Been a while since we had one of these standard nonsense posts. Let’s see how it fairs, especially after the greatness that is SoMa.
Board meeting – 12:45 GMT – Barcelona, Catalunya
Scene: All members are seating at the table except for Zubi who is standing to the side for some reason. Bartomeu is at the head, fingers laced and completely serious.
Josep Maria Bartomeu: Alright, guys. Brief me on the latest news. As you know, I’ve been busy with the stadium referendum which is the Espai Barca project and you must vote and Qatar and sponsors and vote April 5 and Neymar and media things and glasses and other stuff. Yes.
Andoni Zubizaretta: [stands at attention] I’ve got good news, bad news, worse news, awful news and potentially lethal news.
Bartomeu: [straightens collar, gulps] Let’s go from bad to better, yeah? I’m a sensitive soul.
Zubi: Well, Barca tied with Atletico on Tuesday.
Bartomeu: [nods] Okay.
Zubi: It was 1-1.
Bartomeu: And that’s… bad.
Zubi: It was in the Champions League. That means they have the advantage through away goals [hands Bartomeu the rulebook].
Bartomeu: [takes book] Dang it. I always forget that rule.
Zubi: Also Pique was injured.
Bartomeu: [throws book on ground] Effing sh*t.
Zubi: Oh and FIFA said we messed up with the U18 and we’ve been put under some kind of embargo.
[Bartomeu gives him a blank look]
Zubi: That means we can’t sign or enter players in competitions. By some extension that means JDS stays.
Zubi: And David Luiz can’t come.
Bartomeu [falls back in chair] Well damn, Zubi. What’s the good news?
Zubi: I got 15% off my car insurance when I switched to Geiko.
Bartomeu: That’s some savvy business there, Zubi.
Zubi: [smug] I know.
Bartomeu: [grave] But let’s get to the heart of the issue: will this affect the referendum?
Zubi: Well, the fans probably won’t be happy with this…
Bartomeu: That’s okay. I’ll just share our revised transfer budget with them and smile a lot. [turns to Faus] We’ll make a profit, right?
Faus: As soon as we sell Messi–err, JDS. And company. Just to be on the safe side. Luckily our 120m budget should be a-go once I finish crunching the numbers and do some Accounting Fu – second strongest martial art after Policy Fu, I’ll have you know.
Bartomeu: Good job, Faus. I knew I was right to suggest Sandro pick you as my right hand man.
Zubi: But I told you, we can’t sign players and, crucially, I can’t recommend any since I can’t sign them. So it’s not a good idea to sell the ones we do have.
Bartomeu: Again, that’s okay. Rosell’s gone and all our problems are gone with hi—[phone rings] Hello?
Sandro Rosell: What are we doing about this transfers fiasco thing? People are talking and it’s not about the referendum. Do something.
Bartomeu: Don’t worry. Got it under control.
Rosell: [skeptical] Really?
Bartomeu: When have you known me to be a liar?
Rosell: True. [pauses] Has Laporta said anything?
Rosell: [mutters] Stupid Laporta. [louder] Make sure the referendum goes smoothly, guys. Or I’ll send MD via Nolla and Perarnau after you bums.
Bartomeu: Should we tell them to run that anti-Pep spread?
Rosell: Nah. We’ll save that for another time. They’re welcome to talk about Chelsea losing though. The fans will dig that. Oh and blame Florentino somehow. He’s a jerk, even if he did vote in our favour in that FIFA thing. In which we’re the victims. Mention that. Actually, highlight that.
Bartomeu: Got it.
Rosell: Also, tell Google that if they don’t correct the presidente azulgrana Spanish-to-English translation I’m gonna sue them through my associates on Viagogo via the acquaintances of Neymar’s dad’s friends.
[Rosell hangs up.]
Bartomeu: You heard the man. We need a plan of action, guys.
Zubi: We’re gonna appeal that BS and remind the masses La Masia is the bomba. Through a statement on the website, of course.
Didac Lee: And let Tata take the heat in the presser?
All: When did you get here?
Lee: I’ve, uh, been here the whole time. It is a board meeting. For board members. I am a board member?
All: Oh. Right.
Bartomeu: [puts arm around Lee] Don’t worry about the nuts and bolts of anything other than your apps and, uh, videos and technology stuff. We’ll handle the financial, sporting and moral decisions, okay?
Lee: Okay. [exits]
Bartomeu: Tata taking the heat. That’s brilliant! He’s a great speaker with a sense of humor and charisma, and we’ll leave the press officer to cut in when necessary. It’s foolproof.
Zubi: [nods] He’s an even better spokesman than me.
Freixa: Even better than me?
Zubi: [kindly] No one is better than you.
Bartomeu: [stands.] Well, this was a productive day. Let’s regroup and focus on Espai Barca tomorrow.
At the Ciutat Esportiva - 10:56 GMT - Barcelona, Catalunya
Scene: Gerardo “Tata” Martino enters the press room. It’s packed with a suspiciously high number of journos. and press officers stationed along the corner of the room.
Tata Martino: [gets settled] Alright, so. I guess we’ll start with the questio–
Press Officer: [interrupts, whispers] No worries, Tata. We’ll handle the questions. [louder] You over there, with the credentials.
El Pais: Just wanted to ask about the FIFA transfer thing?
Martino: [smiles, self deprecating] I know, I know. I should have sold Diego Ribas out of Atletico when I had the chance. I’m still new at this FIFA 14 business. You guys are good to have found that out.
All: Jaja, oh he’s just so witty.
El Pais: But no, seriously. What’s up with that?
Press Officer: Time’s up. Next question.
El Pais: There’s a time limi-
Marca: Tata: End of a cycle?
Tata: I don’t really get what you mean.
Press Officer: Next question.
AS: A quick follow up: end of a cycle?
Tata: Cycles don’t end. They just go around again, repeating in the same order. Like a circle. That’s what a cycle is. [smiles]
AS: I don’t get it.
El Mundo: Just to clarify, Tata: fin de ciclo?
Tata: Man, you guys mention this every press conference. [laughs] Do you guys ever get tired?
Marca: I think Tata’s getting worked up. He’s feeling the pressure. Do you think you can learn a thing or two from Ancelotti about keeping your cool, Tata?
Tata: Ancelotti is a great coach with a lovely record in big games that are not El Clasico. [smiles]
Press Officers: Alright, alright. That’s enough of you guys. Let’s change it up a bit. You there, without an ounce of credibility.
Mundo Deportivo: We heard something about pressure. Do you think we should be putting more pressure on socis to vote, yes, vote in the referendum that is coming soon April 5 that every socis should vote in, yes indeed?
Tata: Well, this is a big and grand club with a passionate fanbase. We should let them decide their own future.
Sport: Wise words, Tata, although they fall a bit flat coming from an outsider. Speaking of flat, the counter attack?
Tata: What about it?
Sport: So you admit there are no flaws in it.
Tata: Sorry, what are you talking about–
Press Officer: That’s not a question. Next.
Marca: We heard Neymar being mentioned. Please comment about his contract situation.
Tata: [deadpan] He’s here for five years. [turns to Press Officer] I know this is Spain but do you think you can get them to talk just a bit more about, y’know, football?
Press Officer: [nods] We’ll only be taking strictly football related questions now. I’ll start with you, no, not you, the other one with the long hair.
Clarin: We’d just like to ask about Balanta? He plays in Argentina. [waits a beat] You know, where you’re from. Will he be transferring to Barca this summer?
FIFA: Too soon.
Sport: What’s up with Cesc? He kind of sucks.
ArsenalTV: We can always take him back if you don’t want him.
All: Where’d you come from?
ArsenalTV: I just thought with the ban, and, uh, Samper and err…. Right. I’ll just see myself out…
Tata: Cesc’s an important player who plays an important role in our 4-man midfield and has scored and assisted goals that were very important. He has a lot of quality. Important quality.
Las Ultimas Noticias de Chile: Just to elaborate: Alexis?
Tata: Sorry, what?
Las Ultimas Noticias: So you agree. Alexis.
Tata: [looks at clock, side-eyes Press Officer]
Press Officer: Final question. [points] Eenie meenie minnie mo. Okay, you.
La Vanguardia: You’ve been here for almost a year now. You know how it works here. Fancy being around for another?
Tata: [smiles] Where else would I rather be?