Like Sammy and Leo, I'm back. Well sort of...It's been nigh on a month since I've posted. Nigh on a month since I huffed and puffed about Javier Saviola, about Eto'o's impending return, Messi's metatarsal (that's his foot folks), about Barcelona's dreadful run of form, about 'dinho looking off the pace, about Marquez playing like he's got lead in his boots. Nigh on a month since Becks announced his transfer to Los Angeles, only to see Fabio Capello immediately drop him from the Real squad and vow that he would never again pull on a Madrid shirt. How satisfying it was then to see Becks start and score against Sociedad on Saturday night in Real's 1-2 win. Don Fabio will probably last until the summer simply but it wouldn't surprise me to see him out the door before Becks. Poetic justice.
So why the leave of absence? A few reasons but principally I'm a bit sick of football. The merry-go-round that was the transfer window ("Of course it is very flattering to be linked with Club X, but I have a contract with Club Y. But in football you never know..." and other such shite), FCB's hopeless showing in January and early February, the farce that was Ireland's performance in San Marino, the violence in Catania, I've just had enough. Watching the blaugrana against Osasuna last week, drawing 0-0 and never looking like scoring, the last thing I felt like doing was writing about another lackluster game, another give-it-away-give-it-away-give-it-away-now from Deco and Xavi in midfield, misplacing passes left, right and mostly down the centre. It's not the sort of thing that makes for exciting reading either.
But I'm going to get back on the horse again. Barcelona have a series defining season of games in the next month, Valencia (away), Liverpool in the European Cup, Real Madrid and Sevilla (away) and last night against an admittedly weak Santander side, they looked like they'd turned a corner. A 2-0 win, both gols from 'dinho, Messi back, Deco and Xavi playing much better, Puyol and Zambrotta solid in defence and Victor Valdes, the blaugrana's best player this season, saved a penalty and looked confident on crosses. His distribution was excellent, punting the ball up to Saviola and Giuly on several occasions to hit Racing on the break. Indeed the only cloud on last night's sliver lining was Eto'o apparent refusal to come on as substitute. He was incredibly reluctant to make an appearance against Osasuna and despite warming up for a good half hour, sat back down on the bench rather than get a run out. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, if Eto'o has rushed his comeback and is feeling strain of excessive training on his knee.
And that's your lot for now. I'll be back with an update on Sammy as soon as...