–Coach of the Year. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? UK paper (and a darned respectable one) Guardian says that our very own Pep Guardiola is their coach of the year. He has, and I quote, “The young Barcelona coach has quietly turned a team of underachievers into world-beaters.”
And so he has.
But of course, there’s some humor with the Guardian piece. An EPL supporter suggests that Spurs would be a better example of the “underachievers into world-beaters” comment. 😀
That’s rich, yo.
This is my favorite bit from the piece: There’s a piece of nonsense one has to put up with every now and again from small footballing minds in England: that Barcelona may be excellent with the ball, but they are “suspect” in defence. The truth is they are excellent in defence too. Not only do Guardiola’s Barcelona keep possession of the ball longer, unfailingly, than any team they play against, they recover possession faster than anyone too. The team has the quality of a perfectly co-ordinated living organism, all the parts moving with one purpose, seemingly organised by a single controlling mind. In possession, they fan out in all directions, offering each other clear and varied passing options; lacking possession, they pursue the ball like a swarm of very determined bees.
–As the presidential elections draw near, I would suggest some Hector Pills and hip waders to get through all of the bullshit that is going to come flowing down the mountain. Already, candidate Agusto Benedito is talking crap about Laporta. In a natter with El Mundo Deportivo, the businessman said “The main thing is ethics. There can be errors in any management, but ethics are essential.
“There are things that he wasn’t able to do, and things that he didn’t want to do. He was in a unique position to establish an irreversible change, but he left the path, lost control.”
Now Laporta is a lame duck, right? Riiiiight. But you can still drag his people through the mud, to taint by association. It’s going to get nasty, is all I’m saying. Sandro Rosell is reportedly looking to spend about 2 million on his campaign for the presidency.
—Sport says that Pedro! could be a surprise inclusion in Spain’s World Cup squad, if he keeps banging in goals as he is. I find it difficult to believe, personally, given the exceptionally high quality of wing talent that La Furia Roja boast, but what do I know? The home publication has to thump its chest about something, right?
—Johann Cruijff got a new job, and already cool stuff is in the works. The newly appointed coach of the Catalunya National Team might have a match against Argentina in his looming future. For those who might not know, the Barca “total football” icon was appointed coach on Nov. 9.
We know, we know …. Catalunya is an “autonomous region,” not a country. It won’t play in the World Cup in my lifetime, either, and isn’t really recognized by FIFA. And of course, given the politically charged nature of the Catalunya debate, a firestorm of controversy is potentially stirred up every time someone agrees to a match against the Catalans, as if playing the side is tantamount to siding with it in the independence debate.
What we do know is that this job is a nice, low-stress way for Cruijff to keep his hand in coaching, and the side instantly gains a lot more notoriety.
–If you think that your life is hard, imagine being Luis Enrique, who had to appeal to the Spanish Football Federation to postpone a match against Alicante, because he only had 9 players at his disposal. Between internationals, injuries and U-21 duty, his cupboard was bare. The request was granted, obviously.
–In the Internationals update, The Yaya kicked ass and took names in the (as predicted by me …. just saying) 3-0 defeat of Guinea in a meaningless World Cup qualifier. Henry and Abidal looked good and horrifying, respectively, as France defeated Ireland by the (as predicted by me …. just saying) score of 1-0. I was going to try finding a YouTube clip of the Eric Abidal giveaway toward the end of a very tight and hotly contested match, but there are rules against putting disaster porn up on the Web. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Puyol and Busquets all featured in the Spain v Argentina friendly, which ended in an (as not predicted by me) 2-1 win for Spain. Some looked better than others, but Iniesta was pretty spectacular. Mini Vampire might be back, which doesn’t augur well for the Liga and the rest of the world, but it sure does for us. Txignasty didn’t play in the 0-0 (yes, I missed that one, too) Greece/Ukraine World Cup playoff for reasons unspecified, since he’s healthy as far as anyone knows. Finally, Dani Alves looked lively and dangerous in Brazil’s 1-0 defeat of England, a match that was almost painful to watch.
–Robinho is still not coming, and The Yaya’s agent is still an ass. I know. Neither one is news, but they’re just nice to say.