Happy New Year, dear readers! Hopefully, those of you silly enough to have made New Year’s resolutions have given up on them by now. Self-improvement is for suckers. The Hump Day Dumpster Dive is back and
better than ever just as adequate as before. May the bridges we burn light our way.
Racism? A problem? In La Liga? Not if you ask La Liga.
After the recent local derby between Barcelona and Espanyol, a former Barcelona director alleged that racist chants were directed at Neymar from some Espanyol supporters. Even though Neymar claims not to have heard any racist abuse during the game, Andres Iniesta (as unlikely a shit-stirrer as you can find) confirmed that he heard the chants. Joan Collet, Espanyol’s president, responded in wholly predictable fashion, and just denied the whole ugly incident altogether.
Collet’s approach to the complaint mirrors that of several of his counterparts in Spain’s top flight. The first line of defense when these incidents occur is to call them outright lies. If video evidence makes this approach nonviable, the next best step is to condemn the perpetrators as a disgusting minority that does not represent the values of the club. For club officials, it is paramount that incidents of racist abuse be seen as isolated incidents. After all, it’s not like this same thing hasn’t happened involving supporters of Villarreal, Elche, Atlético Madrid, Real Betis, Real Zaragoza, Getafe, Real Madrid, and Barcelona in recent years.
Career Goals: Rafa Benítez
Rafa Benítez is the latest manager to hop off the Real Madrid manager carousel, as Florentino Pérez sent him packing out of the Bernabéu for the unforgivable sin of drawing away at Valencia with ten men. Benítez was a daft appointment in the first place, so it’s hardly a surprise that he got sacked.
Having now been shuffled out the door in every job since leaving Valencia in 2004, Benítez has become something of a posterboy for getting fired from jobs that he never should have gotten. Fans of Internazionale, Chelsea, Napoli, and now Real Madrid were unenthused when he joined and relieved when he left. He hasn’t been able to create a team that was any fun since Fernando Torres was thing (1979?), but that hasn’t stopped him from walking into one big job after another.
Benítez has now spent the better part of the last decade being paid — quite handsomely — to bugger off. Following the logic of coffee and sandwich shops, the next ill-fated appointment that ends in early termination should be free. Rafa won’t even have to bother to be a disappointment; he can just collect his severance package without having to pass go. As a “top drawer” manager, he is an utter and unquestionable charlatan. But as a career example, he is the gold standard. We can all only dream of repeatedly being paid a small fortune to not work. Keep getting those checks, Rafa.
Mourinho is not the hero Manchester United deserves, but he’s the one it needs right now
Louis van Gaal is doing his Utmost Best™ to bore himself out of the Manchester United job, and his players — through a combination of incompetence and willful resistance — are doing their best to help him. Despite everyone’s best efforts (they even managed to not beat Chelsea!), the dull Dutchman is still in charge, mostly because United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is either clueless or spineless or both. Thanks to an unimpressive win over Swansea — a club that is so completely unbothered that it hasn’t had a manager in months — van Gaal is still stubbornly holding on, much to the chagrin of his recently unemployed former protege.
José Mourinho is now allowing his contacts in the media to acknowledge what has been a poorly-kept secret since the final months of his Real Madrid tenure: he wants the United job, and he wants it real bad. There are good reasons to be wary of hiring Mourinho (he’s past his best and not worth the trouble, for example), but it’s impossible that he would be any worse than van Gaal has been this season. Now that Pep Guardiola has confirmed his intentions to manage
Manchester City “in England” next season, Mourinho would have the perfect foil to get him back to his fiery best. Guardiola and Mourinho openly despise each other, and having both men on opposite sides of the Manchester derby would be a massive upgrade on the inoffensive competence of Manuel Pellegrini and whatever the fuck van Gaal thinks he’s doing.
Guardiola and Mourinho are far and away the two greatest managers of their generation, and for the sake of entertainment, they should once again face off as the heads of clubs that share a bitter rivalry. They may bring out the best in each other, or both may be ruined within a few years. Either way, it will be fun to watch.