The Purity of the Pitch

To: Mr. Harvey Weinstein

President, Miramax Productions

Hollywood, California

Let’s bust that box office wide open! Soccer is the global wave of the fut-chah, and if we don’t surf it you’ll be less cool than Bristol Palin on Vanilla Ice. I’m tellin’ ya, Harve, this script is a killa of a thrilla!

The title is still ‘working’. I’m thinking ‘Qatar Late than Never’? ‘Qatar Off Dead’? ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Qatar’? Let’s go Bond … ‘Qatar of Solace’! Yeah!

We open in Zurich. (It’s a tease, see, ‘cause nothing underhanded ever happens in Switzerland. Especially with money involved.) At a big ceremony. Poo-bahs in fancy dress. A guy walks up to the podium … envelope, please … and the Globe goes to … Qatar! (Research says it’s pronounced ‘cutter’, but I think ‘guitar’ rocks harder, so it’s ‘guitar’ all the way through). And up comes the president? king? sheik, right, of Qatar (let’s get Andy Garcia) to accept. Lightbulbs flash! Flash flash!

On the way out Andy shakes the hand of Pep Guardiola (Sam the Eagle should be available). Sam shrugs. He’s a man tortured by conscience. We travel with Sam back to … Barcelona! Gwyneth loves Barcelona. (Can we get Gwyneth? Maybe as the flight attendant.) Sam meets with Boss Rosell (someone mentioned Jon Cryer but I like Duckie). Boss pats Sam on the back. Boss knows, and Sam knows Boss knows, and so we know that Sam knows Boss knows. But know what, see? That’s the hook.

At home Sam manhandles a jersey. It’s blue and red with ‘Unicef’ on it. Sam looks at a picture of himself with little, hungry kids. He pours himself a drink, and another … fade to flashback, back when Sam had hair. He’s playing soccer. In a big stadium. A big soccer stadium. In Qatar. Fans cheer. Sam goes into the lockerroom. Everybody slaps him on the back. (We better get Sam some kind of back pad.) He gets a phone call from Andy Garcia. Sam glances at a newspaper. The banner has his picture. And the word ‘Drugs’. A scandal! Sam hangs up and crumples the paper angrily.

A doorbell chimes in Barcelona. Sam jerks back to the present. It’s Johann Cruyff. (I saw Max on Syfy last night, the guy will do anything). The men sit in darkness. They mumble. Sam wrings his hands a lot, like Leo when he’s acting. Max hands Sam a picture. It’s Leo, but another one. A soccer Leo. Then he hands him another picture. It’s not Leo. But it looks like one. It’s a look-alike. It’s a pretentious, untalented, snarky, evil look-alike. It’s Dwayne from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’! Boss is going to replace Leo with Dwayne if Sam doesn’t play ball. Max puts a hand gently but firmly on Sam’s shoulder. Sam must do the right thing.

Back to Qatar. Where the nightmare began. Sam must save Barcelona … Gwyneth … those little kids … himself … from Dwayne. He wears dark glasses. He goes into an enormous beige palace, lots of extras and palm trees. He’s taken into a salon with ladies. It’s a Bond-like Lady Lair. (Research says we’ll have problems with the Anti-Defamation League but if we keep the dress gauzy but long it might work. Think ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ meets ‘Ishtar’.)

In the center of the Lady Lair (let’s backlight her at first) is … she steps into light … Sheika Mozah Nasser Al-Missned. (I’m seeing Sophia Loren from ‘El Cid’ but if she’s not around we can get Angelina.) She extends a beautifully-manicured hand to Sam. She is lovely and mysterious and speaks impeccable English with an alluring (throaty?) accent. Sam is charmed. Sophia presses a button. There’s lots of buttons and gadgets around. Sam spends a lot of time eyeing the gadgets when he’s not ogling Sophia. An oak panel slides back to reveal, in a hermetically-sealed case, the blue-and-red jersey. But ‘Unicef’ is gone. It says ‘Qatar’ (in English but with swirly Arabish letters).

Sam gasps in disbelief. Sophia pauses. Sam refuses. Sophia beckons toward a gold door. She presses a button. He follows, wary but intrigued. It’s a man cave draped in blue and red. Blue and red Christmas lights, party streamers, upholstery, carpet … and there, in the center on an ha-yuge ottoman, munching on dates and exclaiming loudly to a humongous HD state-of-the-art – no, hologram – television tuned to GolTV is … Andy Garcia. Wearing a Barça ‘Campions’ scarf around his head.

Suddenly Sam sees. Andy’s a fan, see. A fanatic. He even blogs about it. And he wants this team. He wants it as his own. And Sam owes him. So Andy owns Sam. Sophia retires. Sam hangs his head. What will he do? Those poor kids. But he really hates that Dwayne guy.

We’ve got a couple of endings for the test audiences in editing. We need some explosions and a chase scene. There isn’t enough sex, either, although Sam can get it on with flight attendant Gwyneth and maybe dream about Sophia. In any case, it’s a big boom boom. If we go arty, we can let Andy sail off into the horizon on a yacht while Sam goes to ruin on Las Ramblas. But if we want cash, we’re gonna need Max and Sam to strap on some AKs and take that chic sheik down. And if Miramax wants another Golden Statue, we’re gonna have to go for broke.

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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.

91 Comments

  1. soccermomof4
    December 14, 2010

    OK, that was funny…weird, but funny! And I needed to read something funny after wasting hours of my time watching Arsenal and my Ravens yesterday (what is it with the Ravens in the fourth quarter?).

    It’s a long wait until this weekend when we kick EE-lite’s bottoms.

    • soccermomof4
      December 14, 2010

      and I meant wierd in a good, dang but I can almost see that happening way, Soma

      • SoccerMom
        December 14, 2010

        Those red and blue Christmas lights were for you, Soccermom!

        • ooga aga
          December 14, 2010

          your brain is aMAzing. once i had a girlfriend with a knack for writing like you, she broke my little heart…

        • soccermomof4
          December 14, 2010

          Aw thanks, Soma!!!
          They’re on right now. I’m basking in the glow of blaugranafied Christmasness. Life is better now that I’ve replaced the red strand that stopped working(husband can no longer accuse me of supporting Chelsea).

  2. BA
    December 14, 2010

    Sam the Eagle as Pep Guardiola?

    brilliant.

    though the thought of it attempting intercourse with Gwyneth Paltrow is terrifying.

    • BA
      December 14, 2010

      i have to say that Jon Stewart’s characterization of Joe Scarborough as Sam the Eagle probably holds more merit on character, however.

  3. blitzen
    December 14, 2010

    Surely this should be a musical? We could get Coldplay to do the soundtrack, they’ll probably do it for cheap if we get Gwyneth.

  4. Kari
    December 14, 2010

    SoMaestra’s awesomeness crashed the system!

  5. blitzen
    December 14, 2010

    It’s back! I was having serious withdrawal symptoms. Never do that to me again! *shakes fist at the internet gods*

    • Kari
      December 14, 2010

      Let me guess before clicking: It’s Iniesta and the bear right?

      …Yup. Thought so.

      But this is THE best bear-man ad ever.

      /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVS1UfCfxlU

      Heck. Yeah.

    • blitzen
      December 14, 2010

      Yeah I knew it would be Andres and the Bear. They should make it into a whole series. I’d watch it! 😀

    • Auld Super
      December 14, 2010

      I enjoyed that even though I didn’t understand a word.

    • Miguel
      December 14, 2010

      “duckie.” hehehhe. i <3 soma so much!

      kxev, i posted that on tim stannard's la liga loca article today, which is actually a pretty good read.

      *http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2010/12/14/how-one-little-logo-rocked-barcelona-and-left-johan-cruyff-fuming.aspx

  6. Zain
    December 14, 2010

    Amazing article !

    Off topic, but with Alves’ contract negotiations going on, have you guys noticed how he seems to be playing more and more in a midfield role lately ? I mean, his evaluation of wages is stuck on whether he should be paid as a defender or not, right ? Do you think its a statement from his part or rather Pep’s orders ?

    If its something that he has decided, i really hope that it does not cost us a goal with him being out of position against better sides. What do u people think ?

    • beeeef
      December 14, 2010

      i don’t mean to offend, but do you watch Barca play regularly? generally when the team plays like they did last weekend, you’ll see dani occupying that wide right position constantly, and than track back on defense when the situation warrants it. barcastuff had a stat that dani alves has something like 1024 touches in the opponents half, which is astounding for a rightback.

      sometimes he’ll play more conservatively though, like against real madrid. but generally he defies the definition of being a ‘defender,’ as he contributes so much to the attack.

      amazing player.

      • Zain
        December 14, 2010

        No offense taken. And yes, I do watch Barca play regularly. I think i have not missed a match in the last 4 or 5 years.

        I understand what you mean, but i should have been more clear. When i say midfield, i mean the central part of it. Not referring to the wings which i know no one can rule better than Alves.

        But if you notice, lately Alves has been making a lot of Xavi-esque passes from the CM area and has been getting quite a few assists too. So was wondering about that.

        • beeeef
          December 14, 2010

          good point. the alves-pedro goal immediately comes to mind against whoever it was (i’m lazy).

          but i don’t know if tactically his game has changed very much. or at least i haven’t noticed anything.

          he seems to mix it up considerably with runs out wide looking for that pass to get behind their d line, but also capable of the one, two, touch tiki-taka stuff in and around the box (messi’s first goal this past sunday).

    • BarcaFan(BiH)
      December 14, 2010

      Good point you raise. The answer to your question is: He won’t ever cost us a goal. Unlike Sergio Ramos who gets caught out of position more times than he changes his underwear. There is a clear difference between Dani Alves and Sergio Ramos. Dani Alves is so much better that I do not remember the last time he was at fault for a goal. Dani Alves is the best right back in the world, and people say that he is a bad defender but that could not be further from the truth. He is excellent at defending, and even though his strength lies in providing width and in attacking, he almost never makes a mistake in defence and never ever does he neglect his defensive duties nor does he ever get caught out of position. That’s the difference between the best right back in the world and the rest.
      So, to answer your question: No we should not worry about him being caught out of position against better sides. It won’t happen.

      • Patrick
        December 14, 2010

        ‘No we should not worry about him being caught out of position against better sides. It won’t happen.’

        It does. Less now, as he is usually more conservative against stronger sides.

        I think the trick with Dani is that he is fast enough and willing to run very very hard when he is caught out of position, so it never seems like he is gone wrong. Also our center backs are much more accustomed to covering for wingbacks going forward than other teams’, so while Dani is often out of position to make defensive stops you don’t notice because Puyol or Pique is there, with Busi/sMasch often filling the hole in the middle of the defense.

  7. Vj
    December 14, 2010

    Speechless..

    Well not exactly, the writings top notch.. Maybe Crackovia might pick up on it?

    And Puyi looks like he’s been watching too much of it..
    .http://twitpic.com/3fv09v (via bracastuff via Carles5Puyol)

  8. NouBarca
    December 14, 2010

    Its official, Gai has signed for City.. Whats your tot on this guys?

    • momo
      December 14, 2010

      Meh… Too much talent and success at the moment to worry about that.

  9. Atomix
    December 14, 2010

    Great post as always SoMa. I’ve been trying to gain access to the site 4 sometime now but couldnt. Maybe my web connection was having its own day off.
    By d way i hear our last match with real sociedad was d last time we’ll be having the club world cup crest or badge on our shirt.Is this true. I wont want inter to win the CWC becos i can well imagine mourinho boasting that he made that happen.

  10. Kxevin
    December 14, 2010

    Johnathan Alter is reporting that every member of the World Cup committee got a 10m “legal bribe” from Qatar, via Twitter. Imagine that.

    • Patrick
      December 14, 2010

      Want to define “legal bribe” for me?

    • Patrick
      December 14, 2010

      Bah. Whatever. Fun thing about money these days is its easy to track.
      Somebody’s gotta pay taxes eventually. Not paying the taxes on a $10m gift is probably punishable by most governments stronger than actually taking a bribe would be lol.

      • Jose
        December 14, 2010

        We are talking about Switzerland though, Patrick 😛 lol, we’ll see.

        It is worthwhile noting that Qatar had locked up *exactly* half (11) the number of votes available from the first round and no more.

        • Kxevin
          December 14, 2010

          It’s also worth noting that Alter is a serious journalist, who writes for Newsweek. He’s also a suspicious (and real) reporter, who wouldn’t Tweet something that could get him and his publication sued.

          We’d have to define a “legal” bribe (donation to a committee member’s FA?), but I don’t think anyone is shocked.

  11. Auld Super
    December 14, 2010

    See Leo coming out again today saying how happy he is at Barca and in Catalonia. What a joy it is to have this guy at the club, not only is he an amazing footballer but a real genuine guy too unlike someone else he’s often compared to.

    • HY
      December 14, 2010

      Today is Messi and Barca’s 10 year anniversary. May there be 10 more!

  12. IS
    December 14, 2010

    Another SoMatastic read!

    Off-topic: I just finished my first season of FM2011 with Barca winning El Triplete and beating EE@Wembley on penalties after SMasch got sent off 10mins into the game 🙂 Feelin’ rather Pepish right now…

    • IS
      December 14, 2010

      Oh, and to add to that off-topic bit, Messi’s been injured for 5months (broken leg) and Villa got injured 15mins into the game. Plus I’d just recovered Xaviniesta from long-term injuries. Quite hectic really

      • IS
        December 14, 2010

        Oh oh, and there were 2 goals ruled off-side ‘questionably’

        The End

      • Jose
        December 14, 2010

        Maybe you when selecting a physio team you accidentally checked the Arsenal box?

        • Jnice
          December 14, 2010

          Go to Brazil and look for physios.. they have the best ones.

          Check out a guy name File and a guy named Otavio de Vilhena.

  13. beeeef
    December 14, 2010

    english translation of cruyff’s column. guess where he stands on the Qatar sponsor issue 🙂

    *http://www.totalbarca.com/2010/news/cryuffs-corner-‘tainted’-jerseys-no-thanks/

    courtesy of @barcastuff

    • Kxevin
      December 14, 2010

      Someone Tweeted today that Rosell has said if he gets a lot of flak from the Assembly, he will reconsider the deal. Don’t know how true that is.

      • beeeef
        December 14, 2010

        i thought the whole thing is already a done deal. as in ink to paper, no looking back now.

        or is there some sort of clause where we could potentially back out? i’m not familiar with the intricacies of the deal at all.

      • poipoi
        December 15, 2010

        is it posssible to look back? anyway if it happened qatar found. still would have to pay something for all the fuzz with their name in the press all day.

        it’s been long since I came here (what is this captcha thing?) We are living in paradise after al Clasico to me it’s been like a Barça overdose, searching foreign news videos and stuff. I’ll go to the posts about the deal with qatar and come back here have no clue about it but .

        …. DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE IN OUR JERSEY? real madrid, so they can get the world to see those 2 words close to a trophy 😀

  14. Jnice
    December 14, 2010

    Revista De La Liga 12-14-10

    *http://hotfile.com/dl/89469202/8b37fa5/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_14-12-10.avi.html

    or

    *http://www.fileserve.com/file/uaaArMk/Revista De La Liga – 14-12-10.avi

    or

    *http://bitshare.com/files/mm7wpbp4/Revista-De-La-Liga—14-12-10.avi.html

    Courtesy of Pakman at fbtz.com

  15. Eklavya
    December 14, 2010

    Yay the site is back! Peanuts all ’round!

  16. December 14, 2010

    – SoccerMom posts are too intelligent for a “Barely know English” like me.

    – Johnathan Alter is reporting that every member of the World Cup committee got a 10m “legal bribe” from Qatar, via Twitter.

    Even Thompson, the FA representative in the ExCo who -ironically- voted for Russia (the worst bid technically as they say)?

    – “Rosell has said if he gets a lot of flak from the Assembly, he will reconsider the deal”

    But we signed the deal already. So…Rosell will tell the Assembly that he doesnt mind to cancel it if the members take responsibility of paying the penalty of breaching contract which will lead the club to Bankruptcy (or so he claims)? Sound “fair.

  17. Colby
    December 14, 2010

    A quote from that LLL article:

    ‘“The economic situation at the club is worse than we imagined,” gloomed Rosell at the formal presentation of the deal on Monday. “We have to do this to pay the salaries.”’

    Is this a flashing red light to anyone else? This is the most basic political power move ever. You create fear, and then use that fear to assume more and more power, explaining everything that you do as “necessary.”

    HAVEN’T ANY SOCOS SEEN STAR WARS?!! (Or for that matter, know any history whatsoever…)

    • December 14, 2010

      In the post I wrote today, numbers indicate that this sponsorship can barely make any difference on the club economy and its commercial logic is paper thin.

      • mei
        December 14, 2010

        I hate the sponsor idea.
        But suggesting that the most expensive shirt sponsorship deal in the world is of no importance , well that just sounds bizzare.

        • December 15, 2010

          Check.Numbers.

          Beside, it is not even that expensive when you put it in the right perspective.

    • Jose
      December 14, 2010

      I think most people already thought, back in the day where Rosell was declaring a “financial crisis”, that this was not only a move to throw mud at Laporta, but to set the stage for his own plans at Barca… in particular a shirt sponsorship.

  18. Kxevin
    December 14, 2010

    Boo! to captcha. But our IT guru says that spam was killing us, which is worse than captcha. So must we still captcha if replying to a comment which spam bots have a hard time with.

    • Helge
      December 15, 2010

      Mmh… I’ve not seen any spam comments here, there was a time when theoffside was flooded with spam (after you’ve left), but I didn’t experience any spam problems here. Maybe it’s hidden for my IT amateurish eyes ? 😉

  19. mei
    December 14, 2010

    wait a minute this was actually a real bear in the ad with iniesta???!!!
    *http://www.divshare.com/download/13507606-360

    • blitzen
      December 14, 2010

      Was that an Iniesta doll he out the bear to bed with? Should have been a gusliuz! 😀

  20. GREECE BARCA
    December 14, 2010

    Well a friend of mine was in the game against sociedad.There was some people against the deal but the majority was ok with that.I believe in some years we will see big changes in our club.I was afraid of that from 2003.

  21. GREECE BARCA
    December 14, 2010

    I want our shirt clean like all of us.But not only the new sponsor out,also unicef and TV3 and nike.

  22. GREECE BARCA
    December 14, 2010

    Ramzi it is your opinion.Your are a clever man and you now how to make tricks in your posts.

    • December 15, 2010

      So as Rosell…So as Rosell…Its up to you to pick the trick that match your taste.

  23. blitzen
    December 14, 2010

    Oooooohhhhh!!!!

    I got a translation of the Iniesta/Bear ad:

    “We met each other a year ago, by accident, and since then, we’ve been inseparable.
    We share a house, friends, and hobbies.
    We share happy moments (world cup shot).
    We accept each other through the good and the not so good.
    But, there’s another way to take care of your best friend…
    This is our first Christmas together, and I’m going to surprise [the bear]
    If you have someone very special…this Christmas, the best gift is Gol Television.”

    😀

    • cita
      December 14, 2010

      Did you also see the other Iniesta & bear-friend video? Also quite, quite adorable! (thanks to the folks at TotalBarca!)

      *http://youtu.be/uV3MhghcK7s

  24. Kari
    December 14, 2010

    What is this CAPTCHA thing?

    Oh wait, nevermind.

    Well, at least this means people will think twice before they post something. Or let’s them edit their comments. #lookingonthebrightside

    • Miguel
      December 14, 2010

      never!!!

      bojan’s imaginary girlfriend:
      *http://www.sport.es/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=44&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=732709&idseccio_PK=803

      • Kari
        December 14, 2010

        Resistance is futile!

        –Poor Bojan. Why do they always pick on the cute and cuddly ones? 🙁 😛

  25. Miguel
    December 14, 2010

    does this mean we don’t have to put asterisks or ampersands or whatever the &*#$ before hyperlinks anymore?

    • mei
      December 14, 2010

      Dont think so.
      Its more likely that on the fly comments , as a reaction to match incidents will take more than just typing fast “to get there first” :
      Paying attention to the captcha thing and filling its box accurately.
      Otherwise youre just gonna get the fail message, like me (twice!) while trying to write this one.

  26. blitzen
    December 14, 2010

    If you haven’t seen Crackovia this week, you should. It features C!Xavi, the origins of his trademark move, and Retro!Pep with hair (plus Van Gaal). Also, Guti meets Cruyff, which is way more awesome than it sounds. And after some slightly inappropriate rendering of the Qatari delegation, we get to see Rosell wearing a sandwich board. LOL!

    I love me some Crackovia, 😀

      • blitzen
        December 14, 2010

        *crackovia.tv3.cat/videos

        It’s in Catalan, mostly, but you can usually figure out what is happening. There are some English-subtitled clips on YouTube if you search for them.

      • Miguel
        December 14, 2010

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKSyeOFiBc

        &

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c68PkKlumxE

        i think the whole episode is up on youtube, too.

  27. vicsoc8
    December 15, 2010

    In response to the discussion about whether or not Alves gets caught out of position:

    With how high up the pitch he plays in most games, it is inevitable that he will get “caught out of position”. However, with the frequency with which we hold the ball this happens a lot less than it could. Pep also utilizes several tactics to ensure that it isn’t a problem, such as encouraging his centerbacks to move wide when we have possession and sometimes employing three at the back to ensure this can happen. Alves also mitigates the danger with his pace and often frantic runs back to defense (and he’s quite skilled at stealing the ball while tracking back).

    Philosophically I wonder if he could really get “caught out of position” due to the fact that with our tactics his role is very high up the pitch and the squad compensates for it with the tactics. When the other team plays the ball in behind him, is he really caught out? or is he in the position he is supposed to be?

    Regardless, I think his advanced role makes it very important for Pedro to play on the right in big games. Pedro’s willingness to track back provides a safety outlet for Alves on the right, and really decreases the risk of having Alves so high up the field.

    I have no love for CAPTCHAs, but at least these ones aren’t long or hard to decipher.

  28. Miguel
    December 15, 2010

    victor valdes needs to take one out of tp mazembe’s goalkeeper’s book & celebrate goals like this:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCCa73lmlXw

    you’ve gotta root for them to take the club world cup.

    • Helge
      December 15, 2010

      Well, I’ll definitely be rooting for Mazembe in the final, and for Seongnam today!
      Mazembe has written history, but I doubt that they are a real match for even this off-form Inter. It would be unfair if Inter wins the tournament without facing the South American champion (I still believe that they are stronger than Mazembe, prolly had a bad day and Mazembe the day of their life).

  29. barca96
    December 15, 2010

    From Barcastuff
    “Cesc (to Pique): “If you’re alone I can come and keep you company, want me to help with the tree? Your fans are waiting… Let me know! Moc”

    What is up with these two??
    They kinds give me goosebumps from the way they talk to each other 😆
    Some heavy bro-mance going on with them.

    Btw is Shakira really Pique’s official gf?

  30. K(legit)
    December 15, 2010

    Thanks Jnice for the links..I was really looking forward to this Revista

  31. Goo
    December 15, 2010

    From Barcastuff: Barcelona don’t rule out selling Iniesta in January or next summer. Valued at 100M, Man City would be the only possible buyer. [yahoo]

    If that happens I just might personally kill Rosell.

    • Vj
      December 15, 2010

      Weird, I had a dream last night that we sold Iniesta to EE ala Laudrup and they spanked us 5-0 next season..

      Add me to the accomplices..

      • barca96
        December 15, 2010

        Count me in.
        We can be the Fanstatic 4 or the A-team 😆

  32. December 15, 2010

    When you read words so greatly written, you can’t seem to use the same thing to express what you feel about that piece anymore. but its deep, its inspirational, metaphoric… i cant go on… SoMa defies the ultimate barca literary style.

  33. barca96
    December 15, 2010

    Guys check out this site
    **http://totallygoats.wordpress.com/
    It’s from a Barca fan

    Oh and that commercial of Iniesta with the bear is hilarious and cute.
    Is that for GOL TV?

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