On journalistic integrity, transfer season and Barcelona

Hola! Sell Zlatan!

So, here’s the thing. I fully recognize that being the best club in the world (oh, yes we are, and you know it) means that we are a target. People love to love us but of late, love to hate us. It’s the height of transfer season, and it’s worth noting that the traditional newspaper and its attendant journalism has gone the way of the mastodon.

What we have now is the equivalent of a guy dashing about, robes aflame, saying “I’ll tell you anything you want, just douse me with water!” Because it’s now about clicks rather than real journalistic integrity. Made up quotes, ginned-up infatuations with mediocre BritBands (Oasis? Really?), all in the name of a few more clicks, and a few more page views. It doesn’t even matter if you linger. You clicked! Neener, neener! We made our stats for the month.

And you feel like a fool for having fallen for such bollocks.

In my day job, I am a journalist at the Chicago Tribune. It’s a real newspaper, that has transferred its ethical standards to the Internet. People come to journalists and publications because it is assumed that what we do is at least remotely true. You buy fiction because it is labeled as such.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez called Arsene Wenger’s mama a ho. He added that he has personally transfused blood with transfer target Cesc Fabregas, to make sure that he had not only Barca DNA in his veins, but Xavi’s DNA.

“It is important that Arsenal understand the parentage of their coach,” said Xavi. “I didn’t even realize it was her as I was driving from my late-night passing practice at the Camp Nou yesterday. I was stunned. I can’t believe that Cesc would want to play for a man whose mother is a ho. I wouldn’t. He will come in January.”

Ding! That took less than a minute to make up. If that were posted on say, tribalfootball.com, the comments would be filled with Arsenal fans talking about how Xavi needs to shut it, Barca is skint, classless, etc, etc.

So when Xavi made “exclusive” comments to a third-tier British daily about how Fabregas will come in January, once Arsenal is out of contention, why did people lose their minds? Do footy fans no longer consider the source?

Puyol had quotes out in the world, driving Arsenal fans crazy, quotes that our captain said he never uttered. Arsenal fans talk about us using the press to tap up Fabregas, paranoid cules talk about British newspapers making stuff up to inflame the relationship between the two clubs, thus ensuring that Fabregas stays.

I remember a time when people relied on the press to report the actual news.

And now we have, in our “corner,” so to speak, Sport and EMD, those two bastions of jackassery, who BOTH continue their “Get out, Zlatan” program by constantly suggesting trades, buys, loans, indentured servitude, anything. “Psst. Trade you something for Zlatan. What ‘cha got?”

See, the “press reports” suggest that apparently Ibrahimovic wants out because he doesn’t want to sit on the bench behind Villa. And the beauty of fiction writing is that you don’t have to have a long memory. This allows you to forget your own stories about our lack of width, and how if Henry weren’t such festering, unalloyed shit, we would be the brilliant club that we were the season of the treble. Then they would read those stories, and realize that Villa does not preclude Ibrahimovic!

But that won’t happen because they are jackasses. Braying, cart-pulling, giant-eared jackasses. It’s almost as if they roll in a giant case of cava, suck down a dozen bottles then apply their booze-addled fingers to a keyboard. No news? Let’s gin some up. Who has a campaign they’d like to start?

Yes, I know. They have been thus since time immemorial. Perhaps I am just feeling acutely aware of the delicate time for our beloved club right now. We have a striker who is coming off a “failure” of a first season (many a striker would love to have the stats that Ibrahimovic had), a new forward who has to integrate into a system that was pretty darned close to perfect without him, a giant, planet-sized absence in the defensive midfield position, a new president who is also a meddler, and other vexation. What I don’t think the club needs is the potential destabilizing influence of a “home” press.

I realize it sucks, because I too look at slow news days and say to myself, “Now what?” When the press says “I got it! Check this out,” then gins up some nonsense, it erodes the trust relationship between press and the public. It’s hard enough being a journalist in this day and age, without some twits sullying the name of the profession by resorting to fiction, to drive clicks during transfer season.

Stop it. Just stop it. But I will leave Mino Raiola, agent of Ibrahimovic, to sum it up for me: “Zlatan will stay. The papers of Barcelona are only good to use at the lavatory.”

–In other news, Villa flew to Mexico to not play. Brilliant. Del Bosque says that Guardiola should have called the troops back earlier, if he was so worried about their fitness prior to the SuperCopa. Look jackass, it’s the flying around to play a few minutes for your damnable vanity project more than the fitness. Get a clue.

–Pinto picked up a knock in practice, and is out for the first leg of the Sevilla Copa. Valdes played a bit against Mexico, and should be fine if needed. I don’t expect that he will have a whole lot to do.

–Eric Abidal says that he “likes” playing at center back. “I like playing there and although I do play there with France, it’s tactically different with Barca.” Whatever, dude. You’re much better at left back. Trust me. Wonder if I should start a rumor about Abidal being on the block because of his inability to perform at centerback, after Guardiola put him there to make up for the absence of Dmitro Txigrinski. Naaaah.

–Friendly watch: Xavi notched a brilliant, match-tying assist in the 90th minute of the Mexico friendly. Ibrahimovic added to his international goal tally about 4 minutes into the Sweden friendly, and Krkic tallied from the spot in Spain’s U-21 match against Finland. All are expected to be back and available for Saturday’s SuperCopa first leg match against Sevilla.

Sweden highlights:

Spain highlights:

–Still no definitive word on broadcasts of the first leg of the SuperCopa match, wherever you are. As people find out broadcast information for their particular country, please post it here. Thanks.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

166 Comments

  1. GoonerInBarça
    August 13, 2010

    Yeah agreed about letting the Cesc story lie (for now). I was more commenting on the fact he wasn’t tapped up but us.

    As for Madrid, I think the signings are typical Mourinho signings. Big strong players to sure up the defence. Their defence could be formidable if he gets it right. If that happens then I’d be worried. Khedira is exactly in the Mou mould. If he could, he would sign Essien but chelsea won’t let him go. There’ll be more defenders coming in though knowing him. Possibly another midfielder/striker. Who knows.

    As for me being here for a year, I’m a student on a work placement. It’s been awesome but I did miss going to Arsenal every week!

    • GoonerInBarça
      August 13, 2010

      *he wasn’t tapped up BY us

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      Forget Madrid, Khedira is wack! He is a worse version of Thiago Motta. BOOO!

      • Jnice
        August 13, 2010

        Oh and if it’s any consolation, I never attempt to sign Cesc in Football Manager. Wilshere on the other hand… 😀

  2. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    thank you jnice!by the way can.t wait for saturday!finally the season start!3 months without barca is toooooo much!

  3. August 13, 2010

    (letting Cesc story lie lettin Cesc story lie lettin Cesc story lie)
    AAAAARGH I CAN’T!
    GoonerinBarça just because a player is too young to sign a professional contract doesn’t mean he can’t be tapped up!! If anything it makes things even worse, because Barça in this case wasn’t able to legally offer Cesc what Arsenal was offering him due to differences in British and Spanish law. Who knows what Fabregas would have decided had we been able to offer him a 5 year contract at the age that Wenger seduced him to come to Arsenal. Seducing teenagers to come to London by exploiting a loophole in the law imho is worse than tapping up professional footballers, and British clubs (and especially Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool) do this to teams all over Europe, prying our talent and stocking up on youth team upon youth team just because they can. In Holland the Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV academies are constantly being raided by Premier League teams because of the same loophole (and the fact that your clubs are so much richer to begin with). It is and extremely sad development for our football when our best 15 and 16 year olds leave the country. The same happens to the academies in France.

    It is one of big reasons I support Rosell saying that Barça should be Catalan first. Why would you take pride in your youth academy if the quality of said academy is mainly decided by the ability to buy other countries’ top prospects?
    Barça’s saving grace concerning La Pulga was that no club, I repeat, NO club in Argentina was willing to offer him the medical treatment he needed for his growth deficiency. I am against moving players out of their countries before they are adults, but had Leo stayed in his home country he never would have become a professional footballer. The situation is not even remotely comparable to what happened with Cesc.

    Anyway excuse the rant. I really do like the posts and the discussion your contributions bring to our site, and I hope that once you are GoonerbackinLondon you will still be GooneronBFB 🙂

  4. August 13, 2010

    Oh and btw I won’t deny Mourinho worries me big time. But beating Mourinho is one of the best things about football!

  5. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    well said lev.by the way is it true that city offer ibra 96m for a 5years contract??that s insane.

    • August 13, 2010

      ofcourse its not. You cant offer a player a contract unless the club owner has agreed to it , otherwise you could be accused of a tapping up situation. And that could serve a transfer ban that would be a disaster for city right now.
      Just because catalonian sport press is pure crap doesnt mean that english press isnt worse.
      Manchester city is spending money ,everybody knows it , and the press will make them look like they are 10x times crazier than they really are.
      You know because it sells.

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      Saw a video on Skysports in which Mancini laughed off the Ibra rumors. He says after the Balotelli and Milner deals are completed, there will be no more signings.

      • Hannibal
        August 13, 2010

        sorry always forget to use this tool

  6. Hannibal
    August 13, 2010

    Saw the same video, looks credible as well. On Robinho, he is very tired but part of our 25man squad for the season = come and get him but we want at least some money in return.

  7. GoonerInBarça
    August 13, 2010

    I agree. Technically not tapping up but merely exploiting a loophole. It’s not entirely moral but then on the same hand a lot of the Spanish and Italian clubs are well known for their hostile tactics in the transfer market for the worlds superstars. Swings and roundabouts really. No team is completely innocent. It’s just when people get their facts wrong or moan on continuously that it annoys me. IF Xavi said what he said and it wasn’t a lie, then yeah, it is annoying but you don’t know what to believe these days. I used to hear a lot of quotes in England from EMD and Sport (and Marca) but now I’m over here and read them I know what nonsense they usually are. The English papers are equally as bad, if not worse. One (The Daily Mail) may have ruined England’s chances of hosting the 2018 world cup simply because they wanted to sell a few more papers. I’m pretty sure their sales actually declined because of it!

    And cheers! There’s not many English speaking Barça blogs that have good discussion. I’ll definitely be on here and following Barça/Spanish football in general when I get back (we get about 4 games a weekend on TV). I’ve also got my Barça shirt (with Henry 14 on the back of course!) and a Senyera amb estelada so when Barça are playing an English club other than Arsenal in the champions league I’ll be supporting them. When Tottenham inevitably beat Young Boys, I’m really hoping you guys play against them so that I can support you guys with the equal passion that I support Arsenal! I also know a few of the songs but my Catalan isn’t too hot (Read: Non-Existant) so if it happens I’ll be singing in full voice!

    • barca96
      August 13, 2010

      Thanks for the support.
      I do the same thing when another Dutch team plays in the CL(Ajax is my other team). The same thing can’t be said about RM though although i do root for Seville and Villareal.

  8. Jnice
    August 13, 2010

    On Twiiter, BBC football reporter, Juliette Ferrington says “no offer for javier mascherano so far at liverpool.” Also, “roy hodgson doesn’t want mascherano to go and says a move isn’t imminent. says he’s been training well.”

    Chalk that one up as another false report.

    • GoonerInBarça
      August 13, 2010

      We’ll have a better idea on sunday. If he doesn’t play expect the rumours to go into overdrive.

  9. Jnice
    August 13, 2010

    Sevilla’s squad for tomorrow’s match is pretty serious.

    Palop, Javi Varas, Konko, Dabo, Fazio, Squillaci, Escude, Renato, Cigarini, Romaric, Zokora, Navas, Alfaro, Perotti, Diego Capel, Negredo, Kanoute, and Luis Fabiano.

  10. Eklavya
    August 13, 2010

    “And unlike Busquets, Mascherano is also a much better passer of
    the ball; a hybrid between Xabi Alonso and Yaya Toure if you like.
    While Busquets ’ main responsibility after winning possession of
    the ball is to seek out a short pass to either Xavi or Iniesta, Masch
    will give Barca more options with his passing range: a long ball
    forward or a defence-splitting through ball to Villa or Messi, a
    vertical spraying pass to the overlapping Dani Alves out wide, or
    a simple touch to Xavi.”

    -goal.com

    There you go…
    -_-‘

  11. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    i don.t believe that liverpool want hleb.i believe they want cash only.and we can.t give the cash they want.maybe the next dm it s a suprise name like adriano.

  12. Luis
    August 13, 2010

    EE have made some potent additions but i think our team will also be better this season. Although Villa is the new signing i just have a feeling that Ibra will be huge for us this year. I think a big part of his ineffectiveness was how pout his body around to get called for fouls. The referees in la liga didnt know how to referee him(hes big, so whenever theres contact he must be the bully).

  13. August 13, 2010

    Mmmm granted when it comes to adults Arsenal behaves very well on the transfer market. But other than that I don’t think that hostile tactics are limited to Spanish and Italian teams. Think Man U and Berbatov for example. Or Chelsea and Cole. (btw wasn’t Chelsea banned from the transfer market for 1.5 yrs bc of that French kid? What happened with that, was it overruled?)
    As for the Spanish teams, RM yeah no question. But I don’t think Barça behave that badly. Of course I concede Gunners can feel sour towards us because I admit that we openly chased Henry (which I never agreed with especially bc of the lack of class he showed us after the 2006 CL final). The Cesc situation is different because he came from Barça to begin with (I am not saying that you should agree, but it is the sole reason this thing has turned ugly). I personally hope that after we get Cesc we will refrain from buying any Arsenal players for the next 20 yrs!

    Anyway let’s make a deal. We will crush and embarrass Spurs for you if you beat EE. Oh all right even if you do not beat EE we will crush and embarrass the Spurs, lol, but thnx for your support!

    As for Mascherano’s passing ability vs Busi’s. I haven’t seen enough of Masch but goal.com might be a bit shortsighted there. If Xavi and Iniesta were not his teammates Busi would probably show off more of his passing range. I remember his through ball to Ibra in one of the first games of last season which was absolutely gorgeous. With Xaviniesta playing in front of you it makes a LOT OF sense to pass them the ball instead of going for the defense splitting pass. Whether your name is Busi or Mascherano or Xabi Alonso does not make any difference there.
    So what is more important when comparing to two is does Mascherano have the understanding of the game to constantly keep the ball moving with as many 1 touch passes the way Busi does. Guardiola and others have been quoted as saying that Sergio sees the game extremely well. From my limited knowledge I doubt Masch is a better passer – why else would he always have been reported to be the destroying ying to Xavi Alonso’s passing yang?

    • GoonerInBarça
      August 13, 2010

      Chelsea have only turned ugly since Abramovich arrived and they’ve had a number of run ins. Most notoriously Cashley Cole where Mourinho, Cole, and other chelsea people were fined. It wasn’t reported to FIFA so there wasn’t a ban. The ban you’re talking about is in relation to Gael Kakuta. It got overturned by the court of arbitration for sport. I think chelsea found a legal loophole as expected so they’re free to make transfers. United are no better but they’re the darlings of the FA so get away with murder. If they ever did convicted of something Ferguson would probably kill someone.

      I think most of what reaches England is from the Spanish press so perception are obviously skewed. What EMD and Sport print is often reprinted as fact which is where the problems come from. Then EMD/Sport will quote the English press from the article which was quoted from themselves in the first place! Try it yourself. Go onto google translate, write a sentence in English, translate to Spanish then back to English again using the translation given by google and it will be a different sentence to the original. They then present this as a “new quote” when it’s just a poor translation.

  14. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    I go to bed, wake up and shit’s gone crazy. Citeh have tabled a 116m, 4-year offer to Ibrahimovic. That’s 29 million a season! What will they pay us??!! I’m of the opinion that no player is transfer-proof for the right pile o’dosh. If they are willing to pay him 29m per annum, they should have no problem paying us something silly for his transfer rights.

    Whoa! Yes, I am a fan of what he does, but as the song goes, “Money changes everything …. “

    • Hilal
      August 13, 2010

      Nah no truth whatsoever to that story. First of all it comes from the ever reliable Sun tabloid. Second I just saw Mancini in an interview on Sky laugh it off. He made it pretty clear, Balotelli and Milner are the only two signings City will make. HE also named Robinho in his 25 man squad for the season..

      Also saw an interview with Roy Hodgson in which he claimed the signing of Poulsen is not to replace Mascherano and that no move is imminent. Damn. Was really hoping that one was true 🙁

      • Jnice
        August 13, 2010

        Apparently we are still interested in Mach, but just haven’t made an offer yet.

        And yeah, like I said earlier, Mancini laughed off the Ibra rumors.

  15. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    Oh, and Fabregas=done. He’s an Arsenal player. I don’t give a rat’s about DNA, tapping up, Merida, etc, etc. The topic for me was only viable when he had potential (rightly or wrongly) to be a Barca player. He doesn’t, so I am no longer interested. Next, please.

    Been thinking about things since that Citeh rumor. That’s crazy. If rumors ceom to fruition that would give them Adebayor, Tevez, Balotelli (if that one’s true), Ibrahimovic, Silva, The Yaya, The Good Boateng, etc, etc, etc. That club would be STACKED. Would that guarantee victory? Of course not. We’ve seen galactico experiments fail before.

    But that would be one hell of an action-packed lineup. I’d have to think some people would be sold if all that happened, sooner rather that later. Man, this game is crazy right now.

    • August 13, 2010

      Some points on this one :

      – They look good on paper. Thats never good enough and they are not that great anyway.England formed a better lineup on paper in this world cup and we all know what that came to.

      – Whats the expectations? Champions league football ? EPL title?
      Nobody really knows (or nobody wants to speak it out after all this $$ that has been spent in transfers and paychecks.

      – How long has the manager been given to form a team and establish the first eleven out of all these stars? Does a heavy defeat to a rival guarantee a bye bye to mancini and start from scratch?

      – What are they gonna do with the stars that will sit on the bench? After the starting 11 players have been picked whos gonna deal with the mess in the locker room/press? this has already stated btw.

      – Too many players coming out of different leagues and they mostly are very promising but NOT yet quality proven world stars, having a massive trasfer fee on their back.

      And.. yes galactico experiments have been made before with well known results. 😀

  16. drew
    August 13, 2010

    i dont think we’ll make anymore signings.
    we had a clear shot for ozil and pep refused and now it looks like he’s going to madrid. we had a clear shot for masch but now that inter sold balotelli they have the money to buy masch

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      We had a clear shot at Mascherano only because Inter didn’t want to sign him anymore.

      But Ozil and Mascherano aren’t the only players in the market. We are still looking at a few French DMs.

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      Not sure that’s a bad thing. If we can’t do a killer deal (Hleb+15m=Mascherano would count) for an excellent player, you begin to wonder how we can augment our squad, which needs quality squad players (which we have) more than star types such as Ozil or Mascherano.

      The Fabregas lust is not going to go away, although if Wenger signs the extension that is expected, Rosell can forget about that one, which I still don’t think would be a bad thing.

      I can’t see EE going for Ozil. They have a packed midfield already, with Canales, Jughead (Di Maria), Alonso and not one, but TWO Diarras. Will there be a Diarra fire sale? Frankly, Fabregas would be an excellent signing for them, given how much they need a creative, passing mid in the Guti mold.

      I repeat:

      Valdes
      Alves Puyol Pique Abidal
      Busquets Xavi Iniesta
      Messi Ibrahimovic Villa

      Who in the world can argue with that group? Coming off the bench is Keita, Pedro!, Krkic, Correia, Andrade, Jeffren and Milito, augmented by canteranos such as Dos Santos and Thiago. I repeat, I like where we are now. I’d be happier with a quality DM replacement, so I would take the Hleb/15 for Mascherano deal in two seconds. But barring that, I’m okay with us standing pat.

  17. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    liverpool are not so stupid to want hleb+15m.if macherano leaves he will go to inter for i guess 25-30m.and ozil was a gold chance but..only time will tell if we are ok.the
    fact is that our budget is not so big as we thought.

  18. August 13, 2010

    The more I think about it the more 25 million for Masch would be worth it, íf he is ready to accept he is not an automatic starter. With the exception of Pedrito I do see a big quality gap between our bench players and our starters. Oh and you left out Adriano who would be on the bench (or is that Andrade? and if it is not, then who the F is Andrade?)

    • Diego S.
      August 13, 2010

      Andrade = Maxwell
      Correia = Adriano

  19. August 13, 2010

    @greece barca ok Inter might be willing to pay more but what if Masch really wants to go to Barça and not Inter? He wanted to come one season ago, right?

  20. August 13, 2010

    Also with the loss of Marquez, Chiggy and Yaya we have lost 3 (!!) players who could cover the central defensive positions…Are we relying on our canteranos in case of injury? Imagine either Puyol or Pique or Milito injured and another player suspended in the CL Semifinal. Screwed.

  21. Jnice
    August 13, 2010

    I’ll quote from my boy cool_daddy_cool on fbtz.com:

    “For all the Rosell fans who thought Laporta had a huge ego problem, well our new president won’t be making the trip to Sevilla tomorrow. The reason? Oh, he wants his first game as president at the Camp Nou. Nothing like offending the president of Sevilla by not showing up to preserve your debut for the Camp Nou. Like that would have tarnished it if he went”

    It would be truly ridiculous if he doesn’t go.

  22. August 13, 2010

    “Andrade = Maxwell
    Correia = Adriano”

    thnx!

  23. Hartwick89
    August 13, 2010

    Kxevin,

    Once a Barca sympathizer turned foul since the Cesc saga. But, this article and your transparency of what is true/untrue has given me belief that facts may be not true considering sources. I respect your transparency of who you are and revealing your occupation. I have visited this site and compelled to do so based on lies and deceit presented by all. As you may have guessed I am a Gunners supporter but I love to visit this site from time to time to give a gunners point of view. If you will allow it I would love to give “true input” of what I feel is really going on. Now I don’t pretend to be all knowing but certainly can give a discerning view. I agree we all get caught up in the lies and deceit of the false advertizing of the press. But, of all the clubs in Europe Arsenal and Barca have the most in common! And, that is why I am a Barca sympathizer! So if you will allow it can I interject my humble biased opinion (if not ridiculous) to this excellent sit?

    • barca96
      August 14, 2010

      Welcome on board.

      p.s. I thought you posted here before

  24. Hartwick89
    August 14, 2010

    96,

    I have…but was very hostile due to this summer’s rhetoric and basically what Kxevin covered here today. So I wanted to re-introduce myself so you all knew where I was coming from & who I was.

    And, Thank you for welcoming me.

  25. Kurt
    August 15, 2010

    Thanks for the post, Kxevin.

    BS.com just reported that EE is going to make a 10 million pound offer for Drogba, which Mourinho “believes…will be enough to sway [Chelsea].” HAHAHA.

    Better, the source was the Sunday People.

    Best, the Sunday People didn’t cite a source.

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