The Morning News, wakey-wakey edition

Aw, man! Not again!
Aw, man! Not again!

I can’t sleep, so rather than vexing my damsel with my tossing and turning, why not bang out a news report, in the wake of a busy day of World Cup qualifiers.

And guess who got whacked in the Spain/Armenia match? You guessed it; Andres Iniesta, the guy who must have gotten Gabi Milito’s injury luck. He took a whack to the exact same area that was already injured thrice over, and recovering very nicely, until Del Bosque decided “Hey, let’s see if I can totally hose over Barcelona’s chances for a successful season. If I can get their guys hurt, they’ll be available for training camp and stuff, all nice and early. Bet.”

But Iniesta, talking after the match, said it’s no biggie and he is expected to be fine. Both he and Xavi were immediately examined by doctors, the latter because of a recurrence of pain in his knee, that wasn’t sufficient for him to remove himself from the pitch. Of course, Del Bosque could have done us a favor by not playing Xavi for the full 90 minutes, but as I said, he has a team to get ready, and he can’t have his players messing about with playing Champions League finals and whatnot.

Sport by the by, has said that Xavi’s discomfort isn’t expected to keep him out of the Valencia match this coming weekend. So that’s good news on both fronts.

–We will have Eric Abidal for a while longer, according to reports that our French Greyhound has agreed to a 3-year deal with the club, and will finalize it as soon as he returns to his home locker room. Now, you might ask, where were the rumors, and transfer nonsense, and difficult negotiations, etc, etc, etc? Nonexistent. Because that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have a player as critical to the side as Abidal is. His buyout clause has been increased to 90m and access to a 24-hour running facility …. because you never know when he’ll get the urge. Wonder if Citeh, who the Daily Mail says wants them some Abidal, will be dissuaded by those numbers.

–Most of us watched that insane Argentina/Peru match, in which even Maradona’s ineptitude couldn’t scuttle Argentina’s luck. And know that I really and truly don’t give a rat’s ass about Argentina’s qualifications. I was watching simply to make sure that Messi didn’t get injured. He wasn’t, and played pretty well at times, vanished at others. More importantly, he wasn’t injured. Yay!

–It’s looking like Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have some free time around World Cup time, after Sweden fell to Denmark today by a 1-0 result. And I’d love to tell you that I’m all atwitter about Sweden’s chances. But again, I don’t give a rat’s patootie. Just don’t hurt BANGS. He emerged from the match fine, and I’m happy.

EMD says, as we’ve all been predicting, that Gerard Pique will be next in the renewal line. They’re spouting some nonsense that we’re worried about the Evil Empire making a run at him, which makes me laugh. I can believe that Pique will attract some interest, but no way in hell does he go to play for that club. That lad is Catalan to his very core. He might burst into flames, like a vampire, were he to put on that shirt. Silly, silly EMD.

–There is some seriously, profoundly absurd shit going on with Robinho, the want-away Brazilian winger who, among other tricks, can score goals with his perpetually stuck-out bottom lip. And it depends on who you read. We have:

1. He’s coming on a loan deal in January
2. He might be coming on a loan deal in January, but Citeh will want to sell his ass outright.
3. (my favorite) UK toilet paper substitute the Daily Mirror says that we are going to offer Carles Puyol and Toure Yaya for Robinho and Vincent Kompany. Now this makes a lot of sense. What team wouldn’t want to trade the best defensive midfielder in the world (yes, I said it) and a back line stalwart who deserves to retire with the club, for a lazy, partying-ass Brazilian member of the All-Potential team, and a Belgian defender who couldn’t carry The Yaya’s jock if he had a cargo van.
4. We’re going to trade a subscription to BarcaTV and a xocolata fountain for the winger, but first we are petitioning the Liga for the right to play with two balls, since Robinho needs one pretty much, oh, like all the time.

The careful, astute reader might infer that I am not a fan of Robinho. And they would be right. But like luggage and hemorrhoids, the rumors about him just will not go away. Perhaps Guardiola is thinking that, like with Thierry Henry, Robinho is ready to buckle down and work for the chance at some real glory, hence the loan deal. If he sucks, send him home, no harm done. But I would rather take someone like Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian, who is younger, actually passes and plays defense and has more pace. And his transfer fee would be something just over Robinho’s annual wage packet.

–We’re probably going to add another year to the loan deal of Keirrison, a favorite (not) of Pep “Hey, I didn’t want his ass anyway” Guardiola. No word on whether Benfica will giggle like heliumed-up schoolchildren as we ask them to occupy a roster spot with a non-playing, non-scoring striker for yet another season. Stay tuned.

–Some 12,000 more people per match are filing into the Camp Nou this season. Nothing like championships and international fame to get those turnstiles a rollin’ right? Average attendance is just north of 74,000, which is still short of the best season to date, 07-08, in which an average of 82,000 butts were planted in the seats.

Gabi Milito is still on course. Dr. Ramon Cugat is cautiously optimistic, as this recovery period feels very different than the last time the mop-topped defender was said to be coming back. He’s training daily, without a recurrence of the knee pain that necessitated a follow-up operation. It’s feeling like his pre-season now, and he could be a very nice signing in our January transfer window. And for free. How ’bout that?

–Finally, Txiki B talked to Sport at length, so fire up those Google Translators for you non Spanish speakers. Here are a few choice quotes:

What if some wack job comes in and wants to clean house. Are you worried about that?*

“In fact, Pep and I are doing the planning for the 2010-2011 season.”

Will there be signings in the January transfer window?

Chances are strong, yes. We will be alert in case an interesting option arises.

What positions?

In January …. let’s see if some of our defenders can work in the midfield. It is an option.


He’s a very interesting player and can play the Champions League. (Oh no, Txiki! Not you too!)

(*Okay, Sport didn’t really ask the question that way, but dude. Come on. Really.)

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Vj
    October 11, 2009

    Argentina won their FIRST game since June..

  2. jordi
    October 11, 2009

    Funniest line from the daily mail story:

    “Barca’s captain continues to stall on a new contract offer and is likely to be sold in the next transfer window.”

    Yes i can totally see us selling our captain midseason in january to unsettle the squad and disillusion the fans.Thats exactly what you do when you’re competing for trophies on all fronts;depress the squad and incite riots.

    About Robinho, it says a lot that even when hes fit Hughes will probably choose Bellamy over him. I wish it would just go away.Plus i dont like Robinho’s thumb sucking 😀

  3. ElShowDeJason
    October 11, 2009

    dammit! another injury to Iniesta. WTF.

    This can really be detrimental to his career. No wonder Pep was trying to save him.

  4. Helge
    October 11, 2009

    Damn, that’s a lot of crazy and/or bad news. Iniesta injured praying for a fast recovery, not fast enough to play on Wednesday though), Txiki talking posivitely about Robinho (what the heck?!?), Daily Mirror reporters on drugs and Keirrison seems to be out of the team before even entering it…

    I’ve got an idea for a new poll about Robinho, I’m really excited if there are more or less than 10% who want him to wear our jersey.

    • stowe
      October 11, 2009

      i would be one of the ones who does not want Robinho. Passing is what barca is about, so why would we want him?

  5. eklavya
    October 11, 2009

    Ok so if argentina win they go to WC.
    If they lose they go to playoffs or not depending on the other result.


    • Boat Forever
      October 11, 2009

      Even if they draw, they got chance… But would they qualify directly or head to play-off would depend on the other result

  6. eklavya
    October 11, 2009

    Argentina will qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup if:

    -they defeat Uruguay, OR
    -they draw with Uruguay AND:
    -Ecuador do not defeat Chile by more than four goals, OR
    -Ecuador defeat Chile by exactly five goals AND Argentina score more goals than Ecuador.

    -Argentina will qualify for the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL play-off if:
    they draw with Uruguay AND:
    -Ecuador defeat Chile by six or more goals, OR
    -Ecuador defeat Chile by exactly five goals AND score at least as many goals as Argentina; OR
    they lose to Uruguay AND Ecuador do not defeat Chile.


    • Helge
      October 11, 2009

      So actually Argentina “just” needs a draw. Because from my point of view there’s absolutely no possibility that Ecuador beats Chile away with 4 or more goals difference.
      Nevertheless, thanks for this very accurate overview 🙂

      • Helge
        October 11, 2009

        Oh, and you forget the obvious option:
        Argentina will qualify if they win. But maybe that is so unrealistic that you left it out? I mean, it’s less realistic than Ecuador beating Chile 6-0, right (which has already absolutely no chance according to my comment above^^)?

        • eklavya
          October 11, 2009

          Its pretty unrealistic but ive written it on the first line. I think you missed it!

          “Argetina will qualify for the 2010 WC if:
          -they defeat uruguay”

          P.S. You cant do boldface in a mobile! How will I possibly survive?? 😀

          • eklavya
            October 11, 2009

            Did you take any hector pills recently?

  7. JC
    October 11, 2009

    Why is Messi’s performance in south america so horrible? He plays well for the national team in china or for the friendlies in europe, but he sucks if he plays in south america!!

    • BA
      October 11, 2009

      he sucks if he plays in South America *under diego maradona*. he’s being played in bad positions with poor quality around him in a bad system. he was pretty brilliant in the 2007 Copa America.

    • Ramzi
      October 11, 2009

      Who said yesterday he was horrible? In the first half he created something special in each and every time he had the ball. Even while surrounded by 3 defenders his movement created spacefor his teammates.

      In the second half, when Argentina for brilliant reasons thats beyond my IQ level to understand played behind the ball and got contained not only by the worst team in the competition but also a team without their key players Pizarro, Farfan and Guerrero.

      They introduced Palermo as a target man. Fine. But then they didnt attack through the flanks any more. They pulled Aimar out. understandable. But instead of introdusing a player with enough workrate to put more pressure in the midfield, they introduced a dead-man-walking. There was no more pressure in the midfield to resist or at least disturb the peruvian build up. Messi can’t do anything without the ball, right? Right.

      The days of one-man-show in football is over. Its not messi who run the show at barcelona, Its Barcelona show that tempt Messi to catch the beat.

      In football, you need 11 to tango, my friend.

  8. eklavya
    October 11, 2009

    Messi says his dream is to win the world cup with Argentina.
    Hmmm, my dream is to one day have enough time to run the LiveBlog! lol! 😀

  9. ballbeav
    October 11, 2009

    hemorrhoids goes away if you use Preparation H, kxevin…

  10. ballbeav
    October 11, 2009

    i dont think we would take robinho unless we laid down the law for him *before* he signed. pep and tito are very concerned about personalities in the locker room, they must think he is reformable…

  11. yogi
    October 11, 2009

    from what i see, argentina will qualify if they win or draw in uruguay though considering how maradona has played the team till now, i do not see that happening. the guy is utter moron when it comes to coaching.

    agree with ramzi that messi was excellent yesterday, esp in first half.

    and moving from maradona, argentina had four excellent chances in first half and on normal days it would be 2-0 or 3-0. the people who missed the chances were players in the field.

    after having watched argentina’s all matches under maradona, it is apparant to any one that argentina has excellent players and they are real good going forward. the problem is selection of players and lack of any coaching what so ever coupled with absolutely atrocious decision making.with good coach, i can see argentina being contender but with maradona, argentina, if they reach WC, will go out in first round.

  12. OhYes
    October 11, 2009

    fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck robinho if that dude so much as steps anywhere in Barcelona I am ready to tackle his ass down

    also screw that bosque bastard. Xavi for 90 minutes? Iniesta? I love tripping acid too, bosque, but I don’t do it at work!

  13. Helge
    October 11, 2009

    If I ever see Robinho live in a Barca shirt, I will jeer him with everything I’ve got 😀
    It’s almost like a nightmare to see him in our club! He can go to hell, but not to Barca.

  14. Hector
    October 11, 2009

    Thong Boy is out for 3-4 weeks. He will miss their Sporting, Valladolid, and Getafe games as well as both Milan legs in the UCL.

    • Helge
      October 11, 2009

      Perfect time for an injury. Sporting and Valladolid should be 3 points without CR, and Milan should actually lose twice against Real Madrid Castilla…

    • Flippy
      October 11, 2009

      From now on, I’ll believe in Magic

      • Helge
        October 11, 2009

        You mean in witchcraft and voodoo, right ? 🙂

  15. Ciaran
    October 11, 2009

    Why not just sign up Luis Suarez? He scored again yesterday and will probably put Argentina out of the World Cup, or at least into the playoff. Robinho is inconsistent, sometimes lazy and never has been prolific up front. Suarez is incredibly consistent, works like a mad-man, has leadership qualities, scores bucketloads of goals and would be both cheaper to buy and cheaper to keep.
    Robinho is a counter-attacker. It’s not a dig at him but that’s where he is at his best. He doesn’t work well in tight areas, and normally is at his best when running into space.

    • Boat Forever
      October 12, 2009

      Suarez won’t be so cheap I guess… Ajax would be demanding 20-25mil for sure, he’s after all their captain. But then they sold Vermaelen for 10mil, so I guess you never know

  16. jnelson
    October 11, 2009

    How could we sign Robinho?? That would be the worst decision ever!!!!! That lazy, partying, ball-hogging bastard is a whining baby, that previously played for OUR RIVALS. Sorry, but if we are to sign someone from the EE, I say they’d better be talented and developed. I have a feeling we’d be sabotaged by Robinho, like we were many years ago in signing di Stefano (not by di Stefano but by a certain Busquets, AND a certain government but I’m not going to get into Francoism because I’m sure John will be screaming bloody murder).

  17. Miguel
    October 11, 2009

    is robinho playing in the bolivia game?


    • Helge
      October 11, 2009

      No, he seldomly plays for Brazil, because he is too bad. It’s as simple.

      • Miguel
        October 11, 2009

        i don’t want him in barca either, but i don’t mind watching him play for brazil.

      • jordi
        October 11, 2009

        Well hes injured but he usually starts when hes fit.Though that doesnt say much with Dunga as coach

        • Miguel
          October 11, 2009

          i agree. diego from juventus is on the bench.

  18. Miguel
    October 11, 2009

    wow. marcelo martins from werder bremen makes it 2 nil bolivia.

  19. Alexinho
    October 12, 2009

    Is K-9 doing really that bad at Benfica? A shame! You know, back when we were talking about bringing him over and I was catching up on his highlights, all I saw were penalties. Always a bit circumspect about that one. I hope he pans out.

    I can’t believe Iniesta got re-injured.

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