With two minutes remaining of Wednesday's Champions League game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St Petersburg, Razvan Rat, the Shakhtar left back, sprayed a cross field ball to the right back, Dario Srna. Nothing too extraordinary about that, except that both were 20-30 yards inside the Zenit half. That's how attacking the game was, that's how much Shakhtar chased a late winner its performance wouldn't have merited.
Seventeen years and seventeen days ago, I fell in love in the back of a cab. I was in a London black cab on my way to Wembley Stadium, which is like riding a rickshaw to the Great Wall of China or a camel to the Great Pyramid of Giza. That is to say, I was traveling to a postcard icon in a postcard icon when I fell in love with soccer.
In the summer of 1988, Brazilian striker Müller left São Paulo to join Torino of Italy. Some 19 years later, in the middle of 2007, Corinthians attacking midfielder Willian embarked on his own European adventure, moving to Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.
After spending his entire career in relative obscurity, Nery Castillo showed Mexico fans what he could offer El Tri when he turned in a series of stellar performances last summer at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa América.
Despite making his name at relatively quiet Italian club Livorno, Cristiano Lucarelli has always attracted attention -- he's openly political on his communist beliefs and is a huge admirer of Che Guevara. So in many ways, it wasn't surprising that he was lured to Ukraine, of all places, by a jaw-dropping pay packet from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Some people in the U.S. marvel at the popularity of the NFL Draft on television and the "drama" of watching team officials scratching their chins before deciding which obscure offensive lineman to choose with the 17th pick in the seventh round.
The surprise team of Europe? Easy. It's Sevilla FC. The Andalusian powerhouse may have missed out on a fabulous opportunity to take back first place in La Liga last Sunday, but the Sevillistas are still a serious threat to win their first Spanish championship in more than 60 years, beating out perennial powers Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia.