Whether or not the latest stain on Spanish soccer will result in greater action than just minimal fines, I have no idea, but at some point, La Liga officials have to recognize these episodes are not only overshadowing the terrific football being played…but they render it irrelevant.
Spanish football was last night bracing itself for another wave of condemnation after Samuel Eto’o, Barcelona’s Cameroon striker, threatened to leave the field in protest at racist abuse during his side’s 2-0 victory over Real Zaragoza.
76 minutes into Saturday night’s clash at the Romareda, when Barcelona won a corner, Eto’o, who had been subjected to sporadic abuse by a small section of the crowd throughout the match, went to collect the ball and bottles thrown at him before a chorus of monkey chants went up.
Eto’o pointed at Alvaro, Zaragoza’s black Brazilian defender, in an attempt to underline the absurdity of the abuse, but his response served merely to increase the vociferousness of the chants. Victor Jose Esquinas Torres, the referee, ran over to a club official and demanded that an announcement be made over the PA system. His point was clear: if this behaviour did not stop, the game would be abandoned.
As Esquinas Torres returned, Eto’o, who was clearly upset, had decided to march off, saying: “I’m not carrying on like this. I’m not playing any more.”
The referee sought to stop him, but it was not until players from both sides, and Barca’s coach Frank Rijkaard, had spoken with him that he agreed to continue.
When Ronaldinho finally took the corner, Zaragoza’s concentration had been broken. Edmilson latched on to the ball and his shot beat the keeper, Cesar, but was tipped over the bar by the midfielder Albert Celades, who was sent off.
Ronaldinho then scored from the penalty and ran over to embrace Eto’o to celebrate. Three minutes later, Eto’o crossed for Henrik Larsson to make it 2-0. By now, Eto’o was being booed by virtually the whole stadium.
The Spanish Coalition Against Racism (Cecra) is calling for players to take part in a 5 minute delay of next weekend’s kick-offs, as a show of protest against the Spanish Football Federation’s inaction.
The Mirror is reporting — as tipped some weeks ago — that Newcastle have offered Celtic’s Martin O’Neal their managerial job, which might interfere with the England F.A.’s hopes of making O’Neal the successor to Sven Goran Ericksson.
I’ve never heard U.S. national goalkeeper Kasey Keller sing, but apparently, his vocal stylings are considered criminal in Germany.
On a day when both Will Leitch and Jim Rome took the time to sneer at ill-advised remarks by David Beckham, perhaps these unfunny Twin Brothers Of Different Mothers might want to consider that Becks might still be able to manage double digits on the Wonderlic test.
Rome, whose soccerphobia is so played out that Nike used a soundalike in one of their dopier footie commercials, declared Beckham, “the World’s Greatest Soccer Player.” In 2001, that would’ve been a huge stretch. In 2006, well…lemme put it this way. There isn’t anyone in Leytonstone, Manchester or Madrid declaring Kurt Warner the best player in the NFL.
There’s something a little screwy about ESPN giving Jim Rome a vehicle to laugh at Beckham’s grammar. Granted, the midfielder has never proven himself to be anything other than a comical public speaker, but Rome and his radio callers manage to rape the English language at every available opportunity.