News of the Day, March 17, aka “Foot in Mouth disease”

This is a brief one, mostly to register outrage.

The tragedy in Japan is horrifying on just about every level that a human being can contemplate. To be hit by the biggest quake in the nation’s history, followed by a tsunami, strains credulity as you wonder just how much one nation can take. Bodies are still being found, nuclear reactors are melting down and nations are advising their residents who are downwind of the stricken nuclear power plant to leave Japan.

But if you ask former club Veep and presidential candidate Alfons Godall, it’s just like being forced to be Spanish, when you want to be Catalan. This was posted on his Facebook feed this morning:

“Los catalanas somos unos ciudadanos castigados por la desgracia y la injusticia históricas. El destino y la desgracia nos han llevado a tener que ser españoles y sufrir las consecuencias. Por ello, entendemos la desgracia de Japón y su gente. Viven en la desgracia de sufrir el castigo de terremotos y tsunamis. La diferencia es que nosotros lo podemos resolver… Todo el apoyo a la gente de Japón.”

Yes, it was a message of solidarity and compassion, that Catalans understand what it’s like to be forced to suffer an unjust fate (being Spanish instead of independent), so they can fully understand and empathize with the suffering that Japan is going through right now, and the difference is that the Catalans can resolve it. He then goes on to add his support for the people of Japan.

After howls of outrage from the multitudes, he removed the post. But I remain staggered at the blind, insufferable stupidity of such a statement. Was his heart in the right place? Good question. Prima facie, sure. Yet there are things that you just don’t do, and turning a tragedy such as Japan’s into a call for Catalan independence, is just not something that you do.

It doesn’t just shame Godall, either. There is blowback on the club (because there always is), and all Catalans who are proud of their heritage. It frankly, leaves me stunned, and musing about the lacerating power of expletives in that sometimes, all you can do is cuss, because obscenities are a perfect response. Not here, but in my head I have a choice, blush-inspiring string going on right now.

Why does this matter to us? Godall was Joan Laporta’s VP during the glorious years of the triplete, a time that saw the club’s fan base explode, for good reason. Barca is also one of the brightest, most shining symbols of Catalunya, and once you’re Barca, so you are always. And yes, there are people who are sure to thinking “What kinds of idiots are those Catalans?”

Not idiots plural, but one idiot. And a giant one, who in no way speaks for, or represents the views of Catalans, or the club in any way.

Dani Alves has signed a 4-year sponsorship deal with Adidas. The details have yet to be announced, but expect his renewal with the club to follow shortly. Recall that the club was exploring some “innovative” ways to get him his money, without us having to pay all of it, including various sponsorships. Yes, we are a Nike club, but don’t kid yourselves …. no way Alves gets this deal done without our approval and, quite possibly, solicitation. It explains, in part, why Josep Bartomeu is so publicly confident of the Brazilian right back’s renewal soon, as in “before summer” in his words.

–Finally, Eric Abidal goes in for his surgery at 4 p.m. today Barcelona time, at the BarcaClinic. At that time, wherever you are, check your watch and think good thoughts. There is a very nice column in Don Balon, in which the writer suggests that Abidal’s situation, which should be easily and cleanly resolved, nonetheless serves to remind us, at a time when the rhetoric and nonsense between the two perennial rivals was beginning to spiral out of control, that we should squash that nonsense. Bassam at the EE Offside posted a very classy report on Abidal, by way of just one example.

Anims, Abidal!

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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. barca96
    March 17, 2011

    GOdall needs to get his ass out of his….
    What a cheap way to gain publicity.

    DAmn it.
    Im trying to upload my little brother’s Barca poem and
    send it to Abidal but when I scan the paper it comes out in PDF file.
    DAmn it! And I need to go now.
    By the time I come back Abidal is already in surgery.

  2. Jnice
    March 17, 2011

    -Shocking comments by Godall. I hope no one still feels he represents Barça in anyway.

    – On the Dani Adidas deal, I honestly don’t think the club has much to do with it. There were rumors about us looking into different ways to get Dani the money, but the club has no say on what sponsors Dani chooses. They couldn’t go to Adidas and tell them not to offer him a deal. If anything, the most they could do was tell Nike to up their offer and match Adidas.

    – I’m anxiously awaiting for Abidal’s surgery to begin. I hope he wakes up to positive news.

    • Jnice
      March 17, 2011

      I shouldn’t say the club has no say on what sponsors Dani choses, but if it’s from one of the standard companies, Adidas, Nike, Puma, etc., there really can’t be any objections on their part.

      • xavi
        March 17, 2011

        If a club is sponsored by Nike and a player personally is sponsored by Adidas, the player would have to pay a huge percentage of the sponsor money that he gets from Adidas to the club, like 40-45%. It’s like club profits without much efforts for it just by having a marketable player… So in Alves’s case the club would cut down their share so it’s win- win situation for both. The player gets satisfied with his sponsor money and the club satisfying the player without paying from their own pockets.

        • Jnice
          March 17, 2011

          Didn’t know that… very interesting. Is all of that tied in with the image rights?

          • Alex
            March 17, 2011

            El Guapo!!!!!!!!!!!

            I like these guys….

            These are FUNNY Guys!!!!

            Just kill one of them….

  3. KevinO
    March 17, 2011

    Dunno the full details or if someone posted this already, but i read that Uefa, in all their typical Uefa-ness banned Madrid and Lyon players from showing an undershirt dedicated to Abi during the match…

    • mardia
      March 17, 2011

      Yeah, I heard about that as well. The RM and Lyon players instead went out AFTER the game with their shirts, as a way to get around the rule. (RM also showed a message of support on their bigscreen in the Bernabeu, and apparently announced something over their speakers.)

      Or in other words–the clubs were pure class, while UEFA were a bunch of trolls.

  4. Jnice
    March 17, 2011

    Luis Enrique (coach Barcelona B): “I like challenges and not being able to compete for promotion is one of the reasons to leave.” via barcastuff

    Remember when I said this awhile back? It’s great being in the 2nd division, but for really ambitious coaches, not being able to get promoted is a major deterrent.

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      I remember, Jnice. You da man. 🙂

      • Jnice
        March 17, 2011

        Yay! A compliment from blitzen. 🙂

  5. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    That is…staggeringly insensitive. And opportunistic. Good lord. And good riddance.

    Great to hear about the Alves sponsorship deal. I hope you are right that this is a prelude to a deal with the club.

    All my thoughts are with Abi today. I am sure everything will go well and he will be back on his feet in no time.

  6. Miguel
    March 17, 2011

    godall’s a dick. nuff said.

    i just got news that someone i know is in the hospital due to complications from pancreatic cancer. happy thoughts all around.

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      Sorry to hear that. Hope everything turns out OK.

      • Miguel
        March 17, 2011

        thanks. just a messed up situation. now i gotta visit em in the hospital, geez.

  7. Lev
    March 17, 2011

    Guys, I’m sorry I know everybody here is always veeeery politically correct but may I just say:


    What an idiot! Now by no means do I think the disaster in Japan is funny, but when some douchebag says his people can empathize with a country on the brink of nuclear holocaust because his ancestors suffered political oppression…that’s funny.

    Abidal must be getting ready for surgery by now…my thoughts are with him.

  8. Miguel
    March 17, 2011

    eric’s shoe sponsor wishes him well:
    Tw Nike: “Nike Football sends its support to Eric Abidal. Wishing to see him back on pitch as soon as possible.”-via barcastuff

  9. xavi
    March 17, 2011

    I think it is… When a player signs a contract or renewal for that matter, a special emphasis is made on this image rights thingy. If player is not sponsored by the official sponsor of the club, the club claims a share. If players are hugely marketable like Ronaldo or Alves, in our case, they get a huge say on how much they’re gonna share with the club. I remember Madrid had to involve in a series of negotiations when they signed Ronaldo because he’s sponsored by Nike while they are sponsored by adidas. In such circumstances clubs reserve a certain fixed amount of share but since CR7 was the best player then he negotiated his own terms so he would have to pay a far less amount to the club.

    I’m not exactly sure of the image rights theory but I suspect it is what I’ve written above. Our club, instead of paying from their own pockets, are just sacrificing a bit of the amount which actually Alves has to pay in return to us for having his own separate sponsor

  10. xavi
    March 17, 2011

    Haha… I hope that’s a compliment and not mock! Moc! Moc! 😀

    • Miguel
      March 17, 2011

      that was genuine. ooooohhhhhhhhhh! 😉

  11. xavi
    March 17, 2011

    OMG! Is it because I’m writing from my shitty phone browser or the comments only going to the last, like a bug or something!? My above posts are one in reply to Jnice regarding that image rights comment and the other in risky to Miguel. If the mods could just place in then where are supposed to be that would be a huge help and I won’t look like a fool :p

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      Yeah, that happened to someone else who was posting from their phone. No worries, just make it clear in the body of your comment who you are responding to.

  12. vicsoc
    March 17, 2011

    In other news, Messi, Afellay, Xavi, Villa, Jeffren, Pique, Iniesta, Mascherano, Valdes, and Pinto have been submitted to “random” drug tests by UEFA.

    This is right on the heals of the recent accusations in the media that Barcelona is doping – a worry of Real Madrid’s if the radio station that reported the news is to be believed. I don’t for a second buy that these are “random” tests, and frankly I’m outraged that UEFA is giving credence to the claims that we are doping.

    We are paying for the mistakes of athletes in other sports who have doped in the past – they have created a sporting culture where anyone/everyone who is dominant in their sport is assumed to be doping. It is a shame that this is the case as no one would have insinuated that Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan was doping.

    • Lou
      March 17, 2011

      The official site did say that it was the 2nd UEFA test this year and there were 3 such tests last year so I’m not sure it is more than a coincidence.

      I just don’t understand about the claims that Barca only wins because of doping. Would doping explain why Xavi can put the perfect spin on a pass to that it lands right at the feet of a runner? Why Messi’s balance and first touch are so amazing? Why the team is so diligent and effective at pressing to win back the ball?

      If Barca beat teams by being stronger and faster then maybe the allegations would make some degree of sense but they don’t.

  13. March 17, 2011

    “Until he’s back, every win will be a win for him.” Valdes on Abidal.

    Alves and Adriano trained separately today. Maxwell and Pedro trained also, with recovery exercises. Both are certain to be out for Getafe. Messi is still being evaluated, but I say that it doesn’t make any sense to risk him now.

    • Jnice
      March 17, 2011

      According to the official site, Alves and Adriano actually trained with the team. That’s good news. I expect those two to start.

      Although Messi hasn’t trained with the team yet, I still expect him to start on Saturday.

  14. March 17, 2011

    Have to hope both Adriano and Alves can play this week. Depth along the back is being sorely tested right now.

    Of their first 6 defenders, 5 are injured to some degree.

    If Adriano can’t go or aggravates his injury during the match I’m not sure what they are going to do on the left. They don’t have many options on that flank. They would either be forced to move Afellay there or rely on a youth player.

    As it is, they will be hard pressed to even to substitute alves or adriano to rest should they take a commanding lead. They are literally running out of players at the back.

    I’d guess Messi will play – though I’d prefer he not. He also probably shouldn’t play in the friendly vs. the US but he mostly likely will.

    Right now it’s the attack that is going to need to carry the club. They cannot afford to be wasteful in front of goal. They are going to need to finish clinically and establish early leads to take pressure off the back line.

    • Jnice
      March 17, 2011

      I think they would put Jeffren at left back before Afellay, no? Afellay can use his left foot, but Jeffren is the natural lefty.

      Right now it’s the attack that is going to need to carry the club. They cannot afford to be wasteful in front of goal. They are going to need to finish clinically and establish early leads to take pressure off the back line.

      Exactly. 3 goals from 53 shots is not nearly good enough. I don’t care what Cruyff says.

      • March 17, 2011

        Ideally that would be the case – regarding Jeffren. I just have trouble counting on Jeffren to do much of anything at this point.

        He’s almost too unreliable to even be a back up plan. Even last game – he gets scratched because of some kind of problem in the pre-game.

        Also, just my sense – but I think Afellay would be a much better defender than Jeffren. And with the physicality needed to defend I think there’s a real risk for Jeffren getting injured again

    • barca96
      March 17, 2011

      I know Messi must play the friendlies but can’t we tell the AFA that he is injured? We let Messi play for an hour then take him out and say that he is injured. That way he wouldn’t have to play the two friendlies.

      • March 17, 2011

        Yes they can say he’s injured. That’s part of the benefit of not playing him this week if he’s hurt. It makes it much easier to hold him out of the friendly.

        • blitzen
          March 17, 2011

          See Lev’s post below. There is no way Messi would be happy with that, and nor should he be. Playing for his country is very important to him, and if he is fit, he will go. I don’t think this knee injury is serious enough to stop him.

    • Vj
      March 17, 2011

      Register at and use the same email-id here..

  15. Josep
    March 17, 2011

    I’m not the only one who really thinks this right? That Gerard is the NEXT superstar from La Masia? Besides Thiago. That kid is gonna put a hurting on everyone. Excited.

    • Jnice
      March 17, 2011

      Come on, you already know the answer to that.

      Love that he trained with the first team today.

      • Josep
        March 17, 2011

        But I mean like on Messi-lite levels. Like I think the kid will be as good as Cristiano.

  16. Lev
    March 17, 2011

    No way can we tell AFA that Messi won’t play due to an injury. If Messi feels good to go, he goes.

    He already gets a lot of criticism for being more “Catalan” than “Argentinian” back home..The surest way of making Messi unhappy at Barça would be to refuse to let him play for his national team.

    • March 17, 2011

      Lev, Blitzen,

      I have tickets to see the Argentina-US friendly. I am very invested in seeing Messi play. Seeing him play is the main reason why I even arranged the trip and got the tickets.

      But if he’s hurt he’s hurt. That’s my only point.

      I understand the politics and the issues of identity at play here.

      And in no way am I saying that Messi should be forced to miss the friendly by the club.

      That didn’t even occur to me as I don’t think that’s even in the realm of realistic possibility.

      They can’t even sub him out of meaningless minutes when a match after a match is essentially done never mind missing a friendly.

      He still isn’t training fully with the team. I don’t think they should push him to play on Saturday nor should he be pushed to play when he has a knock in the friendly.

      Whether it’s Barca or the AFA, people need to stop treating him as if he doesn’t have limits to what he can do.

      • Lev
        March 17, 2011

        Yeah well here is me hoping that they will rest him for the next 2 weeks, so I couldn’t agree more.

  17. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    Still no news about how the surgery went…I’m getting pretty antsy.

    • blitzen
      March 17, 2011

      Just as I type that, this comes up on barcastuff:

      note: many people asking about abidal. there’s no news and as the player has asked to respect his privacy, there might not be any news soon

  18. Jnice
    March 17, 2011

    Read a couple of tweets saying that Barça will release an official statement about Abidal at 9 pm. That’s two hours from now.

    • Jnice
      March 17, 2011

      via @unracoblaugrana

      El Barça emetrà un comunicat oficial a les 9 per informar sobre l’operació d’Abidal

  19. blitzen
    March 17, 2011

    UEFA has suspended Arsenal coach Wenger and player Nasri for one game for improper conduct in the game against Barcelona.

    How does this work, then? They are already out of the CL, so when will this suspension be put in effect?

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 17, 2011

      They will be suspended for the 1st match of next season

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