Welcome to the first edition of Soccertalk with Sal, a new, randomly occurring feature in which we transcribe snippets of actual soccer conversation with Sal, the superintendent of our office building.
There are two things you should know up front about Sal: He’s got a terrific head of hair, and he talks exactly like Joe Pesci.
No, scratch that—‘exactly’ is not strong enough: The man has the same voice as Joe Pesci. It’s like the John Woo movie Face/Off, but with voices. Completely uncanny, and after we met him, it took us about three months to suppress the urge to crack a grin, or quote Casino, during conversations with him.
The third thing you should know about Sal, and what brings us here now, is that he’s a huge soccer fan. We discovered this during the World Cup this past summer, when we were treated to the out-of-body experience of discussing Italy’s Group F results with an apoplectic Tommy DeVito of Goodfellas (minus the sociopathic tendencies, of course).
It was not only an experience we’ll never forget, but also one we get to relive (to a less vein-popping degree) on a daily basis.
[For best results, imagine Pesci’s voice while reading. All conversations actually occurred.]
• On the Monday morning after Steven Gerrard’s free-kick goal against Manchester United on Sept. 19, when Darren Fletcher—well, here’s the clip:
Sal: “You saw dat, right? I mean [hands now raised, placed together in front of his face, and shaken in the classic Italian gesture of pique] what are you doing in there?! The whole entire purpose of you being in dat wall in de first place—you’re not doing your job!”
BP: It was terrible.
Sal: You know what? It’s worse than not doin’ your job—you’re hurting yer team and yer goalie because you’re—whaddaya call it, you’re in his w—
BP: Screening him.
Sal: You’re screening him! He can’t see the ball—and then you let it through! You’re helping the other team. Oh, man. I would shitcan dat guy so fast.
• On the recent form of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez—three goals in his past two games, including a late winner against Wolves in the Carling Cup on Tuesday:
Sal: I’ll tell you what—dat Mexican guy? Oh man. He scores two in the last game and then you put him in for what, ten minutes? And whaddayou get? Goal.
BP: That was a great signing for them.
Sal: And did you see that header he scored the other day? Flicked it back? Dats not easy to do.
BP: Maybe they don’t need Rooney after all.
Sal: Here’s what dey oughta do: put him in there, then put Berbatov in—and Rooney. That’ll give Chelsea a run for the money. And then when Hargreaves can get back…cuz you know, dat Scholes is not exactly a spring chicken.
BP: If Hargreaves can ever stay healthy.
Sal: It’s a big if.