Sunday, May 29, 2011

Of Champions, Whiners & Transfers

Mou, what is it like watching us on TV? Why?
 The big news of the week is obviously Barcelona winning its fourth, and pointedly, Spain’s 13th UEFA Champions League title – with some style. Of course, the Spanish flags were markedly missing in the post match celebrations which is quite saddening to see given the fact that even players like Pedro, Villa, who are not Catalans, did not wave the country’s flags, either by choice or because they were told not to. The blog obviously suspects the latter. Facing an ageing United squad who looked more interested in the little nuances of the opposite team’s game play than closing the damn attackers down, Barca ran riot. Following a criminal mistake in leaving Xavi with time and space to pick out Pedro who scored his first UEFA Champions League final goal, United equalized through the huff and puff of Rooney and a little whiz of a pass from Giggs, but then allowed Messi to score a special goal and failed to close down Villa who curled one to the top right corner of Van der Saar, finally killing the tie. In a record breaking season, Barcelona still has not managed to break one record: In all of their UEFA Champions League finals, none of the goals have been scored by Catalans. So much for all the self-importance. The blog feels that it should totally do away with reporting anything out of the Catalan dailies for the next two weeks given the same revolting tripe of the self-important 20 year old Barca philosophy, the famed La Masia, et al that they will continue to churn, recycle and then churn out once more.

Moving on to more colorful matters, the blog finds it mildly interesting that Mourinho’s famed “Por Que” was sung high and loud at Trafalgar Square in London and then in Wembley, over and over again…by Barca fans. Imagine getting to the Champions League final and having to spur your team on by chanting a phrase made famous by your rivals. Barca’s strange fixation with anything Madrid related is rivaled only by Mourinho’s fixation with Barcelona. In this season’s last address to the press Mourinho charted his hope that football next season would be fair, free of controversies and racism, in a pointed barb directed towards the club from Catalunya. In a similar vein, Mr. Trash Talk Cruyff’s weekly column before the UCL final was quite illuminating. He went on to suggest that Pep Guardiola might quit Barcelona after winning the European championship just as Mourinho did with Inter. “But, in any case Mourinho would be different in every way”, says the tripe spouting Dutch legend before going on to add, “Guardiola has courage to make a lot of sensible decisions, like dropping Eto’o from the squad and getting in Ibrahamovic and after realizing it was a mistake, dropping Ibrahamovic and buying Villa”, a piece of logic which, for the sake of Busquets’ face clutching antics the blog cannot make any sense of. Cruyff also strove to throw light on the reason behind Manchester United making it to the UEFA Champions League final, “Without the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, the other players have become stronger players because they felt more responsible and wanted to prove that they don’t depend only on a champion”, a sentiment which is echoed by some of the Barca players as well namely Dani Alves, Pedro and David Villa who seem to disregard the fact that by the stats their club is the one that is most dependent on a single individual. The Castillian Andres Iniesta chose to distance himself from this logic defying logic, while Gerard Pique chose to humor the journo hacks by saying, “They say he (Cristiano) is arrogant, but I remember him as friendly and fun. Yes, it is difficult to resist the mirror, but he’s a good guy”. The blog’s respect for Pique has grown a teensy weensy bit. Talking about humor, United’s official website recorded a gaffe by quoting Arsenal midfielder Jack Wishere (yes the one who ran Xavi and Iniesta ragged in one match) who seemed to suggest that Barcelona are very persuasive and know how to influence the referee during a match. The blog only assumes that Wilshere has been reading too much of Jose Mourinho when he said, “Everyone saw how they tried to deceive the referee during the match against Real Madrid, but trying to convince the referee to be on their side while making decisions is more serious”. On another note, do not be surprised if AS or Marca run a story linking Wilshere with Real Madrid in the coming days after trying to perceive his Anti-Barca and Pro-Real comments as a “Come, Buy Me” plea.

Moving on to the league in general, two things happened which the blog was sure would happen and not entirely happy when they actually came to pass. Deportivo La Coruna became the third club to be relegated to the Segunda, forever dooming the tag name “Super” to depths unknown. After a sustained stint in the Primera which saw them punch above their belts by reaching the semi finals of the UCL defeating illustrious opponents like Milan in one of the most memorable two legged ties ever, losing the league title on the last day to Valencia whose players were bought by Barcelona (to win of course, which meant that Barcelona would win the league title, and not Depor), defeat heavyweights like Real Madrid and Barcelona, host a 18 year long voodoo curse for Real Madrid at their home ground, and winning a couple of silverware in the form of a league title and a Copa Del Rey. The blog, though saddened, knew that it was just a matter of time. The cancer was already there since 2005 and it was steadily spreading. However no efforts were taken to stem it and Plunk, vanished the stone to the bottom of the ocean. While Depor was simply relegated, Jorge Valdano was instead sacked from the Madrid management team. Following a meeting with the entire board, Floppy announced the Valdano is no longer the General Manager of Real Madrid and the vacant post would also be handled by Mourinho, who would be both, the coaching and the press front for the club henceforth. This makes Mourinho the first Madrid coach to yield such unheard of power. Valdano himself announced in a semi-emotional presser that he doesn’t know the reason for his fallout with Jose Mourinho, but for his part, he had taken all efforts to bridge the gap, even if it meant that he hadn’t spoken personally with Mourinho for quite some time. As expected this sent Marca into a whole different level of dizziness in anticipation of all the forthcoming Mou-Bytes, with their word play engine proclaiming Mourinho as “General Mounager” on their front cover. The blog expects Madrid to stoop even lower with all their recriminations and complaints now that Mourinho is the official spokesperson for the club.

It is Time!
The transfer rumor mill has obviously been busy in recent weeks and with Kun Augero’s publicized decision to leave Atletico Madrid, it has been in overdrive. Marca reports that as feared initially, Aguero’s buyout clause of 45 million would not calculate down to 60 million effectively if he were to sign for a Spanish club. This means that any Spanish club having 45 million euros can afford the crack snorting Argentine’s son-in-law. The blog obviously believes that “any Spanish club” means either Real Madrid or Barcelona since apart from the big two no other club can raise that kind of money. Atletico could, but they are the ones selling the player, Valencia are paupers and need all the money they can save; Villarreal could’ve raised that kind of money but they are more concerned with other clubs wanting to prise away some of their more established talents. As reported by the blog earlier, Malaga are interested in Villarreal’s Capdevilla and Santi Cazorla. While the former is getting on in age and in the form of a last salvo, would be interested in helping his former coach, Manuel Pellegrini, Cazorla looks likely to stay put as Malaga cannot offer him what Villarreal currently can; an European berth. Meanwhile, Napoli seem to have submitted a formal bid for the Submarines’ midfield general Borja Valero in the region of 10 million euros. The blog feels that it’s a tad under-priced and Villarreal may eventually end up retaining most of their squad, unlike in previous years where they had to helplessly see better clubs poach their talent, and let go of Rossi who’s linked to Barcelona. Rossi certainly won’t go for cheap, and the Yellow Submarines can use the money to bolster their squad for the upcoming season.

The last vestige of a Golden Past
Malaga are the club to watch out this summer in the blog’s opinion. Just as they were being linked to Ruud Van Nistelrooy who wants to return to La Liga before hanging up his boots, news coming out of France seems to indicate that thanks to Arab money, Malaga have submitted a big in the region of 15 million euros for Marseilla starlet Lucho Gonzalez. Depor’s Adrian has reportedly signed on for Atletico Madrid. Adrian’s contract will expire this summer, so technically Atletico have signed the player before his contract officially expired. Consequently, Deportivo has invoked Article 18 of the agreement between the LFP and the AFE which entitles them to some compensation, which they claim should be in the region of 5 million euros.. The blog feels that nothing of that sort would happen, but Atletico would probably pay a token amount to Depor in order to aoid some media fuelled ruckus. Meanwhile Zaragoza’s Gabi is strongly linked to Atletico Madrid with the deal likely involving Pablo Assuncao moving the other way to Real Zaragoza. Assuncao has larely warmed the bench at the Vicente Calderon and would certainly love to play on the pitch for a change, even if it meant there were fewer fans in the stands. While all the flurry of signings are on at the Vicente Calderon, David de Gea leaving for Man United for example, the club still hasn’t decided who would coach them next season. Earlier rumors of Luis Enrique signing up as Atletico coach have now been dismissed, the blog can’t help but feel that this would be yet another season where Madrid’s second club makes a right hash out of the summer. Meanwhile, Diego Castro has moved away from Sporting Gijon to Getafe in the hope that Getafe’s campaign next season may be slightly better than Gijon’s was this season. Espanyol have confirmed the signings of Juan Albin from Getafe and Adrian Luna of Defensor Sporting, which would probably land them in a better position to push forward for European slots next season. Mallorca have confirmed the transfer of Ruben Gonzalez from Osasuna. Sporting have secured the permanent services of Miguel De La Cuevas on whom Atletico had a purchase option but decided to forgo it, preferring Gabi instead. Valencia has successfully renewed Unai Emery’s contract. The jubiliant coach instead strove to win over the belligerent fans by choosing to focus on the positives; 39 goals scored by Soldado and Aduriz together in their first season as compared to Villa and Silva’s 38 in their last season. Emery stressed that the team is attacked focused, but needs balance and continuity. The latter would not doubt be now provided by Emery, but the blog’s waiting for Valencia’s move for some defensive signings in the transfer market this summer.

In other news, relegated club Almeria stayed true to their promise and posted a video on their site of 15 crucial refereeing errors which, according to them, ensured that the club was relegated. Unsurprisingly, the Catalan media had a field day with this suggesting that Mourinho has started a wrong trend in La Liga (with his 13 point list some months ago), while the Madrid based fans instead, after dissecting the video concluded that one of Real’s legitimate goal and a legitimate penalty call against Almeria were conveniently missing in the video and took to screaming “Villarato” all over again. With all the screaming going on, State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, held in the Sports Council, agreed to propose fines of 3,500 Euros to CA Osasuna and Malaga for shortcomings in the control measures and evacuation of spectators and for failing to stop the pitch invasion by fans at the end of their matches against Barcelona and Villarreal respectively. The curious case of rudely interrupting ball boys was lost somewhere down the line, which would again be a topic for controversy in the blog’s not so honest opinion. Meanwhile the controversial Segio Ballesteros is at the eye of yet another storm, whipped up when he gesticulated clutching his genitals in Levante’s match against Valencia. Ballesteros has since then clarified that the gesture wasn’t meant as an offense to anyone, but rather as a gesture to president Quico Catalan of his team having shown guts, or the cojones to fight back after being looked upon as dead, and to show support for coach Luis Garcia. While the blog believes that the Luis Garcia should have his contract extended, even the coach would feel uncomfortable after being likened to a crotch clutching sign, even though the intentions were good.

With the season now officially over, the blog would require assistance to help update its readers of all the news that the endless transfer rumor mill churns out. This is where you come into the picture. If there’s anything that you may have heard or believe, please hit the comments button and let us know. The blog shall incorporate it when it next goes to print.


Joan said...

Nice article mate but i have some points.

Why do Villa, Pedro or Iniesta have to pull out a Spanish flag ? They are playing for Barça not Spain. They dont need to demonstrate anything to anyone, they play for their country when asked and perform well, what more can you ask for ? Yes this is ageing Utd side but they made the final and won their domestic league title so they are still very capable of competing at the highest level. Oh and since when is having 8-9 youth products in the starting XI not enough ? Now a Catalan player has to score in a final to validate our youth system ?

Naming Mourinho was a perfect touch, it was to shut him up and provoke him. You cannot expect fans not to send Mourinho a reply of some kind after the utter tripe he has been spewing against our club. As for Cruyff he is a numpty, he is progresively losing what little sence he had. Claiming this Utd side is stronger than the 09 side is crap imo but each to his own.

How can Valdano not know why he doesn't get on with Mourinho ? Thats crazy, he`s kidding himself. He`s written articles in the past criticizing Mourinho and his style, then he presents him at the club ! As others have pointed out in other forums Valdano had his chance and failed miserably when he talked Florentino into signing Pellegrini so obviously Valdano`s credit with Florentino was some what lost. You cannot have such a high profile manager at the helm of the club and not give him the power he asks for. You Madridistas have been moaning for years that you needed a high profile manager who could lead the club in all aspects of the word and once you get one you question if the club is giving him too much power ? I dont think you Madridistas even know what you want.

Luis Garcia has done a fantastic job at Levante really tremendous and i am surprised that no bigger club has approached him. I am totally against this new trend of he ball boys throwing the ball in play to waste time, the liga has be much more firm in terms of punishment to whoever does this but nothing will be done as always in the liga these things are simply ignored as the RFEF simply hopes or wishes this to stop.

I thought id add a little tid bit, apparently Luis Enrique ex Real Madrid and Barça player will be managing in the top flight next season, what remains to be seen is if he will working in Italy or Spain.

Another Prick In The Wall said...

Nice points Joan.

I, for one, would always try to show off my country's colors when I win a major trophy, re: dani alves. The fact that a Spanish club won the UCL made Spain conspicuous through the absence of the national flag in the celerbations. I know that the club doesnt consider itself Spanish, but it was something I had foolishly hoped for at least from the other players..

Did I say they have to score in a final to validate the youth system. Just as the propoganda engines strive to put forth what makes them feel important, this blog serves as a platform to raise other points which achieve the opposite, and I don't spare any clubs lol.

Regarding the banners at Trafalgar Square, to each his own. What's not in good taste is not in good taste. Valdano's sacking was fair, objectively speaking. In fact, it was a season late. He should've been sacked along with Pellegrini is what I personally feel. That doesn't change the fact that he was sacked in preference to a potty mouthed individual. It would've been better had he been sacked before Mourinho was signed.

I'm just happy that no club is signing Luis Garcia and I hope he stays on at Levante for a couple more seasons, till the club achieves at least some semblance of sustainability. Regarding the ball boys, er well, I'm waiting for the controversey to explode sooner or later :)

I had kinda hopes Luis Enrique would be coaching Atletico, but looks like he may move to Italy in all probability.

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