Mata, Fabregas, Robinho, Ibrahimovic retiring? Lots of news today

SWEDEN SOCCER  ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

Could Zlatan Ibrahimovic, shown here rocking his new coif, be considering retirement from international footy? Good question. What he said most recently is “That possibility will be considered after the World Cup finals. It is important for a player of my level to play internationals, but I’ve been to two European Championships and two World Cups.”

He wouldn’t be the first to start thinking about the wear and tear, and how it relates to his paying gig. Craven and self-serving? I’m sure that Sweden football fans would say yes. But this cule says “Yay!” (Which is always a vowel away from Yaya.)

–We nabbed in-demand Georgian attacked Giorgi Chanturia. He’s an attacker who, at 16, is already on the radars of a great many European sides, and we got him. He had a stint with our kids club this past summer, and knocked everybody for a loop. Here’s some highlights of him.

Iniesta is fully fit and raring to go, scheduled to make his debut against Getafe this weekend, along with Rafa Marquez. Don’t expect the two to start, but look for some significant minutes as they work their way back into the starting rotation. With 7 matches in 22 days, there will be plenty of minutes for everyone. This is great news, as the left side of our attack has missed Ghostface Killah very much.

–Valencia winger Juan Mata has moved on psychologically. We were unwilling to meet Valencia’s asking price and for now, that’s that. “I am only focussed on what’s waiting for me with Valencia, blah, blah, blah” said the winger, when asked about the possibility of playing for the best club in the world, versus one in financial difficulty, that will battle for a Champions League spot this season.

–Guillem Balague, of the large ego and craven Web site, says that Fabregas will be coming home within two years. He writes on SkySports.com that “I’m convinced that Barcelona are talking up the possibility of Cesc Fabregas joining the club because they understand either from the player or the family that this is what he wants to do.”

Fabregas, rumored to be linked with presidential candidate Sandro Rosell, is denying those links. And when asked about rumors about a move to That Other Spanish Team, he said “Two or three years ago, there was something. Real Madrid and its fans have always been very good to me and for that I will be forever grateful. There has never been anything serious with another team since I joined Arsenal.” The implication, of course, is that although he is Catalan, fans of said club have never given him a hard time for those indelible national roots, and strong link with us, not “Boy, they’ve sure been nice to me and I would love to play there.” Just saying.

–We have given Pep Guardiola a blank check, saying in effect, “Name your own terms.” Wow. This makes sense, and Laporta’s chosen candidate would like to able to say that his folks assured the club’s continuity by re-signing the coach who has already made history. Stay tuned.

–Club PR chief Manuel Estarte says that yes, Flo Flo’s signings robbed some majesty from the attention paid to our triplete, “But it will be with us forever.” Of course, Flo Flo’s intention was to steal some of that thunder, as a world basked in the admiring glow of a club that many are saying is one of the best ever. So there.

–Like luggage, Robinho just won’t go away. Buzz is increasing about him being out of favor with Citeh boss Mark Hughes, and the Brazilian striker, with a permanent spot on the All-Potential squad, doesn’t want to have to fight for his place in the starting XI. So would someone please, please explain to me why he thinks that moving to a club at which the coach demands that his players work like dogs, pressure the ball and who thrives on active competition for squad places, would be a better thing for him?

We have Henry, and make no mistake, any swap rumors being bandied about are utter nonsense. Various Spanish publications have Guardiola “loving” the want-away winger. But to me, that would violate everything that Guardiola stands for, which is hard work, ball pressure and effort. Do we really want a guy who stands there demanding the ball, then pouts and flails his arms when he doesn’t get it? Can he be changed? Possibly. But it’s a risky venture and if he can’t be changed, he rides the pines, coming in as a sub which, given our squad, is what he’s cut out for at any rate. Would I take him over Jeffren? Yes. But not for 40m. We already have Jeffren, and he was free.

–Here’s the full list of players in the squad for the Champions League. Because it’s essentially everybody and their mamas except for the Cup-tied Chygrynskyy, there are no surprises here, except for newly-signed (on a free transfer) Espanyol youth product Jonathan Soriano. Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Márquez, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Ibrahimovic, Messi, Bojan, Pinto, Henry, Keita, Busquets, Pedro!, Milito, Maxwell, Abidal, The Yaya, Marc Bartra, Oriol, Jonathan Dos Santos, Ruben, Assulin, Fontas, Muniesa, Jeffren, Soriano.

–On the political front, Joan Laporta, despite many raised eyebrows, will be attending a demonstration in favor of full Catalan independence. “Anyone can go to a demonstration as an expression of individual freedom,” said our current (but lame-duck) President, widely rumored to be all atwitter about larger political possibilities after his run as Barca chief ends.

–Note that you don’t see the name of Thiago on that Champions League squad list. He’s going under the knife this week for a torn meniscus. Wish him well in his recovery.

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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.

86 Comments

  1. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s the england croatia game but the brits are already ahead 2-0
    //http://www.iraqgoals.net/ch1.html

    i feel like dani alves w/his 4 big screen tvs :^)

  2. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    it’s more or less pronounced “sesk”, but it’s easier when you realize that his name in English is “Francis” so take that “cis” and add a “K” so say “Francisk”, then just take out the “Fran”, so “Cisk”….How is that?

    Laporta is not a lame-duck…Most bills that need to be passed that have any significased in terms of independence never get passed, reasoning is that if they win some sort of anotomy they’ll be taking a step forward but also take a few steps back. I would say most Catalans(mainly the older generations) would want some sort of indendence. As long as its a peaceful demonstration and nothing else that good, everyone should stand for something. Right?

  3. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    lloris is still better than mandanada

  4. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    also, does spain automatically qualify now since belgium lost?

  5. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    hope xavi, puyi, pique, & busquets all get a rest either way.

  6. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    goal henry!!! right place @ right time.

  7. Kxevin
    September 9, 2009

    Eduard, I mean lame-duck as in he is the outgoing Barca president who cannot be re-elected. That’s Laporta.

    And he can certainly do what he wants. My eyebrows aren’t being raised, but some are. Simple as that.

  8. lovelymofo
    September 9, 2009

    Ah, I can’t watch so many matches all at once! Glad that Titi scored. Remind me again why France hasn’t replaced their coach?

  9. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    with france having 10 men, Henry going to have to be rested this weekend. Hope Pedro! gets the call.

  10. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    Yah, I’ve got Pedro on my fantasy team. I’m sure he will play!

  11. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    i see, thanks for clarifying that.

  12. Kxevin
    September 9, 2009

    lovelymofo, I have frequently referenced the compromising pictures that Dumbenech has of FFF officials. Most recent information is that said acts involve yak. Yes, yak. As in the large, furry quadrupeds. But those rumors could be wrong.

    Now I have to sign off, since I am DVRing Les Bleus, in the hopes that a wild vulture will swoop down and carry off Dumbenech, since he isn’t going to be fired….ever….never….ever.

    And the real question, Eduard, is where the hell the phrase “lame-duck” came from?

  13. Kxevin
    September 9, 2009

    Looks like its roots are in a description of someone who owes debts, but can’t pay up. Then it morphed into bankrupt businessmen, then bankrupt politicians.

    Hmmm…

  14. September 9, 2009

    If Sweden does not qualify for the World Cup, it will be the greatest tragedy…um, maybe ever. Swedish women must be at the World Cup. That is all.

  15. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s a spain estonia link
    //http://www.justin.tv/badtvnet2

    xavi + pique are playing. xavi + cesc in midfield together.

    word isaiah, word.

  16. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    Haha Isaiah, great point!
    Plus I definitely prefer Ibra over CR94 at World Cup.

  17. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    spain – estonia in basketball and football in the same day? crazy, I hope we do better in football than the way we won at basket in the extra-time

    pique+marchena!!! that is too much class for a couple of central defenders…. marchena is the man 😉

  18. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    the difference between xavi and cesc is huge at least

  19. lovelymofo
    September 9, 2009

    Just realized that Massimo Busacca is reffing the France match. Swoon!

    And yeah, Domenech must have something on those officials. It’s ridiculous that he’s still coaching. France has quality players, they shouldn’t be struggling so much.

    And lets not get started on Argentina, appointing Maradona as coach was always a bad idea.

  20. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    goal by cesc!!!

    Silva should be our man for next season, not Robinho.

  21. lovelymofo
    September 9, 2009

    Henry off, so he might play against Getafe?

  22. inNYC
    September 9, 2009

    Messi should be in the world cup. Messi first, boobs second, OK? A close second, if that makes you feel better Isaiah.

  23. Hilal
    September 9, 2009

    Silva is such a good player, would take him over Robinho any day. It would be like having another Iniesta, maybe not quite as good, but certainly as versatile and more than capable. He isnt cup tied either is he? A move in January wouldnt be out of the question I dont think. He is so perfectly suited to our system.

  24. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    iker
    arbeloa-pique-marchena-capdevila
    senna
    xavi-cesc
    silva-villa-iniesta

    bench – reina puyol ramos albiol alonso busquets cazorla torres llorente guiza … and a couple more

    WHAT A TEAM WE HAVE!!!!

  25. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    substituted in the 77th minute… I think that’s a bit too late. I would rest him on Saturday 🙂

  26. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    reina
    ramos-puyol-albiol-navarro
    alonso
    cazorla-busquets
    guiza-torres-capel

    what a team with the non-starters!!! omg

  27. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    henry 50th goal with france NT

  28. drew
    September 9, 2009

    lets all thank Del Bosque for having xavi and pique play the full 90 while reserving xabi alonso and taking out silva, torres and villa rather than those players who play 7 games in 22 days

  29. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    Well, he’s obviously still a Madridista…

  30. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    look @ you guys! fancy shmansy artsy fartsy new layout. didn’t know where i was for a sec. looks good.

    • Helge
      September 9, 2009

      Wow, I’m blinded by the light 😀

      Anybody already knows the line-up of Argentina?

      It’s a new function that one can cancel reply now, right?

  31. Ciaran
    September 9, 2009

    ooooh, shiny

  32. jordi
    September 9, 2009

    I like the new layout !

  33. Tutomate
    September 9, 2009

    I like the reply buttons.

  34. Tutomate
    September 9, 2009

    Sneijder played I guess that means he is fine. Damn!

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