The International Break Week: A Not So Quick Roundup

Posted: October 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have a lot of footballs. Now if only I had a few players...

This is our post on Barcelona TheOffside. Click here to read the full post.

As yet another international break comes to a close and the players start trickling back to Barcelona from their various international commitments, now is good time to take stock of the happenings from the past week.

  • Ibi Afellay had surgery done on 3rd October to repair his totally ruptured cruciate ligament. The operation lasted 50 minutes and Afellay is expected to be able to come back in six months. Get well soon, Ibi – we will pray for a speedy recovery and your return to full strength. In the meantime, feel free to re-watch Ibi’s spectacular assist in *that* Real Madrid game last season.
  • Talking of Real Madrid, Sport claims Real Madrid wants Tevez (no doubt because he supposedly responded to Mancini’s substitution plans with “Porque?”, revealing a deeply curious and inquisitive nature that would sit well with their current coach). Before you giggle at the thought of Tevez at Real Madrid, Sport also claims FC Barcelona wants Szczesny.
  • Pique shaved off his beard, to general consternation. Shocking at first, but the look tends to grow on you. Okay we agree that’s not much of news. Especially because it’s almost already grown back.

Puyol: Are you crazy, Geri? Just look at yourself on television for heaven's sake!

  • Messi gives an interview in which he urges Argentina to “end the cycle of failures”, thereby momentarily confounding his critics who have been urging him to do the same thing. A neat trick.
  • Messi is accompanied by Guardian Angel Juanjo Brau as usual on trip to Argentina. Mascherano is scheduled to depart a day later as he is suspended for the first World Cup qualifier anyway owing his red card in Copa America. On arriving at the airport, Messi finds the rest of the country’s journo population waiting for him there.
  • Villa retires early from ESP training session and there is some talk of “discomfort” and “hamstring” triggering widespread chaos amongst Barca fans. Later it is ascertained that he is fine really and we have not run out of players to make the starting XI. It’s all good, there’s no need for human sacrifices yet to appease the Football Gods. Besides, we don’t have Jeffren anyway.
  • Mourinho gets a two match ban if and when they play the next Spanish Super Cup for the Tito Vilanova eye poke saga. Vilanova gets a one match ban too just to keep him from feeling left out. And also for getting his eye poked by rival team manager. Mourinho claims he acted ‘naturally’ to provocation. Real Madrid appeals the ban. Maxwell says Vilanova is an excellent chap. The Tito Vilanova eye poke saga continues.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo claims that Real Madrid will beat Barca this year.  Just like he did last year. And the year before that. The Barca fan base heaves a collective sigh of relief after administration of the usual jinx.
  • UEFA fines Barca 110,000 Euros for Barca fans lighting flares during UEFA super cup. That’s one more year of black and white photocopies then.
  • Guillem Balague and Graham Hunter discuss possible causes for Barca’s injuries. Is it the inadequate preseason? Is it the high intensity games already in the first month? Could it be the butler, in the study, with the candlestick?
  • Spain wins against Czech Republic 2 – 0, with goals from Juan Mata (Xavi assist) and Xabi Alonso. Not that it matters because they have already qualified for the Euros. But still it helps to keep their win record intact.  Pique, Busi and Xavi start, and Puyol is subbed in in the second half, while Villa plays for 30 minutes too. Clearly Del Bosque does not believe in resting key players for games where nothing is at stake. He would have gotten along really well with Leo Messi.
  • Only Captain Messi starts for Argentina against Chile, for a resounding 4-1 victory under new coach Sabella. Messi manages an assist to Higuain (who scored a hattrick) and a goal, and the understanding between Messi, Di Maria and Higuain looks very promising.
  • Puyol gives an interview to El Mundo Deportivo.
  • Guardiola speaks to Fernando Truebo about the future which, as we’ve already established, he can glimpse using his psionic powers. We are not sure if Truebo has psionic powers too, or if he was as nonplussed as we are by Pep statements such as “Thinking about leaving my job every day keeps me motivated”. You can watch them here and here (subtitles by Doris from TotalBarca)
  • Sport claims Santos President wants Maradona and Pele to play in the Club World Cup –> Pele for Santos and Maradona for Barcelona. Just so we can all see Maradona, Pele, Messi and Neymar in the same field. Maybe Cristiano Ronaldo can be the referee. A rich, handsome and great referee who only abnormal fans wouldn’t want to see refereeing.
  • Bojan gives an interview too where he alternates between Guardiola Fan Boy and Ibrahimovic Alter Ego. He was probably infected when Ibra taught him those two words of Italian.
  • Villa gives an interview to El Pais.
  • Spain wins against Scotland. Of course. The Davids score a lot of goals and eight Barca players play for Spain. Xavi is subbed out in the second half, and again there were murmurings of “discomfort”, but hold off on the sacrifices still. Xavi trained normally on return to Barcelona so we can all breath easily now.
  • Argentina plays (if you can call it that) against Venezuela and loses 1-0. Messi and Mascherano play for the full 90 minutes, and again the commentators speak of Masche playing with injured ankle. He was seen wincing frequently, but we doubt if that had anything to do with his injured ankle. We missed half the game ourselves because we were busy rolling our eyes.
  • Abidal plays for France, supposedly through discomfort, but all is well as he trained normally on return to Barcelona today.
  • It has been established that Messi and Bojan are fourth cousins, and their great great grandfathers were brothers. So the gravity impaired DNA must have come from Bojan’s great great grandmother’s side then. Elementary. Still, our bad, we should have guessed from those teddy bear pics all those years ago.

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