The Essence of Maradona in 5 Unforgettable Quotes

Diego Armando Maradona was a legendary soccer player, maybe the greatest of all-time, and he passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday. His legacy was defined not just by his authorship of the best goal you will ever see, the one that made him seem like a “cosmic kite” leaving Englishmen in the dust.


Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi dubbed him as “eternal” in their social media posts after his passing, and maybe you think that is too big a word for someone who just kicked a ball around for 20 years. However, the memories he left embedded in everyone’s minds are indeed timeless because he made us rise with joy after a goal, left our mouths wide open after not believing that gravity could be defied the way he bent it at his will, and most importantly gifted us with the goals that allowed us to hug our dads, grandfathers, moms, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends and even total strangers.

His memories as a player are intertwined with ours as fans who believed we could be him playing soccer in the park, at school or on the street. That is his true legacy.

Here are five of his best quotes, the ones that combined emotion, charisma, fear and anger. Sometimes separately, sometimes all at once. That is what made him relatable, that is what made him Maradona. What he lacked in formal education, he more than made up for in charisma.

1) “Shut up, you idiot, and hug me” 

That was what Maradona told his teammate right after his infamous “Hand of God” goal in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals against England.

He didn’t want the referee to realize what had happened, so he said that when Argentinian midfielder Sergio Batista asked him point blank if he had scored. Like a kid trying to get away with mischief but, you know, in the world’s biggest stage.

“I scored with Maradona’s head, and the hand of God.”

2) “They cut my legs off” 

Maradona retired from the Argentinian national team for the first time after the 1990 World Cup that saw him but came back in 1993 to save Argentina from potentially missing the 1994 World Cup in a qualifying home-and-home playoff against Australia that they barely eked out with an overall 2-1 score.

Argentina survived that scare and entered the tournament as back-to-back finalists in the previous two editions and won 4-0 against Greece with what would be Maradona’s last international goal ever and 2-1 over Nigeria in a comeback effort that included an assist by “El Diego”.

I was 7 years old at the time and teachers at school would stop class and let us all gather in the auditorium to watch the matches. To watch Maradona.


However, Argentina’s championship dreams were crushed when a mysterious nurse came on the field to escort Maradona for “random” drug testing. He tested positive for ephedrine and a 15-month ban ensued.

Maradona felt so betrayed by the process that he said “this hurts a lot, it feels like they (FIFA) cut my legs off.”

Argentina hasn’t won the World Cup again since 1986.

3) “The ball should remain spotless”         

Maradona was in bad shape in 2001, he had already had one near-death experience because of his drug habit a year earlier, but he was able to gather soccer legends from all over the world for a match in his honor.

Afterwards, he took the mic and said this in tears: “Soccer is the most beautiful and one of the healthiest sports in the world. I made mistakes and paid the price for that, but soccer shouldn’t pay the price for that. The ball should remain spotless.”

His moral code revolved around the ball, his one and only true love. He was a flawed sports superhero, and people loved him for it.

4) “Grondona let the turtle get away” 

Maradona was anti-establishment and railed against the institutions that dared to attempt to control him. So he took a shot at Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentinian Football Association and FIFA VP, when he let a concert take place before a match Argentina had to play.

5) “No matter what happens or who coaches Argentina, the number 10 jersey will always be mine” 

Messi may be great, but Maradona is legendary. When you think of number 10, you think of Maradona.


Relegation, legitimacy, popularity: What should MLS do to grow in America?

Soccer, or more commonly known around the world as Futbol, is the most popular sport in the world. When the World Cup is on, people worldwide stop what they’re doing and watch. However, in the United States, it’s just that. For the World Cup, everyone in the US watches, but most don’t take a second to look at the MLS. Fans in the US follow other leagues and more popular teams, such as, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool FC, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Juventus, and the list could go on and on. 

The question we ask when looking at the lack of popularity in the MLS starts with how it’s set up. When you look at the structure, you can ask yourself, what is the MLS lacking? Truthfully it’s simple, a relegation system and legitimacy. In every major league worldwide, there is a relegation system. Finish last? You’re dropped to the second-tier league. Finish with the most points? You win the league. Cut, dry, and straightforward. However, it’s unlikely that the MLS goes through with a second league or a relegation system. 

This is unfortunate, but here is why a relegation system would prompt more fans in the US and worldwide to take the MLS seriously and not just as a retirement league. For this argument, I’m going to use the system that is in German football, the Bundesliga. 

As it currently stands, there are three major leagues in German football with several other leagues down below, which also hold the possibility for promotion and relegation. The same applies in various other leagues worldwide, but with less or more “major leagues.” For example, the Premier League in England has four major leagues, and La Liga in Spain has two. Let’s break the Bundesliga, 2. Bundesliga, and 3. Liga down piece by piece and show examples of how this might work in the MLS. 



-Top German league

-Current champion: Bayern Munich

-The first place wins the league, 17 & 18 place get demoted, 16 plays a playoff game to stay up top.

The Bundesliga doesn’t compare to Spain’s La Liga or England’s Premier League when it comes to worldwide stature. However, German giants Bayern Munich won five trophies, including the Champions League, during 2020. The 2020 UCL win put Bayern as one of four clubs to win six or more UCL titles. The German league is also still considered one of the top five leagues in the world. Unless you go to Twitter, where everyone calls it a “farmers league,” I guess they haven’t seen Serie A yet. When we evaluate the table from this season, this is how the standings in the bottom-3 look like on Matchday 9. 

As we currently stand just eight games in, if the season had to end today 1. FC Koln and FC Schalke 04 would be automatically relegated down to the 2. Bundesliga as they hold the 17 & 18 spots on the table. This would also mean that Arminia Bielefeld  would also face a playoff relegation fight to stay up top. The MLS likes to make things complicated when it comes to standings, but if we took all of the teams and found the bottom three teams from this past season, FC Cincinnati and the Houston Dynamo would be automatically relegated with D.C United fighting to stay afloat. 


  1. Bundesliga

-Second-tier German league

-Current champion/promoted: Arminia Bielefeld 

-Follows similar rules to the Bundesliga

I ask you to stay with me a little here as the names start to get a little harder to pronounce. The top two leagues in Germany have played the same amount of games at seven ahead of Matchday 9. If we took the table as it is now, Hamburg SV and Grether Furth would be instantly promoted in place of Mainz and Schalke, and Vfl Osnabruck would play Bielefeld in the playoff to decide who goes up or stays put. There isn’t much to compare directly to the MLS with the bottom two German leagues. However, they’re essential for developing and promoting Germany’s young talent, which is key to the leagues success. Young talent developing in a separate professional league bodes well for the five major leagues, it could do the same in the MLS. 


  1. Liga

-Last hope for teams in the major leagues before a demotion to the amateur leagues

-Current champion/promoted: FC Bayern Munich II (the Bayern Youth Team…)

It had the same situation as the first two leagues. Winners go up, and losers go down. In this case, the losers would be demoted to the fourth tier of German football. The only difference is that the bottom four of the 20 club league go down to the fourth tier. No playoffs for them to stay. It’s an automatic relegation. The top two teams do get automatically promoted, and the third team would face off for promotion. We did see an abnormal table last season when FC Bayern Munich II, the youth team for Bayern, won the league. However, due to rules from the governing soccer body in Germany, they’re not allowed to be promoted any further than the third division.

What benefits does a relegation system provide?

Why does it matter if a team gets relegated? Essentially why should you care about relegation or promotion. Well, It’s a situation that would be uncommon to major sports leagues in the US and something that even LAFC coach Bob Bradley would welcome. 

There is a certain passion, as most fans of teams in these worldwide leagues will tell you. The feeling of having the last matchday of the season mean relegation, promotion, or winning the title is a feeling like no other. This goes from fans to the players. The fans build a connection with their team. They embody the club and everything it stands for. The passion they hold for each match is important no matter what the competition.

If the MLS requires the playoffs, then create a separate cup for the top four teams. Running each game as a two-legged affair (except for the final) with teams getting one home and away game. With away goals making the difference as they do in every league worldwide. 

When we related this to the 2019 MLS season, LAFC would’ve won their first MLS title, and the “MLS Cup” would be played between LAFC, NY City, Atlanta United, and the Seattle Sounders. LAFC would’ve faced the Sounders in a 1 vs. 4 seed matchup both home and away. NY City and Atlanta facing off in the 2 vs. 3 seed matchup with the same home and away fixture. Also creating more money, just saying. Make teams earn their spot in the league’s history and don’t allow a 7th place team into a playoff while undeserving.  

Breaking it all down:

For this same situation as the German leagues, we would be breaking down the MLS into three (or four) separate leagues instead of their one-tier league. Each team would play each other twice, and at the end of the season, the team at the top of the table wins the MLS title. It makes each game important during the season and, as the season progresses, leaves little room for error.

The USL Championship already has a system in place with multiple leagues. The MLS could adopt the USL into its system while replacing the youth teams for each MLS team and make a youth league for the MLS. They could even keep the four league system. 


  1. MLS
  2. MLS Championship
  3. MLS League One
  4. MLS League Two (Or just a youth league with their own cup but no relegation)


This would allow the MLS to keep a top tier league and include the chance for poor placing teams to be relegated to the championship. Not only this, but the US Open Cup already includes both USL teams and MLS teams. Why have a cup that is including both leagues but no relegation? 

There are currently 26 teams in the MLS, with expansion on its way with four more teams, and realistically we’d want the league to be around the 17-20 team range. All of this would be extremely difficult to accomplish, and it would be hard to break down the monetary distribution for the league(s), but it’s possible. 

Interest in the MLS is low in the states and worldwide. Again, it’s considered a retirement league to just about every country in the world. Wayne Rooney came here and essentially retired before moving to Derby County as a player-manager. David Beckham retired with the LA Galaxy, Thierry Henry with the NY Red Bulls, and the league thought it claimed its most recent victim in Zlatan Ibrahimović. The latter played two seasons with the Galaxy before returning to A.C Milan for a second stint in the winter transfer window. Star players from Europe come here to chill out, relax, score some goals, make some money, and retire. Even Gonzalo Higuaín and Blaise Matuidi have no European future and are now Inter Miami C.F. players. 

In an excellent article by Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, he mentions that money is starting to entice the world and, most notably, South American players to come to the MLS and eventually move on to Europe. Let’s say the MLS moves from a retirement league to a developmental league with more reputation and prestige than before. Well, it’s had its success in players like midfielder Miguel Almiron and winger/full-back Alphonso Davies who both moved to Europe in the last few years from the MLS. Almiron moved to the Premier League from Atlanta United and Davies to the Bundesliga from the Vancouver Whitecaps. Davies, a Canadian international, is 19 years old and the starting left-back for Bayern. The MLS can do it, but the biggest question is whether they can keep the casual fan. 

Popularity issues:

When Zlatan made his move to the Galaxy, he was on nightly talk shows, and he instantly became the face of the MLS while players like Carlos Vela and Josef Martinez had better overall seasons. Zlatan was the star with the Galaxy and even mentioned he was, “a Ferrari amongst Fiats”. He left, and now outside of LA who is truly following the Galaxy, or even better, did you hear anything from them at all this season?

They brought in Chicharito to replace that star talent they lost in Zlatan but still lack defense, which was a significant flaw the Galaxy had last season. Which is another problem the MLS faces when building teams. There is too much focus on star power and not the team. What more could Zlatan do without a team around him? They continued their lackluster performances this season without Zlatan, who is back in great form with A.C Milan scoring two-goals against Napoli this past weekend. 

To use the City of Miami as an example of why the MLS lacks in its popularity, I ask you to take a second and think about the types of jerseys you see in stores. What are the team jerseys most commonly worn? The top two teams are, without a doubt, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Ask any kid who loves soccer what their favorite team is, and it’s most likely one of those two top teams in La Liga. You could honestly throw in Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool F.C, Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Paris Saint Germain to the mix. Especially with most of those teams collaborating with shoes, clothing lines, etc. They’re more popular in the US than the MLS is by a mile. 

All of these teams do US tours, and each time they get ideal audiences. Barcelona and Madrid played an El Classico game in Miami, and the crowd was huge. Mind you, it was just a preseason game. Relegation is not why these teams are popular, but their league gets credit for the competition and how every single game matters. The same with the Premier League and the Bundesliga. Each dropped point matters, each mistake, every missed goal, they all provide context for what happens in a team’s season. Currently, the MLS has no reason for teams to panic or even care what happens if they finish last. Adopting a relegation system will ultimately provide more competitive games, bring legitimacy to this “retirement league,” and make each game matter more. 

Helping United States soccer grow:

Finally, we finish with one of the bigger issues. In the United States there is a big issue with the men’s team producing soccer stars. This is an issue in the MLS and how soccer is treated in the states. As it currently stands, the US team has many promising players, and most of them are playing in the Bundesliga (or have before). Top young prospects like Giovanni Reyna and Josh Sargent play in the Bundesliga right now. Reyna just recently signed a new 5-year deal with Borussia Dortmund and Sargent played a huge roll in the 1-1 draw against Bayern this past weekend. 

One of the most popular and successful of the current young stars, Christian Pulisic, plays with Chelsea in the Premier League after moving last summer from Dortmund. Even Weston McKinnie moved on loan from FC Schalke 04 to Juventus. US soccer prospects are moving to Germany to make a living for themselves, and rightfully so. The US gives them no path to make a name for themselves here. 

Top US prospects have grown and have shown the ability to get their name out there and make the most of their opportunities. All are playing outside of the country without any clear development provided in the US right now. They’re also learning the system they will hopefully play through for the rest of their lives. Having a league in their backyard that provides quality football and is respected worldwide would help a younger generation of players fall in love with soccer and develop at an earlier age. 

There is a need for an ability to show a younger generation of people in the US that they can be a successful star in soccer and allowing them to do it in their backyard is the chance of a lifetime. We had Dempsey, Donovan, and Howard in recent years, but none were as successful internationally as Pulisic is now. Create a relegation system, bring legitimacy into the league, and give young stars the chance to succeed here. 

Looking for Redemption: The story of Gonzalo Higuaín


As you may have heard by now, the city of Miami is eagerly waiting to Spanish it up and yell out ¡GOOOOL! as international star striker Gonzalo Higuaín is finally set to change the narrative of this franchise forever.

Pizarro was a nice first step as the team´s original designated player, and Matuidi bolstered Beckham´s credentials as someone who can bring quality, World Cup-winning talent to South Florida. Higuaín, however, is the game changer.

The former River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli, Milan, Chelsea and Juventus forward claims the title of the best striker in the MLS without having played a single minute in the league yet, and he could even have a bigger impact in the league than Zlatan Ibrahimovic ever had in Los Angeles.

What makes me so sure? Simple facts.

Zlatan arrived in L.A. as a 36-year-old and scored 52 goals in 56 matches, becoming an All-Star and setting himself apart with his outsized personality. Higuaín is only 32 and can easily match those stats, since we are talking about a guy that has 250 career goals in 463 matches playing for the most important teams in the world’s top leagues.

Most importantly, he is a team-first instead of “me first” kind of teammate, unlike Zlatan.

In fact, the 2015-16 season saw him be Serie A’s “capocannioneri” (the league’s top scorer) with 36 goals in 35 matches before being named Juventus’ MVP the following two years in 2017 and 2018 as the Vecchia Signora won consecutive Serie A titles with “Pipita” scoring 40 times in 73 matches against some of the world’s sturdiest defenses. That wasn´t long ago at all.

LAFC’s Carlos Vela set an MLS record with 34 goals last year, and Higuaín is vastly superior to him when it comes to being an animal inside the box. His ability to topple and outplay naïve MLS defenders will be second to none.

Vela played for a middle of the road team like Real Sociedad between 2011 and 2018 and had just 66 goals in 219 matches there before setting the MLS on fire. Imagine what Higuaín can do.

Just like 31-year-old Jimmy Butler arrived in Miami and helped steer the Heat back to prosperity, Higuaín can and will guide Inter Miami to the playoffs as a potential title contender. And just like Jimmy Butler, he arrives in South Florida looking for peace in a city that will allow him to be himself.

For all the accolades and amazing numbers I just presented you with, you also should know he is sort of…well, broken inside.

Because of this:


The three potential championship goals that never were. If he made those, he would still be playing for Argentina as its undisputed starting striker and national hero responsible for the 2014 World Cup as well as the 2015 and 2016 Copa America titles for the decade´s new dynasty with Messi by his side.

Instead, he missed them all in the clutch and became a national pariah that almost retired because of it as a 26-year-old in his prime back in 2014.

‘It’s not easy to be told “this guy’s no good anymore, he’s a failure, he can’t play football,'” he told the Spanish newspaper Marca, a notorious pro-Real Madrid outlet. ‘It hurts. Yes, it’s true that we didn’t achieve our objective, but to have been a failure? Reaching three finals isn’t failure. I was about to stop playing, but my mother (Nancy) told me to keep going. If it was up to me, I would’ve quit football…she said she wouldn’t let me to leave what I love.”

The pain was real, and so were the memes:

Higuain’s legacy as Argentina’s sixth all-time scorer with 32 goals has been overshadowed by his reputation as a choker in the clutch and the disdain of 40 million people who hold him responsible for the continuation of a title drought that spans 27 years and counting.

An entire country that ha had devoted an entire decade to, that he became only the 48th player ever to score a hat-trick in a World Cup for in 2010, that he had helped get over the quarterfinals hump with his goal for a 1-0 win against Belgium in 2014, had turned his back on him. He didn’t score at all in three group matches before being benched in the Round of 16 of a tortured 2018 WC and finally said “I’m done” quitting the national team for good in March 2019.

If you think that didn’t affect him, the 2019-20 campaign was the worst of his career with just eight goals in 32 matches for Juventus.

So what can Miami give him in return for his goals? Peace, understanding and, more than anything, love.

Let’s embrace him and make him remember how fun soccer can be, and how he can go out on the street without having people look at him like he just slept with their significant other multiple times in front of them.

Let’s make Higuaín great again. Because once he is, nobody in the United States will be able to stop him.


Lionel Messi isn’t wrong, but he’s no saint

This Friday was no news dump in sports, since Lionel Messi made the fútbol world shake by announcing that he is, in fact, staying with FC Barcelona while smartly taking back the narrative by granting an exclusive interview where he was able to put the blame on everybody but himself, especially Barcelona president and corruption investigation subject Josep María Bartomeu.

Messi tried to emulate Anthony Davis with an NBA-style, pre-free agency power move and he failed miserably at it, and he has no one but himself to blame.

All in all, what he ended up pulling was a media stunt that bought him an extra week of vacation missing only a few practices, no matches whatsoever and only hurt the ones that always end up getting hurt and then asked to forgive: The fans.

Manchester City and PSG were led on, Newell’s fans in his native Rosario made a massive caravan happen in order to try to convince him to come back to his original hometown…and then nothing happened. 

Let´s make this clear: Is Bartomeu a tool who should resign and absolutely deserves the scorn coming his way? Yes.

 Is the “It’s not June 10 anymore, so the end of season clause isn’t valid anymore” bullshit? Absolutely, Messi is right about that and he should be able to walk away as a free agent with no strings attached if he so wishes. 

Is Messi also being manipulative and trying to make it seem as if he is just an innocent bystander in the flaming car crash that is Barcelona after the humiliating 8-2 loss against eventual champion Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals? No doubt about it, in my mind. 

Just like when he said he would quit playing for Argentina in 2016 because he just couldn’t stand the thought of having lost three consecutive championship games. The media went nuts, fans clamored for him to reconsider, and then he came back as if nothing happened without missing a beat.

His main argument was that he didn’t want to take Barcelona – the club that he so loves and has played for his whole career, the one that saved him from desperation in Argentina to bring him glory – to court.

Oh, please, cry me a river, Lionel. What did you expect to happen when you sent scathing “burofaxes” (legally binding letters) to the Barcelona board of executives? Did you expect them to just willingly throw away their political futures as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue without a fight? 

Grow. Up. You are 33 years old, and if your dad and your brother didn’t see that coming then you should consider being advised by other people.

The press was “mean” to him with supposedly fake stories. He set up this whole public relations affair through the press, only sitting down to talk with his new coach once throughout the negotiations.

He also said that his wife and kids were distraught at the thought of leaving the city they have made their home for the past two decades, but that didn’t deter him from wanting to play for a more “competitive” team. So you wanted to bail at the first sign of adversity for your team in 15 years regardless of the cost? Got it.

Messi is not wrong to have felt manipulated and deceived by a technicality, but he also is no saint. 

This twisted marriage between a desperate team and an aging superstar will provide plenty of fodder for the tabloids from now until his contract expires in June of next year. 

If I was a betting man, however, I would put my money on him not going anywhere. He has shown not once, but twice in four years that his threats are empty. Barcelona fans deserve better than that from their all-time greatest player. 

UEFA Champions League Preview: Unstoppable force meets Brazilian superstar 

It’s been almost literally a calendar year, but ewe are finally here. The UEFA Champions League Final is set to be contested in Lisbon this Sunday between German powerhouse Bayern Munich and French underdog Paris Saint-Germain.

The most anticipated match of the 2019-20 season will be played in front of billions of viewers, thousands of cutouts and zero actual fans in attendance, but the weirdest championship ever could also be one of the most compelling of all.

If this were a Karate Kid movie, Bayern would be Cobra Kai. Brash, cocky, but also feared and very willing to sweep the leg (just ask Barcelona how crippled Bayern left it after their eight-goal barrage).

PSG, meanwhile, is ready after years of being beaten up by the bullies of the European soccer world and seeing the girl leave the dance with 5’7’’ prodigies or ridiculously good looking Portuguese models, they are one win away from earning the respect and the trophy they have always craved.

Both teams are offensive juggernauts, having won their respective semifinals by a comfortable 3-0 margin, and they both play at breakneck speed. On one side, you have Thomas Muller, Canada’s own ankle breaker Alphonso Davies and Robert Lewandowski, the most feared striker in the world. Lewandowski has scored once in every match since the restart and is both the tournament ‘s top scorer with 15 goals and co-leader in assists with six.

Paris places its hopes and dreams of a celebration at the Arc de Triomphe on Brazilian superstar Neymar, the main catalyst of the offense along with Kylian Mbappé. Mbappé is PSG´s top scorer in the UCL with five goals.

The other one? Mauro Icardi, the disgraced Argentinian striker that will probably start on the bench seeing compatriot Ángel Di María try to untie himself from Lewandowski in the assists lead and maybe repeat what he did against RB Leipzig in the semis with a vital goal of his own.

The key to the match is simple: Who can land the best haymaker? Both Barcelona and Lyon had exceptionally good opportunities to take a lead in the first half, but they forgave and Bayern didn´t. Will PSG forgive? And if it does, will its defense pay a heavy price like so many others have?

I have gone against Bayern once and they scored eight goals. As tempting as it is to predict an upset considering the odds and the fact that PSG is 5-3 all-time vs. their opponent, I am not going to go against a team that is 10-0 with 42 goals in the tournament.

Hollywood would like us to believe in the underdog, but Bayern Munich will show no mercy once again.

My pick: Bayern 4-2 PSG.

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals: Upsets brewing in bubble?

It took almost five months, but the wait was worth it. The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is officially wrapped up and the eight best teams in Europe head to Portugal for three do-or-die single elimination matches that will surely have gamblers pulling their hair all over the world.

What does that mean for you and, most importantly, your money as anything can happen in 90 unpredictable minutes? Well, here is a match-by-match betting guide to help you discern who has the best chances to advance.

All odds are as of Saturday night based on the Las Vegas Bovada betting lines ( Draws will go into extra time and eventually a penalty kick shootout to declare a winner.

Atalanta vs. Paris Saint Germain (PSG +110, Atalanta +210, Draw +280): The fun starts on Wednesday with a clash between the tournament darling and the desperate spinster eager to prove it can rise above the rest.

Atalanta finished third in the Serie A standings, but it also is 9-1-3 since the restart averaging 2.3 goals per match.

In fact, it finished as Italy’s top scoring side with 98 goals in 38 matches (2.57 per match) and it won 4-3 at Valencia last time we saw it in the continental stage. However, the Italian side will be without its top scorer Josip Ilicic (personal reasons) and its starting goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini (knee injury)

Meanwhile, PSG is also riddled with injury issues and has “a very small chance” of counting with wonder forward Kylian Mbappé and key midfielder Marco Verrati. Couple that with the pressure of playing in neutral ground and to at least make it to a semifinal for the first time, and an upset is brewing.

Pick: Atalanta 2-1 PSG. 

RB Leipzig vs. Atlético Madrid (Spread: Atlético +130, RB Leipzig +230, Draw +215): Atlético is the favorite here, and rightly so since it is undefeated since the La Liga restart with a 7-0-4 record, including a thrilling 2-2 draw at Barcelona.

RB Leipzig has a “just happy to be here” vibe and it lost against Borussia Dortmund, its only high caliber opponent since the restart, but it did keep a clean sheet in both legs against Tottenham back in March for a convincing 4-0 aggregate over last year’s finalists.

However, Simeone has the coaching edge, Atlético has more talent, and I can´t envision an energy drink in the final four. Take Atlético Madrid and don´t look back.

Pick: Atlético Madrid 1-0 RB Leipzig. 

Manchester City vs. Lyon (City -375, Lyon +900,  Draw +450): Talking about just happy to be there, Lyon “VAR-ly” upset Juventus and will face a City squad that is riding high after defeating mighty Real Madrid with authority.

If you feel adventurous and feel Lyon can hang on to a draw, go for it, the line edged farther that way overnight.  However, the smart bet is to ride the hot hand and go with Pep’s boys from Manchester.

Pick: Man City 3-1 Lyon. 

Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich (Barcelona +225. Bayern M.  +110, Draw +270): A final in the quarterfinals, a clash of the titans that promises fireworks.

I dread this one because Barcelona came back fresh from the recess and made a statement with an inspired Messi against Napoli, but their defense is shaky. On the other hand, Bayern has the best odds to win it all made Chelsea its bitch with a 4-1 thrashing and a 7-1 aggregate on Saturday.

Expect lots of goals, so take the over on 3.0 there, as an inspired Messi and Lewandowski will shine for their respective sides. Bayern is more of a complete team, but I can’t go against the best player in the world on a mission, and I expect him to be clutch and come through with Barcelona in a way I wouldn’t if it was him playing for Argentina.

Pick: Barcelona 3-2 Bayern Munich 

Why We Should Care About Sports


Given we are in the midst of a global pandemic, you make ask yourself – why should I care about sports?

A simple trip to the grocery store can induce crippling anxiety.

The news is a constant cycle of hopelessness.

Leadership stateside, is let’s just say questionable.

We’ll debate politics when (if) this is all over during 2020, already one of the worst years in recent memory.

For now it come down to waiting desperately in seclusion.



“Adapt or die” has never held more significance.

That is why a wholesome distraction such as sports is therapeutic.

With the global news consumed by COVID-19 the world turns to outlets such as ESPN, the “Worldwide Leader” for some normalcy.

We should be enjoying a different kind of March Madness right now.

Opening Day in Major League Baseball.

Meaningful NBA and NHL games as the Heat and Panthers fight for postseason position.

The Miami Hurricanes baseball team was real good.

All now an illusion, a mirage when seems as distant as when you could say hello to your neighbor.

And shake their hand.

The NFL Draft is moving ahead as planned, sort of.


It will happen in a way we have never seen before.

We can’t wait!

Fill out your mock drafts until your hearts are content.

Even if they are unconventional, or irrational.

Enjoy a newfound camaraderie with fellow sports fans.

Maybe even reach out to your favorite athletes and say hi.


The Five Reasons network is committed to bring sports fans even more content during this time.

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Five Reasons, Five Fixes: Salvaging Foreign Football

Look around you. It’s likely rather easy to, assuming that you’ve heeded the advice of your more prudent local officials and remained indoors. The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has completely ravaged the world as of right now, serving as the century’s first (and hopefully last) global pandemic that could very well define a generation. But this is merely the background.

As a result of this pandemic, a considerable amount of football leagues—the English Premier League, Ligue 1, MLS, Serie A (especially, as they play in Italy, the worst-affected of the European countries to date), the Bundesliga, and countless others—have shuttered play for the foreseeable future, this practice itself matched by the International Olympic Committee. This virus is serious.

With play suspended for the foreseeable future, this more than likely means that we will not be witnessing UEFA Champions League or EURO 2020 competition for a long time, and while we understand this to be a fair concession in the interest of the public good, how can we rectify this situation without potentially confusing schedules for quite some time? I can think of something.

Here’s what we can do, and it’s a bit more simple than expected.

Step 1: Declare the 2020-21 football campaign a lost cause. We’ve already lost the latter half of 2020 to Coronavirus, and it would be madness to assume that play could resume any time before the season is scheduled to end as it is. Coronavirus must be properly contained, treated, and eradicated, and this can only happen by continuing and building upon many of these quarantine/treatment measures that we’ve witnessed thus far. This season will be cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but will not see a significant loss of play. Here’s how.

Step 2: As far as the British and European leagues are concerned, it would be wise to postpone league and cup play until later this year, somewhere between August and October 2020. Assuming Coronavirus is under control by then, this will essentially reset the clock for the 2020-21 season and treat it as cancelled, while completing the 2019-20 campaign between August and January. This may very well be necessary. As for American leagues, which operate on a January to December schedule, it is more likely for this whole season to be cancelled in total, as doing this would make it possible for the 2021 campaign to begin unmolested.

Step 3: Complete Champions/Europa League play at about the same time as league play resumes, allowing for players to maintain a certain rhythm heading into Summer 2021. If UEFA is able to secure scheduled matches for its leagues between October and December, leagues will be able to wrap up their seasons given that clubs will have roughly twelve whole weeks to do so. With around 27-29 matches played, most clubs have between 9-11 fixtures remaining. With that much time to complete any outstanding fixtures, UEFA will be able to finish their Champions/Europa League Matches with more than enough time in hand in January 2021.

Step 4: After a break, schedule the UEFA Euro 2020 between February/March and April 2021. This tournament lasts about one month, give or take, but matches being spread out will allow for rescheduling in the event of any external, Coronavirus-related crises, should they continue to arise. Once those fixtures are scheduled, players will have ample time to prepare for this uniquely-scheduled tournament, and play will resume without any anticipated incidents. This will then be followed by the Olympics later in the year. We hope.

Step 5Begin the 2021-2022 UEFA football season and have a good time, so long as Manchester City win the league and either they or PSG win Champions League. I will not be moved on this, so let’s just move on.

These ideas are possible, but are they likely to be implemented? Only time will tell. Television networks likely want to have something to televise, and there are certainly a great deal of financial implications that wish to see these various leagues see their fixtures out. My proposal reasonably satisfies almost all sides involved, at the expense of what was once called the 2020-21 footballing season, itself already symbolically doomed as a result of everything that’s going on.

As an avowed Manchester City fan and adopted Paris Saint-Germain supporter (as a result of my relocation), it’s a bit bittersweet. I want to see both PSG, who were able to defeat Dortmund and advance, and Manchester City, who currently lead Real Madrid (!) 2-1 on aggregate with a return match at the Etihad in Manchester, potentially make a real splash in Champions League play this season.

At the same time, if we cancel this EPL season, it delivers a tragically ironic middle finger to rival Liverpool FC, who (after losing the league on the last match day last season) were only a few weeks away from securing their first-ever league title.

But at the same time, various records witnessed by City fans, such as now-legendary striker Sergio Agüero’s record-setting achievement of becoming the most prolific foreign goal scorer in Premier League history and many others, would be erased in the event of a cancellation.

As much as I don’t want to see Liverpool win the title, they’ve certainly earned it this season, and I believe it would be good for them. City will get it back next season, I’m sure. My proposal prevents any cancellation from taking place. We can fix football in the new year. Let’s see what happens.

Stay safe and inside, everyone.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Boca Raton, Ricky J. Marc, J.D., M.S. is an alumnus of the Obama White House and Cornell Paris Institute, a former Legislative Aide with both the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate, and a graduate of St. Thomas University with a Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Sports Administration.

Ricky currently resides in Paris, France and is the co-host of STICK TO SPORTS: A Sports Podcast (That Isn’t) & The RJM Experience, available anywhere podcasts are streamed. Follow him on Twitter @RickyJMarc.

The Football Dream Becomes a Reality

Growing up as a Dutch-American kid, with heavy influence from my dad, my first love was football. The non-American kind. I loved playing “the beautiful game.” Being able to run on the field and score goals was something that always made a 10 year old me feel good.

I loved watching the game, too. As a kid, you always want to do like your dad, so I made alliances as a very casual Feyenoord fan. Since a lot of you don’t know, Feyenoord is a soccer club based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Where my family is from. Because of the time difference, I never get to watch games, so there always seemed to be a miss-connection between me and my first love.

The game brings out all of your emotions. That’s the beauty of the game. Since it was my first love, it was also my first heartbreak. In the 2010 World Cup Finals, when Andres Iniesta scored a late overtime goal to win the World Cup for Spain, defeating the Netherlands 1-0. I felt dead inside. I cried for hours.

International soccer was the only time i got that real connection to the passion of the game.

Since i was a kid, I always dreamt about one day, there would be a soccer club i can consistently cheer for. Sitting on the couch and watching the tv, hearing fans chant and scream always amazed me, how people can have such a connection to a team or sport. I always wanted to be a part of it.

 I remember seven years ago, in 2013, I was sitting in high school marketing class, when the announcement came. David Beckham was bringing an MLS team to South Florida! It was finally happening. I thought, “okay in maybe in about two years this thing will get going” well two years went by, then another two years and still no game had been played. They barely had a name, let alone a roster or stadium.

Now finally, after seven long years of waiting, Inter Miami CF will play it’s inaugural game on Sunday.

This team is very Miami. From being linked to some of the world’s biggest stars, from the colors of the jersey, the logo and a roster of players from Latin backgrounds, this team is for Miami.

Inter Miami has fielded a roster to be proud of, a roster that wants to be successful fast. They signed Mexican star, Rodolfo Pizarro to a record fee. They traded for USMNT regular Will Trapp and signed Lewis Morgan from a major team in Europe. There aren’t many sexy names on the roster yet but it’s a good roster nonetheless, that should be competing for a playoff spot.

The Miami sports scene, after the last few years, deserves a breath of fresh air. This is it. I hope fans come out and support this club because there’s a generation of young soccer players in Miami who need this.

There are a lot of people out there like me, who always dreamt of having a soccer club to root for. And no, this isn’t the premier league with the world’s best players. But it’s fútbol, in Miami. What can be better than that?

Flamengo vs River Plate: ¿Quién llega mejor a la final de la Libertadores?

Bruno Gomez, de 90 + Cinco, analiza la final única entre Flamengo de Brasil y River Plate de Argentina que se jugará este sábado 22 de Noviembre.

Para Bruno Gómez, Flamengo tiene un poco de favoritismo. ¿Ustedes qué opinan?