I just found this in my Draft queue. I don’t know what was going on March 16, 2016 that kept me from finishing and posting. Looooca is retired now, but this is how I remember him: on his ass on the floor, moaning about getting fouled, with the alleged perp in a heap next to him, possibly unconscious or (if conscious) waiting for the medical staff to produce the smelling salts.
Some people never learned how to see the greatness. 78 inches tall, 210 pounds, and “goes down pretty easy for a big man,” I started loving him during the 2006 World Cup and I never stopped. He’s my green-eyed gorilla of love. He was basically a futbol loser who blossomed out of nowhere at a relatively late age, won the capocannoniere and the Golden Boot in 2005-06, and then won the World Cup in 2006 (a match I watched until late in the second half when a storm took out the fucking power and there was no TV to be had anywhere. Similar story for the 2012 UEFA Final. God hates me.) He made the 2006 World Cup All-Star Team, along with teammates Gigi, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Fra Totti (in the centrocampista category, even though he has never been a centrocampista), Rino Gattuso (O! How I miss him!), and one gift from the futbol gods Andrea Pirlo, whom the english-language futbol press promptly forgot about until the 2012 Euros, when his quantum genius was so fucking obvious that even the english-language press had to stop sucking John Terry’s dick for a moment and wonder “Who is this Ahn-dray-ah Pearl-o?” (Only the best motherfucking regista you’ve ever seen or ever will see. Morons.) He also won the Pallone d’Argento that year. That’s right. Golden Boots and Silver Balls.
After that, Loooca signed for the big money at Bayern Munich and became Franck Ribery’s BFF (this was before Franck turned out to be a world-class douchebag–they were a cute couple back in the day). At Bayern, he won the German version of the capocannoniere. (I could look it up, but I like that word. Capocannoniere. mmmmmmm) He was at the peak of his power then, and the time was right for the sublime Luca Toni calendar. I savored that bit of art. Damn right I did. As well as the occasional non-calendar stuff. Then Louis van Gaal came and Loooca was in the doghouse and there is an appalling story about LVG dropping trou during a locker room speech and displaying his dangly bits in an apparent metaphor about manliness and I don’t know if it was a coincidence but soon after that, Loooca decamped for A.S. Roma. So you see, he may be a lummox, but he ain’t stupid. (LVG also told the unfortunates that they should take advantage of a break in the season to Go! Play with your Weeemen! And I know he’s Dutch and the Dutch are weird about sex [relatively speaking from an American point of view] but GROSS! It would have been enough to put me off sex forever if I hadn’t already been married to what’s-his-face and, well, maybe let’s not tell tales, even true ones, about my ex and his dick.)
Loooca sucked at Roma for a year, then he sucked at Genoa for a half-year, then he came to Juve for a half-year during the dark times where he scored two crucial goals but otherwise sucked. Then he played in Dubai for one incredibly lucrative year. Then he went to La Viola for a year and played fairly credible football for a 35-year-old striker. Then he went to newly-promoted Hellas Verona and had a good year and then the next year he won the capocannoniere again at age 37. Then he had one more year where he wasn’t all that, but his entire team sucked so bad they were relegated, and then he retired.
Through all of that, he was a gigantic, handsome goofball with a propensity for diving and no grace whatsoever. I can still see him lumbering around the box, swatting at the ball with his size-87 Frankenstein feet and making the protest with the Home Alone face. I can still hear the Bundesliga announcer fro GolTV crying “His protests are MAGNIFICENT!”
In summary, Loooca’s pretty face hooked me on futbol. Most of his futbol greatness happened before what I call The Awakening and he spent too many years looking like That Guy Who Can’t Admit It’s Time To Go but then, a miracle happened, and he was great one more year, just for me. &hearts He got old and left futbol (coffcoffFraTotti!coffcoff), but I won because I’m sitting here three hours past my bedtime writing about The Beautiful Game while watching The Beautiful Game on der toob. Ahhhh, can you feel the love?