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.

Image result for gif france world cup 2018

LES BLEUS

Image result for gif france world cup 2018

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)

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with french players

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. 

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović emmanuel macron

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović emmanuel macron

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. 

Football ⚽

N’Golo Kanté: unsung hero of the World Cup

The engine of France and a beautiful soul.

The first time I saw N’golo, he was creating havoc in the midfield at Leicester City in 2015. The other time I took notice of him, he was individually greeting the staff of Clairefontaine with a big smile on his face. That was 2016 when he was called up for Les Bleus. Over time, I’ve come to realize that he is extremely polite, quiet, humble and he smiles a lot. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. This, I can guarantee. He lives a simple life and doesn’t have a drop of arrogance. The man is worth millions and he still drives to work with a second-hand Mini Cooper.

Image result for gif n'golo kante france

During France’s amazing run in the 2018 World Cup, many were in awe of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappé and rightly so, but one man was not getting the credit he deserved – well, 3 inclusive of Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud, but this is not about them – and that is N’Golo Kanté. At only 5’6″ he is the anchor of the French midfield and made Pogba look good. He covers a lot of ground and he reads the game brilliantly. 

Kanté did not have the best match in the World Cup final and had to be subbed off in the second half. Afterward, we learned that he played with a stomach bug.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Coach Didier Deschamps summed up our shy midfielder best:

“N’Golo is a real ray of sunshine, a true joy. When he came off, I asked him if he was OK. His quiet reply was: ‘No, no, do not worry – I am fine, coach.’ Everybody loves N’Golo – he is a little phenomenon.”

Kante (left) shakes hands with a member of plane staff as fellow France midfielder Corentin Tolisso (right) watches on

And his teammates simply love him! His French mates sung his heroics after they won the World Cup. Here’s how it went down:

🎶N’Golo Kanté. Phalalalala
Il est petit
Il est gentil
Il a stoppé Leo Messi
Mais on sait tous
C’est un tricheur
N’golo Kante

“He is short, he is nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater (at cards).” Haha! Right, as if he’ll ever cheat at cards! But the chant was not meant to be taken seriously and Kanté was almost embarrassed by the praises his teammates showered upon him. He was like, “No, we stopped him (Messi) together!” 😃They even changed the lyrics to welcome him to the Champs-Élysées. 

During World Cup celebrations on the pitch with the trophy, Kanté was so shy to ask for the trophy himself so he can pose for a photo in the heavy pouring rain with it, that Steven Nzonzi had to take the trophy after Florian Thauvin posed with it and hand it to Kanté. This epic photo is the result:

Image result for N'Golo Kanté with world cup trophy

This man works hard and shuns the nightlife. In 3 years, he has won 2 EPL titles (with Leicester and Chelsea), an FA Cup (with Chelsea) and a World Cup (with France). He was also the EPL Player of the Year in 2017. A humble, polite, and hard worker who is not interested in selling his image and flaunting his wealth? Many other footballers need to get on his level. I hope I won’t have to take my words back in the future! 😉

MERCI KANTÉ AND NEVER STOP SMILING. 😄😄

Entertainment

Mbappé and Cavani stand out on the world stage!

Day 16 of the world’s most beautiful game: France sends Argentina packing and Cavani made Portugal pack their bags to join them. 

I did not get to watch any of the matches because it was the Sabbath and I attended church. But the sun has set now and I looked at the highlights and was satisfied with what I saw. I hope to catch the MOTD in a few hours.

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France v Argentina 4-3

I said that I’ll be satisfied with whichever team won and I am happy with France’s progression. Griezmann gave Les Bleus an early lead through a penalty in the 13′ which was canceled out by  Angel Di Maria’s stunning goal in the 41′. Mercado put Argentina ahead in the 48′ coming from a Messi assist, but France was not about to let Argentina have all the fun and struck back through Benjamin Pavard in the 57′ to level things up. 

Mbappé decided to join the party and scored in the 64′ causing Argentina to panic. Olivier Giroud’s scrumptious pass found the young man again 4 minutes later and Mbappé tucked it away to pile on the pressure on the Argentines who responded through Sergio Aguero in the 90′ from a Messi assist but it was already too late. 

Shucks! I didn’t plan this commentary! 

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

No champagne, no problem. Water will do. 😆

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

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France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

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France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Thanks for gracing us with your presence at the World Cup, Argentina. 

Uruguay v Portugal 2-1

CAVANI! BAE! Cavani came into this tournament to prove that he was good enough to represent his country and he certainly made his point today after scoring two beautiful goals which dumped Portugal out of the WC. He was emotional after both goals, but after limping off with an injury, he was inconsolable when the final whistle blew. I hope the injury is nothing serious because I want to see him feature in the game against the French on Friday. 

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

This is Bae’s world; we’re only living in it. 😉

 Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Ronaldo helped Cavani off the pitch after he was injured.

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Uruguay v Portugal: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Man of the Match! 👍

***All photos via Zimbio & Google Search

Football ⚽, Français ... et autres langues.

French Friday: football terms ⚽

Bienvenue à un autre édition de vendredi français. If you’ve been reading or simply passing through my blog, you’ll see that the World Cup fever has taken over. 

Before I continue, I just want to say how happy I am for Les Bleus moving on to the round of 16 in the coupe du monde. They have room to improve, but even if they don’t make it past the round of 16, they’ll always be my heart. 💙

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Impossible N’est Pas Francais!

Votre force, notre passion. Allez les bleus!!!

It’s day 9 of the World Cup and I’ve decided to learn a few football terms in French. 😄

Football (le football)

game/match – le match
halftime – mi-temps
overtime – la prolongation
stoppage time – les arrêts de jeu 

Image result for gif french football

People & Players (Gens et joueurs)

team – une équipe
coach – un entraineur
referee – un arbitre
player – un joueur
forward – un avant, attaquant
striker – un buteur
goalie – un gardien de but/goal
defender – un défenseur
winger – un ailier

Les Bleus – “the blues” which refers to the French national football team

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

Scoring and Penalties (Buts et pénaltys)

goal – un but
own goal – un but contre son camp
perfect pass – un caviar
corner kick – un corner
free kick – un coup franc, coup de pied arrêté
yellow card – le carton jaune
red card – le carton rouge
tackle – un tacle

Image result for gif hugo lloris france

French aside, I’ve not been brushing up on my Greek and Italian. What about you? What have you learned this week that you’ll love to share?

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.

Image result for gif gigi buffon juventus

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