The Champions League is a soccer tournament for European club teams. It is undeniably the most coveted trophy a club team anywhere in the world can win. The farther a club team advances in the competition the more money it makes through sponsors, TV rights, ticket sales and general publicity. And, money is the key to sustaining a world class club team.
This week the first leg of the round of 16 is being played. Two of the teams matching up were Liverpool and Barcelona. Liverpool is an England based club team. Despite winning the Champions League title in 2005, they have performed poorly in other tournaments over the past two years and they have little to no chance of winning their own domestic league, the Premiership, this season.
They desperately need a stunning performance in this season's Champions League tournament. They had 10 days off from matches in England and were training in Portugal for their game against Barcelona, the winner of the Champions League trophy in 2006.
One would think, given the situation, that Liverpool would be getting down to business- focusing, putting their best effort forward in order to guarantee advancing to the next stage of the Champions League tournament.
Well, three days before the big match in Barcelona this happens:
Monday February 19, 2007Liverpool's preparations for Wednesday's Champions League game at Barcelona have been overshadowed by drunken misbehaviour on the Algarve. Craig Bellamy is facing a heavy fine and an uncertain future after a night out allegedly concluded with the forward using a golf club to attack his team-mate John Arne Riise.WTF
? A golf club?! After reading this I was sure that Liverpool would be in no position to challenge the defending champions, Barcelona, in Barcelona.
Well, check out this headline, just in after the conclusion of the match (which I watched this morning live at 4:50am)....
Thursday February 22, 2007Barcelona 1 - 2 LiverpoolGolfing buddies Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise both scored as the Reds shocked a listless Barça at the Nou Camp.
Not only did golf-club-wielding-attacker Bellamy score a goal but he passed the ball to golf-club-victim Riise
so he could score the winning goal.
AND, to top things off: Bellamy, the cheeky Welshman, celebrated his goal by pretending to swing a golf club.
I wonder how Liverpool's coach handled the post-game press conference....