You know those people, right?

The kind that need to reiterate their positive attributes in conversation, whether or not it’s particularly warranted or appropriate in context. In the above interview for example, Rafa Benitez felt it necessary to preface his sensible squad rotation following Chelsea’s Europa League tie midweek with the reminder, “I’m a professional,” which kind of sounds like it makes sense, but doesn’t at all. What does being a professional have to do with giving some of your squad a rest ahead of a Sunday FA Cup tie?

This further compounded the confusion following Spanish manager’s earlier answer to questions over why he skipped shaking Sir Alex Ferguson’s hand—”I have some education.” Most assumed this was some sly reference to Sir Alex Ferguson’s peculiar social graces and attitude toward the former Liverpool gaffer, and perhaps it was. Or maybe it was yet another inappropriate reminder that Rafa is an educated professional.

We get it Rafa, it’s cool. No one questions your professionalism or education. I’m not even going to call either Benitez or Ferguson’s little pantomime handshake show childish. After all, no-one died. The nukes won’t be launched tomorrow. And, historically speaking, sometimes even the threat of mass death doesn’t prevent men from acting like complete assholes. I read late last night that Union army general George B. McClellan once refused to reinforce a perceived rival in general Pope in the second Battle of Bull Run during the American Civil War simply because he though Pope an inferior general and did not want him getting any credit for anything (this was followed by perhaps entirely unnecessary 10,000 Union casualties).

This entire notion of good graces and etiquette in football is entirely out of place anyway. It’s not exactly a coincidence that Sir Alex tends to be nicest to those managers in charge of clubs that pose no threat to United. And this is as it should be—why put your principle rivals at ease? After all, Sir Alex is a professional; he can do what he likes. And so is Rafa, I hear…


Benitez disappointed in SAF over handshake snub.

Bayern admit club once targeted Wenger.

Allen to undergo surgery for his shoulder.


Napoli coach Mazzarri confident his team will bounce back.

Dani Alves has faith Barcelona will beat Milan in return leg of CL.

La Liga

Marcelo says he never lets the criticism get to him.

Madrid now aiming for second place in La Liga.


Schalke to face Galatasaray without Huntelaar, striker suffers from a knee injury.

Bayern will face Arsenal without Ribery.

Bit and Bobs

“I should be dead.”- Gazza on his recent recovery.

A fury pitch invasion with a bite.

Egyptian soccer federation torched.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.