Parsing Dani Alves, aka “Defending the indefensible”

So here’s the video, and some thoughts to go along with it, all for free.

Twice this week, Barca have had players resort to playacting in an attempt to affect the outcome of a match. First, in the Champions League tie against Copenhagen, Pinto simulated the sound of a referee’s whistle in a successful attempt to put off an onrushing attacker. It worked. The rush stopped and the goal that almost certainly would have been scored, wasn’t. That bit killed Copenhagen’s best scoring chance, and an opportunity to put us in real danger.

Then on Saturday, Dani Alves acted as though he’d been coldcocked by Mike Tyson after the lightest of touches by a Zaragoza player, going down in a head-clutching heap. Zaragoza went down to 10 men, and suddenly had even less than no chance in a match that pitted a last-place side against one of the best clubs in the world.

After the Pinto incident came to light, I Tweeted that the sportsman in me was appalled, while the cule in me uttered a surreptitious giggle. But for me, the Alves incident is something different.

In a burst of sudden knowledge, aka “Welcome to the world, Captain Dumbass,” I realize that not everybody has been here since the beginning. So they don’t know that I subtract a point from any player’s rating in instances of diving or simulation. Alves played to a 5 against Zaragoza, but got a 4. I’ll clip an excerpt from a comment by Jim, that pretty much sums up my worldview:

but as I said on the Liveblog I can’t even begin to defend Alves’ actions. To me its not about the red card matching Villa’s which I thought was a tad harsh but you can see why the ref made the decision. It’s about how we behave as a team. He was hardly touched, it resulted in a sending off, it was cheating in a deliberate way which has nothing to do with the rough and tumble of a normal match and it contributes to a growing impression that we are a team of prima donnas and divers which may eventually come back to haunt us.

Note that when Busquets was definitely fouled in the box, no penalty was forthcoming. Does Busquets have a rep? You bet, and not one that I am very fond of. I’m sure everybody remembers my vitriol after he got an Inter player sent off during the Champions League semi-final last season. But I also noted in the review that I wonder if some of that sort of behavior is self-defense against the rough play that we so often are forced to deal with during the course of a match, as teams decide that the way to control us is to bruise us.

But I don’t think that Alves was doing that. I think he was trying to get a player sent off, and succeeded. And I just can’t countenance that, for all the reasons that Jim stated above, along with some of my own. First and foremost, we don’t need to do that to win.

Now, Alves is like (for you NBA fans) Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons. Laimbeer was a guy who flopped, tugged, kicked, punched, lied, cheated, did whatever he could to influence a basketball game in ways beyond his shooting and scoring. NBA commentators often said that opposing fans loved to hate Laimbeer, but would applaud his being signed by their team. Alves is exactly that kind of player.

He’s also the kind of player that the sporting side of me abhors, which is why I always subtract a point when he does That Alves Thing.

So let’s get the facts out of the way. Was he made contact with by the opposing player? Yes. By rule, is that kind of offense a red card? Yes. As Zaragoza coach Jose Aurelio Gay said, “Perez Lasa has done a demolition job on us. He has strictly applied the rules against us but we have lost out. There is nothing to say, but it was Zaragoza’s aggression.”

But sometimes, a referee doesn’t need to apply the rules exactly. Sometimes, a player doesn’t need to playact. Sometimes, another player doesn’t need to be stupid. Leonardo Ponzio, sore vexed at Alves, had any number of places that he could have given him a right smart thwack and not gotten red carded. An elbow to the kidney, the tried-and-true trip, you name it. But he went high, which was stupid.

Does his stupidity excuse and justify what Alves did? To my eyes, no. Because as I said, we don’t need to win like that. But my view is just one side of the debate. Another side says that if you’re stupid enough to give a player a shot at simulating something, then you deserve what you get.

Is there any difference between what Pinto and Alves did? No. I can’t think of one. Both affected the outcome of a match, both were unsporting, both were done with deception aforethought.

Now the other side would say that gamesmanship is part of any sport, that the actions of Pinto and Alves are no different than waving an arm, or yelling as an opposing player attempts a shot in an effort to throw off his concentration. That to be successful, gamesmanship requires the complicity of a willing dupe. Sartin could have ignored Pinto, kept on running and scored the goal. It was clear that the linesman’s flag wasn’t raised. Ponzio could have tripped or elbowed Alves, yielding the same effect, only without the red card. Neither happened.

Now, what say ye?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

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. barca96
    October 24, 2010

    But I do think that a red card was needed in order to calm the Zaragoza players down. They were very aggressive from the get-go. Sliding here and there. It had to stop at one point. Notice how Ponzio’s team-mates didn’t even react after the red card was handed out because they wouldn’t be surprised if a punch was thrown.

    With that said, I was sick to my stomach after seeing the replays. And I felt that Pep should’ve taken Alves out to protect him.

    We had a rollercoaster week.
    BAD-Pinto whistle
    GOOD-Club comes out with comments regarding the fake interviews
    BAD-Alves playacting

    October 24, 2010

    kxevin nice post!personal i want my team always win fair!without help from refs,cheating,diving e.t.c but every player has his personality.pinto made something unfair but funny!alvez something whatever we say that.s real life people do more dirty tricks to win a girl,a job or money!

    October 24, 2010

    and off topic i feel sorry for feyenord sumpathy to them.very hard result.

  4. barca96
    October 24, 2010

    On the CDR match I think most of you are missing a point. We are playing an away match. It’s not a good way to throw too many inexperienced youngsters in. Let us finish the match ASAP and let them play the 2nd half and the HOME match where they will have a great support.

    Adriano Fontas Abidal Maxwell
    Keita Smash Thiago
    Pedro Bojan Jeffren(forgotten one)

    HOME tie when it’s all done and dusted

    Adriano Bartra Fontas Maxwell
    JDS Smash/Oriol Thiago
    Nolito Bojan Jeffren(forgotten one)

  5. Diego S.
    October 24, 2010

    “Sartin could have ignored Pinto”

    His name is Santin.

  6. Hilal
    October 24, 2010

    Interesting post. I must say that I despise diving, I really do, especially when it doesnt benefit the team. Nothing is more horrifying to me than seeing a player roll around on the ground while the opposing team regains possession and goes on a break. It is something that Alves in particular has been guilty of several times in the past.

    That being said, diving is a part of the game, whether we like it or not. Just like being dirty is a part of the game, and I dont mean straight fouls, I mean dirty little kicks to the shins and little elbows here and there. Things that the majority of our players get all the time from opposition players.

    The problem is that in football you dont get rewarded for being honourable, so the players have to do whatever they can to get an edge in a game. If a player tries to stay on his feet in the box no way he gets a penalty, if he goes down and rolls around a bit then he just might. If Alves had not reacted the way he had well then maybe the player wouldnt have got a red. Does it make it right? Not really, but then again the player shouldnt be trying to whack Alves in the ear, no matter how light the contact was in the end. MOST players play act on the pitch, some more than others, but most do it to a certain extent. Opposition players do it to us ALL the time, in addition to being aggressive and dirty, they also dive, timewaste, etc.

    The way I see it, its all part of the game and you have to take the good with the bad. We wont get any rewards for playing pretty football so if we have to get ugly sometimes then so be it. Other teams do it to us so we sure as hell should do it too.

  7. vicsoc8
    October 24, 2010

    There is a huge difference between what Alves and Pinto did. The difference lies note in the outcome of the actions, or in the intention of the two players, but rather what precipitated them to act that way.

    The event that caused Pinto to choose to whistle was a Copenhagen player getting through the defense, which is a perfectly normal, acceptable, and within the rules occurrence in the game.

    The event that caused Alves to choose to play act was the illegal, unsporting smack he received from an opposition player.

    The difference is that Pinto instigated/began the unsporting behavior, while Alves was responding to dirty, unsporting behavior with some of his own. I for one can never back Pinto’s actions – to instigate unsporting behavior is not something this club should be doing, or should ever be proud of.

    Alves’ actions are a bit more of a grey area for me. While I don’t condone playacting, I worry about the consequences of taking the high road. If opposition teams know that they can grab, hit, kick, etc our players while the ref isn’t watching, and get away with it, then they are just going to continue to do it. I don’t like watching Alves playact, but I’m willing to accept that it might be necessary to ensure that team can’t do these little dirty tricks to try to get an advantage.

  8. Kari
    October 24, 2010

    Pinto and Alves’ situations are different IMO. What you said was true, but Santin had another chance with an open net that he headed wide (when he had the whole left side of the goal to aim at). Zaragoza, on the other hand, can’t get a player back. Different.

    I found the Pinto incident hilarious and it just adds another story to his forklore.

    I’m a bit torn over the Alves incident. Overall, what Alves did wasn’t cool with me at all because it doesn’t reflect well on the team. However, I do think having a player like him on the team is necessary in modern football. We bought him from Sevilla knowing this is part of his game. Ponzio was an idiot to do what he did, and of course Alves is going to make the most of it to help his team (and we did thankfully take full advantage).

    October 24, 2010

    just a question!how much games have alvez lost in the 2 seasons until now from injuries..the guy is a beast..i forgive him for all the bad crosses and cheating..and don.t forget!he is brazilian!they likes tricks!

    • barca96
      October 24, 2010

      I love Alves too. He is irreplaceable. But the last comment you made gave me a feeling that Kxevin will leave you a reply.
      FYI, people don’t work 16 hours in Singapore. And there are no sweatshops in Malaysia Isaiah.

  10. simple_barcafan
    October 24, 2010

    Pinto must have been really good in whistling to imitate a refree’s whistle..that too from so far of!!! 😀

    October 24, 2010

    i was talking about pakistan.singapore was for another case. child abuse..some stats:alvez played 115 games for us(team total 134)9 goals 31 assists.just for the record.

  12. Diego S.
    October 24, 2010

    Pinto and Alves’ situations are different IMO.

    I laughed at what Pinto did and admired his creativity, I’m not saying I condone such a behavior. It was illegal and denied them a scoring chance. Punishment is deserved.

    In the case of Alves, Ponzio gave him the excuse and allowed him to use it. He could’ve waited during a corner kick and did the casual shirt tugging or even using an elbow or pushing with his hands. But He hit him in his ear and it showed in the video. Doesn’t matter if it was soft or hard. Villa’s red card was deserved. Although the player aggravated him (he was trying to get the ball), He hit him without the ball which is a straight red card. Ponzio could have fouled Dani when he had the ball much more aggressively and received a yellow. After the ear smacking, If Dani kept standing and retaliated, Ponzio would probably fall to the ground. Ponzio hit him without the ball = RED CARD !

  13. BA
    October 24, 2010

    Dani Alves is a cheating little prat. we knew that when we bought him and he’s not changed. while some people might not feel his cheating is acceptable, surely nobody (at this blog anyway) can pretend to be surprised.

  14. jnelson
    October 24, 2010

    I don’t think the referee would have even called a foul if Alves hadn’t gone down, and therefore I’m not too bothered by the incident. Hitting someone in the head is WRONG. With all the shirt tearing (see victims Pique and Ibra last season) and De Jong/Ujfalusi/Pepe/Drenthe tackles out there, we have to be thankful we get any justice ever. Sure, Dani exaggerated, but without that, the foul would have been one of many unjustly punished. Just because you are frustrated does not mean you can resort to violence.

    The Pinto incident was hugely different in my eyes. I view that as cheating, straight up. Then again, just how effective is whistling? Thousands of fans do it every match. Is the referee’s whistle one that has to be mastered? haha. Just how different was Pinto’s whistle from that of a referee? Pinto was not far from the fans, and I’m guessing a whistle from his direction sounded like it came from his direction and not the ref, who almost certainly was behind the attacker by some distance. Another good point is just how can Pinto whistle with GK gloves?? For a strong whistle, don’t you need at least two fingers? I find this whole incident confusing, but overall the intent to cheat was there.

    On the other hand, aiding in the sending off of a player deserving of being sent off is another thing in my mind. Speaking of that, did anybody see after Lafita brought down Alves some other Zaragoza player kicked him with the ball and stand over his head?? Lafita got the card, but where was the one for that douche? It is against the rules to intentionally kick a player with the ball with the intent of doing harm to them. The play was long dead before that kick IMO.

    • October 25, 2010

      To answer one of your points: I whistle very loudly without my fingers (and in fact don’t know how with fingers). I can do several different tones as well, so it’s not inconceivable that Pinto can do a ref’s whistle. I can’t do anything even remotely resembling a ref’s whistle, but I have also never practiced it so I’m not sure if it’s possible or not.

  15. justsayin'
    October 24, 2010

    Did Pinto cop to whistling hoping to confuse the opponent? If so, I see that as unprovoked and deliberate but I guess it’s not against the rules. Not a nice way to behave, not a nice example to set or way to change the outcome of the game but not illegal. More morally wrong than legally. Perhaps, Pinto was whistling at one of his defenders to get their attention. Hard to say without Pinto’s corroboration.

    Alvezs’ actions were provoked. He may have made a meal of it, but the opposing team cannot hit another player in the head (no matter how light it may seem) as retaliation after a play. Period. There are consequences for bad behavior and one of them may be that the guy you smack over-reacts and you get a red card. It’s a chance you take.

    • Jnice
      October 24, 2010

      “Did Pinto cop to whistling hoping to confuse the opponent? If so, I see that as unprovoked and deliberate but I guess it’s not against the rules. Not a nice way to behave, not a nice example to set or way to change the outcome of the game but not illegal. More morally wrong than legally. Perhaps, Pinto was whistling at one of his defenders to get their attention. Hard to say without Pinto’s corroboration.”

      Exactly. I don’t see how UEFA even has a case without him admitting to it.

  16. majatt
    October 24, 2010

    Pinto shouldn’t have whislted…but since he did he didn’t need to puff out his chest, that was just dumb.

    Alves was pathetic and I think should get a one match ban *shrug* but he won’t so whatever. I hate the diving nonsense, we get just what we deserve when other teams flop about.

    Between alves and busquets and occasionally iniesta (tho to a much lesser degree and busi seems to have cleaned up alot this season) we have 3 too many divers.

    • Jnice
      October 24, 2010

      One match ban? Yes he exaggerated, but the man that should be receiving most of the criticism is Ponzio. Why put your hands on a players head?

      As for Pinto, I don’t see how UEFA can charge him with anything as they have no actual proof that he actually whistled. Winked and pointing to the bench doesn’t mean anything if the ref didn’t hear the sound come from his mouth. I don’t even understand that investigation.

  17. Luna
    October 24, 2010

    I remember in my early years of competitive basketball, a defender whistled a foul, which I certainly believed because another defender hit my back as I was going up for a shot, an easy lay up, despite the knock, and I hesitated and my timing was off, resulting in the ball being lost. I looked around incredulously. Obviously no one to monitor this but my coach yelled her head off at me, you always finish, no matter what. THis is the oldest trick in the book, ALWAY FINISH NO MATTER WHAT. I couldn’t help but be reminded of this with Pinto’s incident. Not saying it’s ok he did it, but a lesson I learned early on in my sporting career.

    • October 25, 2010

      The only problem with the “always finish no matter what” point is that in soccer, you get a yellow card if you ignore the ref’s whistle.

      • October 25, 2010

        You get a yellow card for unsporting behavior. Like many other laws, a lot is left to the referee to determine what exactly is unsporting.

        Watch other games. You’ll see players finish breakaways without being yellow carded. In fact, the only ones you DO see are where it is obvious the player has understood the whistle yet still plays.

        • Luna
          October 26, 2010

          yup exactly and in this case obviously no yellow

  18. Spiro
    October 24, 2010

    I don’t like diving, but i don’t have to hate it so much, its part of football these days, but what makes it worse is that everyone seems to talk about ‘incidents’ way too much instead about the game as a whole which to me is more important, every player in the pitch has intentions to do whatever they can possible to win, whether its good or bad, as long as they don’t get caught. We can sit here and point every little detail of Alves, but the biggest aspect is that he is an integral part of the team, his work load is extensive, a lot of people talk too much about his so called exaggeration, but not as many opponents like to target Puyol or Pique as they do to Busi and Alves, because when other teams start to scratch and bite behind the scenes that shows that Alves and Busi or whoever are doing a good job performance wise.

    on another note, anyone notice the b-team are getting more media time on the barca website, b-team news feature more on the home page, now they have photo’s of the b-team matches in the photo gallery. Interesting. Looks like Barca B are starting to steal the first team limelight lmfao

  19. TrueCule
    October 24, 2010

    Well, its not right to say that just because Zaragoza players were so rough and brutal, a red card was necessary or Alves’ playacting is justified. What would you say about C.Ronaldo at Madrid. He dives a lot but can’t be excused just because he is really fouled more often. It should be upto the ref to see that the game is played fair and he should know how to handle the off-the-book incidents, especially if ‘lesser’ teams try to unsettle a better one by such constant fouling and physical approach, as has been the increasing trend nowadays.

    • barca96
      October 25, 2010

      Would you rather Alves play acting for the Zaragoza players to receive a warning or do you want to wait until one of our players are injured?

  20. October 25, 2010

    An interjection by a Madrid fan.

    To say the player should have continued after the whistle is not valid. As we all know, if a referee blows his whistle and you continue on goal to score, or even just shoot, you get carded. As funny as the Pinto incident was, lets look at it this way. What if it happened to you? Would you be laughing and making excuses if say Messi was going through and then stopped bcz of a whitle? I doubt it. I know i wouldn’t be laughing.

    As for the Alvez dive, this puts you in a situation similar to the one i see myself in. If a player dives against my own team, i really can’t jump up and down yelling for justice. I have Cristiano Ronaldo on my team and he is ready to dive over a breeze created by a butterfly landing on a flower 8 miles away. Welcome to that group, even though this is not the first time this happens with Alves. And the Busi incident last year is not a big aid in that department.

    I guess what i need to say, to every goodness there is some evil. As Real Madrid is known here to be the Evil Empire “EE”, its interesting to see the inner cule that “uttered a surreptitious giggle” see how evil comes with every club.

    Then again, Its real madrid and Barcelona, our job is to hate each other. Its what makes it interesting.

    Haven’t seen Kevin over at my blog in a while, so lets just say this was my drop of a hello.

    • barca96
      October 25, 2010

      8 mile? Fantastic! LOL!
      Drop in more often.

      • TrueCule
        October 25, 2010

        That was some confession.. ManU fans never accepted that Ronaldo ever dived while he played for them! Glad you came here. Some injections of ‘foreign views’ will be good for us and this blog.

  21. jaymin
    October 25, 2010

    The whistling goalie was extravagantly attempting to halt the unimpeded attacker; that said one free on goal must play always beyond the whistle, risk a yellow, and go for goal. Ridiculous that the Copenhagen guy stopped, and fair play to the goalie, denizen of that peculiar community of cynical shot stoppers who enliven the days of millions of disengaged youtube geeks every day:

    As for Alves, he is a (expletive), and Barcelona is good enough that it doesn’t have to resort to that. In the rijkaard era I imagine this sort of thing emanated from the coach, a spitting cynic, and in this Guardiola thing, I am sure Pep will speak to him. Busi is less of a female canine than prior to the UCL semi incident last season, and I’ve no doubt that’s due to Guardiola’s consequent ripping him an extra orifice and imparting thereunto some of the class he exudes.

  22. Eklavya
    October 25, 2010

    I say we desperately need a better line than “what say ye?”! Common Kxevin you’re the monsieur journaliste!

  23. sheena
    October 25, 2010

    I don’t know. On one hand, if another team’s player did that to us, I’d be furious. But thing is, EVERY PLAYER dives. It’s more or less a part of the game. If the player (can’t recall his name) didn’t smack Alves, none of this would have happened. So who’s to blame? Dani, who did what any other footballer in his position would do, or the player that smacked him?
    If you’re going to commit a foul, you should be prepared to face the consequences.
    Similarly, if Pinto recieves a 2 match ban for the whistle incident, then fine. If you’re prepared to break the rules, you damn well face the music.
    All this being said, I don’t actually have a problem with Pinto whistling the player. I just think that he should serve the appropriate punishment. That is all.
    I don’t need our footballers to take the highroad and pretend that they’re morally superior to everyone else. At the end of the day, everyone wants to win, and they’re going to do whatever it takes to achieve the result. A game in which the players were too firmly rooted in moral values to bend the rules to help their team win wouldn’t interest me. Sorry.

    • Jim
      October 25, 2010

      That’s actually an interesting point. Given the same tap to the head how many of our current first team do you think would have fallen to the ground poleaxed? My thoughts?

      Alves – every time and wouldn’t get up till the death certificate was issued !
      Puyol / Pique / Abidal – no way
      Busi – yes, if Pep wasn’t watching 🙂
      Masch – yes
      Keita – nope
      Xavi – no way
      Iniesta – sadly, and it pains me to say this, possibly.
      Messi / Villa / Pedro – no

  24. Dr. J
    October 25, 2010

    I hate playacting but i can’t help but think of a potential situation that could have evolved had Alves not gone down:

    Alves stays up, continues the play and next time he clashes with Ponzio he takes his sweet revenge. Now what do you think happens then? My guess is Ponzio goes down like a bag of bricks and Alves gets red-carded.

    And that is a very plausible outcome – just check out Marchena vs. Malaga (can’t remember the player) incident.

    I would ban all cheating players (Pinto, Ronaldo (that dive against Milan was pathetic), Alves etc. for conning (or trying to) the ref) but when push comes to shove I’d rather have one of our players get someone a (deserved!) red card then react in any kind of standing up to the other guy that might make him get sent of.

    It’s sad but it’s the way football is today.

    But as I sad – make me the chief of UEFA, FIFA or whatever and the cheating players will get bans just as the red-carded ones do. 😀

  25. Eklavya
    October 25, 2010

    Nooo! The video is down! I didn’t see the match and was going to see the video right now but its not there anymore! 🙁

  26. Cesc Blanc
    October 25, 2010

    call it “roja directa por ser un tonto” (red card for being dumb)

    that deserves a red card. That Alves made a meal of it, oh well.

    Btw. I was a big fan of the Knicks “No Lay-Up” rule in the 90ies. Overall, I was a big fan of the Knicks. But that’s off topic.

  27. TrueCule
    October 25, 2010

    Bring in some Barça Nation language: ¿Qué hablás tú?
    I’m an Indian, speak just Hindi and English, but have learnt some Catalan/ Spanish only for the club which is so deep in my heart.

    • TrueCule
      October 25, 2010

      Bring in some Barça Nation language: ¿Qué hablás tú?
      I’m an Indian, speak just Hindi and English, but have learnt some Catalan/ Spanish only for the club which is so deep in my heart.

    October 25, 2010

    from what i read hleb make a good job at bermingham.i start to agree with kxevin.maybe he must stayed the summer.and the president of asturian federation made a bad comment about pep.good reaction by the club.

  29. blitzen
    October 25, 2010

    I actually object to the description of what Alves did as “diving”. Diving is when you simulate being fouled. Dani was genuinely and cynically fouled when the ref wasn’t looking. Smacking someone in the head is a red card offense no matter how you look at it. Give me one good reason why Dani should have let Ponzio get away with that. Did he exaggerate the contact? Probably, but then I haven’t had surgery on my ears, so I have no way of knowing how much that smack hurt. Did he make a meal of it? Definitely. To an embarrassing extent? Yes. But I can’t fault him for going down. If Ponzio was stupid enough to do something like that, he should pay for it, just like Villa had to pay for his moment of madness.

  30. Culer_Than_Thou
    October 25, 2010

    All said and done, here’s what the Indefensible has to say in his defense:

    “People are saying I’m an actor, well maybe I’ll give up on football and go into the theater. He assaulted me and it’s a clear red card. If Jesus Christ wasn’t liked by everyone. I’ve got no chance.”

    Can’t argue with that, can you?

    October 25, 2010

    leo has scored 93goals in 150 liga games.but the interesting is that the 46 goals are in away few strikers in history scored in away games as in home games.also nando quesada and deulofeu played the three games of spain under 17.nando scored 2 goals.muniesa,gomez,roberto and rafa alcantara played with under 19!oh and wenger wants a 15old kid from our academy-i will not say what i believe for you arsene,i am a gentleman!

    • Lev
      October 25, 2010

      Hey guys how is everybody?
      been gone for a while now I’m back in the cut. As long as Wenger keeps poaching 15 yr old from foreign clubs’ academies gunners should say nothing (NOTHING!) about barça wanting Cesc back.

      And yeah Alves made a meal out of it, but there was contact. Kinda on the fence about this one. Biggest issue is that if our players go down to easily it will come back to bite us in the butt in the big games – as in actual fouls not called because of certain players’ reputations.

  32. Kxevin
    October 25, 2010

    So I watched the WC final again (and no “water closet” jokes, you Euro smartasses! 😀 ), and does anyone remember the potential career-ender that Van Bommel laid on Iniesta about 20 minutes in? Man, that was a nasty, nasty challenge in a nasty, nasty match.

    • Kxevin
      October 25, 2010

      More WC thoughts: Villa is playing for us exactly as he played in the Final, folks. Egg-sactly. Right down to the offsides and shots into the side of the net. He and Krkic need to go see a voodoo priest, and get their mojos worked on. Because when those two start scoring, we are off to the races.

  33. Stephen
    October 25, 2010

    well we’ve got claws under the white gloves… we’ll be fine though, it won’t always work, and when it does we reek benefit, see the Athletic game when Ibrahimovic scored that entirely non-existent penalty when Xavi was “pushed” in the area. All the teams do it, we need admit we won’t always be the good kids in la liga.

  34. Kxevin
    October 25, 2010

    Uh, oh …. this just in. Not sure as to the veracity, but presumably the agencies have records of hirings, etc.:

    Spanish football champions Barcelona used private detectives to spy on several players in 2008, according to weekly magazine Interviu on Monday.

    Interviu claimed that former Barca president Joan Laporta hired an elite private detective agency to check on the private lives of Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o in the spring of 2008.

    When Pep Guardiola took over as coach from Frank Rijkaard in June 2008, he said he did not want any of the three to continue at the club.

    Ronaldinho and Deco were immediately sold off cheaply, to AC Milan and Chelsea respectively. In 2009 Eto’o was pushed out to Inter Milan, in part exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

    Interviu also claimed on Monday that the same detective agency was used to spy on young defender Gerard Pique, straight after he returned to Barca from Manchester United in August 2008. No evidence of an inappropriate personal life was found – and he has gone on to become the defensive linchpin for Barca and Spain.

    The revelations of Interviu should be seen in the context of the bitter feud between Laporta – club president from 2003 and 2010 – and Sandro Rosell, who took over the presidency from him four months ago.

    Rosell claims to have uncovered serious financial mismanagement and uncontrolled spending under Laporta.

    • stowe
      October 25, 2010

      so what does that mean for the team now?

    • blitzen
      October 25, 2010

      Remember also that this is coming from Interviu, a magazine that is famous for publishing nude paparazzi shots and gossip-mongering in general. I would want to see hard evidence before I believe any of this. Any any private detective agency that wants to stay in business wouldn’t be releasing its records to the press. That kind of negates the “private” aspect of it, no?

  35. Culer_Than_Thou
    October 25, 2010

    Too much opacity and dictatorship in this democracy.

  36. stowe
    October 25, 2010

    The video is back up now. And i thought that looked pretty painful. ears are sensitive. Ponzio was dumb, thought he could get away with a quick foul. His hand was moving pretty fast so there’s no way of knowing how much contact was made. was there another closer angle available that i didn’t see?

  37. ooga aga
    October 25, 2010

    it’s true, a little hand smack to the ear can really hurt and disorient you, depending on how its done. we only have that one far-away image of the incident. they usually have like 5 different angles of everything. anyway im ready to move on…

  38. nemo
    October 25, 2010

    Ponzio is an idiot. And by the way, its NOT THE REFEREE WHO CARDED HIM. The ref had his back turned.
    But Ponzo was too stupid to realize that the linesman can call 
    fouls too. Alves did overdo it but there is no doubt the right call 
    was made.

    People should learn how football is played and refereed.
    You do not punish a player based on how severe the hit was (it wasnt), you punish them for intent. You can swing at someone and miss and 
    still be carded.

    Ponzio could have fouled in during the play and even broken something a la Nigel de Jong but instead he lacked self-control and 
    intelligence to know when and where to do it.
    He deserves a card for being stupid.

    Alves deserves a tampon for his behaviour but in no way does it 
    diminish the foul of stupidity.

Leave a Reply