The World’s Greatest Press Conference

Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe

Scene: the press room at Camp Nou. Andoni Zubizarreta enters and takes a seat. Pep Guardiola enters wearing the world’s snazziest sweater vest. Jim Tressel cries quietly in a corner of a mansion in Ohio. The press room is packed with reporters.

Zubi: Okay, let’s talk turkey here. Who’s first? Yes, over there, with the credentials.

El Pais: Thank you, Mr. Zubizarreta, I was just wondering what you meant about Turkey. Is Pep leaving to coach Turkey now that Hiddink has quit? [The dailies print Extra! Extra! editions]

Zubi: [holds up his hand for calm, none ensues] That’s just absurd. First–

Rosell: [from a corner of the room] Absurd! Pep can sign a new contract whenever he wants [waves piece of paper] whenever he wants there is no pressure at all.

Zubi: First, the word “turkey” in Spanish doesn’t sound anything like the country and–

El Pais: So it’s true, Pep is leaving! [Mass pandemonium erupts in the room. Paper is shredded, hair is torn out, a man actually stabs himself in the thigh “to see if there is anything but more pain in life”]

Zubi: What? No. Just…no.

Guardiola: Any other questions? Yes, guy over on the left, no, not you, the one without a shred of journalistic credibility.

Sport: As you know, it’s international break, so, we’re all wondering–everyone is wondering–Neymar?

Guardiola: That’s not really a question.

Sport: A quick follow-up: Neymar?

Zubi: We’ll just move along now. Next.

Mundo Deportivo: We’ve heard Neymar’s name mentioned. Can you talk about that?

Guardiola: Well, he mentioned Neymar–

Sport: So it’s true!

Mundo Deportivo: Neymar!

Sport: There, we’ve printed a million copies of Neymar to Barça. Is he your favorite player ever?

Guardiola: What?

Marca: How will you find a way to destroy his sense of self worth?

AS: What kind of a loss will you take on the deal?

Zubi: Now, hold on guys, just hold on, no one said anything about Neymar!

Sport: It’s confirmed! It’s official!

Marca: And they call Madrid the big spenders!

AS: We demand an investigation into possible–no, probable violations of, of, of antitrust laws–yes!–and FIFA mandates and UNICEF is really a front for getting kids hooked on foreign aid, isn’t it? Where will the madness end?

Mundo Deportivo: Neymar will come for free, won’t he? Because Florentino is a poopypants!

Sport: He Who Shall Not Be Named, by which we mean Mourinho, naturally–

Mundo Deportivo: Naturally.

Sport: –is a talentless hack who would never make it in a refined city like Barcelona.

Guardiola: Weren’t you the guys who wanted him instead of me in 2008?

Sport: What! [eyes widen, hands clasp in horror] That’s preposterous. That’s, that’s–

Mundo Deportivo: Totally true!

Sport: Et tu Mundo?

Marca: The Catalans are at each other’s throats! We must attack.

AS: We’ll point out Mourinho’s team has scored more goals!

Marca: We’ll point out that they’re winning the league by unheard of margins!

La Voz de Galicia: We’ll tell everyone how good Omar Bravo is!

All: Who are you?

La Voz de Galicia: Uh, I just happen to be here on vacation and thought…okay, I’ll be quiet now.

Marca: What do you have to say for yourself, Pep?

Guardiola: Uh, about what?

AS: He denies it!

Sport: It’s a tremendous mind game!

Marca: We’ve printed a billion copies with the headline “Guardiola denies official Neymar news!” He’s out of touch!

AS: He’s a criminal. Burn him.

Mundo Deportivo: He’s a brilliant orator whose soliloquies have been known to cure diseases!

Guardiola: [to the camera] What are they talking about?

Sport: Look! Did you see that? He cured me!

Zubi: What disease did you have?

Sport: I had no press credentials and now [waves press credentials] here they are!

Mundo Deportivo: We’ve printed a trillion copies of “Guardiola cures cancer!” They’ve sold out!

AS: We’ve printed a million trillion billion jillion sextillion copies of “Guardiola is a witch. BURN HIM!” Sales were okay.

Guardiola: Well, that about wraps it up, I guess.

AS: One more question!

Zubi: Okay, sure.

AS: Neymar?

Guardiola: No?

Sport: NEYMAR!

AS: Ha! Caught you in a lie, smartypants Pep!

Marca: Scandal of the century!

[Guardiola and Zubi stand up and leave the room to the wild screaming of the reporters.]

Guardiola: I think that went pretty well.

Zubi: Best press conference we’ve had this year, that’s for sure.

Guardiola: I agree. They didn’t throw feces at me this time.

Zubi: It’s the small pleasures that make this job worthwhile. [his phone rings] Hello?

Neymar: Did they ask about me today?

Zubi: Nope.

Neymar: Drat.

Guardiola: Neymar!

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. blitzen
    November 16, 2011

    Neymar Neymar Neymar Neymar Neymar Neymar Neymar Neymar NEYMARRRRRR!!!!!!

    (Is international break over yet?)

    • geraldpep
      November 18, 2011

      Yes.. Neymar! do i have shreds of journalistic credibility? hahaha!

  2. Ben
    November 16, 2011

    Overall this was pretty funny, but I burst out laughing at the end.

    What is with the Neymar obsession anyway? Do they just not have anything else to talk about?

  3. Dani_el
    November 16, 2011

    Et tu Brutus(MD)!
    Hilarious! Thanks for this Isaiah.

    • nzm
      November 17, 2011

      Yeah – that’s the line that made me chuckle, too!

      Thanks, Isaiah!

  4. BarcaGirl_Indo
    November 17, 2011

    La Voz de Galicia: We’ll tell everyone how good Omar Bravo is!
    All: Who are you?
    La Voz de Galicia: Uh, I just happen to be here on vacation and thought…okay, I’ll be quiet now.

    that’s the funniest part for me..thanks, Isaih.. 😆

    I don’t get this Neymar obsession by Sport and EMD, I just don’t.
    I mean, I can understand their obsession for Cesc, the story about a prodigal son who tried to find his way home. but Neymar? por que?

    international break = N.E.Y.M.A.R

  5. barca96
    November 17, 2011

    OT but to continue the discussion from the last post re: Ronaldo.

    During the US Tour in the summer of 2003, Quaresma made his debut and the commentators were saying that we were looking into Quaresma & Ronaldo and decided to choose the former.

    Before looking at Ronaldo play for Man U and after watching less than a 90min. match by Quaresma, I already knew that they made the wrong decision. I don’t know, I’ve never liked that kind of style, hit or miss style.

    So I took interest in watching Man U matches and I already knew how big the mistake was. Imagine if we had CR7 from way back then..I still regret that decision until now. He was still young, he could’ve been a lil bit different although I’m not too confident if Rijkaard could handle him.

    By the time we had another chance to sign him in 2005 or 2006, I already disliked him so much and his price was way too high. And he was at the point of no return in terms of his personality.

    • Dani_el
      November 17, 2011

      Yeap, maybe way way before he would have grown up to be a decent person outside the field without his (now) awful declarations. Even if Rikjaard couldn’t have handle him, maybe we would have been the ones selling him for 70+M euros. That wouldnt have been half bad. But it’s past history now. We needed those two years of Madrid winning and the “pasillo” to have hunger, and be so successful now. And we needed Pep coming as the saviour and the guy that knows the clubs values as no one before. I believe we needed the magic of firing world cracks as Dinho and Deco and still be the best club in the world.

  6. Gogah
    November 17, 2011

    All this neymar talk is such nonsense.
    15M in 2014? are u kidding me?
    why would santos ever agree to such a deal when
    other clubs would gladly pay thrice as much?

  7. mom4
    November 17, 2011

    So, there are no more Neymar breaks this year; normal service resumes on Saturday. When is the next Neymar break? Do we get a break from Neymar breaks in January because of the African CoN?

    EEee gads! If we play Santos at the Club WC thing, there will be no end to the Neymar talk. Dani’s already starting:
    Alves: “If we play the World Cup Clubs final against Santos, it will be difficult to mark Neymar. I’ll need help on my wing.” [via sport]

    On a fun note, the babies had a field trip, Awwwww!

    • nzm
      November 17, 2011

      We had to watch the RM team go-karting being shown endlessly on Spanish TV a few weeks ago. Would rather watch the Barça boys!

      • barca96
        November 17, 2011

        I guess someone is now rich, handsome, a great player & fastest in go-kart

    • Dani_el
      November 17, 2011

      If Dani Alves didn’t need help owning Cristiano, I don’t think he will have much trouble with Neymar. I have seen him live, he’s incredibly overrated. What needs to be told, is that in the brazilian league the referees give fouls for everything. And in the South american clubs cup and league (Libertadores and Sudamericana) they have enough dirigential power to have advantages on the referees, ALWAYS. I believe that Uruguay is a footy globe power, having 3,4M people and a zillion world class players. If their clubs would have the kind of power, brazilian and argentinian clubs have, they would have way more cups.

  8. nzm
    November 17, 2011

    Barça to play either Qatar’s Al Sadd or Tunisia’s Espérance in the semi of the Club World Cup on December 15th.

    If Barça wins their semi and Santos wins theirs on Dec. 14th, then it will be a Barça vs. Santos Final.

    Expect the Messi vs. Neymar comparisons to start flying.

  9. barca96
    November 17, 2011

    Messi gets hit in the face with a football

    I hate it so much when footballers do this! Such an act of cowardness!!
    When a player is already going to ground or already on the ground, the opposing player takes a shot at the falling player. It’s so disgusting!
    Cowards! I remember Maxwell doing it early in this season.

    I didn’t watch the match but how did the Arg players react to that incident? Did the Colombian player even get a yellow card?

  10. blitzen
    November 17, 2011

    Blog on FFT about Louis van Gaal’s return to Ajax:

    To say Van Gaal’s return is a surprise would be an understatement. Only a few weeks ago he reiterated that as long as Johan Cruyff held significant power, the chances of him returning to Amsterdam would be akin to those of hell freezing over.

    In an act of betrayal that wouldn’t appear out of place in a Shakespeare play, Cruyff’s fellow members of the supervisory board started negotiations with Van Gaal, only informing Cruyff just before the former Bayern coach’s appointment was to be made public.

    From the onset, coexistence between the two rivals looks unlikely. Cruyff has already labelled the decision to appoint his rival as ‘mad’, although Van Gaal has suggested he has no problem with the presence of Cruyff, or indeed working with his disciples Bergkamp and Jonk.

    Despite his obvious displeasure, Cruyff has already stated he will remain at the club ‘in principle’, and has suspicions he isn’t the only one [not] happy with recent events. “I would like to know what the trainers think” he said. “It is clear a lot of people have been made a fool of [with this decision], me included. In principle I will stay on as commissioner.”

    So this should be interesting to watch over the next while. I don’t follow Ajax very closely at the moment, but it is one of those clubs that I always want to do well. I think Cruyff is right in that they need to get back to the roots of their football philosophy. Does anyone know the source of the rift between the two of them?

    • barca96
      November 17, 2011

      I don’t know Blitz but it has always been my wish for them to settle their differences once and for all.

      This is not the 1st negative news about Ajax that I read in the past week. Hiddink apparently said that Ajax is an unstable club with an unstable board of directors. Something like that. It hurts but it is the truth and has always been the case.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if V. de Boer would be fired this season. I know Cruyff wouldn’t let that happen but for some reason those old men in the Ajax board rooms don’t really respect Cruyff as much the Laporta did.

      Where is Lev? Is he on Twitter? If he is, call him in to explain more about this.

  11. blitzen
    November 17, 2011

    Also, Isaiah? This:

    Marca: How will you find a way to destroy his sense of self worth?

    Genius. 😀

  12. November 17, 2011

    Messi and Masch just return to Spain today.

    Both played 90 mins in each match ARG played. And the matches were grueling. Especially the away match at Columbia where there was so much pressure to win and they had to come from behind to do so.

    The barcelona players also put in large minutes for the two Spain matches. Villa played 90 minutes twice as well.

    The Zaragoza and Milan matches are not going to be easy. Scoring goals may prove a challenge due to exhaustion.

    Very difficult international break for Barca.

    • Diego
      November 17, 2011

      Still, It’s Zaragoza at Home ! We should manage to avoid surprises.

      • barca96
        November 17, 2011

        Cesc should take Messi’s place vs. Zaragoza, it’s a must!

        Alexis looked good vs. Paraguay so he should be able to share minutes with Villa. And on the right we have Cuenca.

    • Helge
      November 17, 2011

      And the match in Colombia was played under brutal weather conditions: about 35° C / 95° F, very high humidity and some thunder storms. Tropical summer…

      According to Marca: Messi and Mascherano’s flight back to Spain took them more than 16h, they arrived at 11am today. Higuain was given a private jet and he already arrived at 1:45pm yesterday (his flight also started earlier than Messi’s and Mascherano’s)!
      According to Sport: Messi has lost weight of 4 kg. But they are both fit to play against Zaragoza.

      Somehow I could still bet that Messi will play for at least 80min. on Saturday 🙁

      • November 17, 2011

        I’m surprised the club isn’t arranging private flights for the players.

        And on top of that – they didn’t even have a car service pick up Messi and Masch at the airport. @FCB_LJLive pointed this out I believe. They had them take a cab…

        First no color copies now…

        • nzm
          November 17, 2011

          They did when Laporta was in charge. He flew Messi back from South America in a private charter jet when Messi was required back for a match – as well as having a meet and greet at the airport.

          And why not? If the club is investing so much time in getting these players prepared to play at such a high level, then taking away the stresses of travel will go a long way towards that.

          Having to run the gauntlet through the public thoroughfares in the airport is a sad joke for these guys.

          Anyone remember the video of that crazed fan who chased Messi to the cab rank last season, and lost his trousers? 😀

  13. Diego
    November 17, 2011

    Club World Cup :

    El Sadd or el Taragy won’t cause us problem no matter who qualifies, but el Taragy are good at set pieces and corners, They play with wingers and wait for a header.

    • barca96
      November 17, 2011

      Wow. They said he will sign on Friday.

      Didn’t know they cared so much about the Asian fans that they actually meant, Friday Asian time that is 🙂

      • barca96
        November 17, 2011

        Oh damn. I just opened the article. I thought he already signed but nonetheless, great news. It’s already official that he will sign on Monday so there shouldn’t be a problem.

  14. November 17, 2011

    Hahaha I laughed out loud at the reporter stabbing himself in the thigh.

    I realized today that when I see a randm funny picture or quote or whatever that has an insult like dickface or something in it I basically instantly think of le Zlatan.

  15. November 17, 2011

    Cesc should take Messi’s place vs. Zaragoza, it’s a must!

    I have some concerns over Cesc’s ability to play the false 9. IMO so far it hasn’t worked very well.

    He hasn’t been nearly as good at the false 9 as he has been in the free role at the tip of the midfield diamond. Those two positions are very different.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      November 17, 2011

      could you pick up the tactic manual and give the tactic newbis like myself an insight what is the difference between both positions with regards to positioning and what to do?

      • November 17, 2011

        That’s a major subject. I’m actually working on a piece about this very subject though! Just trying to find time to move it forward.

        • blitzen
          November 17, 2011

          There is no such thing as a false 10…

        • November 17, 2011

          I liked the idea Tom put forward with the “false 10” in the context of the piece he wrote and that world cup.

          I think the main issue is that 10’s have had various identities over time. It’s such a flexible role that it flows into some ambiguity.

          Just as an example – compare how say Maradona played as a 10 to how Zidane did and to how Kaka did (at Milan).

          Kaka was a “10” but he really was a support striker. That’s the kind of player that Wilson is referring to as a “false 10.” A player how looks to finish more than he does create.

          So in some senses the term “false 10” may be applicable to Cesc.

          But overall when Cesc is playing at the tip of the diamond – the position that’s been by far his best at Barca his role is so free that it’s difficult to describe.

          • FalseNine
            November 17, 2011

            Certainly there’s a lot of variability in how these terms get thrown around, matching the variability among different players they are applied to you alluded to. The thing I take away from Tom’s idea is that if the false 9 is the forward who tends to go deeper than the average forward to collect the ball and create, then the false 10 is the midfielder who will go forward into the space vacated by the false 9, and can take advantage of that space and finish. It doesn’t necessarily mean they do this every time, but that is something they are capable of doing. In that sense I think Cesc has shown he fits this role at least at times, as he makes his runs into the box, especially into the space vacated by Messi.

            Barça is such a creative team that any labels on the roles of the players are imperfect. I do however find this term useful in this context, especially as it emphasizes the interplay between Messi and Cesc they have demonstrated, and the dynamism of one going back and the other moving forward.

            It’s not the only thing Cesc can do, and in that sense I agree with you that it’s difficult to come up with a single label that encompasses everything he brings to the table.

          • November 17, 2011

            Agree with your point above. Cesc’s interplay with RvP at Arsenal was a great example of the dynamic your discussing.

            Cesc’s role at Barca has been strange. Acts as a very different player depending on location on pitch.

          • Miguel
            November 17, 2011

            Cesc’s interplay with RvP at Arsenal was a great example of the dynamic your discussing.

            Right? Which is why I didn’t get dudes’ not seeing Fabregas as potentially a striker last summer. Not optimal, but he does score goals.

            Kaka would’ve been so awesome for Barca. Poor kid.

  16. Lev
    November 17, 2011

    Hey guys,
    been lurking a lot lately.
    My dad just told me yesterday about Van Gaal being appointed. Shakespearian indeed.
    Apparently the rift between Cruijff and Van Gaal started when Van Gaal spent a weekend at Cruijff’s home in Barcelona a long time ago. Forgot about the details. Van Gaal does not have the reputation of being likeable. Cruijff does not have the reputation of letting grudges go.
    youtube SIEMPRE NEGATIVO NUNCA POSITIVO and laugh your ass off.

    • K_legit in Oz
      November 17, 2011

      hahaha that was one of the greatest press conferences ever!..almost as good as Trappattoni’s verbal meltdown when coaching Bayern!

      • barca96
        November 18, 2011

        I remember there were a few other funny interviews of him last time during his tenure with Barca. I don’t know what they’re called but they played it a few times in Holland during that time. It was a complete disaster for him 😆

  17. BarcaGirl_Indo
    November 17, 2011

    I’m nervous against Zaragoza.. I really do..
    must not drop points before El Clasico..

    if we drop points.. 😕

    • soccerdadof4
      November 17, 2011

      I’m not too nervous to be honest!! I think R.Madrid will drop points this weekend against Valencia given that may of their players played internationals! Not to mention key injured players like C.Ronaldo and Di Maria.

  18. blitzen
    November 17, 2011

    OFFTOPIC: Great news! My mom might be getting out of the hospital this weekend. Finally! Very happy! 😀

    • soccerdadof4
      November 17, 2011

      Fantastic!!!! God bless!!!

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      November 18, 2011

      great news, congratulations Blitzen Mom!!!

      we’re so happy we all write in Italic 😛

    • BarcaOwl
      November 19, 2011

      Late to the party as always, but allow my to chime in with my good wishes, blitzen. May she be in good health from this day onwards.

  19. barca96
    November 17, 2011

    Why is everything in italics? Or am I just dizzy?

  20. Dani_el
    November 18, 2011

    Hey check this out!

    So our players (Messi and Mascherano) travel for 20 hours, and Higuain does it in 10 hrs, payed by EE’s private evilcraft. What’s up with that? It’s ok to lower our spending, but not out of the health and rest of our players! Two of our most important players for that matter.

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