Searching for the Spear of Destiny? Hunting for hidden conspiracies in the Vatican? Well, ditch that map you had to do the Truffle Shuffle to get and book a flight to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany. There, in all likelihood, will your treasures be.
This area in the “Land of Ideas” comprises the major cities of Koeln, Gelsenkirchen, Duesseldorf, Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Moenchengladbach, among others.
Within the cities of Koeln and Gelsenkirchen, there have emerged two contemporaries that appear to be well versed in religious relics and funny hats.
First up is the out of favor GK for FC Koeln, Farid Mondragon. After comparing himself to Jesus Christ and being benched by former manager Zvonimir Soldo, Mondragon might have felt it was time for his 2nd coming—too much?—as interim manager Frank Schaefer took over.
Schaefer, in his first match in charge this week in DFB Pokal action, remained with Miro Varvodic and Varvodic posted a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over 1860 Munich. When asked if he will go back to playing Mondragon, Schaefer said, “Farid is not in a good mood. He’s just too busy with himself… there is no reason to switch again.” (Warning: German link).
So, does that count as the second or third denial of Mondragon? Okay, maybe going a bit too far down that road.
Suffice to say, acting like a primadonna on a struggling club by comparing yourself to the Messiah and later attempting to knock the dust off your sandles by storming away while club managers attempt to talk with you is not a good career decision. Perhaps Mondragon prefers jobs in carpentry?
Next: the reason why Raul wasn’t among the Schalke players that partied till 4 AM after the Eintracht Frankfurt match? Why, he was finishing up evening Vespers.
According to an interview by Schalke 04 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Raul likes wearing conical hats, lots of bling, and has a ferula in his closet for special occasions. Per Neuer, this summer’s signing of Raul by the Royal Blues was “comparable to that of the Pope.”
As the current Pope is less likely a fan of Schalke 04 than his predecessor—who was named an honorary member of Schalke’s club in 1987—one could consider Neuer’s sentiment to be whimsical when taken in an overall context. Otherwise, the exuberance at signing a legend to your club by comparing him to a successor of St. Peter appears wildly ridiculous.
Okay, even when putting it in context, it’s still wildly ridiculous. Where do these guys come up with this stuff? Raul’s like the Pope? Is this why he hasn’t quite adjusted to the Bundesliga yet—he’s weighed down by his mozetta?
So, next week, expect Michael Ballack of Bayer Leverkusen to arise like Lazarus and play for the Werkself. Or, look for Jurgen Klopp to enter a Dortmund bank and start turning over tables, ranting to the clerks about high transfer fees.
But if Michael Bradley emerges with scroll and starts babbling about somebody’s bloodline, I’m going to start freaking out.