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…

England

Benitez disappointed in SAF over handshake snub.

Bayern admit club once targeted Wenger.

Allen to undergo surgery for his shoulder.

Italy

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.

Germany

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.

Comments (11)

  1. Losing Huntelaar is a massive blow to Schalke. If Galata can pull their shit together, they should be able to get through.

    As for Barca, I guess they simply don’t learn that all the shit talking in the world doesn’t mean a god damn thing on the pitch. Can’t wait til Milan seal the deal with an early goal.

  2. Benitez has blasted Ferguson in the media time and time again. Is that professional?

    • More professional than blasting the referees time and time again.

      • Nope. Respect your elders, boy.

        • I think “respect” for “elders” and “respect for those in authority” fall about equally in the do-as-I-say, conservative, paternalistic, proscriptive, nostalgic, kids-these-days, value spectrum. No?

  3. “I’m a Professional”
    rings through like when Paul Mariner answered “will you be here next year, and why do you think you should be?” with “well because I’m very good at my job” …… snickers ensued but were validated in the second installment of “All for one” when it was revealed that absolutely no scouting had been done by the team when Nelsen showed up……..there was the much touted trip to europe following the blessing that was the end of a horrid season……

  4. So all three Canadian MLS teams won on the weekend. Any thoughts or links Alima?

  5. Ugh Egypt….. Interesting to see Ribery is out for the Bayern Arsenal match, plus Bastien and Boateng are suspended. If Arsenal were a half decent team, I’d say they might have a chance in this tie. Of course it’s only Arsenal, so the tie is already over, even with Bayern’s missing players.

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