a Chelsea showcase, with the exception of some benchwarmers and the misfiring of the person who tops the number of shots taken, Chelsea players has been shining. I like!

Looking forward to the last two matches. I want Germany to beat the actor flat and square. Then for the Sunday's match, I would prefer France to win although most Germans hate France. I want France to win because I don't want Italy to win. Italy shouldn't even be in the quarter finals anyway, after the round of 16 match with Australia, that's a howler man... kanasai...

Take Germany to win 2-0, Ronaldo to get carded, Klose to score a goal and make an assist for Poldoski to score a goal.
Take France to win 1-0 penalty or draw 1-1 with Italy losing the penalty shootouts. I'd go for Zidane to get that French goal.

*cross fingers*

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