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FC Barcelona as of 05-09-2017

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Ernesto Valverde has now replaced Luis Enrique. The 53 year old is a former Barca forward helping the club win the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1989 and Copa Del Rey in 1990 in his two year spell under Johan Cruyff. He has spent a major part of his career as a player and manager at Athletic Bilbao. Valverde has a preference for the 4-2-3-1 formation. One of the best examples of Valverde’s tactics was the Spanish Super Cup game against Barcelona. Bilbao would go on to win 4-0 and draw 1-1 away from home to bring back their first trophy in 31 years. Given his stability at Bilbao with the consistent promotion of youth into the squad like Arrizabalaga, Laporte, Williams and Álvarez has been impressive, which could give a boost to Barcelona and help the club reinforce itself from within instead of spending a large sum of money on players who may turn out to be disappointing signings.

The transfer of Neymar Jr. to PSG from the club for a world record free of €222m followed by the lack of signings this transfer window summarizes just how poor Barcelona were in their approach to transfers and more importantly point out how incompetent the board is at running the club. The summer was a hard and long one for fans across the world after hearing whispers of the club being related to players such as Paulo Dybala, Philipe Coutinho, Jean Seri, Inigo Martinez etc. to name a few and still not being able to see them in Blaugrana colors. However, it was not a summer without signings for the club. The club signed Marlon (€5m), Gerard Deulofeu (€12m), Nélson Semedo (€30m), Paulinho (€40m) and Ousmane Dembélé (€105m). This season will be a test for Valverdes Barcelona. This season looks to be a one where players such as Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez and Lucas Digne will have to prove themselves to Valverde and also the fans watching in Barcelona and across the world. The club has also confirmed that midfielder Carles Alena has signed his new three-year contract extension and that it contains a release clause of €75 million. Alena who is said to be one of the best talents in the B-team will also look to break into the first team in the coming season or two.

 

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Marvel’s Spider-Man, a piece of art

Marvel’s Spider-Man is a beautiful game. No videogame has managed to get me this emotionally invested and attached. The character development is astonishing. The story is brilliant. It focuses on both Peter Parker and Spider-Man without one overshadowing the other. This is not another origin story. Peter has been spiderman for 8 years in the game and has a well established balance between reel and real life. The in-game Peter feels like the perfect combination of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland. The Peter and MJ relationship is one of my personal favorites. The writers have shown it in the best way possible. The complexities of their relationship and the camaraderie is well portrayed.

A player takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete the story. However, the web swinging aspect of the game encourages you to explore Manhattan in search of the collectibles. Every swing with Spider-Man is a testament to the amazing work done by Insomniac. The story ends rather well and leaves things in a perfect spot for Insomniac if they do decide to go ahead and develop a sequel.

The side missions are rather entertaining. I found myself in a race to complete them for once. They were one of the aspects that made the game enjoyable. They ranged from fighting Taskmaster to Finding Howard’s pigeons.

The game is filled with Easter Eggs and secrets. I managed to find quite a few without much effort. Some I can to know about due to various YouTube videos after completing the story in order to avoid spoilers.

Some of my personal favorites are:

1. “Call TS back re: job offer” sticky note seen in Peter’s apartment during the start of the game. Another one was “need a catch phrase… it’s webbin’ time?”

2. One of the backpacks contained a business card of Matt Murdock

3. STAN LEE CAMEO

4. Peter mentions that he has to change his suit early in the game because it got damaged and that people would see his 3 chest hairs. After achieving 100% completion, players unlock the “Undies suit” which is essential Peter in his underwear and the Spider-Man mask. Using the game’s built in photo mode, you can see that Peter does have only 3 chest hairs. The attention to detail in this game is amazing!

Here are some shots from the game:

This spiderman game is a good getaway from the complex web called life. Insomniac games is Leonardo da Vinci and Marvel’s Spider-Man is their Mona Lisa. This game is a masterpiece. If I were to compile a list of 100 things to do before I die, playing this would be in my top 10.

John Cena, The Once In a Lifetime Superstar.

Whether you watch professional wrestling or not, you must have come across or heard about this one man called John Cena at some point in your life. John Cena has won 25 championships during his WWE career. He is a sixteen-time World Champion (13x WWE Champion and 3x World Heavyweight Champion), an accomplishment equalled only by WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair. Not only is he a five-time United States Champion and a four-time World Tag Team Champion (2x World Tag Team Champion and 2x WWE Tag Team Champion), He has also won the Money in The Bank ladder match in 2012 and is a two-time Royal Rumble winner (2008 and 2013).

JohnCena

When you think about Cena, 3 words come to mind, “NEVER GIVE UP”. Sure, these 3 words started as a wrestling gimmick but what Cena made them mean to the fans is only something that he could have done. For many people, these 3 words have been life changing. Cena and his words have been a light to people during dark times. There have been very few superstars who have managed to get the audience as emotionally attached to the product as Cena has managed to do. He made the fans feel like they have won a championship whenever he won, the same fans have also felt the vicarious pain of his defeats. Cena matters to that kid who is constantly hurt because no one would want to be his/her friend. Cena matters to that kid who is afraid to dream. Cena matters to that kid who is afraid of failure. Cena matters to that kid who thinks that he is nothing but dirt just because a bully has said so. Cena matters to that kid who thinks he is alone in a world where he/she has no value. Cena matters to that kid who cries himself/herself to sleep. Cena matters to that kid who thinks maybe ending his/her life is the only option.

 

RR2008

This one particular incident comes to mind when Cena had torn his pectoral muscle while executing a hip toss in a match against Mr. Kennedy in October, 2007. He required rehabilitation for a period between 7 months to a year. He returned on the 27th of January 2008 as the 30th participant of that years Royal Rumble. The moment his entrance music hit, the crowd erupted and that particular pop is still considered as one of the loudest pops any superstar has ever received till date. He returned in 3 months to shock the WWE Universe.

 

No one gets as much of a reaction as Cena does in the WWE. Be it either positive or negative. He gets cheered in some arenas while he gets booed out of the building in the others. Cena has granted over 500 wishes for the Make-A-Wish foundation which is also a record. Cena has always said that he is nothing without the people who support him, be it the members of his family or the members of the WWE Universe.

 

John Cena entered the WWE as a nobody, but today,  he has become one of its greatest performers of all time. Whether you love him or hate him, you have got to respect the guy.