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?
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: 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?