Football ⚽

Congrats Giroud and all the best Cavani!

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Today was a good day for Olivier Giroud! He played his 100th game for France becoming only the 8th player to do so for Les Bleus joining the likes of Hugo Lloris, Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira, and current Les Bleus manager, Didier Deschamps. It was only a friendly against Ukraine in which Les Bleus won 7-1, but it was brilliant!

Welcome to the 100th club, Giroud.

Ollie is a World Cup winner and France’s second-highest goalscorer at 42 goals. Only Henry stands in his way with 51 goals. I’ll love to see Ollie beat that. Only today I was reading an interview about Ollie talking about his new book, ‘Always Believe It’ and he said something that stuck with me, so I’ll share that here: 

“I am a very religious person who asserts his Christian faith more and more in recent years. It allowed me to overcome trials, to put things into perspective and to always believe in my chances, in his destiny and in Jesus, who is there, at all times, to watch over me.” 

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And Edinson Cavani is a new-mint Manchester United player. I’m no fan of anything Man U, but all the best, Cavani… even though that red shirt is going to hurt mi eyes. Show the English why we call you ‘El Matador’! I’ll also leave something from Cavani’s interview that resonated with me:

“I believe that in life things come when they are meant to and sometimes, no matter how much you want something, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”

The 33-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal on around £210,000 per week after tax

**GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

July 15th: a special day! 💙

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How have you been? I’ve been well and while things on my end are cooling down, I’m not sure if I’ll be returning to blogging full time as yet. Anyways, I’ll leave this for another time. I want to see how this week goes first. So, it’s July 15th and a very special day for me. 😄

Les Bleus

It’s exactly one year since Les Bleus won the prestigious World Cup. Going into that WC, France was not one of the most prepared team, but during the tournament, Didier Deschamps went from strength to strength with each game. Although France produces some of the world’s best players (ask the EPL and the La Liga), they were not outright favorites going into the tournament. Many were favoring Germany, Argentina, and even Portugal. Many fans rooted for Croatia in the final because society demands that we root for the underdog. What does that accomplish in football? 

Legend has it that I am still celebrating our victory… Okay, I’m not. I’m actually over it. 

Speaking of football, I am delighted that Antoine Griezmann is now a part of FC Barcelona! 🎊 With 5 French players on the team, FCB is slowly turning into FC Francelona! 😅

This season of football is going to be interesting and I look forward to what Griezmann is going to bring to his new team. 😄

Birthday Girl

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Another reason why July 15th is so special? It’s the day my best friend and little sis was born! You guys may know her as Tammy over on Godinspiredart, but to me, she’s more than just Tammy. She’s a woman after God’s heart, a ray of sunshine, an inspiration, my best friend and little sister! She’s multi-talented and she uses them all for God’s glory. 

One day, I’ll tell you guys how God made us meet. 💙😃

Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie! May you continue to chase after God’s heart and may He shower you with blessings and grace in Jesus’ Name. All the best on this special day as you celebrate the gift of life which was given by the King and may today be one of the most memorable of the year! 💙🎂

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

Photo belongs to Tammy. She was gracious in letting me use it. 💙

And since it’s the beginning of a bright and new week, happy Monday everyone! 

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***GIFs via Google Search

Entertainment

Les Bleus: thank you for the memories!

Mes Amis, this is my final post on the World Cup tournament. 😃

We came to the end of a wonderful World Cup tournament two weeks ago and I already have wonderful long lasting memories. I just want to look back on a few moments. 

THE SUPPORTERS

The fans were incredible from the very beginning. They soaked in the atmosphere of the game and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t hear of any hooligan reports which was good. Some French fans said the locals were very accommodating and allowed them to couch surf. 

DIDIER DESCHAMPS

Deschamps implemented discipline and a sense of togetherness in this young team. He even showed Jose Mourinho how to get the best out of Paul Pogba. 😉 One of my favorite moment is when some of the players gatecrashed his post-conference, chanting his name. It shows that the players have a special bond with him regardless of what the media thinks.

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LES BLEUS

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The various backgrounds blending together really enriched the squad.

They didn’t start well, but they grew during the tournament. When I look back at their victory against Croatia, I’ll always remember Les Bleus standing in the pouring rain, golden confetti stuck to their skin and sparkling in their hair, as they hoist the trophy over their heads. They deserved this victory. They and their people.

THE EMIR PRINCE OF QATAR SHEIKH TAMIM

The French media praised him for offering his front-row seat to the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. Little things that the media don’t talk about, but I want to highlight it anyway. 

THE FRENCH & CROATIAN PRESIDENTS

Emmanuel Macron was such a delight! After his team won the WC, his animated display made one of the best highlight and iconic photo when he lept to his feet and punch the air. Credit goes to Alexei Nikolsky for this superb capture!

Golden Glove - Thibout Courtios

His celebration with the team in the locker room – notably with Mendy and Pogba who got him to dab – made headlines.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: French President Emmanuel Macron dabs with Paul Pogba during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Monsieur Président so chill, eh?

What’s the purpose of the dab anyway and didn’t that fad fade away? Anyway, I loved watching Macron and the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović embracing the players in the pouring rain. One can see the genuine warmth and affection they had for the players.

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kylian Mbappe of France with the FIFA Young Player Award as President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic look on following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Putin is smugly standing under his umbrella watching the other two presidents get wet. What poor protocol! They are guests in Moscow and one of them is a woman. Macron took time to visit the Croatian players and the madam did the same for the French players.

However, people can’t get over that the Monsieur and the Madam were too close during the game. Someone even asked if she was his wife. 

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No, this is his wife:

Patriotic: Macron donned a navy suit and tie as well as a red, white, and blue rubber bracelet that matches France's tricolor flag

 Lloris looks at the pair with such fondness! 

I’m thankful for the French memories.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

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Kudos to you, Russia, for organizing an unforgettable tournament! It’s the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since 1998 and I can only say, merci beaucoup.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search save the last GIF which was my attempt at creating my first GIF. 😄 It didn’t work out how I planned it, but that’s what practice is for. 

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

My World Cup story ⚽

Just two more World Cup posts after this one and I’ll get back to regular posting. 😄

I’ve been so excited to share my World Cup experience during the tournament that I forgot to talk about how I became a fan of the beautiful game and why I support Les Bleus. So today, I present my World Cup story. I hope I won’t go overboard while writing. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. 

FRANCE 1998

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If you’re born in Trinidad like me and you enjoy football, you root for two teams: Brazil or Mexico. Well, back then. My father grew up thinking that Pelé was the greatest (I went with Diego Maradona later on after watching his style) and Brazil was perhaps the best team to ever play the game. Dad used to play football with the local community team and although he had talent and what it took for him to represent Trinidad on the big stage, he never took up on the offers, instead choosing to see out the rest of his teenage years before going out into the world of work.

Dad insisted that I watch the World Cup for he wanted me to see why he supported Brazil. I was kind of reluctant for I did not want to sit and watch men kick a ball around for 90 minutes. I had to take my words back for later on, I came to love and enjoy football. Anyways, so I watched dad’s team Brazil and I was not impressed although they were the favorites to win it all. But then, then I saw this beautiful team:

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This beautiful multicultural French team led by captain Didier Deschamps had my attention. They were nicknamed Black-Blanc-Beur (Black, White & Arab) and they defied stereotypes and they were the underdogs regardless of how great they were doing and this is how Les Bleus became the loves of my footballing life. As the competition wore on, I tuned in for all of their games. At that time, a resident psychic thought she saw it all and made a bold prediction about Brazil winning the WC. I laughed because I knew they weren’t going to beat the French team to it. Even dad was like, “But the psychic said…” I was like, “Dad, I love you, but Brazil is going to Samba back to their country without the ultimate prize.”

On July 12th, the final between Brazil and France was intense, but France’s multiracial Rainbow Warriors won it 3-0 and lifted the trophy with pure joy. 

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Back then, everyone was talking about Zidane this and Zidane that, but two players stood out for me and they were Didier Deschamps (the captain) and Marcel Desailly.

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They had a great friendship and still do. They’re the godfathers of each other’s sons and they always talk fondly of each other.

RUSSIA 2018

Twenty years later, a new generation arrived with Didier Deschamps at the helm once again, this time as coach. Deschamps has led France to its second World Cup victory, twenty years after winning it as a player.

Hugo Lloris

And watch the diversity of our goalies:

I talked a lot about France over the course of this year’s World Cup tournament so I won’t do that here now. This beautiful diverse team is not going to stop racism, but they’re an example of what people can achieve by working together as a team regardless of the color of skin or background.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

Entertainment

Les Bleus sends La Celeste home

France beat Uruguay 2-0 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2006. 

Les Bleus outplayed Uruguay in the opening 30 minutes and had nothing to show for it until the 40′ when Varane scored a scintillating header! It was his 3rd goal for France. 

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

No more goals would come until the 60′ when Griezmann fires from the edge of the box. The ball heads straight for Muslera who make a regulation save, but ends up palming the ball at the back of the net.  Yes, it was a howler for a keeper like Muslera, but it’s not like Uruguay were drawing the French 1-1, so don’t be hard on him.

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Luis Suárez looked lost without Cavani who did not make the starting XI but made the bench nevertheless. But even with El Matador on the pitch, I don’t think Uruguay would’ve won. They did not bring much to this match and the French didn’t give the South Americans much space to work with. I have to commend the French for their excellent defending in this match. 👍

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

#hairgoals

I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in Mbappé showing off his acting chops. In December he said,

“I am learning every day from Neymar. I try to watch all the things he is doing in order to learn as quick as possible.” 

So, I guess he’s learning well from the master. Imagine if the two of them meet in the semis! But it won’t happen for my gut feeling is going with Belgium. It’s going to be a French showdown!

 

There is one man who goes about his work effectively and quietly, that his masterclass is almost dismissed and that is my boy, N’Golo Kanté. I notice all the hard work that he puts in even though he shuns the limelight and I am delighted with it. He is our engine at only 5’5. He is consistent, a joy to watch, has a great partnership with Paul Pogba, and a masterclass midfielder. He is a precious gem. 

And today was no different. He had an excellent game today! There is no better holding midfielder in the world currently than him and France should be grateful for him. 

     

I also want to commend Olivier Giroud for occupying the Uruguayan defense. He was a force to be reckoned with proving that he doesn’t have to score to make a name for himself.

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 

And Hugo Lloris just claimed the save of the tournament! Just before the break, he denied Martín Cáceres by using his right foot to stretch his upper body thus saving what was a potential goal. Many shocked people said that he had no right to save that, which is true, but we Les Bleus fans know that Hugo Boss is a cat. 😎

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

And last but never least, Didier Deschamps. When the tournament kicked off, I was not pleased with the way Les Bleus began. When they played Argentina, I witnessed the growth I was looking for and it was the same today against Uruguay. Yes, there is still room for improvement, but Deschamps is working through it, and I am happy to see that. 

One of my favorite moment during the match was when he took Pogba aside and talked some sense into his head when some Uruguayans clashed with the French. He is often criticized, but he is a very good leader. For example, when Argentina went 2-1 up early in the 2nd half, Didier Deschamps ushered players to the touchline and asked them not to be scared. 9 minutes later, Benjamin Pavard equalized. (L’Équipe)

 

 

And when he joked with Griezmann after his substitution.

 

Thank you, Uruguay for gracing us with your presence in this year’s tournament. As for France…

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

     

Football ⚽

Giroud, the heart stealer; Lloris, the quiet leader

Two Frenchmen; one post. Why not? 😄

  

Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris are the best of friends and they’re my boys! 

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I’ve followed their careers since they played in France and before the English league cashed in on them. Although I still can’t stand to see Ollie in that Chelsea uniform…

I can just hear the Chelsea fans now: Roses are red. Violets are blue. We have a beautiful Frenchman called Olivier Giroud. I kid you not.

This one is the heartthrob of the World Cup, but I like watching him in action on the pitch. He’s fantastic in the air, great at passing, and he makes France looks good.

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Ollie has scored all manner of spectacular goals from the bicycle to the overhead volley, but the scorpion kick against Crystal Palace while in an Arsenal jersey is my favorite goal of his to date.

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Despite his work rate, Ollie is still underrated in England (such a shame that the English can appreciate his beauty, but not his football), but he’s on the move with Les Bleus. He’s tied at number 4 with Zidane for most goals with Les Bleus (31), which I hope he surpasses soon. 

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And I love that Arsenal fans still support him. 😄

The other Frenchman up is our quiet leading captain and my all-time favorite goalie, Hugo Lloris. 

France vs. Australia: Group C - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Football is lucky to have Hugo because his first love was actually tennis and just imagine if tennis had actually gotten him! He has great hand and eye coordination and fantastic catlike reflexes. He needs to up his penalty game, but you can’t get past him on a good day when he’s disguised as a wall.

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Hugo commands his box well and he was given the name ‘sweeper keeper’ by the media because of his lightning speed when coming off the line to clear the ball or to deal with opponents in his area. 

France is a young team – they’re the second youngest team at the World Cup – and I see so much room for improvement in all areas, but Didier Deschamps won’t listen to me so I won’t tell him where to improve. I’m not the coach, so joking aside, through victories and disappointments, Les Bleus will always be a part of my heart. 💙

ALLEZ LES BLEUS! 

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #91: I Am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field

Daring, flashy, innovative, volatile—no matter what they call him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of soccer’s brightest stars. A top-scoring striker with Paris Saint-Germain and captain of the Swedish national team, he has dominated the world’s most storied teams, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and AC Milan. But his life wasn’t always so charmed.

Born to Balkan immigrants who divorced when he was a toddler, Zlatan learned self-reliance from his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. While his father, a Bosnian Muslim, drank to forget the war back home, his mother’s household was engulfed in chaos. Soccer was Zlatan’s release. Mixing in street moves and trick plays, Zlatan was a wild talent who rode to practice on stolen bikes and relished showing up the rich kids—opponents and teammates alike. Goal by astonishing goal, the brash young outsider grew into an unlikely prodigy and, by his early twenties, an international phenomenon.

Told as only the man himself could tell it, featuring stories of friendships and feuds with the biggest names in the sport, I Am Zlatan is a wrenching, uproarious, and ultimately redemptive tale for underdogs everywhere.

“I’ve never enjoyed being around uptight people. I like guys who go through red lights, if you know what I mean.”

Zlatan Ibrahimović.

I’ve always wondered why the need to seek so much attention in front of the footballing world and this book answered that question although I skimmed through some unnecessary chapters.

His story begins as a ‘problem child’ growing up in Rosengård, Sweden. His parents didn’t have time to pay special attention to him and his siblings, but they turned out all right. Yes, he’s flashy and arrogant, but what Zlatan likes the most is the center of attention and when that is taken away from him, he becomes mad.

Perfect example: FC Barcelona.

There, Zlatan was playing at the best football club in the world. He’s scoring goals week in, week out, the fans love him, they scream his name, the center of attention. He manages to sound like a bitter school child when he complained ‘then Messi started saying things.’ Was he dumb then Zlatan? However, I’m reading Messi by Guillem Balague at the moment and the fog became clearer: Zlatan gave Pep an ultimatum: ‘The midget had to be dropped!’ Pep eventually takes away the attention from him, and Zlatan is all mean and bad. There is no Z in team! If we go back to the time when Messi started to ‘talk’ Rijkaard had promised Leo that he would eventually play in the center, but it didn’t materialize until Pep.

Another example: Juventus was relegated to Serie B in 2006 due to a cheating scandal and they had both championships voided. Serie B? Zlatan was too BIG for the second division and even refused to join the team for an away match. He was rude to coach at the time, Didier Deschamps and like the diva who was now used to getting everything he wanted, he called his agent and asked for a move. Juventus wasn’t good for him anymore, but who were the likes of Gigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, and even Giorgio Chiellini, who stayed with the team? Juventus won Serie B and returned to Serie A the following year.

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The book was kind of frustrating to read and I’ve had to put it down twice. The third time I returned to it, I just wanted to finish and get it over with hence, I read the remaining 16 or so chapters in one day. Zlatan feels and thinks that he is more important than any club and the reason why the club wins a league or a European Cup is due to his goals. In his mind, he is a god and the team needs him for they’ll lose when he doesn’t play. Basically, the book is Zlatan v the World. He is important and famous and everyone hates him because of that. He needs to get over himself. He has played for some of the greatest teams and scored some beautiful and memorable goals, but he remains bitter and unforgivable.

Zlatan is full of himself, and sadly, some people like his attitude. If you don’t want to read about the cocky, annoying, irritating man that is Zlatan whose dictionary includes 3 main words (stupid, boring and the ‘f’ word), then go out and buy that Pirlo book. It’s supposed to be good. This book was not inspiring, nor was it meant to be. It was just a peek inside Zlatan’s world. The reviewers who called this book the most inspiring book they’ve ever read was not honest with themselves. I am certain some of them gave up halfway, but hey when you got friends in high places eh? 😉

COVER:

It captures the man that is Zlatan. 4/5.

OPENING:

Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona manager, with his gray suits and brooding expressions, came up to me, looking a little self-conscious.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffee