The biggest game on Saturday will be taking place and it's possible that many of you will not be watching. No, I’m not talking about the Spurs vs. Clippers. No, I’m not talking about the Thunder vs. Lakers. No, I’m not even talking about Rangers vs. Devils. Nope. I’m talking about the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich on Saturday afternoon at 2:45pm Eastern. (Set the DVR, trust me.)
The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football competition that began back in 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It is arguably the most prestigious tournament in the world and the final of the competition is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide, drawing over 178 million television viewers.
I’m not going to bother breaking this game down here (self-promo alert: Check me out on FOX Deportes for more in-depth analysis on the UCL Final), but I’m going to give you the five players worth a damn that you should pay the most attention to.
- Didier Drogba, Chelsea: The striker from the Ivory Coast will go down in Chelsea’s history as one of the all-time greatest, currently standing as the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. The Blues will need the 34-year-old’s ability to strike in the air and his timely striking in what could be his last game for Chelsea.
- Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich: You’ll recognize this dude immediately, as the man with the scars on the side of his face will make you think he could be a bad guy in a James Bond movie. Ribery is real, as the left winger will facilitate the ball up front and generally will make defenders look bad time and time again on Saturday.
- Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich: After literally spending the first 21 years of his life under the regime of Schalke 04, Neuer brought his talents to FC Hollywood (Bayern’s nickname, dope right?) and became the brick wall every squad wants. Drogba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata will be firing away at Neuer, and Neuer will have to prove that he’s up to task.
- Michael Essien, Chelsea: The man who always looks like he needs a haircut will be easy to spot. He’ll be running like a wild man playing from box-to-box facilitating the offense and an extra line of defense simultaneously. Nicknamed “The Bison,” Essien will be key for The Blues on Saturday.
- Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich: Also known as “the oldest looking 28 year old of all-time,” when Robben is right, he’s one of the best wingers in the world. With just one-game remaining in the season, I’d expect Robben to be as creative and spunky as he can be. Finding Mario Gomez in the box and capitalizing on set pieces will be where Robben helps Bayern win.
Here’s your pertinent reading material for Friday. I’m headed to Atlanta for my twin sisters graduation.
The Smoking Section: 40 Days & 40 Nights With The Nike+ FuelBand
The Classical: This Week in Mario Balotelli: The Spirit of a Champion
The Atlantic: Ricky Williams on Football and Concussions
The NFL Chick: Ray Rice Accepting Role As Community Leader
The Starting Five: Should The NBA Extend Rookie Eligibility To Age Twenty?
The Basketball Jones: Keyon Dooling explains the Celtics’ ‘flexing’ celebration
The Front Office: Does Donovan McNabb Deserve Another Shot?
The No-Look Pass: TNLP Talks To A.C. Green
The Verge: The life and times of a vintage Apple collector
The Well-Versed: Manny Pacquiao Blog Entry #2: Marquez Or Mayweather?
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”