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.

By Kxevin

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. 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. 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. 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. @Han
    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

  5. 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 🙁

  6. 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 😉

  7. 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 🙂

  8. “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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. “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.

  15. 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” 😛

  16. 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!!!

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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 ?

  22. 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.

  23. 11th minute: Red card for the French keeper. Mandanda in for Gignac. 1-0 for Serbia. Bye bye, direct qualification!

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