Monday, December 10, 2007

A Beast Emerges...

As a fan of Madrid, few things make me happier while watching a game than seeing two names in the starting lineup, "Baptista, Julio."

A player with skill, power, finish, and endless heart, Julio Baptista has won me over for life. He can move to Barcelona and score the winning goal in the Champions League Final against Madrid, and I would smile and say, "This guy deserves it."

For all of you familiar with baseball, this guy has the courage of David Eckstein, but with a far greater skill set.

He is strong, possessing a thick, Roberto Carlos like build. He shows vision, with some precise long-range passes and through balls. He shows flair, as evidenced by his magnificent bicycle kick goal earlier this season. He shows power; some of his goals are pinpoint laser shots.

I know some naysayers will say he lacks touch and perhaps pace, but that's nick picking. The man is an asset to any club, with his positive attitude, play, and almost absolute deference to the club.

It's about time he got a few starts in a row, and I hope he takes off with the opportunity. I'd love to see him playing up front, where I feel his skills are best suited, but I'm happy just seeing him play.

Go ahead and say it, it sounds like a man-crush. Make no mistake, it is.

The man has shown what he can do, scoring 20 and 22 goals for Sevilla in 2003-05. I don't doubt that he could net 15-18 if given the same playing time an absolute like Raul or van Nistelrooy gets.

Bernd, continue to show the Beast the love. I love Guti's play, but I don't like his outbursts and sending-offs. I don't envy Schuster, it's not an easy job picking an 11 from 14-15 that are qualified. Julio is one of the 11 in my mind, and I hope he continues this all the way through to June.

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