I’m trying to get back into the swing of things now that the World Cup is over. It’s hard. I don’t know what to do with myself since I have no random international allegiances to wrap myself in. I was so totally for New Zealand! And also like 20 other nations because, really, I’m basically just a World Cup slut. I was for Uruguay against France, against them against South Africa, for the Dutch against Denmark, against the Dutch when they faced Cameroon, for them against Brasil, and then against them again when they ran into Spain. Tough to keep track of all these things. Anyway, it’s back to Barça here and that means News of the Day.
Guardiola has re-signed! That all important hyphen in there is great news for us as Pep Guardiola (along with assistant Tito Vilanova) has renewed his contract with us until June 30, 2011. That’s just a 1 year deal, folks, so don’t get too comfortable with Pep at the helm. Kevin has noted before (and I tend to agree) that Pep isn’t in this for the long-haul because of a variety of factors, including Rosell’s recent truncation of Chygrynskiy’s stay after Pep had previously been counting on him for the coming season. Still, it’s good times and I’m happy he’s renewing on his own terms.
Thierry Henry has left the building. There’s been relatively little discussion of this as it seemed inevitable for a long time, but Thierry Henry is officially a member of the New York Red Bulls. Barça’s official site put up an homage to his 3 years in blaugrana. He leaves us with a solid record, having won 2 Liga titles, a Champions League, and a Copa del Rey while also aiding in the development of our young strikers, Bojan and Pedro. That is, perhaps, the more valuable than his 121 appearances and 49 goals. It’s easy to say he never made a true impact, but 3 goals at the Bernabeu speak for themselves and I can’t imagine the 2-6 without him burning Sergio Ramos (World Cup winner, holy crap!) time and again.
Adieu, sacre bleu, Roi Henry. Thank you for everything. I’ll see you in a Red Bulls jersey in a few days (first game is July 22 against Tottenham, of all teams) and maybe you’ll stop by to see some Barça with us during the winter offseason. Pretty please?
Keirrison loaned to Santos. Our striker who just can’t make it into Pep’s squad is travelling back home to Brasil to play with Santos for the season. There have been rumors that this move, if successful, will serve as a makeweight in a transfer agreement for either Neymar or Ganso (as well as the obvious rumor of Robinho); if it’s not successful, it’s just another season where we’re not paying either Keirrison’s salary or his injury insurance. Official word is here. [Question to those of you who follow these things a bit more closely than I do: is it typical that “injury insurance” is listed as an expense in a loan? Do most teams taking loans not pay that insurance?]
The Blauroja continues. After 8 Barça players were selected for the World Cup squad and 7 of them started the final (not that anyone is counting), the U-19 Spanish team is also going to have a distinctly blaugrana flavor to it. Àlex Sánchez (GK), Martín Montoya (LB), Marc Bartra (CB/RB), Carles Planas (LB/RB), Oriol Romeu (Mid), Thiago Alcántara (Mid), and Rubén Rochina (FW) have all been included in the squad. Congratulations!
Puyol retires from international football. Marca is claiming in big letters on their website that fearless captain Carles Puyol is retiring from La Furia Roja. It only makes sense, really, having just won the World Cup. He goes out on top and can now focus all of his energies on Barça and perhaps the random appearance for the Catalan “national” team. He retires with 90 appearances and 3 goals for the national team. Congratulations on a brilliant international career!
A few side notes:
Guardiola’s agent is Josep Maria Orobitg, a man who, according to this site, also represents Joan Capdevila, Fernando Navarro, and probably most relevantly, Armando Lozano of Barça B (which if you didn’t know, is back to being B and not Atletic). You may never have heard of Lozano, but he’s a 25-year old CB who signed with the B squad last year and helped them gain promotion to the Segunda A. There’s no conspiracy, of course, but it can’t hurt your Barça chances when your agent is Guardiola, can it? Even when you’re a bit too old to be in the youth squad. Cough Jonathan Soriano cough. You might remember Lozano from his 12 appearances with Levante in La Liga back in 2008-09.
What could turn out to be massively important is that a loan of €155m was procured and signed for today by Sandro Rosell. The loan was worked out with La Caixa and Banco Santander as the main lenders, but also with involvement from (deep breath) Caja Madrid BBVA, Banesto, Banco Popular, Banco Sabadell, Caixa Catalunya, CAM, and Cajamar. Did we leave any Spanish banks out? At noon tomorrow Barcelona time, Javier Faus, VP of Economic Area and Strategy, will explain all of the details in a press conference. For now, just believe that this is good. It is good there is nothing wrong what are you looking at?
The shoes that Andres Iniesta wore when he scored the blaugrana Iniestazo at Stamford Bridge have been raffled off with €100,000 being earned by the family of a 6-year old boy for his cerebral palsy treatment, but the winner has yet to claim his or her prize. Strange. Apparently this whole raffle got started when one of the boy’s family members sent Iniesta a poster and a jersey to sign so that they could raffle them off to help raise money for the kid’s large medical bills (multiple foreign trips a year for treatment) and instead of sending back just the poster and the jersey, Iniesta sent back “a surprise” as well, which turned out to be the shoes. The boy’s family is sure that the winning ticket was sold in Hellín, Albacete, but even a trip to that town couldn’t turn up the winner, so the family tried to return the shoes to Iniesta, who said no, keep them and so the family is trying to figure out what to do now that their raffle didn’t work as planned. Damn, but Iniesta is classy.