A sideways look at Spanish football
International breaks would be tremendously dull affairs were it not for footballers and managers shooting their mouths off, mindlessly ranting about how everything is rubbish and just not fair. La Liga Loca suspects many of them are well aware of the repercussions of these choice comments made away from the clutches of their respective club’s press officers.
José Mourinho certainly fell into that bracket when he told the Portuguese media the reasons he didn't travel to the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards in January, instead choosing to remain in Madrid. “Two or three people called me and said ‘I voted for you and the vote appeared for someone else’” revealed a mischievous Mourinho, who also admitted that perhaps his greatest pleasure at getting past Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 was that “a lot of people weren’t expecting it and were frustrated.”
“Where is he going with this,” asked Marca’s Wednesday editorial. “When he won in 2010, there were no complaints.”
Sergio Ramos was also feeling frustrated after the win in Manchester, but instead about the reaction of Mourinho, who claimed that “the best team lost”.
“I would have liked for him to have said something else,” Ramos sniffed during preparations for Spain’s double header against Finland and France.
The latter of those opponents are set to field Karim Benzema, who has caused a bit of a hullaballoo in his own country by admitting that he doesn’t bang out the country’s national anthem ahead of games. “I’ve never sung it in my life and I’m not going to now. Not doing it, won’t stop me from scoring a hat-trick,” noted Benzema quite reasonably. “If I score a lot of goals in a France game, nobody will ask if I sang La Marseillaise before.”
Although his comments drew criticism from France’s National Front party, he was backed by Michel Platini, who admited he also hadn’t one for a pre-match singalong back in the day. “It’s a war song and for me, a football match is a sporting event, not war,” revealed the UEFA president.
There was also a bit of bother in the Catalan capital, with Sandro Rosell telling children at a local school that “the fact that you speak Catalan, understand Catalan and are Barça fans in Catalonia, speaking Catalan is exactly what you should do, to show your feeling towards the club.”
Espanyol get a little touchy about Barça’s tendency to hog the big Catalan duvet, with club president Joan Collet responding that “no club has the exclusivity nor patent on Catalanism. There are a lot of Barça members who don’t speak Catalan and not everyone that does speak it is for Barça.”
Deportivo's Augusto Lendoiro was another club president who felt like having his say, this time in response to a fairly damning report from the administrators that details a €156 million debt and states that staying in business is “the least bad option” for Deportivo. Lendoiro clearly doesn’t do humility, and responded with the impeccable logic that the same people who got Deportivo into such a mess should be the ones to get it out again. “If someone can save the club it’s the current board. Who is going to know all this better than us?”
Lendoiro also challenged the size of the debt reported, saw the lack of evidence of any theft or impropriety at the club as “very important” and slammed the administrators for a perceived lack of communication. “There’s no relationship, I’ve asked to meet once a day (LLL suspects lunch was the idea for the chunky chieftain) but it’s too much to ask.”
It’s been a fine start to international week, and there's plenty more time for further mischief to be made.
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