These are not the five best players in the world, or even the players who performed the best in the last 28 to 31 days. These are the players who improved themselves in terms of perception in the public eye, who made their managers smile, or whose legacy got a nice polish, on the field or off the field, spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically, whatever.
This week, we take a look at the players that performed admirably for their national teams over the international break. Patriots, amazing footballers all.
1) Luis Suarez, Uruguay. Four goals against Chile? Fahget about it. Despite potentially being a bigot, Suarez strengthened his place on the fast track towards becoming the best striker in the world. And with other bigots like Sepp Blatter out there, who even cares that much? Kidding. We do.
2) Robbie Keane, Ireland. So the Emerald Isle finally qualified for a tournament after a long series of barren decades. What’s next? Pigs will fly? Sarah Palin will win Jeopardy? Wales will qualify for a tournament?
3) Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal. Despite sporting a haircut that looked like what would happen if Don Draper traveled in time to the liveliest period of the metrosexual 1990s, he put in a very impressive performance in the second leg to beat a stingy Bosnian crew.
4) Daniel Majstorovic, England. In all seriousness, congratulations to the storied legacy of a team we know as The Three Lions. 2000 goals is nothing to sneeze at. The USMNT hasn’t even hit 100 yet. Hah! No, but this gutty and ardent defender born and bred in England has a lot to be proud of.
5) This guy, Ireland. How awesome is that? Every soccer fan’s dream.
Bonus Ranking: Sitcom TV Holiday Specials (Note: I in no way claim to be a TV expert. These are merely the ones that I’ve seen and I’ve enjoyed the most. Also, “sitcom” means no Charlie Brown Specials or the Grinch. Be aware. If I left out a notable Holiday special, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, or International Tip Your Stripper Day, just let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
2) Simpsons‘ “Tree House of Horrors.” A Halloween tradition that’s as concrete as trick-or-treating, costumes, or candy apples with razors baked inside.
3) South Park‘s “Mr. Hankey and the Christmas Poo.” Come on. As lewd as it gets, as funny as it gets. You can’t resist laughing really hard.
4) The Office‘s “A Benihana Christmas.” I’m a sucker for anything Steve Carrell, but the scene where he mixes up the two Asian waitresses they bring back is a comedy goldmine of 1849 California proportions.
5) Community‘s “Christmas Claymation Episode.” The real name is “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” but everyone remembers it for the claymation (also, from crying at the ending). Look, if you’re not watching Community and you claim to be a sitcom lover, reevaluate. It’s a brilliant show in danger of being cancelled for low ratings. Come on people. We’ve already got too few heroes to turn to.