Kevin can’t do the news today (ironically because he is at work at the, you know, actual news) so you savages will have to do with me. We’ve got the usual rumors and blatant fabrications but also some press conference quotes, a few precious tidbits of real news (imagine that!) as well as praise and fluff. Without further ado: the news.
– Lets’s start out with the man on the picture you see above. Our beloved Uncle Sylvinho. The consummate professional and locker room leader. He spent five great years with us, winning 3 Ligas and 2 UCL’s in that time span. Not bad at all. Even when his age took away his starting spot he always practiced hard and kept himself in shape. He became a mentor to Messi (a better one than Ronaldinho and Deco in terms of being a professional one would think) and was an example to all the players in the squad of what it takes to play for as long and as hard as he did. He was tested in the ultimate way a back up can be when half our defense was either injured or suspended for arguably the most important game in Barcelona’s history. His number was called and he responded, at 35 years young, with a solid starter quality performance against defending champions Manchester United. You can’t ask for more. His tears of joy where well deserved and all of us owe him our gratitude.
Well, now he’s signed on for Man City on a one year contract. How about that? One more year of top flight fútbol for our ageless wonder. I for one feel nothing but happy for Sylvinho and I wish him the best. Objectively, Man City is not doing a bad job at all of assembling a squad given that they don’t have the history to pull in upper tier superstars a la Messi or Kaka. They need leaders and experience since they still are a young team. Lescott and Sylvinho will help in that department. They also have a certain party loving, often unprofessional, Brazilian as their “crack” and that is another thing Sylvinho can help with. We wish him all the best.
– All the main Spanish sports dailies were full of praise for Barca’s performance last night. “Poker of Cups” screamed EMD, “Super Champions” pronounced Sport, “They are Insatiable!” concluded Marca (on the website of course, the cover page of the print edition didn’t include a single word referencing Barca’s Super Cup victory), and, the lone exception, AS complains that “Barca Had it Easy” (obviously in a small box on the margins of a title that read “The Other Treble” and featured Thong Boy, Benzema, and Kaka).
– Both Sport and EMD insist that Barca and Shaktar directors will meet this week in Monaco before and after the European Super Cup to discuss Pep’s boy, Chygnasty. A bid higher than 22 million euros is possible.
– Sport quotes Txiki as straight up saying that they are looking at CB’s but not midfielders. However, they don’t give us the direct quote (as in the exact words framed by parentheses). The direct quotes that they do give are:
“We will keep talking. This is about a very interesting player and if we can close the deal then we will close it this week. It is not necessary to meet face to face to close a deal like this. We have a week and will try to seal the deal.”
“There are other options which we are studying and if needed we will see which one is best.”
(Regarding Henrique) “There is nothing new. We look for the best for our players.”
– According to Sport, West Ham’s signing of Goran Pandev has reduced their budget so a possible Guddy transfer now must be as a loan. Meanwhile, Txiki is quoted as saying that “We are looking for an exit for him so that he can keep on playing but if he leaves then we are not obligated to sign a new midfielder”. What does this imply then? Canteranos galore if Xavi and/or Iniesta go down?
– Well known Swedish reporter Anna Brolin interviews Zlatan. Some quote from the BANGS:
“Its not as stressful as Italy here. They have more fun here and the rhythm is a bit more relaxed. I also love the weather and the temperature. Everything is great and I am just focused on football”.
“I think I can evolve more as a player at this club than I could at Inter. I accomplished what I could over there. I gave it my all and I didn’t think I could advance much more. Here I can continue getting better.”
(in response to what can he improve) “All the little details. How to be a complete player.”
“Barca plays fantastic football. Its easy on the eye but its also easy to play and they make it easy on their teammates. We open the field, and the possession of the ball…well, its ours. If you watch Barca games, they routinely have 70-30 or 60-40 possession in games both home and away. That makes everything easier. I also think opposing teams have to worry about more players here than they do when they play Inter…”
– In other news, Guardiola confirmed that Messi will shoot all the penalties when he plays. If he’s not on the field then Ibra or Xavi will take them. Fifty goal season, anyone? If he stays healthy of course. Pep also called the Yaya a “Force of Nature”. Really? Talk about stating the obvious.