Messi to Beijing, and mixed fortunes in Avellaneda

The winners of at least one event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics may as well be handed their medals now. Argentina will surely be successful in their defence of the title they won in Athens four years ago, because it was confirmed on Tuesday that Barcelona will allow Lionel Messi to join the squad. Elsewhere Julio Comparada’s pronounced himself pleased with an Independiente manager, for a change, and Racing lurch from one embarrassment to another after confrontations with the fans during a training session.

‘I want to travel [to Beijing] so I can work with the first-team and also with the Under-23s,’ explained Messi. ‘I’ve got it all agreed with Barça to go to Beijing.’ Messi’s inclusion in addition to talents like Sergio Agüero and Ezequiel Lavezzi will give Argentina a formidable attack only made stronger by the presence of Juan Román Riquelme as one of the three over-aged players in the squad. Ivory Coast, Australia and Serbia – who will be Argentina’s group opponents – will probably be starting to sweat a little more now.

Independiente president Julio Comparada, meanwhile, has been telling people how delighted he is with Claudio Borghi as his club’s new manager. Which is just as well given the manner in which he got rid of Pedro Troglio. Borghi made his debut as Rojo manager at the weekend and his new side won the clásico with San Lorenzo, 1-0. He went on to claim that, if Independiente – now just four points off the top of the table – were challenging for the title, Troglio himself must take at least some of the credit. ‘I can’t pay three trophy bonuses,’ Comparada jokingly replied, referring to Troglio, Borghi and caretaker Pepé Santoro. But, ‘to have Borghi at Independiente – in Argentina – is fantastic. He gives a jump in the quality of our football. What he managed against San Lorenzo, with only four days of preparation, shows what we’re working towards.’

No such optimism at Independiente’s rivals Racing, where a fan, Mauro Paidón, watching the training session on Monday and, incensed at seeing the players laughing and joking in apparently good spirits, confronted them, shouting; ‘What are you laughing at?! You’re going take us down to the B [Nacional]!’

‘Cáceres told me that if I insulted them, I wasn’t a fan of Racing,’ Paidón later told the press. ‘Then, Sosa told me to do one.’ As he got into his car, two plastic bottles of Powerade were launched over the fence in his direction, one falling on the street and the other close by him. ‘They were full… I had my back to them, so I didn’t see which players threw them,’ continued Paidón. It’s another incident in a period which goes from bad to worse for Racing. And with Independiente looking on the up, it must be even more painful for their fans.

9 thoughts on “Messi to Beijing, and mixed fortunes in Avellaneda

  1. I’m confident with our boys in Beijing, but I wouldn’t say the competition is won already. Remember, this is the only title that Brazilian football is missing and they’ll go all out for it.

    They have an impressive squad too. Anderson, Lucas Leiva, Alexandre Pato, Thiago Neves (Fluminense), Rafinha (Schalke) and the three over-23 players will of course be very strong too.

    As for Racing…well…not only we have to suffer with Blanquiceleste and the promedio…we have to endure watching the worst squad we had in years. Well…I can certainly say this is the worst squad I’ve ever seen in 31 years and I doubt there was a worse one before that.

    It’s just amazing how they all got together at Racing at the same time and how we all, fans, have to suffer the fact of watching them week in, week out. We have no hope. This is desperate and the players don’t seem to realise.

  2. “Ivory Coast, Australia and Serbia – who will be Argentina’s group opponents – will probably be starting to sweat a little more now.”

    As an Australian we were already sweating. Now its a downpour.

  3. LOL Neil and godday mate!

    Anyway…about Messi, you knew he was going to Beijing!

    And so is Agüero (who has been brilliant for Atletico Madrid).

    And so is Riquelme (who single-handedly won the Copa
    Libertadores last season for Boca).

    And so is Mascherano (who at the time of writing -5 AM in Liverpool- is surely chasing somebody up and down the field!).

    And so is Higuain (who scored Real Madrid’s La-Liga-winning goal at Osasuna)

    And, happily for us, Argies, I could go on and on and on forever with this message.

    By the way, Neil, any idea on whom will be the 3 over-23 players that will go to Beijing to represent the Socceroos?

    I look forward to see Tim Cahill in that tournament as he is one of my favourite players from the Premier League and he was absolutely fantastic for Australia in Germany 2006. I love how he seems to have a knack to score goals in the very last second of the match. He did it against Japan, he did it against Luton in one cup competition (I think it was Luton), he did it against Chelsea with an over-head kick and he did it many many other times.

    Which over-23 players would you pick?

  4. A serious argument can be made that this Argentine squad is the strongest Olympic team ever assembled, at least on paper.

    And Messi desperately wants to win something after what has been an enormously frustrating year for him.

    They are going to be very hard to stop, but then it looked that way in the Copa America as well.

  5. “By the way, Neil, any idea on whom will be the 3 over-23 players that will go to Beijing to represent the Socceroos?”

    Seba, not sure who they will be at this stage. They are most likely to be attacking players with the outside chance of Harry Kewell being part of the squad. Tim Cahil, is a possibility depending on his recovery from injury.

  6. Just read in Olé that there is a doubt over Messi’s presence in Beijing now.

    Barcelona will have to play the qualifying stages of the Champions League in August.

    Messi said he would love to do both things (Olympics and UCL Qualy).

    I say: “Enough with this UCL crap, Lionel! You are going to play the Olympics probably once in your lifetime -as an U23-. Barcelona will probably face Wisla Cracow, AZ Alkmaar or a similar low profile team in that stage. Come on now, go to Beijing and stop this nonsense”.

    “If you really want to seduce the Argentina fan, do what Carlitos Tevez did in Athens and you’ll be up there with him in their hearts.”

  7. Seba, I am a Barca socio, and agree with every word of that post.

    If the club stop Leo from playing, I promise you I will complain to Laporta (not that he will care, but there is a principle at issue).

  8. copa america dosnt count the gods hand everything on a plate for brasil yet the 9everyone knows it) superior argentina only know pain

    pain followed by glory is true glory

    glory on a plate undeserved is hollow glory FUKING BRASIL

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