News of the Day: March 1, 2010

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It’s mini-international break, which means that many of our players are away with their national squads. So we’ll start there before getting into other nonsense.

-The Spanish national team takes on France in the Stade de France, with Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, and Andres Iniesta being called up by del Bosque. I hope they don’t get too much playing time. The same goes for Thierry Henry, who has been included in the squad by Raymond “Einstein” Domenech. The main thing I’m hoping for here is few minutes and no injuries for all of our players. What I’m assuming will happen instead is that they’ll all play 90 in a bruising encounter. Sweet. Gametime: Wednesday, March 3, 3pmEST. [a Barça-related aside: do you think that these players will talk about the ’06 CL final played at the Stade de France? Will Henry get pissed if they do it near him?]

-Brazil take on Ireland at the Emirates on Tuesday. Dani Alves is the only Barça player involved. If he gets 90 minutes, no one will mind. Gametime: Tuesday, March 2, 3pmEST.

Lionel Messi and his Argentine compatriots will take on Germany on Wednesday in Munich’s Allianz Arena. Obviously, Argie coach Diego Mamando Maradona will have Leo playing 120 minutes of a 90-minute game. Rest assured of that. And also rest assured that Argentina will look like crap. Gametime: Wednesday, March 3, 2:45pmEST.

Thanks to the Mexican national team schedule an immensely important friendly against powerhouse New Zealand in Pasadena Frickin’ California, Rafael Marquez and Jonathan Dos Santos will probably not be available for Saturday’s match at Almeria. It’s great to see JDS getting the call up, but it seems extremely inconvenient to schedule this match so far from Europe if you’re going to include European players in the squad. What, does Javier “Bitter Beer Face” Aguirre not remember there’s a time difference? Gametime: Thursday, March 4, 10pmEST.

Because he’s just a wittle bay-bay, Jeffren Suarez has been called up to the Spanish U-21 team for their Euro qualifier against Liechtenstein. That is, by the way, the only competitive match any Barça players are involved in this week. It is also interesting because Jeffren still hasn’t decided between Spain and Venezuela at the national level (and, if I understand correctly, doesn’t have to until he’s called up by the senior national team). So he’s currently playing with Spain and has actually refused a call up to the Venezuelan senior side to give himself a better shot at the full Spanish team, but I’m thinking U-21 is as high as he’ll go in the Spanish teams. Gametime: Tuesday, March 2, 1pmEST.

Ah, bureaucracy. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but apparently Yaya Toure isn’t able to play for Cote d’Ivoire in their friendly against South Korea at QPR’s Loftus Road because the Ivorian delegation couldn’t get him a UK visa in time to play. Now, I’m not totally familiar with England’s immigration laws and I’ve heard they’re rather complicated and somewhat overblown (every year some player is denied a move to England because of work permits, for instance), but regardless, I find it absurd that Yaya Toure doesn’t have the bureaucratic support from his FA to be able to play in a friendly in England. Now, I’m happy he’s not playing in it, but it’s still utterly ridiculous that this occurred…There’s got to be a better way to put it than that, though. Oh, rightGametime: Wednesday, March 3, 9:30amEST.

So, moving on…Bojan Krkic is concerned about his playing time, as he probably should be. Guardiola seems to be moving back towards the “benches are used by ninnies” way of coaching that he developed around this time last year. It flummoxed me then, as it flummoxes me now. I recognize that our players are exceptional athletes capable of sustained movement for an hour and a half, but it seems that we could use, say Henry and Bojan off the bench, or The Yaya, or Thiago and JDS. Sure, there are other tactical considerations like winning the league and all that, but come on, we’re not talking about subbing on players who are worse than our opponents. Banjo Crickets deserves playing time not because he’s young and has potential, but because he’s actually good. His pass to Ibra for Ibra’s goal (and it was a goal–boo Weligton!) was pure instinct and brilliance. Perhaps he’s having problems putting together 90-minute matches, but that’s why he should get sub time that’s longer than 5 minutes. Say 15 or 20.

Cesc Fabregas is standing near Barça players in some pictures!!! Holy Christ this means he’s coming for €30million and a Banjo. OhmygodCesctoBarçaohmygod. Blargh, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not taking part in full training today because of a back injury suffered during the Malaga match. Perhaps he hurt it while wheeling around too quickly to look all incredulously at the ref for the foul called against him after he’d scored. Whatever your thoughts on that (it was a goal), it’s good that Ibra is not playing for Sweden anymore so that he can rest up and not have to carry an entire team on his (injured) back. He should be fine by the weekend.

-Speaking of ref decisions, The Man Who Hates Madrid (clearly), referee Perez Burrul*, has been singled out by RFEF for disciplinary action (or at least has been removed from his next assignment) after his apparently inept handling of the Atleti-Valencia match. Obviously I was rooting for Valencia in this encounter, but it seems that Burrul actually missed a clear penalty by Ever Banega right before Silva’s goal, then misinterpreted the rules when the fourth official called him over and had a penalty awarded and Carlos Marchena sent off for what was a definite handball in the box. The thing is, Burrul didn’t see it and the fourth official, as I understand it, has no right to call it, which means that while the fourth official should have the right to call it, Burrul went outside the acceptable lines as a referee and allowed what was, ostensibly, the protestations of Atleti players to sway his decision. That Burrul had previous missed an obvious penalty and would later give Miguel a straight red card for what should have only warranted a yellow probably aided in his reassignment, but there can be no doubt that the Marchena penalty and red played a major factor in it. Check the game highlights here.

What does this have to do with Barça? Well, over the last few years Perez Burrul and Mejuto Gonzalez have been considered the best referees in Spain and are thus assigned many of the more fiercely contested matches, including several Clasicos, derbis madrileños, etc. I think they’re both terrible referees because of their seeming inability to be consistent in their calls. I don’t mind calls that allow rougher play, so long as that rough play is called equally and consistently and I don’t mind if hand checks are called so long as they’re always called. How they came to be known as the best refs in Spain is beyond me, but removing Perez Burrul from the group of refs can only have positive effects (unless everyone else is actually worse, but I don’t believe it). Alfonso Rubinos Perez put in a fairly good performance in the match between Barça and Malaga on Saturday (blowing only the call on Ibra’s goal), but he’s also the guy who sent off Marc Muniesa during his debut and that, of course, is unforgivable. But at least he’s consistent in his calls. Bjorn Kuipers infuriated me during the Stuttgart match last week because he administered seemingly random cards. So getting Perez Burrul out of the way for a bit will do everyone some good, I think.

-Moving on quickly to Yahoo! Fantasy, Hat Trick is still in the lead with 1,294 points. In the “Is Isaiah Any Good At This Crap” watch, I finally broke 1,000 points, but am still in 17th (team name: The Yaya) after having a crap week thanks to forgetting to change my lineup once again and having Carlos Marchena sent off for -13.50pts. Ugh. I will crush you this coming week, Barça Albicelestes, with your stupid 16th place only 6 points ahead of me. Bank on it.

-In the Table Prediction game, scores are still low thanks to the stunning success of Real Zaragoza and Almeria and the relative disaster that is Getafe, but Lovelymofo leads with 35 points to my 34. Naturally these things change rapidly as 3 points still affects the standings quite a bit, but that will soon taper off and we’ll see fewer week-to-week differences in the overall standings.

*What I mean by that is he’s the one singled out by the Madrid press as the one most liable for the “Villarato” nonsense.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Tajh
    March 1, 2010

    Hey guys check out the new Pepsi commercial with Messi, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Kaka and Andrei Arshavin


    • majatt
      March 1, 2010

      I liked it; the shirts they were wearing were really ugly but it was a fun commercial.

      • Kevo
        March 1, 2010

        Nice commercial liked the song and Leo at the end. “Thierry?!”

        • lovelymofo
          March 2, 2010

          I liked the part where Leo is knocked out by a little tree. Hee. Someone needs to gif that part.

          • poipoi
            March 2, 2010

            dude I like your pic soooo damn much!! 😀

  2. Hector
    March 1, 2010

    Perez Burrul is the same guy who got put “in the freezer” last year for handing the Osasuna-RM game to the EE on a platter, swallowing two clear cut penalties and red carding Juanfran for “diving” after being fouled in one of them. He then told an Osasuna player to “shove the TV up your ass” after the player told him how a TV replay would show him how wrong he was.

    Yeah…so THAT’s the “best” referee in Spain? I’d like to see the worse in that case. Must be something to witness.

  3. Eduard
    March 1, 2010

    On the Spain game: Are we going to have a live blog?

    • Larm
      March 1, 2010

      also it it gonna be on tv (in the us) or is this game gonna be streamed

    • March 1, 2010

      Possible, but I promise nothing as I have an eye appointment Wednesday at 1. Should be back by then, but we’ll have to see.

  4. March 1, 2010

    I’m only now realizing how much of a bummer it is to be out of the Copa. It was real helpful in getting some guys like Bojan, etc., vital minutes. Depending on who comes to us this offseason, I’d really like to see him loaned to a mid-level Liga club. Think about how good it would be for both us and the little guy if he were to notch a dozen goals in a season playing for someone like Depor or Getafe. He gets playing time, we get him off our hands for the time being…all parties win.

    • jordi™
      March 1, 2010

      I was thinking mallorca would be good form him>Manzano is a great coach.

    • Eduard
      March 1, 2010

      Look on the bright side, it’s a world cup year and it’s not good for the players to be burned out by June. Also, rises the risk of injury.

  5. Cesc Blanc
    March 1, 2010

    There are 4 quite good referees in Spain. One of them is the great Undiano Mallenco, who was the referee the last 2 clasicos and who does an excellent job. To me, he is actually one of the 5 best referees in Europe.
    Fernandez Borbalan, Iturralde Gonzalez and Mejuto Gonzalez for whatever reason are also among the more capable. There are also 2-3 youngsters coming through, who however haven’t been tested at the big stage yet.
    Whatever happens, just no more clasicos with either Perez Burrull and Mejuto and I’m a happy man.

    • March 1, 2010

      I can’t stand Iturralde, Perez Burrul, or Mejuto. Ugh. Blech. Yuck. They’re terrible. But it’s not like I think they’re biased against Barça, it’s just that they’re BAD.

      You’re probably right about Undiano Mallenco, though. I still don’t mind Rubinos Perez that much, either.

      • Cesc Blanc
        March 1, 2010

        Iturralde has the occasional bad decision, but he tries to calm people down and is not full of himself, unlike some others.

        Mejuto and Medina Cantalejo also have improved a lot.

        • Hector
          March 1, 2010

          Hmmm… Igood calls.

          I’ve been impressed with Undiano as well. Mejuto has gotten better although he can still be full of himself at times and take too much protagonism.

          My least favorites the last few seasons are definitely Perez Burrul and Delgado Ferrerira.

          Iturralde irks me though. It might be the hair but he loses control of games too easily. Yeah, we have a good record with him but I am always wary about how he loses control at times.

  6. Urska
    March 1, 2010

    On Bojan: Pep praised him on Saturday. He said he is very good and deserves more playing time. But I think he’s not going to do anything abot that…
    I like Bojan and when we win with him on the pitch having a good game, it’s double win for me xD

  7. Bill
    March 1, 2010

    Yeah, I love Bojans talent too. The ease with which he dribbles and controls the ball, along with his striker instincts will be very valuable to barcelona in the future. Even when he misses, you can see the variations in his shot selection according to the situation. I too have been having issues with Pep’s late substitutions. I can’t figure out his formula, whether we are winning by large margins, or losing, or in a funk, or tired he still subs at the 89th minute!

    As for Yaya, maybe his football association didn’t believe any immigration officials would dare say no to him in his face? Or maybe they have never seen him come through an airport…he just appears and disappears.

    ABout Ref’s, impressive that you know their names, history, ranks and much more about them. You make me feel inadequate as a football fan Isaiah!

    As for Messi, is Peps’ occasional midfield assignments a way to help out Maradona? Maybe he is trying to hint very subtly that Messi should play midfield alongside Veron, and free up maradona to play any three combo out of Aguerro, Higuain, Milito and Tevez upfront, and let Messi help in possession, plus have the freedom to pop up anywhere in offense?

  8. Tyler
    March 1, 2010

    I know people are going to get mad at me for this, but Fabregas looked real good on Saturday. He pretty much took over the game and willed Arsenal to a win. I know people hate the idea of him coming to Barca, but I for one would be more than happy with having to figure out how he would work for us.

    • Kxevin
      March 1, 2010

      No worries, Tyler. I don’t think anyone’s going to get mad. I think that many views on Fabregas is that he isn’t as essential as other pieces of the puzzle, and for 50m, yikes!

      His talent is undeniable, I just think that it dovetails with talent that is just as undeniable, that we already have.

      • Tyler
        March 2, 2010

        I totally agree he isn’t essential, and no way no how should we pay 50m for him. It just lately seemed that with all the rumors of his return, people were discounting his undeniable talent, and it had been the first time I had seen him play in a while. For 50m I’d rather grab Silva or Mata and fix that phantom LW hole we currently have.

  9. lovelymofo
    March 1, 2010

    Woohoo! My totally random guesses totally worked out [for now].

    Question – which competition do you think Pep will focus on from here on out? I mean, I’m sure he’s working the team for the top spots in La Liga and the Champions League, but considering the historic run he orchestrated (6 copas!) wouldn’t he be more inclined to want to win the Champions League at the Bernabeu? I mean, talk about cementing your place in history and rubbing it in EE’s face.

    So, if you HAD to choose between Liga and Champions, which would you pick?

    • Kxevin
      March 1, 2010

      Champions League. All day and all night.

      Mind you, this is despite my belief that EE aren’t equipped to win CL, and denying them the Liga would be the icing on the cake.

    • Liza
      March 1, 2010

      I don’t think I could stand it if RM won La Liga, so I’d have to pick that one.

      • lovelymofo
        March 2, 2010

        I think I would have to go with Champions at the Bernabeu. Can you imagine their faces (esp. Iker-face!)? But yeah, ideally I want both. Make it happen Pep!

        • y2k156
          March 2, 2010

          I want champs league this year more then Liga. Normally i would pump for liga but winning CL at RM’s home is just too much to resist.

        • Liza
          March 2, 2010

          I forgot the final would be played at the Bernabeu… But I still think I would have to go for La Liga. I just don’t think RM have it in them to win the CL, but I worry that they could top La Liga if we falter.

          I wonder how hostile the crowd would be in the CL final. Obviously a potion of the tickets would be going to the home crowd aka RM, so I wonder what the atmosphere would be like. I bet that more casual supporters might find themselves rooting for Barcelona rather than a foreign team (if that is how it turned out).

          • Tyler
            March 2, 2010

            CL claro que si! If and only if for this reason. NO ONE has repeated back to back champions league wins. This team under Guardiola is about breaking records and this would further cement us in history as the greatest squad of this era (not that we probably aren’t already) If we can accomplish that feat, no silverware won by the E.E. could top that.

  10. vicsoc8
    March 2, 2010

    On a different note, I think I would vote for Valdes for February Man of the Match. If I have some time later I’ll go through and average KRS for February and see what that says.

  11. vicsoc8
    March 2, 2010

    So I’m a fan of the KRS (Kxevin Rating Synthesis), a statistic created by Isaiah that takes a look at long term trends in Kxevin’s ratings. I like it because despite the fact that I sometimes disagree with Kxevin, I think he does a damn good job overall. Since I’m bored, and Isaiah’s a busy man, I’ve compiled the information for the month of February (hope I’m not stepping on your toes Isaiah).

    The players are arranged by number of games played (starts count ahead of sub appearances) and by overall average rating if players played the same number of games. A number is a start, a number in parentheses is a sub. app., and an X means didn’t play. Here they are:

    Getafe – A. Madrid – Racing – Stuttgart – Malaga

    Team: 10 – 3 – 6 – 5 – 7 Avg = 6.2
    Guardiola: 10 – 2 – 7 – 4 – 8 Avg = 6.2

    Iniesta: 10 – 6 – 10 – 3 – 6 Avg = 7
    Valdes: 9 – 5 – 5 – 7 – 7 Avg = 6.6
    Maxwell: 8 – 6 – 6 – 5 – 7 Avg = 6.4
    Messi: 9 – 4 – 5 – 4 – 6 Avg = 5.6
    Busquets: (10) – 4 – 9 – 4 – 7 Avg = 6.8
    Pique: 6 – X – 5 – 7 – 7 Avg = 6.25
    Xavi: 8 – 1 -X – 5 – 10 Avg = 6
    Ibra: 7 – 6 – X – 5 – 6 Avg = 6
    Puyol: X – 6 – 7 – 4 – 6 Avg = 5.75
    Pedro: () – (3) – (4) – X – 8 Avg = 5
    Toure: 7 – X – 7 – 2 – X Avg = 5.33
    Milito: 8 – 6 – X – (7) – X Avg = 7
    Marquez: (6) – X – 8 – 3 – X Avg= 5.66
    Bojan: X – (2) – 5 – X – (7) Avg = 4.66
    Henry: X – X – 5 – (4) – X Avg = 4.5
    Jeffren: X – 1 – (5) – X – X Avg = 3
    Keita: 7 – inc – X – X – X Avg = 7
    Abidal: 8 – X – X – X – X Avg = 8
    Alves: X – X – X – X – 8 Avg = 8
    Bartra: X – (7) – X – X – X Avg = 7
    Thiago: X – X – (6) – X – X Avg = 6

    From this I think you have a tough choice for Man of the Month: Iniesta, Valdes, or Busquets. Personally I take Valdes because Iniesta and Busquets had some great games, but were also inconsistent. The player with the most difficult month had to be Jeffren, but this is understandable as he is adapting to a new position.

    Other thoughts:
    – Maxwell had a good month. I’ll say it again, he strikes me as the new Sylvinho. A player who might not fight for a starting position, but solid when called upon.
    – Can Busquets string two good back-to-back games together?

    Other thoughts are welcome.

    • gv
      March 2, 2010

      great work there vic! kudos to you.

      i’ll have to go with valdes too. he was more consistent compared to the others.

      maxwell should be our most improved player this month. i think he started to play well when pep started him as rb when alves was injured. it turns out, the abidal injury is not as bad as we all first thought cause it gave maxwell more playing time, thus showing us his potential.

      busi really needs to be consistent with his plays. if he plays well, he really plays well. but when he does have a crappy game, he really sucks.

      i just can’t wait to have keita back in our line up. we need someone like him esp in games like athletico and stuttgart.

  12. March 2, 2010

    – Valdes is the man of the month, no doubt.

    – Maxwell improvement is not a surprise for me. He just needed some consistent starts.

    -Anyone can imagine what Happened to Yaya this week will happen in the CL? No chance. I think its more insulting for the System in England than it is for Yaya.

    -Messi will play in the midfield for Argentina in this friendly. Maradona will copy Pep.

    – I am not sure if its possible to prioritized a competition over another. It depend on the scenarios during the season. For example, if we have a crucial CL game, we can no doubt rest some players in a league game if it is attainable without full horses. Especially if we create 5+ points advantage in the following few games. But it doesn’t mean that Pep favor CL over Liga. Its just the fact that the CL knockout stage makes the games result irreversible, while in the league you can gamble a bit.

    But in general, no coach in the big competitions (Liga, Serie A, EPL) put the CL over the league as long as he has a chance to win the league. It’s not reasonable to do so as the CL depend a lot on luck. Being a knockout competition gives no certainties regardless of how good your team is. That’s why the domestic league is always the priority. CL is the luxury Bonus.

    • Keano
      March 2, 2010

      Hey Ramzi have you any idea about the origin of wingers playing on the wrong side, that is playing ‘from the’ wrong wing. I think cruff did it with jordi cruff against man u way back. West germany also did it. The origins of this would be great cause i have an arsenal friend saying wenger pioneered it. Cheers

      • March 2, 2010

        Keano, soon you will read in “The Sun” an article that hails Wenger for inventing the 4-3-3.

        Its easy to give numerous examples about converted wings (and Wrong footed wings) that dismiss any claims crowning Wenger as a tactical genius. You mentioned Germany: Jürgen Grabowski and Uli Hoeness as two examples.

        Yet, Its very difficult to define the origin of converted wingers in general, and say “It started here, in this game/team”. First, because the tactical structures and terminologies changed radically by time, the same as players roles. Not every right footed player who played on a left advanced position could be labeled as a left wing (based on the current notations), ex: 2-3-5 structure, how many wingers can we count here, two or four?. Secondly because lot of the greatest players in history were known for having two excellent feet without having any info if they are naturally left footed or right footed (Guaracha?).

        Cruyff -and as a Michels graduate- did lot of similar tricks. I believe that converting a midfielder to a wing who ended up playing on both flanks in his career(Figo) is more remarkable than asking a wing to switch position.

        Then you have Total football, where players continuously switched positions all over the pitch, where will we rank that? The legendary hungarian team?

        For being an Arsenal fan (your friend), may be it worth having a look at Herbert Chapman era (1925). Not only he was very playful when it come to players’ positions but even employed wingers Bastin and Hulme exactly the way Arsenal employed their wingers with Wenger.

        • Keano
          March 2, 2010

          Good stuff Ramzi great knowledge, good points, I think Andreas Brehme the german full back was famous for playing on the ‘wrong flank’. All inevitably points to Jonathan Wilson’s book.
          Ps I don’t read the Sun( except maybe a peek at Page 3)and do my best to filter and avoid the Sky Sports dogma that says the Epl is the centre of the world and continues to employ Jamie Redknapp.(Rupert Murdoch propaganda machine)

      • March 2, 2010

        Wingers are a very old tactic… fell out of favor… then recently returned.

        I’d highly recommend “Inverting the Pyramid” for a surprisingly in depth and accessible look at the evolution of football tactics since the beginning of the game. Reading it made me feel like a much more knowledgeable student of the game. It’s sort of like getting hectored for about 320 pages and some cool pictures and diagrams to help you along. So basically it’s like being Hectored for 320 pages.

  13. Nick
    March 2, 2010

    How was Alfonso Rubinos Perez’s performance “good” after he overlooked a second bookable offense of Manu Torres, despite it being signaled by the linesman who was right next to the episode?

  14. fcbfan
    March 2, 2010

    I want the cl more. at their place, that would be sweet! if we are to lose the liga, well all I ask is another thumping at them the next clasico thenit wouldn’t be so bad.

  15. Liza
    March 2, 2010

    Maybe this isn’t the place to ask this, but why hasn’t Argentina replaced Maradona? Is it a money thing, or do they just not have any other viable options?

    • March 2, 2010

      I would argue several reasons:

      1. He hasn’t failed yet.
      2. He is “God”, so no one has the balls to fire him.
      3. The viable options to replace him have problems with the AFA that keep them from signing up. Maradona has no such issues because he doesn’t know what it means to give a crap what other people thing (and, I suspect, he doesn’t think for himself anyway except in those rash, impulsive moments when he makes another “Maradona is crazy!” decision)

      I’m sure others with much more knowledge about Argentina have a better answer, but there’s just no way they get rid of him. He’ll step down after the WC, regardless, either claiming he won it because he’s God or failed to win it because no one believed in him and gave him no support and stabbed him in the back.

      • March 2, 2010

        I think you summed up the reasons well, Isaiah.

        AFA is hands down one of the worst football federations among the top notch football countries. They hired Maradona for his name, so they get shadowed under his continuous controversial orbit.

        Besides -even though it may sound strange- there is a mutual hatred between Julio Grondona and Maradona. By hiring him, they shut up his mouth and watch him fall apart. Unless if they really believed that he will do the talking and Carlos Bilardo will do the coaching.

        • Hector
          March 2, 2010

          Yeah, that’s about it.

          Julio Grondona is a corrupt gangster leftover from the dictadura days. He uses the AFA for his own petty purposes (including nepotism with his son) and constantly interferes.

          Some of the best Argentine coaches like Bianchi and Cappa won’t even consider coaching Argentina because of Grondona.

          • Kxevin
            March 2, 2010

            For the same reason that France hasn’t replaced Dumbenech: He has pictures of the country’s football officials at the highest levels, having it off with a yak.

            Because they’re sexier than emus, that’s why.

            And oh, great …. just what my beloved Bleus need: a can of whipass opened up on them. Way to help those egos, FFF.

          • Liza
            March 2, 2010

            There’s a new post up, so everyone has moved on, but I’d like to say thanks to everyone who replied. I find the situation in Argentina both fascinating and quite sad, really. Man for man, I think they have one of the top squads, but it’s actually hard to watch some of their games, they are so bad.

            I didn’t know about Grondona’s background, just that he and Maradona don’t get on. The more I learn about football (outside of the game), the more I realize how much politicking there is in the system. I guess that’s to be expected once something becomes so lucrative.

    • Helge
      March 2, 2010

      Maradona must have a big lobby in the AFA, the majority of the Argentine people doesn’t trust in him as a coach (anymore). There would be cerainly be viable options, because it doesn’t get any worse than it is now. But unfortunately, the AFA sticks to him. That’s my view of the situation, but I’m not an expert of Argentine football politics.

      • Helge
        March 2, 2010

        *There would certainly be viable options

        • yogi
          March 2, 2010

          Maradona did qualify Argentina for WC. I personally think that he has been near to disaster as Coach till now but because of his result and his reputation, it will not be possible to fire him (as it will also mean financial consequences that i imagine AFA can scarcely afford). Similar to Domenech saga with France.

          Agree with Isaiah on what will happen after the WC.

          Right now Argies are not favorites but Maradona is a winner and team does have excellent players so i will have them my dark horses (also because I support them:)).

          • Hector
            March 2, 2010

            That’s my team as well but damn it hurts.

          • Helge
            March 2, 2010

            If it wasn’t your team, it wouldn’t hurt. I only care about this Maradona issue because I’m a fan of Argentina, if Maradona coached the EE, I would support Maradona and be a very happy man 🙂
            If he would coach an “irrelevant” team, I wouldn’t care. But why the heck does he have to train my favourite team (besides Spain)? 🙁

  16. March 2, 2010


    ESPN comes out with their top 50 with Messi as number 1, Xavi 5, Iniesta 7, Alves 18, Henry 28, Pique 33, Cpt. Caveman 39, and THE YAYA at 48.

    What do you think?

    • March 2, 2010

      As I commented there, I think those who ranked players were confused between rating the players based on their qualities as individuals (regardless how far we agree) and ranking the players based on their expected impact in the world cup, which is the objective mentioned.

      Lot of the players heading the list will barely be bench warmers during the world cup, so I wonder how will they have more impact than other starters.

      They were so confused that they even added Ashley Cole to that list.

  17. andrew M
    March 2, 2010

    the issues with yaya, in my unprofessional and totally guessing opinion, dont seem to be correct. as far as i know, he has an EU passport or at least citizenship resulting from him living in europe for enough years. this would allow him to play in the UK. besides, what would happen if barca had a game in england?

    anyway, the immigration laws in the UK reflect those of the USA almost exactly to a foreigner.

    this deal of being refused visas is not new either. in the NYC marathon this year, several pro athletes did not receive their visas in time forcing them to opull out of the race despite being some of the main attractions. this also happened to certain athletes at the olympics etc.

  18. Kxevin
    March 2, 2010

    Two reasons to love Tim Stannard (and one to force a look in the mirror, Mr. Messi), from his “Good Day, Bad Day” Liga wrapup:


    Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    Punished for every ‘foul’ for simply being taller than his opponent and had a goal disallowed for goodness knows what.

    Cristiano Ronaldo
    In an attempt to correct many of the imbalances of the universe – sadly, the blog can’t do anything about the existence of Spanish TV channel Telecinco – La Liga Loca is going to regularly rip into Cristiano Ronaldo in an equal amount to the praise thrown in his direction by a loved-up Marca.

    Against Tenerife, Ronaldo was petulant, pouting, selfish and egotistical. And this is why… (mirror moment begins here:)

    1) In one mazy run upfield, the Madrid forward chose to take on three defenders but failed and won a free-kick instead (which he subsequently took and missed) rather than pass to the completely free Higuaín.

    *Kxevin Note: I would never compare Messi to Thong Boy, but I’m just saying ….


    Dani Alves

    The blog would not want to go as far as to claim that Barcelona depend on one player alone, but it certainly has a whiff of it with the sudden return to form of the Catalan club coinciding with reinsertion of Dani Alves (along with the failure of any Málaga players to mark him).

    The Brazilian was magnificent as ever throughout Saturday’s 2-1 win, but it was in the assist for Barcelona’s winning strike where Alves really showed his true godlike genius.

    At 1-1 with just seven minutes to go (and Real Madrid having won already), the full-back collected a wonderful pass from Xavi and took the time to look up and roll the ball along to Leo Messi rather than blast it at the Málaga goal – something that La Liga Loca would have done.

    And that’s why Dani Alves is one of the best players in the world and the blog is merely writing about him, having failed to impress an Ipswich Town scout at the age of nine, something that La Liga Loca is NOT AT ALL BITTER ABOUT.

  19. barca96
    March 3, 2010

    i see it as a good news that our Yaya didn’t get into England.
    perhaps that will be a stumbling block for ARSenal and Man city from signing the great Yaya

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