Lions and Achilles and Xavis, Oh My!

I’ve been watching the miners emerge from underground and celebrating their survival. It would be hard for me to avoid it and it would be impossible for me to not feel happy about it. It’s one of those universal things: get trapped underground and everyone will root for your survival. The latest survivor, Omar Reygadas, clutched a Colo Colo flag immediately after being rescued. This sport of ours is big, eh?

Scene: Medical offices, Camp Nou. A man sits on a bed while another man sits facing him on a stool.

Dr. Ramon Cugat: Your Achilles is crocked, man.

Xavi: Oh. I wanted to train today.

Cugat: Definitely not! You can’t. Your Achilles has been torn in half. It looks like a lion had a nice, long go at it.

Xavi: So I can’t train today?

Cugat: I’m not sure you heard me. It’s like a weightlifter having no arms. It’s probably time to take a break.

Xavi: Wouldn’t the weightlifter just use his feet?

Cugat: No, no, I’m talking about you.

Xavi: You want me to use my hands? That’s against the rules, doctor.

Cugat: What? No. I’m saying–nevermind. Okay. Here’s the deal. Your Achilles is kaput. You can’t run on it for a while.

Xavi: Okay. Training today will be hard.

Cugat: You can’t train.

Xavi: Okay. I’ll go jogging instead.

Cugat: No! You can’t run!

Xavi: I…I don’t understand.

Cugat: Your Achilles is in the back of your ankle and you know how when you walk or run it hurts?

Xavi: Yes.

Cugat: That is bad. Got it?

Xavi: Yes. That is bad.

Cugat: So we’re agreed.

Xavi: Yes.

Cugat: Great! [He stands and opens the door] We’ll see you tomorrow to evaluate your progress. How does 9am work for you?

Xavi: I have training.

Cugat: Goddammit. [Begins to shut door, but a man steps into the doorway]

David Villa: Que tal, Doctor. Hello, Cugat.

Xavi: He says I can’t train.

Villa: That’s too bad, what’s wrong?

Xavi: He says my ack-ill-ease is hurting.

Cugat: Your ankle really does hurt!

Villa: Does my ankle hurt?

Cugat: How am I suppose to know–

Xavi: Dad always said to run it off.

Cugat: That doesn’t really work–

Xavi: But then Cugat here told me a little secret.

Villa: [eyes lighting up] He did!?

Cugat: I did?

Xavi: When a weightlifter has no arms, he uses his legs.

Villa: Brilliant!

Xavi: I know, right?

Cugat: I’m not sure you under–

Villa: Training should go much better today now that we know that.

Xavi: Absolutely. Also, I have to keep lions from biting my ankles.

Cugat: That part, at least, you should be able to handle.

Xavi and Villa: Not with Puyol around!

Cugat: Sigh. Okay, just promise me you won’t train today.

Xavi: Why not?

Cugat: Nevermind. Enjoy training.

Xavi and Villa: Seeya, Cugat. [they leave the room together]

Cugat: What did I do to deserve this?

Xavi: [peeks into room] Oh, hey, I almost forgot: what am I supposed to do about this pain in my ankle?


End scene.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. blitzen
    October 13, 2010

    You are very creative when you are bored! 😀

    You actually make a very serious point, though. We have players who are always desperate to play, and may need to be protected from themselves. One would hope that Xavi is intelligent enough not to put himself in danger, but there will always be this battle between prudence and desire to play, and that will only get worse as he gets older.

    Personally, I would rather Xavi sit out the Valencia game and give his tendon more time to heal. Villa I think will be fine to play and can be subbed out if necessary.

    • Miguel
      October 13, 2010

      i’d be for resting him against an almeria or levante, but not against first place valencia. i say we start him then sub him out for masch once things are under control, assuming we score that is.

      • blitzen
        October 13, 2010

        I would rather lose to Valencia than take the risk of permanently damaging Xavi.

    • Nik
      October 13, 2010

      Agreed. What’s worse:

      1. Losing Xavi for one game against Valencia


      2. Possibly losing Xavi for a larger chunk of the season?

      He’s been run ragged the past two years, and he isn’t getting any older. I say let’s keep him in the stands and rest him up.

      • Nik
        October 13, 2010

        I meant to say “he’s not getting any *younger*.”

  2. Philo Barca
    October 13, 2010

    Do we have a specific diagnosis of what’s wrong with the Achilles? It may be one of those chronic injuries (I’m thinking specifically of tendonitis) in which it matters less how much he rests right now than how often he plays/trains over the long term, like the Ledley King situation.

  3. Culer_Than_Thou
    October 13, 2010

    Isaiah, you should move to Barcelona and ask for a job with TV3 as a scriptwriter for Crackovia.

    Best part:

    David Villa: Que tal, Doctor. Hello, Cugat.

    Haha. Clinical.

  4. jnelson
    October 13, 2010

    niceeeee. Chameleon Eyes is awesome. it will suck not having him on the field against Valencia. if Villa is out too, then we have trouble. im expecting Bojan to do great things this season, so its GO time. after our last result, i think it is clear just how important Xavi is to our team. cant wait to see the game!

  5. Miguel
    October 13, 2010

    top notch, isaiah.

    “Also, I have to keep lions from biting my ankles.”

  6. Josep
    October 13, 2010

    Haha NOT WITH PUYOL AROUND. my favorite.. what’s Cugat mean? 😐

    Also, I don’t understand this.

    Barcelona has time until 31 January to inform Thiago that he’s promoted to the 1st team. If they don’t do that, he can leave for free. [ona]

    Whats this about?

    • October 13, 2010

      Ramon Cugat is one of Barça’s doctors and currently he’s the one discussing Xavi’s Achilles problem.

      Interesting about Thiago. Obviously we should promote him if that’s the case.

    • SV
      October 13, 2010

      Sounds like wild speculation by someone thinking he’ll request a transfer, rather then Barca actually having to promote him.

      • Jnice
        October 13, 2010

        Well, in his contract, there was something tied in about appearances with the first team and such. I think it’s more truth than rumor.

    • blitzen
      October 13, 2010

      Thiago has a contract until June 2011, so I’m not sure where this January date comes from. He also has a two-year extension clause that if activated would keep him until 2013. If it is not activated he could indeed choose to leave for free as his buyout clause would have expired.

      I suppose the fear is that if he doesn’t get promoted this year he might choose to go to a club where he could get more first-team experience. Possibly in Brazil, as he has a Brazilian passport as well as a Spanish one. IMO he would be a fool to leave, as Pep has clearly shown that he has faith in him and he will get a spot in the 1st team very soon.

      • Jim
        October 13, 2010

        Is it not the case that if his contract ends in June he is free from January onwards to talk to and come to agreement with another team? Still don’t see why this means we have to promote him in January.

      • Jnice
        October 13, 2010

        In his contract there was something tied in about first team appearances and whether he would actually stay on past a certain date. I forget the specifics, but, there’s some truth to these reports.

  7. Diego S.
    October 13, 2010

    Very Funny ! You should write more of those.

  8. Kxevin
    October 13, 2010

    So hey, we could be Liverpool. The potential sale today was blocked. If the club isn’t sold by Friday, it goes into receivership and gets docked 9 points. That would put them at -2.

  9. Jose
    October 13, 2010

    David Villa sent a signed Barcelona jersey to one of the trapped miners (Franklin Lobos, who’s being pulled out as I type). Lobos is a former football player who played for the Chilean Olympic squad, and later in his life turned to mining to make a living. Apparently, Villa’s father and grandfather were both miners in Spain.

    • Kxevin
      October 13, 2010

      And to the miner whose mistress AND wife were waiting for him to come out, Villa gave paid health insurance.

  10. Kxevin
    October 13, 2010

    Via Pep on Twitter:

    ZubiZa says “Suarez is an excellent player. Are we working on signing him now? No.”

    He also says that we won’t be active in the January window, except for possibly a B-Team promotion.

        • Kxevin
          October 13, 2010

          Eto’o and ZubiZa also met today to discuss the club’s continued association with Eto’o’s foundation.

          • DontPanic
            October 14, 2010

            Eto’o back on the training ground


  11. Spiro
    October 13, 2010

    i remember Thiago’s contract regarding his contract changing if he was to be promoted by the beginning of 2011. It was something along the lines that if he was promoted his contract extends otherwise it will expire.

    It is some weird clause, but again, i think it was kind of a motivation for the club to promote him, and it gives himself the opportunity to look elsewhere if we don’t want to promote him, rather than us wasting his time.

  12. blitzen
    October 13, 2010

    OFFICIAL: Xavi will not play against Valencia, according to Dr. Cugat.

  13. October 13, 2010

    Eto’o came, and Pep looked kinda dull when he was there to receive him. Those huggings look more like a show for the cameras around.

  14. SoccerMom
    October 13, 2010

    That’s so funny I could only think of Xavier Cugat, 1950s Cuban band leader extraordinaire. I have a picture of me with his Hollywood star. Just because I love the name ‘Xavier Cugat’.

    Isaiah I would rather spend time with your B-boys than the ones that run around on the field. My favorites are the risqué Piqué, boyish Bojan and Messi with his chucherías.

    Write On!

  15. Vj
    October 14, 2010

    Nice write-up as always..

    Oh and its Queenie’s Birthday today! Happy Birthday! Long Live the Queen!!

  16. Helge
    October 14, 2010

    Damn, he really did it!
    “From now on, only family in 1st and 2nd degree from members, children younger than 14 years and ex-members can become a member of Barcelona.
    Dia triste en la historia del FC Barcelona. La élite catalana toma nuestro club. No tots som el Barça.” (from Pep’s tweet)

    • y2k156
      October 14, 2010

      This i find really surprising considering that members contribute money to the company. Also short sighted. Sadly not a step in right direction.

    • blitzen
      October 14, 2010

      Interesting that this article hasn’t been posted to the English part of the official site.

  17. y2k156
    October 14, 2010

    btw, the Liverpool saga is morbid fun of first order. I feel sad for the fans as the club is being put through wringer. Though i cannot condone what GH did, they are fighting hard as they stand to lose over 100 million pounds. If i was in their place, i would do the same. In all, not a pretty situation.

    Still for a neutral like me, it is morbid fun.

    • October 14, 2010

      Not sure if their will be a president who may cause a permanent long term damage to his club as GH did. Oh wait!

    • Helge
      October 14, 2010

      You mean cannot condemn what GH did?

  18. Helge
    October 14, 2010

    Well, Liverpool is really screwed now!
    They’ll have to amortize a 270m € credit from the Royal Bank of Scotland until this friday, so actually tomorrow. But the court in Dallas starts the hearing of Gillett & Co. at the end of October. The way I see it, Liverpool will this friday definitely be penalized with a 9 points deficit…

    October 14, 2010

    when a club has debt(as we did)the boards had make munich is a club who has a perfect financial status.why?because they have the right persons in the right places.and they don.t spend money like us.they have their own academy and they buy very smart.and the permanent long damage maybe if laporta stayed knocked our door

  20. stowe
    October 15, 2010

    amazing! thank you. i had a nice laugh, especially with the puyol part

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