Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson Q & A (part 2)

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.

Categorized as Barcelona

By Levon

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...


  1. Even better than the first part! Thanks, Lev, for putting this together, and extra thanks to Phil & Ray for taking the time to answer our questions. I hope beIN Sport finds a cable carrier here in Canada soon.

    (In the meantime Canadians can sign up to and watch games streamed for free until January.)

  2. Bravo!! Thanks Phil, Ray and Levon for setting this up. Ray my family gets such a kick out of you and your great Rayisms. Phil & Ray Keep up the great work. Ray please comment here again. Now that we know it’s you I promise you your insights will be held in the highest regards!!!

  3. Great stuff! Thank you, Levon for the work and thank you Ray and Phil for taking the time to answer.

  4. Ray, Phil and BFB team, THANK YOU! going through withdrawal this wknd (paron); the interview helped!

  5. Neymar and the other Brazil players were getting the crap kicked out of them by Honduras. Ref cracked down, kicking got less severe and suddenly it was 3-0, then 5-0.

    The perpetual question is physical play, via which an inferior opponent can control a superior one, and excess. And as we discussed in this space, how a player is supposed to deal with that situation.

    Thankfully, nobody got hurt.

  6. What’s most outrageous is when it happens in friendlies. You agree to play someone and they kick the hell out of you knowing that the ref will be very reluctant to send anyone off.
    Looks like, with Messi out, the A-grade front line will be Neymar Alexis and Pedro. They’ll all be floating around a lot. But do you use Neymar or Alexis in the Messi role? I’m inclined towards Alexis because he seems a bit better back to goal and darting into the box. Certainly, has got an incredible ability to spin on a defender and drive forward.

    1. It really only happens in friendlies in which Brazil play some weak team that is highly motivated to “show them”.

      The kicking was nowhere near as much against Spain, France or Italy, even England.

      But against South Korea, Zambia, Honduras, etc…

      Good that Scolari took him out – the last thing we can afford right now is an injury on Neymar

  7. Would you guys play Pique-Bartra CB pairing?

    I myself am quite confused as who our strongest CB pair are. Individually, Pique and Bartra are our best but I doubt that they make a good pair. I would love to see Tata trying them out.

    Safest bet so far is;
    Pique & sMasch or
    Pique & Puyol


    Bartra & Puyol or
    Bartra & sMasch

  8. If we could sell Pedro, would you guys do it? This is to make room for Reus. In an ideal world, I would keep Pedro and sign Reus but I doubt Pedro would be happy knowing that he is a 2nd or 3rd choice RW.

    I’ve always defended him because of his work rate but I think it’s time to have a legit threat on the RW besides Alexis. We need 4 top players vying for front 3 spots.

    I’m not banking on Deulofeu for next season. I still don’t think that he is good enough for an elite team like Barca, yet.

    And now Man U is trying to sign Alexis after failed attempts with Cesc and S. Roberto.

  9. I haven’t watched any of the Napoli matches but is Reina in a better form than Valdes? It seems that Valdes will be the 3rd choice no matter what he does, on the pitch.

  10. Thanks for this great work Lev..

    There has been speculation about Aguero/Lewa to barca next summer, especially Aguero..what do you guys think about that?

    What can Aguero bring to barca? I dont see him replacing Neymar nor Alexis so he would be a very expensive bench warmer.

    @barca96: Pedro is a great squad player, I wouldn’t sell him unless he wanted to leave. If reus was to come then he would still be 2nd choice to Alexis and Neymar so why would he?

    In my ideal world: our front line would be Ney – Messi – Alexis, Pedro and Tello/Deulofeu as subs, as well as Klose/Drogba. Or instead of a veteran #9 we can purchase a young talent.

  11. Lots of speculation these days about various players. Not quite sure what happened. To barca96’s query, Reus would be a big expenditure, to what end? If you look at who we have (Neymar, Pedro, Sanchez) and who we have out (Deulofeu, who is fast becoming a man), I think that Reus, who deserves to be a regular starter for some club, would be champing at the bit at Barça, particularly as Neymar and Deulofeu are so young.

    Speaking of, the latter might come back this summer, unless the club wants to give him another season of building in the Prem which, given what it has done for him to date, might not be a bad thing.

    And selling Pedro for Reus is particularly complex. Pedro is a unique player, and one who is necessary in a club like ours. He is a player who, if the coach said “Go ram your head into that wall,” would do it, no questions asked. Work rate is nonpareil, and in an open game, he can finish with the best of them.

    Heck, we will probably wind up putting Tello on the block this summer, let alone adding someone like Reus.

    But if the root of those Reus stories is the mouthpiece, you can’t help but wonder if it’s another assault on Fortress Iniesta. First make him greedy, now suggest that there is someone else out there.

    To ibbe’s question, the only thing Aguero can bring to Barça is a decrease in the squad’s average height. Excellent player, just not for Barça. For that money, I would see about turning Lewandowski’s head away from Bayern, but no top striker is going to come to us until they have some notion of where Messi is going to play.

  12. To answer a couple of the questions above…
    Re: Bartra and Pique, great players can always play together so if Bartra continues to progress and if Pique learns more leadership then there’s no reason that they couldn’t be great together. At the minute, Masch is still ahead of Bartra for me though.

    Re: Selling Pedro. I would sell Pedro IF someone were to offer €25m+ but it’s not going to happen. Deulofeu is progressing really well and it’s likely that we’ll purchase a central striker so we could sell if we wanted to. Reus won’t happen. I really like him but he could walk into any team in the world bar ours so he’s not going to come here.

    Re: Buying Aguero/Lewandowski. I’d love to get Lewa for free but anyone expecting him not to join Bayern is going to be disappointed. That deal is done. Aguero would love to play for us, Messi and Rosell would love him to come here but he would cost €35m+ which is the huge amount of money with the form of Neymar, Alexis and Messi. I don’t see it.

    1. Don’t necessarily agree that great players can always play together. Sometimes the sum is greater than its parts… or vice versa! When it comes to a central defender partnership you definitely want two players who complement each other.

      Pedro is that rare forward who will work his ass off and accept a bench role out of love for his club. I doubt he would be worth 25M on an open market, though I agree with you that we shouldn’t sell him for less.

      The Aguero noise sounds very Galactica-style strategy to me. Good player, but I very much hope we won’t go down that route.

  13. La Roja will play South Africa tomorrow night in THAT stadium: Soccer City. All the players were posting photos with the WC trophy and the goal in which Andres scored the goal of the final and melancholy took over me and I decided to watch the fabulous documentary about that tournament done by Informe Robinso. Through it, it talks about Iniesta’s problems with muscle injuries in the year leading up to the WC. It made a lot of good points, particularly about the importance of the mental state of the player when these injuries occur. And it made me think of Leo’s troubles right now.

    This is the best version available on YouTube (part 1 and 2 speak about this injury):

    Part 1:
    Part 2:

    1. Nicklas Bendtner said yesterday that he wants to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona next. I fucking love that guy.
      He is one of the worst players that has ever played football but he has the attitude of Ibra. My favourite moment from him was when he scored his second goal of the game in Euro 2012, and he ran away celebrating like it was the goal of the tournament when it was a four yard header.
      He’s a legend

    2. lol yeah I know. He has some issues but there is nothing extraordinary about that celebration. Ronaldo celebrates more for a simpler goal.

  14. I wrote long ago that a CF acquisition for this team is possibly as important, in the long run, as a CB acquisition, particularly after the sale of the only pure striker in the team in David Villa even if he was never used as one.

    It’s good to hear Tata is thinking of options to strengthen that position, especially since Messi is going to be F9 for very long. Lewandowski would be a super purchase – fast, mobile, technical, good link up play, and TALL. I am aware Aguero is Argentine and is Messi’s pal, but while he is extremely good in my book, I wouldn’t want to add another similar player (skilled midget) into our ranks. We already have enough of those in Sanchez, pedro, Leo and Neymar. Klose is a weird name being thrown out even if I understand the idea. But for me, in today’s pool of talent, My most ideal CF for Barca would be Edinson Cavani. Tall, strong, but above all a real work horse for the team with excellent presence and technique. Of course he would cost a bomb, but if money weren’t an issue that’d be an insane strike force. I think Cavani could succeed where Ibra failed – in the attitude department. A front diamond of Neymar(LF), Cavani(CF), Alexis(RF) and Messi (#10) is the stuff of dreams.

  15. The board should’ve signed Aguero back when he was still at Atletico offering himself to us through Messi. That was the time even though it would present the same problem, he doesn’t really play on the wings to.

    The only way to accommodate Aguero is to either play Messi full time at RW or 4-4-2 (Messi and Aguero up top) or Messi AM.

    Oh well, it seems him coming here is even more distant than it was 3-4 seasons ago.

    I wouldn’t buy Reus and sell Pedro on the cheap. If there is a big offer for him like the rumored 30 mill, then YES! Or Pedro could be behind Neymar/Alexis/Reus in the pecking order if he doesn’t mind. 😆 yeah he would run through a wall. He is excellent defensively as I’ve said many times over the years defending him to which many responded saying that he is there to help score not defend.

    I watched a match from 2010/11 vs Espanyol recently at their new stadium. Pedro was still a threat back then, world class. He looks like different now. Loss of confident (2 years and running).

    I wonder if he was punching above his weight for 3 seasons or he really is in a mid life career slump 🙂

  16. Cripes…and xavi and tello picked up knocks in practice. Both are doubts for saturday’s match.

    1. Yep. We can do without Xavi and Tello for a bit. Valdes is an order of magnitude better than Pinto. Hopefully the layoff will be short.

    1. On the plus side, if there is one, it sets the challenge for our defence to stay at home and not concede chances. We might learn a lot in the next few weeks.

  17. It would be really sad if Valdes is to be sidelined for 8 weeks. I hope he returns to top form after it. Damn you Fifa virus..

    1. Pintocalypse NOW!

      Looking forward to some daunting goal-keeping … has anybody seen his scorpion-kick lately? 🙂

    2. Lol I saw it 😀 if I recall correctly, Pinto has done rather well the last time Valdes got injured. So we shouldn’t be worried about that, as long as Victor comes back stronger than ever next month.

  18. “It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me. One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worth while to wait for the World Cup,” Ibrahimovic declared on his app, Zlatan Unplugged.

    I don’t know what is funnier..the actual quote..or the fact that he declared this on his app..

    1. Re: Ibra. The last famous person who claimed he was as big as God was John Lennon (Jesus in his case) but it must be said, Zlatan pulled off the claim with greater panache. One has to watch the video of Zlatan proclaiming himself the deity to really appreciate its brilliance. Wonderfully sardonic… and that Zlatlan, quite a transcendental smile.
      (If Zlatan is God, is Cristiano el diablo?)
      Since this is a thread about Ray and Phil, I have to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to those two wonderful gentlemen. I listened tonight to their commentary of the Brazil/Chile game and as ever they did something quite rare in the world of TV commentary – they complement the match to such an extent that their words are as interesting as the match (and that was a damn fine match to boot! Oh, Neymar!). This is what they do – they add so much to mere men kicking a ball around a park. Poetry in movement.
      Nevertheless, over the years of listening to the grand symphony of the duo’s rhapsody (rap) around our beloved Barca, a trait emerges. Nice guy Ray keeps the tempo of the game like a metronome and then gruff Ray (el gruñón) barges into to disagree with Phil the gringo and his pinche statistics; like this is not a game of American football, all that. Poor Phil.
      Why don’t you for once, just once, tell him to f* off, Phil?! Now that would make for wonderful TV commentary…

    2. Ha,true enough.

      ** Correction, it should read… Nice guy PHIL keeps the tempo of the game like a metronome … not Ray, sorry.

  19. So, Pinto has to show more now than just kidding around about continuing with 38, getting the No. 1 goalkeeper next season etc.

  20. 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. Read between the lines Rosell crucifiers.

    1. what i read, and i do need no lines for that, is that Eusebio is still in charge of Barca B, while we hoover above relation zone, that this guy is so for from being decent in developing the great la masia talent we have as i am for from being suitable to play for the All Black; what i read is that with sanabria we lose again a talent we have invested a lot of time and money in because the club could not do basic things right, like with thiago

    2. The Rosell complexity is deeper than can be adequately discussed in a single comment, it must be said. But here goes:

      Part of the reason that Rosell and Laporta were so good together is that Laporta did the “Hey, is everybody happy!” stuff, while Rosell took care of the marketing and money bits. Independently of each other, their baser influences came to the fore. Laporta loved a party, Rosell loves marketing.

      Rosell as president now isn’t concerned with the correct things. He also created a crisis (austerity) so that he could solve it, as an excellent dissection of the club’s finances by the Swiss Ramble blog pointed out. The ways that he solved it don’t sit well with many culers, including selling the shirt and all but selling naming rights to the Camp Nou.

      Only a few of us have noticed that the profit always seems to match the amount of the Qatar sponsorship. But it’s worth noting.

      There are deeper issues of governance which seem to demonstrate that the board can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. The B team, aka futbol base, is another difficulty. But as that is part of the foundation of the Cruijffian philosophy, it is easy to see how an ineffective prat such as Eusebio is still allowed to be in charge of it, and ruin talent.

      If this is left unchecked, it will result in talent erosion from the other youth teams.

      The board also uses mouthpiece papers to fight battles. So Iniesta is painted as a moneygrubber, an artificial row with Guardiola and Vilanova is created. Then we get the story leaks to MD and Sport that we had Thiago Silva and other players all lined up, but Guardiola and/or Vilanova wouldn’t sign off on them.

      And we haven’t even gotten to the loss of talent yet. Yes, Thiago is also to blame for deciding to leave, but that situation was repairable. Valdes isn’t leaving because he’s happy and will miss his club. Yes, it’s speculation, but you can presume that a player who loves his club doesn’t leave it on a free when he is at maximum value. He would usually renew, and then ask the club to sell him.

      Iniesta spoke of a “feeling,” a need to feel like he was part of a family, the last time he talked about his renewal situation. It is that aspect that is missing from the club in the absence of Laporta.

      Then there is the physio staff. Very effective physios such as Ricart were let go (brought Iniesta back to reliably healthy, supervised return to fitness of Abidal), and others promoted. That left holes in the staff, difficulties that are manifesting themselves in the fact that we have a pretty good starting XI who are all in varying states of knocked.

      No, I’m not kidding: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Dos Santos, Xavi, Fabregas, Messi, Tello, Afellay.

      Injuries are in part luck, good or bad. But that many means that something is going on.

      And let’s see: no kids at the Camp for free any longer, the Grada d’Animacio, which the Mossos finally had to get involved in before the club binned the idea. The rather fortuitous decision to accede to Spanish law in adopting the 15% standard was indeed well-timed, as the GoBarça had more than 5%, but not the 15% required. “Our hands are tied, it’s the law,” the club said. If timing is everything …

      This board is failing from a governance and human standpoint. It is also failing from a spiritual worldview.

      Rosell has done some good things, including paying attention to the club’s debt, even as he shamelessly manipulated the situation to his advantage, and signing Neymar. Hats off for those. But for many culers, his other failings and complexities are too great to ignore.

      I hope that makes it all clear about why some are opposed to his leadership, and quake in fear at the prospect of his re-election.

    1. To make it more painful, FIFA has declared the game null, because of the extra substitution, which was agreed to because Valdes was injured. It was a gesture of goodwill by the South African team.

      So yes, Valdes got injured in a match that technically didn’t happen.

  21. Thong boy scored a hat trick in a ‘play-off’, give him the ballon d’or already! Injustice! Injustice!!. Lol!

    1. I wouldn’t scoff. Those were excellent goals, and in 55 matches he has 56 goals. That’s serious. He is a monster of a player, without question, even as he will never be as likable as Messi. We shouldn’t deny his abilities just because of the shirt that he wears. I dislike him as a player, but understand what a talent he is.

      The Ballon d’Or will be flawed. With voting closed early, it was said to favor Messi. With voting extended, it was said to favor Ronaldo. The FIFA involvement has irreparably damaged the award, along with making the votes public. Once you make the votes public, it removes the possibility of fair balloting, as players vote for their countrymen or locker room harmony, thinking that surely enough other folks will vote for the right person, where the right player will win.

      Maybe, maybe not.

      But the problem with individual awards, subjective (Ballon d’Or) or objective (Pichichi) is that players seek them, and supporters somehow think that if their chosen player wins the award, their love of that player is vindicated.

      It’s all a big mess.

    2. I am a huge Barca fan, but this year’s award should go to Cristiano. Back in 2010 a lot of people were complaining about how it should have gone to either Wesley Sneijder or to Xavi/Iniesta, however the award is to the best player throughout the year and that year the best player was Messi. So it was fair.

      This year Messi was the best player when he was fully fit but that was only for the 3 months in its beginning and 1 month around September. The rest of the time he either didn’t play at all or was not at his best physically. Meanwhile Cristiano was scoring goals for fun. When Messi gets healthy again, he will be again the best player, but fairness requires the award to go to Cristiano this year, and I would actually feel uncomfortable if Messi wins it again.

      The problem with the award in its current form is not so much the public voting but who votes.

      The original Ballon d’Or was voted for by football journalists in Europe. Now it is voted by:

      1) the coaches
      2) the captains of the NT
      3) journalists

      from all countries members of FIFA, one from each. This is insanity when you think about it because it heavily weighs the voting towards the captains, coaches and journalists from small countries with no football traditions, many of which are not even professionals, and in fact have quite questionable understanding of the game and its current state. Yes, the world is globalized, but still. So a lot of them tend to vote by inertia from previous years and by popularity, without actually considering the actual games played carefully.

      In contrast, back in the France Football days, the award was the result of careful weighing of the options from the best football journalists on the continent. Of course, they still made some real mistakes over the years, but at least it wasn’t a popularity contest.

      Biased votes aiming at preserving locker room harmony have little to do with the outcome – that’s a handful of players and coaches, and Casillas’ vote counts the same as the votes of the captain of the NT of Vanuatu.

  22. Well said, Messi didnt almost play at all this year and I’d feel uncomfortable if he did win it. The voting might now have been more about ‘who I like the most’, or who is in the same team as me.

Comments are closed.