Barcelona and Balague need our help

One thing I’ve come to learn and accept working alongside kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, is their emotional detachment from those around them. It’s common for kids to come across rude when really they just can’t comprehend how not saying hello back to someone can be hurtful, or, how talking about only what they want to talk about can come across as arrogant. After a while it’s easy to become fine-tuned to these things, and so when I listened to Guillem Balague talk about Cesc Fabregas, I began to wonder if it would be worthwhile sending him to be diagnosed as well.
I presume he was speaking from somewhere in South Africa, but even so, his smug voice managed to infiltrate my kitchen in London. “And that’s why Fabregas isn’t worth as much,” he said. The volume was turned up high enough to hear that little sniff people make when they believe what they’ve said concludes matters. I could even imagine his head rocking back slightly, as you do in unison with the sniff. Balague’s conversation had been about Fabregas not being a part of Spain’s starting 11, and so the reason why Barcelona were right to offer only £29 million. And just as Arsenal stopped the bidding and told Barca no, Balague’s discussion was over. This was when I suspected he had Asperger’s.
See, that’s how it is with Barca; they truly believe only they exist and take into consideration purely their own needs. One of football’s most highly rated commentators and he had missed the point. Correct, Cesc might not be good enough to start for Spain ahead of others, but he is certainly good enough to start for Arsenal. So why then should the personal valuations of Barcelona count and not that of the club to who he means everything? To Barca he is worth half as much as Zlatan Ibrahimovich but to Arsenal he is priceless, and the last time I checked, Cesc was an Arsenal player. Balague was talking about only what he wanted to talk about. He came across as arrogant. Still, it meant nothing, because in a shock reverse last week the Catalans had said hello but Arsenal had not said hello back. I sense that hurt too.
Supporting RCD Espanyol, Balague isn’t a Barcelona fan; he’s just a sucker for them. Here lies the difference between people who actually have Asperger’s and the Balague I endured on the radio, because not for one moment do I pity the kids I deal with. Most of them are bright and work extremely hard at becoming more aware of their predicament. These guys are this way from a very early age. I do pity media puppets like Balague however, who inherit the characteristics of Asperger’s and autism when they feel no warmth towards those being fobbed off by Barcelona, instead fall for their apparent superiority.
But hey, why should Balague care about Arsenal? Sadly, he’s caught up in what has now become a tug-of-war between the red of north London and the whole of Spain (except of course Real Madrid). For him, I sense it has become bigger than the club battle, stretching into more unfriendly territories where the pride of La Liga is at stake. I sense Balague wants Fabregas to join his favourite league in the world from their fiercest rivals: The Premiership. I sense his pride wants the exclusive story he broke to become a reality; for Cesc to say yes to Spain and no to England, oh yeah, and a massive thanks to Guillem for helping to save me.
The same pride though has put Balague’s foot in it. He was so quick to parade around acting as Barcelona’s official trustee, spewing out how they set the prices for Arsenal to buckle to, that he hadn’t realised what he was actually saying. Spain’s midfield is basically Barcelona’s midfield. If Cesc can’t get in the Spain team then how will he get in the Barcelona team? Go back though, because it’s not as if Cesc isn’t good enough, life right now just happens to see Spain on top of the world as Cesc is shedding his skin. Don’t fix what isn’t broken the saying goes.
Getting Barcelona to quit though is like getting the turkeys to vote for Christmas. Their genetic make-up might be a completely undiscovered neural disorder that seriously needs tapping into, and perhaps spending the £29 million on some research would be a more worthwhile cause. First up should be Xavi. This guy has all the classic signs: compulsive, ritualistic and restricted behaviour. Basically, preoccupation with one thing: Cesc Fabregas.
Don’t blame him then, it might not be his fault. As advocates of the beautiful game we really should be trying to help and support Barcelona. Next week I’m holding a combined class of kids with Asperger’s, autism, OCD, ADHD and Bipolar disorder. Derek is telling the group all about his obsessions with lighters and Jordan is also up to giving a presentation on his favourite subject, Ultimate Fight Challenge. The course is running for 10 weeks, so please Barcelona, feel free to sign up.

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