FC BARCELONA ALREADY IN TROUBLE
If you're an FC Barcelona supporter, the news in the following link should concern you:http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-spainbarcelonatour&prov=reuters&type=lgns
Essentially, Zambrotta and Thuram, and probably a few other players, are complaining about having to do a pre-season tour of Asia, as impinging on their preparations for the upcoming season. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these players will bite the hand that feeds them - one of the reasons why players at big clubs make so much money, is because there's no shortage of Asians desperate to get a glimpse of their stars in a meaningless series of friendlies against run-of-the-mill opponents.
What really burns me up is the idea that somehow they're problematic. You never hear Manchester United players complaining about the tour, and they're coming off an EPL title season, which included an international trip to South Africa. All the big clubs do it, and this belly-aching from seasoned professionals is disgraceful. Laporta rightly points out that they won La Liga and the European Cup two seasons ago with an international tour, so what is the difference?
One word - complacency.
These guys thought they could just show up and win everything under the sun last year, and they were rudely awakened to the fact that it doesn't work that way - not in Spain, and not anywhere in the major European leagues. You have to come to play every game of every competition, and that includes a silly pre-season tour of Asia. It's enough already with these complaints, because they don't amount to much other than a few prima donas who want to have their cake and eat it too. Unbelieveable.
I tell you what - here's a good solution: let's all agree for everyone to take a pay-cut (players, manager, staff and administrators), cut the ticket prices (giving the fans a well-deserved break) and we can forgoe these ridiculous tours if they're so intrusive. Do you think Thuram and Zambrotta would be willing to make $5M instead of $10? Would their sponsors (Nike, Adidas, Puma, whatever) agree to fewer promotional events as well? Because that would also eat into what they take home.
The bottom line is this: a man should have some professional pride, and not complain at the first sign of trouble. True, they've just come off of a disappointing season, but at the end of the day, the best tonic for that is to roll-up your sleeves, put your head down, and get to work on the pitch - even if that pitch is 10,000 miles away.SIDEBAR:
I just got through watching a friendly at Old Trafford between Inter Milan and Manchester United, and it never ceasees to amaze me how biased is the coverage on MUTV. They have their own announcers, doing their own analysis, and it is so delusionally weighted in favor of Manchester United it's comical.
First, the first goal scored by Inter was clearly not off-side. Suazo, the Inter striker, was onside when the original ball was played in. But when it was mangled by Evra and Vidic in an ill-advised attempt to do God knows what, he was in an offside position, but since it came off of Vidic, it's not off-side. But every time they replayed the goal, the announcer would say, oh-so-cunningly, "They should have given off-side, but it doesn't matter..." as if they're being generous about it because it's a friendly. Friendly or no friendly, the rules don't change just because you work for MUTV, and you're at Old Trafford. And I don't want to hear any non-sense about, "Well, it's MUTV, so what do you expect."
It's not presented as brainless sycophancy for an audience of unconditional supporters of Man U. Some of what I want to see Inter as well. And if that's the route they wish to take, then they should pull a FanZone, and put some hooligans in the booth - otherwise, they should maintain a shred of diginity and have unbiased commentary. No chance of that for Man U(re).
And yes, I'm a Liverpool supporter, and yes I hate Man U(seless).
And then, after Inter Milan started with half their regular 11 and took a 2 goal lead, they took off their remaining big names, gave up an own goal, and suddenly the announcers are talking like Man U has made a come back. You mean a gift-back, don't you? Suazo, a Honduran whose been playing in Italy for years, and was named best foriegner in the Serie A two years ago (along with Kaka, whom you may have heard of) scored a brace, and looked positively mercurial. So imagine my surprise when at the start of the second half, one of the announcers mentioned, "Suazo will be thinking he could get a hat trick at Old Trafford on his debut - not a bad start."
Well, excuse me for being realistic, but I'm quite certain Suazo has played in more intimidating venues than a pre-season game at Old Trafford; places like, say, the San Siro, Olympic Stadium or Estadio del Alpi to name a few. And, not to make assumptions about his general footballing knowledge, but I would be surprised if he even knew the name of the stadium he was playing in was, in fact, "Old Trafford". Later, when a substitute Jiminez, who had just signed with Inter earlier in the day came on, the announcer said, "What a life; you're signed by Inter in the morning, and in the evening you make your debut at Old Trafford."
Who do these people think they are? Old Trafford may be a "hallowed ground" in England, but nobody gives a dump about it on the continent, and nobody that's played in Italy would particularly care about making his debut at Old Trafford. In fact, I would venture to guess that if he had his choice he'd rather make his debut at the San Siro, if he even cares where he first gets on the pitch.
Oh, and by the way - is there anything more ironic than giving the captain's arm band to a bandit like Marco Materazzi in what is supposed to be the homeland of fair play? "Matrix" (as he is referred to by the lunatic fringe of the Nerazzurri supporters) has been booed mercilessly on Inter's tour of England. More so by the francophile Arsenal supporters at the Emirates for obvious reasons, but even at Old Trafford. And rightly so - that man is the single worst sportsman in professional soccer, and he deserves every moment of derision he gets.
A year on from Materazzi's despicable behavior in the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane still refuses to meet with him to, "clear the air", and I don't blame him. I don't know if I would have reacted the way he did, but if Materazzi were talking about my mother and sister the way he did to Zidane, I'd certainly want to. To be honest, there is something appealing about a footballer who is first and foremost a man
that won't stand for someone insulting the women in his life, as did this intolerable rogue. Sure, a professional should know better, and we'd all probably just grin and bear it if someone came into our office and started spouting off about, "Your mother this....and your sister that..." even though we'd really want to pop him once good square in the chest.
...well it would be nice.