Here Is Something Nice

So, I know most of the readers of this space aren't soccer fans, and, even among those who are, most of y'all aren't English Premier League fans, and even fewer are specifically Manchester United fans. But I promise, even if you're not a massive Man United fan like I am, you will probably enjoy this. (Unless you're an Everton fan, but, hey, you just got Wayne Rooney, so good days for you, too, amirite?!)

Background: European football is between seasons right now, and we're in what's called the transfer window, during which teams can make trades and sign new players. Manchester United has been making a play for Romelu Lukaku, an incredibly talented young striker — of whom, by the way, I am such a huge fan. He's a player I like so much that I find it impossible to root against him, even when we're playing his team, and I told Iain every time we watched an Everton match last year that I needed him on my team immediately!

So you can imagine how excited I was when the rumors began that he might be coming to Manchester United!


He and one of our current players, Paul Pogba (about whom I've written previously), are quite good friends, and were on holiday in Los Angeles together when the negotiations were taking place.

Below is video of the moment when Lukaku (who's Belgian) tells Pogba (who's French) that the deal is done and they'll soon be teammates.

Video Description: Pogba, a tall, thin, young Black man is lounging poolside at dusk. Lukaku, a tall, thin, young Black man comes walking toward him. He calls to Pogba. Pogba stands, and they clasp hands and hug. Lukaku tells him something in French. Pogba leans toward him with a questioning but excited expression. Lukaku confirms the news. Pogba tosses off his cap and they dance then high-five. Pogba grins and laughs. "Yessir! HA HA!" he exclaims. He dances sideways, shaking his bum. They both laugh and shout happily. It is ADORBZ.

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I really like a lot of things about Paul Pogba, in addition to his mad skills on the pitch. If you'd like to break up the relentless drum of shitastic political news by reading a nice interview with a talented young guy, this Esquire interview from a few days ago is worth a few minutes. Here's an excerpt:
[Professional football] felt like the way out?

"Yeah. I try to remember that now, even though it's not easy. When you want to buy a pair of shoes so bad then you have them, you start wearing them every day. Then after a while you start getting bored of the pair of shoes. But you always have to remember that pair of shoes you wanted, you had to fight to buy them and you wanted them so bad. So you have to savoure — comment tu dis, savoure? To enjoy every moment that you're wearing it. So I enjoy every moment when I go to training, when I play football. I remember the old days."

You were poor?

"Poor? In France, we would say poor. In Africa, we would say rich. I wouldn't say I was poor. But we didn't always have everything we wanted."

You slept in one bed with your brothers and cousins?

"Yeah, we were sleeping three, four, five people in one bed. But it was the best time, because we were all together, so it was very good. To be honest, I'll never complain because we had water, we had some food. I had some clothes, even if it wasn't the best. I would never say I was poor because when I see other people, I think, 'I was rich'."

What work did your mother do?

"She used to work in a shop, used to clean. She was working hard to take care of five people in the house, the only one. No family, that's it. So if you have to take care of five kids, single woman, it's not easy. This is why we are strong mentally. You have to be strong."

Do you remember the first thing you bought when you started making money?

"This I will always remember all my life. I was 18 or 19 and I bought my first pair of Louboutins; they were white. I bought two pairs, actually. I didn't go out for one month after that, I didn't buy anything, I was so shocked. I said, 'I'll never buy any Louboutins again!' It was funny because when you know the value of money, when people don't have money, you feel a bit weird. You feel, 'Wow, it's a lot of money for a pair of shoes.' Life goes fast, so do something that makes you happy and just enjoy life, but it doesn't mean you forget about other people."

Do you still have those shoes?

"Guess what? I got robbed in Italy and they stole my shoes. So please, the guy who robbed me, can you send me the shoes, please? It's very important for me. Keep the rest, just bring the shoes!"
[Paul Pogba and his infectious smile, with his mom and brother Mathias.]

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