Liverpool delivered a sensational comeback. Football is so amazing

I am referring to the sport watched and loved by billions of people on Earth, the one in which Ronaldo and Messi are gods, not Tom Brady.

The second leg of a Champions League semi-final took place today between Liverpool and Barcelona. Barcelona, a Spanish 7-time world champion, beat Liverpool at home in the first-leg 3-0. They came to the game today as an overwhelmingly strong favorite. One goal at Anfield, Liverpool’s stadium, would require the home team to score at least 5 to advance. And if you follow football a bit, you’ll know that stopping Barcelona from scoring is exceedingly challenging, especially when they have arguably the best player in the history of the sport, Lionel Messi.

But Liverpool did it anyway. They delivered a magnificent upset for the ages today by winning 4-0. I am not a Liverpool fan, but it was epic.

Liverpool vs Barcelona (Semi-final 2nd leg)

This season’s Champions League has featured some of the most dramatic games I have seen for a while such as Manchester United vs PSG, in which the deciding penalty was awarded in the dying minutes

Or Tottenham’s unlikely win against Manchester City, in which the fans’ emotions went on a roller coaster in the last seconds.

I heard some in America say that they don’t like the real football because it’s not as unpredictable as American football. The three games above, only three out of so many, proved that it wasn’t the case. Yes, admittedly, there is a sense of boring predictability in some cases such as Bayern’s dominance in Germany, PSG’s reign in France or Juventus winning year after year in Italy for the past 7 years. But do watch Champions League. It will take your emotions to the new heights or sink them down to the new lows that you didn’t know before.

I love football. It’s amazing. I have been watching it for over 20 years and I don’t imagine I’ll stop doing so for the rest of my life.

I’d like to finish the post with an inspiring photo of Mo Salah, a Liverpool player who couldn’t play today because of injury. Indeed, never give up!

Image result for salah never give up

Two good things about professional sports systems in America

As a big NBA fan, I have always been perplexed by the hatred towards the Golden State Warriors. The chief reason for it is that GSW has too many All Stars and that it is unfair to compete against them. I just find it hard to comprehend. If you look at football (I prefer football, but you may know it as soccer), GSW’s dominance is nowhere near the dominance that household names such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid has enjoyed for DECADES, if not years. Real Madrid and Barcelona together have won 58 out of 87 La Liga titles. Bayern Munich won 27 out of 56 Bundesliga titles. Together, those three clubs have won 22 of 64 Champions League titles, with Real Madrid winning a record of 13 and the last 4 out of 5. The odds of these clubs not winning their domestic leagues are just slim. Betting against them is almost as good as throwing money away.

These clubs have infinite finance and resources. They have money, brand name, legacy, scouts and infrastructure to attract any footballer in the world. It’s every player’s dream to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. Even players at some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Manchester United or Liverpool want to play for the top two clubs at one point in their career. Unfortunately, there is no cap limit in football. There are some financial restrictions that forbid clubs to be in too much debt, but given these clubs outrageous abilities to generate revenue, these rules mean little to them. At one point, Real Madrid consecutively made record transfers with Figo, Zidane, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

That’s why I really love the draft pick and salary cap enforced on American sports teams. The two policies level the playing field much more than what happens in football. Draft picks allow inferior teams a chance at future stars. Salary caps ensure that teams cannot buy their way to success. Even if teams want to stack superstars, they run a risk of a hefty tax bill unless somehow they convince some of their stars to take a pay cut. Then, it becomes a management issue, not the money issue any more. If somehow a team can convince the likes of Durant to take a pay cut to help the team succeed, how can you dislike them? If that were your team, would you think that the criticism was fair?

Around 6 or 7 years ago, GSW was nowhere near a mainstream or dominant team that they are today. They used the draft picks to get the players who form the cornerstone of their success today. Curry, Thompson and Green were drafted at 7th, 11th and 35th positions respectively. Teams passed on the chances to sign them and GSW had the foresight to swoop in and take advantage. Plus, Curry signed a ridiculously cheap deal for a star of his stature. Thompson has consistently signaled that he prioritized staying and winning over money. Durant took pay cuts to play and win championships. Cousins earned only $5 million at GSW, a deal far from what he can earn given his talent. GSW is just better at the management than other teams. So don’t hate them for it. Be glad that there are draft pick and salary cap enforcements in the league.