Dani Alves Drinks Your Racist Milkshake, He Drinks It Up

High Kick!

Dani Alves gets a lot of flack. Some Barcelona fans want him to shut up and sign his contract extension already. Commentators and fans think he dives and whines too much. For some reason, the Brazilian managers seem to believe Maicon is a better option on the right. I guess they haven’t been awake since the middle of the World Cup? And finally some fans seem to think he is a monkey of some kind? This morning, The Spoiler reported that our lovable Dani reported in an interview that he regularly hears racist taunts from fans in opposing stadia. To quote the man:

“Unfortunately, I have learned how to live with it. Every match the crowd goes after me. They insult me, call me monkey.”

“I don’t give it a lot of importance. I think you are only offended if you make a big deal about it. My family gets sad. They complain, but I try to distance myself from it.”

“They punish the clubs sometimes, but it’s uncontrollable. It will never end.”

This is unacceptable.

Look, I am not going to insult either of our intellects and pretend that racism is gone from the world today, or even from industrialized nations. It most certainly is not, as the above quotes go to show. We also know that our ex-striker, and still fan favorite, Samuel Eto’o has consistently suffered racism from Spanish and Italian fans throughout his time in the professional leagues. The most famous incident in Spain was against Real Zaragoza where Samu became so upset, he threatened to walk off the field, before eventually being calmed by Ronaldinho, Rijkaard, and the referee. Then last year, Samu was the victim of more awful comments from someCagliari fans who began racist chants at the beginning of the match before the referee halted the match and warned that further racism would result in a match suspension. Thereafter, other, more organized Cagliari fans chanted loudly to drown out the racists and Samu scored the game winner.

Thierry Henry has also suffered from racism throughout his career, and has spent a good bit of that professional career fighting racism and leading FIFA to make attempts (although in my opinion they are entirely in word only and have no real backing) to stamp racism out of the game. Famously, Luis Aragones horrifically referred to him as a “black shit” in a training session and Henry became an outspoken opponent of racism in football, starting the “Stand Up Speak Up” campaign with Nike.

However, these high profile incidents have apparently not done the trick yet. Racism remains an undercurrent of the game that affects many players, from the largest leagues of Europe, to the smallest ones in Africa and Asia. It should be seen as an abhorrent practice to all fans, firstly because it shows the worst, most ignorant part of humanity, and secondly (way behind the first part), because it makes all fans look bad. The fact that it is happening to some of our current and former players should only make it hit home more, and give us more cause to call it out when we see it.

Right now the only thing we can do is to make it publicly known that we know this is going on, that we openly and outrightly oppose it, and that we will not stand by it. If other Barcelona fans make racist comments, we should and will call them out for their ignorance. This goes beyond a shirt or a club, it’s about humanity and attempting to banish it from the game, period. We must bring this to the forefront so that we do not forget that it still happens and it still affects players and many fans who surely suffer the ill affects as well. As fans of a club that, in some ways, has taken steps to stop racism, we should feel proud, but we must go farther in our actions by making it known to everyone and taking a stand. I wanted to keep this brief and I hope that our fans and readers who have suffered from racism will let it be known so that we can out those who are doing it, at stadia and everywhere else. They should receive lifetime bans from stadia, clubs that allow it continue should be sanctioned with empty stadium matches and financial punishments, and players who are a part of this should be suspended for as long as possible. There are no excuses here. Differences between the races have long ago been proven false and the idea of eugenics is a scientific mockery.

I’ll simply leave you with the wise words of Spurs manager Harry Redknapp:

“That is disgusting – there’s no place for that in the game. Surely we can’t have that sort of behaviour now? Anyone who does it should be put in prison – not banned from football. Stick them where they belong, in the nut-house. It’s wrong.”

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe

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156 Comments

  1. Lev
    February 9, 2011

    As for Luis Aragon calling Henry a negro de mierda during a training, so what? I don’t know about Spain, but I live in South America and here everybody refers to each other based on their physical caracteristics. People, whether they are friends or complete strangers, will call me “catire” (blondy) or “gringo” (even though I’m not), just like they call others negro/a, or gordo/a (fatty), flaco/a (skinny), etc. It can be used positively or negatively but generally it is just that, someone is fat so at the store they ask “how can i help you, gordo?”, without anybody taking offense.

    Of course, “negro de mierda” is offensive but not because of the referral to skin color.

    While I am at it, leave it up to me to piss everybody off, but Alves is right – why pay them any attention? The biggest reason for their chants are to take the opposing players out of their game. Is it really that much different from a stadium full of people singing that one’s mother is a whore? Or the referee an *hole? Or Wenger a pedophile (that one makes me giggle though, I must admit). It is just the racial element which makes people more sensitive.

    In Holland we don’t do monkey chants, nor would I participate if they did because I think it is stupid, but like the man said:

    “You are only offended when you make a big deal out of it.”

    Very true.

    • February 9, 2011

      I cannot begin to find the words to express the vehemence with which I disagree with this comment.

      Aragones was not referencing any characteristic when he labeled Henry, other than his own hate. You can (and should) pay attention only because we miss an opportunity. Hate speech is learned behavior. Children don’t hate children of another skin color until they learn this behavior.

      Is punishing racists going to make racism go away? No. Is punishing them going to eradicate it from the game or their hearts? No. But it can plant the seeds in younger fans’ minds that maybe, just maybe, this is wrong, and why is their black player different than my team’s black player? And maybe in the future it does go away, because people learn not to be hateful. Hate a player because he sucks, or will kill your club in the match.

      But racism can’t be excused by saying “You are only offended when you make a big deal of it.” Racism, and racist assaults, verbal or physical, take away a bit of your humanity. And for the record, I’m not just black by avatar, I’m black in real life. And I have had to put up with racist crap, without even getting into what my forbears had to put up with so that I could enjoy my nice job at this great newspaper, without fear of ever not having the opportunity to acquire said job, solely because I’m black.

      Racism is vile, oppressive and spreads its tentacles into every facet of life. Chants at a football match become beatings at a local pub, become votes for a rightist candidate become the election that changes a country.

      And insults are very different, precisely because they usually aren’t true. If someone calls Wenger a pedophile, facts support the nonsense of the allegation. And pedophiles can stop their behavior. A black player can’t stop being black.

      If someone makes monkey chants at Alves, it isn’t an insult. It’s an attack on his humanity by labeling him sub-human. In America, for so many decades, I would have been considered 3/5ths of a person. At what point does the modern world actually become modern? Every incident drags it back in time. Nobody should be even remotely tolerant of, or accepting of that.

      You can’t scoff at that, and say “Oh, it’s just how things are, or how we do things where I come from in some situations.” If I come from a country where kicking someone in the balls is an acceptable salutation, does that mean that it’s okay when I go to another country? No.

      Yes, acceptability is defined by cultural norms. But I don’t think that it should be acceptable in any way, shape or form, to take someone’s humanity like that.

      Finally, if it didn’t bother Alves, he wouldn’t have mentioned it. And note that he said that it makes his family sad. Is that okay? I just don’t think that it is. And note that he said “I TRY to distance myself from it.”

      We can give words power by our reaction to them, this is true. But it doesn’t make those words any less vile, or hurtful to their target(s).

        • outerspacedout
          February 9, 2011

          100% agree with Kevin’s comment. I make the same argument when people say Muslims whine and act victimized or that we should just ignore it- the argument that ignoring racial abuse or not calling out against it, not stopping anyone you know or see in real life or the internet who says it and correcting them, not punishing it in public places through media/public outrage or legal action, whatever- ends up condoning it or implicitly saying its not such a big deal. Same for racism or sexism or homophobia. Yeah sure people who already have a viewpoint of hatred may not change just cos people tell them off or the media condemns them or they get legally punished, but for kids and young people growing up it is a thing where social acceptance builds it. If you can make homophobic comments and your friends laugh and agree with you, you’re more likely to end up a homophobe, if your friends or adults or whoever tell you off immediately and shame you or point out how gays or Muslims or black people or women are just as equal and just as human then you’re more likely to fall into that view. And that people who generalize and give stupid notions to us is essentially taking away a bit of our humanity- comments on Yahoo threads I see on every news article (which is why I don’t read the news there anymore, or at all, cos it inevitably ruins my day) have stuff like comments on news about Afghanistan war developments that go ‘good, the more Muslims killed the better’ and reports on civilian deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan like ‘And isn’t this a GOOD thing?’ or ‘Oh they’re Muslim right? Who cares, all the better’ and they GET THUMBS UPS. And comments like ‘if any of them come to my neighborhood I’ll do this or that’ or people delighting in or supporting news where any Muslim or even remotely linked to Muslim as in Arab world or central Asian country person going to any harm, like a civilian raped by soldiers or whatever. It makes you sick. And it makes you think if this online hate, for example, won’t spill out. Won’t a bully at school who participates in such discussions online be more likely to attack a kid in school who is of the race/people they spew that hate against, or be less likely to intervene in or spot or call out against any cruelty done to a girl or boy from that race/religion, or more likely to tacitly condone it the way they wouldn’t for someone else, cos that person is being dehumanized in the minds of these people?

          And yes I know that for some people racism itself is just an alien notion so I see where Lev is coming from too. Like where I come from, people are very disingenuous in terms of looks. One cousin may look sort of African and the other may be milky-white and slightly Asian looking, and everyone is one way or other. People refer to people being dark and people being this or that and cos where I grew up we never had ‘races’ and we were all one race (as in islanders who have been here for centuries) but looked so different, I never thought of a concept of people who look one way being a certain race so I didn’t ‘get’ it as much in terms of the sensitivities of race issues. When I went to Malaysia and went to school with people from tons of countries, the Asians make tons of jokes about our racial stereotypes including physical stereotype jokes and the other races also said the same banter, and the same for Chinese folks, and the black guys who were my friends called each other the n word and greet each other like ‘yo n—- wats up’ but one of them blew their top when I used the same greeting. So I only even slightly ‘got’ racial stuff after I moved to Msia. So I guess in Lev’s culture also the racist meanings of stuff being so and so and all that just isn’t there.

          Did this comment make any sense? I think I had two or so points at the heart of each paragraph but I also think that my delivery of them was more rambling than coherent.

      • Lev
        February 9, 2011

        But Kxevin, just like Wenger is not a pedophile, black people aren’t monkeys.* It is just the racial component about the insult that causes people to be more sensitive.

        But I personally would prefer to be called a monkey than a pedophile. I guess maybe that is just me.

        I think that at least part it stems from a sports culture in which a lot of behavior is very extreme in comparison to American sports. I have been to baseball stadiums where there are signs telling people not to cuss or they will be removed from the stadium.

        When Kluivert was 19 he caused a car accident in which 1 or 2 people died. The next game he played against the rivals, the whole stadium made car crash noises whenever he touched the ball. Did they make those noises to insult each and every person who ever lost somebody in a car crash? No, they did it to throw him off of his game, because “everything goes” when you want your team to win.

        Is it right? No. Is it stupid? Yes. Is it funny? I thought it was, but I am quite immature sometimes. Never thought monkey noises were funny, just stupid. Precisely because often it is symptom of something larger, namely racism. But often just as much to screw with the opponents’ players’ head – why else would they do it if some of their own players are black, too? Loved it when Eto’o mimicked a monkey after scoring the goal, I forget against whom. That pissed them right off.

        Please note that I am not condoning racist chanting in the stadiums. They are insulting to a lot of people I know, both in my family and amongst those I have long counted as my closest friends. But there are racist people in every society – just like every single human being is prejudiced to a degree (if anyone thinks they aren’t, check yourself). You can’t ban idiots from the stadium. You can’t ban racists from the stadium, either. The best way to react is to either like Alves, do not give them any importance, or like Eto’o ridicule them.

        As for Aragones, there is no way for you to judge whether Aragones’ “negro de mierda” was a comment made out of hatred or not. It could very well be, but unless you know the man all that you can go on is your interpretation and the meaning that you think is behind his words. If Henry were American he might have said este “gringo de mierda”. Wouldn’t necessarily mean that he hates Americans.

        Maybe he just said it to get a rise out of his player. So what? I often played soccer with all immigrants and people might say “you let this f***king white boy get the best of you?” whether they were on a friendly basis with me or not. You think they said it out of hatred? Naaah dude, sometimes words are just words and there is no ill will behind them.

        If Aragones, or anyone else for that matter, thinks that people are less because of their skin color or believes that people of a different race should not have the same rights and opportunities, then he is wrong and I will be the first to say so. But I can’t make that judgment just because I read in the newspaper that he said the word “negro”.

        Btw acceptability is very much defined by cultural norms. I often have this discussion with some of my English students and they find it very hard to believe that when translated things like “fatty” or “black” could be considered offensive in North America. Some thought the word “nigger” was a normal word to address a black person with. They simply didn’t comprehend the concept of a racial slur, nor did they understand what could possibly be offensive about it.

        Anyway, I hope you don’t take offense to anything I have written about this topic today, because I definitely do not mean to offend.

        *If anything, monkeys have thin lips (like white people) and have more hair on their bodies (like white people) lol

        • blitzen
          February 9, 2011

          You can’t ban racists from the stadium, either.

          No, but you can ban racist bahaviour. And that’s a good start.

          • Lev
            February 9, 2011

            The problem is, how do you ban it? And then what is to stop a group of people entering your stadium to sing racist chants so that your team gets in trouble?

          • blitzen
            February 9, 2011

            You already mentioned one way:

            I have been to baseball stadiums where there are signs telling people not to cuss or they will be removed from the stadium.

            Racist behaviour results in being removed from the stadium and the perpetrators being banned. Bans are already enacted for other sorts of trouble-making, so this is really a no-brainer. Your team won’t get in trouble as long as the reaction is swift and unambiguous.

          • Lev
            February 9, 2011

            btw I am against banning those chants.

            If anything lead by example (I like what Luke said about the Cagliari fans cheering so loud that the monkey chants could no longer be heard!), or like I said ridicule them like Eto’o, but do not put them in the victim role by banning them, don’t make them feel so important.

            Besides so many people say no to racism, but behind closed doors amongst friends you find out that they are even worse than the ignoramuses who aren’t afraid to show their true colors outside.

          • Lev
            February 9, 2011

            sorry blitzen i replied before i read your reply. If we we are not successful banning fans from burning the stadium seats, smuggling scooters into the stadium to throw down on the spectators below, or generally kicking opposing fans’ brains in, how successful will we be in banning certain songs?

            The U.S. has a very different sports culture than we do. You can go to a game and sit among the home teams’ fans while wearing their rivals’ jersey without a problem.

            U.S. culture and society is more violent than ours but in sports they are more respectful than we are.

          • outerspacedout
            February 9, 2011

            Aforementioned point about how public shaming or public outrage against racism/sexism/whatever may not change the entrenched views of people who already strongly have such views and hate such people, but it is important in how young people or people who don’t really have an opinion on it end up forming their opinions.

            It’s like how if your friends laugh and insult homosexuals whenever you make a homophobic comment, you’re more likely to become a homophobe as in someone who has an entrenched dislike as opposed to someone who makes a homophobic comment and their friends shun the idea or argue that they are human just like anyone else or such a thing, or where society disapproves and so on. That IS how racism became so well less nowadays in places like the US compared to sixty years ago, or part of how atleast, cos the social disapproval and pressure meant that racism wasn’t an idea that by and large flourished in young minds or an opinion chosen by people without a strong opinion. Cos as Kev said, its a learned behavior. And social acceptance is how its learnt- people don’t sit a kid or teen down and tell them ‘you hate this person or that type’, they pick it up where it is expressed in a society so the less it is expressed and the more it is condemned the less likely it is to floursih.

        • February 9, 2011

          You’re trying to stall a contention with literalism. To say that Wenger isn’t a pedophile just as black people aren’t monkeys is, prima facie, a notion that obfuscates the fact that monkey chants are fundamentally and indisputably racist, i.e. “blacks are sub-human.” There is no excusing that, or wrapping it in semantics. It is what it is, and what it is is disgusting.

          And Alves doesn’t discount them. When something makes your family sad, as a member of that family that becomes important to you. I do think that he is struggling to not let the idiots win by giving their stupidity power, but don’t think for an instant that he doesn’t give it importance. That would mean that he doesn’t care about his family, right?

          I don’t do ANYTHING based on race. For me, saying “You let that white boy beat you” is unacceptable, because it implies many things:

          –Blacks are natural athletes and whites aren’t, so anytime someone white defeats anyone of color, it’s an aberration against nature, because the one thing that those sub-humans can do, is athletics.

          –The defeated black person must do whatever he can to restore his racial honor. Hard foul? Sure. Anger? Fire it up baby, because you just got beat by a white boy.

          No matter how you slice it, that isn’t right in my book.

          It’s also a reaction rooted in eons of ignorance. Are all blacks athletic? Of course not. So any race-based suppositions or expectations of athletics are bound to be found wanting.

          Words are NEVER just words. Words carry context. Once your students find out what words that can become slurs mean in their contextual sense, it becomes clear to them, I would hope.

          And sorry, but I can’t just LOL about something that is fundamentally horrifying to me. There is no rational explanation for racist chanting, other than hatred. Wanting to get in a player’s head doesn’t excuse it, particularly when nobody is explaining to the children present what is going on. To them, the black player is a monkey. And if the black player is a monkey, why isn’t the black kid in their class also a monkey? Thus, racism becomes learned behavior.

          Said kid goes home and tells his parents that he got it trouble at school for making monkey noises at a black student, and the parents mutter about too much political correctness, and that “those people” should just relax, because nobody means any harm. Which is nonsense.

          In the Kluivert incident that you mentioned, that is reprehensible behavior. But it assaults his judgment not his fundamental humanity. The difference should be sufficiently clear that I needn’t explain it.

          As for racist chanting, the solution is simple enough. First offense is noted, second offense stops the match and forfeits to the offended team. Period. Will this stop racism? No. Will it get it the hell out of stadiums? Yes, and at least that’s a start.

          • Luke
            February 9, 2011

            There is no excuse for racism in any context. Referring to any other person as a subclass of humanity based on skin color is the most abhorrent practice I can think of. It leads to genocide, institutionalized racism in government, and all sorts of other actions that will put a pox on humanity well into the future.

    • justsayin
      February 9, 2011

      Wow, Lev. Just wow. I probably shouldn’t waste my time responding because people with your mind set, normally aren’t open to other points of view, but I’ll be quick. Racism breeds hatred, it’s destructive and it devalues people. It is absolutely unjust for someone to vilify and terrorize another person for their selfish amusement. Lev, take a look at what you wrote and get out of your comfort zone that allows you to think that name calling is okay. Teach your children that name calling is wrong and we should judge people on their merit as a human being. I challenge you to confront your fear of what you don’t understand and to overcome your ignorance with knowledge and kindness.

      • Lev
        February 9, 2011

        Wow, justsayin. Just wow. I probably shouldn’t waste my time responding because people with your mind set either….

        Racism breeds hatred, it’s destructive and it devalues people. I agree 100% and if you read closely there is nothing in my posts that would disagree with that.

        Nor did I write that it is just to vilify and terrorize another person.

        The only thing that you somewhat interpreted correctly is that I said that in some cultures “namecalling” is okay. Meaning that if I go to the store and I say “¿que hubo negro?” (what’s up, black?) or “¿que tal gordita?” (how are you fat girl?) there is absolutely no offense meant and no offense taken. The same way that when people see me they yell ¡gringo! or ¡flaco! they don’t mean any disrespect by referring to my physical characteristics.

        But, and excuse me for my strong words, who the hell are you to imply I do not judge people on their merit as a human being. That I have to overcome my ignorance with knowledge and kindness. You do not know me, so you have absolutely no idea on how I judge or treat people, or how I raise my children.

        Fear of what I don’t understand? Dude growing up I partly understood Arabic, Turkish, Papiamento and Sranang Tongo because of all the different cultures and races I hung out with. And a whole bunch of other languages in which I could at least say “my friend” or whatever icebreaker. What fear, and what don’t I understand?

        Take Kxevin as an example – he very strongly and very personally disagrees with my point of view but doesn’t resort to judging me on a personal level, nor does he belittle or insult me.

        @Which brings me to you. Thanks for your reply.

        As for people calling names, I have never made a big deal out of it personally. For me it is the same whether somebody calls me f*ing white boy or f*ing *hole. Growing up in a multicultural society it is part of the territory. It doesn’t mean I go around racially abusing people…Pretty far from it actually, but I will bust my friends’ balls from time to time and they do likewise.

        I guess one thing in which we fundamentally agree more on is whether words are merely words or not. One thing I have learned is that it is not always the person who says a racial slur that has racist opinions. Sometimes things are said in jest or in anger, whereas the person saying it might have tons of friends of all races and get along with all of them and treat all comers with respect. Whereas another might never say a bad word (out loud) about anybody, but does not want a Moroccan to be their neighbor.

        Point taken on the pedophile / monkey chant comparison. It still makes me wonder if Kluivert was more bothered by the car crash chants or the monkey chants. Almost certainly the car crash chants, but this of course doesn’t excuse either.

        I don’t know if a ban is practical – like I said to blitzen it opens up the possibility of an opposing team abusing the situation by going to your game and make those chants. It is already hard enough to control football crowds in Europe not to engage in semi-warfare. Education is a far better tool. More kids idolising the Kanoutes, Eto’os and Abidals in la Liga. More players speaking up against it.

        More importantly, getting rid of the institutional and social-economic racism that exists in Europe, North America and Latin America so that people of color can fully integrate in our societies instead of proportionally too often living in marginalized conditions. Only truely equal opportunities will pave the way to eradicate racism.

        • Lev
          February 9, 2011

          meant to say we disagree more on whether words are just words…

          • Lev
            February 9, 2011

            Oooooooh forgot to write:
            Yes, in my discussions with my students I make it very clear that racial slurs are not ok, and explain the social and cultural reasoning behind it.

        • February 9, 2011

          Thanks for an honest and upfront discussion about a difficult topic. It’s hard to distill passion into an intellectual argument. It’s one more thing that I think makes this blog rule.

          I don’t think, for the record, even before his explicatory comments, that Lev condoned such things. I do think that we disagree on the power of words.

          I always joke that in America, only white people are shocked when a white person drops the n-bomb on a black person. And no, I don’t think that everyone who isn’t black and drops said word is a racist. Far from it. But I do believe that those people misunderstand the power of words. And that’s a global problem.

  2. February 9, 2011

    I would strongly encourage everyone to watch this brilliant clip of James Baldwin from the 60s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0L5fciA6AU

    For those that don’t know of him, Baldwin was a brilliant novelist and activist, who happened to be black and gay in a time when neither identity was particularly popular. The 3 minute clip above is quite brilliant in the expression of a set of ideas on racism, even if you don’t agree with them.

  3. blitzen
    February 9, 2011

    <—– What Puyol thinks of racists.

    Thanks for this article, Luke. Expresses pretty much everything that I would have wanted to say on the subject.

    Speaking of racism…I had a phone call this morning from a notorious white supremacist. Of course he didn't say he was a neo-Nazi when I spoke to him, I found out afterwards, but I', still processing the sheer craziness of it. Fascinating.

    • blitzen
      February 9, 2011

      I found this guy’s website, and it makes riveting reading. Seriously delusional. I’ve been glued to it all morning. It’s like a horrific traffic accident–you know you shouldn’t look, and feel guilty, but you just can’t tear your eyes away. @@

        • blitzen
          February 9, 2011

          Long story short: This guy called in wanting to buy some books at a bookseller’s discount, claiming he had a bookstore and represented a Free Speech organization, but he didn’t want to set up an actual account. Sounded a bit fishy, so I googled him. Come to find out that he is a well-known extreme right-wing activist and white supremacist here in Canada. Hangs out with neo-Nazis, loves Hitler, the whole deal. Oh, and he used to be a teacher. Has his own Wikipedia page!

          Now we are debating the ethics of doing business with him. I frankly have no problem selling him the books, but he is not getting any discount. Not because he is a racist asshat, but because he is lying rude racist asshat who doesn’t have a real business. If he can’t set up an account (which includes giving us his banking info, credit references, ect.), then there is nothing I can do.

          The email he sent after our conversation is hilarious, btw. It’s going up on our Crazy Board. 😛

  4. flyzowee
    February 9, 2011

    Im Ghanaian, and i dont know whether its luck or anything but ive never been a victim of racism even though I was born and sometimes travel to the UK. I know its real and watching that Sam eto’o video is kinda painful but heres one who still believes that its just a matter of time before we eliminate racism

    • Jnice
      February 9, 2011

      Didn’t know you were Ghanaian. Me too, although born and raised in the US.

      I don’t know about eliminating racism anytime soon, especially not in Spain or Italy. And off of the pitch, I’ve read/heard so many stories about people being victims of racism in those countries. Hell, when my sister went to Valencia, she told me people stared at her nonstop.

  5. barcarolle
    February 9, 2011

    “Thierry Henry has also suffered from racism in England”

    Luke, what’s your evidence of this? I am personally not aware of any publicly recorded racism by an individual or a crowd against Henry during his time in England. Just done a quick google on it to make sure I didn’t miss anything and I can’t find any report on Henry being subject to racism during his time in England.

    Beyond this minor question mark in my head, excellent piece. 100% agree with the sentiment and says a lot about this blog that it makes a point of stating this so clearly.

    • Luke
      February 9, 2011

      You’re right, I checked it and scrubbed it. I couldn’t find the info I thought I had. Thanks for picking it out.

  6. outerspacedout
    February 9, 2011

    Wow. I just realized that while there is tons of bright and brilliant German talent out there, there are so many Spanish players still young enough to peak by 2014 or even 2016 but are ALREADY among the best in their positions in the world, and have tons of club, CL and international experience.

    Among top 5 in the world in their position who will still be in peak age by 2014:
    GK: Casillas, Valdez/Reina, RB: Ramos (hate his guts but still), CB: Pique, DM: Busquets, CM/AM: Iniesta, CM/AM: Fabregas, WF: Pedro.
    Seven! Out of 11 spots in a team.

    World class players who aren’t top 5 in their position in the world but still world-class and will still be in peak age by 2014:
    GK: De Gea, Lopez AM: Cazorls, AM: Mata, AM: David Silva, W: Navas, CF: Torres

    Good but arguably not yet ‘world-class’ players who will still be in peak age by 2014:
    CB: Albiol, LB: Azpilicueta, LB: Alba, CM/DM: Martinez, CM/AM: Valero, CF: Llorente, CF: Soldado

    And great prospects who look set to be class:
    CB: Fontas, AM: Thiago, AM: Rafinha, AM/CF: Isco, CF: Muniain, etc

    They can pretty much have the likes of Casillas, Ramos, Pique, Fontas/Albiol, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva, Pedro, Torres, supplemented by the likes of Thiago, Mata, Navas, Llorente, Bojan(?) and so on, trotting out to defend their WC. All at peak age. A scary prospect even for a bright German side.

  7. Ryan
    February 9, 2011

    Anyone else watching Portugal-Argentina? Vamos Messi!!!

  8. K_legit
    February 9, 2011

    Messi puts one on the plate for Di Maria 1-0 to Arg

    • jordi™
      February 9, 2011

      Thongboy scored? There goes our 7 point lead 🙁 (Using Marca logic 😀 )

  9. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    Eklavya’s in thar stadium, Cheer loudly, Ek.

  10. Ryan
    February 9, 2011

    Lots of Barca guys starting for Spain. Let’s see if they can finally win their first friendly as WC champs.

  11. K_legit
    February 9, 2011

    Banega’s having an absolute stinker

    TB has come to life the past few minutes

  12. February 9, 2011

    This is a good game. Crowd seems to be going for Portugal though.

    If Eklavya is supporting them in the stands, Imma cyber-slap him.

  13. February 9, 2011

    Pocho Lavezzi, you’ve gotta score that! Unmarked inside the box…

  14. K_legit
    February 9, 2011

    explain how Villa missed that? jeez!!

  15. Ryan
    February 9, 2011

    Villa, Villa, Villa….again with the post hitting…

    • K_legit
      February 9, 2011

      followed by the open goal missing

  16. jordi™
    February 9, 2011

    Meireles really enjoying kicking leo isnt he? Hopefully Leo doesnt play all 90.

    • February 9, 2011

      I liked how they kept kicking him and then had looks of anger/indignation after the whistle blew. “Who me? What the flip are you talking about?!” Then fast forward and there’s a Portugal counter and they drop like flies.

      But whatever.

  17. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    If Leo gets out of this game still in posession of all four limbs, I’ll be content!

  18. y2k156
    February 9, 2011

    Argentina Portugal really going after each other. I liked the beginning by Portugal but they do seem to be making lot of fouls and ref is allowing them to be. I am still surprised how Meireiles did not get yellow yet. Of course, knowing how lass diarra gets off most of time, i should not be.

    I doubt if there will be any other match today that is as good and played as vehemently as this one. Messi has been quite excellent.

  19. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    Very off topic, but why would GOLTV make a Bundesliga commercial and have, as part of the footage that they show, a scene of van Bommell blowing a snot rocket? Wasn’t there any more appropriate footage to show of Bayern? Just saw it. Bewildered.

      • soccermomof4
        February 9, 2011

        I haven’t seen many women’s games, but I bet that we manage without constantly spitting or blowing snot rockets.

        • blitzen
          February 9, 2011

          I bet that you would lose that bet.

          And Snot Rockets is the name of one of my favourite bands. 😀

          • soccermomof4
            February 9, 2011

            “And Snot Rockets is the name of one of my favourite bands”

            Now why am I not surprised???

        • February 9, 2011

          I meant that Van Bommel is crude, made a living off annoying/disgusting people. I think an image of his shooting a snot rocket matches what he does very well.

      • Vj
        February 9, 2011

        He’s left for Milan, if thats what she means..

        • soccermomof4
          February 9, 2011

          This was all footage of bayern, so it was while he was still at bayern. I was just surprised that with all the great stuff that GOLTV could have picked from last year’s Bayern, they picked that.

  20. February 9, 2011

    Leo should just score a hat-trick and get the fudge off the pitch. I know he can do it…

    If he gets injured, I blame Eklavya! 😛

  21. February 9, 2011

    Ohhhhh, Leo almost scores off a freekick! Save Portugal keeper!

  22. poipoi
    February 9, 2011

    Iniesta is playing zidane style!! looks like the whole spanish team plays for him. He started from the wing but he’s free and killing that hard colombian midfield. 0-0 half time… villa had an unbelievable miss. 😉

    • Ryan
      February 9, 2011

      Yeah, the crowd was cheering Iniesta for quite a while. 🙂

  23. February 9, 2011

    You mean all that “Messi and me are swore brothers” media talk all comes to naught? Well that sucks.

  24. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    TB was taken off at 60—please take Messi off before he gets hurt.

  25. February 9, 2011

    Coentrao, take a sit, son. You don’t try to start stuff with sMasch…

  26. February 9, 2011

    Watching Argentina play today puts into relief how critical and how remarkable Barca’s capacity to press and defend with 10 men is.

    Argentina are playing nice one touch football but when they lose the ball they cannot immediately repossess it and get pushed back. And when they are forced to play deep the weaknesses they have at the back are exposed.

  27. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    Argentina today—flashes of brilliance that fizzle out and come to nothing.

  28. Ryan
    February 9, 2011

    Xavi and Villa off, for Cazorla and Torres.

  29. February 9, 2011

    Portugal running outta gas. It’s going to be Argentina who will score if there’s gonna be another goal.

    • Vj
      February 9, 2011

      They don’t call him Albi-own-goal for nothing..

  30. February 9, 2011

    FINITO!

    Argentina 2-1 Portugal. Messi wins it late again! That’s both Portuguese speaking countries Messi’s beat at the death. 😀

    • Nav
      February 9, 2011

      ($#&AUFA)SDA(SD)&*&# god damn friendlies :@

    • Para
      February 9, 2011

      Was it after he hurt his back? I saw the fall, and then my internet cut out and wouldn’t come back for ten minutes.

  31. y2k156
    February 9, 2011

    Happy for Leo. He does want to score more for Argentina.

    Very even match and both teams had even more chances to score. Portugal should have at least scored two more and Argentina should have scored two more as well.

    Messi was quite excellent. His ball control is just better than anyone on the planet. Pitch was aweful though. I like the new left back for Argentina, Rojo. Finally they seem to have few options in defence.

    Portugal played excellent football but were quite cynical as well. I still do not know how Meireles got off lightly after so many fouls. Match was slightly bad tempered in patches. Which made it even more fun to watch.

  32. K_legit
    February 9, 2011

    Keita: “I have to accept my role as substitute. Xavi and Iniesta are the best. If I didn’t understand that, I’d be stupid.”

    Seydou <3

  33. February 9, 2011

    Looked to me as if Batista may be still uncertain about his job. This win will continue to allow him to build credibility. Don’t like Messi playing all 90 minutes but it’s a great win for Argentina and for Messi.

    Given the immense pressure he’s always under with respect to his performance for country vs. club these kinds of games will help. Leo was wonderful. Great PK.

    Batista needs to just play Pastore as an attacking/central mid and make a commitment to it. He’s very good.

    I was at the Argentina Germany match at the WC. It was depressing for a while and then you just had to marvel at how methodically Joachim Loew and Germany were dismantling Maradona and Argentina. It was a remarkable performance.

    Argentina has looked so much better since Batista took over. Playing a broken formation like Maradona did in the WC is a poor bet in the contemporary game.

    Argentina still isn’t solid in the back but they do have some interesting young players. They need to work on defending as a team. Their goal keeping situation also isn’t good.

    Forward from the backline however they may be the best team in the world.

    They certainly have the best player in the world. I bet C.Ronaldo enjoyed that one – losing to Messi once again with Messi winning the match!

    • February 9, 2011

      Batista needs to just play Pastore as an attacking/central mid and make a commitment to it. He’s very good.

      I know right? I was impressed and it wasn’t because of his moptop either. Dude’s got skills. I’d like to see Batista build the team around him and Messi. Pastore is a good passer of the ball–and Argentina need someone to control the midfield–Messi could do it, but he’s too busy being half of Argentina’s attack. They’ve got the chemistry though.

    • February 9, 2011

      Batista needs to just play Pastore as an attacking/central mid and make a commitment to it. He’s very good.

      I know right? I was impressed and it wasn’t because of his moptop either. Dude’s got skills. I’d like to see Batista build the team around him and Messi. Pastore is a good passer of the ball–and Argentina need someone to control the midfield–Messi could do it, but he’s too busy being half of Argentina’s attack. They’ve got the chemistry.

      • February 9, 2011

        Bleh. Duplicated comment. (Destroy one of them puh-lease)

          • February 9, 2011

            They wouldn’t give that much power to a newb. I can only edit/do what I want on my own posts. (I can’t take anyone out of moderation either it seems).

          • Eklavya
            February 9, 2011

            That’s the difference between a moderator and a adminstrator.

          • vicsoc
            February 9, 2011

            I’m in the same boat as you Kari.

  34. February 9, 2011

    i’m watching brazil v france now. hernanes & dani are in the line-up! i’m hoping for big things for this brazil under menezes. abidal is playing left back for france, i believe.

  35. Dave
    February 9, 2011

    Anyone know where I can re watch arg vs port? Pique injured DAMN
    Missed all the matches with other commitments

    • Nav
      February 9, 2011

      Can probably find it for download in fbtz.com or rojadirecta.me

  36. Ryan
    February 9, 2011

    Silva spares Spain from further embarrassment, but I still think that the ugly new jersey is cursed. 😛

      • Ryan
        February 9, 2011

        Absolutely. I really like the 2008 and 2009 jerseys, and the 2010 isn’t bad. But the 2011 jersey is just plain ugly with the blue stripes starting from the armpits (built in sweat stains?) and on top of the shoulders. There’s enough blue with the shorts, the shirt doesn’t need it!

    • February 9, 2011

      I probably is.

      By the way, he scored for me, y’know. Delusion should be treated and treated fast Now if only he would leave Man Citeh and preferably (read: only) come here. If he doesn’t do it soon, I may move on with Pastore… (<— Lies.)

    • Nav
      February 9, 2011

      Looks like the Spain = Barca – Messi = 1-0 theory is still holding up!

      • Ryan
        February 9, 2011

        I’ll take long strings of 1-0 victories over the pre-2008 Spain any day! But hopefully the team can go back to the high scoring tika taka days anyway.

  37. beeeef
    February 9, 2011

    Wait, Pique injured? Can somebody confirm this? I only watched the last 15 minutes but I didn’t see anything.

    • Jnice
      February 9, 2011

      He was down for a bit, but he didn’t need to be subbed. He’s fine.

      • beeeef
        February 9, 2011

        That’s good news. I wasn’t seeing anything on @barcastuff so I figured he was probably OK.

    • Sam M
      February 9, 2011

      “Team Vice President Javier Faus says a bid to incorporate the two logos failed. Qatar Foundation will be on the front of the famous blue-and-claret jersey next season, and UNICEF will be moved to a place underneath each player’s name on the back.”

      • February 9, 2011

        Noooooooooo! (Although I saw this earlier today). Need to get another Messi kit and a Villa one, but I’ve got to stick to my budget! But I really need to get those jerseys! GAHHHHH!

      • Helge
        February 9, 2011

        Hasn’t this already be known for weeks or even month?

        It’s not news for me, the only question remaining is whether the Unicef logo will also be worn in the UEFA CL matches, because they only allow one sponsor per jersey.

  38. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    Love our 3M—

    “It was much more beautiful than my goal itself. More appreciation is not possible. If Messi is clapping for you… it can’t get more beautiful.”

    Ibrahim Afellay, talking about his first goal for FC Barcelona, when the whole World Class bench stood up and applauded.

    Read more: http://www.totalbarca.com/#ixzz1DVSOKAjy

    • Lev
      February 9, 2011

      yeah I read that in a Dutch newspaper. He also said that each locker has plaques with the names of all the players who have previously used that locker (he has the same locker that….waaaaaaaait for it…Ronald de Boer had, lol)….Makes me wonder who is using Maradona’s locker…

  39. Eklavya
    February 9, 2011

    Im speechless.

    Not because I’m shocked but because I’ve lost my voice shouting.

    Loooooaaaads of interesting stuff happened! But, I don’t want to spoil too much. More on it tomorrow!

    BUT I STILL CANT BELIEVE I SAW MESSI RIGHHT FREAKING THERE!!! Just THERE GODAMNIT!!!! Right there!

    I could go on…

    • February 9, 2011

      I envy hate you so much right now! *shakes fist*

      Luckily, it turned out to be quite a cracker, eh? Lucky guy…

    • Helge
      February 9, 2011

      It was a great match, you cannot seriously ask for more in a friendly. Lucky boy!

      This match kind a reminded me of a poorer version of Barca-Real, with Argentina obviosuly being Barca and Portugal playing a very direct and counter-attacking football. Didn’t they even defend with 5 men at the backline in parts of the 2nd half???

      Whatever, I’m glad that Messi won and Argentina finally starts to gel as a team (I’ll cheer for them during the Copa America, hopefully it’ll be broadcasted in Germany!), and nobody of our players got injured (afaik).

  40. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    I’m so happy for you, Ek!!!!! Now it’s your turn to pray that he stays healthy and plays in March when it’s my turn to see him at a friendly 😀

    • Eklavya
      February 9, 2011

      Yeah SoMoMo I really hope you see him!
      !!!

      Its SO weird seeing them live (at least for the first time), cause you’ve seen them thousands of times but this is the first time youre seeing them real life. They’re the same but still different. Unlike on TV you can see them all the time. Just seeing Messi scratch his chin was different and weird and he right there!!! Also what an ambiance.

      I think im gonna write it all down in a nice little post tomorrow. Gotta sleep now, its almost 1 in the morning here!

      • soccermomof4
        February 9, 2011

        He wouldn’t have to scratch his chin if he didn’t have that dang scruzzy beard(makes him look like a messy Messi).

        • soccermomof4
          February 9, 2011

          I don’t mind beards—as long as the beards looks somewhat intentional and not a byproduct of not being able to be bothered to shave.

          • beeeef
            February 9, 2011

            Pique is usually seen showing us his best beard imitation, with Alves, Masch, Iniesta, Messi, and even Busi contributing once in a while with some stubble.

            I still think it would be cool if we had a player with a straight up rugged beard look, but I guess it’s not a fashionable look amongst the European leagues. Off the top of my head, only Gattuso (and does his beard fit his personality and playing style well!) is always in no-shave-november mode.

  41. soccermomof4
    February 9, 2011

    Hey y’all, 3m started today for the Netherlands! I know what replay I’m watching tonight (ESPN3 has replays).

    • beeeef
      February 9, 2011

      damn he looks a whole lot older.

      but damn, marquez and titi are real gentlemen.

        • February 9, 2011

          yep. bad knees & everything.

          mexico up 2-0 over a jet lagged bosnia & herzegovina. woo!

        • soccermomof4
          February 9, 2011

          I miss them—then I remember that I am morw likely to see them play now than before. Not the same, but…

          BTW, Titi can pull off that look better than Messi (and most people).

  42. outerspacedout
    February 9, 2011

    Interesting:

    ‘The agent of Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic says it will be up to the club to decide on the player’s future, as Napoli are reportedly interested in him.

    The forward has struggled to confirm a spot in the Blaugrana starting XI, and has been linked with a possible move away, with Napoli interested in the 20-year-old. Zoran Vekic says he does not want to speak about the matter at this present time.

    “It is not the moment to speak about this matter. Barcelona does not want to discuss this matter now,” the agent told Ilsussidiario.net. “In June, we will meet and speak about what can happen.

    “We do not want to get on the wrong side of the squad. They will decide what to do.

    “I wish to not comment on the possibility of joining Napoli, as I do not know what will happen,” he concluded.

    The Spanish international has played 18 league matches for the Catalan giants, scoring three goals.’

    Dunno, if he flourishes in Napoli it’d be great, but Napoli is a pretty big club too. Not exactly a small club where pressure will be minimal. I’d be happy if he moved to a smaller club on loan where pressure will be minimal, or with a buy-back clause like how Madrid sell their signings. Opinions?

  43. February 9, 2011

    15,000 fans showed up for bosnia. i knew at least one of em was gonna be a streaker.

  44. February 9, 2011

    Allez Les Bleus! But I know how EE fans feel about Benzema. Jaysus! Laurent Blanc has the side playing like it has a clue, finally, after seeming eons of dimwitted, star-humping aimlessness under Dumbenech.

    • February 9, 2011

      i didn’t catch the whole match(had to get my hair did) but, how long did brazil play w/ten men for? not to excuse hernanes’ de jong impersonation.

      i’m so happy domenech is out of the pic, though. les bleus fans deserve so much more, as do the argentinians.

  45. tutomate
    February 10, 2011

    According to Punto Pelota, Pep rejected an offer from Chelsea to the tune of
    15 million.

    • poipoi
      February 10, 2011

      Press also say he had a 20 million a year offer from Qatar.

  46. poipoi
    February 10, 2011

    Watching Italy Germany. Motta’s debut IMO. Just wanna say that Motta is so filthy, elbows hugs complains he is a territorial jerk. Perfect for Italy and that position, he’ll get 1.4 cards a game. He’s like a slow thinking busi with steroids & bad coaches, no style at all 🙂 Ozil is clean and good, not very strong but I like those last passes he makes. Looks like he’ll get better with the times.

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