Welcome to another edition of Trending, our (usually) weekly round-up of everything that's both Extremely Online and extremely soccer.
Nothing to See Here
Let's check in on the extremely normal World Cup preparations in Russia.
Look, sometimes you just have to make stuff work, okay? The people in the nosebleed seats will definitely still be able to see the match...
Former WWE star and current very large man Triple H is ready to get in there and give Chicharito and the gang a pep talk that will undoubtedly send fear into the deepest fibers of their beings.
Bank on it: the Hammers will go on a scoring tear due to sheer terror in the upcoming weeks.
When in Dunkerque
The French third tier is a wild, wonderful beast, filled with curiosities enticing to the mind and spirit of dedicated football fans who live for the kind of drama only the French can cook up.
How about a stoppage-time game winner on a set piece from 50 yards out?
How about it, indeed.
Too Many Uniteds
Tie on a blindfold, grab a dart, spin around until you get dizzy, and then go ahead and fire that dart at a map WAIT NO, WAIT.
Anyway, the point is that anywhere that dart lands, there's very likely to be a club called "__ United" in existence at any given tier of the soccer pyramid. Here's a story about some of MLS' very own Uniteds.
"The past week in Major League Soccer (MLS) was eventful as United won as United lost after United lost late."
"... Like it was the end of the world."
Cristiano Ronaldo recently penned a piece for the Players' Tribune, in which he talked about his childhood, his rise to stardom, and the effects that fatherhood have had on him as a person and a player.
It's a well-written article that provides some keen insight into a man who's truly larger than life, but this part, about his formative years in the Sporting Lisbon academy, sticks out in particular:
"And it’s true, I was skinny. I had no muscle. So I made a decision at 11 years old. I knew I had a lot of talent, but I decided that I was going to work harder than everybody. I was going to stop playing like a kid. I was going to stop acting like a kid. I was going to train like I could be the best in the world.
"I don’t know where this feeling came from. It was just inside of me. It’s like a hunger that never goes away. When you lose, it’s like you’re starving. When you win, it’s still like you’re starving, but you ate a little crumb. This is the only way I can explain it.
"I started sneaking out of the dormitory at night to go work out. I got bigger and faster. And then I would walk onto the field — and the people who used to whisper, “Yeah, but he’s so skinny”? Now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world."
Seba Goes to T-Dot
Elsewhere in the Players' Tribune, MLS superstar Sebastian Giovinco wrote an article about growing up in Turin, breaking through at Juventus, how he fell in love with Toronto, and what he still hopes to accomplish for the city he now calls home.
Seba remembers the moment that changed his life forever. He was in Juve's academy, struggling for time on the field when, after a particularly rough training session, everything clicked:
"But for a while, I wasn’t happy. When I was probably about 15 or 16 I wasn’t getting any playing time. And on most of the rides home, I’d just sit in his car and cry.
"One day, he stopped the car. 'Seba,' he said,'I’m not going to bring you back tomorrow.'
"I looked back at him, wiping my tears, 'Why!'
"'Because I’m not taking you here to just cry.'
"I thought for a moment. O.K. I’m not going to cry. I’m just going to work hard."
The rest, of course, is history, but it's history that Giovinco hopes he still has a hand in writing.
Now here's a good story:
"Cesc Fabregas has finally admitted he threw the pizza at then-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson during the 'Battle of the Buffet'.
"It is a tale that has entered footballing folklore. Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford on October 24, 2004 with a 49-match unbeaten run on their side. They went on to lose a tempestuous game 2-0.
"Both sides clashed in the tunnel and, in a tale that had never been confirmed, Fabregas was understood to have thrown a pizza at Ferguson's face."
Thank you for this, Daily Mail.