Welcome to Bernabeu Bites where every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we take you around the world of Real Madrid, la Liga and European football, in tasty bite-size form. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, relax and enjoy!
With international play over and done with (for now), it's time to return to the focus from country to club as players are now training with their respective teams. La Liga resumes football this weekend, and I for one am glad that's happening. Playing just one fixture and then having a international break was a bit brutal. But all is right with the world as la Liga resumes this Saturday.
Manchester United's head cheese Sir Alex Ferguson has stepped up and defended Jose Mourinho in a recent interview. The Red Devil's boss recalled that he was just like the Special One in his younger days.
"I don't find anything wrong with his enthusiasm,'' Ferguson told Corriere dello Sport. "When I was younger I showed more enthusiasm on the bench too. I was always gesticulating and directing."
"It's Mourinho's nature to be agitated," he added. "When I saw Mourinho run up and down the touchline at Old Trafford when he coached Porto, I said to myself, 'Did I also use to do that?' People recognise his enthusiasm. The fans understand that he's fighting for them and for the squad.''
"Mourinho called me and he told me to stay. He has an Inter heart and he has always told me to remain," Sneijder told la Gazzetta dello Sport. "I am happy to have stayed because I never wanted to leave and so I no longer want to speak about Manchester United."
Outlining how the talks evolved, Sneijder added, "My agent called me and told me Inter wanted to sell. I spoke with Manchester United, but then the Eto'o sale started and so things changed."
Oh Neymar, how we just love to hear you talking about Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. At this rate I'm going to have to do a Neymar update every week. I was hoping that this all would die down, until at least the January transfer window. But sometimes it's not the kid's fault--it's the press that keeps asking questions.
"I am pleased that two of the biggest clubs are interested in signing me, but I don't want to get involved in a war between Barcelona and Madrid," Neymar was quoted as saying by AS.
"Everything that I say can be misinterpreted, so what can I say about it? I don't want to offend anyone. The only thing that I can say is that anything won't happen until after the Club World Cup in December."
For the record, the kid is under contract until 2015, and has a limited release fee of €45 million.
FC Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has been made a contract offer, but wants to get back to full fitness before signing on the dotted line. His contract runs out at the end of the season, and he is still making his way back from a tumor that was removed from his liver six months ago.
"I have a (contract) offer from the club," he said, adding that his health was his primary concern. "I have discussed it with [sporting director Andoni] Zubizaretta, but the first thing I said was that I don't want to deceive anyone.
"I want to get back to playing at my level. I know it will be tough because we are not machines. I will make this effort because I like this work and for my team mates and the club."
More from the saga of Ricardo Carvalho leaving the Portuguese national team: now gaffer Paulo Bento is telling the press that Carvalho needs to issue a apology. It seems that now the Portuguese Football Federation is going to get involved, and while they haven't set a date, it could result with a ban in the form of not being allowed to play in Portugal for three months. They could also report the case to UEFA, which would result in a ban from the Champions League.
Here's another take on the Carvalho/Bento/Portugal debacle from FoxSports:
I really debated with myself about this next one, but it goes to show you that some old footballers have lost touch with the modern version of the game--take Johan Cruyff in this interview. I'm just going to post the quote and move on. You, dear reader, may discuss.
From the football point of view, everything is going great. The current success is a consequence of maintaining the same philosophy for years. But now I witness that the club is not only obsessed with winning silverware, but making money. The approach should be different. Last season, it seems money is the reason to exist for Barça. But I think that football must be the most important thing. Football does not exist to generate money, but just the opposite.
Emphasis is mine, obviously. Seriously, how out of touch with the modern game does that sound?
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