So there was La Liga Loca swiping and poking its way through the Tuesday morning news in La Liga as all young, news-gathering hipsters do. Except the blog was using newspaper, which looked a touch peculiar to everyone watching.
Gary Neville, blah, blah, blah. Espanyol in crisis after 5-0 home defeat, blah, blah, blah. Cristiano Ronaldo says he will stay a few more years at Real Madrid, blah, blah, blah. Sergio Busquets jokes to ESPN that the only people who could take him away from Barcelona were his wife and Pep Guardiola. Hang on. Beep, beep... backtrack.
Yes, the Barcelona midfielder goes on to say in the same interview that “I want to become one of the players with the most games for Barcelona,” keeping all of his fire exits unblocked, but that was all prefaced with the vibe of ‘I love Pep, but he would never come in for little old me, as I love Barcelona so, so much’.
When put through LLL’s hyperbole translation device it comes out as: “... but, should he fancy trying to call me and replace Yaya Touré, and pay me what Barça may not be able to in my new contract, then, you know… I’m in!”
What the comment from Busquets probably means is that “I have no intention of leaving Barcelona whatsoever, but I like to spook the bosses and bean-counters at the club, what with talks about my contract ongoing”.
But that isn’t half as much fun as imagining a summertime exodus of Dani Alves to China, Busquets to Manchester City and Neymar to Manchester United, with Messi giving up football to become a minstrel.
School the kids
The midfielder’s club have a bit of business to attend to on Wednesday night, in a match that might see quite a few B- and C-teamers out at Mestalla – hello Gerard Gumbau – to take on Valencia in a Copa del Rey semi-final clash that Barça are winning 7-0.
And this is what might just be a huge floating door in the Atlantic for Gary Neville to squeeze onto alongside Kate Winslet. On face value the concept of facing Barcelona once again, with all the pressure that’s mounting on the Englishman, doesn’t seem an attractive one. But a Barcelona going through the motions without any major stars might just be the tonic for Valencia to eke a win.
This would build momentum for the weekend clash in Mestalla against an awful Espanyol side that has now conceded 11 in its past two matches without reply to continue a run of just one victory in 11 league games.
Rather like Valencia, the club appear to be on the brink of firing their second manager of the season, Constantin Galca. But unlike the Mestalla madhouse, the players appear to be behind their boss, with Mari Carmen Torres writing in Marca that the players have asked the team’s new Chinese owners not to fire the Romanian.
Neville might be able to turn the tendency for fans and media to have very short memories in his favour. While a manager in Spain is only ever a couple of defeats from disaster, a couple of wins can outdo weeks of carnage. The former pundit has a genuine chance to save his skin and make the rest of his tenure in Valencia a little more pleasant.
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