Unfortunately, he won’t be a team player in our next match against Villarreal on Saturday (4pmEST) because he won’t be playing.
If you missed it, Xavi got his fifth yellow card a fortweek ago against Getafe Real Castilla CF Burger King FC. For what, you ask? For kicking the ball away.
Now, Xavi wouldn’t be Xavi if he didn’t lay into those coños*; indeed, he called Thong Boy one in the CL final (I love Xavi), but he really needs to tone down the dissent. All of his other four cards are the result of it. Xavi is so crucial to our game, and that’s goes double when we play teams that also like to tiki taka. Make no mistake, this is a huge blow, of Joe Frazier on Muhammed Ali proportions. Villareal is always difficult—our best game of the season bar la manita IMO was against the submarines, but Villareal away from home without Xavi? Uffff. The worst part is that this could have been avoidable. If Xavi could have let one thing go, we’d have him for this game.
That kinda hurts.
Speaking of hurting, Messi seems to be. That sound you’re hearing is my breaking things in anger (yes, I’m going to anger management, eye of the tiger was the choice music for our shadow boxing lesson**). Barca have confirmed, according to catalunya radio, that Messi was feeling a strain on his right hamstring, so he didn’t play last night against Costa Rica.
Whenever I read “Messi”, “hamstring” and “strain” in the same sentence, I tend to break into cold sweat. If you didn’t know, pre-Guardiola, Messi had a lot of hamstring injuries, long terms ones at that. It’s been a thing of the past since Pep came, but it’s still not something I was to hear. Hamstring is the second worst injury, after knee ones, IMO because they tend to be recurrent; as in, they come back often. It appears as though he’ll be a-okay for Villareal, sayeth onda cero, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on. He’ll have tests in Atlanta today.
Some other injury updates:
- Bojan has a sprained ankle, which he got while on duty the Spain U-21s. According ona, however, he’ll be fit for the game on Saturday.
- Puyi. Captain Caveman. Tarzan. Our inspirational leader. Who hasn’t played since January. What’s up with him? Good question. Bursitis, apparently. I won’t go into detail about it, but it’s a pain. Literally and figuratively. It’s not the same as sprain or a tear; there is no real “set” timeline in respect to his recovery. It’s very much like Xavi’s tendinitis, but in the knee. That’s not really accurate, but I’m trying give you some idea on the nature of the injury. Overuse is definitely a factor and it brings the CB debate out into the open again. We don’t have anyone to replace Puyol, despite us knowing he played a full World Cup. He’s also 32 years old, so it’s not like he’s durable like, say, Pique. He needs more recovery time/rest. Throw in a Milito who has come back from long term injury and the sale of Marquez and Txignasty (oh, how we could use him right now) and it leads me to the question we’ve all been asking: Why haven’t we bought another CB? Abidal’s unfortunate situation make this all the worse. According to Sport, the return could be after our first leg against Shakhtar, but all that really means is that no-one knows when he’ll be back.
- Moving on, Pedro!! has an official Facebook page, through which he is regularly updating his status. And the purpose and benefit of his training exercises, just in case we don’t know why he’s doing them. More importantly, it seems that it’s going well, although I still don’t know if he’ll be ready for the Villlareal game. Here’s hoping he is. I miss Pedro!!.Maxwell is also recovering nicely, and both him and P!! are training on the pitch for the first time. No green light for either though.
I say all this, but whether Messi and Pedro! are fit for Villarreal could have been irrelevant. Apparently (read: actually) this is a proposed strike in Spain and that could see the Villareal game cancelled. Fear not, it won’t be cancelled. The judge has decided to suspend the strike of the Liga clubs. [@barcastuff]. This has been mentioned many a time over the last few months, but I haven’t paid any attention to it. I am now because my Barca viewing pleasure was in danger. I know it isn’t any more but I want to know why the fudge it was in danger in first place.
And here is a nice little summary, provided by @barcastuff on twitter.
1. Why is there a strike? Mainly because the clubs want the government to eliminate the rule to show one Liga game each weekend on a non-pay channel. [In other words, they don’t want it to be on a regular channel where you don’t have to extra for it. Think pay-per-view].
2. Why wouldn’t there be football? The association of clubs has voted in favour of a strike.
3. Six clubs who weren’t in favour of a strike asked a judge to suspend the strike. The judge will decide this morning at 10am.
4. If the judge decides the strike should be suspended, there will be Liga games this weekend.
5. If the judge decides not to suspend the strike, the clubs can still decide to change their decision not to play.
6. In fact, an emergency meeting of the association of clubs has been called. Most media claim, the clubs could/will decide to play.
7. We (that’s Barca) voted against the strike, but we still accept the decisions by other clubs.
8. The judge has since ruled that there won’t be a strike. Yay!
But of course, the big question is: why has it gotten this far? Why would the clubs go so far as to strike during the most important time of the season?
The answer has been talked about many times: TV money.
I’ve been avoiding talking about this, because while I think it’s really important, I confess that I don’t really feel passionate about it, even though I really should. What I will do is give you the gist of how the TV money issue and this strike tie together. I’ve deduced most of this, so if there is anything wrong at any point, feel free to correct me.
The issue: Barca and EE take the majority of the money from TV; the rest fight for scraps. A ruling in Spain says that at least on Liga game has to be on regular TV, not pay per view. Spain has a high unemployment rate, and this couples with the fact Spanish believe entertainment should be free.
Why Liga teams are pissed: This is a problem for the rest of the Liga teams because they already don’t make much because EE and us are hogging all the money, and now the government says they can’t charge people to watch the games, so they make even less money from TV.
So they folded their arms and said, “this ain’t fair”, and decided to strike, which was today rejected.
Although, it wouldn’t have been too bad to have a short strike, if not for the time off we get. According to the official website, we’re going to play 6 games in the next 18 days. That’s 11 games in 33 days if we qualify for the CL semis. I love that I get to see our team play so often, but, uh, that’s freaking insane.
April = Championship/Make-or-Break month. At least Alves is excited (not that I’m not). Speaking of Alves, every time you see him playing, remember to thank his wife; she’s one of the main reasons he renewed. I love her in a purely platonic way.
FC Barcelona: place where WAGs are not WAGs (unless it’s Pique’s) but secret renewal agents. YES.
Also according the official website, Peeeento (that’s Pinto) has renewed until 2012. That means two more years of whistling. YES! (I’m still laugh when I remember that Copenhagen player randomly stopping. I swear that was too funny.)
—Afellay, Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Villa, Busi, Valdes, and Alves are all back from international duty save and sound. Only the Argies are missing.
—-If you live in Landover, Maryland, I will be very very jealous of you on July 30, because Barcelona and Man Utd will be playing there. How come no decent game is played in Canada, more specifically Ottawa? 🙁
No need to answer that.
–Lastly, because I always save the best and biggest news for last, reader Eklavya is apparently male and Indian. I did not know that. Except I did, but I didn’t really care (to mention it). And I don’t think you care either.
So moving on:
Awesome Videos to Watch:
Got be on loan defender Martin Caceres slide tackling two players. Oh gawd, this is hilarious. (Skip to 1:50 in the video.)
[credit: the really long name99, via dirty tackle, via blitzen]
Xavi scored against Lithuania. Enough said. [credit: GoalsArena]
Ibrahimovic has a teammate kicking fetish. [credit: vonderburk]
If you missed it, he also kicked a young player named Strasser, Robinho during a celebration, and got into a fight with American defender Onyewu. On a scale of 1 to YAYA, how badly will we be Hlebbed if AC Milan don’t buy him?
[EDIT] I can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before. It’s old, but this is the Shakhtar players’ reaction to getting us. I love Txignasty’s poker face 😀
Interesting Articles To Read:
Spain has bigger problems than the TV one, sayeth Graham Hunter on ESPNsoccernet.
The Sidster, that’s Sid Lowe, gives us all more insight to the strike in his article on Sports Illustrated. In case you want someone who actually knows what’s going on, and can explain it eloquently. Not sure why you’d want that though.
Tom Goulding of Young Sports Writers has an interesting little post titled “Blaugrana Music”; songs that represent our players. Creative! [credit: Para in the comments]
Another Tom, Tom Williams (distant relative of Kxevin whom I credit for finding this. 😀 <---Not really. I think), tells us how boss Ibi Afellay was for Holland. And his boss factor was pretty high.
*Not that I think all refs are coños… only some of them and it depends on the game . That was just a good lead in sentence to remind you all he called TB one. Also, don’t call other people coños. It’s bad to call them coños. I really should stop typing the word “coños”.
…It means “pussy” or “b*tch” in Spanish, if you didn’t know.
**NO, I don’t have anger issues, but this is a true story. I was walking by a beach and there was an anger management class there (I know because I recognized some people) and they were shadow boxing to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. No joke. The most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a while.
Also, I’m seriously considering doing a companion post to Don’t Call Rosell Wack, involving Like A Boss and Florentino Perez. sMasch also works, because he’s actually nicknamed “the little boss” (Jefecito), but I always picture Perez (and Michael Scott from the Office) when I hear the song. If you’re going to YouTube it, Imma warn you now that the song is pretty nasty halfway through. First part is hilarious (I love it!), then it goes all meh, and it’s not safe for work. You’ll know what I mean…