‘It’s the fellow himself’, cried d’Artagnan, pale and trembling with rage. ‘Let me get at him!’
‘What fellow?’ asked Athos.
‘That blackguard, my evil genius. I always meet him when there’s trouble brewing […] I recognized him when the wind blew his hat up. It was him all right!’
— Dumas, Alexander. The Three Musketeers . Trans. Sudley. New York: Penguin, 653.
Come now, SoMa! Do we really need to talk about those guys right now? Just tell us what El Guaje means in iambic pentameter and let us go liveblog our Cup games in peace.
Yet I were remiss, BFBloggers, if I did not report, à la Hemingway, the Truth As I Saw It from the Spanish front. Did Barça candidates campaign harder than a maverick pitbull with lipstick dodging Bosnian sniper while sneaking a smoke in the Rose Garden? Didn’t Valencia’s own Villa make the great leap north from Batville to Barça? Are the Kids All Right to play for La Roja tomorrow? Oh, sí, sure, I caught a clip of that. But what I really saw was All Mou, All the Time: Mou Declares He Will Coach Madrid … Mou Stays in Madrid after Champions … Sixteen Mil to Bail Mou Out of Milan … Black Ferrari Ferries Mou to the Bernabeu … Mou Shows Up (Raúl) at Book Presentation … Mou Fined 25,000 euros for Saying Something Moulike (Will He Ever Learn?)
Of course, Spain’s major media headquarter in Moudrid. So what does this have to do with us? We’re feeling generous. Getting knocked out by Inter is still way better than getting knocked out by us and Lyon and Alcorconacornazo or wherever … And if your owner will buy a player for any price, why not a coach who wins at any cost? Let’s revel in the azulgrana peopling La Roja and forget about them for a while.
But it’s not just about them, really. For the Hunky Soccer Husband, Mourinho remains Bobby Rob’s translator, and the Grey Duke still sneers at the former help from the diais of his Honorary Presidency. Now, I won’t reduce a man’s entire – and highly successful, indeed admirable – career to a personal grudge, but there is some grist for the therapy mill in un traductor who rechristens himself el Especial and makes it stick. Dimming at Barça, Mou set Porto, Chelsea and Inter on fire and burned every bridge on the way out, blazing his way back to La Liga. He may never think to coach Barça, but he does seem to coach with Barça on the brain: the defensive stance; the-club-is-not-a-country commentary; the not-hating-the-haters bit; the they’ll-never-have-moi, le Mou …
Recall, if you will (and shudder if you must), his victory stride upon Inter’s victory in the Champions Semis. That was not a We-did-it! gesture for Milan (he didn’t make the return trip). It wasn’t a I’m-your-man! gesture for Madrid (he and Fifi were already lip-locked). This was José at his most Especial, declaring Camp Nou the Camp Mou. I was waiting for him to lift a well-tailored leg and mark the corner flag, but Víctor wasn’t about to let anyone pee on his turf.
I argued in an earlier comment that Mou was the Man for Madrid. Pelly was lost after the usually-throwaway Copa del Rey. You just don’t take all of those euros and throw them away! But once Cristiano stopped high-fiving Higuaín, and Benzema disappeared on-pitch, and Kaká pouted to his wife that he was coached by a coward, it became clear that Fifi needed a stahr to eclipse the yawning black hole that was the season of Los Galácticos, II. Instead of Venerable Father Figure Pellegrini, or Emotionally-Devoid Technical Genius Capello, Fifi’s man needed more ego, more ruthlessness, more manipulativeness, more media savvy and more experience than all his pouting litter of soccer glitterati together. And if such a man could also saw through Pep’s pipe dream of 12 titles in two years, and make damn sure that if Van Gaal was going to watch the CF from the bench and Pelly from the stands, that Pep wasn’t even going to set foot in the Bernabeu, well, then Fifi would whip out a checkbook and ask Moratti ‘How many zeros?’ before the half.
Iker Classillas, the Real realista and madridista Barça fans hate to love, said mid-May that he would like Pellegrini to stay, even if only to keep team continuity. Mourinho was already zipping around Milan dissing Moratti while Pelly hanging around, hung-dog, the bowels of the Bernabeu. Since then Iker has focussed on World Cup glory for a Spain that hopes to maybe, possibly, finally, dare-we-dream get past the South African Sweet Sixteen. Yet I wonder what the WonderGoalie first thought when he saw this:
*El Guaje means ‘the Kid’ (El Salvador).