I’ve been getting into English Premier League this year as an alternative to American football, and, I gotta say, there’s something about soccer that makes me want to root full-throatedly for the douchiest prima donna players. I don’t know what it is, but soccer just has fun “villians.” Maybe not goatee-stroking bad guys, but dudes who bite other dudes and then clownishly flop on pitch like the other guy’s shoulders bashed in his teeth. Great, great stuff.
This isn’t a new development, however. In high school I was an Eric Cantona fan. Paolo Maldini was another favorite (ooh! scary italians!). These days it’s guys like Luis Suarez and Diego Costa that I’m liking. Also the eminently pragmatic Jose Mourinho. I don’t think he’s a prima donna proper, but he’s definitely a guy who “doesn’t give a shit.”
Maybe it’s just that soccer does have the most compelling “villains.” Maybe there’s a repulsion against the overt and celebrated violence that is a part of American football. Or maybe I’m just sick of all the stereotypical hard-working, butt-hustling, all-American dreamboat sports stars that announcers fawn over like high school cheerleaders chasing the football captain. Fuck that. Give me the most-likely-to-be-a-bad-guy-in-a-Cormac-McCarthy-book cannibal Suarez any day. That guy’s got some shit going on in his head, and I think that’s fucking awesome.