On Rosell, France Football and El Clasico 2011 continuing nonsense

Anybody notice anything interesting about this picture, a Sandro Rosell photo op from June 2010?

For the unfamiliar, and I’ll say that I don’t blame people for not paying attention to France Football these days (Kxevin hangs his Les Bleus-loving head and silently weeps), there is an ongoing scandal involving a quota system for black/African players. The story broke via Mediapart, and can be read here.

Which has exactly what to do with Barça? Well, it is my fondest hope that memories are not so short that we have forgotten comments made by our current president, Sandro RoSELL, about African kids in La Masia, and them taking opportunities away from “our boys.”

Now, that business went away in the post-election glow, and some attributed it to RoSELL simply trying to out-Catalan then-incumbent Joan Laporta. Is it? Good question, and one that is worth asking as Barça (as well as Europe) wrestles with identity and notions of worthiness. As the club has moved from no more members unless relatives of a current soci to a three-year associate membership deal, at the end of which one is allowed to become a fully fledged soci, one wonders what RoSELL’s current views are on the status and desirability of African and black players.

It must be said that the two situations are very different, even as they are sort of the same. The France Football Federation is claiming that black/African players are coming to train and be raised in their system, then flitting off to play for other national teams, and in the process taking opportunities away from French youth players who aren’t as big and strong as the black/African players.

RoSELL has said simply that African players are taking opportunities from Catalan boys (is it appropriate to ask whether Brazilian and Argentine players are NOT taking opportunities away from Catalan boys?), throwing in palaver about them (again) being bigger and stronger, uncertain ages, etc.

It’s also worth noting that RoSELL has never even suggested going as far as the FFF, which tried to back-door a quota system, even going so far as to search young players for prayer rugs as it laid the roots of the 2010 World Cup scandal at the feet of those “non-French,” Muslim and black players. The former is the blather (one hopes) of a political candidate trying to set himself apart, while the other is an attempt at setting national team policy.

But the restless mind wonders about the viability of viewing Barça as a microcosm of Europe, particularly as regards its restrictive covenants aimed at closing the barn door on the horse that is unrestricted immigration (anybody with the bucks, two years ago, could become a soci, but no longer). It’s worth watching as time passes and a president, flush with the power of sporting success, surveys his empire.

MEANWHILE ….

Just when you thought that the war between us and them couldn’t get any more stupid, EE is now seeking to have 6 of our players (Alves, Pedro, Busquets, Pinto, Keita, Mascherano) suspended for Tuesday’s return leg at the Camp Nou, one that finds them facing not only a two away goals deficit, but the losses of Pepe, Sergio Ramos (suspensions) and Khedira (injury). Yes, this is a continuation of the “unsporting” behavior row, one that has picked up a particularly nasty adjunct: racism allegations.

In this video, some are alleging that Sergi Busquets can be lip-read, calling EE player Marcelo a “mono,” or “monkey.”

In another video, some are alleging that Arbeloa hurled a racist insult at Keita, which can account for the way the preternaturally calm Malian midfielder reacts.

I leave to you all to wonder how a club in which Pinto can rush to the defense of his Malian teammate can have, on the same squad, a player who would call an opponent a “monkey.” For me, it’s just another sad aspect in this race to the bottom that has become El Clasico 2011, part the zillionth.

On the other hand the player suspension business is too stupid to consider by any rational person. It’s just another attempt by Mou Mou to distract people from the cynical, dimwitted match that his side played on Wednesday last. What’s even better is that the chorus of disapproval from Europe’s top managers is reaching a crescendo, with the likes of Guus Hiddink and Kenny Dalglish the latest to come out against Mourinho’s spiteful, insipid post-match comments.

Mou Mou/EE should also be careful what they wish for, as any careful review of the match with retroactive sanctions in mind could cost them Marcelo for the return leg, who very clearly stomped on the leg of Pedro, causing a substutition that (it must be said) ultimately killed their white-clad butts. Yay, Marcelo!

And I never thought that I would ever say this, but I just want this crap to be over. That it has sunk to this depth doesn’t surprise me, or anyone who understands just how much these two teams absolutely, uncategorically hate each other. But I’m officially tired of it. UEFA decisions on all of the nonsense (us vs them, them vs us, UEFA vs them) will come down on Monday. In the meantime, this video will get us all ready for the deciding match in a tie that isn’t over. Mou Mou has said that it’s over. This is clearly a ploy to inspire his players, and one that shouldn’t be allowed to succeed. So watch this, and get ready.

–The seasons of Gabi Milito and Martin Montoya are over. Both will be out for six weeks, the former with a torn calf muscle, the latter with a broken collarbone. It’s tough being a Barça defender these days. Our strike and midfield forces have been relatively injury-free, while the back line, the folks who have the best view of the match, have been plagued with injuries. Maybe it’s all that inactivity, due to the effectiveness of our attackers and ball controllers. Who knows? Either way, let’s wish Milito, who will almost certainly be moving on this summer and Montoya, who I expect to see with the A side sooner rather than later, all the best.

P.S. No, there wasn’t a match review. For this, I can blame a renegade, mischievous squirrel, who thought that the cable line was yum-yum tasty. I thought that my colleagues would step into the breach, particularly the laggardly Isaiah (who was probably in a gutter somewhere, sleeping off a beer-sodden debauch [true statement -ed]), but alas, it wasn’t to be. If anybody wants one I can bang it out, but it seems that we have bigger things to worry about.

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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.

65 Comments

  1. blitzen
    May 1, 2011

    Yeah, I don’t think we really need a review for this one. It goes like this:

    We rested a bunch of our A-listers and cripples and played a bunch of kids. We did pretty well, but the opposing team was fighting to stay out of the relegation zone and played for a win while we were resting on our laurels. We had a good goal disallowed and a penalty that was almost saved. That’s football. Congrats to RS, but we’re still going to win the league.

    • Jose
      May 1, 2011

      I’m fine with uploading blitzen’s comment onto a post of its own, and calling it a day. Maybe Kxevin can give it a title, and off to the archives with it 😛

  2. outerspacedout
    May 1, 2011

    Hectored:

    Osama Bin Laden found dead, according to sources.

    • Jose
      May 1, 2011

      Well a Barcelona football blog is about the last place I ever expected to hear that bit of news for the first time.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 1, 2011

      Well a Barcelona football blog is about the last place I ever expected to hear that bit of news for the first time.

      this…

      is he, really? errr, don’t know what else to say…

      • outerspacedout
        May 1, 2011

        Yeah, Obama just gave a national address confirming he was dead and they had his body.

        Thought that day would never happen, I’d thought Osama had disappeared for good.

  3. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 1, 2011

    @Lev, from previous thread

    I want him to stay with us is because I cannot imagine Pep coaching against us.

    yes, Lev… if Pep quit someday, I hope he’ll retire from coaching job…

    hope he’ll pursue another interest, like fashion industry? (he said he loves fashion 😛 )
    or become a vice-president of FCB… I dunno, I just can’t stand to see him coaching against us…

    but if he coach a national team, that’ll be fine to me…

    @Kxevin

    yup, we have bigger things to worry about, which is more interesting to discuss about… but I won’t mind either if you tell us your rating and what do you think about our second string players (Fontas, Thiago, Jeffren, Afellay)… 😉

    Tuesday will be another bloody battle… since EE must get at least 2 goals, they will come with a different approach and formation from the last 3 El Clasicos…

    I’m expecting a better show for football fans around the world… show them what two of the best teams in the world are capable of…
    which is mean less stomping, kicking legs, diving, acting, blah blah blah… please stop that… :roll:

        • outerspacedout
          May 1, 2011

          Yeah, and for Messi to get a WC!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 2, 2011

        Argentina? oh, yes!

        but I’ll be happy if he’ll replace VdB someday…

    • outerspacedout
      May 1, 2011

      I hope he stays with us for a long time, but it seems almost set that he’s gonna leave us after a couple years or so more. Probably to go to Italy, he played there after Barcelona too right?

      I wouldn’t mind seeing him at the likes of Napoli. Or even Arsenal lol. Can’t see him coaching any other Spanish, English or German club, or Inter.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 2, 2011

        Probably to go to Italy, he played there after Barcelona too right?

        yes, to Brescia…

        I don’t wanna see him in any other club, (except AC Milan, to see him reunite with Ibra) 😛 especially NOT Inter Milan…

        that will hurt me so much, because I love Pep too much and hate Inter too much…

  4. Jnice
    May 1, 2011

    Regarding Tuesday:

    I think Madrid will come out like they did in the first half in the Copa. They will press aggressively and press us in our own half. Pep has to know this. We’re going to have to move the ball effectively, but Messi should have more space in the areas he likes to operate in.

    And I wouldn’t be too surprised if Keita gets the start over Iniesta even if the latter is deemed fit. We’ll need his industry in the midfield, as well as his height for set pieces.

    Ah! I’m going to be so nervous.

    • nzm
      May 2, 2011

      I’d like to see Keita too. As much as I love Iniesta, I’ve been noticing that his style of play has recently been too slow and deliberate to allow faster play. He’s not as decisive going forward as Keita is.

      • Jim
        May 2, 2011

        I’m struggling to agree with your last sentence, Nzm. If we need to move the ball quickly on Tuesday ( and boy will we !) then no better than Iniesta to do that. No offence whatsoever to Keita.

        Also , we need more ability to hit through passes. We aren’t going to win this one sitting back. We need to take control and put them through the ringer on our pitch with our crowd and our best 11.

        • nzm
          May 2, 2011

          Jim: my observation from watching recent games has been that, lately, Iniesta has been holding on to the ball for too long, thus allowing the opposition to set their defence and even come out and get the ball off him. It’s even worse when he’s stuck out on the left and expected to run with the ball – a winger he isn’t!

          It may be that the other Barca players haven’t been offering themselves for the pass from Iniesta, but we definitely need faster play tomorrow night. If Ini can do it, I’m all for it, but in midfield defence, Keita has an edge.

  5. 145culegirl
    May 2, 2011

    I’ve watched a review on the RM-Barca on an Indian channel.The analysist was a former WEST HAM player(no disrrespect).He said that Pep was like Arsene wenger in his pre-presser and Barca played like Arsenal in the first leg.I rolled with laughter.I did not find any relation between Barca and Arsenal.And how can he compare PEP TO WENGER?.That’s too ridiculous.

  6. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    U mean carlton palmer.

    he also said pep and barca should be ashamed ,that mou was playing for a nil nil so the camp nou tie becomes like a cup final.

    he justified this by saying i had played football for 17 years.

    if i were there i should have reminded him of maradona.

    how these biased guys got a chance is a mystery,though his analysis r quite good when he did that without any bias.

    as a professional, u should be analyzing without any bias,look at epl for espn in india,all of them r self proclaimed supporter of some club but their analysis is not.

    thats what lacks in TEN SPORTS in their broafcast of ucl and la liga.., professionalism

  7. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    The scottish guy in their show is quitr polite,objective and tried to be as unbiased as he could in his analysis though.

    On OBL,i heard it first in BFB.
    Finally usa got their frankenstein,

    is their any irrefutable evidence that al quaeda attacked the twin towers?

    thanks to the person who caught him.OBL is a disgrace for the muslims and what he did is explicitly forbidden in our holy book.

    apologize to everybody for this quite irrevelant politocal comment.

    by the by,@ kxevin,

    france has already put a law like this by banning wearing hizab and niqab in public.so it normal thar fff is thinking like that.

    • outerspacedout
      May 2, 2011

      Yeah I was happy they caught him too. And glad that Obama took the time to point out that he wasn’t some kind of Muslim leader but that Bin Laden had also carried out attacks killing large numbers of Muslims as well in his address.

      Yeah the France law pissed me off. The justifications provided for it were outright ridiculous. Why should they be able to look at us while we can’t see their faces and it scares them was an ACTUAL reason some women quoted to support banning the niqab thing- what, so would party masks be illegal too, for example? Or dark sunglasses above a particular size? And the whole some women are forced to wear it by their husbands justification is stupid as well, well now those women are just gonna be forced to be stuck at home, and is no reason to ban the whole thing anyway, what if I’m a jerk and force my wife to wear pink bell-bottoms and a red wig, should those be banned too?

      And at least that’s niqab (face veil), banning the hijab (scarf over hair, long sleeves and long pants) is even more ridiculous. Apparently its the whole ‘you live in our country follow our social expectations’ argument.

      So what next, if their society doesn’t expect you to go to a mosque or speak your own language or not like creme brulee, should going to the mosque or not liking creme brulee be made illegal too? Many girls I respect enormously happen to also wear hijab, by personal choice, whether it’s to try be more religious or cos they like feeling free of the pressure to look perfect or to make a point about religious identity or any myriad number of reasons. I can’t see anything but xenophobia in banning that as well- especially since, say, nun’s habits are allowed, and they cover just as much if not more.

      Not to generalize a country, but I do get a sort of somewhat xenophobic vibe from French politics. And that one politician in the Netherlands is openly so as well, forgot his name but he proposes stuff like taxing women who wear scarves over their hair, or ‘headrags’ as he calls them.

      • Nav
        May 2, 2011

        I don’t think a football blog is the best place to start these kind of discussions.

        • hammeronmessi
          May 2, 2011

          thats why i apologized beforehand

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 2, 2011

        Many girls I respect enormously happen to also wear hijab, by personal choice, whether it’s to try be more religious or cos they like feeling free of the pressure to look perfect or to make a point about religious identity or any myriad number of reasons.

        I’m wearing hijab… I guess you already know that… 🙂

        I feel really really sorry with muslim women in France…

        the truth is according to my religion, wearing hijab is an obligation… something that we believe is a command from God…

      • outerspacedout
        May 2, 2011

        Good point… Back to football topics then, with me starting off saying- Holy crap how did I forget to mention this btw?

        Goal.com reports Iniesta could be back for the second leg!

        • Nav
          May 2, 2011

          I’m with JNice and think that Keita could actually be more useful defensively and Iniesta could be used as an impact sub.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          May 2, 2011

          why you search Barça news from goal.com?
          we have @barcastuff twitter… 😀

          yes, according to barcastuff, Iniesta has trained with the team…

          but I’m not sure Pep will play him as a starter, since maybe he’s no 100% fit and we will need Keita to break EE’s attack…

  8. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    i m still not used to my smartohone,samsung wave 2.

    so apologies for spelling mistakes and bad grammar.

    can anybody name me a good shooter game for my phone.

  9. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    @145Culegirl,

    did u see hid face after the game?he was on the verge of crying.he is a mou devotee rather than a ee fan.

    • 145culegirl
      May 2, 2011

      If you mean the guy whom I talked about in my previous comment?.
      Yes,his face was just like Mou’s face after the match.I did not know that he was an EE fan and Mou’s devotee after the match,so I did not pay much attention at that moment.But upon his comments on Barca,I just went back to that moment and had a hearty laugh 🙂

  10. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    Not making fun or mocking

    where is blaunero?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 2, 2011

      yes, where is he?

      I’m hoping we can see a happy post from blaunero after we officially put our feet on Wembley…

      it’s a prayer… 😉

      • hammeronmessi
        May 2, 2011

        he will be back when we lose the UCL final against the

        mighty unconvincables.

      • Jnice
        May 2, 2011

        He’s probably waiting until we officially reach the final.

        I must say, I’m not really looking forward to Tuesday. Being nervous a whole day isn’t fun.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          May 2, 2011

          I hate being nervous too…

          have 2 precious away goals, and conceded zero, I’m still nervous…

          can’t imagine if the scoreline was 1-0 or draw at Bernahbooo…

        • hammeronmessi
          May 2, 2011

          i was determined to be in a lurker mode until this classico madness is over.

          but being talkative in real life i cant help commenting.

          the end is near though

        • I’m actually looking forward to tuesday..because I just can’t take this sh*t anymore…I’m exhausted..

  11. outerspacedout
    May 2, 2011

    barcastuff barcastuff
    Barcelona tried to block the sale of Getafe to a Dubai investment fund and to convince them to close a sponsor deal with Barcelona. [as]

    Really?

    And:

    barcastuff barcastuff
    After false reports in Madrid media, Pique called ESP coach DelBosque to explain an incident with Madrid players after the Liga clasico [ec]

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 2, 2011

      regarding the ‘incident’ with EE players, Pique denied it, but EE fans already hate him, thanks to Marca…

      but he doesnt seem to mind anyway, he said he loves playing in a hostile environment, because that only motivates him even more…

  12. When is the uefa decision supposed to come out?morning or evening?

    I still can’t believe how ridiculous this is!
    My country (Greece) is superhorrid regarding football matters and yet this accusations from r. madrid and their double standard is something I have not seen before…

    My stress levels have reached new heights in the past 2 weeks..

    • nzm
      May 2, 2011

      It’s out. UEFA has rejected Real Madrid’s claim, as well as that of FC Barcelona. In the latter case, UEFA has referred Barca to UEFA’s own inquiry (mostly about Mourinho) which is to be heard on Friday.

  13. outerspacedout
    May 2, 2011

    We need to be reminded of that… Because there is enough grim stuff in the news, about economic crises, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, without making a grim thing out of sport as well. The likes of Mourinho make football seem like just one more corporate takeover bid. Messi reminds us that, for all the money involved, we’re still talking about a kids’ game. And football is at its best when it connects us with that more innocent part of ourselves.

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/salvation-in-beautiful-truth-2634460.html

    Great article.

  14. hammeronmessi
    May 2, 2011

    This classico reminds me of the second and third part of the matrix trilogy.

    agent smith (Mou)being unplugged from the system(barca) tries to destroy the system and neo.so he stared his war from the begining against neo. cause he knew neo is the key to the system.when he failed he went for more and more(in the fight scene neo against hundreds of agent smiths).neo understanding that he cant beat him ultimately join him inorder to beat him.smith laughed that neo succumbed to his game (pep presser) but it was neo who beat him.

    so barca unable to beat ee by playing fairly beat ee by their own medicine ie neo tricking smith by letting him kill neo.

    so in short although i despise our players diving it was the way to beat mous kick first ask later football.

  15. barca96
    May 2, 2011

    Guys, I think even if we beat the crap out of EE on Tuesday, we won’t be glorified in the media. They will always find a way to neglect our achievements and focus on the negative stuffs. For instance, they will definitely talk on how EE missed Pepe, Ramos “because of the ref” from the 1st leg.

    I would not play Iniesta at all. I want him to be 100% for the final like in 2009.

    • culegirl3
      May 2, 2011

      Agreed. They’ll say we cheated, dived, pressured, and paid off UEFA over and over again. Hell even if we make it to Wembley and win(*knock on wood*) we won’t get due credit. Blame it all on EE and their buddies at Marca and other craptastic media outlets who have climbed inside EE’s butts.

      I hope we do open up a can of whoop ass on them. Someone needs to teach them so manners. 2-0 is not enough IMO, more vengance by way of more goals 🙂

      Anyone think they’ll let Afellay start this time?? Or will Pep do the same as the 1st leg?

    • Nope, I disagree. We will be glorified, there are many press articles that are praising us already. This time most of the articles are condeming r.madrid.
      If (when?)we pass we shall be hailed I have no doubt!

      • outerspacedout
        May 2, 2011

        Same here. The knee-jerk aftermath is fading away where fringe ideas and elements belong- to the sidelines, and with perspective unclouded by ‘self-righteous’ outrage we’re getting hailed more and more.

        If we pass yes EE fans and Mourinho will say that, but the rest of the world won’t, at least majority wise.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 2, 2011

      “Luckily, Mourinho’s destructive tactics, aimed solely at provoking and destroying the opponents’ gameplan, did not work,” Hitzfeld wrote in German football magazine Kicker.

      “Such a way of playing does not relate to the demands of Real, it’s really shameful for Real Madrid. It harms the good name and image of this legendary club.”

      Hitzfeld, just one of only three coaches to have won the Champions League with two different clubs – along with Mourinho and Ernst Happel, did not hide his disdain for the Portuguese coach.

      “I’ve met him at UEFA meetings and his behaviour is faithful to his image: arrogant, haughty, chewing gum and somewhat of a boor.

      “Barca should make him pay on the pitch,” he said in reference to Tuesday’s return leg of the semi-final.

      HELL YEAH… 😀

  16. Lev
    May 2, 2011

    Wow. Shaking my head at FFF. I guess Laurent Blanc really wants his players to be just that – pas de beurre ni renoi non plus. Shocking.

    And not comparable at all to if Rosell would come up with a quota for la Masía. Difference being that a Barça quota on foreign (youth) players, which I would support, simply means that Barça would limit scouting abroad.

    Can’t compare that to the FFF wanting to put a quota on French citizens based on skin color. Not the same thing.

  17. Lev
    May 2, 2011

    As for Busquets, I watched the link provided it seems that whatever he says is a three syllable word. Only in slow motion does it resemble “momo” but watch it in normal speed. I must say that it is worrying that he covered his mouth while saying it though.

    • Ryan
      May 2, 2011

      Where does “momo” mean monkey anyway? I’ve always heard it pronounced “mono.” And even then, it’s also used for calling kids “cute.”

      • chop
        May 2, 2011

        LOL, I’m a native Spanish speaker. Monkey = Mono ( at least in my country). Momo as far as I know is a Nepali type of dumpling!

    • May 2, 2011

      yeah i don’t think he said mono, because he makes two “m” movements with his mouth, which leads me to believe he said another spanish curse word “mamon” which means… well I don’t think I can type that here. but it’s not a racist insult.

  18. outerspacedout
    May 2, 2011

    Reports from Spain and Germany suggest EE agree terms with Nuri Sahin? How the f*** are they going to fit him in that team? He plays the Alonso role doesn’t he? I mean he’s more creative than defensive, like Alonso is, so he wouldn’t exactly be a good DM partner for Alonso as well.

    They already have Alonso, Khedira, Granero and co don’t they? And Alonso works best with at least one defensive midfielder, so what is it gonna be, a 4-3-3 with Alonso, Sahin and a DM and sacrificing of three of Higuain, Benzema, Kaka, Di Maria, and Oezil, or putting Sahin as Alonso’s partner in their usual 4-2-3-1 where he’s not defensive enough for the job, or most likely destroying Sahin’s career by barely letting him play?

    • chop
      May 2, 2011

      It’s totally ridiculous these days how many top players the best teams by. Half the talent just wastes on the bench. I think Alonso will be sacrificed. He’s pretty poor defensively these days. Has some nice long passes and is steady but a bit overrated I think. His long shots and free kicks don’t seem to be that great anymore either. Course it will be tough as he plays for the Spanish NT.

  19. Barcaleya
    May 2, 2011

    REJECTED!!!!

    Real Madrid’s complaint for unsporting behaviour has been rejected by UEFA. As it should.

    And we should heed the call of all enlightened coaches, who call Mou a boor, to reject RM in the field, as well.

    Visca Barca!!!

    • Barcaleya
      May 2, 2011

      And Madrid isn’t letting it go – they’re appealing.

      Arggh. So sick and tired of this. I just want them to go away.

      I pray we win big at the Camp Nou.

        • Barcaleya
          May 2, 2011

          Thanks, Kari! Didn’t realize I’ve been hectored 😀

          Reading and responding to too many things at the same time.

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