There are plenty of soccer fans, both casual and hardcore, that make it a point to tune in every time Barcelona and Real Madrid clash. While some have a rooting interest and others just know that there's always the potential to see something interesting, the dedicated soccer fans know the truth...it's all about Ray Hudson.
The former Miami Fusion and DC United manager who now serves as Phil Schoen's sidekick on GolTV broadcast is well know in the soccer community for his colorful commentary and penchant for unleashing a myriad of quasi-poetic outburst during matches. Sometimes he just squawks like a bird whose tail feathers have just been pulled, but love him or hate him, Hudson brings a uniqueness to soccer color commentary that no one else has managed to even get close to.
Hudson was at his typical best on Saturday in the latest iteration of El Clasico and I've collected his best lines for your enjoyment.
Hudson comments at the opening of the broadcast:
The most compelling rivalry in all of sports, bar none. Ahead of us a match that transcends the game, two clubs that define football and another monumental showdown.
Any commentator could have pointed out that the weather was less than ideal at the Bernabéu, but Hudson managed to purvey the situation with a simple, yet grand description:
They are gonna be like ice hockey players out there.
At kickoff, Hudson gave us one final eloquent set-up for the 90 minutes ahead:
Los Blancos and Blaugrana, eternal enemies, daggers in their hands.
Real Madrid opened the scoring in the first minute of the match after a shocking mistake by Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Hudson was ready, though I'm not sure that Valdes would be thrilled being compared to the Exxon Valdez:
Benzema scores after a comedy of errors for which "Exxon Valdés" is responsible.
The weather definitely played a roll in the match, with the wet pitch causing footing issues for both teams. Of course, Hudson couldn't just say that, no no, that is too simple:
Wonderful, Ramos slips like Bambi on ice.
When Barcelona equalized late in the first half thanks to a wonderful assist from Lionel Messi and a clinical finish from Alexis Sanchez, Hudson summarized the events with his usual zest:
It's a paradigm of everything that Barcelona is brilliant at.
In probably the most unintentionally amusing moment of the commentary, Hudson tried to explain that the Madrid players chasing Messi looked like cheetahs. While this may not seem like a big deal, Hudson wanted to ensure that viewers realized he indeed said cheetahs and not cheaters.
I mean in the animal sense!
Hudson offered his review of the Madrid goal during halftime highlights:
Valdés absolutely coughs it up and it pops to Benz, who's cooler than a bomb disposal expert with this finish.
Barca's second goal brought about a St. Iker reference about Madrid keeper Iker Casillas:
It takes a wicked deflection, and the saints ain't smiling on St. Iker now.
Hudson wasn't done though and he unleashed what I think was his second best line of the match shortly after the goal:
This is a gangster goal from Barcelona, and it's Xavi that's holding the revolver.
When Cesc Fabregas put Barcelona up 3-1 with a lovely diving header, Hudson decided to make a whaling reference...works for me, though in the wrong context I guess it could sound a bit dirty:
Fàbregas doesn't get his dagger out here, he gets his big harpoon and puts it in to Real Madrid.
Further description of Dani Alves's cross and Fabregas' header gave us Hudson best line of the match:
Lightning speed counter-attack but with glinting blades like Edward Scissorhands. Barcelona cuts Real Madrid down to size.
Hudson later waxed philosophic on Cesc's run that led to his goal, finding a way to reference two people in a sentence that have likely never been spoken of at the same time before...is "slipper" even a word?
Fabregas was slippier than Bernie Madoff there on that run.
The final gem of the evening came in the closing minutes when Barca midfielder Andres Inieta, who was outstanding in the match, was subbed out.
Along with Messi he was the arch-alchemist here tonight.
So there you go, a comprehensive wrap-up of Ray Hudson's best work during the weekend's El Clasico. If you were wondering, Hudson did indeed refer to Xavi as "Chameleon Eyes" at least a couple times and no, I'm not completely sure what that means either but it sounds great.
If you've yet to enjoy a match called by Ray Hudson, you can hear him every weekend on GolTV calling La Liga matches. I promise he's just as excitable and passionate about Racing Santander vs. Real Zaragoza, they just might not give him the same moments to work with that Barcelona and Real Madrid supply. That said, it's still always worth checking out though.