In a mud field, everybody gets dirty

Let me state this without fear of equivocation, to make sure there is no reading between the lines, no interpretative hooraw:

It is impossible for me to hate That Other Spanish Team any more than I do right now.

Just so we’re clear.

For those who have been sleeping on the news, Sergi Busquets has been cleared of all charges by UEFA, and will be playing in the Champions League final against Manchester United.

Whether justice has been done (some say) or “He knows what he did” (one BritJourno says, aping the worldviews of others) doesn’t matter. Not to me. I’ve been clear on this from the outset.

But That Club has managed to comport itself in such a vile, disgusting way that it is impossible to feel anything other than revulsion for it right now.

Make no mistake, when I became a cule, I began to dislike them. When I became a soci I grew to hate them. At present, I don’t have an appropriate word for the emotions that said entity rouses in me.

Because what it has done is the equivalent of a spoiled child who loses as checkers, then name-calls because he is upset. Because they couldn’t handle their business on the pitch, we became cheats, divers and racists. How dare they allege that WE have committed unsporting actions?

In the dimwitted, reprehensible, ultimately Pyrrhic war they have waged in the media in the wake of getting their asses handed to them this season, they have damaged us, themselves and Spanish football as a whole. Instead of two of the best club sides in the world, we are laughingstocks.

Nice work, idiots.

When we hung losses on previous EE coaches they took their lumps, did the press conferences and vowed to work harder. Like men. Then they were fired. In 2009, we hung a 2-6 on them in their house, and here’s an excerpt from one press report after the match:

XXXX coach Juande Ramos said Barça deserved to win.

“We have lost a lot of the hope we had about winning the league,” he said. “We still have to put all our effort into the competition. Of course it’s difficult and much more difficult than before.”

What would their coach say in the here and now? After the manita he was reasonably gracious, because he could afford to be. Nothing had been decided yet. In the wake of the home draw that effectively decided the Liga, and our eliminating them in the Champions League, the kid gloves came off.

–We were cheats and divers, disreputable, unsporting louts.
–We’re in cahoots with UEFA to win matches.
–Sergi Busquets said racist things to Marcelo.
–It didn’t bring the allegations against us. UEFA decided in its wisdom to pursue them on their own. Besides, Barça started it. And yet, the UEFA document concerning the decision states very clearly, “The report lodged by XXXX XXXXXX CF concerning racial abuse against Marcelo by FC Barcelona player Sergio Busquets has been dismissed due to a lack of strong and convincing evidence.”

Yes, the racism allegation is the one that has generated the most commentary and discussion in these parts. But as a collective grouping, That Club should feel shame. It should apologize to us, Marcelo, Busquets and all of world football. Simply put, a world-class club isn’t supposed to act like that. It doesn’t matter if that club has world-class players on the pitch, because on the pitch is only part of the battle.

The other part is how a club comports itself off the pitch, and after matches. What did Arbeloa say to Keita, that drove the preternaturally calm Malian midfielder to violence and caused our reserve keeper, Pinto, to come to his aid/defense? Good question. Some have suggested that it was a racist slur. Keita hasn’t said anything, however, and neither has the club. No press releases, no UEFA complaints, no official statements on the club Web site.

Whether this is right or wrong is immaterial. This isn’t the time nor place for a discussion about whether Keita should have reported the incident, had one occurred. And I don’t even want to get into the Marcelo inci …. yes, I do.

There is an old joke that a man is asked about whether he beats his wife by asking him “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” The joke is that the question is impossible to answer because however you answer, you’re an abuser. No. Wife beating isn’t funny. Far from it. But as with the way they leveled the racism charge at Busquets and tangentially at the club, it is fundamentally impossible to deal with, unless done immediately.

As I’ve previously discussed, the club didn’t and the train of public opinion went berserk. The BritPress say we’re racists, self-serving crap that is rooted in the fact that we will be able to field our strongest club for the CL Final, which might once again damage their puff-chested claims that the Premiership play the best football ever witnessed by modern man.

“He got away with one,” many will claim. For me, that isn’t the point. We don’t know, and we will never know. It’s “he said, he said,” in a case that wasn’t proved to a degree sufficient to satisfy UEFA. The point is that those vicious, sore-losing spoilsports weren’t content with losing on the pitch. They wanted to make us lose off the pitch, to taint our victories in a way that made it clear that (to them and their supporters) the best team didn’t win, that were it not for all the conspiracies, racism and diving, justice would have been done.

And that is just wrong. I don’t mean wrong, prima facie. I mean morally wrong, and a violation of every tenet of good sportsmanship. When we were defeated by them in the Plat del Reig final, we moved on. We congratulated them, and moved on. Could we have said it was more rugby match than football match, cried to the Liga to investigate and called them bullies, thugs and heinous miscreants? Sure. But thankfully, that isn’t how we roll.

I said before in a previous thread, that no matter what happens, we shouldn’t let this campaign of theirs bear fruit in damaging our view of our club, and dividing us as cules. I still believe that. I know that people think that I believe that Busquets did it, am on a soapbox, have “personal problems,” blahblahblahblah. Don’t let them win. If we let them win, everyone loses.

They might yet issue a very public apology, but I doubt it. I don’t see the club that has behaved in the way that one has, apologizing for anything. But just as our club should have said something in the Busquets matter immediately, That Club should have already apologized. It should have been done weeks ago.

It was the heat of the moment, 4 Clasics in a row that spawned so much hate that people aren’t behaving normally. No. Wrong. It isn’t our fault that they spent so much money for so many players with so little result, then spent even more on a coach who was supposed to get the most from all that money. And let’s be clear about this, we aren’t innocent, either. We embellished fouls, and went down as if thunderstruck from the slightest contact. We, too, owe some folks some apologies for those incidents, for doing a disservice to the beautiful game that we play 99.9 percent of the time.

That probably ain’t gonna happen, either. And not to excuse our club, but the actions of two players during that one match don’t weigh on the collective negative karma like the nonsense that they have perpetrated. Were we right not to fight fire with fire, tooth and nail? Yes, even though I believe we erred in not quashing the Busquets business immediately.

But as my mother always says, the best view is from the high road.

Speaking of ass ….

Next season’s home shirt has been leaked. It was for sale and on full view at the Nike e-commerce site. It has since been yanked down, so forgive me for not putting up a pic of it. Actually, don’t forgive me. It’s asstastic, an ocular abomination made even worse by the immense, gold “Qatar Foundation” on the front of it. We could have had a picture of two dogs humping on the front and it would have been more palatable to me than the living, silkscreened embodiment of a club that sold its soul for a few bucks.

How does it look? T-shirt collar, closely grouped stripes, blaugrana prison stripes say those poetic types who feel like just a little bit of the club’s soul is being held prisoner for as long as Qatar Foundation remains on the front of our shirt.

Finally

From a Twitter follower: What I get out of this is both clubs do not think racism is a serious issue, by their actions and statements & that saddens me.

That is the lingering effect in the wake of this Busquets crap. And it underscores my rage. Some believe it should “Yay, for us! He isn’t racist, didn’t say those things and we can go back to being Barça. Yay for us!” Not so fast. This club will never be the same again to many cules, because there has been an unseemly incident introduced by those allegations. As everyone knows, clubs can start black players and have racist fans. That isn’t going to change in my lifetime. Maybe the young’uns like Eklavya have a shot at seeing that crap go away. We can remain optimistic.

Player choices are rooted in the expedience of the result-based world of professional football. Barça didn’t start Thuram, Abidal, Eto’o, Henry and The Yaya because it wanted to be a Benetton ad. It started them because they wanted to win matches, and championships. Can this mean that the club felt comfortable starting those players because the stands weren’t teeming with froth-mouthed racists? Absolutely. It can. But it doesn’t necessarily.

This case for me illustrates perfectly why I’m always ambivalent about players. I don’t care about Busquets as a player. It don’t care about any of our players as players. Their results matter to the club, and it is the club that matters to me. So I don’t love or hate Busquets, which makes it easy for me to say that whether he did it or not doesn’t matter. Doubt will always linger in the minds of some, just as a relieved sigh will escape from the lips of others.

What I know is this: Our club has been damaged. In less than a month, we went from being paragons of the Beautiful Game, to cheating, racist scum in too much of the world’s press. Our actions are in part to blame. But to a much larger part, it’s the actions of a vicious, bitter rival that should know better. It probably did know better. And it did know better and still didn’t do the right thing, makes me say damn them. Damn them to hell.

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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.

218 Comments

  1. May 16, 2011

    Left for some time, but came back for this post. Kxevin, these are exactly my thoughts on the subject.

    I’ll admit that when I first became a Barca fan, I didn’t much dislike Real Madrid. Well, at least not beyond the same dislike I have of them that a baseball fan would have of the New York Yankees: that being that they use their purchasing power to buy up all the best talent. Plus the fact that they are historically the most winningest club in the world, and thus attract plenty of fans that mainly want to attach themselves to that past glory. But all in all, I never really bothered to force myself to dislike them. That has changed. Their behavior has been despicable, and I would be seriously reconsidering my fandom if Barcelona had acted nearly as disgracefully as they did.

    I agree with a point made above, as well. We haven’t been perfect, and Barca has surely made mistakes over the last few weeks (and years). But it is stupid to establish some sort of moral equivalency between our behavior and Real Madrid’s. I know it’s common thinking over at camp Merengue, as they like to claim how us making one major player transfer a year (and plenty of smaller, smarter purchases) is somehow the same as spending the GDP of East Timor to purchase the best players in the world. But it is just plain dishonest.

    • vaderspacedout
      May 16, 2011

      1. Yes, same here. It was only the ‘rivalry’ dislike until recent events. Not outright, in-my-blood hatred.

      2. Umm I’m curious and even though I know you were just using it as a figure of speech, what IS the GDP of East Timor?

      • May 16, 2011

        $549M. 😛

        That’s in dollars.

      • blitzen
        May 17, 2011

        I love that you just randomly know that. Or are you faking it?

      • vaderspacedout
        May 16, 2011

        Oh wow that is actually really close.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 16, 2011

      same here…

      last year my EE fan friend refused to talk about football because he didnt want to ‘hurt’ our friendship, I said :
      “no, that’s okay! I dislike RM as a rival, but that’s it! I don’t hate them!”

      huh, how that words change in a year…

      unconditional hate…yes, Extreme Barca Fan…you’re right, that’s it…

  2. May 16, 2011

    Also, speaking of the Yankees and madridistas getting all huffy about the “Evil Empire” name:

    It’s a Star Wars (or Reagan) reference wrapped up in a baseball reference. It comes from a baseball quote of the Red Sox criticizing the infamous transfer policy of the New York Yankees. Yankees fans have embraced the nickname. Have a sense of humor.

    http://tinyurl.com/bababooooee

  3. vaderspacedout
    May 16, 2011

    Does anyone remember Totti being accused of racially insulting Balotelli after a Coppa Italia final? I don’t really remember what the whole incident was, but I think Totti denied it? I don’t really remember any details at all. Either way my point being, the Busquets thing is denied by him and us, not mentioned by Marcelo, dismissed by authorities, and even officially distanced by EE. If Busquets continues on his career and does well people are not gonna remember some vague implications which would tarnish his legacy in the long run.

    (Ps. If the Totti incident was true, then I don’t mean to compare an actual racial slur with what I feel is false allegations against Busquets. I may be remembering that incident wrong, wouldn’t remember it much since I don’t follow Serie A but just saw it on Goal.com)

  4. May 16, 2011

    Ahhh!!!! Welcome back Kevin!

  5. ooga aga
    May 16, 2011

    official FCB website reports that Keita is the player that has played in the most games this season, 55.

    “Keita has only missed 5 of the team’s 60 games so far this season – the European games against Panathinaikos (5-1) and both the games against Rubin Kazan (1-1 and 2-0), as well as the two home league games against Seville (5-0) and Malaga (4-1).”

    cool.

    • Ryan
      May 17, 2011

      He must have just edged out Messi, because that’s who the commentators were saying has the most games played during the parade/celebration.

    • Helge
      May 17, 2011

      But minute-wise, Messi certainly is way ahead of Keita.

  6. Ryan
    May 17, 2011

    It’s interesting to see Cules who merely disliked EE before this series of Clasicos. At times when I lived or visited Barcelona as a kid it nearly seemed like a 1984-esque reenactment of focused hating on their logo, players, etc. 😆 My memories from back then are watching a whole lot of Barca, DBZ, and Oliver y Benji, hating on EE, and eating ensaimadas. 😀

  7. May 17, 2011

    I also beleive that Barça has got nothing to say, for example when San Andres was about to be wrongly purnished by UEFA, Barça stepped in, when the drug allegation came the club replied, even UEFA came to conduct a doping test for our players, TWICE this year and we were clean as we havd always been, this time was no different, if at the end as I’m praying we won the UCL, no one will remember all these incidences, history had it that EE won 9UCL, who knew what happened then, lets forget the controversies and celebrate the league tittle. No one seems to be concerned about us keeping the La Liga trophy in our Museum for the fourth time in the club’s history, Messi is also Champions League top scorer for the third time conscecutively and still counting.

    • Helge
      May 17, 2011

      Well, to be more clear, EE has won a total of 9 CLs and its antecessor. 5 of them were at the very beginning of the competition. I don’t rate those 5 wins as high as the 4 wins in a row from Bayern Munich in the mid-70s, for instance.

      Looking at the more recent CLs, say the last 30 years, AC Milan was the most succesful side. And we’re two titles away from equalling Milan’s record (over that period of time).

  8. May 17, 2011

    Fabregas is going to the CL Final in support of us? Oh, yeah….HE’S staying with Arsenal next season.

    Has anyone ever heard of another club’s captain and talisman attending a Champions League final in support of another side, the side that eliminated the captains’s side from the CL quarterfinals in a superheated tie? Sighhh….

    –Abidal is learning Catalan because he wants to retire with Barca, and settle in the city with his family. I leave that for the people who suggest that the club is racist. Eto’o returned to celebrate with the club, as well. Recall also that Thuram was loved for his play, but also because he learned the language and supported Catalan causes.

    It’s the biggest reason I discussed actions and the appearances the leave/allow. Because black players simply wouldn’t have those reactions to or at a racist club. Period.

    –Everyone should avert their eyes, when the new shirts (whoops! Almost left off the “r” there.) will be unveiled at the Camp today.

    –EE is apparently going to announce the signing of Hamit Alltintop today. Buzz is that they are also the front runner in the Wantaway Kun Aguero sweepstakes. Another 200m summer to try beating us?

    –EE fans who are vexed about Evil Empire should get over it. I began using the phrase in jest, as a way to keep from typing the name of That Club. It is only of late that it has been living up to the moniker.

    • blitzen
      May 17, 2011

      Fabregas has denied that he will be attending the final…

    • Jnice
      May 17, 2011

      Hope they don’t sign Aguero, I like him. I would rather sign him than Rossi or Sanchez, but I don’t think we’re in for him.

    • Barcaleya
      May 17, 2011

      Kevin, I’m sorry but it was the way you discussed appearances, etc that even made me think that perhaps the club is racist.

      So although your post did open up a really good discussion on racism, I disagreed with your approach to it. So I’m pretty surprised with the above declarative statement of yours. Although I mist say I’m happy that you are now convinced the club is not so – based on the good feelings of black players towards it and not necessarily from any statement the club has to make in the heat of stupid actions from the other club. But then you could also have thought of Eto’o and Thuram before you voiced out such a loud and great doubt over the club’s stand on this.

      • May 17, 2011

        Good news on Fabregas. That means I can retain my hopes that he isn’t coming anytime soon.

        –Barcaleya, my stance on the club’s being racist or not hasn’t changed an iota from when all of this stuff began. I can’t control how people interpret my words, however. Never could.

        I’m not that intelligent a writer in that my words hide nuance. Always take them at face value.

        So the actions/reactions of black players is one thing, and the club NOT reacting to scurrilous charges in time to keep them from doing damage to its reputation and standing is another.

        At the Tribune, there are things that we forbid editorial employees to partake in or of, because of the appearance of a conflict of interest. When any situations arise, they are dealt with rapidly, because all that a journalistic entity has is its reputations. It’s the same with a football club. Sometimes, appearances are everything.

      • can_we_go_Xalvies
        May 17, 2011

        Yer, I think its safe to say that the club may have made a mistake not to come out on the issue straight away. Im not sold on the fact that the club had doubts on Busquets either.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        Oh I understand “appearances” and “conflicts of interest” perfectly. I worked in the judiciary for a long time. So maybe we’ll have different ways of looking at this because I view it from the legal standpoint and you view it from a journalistic standpoint.

        Take out “loving the club so much and being pained by the thought that it might support racism” – I thought that what happened was perfect. RM made an ass of themselves. Bigtime. We didn’t say anything. Then when UEFA opened inquiries – we say it was “mucho morro.” EE could then have categorically stated that Marcelo said he heard otherwise. But they backed down.

        Worse, they come out with a statement saying they did not include in their complaint the Busi issue after Karanka’s presser and the video in their site, then to say that the video was just posted there to support diving and not racial slur. It was an outright admission that they had no evidence whatsoever and any one who is not biased could see that they’re insulting everyone’s intelligence with that stupid excuse.

        I for one thought that this wouldnt have been such an issue if we just waited instead of condemning people outright and making such a loud outcry about what the club may or may not support.

        As a lawyer, I will insist on “innocent til proven guilty.” I was shocked at what happened here regarding Busi. In the name of having a club who will uphold all that is dear and right, people have forgotten about the life of one person who has to live with what happened. The club will survive, you know. It’s rich, it’s big. it doesn’t really get hurt. But a living person does. You cared about appearances for the club, but were not careful enough to shield Busi.

        I personally know some people who were wrongly incarcerated for a crime they did not commit. Twenty years in jail. If anyone here can even imagine how it is to live in prison for one day, do tell me. And if you have to go to jail when you are innocent – what could that be like? That’s why I’m very protective of people before evidence is presented. It’s easy to talk here because no one suffers the consequence of what they do to other people, like with Busi.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        In any case – I don’t want to argue with you. I admire your passion for the club.

        I just thought that we would at least be slower in condemning our own when everyone else will be quick to do so. And please don’t tell me again that you didn’t care about Busi, you only cared about the club. As I keep saying over and over – this particular issue was inextricably linked with Busi. Even if we came out with a statement, it would not have helped. Only you (us, cules) really cared about that. Everyone was more concerned about Busi.

        EE is just a dirty, dirty, loathesome club right now. They’re just out there to destroy our club and players. In whatever way. We should all be united in repelling them and any attack coming from them, instead of acknowledging it and giving it life (unless proven true, of course).

        My mindset from now on is – if it’s a statement or allegation coming from RM, consider it a lie first until proven. I am not even going to think for one second that it could be true until they prove it. They’ve just lost all benefit of the doubt after this incident.

      • May 17, 2011

        No, the incident is only inextricably linked with Busquets if you make it so. Each individual is their own perspective and world of perception. For me, they are very different.

        As for people using my words against our club, that’s their choice. It’s something else I can’t control. People who read them carefully, know what they say and mean. Those who don’t, can’t be helped.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        When you said that “I simply can’t support a club that allows that sort of thing” – you were referring to Busi. So, of course it’s related to Busi. Where else did this racism issue come from?

        As I said before, the Club has shown it’s stance on this matter in other ways. Contract provision, treatment of black players, etc.

        I’m just saying that how you phrase your sentences now It’s the biggest reason I discussed actions and the appearances the leave/allow. Because black players simply wouldn’t have those reactions to or at a racist club. Period. , even putting a period at the end, seems to show that you have been saying this with such conviction in the past. No, you didn’t. So please don’t put that period there as if we are the ones who had doubts and you’re the one who didn’t.

        Anyway – let’s just agree to disagree now on this matter.

        We’re still on the same side, after all.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        Oh, and I read your post very very carefully and I stand by what I think you meant.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        And finally Kevin – many other blogs have quoted your post on this matter and used it in support of their view that Busi is guilty and that the Club is racist. They say that you are the only reasonable person here in BFB.

        So – yes, words can get twisted and all. And it’s sad that though your intent was for the good of the club, your words were actually taken by people who hate this club in support of their view against us.

      • May 17, 2011

        Aha! There’s the rub: “I stand by what I think you meant.” 😀

        It’s why I say that individual perspective is impossible to argue with. You already know what I meant, making my contribution just something that muddles the picture. It’s why words have always, and will always fascinate me.

      • Megster
        May 17, 2011

        Yeah. Someone from ONTD posted it. And it generated so much heat and hate against Busi and the club for its no response at the height of the issue. Until now, they don’t want to believe UEFA’s decision. They still believe that everyone in FCB are racist.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        But you’re journalist, Kevin 😀

        And so you are held to a higher standard. You know what the words you write will be taken to mean by other people.

        It is fascinating. You can fool and inspire people with it.

    • soccermomof4
      May 17, 2011

      I said at the beginning of this that I was looking to our black/ darker skinned players for their reactions and would base my feelings on those reactions. That those guys all love the club, are loved by our fans, and want to stay there speaks volumes. That The Yaya and Henry have not had anything bad to say about the club even after having moved on speaks volumes(same can’t be said about a certain Swede). The reception that Ronnie got at the Gamper was awesome. And Eto’o, what more can you say about him? I’d imagine if you cut him he’d bleed blaugrana rather than Inter’s black and blue. I don’t know much about Thuram because I’m a newbie cule, but he must be pretty cool and I hear he looks like Kxevin 🙂 .

      No club is perfect, because no person or group of people is perfect. No fan base is perfect either. I imagine the club and some of the players will disappoint us in the future. I imagine that there will be idiots in the stands that will embarrass us. I hope that our responses will be more measured, more guarded, and we will offer a little more grace to those involved until all the facts are in.

      As for Abi? Man is made of awesome. I know this has been a challenging year for him. I know this has been professionally his best year. But what I love so much about him this year is that he smiles so much. I don’t remember him smiling as much last year. Guy’s having a blast playing this year and I love that (guess it’s the mom in me).

      BTW, would it be inconceivable to try to get Eto’o back?

      Great post Kxevin. I never really got the hatred of EE thing. In the beginning of newbie culehood, I thought it might be something like us Raven’s fans hating the Steelers. I eventually got the whole Catalan/ Spain thing. Still, I disliked them because it was what a Barca fan was supposed to do. Now, it’s different. Now it’s personal.

      Still like Bassam, though. Gotta believe there’s hope for him 🙂

      • May 17, 2011

        The limitations of Eto’o as a player haven’t changed. I wouldn’t even take him over Villa, though I imagine that many would right now.

      • Eklavya
        May 17, 2011

        I’d take Eto’o over Villa any day.

      • soccermomof4
        May 17, 2011

        Not over, but in addition to, like in a real rotation.

  9. can_we_go_Xalvies
    May 17, 2011

    -I’m not completely sold on the so called ‘leaked’ 11/12 home Jersey. I remember at the beginning of our last pre-season we had the rumours of what the 10/11 top looked like and when they came to reveal the damn things, they were completely different to what was rumoured. So I’ll just be waiting for the official unveiling to be certain.

  10. vaderspacedout
    May 17, 2011

    Just popping in to say this very unrelated thing:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH OOOOH MY GOD AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THIS IS THE SECOND HAPPIEST IVE EVER BEEN HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (after the Manita of course, yes my life is that boring) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Kthanxbai

    • May 17, 2011

      It is if you are already looking for a reason to hate a club, Vj. UEFA took the correct decision. Too much ambiguity in the matter, and it’s too hard to tell from the video.

      I did do a mirror pronunciation thing, and for the life of me couldn’t make “mono mono” look just like “mucho morro.” But the way the video looks is also unclear. So the correct decision was taken, even as the stain will live on for a looooong time.

      And Busquets will certainly think long and hard about saying anything, even “You suck!” on the pitch to anyone, I rather imagine.

    • blitzen
      May 17, 2011

      I’m not sure what part of “ lack of strong and convincing evidence” Brooks is not understanding. Marcelo has been deafeningly silent throughout, so speculation on what his statement to UEFA contained is only that, speculation. And I have already stated my opinion of the video “evidence”. No court would convict someone based on that.

      Dirty Tackle is one of my favourite football blogs. I’m sorry to see them jumping on the witch hunt bandwagon as well.

    • vaderspacedout
      May 17, 2011

      I like Brooks. But he’s a self admitted Chelsea fan.

    • May 17, 2011

      I don’t blame Brooks really. It’s unfortunately how human nature works unless you are emotionally invested in the accused player or his club, especially if the club is as succesful as Barca is right now.

      This is where the club staying silent for so long really hurt Busi IMHO. The Barca fans are always going to trust their player when the club eventually speaks out, and RM fans are going to hate Busi and Barca anyway irrespective of what we say. It’s the neutrals who’ve been looking at the suggestive video with very ‘helpful’ subtitles for a long time and letting the idea stew that Busi is a racist, so a clarification weeks later isn’t going to suddenly alter their perception. They’re probably going “mucho morro? Yeah right!”

      Can’t win all the battles though. The players just have to keep at playing their beautiful game and try and keep out from controversies as much as possible, and eventually this too shall pass. This baggage comes along with success and worldwide adulation.

  11. May 17, 2011

    For those of you who follow @a mi bola on Twitter, “first hand” rumors are being cited that have Guardiola insisting on the Fabregas transfer, and being willing to include Thiago as part of the deal. Now, they lost me at that part. I would see Krkic as part of the deal, or (shudder!) Dos Santos, but not Thiago, even though Rafa might be even better.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 17, 2011

      In my mind there are only 2 or 3 players that can be successful in the Barca midfield, and continue the tiki-taka that we are so used to.

      With Keita-32 and Xavi-32 years old, I am not sure their bodies can take 2 games a week, every week, and play for the national team.

      Thiago does not have what it takes to succeed in the Barcelona midfield. He looses too many balls, and makes too many errant passes.

      I do believe Barca needs to add one good world class midfielder.

      I know we have gone through this whole Fabregas debate before, but.. here are my picks.

      1. Fabregas
      2. Bastian Schweinsteiger
      3. Wesley Schneijder

      • May 17, 2011

        My 4 transfer targets for the summer:

        Botia
        Michel Bastos
        Drogba/Forlan
        Alexis Sanchez

        Couple those with the promotions of Thiago and Fontas, and we’re in great shape for the coming season. Fabregas still too expensive, and limits what else we could do. I’d rather move Iniesta into the Xavi role and try him with Busquets, Afellay or Thiago, who I don’t think is ever going to be the Xavi player. Too much crack in him.

      • Vj
        May 17, 2011

        Botia, Bastos and Forlan will be enough if we don’t chase off Jeffren and/or Bojan..

      • mega_tajh
        May 17, 2011

        Michel Bastos would be an excellent signing, being able to play left back, left winger. I hope Barca is going for him under the raider since he seems to be leaving Lyon this summer for sure.

        Forlan/Drogba would be kinda hard to sign since under this new regime we seem to be really keen into keeping a wage structure. If I recall Forlan makes about 10Mil a year,and Drogba maybe around the same.

        Botia is a yes I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him in Gijon. It maybe might be more of a switch with him and Fontas.

      • Vj
        May 17, 2011

        Yeah but Forlan has to take a wage cut as he’s definitely on his way out of Atleti. Some type of a Larsson role perhaps?

      • Eklavya
        May 17, 2011

        Bastos is going to Juve it seems.

      • Vj
        May 17, 2011

        That Bastos!

      • soccermomof4
        May 17, 2011

        It’s gonna be a long summer.

        What about Kanoute if we’re talking older strikers who won’t mind coming in off the bench to be plan B?

        Can we really afford Cesc if we are serious about shelling out the bucks for Rossi?

        I really don’t think we’ll sell Thiago after Pep said he had more faith in him than his father.

      • Barcaleya
        May 17, 2011

        Kevin – isn’t Busquets more suited to the Xavi role than Iniesta is? Won’t we be losing that talent of Iniesta to go forward and cut through defenses with his body (and not just his pass) if he takes on the Xavi role? Isn’t Busquets better at staying centrally and more deep?

        I agree – right now, not too sold on Thiago. And I don’t think he’s in the Xavi mold.

      • Nik
        May 17, 2011

        ^ I agree with the Busquets comment. Like you said, putting Iniesta in Xavi’s role would be a waste.

      • Blow-Grenade
        May 17, 2011

        Kxevin, None of the people you mention can play in the middle of the park. Barcelona exists because of the midfield engine that is run by Xavi Iniesta, and to a certain extent, the high up defense play by Pique, Puyol. Fab, Schweini, and Wesley are the only ones I see capable of playing or replacing either of them in the middle of the park and continue that tradition.

        We can get a boat load of wingers, and/or strikers, but without being able to dominate the middle of the park, barca would look something like FC Porto.

        I might as well watch their games.

      • privateeye
        May 18, 2011

        Drogba Drogba Drogba. Super Drog. We want super Drog. Moruinho will buy him. Shit.

        Forlan well Forlorn should be a better name for him now 🙂

    • K_legit
      May 17, 2011

      lol Puyol’s face has not changed an iota

    • Barcaleya
      May 17, 2011

      They’re too adorable! 😀

  12. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 17, 2011

    @blitzen

    Cesc denied it? Where did you read the news?

    I remember there’s an interview of Cesc and Gerard…

    Gerard : “you weren’t there to support me (Rome, 2009)”
    Cesc : “you know I wanted to come, but I can’t..but I support you, I screamed so loud when you guys won..you deserve it”

    so if Cesc come, it’s not weird for me since he has lots of friend in Barça and the final is in London, his current city…

    • Vj
      May 17, 2011

      Barcastuff actually,

      Cesc (Arsenal): “I won’t be at the CL final, as I’ll be on holiday, but I will certainly be watching.” [arsenal matchday programme]

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        May 17, 2011

        LOL… I havent checked barcastuff TL…

        he dissappointed Geri and Puyi again…

        therefore,he.must.not.come.to.Barça.this.summer!

  13. Liva
    May 17, 2011

    I think it’s curious that today both Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos have said that they are happy about Busquets and the fact that he will be allowed to play at Wembley. I wonder how much of that is something that they have been ordered to say by certain higher powers in order to again emphasize that EE as if had nothing to do with the UEFA investigation and how much of their own feelings are into it.

    Another interesting thing – they both are teammates of Marcelo, I suppose they might know more or less (certainly more than any one of us) what Marcelo’s statement to the UEFA was and it is very possible that Marcelo might have explained what he heard to his teammates himself. Their comments might suggest that there was no actual confirmation from Marcelo of Busquets saying “mono”. So far in almost every place I have read about this issue (not here), practically everyone has automatically assumed that Marcelo must have confirmed the accusations that Busquets had called him “mono”. But actually – we don’t know what the statement was, it could have been anything, Marcelo just as well could have stated that he did not hear Busquets clearly or had not heard anything at all. “Giving a statement” does not necessarily mean “confirming someone’s guilt”. But that’s just speculation, Arbeloa’s and Ramos’ comments might not mean that at all.

    • soccermomof4
      May 17, 2011

      My best guess is that it’s national team damage control, especially since Busi’s captain missed the boat.

      • soccermomof4
        May 17, 2011

        Y’all know by that I meant NT captain, St. Iker that guy.

  14. May 17, 2011

    Marcelo’s statement to the UEFA had to be “I’m not sure what he really said” type. Otherwise UEFA would have DEFINETLY opened the case and the they would call Busquets to give his statement.
    Although our club was late with the response we did eventually say that Busi said “mucho morro” R.madrid NEVER released anything! Even now when they have posted TWICE on their site a statement saying they didn’t file a complaint in order to avoid a lawsuit from us, not ONCE did one of their representatives came out to say that Marcelo heard “mono,mono”. Fact.

    • May 17, 2011

      This was meant as a reply to Liva’s post, with whom I totaly agree!

  15. May 17, 2011

    @Kxevin and Jose: Regarding the EE thing. I shall first of all say this: I was never not “over it”. And i do have a sense of humor. If i didn’t, then i wouldn’t be visiting this site. And i wouldn’t enjoy the comic posts that are put out there, which mostly ridicule Real Madrid.

    I remember when one poster here was complaining about my site a couple of weeks ago. In response, Diego said: They call us Sprinklers so what do you expect. Or something along that line. Obviously, he didn’t enjoy the nickname. Is it a valid nickname? Hell yea. Is it funny? Well, to non barcelona fans it is.

    Now tell me, how would you feel if i was here all the time saying Sprinklers this and Sprinklers that? Maybe a couple of you wouldn’t mind, but the majority will. Yes, the EE nickname is not one i enjoy. I accept it here as it is a Barcelona board. But at a Real Madrid board, i wouldn’t enjoy it. It would be as disrespectful as me saying Sprinklers over and over again here.

    That was the whole point that was made. No Vexing. No loss of humor. I assure you of that.

    • tutomate
      May 17, 2011

      Lets see.
      FC Sprinklers 5-0 Evil Empire CF
      Doesn’t sound too bad to me.

    • May 17, 2011

      I always thought EE was the nicer alternative to the King Franco CF moniker that was in vogue back in the early Offside days. I understand if it hurts, though.

      FC Sprinklers is not that bad. I mean, it’s more funny than damning about my club’s history and behavior. If the only thing that other fans have to make jokes about us is a Camp Nou groundskeeper deciding to be a troll a year ago (and was duly reprimanded by the club), then we must be doing something right 😛

    • soccermomof4
      May 17, 2011

      Nickname doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Giggled when I first saw it. Sprinklers is rather tame as far as a nickname for a bitterly hated rival goes. If we’re gonna call them something on our blog then it we can’t fuss over seeing something on theirs. Tit for tat, fair is fair, c’est la vie c’est la guerre (and this, after all, est guerre). And Bassam will still be offered cookies when he visits( with red and blue sprinklers sprinkles).

      • Nik
        May 17, 2011

        Sprinklers, yum!

    • privateeye
      May 18, 2011

      Tell you wha I will use FC Sprinklers from now on

  16. Lev
    May 17, 2011

    Sad for Fabregas if he feels he can’t come to watch the final. Regardless of whether we sign him or not, everybody knows he is a culé. He should be “allowed” to go to the stadium to support his boyhood team and his friends playing on the pitch.

  17. Vj
    May 17, 2011

    Apparently the next season’s away kit is all black. Well except the ‘Qatar Foundation’ defiling it.. (via TotalBarca)

  18. May 17, 2011

    You guys should all watch this weeks revista. They have a very good discussion about the whole Busquetz issue.

    • Barcaleya
      May 17, 2011

      How? Do you have link? Thank you!

      • Jnice
        May 17, 2011

        In the newest post.

  19. Víctor
    May 17, 2011

    At the end of day, though. We shouldn’t let the press’ opinion affect us. British press will always say that English teams are tha best… Madrid press will always find arguments to try to downplay Barca.

  20. barca4eva
    May 19, 2011

    I agree with you that there is no escaping the dirt that comes with fighting in the mud- the worst part of which is the stain of racist allegation against Busquets. To me the whole thing is quite confusing. However, given Busquets predisposition to self-inflict damage, Pep needs to have a chat with him and urge him to grow up.

    Looking back at the whole episode, I have the feeling that the controversies were designed by Mourinho as an insurance policy against possible failures in La liga and CL, to guarantee his continuity. Which he succeeded. For the dominant explanation of Real’s shortcomings coming from Madrid was not their mouse-like performances against a lion (to use Di Stefano’s analogy), but a narrative that blames their failures on external factors.

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