Yes, just because it’s a holiday here in the ‘States, doesn’t mean that we stop working. Here’s the news, Labor Day edition:
—Thierry Henry says in effect, “We’re bored and we’re clueless,” in one of the strongest statements yet against the regime of Ruh-Roh Dumbenech. To wit: Speaking to Domenech last Friday at France’s training camp, Henry was quoted by daily Le Parisien as saying to Domenech: “Coach, we have something to tell you. I am speaking in the name of the squad.
“We are getting bored during your training sessions. In 12 years with the French team, I have never been in such a situation.
“We do not know how to play, where to be on the pitch, how to organise. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working,” said Henry, France’s top scorer with 49 goals from 112 caps.
Wow. That’s heavy, because Henry is also squad captain. Imagine Puyol walking up to Guardiola and in effect saying “Dude, you suck.”
I will add, however, that it won’t do anything to threaten DB’s position, however, because we now know that the compromising photos that he has of France Football officials also involve a number of yak.
UPDATE–Henry and Dumbenech are now circling the wagons. Henry has now denied criticizing Les Bleus steward, admitting that “We had a discussion as often happens between a team and their coach but it was a rather constructive discussion.” Further, Ruh-Roh said, in a video update at the FFF site, that the atmosphere on the team and between the players and coaches is “super.” Yeah. Right. Whatever, dude. My view is that in light of the comments, and the FFF decision to keep Dumbenech, a couple of phone calls were made, and all is (in public, anyhow) good in the ‘hood. Because Le Parisien isn’t like Sport or EMD. They don’t make stuff up.
UPDATE–Oh, crap. The Robinho stuff just won’t go away. In his most recent comments to the press, he’s said “It’s not easy to say no to a club like Barcelona….they’re a great club.” He added that any player in his right mind would be giddy about the prospect of playing with Messi, Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Iniesta and Henry.
Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water. I’d still take Willian over Robinho. In two seconds.
UPDATE–Long-gone defender Gaby Milito has returned to Spain to complete his rehab. Surgery over the summer was successful, and he has had no further pain. But, being wary of the previous time, no real date has been set for the mop-topped defender to return to the squad. We have to cheer for his return, only so that just for one match, Guardiola can roll out the “Devil Horn” metal band back line, with Puyol on the right, Chygnasty and Milito in the middle, and Muniesa (the roadie) at left back.
—Joan Laporta in more self-contratuatory back-patting, said to newspaper La Vanguardia that “Frank [Rijkaard] lost his authority in the dressing room,” citing that as one of the principal reasons that he decided to take a shot on some dude named Guardiola. Apparently the reports of locker room dissent, players coming and going as they pleased and other training nonsense, were true. Heavy stuff.
–There is a very thoughtful piece over at Four Four Two about our plans to improve on perfection. Paul Simpson suggests that the wet blanket that Shakhtar tried to put on the proceedings in the UEFA Super Cup, and the way that we dealt with it, suggests that Guardiola is right in seeking to rebuild.
So Ibra comes in to pull defenders out, leaving space for Xavi and Iniesta to exploit, and we move closer to Total Football, and the 3-4-3 of Cruijffian fame.
A very nice read, even if he didn’t have nice things to say about Piquenbauer.
–Sporting director Jaume Ferrer speaks for all of us when he said to Sport, “Txiki Begiristain is now on a well-deserved holiday, but this must be done soon. Carles Puyol is a symbol of Barca. He’s a player who is part of the club and has always shown his commitment. He is a great professional.
“The technical staff should work to make sure Carles Puyol finishes his career at FC Barcelona.” Word.
And with that very thing in mind, club VP Rafael Yuste says, in effect, “Never you mind the natterings of stupid agents. Our talks with Puyol are going just fine, and will be done. We’re going to rock this shit, yo. Word.”
–Remember this name: Gael Etock. The legacy of Samuel Eto’o isn’t just goals scored in staggering numbers. He’s also ensured a flow of young African talent into the club’s youth ranks. Etock, who even wears the number 9, is one of those players. The 16-year-old Cameroonian is kicking ass and taking names, then burning the notepad. He’s even worked out with the first squad.
If you aren’t impressed now, you should be.
–The spectre of Robinho has been staved off, hopefully permanently, as the pouty Brazilian says that he wants glory in the Prem, not a one-way ticket to Barcelona. So shut it.
–$175,000 and a house for a kid’s parents were used as bait to sign French hotshot Paul Pogba, is the most recent allegation being leveled against Manchester United. What this shows, for those wondering what the hell this has to do with us, is that there are many levels of enticement in getting youth players in the ranks. You could, say, move a kid’s parents to Barcelona, and offer to pay for his medical services, in effect outbidding South American suitors for his services. And what if that kid grows into the best player in the world? Every big club has a similar situation. Chelsea’s actions are one thing, but let’s hope that this “young’un nabbing” witch hunt doesn’t get silly.
—El Mundo Deportivo says that Willian is still in the picture for us in January, because the left wing still needs buttressing for league duty (since he is effectively Cup tied). The Shakhtar Brazilian winger looked very good against us, and his price might be right. Don’t forget that Shakhtar Donetsk’s coach hinted that his club and Barca weren’t finished doing business.
—Marc Muniesa is even more one for the future, with the arrival of Chygnasty. But he’s okay with that, preferring to focus on being excellent with the B squad, and earning his way up with the big boys. Those of us who have watched him, know that arrival will be but a matter of time. “The important thing is to play and settle in the Barca ‘B’,” said Muniesa in Sport. Hey, a young player willing to wait his turn and do the work necessary to move up. How ’bout that?
–Quote of the day: “The problem in Argentina is not Messi,” said Johan Cruijff I know. Duh, right?
–And speaking of The Great One, Cruijff also says that Ibrahimovic has dramatically increased the possibilities that the club has as regards scoring and offensive structure.
–“Put me in, coach,” says Leo Messi in anticipation of Saturday’s match against Getafe. It remains to be seen what Guardiola does, but he is undefeated in six matches that come after a break, for Internationals or any other reason, with 4 wins and 2 draws. I’d guess that we might see Argy Bargy in the second half, if the match is in doubt.
UPDATE–In the “Lord, why won’t you make it stop” category, Aleksandr Hleb was talking to Chygnasty about his change of scenery. In particular, says Sport, His Hlebness said that Catalans are very patriotic, and that you would have to learn Catalan before they fully accept you, no matter what you do on the field. “The exploits on the pitch do not guarantee that they will accept him,” nattered Hleb. Perhaps not. But they sure help. And the fact that Chygrynskiy is already learning Spanish, something that you couldn’t be bothered to do, tells me that he won’t have any difficulties working in at our glorious club.
His Hlebness also admits that moving to Stuttgart was a step back in his career, but that sometimes you have to take one step back, to take two forward. Whatever, dude.