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


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 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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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. falcon
    September 9, 2009

    Question: what does cup tied mean?
    Why wont Chygrynskyy be able to play in Europe for barca?
    Is he banned or is it some sort of weird contract clause

  2. khairallah
    September 9, 2009

    whenever a player plays for some team during a certain cup, he cannot play for any other team he might transfer to during that same season.. Chyggy already played for Shakhtar in the qualifications for the champions league, and so he can’t play for Barca..

  3. September 9, 2009

    Poor Thiago! Wish him well!

    The Henry rumor is rubbish too and he’s already admitted that he would not join any other English club. But then again, i remember he said he loved the Liverpool fans. Joining Manchester City is way too far fetched though.

    Some other unrelated news… “The Other Spanish Team” stands to lose ALOT financially if Portugal don’t make it to South Africa… and it doesn’t look very promising for my ex-colonial rulers.

    PS. First…. again!

  4. Alexinho
    September 9, 2009

    I’ve DEFINITELY seen that Georgian cat and that goal in a highlight before. Good goal.

  5. Alexinho
    September 9, 2009

    Damn, Thiago’s going to be out quite a bit…

  6. September 9, 2009

    Reagan, are you Brazilian? Angolan? Some other ex-Portuguese colony that I can’t think of off the top of my head?

  7. Han
    September 9, 2009

    Is there some info on the qualities of senior Jonathan Soriano?

  8. Boat Forever
    September 9, 2009

    Kxevin said : Jonathan Soriano was signed on a free transfer. He’s a talent who has yet to reach full potential. He’s still young, at 23, and our nabbing him is considered a coup on the part of Luis Enrique, down in the “B” ranks.

    He’s a product of the Espanyol cantera, and spent some time on loan to other sides. The jury is still out on him, but the price is right. Hard to argue with free.

    I say : Last time a player came as a free agent from our bitterest rivals, it turned out to be Luis Enrique 😛 Hopefully he sees himself in that guy.
    Wow, Giorgi Chanturia is quality from that video… forcing his way into D and then taking those shots!! NICE

  9. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    doensn’t that giorgi kid’s movements remeber you of kaka? 😉

    I think air football did a lot of harm to Gio Dos Santos and Bojan when they were going up. I think it puts too much pressure and attention on the poor kids.

    hope thiago gets well soon 🙁

  10. Han
    September 9, 2009

    Nice comparison to Luis. Free is kind of cheap, though I personally prefer: signed due to irresistable sum of money paid as fee for signing him.( too bad only Luca Toni – lady Gago & company would come that way 😉

  11. September 9, 2009

    Isaiah n poipoi, I’m from Goa, India. although the British colonised most of India, the Portuguese decided to start shop in goa :)…

    Love the exotic portuguese colonies that came to mind here though 🙂

  12. Jose
    September 9, 2009

    “whenever a player plays for some team during a certain cup, he cannot play for any other team he might transfer to during that same season.. Chyggy already played for Shakhtar in the qualifications for the champions league, and so he can’t play for Barca..”

    Which, I think we unanimously acknowledge, was a dick move on their part.

  13. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    Ahh Goa..I went there once…long time ago…I was like 5 years old and got smacked by a big wave.
    Never been in the deep waters since.

  14. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    But his price was supposed to drop down because of that. But it didn’t…how dumb!

  15. SC
    September 9, 2009

    anyone notice Phil Shoen on Gol TV calling Cesc, “Chess?” As in, Chess Fabregas? I noticed some EPL announcers on Sky do the same during Arsenal broadcasts. What’s the deal?

  16. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    Well how are you really supposed to pronouce Cesc?
    Like Chesk? Or sesk?

  17. ooga aga
    September 9, 2009

    cmon kxevin…replace “luggage” with “foot fungus”

  18. ooga aga
    September 9, 2009

    i dont like robinho, but if pep could get him to work, at least we could get somone who can penetrate/beat defenders with his dribbling. henry cant. at most he can beat people to the line and whip in a cross. but taht gets boring after a while.

  19. SC
    September 9, 2009

    I think it’s “Sess,” eklavya. My friend who is a Chelsea fan also calls him Chess.

    I’ll refer to other spanish speakers on the blog. But I wonder if it really is Chess in Catalan, or if EPL announcers just made it up.

  20. Kxevin
    September 9, 2009

    Sesk, eklavya.

    I’m giving Shakhtar the benefit of the doubt of not thinking that we would meet their asking price (recall that we had heretofore shown no indications that we would). So they didn’t want to face the big dance without their best defender. Can hardly blame them for that one.

    Soriano is supposed to have talent, but let’s face it, he’d still be with Espanyol’s main side rather than our B team, had it manifested itself the way it was supposed to.

    We are loadedwith talent in our cantera. Some very careful nurturing will have to transpire, and most importantly, we have to keep winning. Nothing like a shot at the real big dance to keep a young’un highly motivated.

  21. Kxevin
    September 9, 2009

    “Foot fungus?” But thanks to tough actin’ Tinactin, foot fungus goes away, ooga aga. 😀

    If Guardiola can work the same magic with Robinho that he did with Henry, I’d be all for it. But I think that Henry had motivation in wanting the only big prize that had eluded him. Henry was also a vastly greater talent than Robinho.

  22. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    I would never take Robinho.Never.Ever.Ever.

  23. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    It’s “sesk” and in Spain they also pronounce his name horribly. In TVE (national tv) the commentator calls him “zex”, with the zzzz sound that exists in Spanish and not in Catalan (in catalan it’s always pronounced sss like the letter z in english more or less).

    I remember an interview to Cesc from a year ago or so, and the spanish journalist asked him how did they pronounce his name in England. He answered: “sesk, it’s not that hard for them, they do it much better than many spanish commentators” 😛

  24. Ethan
    September 9, 2009

    I too would never take Robinho, too much risk and toooo much money! I say wait and see what happens to the young and talented Arsenal. They have shown alot of promise for this year but even so i feel Chelsea will take the EPL back this year. Even with their ban which i feel will end up being lifted eventually they will thrive this year with their stacked squad. And if that happens then Cesc will surely becoming to us in the summer transfer window. He already has stated that he wants silverware and i know he is growing tired without it. I believe even with the new board coming in they will make a move with alot of money to bring him home, as they should. And let me remind everyone out there that we still have the best youth system in the world, our team is loaded with youth players that are still very young which means that all we need is a few reinforcement every few years and our team keeps getting stronger and stronger. So keep the trophies coming, because even with all the spending of the EE, they will not win more trophies than us during their new galactico era. VISCA BARCA!!!

  25. September 9, 2009

    Dunno, Alex. I’m not seeing anything in pending comments or the spam filter.

  26. September 9, 2009

    I am in the don’t want Robinho camp. Fully and completely. He’s sick good, but not the right type of player for us. Call me crazy, but the fact that he’s also an ex RMer is a complete kicker.

    And yeah, yeah, I know all about Luis Enrique etc etc.

  27. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    robinho = no no!! there should be better left wings in the world… if there are not we are f*cked 🙁

  28. Alexinho
    September 9, 2009

    So what’s the deal with Laporta? I never thought he’s a lame duck, seeing as he oversaw the triplete just a little while ago. Is an election coming up, and he’s definitely out?

    By the way, with the “Where to Watch” page in mind, if you’re ever going through Newark Delaware (ahem, lost…), there is 1) Kildare’s and 2) Grotto’s. Kildare’s is an Irish pub that draws many local soccer fans on gameday, and Grotto’s, while not really a soccer place, generally has a better atmosphere. I watched the CL final there last year and all the Barca fans came out to see the awesomeness.

  29. Alex
    September 9, 2009

    BANGS is playing malta if anyones interested, 0-0 at half.

  30. Alex
    September 9, 2009


    this is not a

  31. September 9, 2009

    By the way, since Arg-Par is less marquee than Arg-Bra, I’m guessing the streams will be more reliable this time, yes? And Kevin, the one you provided last time at half time (which worked brilliantly), will they be showing the game?

  32. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    I’m still hoping that this Robinho interest is fake. How can Guardiola, a genius of a coach, want such a “bad” player? In my eyes, he is bad. Didn’t score that many goals for any team he played so far, is way too much in love with himself and his dribblings and still looks like a baby on the pitch.

    But as these rumours don’t want to stop, I fear there might be some hidden truth in it 🙁

    by the way, any predictions for Paraguay vs Argentina ?

  33. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s a couple good ones, atleast for me anyways, for france v. serbia game. first one has better picture quality but a bit choppy.

  34. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s one for hungary v. portugal

  35. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    so far deco to pepe from a free kick on the keeper’s right side 0-1

  36. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    11th minute: Red card for the French keeper. Mandanda in for Gignac. 1-0 for Serbia. Bye bye, direct qualification!

  37. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    ehm… sry. My stream sucks… it’s still 0-0, but the red card is true 🙂

  38. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    dumbass lloris. no question about the call though.

  39. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    Damn it !

    I saw it right, the penalty was converted. But they didn’t update the result.

  40. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s the england croatia game but the brits are already ahead 2-0

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

  41. 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?

  42. eklavya
    September 9, 2009

    lloris is still better than mandanada

  43. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    also, does spain automatically qualify now since belgium lost?

  44. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

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

  45. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    goal henry!!! right place @ right time.

  46. 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.

  47. 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?

  48. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

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

  49. Helge
    September 9, 2009

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

  50. Eduard
    September 9, 2009

    i see, thanks for clarifying that.

  51. 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?

  52. 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.


  53. 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.

  54. txikidracula
    September 9, 2009

    here’s a spain estonia link

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

    word isaiah, word.

  55. Helge
    September 9, 2009

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

  56. 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 😉

  57. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    the difference between xavi and cesc is huge at least

  58. 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.

  59. poipoi
    September 9, 2009

    goal by cesc!!!

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

  60. lovelymofo
    September 9, 2009

    Henry off, so he might play against Getafe?

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. poipoi
    September 9, 2009


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


  64. Helge
    September 9, 2009

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

  65. poipoi
    September 9, 2009


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

  66. 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

  67. Helge
    September 9, 2009

    Well, he’s obviously still a Madridista…

  68. 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?

  69. Tutomate
    September 9, 2009

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

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