The news, Match Day edition

Ye gods, there’s a lot going on in the world, such as:

Strike? A strike? Labor action by a bunch of pampered, overpaid athletes?

You betcha.

There is more assuredly precedent, at least in America, so people shouldn’t be horrified by such things if you know your sports history. But the prospect of no La Liga because of tax issues, frankly put, has my bloomers all in a bunch.

But my bloomers wouldn’t be the only ones in a bunch. Thong Boy, for example, would probably have his string turn into a cowlick, so high would his dudgeon be. Why? Because if the Spanish government has its way, the tax rate for furriners would rise to to 43 percent, from 24 percent.

Starting in 2010.

On the up side, we wouldn’t hear Andrei Arshavin nattering about how onerous the tax rate is in the Premiership, and wouldn’t it be nice if I were in Spain, where you make a paella and send it along as payment of your tax bill. Yum!

PM Jose Luis Zapatero is blathering about “level playing field,” blah, blah, blah.

King of Catalunya Joan Laporta, with a thunderbolt of wisdom straight from the brain of Zeus, said “This can damage the competitiveness of our football.” Get outta town.

He is also mightily vexed by the fact that the major pro leagues were not consulted. What does this mean in the short term? Nothing. Well, hardly anything, except for football players, like Formula One drivers, setting up Monaco as their principal residences. But the implications are potentially dire.

Laporta is wrong in thinking that the Liga won’t be able to attract top-tier players. It ain’t like England’s tax rate, at north of 40 percent, is exactly free day, right? France, by the by, is considering similar legislation. Think of it as some reverse Robin Hood stuff. Rock. But as we all know, players, their accountants and their entourages, have ways around that.

But you know why the clubs are so vexed about it? Because every player with a manager worth his salt, has signed a contract that pays his after-tax wages. So any tax bill increases accrue to the clubs, to the tune of, says LFP head Jose Luis Astiazaran, of about 100m. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see clubs such as us and Athletic Bilbao giggling, as we have lots of players who are most emphatically not furriners.

It is also said that the presently much lower tax rate gives Liga clubs an unfair advantage in recruitment of foreign players. This one is going to get sillier, before it gets resolved.

–And speaking of fancy-pants, revenue-enhancing folks, Leo Messi Management has swung into action, with the sole aim of maximizing the profile and bottom line of our diminutive Argy Bargy. His father, Jorge, and brother Rodgrio are directors. But look for the heavy lifting to be done by marketing whizzes Esteve Calzad and Pau Negre. Gotta do something, after all, to offset that big-ass tax bill.

–Ajax needs money, and Luis Suarez could be the answer. Like almost every big European club, rising transfer fees and player salaries haven’t been offset by significant gains in revenue. So rather than ginning up a phantom company, then having government bail them out (helllloooo, Valencia!), Ajax is going to consider selling tasty bits such as Suarez. 35m is the magic number that would have them stuff him in a suitcase, along with a “thank you” note.

–Rubin Kazan captain Sergei Simak says that with them being at home and feeling their oats, they are going to open up the match today. To that I say, do so and you will die. Swiftly and violently. But hey, what do I know?

–Is Keirrison going back to Brazil? Dunno, but buzz is that our technical staff is considering such a thing, which would be vastly preferable to him warming a seat on the pines at Benfica, where we (now admittedly) foolishly sent him on loan. “Pssst …. want one more forward? Five is a nice number. Thanks.” Obviously, not playing is a significant impediment to any young player’s development. Stay tuned.

–The BritPress just won’t stop. Apparently The Yaya is out of favor, and we are going to dump his untalented ass in January for substantially less than the 100m transfer fee. His most likely destination is Citeh, which is the real reason that Citeh supremo Mark Hughes was at the Osasuna match. Now this all makes sense. You would surely want, when you know that someone is coming to examine your suddenly unwanted baggage, leave that player on the bench rather than showing him off. Love it. Luuuuv it!

And guess what! Robinho would be what came in exchange. Wasn’t it Henry a while ago? Then Puyol before that? Just asking.

–Finally, if you believe Google Translator, according to Sport, Messi said “Winter is fucked.” Which is an appropriate sentiment, given that he is about to freeze his Argentine tetas in Rubin Kazan. 😀

By Kxevin

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. Hope Don Joan is not so stupid to throw away 35mill for Suarez or give away The Yaya for Robinho…

    1. Don’t think you have to worry about either one. Somebody will pony up 35m for Suarez, but it won’t be us.

      That Yaya business is just silliness.

      And what’s up with Fox Soccer Channel? Have they finally figured out that putting the weekend’s biggest match on pay TV is silly? They’re showing United/Chelsea on FSC, rather than PPV. Good sign.

  2. Lineup: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Touré, Xavi, Keita, Iniesta, Ibrahimovic y Messi.

    1. Yes. Isaiah is working one up. I’m working, so I can’t. Don’t like that starting XI. Iniesta isn’t the one for that wing. Alves, but no Henry?

  3. I’d have preferred Henry over Iniesta. Don’t think the temperature and the condition of the pitch fits Iniesta’s dribblings…

    Great comment from Messi, Google Translator rules 😀

  4. Iniesta gonna shut all the doubters down 😛 Also expecting Henry to be super-sub today 🙂

  5. Wow. That tax law could harm La Liga… Sure most of our players are locals (even Messi at this point), but that huge tax break was such a big factor in attracting stars.

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