Sky Sports News went large yesterday on transfer speculation surrounding Cesc Fábregas. You can count on the English speaking media to take a couple of days to find somebody who can do the really complicated stuff like find somebody who speaks Spanish. The Sky Sports News piece is based on a story that appeared in the Spanish media, er, five days ago last Saturday
So you can judge for yourself, here’s the story from the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. It appeared last Saturday. We’ve translated it into English for you, you lucky people!
Sat 28 March 2009
CESC SAYS HE’LL DECIDE HIS FUTURE AT THE END OF THE SEASON
“If Wenger asks me to stay, I’ll certainly stay”
The Arsenal captain Cesc Fábregas has said that “at the end of the season,” he will pose to himself whether or not to continue with the English club with whom he is contracted until 2014, although he didn’t want to reveal whether he would prefer to return to Barcelona or their eternal rivals Real Madrid, the two teams which have followed him with most interest.
“Each player has his own way of living his life; every summer I evaluate how the season has been, if it was good or could have been better. But at the moment there are two months of competition left, I’m just finished with an injury that has kept me out for four months and the only thing I want to do is to concentrate on what I love doing which is playing football” Cesc explained.
The Catalan midfielder was speaking to the media, all keen to know whether he will have a change of air once the present campaign is over, after the launch of his football summer school in his home town, Arenys de Mar.
Cesc said that at the moment he is “very happy” at Arsenal, that he has a “very big responsibility” as the Gunners’ captain and that at the moment the only thing he’s thinking about is “to return to play again and, if possible, lift a trophy at the end of the season.”
“I can’t control what they may say, but the truth is it’s incredibly flattering that two of the biggest clubs in the history of football say such nice things about me” , he commented on the interest of Barcelona and Real Madrid in obtaining his services.
In his comments there were winks towards both teams. “Guardiola is and will always be my idol”, “I’m dressed in white because they say it looks good on me, not for any other reason”, “I never gave my word to (former Real Madrid president) Calderón I would sign for Madrid”, “I won’t close the door to anybody, nor have I ever”, “One thing is where I may have played when I was small and another is my career as a professional footballer.”
The Spanish international showed himself equally ambiguous when asked about his style of play, whether that of Barca or that of Madrid would most suit his characteristics. “When I was young, Barcelona inculcated some norms of play that aren’t those of Real Madrid, but at the same time at Arsenal, although they like us to have touches on the ball we play a counter-attacking style, more or less like Madrid, the (Spanish) national team is more like Barca. For this reason I consider that I can play in both styles”, he argued.
Of the blue and claret team he commented that “they’re favourites to win the Champions League, but I’ve found what the whites are doing in the League is that of a champion, for as well as Barca are playing, it would have all been over by now for any other team.”
After numerous references to the biggest clubs in Spanish football, Cesc returned to speaking about his current club and his footballing father. “If somebody wants me first they have to talk to Arsenal” and “If Wenger asks me to stay, I certainly will.”
After recovering from a serious knee injury, Cesc said, I’m perfect and ready to play on Saturday if the boss asks me to”, although he recognises that he lacks “two or three matches to get back my competitive rhythm.” For this reason he hasn’t been called up by the Spanish national team for the double encounter against Turkey.
“It’s a shame not to be able to be with them on the field. Turkey is a strong rival, but we’re going well. We know that winning these two matches would be a very big step to us qualifying for the next World Cup” he concluded.
There you have it. If you want my personal opinion, he’ll be on his bike by the end of the 2010/11 season at the latest. I’ve got absolutely no inside information to support that. It’s just a gut feeling. His statements are hardly ones of somebody who’s head over heels with Arsenal, just that he’s happy at work – for the moment. In another piece in the Spanish sports newspaper As, also published last Saturday, Cesc is quoted as saying “I didn’t give my word to Calderón that I would sign for Madrid. I spoke with him and simply listened. I have a contract until 2014 and I’m very happy with Arsenal.”
What seems crystal clear is that Real Madrid has been at it again with the tapping up. Serial offenders or what? Anybody who knows the game knows it’s being going on since time immemorial. Real are particularly blatant about it however. To quote an old Arabic curse, may the fleas of a thousand dead camels infest their collective rear-end. Next a few words on a sombre subject.
When I wrote my last regular blog late on Sunday night news was just emerging of the terrible incident at the Ivory Coast v Malawi World Cup qualifier in Abidjan. Nineteen dead and over 130 injured. How horrible. May the nineteen rest in peace and those who were injured make a full and speedy recovery. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed and injured. We know all about such tragedies of neglect, poor design, maintenance and bad management in this country. Ibrox Park, the Bradford fire, Hillsborough and St Andrew’s – all in my lifetime. And Heysel of course.
The injury gremlins seem to be back amongst us again. Abou Diaby has returned home with a knock and will play no part in France’s game against Lithuania tonight at the Stade de France. Nicklas Bendtner was pulled off in Denmark’s win in Malta with an injury. Robin van Persie also got a knock playing for the Netherlands. We can only hope that there are no further injuries tonight. It looks like I shall be witnessing Aaron Ramsey’s first start for Wales this evening as he gains his fourth cap for what is literally for me the Land of My Fathers. I can’t say that I shall travel to Cardiff with much enthusiasm after Saturday’s dismal performance against Finland. The Millennium Stadium is likely to be two-thirds empty and morgue-like. Oh well. That’s what football supporters do, isn’t it? Follow their team through thick and thin.
I know many Gooners couldn’t give a stuff about national team football. Some, in fact many, are positively hostile to the whole concept. I’m not amongst them. I’ve always loved the national team game. My very first professional match was at Ninian Park in October 1965, three years before my first visit to Highbury in 1968. My younger uncle took me to the World Cup qualifier between Wales and the Soviet Union. I was back in Wales from London during the half term school holiday staying with my grandparents. Even as a nine year old I loved the singing of the anthems. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers) brought tears to my eyes. It still does to this day. I remember the Red Army Choir, on tour in Britain at the time apparentl ysang the Soviet national anthem.
My abiding memory of the match was Lev Yashin, the great Soviet goalkeeper who had an absolutely magnificent game in goal. Wales won as well, two-one, against the mighty USSR, fourth in the finals the following year in England. Happy days!
Anyway, I’m Gooner first and foremost but I’ll always love national team football as well. I don’t have anything against Gooners who don’t give a monkey’s about the national team game. I can see the argument that with all the talent being hoovered out of the other continents into Europe in the last two decades that the Champions League is probably the highest level of football on the planet. Nothing is bigger than the World Cup though in the sense that it reaches past the regular match-going fans and grips the imagination of the entire globe.
I hope but don’t expect a win for Wales tonight. I’d think if England beat Ukraine at Wembley they’ll be all but through to South Africa. The Scots, like Wales, are really struggling and both must win tonight. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are still very much in the mix for qualification.
After tonight, and hopefully no more injuries, we can turn our attention to Citeh at home on Saturday. Yet another vital game for us in the League. The first game back after the international break can often be difficult. All the Premier League teams are in the same boat however with players away. We need to pick up just where we left off in the League – then get better.
I was going to end this blog with an April Fools’ Day spoof. I’m afraid though that I can’t do better than our friends in the deep north have managed. Alan Shearer is the new Toon manager until the end of the season. When a contact rang me to tell me the news I assumed he was having a first of April giraffe. He finally persuaded me he wasn’t winding me up. I couldn’t possibly do better than that for a giggle so I won’t try!
Keep the faith!