Fernando Muslera had a bit of a day against Chile. Give him some love. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Fernando Muslera brings a wealth of firsts to my pocket: First Serie A player to carry around. First Uruguayan added to the mix--it's a United Nations in there, with England, Scotland, Columbia, Holland, Russia, and Slovakia thus far. And, of course, first goalkeeper.
One might wonder how a keeper fits into my pocket. Those before Muslera have been tiny players, easily able to fold up and take anywhere. But this guy--he's 6'3". He's not going to fit. Except for the fact that 'Nando looks, at least compared to others in goal, like a tiny little thing, the runt of the goalkeeper litter.
Muslera may seem like a rather odd choice for a Napoli fan, particularly considering that the partenopei lost 2-0 to Lazio last Sunday. The castorino, or little beaver, has played a big part in Lazio's impressive start to the Serie A season. The Biancocelesti had a commanding lead in the league up until their match against rivals AS Roma, in which they were defeated by two penalties. Sure, Muslera should have saved one, considering he pretty much sat on the ball, but for the most part castorino has been almost flawless. As he was against Napoli, damn it.
But I just can't be upset with 'Nando, who I hold in much greater esteem than that other, more famous 'nando. For one thing, his face rather brings to mind a friendly bat, and who can hate bats? Useful creatures. More importantly, though, he's Uruguayan, and I, like much of the world these days, heart Uruguay fútbol.
Little beaver probably needs a big hug and to be put to bed with a hot water bottle after the day he's had. My Spanish is fairly rusty, but even I've been able to put the pieces together: Not just one but both of Chile's goals were the result of fumbles by Muslera. While La Celeste were generally poor, with reports saying that this was their worst match since the World Cup, Muslera himself seemed to have reverted back to his younger, more error-prone self. Alexis Sánchez, who certainly will be a pocket player at some point, struck first, sending in a ball that Muselra should have saved, but a bad reaction saw Chile take the lead. In the second half, it was an Arturo Vidal shot that castorino just couldn't control, pushing the ball into rather than out of the net.
So it's clear that the not-so-little Uruguayan could use some love today. Just one thing, 'Nando: next time, when you choose to break down, can you do it against Napoli rather than Chile?