So Thierry Henry is the best player in the world right now? Well he is according to the Castrol FIFA Rankings system, a complicated edifice that involves enough numbers to make even Isaiah tremble in terror, voodoo, live chickens and a chipmunk. It doesn’t bother weighting all that stuff that we fans value, such as clutch performances, match-winning efforts, etc, etc.
And you throw all that stuff into a hat, fire up a supercomputer or two, and out comes a numerical ranking that rates the best players across the top 5 leagues in Europe.
At the top, with 978 points, is Henry, followed by Leo Messi, with 964. “The Castrol rankings is the ranking every player wants to top,” says current 3rd-place player Thong Boy. “Can I have my check now, for saying this shit?”
Now, I know what some of you cynics are thinking, which is that Kxevin has gone and sponsored a ranking system that will shower glory on his beloved. But hey, did you also know that Gerard Pique, Rafa Marquez and Carles Puyol are also in the top 10? Shiver me timbers, yo.
I leave it to Isaiah to interpret their numerology. But suffice it to say, Henry is rather surprised at his ranking. “Incroyable,” said the Frenchman, smacking his forehead. “Vraiment? Incroyable!”
These rankings, however, measure everything — every pass and goal, every tackle and move, even how many times a given player had to make wee. (Okay, not that last one, maybe.)
But check this out: Castrol’s index finds that Henry’s 5 goals and 3 assists during the Champions League run, along with 18 goals and 8 assists during the Liga run, couple with his ball winning abilities and pretty amazing strike rate that found 70% of his shots on target. That’s compared to an average of 42%. Yes, you don’t need a Castrol index to know that weak-ass rollers that are easily scooped up by the keeper shouldn’t be counted, right? Just saying.
Suffice it to say, people are scoffing at the Castrol Index, its spokesperson and the fact that Insert Name Here isn’t in the top 10. But Luca Toni is. Maybe that’s why his name came up as a potential transfer target. It all makes sense now.
UPDATE: In the “realer than real” division, a BritPress entity says “Chelsea dominate FIFA World Player of the Year shortlist.” Which kind of surprises me, given that Chelsea, with 5 players on that list, have one fewer player than we do, with Henry, Messi, Puyol, Ibrahimovic, Xavi and Iniesta. Maybe it’s some kind of new math that I’m not aware of, London-style.
It’s also worth noting that none of those Chelsea players have a shot in hell of winning the award, but we’ll just leave that out so that our Anglo friends can continue to crow about having the best league on God’s Green Earth.
As if that award is going anywhere except to Messi’s crowded trophy cabinet ….
UPDATE: Dani Alves actually worked out on the pitch by himself yesterday, and is saying (though the medicos aren’t saying anything) that he is working to be fit for the Rubin Kazan return leg in mid-week. Does the Brazilian Hummingbird also have superhuman healing powers to go along with indefatigability?
UPDATE: Speaking of rumor mills and how crap gets started, AS, presumably taking a break from flailing about at its own all-white wailing wall, reports that Guardiola is on the outs with Henry, who has either been mediocre, or injured so far this season and further, that if the rift deepens, expect him to be shipped off in January. Becasue Pedro is every bit as good.
This is why I love the Spanish press. Because 7 matches into a new season, we are ready to discard a player who was essential to the triplete last season, and will be essential if we are to repeat that amazing feat this season. Makes sense to me.
UPDATE: Rafinha, Tymoschuck, Naldo. These are the most recent transfer market rumors/links to us, by somebody or another with too much free time on their hands.
–A new contract for Rafa Marquez, No. 7 on the Castrol list, is imminent. He’ll be getting two more seasons after this one, but I wouldn’t expect him to finish out the duration of that contract. Not with those hungry, agile young’uns champing at the bit. But it is a very nice gesture to a player who was crucial to our triplete last season and who, when he’s on, is one of the best attack starters in the world. When reached for comment, Marquez said “Have you tried Castrol oil? I hear they have this ranking system, but in no way does that affect what I choose to lubricate my personal car. It’s anti sludge, you know.”
Marquez even took a break from his busy schedule of making sure his headband is just right and looking bewildered, to say that Guti should be punished for his alleged flare-up with Pellegrini during the unfettered delight that was the EE’s Copa egg-laying. “Any player who does not show respect to his boss should be fined or punished.” True that.
–Speaking of Henry, he continues to make progress from his injury, and should see action against Osasuna this weekend. Said the French striker, “I love Castrol oil. I use it in my car all of the time. I even cook with it, and it keeps my old joints well lubricated.”
–And speaking of chicken farming, we are said to be trying to nab exceptional Arsenal young’un Benik Afobe away from the Gunners youth system. The kid is 16 and growing like a weed. He already has strength, a head and can shoot with both feet. Sporting supremo Txiki B simply said “Recordi en Fabregas, beeyotches! And have you tried Castrol’s synthetic motor oil?”
Suffice it to say, all sorts of teeth gnashing, wailing and rending of garments is transpiring in Gunnerville. But should it be? And how high can our dudgeon be over their prising of Cesc Fabregas from us, if we return the favor this way? Just asking.
–The lads aren’t being at all naughty this year, so the fines bin is empty. The 20,000+ that was collected from various miscreants last season, then donated to a hospital to fund disease research, probably won’t be matched this season. By the by, last season’s top contributors were Pique and Hleb. Hmmm….
–And, Eto’o is still pissing and moaning about his departure from the club. You can view the video here if you wish. It won’t shock anyone to hear that I don’t. Move on.
UPDATE: A few quotes from the video interview:
“I never imagined that my departure from Barcelona would be so hard. There have been many injustices.”
“Since I left Barcelona I decided to not say anything that might affect the performance of my teammates …. But I am disappointed with many people. If I have to name two, I point to Pep (Guardiola) And Joan (Laporta), But there are many people in this club that have disappointed me.”
“You say to a man’s face, ‘Here we are, this is my way, this is my point of view.’ But I found out everything that happened in the press …. The way he has acted …. [has been] with something to hide. It is as if they had decided many months before.”
“I dreamed of this goal in the Champions League final for many months. The morning of the final, my father sent me a message that it took me about 6 minutes to read. He told me about his life, everything he had fought for …. after I read it I wanted to eat the world and the world for me was Manchester United. Hitting my arm to celebrate that goal was like telling my father that I was the blood of his blood …. but I didn’t know that this game was going to be one of my last with Barcelona”.
UPDATE: In the “how to win friends and influence people” file, Alex Hleb, sore perturbed at being substituted in Stuttgart’s loss to Hannover, threw a tantrum, wouldn’t speak to anyone and shoved a team doctor who was reminding him that he was one of the selections for the drug testing that day. The team’s manager called his behavior “outrageous,” and Hleb could be 30,000 Euros in the deficit column when all is said and done. Wow. What a douche.
UPDATE: Finally, the weather forecast for Tuesday’s Champions League return leg against Rubin Kazan: -2 C at kickoff, with a possibility of snow and sleet. But in four visits to Russia, we have a win and 3 draws in our past.