Gold, Gold, Gold! Messi, Messi, Messi!
Despite being played in the middle of day in 42 degree heat, the final of the Olympic Futbol was pretty good, which given it was like six in the morning when I was watching it, can only be considered a plus. While it was no Brasil-Argentina, it was still an exciting game, with a wonderful chipped gol from Benfica winger Angel Di Maria, running on to a pass from Leo Messi. While I still think having futbol in the Olympics is ridiculous (though perhaps not as ridiculous as beach volleyball), it was incredibly enjoyable to see Juan Roman Riquelme, so often on the wrong side of the result in big games, pick up a gold (in addition to putting away a penalty against Brasil).
Away from Beijing, Barça tonight secured their place in the Champions League proper despite a 1-0 loss away to Wisla. Given that they won the first leg 4-0, the game tonight hardly mattered, though it's still disappointing to have lost to such mediocre opposition. Still, no injuries and it ought focus their minds ahead of the opening game away to Numancia on Sunday (Sky Sports One, 6pm via the interactive service). What else? Joan Laporta will see out his term as president, a move that serves everyone bar Sandro Rosell, very well. I'm quite the Laporta-ite so I was always going to cheer this news but even given his mistakes, I don't think removing him would have done any good. For a start we'd only be electing a new board now and the likes of Dani Alves wouldn't have been signed and more importantly, Ronaldinho would still at the club.
In conclusion, two things that are worth your time and attention. Firstly, there was an excellent interview with Cesc Fabregas in The Observer on Sunday. Cesc is a top bloke so have a read. Secondly, the BBC Storyville documentary, Barça - The Inside Story, is up on youtube and can be viewed here. It's split into nine parts and the quality is terrible but considering I've being trying to torrent this for ages and gotten no-where, I'll take what I can get. My favourite parts are Ferran Soriano's wedding and 'dinho's first gol at the Camp Nou (against Sevilla in the game that kicked off at five past midnight). A superb piece of film-making.
And that's it for now. I'll post a full season preview before kick off on Sunday.