Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Spanish Fuera de Juego

This blog hates International breaks. I hail from a country where cricket is religion; with the Cricket World Cup underway and the International Break, there’s absolutely no way I can seek solace in a 90 minute football match featuring Spanish clubs. Consequently, it’s your chance to be treated with some non-football garbage. The blog has taken the effort to take up only the most colorful topics in its endeavor to keep you alternately pleased and pissed (depending on your reading perspective).

Nightclub Brawls

Yes, I was there!

In yet another nightclub incident for 3rd place hopeful club Valencia, Vicente and a drunk buddy were reportedly caught in a confrontation with two total strangers outside a nightclub in the wee hours when people are enjoying being in dreamland brought upon by a tiring day’s work, a drunk stupor or a post orgasmic euphoria. Vicente, after initially refusing to be present, has now acknowledged that he indeed was present, but had nothing to do with the fight that left two club goers in hospital for treatment. The two club goers reportedly made comments to the tune of “You don’t seem to get on more” to Vicente, which could be related to Vicente’s inability to find a female partner for the night or his inability to find more playing time in the Valencia squad. Either way, APTW is inclined to believe Vicente’s version, as the innocent and professional player that he is (he reported on time for training early morning next day), he wouldn’t confront two strangers for stating something which even he would’ve been scratching his head about. However, assuming “Vicente 03:26” as something written down in the Holy Bible, I would want to be his friend’s friend. He took two strangers on and made them visit the hospital. That’s premium free insurance for you.

Ball kicking Journos

Mourinho doing the Ronaldo act
In what seems to be yet another marketing masterstroke, Real Madrid called upon notable armchair pundits from Spanish footie world with the likes of Sid Lowe (The Guardian), Jose Luis Sanchez (La Sexta), Pablo Polo (Marca) and others to participate in a match against Real Madrid staff which included head coach and one liner megamind Jose Mourinho, assistant coach Aitor Karanka and people from pretty much every auxiliary departments of the club. Jose Mourinho played in goal in the first half and made a couple of blinding saves. He certainly seems to have learnt a trick or two from watching San Iker train everyday at the Valdebebas. He also seemed to have taken a pointer or two from Tinkle Toes CR7 and the Noodle legged Angel as he left his goalkeeping duties to Real’s goalkeeping coach and moved up as targetman, falling everywhere theatrically at every touch to win a penalty (admittedly jocularly). The blog hopes he won’t be moaning about the lack of support his team received from the referee. APTW suspects that the real purpose of the match was to win some fan points from the journos, most of whom seem to have taken to the darker side of Spain (Chants of “This is not Spain” as accompaniment) , driven there by the football played in that part of the country and Mourinho’s incessant moaning in Madrid.

On a side note, if journos can make good football players, bloggers certainly can.

Strikes and Lockouts

This period of club level inactivity has also meant that people over the world are treated to a tidy bit of off the pitch La Liga madness coming out of Spain’s various media outlets. LFP's brain farting decision to call a strike with a week to spare has been challenged in court by six clubs from the Primera, who have been dubbed as the G-6 by the Spanish press, a name that does not quite befit that collection of meddle-your-noses-in-everyone's-affairs group of nations but which appears to be something out of a Hollywood super hero movie plot ala The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or The Watchmen (you get the drift)...In all this chaos, Florentino Perez sensing that the negative vibes brought about by a legal battle could rob his beloved club of some precious Euros due to drop in jersey sales, has come down like the messiah with a swift U-turn, opposing the strike, to calls of ‘Judas’ from the LFP. In his wake, Del Nido of Sevilla, the man who once grumbled that "At every match, Madrid are asking me to sell players" has allied with Florentino, leaving the LFP with a case on their hands, and Barca with dirt on their faces (from the Madrid press undoubtedly) for failing to turn around at the right time.

Anyway, the court has still not ruled on this matter, which means that fans and teams would be left with probably only a three day notice to prepare for their respective matches. Does it get any better than this in any other part of the world?

Potato Fields

The Pitch at Kaunas

Spain’s U-17 team’s convincing victory over Northern Ireland and Spain’s 1-0 scrape against Columbia had the radioheads and ever maniacal journalists from Spain’s colorful dailies discussing the junior team’s gifted potential and the first team’s lack of entertainment and after enough discussion on this matter everyone got back to waxing about Barca’s fabled, self important La Masia and the upcoming Euro qualifier in Lithuania.

A combination of bad weather and bad curatorship means that the pitch of Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas Stadium, the venue for the upcoming fixture in Lithuania, looks even worse than a potato field with little or no grass on it. Spain’s egomaniacal big two are understandably pissed given the injuriy risks to players who’d play on that pitch with Super April and its insane number of fixtures coming up. To add to this hoolah-hoo, the ever bumbling UEFA has now pronounced the ground in its shabby place as a “fit” place to play football, conveniently leaving the final decision to the match referee Laurent Duhamel , who certainly wouldn’t want to risk the irk of the home support by calling off the match on match day.

…Not that I’m complaining. As an Indian, I know that the pitch could get a far lot worse; players from top clubs in Europe and most of the rest of the world are generally pampered and this match would make them reminisce about their grass root level beginnings (pun intended).

He Said, She Said

In other news, Barcelona have renewed goalkeeper Pinto’s contract which sees him tied down to the club for 2 more years. I wager a tenner that says the guy must be happy; 2 more years to sit on the bench and work on the decibel level of his whistle, which rivals that of the referee's and help him call out players for non-existent offsides when the referee had quite incorrectly ruled play on. Meanwhile Xavi has reiterated his wish of seeing Cesc Fabregas do himself what Pepe Reina and Puyol made him do in the post world cup celebrations, thereby giving yet another push to that all the more weary to be or not to be Ferry's wheel. With all these media bytes hitting the waves, it’s also worth sliding in the li’l nugget of juicy gossip that sugggests that the ever so self-conscious Barca hierarchy is contemplating on making the Camp Nou a smoke free zone by banning cigaretttes in the stadium. I guess the doping scandal did touch a nerve somewhere given the latest the club is contemplating. But while this decision hangs in limbo, one can’t help but wonder if the traditional cigars , caviar, and champagne would also disappear from the president's box? I certainly don’t think so. After all, the previous president allegedly made 40000 Euros out of this nifty business, and I dont think there's anything that would stop Rossel from doing the same.

Down in Madrid however, the press are going apeshit waxing their love up for Benzema, the latest in a typical move of Turnaround, an art which the Madrid based media has perfected. The press are also ecstatic about Higuain’s miracle recovery ahead of schedule, with Marca going so far as to claim that Kaka and Higuain will both make the squad against Gijon the coming weekend, assuming of course that our super hero G-6 wins its case in court. With the Madrid based media in adoration mode, Jose Mourinho was the epitome of humility, downplaying the importance of the upcoming fixtures going so far as to claim that it would still be okay if Real Madrid lost to Barcelona in all three competitions this season. I don’t think any sane Madrid fan would agree to this even if they’ve had their veins stuffed with some potent hallucination inducing stuff. The great Johan Cruyff, who after being ousted as honorary club president by the official president, has now taken up the unofficial post of Official Club Wanker and Moaner, supposedly to rival Mourinho’s sound bytes. The media of course is the real winner with Cruyff’s latest gem making headlines when he wrote: “Mourinho says nothing would happen if Madrid don't win a trophy? I agree, losing against this great Barça isn't a failure”

Meanwhile, Joan Capdevilla became the latest victim of Twitter gaffes when he tweeted:
The latest Twitter Gaffe
 …which loosely translates to…
"I love the jokes you send me!! By the way, today I asked myself: If a Chinese woman has a 'clio', what does she have? A car or a child? hahaha"
…basically playing off the R/L sound distinction Asians can't make very well ("clio" is a type of car, "crio" is a child). The tweet was taken up in earnest and flagged down as a blatant case of shameless racism. Give me a break! APTW likes racist jokes, which doesn’t mean that I’m racist. But hey, how many times have u made fun of someone’s appearance, style of walking, clothing, lack of hygiene? Yes you are nodding. Now when I pick on your slur, you are offended. Russell Peters has made racial abuse his livelihood and boy I do enjoy watching his shows. The thing with racism is that people tend to go overboard with interpreting what constitutes a racial taunt. Things like what happened at the Vicente Calderon is definitely racism and funnily enough that has been largely overlooked and people are busy calling out Capdevilla for being racist. Sounds like something typically Spanish, don’t you think? …And with that racist taunt, I end this piece here.


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