The news, a.k.a. “Okay, this is getting silly now. Stop it.”

So, here is our list of the knocked, or potentially knocked: Ibrahimovic, Puyol (sorta), Abidal, Keita, Txigrinski (sorta). This kind of sucks, given that two giNORMOUS matches loom in the coming week.

So what can we do to top that? I know, let’s add some H1N1 to the party. Why not? Abidal has been diagnosed with the mis-nomered “swine flu,” and The Yaya is suspected to have also contracted it. Now, “la gripe” is no biggie if properly treated, but you can rest assured that part of the medical plan for getting over it is not “Go play a crucial football match.”

Augggh!

In other news:

Jonathan Dos Santos is getting the call-up for the Bilbao match, since everybody and their mamas is either injured or afflicted. Here’s the 18-man squad list for Bilbao, so get those hypothetical lineups ready: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Txigrinski, Marquez, Maxwell, Xavi, Keita, Busquets, Iniesta, dos Santos, Messi, Henry, Bojan, Pedro and Jeffren.

–Yes, you saw Thierry Henry on that squad list. Our own Meadowlark Lemon is already recovered from his exertions on behalf of France, which included a full match and all of extra time. After some individual exercises yesterday, he is ready to join the squad in training.

Speaking of Henry, he has actually joined the list of those calling for a replay of the France/Ireland match, saying that such a move would be “the fairest solution.” He said, in an interview with Sky Sports:

“I have said at the time and I will say again that, yes, I handled the ball,” he said, according to Sky Sports News. “I am not a cheat and never have been. It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.

“As a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow the pace of the ball down 100 times to be able make a conscious decision. People are viewing slow motion version of what happened and not what I or any other footballer faces in the game.”

Some will say that now that FIFA has ruled out the possibility of a replay, Henry’s statements are simply the natterings of a hypocrite. Whatevah.

–Everybody, repeat after me: “Awwwwww!” Samuel Eto’o said in an interview with RAC1 that he “misses the Camp Nou.”

“I do not know if there will be a tribute, but the homage of the partners of Barca and I did. It is I who must be very grateful for wearing this shirt,” the Barca legend (yes, I said legend) said.

The striker isn’t thinking of revenge, adding that “I left Barcelona with a clear conscience and I have no grudge.” Word is that if he scores against us he will not celebrate. In a final comment, Eto’o added “My sources have told me that some man from the United States intends to boo me until he faints. I hope that the Camp Nou medical personnel will do everything in their power to ensure that such people can finish the match.” 😀

–Man, dude ain’t even fully back yet, and already Gabi Milito is being nosed around, at least by Zaragoza, who have made tentative inquiries about his services. Of course, Zaragoza would be a homecoming for the centerback, who was purchased from there by us in 2007.

–The date and time have been set for El Clasico: 29 November, 7 p.m. Barcelona time. This is good, because Baby Kxevin needs his beauty sleep. He also needs to not have to make some half-cocked dash to find a late-night joint to get some food. And unless I’m crazy, that means it’s airing at noon CT. Yikes!

Thong Boy will not be playing against Racing or (most likely) in the Champions League match. I reckon they want him all daisy-fresh for his visit to our cauldron. At least his ass will be all fresh-smelling for when we get all up in it.

–In a bit of bummer but not surprising news, our beloved Camp Nou is one the worst stadium in Europe for disabled access. The Facebook group “Camp Nou Accessible Per A Tothom” is raising some eyebrows with its (just, in my estimation) cause. Not surprisingly, the Camp Nou is getting right on that matter. Very cool.

David Beckham has said that Thierry Henry is not a cheat. In a follow-up, a man not hedging his bets, FC Barcelona Regal (basketball) coach Agusti Julbe has said “Well, we would have to look seriously at such a talent if and when he wanted to move on from the world of professional football.”** 😀

**No, he didn’t. That last bit is made up. I swear.

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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.

19 Comments

  1. Eklavya
    November 20, 2009

    And Henry is willing to replay the France – Ireland match. Oh what the hell

  2. Helge
    November 20, 2009

    OMG, I’ll build an altar and immediately start praying for all of them to be fit in time!

    Some weeks ago, it seemed like CRon wouldn’t feature in el Clasico, and now it is suddenly possible that we’ll lack Ibra, Yaya, Keita and Puyol? Who has paid this Pepe for hexing us?

  3. November 20, 2009

    I couldn’t believe it when I read it… H1N1? At least the blogger community has been decent enough not to somehow working this into “why Marquez shouldn’t be re-signed”.

    Oooooh, I went there!

  4. poipoi
    November 20, 2009

    “I have said at the time and I will say again that, yes, I handled the ball,” he said, according to Sky Sports News. “I am not a cheat and never have been. It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely fast in a crowded penalty area.

    As a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow the pace of the ball down 100 times to be able make a conscious decision. People are viewing slow motion version of what happened and not what I or any other footballer faces in the game.”

    Don’t excuse yourself… everyone cheats every now and then even puyol for god’s sake!!! the ref did not see it and that is all. god I dislike titi, let’s see what he does is the important matches awaiting us

    • Kxevin
      November 20, 2009

      Well, be assured that this is the last season you will have to tolerate the object of your hatred. Let’s hope that we find some other winger to score as many important goals for us.

      –Back to matters at hand: The H1N1 business is interesting. Some special cases get special dispensation for an advanced course of the medicine (Tamiflu) that knocks it the hell out. The other thing is, of course, highly trained athletes should recover more rapidly than the rest of the general populace. It’s nice that it coincides with Abidal’s injury period. Sucks to have The Yaya down, though. I didn’t think that human viruses could bother him.

      Last season, we were lucky. None of this stuff happened at important times. This season, maybe not so. I know that people scoff at the effect of Internationals, but I think they just kill a player’s mind and body. We won’t see Messi right for another few weeks, I think. It is nice to see Iniesta coming back.

      –Jose, you’re naughty! I can think of a lot of other reasons not to renew Marquez, who I still think we’re renewing to make it easier to sell.

    • Diane
      November 20, 2009

      Wow, apart from the fact that I am rarely (if ever) in crowded penalty areas, my own observations echoed Titi’s remarks almost verbatim. In fact I probably make the slow-motion v what’s visible during the run of play comment a dozen times every weekend.

      I’m new to the blog so I don’t know why you don’t like Titi or why Kxevin hates mad Sammy. I’m sure it will all come clear as I read along…

  5. Andrew
    November 20, 2009

    What happened to the Yaya? He’s not injured nor on the lineup?

      • Kxevin
        November 20, 2009

        I can only guess that he’s somehow quarantined. They don’t mess around with that stuff. It can take out a whole team at the wrong time.

        • November 20, 2009

          I’m imagining the quarantine is like the scene in The Hulk (the shitty Ang Lee version) in which he’s in a hyperberic chamber under heavy sedation, but you know it’s all just him being nice and soon he will hear the words “Inter Milan” and will burst forth in his juggernaut form to destroy the world/them.

  6. Alex
    November 20, 2009

    Um, this is getting ridiculous. I am going to listen to RAC1 Primer Toc again at 10 PST and give some live updates from that show, they have the best and most reliable info. It seems that (if I understood correctly) an article in Sport mentioned that Abidal is expected to play against Inter?????? WTF?

    • Alex
      November 20, 2009

      Nevermind, here is the phrase from the article:

      Ni Abidal ni Touré podrán jugar por tanto este sábado ante el Athletic en la Liga, aunque se espera que el segundo -Abidal, además de tener la gripe A, está lesionado- pueda jugar el martes que viene ante el Inter

      It seemd Toure is expected to be fine for Inter.

  7. Alex
    November 20, 2009

    Nothing we don’t allready know…..:(

  8. BA
    November 20, 2009

    i also heard that we had taken on retired American women’s star Mia Hamm as a sort of U.S. footballing ambassador, evidently she’s a member and everything. any more news about that? in the U.S. we def. love our women’s “soccer” (the word makes me cringe) more than our men’s.

    • BA
      November 20, 2009

      actually that opens up a broader question: does Barca have a female A-team? i assume we do, but i’ve never heard about them. and how many of our penyas are girl’s clubs?

      • Alex
        November 20, 2009

        I found this video of a FC Barca womens practice, intersting…

        /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0&feature=related

      • Andrew M.
        November 20, 2009

        in the yojnger teams they have girls and boys playing together. i saw it today on barcatv. its awesome they show the highlights from all barca teams of all ages. its great seeing the real youngsters. expect a cameroonian striker to popo up soon.

        speaking of cameroon strikers, i dont think its in the spirit of the game to boo him. he said he wont celebrate if he scores, why would you want to be the one who behaves negatively.

    • Phil
      November 20, 2009

      Why does the word soccer make you cringe?

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