Good morning, all. Here is part 2 of the interview with Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson.. If you haven’t read the first half you can do so by pressing your right index finger on your left mouse button until you hear click. Mr. Schoen and Mr. Hudson have been very generous with their answers and with their time, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both very much, and here’s hoping that football fans (even those that support the wrong team) will enjoy their match commentary for many more years to come!
(to Ray) What metaphor would you use to describe Muniz Fernandez? (EDIT: questions were sent in days after Muniz Fernandez saved Real M*drid against Elche by giving a non-existant penalty to Pepe)
Ray: “Mr Slick! The best advertisement for the need of a Nautilus machine for the eyes.”
In one review I mistakenly typed “coonter attack” instead of “counter attack”.* What is the on-air opinion you have uttered, that you wish you could take back?
Ray: I once stated that it was “a miracle that Ronaldinho`s mother gave birth to him with teeth like that”… I got sent to the corner for that one from my sister!
Phil: Well, there might be kids reading this, so… Let’s just say it happens to everybody. And just like a player who screws up, you’ve got to put it behind you and move on. And after the final whistle you can sit back and grimace, or laugh.
Who is your favorite all-time soccer player, and why?
Ray: Diego Maradona… I can’t cry enough tears describing his regal majesty. The greatest ever, even though I idolized Pele growing up as a kid… Maradona was the absolute, purest essence of footballing art in motion. His vision and skill with the ball, his lion-hearted bravery and love for his country and the great clubs he played for…There’s only one ZEUS and in our footballing Mount Olympus, Diego is the God of Gods.
Phil: Let’s see. I used to love watching Lee Dixon when he was the right back at Arsenal. Even though he played for Liverpool, I thought John Barnes was fantastic. My dad’s family came from Austria, so I rooted for guys like Bruno Pezzey and Hansi Krankl. Still, my first vivid memories come from sitting in the stands at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and watching guys like Nene Cubillas and Ray, himself just light up the night with their play. I used to love watching Ray play, and to grow up and get the chance to work with him every day has been an amazing experience.
It is widely acknowledged that Xavi has been the most influential player in Spain since the 2008 Euros. Who do you see as his natural successor at Barcelona? In the NT?
Ray: Jonathon Dos Santos & Sergi Roberto have talent ooozing from their earholes,and its great seeing those young chicks just coming out of their eggs… I also really like Joan Angel Roman and hope that kid keeps developing. Replacing Xavi though? No. You cant replace a bottle of Chateau Lafite… you enjoy it,while it lasts. There’s no vintage like Xavi,so drink him down to the last drop.
Phil: I would love to be able to sit in a room for a day and just listen to Xavi and Andrea Pirlo talk soccer. They are true geniuses of the game. We’re in a cycle now where coaches have a stranglehold on the game, so guys like Xavi and Pirlo aren’t allowed to blossom anymore. Hopefully, that changes back to allow a new crop of playmakers to arrive. I thought Thiago might be the guy, but he’s moved on and I think he’ll do brilliantly at Bayern. In my mind, I believe one of the reasons Barcelona let him go is that they see Messi eventually sliding back into that role as he gets older. I see Sergi Roberto as more of the Iniesta-type. Who knows? It would be great for that young American at La Masia, Ben Lederman to eventually step in there, but he’s barely a teenager. As for Spain, there are so many great midfielders, but I don’t see another Xavi on the horizon.
We’ve pretty much beaten the question to death here on BFB, but what is your opinion on Barcelona letting Abidal go?
Ray: Sad in the extreme and a very disconcerting decision. King Eric’s press conference is the saddest one I`ve ever seen in any sport. Lacrimosa. Still, that image lifting the Champions League Cup is for time immemorial.
Phil: It could have been money, but I think there might have been a more emotional reason. With all of the turmoil and heartbreak over the past few years from Abidal’s repeated battles and then with what’s happened with Tito Vilanova recently, I just have the feeling Sandro Rosell wanted to try to eliminate all of that anxiety. Some of the players, Dani Alves in particular, didn’t like it – and Abidal’s doing great at Monaco, but I think Rosell saw all of that ‘real life’ as a distraction that kept Barcelona from playing at its best the last two seasons.
Do either of you follow the Segunda league at all? If so, what do you think of the current Barcelona B team? Who would be your pick as a future star?
Ray: See question #11 (EDIT: Joan Angel Roman) and add Jean Marie Dongu who could be a Lion out of Africa for Barca… Mad Sammy Etoo muscled up!
Phil: We cover the Segunda on beIN Sport so we get the chance to see some games. Obviously, I’m more focused on Barca B and Real Madrid’s Castilla to see who might be coming up next. I love Jese, and the Peruvian kid, Cristian Benavente, who’s starting to play with the Casilla. For Barca B, I think Roman, Dongou and Bagnack can all contribute soon, maybe even this year.
This morning (Monday, Sep 30), an entity that calls itself “Go Barça” initiated a motion of censure against Barça president Sandro Rosell, which might lead to a referendum being held against the current board. What are you thoughts on this, and if you were a soci, how would you vote?
Ray: ..not going into that quagmire, sorry. When Mick sang in “Sympathy for the Devil”, “use all your well-learned politese, or I`ll lay your soul to waste.”, I always felt it should have been “well learned politics”. No sympathy from me… I went to Sunday school!
Phil: Just like LaPorta had his detractors, Rosell has people that don’t like how he does business. I think he’s done rather well though. I know a lot of fans don’t like the rules changes he’s pushed through making it much harder to bring things to a vote, but I can understand the rationale to avoid clogging up the operations of running a club. However, I do think that making it easier for the members to cast their votes online would be a good step towards making the fans feel like they are still part of the family.
* I wanted to edit it out, but Isaiah told me to “own my typo”. And yes, Miguel, I blame my roommate.