With many of the major European names rounding out their seasons, now is the time to truly be a “football” fan. But in this country, that’s hard to do. There are so many exotic names, so many non-American players, so many pieces of peculiar argot...how do I know who my team is? Who are the heroes? Who are the villains? Well, giving a closer look to who these European league clubs are actually reveals many similarities between them and many U.S. non-“football” teams. Here is a quick cheat sheet to knowing some of the more well-known teams in this side of the Atlantic.
1. Arsenal (England) = Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Despite an innovative head coach, these teams play in a very predictable fashion and cannot win certain games, yet they win just enough to be considered viable at best, and indifferent at worst.
2. Real Madrid (Spain) = Golden State Warriors
They’re young, they’re dynamic, they have arguably the most popular player in their leagues (Ronaldo and Steph, respectively) as well as insanely good accompaniment (for the Warriors, it’s KD and Draymond; for Real Madrid, it’s Ramos and Bale). As if all this were not enough, both teams are consistently high-performing in playoffs. Expect them in the finals of Champions League and NBA alike
3. Barcelona (Spain) = Alabama Crimson Tide
With titles across generations, these teams are among the most respected (or hated, depending on how you look at it) in their sports. Any football player who commits to Alabama is like Neymar or Messi or even Suarez on the pitch, showing unbelievable talent and a powerful love of winning.
4. Chelsea (England) = New England Patriots
With Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and N’Golo Kanté, Chelsea takes full advantage of their “Big Three” to get them to the top of the table for what feels like the umpteenth time in the past 15 years. The Pats also have their own “Big Three” (Brady, Gronk, and Gostkowski) that carried them all the way to yet another title. What’s more, the Patriots also have several titles of late, as do the Blues. I wonder how Deflategate would go down in Britian...
5. Manchester United (England) = New York Yankees
Both teams have had their share of titles in recent years (and historically); they are held up by Ibrahimović and Rooney (Man U) and Tanaka and Chapman (the Bronx Bombers), and they even have rival teams in the same market (Man City and the Mets). These teams are good but not great; they won’t win a title anytime soon, but they will be ranked or seeded fairly high.
6. Paris Saint-Germain (France) = Cleveland Cavaliers
For many years afterthoughts, these teams have found stars in LeBron, Kyrie, K. Love, Marquinhos, and Silva, and consistently used them in their latest seasons to propel them to titles (or close to them). Although PSG has been booted from the Champions League, look for them again next year, and wait once more for the Cavs to torch the East and face the Warriors again in this year’s NBA Finals.
7. Juventus (Italy) = Oklahoma City Thunder
These teams are both held up by players who would otherwise be totally unknown (Higuaín and Westbrook). Yet, they do such a good job of it that these teams perform at a fairly high-caliber level, yet always choke under intense-enough competition. Even so, these teams are among the most overrated in their sports; take away what’s holding them up and the whole team would collapse.