Messi, ankles, Ujfalusi and nonsense apologies

Claudio Chaves, El Mundo Deportivo

Tomas Ujfalusi can go to hell. And I’m saying this from a number of viewpoints: Barca fan and cule, sports fan, person who is against violence, human being who is averse to having to don hip waders to get through waist-high mounds of steaming bovine fecal matter.

Ujfalusi says that he isn’t a bad guy. The president of Atletico says that he isn’t that kind of a guy. Ujfalusi is saying that he tried to apologize in person to Messi, and sent him a text, and that he didn’t mean Messi any harm, blahblahblahblah. Fabio Capello is saying that he isn’t a bad guy, blahblahblahblah.

But you know what? Anybody is a bad guy with the red mist in their eyes. It was the 92nd minute of a 94-minute match that your team wasn’t going to win. Why go in so hard, and why aim at the ankle? If you want to merely send a message of pique, you can go in shoulder-to-shoulder, or just body-block the player. You stop the play, send him to the turf, then you can run over to the ref and have your tantrum.

Instead, you went in and down on the ankle. So all of your protests, Mr. Ujfalusi, are to me worth just about the crap that envelops them.

Pundits and fans are saying that Barca fans are being silly, that any time a player comes at Messi with a “right proper English-style tackle,” we howl to the high heavens. Ask ex-Arsenal man Eduardo about those “right proper English-style tackles.” For my money, it was an attempt to injure, to damage the club and I love and its chances at the Liga. If Messi’s out, it can only benefit Atletico long-term, right?

Just once, I wish that players weren’t hypocrites. I recall, years ago, a tennis match during which Vitas Gerulaitis rushed the net off a weak-ass approach shot. Ivan Lendl lined up his shot, and hit him in the head with it. When asked about it, after the match Lendl said “Nobody asked him to come to the net on that shot,” and offered no apology. The apology from Ujfalusi is a craven attempt to ameliorate public scorn, and possibly diminish his penalty. The truth is in the action. If you didn’t mean it, you go over and check on the player. You don’t hammer him, then run over to the ref to yell about a penalty that you think you should have gotten. He never even looked at Messi, who was clearly injured.

Now people are asking was the tackle really that bad. Anybody who would ask that, hasn’t watched the video, or is just trying to draw clicks by talking out of their ass. Applying that much force directly down, so that you use the pitch to augment your effort to maim, means that intent is clear: You want to make sure that player can’t continue in the match. In that, Ujfalusi succeeded.

Speculation is that his suspension will be from 4-12 matches. It should be the maximum, but it almost certainly won’t be. Michael Jordan got the same protection. So did Wayne Gretzky. Those guys filled the seats. So does Messi, and Thong Boy, and Aguero, and all the other Liga marquee players. They should be protected from violent action. Nobody minds a foul, a good, hard, professional foul. You shoulder the guy off the ball, or grab the shirt to prevent forward progress. It sucks, but it’s part of football.

Yes, there have been worse tackles. That doesn’t diminish the violence of this one. It just means that the roster of thuggish assholes has grown by one. A message needs to be sent to Ujfalusi, and anyone else who believes that the best way to stop a team is to injure its star player. 12 games off for Ujfalusi would be a good start.

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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.


  1. blitzen
    September 21, 2010

    Interesting to contrast this with the apologetic that has just been posted on TotalBarca, the gist of which is, everyone is being too hysterical about the whole thing and Ujfaloser didn’t *really* mean any harm.

    IMO, you nailed it in the part where you point out Ujfaloser’s complete indifference after the fact, except in haranguing the ref. He didn’t even bother to check on Messi when the medics showed up to stretcher him off. That speaks volumes. The intent was to injure, to incapacitate, and no tepid after-the-fact apology make a difference to that.

  2. Dr. J
    September 21, 2010

    Well it’s 2. Yep, read it again – 2 matches, that’s what he’s banned for.

    It got me thinking he’s actually being banned for not causing enough damage. They would probably have rescinded his red card if he took him out for a large part of the season. Villarato! I know … Blah, I’m feeling sick.

    • OhYes
      September 21, 2010

      Wait is that a 2 match ban in addition to the suspension that comes with a red card or is that a total 2 match suspension? If it’s the latter that’s bullshit.

  3. Philo Barca
    September 21, 2010

    Count me as in the minority in thinking that we need to move on from this, and that it’s not really clear that Ujfalusi intended to injure Messi, but rather was simply being criminally reckless in trying to stop his run.

    And, FWIW, a still photo is actually a terrible way to read intent, IMO. If you take a still photo of any random Messi dribble, you’ll get evidence of players seemingly trying to violently injure the grass, because he’s moved by them by the time they’ve committed themselves.

    • OhYes
      September 21, 2010

      I agree with you completely–if Messi is dribbling around like a mad man you’re probably gonna trip him instead of getting the ball. But Messi wasn’t being that fast in that play, and looking at the video it really seems intentional to me. I’m not for a 12-match ban but he deserves an few extra games ban for something that horrific. And as I’ve said elsewhere, I’d support the extra penalty even if he had done this to any other player, from CRon to a typical player from a small club.

      September 21, 2010

      I agree with Phil barca 100percent man. On first site, no one ad i mean absolutely no one say the gravity of the situation except the referee who was on the spot.It was a despicable challenge no doubt but like Phil said count me in as part of those who think it was reckless rather than intentional

  4. Helge
    September 21, 2010

    I would post Marca’s frontpage for this article:

    Ujfalusi only got a 2 match ban, but if you take a look at this scene from ~19months ago (* which didn’t receive any caution at all by the same referee, we should even consider this verdict as a success!

    Obviously (from my point of view) both challenges deserved a harder punishment. The referees and the arbitration committee seem to make their own rules instead of following official FIFA statutes. Maybe this article has already been recommended, anyway this is a must read: *

  5. Luke
    September 21, 2010

    Since I haven’t weighed in here, I will. Here are the salient points:

    1. Ujfalusi is an enforcer, but he’s not a player with a history of violence toward other players. Meaning he has never had a Pepe-type incident.

    2. Messi is targeted like other star players are, more so than a normal player would be. Also he’s smaller so he seems easier to take down.

    3. A player should not be suspended more than 4 games unless something outright malicious or insane happens. Hitting someone in the ankle does not qualify.

    In closing: 3-4 games max. 12 games is a third of the season and would be egregious.

  6. the song is you
    September 21, 2010

    blahblahblahblah messi is a martyr blahblahblah Ujfalusi is the devil blahblahblah ban him for the rest of the season blahblahblah

    That is your article. It’s just silly. The official diagnosis is that Messi will be fine and back in action soon. Barcelona has enough amazing players to win without him.

    In this instance I would ban Ujfalusi for how long Messi is out, maybe a game or two more.

    Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but instead of calling for blood and beating my hands against my chest, I just feel glad it wasn’t worse and happy that Messi won’t be out for months.

    • Ryan
      September 21, 2010

      So you’d rather we just enjoy the great luck we had in Messi not getting severely injured from that reckless tackle and hope that he can bounce back from all subsequent cynical tackles? I’d much rather that the referees enforce the rules as they are written (check out the article linked above you) and thus dissuade frustrated defenders from taking the brutal way.

    • Eklavya
      September 21, 2010

      “In this instance I would ban Ujfalusi for how long Messi is out, maybe a game or two more.”

      Not a bad idea, infact that makes more sense.

      • Eduard
        September 21, 2010

        How about the player(tackler) pays the club the wages of that injured player until he’s back in action.

        • the song is still you
          September 21, 2010

          I’d much, much rather Messi not have been injured in the first place. The referee did all he could, I mean he gave the guy a straight red and Ujfalusi is being suspended.

          I guess it just seemed like such a negative article when I feel lucky that Messi wasn’t hurt worse. No matter how long you suspend Ujfalusi it won’t matter to another team, or stop a different defender from trying the same thing. So yes, I’d rather have Messi rest up and focus on the upcoming games and joining Puyol facebook campaigns.

  7. Jnice
    September 21, 2010

    For those wanting Revista de la liga, I don’t think Sky will be showing it today because of all the midweek fixtures.

    • Helge
      September 21, 2010

      Okay, thanks for the information.

  8. y2k156
    September 21, 2010

    Few are pointing out that the outrage due to challenge is great because played involved was Messi. For me, it makes sense. For most fans, they care more for the few players. It like a kid having accident. You will feel bad no matter which kid is it but you will be really outraged if it is yours. Same with players.

    I am really happy that Messi will be out only for short duration. I can understand all the arguments but that does not make it right. From what i saw, the guy went to foul and not just professionally but maybe in heat of moment, with intent. And I find it quite pertinant that he did not even care how Messi was after the challange. Sadly such behaviour happens a lot and for the good of game, it needs to be stamped out.

    Most of the murderers are also quite nice and not that kind of guys. Sometimes they lose it and as a society, we have to make them pay. Well this is not totally same but to make a point, i would rather use outragous analogy. I do not see any reason why stupid offenses should be treated lightly just because the offending player is not that kind of guy.

  9. Culer_Than_Thou
    September 21, 2010

    I’m all for protecting players and curbing malice in tackles. But where you lose me, Kxevin, is when you mention special protection for ‘marquee’ or ‘star’ players. I disagree. An unknown player of a freshly promoted team has an equal right to foul-free and danger free football.

    Also, I think FIFA (or UEFA) should act and establish a standard set of foul tolerance throughout the world. Not in terms of written rules precisely (sounds impractical) but in terms of having the same bar for calling fouls and handing out red and yellow cards. This would eliminate the scenario of different tackling standards in national leagues and continental tournaments and even in internationals. This makes even more sense since football is an international sport (business) and it is not uncommon for players to move across countries and continents. So a uniform tolerance bar makes for good sense, imo.

  10. El Diez
    September 21, 2010

    off topic – does any one has revista da liga of this weekend download link?

      • Eklavya
        September 21, 2010

        Jeeeez, some people really don’t read! Jnice bothers to type for nothing???

        • Kari
          September 21, 2010

          I have long since realized people read from the bottom up.

          • stowe
            September 22, 2010

            which doesn’t make sense if you read the time stamps, i hate comments that go from the bottom up. thank you BFB for having good sense. as for the standard rules across the board, i would fear that there would be too much british influence and the game would get more physical. after this foul, i still can’t believe that dejong didn’t get a red for kicking Alonso in the chest

  11. sab
    September 21, 2010

    read the phil ball article in espnsoccer.he said there was some robust ctackle from atletico and messi got injured.some robust tackle my ass.didnt he see the pictures??what a joke??????????

    he clearly meant it,if he didnt then he would check on messi instead he argued with the referee.i think ulfalusi did it intentionally out of frustration,not that he is that type of player.a ban of 3 match is fine.12 match is wayyyyy tooooo much.

  12. sab
    September 21, 2010


    i m not with u for a ban of 12 matches.he tackled intentionally and dangerously.(he did IMHO on the heat of the moment coz 2 me he was the only attacking force 4 AM,but barca deprived him,thats why)he got a straight red card.i dont support the preferential treatment of some star players(although i like to chop the legs of ulafalusi).when u entered the pitch u r just another player like the other 21.if u call for preferential treatment the very ethics of a team will be broken(after all football is a team game).he did dat ,got a staright red,and should not be banned for more then 3 matches(he is not pepe,right).

  13. Lev
    September 21, 2010

    12 matches is a lot. Not sure what to think of it. Part of me thinks a 2 match suspension is fine, but the other part of me is scared that this will then be a legitimate way to take our players out of the game. When I was a kid tackles were way more vicious, though.

  14. jordi(TM)
    September 21, 2010

    Our hleb just scored a goal.What day is it >.<

  15. sab
    September 21, 2010

    this will then be a legitimate way to take our players out of the game.normally the opposition park the bus(gotta love JM for coining this phrase) or get physical with us with constant fouling and niggling(like bilbao or like AM in this match).2 me ulus tackle is intentional,brutal but it is 2 me a first vicious tackle on a barca player after a long time(the del horno tackle deserved more scrutiny).

    12matches is a lot and i m against it,3 match ban is fair enough

  16. Kxevin
    September 21, 2010

    I think a message has to be sent. 2 games doesn’t send it. People can quibble all they like about intent, and how I’m silly. Whatever. Fact of the matter is if his aim had been off and Messi had been facing an Eduardo situation, what then?

    You have to nip this shit in the bud, and I don’t mean tomorrow. If you watch the video, Ujfalusi is not interested in tackling the ball. If you are, you either slide in a way that will win the ball, or you swipe across the player’s foot/ankle area in a way that possibly gets the ball. But you never, ever stomp straight down as Ujfalusi did, unless you want to burst said ball, or injure the player.

    That Messi wasn’t more seriously injured doesn’t excuse the severity of the incident. “No blood, no foul” is nonsense. Is 12 matches too much? What if next time a player goes in even harder, and breaks Messi’s leg, as they initially thought when he was laying on the pitch? Sometimes, penalties are prophylactic. And the next person who goes in like that needs to think “12 matches is almost half the season!”

    Yes. Star players deserve more protection. Life isn’t fair, or equal. Nobody will be buying a ticket because Maxwell is playing. Every player deserves protection from violence on the pitch, but reality is that some are more equal than others.

    And that’s my opinion. Note that I haven’t labeled anyone “silly,” or resorted to other hyperbole as others have done, in an effort the keep the level of discourse reasonable.

    • September 21, 2010

      Fact of the matter is if his aim had been off and Messi had been facing an Eduardo situation, what then?

      Then it’d have been a different situation. Just like “what if he ran right past him and missed entirely?”

      This post is absurd. If it was an Eduardo-style tackle, that’s one thing. But it’s not.

  17. After reading the article and then the comments I’m glad to know I’m not alone in thinking it wasn’t obvious that Ujfa was intentionally trying to hurt Messi. Not saying he definitely wasn’t trying to injure, but I don’t know how anyone can say he was (or that anyone disagreeing is “talking out his ass”).

    I also don’t agree there should be more protection for marquee players. There’s already such ridiculous inequality between RM/Barca and the rest of the league…it’d be insane that the same foul for one of the rich boys’ best players was punished more severely than the same foul on some loser playing for Racing (for example). As someone who thinks it’s criminal we don’t share television revenue equally in La Liga, further legitimizing unfair treatment between the 2 haves and the 18 have-nots seems outrageous.

    Finally, what does “It was the 92nd minute of a 94-minute match that your team wasn’t going to win” even mean? They were losing by one goal, and there were still 2 minutes to play. Regardless of how out of reach you feel the match SHOULD have been by this point, the fact remains that Atleti was very much in the game, and they had every reason to believe they could rescue a point. Hopefully we’re not getting to the point in La Liga that teams have to just give up before the game’s over out of respect to Barca. : )

    Anyway, as you know I come here often as a non-supporter because I enjoy the site and the community here and your writing especially, Kxevin. But I think in this case you’re a few shades of blaugrana off of a completely fair look at this particular situation. Which is fine, obviously–we’re all supporters of a given team. But I think your dismissal of the apology (and the intention you see in the original action) is unfair, and your outrage is therefore somewhat misplaced.

    • Kxevin
      September 21, 2010

      Disagree. They hadn’t created any chances, and by stomping on Messi’s ankle in front of your own goal with 2 minutes left …. that was only going to stop play and make it even more difficult for your team to come back. If you think you can rescue a point, you play football, you don’t stomp on an ankle.

      I’m not the only one who has watched the video and thinks it’s a horrorshow tackle, by the by. It’s a fairly long list. I am, admittedly, the only one who thinks that it should carry the maximum penalty.

      And you misconstrue my “more equal than others” notion. Referees do (or should) watch out for star players. Simple as that. If they don’t, they’re crazy. Whether that’s fair or not is a whole ‘nother debate.

      I would think Ujfalusi’s apology was a lot more sincere if he showed any sign whatsoever about giving a damn about Messi as he was laying there, writhing on the pitch.

      Everybody will come at this from their own worldview. You’re Sevilla. But what if somebody had attacked Fabiano or Kanoute like that? I just don’t believe that just because Messi is out “only” for two matches, that it excuses Ujfalusi’s action.

      • Yes, Atleti had been owned all day, but obviously teams win points they haven’t earned all the time. Barca in particular has given up fluke counterattack goals to teams that definitely didn’t merit even a shot on goal. (Again, I’m arguing maybe he WASN’T trying to wreck Messi and waste the last minutes of the game).

        And I’m not saying it wasn’t an ugly tackle, by a long shot. Intent or no, it deserves punishment because it was awful. But I don’t think, after 92 minutes of being run ragged keeping up with Messi (or trying to), a woefully misplaced tackle by an exhausted player chasing after the fastest feet in the game has to have been born of bad intention. I can watch that video and fully accept that it’s possible he was trying to win the ball and win the game. Poorly, sloppily, but without malice.

        I actually hadn’t read your comment here before I wrote mine. I agree big name player protection is a reality on the field (although I don’t like it), but it sounded in your original article that you feel there should be explicitly stated rules that say it’s ok to consider the marketability of the player involved when deciding punishment. One could argue the game has already been modified in many ways to protect and encourage the style of play Messi plays, and I like that because I enjoy that kind of play, and I don’t want this kind of tackle to become a “strategy”. However, I think considering how popular the player is is wrong.

        And you’re right–it’s certainly possible that if this happened to one of my guys I’d feel more strongly about it. What I’m arguing here, though, is that if that meant I demonized the player involved, I’d be wrong to do it.

        • Kxevin
          September 21, 2010

          Oh, I’ll buy that, which is why I suggest that a player interested in winning the ball will go into the tackle very differently.

    • Nik
      September 21, 2010

      +1 to this comment. I agree with everything you said about the tackle.

      And like you said, in any sport, you’re not out of the match until the final whistle blows. There have been plenty of games where a team that has sucked the entire game steals a point at the end with a goal. Atletico players had every right to keep on challenging our players for the ball to try to force a last-second draw. I would have hated to see us draw after being on top for most of the match, but the crazy finishes are what make sports so great (or heartbreaking, depending on what side you root for I guess).

  18. Tarik
    September 21, 2010

    Huge fan of this blog, but this article really hits me the wrong way. I hate that dude for the tackle, but I don’t think it was vicious in the sense that he intended to hurt Messi. I wish Messi would come out and just ask everybody to shut up about this/forgive the guy. If it wasn’t Messi (pretty sure some actually posted a link above with this exact scenario) then people wouldn’t be crying over spilled milk. Get on with the rest of the season already. The sooner we put this behind us, the better.

    • Kxevin
      September 21, 2010

      The difference is that I don’t view it as “Crying over spilled milk.” I view it as a potentially career-ending injury averted, and muse about punishment that befits that sort of offense.

      The rest of the season will go on. We are very lucky to be without Messi for only two matches, but that, to me, doesn’t excuse the action. It doesn’t, and it never will.

      And if you agreed with everything that appeared on this blog, life would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

      • Tarik
        September 21, 2010

        I suppose so. Being the level-headed individuals that we are (obviously, since we’re Barca fans)…I’ll agree to disagree.

        Also watching the RM game right now and I really dislike this team. The first 30 minutes were not befitting such a star-studded posse. I cannot wait til we pass them.

  19. El Tel
    September 21, 2010

    Here’s an idea (you can check with SoMa for verification). If justice is fairness, as John Rawls contends, then Ujfalusi’s ban should be for the same amount of games that Messi misses due to injury. (Just sayin–I’m no fan of Rawlsian hyperrationality–I’m an existential phenomenologist, for cryin’ out loud) Also, I’m not buying the claim that Ujfalusi didn’t intend to injury anyone. He didn’t have to put his full weight on Messi’s ankle to break up that play (as Kxevin notes above). And, as Kxevin noted earlier, Ujfalusi showed no concern for the injury he caused right after the play.

  20. Helge
    September 21, 2010

    Controversial penalty kick for Real gives them a 1-0 lead in an abysmal match (didn’t watch it, but my live ticker says so). CR scored, his first goal of the season (goal against Osasuna was officially from Pepe).

    • El Tel
      September 21, 2010

      Yeah, it was a soft penalty for a hand protecting a face in the wall in the box. But it made up for Marcelo’s earlier penalty shout (for which he received a yellow for simulation). That one looked like a stone-cold penalty to me.

      • Jnice
        September 21, 2010

        Marcelo’s wasn’t a penalty. There was no contact and he fell while he still had the ball. He’s an idiot.

  21. Jim
    September 21, 2010

    Really annoyed at the silly way he made the tackle but I just can’t be sure he meant it. If Messi was tired at that stage of the game you can be sure the Atleti defence was knackered. And that’s when clumsy challenges happen. The ones that really frighten me are the head on with someone’s studs going over the top.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not pissed about it but you can’t rewrite the rules of football to protect just the star players or even the dribblers that we love to watch. There is a culture that you get a few free bad challenges before you can expect to be booked which I don’t like in general. However, I would further advocate that a straight red should carry an automatic longer punishment ( say 5 games minimum) wherever it happens. That way you start to change the culture that led to this tackle – at the moment there is no real disincentive to make that challenge where you know you might be a little late but make it anyway. Can’t think of any straight red I’ve seen where I would have thought that such a punishment would have been too severe ( apart from maybe those involving playacting after a supposed elbow in the face).

    I also can’t blame Pep for leaving him on despite the fact I want to. Messi lives to play and taking him off on a regular basis would eat away at him. Only one ahead and with Pep having been criticised for weakening the team against Hercules maybe its a bit harsh to blame him for leaving Messi on for the last few minutes. Hindsight is a great thing. I’ll bet he’s taken off from now on though.

  22. BlaugranaDOOM
    September 21, 2010

    I like some of the suggestions here. I don’t think he tried to hurt Messi. I mean he tried to foul him, but I don’t really see intent as much as the guy being slower than Messi. I really don’t think you could time a tackle on Messi like that. His feet are a blur.

    Having a guy be suspended for the amount of time that he injured a player would take a lot of reckless challenges out of the game. Assuming the suspenstion is for red card nightmare challenges like Ramsay or Eduardo (that Alves tackle was terrible, the player was lucky Alves weighs only 120 pounds).

  23. BlaugranaDOOM
    September 21, 2010

    Also, watching Madrid Espanyol. Can somebody tell me the rules on what the fuck constitutes a handball in the box?

  24. lovelymofo
    September 21, 2010

    Ugh. I was listening to the match on the radio when they called that bogus penalty. The commentators talked about how ridiculous the call was and then said that the two big teams of La Liga get preferential treatment. I’m assuming they mean Barça, but off the top of my head I can’t think of any overtly beneficial calls we’ve gotten. Or am I missing something?

    Just watched the replay of the penalty call, I would be pretty pissed if I was Espanyol.

    • lovelymofo
      September 21, 2010

      Woah, and now Pepe the angry machine is outta there. Trying to level things up ref?

  25. Cesc Blanc
    September 21, 2010

    2 games, the same as Vilanova got for nothing. Long live the Spanish FA! And long live Eduardo Inda, the man supporting leaders with fascistic tendencies like Aznar and Perez, for calling Guardiola a fascist!

  26. lovelymofo
    September 21, 2010

    Well, this match is pretty ridiculous. If Thong Boy gets those calls now, I hope Messi gets them in the future too. I should stop watching the match, it feels weird hoping that Espanyol gets a result from EE.

  27. Perra
    September 21, 2010

    Love your writing Kxevin, and I often agree on what you say, but not on this one.
    I’m pretty sure that Ujfalusis intent was to foul Messi – but not by stomping on his ancle. He put his leg out for Messi to trip over but was to slow (or rather, Messi was to fast) and his foot came down where it shouldn’t.
    Reason I say so? Well it’s really hard to stomp and hit a guy’s foot when you both are running.
    So Ujfalusi did the o so common “I pretend to go for the ball but I stretch my leg out for the other to fall over” and it was wreckless and it’s good that he’s being punished beacause every player is responsible for where they put their feets, but 2 games out is enough.

    And special rules for special players? No, we can’t have that. The ref must of course look out for every player.

  28. El Tel
    September 21, 2010

    It’s hard to see how that is NOT a stomp.

    • Kxevin
      September 21, 2010

      I could buy everything that everyone supposed about Ujfalusi’s intentions had he strolled over to check on Messi, as players almost invariably do.

      I’m fine with agreeing to disagree.

      Meanwhile, the Parakeets are rolling over like dogs. 3-0.

  29. Perra
    September 21, 2010

    Well, it was a stomp, he just didn’t aim at Messis feet. He was going to put his leg firmly down for Messi to trip on. Go out on the field, run sidewards against another player who’s running and try to stomp on his feet. It’s not easy …

  30. Kari
    September 21, 2010

    Warning; epic bitter fan rant-age coming up

    Personally, I interpret this article as “what could have been”. Messi could have broken something. By a miracle, he didn’t. People are focusing on the “didn’t” but the “could have” really “should have been”. Those pictures were U-G-L-Y.

    IMO, the bigger issue here is that Messi gets fouled like this ALL THE TIME. This is just the one that made a clean connection. I don’t think Ujfalusi is/was a dirty criminal, because this was a typical defender’s tackle on Messi.

    There seems to be a general consensus that just because the tackle didn’t connect or the player plays on, it wasn’t a foul or it wasn’t dangerous. Besides, “they’re not that kind of player” and the person didn’t break their leg.

    By that logic, if a bullet went by my head and missed; or I dodged it, it wasn’t a potentially life threating situation, because, in the end, it didn’t hit my head and the person holding the gun wasn’t the kind of guy (or gal). That example is a little extreme, but it gets the point across.

    People say, “Oh, you’re whining because it’s Messi” but it’s because of Messi this issue is even being discussed. How is “if we’re any other player, we’d ignore it or no one would be talking about it” any kind of justification?

    Last time I checked, that’s a bad thing.

    Using that logic, if Adruiz was tackled like this by some other player, it’d be less of a horrible tackle and not as dangerous because the reputation of the player is not big enough to constitute a ban or even a discussion?

    That mentality has to change. This is a player’s career–their life, how they make money. Messi brought this out in the open (temporarily), but this has been going on for a while. Iniesta has also been targeted like this (Iniestabuse). Thong Boy, who I hate with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, has been as well. We’re fans, so we don’t experience this stuff, but it’s obviously an issue.

    All player should be protected, but it has to start somewhere. That somewhere should be the superstars, because that sends out a message (unfair, but so is expecting players to play on/stay on their feet so they can be hacked down and for them to be okay with the fact their suffering isn’t considered that important because people have seen worse. Umm, what?!) and fans and other players get at least some indication that they’re some kind of intolerance to dirty play. People will notice if stricter law are enforced on the superstars on the league.

    Again, I repeat that I don’t think Ujfalusi is a dirty bast**d. After all, there are plenty of defenders that do it. Ujfalusi is just doing what everyone does and haven’t been penalized for it, WHICH IS THE PROBLEM.

    Fans love players that play on or stay on their feet, but when those players get nailed by a tackle like this, they don’t feel like the offending player should be banned (although 12 games is a lot and knowing the Spanish FA and Committee, Ujfalusi would be unfortunate to see 4). These kind of out of frustration should be cut out. If it’s not going to happen, then they should be given bans. Simple as that.

    I might be my personal bitterness talking, but I hope the same fans who are saying this tackle is being blown out of proportion, or are tired of it, don’t complain about divers. After all, the players have to protect themselves somehow.

    Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this situation until the end of time.

    /end epic rant no one will read anyway.

    P.S: We’ll do fine without Messi. Personally, I just sad we have to be. Messi was always going to get injured sometime, but it sucks that this injury was 100% avoidable.

    However, I repeat, we’ll be a-okay with Leo, and if I’m honest, I glad he gets a break as he’s obviously exhausted. Sad that injury was the thing that got Messi into the stands. He’ll be back better and fresher than ever. And that makes me smile.

    • blitzen
      September 21, 2010

      “(unfair, but so is expecting players to play on/stay on their feet so they can be hacked down and for them to be okay with the fact their suffering isn’t considered that important because people have seen worse. Umm, what?!)”

      This is why I get so pissed off when people accuse Iniesta of diving. It is true that he goes down what some might consider a little too easily sometimes. He has to do it to protect himself because the rest of time he is targeted and kicked up and down the pitch. If the ref won’t protect him, he has no choice. No one wants to get injured.

      • Ryan
        September 21, 2010

        Seriously, after the World Cup final Iniesta’s legs were covered in bruises. And that wasn’t from falling down hard after diving!

  31. Mikel
    September 21, 2010

    I’m with Kxevin on this one, I think it was malicious and a chance to finally put some kind of stop to all the abuse Messi receives during games has been lost by not giving a harder punishment to the Czech player. Even Marca in an editorial was asking for 4 matches ban, and that is telling coming from them.

    What I don’t agree with is that Messi should be treated in a special way for being a superstar.

  32. poipoi
    September 22, 2010

    it’s like ujfalusi wanted to make messi rest for some months… yeah right.

    the guy has been sanctioned, enough has been said already. Just look of what happened in EE’s game after all the fuss for that single strong (but not brutal) foul. messi has been hit thousands if not millions of times, even what del horno did when he was in chelsea was worst than that. this is football, I love to dribble and someone broke my meniscus from behind I’d kill that dude but that is not form behind HE AIMS FOR THE BALL, he does touch it come on!!! Let’s not cry so much about nothing. I’m the 1st one to call hijoputa of anything louder to anyone if he wants to harm another player but that is a standard play IMO, the ball is between both players. the 92′ thing is what pisses me off though 😉

    what would messi say?

    • poipoi
      September 22, 2010

      and don’t look at still pics, there’s a take where you can see that ujfalusi actually touches the ball, so it could even not be a foul. let’s move on and take the oportunity to win without messi

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