“Was this trip really necessary,” muses the driver, gazing at the wrecked Ferrari after a trip to the local 24-hour grocery store for some chips became something much worse. Had chips at home, but wanted a certain kind, didn’t have to mash the throttle so hard, could have taken the Ford, dammit, dammit, dammit!
Here we all are, breathing an immense sigh of relief after the knowledge that our best player is going to be okay, and might even be fit enough to play on Sunday. But, for about an hour, from when he took the shot and crumpled to the pitch, everyone was thinking, This Is It.
I didn’t actually know until writing this what nitpicking came from, though I suspected something along those lines. This article isn’t quite as annoying or gross as having eggs in your hair, but it is sort of a random list of things that piss me off. Today is the Scotland-Spain game at Hampden Park (3pm EST on ESPN Deportes), so at least there’s the possibility of seeing some blaugrana boys in action, but it’s obviously not the same.
Let’s get started, though:
First, I’m going to attack Real Madrid for being afraid of their own players. Sport reported yesterday that RM included a clause in their loan deal of Royston Drenthe stating that it would cost Hercules €2m to play him against RM. Obviously that’s means a no go for Hercules who, like any club, cannot afford a €2m match. What babies. Fraidy cats. You loan out a player and you’re scared to have him play against you? Were we scared of Henrique playing for Racing on opening day? Of course not. Personally, I think Hercules should be able to start whoever they feel like starting against every team and to deny them that means you’re scared of your own players, in which case, why did you loan them out? Clausula de la vergüenza, indeed.
Tomas Ujfalusi can go to hell. And I’m saying this from a number of viewpoints: Barca fan and cule, sports fan, person who is against violence, human being who is averse to having to don hip waders to get through waist-high mounds of steaming bovine fecal matter.
Ujfalusi says that he isn’t a bad guy. The president of Atletico says that he isn’t that kind of a guy. Ujfalusi is saying that he tried to apologize in person to Messi, and sent him a text, and that he didn’t mean Messi any harm, blahblahblahblah. Fabio Capello is saying that he isn’t a bad guy, blahblahblahblah.
In the journalism business, we call what is about to happen, “burying the lede.” It’s shifting the thing that everybody cares about to later in the piece. Sometimes it’s crazy, other times it’s to make a point, as it is now.
Finish your chances!
We had about 913 chances to get the third, or even fourth goal that would have put this match to bed, done and dusted, and precipitated the Krkic for Messi swap much earlier than it in fact occurred. A match that is in the balance, in a place at which we haven’t won in three years, calls for your best players. And one of those best players is Lionel Messi.
Early in the match, as here as the ball is going past the Amazing DeGea for our first goal (you can just see the golden boot exiting the frame), Messi was razor-sharp and raring to go. He gave his all for the club, and shouldn’t have even been on the pitch. Look at the 5 straight times in which he ceded possession. It was a tired player out there, a player who should have been subbed.
And if we finish our chances, he is, and we’re discussing another very good match from Messi, rather than how long he might be on the sidelines.
We have a few things to discuss, as per some of the very interesting points raised in the aftermath of our rather lackluster victory against Racing, including the qualities of one Sergi Busquets.
But first, some news:
–Aleksandr Hleb says that a resurgent Stuttgart have a “10 percent” shot against us in our upcoming Champions League match. The good thing for us is that we start the tie at their house, which means that if we can steal an away goal or two, we’re sitting pretty for the home leg.
So. Here’s what we officially have to say on the Cesc Fabregas matter:
“Given the exceptional repercussions created by the stories that have appeared in different media with respect to an agreement with Arsenal FC player Cesc Fabregas, Barca flatly deny that there have been any negotiations or agreements with the player.
“In accordance with FIFA regulations, FC Barcelona’s contract policy has always made it a priority to negotiate with the club of origin before making any particular agreement with the player. FC Barcelona wishes to stress that it has always maintained excellent institutional relations with Arsenal FC.”
–We made money last season! 8 million Euros to the good, to be precise. Between all the prize booty, exhibitions, etc, our beloved club finished with a profit. An actual, true-to-life profit.
–In the “ex Barca” file, Harry Redknapp has him some Monument. Our own Eidur Gudjohnsen has a home in Tottenham. Yay! It’s a loan deal, but it’s expected that he will be able to stay. Monument should do quite well in the Premiership, as he shone with Chelsea.
This one is going to be a quickie, folks, because I have the preview to write as well, so apologies in advance if I miss anything of importance in the FCB news world.
-First, Messi. You’re all probably interested in whether or not our little Messias will be able to play tomorrow against Inter. At first glance, the answer is no, since he’s still supposedly suffering from a slight tear in his left leg (“a 1st degree injury in the adductor of his left thigh”). Marca has begun their fear campaign, claiming that if Messi plays either the Inter match or el clásico, he’s putting his leg at risk for the whole year, perhaps for his whole career. However, after reading in Sport that he’s not necessarily out, I visited the official site and got the previous quote from this article. It appears that the Marca fear-mongering is merely that: fear-mongering. Guardiola would never risk Messi if he were seriously injured or incapable of playing at the top level. It’s as simple as that. Given that he didn’t play Henry in Russia under similar circumstances, it would be folly to think he would play Messi for two matches if it meant losing Messi for the whole year. So, basically, Marca, you’re pure trash and you’ve proven yourself to be so once again. Congratulations.