Through Ryu’s Lens: Anything you can do…
There’s only one person more disappointed that Zlatan won’t be in Brazil than Zlatan, and that is Ryu Voelkel. The big man deceives, acting and performing in a way that makes him seem to be more than just that. Camera in hand, Ryu was in Stockholm to witness a battle between two greats.
Just when Portugal were comfortable, Ibrahimovic put them on the back foot. Just when Sweden were full of hope, Ronaldo silenced the stadium. The Swede did all he could, but could only watch as his counterpart did more.
Through Ryu’s Lens: Japan’s quick trip to Brazil
Japan already qualified for the 2014 World Cup, but first they flew to Brazil to represent Asia at this summer’s Confederations Cup. They brought style and quick-passing (aka Tokyo Taka) to the tournament, including an unbelievable match against Italy, which they somehow lost 4-3. They’re also on their way back to Japan already because there’s still plenty of work to be done, and Ryu was on hand for Japan-Mexico to witness what needs to be improved over the next year.
Through Ryu’s Lens: One for history, Croatia take on Serbia
“I asked the players: ‘Where were you born? Have any of you ever played in Croatia?’ The answer was no,” he said. “The players are so young they don’t know what we had and what we lost. They live today in a new world.” - Siniša Mihajlović
The atmosphere was tense and emotions were raw, but as Croatia met Serbia in Zagreb in a match that always seemed on the verge of boiling over, there was nevertheless one overarching sensation: hope. Relationships have been strained, to say the least, since the dissolution of Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s, and with that in mind, visiting fans had been banned from attending the pair of matches to avoid any confrontations. But even with increased security and nationalist chants raining down, Croatia managed to hold strong against Serbia, 2-0.
More important, though, was what took place after the match ended. Croatian and Serbian coaches, Igor Stimac and Siniša Mihajlović, long-time nationalist symbols with their own decades-long differences, met in the center of the pitch and embraced. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason for hope. Ryu was on scene for the derby and all the emotions surrounding it.
Through Ryu’s Lens: Beckham rises in Paris, Marseille falls
It was the grand derby, Le Classique between Paris St Germain and Marseille. PSG hoped to extend their lead in Ligue 1, and were somewhat fortunate to come away with a cool 2-0 victory. Beckham finally made his debut in France, coming on for the final 15 minutes and playing a chip that would lead to Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbing the second for the French giants. Ryu was in town to see the derby, as well as Beckhamania jumping right into Zlatan’s arms.
Through Ryu’s Lens: The Champions League welcomes back Didier
The last time Didier Drogba kicked a ball in the Champions League, it was a cool penalty that allowed Chelsea to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history. So when Drogba landed in Turkey after an extremely lucrative and tumultuous 8 month trip to Shanghai, excitement was in the air as he could continue his already legendary career with Galatasaray. The Turkish giants welcomed Schalke in the round of 16, and Ryu was in town to capture the Ivorian making his return on the continent’s greatest stage.
Through Ryu’s Lens: France vs Germany, Stade de France
For the first time since 1987, the French fell to Germany. It may have been a friendly, but it happened at Stade de France in Paris, no less. The come from behind victory was a product of yet another outstanding performance from Mesut Ozil, working the strings in the final third. Just look at THAT PASS to set up Sami Khedira for the match-winner. Ryu followed the Germans from Berlin to Pair-ee, capturing Deutschland defeat Les Bleus.
Through Ryu’s Lens: Old Trafford dreams trump FA Cup magic
The Theatre of Dreams was as vibrant as ever, and Ryu almost forgot just how incredible of a venue it is. Manchester United welcomed Fulham, but acted rudely to their guests with a display of pure demolition. Rooney, Chicharito, and Ryan Giggs led the way forward into the 5th round of the FA Cup, leaving Fulham with only a consolation goal for their trip back to Craven Cottage.