The Pep talk that aroused a nation

Should the great leaders at FourFourTwo ever grow tired of LLL’s showbiz demands and cut the blog loose, starvation and playing the accordion badly in the Madrid metro awaits. LLL certainly isn’t going to find work in the Spanish media, as it doesn’t seem to quite get how it works.

The blog was just a few metres away from Pep Guardiola on Sunday night in the Vicente Calderón press room when the Barça boss admitted that “we aren’t going to win the league. We will compete until the end, we aren’t going to give up, nor we will stop being who we are on the pitch, but I don’t think we will win the league.”

"Refreshingly honest and sensible," thought a very British blog on the Barça boss accepting that the 10-point gap probably won’t be closed because of Madrid’s canny ability to pick up points due to the side’s indomitable spirit and determination (or constant help from the referees in a giant global conspiracy, depending on your affiliation).

Apparently LLL got the wrong end of Pep’s stick completely. According to the Barça media, Guardiola was being ironic, joking, conducting a savage attack on refereeing bias and boosting his team’s morale, all at the same time. It's nothing whatsoever to do with the Barcelona manager going nuts and actually saying what he actually thinks.

"What have I said now?"

“He’s seen things that he doesn’t like in this championship, above all the inertia that surrounds Madrid: penalties, sendings off, goals incorrectly ruled out for their rivals, goals given to Madrid that shouldn’t have been. This makes him think that Mourinho’s men will win the title almost by ‘decree’,” claimed Monday’s edition of Sport.

Mundo Deportivo reckons that Guardiola’s confession was too-many-spoons, not-enough-knives ironic, a theory discussed by one of the club’s directors on Monday. For Carles Vilarrubí, Pep was displaying “intelligent irony. He was saying that our footballers have to play excellently because the Liga BBVA is not giving objective nor normal conditions so that the best team can win.” “I don’t want to say that we are complaining about referees,” added the Barcelona VP.

LLL is therefore assuming that Vilarrubí is arguing that those meanie-heads Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Getafe, Espanyol, Villarreal and Osasuna are the ones to blame for the lack of “objective and normal conditions” in la Liga by not allowing Barcelona to trot off with three points in their clashes with the Catalan club this season.

AS editor Alfredo Relaño fumes in an editorial on Tuesday that "I really like Guardiola's manner much more [than Mourinho] but quite frankly I'd appreciate knowing, if he wants to say something, that he is really saying it. At least in this sense, Mourinho has an advantage over Guardiola."

With football punditry in Spain now largely consisting of propaganda, spin, Kremlinology, interpretation, reinterpretation, misinterpretation, making stuff up and mad ranting, it’s quite possibly another reason why Guardiola is taking such a long time to consider whether or not he can face another season of this madness when one simple comment is torn apart and reconstructed a billion different ways.