It’s no secret the ill will Rafa harbors towards the clutter of international matches and succubus-like effect they have on our players. Having general disdain for the USMNT and general disinterest in Macca’s underperforming Ingerland (although the Scots look to be on their way to Austria!), I’ve been a subscriber to the Goateed One’s newsletter on the matter for quite awhile now.
But, after this weekend, international friendlies and qualifiers are that much closer to being completely dead to me.
“More dead than your dead mother.”
After losing Agger and Alonso to cursed metatarsal injuries sustained on international duty, Fernando Torres is the latest Liverpool player to suffer serious damage while with his national side. El Nino pulled up out of training after “feeling a twinge in his right thigh” and is said to have a small muscle tear that would rule him out about ten days (which would include the Merseyside derby).
While such is the risk when your squad is populated with top international players, I’m fully encamped in Rafa’s corner on the matter of the crowded international calendar. There are simply too many matches — both in qualifying and pointless friendlies. Do you realize that the South American teams are already holding 2010 World Cup qualifying and play something like 20 matches in the process?
But, arguing against/with FIFA is like pissing into the wind — but not as fun. Moving on…
If you’re like my mother and like to get your X-mas shopping done before Halloween, figuring out the perfect present for Ryan Babel shouldn’t be too hard — an alarm clock.
It seems somebody has a problem getting his ass out of bed on matchday and it cost him a start. For their match versus Romania, Dutch manager Marco Van Basten benched him in favor of the favorite of imaginary snipers the world over, Arjen Robben.
It was the second time that Babel overslept on a match day. That should never happen. That’s why I left him out of the team. Robben trained hard and he is fit, so he played instead.
The first time that he arrived too late, he settled the matter with a joke. The second time he joined us too late for the meal and that was a bit too much. He has to appear on time, just like all the others.
Young Ryan didn’t fall asleep on the bench and eventually made it on the pitch in the 78th minute, but the Dutch lost 1-0.
And it’s now official; you don’t need to buy Pako Ayestaran an X-mas present, but rather a goodbye gift.
Pako Ayestaran is to step down from his position as assistant manager at LFC, although he will be contracted to the clube through June 30, 2008.
Rick Parry on the departure:
Following discussions between Rafael Benitez and Pako Ayestaran, it has been agreed that it would be in the best interests of all parties if Pako leaves his post as assistant manager.
The club want to thank Pako for his hard work and contribution to our success over the past three years.
So, Pako has himself a comfortable severance package and won’t be joining any of our rivals for quite some time. Shrewd move by Evil Rafa.