El Clasico 2011 news: King Eric is back!

"Do YOU see a scar? It's Go Time!"

I can’t even find the words to express the joy that I feel. This brief post is mostly for the permanent record, so that we can all come back here and remember the joy that we felt when it was announced today that:

–Eric Abidal was training normally with the squad
–Eric Abidal convocado. Dude’s in the squad for the Camp Nou leg in the final edition of a nasty, bitter series of El Clasics.

For the cave-dwellers, Abidal had surgery recently, to remove a tumor on his liver. We never heard if it was malignant or not, but we can safely assume by the fact that His Royal Badness is back, that it wasn’t. Guardiola says that he can help some, but that he isn’t fully match fit and is a little overweight.

Who cares? Our French Greyhound is BACK!!!!

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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.


    • Gogah
      May 2, 2011

      p.s. he is a bit underweight, not over. chiz

  1. blitzen
    May 2, 2011

    I just knew we would see him back before the end of the season! No way was he going to miss a CL final. 😀

    And thanks Kxevin for posting this pic. A little something for the ladies? 😉

  2. Vj
    May 2, 2011

    Got Hectored with impunity. Anyway, my 2 cents on the Busi saga –

    I don’t speak Spanish and have only started to learn lipreading, but I can’t say anything sounding like ‘no’ as Busi is alleged to have by closing my lips like that. If anything, my lips will go further away from each other.


    Doesn’t sound like ‘mono’ to me. Nor did it faze Marcelo one bit. Hopefully Busi will clear this up. He seems to have the Pep’s faith. No point in crucifying him over this..

    • May 2, 2011

      Sid Lowe on this matter (via Twitter):

      Pep Guardiola’s comments tonight appeared to confirm Busquets racist remark did happen. So, action presumably will (and should) happen.

      After he heard from a bunch of folks, including me, this followed:

      1. Let me clarify for those who don’t seem to understand ‘appeared to confirm’. Pep did not say Busquets made racist remarks, but asked directly about it, he didn’t deny it and said that his players can make mistakes on pitch and are not proud of those mistakes. It would of course still be helpful to have an explicit admittance/denial, though.

      • jordi™
        May 2, 2011

        What? There was ZERO confirmation.How can sid use subjective inference to make definitive statements like “confirm”. WTF sid??

      • “Confirm” is too strong a word for this, even if “appears to” precedes it. Sid is putting a bit of a spin on this, as it is his interpretation of what he thinks Pep has said.

        1. Busi is innocent until proven guilty
        2. If — and this is a big if– he did say it, serious measures will have to be taken by Barca. This shiznit is not happening.

        No-one is lip readers here. This is a serious thing, and that EE have taken measures on putting on their official website means that they should be prepared for the consequences if this proves false, which I believe it will.

      • PhepheSa
        May 2, 2011

        I also sent him one angry tweet. I was very disappointed with what he said especially when he knows how much we respect his views. It was very clumsy of him.

    • Para
      May 2, 2011

      Leaving aside all the allegations of diving, violence, foul play, etc, I think the question of racist remarks is something far more serious, both as an act and as an accusation.

      Because of the seriousness, I don’t think it’s right to base judgement on the video which seems to have polarised opinions (probably partly because of all the emotion around the clasicos).

      I do think, considering the amount of attention the issue is getting (as it rightly should), an investigation needs to be made into the matter by both UEFA and by Barca. It should be something that is provable, as if he said something to Marcelo then Marcelo should be able to confirm/deny it. Ordinarily, I would think that RM wouldn’t make an accusation unless he already had, but who knows in these circumstances.

      If it is in fact true, then something has to be done. This is not okay.

  3. Welcome back eric! Soothe our hearts and minds from all this morbo! *nearingmentalbreakdown*

  4. Josep
    May 2, 2011

    really Kxevin? I open this page at work to see half naked black men all the time but not on BFB!

  5. soccermomof4
    May 2, 2011

    The Return of the KING!

    Reitterating what I said last thread: Best news ever, but I don’t want him to get hurt going up against EE’s thugs players so soon. Oh well, in Pep we trust! Tremendous news!

    Oh, and Kxevin, thanks for the eye candy! 🙂

  6. Nav
    May 2, 2011

    Possible line-up (vs Real Madrid): Valdes – Alves Pique Mascherano Puyol – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa

    Almost our best 11. So what do we do with Mascherano once Abidal is back?

  7. PhepheSa
    May 2, 2011

    Sid Lowe says Pep’s comment about the Busi racial abuse issue seem to confirm that he did say momo/mono to Marcelo. Did I misss anything? I only have the translation from the previous post and i don’t see how Pep confirmed or denied anything. Infact he seemed to stress that he knows his players which i see as support for Busi.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      May 2, 2011

      Kxvin cleared that up (see above)

      And thank you, it is Ladys time, that it was I call fanservice.

      • PhepheSa
        May 2, 2011

        Oops! My connection has been slow these days i get this all the time lately. Sorry guys.

        Anyways, that’s some crazy Abi photo that one. Could look at it all day if i had the time.

  8. Hey vj do you think he might be saying ‘coño’ ? In this word n is pronounced more like ‘nio’ . The slow motion is confusing though and i think it is altering the way someone pronounces. For example at normal speed busi’s mouth seems to be saying smth totaly different. Its like when in some funny films the show someone speaking in slow motion and their lip formation is plain weird!

    • May 2, 2011

      I’m reserving judgment until the situation plays itself out. Marcelo has the answer, and he isn’t talking right now. That’s one hell of an allegation, and as someone said above, it’s doubtful that EE would make it on the official site unless there were some foundation to it.

      But again, I dunno. These matches have turned us all into crazies.

      It must also be said that the Camp Nou has its legacy of monkey chants at opposition players, particularly the likes of Roberto Carlos, and the stuff that Lewis Hamilton had to deal with during F1 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya comes to more recent memory. It isn’t universal, and the folks who were heckling during F1 testing were shouted down by many a Catalan.

  9. Vj
    May 2, 2011


    “I know these players. They are an example of professionalism,” said the Barcelona coach. “They love this sport. Some of them, during the game, can make a mistake but as players they are exemplary both for Spain and for Barcelona.”

    Asked if he would punish Busquets he said: “We are not proud when they make mistakes but I know these players. If we do something wrong, then Uefa have to decide. What is in the past is in the past. It won’t happen again.”

    So there may be truth in these allegations after all..

    • May 2, 2011

      Thanks for that, Vj. Very sad right now. If true, I don’t see how he can look Keita, Abidal and Alves in the eye, to name any of the other players who don’t condone that kind of crap.

      If it were me, I wouldn’t want him on the team any longer. Period. If this stuff is to be eradicated from the game, it just can’t happen. Further, if the club supports the player in this matter, I’m done with it. I simply can’t support a club that allows that sort of thing, not as a black, and not as a human being.

      • It’s written by Sid though—and I’m not saying the above is not valid. This is a different version from APA:

        “Madrid cannot decide who plays or doesn’t, that is down to UEFA. My players go out to play football, I know them very well and they are professionals,” said Guardiola.

        “They love sport and I have no doubt that some can make errors but they are an example for Barca and for the national team.

        Puts a different spin on it and he could have also been talking about Pedro!. Translations are, in the end, down to the translators wording what has been said.

        I’m going to reserve judgement until the decision is announced.

      • mardia
        May 2, 2011

        At the very least, I’d expect Pep not to put Busquets on the field while this is worked out. No, the allegations aren’t *proved* yet, but it’d still be an incredibly inflammatory, and frankly, disrespectful move to Real Madrid and Marcelo. (I know, I know, RM have done some crappy things this week, but this goes beyond petty complaints about diving/fouling.)

        But yeah, if he said it, and if the club don’t do anything, then I’m done with Barca, sad to say.

        • PhepheSa
          May 2, 2011

          I don’t see how this can be proved other than Marcelo’s confirmation. If Busi did say that then i think Marcelo would have reported it immediately and EE would not have waited that long to state their claim they would have gone with the story soon after the game. They only started with the story after someone found the video.

          I’m saying he’s innocent but i don’t think that would do him any good if he is innocent. It would be like the club was not supportive of him.

    • Barcaleya
      May 2, 2011

      VJ – is this Pep’s direct response to the racial slur issue?

      Did they ask him specifically about Busquet’s alleged racial slur? And that was his answer?

    • jordi™
      May 2, 2011

      When i listened to the presser I am 100 % certain the last part about mistakes was about pedro holding his face.Im fairly certain if Pep confirmed anything about busi making racist claims MArca and AS would Make that their headline.Whatever, when i find the full video im gonna listen again and post it.

  10. just listenin
    May 2, 2011

    Marcelo does start with an M and end with an O, I’m not being smart, but is it possible that he was calling him by his name?

    • stowe
      May 2, 2011

      L and N do have very similar mouth movements. My English students often make mistakes and confuse the sounds. He could be saying P, M, or B sounds at the beginning. He could be saying N or L sound at the end. what if he was saying Pollo, chicken?

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