Coke Does Soccer Fair Play Ad on Derby della Madonnina (Milan Derby); makes Magic

Thanks to Phil Schoen for tweeting this..  If you don’t follow him, you are totally missing out.

I LOVE IT… But it still doesn’t help me pick a Serie A team. I like them both still…

For more info on the ad head to Ad Week..

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Water is Wet: ITA Media Goes ALL ITA Media… MLS fans go all Meltdown..

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Rendering of proposed DC United Stadium at Buzzard’s Point – Last Available Stadium Space in DC

Today’s Rumor of the Day brought to you by the Italian national daily  newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Article is about, “a rumor” floating around, “Italian Financial Circles,” that new Inter Milan majority owner Erick Thohir is going to “cash in” his majority stake in MLS’S DC United to help pay off the debt he agreed to incur with the Inter purchase, some €200M [aprx. $271,780,000 USD] .

As per usual, some MLS fans went all in on the rumor and into meltdown mode.  FYI – Italian Media is less reliable than English Media to give you perspective.

Why I love this rumor so much… the idea that DC United’s value is anywhere near large enough to make even in dent in the almost $300M Inter debt is laughable.  When Uncle Erick bought in as majority owner, his valuation was aprx $50M USD [almost €36.8M] and he only owns 60% of that.

Forbes Magazine did a valuation of all MLS clubs in July of 2013 and placed DCU second lowest at $71M [apx. €52M].  It’s revenues are $17.7M [aprx. €13M] and operating at a deficit of 2.8% annually.  In large part, because it has not been winning and as much as I LOVE RFK [and I do]  it is time to grow up and  move out on our collective own.  No real estate makes the club much less valuable.  [Note, Inter also has no stadium, as the local government of Milan owns the San Siro and both Inter and AC Milan are renters].

Now, Uncle Erick and his DCU partners, the coolest owner in sports Will [Chang] and Jason [Levine] have agreed in principle to fund the construction of a new stadium for DCU within the boundaries of the District in exchange for the City handing over the land at Buzzard’s Point.  That is a whole other issue because the City does not actually own the land at Buzzard’s point but does own choice real estate in a better location in the District.  They are planning on swapping the plots with the owner of the Buzzard’s Point and then give Buzzard’s Point to DCU for the stadium.  Welcome to DC,…we elected Marion Berry AFTER, “the bitch set [him] up…” [his excuse for being caught doing crack, not mine] .

The stadium deal is worth big money.. it is in the last great undeveloped section of the City and to be clear… there is NO MORE space within the City limits.  It is 63 square miles, 19% of which is federally or private controlled park lands, plus there is all the land owned by the Fed and City governments.  While it will be expensive to build, it is a major necessity especially if the club is to be sold for big money.

Now, I know there is the theory that says, “well they can just move the club to a different city, since it is not tied down in DC.”  Yeah, I do not see how that works.  MLS needs a presence in the Nation’s Capitol even if just for aesthetic purposes only;  also it would be moving MLS’s most successful club, away from its core and lose a cut of a potentially huge stadium deal in a highly sought after market.

By the way, the same Italian Media Reported between August – November of 2013 said he was selling his minority interest in the NBA’s ’76ers [see the use of “the” before letter names, it is ok with “the MLS” too].  Some going all the way to say that he had already sold it to fund Inter.   At present there is no evidence that he has sold his interest in anything for any reason including funding Inter.

The current DC United article mentions something about DC United CFO/COO Michael Williamson [and newish  COO] but I cannot make out what it says and none of the translate apps can either.  Hoping one my Italian speaking peeps can clear it up.    My guess is that it based on the Steven Goeff’s Soccer Insider column from Dec that says, Thohir may move him to Inter to run things there.

The two clubs formed a, “Strategic Partnership” just two months ago and  crossover between the club has already started.  Young DC United playmaker Michael Seaton just spent several weeks training with Inter.  There are expected to be coaching and staff swaps between the clubs as well as best practices.

Does Uncle Erick sell United to be Inter’s sugar daddy?  Maybe, but I doubt it at least not until the stadium is done  or officially dead.  It is hard to say, “here buy this club losing money and oh yeah, you are on the hook for an additionally $150M minimum to build a stadium.  Peace..”

Additionally, Inter having a solid base in America is a big coup with the move of Serie A clubs attempting to expand their fanbase here.

UPDATE — Uncle Erick Speaks: “These assets are integral parts of my international sports investment strategy and I look forward to growing both brands well into the future. “I deny, in no uncertain terms, recent media reports which indicated otherwise. “My commitment and dedication to both DCU and Inter is unwavering, and I am focused on producing results both on and off the pitch at both clubs.” Statement via ESPN FC

FORZA WHO? My Serie A Loyalists Are Up For Grabs…

With BB Bradley heading out of the Roma locker-room, my Serie A fandom is again up for grabs.  My club support rules are simple:  I support any/all teams with Americans; when they leave, I am out too.  If there none are there, then I pick a general club until an American shows up.  It only gets dicey when American outfield players, play against American goalies. When that happens, I hit the Jamo and binge on my nails.

To be honest, Roma were never my team.  After all, I have a seething, white-hot hate for Daniele De RedCard since that time I almost got banned from RFK stadium watching the 2006 US v. Italy World Cup match.   All y’all know the moment.  [#ObligatoryIHateDDR tweets were a mainstay of my Roma support]  I do and have always adored Totti, minus his “run-ins” with Mario B.  I do not want the team to tank or anything but just do not care about them anymore with the same gusto. I want them to do well but my support lacks any passion.

Now, my love for Pirlo is well established.. I HEART HIM. It is a pure love that will last a lifetime.  Only men who could rival him in my heart are Maldini and Riquelme.  I know there are many other great players throughout history.  The issue for me is that I never saw them play, and clips do not give a complete understanding.

I mention this because despite my love of Pirlo and the pure entertainment of goofy-as-hell Gigi B; Juve is not for me.  Of that, I am certain.  They are fun to watch but like a pretty boy walking at a fashion show.. they look perfect, but they seem like soulless robots lacking passion and emotion.  They don’t move me, inspire me. They are not for me.

In reality, it is pretty much down to Inter v. Milan.   They are my combined default Serie A setting depending on whatever variables exist at the time.   That said, I am more than willing to consider other teams, all except NO LAZIO, NO WAY, NO HOW.

So on to the Pros and Cons of Milan v. Inter

AC Milan
Milan has history and tradition, not necessarily meaning the trophy case but its soul and passion.   Minus the period when Berlusconi went completely off the rails around 2010, Milan seemed to have this mythical aura of being more than a club, more like a way of living the game larger than life. Maldini, Pirlo, Seedorf, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Ambrosini, Nesta, Kaka, Ronaldino, Sheva… Good Lord their early to mid 2000’s team was insane and they were loyal.  They are STILL loyal, even with the Berlusconi madness.

I LOVE that their manager hunt to replace Allegri was Milan legend v. Milan legend: Milan U-17 manager, Pippo Inzaghi verses ultimate winner Seedorf.  Now, Seedorf having zero coaching experience and no licenses is a whole other issue. I should be fun to watch, either way.  My money is on Seedorf succeeding and more importantly, getting the best out of Mario.  At this point, as Mario goes so goes Milan.  He is that important.

The cons for Milan are pretty simple.. A) Berlusconi is a creepy, corrupt perv; and (B) well, See (A)  BERLUSCONI IS A CREEPY, CORRUPT PERV..

There is one area where I am completely torn and that is, “Lady B,” Barbara Berlusconi.  I want to support women in the men’s game.  I need to support them.  She is young and was handed the club as a present from daddy.  Neoptism is pretty common in the world’s game, but I believe she is one of the first where a club did not go to a son but instead went to a daughter.

She has made some great changes, especially embracing social media and building the fanbase worldwide, like creating in entire twitter account in Japanese for Honda’s home fans.  Then there are the misteps, the mess with Galliani, which made her look somewhat clueless and powerless when daddy stepped in to protect his good old boy.   Before that was the whole Pato mess…when you are the boss, you cannot bang the employees.  Granted with Silvio as a papa, appropriateness and boundaries could not have big lessons in that house.

F.C. Internazionale Milano

Inter is the exact opposite of Milan to me.  They are like the Charlie Brown of Serie A, the lovable losers who try really hard and normally come up short.   I love the underdog; it is why I cannot support Juve.  They will do anything to win and I cannot be ok with that.

Inter have Javier Zanetti.  What more needs to be said?  There are few, if any, professionals who rival him on and off the pitch, simply a man of immense character.  He is the antithesis of the stereotype of the modern player. Actually he is the antithesis of Berlesconi.

I already have an Inter jersey, of course it is reads, “Ibrahimović” and is from the treble winning season.  I got it at a party with the Inter team when they introduced the new home kit in LA while on summer tour.  I debated and debated between Zanetti and Zlatan. I chose WRONG.  Ibra was traded LITERALLY an hour after I got the shirt and met him at the party.   Yes, I’m still bitter.

Inter recently became my beloved DC United’s half brother, we share a Daddy Warbucks, owner Erik Thorir.   I am unsure of the loyalty rules in this kind of situation.  I worry that my best United players will end up at Inter so supporting them may very well require supporting Inter.

The major con with Inter is that I would have another team that will almost certainly break my heart, a lot.  Not sure that I need/can handle another of those in my life, especially in this World Cup year.

So decisions, decisions, decisions, as Cher Horiwitz said, “Decisions are the worst”