Greetings Dirty Tacklers (Dirty Tacklites? Tacklinhos?) Roving reporter Ryan Bailey here, who you probably don't remember as head honcho over at The Spoiler. I left the football blogosphere last year
when Brooks threatened to break the legs of all competing editors in one of his terrifying maniacal rants, but I'm finally back with my allegiances switched to DT. Something I chose to do of my own free will. How fun!
Anywho, thanks to the incredibly kind spirited folks at Heineken, I'm out in Madrid armed with a ticket to the Champions League Final (sponsored by Heineken). If Wi-Fi coverage and the temptation of delicious Dutch beverages* don't get in the way, I'll be your eyes and ears in the Spanish capital this weekend, giving you an insight into the atmosphere in the city on the first ever Saturday Champions League Final.
So far, it's been quite clear that the attention isn't focused on any star player, but on the Portuguese chap who believes this game is more important than anything you will see in South Africa this summer. Mourinho gave off a God-like aura in a press conference yesterday, while effortlessly bounding between the various languages in which questions were fielded to him. As Brooks reported earlier, at one point, a Russian gave the Inter boss some sort of plastic crown, which would have been on the back of every newspaper this morning had some spoilsport not stopped him putting it on. In return for this generous gift, The Special One gave the journalist his tracksuit jacket.
Oh, and at the risk of embarrassing myself beyond retribution, here's something that happened when making small talk with one of the other chaps on this junket...
Me: So have you been to a Champions League Final before?
Him: Yes, Heysel.
Me: Oh, you're a Liverpool fan?
Him: Um, no, I was playing. I'm Paul Walsh.
Stay tuned for more of my Champions League observations and ridiculous faux pas throughout the day.
*By the way, did I mention that Heineken is crazy delicious?