Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
‘¿Qué es Arrrrrgie Barrrrrgy?’ a friend here in Argentina recently asked.
After a quick explanation, the conversation then veered into potentially troublesome waters when the amigo pointed out that naming a blog on Argentine football after a byword for a bit of a ruck is, in itself, looking for a bit of argie bargy.
Es posible, we were forced to admit.
It might have been simpler to draw comparisons to comedy screaming matches between couples conducted in public, drunken fisticuffs that come to nothing, taxi drivers in general or a TV studio with more than one politician in it at any one time.
Had they been at AFA headquarters this week, however, they would have seen an exemplary episode of argie bargy with their own eyes.
Things have changed at the AFA. The media used to enjoy relatively free access to speak to players after training, although the situation was essentially a free-for-all and would rapidly degenerate into a maul.
To avoid these mauls, there is now a big barrier and several angry looking young men in pseudo military garb protecting that barrier, ensuring that the media stay on one side and the players stay on the other.
It makes sense, and should make things easier for everyone. Should.
This week, one group of journalists decided they’d found the perfect spot to stand and wait for Maradona to speak after training, only to see a different group set up shop a few metres away.
They then saw Maradona decide to talk to that other group, so predictably there was a maul.
No sooner did Diego start to walk away, Argie Bargy was given a crash course on the Argentine’s preferred choice of insult as a skirmish broke out over mixed zone etiquette.
The whole episode was caught by TV cameras. Photographers snapped away. Security had to step in although in the end it was nothing, just a bit of argie bargy.
Some may have been expecting to see the real trouble out on the pitch after Mr. Messi had to publicly deny that a player with "limited ability" who keeps getting called up for the national team had threatened to break his son’s legs.
With not a shin-pad in sight at Tuesday’s practise match, however, any problems between players must have been resolved.
Or, like Mr. Messi said, perhaps the aforementioned threat was never issued. A high-profile agent thinks that it was.
Back to the maul, those within earshot of Maradona were hearing about more problems. "When Grondona (AFA president) gave me the job, I was the happiest man alive, but things have happened since I took over that I’m not pleased about," said Diego, "and I’ll tell him. If I carry on it will be under my terms."
The injury to Pablo Zabaleta is partly the problem. The Manchester City right-back was due to start against Peru, but is ruled out through an injury picked up in Monday night’s Premier League match at Aston Villa.
"Argentina have got two really tough games now and Manchester City have 100 more," reasoned Diego. "Someone should have gone (to Manchester) and got the players earlier. The turtle escaped," meaning that they were too slow.
Zabaleta and Carlos Tevez arrived later than most after playing for City on Monday.
The Apache was in belligerent mood when he landed in Argentina (a literal translation is needed here, so we are not accused of sensationalism).
"I’m a millionaire because I play football and I break my *rse every day," said the Manchester City forward to accusations of not playing well for his country.
"Saying I don’t care about playing for the national team is b*ll*cks."
All in all it was a bit of an argie bargy-tastic Tuesday.
Diego’s not happy, the players may be on non-kicking terms but are just a tad miffed at the media suggesting they don’t perform for the national team, while the press are fighting amongst themselves.
It goes without saying though that if Argentina fail to make the World Cup (which this blogger doubts will happen), that’s when the real argie bargy will kick off.
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Excellent article. A lot of newspapers in Portugal seem to think that the call up of Pablo Aimar is the best thing since sliced bread. What do you think?
And poor old Gonzalo Higuain - finally gets his call-up for Argentina during a spell for Madrid when he couldn't hit a cow's *rse with a banjo.
Maradona is priceless. He visited Manchester earlier this year, went to United's Carrington training centre to see 'Carlito' and spent time to give photo ops to the entire United squad who were there. Same day, 300 yards away, Zabaleta is training with City. Full and U-23 International, Olympic Gold medal Winner for his country. Maradona did not make the great journey to even say 'Hello'.
Now - the injury and absence of Zabaleta, for the first time selected for a Maradona squad, will cost Diego his job and the World Cup Qualification.
As they say - you could'nt make it up!
You and all the reporters that assembled there were lucky that Diego didn't reach for his trusty air-rifle as he has done in the past.
Diego is a prima-donna of the first caliber, its interesting watching him come undone though, I keep looking for signs of active drug usage in his speech, sometimes he speaks with a slurred speech which gives me the feeling that Diego may be on some type of "medication" but other times I think its just the stress from coaching the Argentinean National Team and the eye of the hurricane media fascination Argentina continues to have with Maradona.
By the Way, its interesting that you point out the "tortuga" reference, as far as I'm concerned, it's not really part of the local "lunfardo" (Argentinean slang)... it's a "Maradona-ism" --- and the quote can be found all over his autobiography, "Yo Soy El Diego De La Gente" --- I still don't know where he got it from, in the book it meant different things.
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