The big question: what if it was Ray Hudson’s commentary that was inspiring Leo Messi all these years? Will the little maestro find the will to play his “left foot Stradivarius” much longer if the Geordie genius isn’t around to break the internet with a stew of mixed metaphors to describe his work?
Those are the kind of terrifying scenarios we must envisage after news broke yesterday that Hudson has left his role at Qatari network beINSports. The network has lost its US LaLiga rights to ESPN and it remains to be seen if Hudson will find a new taker for his unique brand of colour commentary.
Officially left @beINSPORTSUSA today.— Ray Hudson (@RayHudson) August 1, 2021
Hudson, who played for Newcastle United in the 70s, before coaching in the USA, was notionally commentating for the American market, but has been a distinctive, excitable fixture in the lives of anyone scouring the net for LaLiga goals on a Sunday night.
His histrionic style isn’t to everyone’s taste, but how could anyone resist tucking into these rich metaphor stews?
“Benzema wriggles through. Slipperier than a trout in a dishwasher.”
“Big Benz. As sharp as vinegar. As cool as a greyhound’s nose. He decorates the net with a dozen roses with his catapult.”
"Cobweb football, nothing less. They spread their game out like wonderful, beautiful caviar on bread.”
"The big flashing lighthouse that is Piqué arrives, and it's not as much of a salmon out of a fresh summer stream — he just locks his focus like a hungry hawk looking for his dinner."
"He is as cool as an Arctic blast down your shorts. It's a diamond chandelier of a finish, that's for sure. The finish is, again, smooth as the back of a spoon."
"A gentler touch than Gandhi stroking a pussycat.”
“Real Madrid stretching out Barcelona like spandex on Miami Beach.”
“You could put your beating heart on Toni Kroos finding a way through there, but you’d be dead.”
"Benzema absolutely pulls a peacock out of his hat. It's a majestic finish from Karim, who again, rises to the top."
"Karim Benzema is the man. Wonderful setting of the table for substitute Lucas, and right away he knows where his bread is buttered, and it's like the size of a big croissant."
“They've turned it around. El Capitan! Casemiro peels away like tissue on a toilet roll, Sergio Ramos peels away like skin on a tangerine."
But it has been Messi, of course, who has been Hudson's chief muse. Whatever the 'man from Argentina' could produce, Hudson was ready to mix up some new cocktail of words.
Just listen to Ray Hudson you can tell he was on his feet when messi delivered this beauty. pic.twitter.com/S8UMFMiCwI— 𝑳𝒖𝒊𝒔 (@compafierro9) March 18, 2019
“Messi with the kaleidoscope eyes does it his way. He's handing out chocolates to the defenders as he goes by. Slippery as an ice cube on the top of an oven. More twists and turns than a cheap garden hose."
"Pick your jaws up from the ground as Messi finds the gaps. He could find gaps in the scent of a rose.”
"This diamond chandelier of a footballer lights it up again the way only he can. The mutant fly's eye of Messi recognises the run before it even starts."
“The Mozart of our game, with his left foot Stradivarius, plays the sweetest music, man. Astonishing, again, the touch of this free kick: soft as a slug’s beer belly and sweeter than the moonlight through the pines."
“Hotter than the hinges of hell’s gate, Lionel here, as he steps up and caresses this one where the spiders live.”
“The madness of Messi. He takes the goalkeeper, the defender on the line into account, and probably the Rings of Saturn.”
"Magisterial from Coutinho, and Suárez, and Messi. Mighty Eibar, they fall apart for Messi's 400th goal. They fall apart like King Louie's temple in the Jungle Book. Again Barcelona showing more 'flare' than a 1970s high school reunion."
“Messi takes all the planets and the gravitational pull of the moon into account to present Griezmann with a chance.”
“As soft as the clap of a butterfly's wing. He doesn't look for passing lanes, he invents them."
“Messi with a pass soft as a mother’s kiss and Griezmann with a finish sharp as vinegar.”
“He doesn’t just beat you, he Hannibal Lecters you.”
"Messi, as unpredictable as a wasp after a sip of Cuban coffee, man. He just puts time in suspended animation. Four men inside a telephone box, he doesn't give a damn. He'll still thread his needle with a rope."
"It's Leo using the upright as his reference point, and plays a one-two off of it. Slippier than an ice cube on an oven top. This halo of a footballer, again, tonight looking like a shark that's been in a fish tank for a week.”
"How do you nail Jell-O to the ceiling? All the gyroscopes in his incredible footballing brain adjusted and it's cleaner than Neutrogena for the man from Argentina. The zenith angles measured down to the degrees and the minutes and the azimuth angles coordinated, for Leo!"