This one is going to be a quickie, folks, because I have the preview to write as well, so apologies in advance if I miss anything of importance in the FCB news world.
-First, Messi. You’re all probably interested in whether or not our little Messias will be able to play tomorrow against Inter. At first glance, the answer is no, since he’s still supposedly suffering from a slight tear in his left leg (“a 1st degree injury in the adductor of his left thigh”). Marca has begun their fear campaign, claiming that if Messi plays either the Inter match or el clásico, he’s putting his leg at risk for the whole year, perhaps for his whole career. However, after reading in Sport that he’s not necessarily out, I visited the official site and got the previous quote from this article. It appears that the Marca fear-mongering is merely that: fear-mongering. Guardiola would never risk Messi if he were seriously injured or incapable of playing at the top level. It’s as simple as that. Given that he didn’t play Henry in Russia under similar circumstances, it would be folly to think he would play Messi for two matches if it meant losing Messi for the whole year. So, basically, Marca, you’re pure trash and you’ve proven yourself to be so once again. Congratulations.
–Joan Laporta, our very own mostly insane dictator-for-life-or-at-least-until-2010, has come out saying that the Inter match is far and away more important than the RM match. There are two ways of thinking about this and I’ve mentioned them before: 1) you think that qualifying to the CL knockout stage now and garnering at least 2 additional matches and the prize money involved is more important than the three points potentially earned from beating our arch-rivals or 2) you think there’s nothing except el clásico in the entire world and nothing–but nothing–is more important.
If you’re a proponent of the first idea, you can point out to proponents of the second idea that in a catastrophe, we’d be at most 4 points behind Madrid with 26 matches (78 points) remaining. However, if we lose to Inter, we’re down to hoping Rubin Kazan loses both of their final matches, meaning we don’t control our own destiny. Believers of the second idea really just throw this out there: It’s Real Madrid, it’s el clásico, don’t tell me it’s not important. Because it is important and it is el clásico. I’m more in the second camp than I am in the first, but that’s because I’d willingly trade any chances of European success for assured trouncings of RM every time we met them. Meaning, yeah, we’d never win another Big Ears trophy, but at least every year we could snicker about how RM would never be kings of Spain again.
Of course, under Guardiola, we can have our cake and eat it too. So ha.
-Did anyone else watch the MLS Cup final last night? All I want to say is: shove it, Beckham; good on you, Real Salt Lake. Next time, though, could you put away your chances in regulation so I don’t have to stay up for PKs?
-It looks like Ibrahimovic will be fit for Inter, which is a welcome addition to the squad. Abidal and The Yaya appear to be recovering from The Swine, but it’s unclear whether the Ivorian be fit for tomorrow or not. Abidal is KO’d through the weekend, I’m pretty sure and certainly for tomorrow. Márquez apparently didn’t have The Swine, despite earlier reports and he should be ready to go for Inter, though the likelihood of him starting over Pique and Puyol is pretty low. Like, if they’re healthy, they’re starting and not Rafa low. That kind of low.
-Speaking of Inter, they’re supposedly in town or something. I dunno. Sammy Who’o?
Much more in the preview, folks, which should be up in a few hours.