I think this is the first time Cristian Romero has graced the top of the Hoddle.
Ramble of the Day
A fairly new development for MLS All-Star week is hosting a skills challenge the night before the big game. It’s a fun idea, and I’m glad the league is embracing a natural uniqueness that comes from following a wildly difficult to predict league. (It also probably helps that you can insert a lot of sponsors into this type of event.)
This year’s edition saw the MLS All-Star team lose to their Liga MX counterparts in a show that was overall entertaining, even if some challenges were more engaging than others. I thought ending on the crossbar challenge was a nice touch, even with its extra rules — the ending really packed a drama and intensity that was fun to watch. (If you want to know exactly what challenges the players competed in, you can read that here.)
Do excuse the long introduction, because I actually didn’t come here to review the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge. As I was watching it, I wished it existed when Tottenham came to the US to play the All-Stars in 2015. I would have loved to know which Spurs players would be interested in participating, and my sisters and I had a few thoughts:
- Son Heung-min would undoubtedly have the most fun at the All-Star skills challenge.
- We can’t explain why, but we feel like Eric Dier would be a participant.
- Érik Lamela would also have fun with the skills challenge, and looking at the squad reminds me Dele might be a good candidate for this.
- Just looking at the current squad, I have a feeling Sergio Reguilón might participate. I’m not sure if that opinion is based on the fact that there were TikTok stars involved in this year’s All-Star challenge and Reguilón is influencer-adjacent.
This might be something slightly weird to an English football audience if they were tasked with knowing about it, but it can be enjoyable to strip the pressure out of footballing events from time to time. We don’t see Spurs enough in minimum pressure, maximum fun scenarios, and it might be fun to change that.
tl;dr: I watched the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge the other night, and wondered which Spurs players might have fun at this event.
Stay informed, read this: Isaac Chotiner interviews The Athletic’s Katie Strang on cover sexual misconduct in sports for The New Yorker
Links of the Day
FIFA is in conversations with governments to acquire quarantine exemptions for players traveling to countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases during the international break.
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola said he plans to leave the club when his contract expires in 2023.
FIFA reduced Mexico’s punishment for supporters using a homophobic chant, reducing the number of closed door home matches from two to one following an appeal.
Nice will play its next home game behind closed doors and Marseille physio Pablo Fernandez was suspended after a match between the teams was abandoned.
A longer read: Fatima Rahman on incoming USL Championship side Queensboro FC’s aim to represent one of the world’s most diverse areas for the Guardian