There’s news, of course, and then there’s news that FCB is putting up our players in Abu Dhabi’s Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri (pictured above) during the World Cup of Clubs. You can check out the accommodations at their website, here. It looks swanktastic. I hope we got a discount on what appears to a thousand euro a night kind of place. It’d be nice to know that my soci membership fee went for more than just the pillow mints on this trip…
I got an email this morning concerning the presidential elections coming up next summer and then I surfed my way over to El Mundo Deportivo and found out that the elections are on their minds as well. So, naturally, I’ll start off today’s news segment with a look at the presidential election:
I’m not terribly caught up on all the inner workings of the Laporta administration, but suffice to say that they’re looking for an heir to the throne, so to speak. The two names that have been bandied about for that position are VP of marketing and media Juanme Ferrer and Columbia University economics professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin, who is also the chairman of FCB’s board. There are several other candidates worth mentioning, many of whom are discussed here at Pep’s latest blog, an excellent FCB presidential race blog worth following. Sandro Rosell is the biggest name there, though, for full disclosure, am I not at the moment in favor of him as a candidate because of his ties to Nike, though I do recognize that Ronaldinho probably only signed with Barça because of those ties to Nike.
As of right now, only one hat has been tossed into the ring and its own is Agustí Benedito, a soci for the last 45 years and a former important member of Elefant Blau, the group that effectively took down the Josep Lluís Núñez administration*. Benedito was also a member of Barcelona’s social committee up until a few months ago, according to this EMD report (Sport also has the goods). I don’t consider Benedito to have much of a chance of beating the heavyweights in the later rounds of the election, but I’ll certainly be reading up on him over the coming weeks and months as his candidacy either grows or spirals out of control Mike Gravel style.
Moving on, Maxwell, has claimed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at Barcelona during his best moment as a player. I understand those kinds of statements are made for the cameras, but if it’s true, isn’t that a bad thing? To me that says it can only go downhill from here, but, of course, I’d say the same thing if I were constantly asked about at press conferences about players who aren’t me. I can imagine that Maxwell goes over to Ibra’s place every now and then, since they’re supposedly BFF, and punches him in the arm for ruining yet another perfectly decent press conference. Regardless, I think much, much better things are to come from Ibra and from Maxwell. They’ll both improve, though I think we’ll note Ibra’s improvement much more because he’ll have the obvious goals and assists to point at while Maxwell will either have to stop giving up corners or start scoring goals (how about both?).
Good ole Pep Guardiola was honored by his hometown, Santpedor, by being given their “favored son” award. No doubt it was actually an honor, but it’s funny think about being the favored son of a provincial town after you’ve just won the Triple and been heralded as one of the greatest coaches in the world. Of course, I’m from a tiny town myself, so I can understand why he was so pleased and why he said he was proud “to have been born in in this town and to have played for Barça.” He also pointed out that while it sometimes looks like he’s the only doing any work, there are many people behind him that allow him to get his work done. Always classy, that Pep. Check it out.
If you’re looking for a solid videocast of previews to Barcelona’s Champions League matches, you should checkout Jonathan Moynihan’s CNN iReport, Tiempo Barça. Given the nature of the medium, it’s dynamic in its own way and quite enjoyable. There should be previews 24-48 hours before each match and so far there’s one match review.
And, of course, a great link for today: Sergio Ramos does Blue Steel.
*You can read a bit more about Elefant Blau in this Spanish wiki article or this Catalan one. Roughly, Laporta and Sebastià Roca led a vote of no confidence against Núñez that failed, but garnered enough votes that during the 2000 presidential elections, Núñez decided not to run again, heralding the end of his long “reign” (1978-2000) and leading to the election of Joan Gaspart. I didn’t know this until writing this article, but Gaspart is the current president of UE Sant Andreu as well as being VP of RFEF.