Ancelotti in “I quit!" pledge (sort of) and Barcelona's Andorra problem
Well would ‘ya lookie here, Siree Bob! Someone has got their feet under the table and is feeling rather too comfortable with their lot.
That person is Carlo Ancelotti, who has forgotten that he would almost certainly have been run out of town last summer by devil dogs were it not for a rare bit of set-piece confusion among Atlético’s back four in the Champions League final.
Carlito, Real Madrid manager and, according to Silvio Berlusconi, an AC Milan adviser, was boasting late on Monday night to Spanish radio station COPE that “if a president asks me to play one particular player, then I might be off”. It’s a rather handy position to take – if the Italian boss were not to field a president’s pick, then he'd be off anyway.
The one footballer in question who might fall into that position of being a player non grata to coach but very grata to Florentino Pérez is Iker Casillas, who is set to be the main topic of conversation in the Spanish capital until hell freezes over (Alcorcón’s IKEA can get frosty, so there is always hope) or Casillas himself decides to opt for a quieter life of permanent injury at Arsenal.
Either way, Ancelotti is standing by Casillas despite his gaff against Slovakia and the fact that his club captain is booed by stroppy sections of the Santiago Bernabeu. “We have let in a lot of goals, but not due to him,” declared the Madrid boss, saying that you could count Casillas mistakes over his career on one hand. And not the hand of people who come from the Isle of Sark, either.
Fuss over nothing
Barcelona have had just the three or six court cases running over the past week, so there's been plenty of time for other malarky from the Catalan club. One such kerfuffle was the club joining a campaign for the people of Catalunya to have the right to vote about independence or not, Scotland style.
That led to Spanish League (LFP) president Javier Tebas being blasted across the front pages of Madrid papers that an independent Cataluyna would see the likes of Barcelona and Espanyol unable to participate in La Liga.
Of course, what was left out was the fact the break-up of Spain was a hefty 'if' and the footnote from Tebas of "under current statutes" that could probably be updated considering Andorra participates in the lower stretches of Spain’s pyramid – the only non-Spanish side that is able to do so at the moment.
"For that [change] to take place there would need to be a change in parliament and we'd need to see if the affected industry would agree or not," said Tebas, on something that is never, ever going to happen but appeared to generate a huge amount of publicity. International week, of course. Which is so very nearly over.